Unless you spent this morning snoozing underneath a rock or immersed in your new Palm Pre, you are aware that Apple announced the impending release of a new mobile phone, the iPhone 3G S. The additional letter stands for Speed; the new iPhone boasts a longer battery life, environmentally friendly construction, voice commands, and a 3 megapixel camera with programmable macros, as well as the ability to record video. No doubt plenty of Apple fans have since been drooling uncontrollably over the announcement of yet another reason to empty their wallets on yet another Apple product – but not us, mind you, no siree. Here are five reasons why you won’t find us running to the Apple store on June 19th to upgrade our phones.
1. Pricing Runaround
While the iPhone 3G S will cost $199 and $299 for the 16GB and 32GB models for new customers, those of us who rushed out to buy an iPhone 3G just one year ago (some Maximum PC editors included) will have to pay the full retail price. According to the Apple website, non-qualified customers, including existing AT&T customers will be charged $699, $599 and $499 for the 32GB, 16GB and 8GB models, respectively. And that’s with a new two-year network agreement. Factor in the fact that since iPhone 3Gs are now $99, your 1-year old phone has pretty much no resell value. As one commenter posted on Gizmodo, “"40,000,000 iPhones sold to date. 40,000,000 now pissed off iPhone customers who have to pay out their asses if they want to upgrade.” Amen, brother.
2. New features, Old news
Apple’s dog and pony show this morning touted iPhone 3G S’s fully-functional 3MP camera and voice dialing capabilities. Big whoop. These may seem like some amazing features for the Apple faithful, who have not been able to verbally instruct their iPhone to switch songs or call Jane Doe before the update, but to those of us who have been on other cellphone networks using other brands of mobile phones, voice dialing and a video recording are tricks we take for granted. Just another example of Apple masking their last-gen inadequacies as ZOMG SHINY NEW FEATURES.
3. All the Awesome Rumors were False
We were genuinely intrigued by the photoshop mockups and rumored new iPhone hardware posted online leading up to the WWDC keynote. Rumors speculated that the version 3 JesusPhone bring both major internal hardware and aesthetic updates, especially since that’s what happened at last year’s WWDC. We drooled at the thought of an OLED screen (which has since been announced for the Zune HD) and a front-facing camera for iChat (a la Nintendo’s DSi). But no dice – Apple failed to deliver.
4. iPhone OS 3.0 Update Hosts the Bulk of the Features
We really don’t need the new iPhone when we’ve got a software update that contains most of the features of the iPhone 3G S. iPhone OS 3.0, coming out June 17, will include the ability to copy and paste, run apps in landscape, get push notifications, send artsy photos over MMS, as well as offer tethering support for Apple users who’ve never heard of Verizon’s Wireless EVDO service. And as long as you’ve got the iPhone 3G, these bonuses are a free upgrade. We like free.
5. No Tethering or MMS for AT&T Users (at launch)
Though it’s not specific to the iPhone 3G S, but rather to the iPhone 3.0 upgrade, there will be no tethering OR MMS available to AT&T users when OS 3.0 and the 3G S go live. It could be because AT&T is hammering out the pricing details, but when they’ll figure it out is still up in the air. Additionally, tethering could cost quite a bit (the latest rumor is $40 a month) which seems to be an insane rip-off if you’re already paying $30/month for AT&T’s wireless mobile internet.
The newest iPhone is a non-event for existing iPhone owners, and not even a must-have gadget for geeks in the market for a new phone. Apple has some real competition heating up with the release of the Palm Pre and the Google G2, as well as the ever-growing family of Blackberrys increasing in popularity. The mobile wars are just starting to get interesting, and it’s way too early to put your money on a device that will undoubtedly get ushered into obsolescence next year.