Monday, July 14, 2008

The new iPhone is here!


11 July 2008 was a big day for Apple. It marked two milestones for what may become the most coveted gadget of 2008 - the iPhone 3G. iPhone 3G created such a bang that Apple's e-commerce servers worldwide were overwhelmed over the weekend. Apart from the new phone, Apple also released new "iPhone 2.0" software.

iPhone has not officially arrived in India, but many "early adopters" are toting the sleek device in their pockets. iPhone 1 had to be "jailbroken" - unlocked via some clever hacking - to be freed from AT&T's shackles.

What's new in iPhone 3G? Two notable improvements - 3G high speed mobile service and built-in GPS. Other than that, all improvements lie in the new - the "iPhone 2.0" platform.

The biggest software improvements are:

1. Push email with Microsoft Exchange. Blackberry, you have competition! Microsoft Exchange, the preferred corporate email server can now "push" corporate email to iPhone users.

2. MobileMe. Apple's new personal services for push email, contact synchronization, calendar sharing and more - "Everything up to date, anywhere you are".

3. The App Store. A few months ago, Apple opened up the iPhone to software developers worldwide, ushering in the next generation of mobile applications. iPhone users can download free and paid applications from the App Store. The top 10 free apps are at: http://tinyurl.com/free-iphone-apps

4. Location sensitive applications. Finding a restaurant nearby or looking up public transport schedules is now a snap. Coupled with services like Google Maps, location sensitive applications will become a big hit. And you cannot get lost!

The best part about "iPhone 2.0" is that it runs on all existing iPhones! Some clever people managed to unlock iPhone 2.0 within two hours of its release! Many still prefer to stick to their old iPhones with the new 2.0 software, as mentioned in http://tinyurl.com/iphone2-review

iPhone 3G shall arrive in India before the end of 2008 and may cost only half as much as its predecessor. However, beware of the hidden costs. Be prepared to surrender to multi-year contracts, exorbitant data rates and a myriad of hidden charges. Vodafone is charging Rs. 3 per SMS to pre-register for the iPhone 3G! Given today's EDGE data rates (10p for 10KB), it would cost Rs. 120 to browse today's TOI e-paper!

All said and done, I still prefer the simplicity of my "primitive" Nokia 3500c over anything else! Life is cluttered enough already.

More about iPhone 2.0 and 3G on:
http://tinyurl.com/iphone2-lifehacker
http://tinyurl.com/iphone3g-engadget
http://tinyurl.com/iphone3g-pcworld

Published: Times of India, Ahmedabad, 15-Jul-08

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