Meet The New iPhone, Not Quite The Same As The Old iPhone

Another year, another iPhone. Next up to drive early adopters furious is the newly announced iPhone 3G S, which opens applications faster, goes easier on the battery, packs a sharper camera, records video, includes voice control and adds a compass that points to the inevitable reality that Apple will announce a fourth iPhone next year.

The third rendition of Apple’s “it” device, which the company revealed Monday at the WWDC Keynote, comes out June 19. A 16GB model will cost $399 ($199 if you’re eligible for a subsidized upgrade with an AT&T contract extension) and the 32GB 3G S will be $499 ($299 with an upgrade). Plus an $18 upgrade fee. Good news for holdouts who don’t need the freshest iPhones in their pockets: the suddenly obsolete iPhone 3G has dipped to $99 with a subsidized upgrade.

Unfortunately for Verizon customers, Apple said nothing at the press conference about breaking the AT&T exclusivity shackle that remains in place until next year.

Apple’s speedier, feature-rich new iPhone 3GS [Consumer Reports]
iPhone 3G S First Take [CNET]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Gramin says:

    Does Consumerist have some weird fetish with Apple? Or perhaps someone owns stock in the company? Brainwashed by aliens? This is the third post on Apple this morning. Can’t you find anything else to discuss? Not every consumer owns an iPhone.

    • pz says:

      @Gramin: Oh, quit yer whinin’.

      Apple had a keynote yesterday and released new stuff — I dislike fanboys as much as the next person, but 3 articles isn’t anything to get your panties in a bunch over.

      • dragonfire81 says:

        @mdmadph: On another note, this constant flood of Iphone stuff makes me want one less and less.

      • Gramin says:


        Three articles repeating the same information is a bit ridiculous. A quick look at the WSJ online and I can’t find anything that is repeated three times on their front page. Moreover, I’m not the only who thinks this is ridiculous, as evidenced by JRules’ post.

      • LegoMan322 says:

        @mdmadph: Since they are his/her panties I think they should decide that. Plus with all the other sites pushing the Apple news it is getting redundant.

    • Gramin says:


      I should make a small correction. This is more than just the third post on Apple; rather, it’s the third post on the iPhone! Is anyone else tired of discussing the same thing all morning? The Consumerist writing and editorial staff is somewhat lacking these days.

    • donjumpsuit says:

      @Gramin: I am sure if you owned this website, and realized that the click-through on the last two Apple posts were 10 times greater than any other post, you would logically increase your Apple coverage

    • Jacob Morgan says:

      I really like the iPhone, but the Consumerist isn’t really the place for it. Yeah, I know the arguments that run with the idea that the iPhone is a consumer product, but if we DO follow that idea, they should devote articles to other smartphones and compare them.

      • Gramin says:

        @Jacob Morgan:

        You’re absolutely right! It isn’t the only smartphone on the market. I’m beginning to wonder if this is really an Apple fanboy site masquerading as a consumer oriented site.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          @Gramin: But RIM didn’t have a huge conference announcing a brand new Blackberry. And hmm…there isn’t a brand new Blackberry.

          But I could go for some Pre coverage.

          • Gramin says:

            @pecan 3.14159265:

            True. But where was Consumerist’s coverage of the Mobile World Conference? Several new and exciting phones were announced at MWC. However, I can’t find any coverage of the event. I understand that iPhone fanboys are similar to Trekies and have an uncontrollable fascination with the iPhone, however, three posts about the iPhone before Noon is still a bit too obsessive.

            • pecan 3.14159265 says:

              @Gramin: I think the posts could have been condensed to one…but I don’t think they can do that simply, so I shrug and move on.

  2. JRules says:

    Seriously? More iPhone news? Why not do news about new blackberries too then? or new Android phones? This is not a tech website…

  3. zigziggityzoo says:

    I think you need to figure out the pricing. There’s actually 3 prices for each phone. One for out-of-contract, one for upgrade before eligible, and one for no-contract.

  4. MikeHerbst says:

    This is a phone that might be worth the upgrade. After all, Apple is saying the 3GS will FINALLY SUPPORT MMS (a feature my Nokia and Motorola phones had in the late 1990’s) and training-less voice dialing (a feature my Blackberry had 3 years ago!)

    All this cost and drama for a phone who’s first two iterations were substantially sub-par to far cheaper alternatives. People must love touchscreens…

    • Rachacha says:

      @MikeHerbst: Actually the MMS support is going active with the 3.0 software which will work on the older 3G iPhone. The only thing you won’t get is video wich is a feature unique (so far) to the newer 3GS.

      • MikeHerbst says:

        OK cool, so the phone they released in 2008 will sort of catch up to 1995 with a software update. Nice.

        • anonymousmonk says:

          @MikeHerbst: 3.0 is free for all iPhone customers (including 1st gen), and for those who actually own iPhones, it becomes pretty apparent pretty quick that using email, which is free, is a much better alternative for conversation and picture sharing that the nickle & dime’d text message format.

          Apple didn’t prioritize it, and for most real world consumers, it didn’t matter in the least.

  5. kaceetheconsumer says:

    I’m just hoping the rumoured inclusion of cut and paste functionality will now be passed down in the next update for this here iPod touch, because man, leaving that out of the OS was TEH STOOOOPID.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @kaceetheconsumer: Copy and paste is included in the 3.0 upgrade, available for free for iPhone users and at a price for Touch users.

      • kaceetheconsumer says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: Oh man, I have to pay for it? *grumble* No fair!

        I probably won’t bother, then. It’s only really an issue right now while I’m laid up after surgery and using the ipod as a computer substitute from the bed.

        Thanks for the info, though!

        • superberg says:

          @kaceetheconsumer: Touch users have always paid for updates. It’s kind of like paying for a small OS update, I suppose, although I still think it should be free.

          • kaceetheconsumer says:

            @superberg: Really? I haven’t paid anything yet…I just do the updates that iTunes tells me to do. I guess this means this is a separate thing?

  6. I Love New Jersey says:

    And same crappy AT&T service. No thanks!

    • Rachacha says:

      @I Love New Jersey: It was rather funny listening to the audio of the presentation. When the apple rep was announcing some new features that were carrier dependant (MMS, teathering to a laptop) and AT&T was absent from the list of worldwide providers that were supporting these features, the entire crowd went “BOO”. It threw off the Apple spokesman and at one point he had to stop for a few seconds and they the crowd quiet down a bit.

  7. KingPsyz says:

    I’m glad to see them bring it down to a reasonable level of $99 for the phone that will do more than enough for 90% of consumers.

    I don’t feel sorry for early adopters, but for the ones who did wait a reasonable ammount of time to have the price halved under them within a few months time.

    I used to sell cell phones (I was honest belive it or not) and I remember watching the same exact thing go down with the Motorolla RAZR when it launched at something like a $500 price point and all the urban hipsters rushed to max their credit cards. Then within a year they’d give you 4 free ones for opening an account.

    When iPhone launched I said the same thing, within a few years they’ll be like most smart phones, $9-$99 / contract.

    It’s still overpriced for the S model, but again if you’re a gotta have the first one type, well don’t be mad when they drop price a year later to something more in line with the rest of the industry.

    • KingPsyz says:
      • LegoMan322 says:

        @Do not taunt Happy Fun King Psyz: VCR’s were $800 when they first came out. Now they are $10 and a free toaster.

        All technology goes down after “X” time.

        • KingPsyz says:

          Not really valid, VCRs came along with there was NOTHING in the market doing what they did.

          All Apple did was bring in a slick UI and a touchscreen only interface. They actually left out many standard features available in the most basic of phones and chalked it up to those things not meeting their vision or them having a better solution. Now only to roll back on that tract with the addition os MMS messaging and Video capture.

          Hell my 5 year old phone does video and MMS.

          ATT should have subsidized the phones at launch, but they wanted as much profit as they could get off the deal. Frankly I am still confused why Apple chose to work with ATT exclusively.

          • LegoMan322 says:

            @Do not taunt Happy Fun King Psyz: I was simply stating that all technology goes down rapidly in price.

            The new features of the iphone plus the price point are very attractive to people who do not understand AT&T and their shittyness.

            I have the 2gen iPhone and will not upgrade till more features come out…similar to what you mentioned.

          • Trai_Dep says:

            @Do not taunt Happy Fun King Psyz: “All Apple did was bring in a slick UI and a touchscreen only interface.”
            You write that as though it’s a trifle. But it’s actually hard. Really hard.
            There’s a reason why somewhere around 80% of the smartphone web browsing is from the iPhone, which has no where near that share of the market: their UI makes what’s a chore into a pleasure. And that’s no small task.
            Much more important than a checklist of features, IMHO.

  8. NoNamesLeft says:

    Careful guys. Last July I wrote, “CAN WE PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, NOT MAKE THIS iPHONE DAY.” And I was banned from commenting. I had to ask for months to get my privileges back.

    So the moral of the story is, if you criticize a story, especially about the iPhone, chances are you are going to get banned.

    • LegoMan322 says:

      @NoNamesLeft: I got tossed too for a while. Consumerist has a short temper with constructive criticism.

    • nakedscience says:

      @NoNamesLeft: There are ways to send in criticism. There are even nice e-mail links on the left. Leaving a whiny, bitchy comment about it is against the comment rules.

      • KingPsyz says:

        Irony alert, same goes for the comment cop. Let the site handle it’s biz because your comments are just as distracting and off topic and frankly not your place to administer.

        The posts complaing have a point, they’re just as much a part of this site as you and it can be a bit much to have multiple articles on the same subject in a short ammount of time.

        Gizmodo had a simillar problem last week with every other story covering the greatness that is Natal while in their liveblog they said the Sony Motion Control was amazing and trumped Natal.

    • lpranal says:

      @NoNamesLeft: Maybe try without the annoying caps next time? just a suggestion…

  9. sixsixty says:

    your pricing is off for the 32gb model. over by a $100 on both prices. (not to mention the additional $18 fee for early upgrading)

  10. Haggie1 says:

    iPhone 3G S. The “S” is for suckers!

  11. Donathius says:

    I got my iPhone 3G back in August and I don’t consider myself ripped off or deprived in any way. I would be a little miffed if I’d bought it last month for $300, but thems the breaks. Technology gets better, it happens. I can’t complain that there’s a better phone now than the one I bought a year ago. I’m still perfectly happy with my iPhone – although I definitely want the 3GS. My only solace is that my work might buy a new one for me and pay the $400 it will cost since I’m not eligible for the cheaper upgrade pricing until next April.

    • Rachacha says:

      @Donathius: Could not agree more. I got my iPhone in January and could not be more pleased with it. Nothing so far on the 3GS is compelling enough to make me want to upgrade. I normally don’t use my phone as a camera or video recorder (except to take photos of store tags so I can do more research on the product at a later time). The voice dial is cool, but I have had other phones where that did not work very well, so I don’t hold much hope for the iPhone to be miles above the competition in this area. The additional speed is compelling, but until there are super apps that require this additional speed, I am perfectly happy with the slower version. Everything that I really wanted is included in the 3.0 free firmware upgrade.

      • LegoMan322 says:

        @Rachacha: Same here. My 3g (2nd gen) iPhone rocks. I am no fan of AT&T (the iPhone is not hooked up to anyone) but once the phone gets opened or I jailbreak it…I am keeping it till it dies.

        The 3G currently is not worth the upgrade for me.

  12. Preyfar says:

    Sorry, but this article is just a lil’ misleading. For us “early” iPhone adopters (the 2G) we were not bound by contract. It didn’t put us in a two year contract lockdown, so us “early adopters” can upgrade to the 3GS at greatly reduced costs. It’s only those who rushed out to buy the 3G who suffer the penalties.

    The only people who got burned were those who jumped from the 2G to 3G and now want to go to the 3GS. Us true early adopters? We can upgrade on the cheap!

    • KingPsyz says:

      Well you still paid $600 for a phone two years ago…

      • Preyfar says:

        @Do not taunt Happy Fun King Psyz: $499, but I bought was available at the time. It was expensive, but I felt it worth it. That is the cost of being an early adopter, but AT&T (for as much flak as they get) didn’t bind people into a contract. You always pay more to be “first”.

        I’m upgrading to an iPhone 3GS, and for $199, I don’t mind. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my iPhone, and it’s in dire need of a replacement (part of the battery exploded inside the case). But I have no regrets. :)

        • KingPsyz says:


          I have this teddy bear that spontaneously combusts I’d like to sell you then.

          I was under the impression that even though there were no subsidies they still bound you to a contract in the early days, maybe that was after day one…

          I will say this, you might want to hold off a little longer if you can, you know the price is gonna drop again.

          • Preyfar says:

            @Do not taunt Happy Fun King Psyz: Prices will always drop. In a year, I can get them on eBay for cheap. Five years, I can probably get one for a few bucks at a yard sale. It’s a matter of if I want to enjoy it now or a year from now.

            As for the battery, but sort of quasi-detonated last month (phone got too hot to hold, freakin’ went supernova). But defects happen. Just look at the old Sony battery incident.

            Oddly, my phone still works. Sorta. I was looking to get rid of it ASAP, and was looking at the Palm Pre. Fortunately, the 3GS came out as I was looking to upgrade.

    • Coyote says:

      @Preyfar: Nope. 2G iPhone adopters had to pay full price for the hardware, AND they were locked into a 2-year contact. That was part of the deal between Apple and AT&T: In exchange for no subsidy and a guaranteed 2-year customer, Apple agreed to exclusivity on AT&T.

      When the 3G was released, AT&T agreed to subsidize, paying apple roughly $300 for every iPhone 3G sold by AT&T or Apple.However, like you said, AT&T allowed all iPhone contracts to upgrade to the 3G at the lowest prices, because they didn’t have to subsidize it the first time around. If you were upgrading from any other contract, you had to pay about $200 more! That is why you had to activate before you left the store, why you couldn’t buy the 3G online, and why 3G owners are getting screwed on the 3GS.

      Let’s see:

      – AT&T requires you to be 18 months into an 2-year contract before you can upgrade at subsidy prices.

      – Apple releases a new iPhone every year, on the dot.

      EPIC FAIL. If you ask me, AT&T made the DUMBEST business move possible by not allowing 3G contracts to upgrade to the 3GS after one year.

      That way, if you got your 3G at launch, you can upgrade, if you got it later, you’ll have to wait. If they did that, the most loyal iPhone owners (like myself) who happily stood in line on 3G launch day would all be standing in line again. Apple gets more sales, AT&T gets more contract extensions, and everyone is happy.

  13. Paul D says:


    The iPhone 3GS boasts ONE (count it!) entirely new feature (compass) and slight upgrades to memory, camera, and processor speed (though one would be hard pressed to call the iPhone 3G “slow.”)

    (For the record, as jailbreakers know, the iPhone’s camera has always been capable of video so I don’t count that as a new feature. Most of the other “new” stuff announced yesterday will be available in the 3.0 software for ALL iPhones and is not exclusive to the 3GS.)

    Technically speaking, the jump from iPhone to iPhone 3G was MUCH more significant. But even then I wouldn’t go so far as to call the iPhone 2G “obsolete.”

    • Paul D says:

      @Paul D: I forgot to add that battery life is entirely subjective, so I don’t count that as a terribly compelling upgrade either. Besides, I don’t know any iPhone users who have ever gotten the kind of battery life Apple claims for their particular model.

      • Preyfar says:

        @Paul D: Just chiming in – On average, I get about 3-4 hours full usage out of my phone until it does completely (this includes voice/talk and gaming). No more than 48 hours on a standby charge, either.

        Had the phone battery replaced, same issue. In the end, heh, one of the cells in the battery burst… and it’s got less than that now. :D

  14. Borax-Johnson says:

    The AT&T exclusivity is a real dealbreaker for me. I had theri service until Verizon covered my area. If they’s move to VZ, I’d probably switch from Blackberry.

    • MikeHerbst says:

      Heck, I’d be happy if they just let T-Mobile sell them since the phone will already work on their network.

      A CDMA iPhone is a different kettle of fish entirely. But either way, exclusivity deals hurt competition.

    • Rachacha says:

      @Borax-Johnson: Personally, I don’t think that Apple would ever go to Verizon because it would require that they make a unique handset that would only be used by one carrier in only the United States. As apple is very minimilastic in their product skus I can’t see them coming out with a US-CDMA version of the iPhone because it would add 4-6 skus to the iPhone line (color and size). This leaves a big hole where Blackberry and Palm if they can develop a compelling product (early reports on the Palm Pre are positive) that will compete head to head with the iPhone in both the consumer and corporate market and take advantage of the exclusive agreement that Apple has with ATT.

  15. crichton007 says:

    I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get one unlocked for T-Mobile (at a more sane price once the exclusivity is over).

  16. ryanmol2 says:

    I bought my phone May 25th (New 8GB Black 3G Phone)… for $199 — is there any remedy for the drastic price drop?? I haven’t even had it for 30 days!! Is there any way to upgrade to the new one that is the same price (for twice the memory) or get the $100 difference credited to me?? Shouldn’t they have told me that in 15 days the price would drop $100? I ported my number over from Verizon and got an ETF, so shouldn’t they have told me since I could have just waited??

    • mdoublej says:


      kind of sucks, but there were plenty of rumors that there would be a new model this month, and usually price drops on the old ones follow.

      The AT&T guys should have told you, but were likely looking at a sale and didn’t want to jinx it.

      • ryanmol2 says:

        @mdoublej: I just talked to them, and they said that either I can get the $100 credited to my account, or I can get the new 16gb 3GS the day it comes out (put on a waiting list). I get charged a $20 restocking fee but for a faster phone and larger memory, I thought it was worth it.
        Turns out it was very good that I went to the store!!

  17. IowaJezebel says:

    I’m still using my older model, and I did notice that I was barely able to use it in Atlanta, but here in Iowa it works fine. I would have the $18 upgrade fee, the $18 activation fee, and my current texts + data goes from $20 to $35 per month. That sucks. Over two years that’s an extra $360 for data service alone.

  18. korybing says:

    It’s almost a given that any article about Apple will have a giant thread of people accusing the author/website/etc of being a pandering Apple fanboy.

    I’ve been eying an iPhone for ages now, maybe $99 bucks is low enough to justify the purchase for me.

  19. Bye says:

    I think the only thing curiouser than an Apple fetish is when people get their jollies pointing out how “fanboys” ruin everything…in multiple posts.

  20. farker says:

    AT&T will also sell you a 16 GB iPhone for $149, while supplies last.

    But don’t forget the minimum $70+/month for service, and add extra for text messaging.

  21. MikeF74 says:

    I’m a little late to this thread. Surprised nobody noticed the typo. $299 is the subsidized cost for the 32GB model (for new customers and those who are eligible for upgrade).

  22. Trai_Dep says:

    When the world’s leading consumer technology (by mind-share) has a major convention announcing changes in their flagship lines, it’s news consumers want to hear about. Thanks, Consumerist!

  23. Anonymous says:

    I just called AT&T customer service and they pretty much told me the same thing. I can pay the $125 ETF and get a new iPhone 3Gs for $200 (total cost – $325) or I can shell out $400 to upgrade before my contract makes me eligible. In AT&T’s bizarro world it’s actually cheaper to cancel your contract. Go figure.

  24. rewinditback says:

    maybe im crazy, but isnt the 32gb 299 when subsidized via contract?

  25. takes_so_little says:

    @Gramin: ” Is anyone else tired of discussing the same thing all morning?”

    Apparently, not you. Four comments for a story you dislike? No, you are gay for Apple.

  26. the_wiggle says:

    break the shackle & i’ll think about picking up an iPhone. until then, not going to happen.

  27. Black-Cat says:

    Haha! I can’t stop laughing at all the tools who buy an iphone, and then the next gen one comes out and they are stuck with it or have to buy the new one. First no 3G, then 3G, and now 3GS. Hurry up losers! Run out and throw out more money for the next one!

  28. bbagdan says:

    I still can’t get over that the iPhone didn’t have video recording capability. Even free phones have this.

    • Black-Cat says:

      @bbagdan: It’s all about Crapple having control over the tools who buy it. People are so spun out over that shitty phone that they don’t care what features are missing.

  29. bmwsteve says:

    I find it very interesting that apple leaves out features in their products that every other carrier provides in almost every mobile device. Then they use those things as bait to get you to buy a new phone. MMS has been around for almost 10 years, and one of the top selling smartphones doesn’t have it. This goes the same for video recording. Also, isn’t the lockdown of the device, and their total control of the applications, a perfect example of a monopoly? Especially since they are making developers sign an agreement that states they will not alter the device or its software in any way outside of the appstore?