Preparing for the Apple iPhone 3G

The new Apple iPhone (expected to be here June 9th) addresses a number of shortcomings the 1st gen product had and will likely be much more popular as a result. It is expected to be less expensive, have much better wireless performance, and work much better with corporate email systems. I feel sorry for my IT friends who think they can keep this version off their networks because I’m afraid that won’t work this time.

The lines for this launch may be even bigger than the last launch and clearly the product will appeal to more people who will be new to the platform. I figure it is a good time to remember the first launch and things we’ve learned since to ensure you have a good experience with your new iPhone.

Being the First Can Be Painful

I should actually say being part of the first wave can be painful. After waiting for hours (and in some cases days) in line, the first folks to get the first generation iPhone kind of got screwed. The systems that enable switching from one carrier to another are very labor intensive and quickly became overwhelmed and many were without their phone for several days before the switch could be completed and their iPhones activated. 

In addition, Apple had to drop the price and the device did need some patching so early adopters paid a premium price and had to deal with some initial problems that later folks didn’t.

Finally, there was plenty of supply and people in some stores were walking right up and buying phones by the end of the weekend , so by the end of the month both the product and the experience were near seamless. 

One lesson for those of you that have iPhones; you may want to chat with AT&T early to find out about what it will cost to buy out of your current contract. A lot of folks, after waiting in line for hours, ended up not activating the phone or even buying it in some cases, because the cost of buying out of their existing phone contract was so high.

While it is a lot of fun to be the first, if that benefit is only going to last for one or two days (and there is a good chance the phone won’t work for those few days) then waiting in line probably isn’t worth it.

Get Protection

If you haven’t had an iPhone before, be aware that they do in fact break if you drop them. In my experience the mostly likely time you will drop the phone is if you are grabbing if fast or if you are sharing it with others. There are a number of products on the market that protect the phone from things like cosmetic damage like Invisible Shield to full on drop protection like the OtterBox Armor and Defender Cases

Generally if you aren’t used to having an expensive phone realize that unlike an inexpensive phone these things can and will be stolen, so make sure you think through where you are going to carry it and store it when not in use. One of the nicest belt pouches is the Sydney Harbour Apple iPhone Pouch.

Battery Life

The one thing a lot of us are curious about is what will happen to iPhone battery life with the new iPhone. It is a 3G phone and 3G radios pull a lot more power than a 2.5G radio. In fact it is believed that the reason the first iPhone was 2.5G was because battery life would have been unacceptable with a 3G radio. It is doubtful they made the phone larger so it could contain a bigger battery so you are probably going to want to think though charging the phone. 

A second charger for the car or office can help here a lot and Mophie makes something called a “Juice Pack” that can significantly extend the battery life of the iPhone if you need it to. For existing iPhone users it is only folks that watch a lot of video on their iPhone run into battery problems, but 3G may change this for the worse. It does make the phone longer though so you may want to take than into account when you choose a case if you want one of these. PDAir makes a nice vertical pouch that will probably work better than the one I mentioned above if you want the battery extender.

Wrapping Up

For those of us that need little keyboards because we are email slaves, the new iPhone probably won’t make the grade but for others that will likely want it, it is probably best you think about how you are going to use and protect it. As for which one you should get, since video is a big feature on these phones, personally I’d lean towards the configuration with more memory to ensure you don’t have to swap it out early.

The new iPhone is currently expected to launch around June 9 so hopefully this will give you a few things to think about while you are waiting.

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