Apple iPhone 3G S Hits the Streets
The Apple iPhone 3G S officially went on sale June 19 at 7 a.m. ET in eight countries.
In Paris, carrier Orange fudged the timing a bit, and put its iPhones on sale just after midnight, but in New York, approximately 250 stood in line outside the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue through the early morning hours, according to CNN.
Introduced at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference on June 8, the iPhone 3G S - the "S" stands for "speed" - is faster than previous iPhones, has a longer battery life, a better camera, includes voice controls and has a coating that repels fingerprints.
Plus, running OS 3.0, it's packed with more than 100 new features, including the ability to cut, copy and paste between documents, a built-in compass that also works with maps to better orient the user, voice controls, which will tell you, for example, what song you're listening to, a VoiceOver application that speaks what appears on the display and the ability to use the keyboard in landscape mode.
As of June 17, OS 3.0 was available as a free upgrade to current iPhone owners, which caused Walter S. Mossberg, in his iPhone 3G S review in the Wall Street Journal, to posit whether "the software may be enough of a boost to keep [consumers] from buying the new model."
While it may delay a few purchases, analyst Ezra Gottheil, with Technology Business Research, expects 500,000 devices to sell over the weekend.
"I think it's going to be milder madness than a year ago, but certainly still some madness," Gottheil told eWEEK.
"If you look at Twitter, and the number of iPhone Tweets, they're at a high rate. Though many people are skeptical [about how many devices are available]."
Apple sold twice as many iPhones during its 3G launch in 2008, but Gottheil points out that, "A year ago they opened up a lot of new geographic markets that are now established geographic markets." While the iPhone 3G S is available in eight countries, the iPhone 3G went on sale in 21 countries.
On June 18 competitor Research In Motion announced revenue of $3.43 billion for the first quarter of fiscal year 2010 and said that BlackBerry devices now have an even subscribership of consumer and enterprise customers.
"Apple is eager to grab every consumer it possibly can, but it has made design decisions [regarding the keyboard] that make it not as attractive as the BlackBerry to some users," says Gottheil.
"But I don't think Apple is particularly interested in dominating the entire market. It believes pretty passionately that it creates a product that a lot of people are very, very happy with."