“Hi, my name is Jamie, and I’m an iPhone 3G owner.”
The group watches me suspiciously. Their programmed response is just that: programmed, no more sincere than my desire to be here. Standing in front of them, I feel naked, as if all my sins and defects have been exposed for everyone to see. They know the score, and I do too. Several of the people sitting in front of me are iPhone 2G owners and their glares cut through me like a finger swiping across the iPhone’s brilliant TFT screen.
Months ago, I would have been an outcast amongst this group. Their grudging acceptance of me is rife with silent accusations. You see, months ago I was looking down at them and laughing, and they were looking up at me and scowling. Once proud to call themselves ‘early adopters,’ now they take pride in sharing their ordeal with others in the same boat. I recognize a face or two, probably from the news. Triumphant as they held their iPhones – some of the first purchased – high in the air on June 29, 2007, outside the Apple Store in Manhattan. Only to find out, a year later, that Big Brother Apple had forgotten about them.
I share their pain. Once counting myself lucky that the iPhone wasn’t available in Canada until Rogers Communications began selling the 3G last summer (otherwise, I’d probably own a 2g), today I join the movement of technology mavens who are inevitably penalized for taking the plunge. You see, this week Apple announced the iPhone 3G S and the minute they did so, I too became a statistic. The new iPhone offers features which make my current 3G seem old and shoddy.
The added ‘S’ stands for ‘speed.’ My 3G’s sluggish performance seems more pronounced this week, considering the 3G S offers a new processor – 600 MHz vs. the 2G’s and 3G’s lowly 412 MHz CPU – double the system RAM – 256 MB in the 3G S versus 128 MB – and a new graphics processor in the PowerVR SGX chip, which supports OpenGL ES 2.0. The 2G and 3G only support OpenGL ES 1.1; simply put, games on the new iPhone will look better and perform better. Add to this that the iPhone 3G S offers more memory – 32 GB in the premium model – and my miniscule 8 GB chokes back an inferior tear.
Other features drive the last nails into my gadget-laden coffin. The new camera sports autofocus, auto white balance and 3.0 megapixels (the first two are absent from the 2G and 3G, and both earlier models have a 2.0 megapixel camera). The new phone comes with video recording and editing (although this feature has long been available to anyone with the intestinal fortitude to jailbreak their 2G or 3G). Data speeds have been doubled from 3.6 Mbps to 7.2 Mbps, and the iPhone 3G S even comes with a magnetic compass. The new battery provides longer voice and data time, and the unit even boasts that it’s waterproof and has a “fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating.”
Just to make us 2G and 3G owners feel even more left out, holding down the home button on the 3G S takes you to a voice control interface, although features like this may find their way into iPhone’s OS 3.0, which Apple will be making available sometime in the next month – probably in unison with the 3G S release date (June 18th in the U.S. and August for the rest of the free world).
With pricing similar to the 3G when it became available – contract pricing of $199 for 16GB and $299 for 32GB and *choke* $99 for 8GB – the new iPhone 3G S will undoubtedly suck in a whole new set of tech mavens.
My only advice to the ‘late adopters?’ Enjoy it while you can. And when you’re done enjoying it, there’s a seat here, waiting for you. All you’ll have to do is stand up and admit that you, too, are a child of the relentless recursiveness of modern technology.