Will current iPhone owners upgrade to 3G?

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In the wake of the iPhone 3G announcement at WWDC last week, I’ve been thinking about whether it’s time to upgrade—to replace my eight-month old 8GB iPhone with a new model, once the updated phone arrives July 11. I’ve decided that I’m going to wait a while.

The biggest difference of the new iPhone 3G is reflected in the name—the phone offers 3G network compatibility, which Apple says will mean dramatically better performance for transferring data. What’s more, the 3G features will improve performance when you transfer data and talk at the same time. Which is great—if you live in an area where you can get 3G access. I don’t.

I work from home, and spend much of my time there. And unfortunately, I seem to live at the perimeter of AT&T’s coverage area. In fact, most of the time, I can squeak out just about one bar of coverage. I often experienced clipped fragments of conversations or dropped calls, and my phone is all but useless for data unless I’m using my household Wi-Fi, when I’m more likely to use a computer anyway.

Now, the iPhone 2.0 software update and the App Store that comes with it are certainly draws. But owners of the current iPhone model will be able to upgrade to the 2.0 software for free. So I’ll be able to run those new iPhone applications anyhow.

One cool feature in the iPhone 3G takes advantage of the new handset’s built-in GPS capability—it’s called photo geotagging, which makes it possible for you to pinpoint, with reasonable accuracy, just where you’ve taken any pictures on your iPhone. I have to admit that I rarely use my iPhone’s camera—it seems that I’ve permanently smudged the lens no matter how hard I try to clean it, so every picture I take looks smeared and foggy. But geotagging is cool—not cool enough to make me want to buy a new phone, however.

Apple and AT&T are certainly making it enticing to upgrade—the 8GB iPhone 3G will cost $199, compared to the $399 I spent last November on the 8GB model. But AT&T’s subsidization comes at a price: the data plan costs more under this new deal, so over the life of my contract, I would end up spending more on the new phone than I would if I just stuck with what I had.

It’s also nice that Apple has incorporated a standard 3.5mm stereo headphone jack, instead of the silly recessed jack on my iPhone, so you can use any set of headphones instead of having to rely either on Apple’s uncomfortable (for me) earbuds or an adapter. But I’ve already bought that adapter, and besides, I use the iPhone’s media player capabilities infrequently, as I already have an iPod.

So I won’t be standing in line with the faithful on July 11 to buy a new iPhone. Then again, I said the same thing last year, straight up until my beloved BlackBerry broke late last fall. That’s when my resolve crumbled. I hope it doesn’t take another broken phone to bring me into the store again. Because that’d mean that I’d broken my iPhone, and I’m not sure if my heart could take it.

How about you? If you’re a current iPhone owner, are you planning on moving over to the 3G model when it ships next month?

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