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Full Review of the iPhone 2 On Launch Day 420

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the dock-not-included dept.
With the launch of Apple's brand-spanking-new 3G iPhone today, Engadget has a great review of the product and many of the prominent features. The review has quite a few good pictures and is not shy about technical details, but I guess they would know a fair bit about it, having ripped one apart yesterday. "The wireless industry is a notoriously tough nut to crack, and it's become pretty clear that the first iPhone wasn't about total domination so much as priming the market and making a good first impression with some very dissatisfied cellphone users. With the iPhone 3G, though, Apple's playing for keeps. Not only is this iPhone's Exchange enterprise support aiming straight for the heart of the business market, but the long-awaited 3rd party application support and App Store means it's no longer just a device, but a viable computing platform. And its 3G network compatibility finally makes the iPhone welcome the world over, especially after Cupertino decided to ditch its non-traditional carrier partnerships in favor of dropping the handset price dramatically. $200? We're still a little stunned." Update 17:17 GMT by SM: The guys over at Engadget also pointed out that Apple is having some severe problems with their iTunes servers and many customer are being sent home without their sync complete for new iPhones.
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Full Review of the iPhone 2 On Launch Day

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  • More Expensive (Score:5, Informative)

    by lessthanjakejohn (766177) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:28PM (#24154813)
    It actually becomes $160 more expensive over the life of the contract.
  • by Andruil (971627) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:28PM (#24154815)
    A friend of mine works for a company selling the iPhone 2. According to him if you lose your iPhone 2 you will 1. Have to pay full price to get a new one (not too surprising imo) and 2. Re-sign up for a 2 year contract... Also according to him the employees have been instructed specifically to not mention this fact to customers. Pretty screwy to me. Then again I am ignorant of how most cell phones work so I don't know if this is standard or not. I'm assuming based on his reaction its not.
  • Activation, not sync (Score:3, Informative)

    by necro81 (917438) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:34PM (#24154923) Journal
    Correction: the problems people are experiencing have to do with the activation servers, it doesn't have much to do with syncing. Although, one cannot sync their phone (or do anything with it, really) until they first activate it through itunes.
  • Re:More Expensive (Score:5, Informative)

    by LandDolphin (1202876) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:38PM (#24154977)
    He was refering to the raise in the cost of service for the new phone that will end up costing you $160 above what "phone service" used to cost you.
  • by William Ager (1157031) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:42PM (#24155051)
    It should also be noted that current ATT customers apparently have to both pay the full price and sign up for a two year contract too, despite the fact that this isn't the case for any other phone ATT sells.
  • Re:More Expensive (Score:4, Informative)

    by EastCoastSurfer (310758) on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:55PM (#24155211)

    I'm fairly certain at least with AT&T you're required to get a data plan and minimum voice plan with the iPhone purchase. Basically this is their solution for the unlockers. Force you into a plan at the store and charge you $200 + activation + 1 month of service if you break the plan.

  • Re:More Expensive (Score:5, Informative)

    by EvanED (569694) <evaned.gmail@com> on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:55PM (#24155225)

    You don't have to get a data plan do you? It is possible to get the phone for $200 and then use one of the bacis phone service plans, correct?

    No, you can't.

    Not even if you are buying a used iPhone from someone; you have to get the iPhone package. In fact I *just* closed the window I had with an AT&T support chat asking this question.

  • Re:More Expensive (Score:2, Informative)

    by 2nd Post! (213333) <(gundbear) (at) (pacbell.net)> on Friday July 11, 2008 @01:57PM (#24155249) Homepage

    Palshife was probably referring to the fact that for the extra $160 you get nearly twice as much bandwidth (up to 3x) over the first iPhone.

  • by vux984 (928602) on Friday July 11, 2008 @02:02PM (#24155327)

    A friend of mine works for a company selling the iPhone 2. According to him if you lose your iPhone 2 you will 1. Have to pay full price to get a new one (not too surprising imo) and

    This is true of all cell phones. Not only if you 'lose it', but if you damage it in ways that are not covered by warranty, or if you damage it out of warranty. (most cell phones have a 1 year warranty although you can often buy extended warranty.) however liquid damage and physical damage are never covered.

    2. Re-sign up for a 2 year contract.

    This really makes no sense.

    There is -always- an early termination provision that can be exercised if the phone is lost, or you move out of country or whatever. Here in Canada on Rogers, for an iphone, it is the greater of $100 or $20 per month remaining in the contract, to a maximum of $400.

    http://www.rogers.com/cms/html/iphone_vpterms.shtml [rogers.com]

    Based on that losing the iphone 2.5 years in, one could always payout $120 (20$x6 months), and then get a new one on a 3 year contract for $199... (or whatever they would be at that point.)

    And that's 'worst case'. Usually if you have the intention of signing a new 3 year contract and your well into an existing contract the carrier will offer you a some sort of 'deal'.

    Now suppose you lost an iphone on day 2 of your 3 year contract, typically, you'd simply have to replace it at full price, and you'd still be held to the terms of your original contract. Its absurd that they would tack on an extra 2 years (a 5 year contract on a cell phone?!), and even more absurd that you'd have your contract shortened.

    And under this scenario, if you lost your iphone on the 2nd day, and they wanted to rope you into a 5 year contract, and charge you $600 replacement, you would simply exercise the early termination: $400. And then sign up to a new 3 year: $199. Same $600 bucks, but only a 3 year contract.

  • Re:Time to anti-hype (Score:5, Informative)

    by revscat (35618) on Friday July 11, 2008 @02:05PM (#24155363) Journal

    From talking to people in the industry, the innovation with the iPhone isn't so much with the device itself, it's with the kind of deal Apple was able to cut.

    No, the innovation is making the features easy to use. Surveys have been done asking phone users if they use the email, internet, etc., capabilities of their phones. Compared to other smartphone users, iPhone users use more of their phone's capabilities, and more often.

    I'm too lazy to find the survey right now, and you certainly have no reason to trust me. But the innovation with the iPhone may be related to its pricing structure, but people like it because it is a solid, stable, and very usable device. Add to this the ability to couple it with your computer at home and it really is easy to see why this device is popular.

  • Re:Just Got Mine... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11, 2008 @02:05PM (#24155365)

    Apple servers are slammed and Apple iPhone discussion forum is overloaded.
    Best to avoid the update mess for a few days.
    It will not be fixed tonight.
    Do not attempt an upgrade of your old phone, as you will lose all contacts until you get the final activation from iTunes Store.

  • Re:More Expensive (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tyketto (97265) on Friday July 11, 2008 @02:09PM (#24155417) Homepage

    It actually becomes $160 more expensive over the life of the contract.

    This is variable.

    I say that because through various resources (job, college, etc.) you could qualify for corporate, IRU, or FAN discounts (at least in the US). For example, the FAN discount I have from working at the Univ. of Nevada gives me a 15% discount on the phone plan (the cost of the data plan is included in the service now), 20% discount on any accessories bought at ATT, and any upgrade fees waived)[1].

    Discounts vary from company to company and entity to entity, so the best bet would be to see if you qualify for one. the URL below will help you:

    http://www.wireless.att.com/discounts

    BL.

    [1] personal email addresses won't work here. If it is with work or college or so, it should.

  • by MattW (97290) <matt@ender.com> on Friday July 11, 2008 @02:49PM (#24156013) Homepage

    Your friend is wrong. Even people not eligible for ugprade can get the iphone at the middle price ($400/500).

    The subsidized price is available when you are eligible for an upgrade; just like any subsidized phone - if you lose it, you pay an unsubsidized price. AT&T has a freaky offer of a non-contract iphone at $600/700, but it makes no sense to buy it, since the ETF is the same or less than the cost differential.

  • Re:More Expensive (Score:4, Informative)

    by e4g4 (533831) on Friday July 11, 2008 @02:50PM (#24156035)
    You are - subtract the price difference between the new and old iPhone ($200) and voila you get $160.
  • by linuxpng (314861) on Friday July 11, 2008 @03:00PM (#24156219)

    Don't be a tool. These are valid complaints.

    If someone tried to tell you something was 1/2 price but was really more expensive over the term, you think that's ok? It's not 5 bucks more, it's 160+/- more.

    Where do you draw the line? It's deceptive and that's a fancy word for a lie.

    How about charging ipod touch users 10 bucks so that they can spend money at the app store? That's increasing features so you spend more money. Yes I am aware that they have free apps and they have a bunch that aren't also.

    What pisses me off most is that you can still buy shit all day long on the store and not get through activation. Why couldn't they load balance the activation as much as all the other crap? Yes, I know the answer to that.

    I swear, if Steve Jobs personally kicked every Apple customer in the balls, 90 percent would talk about how they had it coming for some reason or another.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11, 2008 @03:28PM (#24156699)

    Correction to your correction: Beyond the initial activation, iTunes still contacts its mother servers at the start of a sync. This is impacting not only new phones, but existing ones and even touches.

    After waiting more than two hours for my 2.0 upgraded first-gen iPhone to reactivate and emerge from its bricked state, I still (another couple hours later) can't do a normal sync. Even my touch (which wasn't upgraded) won't do anything when tethered to iTunes any more.

    But at least Apple will learn from their mistakes. It's not like they had any widespread activation snafus last time around.

    Oh, wait...

  • by Tyketto (97265) on Friday July 11, 2008 @03:33PM (#24156779) Homepage

    Simple solution.

    Purchase the unsubsidized phone. Apple is selling the phone outright for $399 (8G) and $499 (16G) without the contract. If you don't want the contract, or are unable to upgrade your phone with them at this time, you can still buy the iPhone outright.

    BL.

  • Re:More Expensive (Score:5, Informative)

    by Garabito (720521) on Friday July 11, 2008 @03:34PM (#24156781)

    Not even if you are buying a used iPhone from someone; you have to get the iPhone package.

    If you're buying an used iPhone from someone and you have already a contract with AT&T (or sign up with a dumb phone) nothing prevents you to put the AT&T SIM on the iPhone, no matter what the AT&T support drone tells you.

  • Re:More Expensive (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fulg (138866) on Friday July 11, 2008 @04:00PM (#24157167) Homepage

    I believe you can switch your iPhone SIM card over to some dumb phone, adjust your plan to include unlimited data for dumb phones (costs less than unlimited data for smart phones)... and then put that SIM card back in the iPhone.

    A word of warning to anyone wanting to try...

    For Rogers in Canada, the "cheap data plans for generic phones" (say the $7 all-you-can-leech instead of the "big" plan for iPhone) is locked to the IMEI [wikipedia.org] number of your phone. The carrier has a list of IMEIs of all the phones it sold to subscribers.

    When you power up a phone with a SIM card inside, the IMEI is transmitted to the carrier. If the IMEI is unknown (your phone is "unapproved") the cheap data plan is not in effect, and you pay through the nose.

    This is all in the fine print that no one reads, though not that explicitly :)

  • by vux984 (928602) on Friday July 11, 2008 @04:05PM (#24157235)

    Liquid damage?
    You mean when they take your phone in the back to "check it", bring it back a few seconds later and show you a red dot under your batter cover?

    A reputable dealer will flip it open and remove the battery cover right in front of you to check that dot with you.

    The red dots in my experience with cellular has been a pretty accurate predictor. And in virtually every red dot case I've ever seen, when at the customers insistence that they've never been anywhere near moisture ever and at their expense we've had our service technicians open the unit -- significant corrosion was invariably plain to see.

    A phone can be sopping without getting dunked. An unlucky drop or two on the ground, or not putting the battery cover on properly and the water proofing can easily be compromised. Once that's the case, water vapor and humitity from being left in a pocket on the counter while you take a hot shower, or on a windowsill at night... etc... and the inside of the phone will be full of condensation, which rapidly turns in it into a useless paperweight.

    All that said, I wouldn't doubt a disreputable dealer might do what you describe.

    If you genuinely suspect a scam, take the device someplace reputable, and have them check the actual electronics -- if they are bone dry and free of corrosion, you have a lawsuit on your hands.

    But don't be surprised if the insides come back looking like they spent a week at the bottom of a lake.

  • Re:More Expensive (Score:5, Informative)

    by illumin8 (148082) on Friday July 11, 2008 @04:07PM (#24157269) Journal

    Because it's fucking expensive when you compare it to other handsets and networks. The original iPhone was a *really* bad deal. This one is better value than the original, but still a shitty deal.

    It's the exact same price as any other 3G data plan that AT&T offers, ala Crackberry or Treo, but don't let that stop you from bashing Apple.

    I'm not saying it's a good deal. I think all the 3G data plans are overpriced right now, regardless of carrier, but that's what you have to pay if you want to be an early adopter. Me? I'm happy with my 1 year old iPhone that works just as well on wifi as the brand new 3G model.

  • Re:finally! (Score:2, Informative)

    by cleatsupkeep (1132585) on Friday July 11, 2008 @04:13PM (#24157307) Homepage

    I wouldn't play the durability card against the iPhone. If we want to go anecdotes, mine fell down a flight of stairs (full drop, no bouncing) screen first and you can't tell. No scratches.

    However, if you would like something a little more formal: http://arstechnica.com/reviews/hardware/iphone-review.ars/13 [arstechnica.com]

  • by vux984 (928602) on Friday July 11, 2008 @05:15PM (#24158223)

    Yeah, but why do they design mobile phones so shittily? Isn't it a scam?

    I could understand with the first generation, but by now, don'tcha think they ought to have figured out a way to get a waterproof seal over the battery when you close the lid??? I think it's pathetic.

    Actually back in the old days I saw a Motorola 2-way unit sitting in a fishbowl at a tradeshow. People could come up use it, and then put it back in the fishbowl. Its not that they can't make them waterproof... its that they can't make them water proof, feature rich, light, 4 millimeters thick, stays cool while you use it, and on top of all that cheap.

    Most cellphones are actually quite water reistant, and I've seen countless survive drink spills, and even falls into sinks and worse. But the engineering tradeoffs mean most are still fairly vulnerable. You -can- get waterproof phones though... manufacturers do make units designed to survive immersion... Sony, LG, Fujitsu and others have all released waterproof models. And for the rest, there is a thriving market for waterproof cases.

    And its not just the battery cover... the keypad, buttons, charging port, along with the hinges and slides of phones that do that -- are all potential entrances. There are membranes and coatings in place - and the better devices -are- fairly resistant, but if you want water 'proof' you'll have to make some tradeoffs, and the market despite its moaning about liquid damage doesn't exactly snap up the water proof options that are available.

  • by MrOctogon (865301) on Friday July 11, 2008 @09:38PM (#24160659)

    I'm not eligible for an upgrade until next august, and the sales rep tells me I will have to pay $400 for an iphone no matter what. I thought about trying to save money by paying $175 to terminate my current plan, but then I would get screwed by the activation fee again.
    It seems pretty lame that they tricked me into getting a crappy razr for free a year ago, and now the screen doesn't even come on anymore and they tell me to suck it up or give them more money. It seems I should get the subsidized price by agreeing to extend my contract, but they just don't seem to care about their own customers at all once they get you to sign that contract. Hooray for broken capitalism!

  • Re:More Expensive (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tintivilus (88810) <{gro.sulivitnit} {ta} {sulivitnit}> on Saturday July 12, 2008 @12:01AM (#24161653)

    It's the exact same price as any other 3G data plan that AT&T offers, ala Crackberry or Treo, but don't let that stop you from bashing Apple.

    It's not the 3G that's expensive, it's the "smart phone" premium. The $15 featurephone ("MEdia Net") unlimited data plan works perfectly fine on 3G but AT&T has decided to charge more for devices with a touchscreen or qwerty keyboard. Nothing keeping you from pulling the SIM out of your free-after-rebate phone and popping it into your unlocked N95 but the terms of service.

    The great thing about the first iPhone was that they'd let you use the normal cheap data plan with a "smart" phone. Now that they found out people really want iPhones they jacked up the plan prices back in line with competing products.

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