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Mossberg, Pogue and Baig pass judgment on the iPhone 3G

The top trio of Apple fanboys (Mossberg, Pogue and Baig) pass judgment on the iPhone 3G.

The top trio of Apple fanboys (Mossberg, Pogue and Baig) pass judgment on the iPhone 3G.

Mossberg

iPhone 3G
"I’ve been testing the iPhone 3G for a couple of weeks, and have found that it mostly keeps its promises."

- My take: Well yes, unless you are talking about the price, or the battery life.

"In particular, I found that doing email and surfing the Internet typically was between three and five times as fast using AT&T’s 3G network as it was with the older AT&T network to which the first iPhone was limited."

- My take: OK, we get it, 3G is faster than EDGE.

"There are two big hidden costs to the new iPhone’s faster speed and lower price tag."

- My take: Isn't this always the case ...

"First, in my tests, the iPhone 3G’s battery was drained much more quickly in a typical day of use than the battery on the original iPhone, due to the higher power demands of 3G networks."

- My take: So after a few hours of use your new shiny bauble is a paperweight ...

"Second, Apple’s exclusive carrier in the U.S., AT&T Inc., has effectively negated the iPhone’s up-front price cut by jacking up its monthly fee for unlimited data use by $10."

- My take: So the 'half the price' stuff is a lie.

"Apple has greatly improved the audio on the new iPhone."

- My take: Something which is pretty important to a phone, don't you think.

"The camera, however, is still bare-bones."

- My take: That's because it's identical to the old camera.

"I ran my own battery tests using the phone’s 3G capability. Although I left the Wi-Fi function on, I didn’t connect it to a network, so the phone had to rely on 3G. In my test of voice calling, I got 4 hours and 27 minutes, short of Apple’s maximum claim and nearly three hours less than what I recorded in the same test last year on the original iPhone."

- My take: Another lie.

"In my test of Internet use over 3G, I got 5 hours and 49 minutes, better than Apple’s claim, but far short of the nine hours I got using Wi-Fi in last year’s tests."

- My take: And another ... still think its keeping those promises?

"More important, in daily use, I found the battery indicator on the new 3G model slipping below 20% by early afternoon or midafternoon on some days, and it entirely ran out of juice on one day."

- My take: So it's more of a morning phone, what's wrong with that?

Pogue

"This time, though, when the iPhone 3G goes on sale in AT&T and Apple stores, iPhone Mania will be considerably more muted. That’s partly because the mystery is gone, partly because the AT&T service costs more and partly because there aren’t many new features in what Apple is calling the iPhone 3G."

- My take: And as you read that, remember folks, Pogue is a pretty hardcore Apple fan.

"As a handy bonus, 3G means that you can talk on the iPhone and surf the Internet simultaneously, which you couldn’t do before ... There is, however, a catch: you don’t get that speed or those features unless you’re in one of AT&T’s 3G network areas — and there aren’t many of them."

- My take: So check your coverage before opening your wallet ...

"But the iPhone 3G is not really, as Apple’s Web site puts it, 'half the price.'"

- My take: Well spotted!

"The third improvement is audio quality, which has taken a gigantic step forward."

- My take: Was the audio quality really that poor on the first-gen iPhone?

"Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do with the G.P.S. According to Apple, the iPhone’s G.P.S. antenna is much too small to emulate the turn-by-turn navigation of a G.P.S. unit for a vehicle, for example."

- My take: Eh? What's the size of the antenna got to do with turn-by-turn navigation?

Baig

"Extra, extra: iPhone 3G: The Sequel, is worth the wait."

- My take: Wow! Calm down there Baig. Maybe you need to go away and read Mossberg's and Pogue's reviews now ...

"It's cheaper, faster and a lot friendlier for business."

- My take: You sure about that 'cheaper' bit?

"But not all of iPhone's early drawbacks have disappeared. You still cannot shoot video, take advantage of Bluetooth stereo or dial with a voice command."

- My take: So it can't do things that almost every other cellphone can? That's revolutionary.

"Meanwhile, for all the hoopla involving AT&T's speedier, third-generation network, I couldn't access 3G in parts of my northern New Jersey neighborhood and elsewhere."

- My take: So if the main feature of the iPhone 3G is 3G, and you couldn't make use of that, why exactly was that worth the wait?

"The design changes aren't merely aesthetic. They're a nod to iPhone's 10 internal wireless radios. Plastic, unlike metal, is transparent to radio waves, improving reception, Apple says."

- My take: Is this a cut-n-paste out of a Star Trek script?

"Apple has improved overall audio quality of the device. The speaker phone sounded better, as did music played directly through the phone's speaker."

- My take: The audio on the original iPhone must have been pretty bad ...

"But I couldn't juice up the latest device using my Bose SoundDock or Belkin car kit. Apple says there will be adapters to permit charging with certain older accessories ... Technical explanation: The new iPhone only supports USB circuitry, not another method known as FireWire."

- My take: So beware, you might need to re-buy accessories ...

Closing thoughts

When it comes to hardware, very little has changed since a year ago when Mossberg, Pogue and Baig were talking about the first-gen iPhone. Back then I wrote:

The battery is not user replaceable so once that starts to feel a bit old the whole phone has to go back to the Apple mothership for repair.  There’s no memory card slot, no chat app, no voice dialing, no GPS, no third-party apps, no Java or Flash support, no MMS support.

So, apart from third-party app and a GPS (which according to Pogue suffers from a less than adequate antenna ...), little has changed.

You know, with the iPhone Apple promised us that it would shake up the cellphone market and do things differently. A tear on and what we actually have is Apple really doing what all the other players in the cellphone industry are doing - small incremental hardware upgrades and tie-ins to carriers. In fact, Apple has taken the concept of carrier tie-in to a whole new level, but unfortunately not one that is beneficial to the consumer.

But not to worry Apple, you'll still sell millions ...

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