iPhone 3G imageThe question that many are asking themselves after Apple's keynote announcement on Monday (June 8th, 10:00 US EDT) is, "should I upgrade to the new Apple iPhone 3GS?" This is a reasonable question to ask as rumors of the cost of the new iPhone models are in the USD600 and USD700 range without a new 2-year contract with the respective carrier.

Many of you know, Apple also made available the "Golden Master" version of the iPhone firmware 3.0 to its developers for testing. This software when released will be free to all existing iPhone and iPhone 3G users.

Therefore to help everyone answer the question "should I upgrade to the new Apple iPhone 3GS?", I thought I offer a features comparison of the new iPhone firmware 3.0 running on the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS.

Feature iPhone 3G iPhone 3GS
Cut, Copy & Paste X X
Spotlight Search X X
Forward message (SMS) to someone else X X
Selectively delete messages X X
Voice memo X X
iTunes App Store parental control X X
Locate your iPhone (will require a MobileMe subscription) X X
Connections to Dock Connector API compatible devices X X
Sending MSM (depends on mobile carrier) X X
CPU speed 412MHz 600MHz
System RAM 127MB 256MB
Camera resolution (Megapixel) 2.0 3.0
3G Data or HSDPA speed (depends on carrier) 3.6Mb/s 3.6Mb/s 7.2Mb/s
Tethering (depends on mobile carrier) X X
Voice commands X
Magnetometer (digital compass) X
Record and edit videos X
Accessibility X

We still do not know the exact SRP for the Hong Kong market, and most importantly, will Apple continue its previous practice of selling "SIM unlocked" versions of the iPhone without contract from its carrier partner, 3 HK?

If Apple will keep things status quo then we can expect the prices of the iPhone 3G S models to be slightly lower than the previous SRP (HKD5400.00 and HKD6200.00) of the iPhone 3G, and with official "SIM unlocked" versions of the iPhone 3GS.

I think Apple realizes by now, people in Hong Kong do not like contracts even though prices of the committed contracts are very attractive. As people in HK, on average, change mobile phones every 15 - 16 months.

If you do not yet own an iPhone you definitely will benefit from the features offered by the iPhone 3G S.

If you own an original iPhone you will really enjoy the faster speed of the iPhone 3GS.

If you already own an iPhone 3G and had purchased it within 2009, I suggest you wait until next June (2010) to see what the next version of iPhone will look like.

iPhone Firmware 3.0 Numerous improvements to the iPhone SDK was announced. This included enablement of peer-to-peer connectivity no prior pairing required so two iPhone can talk to each other without prior setup, Streaming audio and video over HTTP, Data detectors, built in VoIP API, and more. Push notification finally arrives for developers to add to their applications.

The hotly rumored and confirmed by Kevin Rose's source last week, Cut Copy & Paste was demoed at the event. During the demo, Apple's Scott Forstall, SVP iPhone Software, also included multiple selection of photos in the Photo app for sending them in an email.

Landscape mode keyboard will now be available in all Apple applications and will be available to developers to enable in their own application.

Finally, no more Jailbreaking to get the ability to delete or forward individual SMS messages. These features are now built into the new Messaging application. Audio files and contact cards can be sent via the new Messaging application.

There is a cross application search feature to search in the Mail, Contacts, Calendar and Notes applications, it is OS X Spotlight feature for the iPhone. If a result is not found among the local application, it will hit the server for possible results.

Finally, you do not have to worry about loosing your Notes stored on your iPhone, the new iPhone software will synchronize the Notes content with the Mac and Windows computer via iTunes.

Auto login for WiFi hotspots is built-in. So will this see the end to Devicescape's "Easy Wi-Fi" and 3rd party application like "Seremgeti"?

Stereo Bluetooth (A2DP) is now available in the new iPhone software but still does not include the other Bluetooth services in the Bluetooth standard.

For the end-users we will have to wait until this Summer. As this new firmware and SDK is only available in beta form to developers in the iPhone Developers Program. The upgrade will be free to iPhone 3G owners. Again iPod Touch users will have to pay USD9.95 for the firmware 3.0 upgrade.

iPhone 3G imageTomorrow morning (Tuesday, March 17, 10:00 US Pacific Standard Time) Apple will hold a special media event in Cupertino to announce the new iPhone firmware 3.0. In the past, iPhone firmware upgrades did not garner such fanfare. Especially when considering Apple's recent trend of not holding special events to announce new products, like the new Mac Mini, iMac, Mac Pro and iPod Shuffle, makes this event tomorrow that much more special. It also shows the significance Apple has placed on this upcoming announcement.

As always there are no definite information on the features that will be announced at the event. Of course, this had not stopped the rumor mill from generating lists of possible features for the yet to release iPhone firmware:

  • Cut, Copy & Paste
  • Enhanced Bluetooth functionalities
  • Improved camera software
  • A feature to allow layout management of application icons within iTunes
  • Multitasking

The less likely features are:

  • Tattering
  • MMS

I personally think that Multitasking may be built into the new firmware, but we will not see it enabled until the next version of the iPhone hardware.

Improvements in the camera software is welcome, but there are already several 3rd party applications, which had done a good job at improving the iPhone camera's ability to take better photos. One such program is "Darkroom" by Stepcase, which I use almost every day.

Having additional Bluetooth functionalities will also be welcome, particularly the ability to preform file exchange. I really miss the ability to send contact cards to any mobile phone with Bluetooth capability. This had been a feature I used on other mobile phones for years.

What do you think? Please feel free to add your opinions in the comments.