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As far as battery life is concerned, the iPhone 3G S gives off just about as much juice as the 3G regardless of Apple's improvement claims. The ARM Cortex A8 processes data in a way that, when used at full speed, it would make the 3G S run out of juice faster than its predecessor. ARM’s website lists around 0.25mW per MHz for the ARM11 core but less than 0.59mW per MHz for the Cortex A8, which is almost three times the power consumption. Rest assured, the majority of iPhone users will not demand full CPU usage during the entire charge cycle of the battery. All in all, a full charge cycle on the 3G S will last about the same as its predecessor in general usage, unless Apple cleverly comes up with another software update to increase battery life as they did for the 3G with OS 2.1.
Apple has decided to stick with AT&T as the exclusive carrier for the iPhone until at least next summer, and possibly even until 2011 according to some rumors. However, AT&T has continued to carry the phone at the same subsidized prices of $199 and $299 - but this time for 16GB and 32GB models respectively. Based on the current trend, we can expect the iPhone's flash memory to receive a nice doubling in size every year when a new revision hits the market.
Overall, these are the prices to be paid for consumers starting brand new 2-year AT&T contracts and for those few iPhone and iPhone 3G owners who have had their phones long enough to receive "upgrade eligible" pricing. Apart from subsidies, consumers whom AT&T deems "ineligible" for upgrade pricing can expect to pay $399 and $499 for the 16GB and 32GB models respectively. Finally, those few daring people who want to endeavor into a no-commitment basis with AT&T can expect to pay $599 and $699 respectively for an iPhone 3G S and then unlock it to the carrier of their choice. It is for this very reason that the phone is receiving elevated popularity on eBay and other auction sites.
With all this in mind, there comes a time when every prospective consumer and analyst has to zoom out of the feature specifics and observe the overall demographics and purposes to buying a product.
As of now, the reason to buy an iPhone 3G S likely appeals to two groups - those who currently own an original iPhone or iPhone 3G, and those new buyers who are certainly convinced that this smartphone is for them but are determining whether the 3G S is really worth the additional price over the 3G at just $99. In all honesty, the decision really comes down to how productive the user can be with his or her time in a mobile environment.
For those with skilled learning habits of typing and texting over 60 words per minute, skimming through the specifics of web pages at ADHD speeds, or simply impatience, then the additional fluid responsiveness of the iPhone 3G S is definitely a must have for getting things done. For those users with more reclined habits, we could say the decision is yours truly.
All in all, Apple has produced a smartphone that appeals to many user groups for its intuitive operating system layout combined with an incredibly accurate touchscreen. The jump to the iPhone 3G S is not the biggest we've seen, but it is a considerable "refresh" before the next revision hits the shelves in a year or so from now.
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