So I've been using my unlocked iPhone for a day or so now on T-Mobile. Without getting into a mini-review of iPhone's features, suffice it to say that this is a very impressive piece of gear. Mobile phones have long suffered from a lack of user-friendliness. It wouldn't be fair to say that Apple single-handedly changed all that, but they definitely did good; Sony Ericsson builds some phones that make a lot of sense when you use them, and iPhone isn't perfect. But Apple's first handset is damn nice.
That being said, a hacked, unlocked iPhone on T-Mobile is a little different than the "real deal" on AT&T. Here's what I've observed thus far:
- Hacking is fun, even if I didn't actually hack anything but rather used a commercial app based on some real hackers' actual skills. It's fun to see, hear, and use an iPhone running on T-Mobile knowing that it's only supposed to work on AT&T. That being said, I really wish Apple had just made the thing unlocked in the first place.
- Everything works right now save YouTube and, of course, visual voicemail. Regular voicemail works just fine. There's a patch available to get YouTube running, but I've yet to give that a go - I'm not yet sure if it requires re-unlocking the phone after I install it.
- Safari, Email, Maps, and the other data service apps all work just fine via WiFi. They also work via EDGE data with the right data plan and settings. Basically, T-Mobile's $5.99/month plan won't work with iPhone because there's nowhere on iPhone to specify a proxy Web server. Yet. T-Mob's BlackBerry plan works like a charm - setting the APN to "wap.voicestream.com" did the trick, and now I can get around the Net via EDGE or WiFi. T-Mobile's Internet (which is now $19.99/mo) and Sidekick data plans also work, according to some posts I've read on various blogs and forums.
- Switching SIM cards requires "re-activating" the phone with the PC-based app I used to activate the thing in the first place. I'm pretty sure there are patches and/or iPhone-based solutions available but, again, I just haven't found them yet.
- A look through our own forums here on PhoneDog tipped me off to SeeqPod.com, which is basically a search engine for audio files available for playback on the Web. They've got a nice, clean iPhone-friendly interface that basically lets you browse through all kinds of music that plays back through iPhone's embdedded QuickTime Player app. In other words, if you've got an iPhone and a WiFi connection (or EDGE and a lot of patience), you can listen to all kinds of streaming music for free. At least some of what's up there is legal, too, including live music from the Internet Archive site.
- I'm hooked. When iPhone came out at $499/$599, I was a total naysayer. A locked phone without 3G and they're asking five hundred bucks plus a two-year commitment? No way! Now that I got one for $299 and can use it with my existing T-Mobile service, I'm definitely singing a bit of a different tune.
I'm not saying that iPhone is going to wind up as my personal handset of choice. It's bigger than my SE K790a and the 790 has a better camera (with a flash). But iPhone sure is fun to play with, from the intuitive interface to the accelerometer and big, gorgeous screen, to the community of hackers and application developers buzzing like worker ants around blogs, forums, and IRC chatlines. New uses for this thing are cropping up every day, just like Apple knew they would. And I gotta say, it's fun to be in on it at last.