iPhone 3G S: What You Need to Know


The iPhone 3G S arrived in AT&T and Apple stores this morning. (All images via Apple.)

The iPhone 3G S is at AT&T and Apple stores across the country this morning. Here's the low down on new features, software, pricing and more.

Jun. 19, 2009 — by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Apple began selling the iPhone 3G S this morning at 2,200+ AT&T locations, 211 Apple Stores and seven other countries.

One analyst says Apple may sell 500,000 iPhones this weekend. Seems like a lofty number, but it would be only half as many as the iPhone 3G did in its first week. The iPhone 3G went up for sale in 21 countries on the first day.

There are minor changes to the outside of the iPhone 3G S, including an oil-resistant screen. Major overhauls have occurred on the inside, which contains the new iPhone 3.0 software.

The iPhone 3G S (‘S’ is for speed) will be able to do everything much faster than the iPhone 3G. Apps will launch faster, Web pages will download faster (2.9x times) and games will load quicker (2.4x). Apple says the new iPhone supports Open GL ES 2.0, the latest 3-D graphics API for mobile devices.

The battery lasts a lot longer on the 3G S, according to Apple, saying you’ll get nine hours of Internet access, 10 hours of video, 30 hours of audio and 12 hours of 2G talk time.

The built-in camera has been upgraded to a 3-megapixel version with autofocus and the ability to tap the display to focus on anything in the image. Multimedia Messaging Support (MMS), although not immediately supported by AT&T, allows you to send photos and other media to friends and family.

There’s also a new video recording feature to capture 30-fps VGA video, edit it down, share it on YouTube and sync it back to your MAC or PC. Voice Control allows users to say a name or phone number to make a call. It can also tell you what song is playing or pull up your favorite album.

Here are some of the other features via the new 3.0 software. Cut, Copy, Paste — Cut, copy and paste functionality may be the most anticipated new feature. iPhone fans have been calling for it since the device launched in 2007. Users will be able to copy text by double-tapping and can paste it anywhere — even in other apps. Text, HTML and photos can all be copied, according to Apple.

Spotlight Search — Allows users to search for anything — contacts, apps, music, events, etc. — and returns any sort of media that matches the search. Spotlight search is located on the left side of the home screen and displays an icon to indicate the type of media the search returns.

Turn-by-Turn GPS — Google Maps on the iPhone let you find locations via turn-by-turn directions. You can select walking or driving directions and check real-time traffic info. You can search by address or keyword, and there’s a built-in compass so you’ll always know what direction you’re going.

Horizontal Keyboard — The iPhone 3.0 software update brings a horizontal keyboard to more than just the Safari browser. Mail, notes and messages will all now be easier and faster to type.

Find My Phone — Lost your iPhone? The Find My Phone feature allows users to log-in to the MobileMe online service ($99 yearly subscription required) to activate an alert that will play from your iPhone. If your phone is nearby, surely you will hear it. If not, data can be cleared remotely.

Accessibility Options — The operating system in the 3G S has built-in closed captioning and TTY support for those who have trouble seeing or hearing. Mono audio can route both the right- and left-channel audio into both earbuds for easier hearing.

There’s also VoiceOver (different from Voice Control) that will give you a description of what’s under your finger on the screen and give you control of the phone. VoiceOver is available in 21 different languages.

Tethering — Tethering essentially turns the phone into a modem for Internet access for laptops and other mobile devices. However, again, AT&T will not support this feature right away.

How to Get an iPhone 3G S
Apple and AT&T stores are sure to be mobbed all day today. So AT&T has released this shopping guide to help those in search of an iPhone. Here are the highlights.

New AT&T customers who want to keep their phone number from another carrier should bring a copy of a current bill and the following information:

  • Account number
  • Name of the account holder
  • Account holder’s Social Security Number or Tax ID
  • Billing address
  • PIN or password (if applicable)

AT&T stores will initially only sell one iPhone 3G S per person for new customers. Existing customers may purchase one per eligible telephone number. Online shoppers may purchase one device per household.

If you preordered an iPhone online, it should be shipping to your home or office as we speak. You should have an email that confirms the date of arrival. If you bought an iPhone 3G between May 9-June 19, Apple will take it back for a restocking fee so you can get the iPhone 3G S.

An iPhone, of course, requires a two-year contract. If you’re an existing AT&T customer, click here to check your upgrade eligibility. For first-time buyers or those who fulfilled a previous contract, here’s the pricing:

  • 16GB iPhone 3G S — $199
  • 32GB iPhone 3G S — $299
For those who haven’t fulfilled their current contract and are looking to upgrade, prepare to dig a little deeper into that wallet:
  • 16GB iPhone 3G S — $399
  • 32GB iPhone 3G S $499

Monthly plans start at $69.99, which is $10 less than what the lowest price plan used to cost.

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