iPhone 3GS Software Delivers Numerous Improvements
iPhone OS 3.0 coincided with the launch of the 3GS and while it supports previous models, it truly shines on the 3GS.
The previously mentioned Voice Control is a terrific boon to users who are on the road a lot and want to make calls without taking their hands off the wheel. When it comes to controlling music, though, the app has a ways to go to be useable.
Perhaps the major addition in OS 3.0 is - finally - copy and paste. Apple has made copying and pasting text, and even images and video, a snap. Simply highlight the item, revise the selection area if you like, and go. Copy and paste is supported across apps, so it works basically just how you’d want it to. It took about two years too long to arrive, but is a big help now that it’s here.
Another nice software touch is the onboard video-editing app that accompanies the camera. The app, which is only accessible once video has been recorded to the phone, allows users to snip out sections of the video via drag and drop. While it’s not a full-featured video editor – it doesn’t address audio, fades, non-contiguous editing, etc. – it’s more than capable for a mobile device and makes mobile editing easier than anticipated. Integrated upload to YouTube is especially useful (and seems to be driving a spike in mobile video use).
OS 3.0 also integrates Apple’s Spotlight search technology in most applications and adds numerous accessibility features for users with disabilities, making finding and interacting with data on the phone easier than ever for more users than ever.
iPhone 3GS + An Improved MobileME
Though it requires an additional subscription, Apple’s MobileME Internet service is looking increasingly interesting for iPhone users (maybe for the first time). With its recent update, MobileME can sound a tone to help you find a lost iPhone, use GPS to locate a stolen iPhone, and even remotely delete data so thieves can’t access it. While the extra US$69/year cost isn't for everyone, these features will certainly be of use to some iPhones.
The Bottom Line
With the iPhone 3GS, Apple has built on top of the already-winning hardware and user experience of the iPhone 3G. As such, I see the iPhone 3GS as a must-upgrade for first-generation iPhone owners and those using other cell phones.
For iPhone 3G users, though, the choice to upgrade will probably depend on your contract status. If you’re not eligible for upgrade pricing, as many weren’t, consider waiting until you are – unless you’ve got US$200 extra to spend.
If history is any guide, we can probably expect a new iPhone next summer (for each of the last three years, the summer has seen a new iPhone introduced), so you may be best served by waiting until then.
For everyone using the Apple iPhone 3GS in the meantime, enjoy the fruits of the best iPhone yet.