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Hello iPhone

I'm am happy to announce that last Friday I finally upgraded the phone I've had for the last three years. I've never be a person onboard with the whole smart phone thing before, and certainly while I saw people with MP3 players, snazzy cameras and (lol) WAP internet in phones much better than mine, I was pretty content with the ability to... you know, phone people and send text messages at the cheapest rate I could find.

The iPhone in my mind is simply much more than a smart phone. It's basically a computer in your pocket, and as someone who has lugged a laptop around for the last four years, it's such a brush of fresh air. And God damn, at £440 with no contract, this thing better be amazing. I've been waiting some months for Apple to upgrade the iPhone 3G (because if your going to get a Jesus phone, it has to have a decent camera people) and while I wasn't particularly please that O2 upped the pay as you go price for the new hardware rather than lowering the price of the old model, there was little question about whether I would be in line to get one come launch.

In the UK only three retailers are selling the device; Apple (whose online store was not accepting pre-orders and closest retail location is London), Carphone Warehouse (who only accepted pre-orders on contract phones, and turned out to have no PAYG devices in stock on launch morning...) and the carrier themselves, O2 (who accepted no pre-orders). The line even for a small town like mine was surprisingly long, although nothing like say the release of the Wii, but what surprised me the most about the launch of the 3GS was the amount of people getting the phone on contract.

The biggest shocker though, was seeing an old man (who I suspect to have been at least seventy by his zimmer frame) who was not only so up with technology that he was getting a 3GS on launch day, but was prepared to buy out the rest of his previous iPhone contract so that he could start a new one. When I get old, I want to be that guy.

In fact, I was the only person in store that morning prepared to hand over the cash for the device on pay as you go. My experience once I got to the front of the line lasted no less than five minutes, most of which involving waiting for a cash register to become clear. I had previously watched the people ahead of me spends forever sitting with O2 staff as they signed forms, had credit checks and sat glum faced on the phone waiting for a response from head office, while I trotted out with my handset ready to go quicker than you could eat a sandwich.

It makes me laugh because in both the O2 store and in Carphone Warehouse (where I was previously told they only had contract phones), I was asked by the employee whether I was aware of the price of the PAYG device. In both cases this was an obvious lead in to trying to get me a contract phone, and while it would have seemed great not to spend £440 on a phone that morning, I'm sitting here now with the knowledge that I have a phone that has free internet access, 300 free text messages and that I will probably top-up £10 once a month. Those suckers who got their "free" iPhones on the other hand are stuck in a two year contract, paying at least £40 a month. I'm no mathematician but I think I know who got the better deal.

As for how is it? In a word, amazing. When I start commuting two hours to work next week (thats another rant entirely) I will have the ability to phone, send text messages, chat on instant message, check e-mail, use twitter and facebook, listen to my iPod, browse the Internet, take pictures and play games all from one little pocket sized device. I've never been a fan of the "all in one" device before, but I think Apple hit the nail on the head with this one.

It's awesome.
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Dude, I didn't know they were PAYG compatible. Or is that a UK-only thing?

Another question: Can you use the GPS-tracking even if it's not on a service plan?
You'd have to check with your local carrier to see if they offer PAYG.

The GPS in the iPhone works as long as you have an Internet connection, whether it be a Wi-Fi hotspot or 3G through your carrier. There is no extra fee.
Jeff has one. It's very nice, especially when we're walking around and need to look up some location on Google Maps, but I don't think I'd want one myself. It'd be too distracting :P

April 2010



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