Today, Apple Computer has announced its successor to the iPhone 3G. The new iPhone will receive an “S” moniker for “Speed” at the end to differentiate it from the 3G model. Many of the new features rumored to be coming did in fact make the cut for the new iPhone such as a 3 megapixel camera with autofocus and a much anticipated video capture mode, a built in compass, voice command capability, and claimed improvements for performance and battery life.
But more importantly for business clients is built in encryption with remote wipe capability in the event the phone is lost or stolen. Another new feature allows a user to locate a lost or misplaced iPhone using the MobileMe service to find it on a map and send a signal to have the phone sound off. Another important improvement is the ability to use the faster 7.2Mbps HSDPA network for very fast connectivity, which is an upgrade to AT&T’s 3G network.
The iPhone 3GS will move up to incredible 16GB and 32GB memory capacities and still retain its $199 and $299 pricing respectively. The original 8GB 3G model will be on hand for a mere $99 starting immediately to help attract lower price point users.
So where does all of this leave Sprint’s new kid on the block, the Palm Pre? Palm’s new Smartphone has many new features that could be the envy of any iPhone user, however, like the proverbial trees falling in the forest-will anybody notice?
The Pre has a flexible new operating system, a gorgeous LCD multi-touch screen, elegant form factor and can sync with iTunes. All of which gets overshadowed by Apples announcement of the 3GS’ new gee-wiz features which the Pre does not have. Now with the monster-sized 32GB memory capacity for $299, the Pre looks positively over-priced at $199 (after rebate) for a paltry 8GB. I’m confident this was planned as a response to the Pre to keep it in the shadows with the rest of the supposed “iPhone Killers”.
The Pre has a lot going for it and will no doubt grow in popularity as it moves into newer revisions. I sincerely hope Palm takes its users loyalty seriously by providing more long-term support for their products with OS updates. Apple has provided backward compatible updates for the 2G iPhone and will continue doing so even when OS 3.0 comes out late this month. Any Smartphone that wants to compete with Apple must consider following Apple’s lead on this level of support. Users are tired of being forced to upgrade their phones when a replacement model comes out because carriers and manufacturers no longer support the device.
In the end, the competition in the Smartphone arena will continue to heat up as makers struggle to keep up with Apple’s iPhone. And try as they might, Apple will eventually lose market share as the field becomes saturated and Smartphone’s become more elaborate and sophisticated. In the mean time, I welcome the competition from companies such as Palm, BlackBerry and others. Without competition, the Smartphone industry would quickly stale and would revert to what we were stuck with before the iPhone came to town.