iPhone 3G S specs revealed: 600 MHz and 256 MB of RAM

iPhone 3G S specs revealed: 600 MHz and 256 MB of RAM

Summary: When Apple announced the details of the iPhone 3G S it said that the new smartphone would be twice as fast as the current hardware, but refused to reveal the official specs. On Wednesday, one of the European iPhone carriers accidentally spilled the beans.


When Apple announced the details of the third generation iPhone hardware, dubbed "iPhone 3G S," on Monday, it said that the new smartphone would be twice as fast as the current hardware. But, Apple steadfastly refused to reveal the CPU power and amount of RAM of the latest iPhone.

The beans have now been spilled. T-Mobile, the iPhone's official carrier in the Netherlands, inadvertently revealed the official specs on Wednesday when it posted its product page for the iPhone 3G S (see screenshot below). For those who don't read Dutch, the bottom line is that the new iPhone has a 600 MHz processor and 256 MB of RAM.

The new specs compare to the 412 MHz CPU and 128 MB of RAM found in both of the first two generations of iPhone hardware. Ironically, the second generation iPod Touch featured a 532 MHz processor.

By comparison, the BlackBerry Bold features a 624 MHz CPU and 128 MB of RAM and it is by far the fastest smartphone I have used up until now. The new Palm Pre has a 600 MHz CPU and 256 MB of RAM and it can multi-task up to 12 applications at once. The new Nokia N97, which is being touted as a powerful handheld device, has just a 434 MHz CPU and 128 MB of RAM. So the new iPhone hardware should make the device very competitive in term of performance.

In its official material, Apple states, "Everything you do on iPhone 3G S is up to 2x faster and more responsive than iPhone 3G." The company also claims that "updated 3D graphics deliver an incredible gaming experience." Technical specs about the improved graphics capabilities are one of the few details that have not yet emerged.

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It's a little odd that Apple has been so coy about revealing the tech specs of the new iPhone hardware, but as Macworld's Jason Snell recently wrote in his article Don't look inside Apple's black box, Apple doesn't want people to think about their products as the sum of the parts but as a more humanized technology experience. And, as such, it takes a different approach to both building products and marketing them.

At the iPhone 3G S announcement, Bob Borchers, iPhone product marketing manager, told Snell, "Overall, it's just a snappier experience. There are so many different facets to it - it's just faster, better, quicker, snappier, and a great experience." He made it clear to Snell that he wasn't going to reveal engineering details because he said "the usual speeds and feeds" aren't how Apple characterizes the iPhone.

Nevertheless, techies still want to know the details in order to help set expectations, compare with other devices, and better understand the product, and T-Mobile provided a nice assist. Of course, all of the details will be revealed when the product is officially released and iFixit and others do the full teardown and catalog the chips inside. Naturally, you can also expect a full "Cracking Open" photo gallery from TechRepublic.

Topics: Apple, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Processors

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  • Huh?

    "256 GM of RAM"
    • GM = General Motors

      (sometimes called "Government Motors" now)

      Obviously, RAM should be GB. It's fixed. :-)
  • RE: iPhone 3G S specs revealed: 600 MHz and 256 MB of RAM

    Does it really have 256GB of RAM? 1000 times more than it nearest competitor, surely you mean 256 MB
    • Uhhhh ...

      yeah, MB. Sorry about that.
  • Mine's bigger than yours

    I know why Apple doesn't like to reveal things like the speed
    and size of their stuff because folks like you write it wrong
    and that means you get it wrong.

    The clock of the processor and the size of the memory are
    INDICATORS. What matters is what the software does once
    inside the cpu. Does it go fast or does it slow down? 600 v
    642 is kinda like comparing 7 to 7 1/4 somethings!! What
    matters is what happens when it goes to work.
  • RE: iPhone 3G S specs revealed: 600 MHz and 256 MB of RAM

    I would be careful comparing speeds from different
    manufactures. The base speed of the CPU core is only a part
    of the equation. The Iphone 3Gs and PRE are based on a
    newer core architecture from ARM called Cortex A8 while the
    older Iphone was based on the ARM11.
    Pat S
    • Dell were their years ago, and chucked it all away

      Well, my 5 year old Dell Axim X50v already has a 624MHz Intel XSCALE (now sold to Marvell) esp. with the PowerVR hardware accelerated full 640.480 VGA screen.

      My current phone, a slugish HTC720, is nowhere near it, with a sluggish Qualcomm 400Mhz processor. The x50V is the faster PDA I have ever used.

      Shame on Dell who ditched the market, as a 'phoned up' Axim would have stopped the iPhone before launch. Esp. embarrasing as the Dell MePhone (or whatever) is a too late entrant to the market, if it ever comes.

      All the above is irrelevant, when Quallcomm manage to ship Snapdragon for mobile, as their re-engineering ARM compatible/licenced version takes things to another level. Intel will rue the day they sold XScale.
  • Apple prob doesn't want to get into the MHz race again.

    Comparing Mhz & MBs with other competitors isn't
    where the strength of Apple's products lie. (Even if
    they are competitive.) I'm sure Apple would much
    rather say "We are 2x faster then before" rather
    than "We're about the same speed as the other top

    I don't think it's any more complex than that. And
    quite frankly, the actual Mhz rating is probably the
    last thing I would look at anyway.
  • iPhone 3G S graphics are known...

    Apple licensed the PowerVR SGX gpu for use in the 3G S.
  • Does it Multitask?

    Can you run multiple apps on the phone?
    • Nope..no Multi task

      That really ticks me off too.
      • Yes

        And its the reason why I passed on the iphone and iphone 3g.
        Looks like I will be sticking to my trusty HTC Touch HD for the time being then.
        • See Message Below

          Charging $15 extra a month so you can access Exchange on 3GS, and I keep my IPhone 3G and I can pay what I'm paying now and get to Exchange?

          FORGET IT.
          • WoW

            That is a rip off! Hopefully if enough people boycott the phone then it will make apple think again about there trading partner.
            That Said Im happy to stay with Winmo at the moment especialy with the nice interface HTC are putting on there new touch phones.
  • Meh..I'm Waiting

    I've got the 3G right now, I was jumping on the bandwagon to get the 3GS on release, but now that I'm thinking about it I'm going to delay until August or September because the last two IPhone launches were buggy, problematic, activations were crazy...I'll get the software upgrade on June 17 and then wait until the hype calms down to get a new one..plus waiting to see if T-Mobile will ante up and carry the IPhone stateside.
    • The Waiting Game

      I waited for the 3G to come to Fido in Canada while others around me were throwing down for the 1st Gen iPhone. I'm glad I waited, and like you, will hold off for a bit for the 3GS.

      Make no mistake, however; I will be getting one.
  • AT&T Asking $15 More/Month To Use Exchange

    So instead of $30 a month for unlimited data I have to fork out $45?

    Just lost my purchase of the 3GS...see ya AT&T.
  • RE: iPhone 3G S specs revealed: 600 MHz and 256 MB of RAM

    I think its a peice of crap 600mhz and 256mb of mem, would you buy a computer with that crap of specs? its a phone thats all;

  • RE: iPhone 3G S specs revealed: 600 MHz and 256 MB of RAM

    This is a strange argument. Apple iPhone is appealing because of the interface and the overall feel of the device not the processor speed. If you prefer the Blackberry buy one! I just keep hoping that the AT&T exclusive deal will be declared an unfair business practice by the FCC so I can choose my own provider: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2008/05/supreme-court-o/
  • RE: iPhone 3G S specs revealed: 600 MHz and 256 MB of RAM

    I found this website that i linked to my name above actually found them in facebook, just click on my name to go there, dont worry, you dont need to be a facebook member. They had me up and running 3.0 GMS right away and i now have complete access to their Apple developers account with my own user ID and password. It was worth it, just my 2 cents for anyone who is in the same boat i was.