FAQ: Meet the new iPhone 3G

FAQ: Meet the new iPhone 3G

Here's the skinny on the faster, cheaper iPhone

Any catches?

Although this will vary market by market, in the US buyers must sign up for a new two-year service contract with AT&T when they purchase an iPhone 3G. The pertinent part of the Apple release says that the iPhone 3G "...requires a new two year contract with AT&T for qualifying customers."

According to AT&T's Mark Siegel, that means existing AT&T customers -- whether they own an iPhone or not -- will have to commit to an additional 24 months when they register a 3G iPhone. That's typical in the cellular business, Siegel said.

How much will 3G rate plans cost?

Again, each mobile carrier that's inked a deal with Apple will price its own plans, but in the US, where AT&T has exclusive rights, plans will start at about US$70 a month for consumers, a fee that will include unlimited data access and a voice plan probably in the same league as the current low-end of 450 minutes (5,000 night and weekend minutes) and 200 text messages.

AT&T will release more specific information about rate plans closer to the July 11 roll-out, said company spokesman Mark Siegel today.

Unlimited data plans for business will run US$45 a month.

How much storage space in the new iPhone?

Same as there is now. 8GB or 16GB, so there's no change there. Of course, it does make you wonder. If they can make a 32GB iPod touch, why not a 32GB iPhone 3G?

What's Apple say about estimated battery time?

Jobs claimed major increases in battery life, saying that talk time using the older EDGE network is now estimated at 10 hours, twice the original iPhone's. When used on a 3G network -- the chipsets required to go 3G are inherently more power hungry -- talk time is cut in half to five hours.

Standby should be in the 300-hour range, said Jobs, while full-tilt, top-speed browsing using the 3G network will give you five to six hours of Net access time.

Alternately, the battery will last for about seven hours of video-only use, and around 24 hours of audio-only.

What's the best new feature that got the least attention?

For our money, GPS.

Apple was skimpy on the details, but its site spelled out some of the iPhone 3G's location-finding capabilities, focusing on how the new phone will be able to pass along its location to other applications.

But one line caught our eyes. "Get directions to wherever from wherever. View turn-by-turn directions or watch your progress with live GPS tracking," says Apple's site.

Sure sounds like a replacement for a Tom Tom or Garmin gizmo to us.

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