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Apple iPhone Mobile

iPhone 2.0 WordPress and the Indian Government

This is my first post using the new WordPress App from the iTunes App Store. Pretty good so far and really easy to use.

So far the Indian government looks like it will stay in power. What does that mean for the Indo-US nuclear pact? It looks good. What does it mean for the Indian economy? More of the same once the initial euphoria of the government not falling wears off.

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Apple India iPhone Vodafone

Apple iPhone in India By Vodafone

According to Ars Technica, Vodafone will be launching the iPhone in India beating out Airtel. It’s not a surprise considering Vodafone already has deals with Apple in Europe. What remains to be seen is when will the iPhone be released, how much the iPhone will cost and whether it will be the rumored 3G iPhone.

There was a huge backlash against Mercedes Benz in the late 90’s for introducing old model E class cars in India as compared to the rest of the world. It took Mercedes some time but they realized that Indians want the latest of whatever the rest of the world is getting. That was a dozen years ago. With the amount of wealth recently created in India, a 3G Apple iPhone introduction in India will go a long way to placate people’s egos, knowing they have the latest and greatest.

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Airtel Apple Delhi India iPhone

Apple iPhone on Airtel India Minus GPRS

Well, I’ve been trying for almost a whole week to get Airtel‘s Unlimited GPRS service (or Mobile Office as it’s called on their site) setup. Unfortunately, all the SMS confirmation messages telling me that it is setup and will cost Rs. 499/month for unlimited usage were all bogus.

I’ve confirmed that even though my iPhone shows the “E” implying an EDGE/GPRS connection, the service isn’t really activated. I’ve used the new Airtel SIM card in my Apple iPhone (which is unsupported by Airtel) and also a Nokia E61 (which is supported). It doesn’t work on either phone. I then even tried to put the SIM into a USB EDGE/GPRS device and configure it on my Mac Mini but still no luck.

I believe Airtel’s setup process for GPRS is a manual one. That’s one of the reasons it will take 4 hours to setup the service. 4 Hours have turned into almost 144 hours and countless phone calls to both 121 (customer service) and 12118 (technical support). 12118 tells me that it’s not active and 121 sometimes tells me that it is active, other times they tell me they’ve put in a request to have it activated, and other times they’ve told me that it is active. The support on Airtel’s mobile desk is fairly horrendous as compared to their excellent service for their DSL and landline products.

In New Delhi, at least, you must send the following SMS to 121 from your Airtel phone:

STARTGPRS

I’ve heard that “AGPRS” also works but in my case, neither SMS messages nor telephone calls have actually gotten the service activated.

Once you receive a confirmation message, you can go into your settings and setup the APN as shown below:

Though, the confirmation messages haven’t helped me, it doesn’t have anything to do with the iPhone. It only has to do with Airtel’s inability to get the service fully activated. The process appears to be a two-part manual process and one service rep let it slip that only the first part has been done, hence, I’m getting the “E” on my iPhone but no actual service.

My only advice is to keep hounding them to get the service activated and, if possible, use an Airtel supported handset while asking them to activate the service. If you tell them you’re using an iPhone, their eyes will glaze over and you’ll get the ole heev-ho.

I’ll post updates as they become available.

Update: 29th April, 2008
Airtel was able to finally get it right. It took them 9 days and countless phone calls plus SMSes and a little bit of strong-arming to get them to put me on the phone with a floor supervisor but the supervisor finally got GPRS (Mobile Office) setup on my account. The access point name (APN) on my iPhone is set to airtelgprs.com. All I had to do was turn the iPhone off and back on to get it to work once the service was activated. I just hope some bonehead over there doesn’t turn the service off again …

Update: 5th May, 2008
Airtel has done it again and “automatically” disconnected my Mobile Office GPRS connection. They couldn’t give me any explanation except “the status is wrong”. Even after pressing the supervisor for an explanation, I got nothing. They’re telling me they will resolve the problem in 24 hours, an unacceptable amount of time for “automatically” disabling my service without any notice. As happy as I’ve been with Airtel’s DSL service, I am immensely disappointed with their mobile service. The incompetence continues ….

Update 2: 5th May, 2008
It took Airtel a little over 6 hours but Mobile Office GPRS is working again….for now.

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Apple iPhone SDK

iPhone SDK Is Available …. kinda!

Well, as expected, Steve Jobs & Co., released the much anticipated iPhone SDK. You should be able to download the iPhone SDK in a few hours. It appears, Apple didn’t put enough horsepower behind the servers hosting the iPhone SDK so the site is unavailable.

Highlights:

  • The iPhone SDK is Free to download
  • Intel based Mac required to run the SDK (Gotta figure out what to do with the PowerPC MacMini – perhaps an Ubuntu server?)
  • Costs $99 to join the Developer Program where Apple will give the developer a digital certificate and provide hosting for the app, and testing facilities
  • 70% of the proceeds of any app sold will go to the developer, 30% going to Apple to cover costs associated with credit card processing, hosting, etc.
  • A separate iPhone Enterprise Beta Program has been started
  • Kleiner Perkins has setup an iFund with $100 million to fund entrepreneurs developing groundbreaking applications on the Apple iPhone

From what I’ve seen online, the SDK looks to be very easy to use and very full featured. Not knowing how to program in Objective-C might be a problem but as soon as I can download a copy, we’ll see what can be done by a noob.

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Apple iPhone iPod Touch Jailbreak

iPhone and iPod Touch firmware 1.1.4

Apple has released the 1.1.4 firmware for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Apparently, 1.1.4 can be jailbroken using Zibri’s jailbreak tool. However, he is suggesting people wait until it is thoroughly tested for 1.1.4. There is currently no unlock for the 1.1.4 available but I would say, skip 1.1.4 as it appears to be a minor bug fix release, at this time anyway.

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