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Thoughts on iPhone 2.0

I’ve been thinking about whether it will be worth it to pick up an iPhone 2.0 on July 11th.  I’ve had the original iPhone for a while now (I picked it up when they discontinued the 4GB version) and I have mixed feelings about it. iPhone 1.0 is certainly the best PDA type phone I’ve ever used.  Everything is very well designed, the battery life is good, sound quality is at least as good as other phones I’ve had, the web browser is fantastic (unless you need to view Flash content), and it’s a great iPod.

So why am I not already getting in line for 2.0?  Well, the first thing is that the 2.0 software will run on the 1.0 hardware.  So any bug fixes, new core application updates (e.g. scientific calculator), and other improvements will work just fine on my original phone.  The only real hardware features that matter for version 2.0 of the hardware are 3G network chip and the A-GPS hardware.

2G is certainly not setting any speed records – but for the most part, it gets the job done fine for me.  I use the web more on the iPhone than I have on any other phone, but it’s still nothing at all compared to my web use on a real PC – so 3G would be nice, but it’s nothing I can’t live without.  The main issue with the 3G support is that my phone bill will go up by $10 per month for 2 years – so $240 total increase on top of buying the $200/$300 iPhone 2.0. It’s not a horrible price increase, but in my particular situation, it’s harder to justify the benefit outweighing the cost there.

The A-GPS is a bit more appealing though.  I have a handheld GPS unit from Garmin, but it’s meant for hiking/geocaching type activities and not for navigation.  I do like the idea of buying a cheap dash mount and then my iPhone could be a very decent auto navigation system that moves around to different cars easily.  Of course, this all depends on what GPS software is released for the phone, but I’m sure we’ll see great things in this area.  The other thing is that we really haven’t had a small GPS device that had an always on broadband-link internet link – that could allow for all kinds of interesting situations that make the GPS ability of the iPhone unlike anything we’ve seen (for better or for worse).

At this point, my feeling is that I’m going to hold off for a bit and see what applications come out that make use of iPhone 2.0 hardware features.  If they are compelling enough, then I may make the jump, but I’m starting to get to that point where I need to see real world benefits from new gadgets instead of just the conceptual greatness of them…  Even on July 11th, the really amazing applications for iPhone may not even be ready because of the way Apple has chosen to limit the developer program – from the latest Apple keynote, it sounds like some developers (and some SDK functionality) won’t even be ready until September anyway.  We’ll see how things play out, but for now, I think I’ll be keeping my $440.

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