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iPhone 3G vs. iPhone 3G S: Big difference?

Is the iPhone 3G S a necessary and important step forward for Apple, or is it just a lot of hot air? We match it up against the current iPhone to find out.

If yesterday's iPhone 3G S announcement at Apple's developer conference left you a little confused or underwhelmed, don't worry: you're not alone.

In fact, we can't remember the last time a phone update was so seemingly insignificant, though the Nokia N95 8GB comes to mind. As with the build-up to the launch of the 3G last year, the weeks leading up to 8 June were speckled with rumours, but what was most interesting was that none of this speculation was especially outlandish. Those who tried their hand at photoshopping mock-up handsets stuck with a fairly familiar design, and those who guessed at improved hardware went no further than a front-facing video camera or an OLED display (we were gutted when this one wasn't true).

So let's take a closer look at the specs of both starting with physical dimensions:

Dimensions 115.5x62.1x12.3mm 115.5x62.1x12.3mm
Weight 135g 133g
Network GSM 850/900/1800/1900
HSDPA 850/1900/2100
GSM 850/900/1800/1900
HSDPA 850/1900/2100
HSDPA 7.2Mbps 3.6Mbps
Storage capacity 16/32GB 8/16GB
Bluetooth v2.1 v2.0

Apple has also made up a chart of similarities and differences between the iPhones:

(Credit: Apple)

Most interesting in Apple's chart is video recording and battery life. All current iPhone 3Gs will be able to download the iPhone 3.0 firmware on 17 June and we would have suspected that video recording would be a software upgrade and not specific to the camera module. As for battery life, Apple is citing a 0-50 per cent increase in battery life; as in 0 per cent for talk-time, but 50 per cent for web browsing. It is nice to know that browsing would run the battery down as much, but as a phone first shouldn't we expect to see the improvements elsewhere?

What do you make of all of this? Is the iPhone 3G S a necessary and important step forward for Apple, or is it just a lot of hot air? Let us know in the talkback below, or jump on the forums.