iPhone

Specs of iPhone 3G S accidentally revealed: 600 MHz and 256 MB of RAM

When Apple announced the details of the iPhone 3G S it said that the new smartphone would be twice as fast as the current hardware, but refused to reveal the official specs. On Wednesday, one of the European iPhone carriers accidentally spilled the beans.

When Apple announced the details of the third generation iPhone hardware, dubbed "iPhone 3G S," on Monday, it said that the new smartphone would be twice as fast as the current hardware. But, Apple steadfastly refused to reveal the CPU power and amount of RAM of the latest iPhone.

The beans have now been spilled. T-Mobile, the iPhone's official carrier in the Netherlands, inadvertently revealed the official specs on Wednesday when it posted its product page for the iPhone 3G S (see screenshot below). For those who don't read Dutch, the bottom line is that the new iPhone has a 600 MHz processor and 256 MB of RAM.

The new specs compare to the 412 MHz CPU and 128 MB of RAM found in both of the first two generations of iPhone hardware. Ironically, the second generation iPod Touch featured a 532 MHz processor.

By comparison, the BlackBerry Bold features a 624 MHz CPU and 128 MB of RAM and it is by far the fastest smartphone I have used up until now. The new Palm Pre has a 600 MHz CPU and 256 MB of RAM and it can multi-task up to 12 applications at once. The new Nokia N97, which is being touted as a powerful handheld device, has just a 434 MHz CPU and 128 MB of RAM. So the new iPhone hardware should make the device very competitive in term of performance.

In its official material, Apple states, "Everything you do on iPhone 3G S is up to 2x faster and more responsive than iPhone 3G." The company also claims that "updated 3D graphics deliver an incredible gaming experience." Technical specs about the improved graphics capabilities are one of the few details that have not yet emerged.

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It's a little odd that Apple has been so coy about revealing the tech specs of the new iPhone hardware, but as Macworld's Jason Snell recently wrote in his article Don't look inside Apple's black box, Apple doesn't want people to think about their products as the sum of the parts but as a more humanized technology experience. And, as such, it takes a different approach to both building products and marketing them.

At the iPhone 3G S announcement, Bob Borchers, iPhone product marketing manager, told Snell, "Overall, it's just a snappier experience. There are so many different facets to it - it's just faster, better, quicker, snappier, and a great experience." He made it clear to Snell that he wasn't going to reveal engineering details because he said "the usual speeds and feeds" aren't how Apple characterizes the iPhone.

Nevertheless, techies still want to know the details in order to help set expectations, compare with other devices, and better understand the product, and T-Mobile provided a nice assist. Of course, all of the details will be revealed when the product is officially released and iFixit and others do the full teardown and catalog the chips inside. Naturally, you can also expect a full "Cracking Open" photo gallery from TechRepublic.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

12 comments
dogknees
dogknees

Meaning the greatest improvement is double and it could actually be slower!

mattohare
mattohare

The time it takes me to get a reply from an SMS still depends on the person to whom I sent it. LOL No amount of technology will speed some of them. Just as well. The time they take makes the reply better.

nilsj
nilsj

Because the phone is a voice communication device. Thats it! This is the function, not games, speedy 3D graphics and being able to use it as a computer! Thats silly.. Phone is supposed to have addressbook, messaging, some call history log and maybe couple handy tools like calendar with reminders, wake up alarms, calculator and ok you may want to subscribe to some RSS news channel. Thats it! For the rest of your computation needs there is a product called according to its purpouse - a computer.

Shaunny Boy
Shaunny Boy

Your forgetting a camera to send media messages and video calls, and bluetooth enabled to wirelessly make calls when you're driving, and google maps with lateral so you can spy on your mates, or arrange a meet up if you're in the area... Not to sound cynical, but I think such a mobile device even exceeds the boundries of a computer, as a computer was just designed to process routine tasks. I put forward the new term, smartcommunications, or smartcom. The phone is now merely a 'feature' to this device.

mattohare
mattohare

At times when people refer to a computer as a tool, it still leave less techinically-comfortable people confused. A tool belt is a tool. It's a tool used to hold other tools. We don't say we spend our days computing. We say we spent our day working on proposals, takling to friends and collegues, writing dissertations, and programming. (Ok, maybe that last one is 'computing'. LOL)

mhbowman
mhbowman

The capabilities of both devices have gone way beyond their original concept to surpass even the wildest dreams of their inventors. You hit the nail on the head when you said that making a call is now just a "feature" compared to everything else they can do.

mattohare
mattohare

The balance has shifted. Before 2003, all I did was talk and receive the odd sms (sent from a web page or email). Since then I've moved to almost exclusively sms. Then again, I did move from United States to Ireland in the mean time. I agree though, I think PDA (personal digital assistant) is more appropriate to anything with this much processing power and this many applications.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

Most of these devices are more powerful than most of the PCs I was using hardly a decade ago, and the operating systems are certainly more advanced. When I got my first smartphone, (a Treo) immediately considered it a "mobile computer". In fact, I was amazed how much it replaced my laptop.

ray.derkacz
ray.derkacz

Smartphones are clearly mobile computers. I guess the real question here is about to what extent they can replace other computing devices. Personally, I use an iPhone and not only is it a great device for email and browsing but the huge selection of apps make it an extremely useful mobile computing platform. However it is nowhere near being able to make me dispense with my laptop. Obvious drawbacks are display size, input, interfaces to other devices. Will be interesting to see what developments emerge to address these.