iPhone 3G S: What you need to know

Macworld.com –

If the calendar is about to flip over to summer, it must be time for Apple to roll out another smartphone. Just as summer 2007 saw the release of the original iPhone and last summer brought us the iPhone 3G, this year, we've got a new model to obsess over--the iPhone 3G S.

And we won't have long to wait before this new phone winds up in our hot little hands. Apple announced the iPhone 3G S during Monday's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote; it plans to release the iPhone 3G S next Friday, June 19.

Can't wait until then to find out all you can about the iPhone 3G S? We've perused Apple's product pages, talked to company executives, and made some educated guesses about what you can expect from this latest addition to the iPhone family.

How is this iPhone different from the iPhone 3G?

Well, there's an "S" in the name. You noticed that, right?

Actually, as far as Apple is concerned, the S is more than just a humble naming convention. "The 'S' simply stands for speed," Apple senior vice president for worldwide product market Phil Schiller told the WWDC keynote audience, and as far as the company is concerned, that's the main selling point for the iPhone 3G S.

According to Apple, this is the fastest iPhone yet--up to two times faster and more responsive than the iPhone 3G. Specifically, Apple says that apps will launch faster and that it will take less time to jump between apps, say, by clicking a link in an e-mail to open a Web page in the mobile Safari browser. Speaking of browsing, Web pages should render faster on the iPhone 3G S, too.

How much faster? During the keynote, Schiller quoted a few numbers--loading a game was 2.4 times faster on the iPhone 3G S than on the iPhone 3G. Viewing attachments was 3.6 times faster. Loading the NYTimes.com Web page was 2.9 times faster. And so on. Of course, we'll have to wait until the new phone ships to verify these numbers or confirm if the improved performance is that noticeable.

How did Apple boost performance?

The company isn't really saying--it tends to be rather tight-lipped when it comes to the iPhone's innards. But we're reasonably confident that the iPhone 3G S sports a faster processor than its predecessor and that its operating system has access to more RAM. There could be changes to the display circuitry, too, which would account for Apple's claims that the iPhone 3G S offers a better gaming experience.

According to T-Mobile in the Netherlands, which appears to have accidentally posted the specs for the iPhone 3G S, the latest version of the phone includes 256MB RAM, up from 128MB on the iPhone 3G, and a 600MHz processor. That would be an improvement from the 412MHz version found in the iPhone 3G.

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