Friday, June 12, 2009

iPhone grows up - Voice Dialing - Video - It's a Blackberry +

I have to wait 6 more days to try the new iPhone 3GS ("S" as in "Speed"). As an existing customer, I get the software upgrade for free. Pretty sweet, right? Should be. The new one will be able to cut-and-paste, hook a keyboard to it, multimedia message (MMS), erase data from a remote location if ever it gets lost or stolen, and cross-search all applications, memory and the web. Also it has voice-over feature for the blind (it reads what you touch), and reads voice-commands (LOL - that is so 2005)! Two BIG deals about the new 3GS: stronger battery life and a better camera with video and YouTube messaging. Elation! And did hear a rumor about the iPhone being available on new networks outside of AT&T? Where there is smoke, there is fire.

For those of you who are not eligible for the free upgrade, it's selling for $199...

...Or you could get your quick fix with the PalmPre, the new, already available Blackberry, also for $199 with a Sprint plan, which is boastful of its camera abilities (video message much?). This has the full slide-out keyboard, and web pages look the way they were designed to look. Users are also bragging about the improved battery capacity, and the phone has a removable battery!

The iPhone 3G S (the "S" stands for speed) will go on sale June 19 for $199 for a 16-GB version and $299 for 32 GB of storage, doubling the capacity of the 3G models they replace (With a 2 year contract - with only AT&T, the second tier cell phone service in most of US. Verizon, by most surveys is #1) . Apple Senior Vice President Philip Schiller said the company also will sell a $99 8-GB version of the current 3G phone with the new iPhone 3.0 software.

In Sum:
  • Faster processor. The S is for speed, and the iPhone 3GS certainly has speed. Clocked at more than two times faster than the iPhone 3G on certain tasks, the 3GS will produce a nice performance increase.
  • Longer battery life. Claims are up to 50% more battery life depending on what you use phone for. Not the sexiest of the new features, but perhaps the biggest gripe on the iPhone is the poor battery life. Ooops, forgot to make the battery replaceable like the newly release Palm Pre and the Blackberry and almost every other cell phone out there. Can you say built in battery = built-in revenue generator for Apple? (It’s now 12 hours of talk time, 30 hours of music playback, 9 hours of Internet surfing, and so on.)
  • 3 megapixel camera with auto-focus. Not only can you take better pictures with the iPhone 3GS, but you can zoom in and out by touching the screen, record video and even edit the video. Auto uploading of edited videos to You can actually touch, on the screen, exactly where you want the video or photo to focus on. Heck, who needs a computer?
  • Voice control. Voice control means you can play a song just by asking for it and even access a Genius-driven playlist with a voice command. You can also say, "Dial Clyde Lerner," and it will know which number to dial, a great year 2005 feature! Even say "Play Prince, 1999" and it will play an awesome tune!
  • Magnetometer. Cool a compass! This will really going to come in handy for those of us that are directionally-challenged. (And I'm sure we'll get some really interesting apps that make use of this feature!
  • Improved 3D graphics. This new feature is flying a little under the radar, but in the long run, it's probably going to make the biggest difference. The iPhone 3GS not only has improved hardware-supported 3D graphics, but it also supports Open GL 2.0 ES. Basically, this means we'll see a big improvement in games designed for the iPhone 3GS. Sorry, upgraded folks with current phones, you won't get this feature.
  • HSDPA network support. AT&T's HSDPA network is even faster than the 3G network, so not only does the iPhone 3GS have a faster processor with better 3D graphics, it also has a faster Internet connection. Sorry, upgraded folks with current phones, you won't get this feature.
  • Multi-Media Message. Send text messages with photos & video.
  • Improved Text Management. Cut, Copy & Paste text from emails, web pages and put into new emails.
  • Shake to Shuffle. When in iTunes, shake iPhone and it will shuffle to next song. Great for driving!
  • Audio Memos. You iphone becomes a digital voice recorder. You no longer have to keep a separate recorder with you!
The iPhone 3.0 OS software, which will be available on June 17 as a free upgrade for existing iPhone users, will feature more than 100 new improvements for consumers and more than 1,000 new ways for developers to build for the iPhone platform.

More on the new camera: The new one is a 3-megapixel camera, much better in low light (says Apple), with an ingenious autofocus system: as you compose the shot on the iPhone’s big, bright screen, you tap with your finger to show where you want the focus, exposure and white-balance to be calculated. Special modes are designed for low light and macros (closeups)—and it records video now, too. (It’s about time!) Video also has autofocus, and you can trim video clips, and then send them to friends or the Web, right on the screen.

The iPhone 3G S will be available June 19, in 16- and 32-gigabyte versions. (That is a LOT of storage. Video fans, rejoice!) Intriguingly, the older, 8-gig iPhone 3G with the new 3.0 software l remains available—for $99. iPod touch users have to pony up $10 for upgrade. I wonder if consumer revolt will make that a $0 upgrade?

P.S. With all major upgrades, I recommend you wait until 3.1 or 3.2 of software if you're upgrading your current phone. There are ALWAYS bugs and compatibility errors when a major software upgrade is made - EVEN from Apple!

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