Apple iPhone

Upgrading the iPhone to Firmware 1.1.1

If you unlocked your phone using iPhoneSimFree’s commercial unlock, stop reading. This post because it won’t help you.

As I mentioned, I had held out on upgrading my iPhone to the 1.1.1 firmware. Early this week, all the necessary components came together to allow an unlocked iPhone 1.0.2 running third-party applications to be upgraded to firmware 1.1.1. The process is a little time consuming but it works. Not all of the third-party apps I was running have been upgraded to work on firmware 1.1.1 but most of them work quite well. A suggestion, before starting any of the upgrade processes, remove ALL of your third-party apps except the Term-vt100 and OpenSSH apps (you will want this as a backup for the upgrade process in case you can’t ssh into your iPhone). You may not be able to remove the BSD Subsystem because, Term-vt100 and OpenSSH need it. You will have to upgrade these manually after the upgrade to 1.1.1 because the Install App packages haven’t been properly updated.

Use the best guide to upgrading from an iPhone that was unlocked using anySIM or iUnlock.

FYI, after upgrading, I have less than 30MB free when using the Installer app. Under 1.0.2 I had around 90MB free. I’m not sure if this is dead space because I didn’t uninstall apps prior to the upgrade or the available space shrunk because Apple used it.


Screenshot of iPhone running 1.1.1
Apple iPhone

Quit the iPhone Whining!

Since Apple release firmware 1.1.1 for the iPhone, there’s been non-stop commentary and whining about the unlocked iPhones being relocked and third-party apps being disabled. Quit Whining! Apple wasn’t going to sit idly by. They warned us. Why go out and upgrade to 1.1.1 when Apple specifically said the phones could be bricked? If you did the upgrade and your phone was bricked, you have no right to whine. It comes with the territory. Does it suck that Apple is taking a page right out of Mr. Softie’s playbook? Absolutely! I would even say that it’s stupid of Apple to alienate so many developers and users but what do I know. People are still buying iPhones and Apple’s stock is setting new records, presumably based on iPhone sales in the US, anticipated sales in the UK and Germany, and the pending release of OS X Leopard.

There are a few features that firmware 1.1.1 has that are attractive but using my iPhone is more attractive that the latest firmware.

I applaud everyone in the community that risked bricking their iPhones for the sake of hacking them open again and letting the rest of us use the iPhone for things other than what Apple says. Take a look at here for more info on 1.1.1 hacking progress. BTW, if you’re using an unlocked iPhone DO NOT think of upgrading to 1.1.1 for a while.

UPDATE: 11th October, 2007
Well, jailbreak and activation for 1.1.1 is now possible, though it does require some technical knowledge since no GUIs are available right now. Also, iphoneSimFree has announced that their non-free IPSF software will unlock 1.1.1 firmware iPhones.

For those of us who have used the iUnlock or anySIM to unlock our 1.0.2 phones, here are some good instructions to upgrade to firmware 1.1.1 and use the IPSF unlock method, if inclined to purchase a license.

Apple iPhone

Another iPhone Review

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to blog. Not because I haven’t had things to write about but because of a lack of time. We’re finally back in NY and it’s been great. One of the best things about being back is the ability to check out the latest gadgets, including the Apple iPhone. While I was in India, I kept saying that I would wait for the 2nd generation iPhone but once I saw it at the Apple Store, I couldn’t resist.

iPhone in Crystal Case with lots of dust iPhone in Crystal Case

I picked up the iPhone 2 days before Steve Jobs announced the $200 price drop. I’ve had the iPhone for almost a month now and there are things I really like about it. But there are things that I don’t. I’ll start off by saying that it’s a great phone/multimedia toy, especially for v1.0. However, there are some things that I’ve just come to expect out of high end phones, like my Nokia E61.

  • Top 10 Reasons to Buy An iPhone
    1. Gorgeous Screen, even in direct sunlight
    2. Incredibly simple to use. Even my 2 yr old has figured out how to look at pictures and play music on the iPhone
    3. Small, Kompact, Light (yes, I do miss my old 1999 SLKP1010003_2)
    4. Functions well as a basic mobile phone and functions very well as an iPod
    5. It takes some getting used to but the touch keyboard works really well and allows for easy one hand typing while you’re looking at the screen
    6. Very good sound quality through the supplied headphones
    7. Portrait and Landscape modes are very cool when surfing, using the iPod, and viewing pictures!! Videos only run in landscape mode which is perfect
    8. Decent speakerphone. Any volume issues should have been addressed by firmware 1.1.1
    9. Built-in wecam picture quality is decent. Here’s a picture taken with my iPhone in NYC during UN Week
    10. Holds incredible potential for third-party applications running on the iPhone and on the Web – If Apple opens the iPhone up for development on the device
  • Top 14 Reasons NOT to Buy An iPhone
    1. Firmware 1.1.1
    2. Bluetooth is completely crippled for anything other than using a headset. However, there is no voice dialing available using a Bluetooth headset (haven’t most bluetooth enabled phones offered voice dialing for the last 3 to 5 years?)
    3. Touch keyboard requires you to constantly look at the screen, even when you just want to skip to the next song or take a self-portrait. Something that you don’t have to do on traditional iPods. WARNING: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CHANGE SONGS WHILE DRIVING
    4. Making calling card calls with the iPhone is quite a pain. With many cell phones, including the Nokia E61, you are able to scroll through the addressbook, select a number to call and add another number to call before or after dialing the first selected number. The Nokia E61 does this with incredible ease.
    5. Battery life is miserable – even with modest Wifi, Cellular, and iPod usage
    6. No video camera capabilities
    7. No simple conversion applications like Kilograms to Pounds, or Currency conversion or Litres to Gallons, etc.
    8. No built-in chat application. Surprising that Apple won’t support iChat on the iPhone but I believe they won’t release iChat anytime soon because providers like AT&T make money by charging customers to use SMS to send messages to IM platforms like Yahoo Instant Messenger
    9. Lack of an open platform for third-party applications. Apple has made it clear with version 1.1.1 of the firmware that it will fight to keep all third-party apps off the iPhone along with fighting any unlocking procedures (Engadget is just one of the “gadget blogs” to carry info on the iPhone 1.1.1 firmware fiasco)
    10. Most 2.5mm head phones will not work on the iPhone. You will need to get a special converter from Apple if you plan on using any other headphones with the iPhone
    11. If you’re thinking about custom ringtones, it’s not as easy as uploading a mp3 file to the phone and selecting it from your ringtone list. There are hacks and tools like iToner that will allow you to pick an mp3 file and load it onto the iPhone. However, all these hacks and tools do not work with firmware 1.1.1. Besides that, why on earth would I want to an additional $.99 to put a ringtone on my phone? Why can’t I just create my own ringtone and upload it to the iPhone just like most other modern phones (even many sub $100 phones allow this capability)?
    12. Many iPod accessories don’t work very well with the iPhone but things like the Griffin iTrip will work if you just wrap some tin foil around the edge connected to the iPhone and don’t put the iPhone into airplane mode
    13. No “Profiles” on the iPhone that allow me to set different ringing options. On my E61, I have a default profile that rings and vibrates. I also have a “Silent” profile that turns off all phone and alert tones and doesn’t vibrate either. Then I use a “Meeting” profile that turns off all rings and alerts but vibrates to let me know a call is coming in. Pretty standard requirement for today’s cell phones. Why Apple overlooked something so simple but important, who knows. Maybe they were too busy trying to lock down the OS from third-party applications

My primary phone is the iPhone. However, at times, I might switch back to my Nokia E61 if I know I will need to do some serious typing, or any sort of spreadsheet editing, or word processing while on the road.

If you’ve got some extra cash you want to use to treat yourself to a new toy or just don’t want to carry around a phone and iPod all the time, pick up an iPhone. If you want a serious business data device/phone, stick with a Nokia E series phone or a Blackberry.

If you like to hack away at your phones or if you need unlocked phones because you’re frequently overseas, don’t upgrade to firmware 1.1.1. For me, 1.02 of the firmware will be fine for the foreseeable future, if not for as long as I own the iPhone.

BTW, the iPhone is known not to work with Linux under an version of the firmware so don’t plan on synching your iPhone music library with Rhythmbox or GTKPod.