Gadget giants Apple have unveiled the latest version of their all-conquering iPhone. And with handset sales now nudging 25 million, chances are you’ve got one. But is a handful of unspectacular new features really enough to justify an upgrade? And if you’ve yet to, is now the time to join the Apple army? Read on to find out…


It’s got a new camera

The 3G S sports a three megapixel camera (improving on the previous version’s two), and comes with touch-adjustable focus. It’s also set to silence iPhone non-believers with the inclusion of video capture. Which you can edit on the fly, then upload to YouTube. Or not, if you’ve been shooting your cock.

It’s really fast and holds more music

Thanks to a suped-up processor, you can now launch big applications twice as fast. You’ll also notice less lag when bringing up web pages and that games with 3D graphics run smoother. Something you’ll be very grateful for once you’ve stuffed the new 32GB memory full of horrible air-guitar anthems.

You can talk to it

Although, to be fair, you always could. Except now it’ll actually cause something cool to happen. Like play your favourite album or call your mum. Just hold down the home button and bark your commands. Then cackle like some sort of digital overlord as technology does your bidding.

It’s got a sense of direction

An in-built digital compass? Sort of pointless. Although even if you’re not planning an Arctic expedition, it’ll at least make GPS navigation easier, since it automatically rotates the map to point the way you’re facing. Becomes less useful when you’re face-down in the gutter, eight pints to the wind.

What’s the damage?

And that’s it. Really. No new handset design. No front-of-handset camera for video calling. It’ll certainly win over a few Apple sceptics, but is it worth the upgrade if you’re already in the iPhone club? Here are your options:

1) For new users, on an 18 month, £35 per month contract with O2, the 32GB models costs £275. But sign up for 24 months and you’ll get it £100 cheaper. On the downside, you’ll be stuck with it for two years, meaning you’ll feel like a caveman in 12 months time when the new one comes out.

2) Prefer to pay as you go? You’re looking at £342.50 for the 8GB, £440.40 for the 16GB and a whopping £538.30 for the 32GB. Plus, since you’re investing in something the price of a decent used car, you’ll want some insurance.

3) Already on a contract with the 3G model? You’ll need to either buy out your remaining contract (which, assuming you got the 3G version on launch, will cost you about £245) AND stump up for the new handset (adding up to a potential grand total of over £500) or wait out the remaining months of your contract.


The alternatives

Since the launch of the original iPhone back in 2007, manufacturers have tried (and ultimately failed) to take on the market leader at its own game. But now, Nokia, Palm and Blackberry have all got serious contenders in the pipeline:

Nokia N97

Better than the new iPhone: Comes with a whopping 32GB of in-built memory, plus space for a 32GB MicroSD card. Five megapixel camera with flash, plus front camera.

Worse than the new iPhone: It’s thicker and heavier, poorer battery performance.

When: End of June.


Palm Pre

Better than the new iPhone: It’s got a three megapixel camera with flash, a slide-out keyboard and charges wirelessly.

Worse than the new iPhone: It’s got 8GB of in-built memory, but no media card slot. Hardly any applications are available for it.

When: Some time before Christmas.


Blackberry Onyx

Better than the new iPhone: It’s slimmer and smaller, comes with MicroSD slot.

Worse than the new iPhone: No touch-screen, meaning you’ll need to rely on potentially fiddly buttons and interface.

When: September.



So. Still want an iPhone? Tell us your thoughts in the comments box below.