There’s no denying the popularity of the iPhone. Thanks to its distinctive design it tends to stand out and be recognised more than its competitors. The following overviews of the two latest generation models aims to reveal whether that attention is warranted.
· At a recommended retail price of $849, this is a mid-range priced smartphone with an accompanying mid-range internal processor of 412MHz CPU and 128MB RAM.
· Presentation is sleek, with the simple clean design and smooth lines that are characteristic of Apple products.
· The large touch-screen limits battery life to 8 to 12 hours before recharging is required, and means impaired typing ability when compared to a physical keyboard.
· The system itself is user-friendly, without much distracting clutter on the screen.
· The lack of video and picture messaging is disappointing on a smartphone branded by its marketing as a media innovator.
· The media shortcomings continue with the substandard 2 megapixel camera that lacks basic functionality – no zoom, flash, auto-focus or colour filtering.
· However the Apple App Store is far and away the industry leader when it comes to the range of applications available, and you can also buy iTunes music with same account.
· Wi Fi is a breeze to set up and use, and of course it uses the 3G network.
· Internet browsing is great with the preinstalled Safari web browser, which brings quick and clear loading, plus intuitive touch screen finger controls to expand, contract, scroll and drag through web content.
· There is the option of either 8GB or 16GB of memory storage – great for storing an impressive media collection on the inbuilt iPod.
Verdict: Good, but not great.
· A higher end model with improved features that take the recommended price to $1100.
· For that price you get 600MHz CPU and 256MB of RAM, plus a slightly longer battery life.
· In appearance though it is virtually identical to the 3G model, so there are no extra “look at my superior iPhone” bragging rights.
· Until someone hears the very cool “Voice Control” feature which allows you to give voice commands such as “Call my mother”, “Play artist Michael Jackson”, and “Play similar songs to this”.
· Voice Control also gets the iPhone to speak back to you – it can read out phone numbers, menu options and SMS texts, as well as answer questions like “What song is this?”
· Though the camera still has no flash function, it is improved in terms of megapixels, colour and focus capabilities, and it can record and play video.
Verdict: The iPhone 3GS is an outstanding piece of technology – more of a mobile computer than a mobile phone.
Having said all that, the iPhone 4G is being released in Australia in June. If you’re not keen on paying out-of-the-box prices on an iPhone, then this could be the perfect opportunity to grab a perfectly usable model second-hand from a friend or colleague who has to have the latest and greatest version before anyone else.
That’s my plan, anyway.