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Beating a dead horse or No, I'm not getting an iPhone 3G

I don’t generally enjoy beating dead horses. But sometimes dead horses are bad and must be punished.

A lot of people have asked, and apparently nobody I associate with reads the news. No, I’m not getting a new iPhone. Why? Because for me it’s not worth it. There’s a lot of confusion between the hardware iPhone 3G and the iPhone OS X 2.0 software. Let’s discuss each of them.

First let’s talk about the hardware. The only difference between the iPhone and iPhone 3G is the 3G network and GPS. GPS is nice. I wouldn’t have to hit the “find me” button in Maps. 3G however, is not such a great deal. I have it on good authority that AT&T’s 3G network is far from spectacular. That’s not to say it isn’t faster than EDGE, which it certainly is. But bandwidth is a shared resource, wether it’s EDGE or 3G. This isn’t WiFi here either. 3G is 2Mb for a stationary user and 384Kb for car speeds. In the terms of “broadband” that’s absolutely dismal. And the current iPhone already beats a lot of other 3G phones in speed (more on this later). It’ll also cost me an extra $340 over the course of a two year contract to get the same data plan I currently have (unlimited data + 200 SMS messages). But as I said, I’m not planning to get an iPhone 3G, but I do plan to get whatever the next one is. Plus, whoever argues that I’m upgrading my iPhone now (which I’m not) would also argue that I’ll do it again in a year let’s just call it $180 instead. I can’t just get an 8GB iPhone, because I’ve already got a 16GB, so paying more to downgrade on storage doesn’t make sense. This means that a new iPhone will cost me $480 extra for one year. But I’ll have to upgrade Rhonda as well, so I’m actually out $860. For one year. For slightly faster networking and GPS. That’s one (well, two) expensive GPS.

Secondly, All of the new features of the iPhone 3G, except two above, are in the software. ActiveSync support. Mobile push. The App Store. And of course, iPhone OS X 2.0. Everything that’s truly exciting about the iPhone is in the software. All iPhones will get the iPhone OS X 2.0 software update. For free. That means I get them. Without buying a new iPhone.

As for those “twice as fast” marketing spots and competing 3G phones that aren’t as fast as the current iPhone, a lot of the speed improvements for web browsing are due to improvements and optimizations in MobileSafari rather than in a faster network. MobileSafari is also the first web browser released by Apple that uses the new SquirrelFish javascript compiler which benchmarks at more than twice as fast as the current JavaScriptCore. So yes, the 3G iPhone is twice as fast as my current iPhone’s software, but once iPhone OS X 2.0 is available I will again be benefiting from most of that speed improvement.

So no, I’m not getting one. However, I am looking forward to the video recording capabilities from the better camera that will be in next year’s iPhone.