First Hands-On Impressions of the iPhone 3G S

So I understood that there was a pre-order option. I also heard that the iPhone OS 3.0 update was free and gave you most of the enhanced functionality of the new iPhone 3G S on the old iPhone 3G. Not to mention that more money would have to be spent in order to join the elite class of consumers who opted to get the upgraded hardware and accompanying perks of the iPhone 3G S, even if you were eligible for the “best price upgrade”. I’m painting a picture of what my mind, body and wallet were all going through on Friday, June 19th, the day that changed everything for the iPhone…again! So after deliberating long and hard (about 10 hours), I decided to go wait in line, again, at one of the local Apple stores and pick up the new iPhone 3G S in person. Here are my thoughts:

First, let me just say that I had absolutely no intention of upgrading my iPhone 3G this early because I was not eligible for the “best price upgrade” until September.

I also downloaded the iPhone OS 3.0 update and had a ton of new and enhanced functionality that I was thrilled with for no money down!

However, AT&T decided to “listen” to their customers and announced on June 17th that the best possible upgrade pricing ($199 for 16GB and $299 for 32 GB iPhone 3G S) would be available to early adopters on launch day, June 19th.

I felt as though most of the weight was lifted from my shoulders and I rushed to the line at the Town Square Apple Store to pick up a black, 32GB iPhone 3G S after work in the 98 degree weather.

Two and a half hours, one liter of bottled water and significant back and leg muscle aches later, I walked out with my iPhone 3G S of choice and was activated on the AT&T network and ready for use within 5 minutes.

A very smooth and speedy process that wasn’t necessarily consistent with other users’ experiences.

What can I say? I am completely blown away by my first few days’ experience with the new phone. It is much faster, the voice control feature works well and is extremely useful in hands free operations like making calls while you drive.

Lastly, I love the ability to take video of my kids and instantly email them to my parents on the opposite coast so that they can feel as though they see their grandkids more often.

Apple went out of its way this year to imbue the iPhone with features that have been standard in most other phones until now (i.e. cut, copy and paste, built-in voice control) and leapfrogged beyond the competition by implementing new features, having unparalleled performance in a mobile phone and enhancing the platform by offering excellent development tools and cultivating developer relationships to deliver a vibrant and robust third party application development that is unrivaled with over 50,000 apps to choose from on the App Store.

All of the iPhone OS 3.0 upgrade goodness can be found on the iPhone 3G S of course, however, the speed at which everything moves is stunning.

I don’t find myself waiting to do anything anymore. Applications launch and the browser renders a web page on 3G so quickly I think I’m on a WiFi network and, when I’m on WiFi, I think I’m using a laptop to peruse the web. Sending emails and texts now seems instantaneous.

Voice control is unique because not only can you verbally dial any one of your contacts or any phone number for that matter, you can also interact with your iPod to play certain songs or playlists, request information about a particular song or artist and create a genius playlist to play similar songs to the song or artist you like listening to, on the fly, all through voice commands!

The ability to shoot video with audio and even edit the clips by trimming them right on your iPhone before sharing them with family and friends, is downright awesome!

The quality of the video is terrific. Although not high definition, the smoothness and overall video quality is admirable for a device that doubles as a phone, triples as an iPod and quadruples as pretty much anything you want it to be!

Sharing the videos with loved ones is just as simple as sharing your photos. You can email them directly or upload them to the MobileMe gallery or to YouTube directly from the phone with just a few taps of the screen!

Also, the same three-megapixel camera that shoots video also takes still photos with the ability to focus on objects that are not necessarily in the center of the photo by tapping on the screen over the specific object.

All in all, the iPhone 3G S goes a long way towards enhancing even the everyday tasks you’ve grown accustomed to having available on your iPhone. The new enhanced features that are available because of the upgraded hardware and the generosity of AT&T to provide me with the “best possible upgrade pricing” made this decision to upgrade to the 3G S a no-brainer.

I am looking forward to see what new Apps the development community will create to take advantage of the new iPhone capabilities, including a better graphics processor, hardware encryption, magnometer and many more.

On Monday Apple announced that they sold over 1 million iPhone 3G S models over the opening weekend! This is truly a phenomenon to be reckoned with because last year Apple sold over 1 million iPhone 3G models during its opening weekend in 22 countries, whereas this year the iPhone 3G S debuted in only 8 countries- insane!

I will be reporting on further details of the iPhone 3G S, in particular, as it takes advantage of all these great new features in personal and business uses over the next few weeks and months.

Do you plan to upgrade to the iPhone 3G S any time soon? What are some of your experiences with this new product?

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