My brother Mark, his girlfriend Jen, and their iPhones
My brother Mark, his girlfriend Jen, and their iPhones.

I got into a conversation about the differences I notice between the old iPhone and the new iPhone 3g. Here’s my quick list (ordered by what I appreciate the most):

  1. The headphone jack: is flush now instead of recessed so you can use any headphones you like (I’d upgrade just for this INCREDIBLE feature, probably the greatest thing about the new iPhone – I mean what will the great minds at Apple think of next?)
  2. The sound: on the speakers is louder and less distorted. I can actually watch a TV show or movie on my iPhone in a quiet room and hear it clearly. I still prefer my headphones (Etymotic Er-4 p’s) but it’s nice to have the option. I think the overall sound quality on calls is better, too.
  3. The GPS: rocks. Not as fast or efficient as a regular GPS device but locating myself with Maps is a lot faster and more accurate, plus it tracks me as I’m moving around with a cool “sonar” animation (compared to the old system where you just had to hit the “find me” button to relocate yourself.) This is extremely useful when using Maps with driving as I don’t always know if I’m started out in the right direction.
  4. 3g: mucho faster. I hear you can’t get it in a lot of areas but in NYC it seems to be working great. It makes using the internet bearable on the iPhone. Connecting to a wireless point still blows it away but again, it brings using the internet on the go a recreational thing, instead of just a I-really-need-this-information-right-now-and-this-is-my-only-option thing.
  5. Lots of small physical enhancements: Apple is really good at this. They’ve probably improved fifty things physically on the iPhone that you’ll never notice. One that I noticed right away is that the headphone jack “grips” your headphone plug, locking it in place. You can actually (lightly) swing your iPhone around by the headphones (I don’t recommend this.) This helps dramatically as dozens of times I’d be walking down the street, listening to my old iPhone in my jean pocket, only to get eventually unplugged. This never happens anymore.
  6. The Apps: fun and fast (compared to their web app counterparts). Even though you can use the new app system on your old version 1 iPhones, location based apps like Yelp really shine with the GPS.

The iPhone continues to be a game-changer and this recent update was more evolutionary than revolutionary but it was certainly needed. There’s a lot more new stuff I really dig, like international keyboard support and a (sorta) native AIM and Twitter clients but this stuff is also available with the new firmware update on the old iPhones as well, and I wanted to keep this entry focused on the differences.