The Ultimate Ubermensch Apple Weblog on the iPhone 3G: "A lot of money for a design bump."

Considering the source, The Ultimate Ur-Quan Apple Weblog has posted a remarkably level-headed post on why, for some of us, there's little reason to pick up an iPhone 3G on Friday:
Other than 3G speeds and GPS, the new iPhone does not bring a lot to the table. It still has the same crappy 2 MegaPixel camera. It appears to have the same sized screen, the same speakers, the same microphone with a few cosmetic re-designs. If the speed issue isn't do-or-die for you, this is the upgrade to skip. You'll pay a lot of money for little more than a design bump. Frankly, Apple would be foolish if they didn't have a better iPhone already in the works--one with a decent camera and other upgraded features. The 3G iPhone that goes on sale Friday, represents nothing more than last year's iPhone--that finally got delivered a year late.
Naturally, the author's being pilloried in the comments for not following TUAW's usual policy of blind, breathless sycophantism. Why You Shouldn't Buy The iPhone 3G on Friday [The Ultimate Ulillillia Apple Weblog] Update: Thanks to polite commenter "Anonymous" for sorting out our acronym mistake! It won't happen again!
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21 Responses to The Ultimate Ubermensch Apple Weblog on the iPhone 3G: "A lot of money for a design bump."

  1. knifie_sp00nie says:

    What’s the big deal about the camera? It’s a crappy phone camera. The biggest limiter to image quality is not the sensor, but the lens. So you get more megapixels? They’re mostly worthless if it’s just more out of focus or distorted pixels. If pictures are that important to you get a real camera.

  2. Joel Johnson says:

    The camera’s fine, but they should really add video support. The hardware can obviously do it, as will be proved Friday when the iPhone 2.0 firmware is released.

    And really that’s the big story here, as all the reviewers said last night: the App Store is where it’s at. And conveniently, while I intend to get a 3G — more speed and more storage are appealing — knowing I can dick around with all the new software for a week on my iPhone EDGE while I wait for the rush to die down is fantastic.

  3. Caroline says:

    Yeah, I’m not getting one of the 3G iPhones. I have one of the old ones and don’t see that the new one is going to do a lot more for me.

    Basically, I figure the new one might draw people for whom EDGE and no GPS were dealbreakers. They weren’t dealbreakers for me and they’re not important enough for me to pay another $200 and extra data plan for it.

    The App Store is so where it’s at — and I don’t have to buy a new one to take advantage of that.

    And yeah, who cares about the camera? I agree with Knifie_Sp00nie, if pictures are that important to you buy a real camera. I can recommend a Canon Powershot. Very nice ultraportable little point-and-shoot.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It’s The UNOFFICIAL Apple Weblog, dillweed.

  5. DCE says:

    I won’t be waiting in line for the thing, but I do plan to upgrade. Not so much because I need the latest and greatest, but because I find the GPS aspects of the phone quite compelling.

    As I’m still adjusting to life in a new city (I’ve lived in SF for just over a year) I find that I’m constantly checking my position and looking for directions on my iPhone. Sadly, due to the limitations of wireless triangulation technology, this often comes up short. There’s nothing worse than being told I’m “somewhere in San Francisco” after taking a wrong turn.

    Now I could get a dedicated GPS unit, but that requires a separate device that I won’t carry around with me. I want the convenience that comes with an integrated solution – phone, web browser, GPS all in my pocket.

    It’s worth it to me, though I suspect I may not be the typical user.

  6. Matt Eric says:

    If I already got an iPhone the first time around, I doubt I’d upgrade either. But I didn’t, and the fact that the new one is cheaper, faster, and has the ability to get new apps on it without extensive fucking-with, I’ll probably be picking one up this weekend. And since the iPhone you get when you walk into the store and say “I want an iPhone” is the iPhone 3G, I’ll be getting a 3G.

    The “upgrade” isn’t so much to make existing owners want to buy a new one, it’s to make people like me want to buy their first one.

  7. Anonymous says:

    It’s “The Unofficial Apple Weblog”, not Ultimate.

  8. John Brownlee says:

    Thanks, Anonymous! Fixed!

  9. Panserbjorn says:

    I really hate to nitpick, but you get some sort of compensation for this gig, right?

    First of all, you’d probably be pretty annoyed if someone referred to you as Bing Bong. It’s something to simple that it’s incredibly ridiculous to mess up.

    Second, if you’re going to quote the post, especially in the title of your article, get the quote right! He says “design bump” not “speedbump”. Those are two completely different things. No relation. A speedbump slows something down. A design bump is .. well.. a design bump.

    C’mon… a little more effort please?

  10. Xeni Jardin says:


    Actually, we totally PAY people to call us Bing Bong, on television even.

    — Xeni “just-plain-weed” Jardin

  11. John Brownlee says:

    Well, I refuse to put in any more effort, but the design bump thing is absolutely correct, and my mistake. Fixed.

  12. dustys says:

    Blackberry Cool referred to the 3G today as “Jesus Phone 2.” Good times.

  13. zuzu says:

    C’mon… a little more effort please?

    Peter Gibbons: Yeah. I got the memo. And I understand the policy. And the problem is just that I forgot the one time. And I’ve already taken care of it so it’s not even really a problem anymore.

    Dom Portwood: Ah! Yeah. It’s just we’re putting new coversheets on all the TPS reports before they go out now. So if you could go ahead and try to remember to do that from now on, that’d be great.

  14. dculberson says:

    I can’t even figure out why anonymous comments are allowed in the first place. And how an insulting, rude anonymous comment made it past the comment approval process.

    Down with anonymous comments! Up with Brownlee, Et Al!!

  15. k386 says:

    OMG Ur-Quan ftw dillweed! ;)

  16. zuzu says:

    I can’t even figure out why anonymous comments are allowed in the first place.

    Anonymity is one of the core founding principles of the Internet culture.

  17. alowishus says:

    I want a mini projector and a corkscrew before I’ll upgrade.

  18. gabrielm says:


    I for one have much more respect for John “Dillweed” since he let the anonymous comment stay.

  19. alowishus says:

    Oh, and really, Brownlee could’ve said that Hieronymus Fooferah from the Arglebargle Blog posted this. It doesn’t matter. So take your red pen and shove it.

  20. Joel Johnson says:

    I will always let anonymous comments through if they have a good point. Sometimes I will kill them if they are overly antagonistic, but I just loved “dillweed” so it passed muster.

  21. Anonymous says:

    We don’t even have 3G here in Central California (unless you live in the hellholes known as Fresno and Bakersfield) so it’s a moot point for me. Huge swaths of the country are in the same situation, so I’m not sure the 3G launch will be as big a deal as the App Store launch, much less the original launch.

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