The month of June helped the iPhone 3GS age a bit: the long-standing phone turned three years old on the market. The age of the phone is outstanding, and Apple has placed this phone above other phones (such as iPhones 1 and 2) to continue its historic run—even as rumors and demand for the iPhone 5 increase. The IPhone 3GS has had such a historic run for a few reasons:
- The IPhone 3GS is the first iPhone to have its price tag reduced to $0 (free of charge)
- The 3GS iPhone runs the current operating system (iOS 5.0)
- The 3GS is in high demand with regard to the prepaid iPhone market and customers who want a cost-effective piece of Apple technology.
First, the iPhone 3GS comes free for those who sign up for a new two-year contract with AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon Wireless. This is quite a deal: who would not want to have a free iPhone that comes by way of a phone contract for two years? Of course, you will likely have purchased two iPhones at market price ($400+) by the time the two years is over—but you will not have to pay the full price of an iPhone up-front. Additionally, the iPhone 3GS with a $0 price tag looks impressive when you consider that most smartphones cost a minimum of $200. The iPhone 4S price tag starts at $199.99 for Verizon Wireless. For consumers who cannot scrape up $200 at the moment they purchase an iPhone, the 3GS model is ideal.
Next, the iPhone 3GS runs the current iOS (iOS 5). No other iPhone can boast that its operating system is current. In order to run iOS 5, the iPhone 3GS has endured its share of iPhone software updates (IPSWs). If you want to perform an iPhone 3GS jailbreak, you should maintain iOS 4 software or downgrade your iOS 5 software to iOS 4. As someone who has jailbroken her iPod Touch 3G, I can tell you that the majority of jailbreak tweaks are available only for iOS 4.0 software and below. This does not mean that you cannot jailbreak with iOS 5; rather, it means that if you do, there are certain tweaks you will miss out on unless jailbreak developers update their applications in the near future. Whether iOS 6 will be the new iPhone 3GS update remains to be seen, but so far, Apple has not disappointed in regard to iPhone 3GS updates.
To see this fact, Michael DeGusta provides a comparison chart of both iOS and Android phones to compare and contrast the yearly updates to smartphones. The results were astonishing: Apple tends to keep its phones through their third year, while Android manufacturers stop Android updates by the end of the first year. The HTC Hero (Sprint) updates did not fare through the end of the first year, as did the Samsung Moment (Sprint), Samsung Behold II (T-Mobile), Motorola Devour (Verizon), Motorola Backflip (AT&T), Motorola Cliq XT (T-Mobile), LG Ally (Verizon), HTC MyTouch 3G Slide (T-Mobile), Garmin Garminfone (T-Mobile), or the HTC Aria (AT&T). These phones are still under contract (as of Fall 2011), but it shows that Android phones are running behind in their OS updates. Within the last eight months, however, quite a few Android devices have upgraded to Gingerbread and wait anxiously for Jelly Bean. Many who want current updates to their smartphones but love Android tend to purchase the phones that have current operating system updates:
- HTC Nexus One (will receive the Jelly Bean update)
- HTC Droid Incredible
- HTC Evo 4G
These phones are the top Android phones on the market; and this does not take into account the high demand for the Motorola Droid Razr and Razr Maxx phones. This does, however, prove that fewer Android phones receive current updates than Apple phones. The iPhone 3GS has a shelf life that has surpassed the majority of Android phones on the market.
Last but not least, the iPhone 3GS is in high demand for consumers who want a cost-effective smartphone as well as the prepaid market. When you sign a two-year contract and pay nothing for your smartphone, there is a convenience to it that draws consumers. For that reason, Apple will keep a new iPhone at the $0 price tag, even if the company decides within a year or two to send the iPhone 3GS out of the American market and into others (such as third-world countries). Next, the phone looks excellent for prepaid phone plans. As of this moment, prepaid phones are at original cost: if you plan to purchase an unlocked iPhone 4S, for example, prepare to pay $500 or $600 minimum for it. The high price tag for the unlocked iPhone has been the one drawback to prepaid plans; nevertheless, prepaid plans are quite new to the smartphone market. Give prepaid plans a little time, and the customer will start to demand an inexpensive, prepaid device. At this point, Apple may decide to sell its prepaid iPhones at a reduced price in order to sweep up customers who consider Samsung or Android because its phones are a lot more inexpensive than the iPhone.
At this point, it is safe to say that the iPhone 3GS has made an incredible run; however, should the phone retire in America, it will always have a home elsewhere. Somewhere on the face of the globe, someone watches and waits for the iPhone 3GS to arrive.