The new iPhone 3GS has been described as more evolutionary than revolutionary, and I agree with that idea. Apple already revolutionized the mobile phone market with the original iPhone, and now they just need to keep things moving along to stay a few steps ahead of the competitors.
When the 1st gen iPhone was released, the biggest competition came from devices like the Samsung BlackJack, or the Blackberry Pearl (which I owned at the time). Both these devices were far behind the innovation curve from the iPhone. Frankly, Apple made these devices look archaic.
Since then competition has heated up. Most of these companies have just blatantly ripped off the design of the iPhone, and tried to make what they feel are improvements. The exception to this is the Palm Pre, which does look like someone really put some thought into what a mobile device should be like, without an iPhone in their hand. Palm’s WebOS lets apps run in the background, making them much easier to “launch” when needed. And who doesn’t love the idea of wireless charging? Hopefully the guys in Cupertino are taking some notes for once.
With the 3GS, the iPhone takes the next step. Video always seemed like an odd thing for the iPhone to be missing. After all, this was a device that debuted with 8 gigs. But now the iPhone does video, and true to Apple style, does video better than any other mobile phone. You can even make simple edits and upload directly to YouTube. I’m guessing that by the end of the year, the iPhone will be the #1 mobile device uploading to YouTube. Possibly even the #1 device period.
Video is done through another much needed improvement, the camera. The camera on the iPhone wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t very good either. Apple pumped up the camera to a nice 3.2 megapixel model that takes pretty impressive images for a phone. And of course, Apple again makes the uploading experience seamless.
The addition of GPS in the 3G was great, but it’s with the new OS update that Apple takes advantage of this with the very cool service, Find My iPhone. This simple service allows you to locate your iPhone through Apple’s MobileMe service. You can even send messages to the device. Could this mean the end of iPhone theft?
The last big new feature on the iPhone comes as a bit of a disappointment. The biggest sacrifice in giving up my Blackberry for the iPhone was the loss of voice dial. I’m a big user of Bluetooth headsets, and even my car has Bluetooth control. The 1st gen iPhone had Bluetooth, but no ability to voice dial through an external device. I thought it odd, but I figured it was something on the way. But after an OS update, and a new model, still no voice dial. Finally with the 3GS Apple added voice dial to the mix. I was very excited, and even purchased a new headset for the occasion. But then comes the shocker…you can not use voice dial through Bluetooth!
Between the safety, and legal issues of dialing when driving, I’m really shocked that Apple has not released this feature yet. From a technology point, I can’t figure out why Apple would have left this off, and it is certainly intentional.