Regarding the Palm Pre, the technology critics at The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal were of a single mind. This week, however, it was the Apple iPhone 3G S that underwent their thorough testing, and the critics reported back less aligned.
The Journal’s Walter Mossberg dutifully listed, and in many cases complimented, the attributes Apple has added to this latest iPhone, as well as its new iPhone OS 3.0 software, but overall he seemed to find it … serviceable. The way a hungry person might find that a perfectly nice peanut butter and jelly does the trick.
“I’ve been testing both and I like them a lot, with some minor caveats,” Mossberg wrote.
The Times’ David Pogue, however, seemed more a hungry man with a foie gras burger on his plate-finding it a hunger-sater not beyond a criticism or two, but overall delightful.
With older iPhones, Pogue wrote, there was a disconnect between the head and the heart. One’s emotions, he wrote, “were swept away by everything Apple does so well: beauty, polish, elegance, simplicity and the thrill of interaction…” But meanwhile, Pogue continued, “Your brain kept waving its little hand in the back of the classroom. ‘But the camera’s terrible!’ it would say. ‘It can’t record video!'”
With the iPhone 3G S, Pogue wrote, “Apple is finally throwing your head a crumb.”
Both Pogue and Mossberg found the new processor to offer considerably faster speeds and the battery to last longer, and complained that smartphone is only available on AT&T, which has yet to allow MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) and tethering-features that carriers in other countries are supporting.
iPhone 3G S May Be Dangerously Attractive
“Applications opened much more quickly. Web pages loaded far faster. The camera was ready to use almost instantly. And I never once saw the occasional, annoying iPhone behavior where you strike a key while typing and it sits there, seemingly stuck, before you can continue,” Mossberg wrote.
Pogue, perhaps more of a subway-rider than Mossberg, found the Compass program a boon; like Mossberg, he found the long-awaited Copy and Paste commands, as well as the ability to search the whole device rather than just contacts, excellent additions; and, hoping people will now be less inclined to “bury the iPhone’s gorgeous, slim shape in a homely, bulky case,” Pogue liked the “oleophobic” coating that pushes away greasy fingerprints, leaving the iPhone “looking new longer.”
To put their differing reactions more succinctly, Pogue seemed to find the iPhone 3G S a strong upgrade, whereas Mossberg found it more evolution than revolution and pointed to the also-new OS 3.0 software as the bigger game changer.
“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 (it costs $10 for iPod Touch owners), rather than shelling out at least $199 for the new iPhone 3G S,” Mossberg wrote. “And many new iPhone buyers can opt for the $99 3G model, which is not only cheaper, but also greatly improved by the new OS 3.0.”
In conclusion, Mossberg complained that, unlike the Palm Pre, the iPhone 3G S still doesn’t have a keyboard and can’t run more than one third-party application at a time. And while he called it “packed with good features,” he suggested that many current iPhone users might just be happy to go for the OS upgrade.
Pogue, however, found it “dangerously easy” for his heart and head to finally agree.