Won't be buying the latest iPhone? Don't worry, the new iOS 4 is a hell of a birthday present. One year ago I was queuing with other freaks and nerds at an O2 shop in London for the iPhone 3GS debut. Back then, Apple had "refreshed" its plastic 3G model with faster guts and the ability to record video. That was only 2009, and we all knew that our pre-2006 iPhone handsets had that option. The guys from the Vodafone and Carphone Warehouse branches at Moorgate were pitching us their own smartphones precisely with that point, but we stood there seeing how other City workers asked "What are they giving away?" just to laugh at us.
It was faster, it was sleek and it was the latest incarnation of the almighty phone. Now after 12 months Apple has made my 3GS obsolete with the new state of the art form factor and beautiful video-call capability. But this time I won't stand in line for it.
Locked in my current contract until December, this time I will pass the "special early upgrade" that O2 offers. AT&T customers in the U.S., where the iPhone is exclusive to them, users can get the latest iPhone 4 topping up their contract and paying for the handset. In my case I'm offered to pay off my remaining contract for £20 a month, not so good when it's put on perspective. We also get the "unlimited data" issue ditched from the new iPhone contracts you have to sign with the new model.
On its first anniversary, the the iPhone family is getting a fantastic present that will make us all rejoice.
However, it's not that I'm not in love already with the new iPhone 4, but I think I can squeeze more out of a 3GS while a wait for my contract to run out (and probably move to any other mobile provider as well). All the goodness of the iOS 4 version will be available for all of us with older models. Things like multitasking, app folders, iBooks and Mail improvements are going to make me feel like my 3GS is really one year older. It has learned a lot, run loads of apps and games and now deserves a new software upgrade that will hopefully make it more efficient as well.
I had to say it: Every major software upgrade has been great (they've been always free in my case as well). I will be missing some FaceTime love, 24% free space on my pocket, but all app freaks now that from tomorrow they can start enjoying their handsets as if they were brand new. This is what I call a hell of a birthday present.