Now that the iPhone 3G has been officially announced and the details have been released, we are holding the first ever: TiPb vs TiPb. In the two articles we will detail reasons why we SHOULD upgrade and why we SHOULDN’T upgrade to the iPhone 3G. No hard feelings, No blood spilled, just good old fashioned point-by-point debate.
More so than any other Apple release, the iPhone 3G was probably the worst kept secret in the history of Apple. There was plenty of speculation, some wild (video conferencing) and some tame (black casing). Some were right, some were wrong.
I flagrantly participated in the rumorpalooza. I was excited for every nugget of news even though it didn't contain a kernel of truth. So maybe I hyped myself into thinking the iPhone 3G was going to be the be all, end all device that the iPhone was. After my initial excitement subsided, I realized, hey, the iPhone 3G isn't a necessary upgrade! I could wait a little until all the kinks are worked out, so these are the 5 Reasons Why I’m NOT Upgrading to the iPhone 3G.
Read on for the 5 Reasons to NOT upgrade!
5. Form Factor
Honestly, Apple did a great job in making plastic look sleek. Though we haven’t seen too many ‘real-life’ pictures yet, from the looks of it, it is much better than expected. But it ain’t no iPhone. One of my favorite things about the original iPhone was the aluminum back—no other phone could even come close in terms of construction to the original iPhone’s build quality. The tapered edges in the iPhone 3G seem to be consistent with the design direction of Apple’s new product line but I have my concerns—is it going to spin wildly when I lay it down, flat on its back? Will it be impossible to keep steady?
Actually, could I even lay it down flat on its back, without getting scratches? Do you guys remember your first iPod? It looked great coming out of the box with it glossiness but after just minimal usage, that thing was SCRATCHED. Scratches going every which way, some small, some big, and all with unknown origins.
And honestly, there wasn’t much you could do about it. With plastic, daily usage caused scratches on those plastic iPods. Will it do that to my precious iPhone? Looking at my iPhone now, it’s just as beautiful as the day I opened it.
I like GPS technology a lot and I think there are incredible uses for it in the real world, but in the end, I’m a maps guy. Give me a Thomas Guide and I’ll find my way. I have one of those GPS units in my car for emergency purposes but I NEVER use it. Call me old-fashioned or resistance-to change even but I think there are few things as rewarding as reaching your destination the way Lewis & Clark used to (okay, not quite. I’m not that good at reading winds or anything).
The My Location feature in Google Maps is plenty good for me. Even though I live in Los Angeles and driving is the only form of transportation I know (walking? People do that?), the coverage and cell towers that triangulate my location is plenty good. Sure it doesn’t give me pinpoint accuracy but I like to take in the surrounding cross streets and intersections.
For me, My Location is good enough because in a sense, it turns your map book to the right page and section. Using My Location it feels as if you are constantly learning more about your surroundings. Using GPS narrows your perspective and focuses you on the dot, instead of what is around you.
GPS on the iPhone 3G is going to be great, I have no doubts about that. It’s probably the best mobile device to be equipped with GPS, but for me, its not going to change my lifestyle by leaps and bounds. Some people, constant travelers come to mind, need the exactness of GPS. Right now, I don’t.
Have you seen AT&T’s 3G Coverage map yet? Yeah, I know. They don’t actually offer a nation wide map because they don’t want you to know that it is very, very sparse. I am lucky enough to be in an area that has 3G but I also use a lot of Wi-Fi. And even when I’m on EDGE, the EDGE speeds are manageable enough for me. Whenever I pitted my iPhone against Verizon Ev-Do network, the speed difference wasn’t that dramatic for me. It was faster, to be sure, but the difference wasn’t game-changing.
A lot of the things I do, 3G isn’t quite necessary for me. I’ve played with some 3G phones and their battery life is horrible. Apple has a tendency to sometimes, over-state their battery performance, so I’d rather take the current battery over the iPhone 3G’s. When AT&T improves their 3G network, maybe I’ll change my stance. But I feel as if even though 3G is pretty much in every phone, the network is still in its infantile stages.
2. Price & AT&T Control
I’ve been over this already, but it’s worthy of another mention. I was absolutely floored by the pricing of the iPhone 3G and was already convinced to upgrade. But that’s before nasty AT&T (I’m very anti-AT&T these days) decided to take over control of the iPhone 3G. The iPhone 3G will cost a current user $439 over the lifetime of the deal, its not exactly the $199 steal it’s painted out to be.
Sure, $10 dollars a month isn’t a big deal monetary wise and it’s better than handing over $399 in one lump sum or living in Canada (zing!), but I think the precedent AT&T is setting with the hike in data plans is highly disappointing.
I enjoyed the first iPhone because though it was carrier-locked, it seemed free of the usual BS behavior of carrier-locked phones. I didn’t have a carrier branded phone layout, I wasn’t forced with a AT&T MediaNet store, I didn’t have to scratch off the AT&T logo sticker and I was paying $20 a month for data + 200 SMS. It was as if Apple was only using AT&T services as their playground—I was having fun and had no idea AT&T provided me the service. Using an iPhone was a treat from Apple, not anybody else.
Now? AT&T is hiking up prices, reverting the activation process, fining people who don’t activate under 30 days and who knows what else. All the misinformation that is floating around is so confusing that it seems as if AT&T is changing the rules while we play the game. The 3G playground? Tagged in Blue and Orange, branded by AT&T. Someone blow up the Death Star, please. I'll stay in my current sandbox, thank you.
1. What They Didn’t Update
Apple couldn’t re-invent the phone two years in a row. It wasn’t possible and it also wasn’t necessary. Unlike other phone making companies like RIM, Palm, etc. there was minimal need to change the form-factor, OS, or anything of that sort. The iPhone UI is best-in-class and the form factor has spawned thousands of iClones, a year later and the iPhone is still the leader in innovation, 3G or not.
This wasn’t the iPhone that iPhone users wanted. It’s the iPhone that RIM’s, Palm’s, WinMob’s users needed. 3G & GPS are no longer checkpoints that Apple can’t fill out. As Apple & iPhone users we usually have dreamy scenarios for upcoming products. We want video conferencing even though it hasn’t matured yet. We want an iPhone nano because we love the iPod nano. But the reality of it is, the iPhone 3G isn’t as important a release as the original iPhone was.
A lot of our astute readers are realizing that the iPhone 3G isn’t the must upgrade we imagined. Like the iPod Photo that updated the iPod Click Wheel, the difference is big at first glance: color screen/3G & GPS, but it isn’t the completely revolutionary tool that the Video iPod and the iPhone Next will be.
The real game-changer is firmware 2.0 and luckily, all iPhone users will be able to use it. The AppStore is going to completely change the iPhone experience more so than 3G and GPS will because our personal needs will be met by varying apps. Not everyone needs 3G and GPS, but everyone will find a need for different third party apps.
I’m not saying that I’ll NEVER buy an iPhone 3G. I think it’s a GREAT deal for those who don’t currently have iPhones and need 3G & GPS in their daily lives. Just don’t expect me to be in line with you guys come July 11th. I’ll probably come around at some point in time, probably when I get to hold the iPhone in my hand and ‘race’ the iPhone 3G with my original iPhone. But until then, I’ll be more than happy with my beautiful, getting better with age, original iPhone.