iPhone 3G S Launch This Week: What You Don’t Get

By on Jun 15, 2009 at 12:07 pm

iphone 3g sThis Friday’s launch of the annual update to the iPhone is somewhat anti-climatic. Yes, the hardware is finally updated with more RAM and a faster CPU but its main update is to the operating system, which is also available for previous versions of the iPhone. Many key new features aren’t even available, which begs the question: why upgrade to the iPhone 3G S?

On Wednesday, June 17th 2009, everyone will be able to download the iPhone software 3.0 update from iTunes, but if you don’t have the new hardware, you can’t use a lot of the new features… or can you? Here’s a quick run-down of what’s cool in 3G S, but even if you have the 3G S, you aren’t going to be able to see them.  The wait is almost over, but if you’re in the U.S. you’ll have to keep waiting…

2x Improved Performance?

In our Apple iPhone 3G S Specs post last week, we said the CPU speed will increase to 600MHz (up from 412MHz) and the RAM will also increase from 128MB to 256MB. While these will surely be noticeable, especially with CPU intensive games and other apps, it’s hardly a 2x improvement in performance. What Apple is primarily referring to is the improvement in bandwidth performance.

3G S will be able to utilize AT&T’s new 7.2 Mbps network which uses HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) technology. The current 3G UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) network tops out at 3.6Mbps. The upgrade to AT&T’s network won’t be finished until 2011, although they claim we should start to benefit from it by “later this year” (2009).

Result: Keep on waiting.

MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service)?

Even though your crappy flip-phone from yester-year supports picture messaging, the iPhone seems to be (sadly) the last mobile phone in the world to adopt it. For the past few years all iPhone users thought the problem was that Apple just didn’t feel a strong need to add it. SMS was all we had. But now with the WWDC out of the way, it seems the truth is out. The problem wasn’t Apple at all. It was AT&T’s fault.

With the launch of the iPhone 3.0 operating system update and the iPhone 3G S, MMS support is finally added. And to everyone’s surprise, they’ve added video. How cool is that? Only cool if you can use it. Thanks to AT&T, support for MMS is not going to be available until “later this summer” (2009). It will be available, however, to 29 other carriers. Just not AT&T in the U.S. The good news is that MMS will not carry an additional cost if you have a text messaging bundle.

Result: Keep on waiting.

iPhone Tethering?

The ability to tether your iPhone to your computer so that you can go online using your iPhone’s 3G connection has always been a desired feature of the iPhone. You’ll be able to connect your iPhone via USB (so it can charge your phone at the same time you’re online), or you can tether/connect via Bluetooth. Again, very very cool. What’s not cool is that out of the 22 carriers in 42 countries supporting this new feature this week, AT&T is not one of them. Expect an insane monthly cost for this when it does hit AT&T (we’ve heard rumors of $70/month for unlimited data). Ouch!

Result: Keep on waiting.

The Kitchen Sink?

With the iPhone 3.0 software update, especially regarding the 3G S, Apple has finally given the world everything they have been asking for. It’s not their fault AT&T has screwed them over and made their 3.0 launch have gaping holes of non-functional features. But what else doesn’t the iPhone yet do? I invite you to post your thoughts, below. Here’s my short list:

  • Flash support. The Safari Mobile browser still does not support Flash. No sign of it on the horizon.
  • Real keyboard. Perhaps with the API opened up, third-party hardware manufacturers will create one.
  • Keep App locations on “springboard” when performing a restore.
  • App grouping on “springboard”

AT&T has published a common Questions from our Customers document.  Check it out!

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Filed: iPhoneUpdates
  • Lynne

    Can you help? Can you get ring tones fiphone??? X

  • Lynn, yes you can make your own ringtones for your iPhone. Just Google "make iphone ringtones" and you'll find a lot of different places that document how to do this.