The iPhone 3G is the second generation of iPhone. It was the successor to the original iPhone, and is succeeded by the iPhone 3GS. Introduced on June 9, 2008 at the WWDC 2008 at the Moscone Center, San Francisco. The 3G was very similar to its predecessor, containing the same 2 MP camera and no support for video recording, and its performance was limited by the same 128 MB eDRAM memory unit. Nevertheless, the 3G featured several improvements over the original. It supported Assisted GPS, 3G data and Quad-band UMTS/HSDPA.
The iPhone 3G runs Apple’s iOS operating system, the same operating system used on previous iPhones, the iPad, and the iPod Touch. It is primarily controlled by a user’s fingertips on the multi-touch display, which is sensitive to fingertip contact. Without modification, the iPhone restricts users from running any software that is not explicitly approved by Apple and distributed via its App Store. Doing so could potentially cause issues with software functionality which may not be covered under warranty.
The iPhone 3G no longer receives software updates from Apple. It is no longer supported.
On July 11, 2008, Apple released the iPhone 3G in twenty-two countries, including the original six; in 8GB and 16GB models, with the larger capacity version having the option of being in black or white.
When the iPhone 3GS was released, the iPhone 3G's price was cut in half, and was made the budget model of iPhone. The $99 iPhone 3G was in black only and came with 8GB of storage. Included with this revision is iPhone OS 3.0  On June 7, 2010, the iPhone 3G was discontinued, and replaced with an 8 GB iPhone 3GS selling for the same price of $99.
The iPhone 3G came preloaded with the latest version of iPhone OS both to offer the newest improvements to the software and to combat efforts of jailbreaking. Over the years, the iPhone 3G has been supported by Apple with software updates. Major iterations of the software usually released yearly.
At launch, in July 2008, the iPhone 3G came preloaded with iPhone OS 2.0 which introduced the App Store, Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync support, Apple’s MobileMe service, and push email support, along with other new features and bug fixes as well.
On June 2009, the iPhone 3G received the iPhone OS 3.0 software update which introduced the long-awaited MMS feature, copy and paste, landscape support for more applications, Bluetooth stereo support, and other improvements as well.
On June 2010, the iPhone 3G owners were issued the iOS 4.0 software update. Unlike its successor, the iPhone 3GS though, it did not receive multitasking, home screen wallpaper, or Bluetooth keyboard support. However, it still got the unified mailbox feature, folders, playlist creation, among other enhancements in iOS 4. Still despite the number of new features the update introduced, it was widely criticized for its slow performance on the device.
However an update to iOS 4.1 was unveiled and released on September 2010 which improved the device’s performance under iOS 4. Unlike other iOS devices though, it did not receive the Game Center application.
On November 22, 2010, the iPhone 3G received the iOS 4.2 software update, which included new features such as YouTube voting, more options in the multitasking tray, and security fixes. The iPhone 3G however did not receive many features including AirPlay and Safari Text Search.
On January 12, 2011, the iOS 4.3 software update beta 1 was issued to developers. However, there are no iPhone 3G download links. The iPhone 3G is no longer supported by Apple in software updates.
The iPhone 3G's back features a redesigned plastic polycarbonate housing, replacing the aluminum back from the first generation. The buttons were also made from plastic to metal, and the edges of the phone were also tapered, providing a better grip of the phone. The iPhone 3G also introduced colors to the iPhone bringing black and white backs to the device. However only the 16GB version was available in both colors. The dimensions of the iPhone 3G were slightly larger than those of the original iPhone. It was 4.55 inches (116 mm) high, 2.44 inches (62 mm) wide, and 0.48 inches (12 mm) deep, compared to its predecessor, which was 4.5 inches (110 mm) high, 2.4 inches (61 mm) wide, and 0.46 inches (12 mm) deep.
Screen and input
The touchscreen is a 9 cm (3.5 in) liquid crystal display with a resolution of 320-by-480 (HVGA) at 163 ppi along with a scratch-resistant glass sitting on top of the display. The capacitive touchscreen is designed for a bare finger, or multiple fingers for multi-touch sensing.
The device also features the same sensors its predecessor had. A repositioned proximity sensor which deactivates the display and touchscreen when the device is brought near the face during a call. This is done to save battery power and to prevent inadvertent inputs from the user’s face and ears. An ambient light sensor adjusts the display brightness which in turns saves battery power. A 3-axis accelerometer senses the orientation of the phone and changes the screen accordingly, allowing the user to easily switch between portrait and landscape mode..
Processor and memory
Most of the iPhone 3G's internal hardware were based on the original iPhone. It still included a Samsung 32-bit RISC ARM11 620 MHz processor (underclocked to 412 MHz), a PowerVR MBX Lite 3D GPU, and 128 MB of eDRAM.
On the rear of the device, the iPhone 3G features the same fixed-focus 2.0 megapixel camera that its predecessor had. It has no optical zoom, flash, or autofocus, and does not support video recording, although various applications have allowed video recording on the device. The iPhone OS 2.0 software update which came preloaded on the iPhone 3G at launch, introduced the capability to embed location data in the pictures producing geocoded photographs.
Like its predecessor and recent iPods, the iPhone 3G also features the same proprietary 30-pin dock connector for charging the device. It is also used to synchronize the device with a computer and to connect various accessories.
The iPhone 3G also features a flush-mounted 3.5 mm headphone jack instead of the recessed headphone jack that was included on the original iPhone, thus it can be used with headphones other than those provided by Apple.
The iPhone 3G features an internal rechargeable battery rated at 1150mAh, which like its predecessor, is not user-replaceable. Apple states the iPhone 3G’s battery is capable of providing up to seven hours of video, six hours of web browsing on WiFi or five on 3G, ten hours of 2G talk time, or five on 3G, and 25 hours of audio playback, or 300 hours of standby. Unlike the original iPhone, the iPhone 3G uses a different battery which is fitted with a connector and is easier to replace, although replacement by any party besides Apple still voids the warranty.
The battery life of the iPhone 3G has been criticized by several technology journalists as insufficient and less than Apple’s claims. This is also reflected by a J.D. Power and Associates custom satisfaction survey, which gave the “battery aspects” of the device its lowest rating of 2 out of 5 stars.
Along with the iPhone 3G, the first major software update to iOS, 2.0 was released which featured various new features and improvements over its predecessor most notably the App Store.
One of the main new features of iOS 2.0 is the App Store which allows users to install third party applications on their device. Preceding this, jailbreaking was the only way to install custom applications on the device. On the App Store's initial launch, 500 applications were available for download, and this amount has grown vastly since then. The software update was also issued to original iPhone and iPod touch users which also gave them access to the App Store although iPod touch owners were required to pay a fee to update to the new version.
A lot of other features were also given in iOS 2.0, making the iPhone 3G a full featured device at the time, having 3G data capabilities, 3rd party applications, and an updated OS that gave a lot of other software features, such as OS enhancements, extended language support, Mail/Contacts/Calendars updates, iPod (app) updates and Enterprise Support and enhancements for business users.
Since the iPhone 3G's public release, users have reported that there had been hairline cracks, especially on the white models.
After the release of the iPhone 3G, many complaints were about battery life. This is also reflected by a J.D. Power and Associates custom satisfaction survey, which gave the “battery aspects” of the device its lowest rating of 2 out of 5 stars.
iOS performance issues
iOS 4, which was still compatible with the iPhone 3G, was released on June 21, 2010. Since its release, many iPhone 3G owners on iOS 4 have reported that their phones are performing much slower than they had prior to the update. Video comparisons of the performance differences have been posted. One theory claims that the problem stems from a bug in the Spotlight Search feature. Another claim, is that the 3G has insufficient RAM memory to cope with the demands of the new iOS 4 operating system: only 128 MB, versus the 512 MB of RAM in the iPhone 4 for which iOS 4 was designed.
An article in the Wall Street Journal's Digits column on July 28, 2010 drew attention to the situation, reporting that iPhone 3G phones updating to iOS 4 responded slowly, had diminished battery life, and became excessively hot.
During a media event on September 1, 2010, Apple announced that iOS 4.1 would be released on September 8, 2010, claiming to fix issues with performance on the iPhone 3G, along with fixes for Bluetooth and proximity sensor issues and other updates. The update did improve the speeds on the iPhone 3G, however, the speeds still remain well below acceptable levels. iOS 4.2.1 further fixed performance issues on the iPhone 3G.
Timeline of iPhone models
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