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Apple iPhone 3G S

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8th June 2009

The Apple iPhone 3G S is the latest revision of Apple's iPhone handset. Announced one year after the iPhone 3G, the iPhone 3G S is a faster phone with more features, but one that looks remarkably similar to previous generation iPhones.

 Apple iPhone 3G S

Apple say that the iPhone 3G S is up to twice as fast as the iPhone 3G, and that in turn was twice as fast as the original iPhone. So, if you still have the original model, then it's probably worth trading up for the speed increase alone.

 Apple iPhone 3G S On the back is a three megapixel camera with autofocus, but no flash. The iPhone 3G S is the first iPhone to include video recording (something that other phones have had for years). Apple say that the 3G S can record up to 640 x 480 pixels at 30 frames per second, which is comparable with most other high-end phones. It doesn't really compete with the 5, 8 or even 12 megapixel cameras in some rivals though, but it is certainly a huge improvement over the old model.

Something else missing from previous iPhones was support for MMS multimedia messaging, a feature rarely used by most people.. but perhaps something that will appeal to iPhone users. The new iPhone 3.0 software also introduces some other long overdue features such as copy and paste and a landscape virtual keyboard - but it also comes with some highly innovative features that you might wonder how you lived without, including an application to locate a lost iPhone on a map and a remote wipe feature if it gets stolen.

There are a whole load of other upgrades in the new version of the iPhone software, and existing iPhone owners can upgrade their handsets to take advantage of some of these features too. These include a better calendar, more comprehensive search facility, improvements to web browsing and more multimedia playback features. Another long overdue feature is that you can tether the iPhone 3G S to a laptop as a portable modem.. but only if you are not using the US AT&T network. One key weakness with the iPhone has been the inability to run several applications at once, and it seems that the iPhone 3G S may still have this problem.

 Apple iPhone 3G S The iPhone has had GPS support in it since last year - the iPhone 3G S introduces a digital compass which can be used either like a traditional compass, or it can combine with the iPhone's mapping application to automatically orient maps depending on which way you are facing. GPS also integrates with the camera so that both photos and videos can be geo-tagged.

The 3.5" 320 x 480 pixel touchscreen display is pretty similar to the one found on older models. Although the iPhone's software makes good use of the available pixels, handsets such as the HTC Touch Diamond2 have much higher resolution displays. The iPhone supports multi-touch, which is something that some rivals can't manage, and it also has a special coating to resist fingerprints.

Internal memory is now 16GB or 32GB, which should be enough for most people, although there is no way to expand it. It's certainly better than the 4GB of memory in the original base model. Apple say that they have improved the battery life, but it still gives the same 5 hours talktime on 3G with up to 12 days standby time of the previous model, and annoyingly the battery is not user replaceable.

Underneath, this is a quad-band GSM phone with tri-band UMTS support plus HSDPA high-speed downloads up to 7.2 Mbps. The iPhone 3G S also supports WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1 and USB connectivity. The size and weight are pretty much unchanged from the previous version, and there are two simple colour schemes available of black or white.

The phrase "the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree" certainly applies here. The iPhone 3G S is almost impossible to tell apart from the previous generation from the outside, it builds on the strengths of previous iPhone generations and it finally gets around to correcting some of their faults.

Apple say that the iPhone should be available on the US AT&T network from 19th June onwards, priced at $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for the 32GB model when taken with a 2 year contract. There's no word of availability on other carriers worldwide, but presumably we will hear more over the next few weeks.

Apple iPhone 3G S - Promo Video

Apple have released a short promotional video showing some of the new features of the iPhone 3G S.

Images courtesy of Apple, Inc.

Apple iPhone 3G S at a glance


June 2009 (US)


GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 +
UMTS 850 / 1900 / 2100




3.5" 320 x 480 pixels


3 megapixels


PDA-style device
116 x 62 x 12mm / 135 grams
4.5 x 2.5 x 0.48 inches / 4.8 ounces



Memory card:











iPhone OS 3.0

Battery life:

5 hours talk / 12 days standby (3G)
12 hours talk / 12 days standby (GSM)

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