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First iPhone 3G reviews via the WSJ, USA Today and NY Times

post #1 of 88
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Three of Apple's favorite journalists have weighed in on iPhone 3G and reckon the device to be a major -- though not perfect -- improvement on its predecessor. We break down the highlights of each review.

Walt Mossberg | The Wall Street Journal
iPhone 3G "is much, much faster at fetching data over cellphone networks" than the original version.
Overall, the new phone "mostly keeps its promises."
Surfing the net was typically between three and five times as fast on AT&T's 3G network. In Washington and New York, 3G speeds ranged between 200 and 500 kilobits per second compared to 70 and 150 kbps on EDGE.
With 3G enabled, the iPhone 3G's battery drained much more quickly in a typical day of use than the battery on the original iPhone.
Apple has greatly improved the iPhone's audio. The built in speaker is much louder for music and speakerphone conversations, but the phone produced an echo when used with the built-in Bluetooth system in Walt's car.
Exchange ActiveSync works well and setup takes just minutes. Any changes made on the iPhone are reflected instantly in Microsoft Outlook. Email is also pushed to the phone instantly.
While iPhone Software v2.0 allows for both personal and Exchange email accounts to function simultaneously, synching Exchange calendars and contacts will erase any personal calendars and contacts.
A side benefit to 3G coverage is that it improves voice coverage: "At my neighborhood shopping center, where the first iPhone got little or no AT&T service, the iPhone 3G registered strong coverage."
AT&T, however, still has spotty network coverage in major metropolitan areas: "In New York City, riding in a taxi along the Hudson, one important call was dropped three times on the new iPhone. Finally, I borrowed a cheap Verizon phone and got perfect reception."
Edward Baig | USA Today
"No equal among consumer-oriented smartphones."
Baig's corporate data (through Exchange) was a "relative cinch" to setup and works well.
3G isn't accessible in parts of northern New Jersey, highlighting the at times spotty coverage of the faster network.
Most websites take 10 to 30 seconds to load through 3G, which is a lot faster than on EDGE (which often takes an extra 30 seconds or more).
The phone feels "perfectly comfortable" in the hand courtesy of the plastic back.
Apple confirms that the plastic should improve reception versus the original's aluminum.
The journalist is "impressed" by the accuracy of GPS, but says the phone begs for voiced turn-by-turn directions.
Audio quality is better overall, particularly the speakerphone; headphones are of course still better.
Parental controls actually remove icons outright from the home screen; they don't just block access.
You'll still want to charge the phone about once a day if used regularly.
Old iPod accessories meant to charge over Firewire circuitry (such as a Belkin car kit) don't work; iPhone 3G still only recognizes USB.
Overall: an "enthusiastic thumbs up."
David Pogue | The New York Times
The "gracefully curved" back feels better in the hand than the original iPhone.
Call quality takes a "gigantic leap forward" and is "crystal clear" on either end of the call; few other phones rival it.
Apple: the GPS receiver's antenna is too small to replicate turn-by-turn navigation of a full unit.
Like with most GPS devices, a 'canyon' effect from downtown buildings can block reception.
Battery replacement will still cost $86.
Examples of third-party apps: iCall for VoIP calls over Wi-Fi, G-Park for position-based parking, and Urbanspoon for picking a random nearby restaurant by shaking the phone.
post #2 of 88
Zero comments? I guess nobody cares about the iPhone after all...
post #3 of 88
"While iPhone Software v2.0 allows for both personal and Exchange email accounts to function simultaneously, synching Exchange calendars and contacts will erase any personal calendars and contacts."

well, that sucks \
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post #4 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by elroth View Post

Zero comments? I guess nobody cares about the iPhone after all...

We didn't see the article until now.

We're in line at the Apple store in anticipation of getting iPhones, Friday morning!
post #5 of 88
4 things....MMS, copy/paste, landscape keyboard in all applicable features (SMS, notes, e-mail), better camera with zoom/flash. That would be the perfect phone I think. Yet somehow people will still complain about something...probably lack of tethering, locked to a carrier and monthly rates.
post #6 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The GPS receiver's antenna is too small to replicate turn-by-turn navigation of a full unit.

Too small? I wasn't aware these were particularly large anymore. In all honesty, I don't know very much about the subject -- any resident experts willing to clear this up?
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post #7 of 88
The calendars/contact syncing issue is a huge disappointment.
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post #8 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by kcmac View Post

The calendars/contact syncing issue is a huge disappointment.

I've been wondering about syncing in 2.0. So, you can sync your calendar/contacts either to Exchange Server or to local iCal/Address Book, but not both. I had hoped (probably lamely) that my iPhone could be the "go between" sync-er for iCal to Exchange.

I would like to sync my contacts between Address Book and iPhone. But sync my iCal to iPhone and to Exchange to share calendars with work compadres.

Hmm.
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post #9 of 88
I take it Pogue saw those two little screws on the bottom - yet, he doesn't mention them. He adds that you'll still have to buy a new battery from Apple in a couple of years. Damn.
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post #10 of 88
I was simply hoping the iPhone would know the difference between syncing to Exchange and syncing to MobileMe.. have everything sync with each other so that you know what time frame you need to dedicate to work and another time frame you can dedicate to personal time.. and also be able to keep work contacts separate from your personal contacts. I left the blackberry behind in hopes of this but it turns out to be exactly the same thing.
post #11 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by ckipel View Post

I was simply hoping the iPhone would know the difference between syncing to Exchange and syncing to MobileMe.. have everything sync with each other so that you know what time frame you need to dedicate to work and another time frame you can dedicate to personal time.. and also be able to keep work contacts separate from your personal contacts. I left the blackberry behind in hopes of this but it turns out to be exactly the same thing.

If the same is true for both, there is likely a good reason why. It's probably not nearly as easy as some think.
post #12 of 88
Nice to hear about Call Quality. Which is the most important improvement i think.

Although i wonder if it was because of the 3G Network using better codec and bandwidth or a Motorola Crystal Talk Smilar technology.

If it was the later then i would buy one immediately.

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post #13 of 88
Hi All, I think the new features of the iPhone 3G are great, based on the reviews. But does anyone have any concern about the back of the phone being made out of plastic? I thought the build quality of the original iPhone was awesome and exactly what I would expect from Apple.

The reviewers comment on how good the new phone feels in the hand but I wonder how the plastic will stand up to day to day use.

Thoughts...
post #14 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by robmack View Post

Hi All, I think the new features of the iPhone 3G are great, based on the reviews. But does anyone have any concern about the back of the phone being made out of plastic? I thought the build quality of the original iPhone was awesome and exactly what I would expect from Apple.

The reviewers comment on how good the new phone feels in the hand but I wonder how the plastic will stand up to day to day use.

Thoughts...

I wouldn't worry about its holding up. Plastic is stronger than aluminum when hit. The aluminum will dent, but the plastic will pop back.

But, by the time a blow is strong enough to damage either, the insides are mashed, so it won't matter.

A plastic back will give more of a cushion effect, so it's actually better. About the only thing we might see is some scratches if put on hard, rough, surfaces too often.
post #15 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

I wouldn't worry about its holding up. Plastic is stronger than aluminum when hit. The aluminum will dent, but the plastic will pop back.

But, by the time a blow is strong enough to damage either, the insides are mashed, so it won't matter.

A plastic back will give more of a cushion effect, so it's actually better. About the only thing we might see is some scratches if put on hard, rough, surfaces too often.


not to mention that most people will put them in cases (like the InCase rubber cases) anyway. I love my InCase rubber protector, and I'll certainly be buying one once they're available for the iPhone 3G. The added protection and grip is a huge plus.
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post #16 of 88
TYPO:

Quote:
Examples of third-party apps: iCall for VoIP calls over Wi-Fi, G-Park for position-based parking, and Urbanspoon for picking a random nearby restaurant by sharing the phone.

That should read SHAKING, not SHARING.
post #17 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post

somehow people will still complain about something...probably lack of tethering, locked to a carrier and monthly rates.

You make it sound as if those 3 things are not worthy of complaining about. The best proof that they are worthy of mentioning is that other phones (*cough* T95-3 *cough) do not suffer from similar problems. It seems to me that we could accept Apple only adding a few features to the iPhone at the same rates *or* we could accept AT&T raising rates in return for lots of new functionality. Not both. The bloom, I fear, is off the rose.
post #18 of 88
what about the missing bluetooth stack for external GPS for the "old" iphone 2G???

i hope we iphone 2G owners can use our bluetooth GPS mouse!!!

if not i'm really pissed, really really pissed!!!
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post #19 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Animal Farm View Post

Too small? I wasn't aware these were particularly large anymore. In all honesty, I don't know very much about the subject -- any resident experts willing to clear this up?

and this would speak for an external GPS bluetooth stack even more!!!
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post #20 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

A plastic back will give more of a cushion effect, so it's actually better. About the only thing we might see is some scratches if put on hard, rough, surfaces too often.

thats not right
plastic wont absorb shocks at all - if there is a strong bang the plastic will shatter
if it were aluminium that would bend and dent slightly, absorbing the impact, but leaving you with a deformed case

Quote:
i hope we iphone 2G owners can use our bluetooth GPS mouse!!!

if not i'm really pissed, really really pissed!!!

why do you need a mouse? you cant do multitouch, and you would have to hold the phone tosee it, and may as well touch it
post #21 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by phil12345 View Post

thats not right
plastic wont absorb shocks at all - if there is a strong bang the plastic will shatter
if it were aluminium that would bend and dent slightly, absorbing the impact, but leaving you with a deformed case


why do you need a mouse? you cant do multitouch, and you would have to hold the phone tosee it, and may as well touch it

i have to agree!!!

impact wise the old iphone 2G has an advantage ove rthe plastic iphone 3G..!
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post #22 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by phil12345 View Post

thats not right
plastic wont absorb shocks at all - if there is a strong bang the plastic will shatter
if it were aluminium that would bend and dent slightly, absorbing the impact, but leaving you with a deformed case

What plastic are you talking about? There are some plastics that are more resilient than steel. Seeing as very few people have seen this thing, I'm just going to assume you're talking out of your ass.
post #23 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Animal Farm View Post

Too small? I wasn't aware these were particularly large anymore. In all honesty, I don't know very much about the subject -- any resident experts willing to clear this up?

I hope there is a way to boost the reception of the GPS signal somehow while in the card, maybe via an external antenna?
post #24 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by phil12345 View Post


why do you need a mouse? you cant do multitouch, and you would have to hold the phone tosee it, and may as well touch it

He wasn't referring to a pointing device, but a GPS mouse, which is essentially a cabled GPS receiver with no display, designed to be plugged into a computer via a cable (as opposed to Bluetooth GPS receivers).
post #25 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajmas View Post

He wasn't referring to a pointing device, but a GPS mouse, which is essentially a cabled GPS receiver with no display, designed to be plugged into a computer via a cable (as opposed to Bluetooth GPS receivers).

i was referring to the bluetooth GPS m,ouse, and the missing bluetooth stack that makes it impossible right now to pair those with the iphone osX 1.1.4...

it would give the "old" iphone 2G even better GPS capability than the iphone 3G, and it would give the iphone 3G better GPS reception, since the built in GPS has strong limitations, since one can place the antenna as needed... with the external device one can place the bluetooth GPS mouse @ a location where the reception is optimal! and the battery darin is not a huge!!!

my tomtom BT GPS mouse last up to 10h...!!! i used to use it with my old smartphone, the treo 650, and the tomtom navigator software
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post #26 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hutcho View Post

What plastic are you talking about? There are some plastics that are more resilient than steel. Seeing as very few people have seen this thing, I'm just going to assume you're talking out of your ass.

I guess the other issue I have, if you can call it that, is the fact that lately Apple have been pushing Aluminum because it is "environmentally friendly" and here they are using it on arguably their most consumable product.
post #27 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hutcho View Post

What plastic are you talking about? There are some plastics that are more resilient than steel. Seeing as very few people have seen this thing, I'm just going to assume you're talking out of your ass.

Being resilient to an impact often makes plastics less capable in other categories. Rigidity is one area that may be compromised if you make plastic highly resilient. As previously noted, it may be due to the environmental issues but even that is debatable as the production of plastic requires considerably less resources and can be produced more locally than aluminium. Of course, if you have pure recycled aluminium at your disposable then the debate heavily favors one side.

Personally, I'm still waiting for spider web and carbon fibers to create a computers whose chassis nearly indestructible chassis is also contains optical nano-tubing processors. (yeah, I'm making stuff up)
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post #28 of 88
And there you have it- Mossberg's call in NYC dropped 3 times in a cab along the Hudson and worked flawlessly with a cheap Verizon phone. That's why in NYC us with Verizon will most likely not change to crappy AT&Fee. The choice is not merely for the phone that matters, more importantly it's the quality of the call.
Regardless of the physical prowess and features on any device (Apple or otherwise) it's the call quality stupid- IT"S A PHONE FIRST.
post #29 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by robmack View Post

…But does anyone have any concern about the back of the phone being made out of plastic?

As Jobs has already said and the article states, "…plastic should improve reception versus the original's aluminum."

I don't know much about GPS and how it picks up the C/A code, but my GPS's I use boating don't work in metal enclosures and I can't remember a GPS with a metal back. All my units are plastic covered, and much larger than the iPhone. In fact, the first GPS's had to have external antennas to work well. In later models, the antennas became smaller on the handhelds and now they are internal, and bulkier, in part to satisfy the antenna requirements.

And for what it is worth, Mobile Magazine postulated that, "part of the reason why Apple may opt for a plastic back is that a metal back may interfere with all the wireless radios getting shoved into the new iPhone, like quad-band GSM, tri-band WCDMA, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and so on."

So for those that wanted everything but the kitchen sink in the new iPhone, get over it. And for having to use plastic over aluminum and defying Apple's "environmentally friendly" strategies, sometimes the law of physics overrides mother nature. But then the law of physics is the law of mother nature.
post #30 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abster2core View Post

As Jobs has already said ant the article states, "plastic should improve reception versus the original's aluminum."

Should? Didn't they already learn this lesson from the Titanium PowerBook?
post #31 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by phil12345 View Post

thats not right
plastic wont absorb shocks at all - if there is a strong bang the plastic will shatter
if it were aluminium that would bend and dent slightly, absorbing the impact, but leaving you with a deformed case

Nope. Plastics used for cases won't shatter. These are picked for their resistance to that. Mostly polycarbonate is used, and you can't break that no matter what you do. There are other plastics that work for this as well, such as ABS and ABS/PVC. More exotic materials include ECTFE, FEP, PETG, and others.
post #32 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by smokeonit View Post

i have to agree!!!

impact wise the old iphone 2G has an advantage ove rthe plastic iphone 3G..!

Completely incorrect.
post #33 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by robmack View Post

I guess the other issue I have, if you can call it that, is the fact that lately Apple have been pushing Aluminum because it is "environmentally friendly" and here they are using it on arguably their most consumable product.

You must use whatever material is best for the purpose.
post #34 of 88
Walt's so afraid of being accused of being a fanboy that he has to pan the device to some degree. He makes reasonable points, but puts undue attention on battery life. Let's be honest, when you're at the office, in the car or at home, the device can be plugged in. I doubt battery life is going to be an issue for most especially considering that you can turn off 3g. I'd be really curious to know why Apple has such a stubborn attitude towards a design with a removable battery. Is it an engineering issue, anti-tampering protection, revenue protection.....?

As far as ATT's network is concerned, better than most. That said, I wish Apple offered the device to all 3G capable providers....
post #35 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

And there you have it- Mossberg's call in NYC dropped 3 times in a cab along the Hudson and worked flawlessly with a cheap Verizon phone. That's why in NYC us with Verizon will most likely not change to crappy AT&Fee. The choice is not merely for the phone that matters, more importantly it's the quality of the call.
Regardless of the physical prowess and features on any device (Apple or otherwise) it's the call quality stupid- IT"S A PHONE FIRST.

Are you still paying the minimum $45 a month for your web data plan?
post #36 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Should? Didn't they already learn this lesson from the Titanium PowerBook?

What is your point? What lesson?
post #37 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

You must use whatever material is best for the purpose.

Yes. Consumer gadgets must take precedence over all other concerns.
post #38 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


Personally, I'm still waiting for spider web and carbon fibers to create a computers whose chassis nearly indestructible chassis is also contains optical nano-tubing processors. (yeah, I'm making stuff up)

Not to mention using up carbon by the ton. The more industrial use for carbon the better. They need to make everything from iPhone cases to reinforced buildings with carbon web. Being Green doesn't just have to be the reduction of CO2 it could be the mass use of pure carbon as a material.
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post #39 of 88
"I ran my own battery tests using the phones 3G capability. Although I left the Wi-Fi function on, I didnt 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 Apples maximum claim and nearly three hours less than what I recorded in the same test last year on the original iPhone. In my test of Internet use over 3G, I got 5 hours and 49 minutes, better than Apples claim, but far short of the nine hours I got using Wi-Fi in last years tests.

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. I overcame this problem by learning to use Wi-Fi instead of 3G whenever possible, turning down the screen brightness and even turning off 3G altogether, which the phone permits.

The iPhone 3Gs battery life is comparable to, or better than, that of some other 3G competitors. But they have replaceable batteries. The iPhone doesnt."
post #40 of 88
Quote:
Originally Posted by phil12345 View Post

thats not right
plastic wont absorb shocks at all - if there is a strong bang the plastic will shatter
if it were aluminium that would bend and dent slightly, absorbing the impact, but leaving you with a deformed case

You're only showing your ignorance. The real properties of plastics vary, it depends on the type in question. If it's polycarbonate, it will NOT shatter. Apple has used polycarbonate on its iBooks, iPod faces and so on, I think every portable Apple device that has plastic on the outer shell. I'll see if I can get a little sheet of it and shoot a video of me trying to shatter it. It rebounds strong enough that the hammer can be a danger, and still not crack or shatter. It's quite scary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Being resilient to an impact often makes plastics less capable in other categories. Rigidity is one area that may be compromised if you make plastic highly resilient.

Did you or someone you personally know have rigidity or impact trouble with Apple's white notebooks or iPods?
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