Why I'm not upgrading to an iPhone 3GS

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Elswhere on the site, we’ve posted feedback from readers on the new iPhone 3GS, some of whom are upgrading to the new phone and some who aren’t. Put me in the “aren’t” group.

I love my iPhone 3G and I’m sure the 3GS is a nice step up, but I’m sticking with what I have for now. And AT&T’s upgrade pricing is only part of the reason why. At the end of the day, it’s just not that compelling an upgrade for me to run out and get one.

I admit, I’m a somewhat late adopter for the iPhone. I was, at one time, a champion of the Blackberry, until mine died out of warranty and circumstances dictated that an iPhone upgrade was in order. That was the original iPhone, which I’ve since deactivated and passed along to my wife—a loyal Verizon customer—who uses it as a PDA and occasional game console. (She’s fond of Sudoku).

Last year I got an iPhone 3G, though I waited a bit after they were introduced. So it’s no surprise that I can’t get a heavily-subsidized price on a new 3GS now—AT&T wants me to wait until March, 2010 before it’ll extend that courtesy. That’s fine. I understand the terms of my service contract with AT&T—I don’t think I deserve a cheap iPhone 3GS just because I want one.

It’s all just as well, because I’m not really that anxious to get an iPhone 3GS, all things considered.

The video camera capabilities would come in handy, for sure; my kids do cute things I’d like to record, and I do find myself using the less-capable iPhone 3G camera more and more for quick snapshots these days. But I have a Sanyo Xacti at the ready for video, and I’m pretty happy with that right now.

Voice Control is nifty. In fact, it’s something I’ve wanted for a while, ever since I lost the ability to call people using voice control when I moved away from Verizon.

The improved response time and application loading time would be swell, for sure. The “S” in the 3GS name implies speed—something any self-respecting gamer craves in every piece of hardware he owns. And this is, inarguably, the biggest draw for me right now.

Already I’ve heard from game developers who say that they’re looking at the 3GS’s additional capabilities, such as its ability to render OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics and its beefier hardware (a faster processor and more memory, according to reports). That will translate into games that will look better on the 3GS compared to the 3G. So the upgrade will, for me anyway, be inevitable.

But even with a subsidized price, I wouldn’t be running out to an Apple Store or an AT&T store to buy one at this moment in time. Put together, the 3GS simply isn’t that big a deal to make me want to get one right away.

I’ve upgraded my 3G to iPhone OS 3.0, and that’s enough for me right now.

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