iPhone Update 1

Following on from my Considering an iPhone post I thought that as I have now ‘taken the plunge’ I would document through a series of updates the progress, process and initial thoughts (hopefully) on the iPhone.

In case you haven’t read the above post the background to this is that since the launch of the iPhone in June I have consistently said that I wasn’t interested in one for a few specific reasons:

  • The form factor is not something I am keen on for a phone
  • With my lifestyle I have no need or desire to access the internet 24/7

I have always admired the design and features of the iPhone, and repeatedly said that if it was an option to buy it as a ‘handset only’ I would be interested.

The introduction of the iPod Touch and the ability to unlock the iPhone have combined to bring me to the point that I am now going to purchase an iPhone from the US, unlock it and use it with my current Movistar SIM card here in Spain.

I am looking at this very much as a iPod/PDA that will allow me to make phone calls. It will be good to access the internet as and when I need to and am around a WiFi hotspot, and on the very rare occasion that I want to access it at other times I can still use the data service. I just have to pay a per minute rate.

Let me put this in context:

  • My wife and I currently pay 15€ per month in total for our cell phone bill, and we exceed that with ‘extra’ calls and services maybe twice a year
  • We live 10 mins walk from the marina where we do 90% of our socialising, and where there are only 4 or 5 WiFi hotspots
  • I spend around 12 hours a day ‘at’ or close to my Macs so when do I go out the ‘last thing’ I am looking for is internet access etc

The current position is that the iPhone is bought and shipping to my ‘partner in crime’ in the US. As they don’t have a cell phone with a SIM card I have bought a AT&T Cingular Go Phone 3G SIM Card Pre-Paid off eBay having been assured that it will work in an unlocked iPhone. I want this so that the unlocked iPhone can be tested. The main concern at the moment is that as the iPhone will be unlocked in an area that doesn’t get AT&T coverage, testing the unlock in practice will depend on a ‘roaming’ connection.

While waiting for the above I am currently concentrating on figuring out which unlock option to go with, and how to go about it.

I have decided to try a free option, so although it is possible to by an iPhone unlocked, or ship your iPhone to be unlocked, or get it unlocked over the internet, or buy unlocking software I am going to avoid those if I can.

I have read a LOT of stuff on how to unlock the iPhone and I am pretty confident of the general process in that I will first have to make sure the phone is on version 1.0.2, Jailbreak the phone, activate the phone, install the application, and then run the application.

My current priorities are:

  • Determine what to use to Jailbreak the iPhone – iNdependence or iFuntastic
  • Create a installation guide and tool kit that the layman i.e. me can understand

That’s pretty much it for now. I am intrigued more than excited at the moment. I have some apprehension as to whether it will all work out but no real concerns as the way I figure it if it doesn’t work I can return the phone to Apple, unless I brick it in which case I will end up with basically a iPhone Touch, which will be better than the iPod Touch in my opinion anyway.

As ever, comments, questions and suggestions welcome. I will post an update as soon as I have more to say.

8 thoughts on “iPhone Update 1

  1. Wayne LeFevre

    I too have been reading up a lot on iPhone unlocking techniques. I’ll have to check out these pre-paid SIM cards. Our cellular carrier is currently US Cellular, and they do not use GSM technology. (Already getting down the lingo!) Would be interesting to see how long a pre-paid would last!

    Does anyone know what brand has pre-paid SIM cards? Do they work?

  2. Chris Marshall Post author

    As far as I know on the GSM network T-Mobile and AT&T are the only ones, and they usually last for three months after which if you haven’t used the credits up tough!!

    I have a feeling Sprint do a pre paid SIM but not on the GSM network and so not an option.

    The theory is though that a GSM SIM card should pick up other networks when it roams, but whether that will work we will haveto wait and see.

    The reason for a pre paid SIM card is really a double check that the iPhone has been unlocked. The fact is that once the software has completed it should tell you and by putting the SIM card in it should accept it. The fact the SIM card can’t actually pick up a signal is pretty irrelevant as it is the acceptance of the card that will confirm the unlock.

  3. dunks

    Following this thread with interest Chris – now know I have the option of O2 in the uk for an iPhone but really wanting an iPDA and being very happy with my current phone I wonder if waiting for a revision of the iPod touch with any possible price drops is more sensible. I have wi-fi access for 90% of my day and only use a mobile phone for occasional calls. In fact, often find myself trying to use up the free minutes each month. However, without some the glaring issues with the iPod touch being sorted out (ie lack of ability to update iCal on the device, lack of to do list etc) I may well end up with the phone.

  4. Chris Marshall Post author

    In a way it is hard to see them doing that with the Touch in that why didn’t they do it straight away and do they only want the one differential between the Touch and the iPhone to actually be the phone element?

  5. Mac Sokulski

    I’m just hoping that some one will hack the Touch and put all the iPhone apps on it. Then I will definatelly consider a new purchase.

  6. Chris Marshall Post author

    I have little doubt it will get hacked, but I remain unconvinced that Apple will do anything official to make the changes that people want.

  7. Mac Sokulski

    I don’t expect Apple to do anything. I think they want to make the line dividing the Touch from the iPhone really pronouced, so they don’t loose sales on the iPhone. I think there will not be such a rush to hack the Touch, as it is less desirable than the iPhone. We will have to wait a bit longer.

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