Pogue reviews Apple iPhone 3G:  Sophistication, utility and power

“One year and 11 days ago, our nation was swept by iPhone Mania… It was a stunning black slab of glass: a cellphone, a brilliant music and video player and the best pocket Internet terminal the world had ever seen. The huge, bright, touch-sensitive screen made it addictive fun to rotate, page through or magnify your photos, videos and Web pages,” David Pogue reports for The New York Times. “Today, the iPhone is in the hands of six million people. Clumsy touch-screen lookalikes from rival phone makers line the shelves.”

“This iPhone can bring you the Internet much faster. It can exploit AT&T’s third-generation (3G) cellular network, which brings you Web pages in less than half the time as the old iPhone,” Pogue reports. “As a handy bonus, 3G means that you can talk on the iPhone and surf the Internet simultaneously, which you couldn’t do before. There is, however, a catch: you don’t get that speed or those features unless you’re in one of AT&T’s 3G network areas… AT&T hastens to note that its 3G coverage will expand, and also that it will get even faster over time.”

“The other drastic change is the iPhone’s price: $200 for the 8-gigabyte model, $300 for the 16-gig. Those are terrific prices for a machine with so much sophistication, utility and power; a year ago, an 8-gig iPhone would have cost you $600,” Pogue reports. “The third improvement is audio quality, which 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.”

Then there’s the “App Store , a central, complete, drop-dead simple online catalog of new programs for the iPhone [and iPod touch]. Hundreds will be available when the store opens Friday, with thousands to follow. You browse, download and install new programs directly on the iPhone; they don’t have to be transferred from a computer, and you don’t have to hack the phone to use them. Most of the programs will be free or cheap,” Pogue reports.

“One coming program, called iCall, will give you free phone calls when you’re in a Wi-Fi hot spot. Another, called G-Park, exploits G.P.S. to help you find where you parked… You can also expect to see a time and expense tracker, home-automation remote control, voice recorder, Etch-a-Sketch, a recipe box, tip calculator, currency converter, e-book reader and so on,” Pogue reports. “In short, the iPhone is about to become much more than a phone. And here’s the best part: the App Store is also available to the original iPhones and the iPod Touch.”

There’s much more in the full review – highly recommended – here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Citymark” and “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. The tone of Pogue’s (and Mossberg’s) reviews are much more cautious and balanced than the extremely positive summaries prepared by the Apple fan websites. They both say that for a number of people, upgrading to the 3g version may not be the right choice. They both note that the price of monthly service fees have gone up, although Mossberg is more explicit in saying the 3g iPhone is more expensive than the 2g iPhone over the course of a 2 year contract.

  2. “Appleholics”?!? He may get the iPhone but he surely doesn’t get the Mac user. We’re not “Appleholics” but people who just love to use their computer. It takes a screwed up windows mind to think that our enjoyment of something so well built is in fact a disease that needs to be cured.

  3. Pogue: And here’s the best part: the App Store is also available to the original iPhones and the iPod Touch.

    Precisely right. The MOST exciting July 11 release will be the App Store, which is coming to all iPhones & iPod Touches. iPhone EDGE is cheaper and has a much longer battery life, so THAT’s the device to buy if you’re looking for an iPhone.

  4. @No:

    Who says? All the weasel-word language has said that ActiveSync will allow you to get your “corporate” mail. Every single mention uses the word “corporate.” And since corporate activation is being treated differently by AT&T;and Apple, there’s nothing to suggest that they WON’T withhold some features to those plans.

    Has there been an explicit statement that ActiveSync will be available to EVERYONE?

  5. @jbella:

    It’s precisely what he said. And so the excitement over July 11 *should* be because it’s the day a lot of iPhone EDGE devices go on sale on eBay, not because it’s the first day you can get screwed by buying the iPhone 3G.

  6. Pogue wrote:
    > Clumsy touch-screen lookalikes from rival phone makers line the shelves

    I say we call them Frankenphones, after the monster — “It’s alive! It’s alive! My creation!”

    e.g. Young Frankenstein tap dancing

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