Monday, June 29, 2009

iPhone 3GS





Getting the phones
- Picked up two of them: one for me and one for the wife. I've only had my iPhone 3G (go read that review for more info that I won't bother covering again here) for about 6 months so I had to pay the $500. The wife's 2yr contract was up in May so she qualified for the $300 price. She's coming off of the AT&T 8525 (htc hermes windows mobile). I think the biggest thing I'll miss about that 8525 was the super easy bluetooth PAN tethering.
- So I preordered them from AT&T the day after the announcement through http://www.wireless.att.com/iphone/. Yeah for preorder! Yeah no waiting in lines!
- Both were shipped out thurs June 18th and arrived via fedex overnight on the 19th.
- So I get ready to upgrade myself from 3G to 3GS by following these instructions which recommends you use the new sim cards that came with the new phones. I noticed each of the boxes had a sticker with each of our mobile phone numbers on them.
- First thing I noticed wrong was I got no message to activate when connecting to itunes on either of the phones. On my wife's it just went to creating the apple id and then the sync. Neither phone on two different computers both with the latest itunes updated would ask me to activate the phone.
- I had to call att at this #1-800-331-0500
apparently they didn't associate the new sim #'s with my account:
http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=2048403&tstart=0
seems to have happened to a few people.
After giving her my iccid and imei #'s (both in settings|general|about)
she typed them in, I powered down all my phones, she sent an over the air activation, powered back up the phone, searching...,boom activated. After that she called me and then had me make a call to make sure it was all working good. Then we did it with my wife's phone. Whew ok all is working now.
Sad that at&t or apple or somebody screwed this up in the first place. Glad I was able to track down the issue, the phone #, and got a really helpful lady.
- Next, the camera is dead on my wife's iphone. As soon as I click on the camera app and go into preview, I see a bunch of graphical glitchy lines and then the phone reboots.
- So I get to the at&t store right at open (10am) the next day and of course they have none and send me to the apple store. 5min later I'm at the apple store, showed the crazy messed up camera, and they say yeah it's broke. They slip me in line as a special case and begin the long process of swapping it out. Since it is so new they gave me a new one straight out of the box. What made things a bit more complicated was the fact I had bought the phones from at&t. You know next time I'll just buy it from apple. But after about 1hr 15min later everything was straightened out and we now have two good working iphone 3gs's.
- Yeah that was NOT a good "premium" apple experience.
- To help recoup some of the costs I decided to sell my old iphone 3G. I decided to give Gazelle.com a try instead of the usual ebay route. The day before 3gs was released prices were around $232. After the weekend it dropped to $212 which is when I decided to sell mine. It is currently going for $192. Sure you could get more on ebay but this is really no hassle. They send you the box, they pay for shipping, and paypal you the money. Just make sure you do a factory restore (quicker if you do it using itunes) and remove your old sim. I confirmed with Gazelle that they do not need or want your old sim card.
- I did think about keeping the old iphone 3g just as a nice ipod touch since it worked perfectly fine with wifi and all the apps and ipod functionality worked just great without a sim card. But in the end I really did need to recover some of that $800 we just spent on 3gs's.

The 3GS Experience
- I'm not going to go through what a billion excellent reviews out there have already cover. I'll just say "s" for speed is so true. It permeates the entire experience, and you can really fell the difference on a day to day basis on pretty much everything you do with the phone from app load times, surfing, simplify music load times, games, etc.
- The digital compass should come in handy for geocaching if they ever update the in app compass to use it.
- With 256mb of memory free memory isn't so critical anymore. Seeing 146mb of free memory on a clean reboot is pretty cool.
- With 32gb of storage I'm just loading up more movies that were converted with handbrake.
- I like having 11 pages of apps now since I was always full and swapping out apps. Having spotlight will let me go beyond 11 pages if I need to though they still need a better way to organize app icons (hello nested folders please!!??!?!)
- a2dp support is half ass on the iphone 3.0 (3gs or 3g). Ok more accurately AVRCP support sucks. The sound works fine. The pause/play does too. Next/Previous track is a no go. I tried it on both phones with 2 different headsets. Reading online nobody has gotten this feature to work. Apparently it's just not implemented in os 3.0. It's not a big deal but what happened to "apple doesn't implement something unless they do it right" mentality? This surely isn't right! Still, I'm enjoying a2dp with my Sony Stereo Headset. It is so much more convenient than having to use a dongle transmitter.
- Push notification pretty much rocks. AP news is ok but it's really cool with textfree lite and BeeJive 3.0. The wife and I basically use beejive as our free way of texting each other. I just set us up with gtalk, jabber, aim, and msn accounts for redundancy and combined them into a meta contact. They just need to stabilize their servers a bit and add group chat and it will be perfect. Textfree lite is still handy when I want to send a free sms to other mobile phones. Yes, I REFUSE to pay for an sms plan because it's a big scam and costs AT&T basically nothing.
- The touch to zoom and auto focus/macro is nice. I've recorded a few videos which is quite handy and convenient.
- I can't wait to see what game developers do with the bump in cpu, gpu, and memory.
- 7.2mbps HSDPA hasn't really rolled out yet. It might be my imagination but the 3gs seems to be a bit better than 3g connection wise. Doing a few speed tests didn't really show any dramatic differences though.
- Notes now syncs with outlook though we've mostly migrated to evernote now.

Accessories
- My wife picked up the iskin Solo FX (light blue) case which she really likes and has gotten quite a few complements on. I'm still using my iskin solo black case. I picked it up new in retail box for $25 shipped from ebay.
- Power Support Anti-Glare Film. I'm getting much better at putting these on. Start near the top of the phone where the sleep button is. Then just lay it down. If you can't quite get it lined up right the first time I use a bit of scotch tape on the end near the home button to lift up the film and realign.
- I highly recommend you get power/sync cable accessories from monoprice.com. Quick, reliable, and much better quality control than the junk on ebay and it ships much faster than dealextreme.com. Here are some that I have tried and work great:
Sync Cable
USB Charger that works with iphone 3gs
Car Charger
Wall Charger
- The bastards broke compatibility with my cheap composite cable. Now I have to buy the apple ones for $50!

Notable Apps
Logmein - Yeah $30 is crazy expensive but it is also a very cool app. I like how the pointer stays centered and you move the screen around beneath the pointer.
mSecure - An alternative to 1password and you can backup to pc (not just mac).
iTranslate
Star defense - my new favorite tower defense game
Defender Chronicles
Knights Onrush
Flight Control
Zenonia - zelda-ish
Space Ace - Awesome port. Play Ace level/unlimited lives to see all the levels. Very smooth, very little pausing between scenes.
Glyder
Top Gun - kind of reminds me of afterburner
F.A.S.T. - like ace combat/hawx
Asphault 4
Peggle
Soonr - kind of like dropbox but with a free iphone app

Overall, highly recommended. I wasn't expecting such a big improvement in my every day use and experience with the iPhone. If you are a power user/gamer you really should consider pickup up a 3GS. My wife has been adjusting pretty quickly to the touch keyboard though the spelling natzi (auto correction) does get on her nerves sometimes. But overall she is liking it too.

UPDATE: 7/10/09
- Gazelle just posted $212 into my paypal account so everything went very smoothly. It's a pretty good service if you are ok with the price they offer (which I admit is pretty low).

UPDATE: 7/20/09
- I ran into the wrong icon issue where the app would have the wrong icon associated with it. Here is a solution (post #22) that worked every time for me. This is all done on the iPhone. Delete the app, go to the app store, re-download it, pause the download by tapping on the app icon, power off the phone like normal (hold down sleep then slide), power the phone back up, resume the download/install of the app. Presto, your icon should be properly restored.

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