When I first reviewed the iPhone 3GS, I thought it odd that Apple decided to underclock the device and offer it alongside the iPhone 3G at $99. In the first part of my review of the iPhone 3GS on Obsessable, I noted:

Knowing how Apple tends to operate, my guess is that Apple is coordinating all of this to nicely sync up with AT&T’s improvements of its network and the $99 sale of the iPhone 3G to get rid of all the back inventory of parts in Apple’s warehouses. Once that marketing clearing house is complete, sales of the iPhone 3G will be discontinued, and Apple will suddenly crank up the 3GS’s capabilities via a firmware update in order to convince everyone who didn’t upgrade before to spend the money on a brand new (and magically improved) 3GS.”

I think Apple is about to end of life the 3G after clearing out all the 3G specific parts that it had available, Apple is going to release an 8GB iPhone 3GS at $99 as reported by BGR, and Steve Jobs will say something like “everyone really wants to record video with their iPhones, so we thought we’d go full 3GS,” just like Apple did when they discontinued the 4GB iPhones and lowered all the iPhone prices shortly after the iPhone’s initial launch (claiming that everyone just really wanted the 8GB). I also think that either simultaneous with this move or shortly thereafter, Apple is going to release a firmware upgrade that will crank up the power on the 3GS and enable 720p video recording and faster processor speeds (essentially removing the underclocking and letting the device run full speed).


More discussion on this here…

3 thoughts on “Why I think the $99 8GB iPhone 3GS rumors are true

  1. Sounds very plausible to me! I know I wouldn’t argue if all of a sudden my iPhone got faster.

    Couldn’t this underclocking have more to do with battery life though?

    1. Yes it could have something to do with battery, but there’s still no reason not to have some sort of throttle or option to turn it on.

  2. I don’t think that Apple will offer an 8GB 3GS right away because demand for the iPhone 3GS still seems to outstrip supply in several countries, an 8GB 3GS would only add to the burden. At one point, when inventory runs out, Apple will have to end of life the old 3G, though. If it was sold at $99, an 8GB 3GS would be enticing. Maybe in one or two months?

    The iPhone has always being underclocked, the original version was running at about 400MHz but the ARM CPU was capable of handling frequencies up to 600MHz. Personally, I’d take longer battery life over raw power and I think a lot of people would agree. There have been reports of overheating issues and errr, what’s wrong with erring on the side of caution? :-)

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