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When Apple first introduced the iPhone in June 2007, many were curious to see how it would compete in the smartphone market. Two years later, the iPhone is becoming the standard by which other smartphones are judged.
The new iPhone 3GS, starting at $199, enhances an already solid model. The first improvement you’ll notice on the 3GS is its increased speed. Apple claims the 3GS is up to two times faster than the 3G, and although we were unable to measure precisely, many of the device’s actions, particularly starting applications and loading Web pages, are much faster than on the previous model.
When comparing the 3GS and 3G side by side, we were impressed by the improved camera quality. The three-megapixel camera on the 3GS has a noticeably clearer picture than that of the 3G’s two-megapixel option. In addition, the new autofocus feature and the ability to record video make the new camera much better all around.
Another improvement is the introduction of voice control. Now you can make a phone call or play songs by a certain artist or from a particular playlist simply by speaking. In our testing, we found a 10% error rate in the voice-activated phone dialing. When using voice control for music, however, we had a 30% error rate. That’s still pretty solid, but the phone dialing is obviously the stronger feature.
The battery life of the 3GS is slightly improved over the 3G, but not by much. Additionally, like past iPhone models, the battery is still not user-replaceable. Furthermore, although the included storage (16GB or 32GB) is good, you cannot add extra storage.
Overall, however, the iPhone 3GS is a solid improvement over the previous model. Compared with the Palm Pre ($199.99 with Sprint) and the G1 ($149.99 with T-Mobile), the 3GS shines. One caveat: The iPhone is still exclusively offered by AT&T and will be until at least 2010.
A slew of business apps are available for the iPhone.
Among them is the iSwipe Credit Card Terminal. Designed for the entrepreneur, this app turns the phone into a credit card swiping machine. It accepts all major credit cards and gives users instant feedback on whether or not a card has been accepted. ($29.99; http://appninjas.com/iswipe/).
If you’re looking to keep track of your investments, check out PortfolioLive 1.2, a comprehensive portfolio manager that enables users to create and monitor multiple portfolios and to receive real time market data and stock and mutual fund quotes. ($5.99; www.turingstudios.com).
This article originally appeared in the September 2009 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.