Upgrade to new iPhone 3G S or simply update to OS 3.0?

Should you upgrade to a new iPhone 3G S or simply update your old iPhone 3G to the OS 3.0 firmware? In IT Blogwatch, Richi Jennings watches bloggers pontificate and bifurcate.

There's a point of view that there's not much to offer in the 3G S: you might as well just upgrade your iPhone 3G to OS 3.0 and be happy. However, it seems that AT&T may be making the 3GS upgrade cheaper.

Not to mention Han Solo, P.I...

Walt Mossberg weighs the options:

The iPhone 3G S ... looks the same, but offers more speed, more memory, more battery life, and a few new features, including video recording and a better camera. ... OS 3.0 ... comes on the 3G S and also can be installed on all prior iPhones and Touches. It includes ... such widely requested capabilities as cut, copy and paste; systemwide searching; a wider virtual keyboard; and a feature called MMS.
I don’t think this latest iPhone is as compelling an upgrade for the average user as the 3G model was last year for owners of the original 2007 iPhone. Current iPhone owners can get an improved product by merely sticking with their existing phones and upgrading to the feature-laden new operating system, which is free. ... [But] some will want the new model because ... it’s capable of handling a new cellular network feature that, in the next few years, will offer double the current data speeds.

MG Siegler rolls his eyes:

“In the next few years.” There will be a new iPhone model next year. And the year after that. Not to mention there will be entirely new types of networks rolling out that are much faster than 3G.

If that’s really your reason for upgrading, wait. Nice work AT&T.

Danny Sullivan gives 3.0 a go:

Against my better judgment, I decided I wanted copy-and-paste now. So I did the iPhone 3.0 upgrade, and now my phone is dead. Like many others, I’m getting the dreaded “unknown error” message. And looking to Apple for guidance, I come away feeling frustrated.
I wasn’t alone. ... Thousands ... on Twitter ... were tweeting about similar problems. ... And Apple? It’s not helping. ... Way to fail.

Gordy Seeley offers direct advice:

Just a thought, but is your iPhone plugged directly into your machine (not through a hub)? Going through a hub causes issues.

Stephen Wildstrom says AT&T has upgraded the upgrade rules:

After being pounded for a week by iPhone fans who want a discounted iPhone 3G S and want it right now, AT&T has retreated from its original upgrade pricing rules. ... Under the revised rules, the lowest price of $199 for a 16 gigabyte phone and $299 for a 32 GB version will be available immediately to anyone who is scheduled to become “upgrade eligible” by the end of September.
iPhone 3G owners who become upgrade eligible in October or later may be able to get half of the full $400 subsidy, that is, buy an iPhone for $399 or $499. ... Checking your account status is the only way to know for sure what class you fall into.

Rene Ritchie is impressed:

It’s a catastrophically generous gesture from AT&T to it’s beaten (by network issues) and battered (by lack of MMS and tethering) customer base. In essence, it’s like handing every iPhone 3G upgrader $200 in cool hard cash. (That’s why we’re having such a hard time believing it!)

Meanwhile, Nick Mediati and Ginny Mies look ahead to 4.0:

So far, we like what we've seen. But after playing with it all day, we noted a few new features that should be thrown in for the next update as well as a few existing apps that desperately need a makeover.

Notes App Needs a Facelift ... we'd love to see Apple bring other photo sharing outlets into the fold ... some basic photo editing software ... true background processing ... Spotlight Needs to Shine on the Web, Too ... Wallpaper on the Homescreen ... Bring Unity to the Inbox ... swipe gesture to remove entries from your recents list, or to delete voicemails ... Terrain View in Google Maps ... File Browsing.

So what's your take?
Get involved: leave a comment.

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 24 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter or FriendFeed, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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