iPhone 3.0: What it Means for Original iPhone 2G, iPhone 3G, and 3rd Gen iPhones

iPhone 3.0 Features

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!

2007 iPhone 2G on 3.0

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.

2008 iPhone 3G on 3.0

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.

2009 iPhone ? on 3.0

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.

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+.

More Posts



← Previously

Craziest iPhone Rumors Yet -- With Flowers and Fluffy Bunnies!

Next up →

iPhone OS 3.0 Unlock Warning

Reader comments

iPhone 3.0: What it Means for Original iPhone 2G, iPhone 3G, and 3rd Gen iPhones


how about in the picture with the apps made into a ball like appearance, the calender says the 17th..... was it just the day the picture was taken? or maybe a hidden release date for the new iphone????? lol

Cool I need to upgrade my 1st gen iPhone. No mms?!! (even though the radio can handle it and apple just wants you to buy a new one to get the feature) No mms sucks! So I'm definitely upgrading. Also GPS is a feature I wished I had since last July. The same for 3G. I think I'm good though with 8GB but with movies and tv shows likely to stream to the phone itself and ALL the gift cards from birthday and Christmas AND the amount of space the movies and shows take up AND the new games developers release that with more RAM will be more advanced and take up more space: I'll probably get a 16 or 32GB :)

Even with my 2g iPhone's turtle-like Internet speed, I can weather another hardware because the hardware is much better than other device out on the market.
That being said, I will upgrade and retire my 2g iPhone if the total benefit outweighs the the overall cost.

Speaking of things coming to all iPhone users, I found this interesting post on AppleInsider.com.

Belkin announced its new TuneCast Auto Live FM transmitter with an accompanying ClearScan Live app. The device is the first made to support iPhone OS 3.0, which now allows an iPhone or iPod touch to control a connected hardware accessory.

Now one has to ask why Belkin would release this at the same time as iPhone Video comes out IF INDEED the new iPhone was going to INCLUDE the rumored FM Transmitter?
Its a cool device, because it also uses the iPhone’s GPS capabilities to locate free channels, but the timing of the release seems odd, unless they are hoping to capitalize iPhone 3G owner's Envy of the iPhone Video's FM transmitter. (Assuming a transmitter does exist).
Personally I think an FM transmitter is a total waste of battery. Given the already short battery life you would have to plug in the iPhone Video to use the FM transmitter, at which point you might as well just jack it into the car's stereo (if you have a jack) or connect via the Car-kit you will need for power. I'd rather have an FM Receiver built in.


how about in the picture with the apps made into a ball like appearance,

Yeah, how about that. Is it a hint of things to come?
Could this be a totallt new user interface like Compiz ( http://files.opensuse.org/opensuse/en/5/59/Compiz.jpg )
Would Apple lay it out there right under our nose, then announce it at WWDC?
I'm officially starting another rumor! ;-)

here's my take to improve sales of iPhoneVid. iPhone 2G was released on June 29, 2007. Therefore why would apple release their 3rd generation iphone after that date(Jun28-30). That would cause a lack of "sales" when all current iphone2007 owners have to do is "upgrade" ur iPhone 2G for possibly "free" or very "low" charge?! So ofcourse Apple will release the 3rd generation iPhone BEFORE Jun 29th,2009 to INCREASE revenue and not worry about lack of stock in Apple and ATT stores. Then Apple will have time to produce more by the two-yr contract update date(Jun 28-30)!!!!


So ofcourse Apple will release the 3rd generation iPhone BEFORE Jun 29th,2009 to INCREASE revenue and not worry about lack of stock in Apple and ATT stores. Then Apple will have time to produce more by the two-yr contract update date(Jun 28-30)!!!!

Ok, so what was it you were TRYING to say, because the above makes no sense at all.
1) How can they Increase Revenue if they don't worry about lack of stock? You can't sell what you don't have unless your name is Bernie Madoff.
2) The update period at end of contract is not a Deadline, its a Starting Line. Offering updates is totally up to ATT, and Apple has little to say about it. ATT can offer an update early if they want (they did last time) or they can offer price incentives to wait a while before updating). In either the point you were trying to make is referentually opaque.

Yeah I think that the new iPhone whatever is going to be call will be allsome. But I will have to see what are the feature of 3.0. Cause I have the blackberry bold and the iPhone 3G(the white 16 GB one) . I like the blackberry bold alot cause of the keyboard and it look sexy so if the 3.0 won't inpress me than iam going to stick with my blackberry(which by the way both have data plan). So we see what happend by the way I love you people at iPhone blog and at crackberry. Thanks and keep on top of the latest tech out there.

@ only1jonarius
Under AT&T contracts you can upgrade to a new phone within two and sometimes three months before you contract ends. So they technically could release it anytime in June.

One does wonder what apple will do , for 2g owners an upgrade would be a big step , but for iphone 3g owners less will upgrade due to 2 year contracts ( with still a year to go) with the whole world in ressession the money is just not there like last year , if apple were wise they would offer simlock free iphones where you can walk into your local apple dealer to buy a new one without a contract , simular to buying an ipod touch , i think then apple would get bigger sales as well , but we all know apple they wont do that , but we can always hope , monday should reveal all finally

I've been very happy with my first gen 8gb Iphone since March of 08(Yes I got to it late). I'm looking forward to a new Iphone and all the new features, speed etc. Will certainly be like having a all new phone. Just wondering now if it will fit my current phone holders,hip and vehicle or will need to upgrade those as well? Find out tomorrow I guess.

Well ref the date on the picture the NEXT tuesdsy 17th is in November so I hope that's not release date
I hope it's tomorrow like everyone says it is

apple has an agreement with at&t that when they release a new phone, whether you are eligible or not, as long as you currently have an iphone you can get the new phone for the same price as they are offering for new contract signups. my daughter in law works for at&t and confirmed that to me the other day, so you don't have to wait!

I hope pjherbert has that right. I've only had an iPhone since November and I'd upgrade to a new phone if it has half the stuff people think it should have. Wonder if I could use the old phone as a backup by flipping the SIM card between the two?

I have a 3g iPhone that I purchased August 2008. On the AT&T sight it says the date I qualify for an upgrade is August 2009. It looks like they are giving 3g owners a chance to upgrade

you can still use your phone if your purchase the other, you will just need to let att know that you changed so they can update the imei number. the updates that we are going to receive are going to be sweet as it is...but i will get a new phone as my daughter in law wants mine badly, which i have only had since jan 09. never thought I would like a phone so much but I am totally addicted to the apps!

pdm777 - i think you can just call them or go to best buy and get the upgrade as soon as the new phone comes out, you should not have to wait.

To all that are griping about the lack of MMS support for the 2G 2007 iphone get the app called PicFree for $6 in the app store! It sends unlimited MMS for free from ANY iphone - even 2G. It boggles my mind while people are so hellbent on having Apple support this feature, when the Dev's (specifically pinger) have already done the hard work!

@Shay: I think that it is more about the ability to receive MMS messages from other cell phone users that don't have email connections or capabilities. At least that's how it is in my case. To me, it doesn't matter who the Dev is...I just need something to receive MMS type messages occasionally.

ok i have a iphone 3G 2008 iphone and when i updated my iphone it said that i had to wait for mms because i was at&t user till "late summer 2009" why is it