Thursday 6 June 2019

Apple iPhone 3GS (2009)

Apple iPhone 3GS (2009)
Launched June 2009

The Apple iPhone 3GS is – possibly – the best smartphone ever at the time it was launched. A bold claim perhaps for a product line that had been around for two years, but there's a saying the third time's a charm and perhaps it applies here.

Earlier generations of the iPhone were well-received, but fundamentally flawed and displayed the lack of maturity of the product. Two years in and the 3GS finally fixed many of these faults. One of the main ones was that the 3GS was the first iPhone that could record video. Almost unbelievably, the first two generations couldn’t do these even when it was a standard feature on just about every other phone on the market. The camera on the back was improved from 2 to 3 megapixels for stills photos, which while still pretty good in terms of quality still lagged behind the competition in terms of pixel count.

The 3GS also added MMS support, a digital compass, copy-and-paste, a landscape keyboard and 16GB or 32GB of internal storage. It was also twice as fast as the iPhone 3G, which was a key selling point.

There were still a few features lacking – the 320 x 480 pixel display was beginning to look a bit dated, and there was no front-facing camera… but video calling still wasn’t really a thing a decade ago. Overall though, no excuses needed making for this generation of the iPhone, unlike the first two.

Reportedly, Apple shifted a million units in the first weekend and then around 30 million over the life of the device, far more than the previous two generations added together. The iPhone was supported by Apple until September 2013, giving over four years of software updates and setting a standard that still puts most rivals to shame.

Although it’s an important device, it’s not a particularly collectible one and unlocked models can be had for a few tens of pounds.

Image credit: Apple

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