Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The 3G iPhone

Well we've all known it was coming, and that it was 3G. Engadget are hands-on with the new iPhone...

CREDIT: Engadget

However despite the hype surrounding the new phone, Read/Write Web injects a healthy dose of realisim by noting that all Apple is doing is playing catch up. While Dean Bubly points out that the 2MP camera was obsolete on the previous model, let alone this years model. It's a point I can certainly sympathise with, as I no longer own a digital camera. With a 5MP camera on my current phone, why would I have to?

My biggest problem with the old iPhone was Bluetooth, or rather the lack of proper Bluetooth support for anything other than the Headset Profile. Unlike the US, where Bluetooth really hasn't got a lot of market penetration, Bluetooth is everywhere here in the UK. Most, actually thinking about it, all of the devices I carry around with me (apart from my iPod touch) come with Bluetooth and unlike the States we're never suffered from the "crippled Bluetooth" problem. The new iPhone claims to come with Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR. However, whether this means that we finally have proper Bluetooth support remains to be seen.

On the down side, at least in the US, the "novel" at home activation via iTunes has gone the way of all things, and activation is in-store only. I doubt they're going to get away with that here in the UK, almost nobody I know buys their phones in a bricks-and-mortar store. I'm sure some people do, there wouldn't be as many mobile phone stores if they didn't, but everyone I know orders their handset online and it arrives the next day via courier. Worryingly however, if you go to the Apple website, only O2 and Carphone Warehouse are listed as places you can get a new iPhone.

On the up side, the iPhone is heavily subsidised here in the UK and will be free (via TechCrunch UK) from O2 on tariffs above £45 per month. The tariffs themselves, and here our friends across the pond must remember that in the UK you're not billed for incoming calls and text messages, are actually quite competitive.

Over the last few years we've been fighting an ongoing rear-guard action against longer contracts here in the UK, and regrettably, the iPhone might be the final nail in the coffin for traditional 12 month contracts. Although I'll note that O2 didn't quite have the guts to try and push the 24 month contracts that are standard with AT&T in the US. Unsurprisingly perhaps, I doubt anyone would buy the handset at all at that point, a longer contract would be far more off putting that anything else they could do apart from charging for it in the first place.

The only remaining problem? How do I hide the purchase from my wife?