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Apple announces iPhone 3G S

Apple launched the iPhone 3G S, packing faster processing and a video camera into the same glossy black shell as its predecessor.

It's the moment we've all been waiting for: the Apple iPhone 3G S is here. A souped-up camera, a compass, improved battery life and even more storage make this the most exciting iPhone since, well, since the last one.

(Credit: CNET.com)

The outside looks pretty much exactly the same as the current iPhone 3G, so the front-facing camera and matte back are the first rumours to fall by the wayside. It seems all the improvements are under the bonnet: Apple reckons it's roughly three times faster.

It now supports 7.2Mbps HSDPA and has some expected camera improvements: there's a bump from 2 to 3 megapixels, with autofocus and auto macro. And yes, video capture is finally here — 30 frames per second VGA with audio. In-camera editing and direct upload to the web or MMS are also included. An API is forthcoming for developers to come up with cool stuff to do with your videos.

A digital compass has been added for improved location services. The new handset will be technically capable of tethering to your computer via USB or Bluetooth, turning it into a dongle that allows your computer to connect to the internet via your phone network. Apparently, AT&T in the US may not include this feature for iPhone on its network, but in Australia internet tethering hasn't been an issue for the operators previously so we expect to see this implemented.

The new iPhone uses the iPhone 3.0 operating system, familiar from the beta launch. New features include voice control of your phone and even of your music, and VoiceOver as seen on the iPod Shuffle.

Much to the relief of current iPhone 3G users, improved battery life was also on Apple's list of spec bumps. Apple claims up to nine hours of surfing, 10 hours of video, 30 hours of music playing and five hours of 3G talk-time.

Apple has committed to having the iPhone 3G S in Australian stores on 26 June. As with last year's launch, expect pricing to be announced just before.