/ blog. chaff. occasional witterings.


Quick thoughts on iPhone 3GS

computing 12:35:33

Well, I'm sold.

I've owned an iPod touch for eighteen months. At the time I didn't want to take a punt on the just-released iPhone, but in the intervening time the launch of the 3G hardware made me consider buying one. I'm disorganised, though, and when it got to April I decided to hold off, suspecting the hardware would be refreshed in June.

Of course, it has, and I'll soon be getting in touch with O2 to pre-order My First iPhone. I'm undecided on whether it's worth spending the extra for the 32GB model, but I probably will. The camera improvements (autofocus, slightly higher resolution, and video) are nice; I'm enough of a fanboy to cheer the compass (Google's Sky Map would be lovely), and of course it'll be nice to have a faster device. (Will games throttle their speed on the new hardware, I wonder?)

Existing owners of iPhones are a bit peeved, though. Unlike the last time there was an upgrade, O2 aren't doing anything to let people upgrade early, and operators everywhere seem keen to annoy people who want tethering, either by not offering it or overpricing it. Personally, I'm not that bothered. I know going in there's almost certainly going to be six months in late 2010 when I don't have the latest and greatest, and I dare say I'll cope. (As Matt Jones put it on Twitter, "if you like the shiny, don't be whiny.") A price cut in the UK would have been nice, but I suppose O2 don't feel they need it. Maybe if exclusivity ends?

(I also wonder if the loudest complainers are the same people who are used to upgrading their laptops with every speed bump? That's not a group I've ever been part of; instead, I aim to make my machines last at least their three years of AppleCare. Perhaps the first group are just more vocal, or more used to being able to buy what they want? Of course, iPhones aren't computers, but I assume people think of them as more like computers than phones.)

There is a subset of those vocal complainers who may have a point- developers. The iPhone platform now has devices that run the gamut from the first generation touch, which has no camera, Bluetooth, or support for microphones, to the iPhone 3GS, which has al of the above built in, plus the improvements noted above. The speed range is getting quite large too, and I can understand the desire of devs to get cheaper access to various bits of hardware.

For now, the best bet - outside of large companies - seems to be to find people to test things, but that's hardly the best approach. On the other hand, expecting Apple to duplicate Google's I/O stunt - handing out free phones to every attendee - wasn't likely either. I also wonder if Apple are expecting that developers will just use the emulator?

Still, for all the complaints - largely unjustified, as we all know telcos are like that - this is a perfectly good incremental update. As Steven Levy says, "It's not a game changer." It doesn't need to be, though, and I'm sure it'll do well.