Image courtesy of Johan LarssonThis Friday, you’ll be able to buy the brand new iPhone 3G S — the talk of all techies for the past two weeks. The new phone is quite an improvement on the old one, but for the average student, that doesn’t mean much. The major features: speed and an enhanced camera.

Class

Multimedia capture

The new camera is the most impressive part of the revamped device. A 3-megapixel sensor and macro lens will make taking pictures of ordinary things much more effective. Snapping pictures of handouts and notes up-close will be clearer and easier to read in detail. And there’s plenty more you can do with a fancy cell phone camera.

The video capabilities will let you capture visual in-class demonstrations — but let’s be honest — that’s largely worthless. The voice-recorder will make lectures easy to record audio-wise, but we still have no clues on how the battery life will fare in this mode and some applications in the old model allowed this anyway. It’s still a very welcome integration for students, though.

Speed

A nicer processor and support for 7.2 mbps 3G will make all things on the phone faster. That’ll encourage more application development at universities. It’ll also make your uni’s clunky homepage load faster, which is definitely a plus. Considering that most campuses are blanketed in Wifi, the new 3G upgrade is superfluous.

Social

Cost

The new iPhone bumps the old one (without the “S”) into a $99 price slot for those signing a new contract. This is definitely getting into the student price range, so expect the unit to be even more ubiquitous, but the monthly bills between $70 and $100 a month will still make it ridiculous for anyone on a budget. The “S” goes for $199 and $299 (for more space) with a new contract and an upgrade for those still in-contract is prohibitively expensive, even for people with real jobs. Here’s the whole iPhone price breakdown

Communication

Speed improvements will make social communication like Twitter and even messaging faster — launching an SMS message is supposedly twice as fast.

Pictures

The new camera has some finer adjustments in the white-balance, focus and exposure departments. This will make low-light pictures at parties easier to take, but honestly, the sensor isn’t going to be as good as one in your legitimate digital camera as far as color detail and resolution, so it won’t completely replace your party camera.

And with video support, there’s no excuse not to send us a video of you shotgunning a beer.

Navigation

A built-in compass will make navigation easier. It shows you which direction you’re actually facing relative to the map. This is pretty nice, even for those without vehicles since walking in open spaces (lost freshman in a quad) is confusing without orientation.

Finger-print Resistance

A less-talked-about feature is the supposedly finger-print resistant coating on the glass. Eat pizza and text at the same time! (Probably not.)

Any other thoughts on how the new iPhone could enhance your university experience? Comment below.