I had about five minutes with the 3GS before the smiling and predictably charming Apple assistant shuffled me away in favour of a bunch of teenage school kids, and I left the store thorougly impressed but not blown away, by any means.
To quell any uncertainty you may have, the S stands for speed, and this was made apparent as soon as my grubby fingertips touched the screen. According to Apple, the 3GS is "twice as fast" as the model that preceded it, and this is most obvious in 3D graphics intensive games like Hero of Sparta, which ran much more smoothly when compared side by side to my iPod Touch. Other applications like Facebook simply loaded about half a second quicker, which is a nice improvement but nothing life changing.
Speaking of grubby fingertips, the 3GS's new "fingerprint resistant oleophobic coating" is one of its new features, which each need mentioning. Internet on the new iPhone will be considerably faster with data speeds of up to 7.2Mbps, about twice as fast as the old model.
Alongside these speedy features is a new 3 megapixel camera, which is still weak by typical standards but an improvement for the iPhone, and the ability to shoot and edit video. Also included is a compass feature, voice control, and internet tethering for on the go internet.
Most of these features are nice and add quite considerably to the phone's functionality.
However, the upgrades that the previous iPhone really needed can be seen in the 3.0 software update, which can be downloaded by all owners of an older iPhone model for free. This update includes MMS, Copy and Paste, and a landscape keyboard, among others. The 3GS's features are indeed a step up, however from my initial tests there was nothing essential about them.
It's also important to remember the other options out there, particularly if you're one of Apple's rabid cynics (and there are many of you).
So what are the main challengers to iPhone 3GS?
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