back to article Apple iPhone 3GS

Everyone knew that Apple was planning to unveil version 3.0 of the iPhone OS at its Worldwide Developer Conference this month. As expected, the new OS adds some long awaited features such as ‘copy and paste’, multimedia messaging (MMS) and the ability to ‘tether’ your iPhone to a laptop computer so that the notebook can share …

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Why...

On Earth would you want Digital Zoom? It's absolutely dreadful

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Jobs Halo

I got one yesterday

I got the 16gb 3gs on the £35 tariff. I also got a corporate discount so i only pay £24.50.

It rocks

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Tethering?

Is O2 able to distinguish between tethered internet access and access by the iPhone itself?

It's a little odd that they allow it for other brands of mobile, like the N95, but not an iPhone. It's one of the reasons that I picked the unlimited internet bolt-on.

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HOW MUCH !

Great review.

But seriously, HOW MUCH !!!

granted, iPhone has the best 3rd party apps (both hard and software), and looks the smartest, but the HTC magic does everything the iPhone does (arguably more) for a fraction of that price.

Apple: it costs twice as much, but you buy it because it's in a shiny white box.

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Silver badge
Black Helicopters

Filming on tube!

Are you crazy??

They're descending on Vulture Central as you read this...

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Unhappy

one more reason not to opt for Jesus Phone

So I have unlimited internet, but not if the http request comes from IE on a PC, rather than Safari on the iPhone. Isn't this anti-competitive?

What next, if you text in English it must be US English or you have to buy another bolt-on?

Anyone who pays for tethering really has more money than sense when any Nokia or SonyEricsson offer it as standard and O2 don't charge more for that.....or is that surprise waiting in the wings?

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Tethering.

I would be laughing my tits off at the thought of iPhone chumps paying £15pm to tether their devices, that is if I didn't have one myself.

You can do it for free on any other 3G mobile, so O2's attitude of "we can charge you, so we will" is more than a little disappointing.

What is laudable though is how exceptionally easy it is to circumvent, don't even need to jailbreak your device as it appears that the only thing preventing you from tethering is missing APN settings that are hidden on devices.

And hey ... A quick google shows more than a few places to install these missing settings for you:

http://www.richardlai.co.uk/

~cough~

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Sweet spot???

"the sweet spot seems to be the £34.26 per month tariff, which allows you to buy the 16GB phone for £185, or the 32GB model for £274"

£35 quid a month and £185 (or £274!!) for the phone is what you call a sweet spot? The word "expensive" springs to my mind, personally.

Yes, it's a beautiful machine. But it won't wear down my resistance until it's a reasonable price.

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A word about the processor

The 3GS sports an ARM Cortex-A8 core, compared to the ARM11 in the 3G. This is even more significant that the MHz bump, and puts it on par with the Pre, which to my knowledge was the only phone around using ARM's new architecture. It's suprising that Nokia are still using 400MHz ARM11s for their flagship phones, such as the N97... At least regarding this, Apple is on the bleeding edge...

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Tethering tax.

Get on to google. There are was and means to avoid this......

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its a good phone but...

First thing ive found is the gps is off, i think its just my location, but its gps that shouldnt be an issue. when i select directions and from here i get about a 500m overshoot of my physical location. Havent tested it to destruction yet, and my pc plays havoc with my compass, so much so it tells me theres "interference"

The video zoom is a pain, but for the price well, its early days but still.

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Stop

Voice control? Gimmick?

Don't think so... Not if you're using it with a bluetooth earpiece in the car...

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Anonymous Coward

Tethering costs

I love the small print - exceed your 3Gb limit and you pay 19.6p per Mb - or £196 per extra Gb of data. Someone within O2 seriously sat down and signed this off as a reasonable price, rather than an insult to their customers.

The obvious answer would have just been a nice simple reasonable per Mb price for those of us who need to occasionally tether - I'll be giving up my 3G modem at the end of it's contract because I get nowhere near 3Gb or £15 of usage out of it a month - more like 500 Mb. I'd easily pay £7 or so for that, but not £2 (daily rate) each time I need to do 30 mins of mobile usage without access to WiFi.

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the tethering is annoying

It sounded like a great idea to me, but the additional charge means that no-one is going to use it unless their company is paying. Especially on top of a premium contract that already includes unlimited* data. It'd be nice if the 3gig a month at least was free.

If i was prepared to pay £15 a month on top of my phone contract, i'd get a dedicated mobile broadband dongle.

*within limits, of course

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Still looks a bit pricey to me

"...a bit of a gimmick for showing off to your friends..." - The entire phone comes across as that to me.

I've had a play about with one, the original one, and thought that it doesn't really do too much more (useful) than my good old Nokia N70 with Opera Mini on it.

There are some genuinely interesting apps you can get for it, I admit, but it doesn't seem like it's worth the extra money to me. Also, the apps they advertise on telly seem to do the most simple basic stuff, all stuff you can either do with Opera Mini or a calculator (like dividing a restaurant bill by 5 - come on now!). I'm in no rush to go back to O2 either.

Nice toy though, I'd have one if it was given to me.

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Flame

Tethering charges

> Even more disappointing is the discovery that O2 charges extra if you want to use the tethering. [...] That strikes us as disgraceful given that the existing monthly tariffs are supposed to include ‘unlimited’ internet access. It shouldn't matter whether the content's being viewed on the handset or a laptop

Your "unlimited" internet access isn't really unlimited. There's a natural limit, because you're not going to be watching streaming video on your phone at 7Mbit for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You're also not going to be running BitTorrent to download ISOs etc. Instead, you'll just use it for the occasional web browsing, maybe some YouTube streaming video at a relatively low bitrate. O2 know this, so they can figure out how many GB an average person is going to use and set their prices accordingly. The number of GB a month you use _does_ have implications on O2's costs - they need to pay for sufficient radio bandwidth, sufficient backhaul capacity, and sufficiently large upstream connections to the Internet. Obviously some people will use more and some less, but so long as it averages out then O2 are happy.

As soon as you connect the phone to a laptop, some people are going to be pegging their connection at 100% capacity, downloading from BitTorrent. Even normal users are going to use much more bandwidth - it's reasonable to download high quality movies, DVDs, big software updates, etc. This will cost O2 more money, so they make you pay for it and they cap usage.

Seems reasonable to me.

(Now you could argue that the specific costs are too expensive, and I would agree - they're a lot more than ADSL with a similar cap. But I think it's reasonable to have the charge in the first place).

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Alert

iPhone4GoSHDiX

"Given how much the 3G S costs, Apple really should have gone to 5Mp" - But you do know that the iPhone HD is due in 9 months complete with the upgrade fee...

"We were disappointed to see that the photos we transferred onto our Mac were shot in 4:3 aspect ratio" did I mention the iPhoneHD ?

"Alas, there’s still one glaring weakness here, as the new camera still doesn’t include even a simple digital zoom option" - umm are you saying you cant crop a picture? did I mention the iPhoneHD?

"It’s also possible to buy the iPhone without a contract on O2’s ‘pay as you go’ plan" Oh Damn! I dont like handcuffs and if this is true.. I'm sorely tempted.... maybe I'll wait for the iPhoneHD or the one after that it's only 16 months away..

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Unlimited Data?

even if you want to use iPlayer?? - isn't this via wifi only??

perhaps you need the tether to a pc then wifi to the phone... sounds liek the apple way.

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Stop

Shurely time for the ASA to get involved?

I mean really... O2 have gone too far this time with their concept of "unlimited". Why can't they just say you have X00 MB per month and if you want more than that, then pay an additional fee and get XGB. Likewise to all those rogue ISPs out there.

I wouldn't mind so much, but if it says "unlimited" on the box, I don't expect it to be an outright lie when I open it. Isn't that what the ASA is supposed to protect us from?

The STOP sign, because this madness has GOT to end!

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Pirate

Paid Tethering?!?!

Sod paying for tethering.......the speed via tethering is nothing of great speed anyway so simple browsing is all it's good for.......stick on a dodgy profile and you've got free tethering :)

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Taking the pxxs!

Nice enough update , but whilst I have to buy out my existing o2 contract and contend with coughing up lots for the new phone and pay extra for tethering, I fail to see a financially compelling reason to upgrade from the existing 3G on v3.0.

Its a welcome update, but hardly exciting. I can happily wait until the next one.

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Black Helicopters

Filming on the underground?

Tsk. Tsk..

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/media/5225.aspx

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Jobs Horns

An interesting gamble

I was surprised at how few of the rumours that had been circulating prior to the WWDC actually made it into the revised iPhone, and conversely how features noone had even thought of did.

A compass? I really don't know how relevant this is. If you're somewhere remote enough where you would actually need a compass to find where you're going then arguably an iPhone is probably not the most robust nor long-lasting life-saving device to have on your person. You could just have, I dunno, an actual £5 compass.

Most of the improvements are - as stated - in the software. We finally get copy/paste, native MMS, video recording and even voice control.... unless you own one of the obsolete models like the 2G and the 3G. 2G can't do MMS, 3G can't do video recording. Neither can do voice control despite the conspicuous lack of the "necessary DSP chip" in the 3GS.

It will be interesting over the coming months to see how the competitors respond. Apple still reign supreme in the UI department and their fanbase is partisan enough to provide a certain amount of momentum. As for the enterprise crowd though, this new revision is another dose of "meh".

Whether or not Apple will be able to keep the competition at bay for another ~12 months until the next WWDC where the real iPhone upgrade (OLED, different form factor, etc) is announced remains to be seen....

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Jobs Halo

At last.....

I have been anti-iPhone since it came out. it wasnt good enough for the cost. This new one now does everything so much better. I will now have to stop calling people with iPhones pretentious nobs as i have succumbed and bought one, though staff discount helps ;)

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Tethering

I can understand the networks charging *something* extra for data tethering. Clearly, "unlimited" internet via a phone interface isn't the same as "unlimited" via my computer, otherwise people would just cancel their broadband at home and do everything via the mobile phone. Paying a minimum of £15 a month extra is quite outrageous however.

I'd probably only use a feature like that once a month or so when I'm on the train with my laptop and I'm certainly not going to pay 15 quid for the slight convenience it offers. If O2 offered 1GB for £5 I'd be much more interested however.

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Got one, love it

Got one on Friday - my first iPhone.... got to say it really is brilliant. By far the best handset I've ever had, and it's range of capabilities is astonishing.

Yes it may be £170 etc etc, but if you get the £60 quidco cashback deal then it's only £110 really. And considering that it's a phone, decent browser, mail client, games machines, 32GB iPod Touch and so much more I think that's actually pretty decent.

Tethering don't bother me cos I don't use it.

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Boffin

Re: An interesting gamble

"A compass? I really don't know how relevant this is. If you're somewhere remote enough where you would actually need a compass to find where you're going then arguably an iPhone is probably not the most robust nor long-lasting life-saving device to have on your person. You could just have, I dunno, an actual £5 compass."

Please take a look at the screenshots or videos to see how the compass is useful while using google maps to know what direction you're facing, very useful when you walk off a subway station and know where you're going, but don't know what direction to take since you have no idea where you're facing in the map.

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Unhappy

Camera

I'm slightly confused about the camera on my 3G S. The quality doesn't look half as good as your examples, and the files I get from it are 800x600, not the 2048x1536 samples you have posted.

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Anonymous Coward

Underground

Nice legs

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Alert

Digital Zoom????

LOL, or just crop with GIMP, digital zoom is just a gimmick and has absolutely no use

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Jobs Halo

@Darren Coleman

Actually the compass when out in the middle of nowhere could be very handy. I've used the GPS and maps on the iPhone while hiking in the past as a guide to how far I've travelled and it's been invaluable. It is however hard to work out which direction the map is facing compared to yourself, so having a compass to orient the map would be very useful IMHO.

As for robustness, the boss rolled his car and caravan last month and his iPhone took a tumble out the window along the motorway. It came out with just a few scuffs on the casing! Obviously it wouldn't have survived a lorry going over it but few phones would.

I notice there was nothing about connection speeds in the review. It's been my experience that O2's network is very shit, with 3G browsing no faster than on EDGE. However, YouTube over 3G is very quick, suggesting that O2's proxy that reduces image quality in pages is to blame for sluggishness on the web.

I would have upgraded by now but buying out my contract, then paying full whack for a 32GB phone is just too much. Here's hoping sales are dismal and O2 drop the prices and offer better upgrade options.

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Unhappy

Massive rip off

T-Mobile do a SIM only deal, no contract, £20 a month for unlimited text, internet and 600 minutes. T-Mobile don't mind (or notice?) me tethering at all. O2 offer a similar SIM only deal for £20.

Having to pay £35-40 a month (for 2 years!) just to get the phone under £200 is a joke, and the tethering tax is the awful punchline. Anyone with a new iphone is a real muppet IMHO I'm afraid.

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Anonymous Coward

Digital zoom...

If you are showing the photo to other people it is so trivially easy to zoom in on anything in your image on the iPhone, there truly is no need at all for you to do it beforehand when taking the actual picture. So why waste energy with a digital zoom, that is destructive and loses content, on a quick snapping device when you can take a full shot and just edit it later if you absolutely must? I just don't see the point of that comment in the review at all other than as an opportunity for you to include something that is (stupidly) negative.

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Unhappy

You cannot be serious!

As it is Wimbledon time, I feel the above title to be indicated. Fine, it is true that optical zoom would be a welcome feature, but it is still quite an unusual one in smart-phones. For the author to opine that he'd like to see digital zoom included as a feature is quite ridiculous, especially arising from someone whom I assume has an interest in tech. Such a zoom can be achieved in post, or even within the Photos App itself if you like. I can hardly believe he would prefer this redundant and pretty useless feature at the expense of the magnetometer which is of genuine utility if use Maps often - if I were not in contract I would upgrade from the 3G to 3G S for this alone (and perhaps the overall speed boost).

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Love it

Picked up mine on Friday, first time iPhoner and have to say it's the best device I've bought in a long time. Much better than my wife's suggestion of a cheapo PAYG to replace my old contract Sony.

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Anonymous Coward

@Darren Coleman, @Ian Ferguson

@Darren Coleman

The compass is necessary to tell your orientation, as has been mentioned. I have an O2 XDA and in walking mode the GPS is absolutely awful - as soon as you slow down or stop it cannot tell which way you are heading which means it either takes a guess (wrongly) or defaults to North = up. So unless you can see all the street names you have to start walking sharpish before it orientates itself and you find you have gone completely the wrong way and need to turn round....again.

@Ian Ferguson

I may be mistaking your post but quick maths shows 2048 * 1536 is near as damn it 3 million which is what I would expect from a 3 megapixel camera. You must have it in "crappyresolution" mode or something.

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Unhappy

Voice command not just a gimmick in US (unfortunately)

In Yankville, the "we know what is best for everybody" liberals have decreed that hands-free cell phone use be the law in many states, so the voice command (catching up with Windows Mobile) becomes almost a necessity, since even the Favorites list speed-dial method can be inconvenient while driving...

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Happy

@ el-reg doodz

Any news on Tom Tom?

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Stop

No, not yet.

"If you don’t already own an iPhone then the iPhone 3G S might well be the model that finally wears down your resistance."

I can't even be bothered to write what I was going to, again, because I get numpties telling me I'm wrong to need it.

But some form of multitasking would be what wears down my resistance. I just want it to do more than one thing at a time. Even doing two things at once would just about be enough. But this artificial limit on what I can do, well, it's the deal breaker.

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Digital Zoom and the "megapixel race"

As previously stated, digital zoom does nothing useful, except perhaps act as a cropping tool when you take the picture. Otherwise, just zoom in on the photo (same difference) or increase it off-device with any editing software. I always disable digital zoom- it is utterly useless.

And I doubt 5mp would do much better- there are just physical limitations as to what you get with a pinhole and plastic optics. Even Nokia's Zeiss optics-based 5mp are so-so, especially since they don't let you change the quality setting (Nokia's idea of quality is to change the image size, not the JPEG compression). And Samsung is an absolute joke with its 10mp and 12mp models.

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Digital zooms, compasses and the rest.

I agree with the above posts about "digital zoom" -- I use quotes because it's physically impossible.

As for the compass -- it's certainly something my E71 is lacking. Some of the mapping software and camera plugins for compasses look like good fun and some even seem useful.

Unfortunately, lack of hardware keyboard makes it a no go for me -- and that's before the price and Apple's arrogant, restrictive attitude to it's customers. Which remninds me, time to look for a C64 emulator.

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Bargain Pricing...

Rogers here in Canada makes O2 look like a bargain...

$299 for a 32Gb Iphone on a 3 year contract plus at least $55 a month (150 weekday minutes, unlimited evenings (after 9pm) and weekends, 1000 txt messages, 6Gb of data) plus all the little extras they charge you that isnt included in the plan price......

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How...

...did you manage to record the video "on its side"?

It looks as though the phone was tipped horizontally but the phone thought it was still vertical... Shouldn't the accelerometer automatically take care of that like it does the screen flipping? My WinMob respects the orientation I choose (albeit manually) when shooting still images or video.

Finally... How the hell anybody found their way around using just a map before the inclusion of a compass on the iPhone is a complete and utter mystery! Yet another example of iPhone users not being able to use the most powerful processor they are ever likely to have!

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Boffin

No keyboard

I have to wonder how many people for whom a virtual keyboard is a no-go have ever tried the iPhone. I ask because a friend of mine was dead against touch screens, having tried them before, but after a few minutes changed her mind completely and is now a convert. Resistive screens, as fitted to a great many devices, are very poor in comparison to capacitive ones like that fitted to the iPhone (and the Pre, I think).

Also: The compass is great, orienting the maps automatically is the finishing touch to that functionality.

Digital zoom is, as has been said already, utter rubbish.

O2 Tethering is a rip-off and calling a limitied service unlimited should be a crime. Instead, the crime is that no-one official is doing anything about it.

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Silver badge

Rogers? try Fido

Fido is owned by Rogers but have a different idea of what you want.

Also $299 with a 3 year contract. But the monthly cost starts at $60 (£31.79)

250 minutes, Evenings (from 7pm) and weekends, unlimited texts, and ...

500 MB of DATA... such a deal! Add $.03 / MB if you go over.

I like the iphone but I'm not going to buy any mobile internet device with the rip-off data rates in Canada!

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lower resolution when sending pics by email

@Ian Ferguson: If you email pictures out of the phone they're reduced to 800x600. If you collect them using iPhoto you get the full 1600x1200 or 2048x1536 version.

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Ah

For anyone confused by my earlier post - it seems that if you email a photo from the 3GS, it helpfully resizes it to 800x600, but transferring it to iPhoto keeps the full resolution.

The quality is still laughably bad though, I think your test shots show best-case scenarios.

To everyone whining about price - if there are people gullible enough to pay for it (like me) then Apple have got their strategy right. Snorting that it's too expensive for it's feature set for your particular taste won't stop it being painfully successful.

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Anonymous Coward

Weapon of Mass Destruction

@Si 1 said

"The boss rolled his car and caravan last month and his iPhone took a tumble out the window along the motorway"

I think you have that wrong - iPhone = cool, car + caravan = anti-cool so I think the iPhone was trying to escape and the energy realeased by bringing cool and anti-cool sufficiently close together was sufficient to roll the vehicles.

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Go

Hmmm I wonder ...

... what might happen were Apple to say something along lines of:

Okay, luv ur iPhone luv ur telco!

Meaning use any telco.

Would O2 and others bandwagon into similar pricing or would one above the rest stick out its neck and make offers that iPhone users might not wish to avoid (in the future, when present contracts expire that is).

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