2.0 software is the biggest improvement, reviewers say

By Suzanne Choney

July 9, MSNBC

The new iPhone 3G is “worth the wait,” “mostly keeps its promises,” but is “not so much better that it turns all those original iPhones into has-beens,” according to reviews published Wednesday by USA Today, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

The phone, which goes on sale Friday, a little more than a year after the original iPhone was launched, is being lauded for its improvements, including a faster Web-browsing experience and built-in GPS receiver.

But one of the most important improvements to Apple’s device is not in its hardware, reviewers said, but rather the 2.0 software that comes with it, which will also be available at no cost to current iPhone owners on Friday.

While the iPhone 3G still does not have voice dialing, video recording or copy-and-paste features used in many other smartphones, it does have “one towering tsunami of a feature” that should silence “Appleholics” who have “expressed dismay at how little the handset has changed,” wrote David Pogue of The New York Times.

That feature is the iPhone App Store, part of the 2.0 software, and “a central, complete, drop-dead simple online catalog of new programs for the iPhone,” he said.

The iPhone 3G, so named for the faster, third-generation wireless network it runs on, instead of 2.5G used by the first-generation iPhone, is definitely faster for e-mail and Web access, reviewers found.

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photo: The new iPhone 3G, which goes on sale Friday, features an App Store as part of its 2.0 software (Courtesy of Apple)