(If you need to know more about the iPhone in general, see our review of the original iPhone, and check-out our hands on preview of the iPhone 3G.)

Just scroll through the whole article (three pages of glistening information), or click on these individual question links. If you have any further questions, just ask at our Mobile World forum - registration is free.


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?


What is the difference between an iPhone and the iPhone 3G?
The main difference is data-download speed: using 3G technology as opposed to the older EDGE network – see “What does the “3G” in the name mean?” below.

The back of the new iPhone is now plastic (black on the 8GB model, black or white on the 16GB model) and the volume buttons on the side are now silvery metal.

The headphone port is now flush with the iPhone’s body, not recessed like the jack on the current model. That means you if you have a favourite pair of headphones, you’ll no longer need a headphone adaptor to make them work with the iPhone.

The handset’s edges are thinner and more curved than in the previous version. That helps hide the fact that in the middle, this model is a little thicker than the original. Of course, the new phone also weighs a little less than the current model, though we’re talking about 3 grams (that’s 3g – spooky!).


What does the “3G” in the name mean?
If you’re familiar with iPod naming conventions, the term 3G might make you believe that Apple is releasing its third generation of iPhone. No, you didn’t sleep through an iPhone product introduction - 3G in this case stands for third-generation mobile technology. It’s a wide-area wireless technology that allows for much faster data transmission than the EDGE network used by O2 with the iPhone right now.


How much faster is it than the current iPhone?
AT&T says that the iPhone 3G will have typical download speeds as high as 1.4Mbps versus average data speeds between 75Kbps and 135Kbps on its EDGE network. During Steve Jobs’s keynote, it took 21 seconds to load a graphics-heavy Web page using 3G versus 59 seconds on EDGE. Similarly, an email attachment took 5 seconds over 3G and 18 seconds on EDGE.

Of course, comparing 2G and 3G browser and email attachment loading times isn’t the most revealing exercise. The most important thing to know about 3G is that data transfer speeds will likely be faster than what iPhone veterans are used to - and more important, that there’s room for 3G to grow.


Is 3G available everywhere? What happens when I don’t have 3G coverage in my area?
O2's 3G coverage map shows the areas where you’ll find fast data speeds. Enter your postcode and select HSDPA to find out what the coverage is like in your area. It's worth noting that several readers have pointed out to us that this map is out of date.

Although O2's 3G network is not as comprehensive as Orange's or Vodafone's, it does cover most cities. If you’re in an area without 3G coverage, your iPhone will instead get its data over the slower EDGE network.


Can I upgrade my current iPhone to use 3G?
No. Using the 3G network requires new internal hardware that the current iPhone just doesn't have. If you want 3G, you'll need to buy a new phone. The same goes for GPS.

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?

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.

Does an iPhone 3G work with Windows?
Yes, it works with both Mac and Windows.

Mac system requirements: USB 2.0 port; Mac OS X v10.4.10 or later; iTunes v7.7 or later.

Window system requirements: USB 2.0 port; Windows Vista; or Windows XP Home or professional with Service Pack 2 or later; iTunes v7.7 or later.


Can I get an iPhone without signing up for an 18-month contract?
No, not yet anyway. According to O2: “Customers will soon be able to enjoy all the great features of iPhone 3G without a monthly contract with the iPhone 3G for Pay & Go. iPhone 3G for Pay & Go will be available later this year.”

Prices aren’t yet available, but be warned – in the US the 8GB version will cost US$599, and $699 for the 16GB model. Prices are likely to start at around £299 in the UK.


I want to buy iPhones for me, my wife and my Aunt Doris; can I do that?
Not yet. You may purchase only one iPhone 3G per person in line. Your Aunt Doris and missus will have to wait in line for their own.


Am I likely to get a 3G iPhone on launch day?
It depends on how many units Apple has allocated to the UK and how much demand there is from customers. Despite a few teething troubles at Carphone Warehouse, last year's launch event was a largely trouble-free event. Some of the stores that Macworld visited had more Apple staff than customers in the queue. In general, it is felt that there is more demand for the iPhone 3G than the original iPhone because the price is now a more reasonable £99, but there is also notably less hype surrounding the device (O2's pre-launch went largely unreported in the mainstream press). If you really want to get an iPhone on launch day we advise you to turn up early to a store, or queue up outside the Apple Store in Regent Street.


If I buy a new iPhone 3G, how do I transfer data from my old iPhone?
Fortunately, Apple’s free iTunes software will take care of that. Make sure you sync your existing iPhone with iTunes before trying to sync your new phone so that all your data is current.


Will my new iPhone 3G be able to retrieve my existing voicemails?
Apparently not. US carrier AT&T says: “Check and clear your voicemail. Any existing voicemail messages will be lost once your new phone is activated.”


What do I do with my old iPhone once I’ve got my shiny new iPhone 3G?
Whatever you want, really. You can hand your old phone off to your friend or family member who can then activate it themselves via iTunes.

Here’s what O2 has to say on how existing iPhone users can pass their old phone on:
“1. If they're on an existing O2 18-month minimum term contract, they can just transfer onto a Pay Monthly tariff for iPhone. The end date of their contract will stay the same. Once their tariff has been transferred, they just need to connect to iTunes to activate the iPhone.

“2. If they're an O2 business customers, they'll need to move onto a current business tariff with an iPhone Bolt On and will be able to keep their existing contract term*. Once their tariff has been transferred, they just need to connect to iTunes to activate the iPhone. To arrange this they'll need to contact Business Customer Services.

“3. Existing O2 Pay & Go customers can use their current O2 Pay & Go SIM card or new customers can join O2 by getting a free Pay & Go iPhone SIM card from an O2 store. Then add the unlimited Web and Wi-Fi iPhone Bolt On (£10 a month). The only thing that does not work with this option is the Visual Voicemail.”

Alternatively, there are software programs out there that will probably let you turn it into a pretty functional iPod touch.


Now that the iPhone is so inexpensive, why would I pay more for an iPod touch?
It’s true that iPod touch models offering the same storage capacities as the iPhone 3G offerings cost £100 more. (Not to mention that a video-capable 8GB iPod nano costs the same as an 8GB iPhone). But there are plenty of reasons why someone might want to opt for a touch over a new iPhone.

For starters, maybe you’re still under contract with another mobile carrier and don’t want to pay the early termination fee. You may not have any use for the phone capabilities, either because your employer already provides you with a mobile phone or because you just don’t use one. At any rate, an iPhone will cost you £30 a month minimum in service charges from O2. Over the life of a 18-month contract, that adds up to much more than the touch’s higher price tag. So don’t expect the market for the iPod touch to dry up in the face of lower iPhone prices.


Can I add the iPhone to my O2 business contract?
Yes, and it’s now free on selected business tariffs. The 8GB handset is provided at no additional cost to primary users on tariffs above £34.76 (ex. VAT) when you connect to a new minimum term contract with O2’s iPhone Bolt On.

The iPhone 3G supports Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, delivering push email, calendar and contacts. All new emails, calendar invites and contacts are sent directly to the iPhone 3G with no need to log on to an email account each time. It also gives mobile users secure access to corporate resources with Cisco IPSec VPN and network services with WPA2 Enterprise and 802.1X authentication

O2’s business tariffs enable users to have several iPhones and other devices on one business account and all on the same bill.

And the tariffs allow you to share the inclusive minutes and texts across all users and include unlimited calls to any O2 mobile, as well as unlimited calls to 10 UK landlines.

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?