I just was looking online and happened to see the line at the Iphone store in NYC… with the release of Jesus phone 2.0 it appears that Stevie Jobs reality distortion field is in full effect!!
So in honor of the unboxing videos and early previews elsewhere I am going to hit you all with the a review of said Jesus phone… bottom line is.. I like the phone, just don’t like the Network or the crappy battery life…
Apple’s iPhone has been the world’s most influential smart phone since its debut a year ago, widely hailed by Apple fanboy and girl alike for its beauty and functionality. It was on of the first true hand-held computers in pocket form that wasn’t buggy as Windows Mobile or Enterprise based like the Blackberries.. it in fact raised the bar for all its competitors. But that first iPhone had two b drawbacks: It was expensive as hell, and the Data networks speed sucked. We shall call this one IBETA PHONE… 600 bucks for an Edge data connection?? Are you serious?
On Friday, Apple is launching a second-generation iPhone, called the iPhone 3G, otherwise known hence forth as the IPHONE which addresses both of those problems, while retaining the look and feel of the first model’s hardware and software. it is the phone that should have came out a year ago but Stevie Jobs wanted to win a bet as to how many Suckers early adoptors would purchase the phones…
The base version of the new iPhone costs $199 for 8gb — half the $399 price of IBETA; the higher-capacity version is now $299 for 16gb, down from $499. This iPhone is much, much faster at fetching data because it uses a technology called 3G which is pretty much as fast as the data on Sprint and Verizon’s evdo. Tests show it to be faster in fact but I think once they have millions of users on the network it will and shall slow down.. The IPHONE now sports a GPS chip for better location sensing and real navi functions without depending on a cell tower to tell you that your within 5000 meters.
The company also is rolling out the second generation of its iPhone operating system, with some nice new features, including wireless synchronization with corporate email, calendars and address books. This is the shot at the Base of the Power from RESEARCH IN MOTION BLACKBERRY. There’s a new online store for third-party iPhone programs that Apple hopes will make the device usable for a wider variety of tasks, including gaming and productivity applications. This new software and store will also be available on IBETA, through a free upgrade.
I’ve been testing the iPhone 3G for about a week,(love those NDA’s) and have found that it mostly keeps its promises. In particular, I found that doing email and surfing the Internet typically was between three and five times as fast using AT&T’s 3G network as it was with the older AT&T network to which the IBETA was limited and slightly faster then Verizon’s EvDO REV A
Apple’s new iPhone operating system includes an ‘App store,’ where you can browse for, and download, third-party software. Hence apple still gets to keep your user experience related directly to what they want your to buy, use and consume.. I have to admit that closed model makes for a loyal although captive following.. now that it’s open to third-party programs, the iPhone has a chance to become a true computing platform with wide versatility.
The iPhone 3G isn’t the first phone to run on AT&T 3G networks, my mom’s Samsung uses 3G and the coverage in Baltimore is rather spotty but AT&T is working hard on expanding that in the way of Jesus Phone 2.0. The phone still costs more than some of its competitors, but 199.00 for a phone with the elegance of ITUNES, ease of use interface and 8gb of storage is a pretty appealing thing even on AT&T’s spotty network.
There are two big hidden costs to the iPhone’s faster speed and lower price tag. In my tests, the iPhone 3G’s battery was drained much more quickly then a normal smart phone on GSM, due to the higher power demands of 3G networks. This is an especially real problem because, unlike most other smart phones, the iPhone has a sealed battery that can’t be replaced with a spare, or larger capacity unit unless you want to void your warranty.
Second, Apple’s exclusive carrier in the U.S. AT&T Inc., has effectively negated the iPhone’s up-front price cut by jacking up its monthly fee for unlimited data use by $10. Over the course of the two-year contract you must sign to get the lower hardware prices, that adds $240, taking away the $200 savings on the phone itself. If you want text messaging, the cost rises further. With the first ibeta, 200 text messages a month came free. Now, 200 messages will cost $5 a month, or another $120 over the two-year contract… and perhaps no one told people but that Visual Voicemail uses Text messages… Nice..
The iPhone 3G still has a couple of features that may not let it get into the corp and business world as bad as Stevie wants in… It uses a virtual on-screen keyboard instead of a physical one. Its not hard to use but it will not be replacing my Blackberry anytime soon..
Lets sum up the changes since IBETA…
Design: The new iPhone looks almost exactly like the IBETA. It is the same length and width, has the same big, pretty screen, and has the same number and layout of buttons. The main difference is the back, which is now plastic instead of mostly metal and curved instead of flat. It’s very slightly thicker in the middle, with tapered edges, and weighs a tiny bit less. This helps in giving the phone a better feel in the hand and it shows.. The camera, however, sucks monkey balls and is bare-bones. It can’t record video and has a resolution of just two megapixels with no flash so all the pics look like they are in the dark unless your in a brightly lit outdoor setting.
Software: The basic software is similar to Ibeta or the Ipod touch. The biggest addition for some users will be full compatibility with Microsoft’s Exchange ActiveSync service, which many corporations use. I was able to connect the iPhone 3G to my company’s Exchange servers in a few minutes, using the same OWA settings I use on my blackberry and my corporate email and calendar were replicated on the phone. There was an annoying bit of duplication that resulted in me still getting messages on the phone when logged into my email at work, the blackberry system doesn’t do that due to the common sense thinking that you are at your desk why send mail to your phone as well?
Another drawback: While you can have both personal and Exchange email accounts on the new iPhone, if you synchronize with Exchange calendars and contacts, your personal calendar and contacts are erased.
The new iPhone and upgraded older ibeta’s will be able to use a new Apple consumer service, MobileMe, which offers synchronized push email, calendars, photos and contacts using the wonder world of cloud computing… For 99.00 a year gotta love that apple profit model!!
There are some improvements. You can now delete multiple emails at once, set parental controls and search your contacts. You can also save photos in emails or from Web sites…. finally!! You can also now open Microsoft PowerPoint files sent as attachments, though I found that opening larger PowerPoint files caused the phone top hang up and I dont think its due to a lack of power as much as software…
Some software features missing from the first iPhone are still AWOL on the new one. There’s no copy and paste function??? no universal search, no instant messaging unless you load up that lovely AOL IM (who the hell still uses AOL) and no MMS for sending photos quickly between phones.
Network: Like the IBETA the new one can perform Internet tasks using either Wi-Fi wireless networking or the cellphone networks. But the addition of 3G cellular capability makes the new model more useful for Web surfing, email and other data tasks when you’re not in Wi-Fi range. I got data speeds mostly ranging between 200 and 500 kilobits per second. By comparison, the original IBETA, mostly got cellular data speeds between 70 and 150 kbps on AT&T’s old EDGE network. With a browser as full as Safari you need the extra speed..
While AT&T now has 3G networks in 280 U.S. cities, and aims to be in 350 by year end, it is converting its cellphone towers gradually, so not all areas of included cities have 3G coverage. The iPhone falls back to EDGE speeds when 3G isn’t present which for some will be more often then not..
Battery life: Apple claims that over 3G, the iPhone can get five hours of talk time, or five hours of Internet use. Talk time is twice as long on the older EDGE network, and Internet time is an hour better with Wi-Fi.
More important, in daily use, I found the battery indicator on the new 3G model slipping below 20% by early afternoon or midafternoon on some days, and it entirely ran out of juice on one day. You can overcome this problem by learning to use Wi-Fi instead of 3G whenever possible, turning down the screen brightness and even turning off 3G altogether, which the phone permits albeit buried under 20 menu’s.
The iPhone 3G’s battery life is comparable to, or better than, that of some other 3G phones such as the Nokia 95 and upcoming Blackberry Bold But they have replaceable and extended battery options. The iPhone doesn’t and that’s the rub…
Third-party software: If things go as Apple hopes, third-party software could be the biggest attraction to the new iPhone 3G, and to upgraded IBETAS. By some estimates, there will be around 5-6 hundred of these programs, some free and some paid, almost immediately.
I tested a game that used the phone’s motion sensors to control the action, and I tested several programs from America Online,(though way apple would allow that crap to be run on the Jesus phone beats me) including AOL Instant Messenger; AOL Radio, which streams music from the Internet; and AOL’s Truveo video search engine. All worked very well if you can call anything AOL “well”
Among the programs Apple has publicly previewed during the announcement of the phone was, a game called Super Monkey Ball from Sega and a program for bidding on eBay. Also made public were a news reader from the Associated Press, a program for following live games from Major League Baseball (helpful in fantasy leagues) and several programs for doctors, including the Epocrates drug reference in case you overdose on no doze while waiting in line for the phone.
Bottom line: If you’ve been waiting to buy an iPhone until it dropped in price, or ran on a faster cell network, you might want to take the plunge, if you can live with the higher service costs and the weaker battery life. The same goes for those with existing ibetas who love the device but crave faster data speeds. I however will not be trading my blackberry in for one as I need the keyboard and more seamless email and calendar management. I tried to drink the Kool Aid but it wasn’t “red” so I passed it along…