7/14/08
1:42 pm

MacMost Now 106: Review of New iPhone 3G Features

Gary Rosenzweig looks at the new features of the iPhone 3G: Design, GPS, flush headphone jack and 3G connectivity.

Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi this is Gary. Ive got the new iPhone 3G. So let's go and take a look at it on this episode of MacMost Now.
So the lines here in Colorado were incredible all weekend. I checked several times a day, every day, and it was never shorter than 3 hours. So I get in line this Monday morning, bright and early, and was able to get 8th and line, and get a new iPhone. Now they were out of the black iPhone 3G's in the 16gb version so I got a white one instead. Anyways, here's the box and it comes with the iPhone sitting on top usually. And then inside is the little manual and you get the dock cable, the ear buds, and a great new power adapter that's really small and built for travel. And missing this time was the dock, now the dock wasn't very useful as you can just use the cable by itself to sync with your Mac, but it was useful because it has an Audio/ Video jack in it. So its unclear whether the old docks are going to work with new iPhones. Certainly the same is not true the other way around.I'll be testing out my old dock with the new iPhone to see if I can use that to get audio and video out.
So the new iPhone looks exactly like the old one, except there is a little more space between the screen and the edge and the screen is a little more sunk in. I have heard that the touch glass and the Lcd screen are actually separate elements in this device so it might make it a little easier to repair. Now the backs of course are going to look very different. Their white or black, the old one was silver with a strip at the bottom. One of the best features of the new design though is the head phone jack which is flush with the outside. Which means you can plug in any set of headphones or a line in for your stereo or for your car.
Here's a better look at it. Now this is one of the biggest features for me. I mean I've had so many problems over the last year because of that recessive headphone jack. Every time I got another adaptor, I seemed to either lose it or have it in the wrong place at the wrong time. There were plenty of times when I was wondering around with a set of headphones, my iPhone, and no way to connect the two. So I'm glad they took care of this.
Now one of the other big features of course is the GPS and I went out and tested this right away. From inside the building here, it basically didn't get any GPS signal. I figure cause it only gave me the general area which I figured it got off of the wi-fi signal from my local routers. But then when I stepped outside it very quickly, without any action from me, zeroed in on my location. Just took a few seconds. And then instead of a circle, it became a blip. And suspecting that this was a live connection, I went and started walking down the street. And sure enough the blip kept plotting where I was. And it looked like also if you used directions it will update the directions as you go. So it wont tell you the directions but at least it will update the list of directions as you walk or drive. So the GPS seems to work great. I'm looking forward to some better apps being developed. Specifically an app that just tells you the basic GPS information so you can use it for something like Geo-caching. Right now your restricted to using it in a few social media apps, some apps that tell you where local restaurants are, and the Google maps on the main screen.
Actually it would be great to have a Geo-caching app. One that would not only look up the information at the Geo-caching website, but also went and showed you your GPS location to hone in on where these caches are. If you don't know what Geocaching is check out Geocaching.org for a fun game you can play hopefully with your new GPS iPhone.
So the other long anticipated feature is of course the 3G chip inside of the new phone. I intentually turned off the wi-fi in the phone and just tried to use the 4G network to surf around to sites I usually go to on my iPhone. And yes it was a lot faster. I thought edge was pretty fast here in Denver but 3G was even faster so that's going to be a nice feature that just gives me slight benefits over the next year.
Of course an anti-feature of the new iPhone is the slightly new shape. If you look at it it has kind of a bump in the middle and the edges are slightly rounded differently so my autobox was not able to fit. I tried a couple other cases that I had lying around, they weren't able to fit. I was able to get one rotary case to fit it just fine but it looks like I'm going to have to buy a new case for this. And with new cases running 30, 40, or even 50 bucks, that's an extra expense you have to take into account.
So there's a rundown of the changes between the 3G iPhone and the old iPhone. There are several good advantages to this phone, but its still a hard sell if you already have an existing iPhone.
Until next time this is Gary Rosenzweig with MacMost Now.