Happy birthday iPhone 3GS

A year ago today many of us were standing in line outside our local Apple Store waiting to get our geeky little hands on the iPhone 3GS, then king of the mobile space. Twice the speed, video recording, and VoiceControl were the killer features, even if the form factor was unchanged.

Over the last twelve months, iPhone 3GS has served us well, and at its soon-to-be $99 price point, rocking iOS 4, no doubt it will serve many budget smartphone shoppers well for another year to come. (Seriously, we feel bad for the Pixi, Kin, Pearl, and others in its new space).

So, on the cusp of iPhone 4's release, we wish iPhone 3GS a happy birthday.

If you've been using an iPhone 3GS over the last year, let us know how it's worked for you.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Happy birthday iPhone 3GS


I've had my 3gs for exactly one year and I still love it. But I'm getting the iPhone 4 in 6 days!

This is a great phone. I'm kind of sad about retiring it so soon after it's first birthday. I only had on problem with the battery and Apple customer support took care of a warranty replacement super quick! I have nothing but love for my 3Gs.

I love my 3GS, Someone on in the Ebay world will be enjoying the beautiful scratch free screen after Thursday! Happy Birthday!

I'm waiting to get the new one until a solid jailbreak comes out for it and I have some solid feedback on it.

The upgrading has become a trend. Love the yearly iPhone release hype.
The only problems I have had with my 3GS was dust under the screen. After 3 times of cleaning it out at the apple store, a Genius broke it, then gave me a brand new one. So I have a 3 month old 3GS now, that will be retired for the iPhone 4.
Eager to get it in my mitts!

iPhone 3gs ahhh this baby has served me well for the past year. I wouldn't use any other phone if it's not an iPhone. The phone is pure genius! It's a bit sad I have to give it up but it's for a great cause! iPhone 4 is the next big thing. :-D

iPhone 3G S has been with me since launch day. Was my first iPhone and the best phone I ever had. I'm upgrading to iPhone 4 next Thursday, I'm giving my 3gs to my girlfriend.

Glad you guys wrote this! I secretly wished my 3gs happy birthday today. I will enjoy my final five days with "her" till my iPhone 4 comes. Hopefully on thrusday!!!!

My $49 3gs has been great and will be for six more months until at&t has iPhone 4 refurbs for $99 or less

Awww hall bday :-) 3gs was my first iPhone and won't b the last iPhone 4 in 5 days!!! But ona nuther note uve dun us good 3gS ;-)

My iPhone 3gs is really pretty sufficient, an it has served me very well. I'll be getting the iPhone 4 in august though, so my old 3GS will go to my brother. Still a great phone, always will be

Got mine on day one last year as a father's day gift. An upgrade from the original 2G. My only issue was the battery until I did a reset and restore. It's been on par with Apple's battery ratings ever since. It's the best phone period. I love this device and will reject any other. I'm one of the lucky ones who managed to pre-order the iPhone 4 and look forward to receiving it next week. My 3GS will go to a family member who promises to take good care of it.

Got my 3GS around this time last year as my first iPhone. It has served me extremely well. I've never bought another gadget that stayed with me literally 24 hours a day. Eagerly awaiting my reserved iPhone 4. Not eagerly awaiting parting with my 3GS though.. So many memories over the past year.

miguel non so se sei sveglio!! non pui giuarcdie dagli sreenshoot! traggono sempre in inganno. mi ricordo mp3,dalle immagini sembrava un gioco da n64. vediti dei trailer e dimmi se non rimani a bocca aperta, delle cose che non pensavo potessero mai entrare su wii.allora ho capito una cosa:non la nostra povera console a essere poco potente, sono state le terze parti a infangare il nome del wii con grafiche schifose. basta metterci un p di duro lavoro e anche il wii ci diventa "next-gen"(solo graficamente, perch il wii molto pi next-gen,di qualsiasi altra console)

The 3GS has served me proudly. I will keep it as a back up for my iPhone 4 at least for a a little while. The entire experience rocks!

My iPhone 3gs has served me well dice I upgraded from my old 3g apot o people said it was not worth it to go from 3g to 3gs I am glad i did. This phone is fast. But it's time to retire her once I get my iPhone 4 32gb

I have to date taken 2999 photos with the iPhone 3gs...the 3000ths photo is reseved for the box of the iPhone 4. I'd be interested to know how many pics others users have snapped with the iPhone 3gs.

My 3GS is pretty good. I went from using a 1st gen Touch so it was a big leap speed wise. I still think the battery life really stinks on the 3GS but performance wise, I give it a 7. A 9 after jailbreaking it. And no, not for downloading stolen apps. I still buy everything legit to this day. I enjoy all the customization.
Will I buy a 4G? Not likely. I'm not a fan of the blocky look. But hey! Maybe after they bring out a demo to play with, I'll change my mind. :) I thought the concept of the iPhone was stupid until I played with the Touch.

I got my 3GS on launch day after 8 hours in line and then my mom walked in behind me and got hers too lol. Now my iphone is destroyed (video in iPhone 4 contest) yeah it works but barely but when it was just the screen that was broken it worked amazingly and my mom loves hers with the mobileme push calenders that sync with her and my dads phones and her computer so she has less stress telling all the truck drivers where they need to go with everyone having the ability to check the calenders and have access to adress book too all in all the iPhone 3GS is the #2 phone ever. 2nd only too iPhone 4

Loved my 3gs.
The only thing I love more than the iPhones themselves are how much value they retain. Sold my 3gs yesterday for enough to buy the iPhone 4 that I reserved, plus made a nice profit. That's one area that Droid doesn't.
That being said, I bought that 3gs with money I made from selling a refurbed 3g I had bought a little more than a month prior to the 3gs launch. The $149 I spent on that refurbed 3g has gone a long way.

last year this day i got my first iphone. the iphone 3gs. i had been on verizon before that and had just gotten the BB Storm, and hated it so MUCH. The iphone was amazing and I love it to this day. and in 5 days ill be even more in love with the iphone 4 haha :)

Absolutely my most favorite gadget of the decade ;-)
So many great memories have been captured and sent to Youtube all on my 3GS!
Looking forward to Iphone 4. Will have to take a trip to get one as it will not be available in the country I reside in now for a long, long time. Living overseas is a big disadvantage sometimes...
Two requests:

  1. A better TEXTING App.
    a) Security code
    b) More backgrounds
    c) Quick Reply while in another app
  2. An app that will let me choose HOW to connect, i.e., via WiFi or 3G. Why? One of the prepaid networks I can use automatically connects via 3G even when Notifications and Push are off and I lose Balance. I'm guessing this is not an issue with Post Paid plans..


Beside my little kids I snap just about anything that is out of the ordinary. Third World Living offers abnormal pic taking opportunities in abundance..

veramente incredibile i mmgiloraienti grafici che hanno fatto in questi ultimi mesi.E pensare che questo Quantum 3 sfrutta solo in parte le vere potenzialit della Wii, almeno stando alle parole del capoccia capo del progetto.Infatti stanno lavorando ad una versione ancora pi ottimizzata del motore Quantum 3, e sui loro futuri progetti hanno detto che tecnicamente saranno molto meglio di quello che vedremo in the conduit. Speriamo anche perch non ho preso la Wii di certo per gli FPS.

I love the 3GS so much, I have enjoyed a good year. I love the build quality even my iPhone 2G is in good shape still. The only reason I am picking up the new iPhone is to enjoy the cutting edge of the technology, not out of necessity.

@No. 27 Max Power "blocky look?" The thing it 0.37 inches thick, nothing blocky about it. Do you mean the squared off edges instead of curved? Personally I find the new design a marked improvement. Will be getting my iPhone 4 via FedEx Thursday.

Love my 3GS. I'm not eligible for a cheap upgrade until next year, and if I wait that long, I may as well wait for #5. I had a crack in the plastic and a small scratch on the screen and the awesome apple store replaced it with a new one, no questions asked. Aside from the new cameras and the extra ram/CPU, my 3GS does everything the iPhone 4 can do. I would like to see a 64gb storage option on the next gen!

upgraded from 3g to 3gs and gave my old 3g to my girlfriend a year ago. she is now my fiance and will be giving her my 3gs and upgrading to the iphone 4 on launch day. the 3gs is a very solid phone and i hope the new model is every bit as wonderful and more.

I'm happy to say I've had my 3gs for a year today. I was shocked to find out how much was possible with the hardware upgrades over the 3g. So much funtionality when jailbroken. I'll be sad when she is decommissioned on Thursday but can't wait for her replacement. Hurry up Thursday!!!

Love everything about my 3gs except for battery life. I'll wait on getting the 4 until about a month or so after release. No rush for me

Thought it was kinda pointless to upgrade just cuz i wanted video and waited for the Iphone 4 what a great decision:) will have mine thursday!!

Got my iPhone 3G S at launch day, and completely destroyed it 3 days later. I loved it while I had it, and I've been phoneless for almost a year now. Luckily, I had a handy iPod touch. Goes to show, how powerful the Appstore, and internet is.

Got mine on launch last year. The gyro (or whatever it's called) died on Day 29 while on vacation. Have had some intermittent problems with it rebooting and hanging on the Apple logo screen. Holding off on i4 partly because of this.

I never owned a phone in my 40 years.
A couple days after Xmas 2009 I decided to take the plunge. I hardly use the phone part, but find I use the iPhone as a portable computer.
Also, I like having a camera on hand and I've rediscovered music.
All day long, I've been watching the US Open on my phone. The streaming is clearer and better than watching it on my Mac.
Considering that my phone is only 6 months old, I can't justify the $500 upgrade right now.

For those who got the 3gs when it first came out, are you eligible for the 199/299 upgrade pricing? I got my 3gs during those first 2-3 weeks when it was launched but AT&T is showing me only eligible for the higher priced upgrades.
I guess not everyone who got the 3gs at launch had their contract extended through to 2011?

Besides the speed boost from the 3G phone, voice controls and volume control from your headphone was a great addition to the 3GS. I could walk around NYC for the whole day without ever taking the phone out of my pocket to place calls or play music. Simply Awesome.

Like it, but still get frustrated when I enter appointments or call from the contacts database. I don't want to go back to Palm, but I do miss the functional ease of entering events. And tasks. Of course, I still have my 3gs and never had to return it for quality problems--can't say that for the many Palms I owned.

I love the 3GS. When I first got it in Sept last year, accelerometer was off. Took it to apple store in Seattle, replaced with a refurb and been perfect ever since. The Iphones have reshaped how my wife and I live. I have taken so much video and photos of my son with my 3GS I would never have captured those memories otherwise. I'll be getting the new one once Otterbox releases a newly designed case.

Simply the best phone I've ever had, never out of my hand......wifes jealous!
Seriously an awesome "phone"......more than a phone, just does everything SO SO well. Hell of a decision now, do I upgrade and not feed the kids for a month, or wait for iPhone 5?

It has worked like a charm... It will serve my children well too, when my iPhone 4 arrives..

The 3GS was my introduction to iPhones and apple. It has changed the way I communicate. How I use the web and my opinion of PCs. I jail broke mine and felt apple had cheated us. I have come to understand why apple is so protective of it's devise. Jobs said it many times in his keynotes, "it just works". My wife says it's my girlfriend. I love the things apple has done with the ios4. I will get one and am sure it will serve me as well as my 3gs.

Still the best smartphone on the market IMO, though soon to be displaced from that mantle by iPhone 4.

I love my 3GS and as soon as Canada gets our release day I'll be putting it on kijiji.ca for sale. Hopefully around the $400 range. I had a new looking one sent to me just a couple days ago for warranty issues. So it looks brand NEW!
I don't even think I'll want to upgrade next year to the 5th generation iPhone. I mean what else could Apple possibly do next year to make people want that phone. iPhone 4 is going to rock!

My iPhone has been a constant companion throughout the year I have owned it... Nothing has served me better. It has been through so much with me, and although it may seem a bit over the top, I can't really imagine a life without my iPhone 3G S. It has become a part of me now, and I have nothing but love for it.

I love my 3GS, and I'll be sticking with it for another year. I might get a mite jealous every time I see a 4 on the street, but that's the price I pay for having lorded my 3GS over my friends' 3G's.

I love my 3Gs and I won't be upgrading to the iPhone 4 yet as I think the ios4 software update will make my phone feel brand new again. I can't wait

My 3GS has been a dependable, rugged phone that has done everything I've needed it to do - and more. Running my own company, it's allowed me to be more productive and respond to clients faster and with more information. Now, with iOS4 coming out, I suspect my 3GS will last me at least another 6 months. I'll probably be drooling over that new display on the iPhone 4 though... The Achilles heel of my iPhone? The phone. I wish AT&T would improve their network faster as I still drop way too many calls!

secondo me se ci avessere prvaoto capcom o EA non avrebbero ottenuto un risultato cosi sbalorditivo credo che queste due SH siano ormai delle esperte di WII e non credo avrebbero spinto molto su sto gioco invece la HV ha cercato di investire molto qui ed riuscita a far venire fuori un risultato che alza gli standard qualitativi della WII credo che la HV abbia ottenuto un risultato ottimo poich ha lavorato giocando tutti i suoi mezzi se l\'avessero sviluppato EA o Capcom sarebbe stato un bel gioco per la storia, ma credo che gli standard sarebbero rimasti quelli, dato che si credono superiori e hanno la potenza di un marchio conosciuto P.S.:Moro ma te scrivi sul giornale????da tutti i tuoi post che ho letto scrivi molto bene e sembra quasi tu sia un giornalista di riviste teconologiche xD