Sunday, April 20, 2008

From 4,000 to 40,000

Goodbye my 4,000 rupee Sagem MyX1! Oh I liked that phone (and I still do). But I have no choice. I have to make room for my all new 40,000 rupee iPhone ($426 to be specific). It's a Wow! and the Wow started on 14th April 2008. Thank you Amma for the momentous financial support! and thank you Dilshan ayya and Sameera ayya for the USA contact. This is the best present I've ever had. The best phone and hopefully the best computer too!

Phone specs :

CPU Frequency: 412 MHz
(The processor is a 600MHz underclocked ARM processor)

Bus Frequency: 103 Mhz
RAM: 116 MB
Capacity: 7.3 GB
OS Version: 1.1.4

Unlocking iPhone

This must be the easiest thing in the world. Download ZiPhone for windows, connect the iPhone, and click the big button. 3 minutes of boot loader patching, installing, rebooting... all done automatically. You have a fully unlocked, hackable iPhone. This is where you get the amazing package manager (just like synaptic) in which you have access to numerous software repositories. At the lowest level, now you have BSD subsystem for Unix running underneath the MacOS.

Built-in Vs Third Party apps

Apple has made a wonderful device that's truly unique and amazing. And they have built truly unique and amazaing software for that device (including the OS). But some of them really SUCKS! That's where hackers step in. They have released various patches and countless software utilities to make the iPhone user's life easier.

At first few days I was pissed off by iPhone's numerous software glitches. Caller ID detection problem and SMS application limitations. Both was fixed using a patch and a third party SMS application (iSMS). Now I've tuned my iPhone to gain the max out of it and to suit my needs. These are some third-party apps I've installed on the iPhone.

iSMS : Really nice SMS application

AcceleroLog : Draws graphs using iPhone's accelerometer (The accelerometer is used to detect the phone's orientation in 3D space).

HP-16C scientific calculator : I make no use of this.

Terminal : You know.

Finder : This is the windows explorer equivalent of MacOS. You can browse through the filesystem.

SysInfo : System and Process info viewer.

Cydia : apt based package manager. It's really amazing. You can add sources to /etc/apt/sources.list.

Capture : Screenshot utility. The screenshots in this page were taken using this.

Another 2 screenshots of built-in Maps application and Safari, just to make it interesting:

Maps : Google maps based application.

Safari : Internet browser.

Bottom line : iPhone is Nothing without Third-party apps.

Music and Video

Superb! Audio quality and video playback quality is just superb! With apple ear phones and the gorgeous high resolution screen the iPhone gives you an unprecedented multimedia experience. I'm not going to say more than this because you just have to experience it.

Battery Life

Enough of technical blah blah! Now for matters that concerns any mobile phone user. Today most phones have a battery life of 4 to 6 days of normal usage. I've been using the iPhone for a week now. For iPhone, I'd give the iPhone a maximum 2 days of battery life. And surprisingly, I'm really satisfied with that. Being a highly interactive and feature rich phone, iPhone is subjected to a heavy usage throughout the day. Playing music, videos, internet surfing, and the highly responsive touch screen forces the user to play with the phone along the day. So the battery drain is faster than any other phone.
iPhone comes with a dock connecter which has a USB cable. iPhone can be placed on the dock and the USB cable can be connected to a computer for battery charging or data transferring purposes. Apple also provides a handy plug base which is USB-to-230V convertor. So you can use it instead of a computer to charge the iPhone.

Bottom line : Virtusa doesn't allow to plug USB devices to computers!


The iPhones extendibility is limited only by it's hardware mentioned below). With the power of Unix at the back and MacOS at the front, and outstanding hardware components such as the accelerometer and Multi-touch screen, you have a computer platform with unique capabilities to develop your applications. So if you're an iPhone user, you'll never see the end of customizing your phone.

Bottom line : Only XGL is missing. (Maybe it'll come too!)


Ok, what's the catch ha? Here are the limitations of the iPhone which may effect many mobile phone users.
  • No 3G (only 2G+EDGE).
  • Camera has no zooming capability.
  • No flashlight.
  • No video recording software (yet).
  • Has no user serviceable components. The entire iPhone is sealed (including the battery).
Actually you won't mind these when you get to use it and see it's power. The most annoying limitation is:

  • Too attractive. You can't work on it in a public place without drawing other people's attention. It's really annoying.

Sri Lanka

Now pray I wouldn't loose this phone in the bus. Usage-wise it has a scratch-free screen and a PC-Magazine video shows that nothing happens if you toss it on a concrete floor. But who knows! So I'm going to get a casing for this. Probably with-in 2000 to 3000 rupees ;-)

Bottom line : iPhone casing costs nearly as much as my old phone!

Planing to buy?

It's really worth 400 dollars. But if you are going to buy from Sri Lanka, it'll take more than Rs. 65,000 which I think too much. So try to buy it directly from US. Believe me, it'll be a good deal.

Grand bottom line : I recommend an iPhone to anyone.