We'll be bringing your our iPhone 3G review in two parts. Part one (the part you're reading now) is where we'll give you a full, in-depth review of the new iPhone 3G Hardware. Here you'll find details on GPS, 3G speeds, the feel of the actual physical device, etc. If you're on the fence as to whether or not you should upgrade to the iPhone 3G, we're here to help and here's where we are, uh, helping.
Part two will focus on iPhone 2.0 software, where a lot of the real magic this week is happening and it's available on both versions of the iPhone. That review is coming soon, for now, let's take a look at the iPhone 3G hardware with (much) more depth than we gave you in our iPhone 3G unboxing video and picture gallery
Sure, we're still only a few days out from the launch, but at the speed of the interw00ts, that counts as recent history. Here's a bit of nostalgia for you: Armed with my Flip Mino in hand, I took this video while waiting in line at my local Apple Store. I was able to handle the iPhone 3G before launch, played some of the Caveman racing game and asked folks some general questions about the iPhone.
If MobileMe is Apple's "Exchange for the rest of us", then ActiveSync is Microsoft's "Exchange for the most of them". After Windows and Office, it's arguably the 3rd pillar of Microsoft's business domination. Blackberry's can (and almost de facto do) connect to them, Windows Mobiles certainly connect to them. Even the aging Palm OS Treo's have ActiveSync support. And with the 2.0 software, the iPhone does as well.
Caveat: Microsoft loves them some monopoly power and proprietary solutions (in this case, for example, using their own MAPI rather than the IMAP IDLE standard for "push" email). They may be becoming increasingly open in the face of Web-based competition, but their crown jewels are still closely guarded. So, while Outlook connects directly to Exchange for -- according to them -- the "richest experience", and Windows Mobile probably follows a close second, iPhone like other ActiveSync licensees connects via something called Outlook Web Access, the same way a web browser might.
How does this experience stack up in richness? Read on to find out!
The iPhone 3G is a data monster. With speeds of 400, 600 or more than 1400kps reported in some areas, it sucks down information faster than El Jobso does veggie smoothies. Unfortunately, not every carrier in every country provides unlimited data plans to go with Apple's next generation revolutionary internet device, or even reasonable data. And even those that do typically have a "soft cap" (e.g. 5GB) after which they either throttle down your speed, or put a black mark in your record as a problem customer and eventually give you the boot.
If you're in one of the Scandinavian countries, in Mexico, Belgium, or any other Pacific or European, Latin or African country with very expensive data, or if you just want to keep track of how much you're using and when, Apple has provided you and easy way to do it. Read on to find out how!
Not evil twin to theiPhoneBlog.com Week in Review, not an invasion by Fake Steve, This Week in Smart Phone Schadenfreude brings you all the feel-better news you need about the smartphone world outside Apple’s current media dominator. (Who knew there was such a world? We were just as surprised! Inelegant, interface challenged, keyboardy, crashy, single-touchy place — best not to linger…). Join us as we mock review the big news from last week at our sister sites. Everybody loves sibling rivalry!
In this week's edition: What? Surprised we're here? Thought we'd be taking this edition off so we could play Super Monkey Ball or Bomberman Touch, or otherwise just hide in our tasteful Cupertino estates drooling over our totally awesome new, glossy plastic backed iPhone 3Gs? We did that last time. We totally had the device before Mossberg and like 99% of the people at Apple. Totally.
We're having a bit of weekend, is all. Maybe you heard about it? MASSIVE failures. Epic. Keep reading on to find out why its all Microsoft and RIM's fault!
there were no changes regarding display color temperature between 5A345 and 5A347, and that there’s no practical reason why someone with an iPhone with 5A345 installed should go through a complete system restoration just to get 5A347.
And that, while there did appear to be differences in "yellowness" from iPhone 3G to iPhone 3G, it was not due to firmware (perhaps components?).
Epic YES! Since the moment the original iPhone came out with its WiFi goodness, I've been begging asking for a way to use the iPhone to control the similarly connected iTunes, Front Row, and Apple TV. And now Apple has answered! (Er... except for Front Row, see below). And not only for the iPhone. While I'll use that term exclusively below, everything here also applies to the iPod Touch.
Remote is FREE, and available either via iTunes (picture above) or right from your iPhone 3G via the App Store. It's not hard to find, currently dominating the Top Free Apps charts. If you're not sure how to use App Store yet, check out Brian's excellent overview to get you started.
I chose to download directly from the iPhone so I could test out the 3G experience. It was fast. (However, when I later synced back with iTunes -- my first time post App download -- I was asked to re-authenticate my MacBook with the iTunes Store before it would sync the App for backup).
Apple rates the iPhone 3G's talk time at 5 hours over the high-speed 3G network. While the call quality seems vastly improved due to more data being passed through the 3G pipe, some of the more chatty among us may find that 3G isn't just fast -- it's non-user-replaceable-battery draining fast!
Don't care as much about speed and clarity as you do sheer volume of talk time? Or what if you're just in an area that's not (yet?) covered by 3G? You're in luck! Apple has provided a way to turn off the 3G -- and blazing fast broadband-like HSPA speed that goes with it -- and drop back down to 2.5/2.75G -- and the dial-up-eque EDGE that is turtle to the 3G hare.
Boom! 10 hours of talk time! (And for those of you in countries with more restrictive/ridiculous data caps, a way to help pace yourself and starve your data-hungry iPhone).
Just remember: slow data transfer, not as good call quality, no simultaneous voice and data (you can't talk and surf the web on EDGE at the same time).
UPDATE: More confusion! Stylemonkey in the comments below says Rogers claims not to be doing this when he called in over the phone. However, I spoke to a couple more Rogers reps and they're still insisting they're being told Rogers will bill for WiFi use, perplexingly by using the EMEI number of you phone. While they say Rogers can't tell data usage this way, they can tell WiFi is being used, and will bill based on time. Ridiculous? Sounds like it. But what's even more ridiculous is Rogers telling this to (some of?) their stores and people in the field. Crazy!
So I was waiting in line at a Rogers store yesterday when the staff came out and said that if we didn't take the Rogers' iPhone specific plans, anytime we used WiFi it would be counted towards our custom plans (like the newly announced $30/6GB promo). They said that even though the iPhone would show WiFi, it would still count down (crazy fast) 3G data, and we'd only find out come bill time when charges came in. One of them said they were waiting on clarification from Rogers. Another said this was what Apple wanted and implemented. (Yeah, I know... I'm just repeating the comments).
We didn't run the story then because we couldn't get any confirmation of the rumor, but now other reports of people being told the same thing at different Rogers stores has turned up.
If you need a past or present iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple TV iOS 3 (previously iPhone OS 3) firmware file, we've got 'em all here. Just browse to the device you want and click the firmware file you need. Your download should automatically start. All downloads are the official Apple firmware release versions.
Civilizations rose and fell. Rivers carved canyons. Stars twinkled into existence, then died. All this while we waited for iPhone 2.0 and the App Store. If you were lucky enough to upgrade your iPhone 2G to 2.0 or have a newly-acquired iPhone 3G, and you have upgraded to iTunes 7, you now have access to the App Store on either iTunes or your iPhone and the 3rd party native apps downloading extravaganza can commence! If you are new to 3rd party apps, new to iPhone and/or iTunes, or just want a little guidance before diving into the App Store, then read on after the break for the App Store walkthrough!
Okay, that was the 3rd and highest of 5 sequential attempts. Test 1 and 4 were 405kbps and tests 2 and 5 were 545kbps. Rogers does claim to invest heavily in their network (which they remind us every time we pay the monthly network improvement surcharge!), and 3G pretty much covers the greater Island of Montreal, where I am, so maybe they're at least putting some of the massive amounts of money we fork over to good use!