Apple iPhone – Australia

Features

Apple iPhone – Australia

(2007-10-01)

I had to have one. I was just waiting for the UK introduction to see if a new model (with 3G) was being introduced. But it was the same EDGE-based model.

So I went looking on Ebay, and there’s lots of them. You can get them fully unlocked ready to go. But part of the fun is going through the ‘hacking’ process, so I went for an original one. I went for a Buy Now at 650 AUD + 50 AUD shipping. At the current 399 USD price though that would have been about 450 AUD, so the seller did make a decent profit from it. Some auctions went for 580 AUD, other up to 800. There were even some on offer for 1200 AUD (unlocked and locked ones). In the end it did take more than three weeks to end up in my hands though. In the mean time the iPod touch was released, and I got me a 16Gb one while waiting for the iPhone, just to play around with the navigation and Safari.

I only bought a new phone a couple of months ago, a Windows Mobile based Dopod D810. Lately I mainly used it as a mobile modem, while we were switching between two ISP’s, during which we didn’t have internet access. I have a 500 Mb plan on Three for 20 AUD, and that went just fine. I connect it to my Macbook Pro through bluetooth and share the internet connection. And also love it’s GPS functionality.

But on to some iPhone hacking. There’s a lot to read up on about ‘jailbraking’ and unlocking the iPhone. As you know, the iPhone is locked to an AT&T sim card, and you can’t add any 3rd party apps to the iPhone either. Fist you need to activate it, without going through the AT&T process. Next you need to jailbrake it, open it up to third party apps. Because this then allows you to add an unlocking application to the iPhone. I won’t repeat the steps here, I’ll point you to the right sources. I don’t take any responsibility when thing go wrong!

One thing to look out for: your firmware version. Make sure you use the right procedure for your firmware. I’ll explain. I tried to unlock my phone with a 1.0.2 procedure while it was still on a 1.0 firmware. I spend 3 hours looking for a solution. A lot of people seem to have fallen into this trap, as I read a lot of comments who had the same error message (First try “The Flash operation succeded but the unlock commands failed. You might want to check the baseband manually using minicom.“, second and consecutive tries “Couldn’t locate bytes to patch“). It was only the next day that a bright light shone, and I upgraded the iPhone to the 1.0.2 firmware version, and from then on it was only 20 minutes to get it fully working. Well, up to the point to make calls and text. Remember, I’m in Australia. I am originally on the Three network.

Let me tell you right away, it doesn’t work on Three. I read about it on eBay, but didn’t want to believe that. But I got a No Service. So I first bought a Vodafone prepaid sim, 2 AUD for the sim card + 20 AUD calling value (-10%, so 20 AUD in total) because I thought that would be the cheapest. The Vodafone sim allowed me to make and receive calls and texts. So I was halfway.

A week later though I bought a Telstra sim, the main national operator. I knew they were the only ones with EDGE here in Australie. The Dopod on Three would roam on it whenever outside of the Three network (quite often outside of Sydney). So while in Melbourne I went to a Telstra store. Tried to explain them that I wanted a prepaid sim card with a data plan. I already had gone through their brochure so I could point out what I wanted. I told them I wanted EDGE access. Hmmm, unfortunately the sales people aren’t too well informed on the more technical aspects of their network. They only knew about ‘3G’. “Is it a 3G phone?” Well, it’s an iPhone. “Oh, that won’t work.” I just told him to give me a prepaid card with a 20 AUD calling value, that I would figure it out myself. But he looked to be intriged. It was his first iPhone he got in his hands, so he wanted me to try it right away. He even activated the data plan on it for me too. Unfortunatly he didn’t know what settings to change to get on Telstra’s EDGE network (it was still set to Cingular/AT&T). Their phones are preset to connect to their network anyway. So, right there, in the shop, it didn’t work. In the evening, back at the hotel, using my Dopod D810 as mobile modem, I googled around a bit and I found the necessary settings for Telstra. Mind you, it is the 2G/WAP setting you need to use, the 3G settings don’t work. But in the end, yes, it all works, weather, browsing, email,… right here down under.

Scroll down for updates

Device info:

  • Build quality is fabulous, it looks fantastic.
  • OSX Unix-based OS
  • 3.5″ 480×320 at 163 ppi lcd
  • GSM/EDGE on 850/900/1800/1900MHz
  • Camera 2M
  • Innovative user interface
  • Bluetooth v2.0 + EDR, WiFi 802.11 b/g,
  • 115mm x 61mm x 11.6mm, 135g
  • Stand-by: up to 250 hours (supplier values)
  • Talk time: up to 8 hours (supplier values)
  • Video time: up to 7 hours (supplier values)
  • Music time: up to 24 hours (supplier values)

Apple iPhone niceties:

  • The coolness factor.
  • The interface, ease of use, the smoothness.
  • Great email interface.
  • The best mobile browsing experience, which is a full internet experience, while having lots of iPhone designed webapps.
  • Great SMS interface (conversation).
  • Google Maps.
  • 8Gb for music, video, pictures.

Apple iPhone not-so-niceties:

  • The glass screen is scratch proof, but not so for smudges.
  • No 3G, no GPS, nor assisted GPS.
  • The headphone jack is reclined, so you can only use the supplied headphones (because it’s plug is smaller, narrower), not even your other iPod headphones will work. You need an adapter to use other, better headphones.
  • Battery not accessible.
  • No contextual menu, no Select/Copy/Paste.
  • Limited bluetooth functionality, only for headphone (no internet sharing for example).
  • Very limited customization, can only change the wallpaper (when in standby mode).

Update (18/10/07)

Telstra, awful service! I’m on a prepaid card. You load 20 dollars, I don’t call that much at all, some sms. With prepay, you can then
assign a datapacket to a part of your prepay value.
For example, I assigend 10 AUD for 20 MB. But, once you finish those 20 MB though,
you’re paying an idiotic, incredible expensive, just discusting amount for your data, without warning.
I just payed 14.90 AUD for 692872 bytes, of the 20 AUD I just recharged, and another 3.88 AUD for 179547 bytes. (update: after your browse credit expires, you’re at PAYG $15.36 per MB)
I only found out because my prepay value was all of a sudden 0.0, so I looked up my account online (which again is a very bad web app,
which most of the time only works half decent), and found out this info. So watch out for this lunacy.
The iPhone does allow you to keep track of your used EDGE data, so do keep an eye on that: Settings > Usage > EDGE network data.

Updating the iPhone weather widget is 221 bytes, as per my Telstra activity history.

Update (20/10/07)

Found a link on how to use your iPhone as an EDGE modem. Not really an option when you pay 10 AUD for 20 MB here in Australia.

Test your mobile connection speed here.

Update (08/12/07)

Google for iPhone: Google developed an iPhone specific page, where you get search, Gmail, Calendar, gReader and more on one page.
Just go to google.com on your iPhone. Ah, but if you’re outside of the US, you’ll be redirected to your local Google site.
To get to the optimised iPhone page, go straight to www.google.com/m?hl=en.

In other news, by June 2008 there should be a 3G capable version available, that is, if you can believe some analysts…

Update (03/01/08)

I wanted to buy another ‘browse plus pack’ (A$10 for 20Mb), so logged into the Telstra site, and it’s no longer available for me to choose from a list of ‘plus packs’.
I do notice some new plus packs, but no more browse pack? Are they really that annoying, or is it an oversight of a developer who removed the wrong thing?
I went to a Telstra store, and the guy didn’t even know what a browse plus pack was, until he opened the Telstra pre-pay brochure, which shows an overview. He asked me what phone it was (which I think is a totally irrelevant question), so I told him about the iPhone. He said that they were getting the iPhone, but couldn’t tell when.
I also tried to order over SMS. You can send an SMS code (like BROWSEPLUS10) to topup your plus pack, and that did the job (although a confirmation back over SMS would have been nice, I had to check my online Telstra account).

The brochure had $5/1MB, $8/3MB, $16/10MB, $29/70MB, $59/200MB, which is incredibly expensive. Although it might be out of date, as on the Telstra browse plus pack page it shows the prices I talked about (or is that page out of date?).

Update (15/07/08)

Got my order in for new iPhone 3G with Optus ($39 Yes plan). They told me 2 weeks waiting, but I already got the SIM card (and as such will be paying already). Slid it into my iPhone 2G, and was ready for call and SMS. Wasn’t actually expecting it to work, as it’s a 3G SIM card, but no problem. Only issue was that I had to change the “EDGE” settings to just “Internet” for the APN, no user or password. And that got me onto the Optus GPRS network for some browsing! And the perceived speed of GPRS is at least as fast as on Telstra’s Edge…

iPhone Links:

Tip

The settings for EDGE can be found under Settings > General > Network > EDGE

Tip

The headphones also contains a mic in its cord, plus it acts as a remote control by clicking it: once for play/pause, double click for next.

Tip

In Safari, once you scrolled down. double tab the top bar to scroll back up to the top and the address bar.

Tip

Don’t upgrade to firmware 1.1.1. But you already knew that right?

Tip

In Safari, double tab a particular text section and the page will zoom into that section, making it easier to read.

Don’t click me:


Bookmark with del.icio.us