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

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.
Written by Jason Hiner, Editor in Chief

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.

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