iPhone 3G finally arrives!

Apple iPhone 3g

Apple’s new iPhone 3G differs only slightly from its predecessor in terms of look and feel – most of the major improvements to software and hardware have taken place “under the hood”.

The next-generation device has done away with the aluminium rear casing of its predecessor in favour of a convex black plastic back, which lends the handset a reassuring weight and feel.

The new GPS functions promise to build on the triangulation software already built into the device, which guesstimates a user’s location based on their proximity to nearby mobile phone masts. Global-positioning capabilities will make mapping much more accurate, and open up a tantalising range of possibilties to third-party developers looking to create software and programs for the iPhone, such as restaurant recommendations or traffic updates, that can leverage is location-sensitive functions.

The new App Store looks very impressive, with an extraordinary range of widgets available for the iPhone at competitive prices. The ability to legitimately tailor the iPhone experience to suit individual needs and preferences is a big selling point, and iTunes provides a seamless platform through which to deliver such capabilities.

Apple could even give Nintendo a run for its money – playing video games on the iPhone is a joy, with users simply having to tilt and rotate the iPhone to control the actions of on-screen characters. Game graphics appear crisp and well-rendered, while developers will be keen to create games tailored to this platform in order to take advantage of the iTunes ecosystem, which will see games sold alongside music and movies.

Steve JobbsChanges to the device itself were not as wide-ranging as expected. There was no storage bump for instance, when it had been widely expected that a 32GB version would be launched to bring the iPhones in line with the iPod touch product suite. Nor was there an improvement to the camera, which many had thought would be improved from two megapixels to at least three megapixels.

Nevertheless, for European consumers who chose to bide their time rather than jump on the iPhone bandwagon when it initially launched in November, there will be a sense of vindication. The new 3G device is better suited to our domestic market, while the highly competitive pricing brings the iPhone nicely in line with other high-end smartphones.

On the surface, little has changed, but look closer and you will see that with the launch of iPhone 2.0 software to go with the new 3G device, the iPhone has become less a mobile communications handset and more a pocket computer.

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