Expectations weren't dashed during Apple's World Wide Developers Conference as a new iPhone was indeed announced. Dubbed the iPhone 3G S, the new model will be rolled out on June 18 in the US. Eighty more countries will get it in August.
The iPhone 3G S looks exactly like the iPhone 3G, but it's apparently much faster. Fun fact: the "S" in the name stands for "speed". On average, it's reportedly twice as fast as the 3G and data speeds have been increased to 7.2Mbps HSDPA.
In keeping with the "speed" concept, holding down the Home button activates a voice control feature that lets you dial by name or number and control music playback. The camera has been upgraded to a 3 megapixel unit with a "tap to focus" feature. Support for 30fps VGA video recording and editing has also been added.
Other features include OpenGL ES 2.0 support, a built-in compass, a new battery that offers up to 5 hours of 3G talk time and 9 hours of WiFi, and a screen reader that speaks what appears on the iPhone 3G S display. It also comes with iPhone OS 3.0 (which will go live on June 17), so all the features in the new OS are in the 3G S as well.
New and end-of-contract pricing has been set at US 199 for the 16GB model and US 299 for the 32GB model, with the old 3G model remaining on sale for US 99. Little caveat, though. The press release didn't mention it, but the pricing details on the Apple website includes this footnote regarding the prices mentioned above:
Requires new two-year AT&T wireless service contract, sold separately to qualified customers; credit check required; must be 18 or older. For non-qualified customers, including existing AT&T customers who want to upgrade from another phone or replace an iPhone 3G, the price with a new two-year agreement is $499 (8GB), $599 (16GB), or $699 (32GB).