Yes, I stood in line, again. A friend of mine conned me into it this time, I posted about it here, needless to say - I now have an iPhone 3G (in white, apparently because I’m in touch with my feminine side or something).

I’ve got a full review incoming, but before then I thought I’d put together a few words for those of you contemplating getting one sooner rather than later. In no particular order - my thoughts:

Ugh, Activation

The in-store activation was a pain. I was among the first 5 in the AT&T store I went to and our wait times varied greatly. The first person in was actually the last person out, how long the process took really depended on how good of a sales associate you got.

I’m sure things will get better as the sales associates become more familiar with activating the devices, but this is still no where near as convenient as activating in iTunes. I get why Apple did it, but it’s definitely not what’s best for the user experience. I’ll dive into this a lot more in the full review.

There’s also the issue of buying multiple phones. Currently the requirement is that the person whose name is on the account, has to be present in store to purchase an iPhone 3G (since all phones must be activated at purchase time). My mom wanted an iPhone 3G, but I couldn’t buy one for her. Great. I’ll have to schedule a fieldtrip to the Apple or AT&T store sometime later this week with her, rather than just picking one up for her like I did with the first one.

I’m also hearing troubles about people with family plans. A friend of mine has a huge family plan that includes himself, his sister, his brother in-law and his parents. He has an original iPhone, his brother in-law wants to get an iPhone 3G. At this point, the Apple store clerks are telling his brother in-law that he needs a new family plan in order to get the iPhone 3G and can’t be added to the existing one. I’m still waiting for this story to develop but if you guys have any input or similar experiences, leave it in the comments.

The Dock

The new iPhone won’t work in the old iPhone dock, the connector will fit but the iPhone 3G’s base is curved differently from the original iPhone and thus it will pop out if you try and stick it in the old dock. This is a problem because even the $299 16GB model doesn’t ship with a dock.

Speaker and Reception

The reception is a lot better on the iPhone 3G. For some reason, starting a couple of months ago, AT&T reception at my house just terrible, real fast. The iPhone 3G is a bit better in all areas, definitely not perfect, but I can now make phone calls in my basement where I couldn’t before...barely.

Sound quality and speakerphone volume have also been improved, I haven’t done enough testing to really quantify it yet, but I’m working on it.

The 2.0 Firmware and the App Store

I downloaded the 2.0 firmware for my original iPhone yesterday, I was excited about it, then I started using some of the apps. Many lack the polish of the first party Apple applications that actually come on the phone itself, which is disappointing. I was extremely disappointed with the AIM application, it works, but not perfectly. Apple needs to make an iChat client for this thing. Think SMS but over AIM, done.

Many of the apps are first attempts though, I do hope that we’ll see some truly world class applications come to the platform as things progress. For you developers out there, the bar is real low right now...if you’re good, step up and change that.

GPS

The iPhone 3G supports Assisted GPS, so it can now pinpoint exactly where you are. Unfortunately there’s no support for voice assisted turn-by-turn directions using GPS, it looks like we’ll have to wait for a 3rd party application to truly harness the power of the iPhone here.

Honestly, we need a real iChat client as well as an Apple or Google made GPS applications for the iPhone 3G in order to make this a must have device.

Processing Power

I stand by my original assessment that Apple has made the interface so smooth on the iPhone that you notice the sluggish CPU far more than you would on a normal smartphone. Couple that with the fact that 3G loads some pages quicker and A-GPS seems to tax the whole phone a lot more and you’ll feel the need for a faster CPU in this thing even more than with the original iPhone. It’s not a deal breaker, but it’s something I still want.

The Real Question: Is 3G Worth it?
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  • WelshBloke - Monday, July 14, 2008 - link

    'I can't believe they didn't implement their own widescreen large size keyboard on the Diamond'

    You could just install the one of your choice.
    Reply
  • araczynski - Friday, July 11, 2008 - link

    ...make you bend over when you need to replace the battery? Reply
  • daftrok - Friday, July 11, 2008 - link

    That doesn't matter. So long as you allow the phone to discharge its battery to around 20% and unplug it once its fully charged you can keep using the same battery for years and years. But I have some issues with the iPhone that just will not stand for me:

    1) No Picture messaging. Seriously what the hell
    2) No Video recording.
    3) Forced AT&T activation.
    4) Expensive plans.
    5) No AIM/MSN support
    6) No Google Docs or MS Word support
    7) No landscape keyboard (it only does portrait)
    8) Lamentable audio/video support

    Fix these issues, then I'll get it.
    Reply
  • Weiser - Friday, July 11, 2008 - link

    Anand, I know you mentioned some issues activating but I'm not sure it came across exactly how bad this is. I am hearing that it got worse and worse as the stores opened from east to west coast. I am on the west coast and tried to update my current iPhone to the new software this morning about 7am PST and now have an iBrick in my pocket.

    If you are a current gen iPhone owner and haven't updated your phone yet I would wait until at least later tonight. If you are thinking of going to pick up a new one the line might move a lot slower than you would expect unless they fix the issues.
    Reply
  • crimson117 - Friday, July 11, 2008 - link

    My pre-wife and I are getting our first iPhones once she finishes her exams later this month, so I'm psyched to hear these initial reviews.

    What I'm not psyched about is the $36 "activation fee" for new AT&T customers, which is really just a 18% AT&T pound-me-in-the-ass tax. And also doing any business with AT&T at all, what with the illegal wiretapping BS.
    Reply
  • crimson117 - Friday, July 11, 2008 - link


    Did I really forget to close the bold tag there? Sorry. Reply
  • goku - Friday, July 11, 2008 - link

    For those who've always wanted an iPhone but never got one, getting the 3G iPhone would be the thing to get. For those who already have an iPhone and don't plan on downloading lots of bandwidth intensive data, stick with the iPhone you already have, though you'll have to since you've got at least 1 year left on your AT&T contract. I would never get an iPhone because for one I hate Apple and it has far too many shortcomings, but for those who are deadset on getting one despite all the shortcomings, this would be the one to get if anything at all. Reply

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