Handset Preview: iPhone 3G S

It’s that time of the year again…I’m referring to Apple’s annual World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) where they have traditionally announced a variety of new products. For the past couple of years, the biggest buzz surrounding this event has been the anticipated announcement of the next generation iPhone and as usual, Apple didn’t disappoint. They have announced the 3rd version of the smartphone and they are calling it the “iPhone 3G S”. The “S” stands for speed. The form factor is in most part identical to the 2nd gen model. They have made a variety of improvements to the hardware and the “3G S” will also ship with the new 3.0 OS. Here are some new features of the iPhone 3G S:

iPhone 3G S

  • Video capture and edit – In the YouTube era, video capture is definitely a must have in any smartphone and Apple has finally answered. The “3G S” adds a new feature that I haven’t seen in any smartphone. In addition to capturing video, it also allows you to edit the video on the fly before uploading or emailing.
  • Improved camera –  3.0MP with autofocus, but still no flash.
  • Faster processor and improved battery life – this typically doesn’t go together because running faster usually means draining the batter faster. Apple did a good job improving the efficiency on the other power hungry components inside the phone. Look forward to faster running applications and smoother loading web pages.
  • Voice control – you can speak commands to the iPhone to dial a phone number, play a song, announce the song title, etc… I’ve never been a big fan of voice control. I find it faster to just dial the phone myself. You still have to press a button on the iPhone to tell it to listen to you, so it is not completely handsfree. If it actually listened to you without you having to press a button first, now that would be cool.
  • Voice memo – this is a handy feature. You can use it to record meetings, lectures, or short notes. I think it would be a better app if they had a function to transcribe your recording to text.
  • Compass – this is the first time I’ve seen a compass on a phone and I think this is a cool feature. It’s definitely useful when combined with the GPS. Maybe someone will design a “stud finder” app.
  • Spotlight search – The inability to search through emails is a big issue. Spotlight is a feature that Mac users are familiar with. It allows you to quickly search anything on the iPhone (email, contacts, iPod, etc…)
  • Cut, copy, paste – Nothing too exciting here, except that it finally works.  I like how you can undo the cut, copy or paste by  shaking to the phone.
  • MMS – It’s finally working! But as smartphone adoption continues to increase, why would we need to use MMS?

The new iPhone 3G S will hit stores on June 19  for $199 (16GB) and $299 (32GB) for new AT&T customers. Existing customers won’t be as lucky because it will cost you $399 (16GB) and $499 (32GB) to upgrade if you are still in a contract. Apple has also cut the price of the existing 3G version to $99 for new customers. This will surely attract a whole new set of customers that were previously on the fence because of price. Are you getting one?