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CNET First Look
Apple iPhone 3G SThe Apple iPhone 3G S offers enough improvements over the previous model to make it a compelling upgrade. If you can get it at the cheapest subsidized prices, and you can be patient with AT&T, it's worth the time and money to get Apple's newest cell phone.
>> Hi, I'm Ken Sherman, senior editor at cnet.com. Here today to take a first look at the iPhone 3G S. This is the third generation of Apple's iPhone, so S stands for speed. And that's supposed to come in a couple of ways. In terms of the processor a did notice -- a little bit quicker, opening certain things, scrolling between the menu pages. On this 3G speed, however, that is going to be dependent on AT&T's network. What AT&T is doing is moving to an H SD P A network which is supposed to provide 7.2 megabytes per second. However, AT&T really isn't going to get there until later this year. So while the phone will be able to support faster network speeds, AT&T is really the one driving that. So, this is an important point. Overall, the phone has almost exactly the same design as the iPhone 3G. It does come in black and white, also comes in 16 gig and 32 gig models, so the 32 gig is new. And the white model will come in both the 16 gig and the 32 gig. Now the iPhone 3G S will over the iPhone OS 3.0. So what that is, of course, is the new iPhone operating system that you're going to get on the iPhone 3G, and you will get partial on the iPhone classic. That brings things like multimedia messaging and of course when AT&T is ready, brings the copy and paste, brings the landscape keyboard. So iPhone 3G S will offer all of that. However this phone does offer some new features that won't be available on the previous models. Three of them, really, the improved camera, it moves to 3 mega pixel, and it offers video recording, also offers voice dialing, and a compass feature. Talk about the camera first. It is a 3 mega pixel camera, so it does have a little improved quality in the photos I took squared with the iPhone 3G. Did notice a little better outside, indoor shots under fluorescent lights, didn't notice that much of a difference. But marginal difference in photo quality over all. Also the iPhone 3G S has a tap to focus feature in it's camera. So what that is, you'll see a little square appears in the center of the view finder. If you tap that, it will focus on whatever area you're tapping. So you don't have to do it in the center, you can move if around. You can press the side, you can focus on that area. Did notice a little bit of improvement there, for instance when I had a piece of paper on the desk. Taking a photo of the writing on that paper. Was able to focus in on that if I used attempt focus. If I focused on something else other than that piece of paper, the writing did appear a little blurry. So definitely a change there. When you take a photo, a thumbnail of that photo will actually appear at the bottom of the view finder down next to the camera shutter. If you press that thumbnail it will take you directly to the photo gallery application. It's a nice addition, and it saves a bit of time. Video recording is great. We've been waiting on that for a long time. There's a little slide button down here to the camera control, slide that over, takes you right to the video camera. Interface is exactly the same. Press that recording button, you start, record however long you want, and then you stop. Apple does go a little step further than most phones out there. You can edit clips right on the phone. Really easy to use. Once you open a clip you already shot, you'll see that it's displayed in a linear format. If you click on a little border surrounding that, that border will turn yellow. Then you can move either end and cut the clip however you want. The editing is linear, so you can really cut the middle, you can cut off one of the halves. What you can't do is you can't cut off either end and then splice them together. Also, once you trim it, as it called, on the phone, it replaces the video that you shot. So you want to be careful if you're doing any trimming you mean to actually create a whole new video. Once you're finished with the video you can send it in a multimedia message when that's available, you also can e-mail it, and up load it to YouTube. Video quality on the phone at least seemed pretty good. Colors were a little muted. It is 3G A, but it shoots at 30 frames per second. So could handle movements and actions, a lot better than most video phones out there. Another feature is the compass. You can see latitude and longitude is displayed. You also see the orientation for true north and magnetic north, also interacts with the maps. You can see your position as usually. Press that bulls eye function again. As you turn the phone the map will rotate. So that's another nice feature as well. Last feature I want to show you is voice control. You hold down the button. With your voice, you can dial a number, you can get a contact. Another thing will phone will promise is better battery life, and if anyone used the iPhone 3G, you know that it depletes in about a day. That's a great thing. We're really glad to see that. Battery life is almost double what's offered on the current iPhone 3G. That includes up to 9 hours of Wi-Fi, 10 hours of video playback, 30 hours of audio playback, 12 hours of 2 G talk time, so that's in the normal GSM network. And then 5 hours of 3G talk time. So that's when the little 3G is showing up here. The iPhone 3G S will be out in the United States on June 19. It will roll out to about 80 countries around the world throughout the summer, comes out again in a few more countries on June 26, and then a huge batch in June, and then another big batch in August. Also, if you want to learn more about the iPhone OS 3.0, I did do another video on that where I rock you through those features. I use the iPhone 3G for that. But the interface will be exactly the same. I'm Ken Sherman, and this is the iPhone 3G S. ^M00:05:04 [ Music ]