The One-Page Guide to iPhone 3G, 3GS, and iPod touch Differences | iLounge Article


The One-Page Guide to iPhone 3G, 3GS, and iPod touch Differences

Starting tomorrow, June 19, 2009, Apple will have three different multi-touch pocket devices on the market: the second-generation iPod touch, the iPhone 3G, and the new iPhone 3GS. Prospective iPhone 3GS customers have a choice between several alternate purchasing options—purchasing an iPhone 3G, purchasing an iPod touch, or purchasing nothing at all. Additionally, some potential iPhone 3GS customers are considering upgrades from the original iPhone, and want to quickly know what’s different between the 2007 and 2009 models. Ahead of tomorrow’s iPhone 3GS launch, we’ve assembled this quick reference guide and model summary to help make any user’s decision easier.

iLounge Model Summary:

iPod touch 2G (9/2008, iLounge Rating: B+). Apple’s best iPod touch yet, coming close to an iPhone minus phone and camera features, while offering Nike+ and graphics performance that aren’t found in the standard iPhone 3G model. An easy, smart pick to avoid AT&T contracts and still get most of the experience. Expect a new model in September 2009, quite possibly with an integrated camera, more storage + better graphics.

iPhone (6/2007, iLounge Rating: B+). Though discontinued, the original iPhone is still Apple’s best-looking model, the least expensive to operate on a monthly basis ($20 versus $30 + SMS), and capable of running virtually every app ever sold in the App Store. It lacks a variety of new but arguably minor (for now) features; its age puts it at the highest risk of being unable to run post-3.0 versions of the iPhone OS, and AppleCare extended warranties may be hard to come by.

iPhone 3G (7/2008, 6/2009, iLounge Rating: B). What Apple’s 2008 iPhone 3G dropped in initial price from its predecessor, it made up for in more expensive service contracts and less impressive body quality. It also saw battery drops in some categories, most markedly in 3G calling time, a pain point. But it also gained faster data speeds, limited GPS functionality, and markedly better audio quality through both its headphone port and speakerphone. At $99 as an initial price, your only regret in buying it today will be next year’s better sequel.

iPhone 3GS (6/2009, Not Yet Rated). The newest iPhone model offers improved storage capacity and a combination of new CPU, graphics, and RAM chips that will let applications run faster—at some point, better than on any other model, too. A video camera, much-improved still camera, Nike+, voice control, and accessibility features add to its appeal over the iPhone 3G. But 3G talk and data battery time remain potentially major show-stoppers, and as with last year’s iPhone 3G, apps that use its extra power may be far off.

« Editorial: Why No Lines at iPhone 3GS’s Launch is Good For Apple, and You

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I think your video out figures for iPhone 3G (and presumably 3GS) are wrong.  According to Apple’s website they output only 480i not 480p (although I would love to be wrong).

Posted by Dyvim on June 18, 2009 at 4:58 PM (CDT)


Dyvim: Thanks for noting that. We just re-checked with iPhone OS 3.0 and iPhone 3G is still apparently capped at 480i; iPod touch 2G remains at 480p. iPhone 3G S is a question mark, and so the chart has been updated to reflect that.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 18, 2009 at 5:18 PM (CDT)


Is it just me, or wouldn’t this most excellent chart be all kinds of awesome if only it had the iPod touch 1G to complete it? Seems an odd omission, it feels so incomplete…

Posted by Andy Myhr on June 18, 2009 at 9:02 PM (CDT)


I agree.  The older Touch belongs here as well.

Posted by snowbag on June 18, 2009 at 9:16 PM (CDT)


I had a black polishing cloth packed in with my iPhone 3G. Is it not unique because it was already part of the iPod Touch 2G, or is the cloth packed in with the Touch different?

Posted by sreedhar on June 19, 2009 at 12:37 AM (CDT)


The iPhone 3G S is now confirmed as featuring 480p video output capability, and the chart has been updated to reflect this.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on June 19, 2009 at 10:48 AM (CDT)


Pleased to see the 3GS gets 480p output.  I figured that was the case once I heard that the processor it contains is technically capable of 720p output.

Posted by Dyvim on June 19, 2009 at 11:25 AM (CDT)


I agree I have both the 1st and 2nd GEN where is the 1st GEN SPECS??

Posted by duckee on June 21, 2009 at 1:32 AM (CDT)


Do you have a comparison article like this with the current iPod Touch (from 2009-09-09)?

iPod Touch vs iPhone 3GS


Posted by NineNineNine on October 10, 2009 at 11:55 AM (CDT)


As he said, update? So close to being really useful.  If not maintaining this review/chart, at least link to Apple specs for CURRENT versions, forever changing. Excellent reviews but quickly irrelevant without updates.

Posted by DavidS on December 7, 2009 at 11:26 AM (CST)


Our 2010 Buyers’ Guide has comparisons for the newer features. We don’t update old articles every time there’s another change—sorry!—there are over 16,000 pages that we’d need to update continuously, if so.

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on December 7, 2009 at 11:32 AM (CST)

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