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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  • Cecily - Monday, March 22, 2010 - link

    It is really a classical smart phone. Reply
  • MaxxxRacer - Monday, July 14, 2008 - link

    My girlfriend and I just got iPhones and we have the family plan. We were transfering from Sprint and I had no isssues. I created the iphone family plan when we bought the first iPhone (friday) and on Saturday we got the second one and added it to the family plan. Do note though, that this is an iPhone family plan, not the regular family plan. Reply
  • steveyballmer - Sunday, July 13, 2008 - link

    Microsoft is working on the REAL thing!
    ZunePhone!
    You will feel stupid for buying one of these toys once you see it!

    Wait people, wait!

    http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com">http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com
    Reply
  • The Preacher - Saturday, July 12, 2008 - link

    "indicating that perhaps the DNS server AT&T is using is the reason why we’re so slow here"
    You may use whatever (public) DNS server you wish as long as you have an IP connection... provided you are able to change the DNS IP on your phone.

    Just google up some public DNS server list or try this
    http://theos.in/windows-xp/free-fast-public-dns-se...">http://theos.in/windows-xp/free-fast-public-dns-se...

    It would be best if you could ping those IPs from your phone (and pick the one with shortest delay) but I'm not sure if Apple included such a "sophisticated" application. :)
    Reply
  • flackman - Saturday, July 12, 2008 - link

    This could have something to do with the added load on the airwaves at the time. I would be interested to see how it stacks up in a few weeks. Reply
  • GL - Friday, July 11, 2008 - link

    Well our pricing plans may suck but I just did the same speed test and got 1850 kbps on 3G speeds with an iPhone on the Rogers network. Previously I was getting 210 kbps via EDGE. I'm quite pleased with the speeds, even latency seems a tad bit better over 3G (but still slow overall at 150+ ms). Reply
  • cocoviper - Friday, July 11, 2008 - link

    I agree. I'd like to see a feature by feature comparison
    (reception, voice quality, GPS, camera, iTunes vs Sprint music store, AT&T 3G vs Sprint 3G, etc).
    Reply
  • GhandiInstinct - Friday, July 11, 2008 - link

    Could you please compare it to the HTC Diamond and Instinct?

    I'm completely not sold on the 3G and I don't own the original.

    I hate monopolies.
    Reply
  • spidey81 - Saturday, July 12, 2008 - link

    What about a comparison to the Verizon network EVDO rev.A and the new LG Dare. I just recently upgraded to this device and love it. The iPhone may have a better screen, but I honestly think the Dare has the better package. It's not a "smart" phone, I know, but it certainly has a lot of the features that the iPhone lacks. Reply
  • gramboh - Friday, July 11, 2008 - link

    I was going to get an iPhone 3G on Rogers here in Canada today but didn't want to waste hours in line so I put my name down for the next shipment.

    I wasted a bunch of time at work ensuring there were no valid alternatives for my needs (good phone, good browsing, good media capabilities and most importantly good UI - I will use it to read email but not reply, not Blackberry level anyway).

    The Touch Diamond looked intriguing until I watched enough YouTube reviews to discover you STILL have to type with the damn stylus because the Windows Mobile touch keypad is TINY. I can't believe they didn't implement their own widescreen large size keyboard on the Diamond. That is a dealbreaker for me. The Blackberry Bold looks semi interesting but Blackberry's web browsers thus far have been utterly useless. iPhone it is.
    Reply

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