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'iPhone 5' launch will mark end of Apple's iPhone 3GS - rumor

post #1 of 47
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The arrival of a new iPhone model will push existing models down to lower price points, while the iPhone 3GS will no longer be offered by Apple, according to a new report.

Citing anonymous sources "close to retailers," The Telegraph reported on Thursday that after more than three years on the market, Apple will finally retire the iPhone 3GS with next week's media event. Taking its place as Apple's free on-contract handset will be the iPhone 4, first released in 2010.

The new "iPhone 5" will reportedly be available in three capacities, while an 8-gigabyte iPhone 4S is also expected to be introduced, replacing the iPhone 4 at the $100 price point.

The details align with Apple's current pricing structure, in which the company sells a smaller 8-gigabyte version of last year's handset for $100. Beginning in 2011, Apple also kept around the iPhone 3GS as a free on-contract phone to court more entry-level buyers.

If Apple does decide to stop selling the iPhone 3GS, recent buyers of the handset won't be left behind. The forthcoming release of iOS 6 will be available on the iPhone 3GS, though some features, such as turn-by-turn navigation, require a newer version of the iPhone.

iPhone


Earlier this year, one analyst predicted that Apple will not outright kill the iPhone 3GS. Instead, Peter Misek with Jefferies suggested that Apple plans to continue selling the iPhone 3GS only in developing markets. There it was said Apple could expand sales by offering the 2009 smartphone for under $300 with no contract.

Another analyst, Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray, also expects that Apple will offer a $200 unsubsidized iPhone in 2013. Currently, the 8-gigabyte iPhone 3GS is available for purchase without a contract for $375.
post #2 of 47

Common sense trumps any rumour on this - it was obvious. Frankly, I'd prefer if they dropped the 4 too. And let the entry level iPhone be an 8 GB iPhone 4S. Would simplify the lineup.

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post #3 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Common sense trumps any rumour on this - it was obvious. Frankly, I'd prefer if they dropped the 4 too. And let the entry level iPhone be an 8 GB iPhone 4S. Would simplify the lineup.

 

Agreed--and further, allow more upgrades to more users. Upgrading to the latest iOS isn't worth much if features are disabled based on your older hardware.

post #4 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Common sense trumps any rumour on this - it was obvious. Frankly, I'd prefer if they dropped the 4 too. And let the entry level iPhone be an 8 GB iPhone 4S. Would simplify the lineup.

 

I would love it if they dropped everything but the current model and concentrated on making a cheap off contract phone for $100.  It seems like a much better strategy to me than keeping three year old products on sale in such a rapidly changing industry.  

 

The "long tail" on iPhone ownership is holding back new features for all and generally confusing consumers who can't really grok the differences between three almost identical devices with similar names.  With the additional confusion of only adding new features to US phones until the second year, what they have is such a hodge-podge that one needs a paper manual to figure out what's supported on what devices in what country.  

post #5 of 47

Dropping the 3GS in "rich" countries makes sense. But it would also make sense to keep it around at a lower price in developing countries. 

post #6 of 47

I also think they should simplify the 5 lineup to only 16GB & 64GB models. They should sell the 64 for $100 more (same as current 32), they'll eat a bit of profit margin, but overall I think they will come out ahead in terms of inventory, logistics, manufacturing simplicity, not to mention producing vastly more quantities of the 64 will help with the economies of scale and slightly lower profit margins on that model. Its what I would do anyway. 

 

Oh, and I would love a cheaper 8GB 4S, same price as current 3GS. Would eat that up in a heartbeat. Still an incredibly fast, capable phone and should get updates for another year or 2 at least. 

post #7 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

Dropping the 3GS in "rich" countries makes sense. But it would also make sense to keep it around at a lower price in developing countries. 

That's not how Apple operates, and it seems like they know 'how' to operate. It'd be more their style to have a newer one at the same price than an older one even cheaper - it'd be 4 generations old if they kept it around, which is not their style.

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post #8 of 47
My money is on keeping the 3GS 1 more year as the free phone, and perhaps sold globally as long as Apple will support it. Verizon gets an entry level 4S, but has to wait until 2013 for a free one, perhaps offering the remaining 4 for free to clear inventory and drawn in a lot of new customers. The iPhone 4 will be discontinued to simplify the lineup. This may not be Apple's style with respect to the relatively new iPhone line, but they did exactly this with the White MacBook, after the MacBook Pro line was announced, and I recall Steve jobs specifically saying that they would be around "for a long time".
Edited by Mac_128 - 9/6/12 at 11:26am
post #9 of 47

The iPhone 4 can be had for free on contract in some places. Yeah, it just makes sense the 3GS going away. At this point, it can't be that much cheaper to produce it than the 4.

post #10 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

 

I would love it if they dropped everything but the current model and concentrated on making a cheap off contract phone for $100.  It seems like a much better strategy to me than keeping three year old products on sale in such a rapidly changing industry.  

 

The "long tail" on iPhone ownership is holding back new features for all and generally confusing consumers who can't really grok the differences between three almost identical devices with similar names.  With the additional confusion of only adding new features to US phones until the second year, what they have is such a hodge-podge that one needs a paper manual to figure out what's supported on what devices in what country.  

and what would a 'cheap off contract phone'  be compared to a 3GS?  I doubt it would be much different.  

 

I agree with the long tail stuff, and I do think the 3GS should be retired, as it's non-retina, and non facetime.   The 4, without Siri makes for a 'transition' phone, but I don't think you'll see that phone be $100 off contract.  $200 maybe.

 

I don't see the 'long tail' that you see... I see fragmentation of the OS functions.  New features are not being held back due to the 3GS, but due to Market Demand/maturity (NFC is a great example), and ability to implement in both a cost effective and design pleasing way

 

As to what's supported on each country... welcome to carriers (and in some cases, countries) who have their own agendas.

post #11 of 47

As much as I'd like Apple to depreciate the 3GS (with it's ancient display res, slow CPU, etc.), if R&D from over 3 years ago is still paying off in different areas of the world and as long as it doesn't impact current model production, I see no reason not to keep calm and carry on.

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post #12 of 47

Didn't they make it a point to say the 3GS would support iOS 6, though?

post #13 of 47

If this is true, does the theory of the iPad Mini using 3GS touchscreen hold water any longer?
 

post #14 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by allenbf View Post

Didn't they make it a point to say the 3GS would support iOS 6, though?


Good point. I remember reading that. But was that a rumor or an Apple announcement at WWDC?

post #15 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by allenbf View Post

Didn't they make it a point to say the 3GS would support iOS 6, though?

Yes, but mostly because they don't want to tell people who bought it recently that it's "unsupported" as of next week. They'd need to provide security updates at the least. So in total, supporting iOS 6 made more sense.

 

They won't sell it another year, unless it could run iOS 7.

post #16 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harbinger View Post


Good point. I remember reading that. But was that a rumor or an Apple announcement at WWDC?

 

WWDC

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Banana Bonanza View Post

Yes, but mostly because they don't want to tell people who bought it recently that it's "unsupported" as of next week. They'd need to provide security updates at the least. So in total, supporting iOS 6 made more sense.

 

They won't sell it another year, unless it could run iOS 7.

 

That's a good point

post #17 of 47

Apple is all about "delighting their customers" so yes, the 3GS will be dropped everywhere.  While I still have a 3GS that I use everyday, I would not like to see someone buy one new and then be displeased overall with their Apple experience in light of what else is on the market today.  That would only dilute Apple's brand value.  The phone has been on the market for 39 months.  Apple would rather have people need to save to buy a premier product than get a 3+ year old phone for next to nothing and come away thinking that Apple makes slow, feature deficient products.  I easily predict that the 4 will become the 'free' with contract option across the carriers, with the 4S being the $99 option and the 'new iPhone" starting at $199.

post #18 of 47

I could possibly see a 3GS, 4S, and a 5 lineup, but 4, 4S and 5 seems more likely.

 

Makes me wonder if this is a scoop or someone just making news off of something that makes sense.

post #19 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Common sense trumps any rumour on this - it was obvious. Frankly, I'd prefer if they dropped the 4 too. And let the entry level iPhone be an 8 GB iPhone 4S. Would simplify the lineup.

Yeah, but they should have at one model phone for $0 w/two contract offering.  Some people just need or want all of the whiz bang options. They just want a basic smartphone.

post #20 of 47

Whatever Apple does, it will be based on running the numbers and fitting into a strategy. I'm actually surprised someone would still pay an unsubsidized price of $375 for a 3GS. The margin at the price must be huge for Apple.

post #21 of 47
I'm surprised no one has complained that 8GB isn't enough for a phone. It's amazing that the 4GB iPhone was canceled just a few short months after it was sold because people wanted 8GB and 5+ years later 8GB is still more than sufficient for a large number of users.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Common sense trumps any rumour on this - it was obvious. Frankly, I'd prefer if they dropped the 4 too. And let the entry level iPhone be an 8 GB iPhone 4S. Would simplify the lineup.

It's looking more and more like they need that 163 PPI displays for the new tablet. The same display manufacturing plus the 2011 ASIC but on a 32nm lithography and you have a very power efficient device.

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post #22 of 47

No kidding. 

 
post #23 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Common sense trumps any rumour on this - it was obvious. Frankly, I'd prefer if they dropped the 4 too. And let the entry level iPhone be an 8 GB iPhone 4S. Would simplify the lineup.

I think that would harm the upsell potential. The 4 is still a good device, and upselling is an important part of the business model.
post #24 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheOtherGeoff View Post

and what would a 'cheap off contract phone'  be compared to a 3GS?  I doubt it would be much different.  

 

I agree with the long tail stuff, and I do think the 3GS should be retired, as it's non-retina, and non facetime.   The 4, without Siri makes for a 'transition' phone, but I don't think you'll see that phone be $100 off contract.  $200 maybe.

 

I don't see the 'long tail' that you see... I see fragmentation of the OS functions.  New features are not being held back due to the 3GS, but due to Market Demand/maturity (NFC is a great example), and ability to implement in both a cost effective and design pleasing way

 

As to what's supported on each country... welcome to carriers (and in some cases, countries) who have their own agendas.

 

This $100 phone would probably be similar in design to what they offer with the previous two years models, but my point was there would be only two phones, whatever the latest one is, plus the $100 off contract one.  Period.  They would change year by year but there would always be just the two phones.  Probably iPhone, and "iPhone nano."  

 

As to what's supported in each country, I meant Apple not the carriers.  Siri for example.  Not supported and basically entirely useless outside of the USA.  Maps will probably be the same.  Sometimes (ah lets face it, with reasonable frequency), the support for what Apple announces at the 'big reveal' doesn't trickle down to other countries until the big reveal next year.  Siri is the perfect example of this too.  

 

And I'm not talking east Ubekistan, I'm talking really exotic countries like "England" and "Canada."  :)

 

Apple has gone from their original strategy of "one phone" to a strategy that involves selling four separate models (in two colours and three sizes), all of which are almost identical to each other but not quite.  It's confusing.  

 

I just think they are losing their focus lately.  

post #25 of 47
This is just guesswork. If they are to have a cheaper iPhone next year it might as well be the 3GS in form factor if nothing else.
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post #26 of 47

Thank fucking God, we can FINALLY get rid of non Retina resources. and iOS will be more modern for it.

post #27 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by allenbf View Post

Didn't they make it a point to say the 3GS would support iOS 6, though?

Parts of it but not all.

Frankly I think they are killing the 3GS will no plans for any $250 unlocked etc stuff. My roommate's girl got a 3GS last year cause it was cheap. She dropped it at a party, into a pool and took it over the weekend to a store to replace. They didn't have any in and told her it could be weeks before they would so they were told by corporate to use the 8gb iPhone 4 instead.
post #28 of 47
Originally Posted by allenbf View Post
Didn't they make it a point to say the 3GS would support iOS 6, though?

 

Yep. And? They can discontinue it. You want to buy a three year old phone right now, be their guest. The iPhone 3G was sold up until the day before iPhone OS 3 was released, and while it was never sold WITH it, it still got it. And iOS 4. Big deal. I still think they shouldn't have given iOS 6 to the 3GS, but that's me.


Originally Posted by drblank View Post
Yeah, but they should have at one model phone for $0 w/two contract offering.  Some people just need or want all of the whiz bang options. They just want a basic smartphone.

 

I figure they'll be doing this:

 

iPhone 4: 8GB, black/white, $0, all carriers

iPhone 4S: 8GB, black/white, $99, all carriers

6th iPhone: 16/32/64GB*, black/white, $199, all carriers

 

Now they can offer all three phones on all carriers at all prices. Spectacular.

 

*128, anyone?


Originally Posted by asdasd View Post
This is just guesswork. If they are to have a cheaper iPhone next year it might as well be the 3GS in form factor if nothing else.

 

Why? Same as the rumors where they'd "keep the 3GS and drop the 4" last year or "keep the 3GS, but give it the iPhone 4's internals". I mean what in the world was that?


Originally Posted by marcusj0015 View Post
Thank fucking God, we can FINALLY get rid of non Retina resources. and iOS will be more modern for it.

 

The iPad 2 and iPhone 3GS support iOS 6, so that's wrong.

 

I'd prefer that each device ONLY get the size elements specific to it rather than loading up all images on all devices; you're right, but there's still non-retina stuff to jam in.


Edited by Tallest Skil - 9/6/12 at 2:10pm

Originally Posted by asdasd

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post #29 of 47

I think there are two major things facing the 3GS: appearance and economics

 

The 3GS doesn't look like any other current iPhone. The 4, 4S and (assuming the leaked images are correct) 5 all share the same look when viewed from the front. They send a unified message that "this is an iPhone". The 3GS screams "I'm an old phone". In their current markets I'm sure that Apple wants to standardize on a single iPhone look and will discontinue the 3GS. Outside those markets Apple would probably prefer a unified look too, but economics will play a bigger role.

 

Whether the 3GS continues to be available in economically challenging markets depends on the cost of making it. The 3GS is old technology. The chips it uses come from old fabs that yield relatively few chips per wafer. Many of the components come from third party suppliers who may want to discontinue production of their old items in favour of more profitable new ones. It's possible that it costs more to make the internals for a 3GS than it does to make the guts of a 4. Taking the old chips and building them on a new fab, like they did with the CPU in the re-released iPad 2, may or may not be worth the initial setup costs and effort in redesigning the internal layout to use smaller chips. The most economical option for Apple might be to put the guts of the iPhone 4 into a less expensive case.

 

Finally I'd really like Apple to drop the 3GS because it uses a now archaic 320x480 display. Moving the entire lineup to retina displays would allow Apple and the thousands of 3rd party developers to finally move to modern resolutions in all their apps.

post #30 of 47

We all talk of these '$0' iPhones, but minus the contract, it is still rather expensive.

 

An iPhone 3GS costs £319.

 

Over 300 quid for a phone that's 3 years old? Come on, Apple. the iPad 2 costs £329.

post #31 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Yep. And? They can discontinue it. You want to buy a three year old phone right now, be their guest. The iPhone 3G was sold up until the day before iPhone OS 3 was released, and while it was never sold WITH it, it still got it. And iOS 4. Big deal. I still think they shouldn't have given iOS 6 to the 3GS, but that's me.

 

I figure they'll be doing this:

 

iPhone 4: 8GB, black/white, $0, all carriers

iPhone 4S: 8GB, black/white, $99, all carriers

6th iPhone: 16/32/64GB*, black/white, $199, all carriers

 

Now they can offer all three phones on all carriers at all prices. Spectacular.

 

*128, anyone?

 

Why? Same as the rumors where they'd "keep the 3GS and drop the 4" last year or "keep the 3GS, but give it the iPhone 4's internals". I mean what in the world was that?

 

 

The iPad 2 and iPhone 3GS support iOS 6, so that's wrong.

 

I'd prefer that each device ONLY get the size elements specific to it rather than loading up all images on all devices; you're right, but there's still non-retina stuff to jam in.

I agree, but I'm hoping they bump all NAND, like the low end would go from 16GB to 32GB, 32 becomes 64, 64 becomes 128, then they can kill the iPod Classic too.

post #32 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Yep. And? They can discontinue it. You want to buy a three year old phone right now, be their guest. The iPhone 3G was sold up until the day before iPhone OS 3 was released, and while it was never sold WITH it, it still got it. And iOS 4. Big deal. I still think they shouldn't have given iOS 6 to the 3GS, but that's me.

 

I figure they'll be doing this:

 

iPhone 4: 8GB, black/white, $0, all carriers

iPhone 4S: 8GB, black/white, $99, all carriers

6th iPhone: 16/32/64GB*, black/white, $199, all carriers

 

Now they can offer all three phones on all carriers at all prices. Spectacular.

 

*128, anyone?

 

Why? Same as the rumors where they'd "keep the 3GS and drop the 4" last year or "keep the 3GS, but give it the iPhone 4's internals". I mean what in the world was that?

 

 

The iPad 2 and iPhone 3GS support iOS 6, so that's wrong.

 

I'd prefer that each device ONLY get the size elements specific to it rather than loading up all images on all devices; you're right, but there's still non-retina stuff to jam in.

Wait, the 3GS is supported by iOS6?! **** that shit ugh.

 

SO true, they RELEASE individual builds of iOS already! why pack it with images and resources it won't even use?! hopefully they'd trim the ARMv6 from modern devices as well.


Edited by marcusj0015 - 9/6/12 at 2:30pm
post #33 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post
Siri for example.  Not supported and basically entirely useless outside of the USA.  Maps will probably be the same.  Sometimes (ah lets face it, with reasonable frequency), the support for what Apple announces at the 'big reveal' doesn't trickle down to other countries until the big reveal next year.  Siri is the perfect example of this too.  

 

And I'm not talking east Ubekistan, I'm talking really exotic countries like "England" and "Canada."  :) 

 
Eh?
Siri has language support for French, German Japanese as well as English within Australia and the United Kingdom (which contains England).
Apple has a reasonable record of implementing regional features and languages, even if they do take their time about it:  I've noticed they've recently added Slovak to Lion and presumably Mountain Lion, a language spoken by at most six million people.
 
They seem to be taking their time implementing a Chinese language into Siri though, presume they need both Mandarin and Cantonese.
 
 
 
 
post #34 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacCentric View Post

Apple is all about "delighting their customers" so yes, the 3GS will be dropped everywhere.
I don't disagree, but it's also about increasing market share. Apple needs a $0 phone to lure in new customers who would either opt out of a smartphone, or for a cheap android -- also a poor choice. I would argue a 3GS any day over a free android. They also need a viable pre-paid smartphone that will actually sell. An entry level phone that is cheap to repair/replace and more forgiving to give to the kids to expand the family plan -- and one that is not going to cause confusion in the product line.

Having an iPhone 4 & 4S as the free and $100 respectively is only going to cause head scratching because they look the same. It's a lot easier to say "the 3GS has no retina display, no Siri, no widescreen, a bit slower, no 4G, etc." then point to be 4S and say, "this has retina display, Siri, faster, 4G-like speeds (but not true LTE), but no widescreen, etc., then point to the 5 and describe all the things it does. All three still support the major features people use iDevices for (like facetime) with iOS 6. It makes spending their hard earned money easier to visually see the differences.

I don't see this any different than Apple continuing to offer the polycarbonate MacBooks after the unibody MBPs were introduced to bridge the gap until the Airs became an affordable alternative as a NetBook competitor.

The 3GS is still a viable competitive phone, especially globally, and makes a much more practical device for entry level purchases than an all glass iPhone 4. Plus, the older styling might be a way to guarantee customers will opt for the more expensive phone, recall the black MacBook surcharge? And if it doesn't sell well in the US, they discontinue it early, and move the inventory to the global market which is much less concerned with being "delighted" by Apple products. As long as their App store purchases all upgrade to the next iPhone, the user has incentive to stay in the iPhone ecosystem rather than jump ship once they wish they had gotten the 4/S, or 5.

That said, I conceede that if the 3GS actually costs more to manufacture than the 4, then this makes no sense. However, I could see them offering the 4 in a modified case to save money ... Perhaps with a plastic back instead of glass? I'm sure there are ways to eliminate "premium" features so as to both visually distinguish it from the 4S, but also significantly reduce the cost, and make it cheaper to replace/repair, if not more durable.
Edited by Mac_128 - 9/6/12 at 3:21pm
post #35 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I'm surprised no one has complained that 8GB isn't enough for a phone. It's amazing that the 4GB iPhone was canceled just a few short months after it was sold because people wanted 8GB and 5+ years later 8GB is still more than sufficient for a large number of users.

 

That's a good point.  It's all the more remarkable when you consider that the higher resolution photos, videos and retina display graphics use up more storage space than the camera and graphics in the original iPhone.

 

Could it be that those who are buying the 8GB models are:

  1. Not interested in taking pictures and videos but merely using the device for internet or as a feature phone?
  2. frequently transferring stuff to their computers?
  3. making good use of the wi-fi and cloud storage?
 
post #36 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiA View Post

That's a good point.  It's all the more remarkable when you consider that the higher resolution photos, videos and retina display graphics use up more storage space than the camera and graphics in the original iPhone.

Could it be that those who are buying the 8GB models are:
  1. Not interested in taking pictures and videos but merely using the device for internet or as a feature phone?
  2. frequently transferring stuff to their computers?
  3. making good use of the wi-fi and cloud storage?
 

I think the OS has doubled in size, too. At this point I think 16GB is the minimum I'd get for a phone but I certainly don't need the 32GB I have with my iPhone 4. Despite that, I'll likely buy the largest capacity model they offer.

I am only using 7GB on my 64GB iPad (3).

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

 

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post #37 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I think that would harm the upsell potential. The 4 is still a good device, and upselling is an important part of the business model.

Good point, but as a customer I want simplicity, not upsell.
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post #38 of 47
I'd actually prefer if the 3GS continued to be sold, cheaper, because it's too expensive at its current price, but if it was a $100 phone I would definitely buy one to use in situations where getting mugged is a real concern.
post #39 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


I think the OS has doubled in size, too. At this point I think 16GB is the minimum I'd get for a phone but I certainly don't need the 32GB I have with my iPhone 4. Despite that, I'll likely buy the largest capacity model they offer.
I am only using 7GB on my 64GB iPad (3).

You're lucky, I have ~110GB's of lossless music, and my iPod is only 64GB's...

post #40 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac_128 View Post

My money is on keeping the 3GS 1 more year as the free phone, and perhaps sold globally as long as Apple will support it. Verizon gets an entry level 4S, but has to wait until 2013 for a free one, perhaps offering the remaining 4 for free to clear inventory and drawn in a lot of new customers. The iPhone 4 will be discontinued to simplify the lineup. This may not be Apple's style with respect to the relatively new iPhone line, but they did exactly this with the White MacBook, after the MacBook Pro line was announced, and I recall Steve jobs specifically saying that they would be around "for a long time".

The free phone? Not sure what you mean, the iPhone 4S is currently available as a 'free' phone from different providers
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