Late last week I went to pay me cellular bill and found that my cell provider Unicel had been bought out by AT&T. While I was there, I learned that I could port my account over to AT&T and upgrade my hardware without having to pay a early termination for my 4 month old Unicel contract. AT&T offers the Apple iPhone 3g and after playing with the demo unit for a few minutes, I was hooked.
I moved my 2 lines over to AT&T upgrading myself from the MotoRokr Z6 to the iPhone 3g and grabbed a new sim for my daughter’s MotoRokr. The AT&T plan is a little nicer than the Unicel plan was. For the same monthy price, I now have 100 more anytime minutes and those minutes can roll over for up to 12 months. The iPhone does require a $30/mo data plan and my old plan was only $15/mo for unlimited data so there is a $15 increase in the overall monthly cost. At least the iPhone makes good use of the data services. All I used the data for with the Rokr was to teather my Nokia N810 when there was no WiFi available. The iPhone (or more likely AT&T) does not allow teathering but now I don’t need that since I can use the phone itself to get me online.
The iPhone has quite a few apps pre installed. Email, Safari web browser, Calendar, Camera, Youtube viewer, Map app, Weather app, iPod app and a few others. There are plenty of other apps available from free up to $30 or more and many of them are only a buck or two via the iTunes app store.
The phone has a gps built in and makes use of Google’s maps. The internal gps gets a near lock within a few seconds likely using AGPS to help then improves the position with the satellite gps within a few more seconds. The map app will display satellite, road map or a combo (hybrid) of the two. You can searh for address or general services (Pizza ?) and the phone will display push pins on the map for the search results. Pretty cool.
The iPhone supports WiFi, 3g and Edge for data and will use them in that order. Luckily, I have WiFi available most anywhere I spend much time and in between Edge does a decent job of filling the gaps. There is no 3G here yet and I haven’t been anywhere that offers 3g yet but I will get to test that in the coming weeks. I look forward to seeing the higher over the air speeds 3G has to offer.
OK. Thats the good stuff. Now for the bad…
This is actually my second iPhone 3g. My forst one started refusing to make outgoing calles within the first 10 hours that I owned it. It didn’t matter if the was 1 bar or 5, all it would do is say “Call Ended” followed immediately with “Call Failed”. Incoming calles worked fine. All of the data stuff worked just fine. I could send and receive texts just fine. Only problem was outbound calls. I tried everything I could think of to get it working again. Power off/on, Soft reset, Factory reset, Swap sims, tested my sim in another phone and it worked fine there. Googled for the problem and found plenty of info. This has happed to alot of others. Some were able to fix their iPhones by manually setting the date/time and timezone, some by disabling 3g others by soft or factory resets. None of those worked for me. The next day I went back to the AT&T store and they happily replaced it with another brand new unit. Since then all has been fine. Now, however, I panic anytime the phone says “Call Failed”. So far thats only happened when I have not signal but its still a bit scary.