Over the past month or two, you’ve probably seen dozens of faked iPhone 3G images, but overseas, the true size, shape and dimensions of the device have been known with a far greater degree of certainty. Consequently, you’ll note that of the many recent images that purported to be of the iPhone 3G, the only details we published were ones that proved accurate: the tapering, the new holes on the bottom, the colors, and so on.
Now that the iPhone 3G has been officially unveiled, we’ve been seeing more pictures and hearing further details about the rear casing from developers who have spent hours with it, and the verdict is this: get ready to invest in protective film and/or a case. Unlike the original iPhone, which has proved much more resilient to the sorts of scratches and scuffs that plague iPods, the iPhone 3G’s shell is indeed just glossy plastic with a thin layer of clear coating. It’s not ceramic, as some might have guessed, and not covered in a magic material that won’t scuff: as a result, you can expect to see marks similar to the ones on first-generation iPod nanos and fifth-generation iPods, all over again. The black version, as shown here, picks up fingerprints and smudges at an impressive rate; we wish we’d been able to take some pictures without the smudges. Ironically, the white plastic color that Apple discontinued for iPods may wind up being the most attractive color for new iPhones, especially after spending a few days in a pocket or purse.
What about old iPhone-specific cases and Apple’s prior iPhone Docks? Don’t expect them to work. The new iPhone’s dimensions have changed enough, particularly in width, that you won’t be able to use most old iPhone-only products with iPhone 3G. Overseas manufacturers have been quietly working on iPhone 3G cases for nearly two months at this point, and though the first fruits of that labor won’t blow anyone away, we expect the second round of iPhone 3G cases to be much, much more interesting.
Some current iPod- and iPhone-agnostic case and electronic accessories will work fine with the new model. Now that the iPhone 3G’s width has shifted to 2.4 inches, the same as the iPod touch, you may find that armbands and other products designed to fit both the old iPhone and iPod touch will work with iPhone 3G. Universal Docks, including the ones found in many third-party iPhone accessories, will continue to work, assuming you insert Apple or third-party dock adapters, and in-car accessories—except mounts—developed for the iPhone will most likely work with the iPhone 3G as well.
Finally, there’s the subject of that red iPhone 3G color that was noted on our prior image with a question mark. From what we’ve heard, red shells are apparently already being tested, possibly for a late 2008 or early 2009 rollout as the first Product (RED) iPhone. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more.
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