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Apple iPhone 3G

Love it or loathe it, it's here

And despite the 3G upgrade, there's no front-facing camera for video conferencing.

But, gripes aside, the new iPhone has one more very attractive trick up its sleeve: price. True, you'll need to sign yourself up for £75 a month to get a 16GB model for free, but the most you'll pay for one with O2 is £159. That's at £35 a month, and if you're happy with the 8GB model, you'll only pay £99.

Not a bad offering really, though it would be nice to have the option of getting one with other carriers. There is of course the argument that Apple should have released a 3G iPhone in the first place. It was obvious to everyone and their dog in Europe that 3G was an essential for an all-singing, all-browsing, all-downloading device like the iPhone, but the boys and girls in Cupertino chose not to.

Apple iPhone 3G

You need a Wi-Fi connection to access the iTunes App Store

Was it so they could be assured of a clutch of early sales from the damp-crotched fans who'd get a phone from Apple even if it ran on clockwork, and then fork out again once it was brought up to a worthwhile spec? Quite possibly, but if you do already own an iPhone the new one isn't a compelling ugrade unless you're a frequent GPS user or you often find yourself surfing the net away from Wi-Fi hotspots.

Like a number 15 bus, there'll be another iPhone along soon, much the same as this one but addressing a few new issues and maybe, just maybe, it will show us a brave new advance like the original iPhone's awesome screen. Until then, though, Apple is really just catching up with its competitors.

Verdict

The iPhone is still a lovely object, and the latest incarnation with 3G, AGPS and push email at least brings the spec up to offer a decent comparison with the best Windows Mobile and Symbian smartphones. But failure to keep up with some of the basics - MMS, video capture, Bluetooth stereo - means the shine is beginning to wear off the iPhone's fancy display. Apple will need to get its screen-pokin' finger out to keep up with the competition.

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Apple iPhone 3G

Still the same old iPhone, but now with HSDPA 3G and GPS and a very attractive price.
Price: Contract only: from free to £159 RRP