My Imported iPhone Experience

In late November 2007 i decided to import a couple of iPhones from the USA into Spain. Being the big-head i am sometimes, i assumed i could unlock them in a jiffy when they arrived.

The reality was slightly different and within about an hour of taking delivery i realised i had been slightly duped. The price tag including delivery equated to 275 pounds per iPhone. Naturally this is cheap, even boring phones can be as much as that. What i didn't realise was, not all iPhones are the same. The ones i bought on e-bay from a distributor in New York were of a variety with a boot loader called 1.1.2 and nobody on the planet had figured a way how to unlock this new version. Damn, so i had to wait and wait.

After a few days of reading and trying to figure out what to do, i like many other 1.1.2 owners was able to Activate and Jailbreak the machine into an 8gb iTouch. This left the iPhone one step away from a fully functional mobile phone. I was confident of a full unlock being available around Christmas 2007, but that hope soon evaporated and by early January i was quite convinced an unlock was going to be impossible.

Having a fully functional iTouch gave me chance to work out all the features available. Google Maps, Camera, Safari Browser for the web, Calculator and of course the iPod. By February 2008 i had completly given all hope of an unlock ever being available. Out of the blue though, it came. The iPhone was unlocked very easily in the end and once i had installed a program called iWorld, the iPhone was potentially usable as a mobile phone in any country with any sim card.

I popped in a MovieStar sim and lo and behold i had a fully functional iPhone. Was it all worth waiting for? Yes and No, but mostly Yes. I was worried about the aerial capability, getting a signal might have been a problem. My previous experience with a PDA/phone was the XDA2 and that was pretty rubbish at getting a signal, in fact the XDA2 quickly became a bin job. The iPhone seems to have an aerial as strong as any Nokia, so this was a relief to me.

Zooming in and out of the screen was entertaining at first and has certainly convinced me that having 2 fingers on the screen to either either expand or pinch the view is definitely the solution for small screen sizes. The map and satellite feature is very addictive at first, zooming into your next door neighbours backgarden is an amusing waste of time.

When i owned an XDA2 i was shocked at how rubbish it was to use as a browser. One browser page was all you could ever view with. Webmasters always have 20-odd browser windows open by default and the xda 2 single browser was never going to be practical. The iPhone is way more advanced and allows you to move from browser window to browser window with a sideways flick of the screen. How clever!.

I only really have 2 small problems with using this machine, typing with the on-screen keyboard takes some getting used too. I havent even got fat fingers but i still struggle to smash out a text without making a ton of errors, even though it cleverly learns from your mistakes and makes the keys slightly bigger with use. The iPhone tries to adapt to its user in a few ways, so its smart on a whole new level, but i still find it difficult to type very quickly with it. Apple have also managed to omit is a text copy and paste feature, like you get with any text editor on your pc. I believe that might be coming with a firmware update this year though.

Overall, i think i did alright getting the iPhone so cheap. I find it annoying that Apple can get away with selling a PDA device locked to ATT in the USA and O2 in the UK. I can understand the practise with mobile phones, but this is not really a phone. Its a personal electronics device that also has phone capability. With a Jailbroken iPhone you can download hundreds of 3rd party applications to make your iPhone do anything. Right now i use my iPhone more as a games machine than anything else, i find myself addicted to a Gaming Slot Machine that appears to be impossible to lose on. If only, all slots were that generous.