iPhone 3GS

Hardware encryption, voice synthesis, macro (10cm) photography, extensive voice control — and all the stuff everyone predicted. The macro photography is actually a very nice feature, since it makes the iPhone a pretty dandy scanner in a pinch. Voice control for the iPod is, for me, a bigger win than voice dialing — but then I don’t talk on the phone much. Voice synthesis I like because of one of my pet back-burner projects.

As for the stuff everyone predicted. The old iPhone 3G is now $99. The new 3GS has a compass, 3MP camera, autofocus lens, tap-to-focus, supports video, in-iPod video trimming, supports turn-by-turn navigation, 2-3x speed improvement, push support, 16/32 GB for $199/299 (and of course you need to commit to AT&T for two years).

If you’ve got an iPhone 3G, the new model will cost you $400 more ($599/$699). Ouch.

Stuff that didn’t seem to be there: more actual RAM on the iPhone, (Edit: correction, a German website accidentally revealed that the new iPhone does indeed have 256MB of RAM) background apps (does anyone really care?), 802.11n.

Available June 19th.

  • Some people clearly do care about background apps, since they won’t shut up about it. I expect Apple will do it eventually, but as with Copy and Paste, they’ll wait until they’ve got the memory protection iron-clad. Or as iron-clad as they can. And possibly also for a much faster processor so the performance hit is less noticeable. And maybe a better battery…

    Still waiting to see if there’s an upgrade option for me with my carrier. And whether they’ll allow tethering and whether or not it costs more. (Virgin Mobile is a subsidiary of Optus, who were listed on the tethering slide, but they also claim that tethering may violate their terms of service. Also interesting to note that Telstra was on the MMS slide, but not the tethering slide.)

  • The question for me is whether launching an App on the iPhone will be slower than bringing a background task to the foreground on the Palm Pre. From the demos I’ve seen — not really (certainly not for the 3GS). If not, then the iPhone then has numerous advantages — (1) you don’t need separate UIs for navigating between active apps and apps in general, (2) you get (pretty much) all your RAM and CPU to play with with the current app, and between the way iPhone apps “sleep” (i.e. store state on close) and Push notification, exactly what’s the advantage of background tasks?