Pogue: First iPhone ‘stunning,’ iPhone 3G ‘nice upgrade’

Reviewing the iPhone 3G for The New York Times, technology columnist David Pogue offered light praise for the device, contrasting the “stunning” first iPhone with the new model. “When the iPhone 3G goes on sale in AT&T and Apple stores, iPhone Mania will be considerably more muted. That’s partly because the mystery is gone, partly because the AT&T service costs more and partly because there aren’t many new features in what Apple is calling the iPhone 3G.”

In his review, Pogue touches on each of the iPhone 3G’s major new features, caveating many because of unexpected limitations. The “much faster” 3G Internet feature, he notes, is not usable in 10 states, with 16 others having three or fewer covered cities, while the device’s GPS functionality is limited—according to Apple—by its antenna. “Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do with the G.P.S.,” Pogue says. “[T]he metal of a car or the buildings of Manhattan are often enough to block the iPhone’s view of the sky, leaving it just as confused as you are.”

Additionally, Apple’s claim of a half-priced phone is “not really” accurate given the heightened expense of its required calling plans. “y the end of your two-year contract, the iPhone 3G will have cost you more than the old iPhone,” says Pogue, “not less.” Still, he describes the device as “a nice upgrade,” and notes that “new buyers will generally be delighted.”

Praised by Pogue are the flush headphone port, the unit’s smaller power adapter, and its audio quality, which he notes “has taken a gigantic step forward. You sound crystal clear to your callers, and they sound crystal clear to you. In fact, few cellphones sound this good.” His favorite feature? “[T]he really big deal is the iPhone 2.0 software and the App Store, neither of which requires buying a new iPhone,” said Pogue, which “may come as a refreshing surprise to planned-obsolescence conspiracy theorists—and everyone who stood in line last year.”

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