Apple iPhone 3G S Adds GPS, Video And Better Camera


But what about its environmental footprint?

Apple’s new iPhone 3G S, launched at its WDC conference, has built in GPS, a better camera, video editing and voice control, as well as a more performance and better battery life – but apparently no change to its environmental footprint.

The operating system version, OS 3.0, includes over 100 new features such as cut, copy and paste and a landscape keyboard – and is available as a free download for all iPhone users, and a £5.99 update for the iPod Touch.

The camera improvements still lag those in leading phones elsewhere, increasing the resolution from the sub-standard 2Mpixels of previous models, up to a more reasonable 3Mpixels, and adding autofocus. Adding video recording and editing may be a smart move, by playing to Apple’s strengths, but it’s been widely noted that the camera only shoots video in VGA resolution.

The performance boost should make web pages render quicker, and inclusion of the OpenGL ES 2.0 standard will improve graphics and mobile gaming, Apple said in its release. It also supports HSDPA for faster connection speeds.

Apple says that the voice control will let users speak to their iPhone, dialling contacts by name, or asking it to play specific tracks or “Play more songs like this” – or ask it what track is playing now. There’s also a feature to help visually impaired people use the web or email, called VoiceOver, which reads out what is on the display – and another feature can reverse out the screen to white-on-black to help those with poor eyesight.

The GPS function includes a digital compass, integrated with maps, so it can orient them whichever way you are facing. There’s also a Find My iPhone feature which locates a lost phone on the map and sends a message or plays a sound (even if it is set to silent). Lost iPhones can also be wiped to keep data out of the wrong hands.

One thing missing from the Apple press material is an environmental statement, which presumably means it has the same lifetime footprint (PDF) as the existing iPhone. At 55 kg of CO2 this is not huge, but other phones have less impact, for instance Sony Ericsson’s Satio has half the iPhone’s carbon footprint, mostly through reducing packaging, software disks and manuals.

The iPhone 3G S is available in the UK on 19 June – but no pricing has yet been set.

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