TiPb vs. TiPb: Why I AM NOT Upgrading to iPhone 3GS


[TiPb vs. TiPb time! In the blue corner we have Jeremy who tells us why he IS SO upgrading to the iPhone 3G S. In the red corner, Chad who tells us why he IS NOT upgrading to the iPhone 3G S. Two writers, one issue. Check them both out and tell us who's side you're on!]

There have been a lot of people out there who are very disappointed with the third generation iPhone — iPhone 3G S. They’re saying that it is pretty much the same phone as the current iPhone 3G, or that the upgrades are not enough to warrant purchasing the new iPhone 3G S. I’m here to say, they're right - the upgrades are not significant enough!

More after the break!

With all of the enthusiasm surrounding the WWDC 2009 Keynote, it is hard not to be let down; and some of us were. It can be a challenge not to get carried away with rumor and speculation around this silly season. However, beyond the hype and rumor lies the truth: Apple and AT&T are not delivering. How so? Let us look at the iPhone first.

Beyond aesthetics, the iPhone simply does not do much beyond it's little brother the iPhone 3G (after the 3.0 software update). What are we getting other then a little extra speed?

A digital compass: Sure this helps with Google Map orientation, but is it amazing?

Voice Control: Granted, this will be nice while driving, but beyond that, it isn't much more than a gimmick.

Video Recording: Now this is a nice feature, however, it is only VGA (640x480) and some of us already have a portable video recorder (like a Flip Mino, etc.)

There you have it, the three "new" features for the iPhone 3G S. Oh yes, there is the speed and battery life. True, things could be faster, but software 3.0 is already enhancing the speed of the current generation of iPhones and I am satisfied with the battery life of my iPhone as is. Why is this such a big deal? Why am I belittling these changes so? Two reasons: 1) We know Apple is capable of more/better and 2) AT&T is getting a little over-confident with strong-arming Apple to bend to their whim at the expense of customers. Let us look at number one first.

We know Apple is capable of more/better

Apple has filed several patents over the years that specifically references an iPhone interface (you can view some here and here). When are these coming to the light of day? I would really like to have some sort of "today" screen where, without turning on my device, I can see things at a glance; unread email, texts, etc. Oh, and what about iChat? Apple apps can multi-task now, why not an iChat app? Come to think of it, a front facing camera for video chats would be nice, but wait, AT&T doesn't have the bandwidth for such things... which leads me into point two...

AT&T is getting a little over-confident

I get the contract and subsidy thing, except that AT&T is charging an awful lot for having a slower network by comparison to Sprint and Verizon (sorry T-Mobile). The Palm Pre's data connection on Sprint's EVDO Rev A network is close to Wi-Fi in my tests and AT&T is a long, long way from that. AT&T announced that they will be adding the much needed bandwidth later this year, but combine this with the late launching of tethering and MMS, "customer loyalty" discounts for users not quite at the 18month milestone for iPhone 3G S pricing of $399/16 and $499/32, I am not feeling the warm and fuzzies I used to feel.

Who is really to blame here? It is a double whammy. If Apple delivered on a new, "fresh breath device", I could take the heat from AT&T. If Apple didn't deliver and AT&T was reasonable on their pricing, that would have worked too. As it stands now, there is failure on both sides. Sure users will be happy if they are eligible, but AT&T just sold a boat-load of iPhone 3G's within the last year, and now they are all let down, me included.

I am sticking with my iPhone 3G and enjoying the new life it will get with software 3.0. Until the next, great iPhone comes at WWDC 2010. Hey, at least my 2 year contract will be up...

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Chad Garrett

Software trainer, blogger and mobile technology enthusiast living in the suburban Midwest.

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Reader comments

TiPb vs. TiPb: Why I AM NOT Upgrading to iPhone 3GS


My thoughts exactly, well, they would be if I had to suffer with AT&T, being British has spared me that. But with regards to the phone, New features Hoooo! New Phone... No.

As an TiPb blogger/reviewer you should upgrade anyway chad...nah just kidding.
I agree with you, nice post.

Chad, my friend... we both know regardless of how you feel at the moment, even though you went out and just bought a Palm Pre... you will upgrade sooner rather than later to the iPhone 3G S.
All I will say about this. ;)

"Hey, at least my 2 year contract will be up…"
I'm with you.. iphone 3gs is good but not enough for me to spend extra 500 bucks on. I'm happy with the speed 3G have (better if AT&T kept up with the pace)
2010: New iphone with OLED, 4G LTE(hopefully), new design. and potential more service provider beside ATT.

I wouldn't be surprised if Apple actually intends for most people to go every-other-one with the iPhone. When the 1st-gen came out, I intentionally waited for the 2nd-gen. Even before Monday's announcement, I knew that I would be holding off until next year's 4th-gen device. Seems to me that the iPhone 3G-S represents the perfect opportunity for 1st-gen owners to upgrade. As much as I love the iPhone, I can't understand the need to upgrade to each new generation every single year.

I'm upgrading from a 2G iPhone to the 3G S at the subsidized price, so I can really use it. But this is exactly how I looked at the 3G last year when it came out. I thought it wasn't really worth the unsubsidized price for 3G and GPS. The rest is all software that is the same on both phones (well until now with 3.0 and MMS disabled on 2G iPhones).

It is bad biz by AT&T to charge more for existing loyal customers to upgrade and therefore EXTEND their contract TWO more years, then to charge less to CANCEL their contracts and leave! Verizon will probably have the Palm Pre in about 7 months, so many unhappy AT&T iPhone users may go there!
Especially since AT&T has lost confidence and are quite unhappy with network issues, not having MMS/Thethering ready at launch even with a six month notice, blocking SlingPlayer, and probably stopping NetShare from being sold.
As it is likely that Apple will have the iPhone on another carrier maybe even by next year, getting iPhone 3G owners to upgrade and EXTEND their contracts another two years would have been smart business. My guess is as soon as the iPhone is available on another carrier, watch the exodus begin!
I am not planning to upgrade my iPhone 3G now that AT&T is charging $200 + $18 + NEW TWO Year contract! If they offered a decent discount I would consider. Until then I will be happy with 3.0 software.

I don't understand why you guys think that these are not significant upgrades to this phone. I think the problem is that everyone thinks this thing is a computer — in the end it's just a cell phone. And put yourself in Apple's shoes, if you've already got the competition beat, why throw everything at your next model.
For example, I'm a NASCAR fan. Say Driver A goes out on his practice lap and runs the fastest lap of the field. But he wasn't full-throttle. He could cut a few seconds off that time. But does he? No. Because right now he's set the benchmark that everyone is working toward reaching. If he is the top, and goes out and beats himself, he sets a new benchmark for everyone to work toward, in effect creating more competition for himself. Doesn't seem like the smart thing to do.
Another example: you bid on something on Ebay, and you're the top bidder. You're not going to go and bid more until someone else comes and beats your bid.
So really, you shouldn't be upset with Apple for not introducing a device revolutionary enough for your taste. You should be mad at all the other smartphone makers out there for not getting close enough to the bar to get Apple to feel the need to push it further.
No I will be getting my first iPhone, and it will be better than the one my friends have because they aren't upgrading. In my opinion, the upgrade was good enough for me.

@Stephen, what would you do if the iPhone was never subsidized last year like it was the year before. Then you have no AT&T to blame. Would you still upgrade if it were like that every year?
I don't see why AT&T owes anything to anyone honestly. Do BlackBerry owners get special treatment from AT&T... nope.

So true. It's almost like APPLE is treating the PHONE like a computer. Nothing to snarl at about that but just think of your PC OR MAC. Unless you are a super tech junkie with crazy cash in your pocket, you don't update your CPU but once every 3-4 years if you are lucky. Having to wait another year for a much better and more than likely 4G version is just fine for me. This phone is for those that still have the first generation I Phone. Hopefully ATT will get their act together and step up with better plans and service too.

You Americans are lucky, I had to sign a 3 year contract which means I have to wait till March 2011 to upgrade.
You should also note that with the new iPhone, there is a screen reader so that the Blind and sighted impaired can use the iPhone! That's a new feature, don't forget about it :)

You're overlooking the single biggest feature - 32Gb capacity. I don't know about you, but I find 16Gb unworkable for music, never mind for video - I've even considered dropping a Beatles album, so short is the space on my 2G. As apps get bigger and 256kbps music more prevalent, you're going to need that 32Gb.
I'd like to see the results, but the camera optics appear to have been drastically enhanced. Ignore the 'it's 3.0 megapixels' nonsense - it's all about the glass. The autofocus and macro modes should turn what was a barely passable mobile camera into a genuinely useful alternative to a point and click.

Good article but could one not argue the consumers are ultimately to blame since we buy the products? Nobody ever puts a gun to your head and demands you buy an Apple iPhone from AT&T. If such a bad product, take your money elsewhere. If enough consumers do that, then said businesses will adapt. Problem is, consumers are buying the iPhone from AT&T in droves, thus the companies will not change their business strategies (nor should they) anytime soon. Consumers dictate a market, and the market still loves the iPhone. Sure I agree the iPhone/AT&T could be much better, but we all enable such service the minute you signed on the dotted line to buy your new shiny iPhone.

It seems that the majority of people posting are current 3G owners. It makes sense that there is frustration about the costs of upgrading early, although…a deal is a deal…if customers are still under contract, it is hard to have a whole lot of sympathy if you are AT&T.
I am an original 2G 8GB owner. The 3G[s] is something for me to consider. But I have to look at a few factors, in addition to the new features presented at WWDC 2009:
If I upgrade, next year I will likely deal with the same contractual issues as our current 3G folks when a new iPhone may be launched.
AT&T does not offer 3G in the area where I live.
The “new” features are not exactly innovative. Lots of other phones already have a lot of this stuff. YES, THESE ARE IMPROVEMENTS to what was, but not innovation…unless I am missing some bigger picture.
AT&T was singled out as the one carrier to not be on board for tethering and most likely on board well after launch with MMS. That alone is dismal.
The current economy. (YES, THE PRICE IS LOWER FOR 2G owners than for 3g owners having to break contract, but I have to consider moving up to the new AT&T data plan.)If the iPhone 3G[s] made my bed, folded my laundry and filed my taxes for me, I would still have to consider my budget.
As of now, I am in standby.

I’ts not that i’m dissapointed, but my contracts not quite up yet. When it is ready for an upgrade i think i’ll wait for next years release, rather than being stuck with only a slightly better one for another 18 months. O2 are offering the option to buy out of your contract but I think next years release will yeald a better model, with the likes of OLED screens, memory, battery, faster internet speeds (safari & 3G), and so on.
I do like the new features, but for the ones temporeoly stuck in contracts we’re not missing much. This is were Iphone 2g owners upgrade and Iphone 3g owners stick it out for 3-6 months at the end of there contracts next year to get the 4th gen iphone. I’ve had mine about twelve months, i use a juice pack air to cover battery life, so that to me leaves little else. A faster iphone at the moment just doesn’t scream upgrade to existing 3G owners.

Finally a sensible article. That Sikora dude is a 1000% Apple Fanboy. If they came out with a Rock with an Apple logo on it and sold it for $700 he would buy it.

@ Eric: You went back on your initial statement. These are not significant standards because they already have the market beat so there's no need to improve until beaten?
The reason you upgrade a phone is to attract NEW customers and keep your current ones happy. You do not present minor upgrades until the rest of the cell phone market catches up. Like MANY others out there we will not be upgrading becuase of the lack of upgrades put into the iPhone 3GS. We will be better served with the new iPhone (hopefully next WWDC).

@Truth - you continue to crack me up. And honestly I've never owned a Apple product prior to a iPhone but again, good effort.

Sounds like a lot of you just like to cry about nothing.
I use my phone all day long and carry it with wherever I go. The dam thing even wakes me up in the morning. If there is a chance that speed is improved, then it’s worth it for me. Plus it’s my camera, so the upgrade is worth having better pics/videos of my kids; even if it’s only for another year until they release one with what I want: iChat (anyway…just think of ATT dealing with iChat, their towers would probably melt). Plus, I’m tired of having to manage what I download to my 3G(g=grandpa) with only 16GB (even 32GB is bit < I hoped for but I’ll take it).
Since I’m caring 2 iPhones (2G & 3G) on my plan (1 for my wife), my monthly bill is $200-$220, so it’s like paying an extra month to get an upgraded phone. Maybe your computer last 3-5 years, but this is a phone that will always be changing. Enjoy it, don’t cry that it has been upgraded.

I am a 2G iPhone user and was planning to upgrade to whatever Apple announced at WWDC since I skipped 3G last summer, but after hearing all the 3G owners complaining about the extra charge that would be tacked on if they upgrade to the 3GS I am a little hesitant since I would then be in that position next year when/if the next model comes out (likely only 12 months into my new 2 year contract).
But maybe I am not understanding the problem of the 3G upgraders. Is it because 3GS is being released 11 months from the day the 3G was released that you are being told it is an extra $200 (meaning it is 12 months before you can upgrade as noted in the cnet.com article jtz5 posted above) or is it 18 months before you can upgrade as I originally thought? Or is it variable based on your credit history/score?
I thought I understood this, but now I am a little confused. Thanks to anyone that can clarify this issue.

3G owners beware. This is just a taste to get the last of the 2G hold outs to trade up. With Apples every year release and ATT's 2 yr contracts, this may be the pattern. 3G came out in 08. Now in 09, we get minor upgrades. Same case / screen / look. Apple probably REALLY doesn't expect too much out of this phone. Just keeps the line going. Could explain what
steve skipped the show...if he would have been there, people would have REALLY expected a NEW

Sorry. Hit the "enter" key by mistake. 3G owners beware. This is just a taste to get the last of the 2G hold outs to trade up. With Apples every year release and ATT’s 2 yr contracts, this may be the pattern. 3G came out in 08. Now in 09, we get minor upgrades. Same case / screen / look. Apple probably REALLY doesn’t expect too much out of this phone. Just keeps the line going. Could explain what steve skipped the show…if he would have been there, people would have REALLY expected a NEW product, instead of just an upgrade. NOW, next year, all us 3G owners will be out / about to be out of your contracts, and will be ready for a NEW phone, which I'm sure Steve will introduce, lilke he did with the first 2 new phones.


I think the problem is that everyone thinks this thing is a computer — in the end it’s just a cell phone

As a cell phone its even LESS appealing to upgrade. (You get essentially NOTHING new).
So your logic is flawed before you get out of your first paragraph.
Yes, Eric, the iPhone IS a computer. First and foremost. Its a pocket computer with a phone bolted on (and not a particularly good phone at that). The whole reason d'etre if the iPhone is to be a computer you always have with you.
And, NO, NASCAR is not a good analogy, where beating an opponent by 12 feet is just a good as 12 laps. Same money. The smartphone industry is a game of percentages and market share.
The PRE and G1 only exist because Apple wasn't doing enough, was far too paranoid and controlling. They will each take a percentage, an ever increasing percentage if Apple stops innovating and starts incrementing. Apple's slowness created the PRE and G1 just a surly as if they built them themselves.

"I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple actually intends for most people to go every-other-one with the iPhone. When the 1st-gen came out, I intentionally waited for the 2nd-gen. Even before Monday’s announcement, I knew that I would be holding off until next year’s 4th-gen device. Seems to me that the iPhone 3G-S represents the perfect opportunity for 1st-gen owners to upgrade. As much as I love the iPhone, I can’t understand the need to upgrade to each new generation every single year."
Could not have said it any better.

The author feels the same about this upgrade as I did about the 3g. I chose not to upgrade and I waited for 1 1/2 Yrs, and boy oh boy am I glad I did. I am very excited about the Higher speeds and better processor and voice control. I don't care so much about MMS or tethering, I do feel that AT&T dropped the ball for those that do. Oh! video and video editing!!!! wohoo!
To those complaining about upgrade eligibility, YOU made your choice when the 3G came out, as did I. the only reason you got subsidized pricing last year was the 1st gen phone was unsubsidized....DUH.
As I see it. Both articles are valid (for the most part) it just depends on whether or not you chose to buy the 3G last year

I will also NOT be upgrading.
Shame on AT&T. They treat the iPhone like a normal phone, but don't allow full functionality, insurance, or any other perks that normal AT&T customers get cough Slingbox on 3G cough. I live in an area where we still don't even have 3G (I get it at school, thank God). We are NOT treated like typical AT&T customers, and therefore should get huge discounts on upgrades, etc.
Apple is the type of company that could've launched video-cell-calling and made it something that every cell had in the next 5 years, but...I have a feeling that AT&T would never allow that, due to their cough awful cough network.
This is ridiculous.

thanks for pointing out the flip/mino that looks sweet, i might get one !
i agree for the most part with your post, especially about att. sucks to pay 30 dollars a month for a data plan when the nearest 3g is 150 miles away from me ! but verizon has 3g here...

I would upgrade if I could, but at the same time, I'm more excited about the next generation iPhone. I was kinda of surprised Apple did not do a little more with this new version. Anyway, can't wait for the new software on June 17th!!

I think a consensus is forming that the 2G users are more than eager to upgrade, tempered, as SpiceRak2 indicates above, by the dilemma of getting locked in for two years and then penalized when G4 (or whatever) comes out next year.
Only those with deep pockets, way more music than they every ACTUALLY listen to, or a strong desire for video are eager to pay the upgrade price.
These hardware upgrades are NOT sufficient.
Speed improvements of ONLY 100% are not significant in computers.
The camera FINALLY gets Apple up to parity with many other phones.
The memory addition is beyond my needs, and I would be better served by a memory expansion slot.
I still can't change the battery without hacking open the phone.
And its still locked to ATT.
I'm skipping a generation.
Sorry Apple, being late to the party and bringing stale beer is not enough for me.

I used the warranty on my 3G, which is about to expire in a month for everyone who purchased on launch day last year, to have my unit replaced with a new (albeit refurb) iPhone 3G because there were tiny hairline cracks around the headphone port. SO basically, once the 3.0 update is out, I'll have a brand new 3G in my hands. Good enough to keep me appeased until iPhone 4th Gen. Waiting for June 2010...

I just don't understand what all the fuss is about AT&T not allowing current 3G owners to upgrade at the subsidized price. I don't know of a single carrier out there who would allow someone to do that if their contract has not run out. Sure, anytime you get a new phone and commit to a longterm contract you run the risk of something better coming along shortly thereafter. Verizon customers who purchased the Blackberry Storm are going to be facing the same issue. Does anyone really think Verizon is going to take pity on all current Storm owners and allow them to upgrade at subsidized prices? Heck No! They're going to take the same approach that AT&T is. That's just how this whole cell phone business works.
I have a 3G. Will I be upgrading to the new 3Gs? No. I just can't afford it. However, I'm not going to blame AT&T. I'm not even going to say Apple didn't make a phone worthy of an upgrade. I think they did. I just can't afford it. Life will go on and next year I'll get a phone that will be even better. Before the 3Gs came out, I was perfectly happy with my 3G. That shouldn't change just because the new model is out.

Apple and AT&T should have never subsidized the price on the 3G, because now people expect the prices to be lower. I still think Apple sticks with AT&T till someone has an actually fully running LTE network. I wouldn't be surprised if Verizon gets the iPhone in two years as they wont have LTE covering their whole network until around that time or later. AT&T just seems to be pissing of its customers with iPhones more in the network area then anything else. In the next few years Apple stays with AT&T and AT&T gets its **** together then fine by me, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Apple test the waters.

If the iPhone 3G[s] doesn't sell well compared to the iPhone 2G and 3G, It wouldn't be a bad move if they decided to open the floodgates and let current 3G owners upgrade at the $199 price.
But what are the chances of the device not selling well? I'm not sure I have the answer. I've been browsing lots of tech blogs and over 80% of current 3G owners have posted that they won't upgrade.
It will be interesting to see what happens come September.

I think all of the people complaining on this thread are just plain let down. We all bought into they hype and the rumors that were out there and posted on this site. I myself feel a little let down as well BUT, I have to remember that these were all RUMORS. Were our dreams and hopes crushed or taken out from under our feet? Yes, but not entirely.
The iPhone is an amazing phone. The upgrades are simply that...upgrades. While some of you may not think they are revolutionary, they are pretty substantial. Could there have been more, sure, but maybe there is more on the horizon for the 4G version that will completely BLOW our minds...much like the original iPhone did.
As for the At&T customers complaining about getting a deal on an upgrade...good luck and where do you get off thinking you are entitled to a subsidy? I am currently a Verizon customer and have a Blackberry. VZW doesn't offer a subsidy when they come out w/ a new BB. Car companies don't offer an upgrade deal for previous owners when a new upgraded version of particular model of car comes out. Get real. These companies are in the business to make $$. Should they have good customer support and provide benefits to existing customers in good standing w/ the company, sure. But to continually offer a subsidy on a new phone, let people continue to extend their contracts just so they can get a better deal on a phone is lame. Where is the cut off. Some people would eventually have a 10 yr contract w/ AT&T if they kept going in that direction...where is the logic in that? So get over it. You are not entitled to anything more that the rest of us. You are all probably the same people that believes that the corporations like AIG deserve the bail out $$.
As for the iPhone 3GS, I will be leaving VZ to come to AT&T and get the iPhone. It is a far superior phone compared to my BB Curve w/ VZ (which is not 3G). Is AT&T a perfect company, no, but neither is VZ. I would rather have a root canal @ the DMV than be in a VZ store.
I am a Mac user, and I support Apple and it's endeavors. The iPhone, regardless of version, is a revolutionary "smart" phone that blows the competition out of the water. Is it perfect, no but darn close. Show me one that is 100% perfect!
So 3 cheers for the iPhone 3G and 3GS...(thanks for letting me rant...thats the beauty of this site.)

So the best time to upgrade would appear to be every other year. Next years Iphone 3GX (my name for it) will be a significant improvement. Perhaps then we will be able to multitask on our pages (sorta like the card features on the Pre). I think the current feature of sliding through pages to find apps is pretty stupid. And the dock is useless. We need a new UI and iChat.
But the thing is. I am not sure what direction Apple is heading in. It appears as if they want to make this device a gaming handheld. And I like the games but I don't like that direction, especially since there are no physical buttons. they are better as complements to the phone.
With that said QuickGold and a Jailbroken OS 3.0 will be fine until then. Actually I am still flirting with the idea of selling my current iphone unlocked on ebay and buying a new Iphone 3g for $99. I wanna make money.

@Jeremy Sikora
I guess reading is not your strong point. Where in anything I said was there anything at all saying I thought AT&T owed me or anyone anything.
All I said was it was not going to be a great biz move to charge far less to cancel your account at $175 less $5 per month for each month you had an account. That means about $115 to cancel your account right now for many iPhone 3G users as compared $218 PLUS another two year contract to stay loyal customers!
Maybe you can not figure this out, but many other people do! Since I have owned just about EVERY major smartphone I totally understand how the mobile industry works, in fact I work in the industry.
Still does not change the fact that many AT&T iPhone customers are NOT completely happy and this will not help. If AT&T were smart, they would discount the upgrade to at least match the cancellation fee!

@ Lexus Luthor: Your Curve has to be 3G as both Verizon and Sprint have had nothing but 3G phones since 2004.

People on hear talking about 4G iPhone I hope are talking about generation of the phone and not network as LTE still wont be deployed by AT&T until 2011

On OS 4.0, some thoughts:
Second: UI changes to go along with the full background processes. I don’t know what this will look like, but the Palm Pre is a great example of a UI that takes advantage of the phone’s multi-tasking features. With the number of applications iPhone users are downloading on a daily basis (800 million downloaded in just nine months!), the current system of home pages is broken. Given the new stuff Apple is introducing in OS 3.0 (search, MMS, Bluetooth support, advanced connectivity features, and more access to Apple’s own built-in apps), the signs point to the need for a forthcoming UI change that organizes all the information better for developers and consumers alike. For a company that toots its own horn on usability, elegance, and simplicity, this change is necessary and certain with OS 4.0. None of the three qualities I mentioned are addressed, let alone fixed, in OS 3.0—a definite disappointment for many others and me. Multi-tasking in a multi-touch environment relies heavily on an intuitive and simple-to-understand UI. It just makes sense that Apple would need to tackle the iPhone UI if it’s going to do background processing.
Neither of these feature sets I predict for OS 4.0 are simple to grasp or develop (heck, it took them until the third revision of the OS to introduce cut, copy, and paste!), but both should make their way into OS 4.0 in some form in the first quarter of 2010. Here’s to looking really far ahead!

After spending the last 30 minutes reading all these post (currently I am a Blackberry user on the Sprint Network) I am wondering if I should wait until 2010 to see the 4th gen iphone. I am looking at the iphones for my family and work and know it's my next purchase just now am thinking of waiting, besides if a different carrier picked up the iphone I don't think I would complain. AT&T seems to be very expensive compared to other data plans, etc.
Please help -

Patience is a virtue. You should wait especially for OS 4.0. Read the above article and you will see why. The current OS is still broken even with the 3.0 update (which really should have been called 2.3).

The only thing that would keep me from upgrading to the 3GS is the price. There is no way in hell I'm paying $499 for the 32 Gig 3GS. If in mid-July, when my first year is up, and if I then become eligible for the $299 price, then I'll upgrade. Otherwise no.

I think the new iphone 3GS is a great item with all its upgrades. BUT I have a question. Its still a PHONE. Has anything been done to upgrade the handling of calls. A better reciever maybe. Ability to work with and keep weaker signals? I love my iphone 3G and am excited for the software upgrade, and am thinking of upgrading to the 3GS when my contract gives up. BUT I still have not found a better phone to keep a call or handle weak signals out in the country as a Motorola V3xx. Most people live in cities or where there is plenty of signal. There are alot of us that live in the country where signal is not so good. Build a better PHONE part of the iphone and make even MORE people happy.

umm, you forgot:
better camera w/ autofocus, etc.
faster cpu, more system memory
32 gb of user memory.
i don't understand why everybody is in such a big rush to replace their 3g. there's nothing wrong with the 3g. just wait until you're eligible for a subsidized upgrade. i'm due in december, and then i will upgrade my 8gb 3g to a 32 gb 3gs for the full subsidized price. in the meantime, i'm happy with my 3g, and will be even happier when os 3.0 is released. my only real complaint is with at&t delaying mms and tethering.

@ Loner
Nope...not a 3G phone. It's a CDMA phone. Just checked the specs. They may have a 3G network but it's not running 3G.

The 3GS just doesnt have enough going for it for me to upgrade. The only feature I would like is video, but even thats not worth it. The 3.0 update adds and fixes everything i dont like about the iphone. Now i just have to wait to WWDC 2010 to see what apple has planned for the next iphone.

@jstrickland: #48

I just don’t understand what all the fuss is about AT&T not allowing current 3G owners to upgrade at the subsidized price. I don’t know of a single carrier out there who would allow someone to do that if their contract has not run out.

Its because we can do the math.
The upgrade penalty is almost pure profit for AT&T.
The initial price you pay for the phone almost covers the total cost of the phone that Apple gets from ATT and still allows Apple a healthy profit.
So right away, the idea that ATT is Subsidizing the cost of the phone is total nonsense. Its a balf faced lie.
Under a True Subsidy, after your up-front payment for the device, some percentage of your monthly charge would go to paying off ATT's cost for the initial purchase price from Apple.
Yet we know what it costs apple to build the iPhone 3g. Its around 176 bucks. Within a week or two we will know what it costs to build a 3Gs.
I think everyone who wants to see continued development of the iPhone platform is willing to see Apple take 100% profit on this device. It keeps them interested in new devices in the future.
So ATT's bulk purchasing ability gets them the iPhone for LESS (way less) than $325. (These numbers are estimated in a lot of financial analyst reports - google for those).
If you have your phone for 3 months you have paid ALL of ATT's cost for the phone, plus you've paid for all your minutes, and that extra $30 pays for ALL of your data usage. Each segment, equipment, minutes, data, has profit cranked in. There are no loss leaders in the cell industry.
So the supposed subsidy that ATT is collecting over the life of the contract represents profit to ATT.
(It is still rumored that Apple gets a slight cut of this continuing revenue stream to justify free upgrades to software. There are conflicting reports in the financial press as to whether this is still true).
So if your device is Paid off in short order, its not subsidy that is collected over the life of the contract, its ATT profit. Pure Profit.
We would all be willing to pay something toward keeping ATT solvent and having enough money to keep upgrading their network (cough).
But we know that the 200 dollar upgrade penalty (on top of the new-device initial payment) is just a money grab and double dipping.
If you stay with your 3G for another year, ATT gets X dollars from these so called subsidy, all of which is above and beyond the initial cost of the phone.
If you upgrade, ATT demands that X, plus an additional X for the new phone.
Yet they are only giving you one Phone's worth of service.
Further if you sell your old phone, and that person signs up for service, they will start collecting that money again. Triple Dipping! Do you get your penalty back? No. Of course not.
Apple is not blameless here. They are perfectly happy to see ATT do this. They could not possibly meet the demand for 17 million new iPhones all at once if everybody upgraded. (Plus, there are those rumored continued payments to Apple over the course of the contract. Depending on the size of those (if they exist) they might account for almost all of the 200 dollar penalty, in which case ATT is taking it on the chin for Apple's sins of greed).
If ALL we had to do was sign up for another two year contract, Buy a new phone, and pay a pro-rated ETF, based on the cost of the phone, we would be far more willing to do so than paying 600+ dollars to upgrade.


The current OS is still broken even with the 3.0 update (which really should have been called 2.3).

Exactly so. This release does not warrant a full version level increment. The only system wide OS level features upgraded are Notifications and Copy/Paste.
The Camera/Video application is a significant software change, but thats not the OS, thats an application. Ditto for in-app purchase.
Its a point release, much of which is aimed at increasing sales at the App store, rather self serving on Apple's part.

All very amusing. Cutting out the flannel, Chad and compatriots aren't upgrading because they are already hooked into long term contracts. For most of these souls, the new iPhone would have had to sing, dance, make breakfast, and print money before they would have bought out their contracts. Happily for them, the 3GS gives them an 'not different enough' rationale... be interesting to see how quickly they change their minds in the coming months - Chad in particular.

Apple is a hardware company, and they would love for users to upgrade every year. AT&T could care less how often users upgrade their phone as long as they pay for services. The only time AT&T cares for people to upgrade would be when the phone offers them a new revenue stream, i.e. data plans with the iPhone.
Regardless if you think the iPhone 3GS is worth it or not, AT&T will still sell more devices as a result.

@Ken Dawson:
Yes, you've nailed it.
However, rather than your condescending tone, I suggest this is a perfectly valid reason not to upgrade.
Its not enough, given the cost penalty.
I'm sure, since you drive Next Year's Porsche every single year, that these meager and marginally useful changes will have you upgrading on release day.
But not me, and not most.
Did you here me: Not MOST.
Face it, you are in the geeky, well moneyed minority. 'SGood to be you.

I just learned another reason to not upgrade right now....my plan had been to give my iPhone 2G to my wife to use as a new subscriber to AT&T (since she does not need the 3G data speed/plan price), but if I do she still has to sign a 2 year contract even though I never got that phone subsidized in the first place! That seems ridiculous to me. I can't see locking her in to a 2G phone for 2 years (or at least 18-20 months before handset upgrade eligible).

Bored with this discussion, now. Upgrade now, upgrade later, skip a generation, switch to something else... Make your decision and get over yourselves.
I'm upgrading, but I can understand why some folks will want to wait and can't get excited by some of the new feature.
To people like Truth: if you think there's something better out there, go get it. You won't be missed.


Bored with this discussion, now. Upgrade now, upgrade later, skip a generation, switch to something else… Make your decision and get over yourselves.

Please don't log on to a discussion site and then flame people for discussing.

@ Kurt #76
I don't think Apple released much in the way of info on the phone portion. (Other than the new 7.2megahoozies not yet deployed).
Until the teardown postings start appearing on web sites we can't even be certain who's chip set it used. Once those articles appear you can research the chip set on line to see if it has better specs.
So for you, holding off for a week or four may be the best idea.
short answer: Nobody knows except Apple.

I don't see how the new 3GS isn't significant. The CPU (and RAM, I keep hearing 256MB) are reasons enough to upgrade. I've got another two years to go on my contract, though, so I won't be upgrading now. End of story.

Apologies if you feel flamed, but I do find your incessant whining, hectoring and lecturing of others tiresome.

The real issue is if you re willing to spend the money on the phone without being eligible for the discount. For me dropping 400+ is not an option on a phone, but for some people it is well worth it.

@Brad Zimmerman
This is really simple. Even with all the new hardware features the UI is still broken and you cannot multi-task. One app at a time is unacceptable in 2009. Most of the feature you'll get in OS 3.0 other than voiceover and compass I will get in my old 3g.

@ icebike
My point was that everyone is making out like this is some evil plan exclusive to AT&T. It's not. I've been working in the cellular industry for over ten years. ALL carriers operate this way. It doesn't matter how much the phone costs to make, or who is making how many dollars off the sale. Everyone knows that when you buy a subsidized phone, you will be paying full price to replace that phone if you decide not to honor the full length of the contract. It's just a fact of life.
Verizon customers who have the Storm will face the same issue when the Storm II is released. People who bot the HTC Touch Diamond went thru the same thing with the Diamond II. People who both Treo 600s faced the same problems when the 650s came out. If you want to replace your phone before the contract expires, you pay full price.

not only am i waiting another year to see what iphone brings us then, my gf was waiting to see what 3gs would bring before getting on the iphone bus...after seeing the 3gs and the 3g price drop, we went out and got a 3g 16gb for $149. 3gs doesnt seem worth it at all. video is really neat, but no ichat? camera is pretty nice, but what about next year? there will probably be a 5mp camera and better video features. compass...yeah i dont see anyone REALLY excited about this (except the one dude that yelled during the conference lol). And voice over. Are we really that lazy to open up the phone or ipod app and press a button? and how many songs do you REALLY not know on your iphone that you need it to tell you when, in less time, you can hit the home button twice and see the name of it right there.
I think 3gs is just to hold us off until they release a more legit iphone, with its own name(not 3gs 2 or something), next year. even the commercial says it "it looks the same". i can picture an oled screen and a slimmer body next year when zune hd comes out and apple sees how many people want hd.
3.0 is gonna feel like all us 3g owners got a brand new phone. I see no reason to go out of my way to upgrade to the 3gs this year.

I've got a 2g and not going to be stuck with a flaky hardware upgrade and locked into a long contract for when the next gen comes out. If the front facing ichat feature was available already there'd be no question about upgrading.

@ Freiteez
I wonder if Microsoft along with this Zune HD are working on a tegra based ZPhone HD. I really like the Zune platform and the software. Very solid stuff.
Some interesting things could happen in 2010 ans 2011.

I completely agree with this article - except I am on Rogers, so at least (I believe) I will get to enjoy the tethering and MMS functionality right away.

Man the more I think about this the more I am completely torn!!
I could sell my iPhone 3G cause it's new for like $600 off contract, then pay the $500 early upgrade price for 32GB iPhone 3Gs... But if I do that I might as well pay the $699 for commitment-free so that I can upgrade for less next year...
Ugh @_@.. But then my other option is not upgrading, but the processor, audio command capabilites, and auto-focus camera (I don't give a shit about it's vga video) are making me REALLY want it..

or you could do what I am and sell your Iphone 3g for $600 and upgrade to another Iphone 3g for $99. You make $500 and can do what you want with it. I guess theoretically you could sell your Iphone 3g again and make another $500. Then get a GS if you really want it that bad off contract...

You absolutely nailed it Chad, my sentiments exactly! I'm fairly new to the MacWorld, but even I've come to expect more from them. Their announcement at WWDC was a major disappointment and seemed to me to be just another way to bide their time while they work on the next version, possibly with other carriers involved once their exclusivity agreement has expired.

Did you forget to mention that you're locked in your contract and not eligible for upgrade? LOL

Honestly the only changes I thought that they would make is to upgrade the hardrive. Having been an apple fan for most of my life, I understand that Apple does things in twos or Threes. In other words if they had a major release the year before don't expect one this year or maybe even the next year. So since the 3g released last year it makes sense that they would not do a major upgrade this year. But usually the insert something to enhance it and this year that was really the software upgrade. The did not disappoint me, it was about what I expected.

So apparently since there is more then one person on my AT&T account, someone else on the account can pass me their upgrade. So I'm debating wether or not I should upgrade from my current 3G to the 3G S...I'm leaning towards not upgrading and waiting till next year when hopefully they will have a new iPhone (look wise too). So maybe instead of upgrading this time around, how about I just buy a MackBook Pro or a MacBook Air?

I just paid the upgrade fee, and got my wife the $199 3GS in white, and added her to my account. Here's what's REALLY interesting: I went to the Apple Store in MacArthur Mall (Norfolk, VA), and they said you can't even really pre-order the phone through them. You have to do it online, and then all you're doing is "reserving a phone", but you still may not get it on the 19th as they may sell out anyhow, and that they will not open unti l0am on the 19th. I also went to the AT&T store there in the mall, and they said since they are not an "AT&T Corporate Store", they cannot preorder the phone either. So, I went to an AT&T Corporate Store, and ordered 2 of them! And, here's the good part: they will have the phones on hand, the morning of the 19th, and on top of that, they will be open 2 hours earlier exclusively at 7am for those who pre-order! Cool stuff.
Yeah, I too was hoping for a better price, but after thinking about it, I did sell my original iPhone last year just after 3G launch day for $470, and bought the new one for $299. So I know I can sell my current phone for at least $300, thereby making my "upgrade price" really $199.
My real complaint with AT&T (aside from the extra fees for text messaging, and the inability to provide MMS on launch day), is the SORRY coverage. More bars where? Not where I live! My coverage is terrible. I have reported it numerous times, but it doesn't help.

Hey Chad, check your facts. ATT does have the ability to video chat. It was offered by ATT over two years ago with the LG CU500V with its rotating camera. Ultimately it did not catch on very well. I beleive it was $5 per month.

I will not be upgrading to the 3G S over my current 3G for the simple fact the upgrade pricing for the phone is rediculous. I am not paying 599 for an upgrade. I will wait and see what they offer for the 4th iphone revision. Or if the rumors of apple talking to verizon are true i will just switch to verizon at the end of my contract.

I fully agree. AT&T has angered me with the update costs, but, to be honest, I've only been on my iPhone for > 4 Months now. And I'd love other providers to get their hands on the iPhone, but Sprint here in my area maybe has 3 really good spots, of which I'm at once every decade. And Verizon has just recently showed up. AT&T has been the preferred in the area, so I guess I'll stick with them for now.
Another thing, iPhone OS 3.0 is giving me just about everything else I've wanted, albeit I'll have to wait 'til summer for my tethering and MMS (thanks again, you d-bags at AT&T).
So, for now, I think I'll stick with my trusty 3G. Besides, at the current rate of things, when I'm able to upgrade my phone who knows what I'll get. crosses fingers for rubber matte backing, front-facing camera, 4G, and wider screen

Question: Who is buying used 3G iPhones for $300-$500 when you can just get a new 3G for $99 or even the 3G[s] for $199-$299? I mean power to those that can sell their phones to make up the difference, but it's not clear to me who would make that kind of purchase. ???
I have a 2G phone that is an fantastic multi-functional paperweight as of June 19th. Are your used 3G iPhones really worth much more???

I never had and iphone in my life, and now i have the opportunity to have one. so my question is: Should i get the iphone 3G S or wait until next year to see what apple releases? Apple didnt really upgrade the iphone from last year but i still really want an iphone. pls help me out, thx

i really dont think any of the speed or graphics the 3gs is capable of are going to be used for a yr anyway. its not smart for developers to create apps for the 3gs and not the 3g. next year on the other hand, when new owners have the 3gs, and 3g owners are elligable for the 4th gen, thats when we'll see a need for this new speed, but not till then.

What's with all the complaints? I have been in the market for a new smartphone for two years but waited to see when Apple would add the basics for a phone at that cost(i.e MMS, stereo bluetooth, video, copy and paste, voice dial, etc.) I read the blogs and forums to keep updated to the pros and cons. Last year all the complaints about the Iphone was it did not have copy and paste, stereo bluetooth, MMS, voice dial, video recording etc. Now that Apple covered those omissions, more complaints and whining. Apple must now realize you can't please everyone. I will now wait to see if Blackberry can come up with a better OS on their Bold so I can compare. Their OS now is so 90's. Buyer beware: being an early adopter has its risks. You get what you pay for. Sometimes it is best to wait and see. Once you sign the 2 yr. contract you are stuck with the terms of the agreement and must pay "an arm and a leg" to break the contract.

100% agreed - although the memory and camera upgrade are more important to me than any of they features mentioned in the article they certainly arent worth dropping a few hundred pound (im in the uk) in order to break my contract/upgrade! Think ill be leaving O2 and iphone come xmas to get a phone with a decent camera that can multi-task and perhaps come back to iphone in 2011...mind you, I think the operators may well change their upgrade policy by autumn when they see how lacklustre the uptake of the 3gs will be compared to the 3g. Is anyone else amazed at the number of people saying they wont be upgrading? I was first in the queue at my local store last year for the 3g (at 7am lol) but this year i'll be snug in bed....

I couldn't agree with this more. The name (3G-S) is a dead give away that it tweaks the 3G and isn't a major upgrade. I don't see one thing the phone has that i am interested in. The internet is plenty fast for me, i don't play games, and I don't really care that much about the voice commands (although kinda cool). Video is a nice feature (that every cell phone but the previous iphones have)
what's most frustrating is the 3G is fully capable of doing all the same things but apple won't let it because its trying to sell the new product.
Bottom line is if ur not a fan boy and have a 3G you really don't have much of a reason to upgrade.

Tell me what you guys think about this:
I bought the iPhone 2G when it first came out for $599 and signed a 2-year contract. Then I upgraded to the iPhone 3G when it first came out for $299 and extended my contract for another 2 years. I now only have 1 year left on my contract. I was interested in getting the iPhone 3G[S] so I plugged in my information on the "Buy iPhone" feature on Apple's website and it tells me that I either have to wait til December 'til I'm eligible for a discounted upgrade. Otherwise it's $599 for me to buy the iPhone 3G[S] on June 19th. I only have a single line on my account.
What if:
On June 19th, I add a second line to my account for $9.99 per month + $30 data service plan so that I can get the iPhone 3G[S] for $299. Once the iPhone 3G[S] is activated, I call ATT and tell them I dropped the iPhone 3G[S] in the water and is no longer working. I then ask them to cancel the iPhone 3G[S] data plan ($30.00) and put the sim card on a cheap phone which I won't use. I then take the sim card from my original iPhone 3G (line 1) and stick it in the iPhone 3G[S].
Yes, it does involve lying, and yes it is going to cost me an extra $9.99 per month. BUT I will now have two lines. Line 1 will be eligible for upgrade June 2010 > Line 2 will be eligible for upgrade June 2011 > Line 1 will be eligible for upgrade June 2012 > Line 2 will be eligible for upgrade June 2013 and so on and so forth. Which means I can upgrade to a new iPhone every summer (if a new iPhone comes out every summer). What do you guys think? Could this work?

"a little faster"? 2x speed and enhanced graphics is more than just a little.
who needs video when you have a flip? enjoy carrying your phone and your flip around together.
voice control a gimmick, only good in car? true, however it will be great in the, scrolling through contacts is no fun. plus using the headset mic to choose music while relacing by the pool will be sweet...no more suntan lotion on the screen!
I know you were forced to come up with some cons for your point counter-point feature, but come on.

You complain so much about everything like most people do. What makes you think apple would risk putting its technology out there to people who complain about a mere $499 upgrade fee. With all the fancy features everyone was speculating and hoping for that phone could have cost easily over a thousand dollars.
With the economy the way it is they would have lost an incredible amount of money. You think you know how the business works? Really? Your a blogger. They have many people who went to school for years to make the decisions they make. That's why they make the big bucks.
And besides they gave the world a phone that was Iphone 3g on steroids and it cost the exact same. That's amazing no matter what you say.

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