Say what you like about Steve Jobs, he knows how to put on a good show. It was hard to keep track of the deafening applause during the WWDC 2008 keynote – in fact it seemed like every few minutes the iPhone 3G got a mini-ovation – and there’s no doubting that it’s an impressive device. However, peering over the spec sheet at Apple’s official site does half suggest that the cellphone hasn’t come on quite as far as we might initially have believed: yes, 3G and GPS are big, headline-grabbing additions, but what about more minor, incremental tweaks, like MMS?
The casing may be new, but a lot of the functionality isn’t. A 2-megapixel camera seemed lacklustre when the iPhone first launched a year ago; to be making do with the same thing now is madness. Similarly, things which could’ve been tweaked into satisfaction a long time ago – copy & paste, MMS, Bluetooth A2DP or video recording - still languish unchecked. The rumored front-mounted camera for video calls isn’t present either, and with the top spec model topping out at 16GB there’s no extra room from the first-gen model.
Is it a disappointment? Hell no, the two big reasons holding many people back from an iPhone purchase were price and the lack of 3G; with one fell swoop Apple has undermined both those arguments, taking membership of the iPhone 3G club down to as little as $199. They’ve thrown in GPS (albeit without voice guidance) too, to sweeten the deal. Many of the missing features could be fixed with a firmware update, and let’s hope that’s next on Cupertino’s list. Still, it’s unlike the company to stop one stage short of a knock-out blow to the competition.
What do you think, have Apple if not dropped the ball, then at least fumbled it slightly? Let me know in the comments.