iPhone 2.0: Direct From New Zealand!

July 10th, 2008

First of all, The Night Owl will never write a story about beta software that isn’t supposed to be distributed to the public. I won’t report on something acquired illegally either, because I don’t do that sort of thing. However, it is also true that the iPhone 3G and iPhone 2.0 software were both released around the world on a staggered rollout schedule, depending on your local time. So, for example, residents of, say, New Zealand, got theirs the day before customers in the U.S.A.

Of course, once the firmware update became available, you were readily able to locate a number of direct links, so you didn’t have to wait for it to arrive in your city. It’s all been well publicized, and I won’t tell you specifically where you might find your copy, as it’ll be available in your country by the time most of you read this article.

So for once I didn’t have to feel tempted to impersonate Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal or my old friend David Pogue of The New York Times to get an early look at something new from Apple. Or simply felt a little left out, because my skills at impersonating anyone are extremely limited. Even better, I didn’t have to violate any laws by using pirated software, and that makes me happy.

However, this update I installed wasn’t automatically located by clicking Check for Update in iTunes. Since I downloaded the file directly, I had to use the Option key shortcut when activating the Update function, which let me locate the file on my Mac’s hard drive.

In any case, I still did the iPhone 2.0 upgrade with not a little trepidation, fearing that, perhaps, using a firmware upgrade designated for another country might do my iPhone in and create problems. Happily, this is a world phone and that didn’t happen, although the default time zone was clearly way, way off. That oddity, however, was readily fixed.

Otherwise, the installation process, while far more lengthy than any 1.x version, was uneventful, and I didn’t babysit the process, other than to OK restoration of my previous settings and data.

The number of surface changes in iPhone 2.0 are fairly limited, actually, although some of them are quite significant. According to Apple’s site, which may be updated from time to time, the arrival of the App Store holds the most promise, because it means that you’ll be able to download and install hundreds or perhaps thousands of third-party applications to expand the scope of your iPhone.

Before I get to the other features, I did try a single application, AOL’s Instant Messenger, a free app that was first on the App Store list when I checked it after the firmware update. Download and setup was quick. I clicked the Free button and, on the next screen, Install. Within a few seconds, the telltale AIM icon was on my iPhone’s home page.

Now one of the concerns that have been voiced is the fact that application’s can’t run in the background on an iPhone, according to Apple’s strictly-enforced guidelines, because it would suck up huge chunks of battery power. And with a sealed battery, it’s not as if you can just change it.

However, as I moved back and forth through different applications and returned to AIM, it actually seemed as if I was still signed on. So I suppose it’s a matter of somehow suspending your connection to the AIM network when the application is quit, so you’re rapidly restored when you launch the application again. This is something that the programmers in our audience can better explain. Meantime, there will be a further update for the iPhone that will better tackle this dilemma in the fall.

One of the key features Apple touts for iPhone 2.0 is native support for Microsoft Exchange. This may not hold out much significance for most of you, but if you require seamless connections to your office’s Exchange server for email, events and so on, it’s extremely significant. It also makes the iPhone a powerful player in the enterprise, an area where it can really excel.

The other features don’t seem quite as outstanding. You can search your contacts, do a mass delete of your email, and view iWork and Microsoft PowerPoint attachments. You’ll also be able to rotate your iPhone with the Calculator app running, and have it turn into the scientific variety. As to MobileMe, well since it made a largely unflattering debut, because of constant outages, I’ll leave that for another article.

A lot of critics have already voiced concerns about the features that didn’t make the cut. You can’t, for example, do voice dialing natively, even though that singular feature is available on the cheapest cell phone with Bluetooth capability. You also cannot use the standard Cut, Copy and Paste functions that have been part of the Mac OS since Day One. Of course, doing the latter with a touch keypad my be a trifle complicated, and Apple wants the interface to be seamless.

I would look for some of these features to appear over time in future Apple updates. Meantime a third party is already touting a solution for voice dialing, but it’s not something I need. I use a car-based Bluetooth system that has its own voice capability, and it had no problems interfacing with iPhone 2.0.

Right now, however, this is just an early look at the upgrade. I expect that most everyone with the original iPhone will install the new firmware within the first week, and then we’ll know about any bugs, such as crashes or performance anomalies.

So far, however, things are rock stable, and I haven’t seen the return of those occasional browser crashes that afflicted my iPhone with the older firmware. However, frequent browsing could likely change that. Or not.

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9 Responses to “iPhone 2.0: Direct From New Zealand!”

  1. shane blyth says:

    So u popped over to Kiwi land why didnt you drop in and say hi Gene? (this is where u need smiley faces with rolling of the eyes)
    I am not too keen on spending $250 every month for 1 gb of data so I am sticking with my vi iphone. Seems to me the really big thing is the app store and it looks good from what I have seen.
    Glad you dont use pirated stuff too. You probably havnt heard the 2.0 firmware has been broken already. Enjoy 2.0 I am waiting a little bit to see how it all goes. Dont like firmware updates on iPhones too much. My life is just about stored on there and dont want hickups.
    I was keen on trying out Mobileme. I wanted an email address like [email protected] or [email protected] It seems mobileme is having alot of hassles to get it off the ground.
    Patience is obviously i am going to need.


  2. You will need tons of patience. The launch of MobileMe has been a total disaster.

    Next time I come to Kiwi, I hope it won’t be a virtual voyage. 😀


  3. shane blyth says:

    mobile me took my credit card number and i cant login at all and it was only a trial.. never needed credit card b4 for .mac trial
    Look up Queenstown New Zealand on the web to see the place i live 16000 locals and 1 million plus a year tourists!

    amazing looking place

  4. PCH says:

    So how come your previously unlocked iphone wasnt relocked putting the 2.0 firmware on – how did you get around that ?

  5. So how come your previously unlocked iphone wasnt relocked putting the 2.0 firmware on – how did you get around that ?

    My iPhone has never been unlocked. It has always been “street legal,” as someone once said. 😀


  6. Viswakarma says:

    Shane Blyth’s Queenstown, NZ is a beautiful place. I and my spouse were there during the summer (NZ) of 2006. We flew into Aukland and flew out from Queenstown. We drove the entire length of NZ (from northern tip of North Island to the southern tip of South Island) in three weeks. One of the most civilized and tourist-friendly countries that we ever visited. The humor of the traffic signs on the highways is something we in the US should emulate. Hope to go back again in the near future.

  7. shane blyth says:

    Thanks Viswakarma glad u had a pleasant stay. Yes we are not very big 4 million in fact.
    We have funny road signs? (sorry just my dry sense of humor)
    Its not a bad spot to live.
    Except for Vodafone screwing us totally with the worlds worst iPhone 3g deal
    $349 for 16gb Phone and 1 gb data a month costs $250 per month!
    Insane Can you imagine pay $6000 for 24gb of data over your phone network!
    I good thing a couple of local guys have an iphone app out called Telegram which is in the 2nd most popular downloads spot on the app store. They also did Twinkle but under contract to someone else and a few others have “stolen” there idea of location based Twitter iphone client with postable photos. Very handy when u are on a trip just twitter what u are up to snap it on the iphone and push send.

  8. plooper says:

    So how come your previously unlocked iphone wasnt relocked putting the 2.0 firmware on – how did you get around that ?

    My iPhone has never been unlocked. It has always been “street legal,” as someone once said. 😀


    yeah he does have a point

  9. shane blyth says:

    we all now know the v1 of the ipone hardware running version 2.0 software has an easy unlock but the 3g iphone has no way to uploack it or maybe we should use the term activate.
    My V1 was bought in America so needed unlocking as it was not available in New Zeland.
    Now that the 3g iPhone is available in NZ the local carrier (we only have one that uses sim cards) wont allow us version one hardware people to go legit. Isnt that just silly! so if u upgrade to 2.0 and get app store access u have to unlock the phone. Vodafone are just plain stupid here. They have a monopoly and charge a fortune but wont let the 5000 Kiwis who bought in the original iphone (based on their figures) activate now they have plans for them. 5000 iphones in a country of only 3.5 million people is a few isnt it when you consider they had to be bought it outside the eco system for people to get them.

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