Wait, wait, I know this trick. Steve Jobs gets on stage, announces a new phone, and all of the sudden I’ve got to wait in line for hours to spend money. It’s like World of Warcraft, but less convenient.


Grumble...

We all knew it was coming and once the specs were announced I honestly wasn’t that excited about the iPhone 3G; it seemed like a fairly minor set of updates to the original iPhone.

At the same time, part of what I needed was a reality check. Despite selling very well, most smartphone users still don’t have an iPhone and many haven’t ever used one. Many are scared of the virtual keyboard while others haven’t been able to jump the Windows Mobile ship without better Exchange support from Apple. To the uninitiated, 2008’s iPhone 3G release would be no different than last year’s. Those I was in line with who had never owned an iPhone were just as excited about the 3G model as the people I was in line with last year for the first iPhone.

I also couldn’t help but remember what happened with the first update to the iPod after its release. While the original iPod was amazing, its second generation successor was hardly as impressive. Apple made some much asked-for changes, but moving away from a physical wheel and buttons to touch sensitive controls really hurt the experience for me. I wondered if the second iPhone out of Apple would suffer from a similar repeat of history. The first one was so good that the second one would inevitably be a letdown.


How far we've come

Apple further complicated things by, out of the goodness of its own heart, giving all existing iPhone users free access to the software updates contained within the iPhone 3G. The long awaited 2.0 firmware upgrade, enabling the ability to run 3rd party applications and search contacts among other things. What would’ve otherwise been good reasons alone to upgrade to the iPhone 3G were now given to all iPhone users.

When the iPhone launched we all knew that Apple would have to get the price down to below $200, but the how was what perplexed us. Rumors of smaller versions without a touchscreen were aplenty and despite none of them making any sense, we assumed that it would have to be the route that Apple would take - since that’s how the rest of the cellphone industry works.

It turns out that the cheaper iPhone is nothing more than the iPhone itself, simply subsidized by AT&T. At $499 the iPhone was a must have for any serious smartphone user, at $199 it would seem to be a no-brainer. That is before you take into account increases in the recurring monthly costs that AT&T has snuck into the iPhone 3G launch, but I’ll talk about those later.

There are concerns about size and battery life, users want to know if the new phone is slower, buggier or if the new GPS is actually useful. Then there are the third party applications that launched with the App store, do they enhance the platform or simply make it more amateur? I started this review thinking that it would be short but, much like last year’s iPhone review, the further down the rabbit’s hole I got, the more I realized there was to talk about.

I’m going to take you through much of the new firmware and the new phone. I’m going to talk about battery life, reception and how the Apple/AT&T relationship has changed.

I’m going to talk a lot, it’s what I do, and the subject this year, just as it was last year around this time, is the iPhone.

The iPhone Recap
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  • imaheadcase - Wednesday, July 16, 2008 - link

    Yes 3 articles on Iphone. Sad, pretty sad change of course for the site.

    When can we expect to see a preview, review, and feature set of the Ford Escort, or Bud Light with Lime? I await with anticipation!
    Reply
  • michael2k - Thursday, July 17, 2008 - link

    Like it or not, the iPhone is hardware.

    AnandTech is run by Anand, and whatever strikes his fancy (be they MacBook Airs or iPhones) gets reviewed.
    Reply
  • imaheadcase - Monday, July 21, 2008 - link

    "Like it or not, the iPhone is hardware.

    AnandTech is run by Anand, and whatever strikes his fancy (be they MacBook Airs or iPhones) gets reviewed. "

    Yes its hardware, so is a toaster..I away his review on the latest model toasters that come out, as well as the top of the line flashlights... i rest my case.
    Reply
  • robinthakur - Thursday, July 17, 2008 - link

    Its sad that you aren't realistic enough to know that currently lots of people are looking for a decent and unbiased iPhone 3G review, and Anandtech (A technology site I recall) offers a very good and highly technical review, the best I've seen. Where's the issue there? Are you annoyed that the iPhone is again in great demand and in the news? Its hardly the iPhone's fault that the HTC *fill in this weeks model* garners about as much press attention as a comeback by Kelly Clarkson, its fundamentally outdated and playing catchup to the new kid on the block. Reply
  • Griswold - Thursday, July 17, 2008 - link

    You really need to roll over and die. Reply
  • at80eighty - Thursday, July 17, 2008 - link

    you ungrateful morons don't seem to get a simple fact. this site is FREE

    Anand & Co. owe you nothing & yet they keep putting up good/great articles

    Lately all i see is whine & cheese about how anandtech has lost its hardware focus , while commenting in 'the third' article of hardware

    more often than not this is a one stop place for getting your info. don't like it , don't click.

    and im not a mindless fanboy - someone here was recently criticizing the AT staff over something , but he made clear , precise & constructive points why he felt so - and thats a good way to go about it. your stale WAAWAAWAA is just a stupid annoyance
    Reply
  • Dennis Travis - Thursday, July 17, 2008 - link

    VERY well said. Almost the exact words I was thinking.

    Keep up the EXCELLENT work Anand and Staff!
    Reply
  • imaheadcase - Thursday, July 17, 2008 - link

    What he said, roll over and die. Reply
  • Brianoes - Wednesday, July 16, 2008 - link

    What are you talking about? I think that Anand's article provides one of the, no, the clearest and most consise iPhone article, and I'm done hunting for them to learn some more random details that I may have been interested in. His conclusion was not the standard three paragraph garbage you see on most other review sites - thanks for the really in depth final conclusion and summary.

    The first and last good iPhone review I've read, coming from an iPod Touch user for the past three months.

    Brian
    Reply
  • imaheadcase - Thursday, July 17, 2008 - link

    What am i talking about? I guess you are oblivious to the fact that the iphone is a niche market. Like every smart phone out there. Yet they review a iphone and no other phone? You know why they don't review others phones..because there are millions of sites that do that all the time.

    Stick with actually HARDWARE analysis like next to Anandtech on top of page. Leave the phones/cars/apple related stuff/ game reviews, etc to other sites who do it 24/7.

    Reply

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