Understanding the iPhone 3GS

by Anand Lal Shimpi on 7/7/2009 12:00 AM EST


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  • lightzout - Saturday, July 11, 2009 - link

    My wife actually offered to give me her 3g if she got the the 3gs but I didnt think it was worth it. She asked me this morning how it was better and I didnt know (didnt admit it of course)

    Now I want her 3G "free" and she really does need the 3gs since since is always multitasking/social/mail..me, including aim.

    I thought the 3gs would have some radical new gps stuff but the compass is not impressive. Nothing to get me geeked on to the tune of $200. For my purposes having the older iphone would make travel and remodeling job estimating easier over my tattered razr.

    My media mogul mamacita however needs that sleek new 3gs like yesterday as every gripe she has about the 3g phone seems to have been addressed somehow.

    Great write-up!

    Only regret is when I saw the new screen and sleek size of the 3gs at the apple store a couple days ago it does screem "arent I beautiful?" but that is what apple does so well right?
  • MrBowmore - Saturday, July 11, 2009 - link

    Give the magic, or hero another chance!
    Your numbers for those phones are whacked, its faster than the 3G at alot of things. Try to kill all the backgroundapps. (yes, it multitasks)
  • RadnorHarkonnen - Friday, July 10, 2009 - link

    Very good analisys.

    I was just surprised ARM CPUs still made on 90nm and 65nm. With the performance and power saving 55nm and 45 nm processes i would imagine they would jump the bandwagon fast.
  • nubie - Thursday, July 09, 2009 - link

    Some people can't drop $600 in a lump or $2600 over 3 years on something as stupid as a cellphone. No matter what it can do.

    Besides the fact that Apple is killing all support for proper hardware acceleration and access to OpenGL 2.0, whatever.

    Can we get more Android and G1 coverage? Please?
  • psonice - Friday, July 10, 2009 - link

    Like the guy above said, you buy a phone, you either pay a lot upfront, or you get it with a contract. Either way you'll still need to pay a ton of money each month to for your voice and data. You could get a cheap phone that only makes calls and costs almost nothing, but that's not the same is it?

    And what's this about apple not supporting hardware acceleration / opengl es 2.0??? Almost everything in the gui is hardware accelerated. And there's very good opengl es 1.1/2.0 support in the sdk, hence the ton of hardware accelerated games. There may not be much supporting es2.0 yet, but that's because the first 2.0 capable device has only just been released.
  • DLeRium - Friday, July 10, 2009 - link

    You know what? The cost is:

    $199 up front
    $70 / year * 24 months
    = $1680 + $199

    But let's face it, most of you already have cell phones. A quick look at a WinMo phone like the HTC Touch Pro is $70 / month too at minimum ($39.99 voice + $30 data. Same with a Blackberry.


    So if $1880 is too much for you, don't get a cell phone period.

    Stop complaining. The iPhone is actually pretty damn cheap. You're locked in a contract, but even if you had another phone WHY WOULD YOU GO DATALESS?
  • araczynski - Thursday, July 09, 2009 - link

    i'll care about the iphone/ipod when they start sporting VGA screens. if my digital camera can have a 3" 640x480 display, so should these overpriced toys. Reply
  • psonice - Friday, July 10, 2009 - link

    Higher res screens look pretty, but 640x480 needs 2x more power to fill than 480x320. The screen is more than acceptable already, so I'd take faster running apps/games and longer battery life over more pixels any day. Reply
  • Kougar - Thursday, July 09, 2009 - link

    Thanks for the informative crash course in CPU instructions, that filled in some gaps I didn't understand. It's nice to now understand how some aspects of the design fit into or affect the rest of the design.

    Unfortunately, you've only drummed up the excitement factor for Intel's Sandy Bridge... from some general info that's been around and based on what you've given it sound like the potential is very much there for some very significant performance jumps. So much for Gulftown's allure!
  • christinme7890 - Thursday, July 09, 2009 - link

    I love the attention to detail when describing the CPUs and the graphics processor and stuff. Very cool. I hate that other people are dissing the iphone hardware. If you don't like Macs rules get a pre. Plain and simple. I for one support these people that want to sell their apps for a good price and are trying to make it big in the dev world. Kudos and I will buy your apps.

    I will be honest, I am sick of the multitasking argument. You do hit on a point that needs to be addressed imho by Apple and that is that there is no good app for chatting. I really think that Apple needs to include their own IM App that stays on in the background (if you want it to) and collects all your SMS, MMS, IM, facebook, Twitter, etc messages. This would be great. While it would be great I recognize that this would totally sap the power on the iphone. If you had all this info push to your phone, the servers would be constantly sending you messages every second. As for multitasking, I don't really care to have it. There are areas where I wish I had it but it is not necessary. Not to mention that the palm pre has a horrible battery life...plain horrible. I hear people talk like they need 3 backup batteries just to get through the day.

    I have noticed myself that the compass is a little sketchy. There was a time on 07/04 that a friend and I were lost in the city walking around and we used my maps app to find where we are and I tried to get the compass to work to make reading the map easy and it wouldn't work. The map wouldn't rotate and it was frustrating. Oh well.

    Your review of the camera was spot on. It will never replace my uber camera but when I am out and about doing whatever it does great for quick and easy pics. And the movie functions are awesome as well. Now if only you could cut out middle pieces of a movie. Hopefully soon.

    I love the speed of the 3gs. I notice, not tested but notice, a large speed increase and I absolutely love it.

    The one major place the 3GS has over the pre is the App store. No company has been able to implement an app store like Apple. I get all my multimedia from one source (itunes) which is great....Movies, podcasts, video, audio, apps, etc...all in one place is the best thing that apple has done in forever. I will not argue prices or app submission ethics because I truly believe that apple keeps the People as their top priority.

    Great article.
  • iwodo - Thursday, July 09, 2009 - link

    Would really love Anand digg deeper and give us some more info. The info i could find for Atom, has 47 Million transistors. Ars report 40% of it is cache, while others report the core is 13.7 million. The previous iPhone article Jarred Walton commented that x86 decoder no longer matters because 1.5 - 2 million transistors inside a billions transistor CPU is negligible. However in Mobile space, 2M inside a 13.7M is nearly 15%. Not to mention other transistor used that is needed for this decoding.

    The space required for Atom is 25mm2 on a 45NM ( Including All Cache) . Cortex A8 require 9mm2 ( dont know how many cache ) on 65nm.

    What is interesting is how Intel manage to squeeze the north bridge inside the Atom CPU ( more transistors ) while making the Die Smaller. ( i dont know if Intel slides were referring to the total package size or the die size itself ).
  • snookie - Thursday, July 09, 2009 - link

    The Pre hardware, as in case, screen, keyboard is terrible. Cheap, plasticky and breaking left and right on people. If Palm survives long enough to get to Verizon etc Here's hoping they come out with better hardware soon. I've used Blackberries for year but I see no need for a physical keyboard. With the new iPhone widescreen keyboard I type with both thumbs very quickly and I have big hands. Reply
  • snookie - Thursday, July 09, 2009 - link

    Jason, Apple has in fact agreed to using mini-usb as a standard. As if that is really a reason to buy a phone or not.

    To say Apple never changes shows no knowledge of the history of Apple, even their recent history.
  • Itaintrite - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - link

    Heh, it's funny how you say that you can't just look at clock speed, then followed with "the 528MHz processor in the iPod Touch is no where near as fast as the 600MHz processor in the iPhone 3GS." Heh. Reply
  • Anonymous Freak - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - link

    I want my punch and pie!

    Or a lollipop.

    Good review, I could feel your hunger pangs toward both Palm and Apple toward the end...
  • monomer - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - link

    Regarding Anand's comments about Android phones needing an upgraded CPU, rumors are that the upcoming Sony Xperia Rachael will be sporting a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor (ARM Cortex A8 derivative). Would love to find out the details of this phone when they become available.

  • DLeRium - Thursday, July 09, 2009 - link

    Well I'd like to see Anand's experience with Android phones. What is it, just G1? Look at the new Hero or even G2. What about the Samsung i7500? Sorry I'm afraid that the limited nature of cell phone selection in the US makes it VERY HARD to review cell phones well here. I haven't seen a good cell phone site that's by people in the US and from the US only. Phone Arena, Mobile Burn, Phonescoop, GSM Arena, It seems the international guys get a LOT more exposure, and this is why I feel like Anand's comments about phones in general makes him sound inexperienced which I can certainly bet is the case.

    If you limit yourself to only carrier offered phones, then I don't think you can make accurate assessments about manufacturers like Nokia or certain OS phones like WinMo or Symbian or even Android unless the US starts offering more of what the world considers top notch popular phones.
  • DLeRium - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - link

    N97 specs should be 434 MHz ARM11 not 424... Reply
  • DLeRium - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - link

    BTW I don't believe you should be commenting about the N97. Gizmodo is heavily biased towards iPhones and unless you yourself Anand uses some Symbian S60 phones with detail, I don't really think you should join in the S60 bashing. I think a lot of us Symbian users AGREE that the platform needs to improve, but considering we were like ZOMG434MHZFAIL, the N97 is not bad in response time if you look at a few videos. The UI exceeded a lot of expectations amongst the Symbian crowd. If anything why don't you throw the Samsung i8910 Omnia HD in there instead? That has a Cortex A8 and uses Symbian S60v5 (not to mention has been out longer than the N97). The other S60v5 phone to come out is the Sony Satio which also uses a Cortex A8.

    You might as well comment on why Cortex A8 isn't being implemented in all new phones. WinMo phones are still on ARM11, and even HTC's newest announcements are ARMv7 chips. The iPhone doesn't define what high end is. Because if you want to point out that its unacceptable to have a ARMv7 chip in an N97, then it's just as unacceptable for the iPhone not to have a 5MP camera and multitasking.
  • straubs - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - link

    1. It IS unacceptable for any flagship phone to use ARM11. The iPhone, Pre, and Omnia HD (as you pointed out) all use it, so why wouldn't Nokia put it in it's $700 N-series flagship? It doesn't make sense. I'm surprised he didn't mention the crappy screen on the N97.

    2. He did comment on how the iPhone needs multi-tasking and how much he missed the Pre's implementation of it.

    3. Doesn't everyone at this point agree that the number of megapixels in a phone camera is not a huge deal, considering the size of the sensor and optics? I would guess the N97 pictures are better than those from the the 3GS, but nothing like the jump from an ARM11 or A8.
  • DLeRium - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - link

    It's unacceptable because what? HTC Touch Diamond 2 and Touch Pro 2 are flagship phones with ARM11 processors? Yes I pointed out some phones that have it, but have you guys even seriously used an S60 phone? Multiple S60 phones? I've gone through N80, N95, N82, and I've toyed with an N85 and 5800 also. The N97 is certainly fine in usability. It could use some more RAM, but even if you stuffed a Cortex A8 and some more RAM, the phone is still going to get a lot of flak except for people who look at it on paper. Symbian S60v5 is perfectly fine on ARM11. It doesn't need some insane CPU to keep up with the UI.

    Moreover, the N97 isn't really that much of a gaming platform like the iPhone. Think of the N97 like the Touch Pro 2. The Touch Pro 2 is more business oriented with the QWERTY and everything. HTC didn't upgrade the camera, and didn't bother to build it the same way the flagship Diamond 2 was built. This doesn't mean it's a BAD phone.

    You guys are thinking of this whole thing like a computer or something. Have you seen the N95 photos? It's a 2007 phone. Pretty much the best 5MP all around. The N97 does a little better. Yes it demolishes the 3MP crap on the 3GS. So coming from a more computer-centric crowd here yes it makes sense to bash a CPU, but from a mobile phone perspective it's not even that bad at all. If anything the phone was first a phone before it was a camera and then an MP3 player, and now a powerhouse mini computer. If you're telling me that in 2006 I could've bought a Sony Ericsson 3 MP cameraphone, then why are we still stuck there on the 3GS? There are more important features that phones push for such as music, camera, later GPS and connectivity, and now processing power. Give it some time and I bet you Nokia will have a winner soon.

    What crappy screen on the N97? Resistive? Get over it. The iPhone is capacitive, so all phones must be capacitive? The iPhone has a Cortex A8, everything else must have it? Please. Multi touch is patented by Apple, so it's a little difficult to move into that arena for now. There are advantages and disadvantages to both resistive and capacitive screens. Just because the N97 doesn't mimick the iPhone doesn't mean it sucks. HTC's WinMo phones are resistive screens too. So are the new Samsung Omnia II and Pro phones. So is the new Sony Ericsson Satio.

    Different phones are built differently, but honestly when you look at pure functionality, the lack of multitasking is much larger than a CPU difference.

    I feel it is justified to say Nokia needs to get to work, but to hear this from people who really doesn't have as much experience with unlocked phones is like hearing one of those ditzy people who buys Apple thinking it'll solve their spyware problems on their PC tell you why a Mac is superior. I'd rather hear it from the computer guru. Gizmodo may be negative, but I think Engadget gave the N97 a fair look and so did other reviewers like PhoneArena, GSMArena, Mobile-Burn, Symbian-Guru.

    Look I have nothing against Apple. I have a 3GS too. It's just not my thing and I'm back on my N-series. I'm not a Nokia fanboy or anything. There's plenty of criticism I've given the N97 and Nokia in the S60 section of HoFo, but I believe having had 3 iPhones, Anand is quite biased.
  • vshah - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - link

    Thanks for this excellent article, I really enjoyed the cpu benchmark/comparisons you did; they paint a very clear picture.

    I was curious as to your thoughts on the multitasking implementation on Android. Holding down home for a couple seconds brings up the 6 most recently accessed apps/tasks, and I've always found switching between them to be pretty fluid. Have you had a chance to try that out?

  • MrX8503 - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - link

    This isn't even a phone site and it has the most in depth review of the iphone yet.

    I guess being a tech site, Anandtech has an edge over other sites that just review phones.

    Good Work!
  • kmmatney - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - link

    I needed a new phone for work, and spent about 30 minutes in the local AT&T store testing out phones yesterday. After using the blackberry and iPhone for quite some time, I have to say the iPhone was much better. I was way more productive with it - everything was easy to do, while I felt like all the other phones were fighting me. Overall, a fantastic phone for business - I went for the 16GB 3GS model - the only gripe is the 7 day wait for shipment. Reply
  • sprockkets - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - link

    You mentioned using voice command. Can you use it via a BT headset?

    Also, does it play ringtones over the headset? Does it announce who is calling over the headset?
  • nafhan - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - link

    Thanks for a great article!

    One minor complaint, and it's really not even a complaint. I want to point out that this would have made two excellent stand alone articles.

    First article would have been about the current state of mobile CPU and GPU architecture. This section was excellent and detailed enough that I really felt it deserved it's own article rather than being lumped in as part of your iPhone impressions.

    Second article would have been your impressions and review of the 3GS.
  • WeaselITB - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - link

    I agree with this - it does seem that there are two articles vying for attention here, and with a bit more polish they could have been published separately.

    That said, I do want to commend you for this article. These are the types of in-depth reports that made me start reading AT ten or so years ago, and they are the type of in-depth reports that keep me reading. Thanks, Anand.
  • Rolphus - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - link

    I think this is an important point. Apple see the iPhone as a device, exactly the same as the iPod. No "user" compares about the iPod's CPU, any more than they care about the CPU of their refrigerator. For it to be a true consumer device (rather than a computer), it should "just work", and work with acceptable performance, in all the situations it's designed for.

    Yes, us techies want to know more, and that's precisely why we come to sites like Anandtech and read your articles. I don't think the mainstream user is ever going to care about these specs, but rather what the phone can do.
  • medi01 - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - link

    Wouldn't it be better to review alternatives? Like Samsung's new shiny MOLED display smartphone? Reply
  • wuyanxu - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - link

    superb article! a lot more indepth than all other websites. would love to see more like this, with more information on how the graphics cores improved its performance.

    however, what you should not forget is avaliability of jailbreak for 3GS. in the conclusion you've mentioned the hassle of re-launching apps. with a jailbreak, you will be able to send an app to background and get instant re-lanuch.

    my dream phone would be an iPhone with Andriod-like pull-down status bar notification system, and have JB's backgrounder come as standard.
    the pull down status bar will have the top 2/3 to be notifications. press to launch its apps. the bottom 1/3 will be icons of opened apps, and to close it, simply drag the icon to a reserved area.
    the idea is similar to a jailbroken app called mQuickDo, except with the notification system.
  • MrJim - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - link

    Why no mention of the heat issues? Reply
  • ViRGE - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - link

    Anand, if you haven't already, jailbreak the 3GS and grab SysInfoPlus from Cydia. It may be able to tell you the clock speed of the 3GS's ARM, although to what extent I'm not sure since it hasn't been specifically programmed for the A8. Reply
  • ltcommanderdata - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - link

    I don't suppose that program can also tell the GPU clock speed too?

    I always thought that the MBX work at bus speed, ie. 103MHz for the iPhone/3G and 133MHz for the 2nd Gen iPod Touch instead of the 60Mhz that Anand has speculated. Assuming the iPhone 3G S has a 150MHz bus speed, the SGX could run at 150MHz which is a reasonable compromise between Anand's 100MHz and 200MHz estimates.
  • fyleow - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - link

    How useful is the new GPU? The iPhone's performance has come a long way from the first generation but I don't see developers taking full advantage of the jump. If you bump up the graphics of your game it might run smoothly on the 3GS but end up lagging on the 1st gen iPhone.

    The increase in load times and battery life is much welcomed, but when do we get to see some apps that take advantage of the upgraded hardware in other more interesting ways? I can see a resolution increase as being one way to do that. The game would look better on a higher resolution screen but performance wouldn't suffer on the older models because the lower resolution would place less demand on the hardware.

    2010 will be an interesting year. There should be a bigger upgrade to the iPhone, most likely a resolution bump and a significantly modified OS that supports background tasks. Apple has been keeping all the devices on the iPhone platform on feature parity so far with the OS upgrades (minus obvious limitations due to hardware differences). It would be interesting to see how they handle the switch and the resulting two classes of phones that come from it (i.e. old "legacy" iPhones/Touch vs new iPhones/Touch).
  • ltcommanderdata - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - link

    You're right that it's difficult to take full advantage of the SGX without writing a separate dedicated code path for it and one for the MBX. However, there are simpler ways to take advantage of the iPhone 3G S power without writing 2 separate code paths. For example, you can scale draw distance based on hardware. Firemint demonstrated the iPhone 3G S accelerating 40 cars in Real Racing compared to 6 in the iPhone 3G, so the potential for better scalable AI is there. For a RPG, perhaps having more NPCs walking around to make the environment more lifelike. This can all be done using existing OpenGL ES 1.1 code playable on all iPhones/Touches, optimizing for each device, without making older iPhone users feel like they are playing some Lite version of the game as implementing shaders and HDR using OpenGL ES 2.0 in the iPhone 3G S might do.

    I believe the reluctance of Apple to change the resolution is that it could break the interface layout for existing apps and/or make things ugly if apps haven't used vector graphics. It would have been nice if they had enforced resolution independence early on, but I don't believe they did. Resolution independence is also what is needed for Apple to introduce an iPhone nano with a smaller screen and presumably smaller resolution.
  • smallpot - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - link

    Thanks for the article Anand. Your long-form articles are the reason Anandtech is my number one tech website. I'm thinking of articles such as this, your articles on SSD performance, and the long-form story behind the RV770. After reading such articles, I really feel like I've learned something, rather than just had performance metrics thrown at me without context. Reply
  • Baron Fel - Tuesday, July 07, 2009 - link

    Interesting article.

    As far as portable gaming goes, the Ipod Touch/iPhone/Zune HD dont have a chance against the DS or even the PSP. The software support just isnt there.

    PSP hardware runs circles around the DS, so why is the DS killing it in sales? Good games.

    and are we getting more SSD articles anytime soon? I think thats what we want to see :D
  • ltcommanderdata - Tuesday, July 07, 2009 - link

    Given all the media attention about discoloration and possible heat issues with the iPhone 3G S, I was wondering if you could comment on your experience in this area. Do you think it's a real concern or just stories popularized to generate page hits as Apple related stories tend to do? The latest reports on discoloration indicate that it might actually be from a reaction with some third-party cases that may be reversed by cleaning with alcohol.

    Similarly, there have been lower-key reports of build quality issues with the Palm Pre having a wobbly screen from it's slide-out keyboard. Has this been a major issue for you and do you think it'll be an issue over time?
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, July 07, 2009 - link

    I haven't seen anything to indicate heat as being a bigger concern with the 3GS. It's a new processor so there's bound to be some bad chips out there, but I wouldn't be too concerned.

    The build quality on the Pre did bother me. It's something that I think bothered me more because of my experience with the iPhone. The screen was a bit wobbly and overall the device just didn't feel as well put together. Part of it is because of the slide out keyboard, but part of it has to be cost/experience related. I think you'd get used to it over time, but if you then held an iPhone you'd quickly grow tired of the build quality issues once again :)

    Take care,
  • tomoyo - Tuesday, July 07, 2009 - link

    Btw Anand, the chart for number of stages in the cpus shows the Iphone 3GS as 8 stage instead of 13. Reply
  • psonice - Tuesday, July 07, 2009 - link

    My understanding is that the iphone 3gs GPU is actually a 535, not a 520. At least, this is the current understanding among iphone developers, and there's an SGX535 driver on the phone to support that. The extra power might explain the hit on battery life when playing games.

    Real numbers are pretty hard to come by, but it seems the 535 is roughly 4x faster than the 520. If so, that's a massive upgrade rather than just a decent one. The 535 also supports HD video decoding where the 520 doesn't - not that apple seem to be supporting it if it does.

    I heard too that the palm pre has a 530 GPU, which is 2x faster than the 520. That puts the iphone a long way ahead for graphics instead of behind.

    One thing in the article I really disagree with btw: you say that the phone makers should provide detailed specs. I think they shouldn't, as it's not helpful at all for the average buyer. If you go into a shop without having much clue and ask for an iphone because it's the latest thing, and the shop assistant says "well this is like an iphone, but it runs 200mhz faster" you'll end up buying the "better" phone based on the spec sheet, even if it's running win mobile 5.

    I was in Japan a while back, and they tend to buy phones based on the spec sheets there. The phones all compete on having the most features. They're all really big and HORRIBLE to actually use. None of that please!

    I think apple actually get their commercials right with the iphone on the whole: show somebody actually using the phone to do stuff. If the other manufacturers did the same, that would be a perfect way to compare.
  • christinme7890 - Thursday, July 09, 2009 - link

    I agree with you holistically. There are not many people in this world that even understand the specs. Not to mention when it comes to specs, and the person has no clue, they end up getting the one with the highest numbers. This is bad. I think you are right in saying that the way apple works their commercials is perfect for people. They show people all the great apps that they could use and they say that ALL of these apps can be on one phone.

    This is why I hate the Best buy MS commercials where the kid goes into the BB and buys a PC instead of a mac. The person always buys the computer with the best specs and care little about the OS, which is what they will be using. Windows, imo after using a Mac for a year, sucks in comparison to Mac. I rarely have a problem with a mac. I sit in class everyday and watch all the pc people have startup errors and os sleep or hibernation errors. I can close my mac and KNOW WITHOUT A DOUBT that it will wake up totally fine. Not to mention it wakes up seamlessly without load screens or anything. I will not compare the two but for business and usability the MAC gets my vote and I think if Apple does their commercials for the macs just as great. Sure most people are still using MS but that is because MS strong arms people into buying their stuff everytime you buy a Computer (not to mention Apple is very strict with their software and rightly so).
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, July 07, 2009 - link

    Ooh, very interesting - do you have any links to discussions on the 535 being in the 3GS?

    I don't think end users need to be bombarded with specs, but I think there needs to be more information put out about these things. We shouldn't have to play guessing games about clocks and specs; don't market them, but don't hide them either - that's my thinking.

    Take care,
  • BlazingDragon - Tuesday, July 07, 2009 - link

    Anand, here it is:
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, July 07, 2009 - link

    Very interesting - thanks guys, I've updated the article.

    Take care,
  • ltcommanderdata - Tuesday, July 07, 2009 - link

    It should probably also be noted that the MBX-Lite supports OpenGL ES 1.1 as implemented by Apple not just OpenGL ES 1.0. I believe it's Android's implementation that currently only supports OpenGL ES 1.0.

    It's also been reported that the iPhone OS 3.1 betas include improvements to the OpenGL stack that include additional OpenGL extensions. Whether these are focused on OpenGL ES 2.0 and the SGX or are also for OpenGL ES 1.1 and the MBX remains to be seen. Although on the issue of reducing market segmentation, it'd be great if Apple could implement the OpenGL ES 1.1 Extension Pack although I don't know if the MBX-Lite can actually support it in hardware.
  • BlazingDragon - Tuesday, July 07, 2009 - link

    Anand, here's it is:
    iPhone 3GS Has More Powerful PowerVR SGX 535 GPU?
  • kelmerp - Tuesday, July 07, 2009 - link

    I'm trying to decide between the MyTouch or a jailbroken iphone. Reply
  • sxr7171 - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - link

    JB iPhone vs. MyTouch? They're not even in the same league. Pre vs. iPhone is a comparison. Reply
  • pennyfan87 - Tuesday, July 07, 2009 - link


    i love you writing and tech analysis.

    but please, drop the fanboyism.
    3 articles on such a minor upgrade? please.

    more SSD stuff please.
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  • shank2001 - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - link

    Wow, talk about fanboyism. Let me get this straight, just because it is an article on the iPhone you feel there is no knowledge to be gleaned from an in depth article like this one? You would rather that no one wasted YOUR time with more articles about the iPhone, is that right?

    Well I, for one, learned a lot about smartphones in general, and not just the iPhone, but I especially loved this article getting into the nitty gritty of the iPhone.

    The iPhone happens to be the best smartphone out right now... it might not be that way forever.... probably not. But I really like the direction Apple has been taking the smartphone market since they introduced the iPhone.

    After years of using so called "smartphones" running windows mobile, and Pocket PC OS, etc. the iPhone is a breath of fresh air, and is the best smartphone I have ever owned.

    It took Apple to force the market into making a true smartphone. I am glad that Palm has woken up from their stupor and come out with the Pre, I hope it is enough to turn around their fortunes.

    Although, for me, it does not come close to the iPhone, but then again, most of the things that people seem to dislike, I actually LOVE... like the touchscreen typing for example. I am way faster typing on my iPhone than I ever was on my old smartphones with the chicklet keyboards. You just have to trust the autocorrection... once you learn to trust it, it is amazingly speedy. I no longer think twice about typing lengthy comments, such as this one, on my mobile phone any more! I just do it.

    I have not yet heard a single viable reason to hate the iPhone, I think I will coin the term "Hateboy" to describe these boys, they certainly act like little kids filled with illogical hate. No matter if you love the iPhone or hate it though, you have to admit that the iPhone DID revolutionize how smartphones will work from now on. Kudos to Palm for recognizing this fact, hopefully others will as well. The consumer is who wins. And good for Apple for finally getting some recognition for their amazing products that have led the industry from the very beginning in so many ways.
  • Myrandex - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - link

    I will agree that the iPhone revolutionized the smartphone market, and it has done some pretty amazing things pretty darn well good, but I still have some key complaints that prevent me from EVER getting one, unless I see a fundamental change in Apple, which never happens.

    I will not buy a phone without a Standard connection interface. Just beause the iPhone is so popular doesn't mean that its proprietary apple dock connector is standard. Use standard mini USB or micro USB, or I won't touch it.

    The touchscreen keyboard is good, and it does have a nice autocorrection, however I still prefer tactile feedback. As good as that keyboard is, there is no way that I can type without looking at the keyboard like I can on my current HTC smartphone. The keyboard on my phone is very comfortable, and I'd imagine that I am faster on that than some people on their computer keyboards. I've written 4 page emails from my phone with minimal effort. Some words I do not want autocorrected either. Acronyms many times are autocorrected by a phone, or names too, but many times I type these accurate and want them to stay that way, which on a software keyboard it slows you down because of verifying every key. Passwords also are like this, much slower when I'm using an iPhone compared to my smartphone (my fiancee has had both the 1st Gen iPhone and the iPhone 3G).

    iTunes. I hate it. If I have to use it to use a phone, I will not use the phone. I want USB Mass Storage device access, I want to copy and paste music to my phone with my organization that I have already decided upon (whether or not tags are filled out correctly), and I don't want to have to sync it, just copy and paste what I want ONTO it and OFF OF it. I want to be able to copy music from my desktop onto my phone, plug my phone into my laptop, and copy it off of there. No profiles, no syncing, just pure file access. Thanks Microsoft, no thanks Apple.

    Apple controlling application. This is corrected with jailbreaking, however I choose to vote with my wallet. I do not want to support a company that enforces this. Any application that I find that I want written for my phone, I will install on my phone. If it offends someone at Apple, then more power to me to want to install it on my phone. They will not make a dollar off of me for their stongarmed tactics.

    There are probably other small things as well, but those are the major ones.

  • christinme7890 - Thursday, July 09, 2009 - link

    if you are using your keyboard without looking you are most likely driving...a large portion of the accidents in cars happen because idiots are using their phones while driving. If you are doing this please stop or you could kill someone...no joke. I had a friend whose mom died because some idiot was text while driving.

    Second the itunes store is great for most people. Sure it doesn't have what you are looking for which is essentially a hdd but if it did then installing apps would suck. Why do you think the APP store is doing so well. Because it is a one stop shop. If I want a app, i go to the APP store and search for it and then click buy/install then sync and finished.

    If I were using a WinMo device I would have to first find a list of all the devs that offer the app i am looking for and visit each and every webpage and sit through all the trash that they claim their software does. Pay attention to the finding devs that produce the app I am looking for...this takes longer than you think, especially for a n00b consumer. I also have to pay attention to which WinMo OS the app supports. Many times you need the newest and greatest OS in order for it to work and when I had a PPC, verizon didn't let me have the latest upgrade to the OS. I had to hack the PPC to allow me to use the updated OS. Then once I find the right dev, the software is usually a lot more expensive because there is no immediate competition. So i end up paying a ton of money. Sure you can find free software that does similar but it is not backed by a good support system...merely a live forum. Then once I find the software I have to give them my credit card information and email address. I will more than likely end up getting a email daily from the company about their new crappy software. Now that I have spent 20 minutes entering in my underwear size and preferred deodorant brand I download my app. After downloading it I have to go through their custom install procedure. Then I have to hope that it installed correctly. Then if I want it to sync with my desktop I have to buy another piece of software and install it and then figure out how to get it to sync. So much hassle and running around and time wasted. I can install 1 APP store app in less than a minute and it could be a game that is 100mb installed over wifi.

    And about the music. Easy, you create what we call a playlist and drag and drop your music to the playlist and then sync your phone. You then play your playlist. Playlists are the same as folders. Not sure what is so difficult about that. Yes it would be nice to be able to connect my iphone to multiple computers to copy music but then you get what APPLE, along with every other business wants to avoid, and that is illegal sharing...duh. Just because people don't let you do anything you want doesn't mean you have to spew hate.

    "If it offends someone at Apple, then more power to me to want to install it on my phone." This attitude is selfish and you are probably one of those people that loves to steal and pirate software all the time. You care little for the developer and only about yourself.
  • shank2001 - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - link

    That was a good rebuttal comment. I agree with some of what you say, especially the having to look at the keyboard. It is a definite necessity. I do miss that about an actual physical keyboard.

  • iwodo - Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - link

    This is no way fanaticism. But the general enthusiasm in terms of great technology improvement. It was an GREAT article from Anand. ( Yes i read it all, give me lollipops :D ) May be you are too young to figure this out.

    What drive you to see more SSD stuff? I want to see more SSD review too. Why? Simply because HDD it is the SINGLE bottleneck living inside out current Computer. Be it PC or Mac.
    Upgrading from an Core2Duo to Core2Quad or even Core i7, Double Channel to Tri Channel, DDR2 to DDR3, 2GB to 4GB Memory, Geforce 9500 to GTX 290.... If you are not a gamer, any of these upgrades, or even if you do ALL of these upgrades, wont even land you a 10% overall performance increase in your 90+% day to day usage of computer. And even if they do show more then 10% in benchmark. There is a very small chance these are even human / user perceivable.
    You will properly feel your system being faster if you reinstall Windows rather then upgrading your Hardware.
    That is why SSD is so important and many people want one. It actually brings Significant perceivable speed improvement that is not seen FOR MANY YEARS.

    The last time we seen any improvement was in the Pre Pentium 4 days...

    iPhone, or Internet Mobile Devices, are in exactly the same period technology growth when PC were in the 486 and Pentium Era. 700% increase in Graphics, 100% increase in CPU speed? When was the last time you seen any of these in PC.

    The next technological advance are in the Mobile / Phone space. They are the new PC. Just like how X86 manage to utilize its Desktop strength to gain market share in server space. May be ARM could finally dethrone x86. ( At least i hope so )
  • iGo - Tuesday, July 07, 2009 - link

    Absolutely agree with cdrsft, never mind that guy. He probably read just the first and last page.

    Not always you come across the article which provides lot of information, on and off topic... and not always you find more than required information in an article which is actually useful and help you learn. Not to mention, all this written in absolutely enjoyable manner. :)

    Thank you, Mr. Shimpi for such wonderful article... and many more before this.

  • cdrsft - Tuesday, July 07, 2009 - link

    never mind that guy - your article was great and very helpful for those of us who want to understand more....... thank you! Reply
  • bowtech - Monday, November 08, 2010 - link

    can u explain why cortex a8 did not beat arm 11 in almost any of these tests then.http://www.pengutronix.de/development/kernel/arm-b... Reply
  • MassiveTurboLag - Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - link

    By the look of that video screenshot Anand drives a Porsche Cayenne. I hope he didn't see Jeremy Clarkson's video on it. Reply

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