Worth Upgrading to the iPhone 3GS?

June 11, 2009

This week Apple announced a new version of the iPhone. If you're already an iPhone user, here are several reason to wait before you upgrade.

This week Apple announced a new version of the iPhone. If you're already an iPhone user, here are several reason to wait before you upgrade.

The new iPhone 3GS announced by Apple during the keynote address at its WorldWide Developers Conference on Monday is definitely the best version yet. The hardware remains mostly unchanged on the outside, but there are a wealth of improvements under the hood that make it a compelling product.

First, it has a brand new 3 megapixel camera. That ups the pixel count by 50%, and Apple has also added autofocus to the camera, something the previous version lacked. Along with autofocus is improved low-light sensitivity, and, perhaps the biggest new feature, the ability to capture video. Yes, the iPhone can finally shoot video. Not only can it capture video at 30 frames per second, but it can also send video to others via video message, e-mail, or even upload directly to YouTube. Since users will be capturing better pictures and video, Apple has upped the storage capacity to a whopping 32GB. Other improvements include a compass, a faster processor, and more RAM. This all sounds good, right?

Here are some reasons to wait.

Pricing: If you are currently using the original iPhone from 2007, you can probably upgrade to the new iPhone without paying any penalties. The new iPhone 3GS costs $200 and $300 (16GB and 32GB, respectively) if you are a new customer or if you are eleigible for an upgrade. If you are using an iPhone 3G, it's going to cost you $400 or $500 (16GB and 32GB, respectively) because you're still in the middle of your contract. $500 is pretty pricey for a phone.

iPhone OS 3.0: One of the other announcements made during this week's keynote is that the new iPhone operating system will become available to everyone on June 17. The new operating system will be free to all iPhone users and include a number of nice upgrades, including cut-and-paste, voice commands, universal search, and better home screen management.

Do I really need it? The bottom line is this: If you've been craving some of the absent features offered the new iPhone 3GS hardware (such as video capture) and you don't mind the high price tag, then perhaps the iPhone 3GS is for you.

On the other hand, if you're happy with the current capabilities of your iPhone, are interested in saving some cash, and don't always need the latest greatest thing, wait for iPhone OS 3.0 to become available and enjoy the free upgrade you'll get with that new software instead.