Up here in Toronto, things weren’t nearly as crazy as they were in New York City. I thought they would be, so I showed up at my local Fido at 6:30 a.m. expecting to be maybe tenth or so in line. I was second. And the guy ahead of me had been there since 3:00 a.m. that morning. So, long story short, I got my hands on a brand new 32GB iPhone 3G S (s aapl), and this is what it looks like.
Check out the gallery at the end of the post for more unboxing photos, though I will warn you, if you’ve seen the 3G, there won’t be much that surprises you. Slightly smaller packaging, though, in keeping with Apple’s attempt to greenify their image.
I was giddy enough about opening the thing up, but actually taking the new camera out for a test drive was what I was really excited about. That, and the speed boost, were the two main reasons I even bothered to pick up a 3G S.
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of essentially the same photograph taken with my iPhone 3G and my 3G S. Note the considerable absence of trademark iPhone static in the photo on the right, and the sharp focus despite it being taken at very close range. The tap to focus feature works remarkably well, and I can already tell I’ll be much more of a photographer with the new hardware.
As for video, here’s a clip I shot of Sackboy, my typewriter, and the window, because my apartment is a mess and nothing else seemed that interesting. The quality is good, considering this is still a phone, after all. I’d even go so far as to say usable for things beyond embarrassing your drunken friends on Facebook, although that’s definitely still an option. I was especially impressed with how efficiently it refocused, and with how it dealt with significant changes in light conditions, as when I recorded the view from my window, and then back to my dingy, poorly lit apartment.
The camera isn’t the only thing that’s new. Speed is much improved. I couldn’t believe how quickly Mail.app downloaded my MobileMe messages. It seemed like at least two or three times faster than when setting up a new account on the 3G. And then there’s the digital compass, which is very accurate and actually fun to watch adjusting in real-time as you turn. Clicking the locate icon in Maps a second time also puts you in to compass mode, which shows which direction you’re facing in addition to where you are, also updated in real time. Check the gallery below for pics of that, and the new camera interface.