Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Goodbye iPhone 1.x, Hello 2.0!

Everybody and their dog around here seems to know about the iPhone being officially launched in Canada, which has kind of surprised me actually, considering I haven't really seen any mass media advertising. (Ok, I haven't been watching TV much lately, and there are almost no billboards in Victoria, but still...). But for those of us who have the "classic" hardware, the big news is the release of the 2.0 OS, which allows for Apple-sanctioned third-party applications (created via the iPhone SDK) and a few other goodies.

So, how do folks in my situation (unlocked, jailbroken firstgen hardware) get to 2.0? In my case, I had unlocked/activated/jailbroken my 1.1.4 iPhone using ZiPhone 2.something back in April, which was a breeze. Since then, most of the buzz on the iPhone hacking front seems to have been around PwnageTool. PwnageTool is a native Mac app that essentially builds a custom firmware for you that has some voodoo applied to it to deal with unlocking/activation/jailbreakage. Once you have built a custom firmware with the app, you actually load it onto your phone via iTunes, as if you were restoring to factory settings or whatever. This had become a pretty popular tool for 1.x iPhones and the iPhone dev team stepped up to the plate to make it work with the 2.0 firmware.

PwnageTool 2.0.1 was just released (something like 11 days after iPhone OS 2.x!) and I wasn't quite sure what the correct steps were to migrate from a ZiPhoned 1.x device to a Pwned 2.0 device, but I (perhaps unwisely) decided to go ahead anyway, since I was quite keen to get going with OmniFocus and Evernote for iPhone (which are only available through the AppStore). I don't think it could have been much simpler. I more or less followed the instructions here and after 10 minutes or so, I had a 2.0 phone. Woot! FYI - I did not restore prior to running PwnageTool, nor did I Pwn before using the custom firmware. (some 1.x instructions seemed to indicated these steps were required, but apparently no longer)

After the pwnage process, the third-party apps I had installed with Installer were all toast, but resoring from a backup via iTunes, followed by a Sync got all my settings and media back on the phone. BTW - getting 1k tracks onto a phone over USB is not quick!

The phone works really well and seems zippier. Joining WiFi networks seems faster, as does swtiching apps. There are also more "location-aware" capabilities, even though my "vintage" iPhone doesn't have GPS like the new-fangled ones. When the OS wants to do something with your location (like geocode a photo) it will prompt to ask if it's ok. There's probably a setting to tell it to stop doing that, but for now, it makes me feel like I got my money's worth. As for the AppStore, I've downloaded a couple of apps and the process is much slicker than with Installer. "Unsanctioned" third-party apps can still be installed via Cydia (apparently the heir to Installer) but it seems like there are way fewer apps at this point.

Anyway, so far so good and I am glad that I did this, although I have to say I was a little worried when flashing of something or other that was supposed to take "up to 2 minutes" according to the dialog on my phone took a bit longer without feedback, but my concern was unfounded.

Now we'll see about getting a data plan...I am currently on Rogers PayGo and "fly by WiFi" when I can, but it definitely would be nice to have data access all the time, even it is only EDGE. I am generally allergic to cell phone contracts, but I think I can get a month-to-month data plan for $30/mo, as long as I also pay for a voice package. After all is said and done, I think it will be something like $75/month, which is about triple what I pay now...hmmm...

About the wombat

Victoria, BC, Canada
This is our travel blog for our summer 2010 trip to France and the UK.