I admit it. I am a techno-gadget junkie. I love all that crap. Shiny new technology is cool and sometimes irresistible for me. The Lovely Anna calls it my only vice (okay, my most troublesome vice… however when she starts making fun of me about it I mention shoes and handbags and she shuts right up). I got the original iPhone the day it was released, although quite by accident and with only about a 2 hour wait in line.
So, it was with great interest I read about the new iPhone 3G that was announced on Monday at WWDC. I really like my iPhone, and have found it to be incredibly useful as a combination phone, portable e-mail and communications device and PDA… not to mention being able to watch the occasional movie on it. It has really been invaluable for keeping in touch with my clients when on the road, and for running the business.
On July 11th comes the new version of the iPhone. Originally I was skeptical about upgrading, and still am to some degree. I paid $499 for my iPhone (after the $100 credit early adopters got from Apple) and it’s still working great. Why upgrade? Here are the pros and cons for me on the dillema:
Reasons to Upgrade-
- Faster Speeds– The 3G network should bring twice the download speeds for internet and e-mail use. E-mail seems to me to load pretty fast, unless there is an attachment with it. Still, no doubt I would notice and relish the new speeds. Minneapolis/St. Paul has the 3G network so I would be able to take advantage of that speed increase (not every market has the 3G network in place).
- Real GPS– The Maps feature on the iPhone I have actually used a lot, but it is limited. You need to know exactly where you are in order to plot directions to a destination, and then if you screw up the route you need to stop and redo it from your new starting point, which you again must know the address of. Real GPS in the iPhone 3G will pinpoint your exact location and map your route to a destination, plus it will follow you in real time so if you go off track you can easily reroute. 3rd party apps like TomTom are going to further enhance your GPS navigation capabilities as well. This is something I would really use.
- More Memory– I have the 8 GB iPhone and while there has been a 16 GB for a while now I wouldn’t mind the extra room. Then on a trip I could load up several more movies and/or TV shows for watching.
- Better Battery Life– Supposedly the 3G will have a longer battery charge life, although using the 3G network will eat it faster and probably result in the same real time use between charges. It will last longer on a charge when in “airplane mode” though, and that is cool if you are on a long flight and still want some juice on your phone at the end of the trip after two full length movies.
- Lower cost, can upgrade even if current iPhone user– The 16 GB 3G is only $299, which is half what the original 8 GB cost. AT&T is allowing current iPhone users to upgrade at that price regardless of their current plan’s commitment length.
Reasons Not to Upgrade-
- Software upgraded for free on Original iPhone– Two of the biggest new features are going to be the ability to run 3rd part applications and use “push” technology for Microsoft Exchange software. I don’t care about the latter and the former, while cool and full of promises, makes me a little nervous. Running 3rd party apps are likely going to cause some headaches with compatibility and make make the iPhone’s tech support busy. Still there is no denying that the iPhone could be greatly enhanced by some cool new applications, and it will be fun to see what becomes available. Here’s the rub… I get that for free when my current iPhone get’s the ne 2.0 software. Only apps designed to use the GPS or new hardware will not work on my iPhone.
- Higher Cost for Plan– The new data plan for the 3G is $10 a month more than the current plan. That’ $120 more a year. Suddenly the cheaper price for the phone doesn’t look much cheaper.
- Form Factor the Same– Even though they now sport plastic backs, non-recessed headphone jacks and some slightly different button, this phone is basically the same as the one I have physically. I’d have liked to see something new and cool in that regard. Significantly lighter would have been enticing.
The reasons to upgrade are actually a little thin. Basically it’s all about the faster speed and GPS… most of the rest you get for free with the software update. I can live with the slower speeds, as I really do very little websurfing, finding that aspect frustrating on the small screen. E-mail, as I said, works pretty quickly and is certainly not so slow that it is a problem. The true GPS is the one really covetous new feature.
I’ll have to think about it. My iPhone is working great and I really use it a lot, and it has no glaring deficiencies that really scream for updating… still if you are the betting type I’d put my money on “Tom upgrades on Day One” with 2 to 1 odds.
758 My cover art for the next issue of MAD, exclusive sneak peek from @entertainmentweekly website
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