iPhone 3G S First Impressions

Fedex delivered a nice little box of awesome today in the form of a 16GB iPhone 3G S (yes the S really does officially stand for speed).  There’s gobs of articles and videos out there comparing the speed of the 3G S to the Pre and original 3G and unfortunately I just don’t have the lab & time to repeat stuff like that so what I’m doing here is just rambling a bit about the OBE or ‘out of box experience’ which is a sort of intangible quality associated with any and every piece of high tech gear a man ever buys (women may not understand what I just said but all the guys are like ‘dude man, word’).  At the risk of alienating the fairer gender, I trudge onward.

So I get the SBB (simple brown box) inside and by the way AT&T using an SBB is a good thing as Fedex and UPS both have a tendency to leave very valuable stuff just laying at people’s front doors in plain view.  Anyway I sliced open the box and the first thing that came to mind is damn, this Apple box is small, is this really my new phone?  I neatly sliced around the shrinkwrap, toying with the idea of keeping it on there for posterity but soon after tore it off when I realized how hard it would be to take a decent picture of the box with it on there.  Inside the box right on top is the 3G S itself; no digging through leaflets or adapters to get to the prize, Apple lays it right on top baby.  Wrapped in a customary light adhesive plastic sheath it is a thing of beauty to behold but after a moment of ogling it was off with the sheath and immediately on with my spiffy new Griffin Nuform case.  I had the Griffin Clarifi on my 3G and really grew attached to it so the Nuform is basically the exact same case but without the macro lens (which is no longer needed on the 3G S…can I get a WHAT WHAT).  I had already decided I wasn’t going to put a screen protector on right away to give this whole ‘oleophobic’ screen coating a whirl so I was all set.  That done I plugged it in for a bit’o’charging and took a look at the rest of the box contents to see if any surprises awaited.  Negative; it’s the same packin’s as the 3G: basic product info and ‘finger tip’ leaflets, silly white Apple stickers, earbuds, AC adapter and USB docking cable.  Time to head back to the PC and get this sucker activated.

Lessee here, if this is an upgrade says to call some 866 number to complete the activation.  Very well, called the number and after no more than 2-3 mins of following voice prompts I had my new SIM activated.  Since I’d already done a backup of my 3G in preparation, I connected the 3G S and brought up iTunes.  When it detected a new phone I chose the option to restore from backup.  Since I had about 5 GB full on my old phone, this whole process took about 40 min but it was painless and trouble-free and when done, my new Springboard was exactly like it was before, sweet!  Wait though, what’s this???  None of my save games what the, who….noOOOOOOOoooooOOOOO!  Yes, unfortunately anywhere from most to freaking all of your app/game save data does not make the trip over so that game you been workin’ on for the last 5 months and were just about to finish?  Too bad, so sad.  Had i.TV setup just perfectly?  Not anymore you don’t.  Apparently the only app/game data that survives the upgrade is that which is stored externally such as MMO’s that you physically log into; anything stored locally (probably oh, 99% of what’s on your phone) is a wet sock.  From what I’m reading out on the nets I’m not alone in this experience but it seems others have had their local save data restored so if someone knows the real scoop with that let everyone know in the comments section (it’s already too late for me so just say a little prayer for me tonight).

So in the few hours I’ve had the 3G S I can sum it up thusly…worth every freaking dime.  This just feels like the iPhone is supposed to feel.  Everything is peppy and snappy, no more virtual keyboard lag, apps load wickedly fast, games play faster, Safari doesn’t make you want to throw your phone against the wall (as much) and the video recording is (and I must quote Peter Griffin) freakin’ sweet!  There’s a whole lot more to the 3G S obviously but this article only focused on my personal OBE and it was memorable in that ear-to-ear grin kinda way.

EDIT!  Feeling glum about all my local data in the bit bucket and having nothing to lose, I tried to restore a 2nd time from the same backup.  Whaddyaknow, it worked as all my local data is now back!  If I had to make a guess it would appear that the first restore tried to put all my settings and such onto an empty phone and on the next sync afterward iTunes just transferred all my apps to the 3G S as if I had just bought and was installing them for the first time.  On the 2nd restore, now that my new phone contained all the already-installed apps, the settings restored properly.  Whatever the case, I’m stoked and quite relieved.  Side note, this also makes the case to be sure you always transfer apps purchased OTA on the iPhone back up to iTunes for safekeeping.

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