The 3g variants (8/16gb and black/white back casings) are almost identical. Depending on your uses, it won't matter which you get. Sadly, the GPS is too weak to be useful, with NO 3rd party routing software available.
Thoughts: 1st Gen (4gb/8gb/16gb, Edge) vs 2nd Gen (8gb/16gb, 3G+GPS)
- The battery life for both is rather similar. The 2nd Generation iPhone wins, but not by enough to justify the upgrade.
- The LCD digitizer (touchscreen) is practically the same with both editions--don't expect major changes.
- The cases and dimensions of the 1st and 2nd generation iPhones are similar, but the 1st gen is "fatter" in terms of overall girth. 1st gen iphones will not fit in 2nd gen cases, and vice versa.
- The 1st gen iPhone has a recessed phone jack at the top, and will accommodate only apple-style headphone plugs (circular cable inset). The 2nd generation is standardized, and will work with regular plugs without secondary adapters.
- The 1st gen iPhone has a metallic case on the backside. The 2nd gen iPhone has either a white or black plastic case. The chrome trim remains the same on both devices. The plastic cases tend to scratch easier than the metallic versions, but the plastic looks better and has a better (smoother) feel to the bare touch.
- Overall function: both versions are very similar, featuring EXTREMELY similar hardware. Aside from the GPS addition in the 2nd generation iPhone models, you will be hard-pressed to notice any differences in overall functionality--but ONLY assuming you're updated to the same firmware version on each device.
Important Reminders (applies to ALL iPhone variants):
- Do NOT let it overheat. Make sure you keep it charged in a cool location with sufficient airflow. This means DON'T put it on fabric. Don't overcharge, and be sure to inspect (check for overheating) regularly. The first time it overheats (it will be HOT to the touch), the battery output will GREATLY diminish (1/2 to 1/3 capacity), and should be changed through Apple.
- There is NO apple-supplied application for checking and resetting the iPhone battery. This is provided for MacBooks, but not the iPod line
- All of the iPhone models are EXTREMELY fragile--immediately purchase a case (breathable if possible), or a Zagg InvisibleShield to protect it from scratches and the odd bump/bruise.
- Internal components are flush with the case, and simple dents will cause components/features to fail
- DO NOT attempt to open ANY iPhone model for repair if you do not have experience--the cases/trim are prone to dents/bends (not so much an issue for the 3G models), and you are likely to scratch/damage internal components if you attempt to replace the digitizer or battery yourself (the most common repairs). It is better to take them directly to Apple stores for repair.
- Based on who you talk to, Apple will ONLY honor the 1 year manufacturer warranty if the iPhone is linked to an AT&T contract. If you have Jailbroken/Unlocked your iPhone, reset it to factory firmware and specifications before attempting to deal with Apple Repair.
- No external HD capacity detected--camera only.
- You have to deal with iTunes to activate and sync music.
- Encoding and loading videos is too much work--it will take hours of your time to convert standard video files, and most video players will not handle Apples video format.
- The iPod feature functions EXACTLY as an iPod would--you can make this your "double-tap" screen for easy access