So, the wait is over, and I have my hands on the iPhone 3GS. Ireland apparently only has black editions of the phone, but I managed to get a 32GB model.

The staff at the Dublin Henry Street store were exceptionally professional and friendly, and very knowledgeable about the phone, which is something of a rarity these days. The store opened at 8.00am this morning to serve a queue of some thirty hopefuls.

Stock was an issue for the store, as they explained as we entered; in fact they had only five 32GB units in the whole store, which caused consternation… when I was the last person to get one.

The upgrade was simple and pain-free. The insurance premium is increased to €9 per month, an increase of some 50%, which is somewhat steep but not a major issue when pitted against the alternative of having to replace a stolen or broken unit.

After the unbox, the application of a rather lovely iFrogz two-piece case and a brief charge, the iPhone sprung into life, amazingly quickly. From button in to unlock screen was a brief 16 seconds, which isn’t slow when compared to the 3G, which clocked 28 seconds, nearly twice as long.

The new iPhone wall charger for the UK and Ireland (and presumably Cyprus) is a design classic again, a single piece, tiny plug which more resembles a safety cap for a 240V socket than a charger. If it gets any smaller it’ll have to be a sticker.

Backup of old phone and transfer of applications took, all in, around an hour, but it’s an automated process now and works well. Purchased music transferred through the authorisation process and copied to the new phone seemed a little faster, but this could be margin of error and won’t ruin your day either way.

The new coated screen works nicely, and to my mind is nicer to work with than the 3G. The oleophobic coating everybody’s been talking about does make it easier to clean, hence no cloth with this iPhone.

3G signal browsing is faster than the previous model, but your mileage may vary. I tested using some – ahem – specialist video websites and was delighted to see content fairly jumping off the screen.

My WiFi setup has had some issues, so i won’t try to do comparisons, but suffice it to say that after tweaking, it’s very, very acceptable and noticeably faster in straight data haul than the previous model, which was never a slouch,

Graphics performance is improved in real life. Some games which were good in the iPhone 3G get a new lease of life and smoothness with the new hardware. Virtual Pool and X-Plane were always fast, now they’re slick and smooth like you couldn’t believe in a mobile handset.

Voice controls really do work exceptionally well, with the ‘dial’ command taking the numbers accurately as fast as I could say them, and not requiring anything unnatural in intonation or speed. A little surprising that even when listening through headphones, the phone repeats the Voice Commands throught he unit’s speakers.

The compass works.

The camera autofocus is fine, will report on it soon.