Apple's new crown jewel may have some impressive internals, and the competition from other camps may look intimidating given the above results. However, not much has changed to the superficial aspects of the device and its external appearance.
In terms of the general elements, the look and feel of the phone when held in the palm have remained the same.
The text on the back of the phone has been given a different tint, as it now appears to be more of a gold color when shimmered under light.
As far as the LCD screen is concerned, the company added an oleophobic coating to ensure that less smudging would occur when greasy and sweaty fingers and facial features come in contact with it. It doesn't achieve 100 percent resistance, although there is definitely a big difference over the last two generations of the phone.
An article from PC World suggests that the iPhone 3G S screen has warmer colors and sharper text, with the distinction quite noticeable on screens with white backgrounds. We have definitely noticed that there is indeed a difference, as the company did alter the color temperature to achieve a warmer, more natural tone."Apple says that fonts on the iPhone 3G S are rendered by the phone, as opposed to being bitmaps, and that this approach accounts for the smoother and sharper appearance of text," explains Melissa Perenson of PC World.
The new phone is also equipped with a 3 megapixel auto-focus camera, up from a 2 megapixel standard camera in the 3G and the original. Unfortunately, none of the models include a Zoom feature. Even though the phone maintains a very minimalistic design with very few physical buttons, there are still two criticisms we have to point out that would make life a little simpler. There still needs to be a physical camera shutter button, and there needs to be a software update to allow the Volume Up and Down buttons to be used as Forward and Reverse for music tracks as well as Zoom Out and Zoom In for the camera.
Apart from hardware, the launch of the iPhone 3G S in Apple's perspective was very much software-oriented, as OS 3.0 had a large emphasis during WWDC 2009. The main software updates made specifically for the iPhone 3G S include a built-in compass for enhanced navigation, Nike+ iPod support, A2DP, Voice Control, a battery percentage indicator, and an Accessibility options menu.
The compass is particularly useful for those who are
either terrible at directions or simply the adventurous outdoors type. The application's settings
allow navigation relative to Magnetic North and True North directions.
Back in 2006, Nike had this radical idea of teaming up with Apple to create a device which measures and records the distance and pace of a walk or run. The Nike+ iPod platform consists of a small accelerometer attached to or embedded in a shoe, which communicates with either a Nike+ Sportband or a receiver plugged into an iPod Nano or an iPod Touch 2nd Generation. Now, Nike+ users are able to use their gear without the receiver as the iPhone 3G S is now the first and only iPhone at this point to include built-in Nike+ capabilities.
Another cool feature exclusively on the new phone is the Voice Control capability. As of now, feature is limited to a monotonous voice that somewhat resembles Microsoft Mary, although less human like. The interface is very simple, simply hold down the Home button until the Voice menu appears and say any phrase that appears in the flying text menu. More interestingly, yelling the word "help" like a damsel in distress will actually dial 9-1-1.
The OS 3.0 update has also added a battery percentage indicator specifically for the iPhone 3G S that can be activated under the General > Usage menu. Additionally, stocks can now be viewed in landscape mode, and cut/copy/paste is finally available on almost any picture and text content that can be tapped.
Accessibility features also come standard in the new phone, with options for TTY support, closed captions, White on Black, Zoom, and our least favorite called VoiceOver. The reason we dislike VoiceOver is because it can become seriously annoying having to listen to every tap of the finger being verbalized by a robotic woman voice, especially at the fast pace that we use the phone.