All the questions you had about iPhone 3G, but knew Apple wasn’t going to answer.
From prepaid to GPS, we’ve got your answers here.
Update: Revised Wi-Fi with Airplane Mode on.
Q: Did the convoluted cheap iPhone 3G guide actually work?
A: Why yes it did, just as we expected. Ourselves as well as several readers have reported success with buying the iPhone 3G at the new customer price, despite having started service earlier in the week.
Q: Does iPhone 3G lock itself in to a particular SIM? Like the first iPhone?
A: No, it does not. The activation process is almost identical to iPod touch. Now that Synchronos is out of the picture, connecting to iTunes unbricks iPhone 3G, and now it acts just like a regular cell phone.
Q: Does that mean that I can use an iPhone 3G with any AT&T SIM? Even Prepaid?
A: Yep. We have our iPhone 3G on a GoPhone SIM right now. Everything works. Enjoy your iPhone 3G for only $20/month on unlimited pay as you go data.
Q: So can I get one on prepaid right now?
A: First you have to buy the iPhone 3G, which means either getting it on eBay, or setting up a postpay account and paying the Early Termination Fee to walk away with the device, sans contract. Then you can drop a GoPhone SIM into the phone.
Q: David Pogue says GPS on iPhone can’t handle turn-by-turn navigation? He says the GPS antenna is too small. What!?
A: We don’t know what Mr. Pogue was thinking… all of our tests with iPhone 3G GPS show that it’s just as accurate as any other “real” GPS system. We got within 30 feet accuracy just about every time.
Now, when using Apple Maps, it does triangulate based on cell phone towers before locking in with GPS. The only hitch we’ve had, is rarely having to power cycle the phone. Once or twice, GPS would not lock in until we turned iPhone 3G off and back on again.
Q: How’s the design? Is it like an iPod touch?
A: On the front, it is much more like an iPod touch. Several components have been moved a few millimeters. It’s not noticeable until you run your finger across the device. Overall, it’s a good balance between iPod touch and the original iPhone. We like it the best of all three.
Q: Is the display as bad as iPod touch? Or is it as good as the first iPhone?
A: Sorry, brace yourself. iPhone 3G has the same display as iPod touch. It’s more yellow and a bit more washed out.
Q: Is the SIM slot just as bad as the first?
A: Worse. It’s now thinner and still needs an awful paper clip. If you want to swap the SIM with another phone (say, for using another phone as a modem), you’re still going to need a paperclip… and a bit more patience.
Q: What do you think of the all-metal buttons?
A: Unnecessary. They feel rougher to the touch, and the mute button is tougher to click. The first iPhone had it right in this department.
Q: Can I turn Wi-Fi on while Airplane Mode is on?
A: Sorry, while this was offered in the 2.0 betas (and we certainly welcomed it)… Apple cut the feature out. Now, when you turn Airplane Mode on, the Wi-Fi tab reads “No Wi-Fi”. Why Apple won’t let you use Wi-Fi without the cell phone turned on, we still don’t know.
A: After re-restoring our iPhones, this feature is working properly. We’re not sure why we got a No Wi-Fi error, but yes, you can use Wi-Fi with Airplane Mode turned on.
Q: Can I use it as a modem?
A: You’re kidding, right? Thankfully, you can SIM swap with a $99 Samsung A737 (with 3G) or $29 Sony Ericsson Z310a (EDGE-only) from GoPhone prepaid. And, in doing so, you can surf the web with the same SIM card.
Q: Can I use my dock from the original iPhone?
A: Nope, it won’t fit. And, Apple wants $30 for a dock on the new iPhone. Someone might come up with an adapter, but don’t hold out for one.
Q: The iPhone 3G has a plastic backing. Is that as bad as I think?
A: No, it doesn’t scratch like an iPod. However, unlike aluminum, it does pick up smears. We’ve had ours (a 16 GB Black) for the better part of a day, and there are already countless fingerprints on it.
Q: Did they fix the speaker volume?
A: Yes, but it’s still not stellar. It’s now adequate, producing about a 50 to 100 percent increase over the original iPhone’s speaker. Is it loud? No. Does it work? Yes.