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Old 11-06-2008, 09:13 PM   #21
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We're watching iPhone offers to see if the recession and/or the Google G1 phone will affect contracts/pricing. I expect that we'll be visiting the Apple store next January.

But in the meantime I can't help but notice all of the iPhone postings on our local Craigslist (classifieds - craigslist). This goes beyond the usual desperate consumers drowning in credit-card debt. They seem to be selling older or less-capable iPhones with terms such as "unlocked" and "jailbroken", appearing to need only a third-party SIM. OTOH I'm skeptical about the wording and the volume of the ads, and I'm pretty sure that Apple/AT&T would have periodic phone/network "upgrades" to knock them off the air.

Is there a legitimate way to reliably operate an iPhone under another provider, including Internet access, for the long term without an AT&T contract? I'm not very happy about cell-phone contracts but I'd rather wait for a post-holiday sale and not have to keep hacking to stay online. And do any of you industry insiders see any cracks in the iPhone/AT&T pricing monopoly?
Many owners of the first generation iphones are upgrading to the new 3G iphone and that's why you will see so many older iphones for sale. The older iphones used the edge network (slower than 3G) and did not have the GPS functionality (which comes in handy). Some also had less memory.

"Unlocked" or "jailbroken" refers to the fact that the iphone's software was modified to work on networks other than AT&T (I believe that you will still have to sign a contract with a cell phone company to have access to their network though). It also allowed usage of 3rd party softwares on the iphone. This was a big deal for the first generation iphones because at the time Apple did not offer/allow third party applications and so the phone had limited functionality. But beware that once an iphone has been jailbroken, the warrantee is voided and you lose all support from Apple. So you are on your own if you run into trouble. Also, you may not be able to download software updates from Apple because I have heard that Apple tries to lock or disrupt jailbroken phones by spiking their updates with "bugs". So you will have to wait until some hacker jailbreaks the update before downloading it. All and all, unless you are a techno geek, it's probably best to stay away from jailbroken iphones.

But I believe that it may be possible to reset a jailbroken iphone to its manufactory settings using a hard reset in itunes. I am not sure about that but it seems possible.

As for the AT&T / Apple exclusive partnership, I don't think there is much talk about it ending anytime soon. When the iphone 3G came out, Apple made it much harder for people to use another cellular provider (compared with the first generation iphone). So if anything the relationship has become even more exclusive.

P.S.: Both Houston and South Bend have AT&T 3G coverage and Notre Dame has a campus-wide wifi network that should be accessible from the iphone (the wife is a golden domer herself).
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Old 11-07-2008, 11:36 AM   #22
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Thanks, I think we're going to pass up these Craigslist bargains. I don't know if an iPhone will work on whatever college she ends up at, or if the college will require some other model/network, but that'll be her problem. Right now iPhones seem to be making big inroads on campus-- the way Apple IIs used to and Powerbooks are again.

It's interesting to talk through the purchase with her. (We haven't told her that we'd subsidize the contract.) I'm more interested in her thought process than in her decision. She still flipflops between the value offered by an iPod Touch + her GoPhone compared to an iPhone. She hates being locked into a contract but she appreciates the convenience of 3G web browsing without having to be at a WiFi network. I think she's willing to wait until mid-January for whatever bargains come out of the holiday carnage but she may just have talked herself out of an iPhone unless Apple or AT&T blink on terms.

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P.S.: Both Houston and South Bend have AT&T 3G coverage and Notre Dame has a campus-wide wifi network that should be accessible from the iphone (the wife is a golden domer herself).
Good to know-- Oahu is 3G now too thanks to DoCoMo.

My favorite college network is still Carnegie-Mellon-- their washers & dryers text you when your laundry is done.
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Old 11-07-2008, 12:26 PM   #23
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Important differences to consider when comparing the ipod touch and the iphone (my wife has the touch and I have the phone):

1) the iphone allows you to access the internet/email anywhere, anytime (even when no 3G coverage is available). With the touch you have to find a wifi connection first.
2) the ipod touch doesn't have the GPS feature (though it can attempt to approximately locate you using known wifi hotspots). This will reduce the functionality of many location-based apps.
3) the touch has no speaker, no microphone and no camera. Again that will reduce the functionality of many applications.

As for price cuts, I think they are somewhat unlikely. 1) Apple cut the price of the first generation iphone just months after introducing it and there was a major backlash over it. I doubt they will repeat this mistake. Plus they already cut the price of the 3G phone in half (compared to the 1st generation) which brings me to 2) AT&T is subsidizing the iphone: they sell the phone below cost, but they recoup the money by charging people higher monthly fees. So they count on those fees to recover the money they lost upfront. And given the fact that the iphone has been selling briskly, I don't think there is a case (yet) to lower prices.
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handy iphone apps
Old 11-09-2008, 07:42 PM   #24
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handy iphone apps

say who, which gives your iphone voice dial capability - looks like it's for anyone's voice - both my honey and i can say "home" and it voice dials our home without training it in our voices.
say where, same sorta thing, only it finds the spoken location on Google maps.

Best of Show: Zippo - an app that puts a realistic zippo lighter on your screen - flip the graphic lid up and light the lighter and you have a moving flame realistic zippo lighter on screen - tip the screen and the flame moves and behaves appropriately - blow on the screen and the flame flickers and tries to blow out - being a zippo it doesn't of course. Too cool! Perfect for concert use!
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Old 11-10-2008, 02:57 PM   #25
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Zippo - an app that puts a realistic zippo lighter on your screen - flip the graphic lid up and light the lighter and you have a moving flame realistic zippo lighter on screen - tip the screen and the flame moves and behaves appropriately - blow on the screen and the flame flickers and tries to blow out - being a zippo it doesn't of course. Too cool! Perfect for concert use!
You won't believe how many parts of that I'm gonna have to explain to a teenager, starting with what a Zippo is and what it was originally used for...
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Old 11-21-2008, 12:10 AM   #26
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I'll be darned. I've never seen this kid talk herself out of the gimmes before. Usually the money is burning a hole in her pocket and she can barely restrain herself from going to the store right now. Especially with her shiny new driver's license.

But today she decided she doesn't want an iPhone and she ordered an iPod Touch out of her birthday money. It (and, of course, a few accessories) should arrive next week.

Now that she's 16 years old and the state's child-labor laws no longer apply, she's been working 15-20 hour weeks and bringing home some pretty good bucks. (She's the top W-2 wage earner in this house!) Looking at her enhanced paychecks, she realized that she didn't see any value in spending that money on an iPhone when she could be maxing our her Roth IRA. (Her words.) Then she went on to say that she doesn't keep close tabs on her GoPhone now and she doesn't want to be "one of those kids" walking around all day with her head down looking at an iPhone in her hand. News to me.

A couple of her classmates have iPhones, and based on their experiences she's mildly concerned about setting herself up as a target for envy & theft. She's heard us say that a million times about our lifestyle.

I asked her about familiarizing herself with an iPhone & apps before going to college, and she thought that was pretty funny. She's accustomed to learning how to work just about any piece of electronics in about 10 minutes-- 15 minutes if she stops to read the directions first. It's hard to argue with that attitude.

Spouse and I decided not to talk with her about buying the iPhone and subsidizing its monthly cost. She doesn't seem interested in the responsibility or the extra functions, and I'd hate to undermine her independence by fostering a sense of affluenza entitlement.

We've been joking that this recession's holiday presents will be socks and an orange. So she hedged her bets with a gift list that includes SolidWorks or AutoCAD Revit... I'm thinking Google SketchUp. Or maybe she'll want to see if she can get some form of Snow Leopard to work on a Mac Mini.

Looking back at the beginning of this thread, it looks like we've survived the sweet-sixteen gimmes. And I'm lovin' life with a wireless network!
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