Epic YES! Since the moment the original iPhone came out with its WiFi goodness, I've been begging asking for a way to use the iPhone to control the similarly connected iTunes, Front Row, and Apple TV. And now Apple has answered! (Er... except for Front Row, see below). And not only for the iPhone. While I'll use that term exclusively below, everything here also applies to the iPod Touch.
Remote is FREE, and available either via iTunes (picture above) or right from your iPhone 3G via the App Store. It's not hard to find, currently dominating the Top Free Apps charts. If you're not sure how to use App Store yet, check out Brian's excellent overview to get you started.
I chose to download directly from the iPhone so I could test out the 3G experience. It was fast. (However, when I later synced back with iTunes -- my first time post App download -- I was asked to re-authenticate my MacBook with the iTunes Store before it would sync the App for backup).
Apple rates the iPhone 3G's talk time at 5 hours over the high-speed 3G network. While the call quality seems vastly improved due to more data being passed through the 3G pipe, some of the more chatty among us may find that 3G isn't just fast -- it's non-user-replaceable-battery draining fast!
Don't care as much about speed and clarity as you do sheer volume of talk time? Or what if you're just in an area that's not (yet?) covered by 3G? You're in luck! Apple has provided a way to turn off the 3G -- and blazing fast broadband-like HSPA speed that goes with it -- and drop back down to 2.5/2.75G -- and the dial-up-eque EDGE that is turtle to the 3G hare.
Boom! 10 hours of talk time! (And for those of you in countries with more restrictive/ridiculous data caps, a way to help pace yourself and starve your data-hungry iPhone).
Just remember: slow data transfer, not as good call quality, no simultaneous voice and data (you can't talk and surf the web on EDGE at the same time).
UPDATE: More confusion! Stylemonkey in the comments below says Rogers claims not to be doing this when he called in over the phone. However, I spoke to a couple more Rogers reps and they're still insisting they're being told Rogers will bill for WiFi use, perplexingly by using the EMEI number of you phone. While they say Rogers can't tell data usage this way, they can tell WiFi is being used, and will bill based on time. Ridiculous? Sounds like it. But what's even more ridiculous is Rogers telling this to (some of?) their stores and people in the field. Crazy!
So I was waiting in line at a Rogers store yesterday when the staff came out and said that if we didn't take the Rogers' iPhone specific plans, anytime we used WiFi it would be counted towards our custom plans (like the newly announced $30/6GB promo). They said that even though the iPhone would show WiFi, it would still count down (crazy fast) 3G data, and we'd only find out come bill time when charges came in. One of them said they were waiting on clarification from Rogers. Another said this was what Apple wanted and implemented. (Yeah, I know... I'm just repeating the comments).
We didn't run the story then because we couldn't get any confirmation of the rumor, but now other reports of people being told the same thing at different Rogers stores has turned up.
If you need a past or present iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple TV iOS 3 (previously iPhone OS 3) firmware file, we've got 'em all here. Just browse to the device you want and click the firmware file you need. Your download should automatically start. All downloads are the official Apple firmware release versions.
Civilizations rose and fell. Rivers carved canyons. Stars twinkled into existence, then died. All this while we waited for iPhone 2.0 and the App Store. If you were lucky enough to upgrade your iPhone 2G to 2.0 or have a newly-acquired iPhone 3G, and you have upgraded to iTunes 7, you now have access to the App Store on either iTunes or your iPhone and the 3rd party native apps downloading extravaganza can commence! If you are new to 3rd party apps, new to iPhone and/or iTunes, or just want a little guidance before diving into the App Store, then read on after the break for the App Store walkthrough!
Okay, that was the 3rd and highest of 5 sequential attempts. Test 1 and 4 were 405kbps and tests 2 and 5 were 545kbps. Rogers does claim to invest heavily in their network (which they remind us every time we pay the monthly network improvement surcharge!), and 3G pretty much covers the greater Island of Montreal, where I am, so maybe they're at least putting some of the massive amounts of money we fork over to good use!
MobileMe, Apple, Inc.'s answer to the consumer-based "push" concept has launched today. MobileMe comprises of web-based applications that not only synchronize with their desktop counterparts, but also "pushes" updates to other computers including calendar appointments, address book entries and Safari bookmarks. Windows-based PC's and Apple's OS X can be used to synchronize this information between platforms. If you have an iPhone or iPod Touch (using Wi-Fi) you can receive these updates instantly on your device without having to synchronize with your desktop.
Playing around with 3G on the iPhone a bit lately (since I'm one of the lucky ones who got activated in-store) and the results are ....mixed. I've tried a few different services, each giving wildly different results within the service and between services (the above comes from http://inetworktest.com. I'm definitely on 3G here in Providence, RI, but my speed tests seem to ranging from a mediocre 140kbps up to a stupendous 420kbps. On average, well, there doesn't seem to be an average, it either comes in poorly or awesomely.
As we just noted earlier today, iTunes is feeling the hurt of all the traffic today. Case in point: Activation is confirmed to be down all across Canada. We're also getting reports that some people who did manage to buy an iPhone 3G are stuck in emergency call mode and can't activate. It seems that activation is so tough right now some AT&T stores are letting customers leave without activating their iPhones. Our advice: do not leave the store without getting it activated, at least for today.
The iPhone 3G does not come with a dock, instead you need to buy it separately for $29.99. The bummer of it is that the dock that came with the 1st gen iPhone is incompatible with the 3G dock. The other bummer for some folks could possibly be that the 3G dock also doesn't work with the original iPhone either.
In any case -- it's a dock. It has the same outputs (USB and Audio) and the same basic shape as the original dock, although it is a bit nicer in spots. Namely: it doesn't wrap as far around the sides of the iPhone, so it has an overall cleaner look. The phone does sit a bit too vertically for my tastes, but that's a fairly subjective thing.
Still, for an extra 29 bucks there's more we'd like to see here. An included USB cable and AC adapter for two. An IR port so it might be able to support an Apple Remote for three.
So all in all: boo-urns on Apple for no longer including it and boo-urns for charging $29 for it, $19 would be much more appropriate. Gallery after the break!
Although Apple forces you to get your iPhone activated in-store before you walk out the door, that may not mean that people are going to have a trouble-free syncing experience today. To wit: the error message above is the best I can get when I plug my iPhone 3G into my Mac. Apparently iTunes wants to double-check that my iPhone really is what it's supposed to be. With the presumably massive number of people getting iPhone 3Gs today, iTunes is not handling the load so well.
Here we are - A gallery of the iPhone 3G in White and some comparisons to the original iPhone 2G. Short version: The iPhone 3G is a bit thicker, a smidge taller, and (most surprisingly) noticeably wider, it feels just as good in the hand because of the curved back. That wider part also means there's a slight border on the left and right of the screen -- but all in all the iPhone 3G is essentially the same slab as the original iPhone.
The plastic backing feels very solid -- it's very hard plastic and though it's not likely to be as scratch-resistant as the original metal, it's a damn sight tougher than most smartphone plastic we've seen. It is a fingerprint magnet back to front, even in white (though the white hides it better).
The headphone jack is flush (yay) and looks to be well-constructed. Unlike many a smarthphone we've used before, there's no jiggle whatsoever when you plug a headset in. Ok, we'll say it, the headset jack on Treos would often get busted because the soldier points would fail -- that doesn't look to be a concern here. Also great: Speaker quality and call quality are FAR SUPERIOR to the original iPhone.
We're going to have much much more throughout the day, including a full hardware review, a full review of the iPhone 2.0 OS, some app reviews, and a new chance for you to win stuff from TiPb. Keep on coming back all day, but for now check out our gallery and unboxing video after the break.
Not willing (or able) to wait in line in the am? Don't fret, just be sure that you head on over to this Apple page before you head to the Apple store -- it will let you know whether the flavor of iPhone 3G you're hoping for is in stock.
Here at the Providence, RI Mall, the halls are filled with lost souls as of 5:45 am, wandering in a state of limbo, unable to queue up because of a short security guard with delusions of importance. Nevertheless, Randyman was kind enough to kick our local line off with the following photo, Will was here at 3:45 am, and the other 6 us are alternately sneaking around the halls or sitting here in the parking lot, waiting for the overzealous security guard's wristwatch to read 6am.