Tomorrow is WWDC 2009. We'll no doubt get a second preview of iPhone 3.0 and hopefully a release date to go along with it -- if not the actual release itself.
We've done our best to cover iPhone 3.0, both through our massive and continuously updated iPhone 3.0 Beta Walkthrough, and our ongoing iPhone 3.0 blog posts. But what will that release -- tomorrow, later this week, or later this "summer" -- mean for current owners of the 2007 original iPhone 2G and the 2008 iPhone 3G, never mind the 2009 iPhone... whatever it ends up being called.
Let's take a look!
Apple has provided an unprecedented amount of software updates -- free software updates -- for iPhone owners. What originally shipped with OS 1.0 received a series of interim updates until 2008, when they got 2.0, and now 2.2.1.
Even after the 2-year subscription accounting model Apple users is on the verge of expiring, Apple announced back at the iPhone 3.0 Sneak Preview Event that they would also be providing 3.0, free of charge, to iPhone 2G owners. (That expiration date might even play a factor in the 3.0 release date, who knows?)
Controversially citing hardware limitations, however, at least 2 major features won't be made available:
Of course, it won't get new features tied to the new hardware. It didn't get GPS and 3G last year, and it won't get the presumed digital compass, storage, RAM, CPU, etc. upgrades this year -- which means video recording is likely off the table as well. Other than that, your 2007 iPhone be made 2009 hardware fresh.
Apple demonstrated iPhone 3.0 on the current, iPhone 3G, and all the improvements publicly shown so far were shown specifically for the iPhone 3G.
That means, come iPhone 3.0 release day, the very least iPhone 3G owners can expect is what Apple showed -- and what most developers have been using since March.
Of course, developers who dug into the 3.0 code have found extra functionality. Some of it, like the digital compass, would require new hardware. Video recording may or may not require the additional storage, RAM, CPU power, of the new hardware.
Everything else, however, will be made 2009 good for your 2008 iPhone.
Well, that's the question now isn't it? Apple hasn't announced any new iPhone for 2009 yet, but they're widely expected to tomorrow. Based on the code strings referenced about, it will include new hardware features and boosted internals.
So, at the very least, if you decide to upgrade to new hardware along with your new software, you'll get everything the iPhone 3G gets... and probably more.
So, if you're still rocking the iPhone 2G with no interest in upgrading, Apple still has a pretty nice present coming your way with 3.0. Feature-set alone, it will be like getting a whole new phone.
For iPhone 3G owners with not intention of changing, you'll still get everything you've been promised so far. And, yeah, it'll feel like a whole new phone.
And for those of you who simply must have the third generation hardware, either as an upgrade or as a first time iPhone owner, well, we ain't seen nothing yet.