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iPhone, iPhone 3G, and iPhone 3G S - What's The Difference?

The Apple iPhone


First launched on June 29, 2007, in the United States, the Apple iPhone, is an Internet-enabled smartphone that combines mobile phone capabilities with a wireless Internet device, and an iPod into one product. The iPhone features include a camera, media player (iPod), Wi-Fi connectivity, a touch screen and many other features. Newer models include 3G capabilities and a built-in GPS.

The iPhone also includes a 3.5-inch multi-touch screen, rather than a keyboard, that can be manipulated by users with by two finger touches. The iPhone runs on a special version of Apple's Mac OS X operating system, called the iPhone OS.

When it was first launched, there were two available models: a 4-GB model for $499 and an 8-GB model for $599. The iPhone was sold only in the U.S. through Apple's retail and online stores, and also through AT&T's select retail stores. Nearly three months after its initial U.S. release, the 4GB model was discontinued and the price of the 8GB was cut by one-third. Later, in February of 2008, Apple released a new 16-GB model.

Specifications for the Apple iPhone include the following:

  • Screen size: 3.5 inches
  • Screen resolution: 320 by 480 at 160 ppi
  • Input method: Multi-touch
  • Operating system: iPhone OS
  • Storage: 4GB or 8GB
  • GSM: Quad-band (MHz: 850, 900, 1800, 1900)
  • Wireless data: Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) + EDGE + Bluetooth 2.0
  • Camera: 2.0 megapixels
  • Battery: Up to 5 hours Talk / Video / Browsing, Up to 16 hours Audio playback
  • Dimensions: 4.5 x 2.4 x 0.46 inches
  • Weight: 4.8 ounces / 135 grams

With its first release, Apple used Cingular to be Apple's exclusive carrier partner for iPhone in the U.S.

The Apple iPhone 3G

The iPhone 3G was announced in 2008 and on July 11, the new iPhone was released in 22 countries. The iPhone 3G differs from the iPhone in that it used 3G networking and included built-in GPS for expanded location based mobile services, and new iPhone 2.0 software, which included support for hundreds of third-party applications that were built with the iPhone SDK. At U.S. launch the iPhone 3G was priced at $199 for the 8-GB model, and just $299 for the 16-GB model.

Specifications For the Apple iPhone 3G include the following:

  • Screen size: 3.5 inches
  • Screen resolution: 480W320 pixels at 163 ppi
  • Input method: Multi-touch plus home button
  • Operating system: iPhone OS
  • Storage: 8-GB or 16-GB
  • GSM: Quad-band (MHz: 850, 900, 1800, 1900)
  • Tri band UMTS / HSDPA: UMTS 850 / 1900 / 2100
  • Assisted GPS
  • Wireless data: Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) + Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR
  • Camera: 2.0 megapixels
  • Battery: Up to 5 hours Talk / Video / Browsing, Up to 16 hours Audio playback
  • Dimensions: 4.5 x 2.4 x 0.48 inches
  • Weight: 4.7 ounces / 133 grams

The iPhone 3G also requires a two-year service commitment. Apple and partner AT&T also require activation at time of purchase, so those who want to unlock the phone and use another carrier will have to pay AT&T/Apple first.

The Biggest Differences Between the iPhone and iPhone 3G:

  • 3G speed capability
  • Dramatic price drop
  • 3G requires activation at time of purchase (two-year service commitment)
  • The iPhone 3G includes a built-in GPS.
  • The 3G is a bit thinner at the edges and includes a headphone jack that is flush to the side.

The Apple iPhone 3G S

In June of 2009, Apple released the latest iPhone incarnation, the iPhone 3G S—the S is for "speed". For the most part, the new iPhone 3G s is more of an improvement or upgrade to the 3G. While Apple has made changes to the hardware inside that has made the device faster, it is the new consumer features that has everyone talking. The new 3 megapixel camera has an autofocus lens and it can also capture VGA video at 30fps. In this version you also have voice commands, a digital compass, and up to 32-GB of storage on the top models. The iPhone 3G S also supports HSDPA networks for faster downloading.

Specifications for the Apple iPhone 3G S include the following:

  • Screen size: 3.5 inches
  • Screen resolution: 480W320 pixels at 163 ppi
  • Input method: Multi-touch plus home button
  • Operating system: iPhone OS
  • Storage: 16-GB or 32-GB flash drive
  • GSM / EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • Tri band UTMS / HSDPA (850, 1900, 2100 MHz)
  • Assisted GPS
  • Wireless compass
  • Wireless data: Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) + Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR
  • Camera: 3.0 megapixels
  • Battery: Up to 5 hours Talk (3G) / Video / Browsing, Up to 30 hours Audio playback
  • Dimensions: 4.5 x 2.4 x 0.48 inches
  • Weight: 4.8 ounces / 135 grams

The Biggest Differences Between the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3G S:

  • 3 Megapixel camera
  • Improved performance
  • Voice control
  • Compass
  • Available in standard black or white

Pricing for the Apple iPhone 3G dropped to $99 when the iPhone 3G S was released at a price of $199 (16-GB) and $299 (32-GB) with a two-year contract with AT&T.

DID YOU KNOW...
According to Apple Inc, Between June 29 and October, 2007 1.4 million iPhones were sold. 250,000 of those phones were not activated to run on AT&T's wireless network. Apple believes that the 'missing' 250,000 iPhones were bought by people who intended to unlock the phone for use on other cellular networks. When the 3G launched, a 2-year service commitment was required at time of purchase, so anyone wanting to 'unlock' the phone would have to pay AT&T first.

Key Terms To Understanding  the iPhone:

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Based in Nova Scotia, Vangie Beal is has been writing about technology for more than a decade. She is a frequent contributor to EcommerceGuide and managing editor at Webopedia. You can tweet her online @AuroraGG.





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