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iPhone 3G: Your top 25 questions answered

Apple iPhone 3G FAQ

Whether you have an iPhone already and want to upgrade or you've been waiting for an iPhone with lightning data-download speeds, we have all (ok, probably most...) of your questions answered here.

Is the 3G iPhone’s built-in camera the same as with the original iPhone?
For anyone who’s taken a grainy, low-quality photo with an iPhone, the bad news is you can expect more of the same. The iPhone 3G has the same two-megapixel camera as the original phone, which is not bad in brightly lit environments. Since there’s no built-in flash, the camera doesn’t perform well without adequate light.

The iPhone’s GPS receiver will allow for one added bonus, however - since the phone knows exactly where you are, it will be able to geotag photos, embedding the location where you took them in images’ metadata.

As for video, Apple has made no mention of such a feature.


Is it true that the iPhone 3G has better audio than the original iPhone?
We don’t know - Apple doesn’t seem to have any information available about the audio that would indicate any improvements, but Apple CEO Steve Jobs has claimed that audio quality is improved.


Since the iPhone 3G has built-in GPS, will I be able to use it for driving directions like I do with my portable GPS now?
It’s true that the iPhone has a GPS chip that lets it precisely figure out your location. But unlike portable GPS units, the iPhone has no map data loaded on it, so it requires a constant data connection to provide Google Maps coverage. Also, there are no voice directions to help you get around, so you’ll need a co-pilot to read off the turns to figure out if you’re on the right route.

Obviously, this is an area that Apple is leaving open to third-party developers. To that end, GPS vendor TomTom has announced it has an iPhone-compatible version of its software nearly ready, so someone is stepping up to fill one of the most obvious needs.


Is battery life better on the iPhone 3G?
It's unclear if the iPhone 3G's battery is different from the one in the original iPhone. Apple says the iPhone 3G should get up to 5 hours talk time on 3G and up to 10 hours on 2G; up to 300 hours of standby time; up to 5 hours of Internet usage on 3G and up to 6 hours on Wi-Fi; up to 7 hours of video playback; and up to 24 hours of audio playback. You’ll be able to switch between 3G and 2G to save battery life.

The original iPhone was rated for up to 8 hours of talk time; up to 250 hours of standby; up to 6 hours of Internet use; and the same audio and video playback times as the iPhone 3G. However, Daring Fireball's John Gruber reports that the battery life of original iPhones will be improved by the iPhone 2.0 software update.


Do I need to buy an iPhone 3G to install third-party apps on my iPhone?
No, the iPhone 2.0 update, which will allow third-party software, will be free for current iPhone users in early July; the update comes pre-installed on the iPhone 3G. (If you’ve got an iPod touch, you can upgrade to the 2.0 software as well, but it will cost you around £7 - Apple charges a fee for the touch because of the way it accounts for the device.)

The updated iPhone software may be free, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have to pay for individual programs. Some developers are offering apps for free; others charge a fee, with $9.99 seemingly a common price for premium – UK prices to be confirmed.


When is the Apple iPhone 3G available?
Apple’s iPhone 3G is available from Friday July 11, in the UK in O2 and Carphone Warehouse stores from 8.02am – 8.02, geddit?

The iPhone 3G is also now available to buy online from O2. The company says that “demand for iPhone 3G is expected to be very high so orders will be delivered on a first come first served basis”. O2 promises to deliver “as many orders as possible” on 11th July and then delivery may take up to two weeks.


Where is the Apple iPhone 3G available?
According to Apple the 3G iPhone will be on sale in the UK at O2 and Carphone Warehouse.

Apple's own website doesn't mention the Apple Store, but O2 has confirmed that people can buy an iPhone 3G directly from Apple. One intrepid publicity seeker has already started queuing outside the world's largest Apple Store in London's Regent Street.


How much does the 3G iPhone cost?
If you’re a new customer to O2, you will pay £99 for the 8GB model or £159 for the 16GB model, as long as you also sign up for an 18-month contract. But you can also get an iPhone for free!

iPhone 3G purchasers who buy into the £45/month contract get the 8GB iPhone 3G for free, and can buy the 16GB model for just £59.

iPhone 3G purchasers who buy into the £75/month contract get either the 8GB or 16GB iPhone 3G for free.


What are the iPhone 3G UK tariffs?
£30/month gets you 75 minutes talk time and 125 free texts.

£35/month gets you 600 minutes talk time and 500 free texts.

£45/month gets you 1,200 minutes talk time and 500 free texts, plus the chance for a free 8GB 3G iPhone and reduced price (£59) 16GB iPhone 3G.

£75/month gets you 3,000 minutes talk time and 500 free texts, plus the chance for a free 16GB 3G iPhone.


Can anyone buy an iPhone 3G?
No, O2 says that “to purchase an iPhone 3G with a Pay Monthly tariff you need to be over 18, pass a credit check and have a bank account for the monthly Direct Debit payments. You'll also need an email address.”


Can I activate the iPhone 3G via iTunes, like I did with the original model?
The activation process for the iPhone 3G will be different from the original iPhone. Users will need to activate the phone in an O2 or Carphone Warehouse store, a process that should take about 15 minutes on average. Activation via iTunes will not be possible with the iPhone 3G. Because of that, you will not be able to buy an iPhone through the Web sites of either O2, Carphone Warehouse or Apple. That said, we expect sales through Apple Stores at some stage.

Apple iPhone 3G FAQ

  1. What is the difference between an iPhone and the iPhone 3G?
  2. What does the “3G” in the name mean?
  3. How much faster is it than the current iPhone?
  4. Is 3G available everywhere?
  5. Can I upgrade my current iPhone to use 3G?
  6. Is the 3G iPhone’s built-in camera the same as with the original iPhone?
  7. Is it true that the iPhone 3G has better audio than the original iPhone?
  8. Since the iPhone 3G has built-in GPS, will I be able to use it for driving directions like I do with my portable GPS now?
  9. Is battery life better on the iPhone 3G?
  10. Do I need to buy an iPhone 3G to install third-party apps on my iPhone?
  11. When is the Apple iPhone 3G available?
  12. Where is the Apple iPhone 3G available?
  13. How much does the 3G iPhone cost?
  14. What are the iPhone 3G UK tariffs?
  15. Can anyone buy an iPhone 3G?
  16. Can I activate the iPhone 3G via iTunes, like I did with the original model?
  17. Does an iPhone 3G work with Windows?
  18. Can I get an iPhone without signing up for an 18-month contract?
  19. I want to buy iPhones for me, my wife and my Aunt Doris; can I do that?
  20. Am I likely to get a 3G iPhone on launch day?
  21. If I buy a new iPhone 3G, how do I transfer data from my old iPhone?
  22. Will my new iPhone 3G be able to retrieve my existing voicemails?
  23. What do I do with my old iPhone once I’ve got my shiny new iPhone 3G?
  24. Why would I pay more for an iPod touch?
  25. Can I add the iPhone to my O2 business contract?


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