by Curt Bucy
Gadget Guru

For those of you who have been living under a rock the past week, Apple announced the new iPhone.  This has gadget geeks everywhere asking if they are ready for a shiny new piece of technology from our friends at Apple.

If you’re wondering whether you should upgrade your current iPhone to the new one or take the plunge and buy one, I’ll try to help out with the differences between the two. Here’s a list detailing what's new in iPhone land:

1. 3G network.  Those of you messing around on AT&T’s EDGE network with an older iPhone are you are in the dark ages.  3G is the network of the future and the speeds are closer to broadband speeds than you would believe possible.  The network is at least twice as fast allowing for faster web browsing with the new iPhone in 3G-supported cities (such as Metro Nashville). 

This is by far the biggest benefit of moving to the new iPhone.  However, keep in mind that if you live outside Metro Nashville or don’t live in a bigger city, you might not be able to take advantage of this.   If you aren’t in a 3G-supported area, the iPhone will default back to the old EDGE network.   Check out your coverage area on AT&T’s website to make sure.

2. Exchange support.  For those users who are waiting for their companies to support the iPhone, this might be what makes it happen.  This feature enables push email through your company’s Microsoft Exchange server.  This benefit is available even to existing iPhone users via the iPhone 2.0 software upgrade.

3. Lower price.  The new iPhones start at $199 for the 8GB model.  The 16GB will be slightly higher (price not available yet).  However, before you get too excited about this you should know that data plans for the iPhone are going up $10 a month, so in the long run, you won’t be saving any money with the new cheaper iPhone.  In fact, you’ll be paying more over the remainder of your contract to use AT&T’s faster 3G network.  And yes, you will have to sign a new 2 year contract with AT&T to get the new iPhone.

4. New design.  The new iPhone is a little sleeker and thinner.  The 8GB is black (as opposed to the shiny silver) and the 16GB version will be available in white or black so you can coordinate with your MacBook.

5. GPS.  The new iPhone uses triangulation between cell phone towers to pinpoint your location and give directions.  This is a cool feature and allows you to have your GPS with you everywhere.

6. Apps store.  The new iPhone will have support for Apple’s Apps store where you can buy cool applications to do a million different things with your iPhone.  This feature can be used on old iPhones with the 2.0 software update.

7. Mobile Me.  This is Apple’s .Mac replacement.  It’s a program that allows you to wirelessly sync your contacts, emails, pictures and music back to your laptop from your iPhone.  It comes with a “” email address.  For those who had .Mac service, this will be a free upgrade for you. Support for Mobile Me can be added to older iPhones via the 2.0 upgrade.

Is the new apple worth upgrading to? In the long run, it’s a toss up.  If you’re happy with the speed of AT&T’s EDGE network on your current iPhone, then you may not be ready for an upgrade.  You can pay for the 2.0 software upgrade (It should cost less than $5.) and get some of the benefits but still have a pretty stylish phone.  If you’re ready for a new design and to be the talk of all your friends while surfing the net at near-broadband speeds, then you’re a good candidate for one of the new iPhones.

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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