Okay, Apple’s new iPhone 3G officially hits Apple and AT&T retail outlets in the U.S. tomorrow at 8 a.m., and the hysteria has already started. As early as last week, iPhone 3G lines started to form outside the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue in New York. And the hysteria is well worth it…well sort of at least. Among the iPhone 3G’s most exciting hardware upgrades is GPS Technology and its ability to utilize AT&T’s 3G Wireless Network, which is twice as fast as the EDGE network that first-gen iPhones are forced to work on (Note: if the 3G network isn’t available in your area - or on the side of the road you happen to be standing on - the iPhone 3G will automatically switch to the EDGE network). One hardware upgrade that should have appeared but didn’t is a higher resolution camera. The iPhone 3G retains the 2 megapixel camera of the previous generation iPhone.
The hysteria is “sort of” worth it because if you already own an iPhone, you’ll have to decide whether GPS technology and the 3G network are big enough reasons to make the upgrade (note that the upgrade price can be as high as $399 (8GB model) or $499 (16GB model) for current AT&T customers who are not “upgrade eligible”). If you are infrequently on the road and access your iPhone’s web functions through Wi-fi, the 3G network is probably not that big a deal to you. If you’re on the go, however, you should give it serious consideration. Those who should really be hysterical about the iPhone 3G are people who waited on the sidelines for a second-gen release. For those people, the iPhone 3G is everything they ever wanted in a mobile smart phone and more! Seriously, if you don’t have an iPhone already, you should probably be standing in line right now.
This iPhone has functionality suited for everyone. Aside from the aforementioned hardware upgrades, the iPhone 3G also comes equiped with iPhone 2.0, a software upgrade that enables it to take advantage of Microsoft Exchange, the application that most businesses use to automatically sync employee e-mail, calendars and contacts with mobile devices. This will almost certainly entice skeptical business customers to toss their Treos and Blackberrys. If you’re not the “business user”, then Apple’s new MobileMe online service (which it has dubbed “Exchange for the rest of us”) is for you. MobileMe will sync your iPhone with your laptop or desktop in the same manner that Exhange syncs with corporate servers. Everybody’s happy. I note, however, that iPhone 2.0 will also be available as a software upgrade to first-gen iPhones, so again, the hysteria is only “sort of” worth it to those who already own the iPhone.
So folks, after what seems like a lifelong wait, the iPhone 3G is only a day away. If you don’t already have one, GET IN LINE NOW! If you do have one, give it some serious thought and at least sync up your old iPhone tomorrow so you can push through the 2.0 upgrade.
Here’s the pricing and other info: $199 for the 8GB model and $299 for the 16GB model if you are either a new AT&T customer or a current customer who is upgrade eligible and willing to take on another two-year contract (otherwise, see upgrade pricing above). There is an $18 upgrade fee for current AT&T customers and a $36 activation fee for new AT&T customers. AT&T has various iPhone 3G talk/data plans of both the single and family variety. The plans start at $69.99 for a Nation(SM) Plan, and go as high as $259.99 for an unlimited FamilyTalk(SM) plan. Data pricing is slightly different for business customers using Exchange services. The iPhone 3G will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 8 a.m. Friday, July 11th at all Apple and AT&T stores. What are you waiting for?!