iPhone 3G S Let’s talk features.

On June 8, 2009

Due to technical difficulties, I am posting this for Dan.  These are his words.

So another Apple keynote is over and the evaluation begins. As has been the case recently, many of the last-minute rumors turned out to be entirely true while some key ones decidedly false. My suspicion is that perspectives are going to be all across the board. People who came into the process expecting something completely radical or some huge surprise were likely disappointed by what is, by and large, evolutionary across the board. For those who were quite happy with the status quo, however I suspect that there was a great deal to like.

Having sold my iPhone 3G2 weeks ago in anticipation of an upgrade, I couldn’t be happier with two of my decisions. First, I’m glad I sold the iPhone before the unbelievable price drop of the 8 GB iPhone 3G which all but destroys the high end of the resale market. At the same time, I took a gamble and didn’t sell any of my iPhone 3G accessories. I was hoping upon hope that the new iPhone’s body would be similar enough that external batteries and cases would still fit. Good call. 

Overall, I couldn’t be happier with a range of announcements we heard earlier today. A quick rundown of some of the key ones and some additional commentary.

1. The upgraded camera. As expected the new iPhone will have a three megapixel camera with autofocus that, in keeping with Apple style, makes great use of the touchscreen. No surprises but a decent upgrade.

Comment — I read someone recently commented that the iPhone has the best camera because the best camera is the one you keep with you all the time. I’m amazed at how much I’ve used my iPhone’s camera and I’m absolutely thrilled to see getting a nice bump in megapixel but, more importantly, a host of new features that will allow us to take far better pictures than ever before. I love the autofocus and think the macro feature will come in quite handy.

2. Video. No surprises here either. Video capture will be an integral part of the new iPhone and it will allow you to share video via e-mail, YouTube and MobileMe. Best of all the rumors about onboard editing turned out to be entirely true.

Comments — being able to shoot video from the iPhone is terrific. I got a taste of it with the jail broken iPhone classic that I’ve been using and with the upgraded camera and Apple software and should work fantastically well. The onboard editing is a killer feature and it kills — the flip video cameras. I love mine and use it all the time. And while video shot from the iPhone won’t come anywhere close to the clarity of the newest models the fact that the iPhone allows you to edit and upload rate on the device makes it a far more attractive product even with a camera that is the spirit.

3. Voice control. Voice control is finally part of the iPhone. Pull down the button speak and you can control the phone in the iPod and more. Finally.

Comment — it’s about time. In addition to that, it’s about time. I’ve tried just about every voice recognition application available and none of them worked well. They began with a huge disadvantage — in order to use the new first needed to launch the application. The fact that voice control is part of the operating system, coupled with a far faster phone will make this an absolute dream. I am so incredibly excited to see this feature added is it will make the device far more user-friendly.

4. Speed. Reports were true here as well — the iPhone’s will be twice as fast, hence warranting the addition of S to the name.

Comments — I never found my iPhone to be particularly sluggish but the faster processing, improved graphics and rebuilt safari of OS 3.0 promises to make using the device more of a pleasure than ever before. This speed, combined with all the other features, makes the new iPhone more of a handheld computer than ever before. Awesome

5. Digital compass — as expected the device includes a digital compass which will work in conjunction with the GPS chip and a new openness to turn by turn directions that makes the device’s location features even more powerful than before.

Comment — one of the features I have loved about my iPhone 3G, and missed since downgrading, is the GPS chip. The tight integration of the GPS with the address book and e-mail to one of the best features over the last year. The fact that the digital compass is included only makes the navigation and location features more powerful and that’s always a good thing. Standalone GPS companies must be clicking in their boots case, I suspect, why we saw the navigation system demonstrated today that we did.

6. Find my iPhone. Built into the iPhone’s operating system is a great tracking feature in a neat little system for locating your iPhone if you misplaced. The ability to remotely wipe the device is also included.

Comments — iInclusion of tracking features as well as remote wipe is a nice featur that adds a level of security to the device that should give a lot of people a good deal of comfort. Since I am far more likely to misplaced my wallet or keys than my iPhone the location system is a nice piece of geek tech but not much more than that for me.

7. Other features. The inclusion of voiceover, improve battery life tethering and MMS all make an appearance and none of it’s really a big surprise.

I like the voiceover feature on the iPod shuffle sunglasses included. Improved battery life will soon may be welcomed and while beggars can’t be choosers I do wish it were even more of a boost and we’re going to see. Multimedia messaging doesn’t make me all excited but the fact eventually tethering will rollout, I hope, makes me extremely happy. I’ve been thinking about getting one of the portable WiFi units from Verizon and now I don’t have to. Instead I just have to wait.

When you look at the number of new features that are going to be on the iPhone it’s rather impressive. In fact, unless you are expecting the device to actually have a forward facing camera even though it runs on a network that can’t even support multimedia messaging or tethering right now where you expect it to suddenly become a transformer that, on demand, morphed into a 10 inch tablet, I’m not sure how you could be disappointed in today’s announcement. Add to that the fact that people can now get into an 8 GB iPhone 3G for under $100 in Apple, who has been leading the cell phone and held held computer pack for the last two years just move further ahead.

As for Palm, from what I hear they have a decent device on their hands but I would not want to be in her shoes tonight.