The new iPhone 3G was announced June 9, and it comes out July 11. The wow factor is not so great. The new phone does in fact use 3G, which means you can get near-wi-fi speed data almost anywhere you are on the AT&T 3G network. You can read some of Robert Scoble’s thoughts on it as well.
New and improved with 3G?
Sort of. If you watch a lot of YouTube or other Web videos on your phone, it will be cool. If you snap and send a lot of picture emails from your iPhone (rapid Flickr dumping), you could use it. But for basic email, or pulling up a Google search? Not a huge benefit.
The iPhone 3G has a slightly thicker, but more contoured case, that “feels even better in your hand” according to Steve Jobs. It’s pretty cool looking in all-black plastic (or a white option for the 16GB version) with metal buttons. It also has a flush-mounted headphone jack – so you can use any headphones with it, or plug your iPhone into a stereo just like any other iPod without using a jack adapter.
Be aware: this is a subsidized price drop – which means AT&T is paying for the part of the phone that you’re not paying for — and they’ll be getting the extra money out of you over time. Here’s how:
The current $399/$499 iPhone requires AT&T voice plan + $20 for unlimited email/data ($59.99/month minimum)
The new $199/$299 iPhone 3G requires AT&T voice plan + $30 for unlimited email/data.
You have to sign a new 2-year contract for the iPhone. So that extra $10 per month over 2 more years adds up to an extra $240 to AT&T. That means the $199/$299 price is really $439/$539 compared with the current phone + plan cost. If the plan price isn’t as important to you as the purchase price, well then, yes, you can tell yourself it’s cheaper.
Existing iPhone users will get the software 2.0 upgrade for free, with Exchange mail, games, the iPhone App Store, and the other improvements.
Yes, it’s cool. But if you don’t need 3G speed or a flush-mounted headphone jack, you won’t be saving money with the iPhone 3G. Except for 3G speed, all the software improvements to the iPhone are coming to the first generation as well.