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Apple's New Speedy iPhone

Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) has introduced a new iPhone and reduced the price on the original 3G model to $99.

The new "iPhone 3G S" operates up to twice as fast as the original third-generation model, Apple claims. Much of the speed boost has come from software and operating system tweaks. For instance, Apple says that Web pages now render faster on its revamped browser.

The phone also supports 7.2-Mbit/s high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA), so faster downloads over the 3G network will soon become possible in the United States. Apple's American carrier partner, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), says it is updating its network to the faster technology, starting this year. (See AT&T Boosts 3G Networks.) The 7.2-Mbit/s figure is a theoretical peak, of course. Early users of HSDPA in the U.K. found that the network offered 3 to 4 Mbit/s of data throughput on the downlink while stationary, with bursts as high as 5.5 Mbit/s. Stationary uplink offered a throughput of around 1 Mbit/s. 3G in motion, however, was not quite so blazing, with speeds dropping to 300 Kbit/s in a car or train. (See WiMax & LTE Meet the Real World.)

The 3G S has been updated with video recording, voice control, and, if you want it, up to 32GB of storage. The device will also be able to handle multimedia messaging (MMS) later this year.

The iPhone 3G S will go on sale June 19. It will come in 16-GB and 32-GB flavors for $199 and $299 respectively with a two-year AT&T contract.

– Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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