After months of speculation and hype, Steve Jobs last night finally announced the iPhone 3G during his WWDC keynote speech at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.
The worst kept secret about the second generation iPhone is its 3G capabilities - customers have been asking for faster mobile data connections, because EDGE just doesn't cut it in this day and age. The device still supports EDGE along with GPRS and WiFi of course, and it automatically switches between these connections to obtain the fastest-possible download speeds.
In addition, Apple has integrated GPS and the device has been re-sculpted with a tapered back and thinner edges. The buttons are now solid metal, but the back cover is now shiny plastic and reportedly picks up fingerprints just as well as the screen - we think that's a bit of a step backwards, in all honesty, even though it'll probably won't be quite as slippery to hold as the first-gen iPhone.
And, speaking of the screen, Jobs said that it's exactly the same as the one used in the current iPhone, meaning a 3.5in diagonal and a 480 x 320 resolution - some see this as a bad thing, but I'm not particularly bothered at this time.
Apple has listened to complaints from customers about the headphone jack, and Jobs was pleased to reveal that the new headphone connector is flush. The device is slightly bigger than the existing iPhone - it measures 115.5 x 62.1 x 12.3mm versus the original's 115 x 61 x 11.6mm dimensions, but weight has been cut by two grams.
Battery life has improved with the iPhone 3G - there's now 300 hours of standby, 10 hours of 2G calls, five hours of 3G calls, while video and audio playback are rated to seven and 24 hours respectively.
There are downsides though: the storage capacity remains unchanged with 8GB and 16GB models available, while the camera is still the same two megapixel one in the first-gen phone - it seems that there is no flash, no autofocus and no video recording either because Apple hasn't mentioned them. And there is no front facing camera for 3G video calling either.
The iPhone 3G will be rolled out to 22 countries on 11th July and then to over 70 countries later in the year. The countries where the iPhone 3G will be available on the 11th July include the UK and US, along with Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
O2 retains exclusivity in the UK and it will be selling the 8GB version for £99 on either £30 or £35 tariffs, while it'll be free on either the £45 or £75 per month tariffs. Meanwhile, the 16GB version will ship for £159 on the £30 and £35 tariffs, £59 on the £45 tariff and for free on the £75 tariff. The optimal package appears to be the £35 per month tariff, where you'll get 600 UK minutes, 500 UK texts, unlimited data in the UK and unlimited WiFi via The Cloud and BT Openzone hotspots, while you'll also get reduced roaming rates for when you're travelling.
While the iPhone 3G isn't a massive
upgrade over the existing iPhone, what it has done is open it up to a broader market place - at £99, I'm sorely tempted to get one, even though I've already got an unlocked first-generation iPhone. What do you think about Apple's announcement? Share your thoughts in the forums