I wanted to give folks a quick update on my experience with the new iPhone 3GS. With the expensive (for some) upgrade price, I know people aren't sure if it is worth the upgrade. Here is what I've found so far. First though - note that I had a first generation iPhone. What seems really great for me may not be so great for folks already on a 3G phone.
1) Network Speed I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, but, I had heard that 3G wasn't "too big" of a jump over Edge. Maybe it isn't, but it certainly feels a heck of a lot zippier. The main applications I use with a lot of network activity are Twitterific, Maps, and Safari. All of them run much faster now. I was particularly surprised by Maps. I had it tracking my car and it updated our position in real time. (I wasn't driving. :) I was also impressed by the directions. I hadn't used it before, but I can see using it a lot more now that I know how it works.
Unfortunately, the main site I use for mail, GMail, has recently taken a step back in functionality. A few weeks ago they changed things up a bit, and since then, I've seen some odd behavior. Sometimes simple mail messages just refuse to load. Sometimes the entire web site refuses to load. This isn't 3GS issue, but whatever they did recently seems to have made things a bit flakey. When it works, it works great.
2) Application Speed This seems to be a bit hit and miss, and probably depends a lot more on the application's code base then anything else. Peggle (darn good addictive game) loaded up 10X faster than it normally did. Other applications seem a bit faster, but in general, I'd say things feel about 2X faster. 2X faster is nice - real nice, just don't expect the same boost over everything. The camera is nicer - but I still wish it ran faster.
3) Compass It works. Meh. If I get lost, I'll appreciate it.
4) Video It works, and works well. I was surprised with how nicely it handled offering to upload the video to YouTube. The whole conversion and upload process took about 3 minutes. The quality isn't great, but I'll have my iPhone around a lot more than my Flip camera (and the quality seems about the same).
5) Battery Life I don't know about others, but this seems to be the biggest disappointment. I haven't done any scientific testing, but it just seems like it hasn't improved at all. Whereas everything else seems nicer, faster, shinier, the battery seems to be the exact same as before. My real "test" for this was my last flight to California. I watched video for a good chunk of the trip like I normally do ("Last Man on Earth", good Vincent Price film, and the last 40 minutes of the Dark Knight) and the battery seemed just as drained as it normally is (around 45%). I expected a lot more here.
6) Misc Not that it's important, but the speaker is way loud. Loud as in the first time I got a text message I jumped about five feet. I guess that's good, but I've always relied on vibrate to notice incoming calls.
So overall, I'm very happy with the upgrade. I was lucky enough to get a good price for it (299), and I probably would have paid a bit more too (although as a consultant I can write it off as a business expense).
p.s. Some "apps" that I really need to pick up but haven't yet - Wolfenstein3D and Space Ace. Anyone tried them yet?