Monday, July 02, 2007

iPhone: SIM card works in cheap phone

This is a good:
Tada! The 6th Gen contract-free WiFi-enabled iPod - The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)

Removed activated SIM and placed into a cheap disposable AT&T cell phone. Worked fine. Was able to place calls. Good way to save your iPhone from danger on ski or bike trips.
Or to survive while you're having the iPhone battery replaced by your local back alley battery guy. A cheap backup phone makes lots of sense.

Update 7/3/07: Looking at the iPhones calling plans, and given the lack of any subsidy for the iPhone, it seems like a reasonable strategy is to:
  1. Switch to AT&T and get a subsidized cheapo phone.
  2. Switch to an iPhone and keep the cheapo phone for backup.
Of course one would want to confirm this with AT&T first, since you'd probably want to switch to Apple's plans.

Update 7/3/07: TidBits explains Apple's alternative to the 2nd phone, an iPhone rental program:

... Most people can't be without a phone for three working days or perhaps five or six over a long weekend. Apple has a deal for you: the Apple Service Phone, a $29 rental that lasts until a few days after your iPhone is repaired.

The rental phone has to be returned 7 days after you receive a repaired phone back by shipping service, 5 days after your phone is ready for pickup at an Apple Store, or 10 days after its sent if you fail to sent your broken iPhone in at all. There's an extra $50 charge if you return it late, and a $600 reserve placed on your credit card that's turned into a charge if you fail to return it within 10 days of the end of the loan.

The SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) that's used to identify your account uniquely can be removed from the iPhone by poking a paperclip tip into a hole at the top of the iPhone. That SIM can be swapped into the rental phone before you send back your own model for repair. If you send the SIM card in when you return a rental phone, you have to contact AT&T to get a new one.

So you drop your phone off at the Apple Store and pick up a rental until it comes back. It's a significant nuisance and cost, but such is the price of a cell phone that doesn't suck.


Mike said...

"It's a significant nuisance and cost, but such is the price of a cell phone that doesn't suck."

Define not sucking.

Don't get me wrong, I want an iPhone as much as anyone, but it's for the cool factor, not because it's a better phone.

My $30 Nokia probably works as a phone just as good as the iPhone. I think the Nokia doesn't suck because when the battery goes, I buy a new one for a few bucks and pop it in myself. I can literally replace my Nokia for what it costs to borrow an iPhone from Apple for 7 days.

No, instead I would say, "It's a significant nuisance and cost, but such is the price of a cell phone that's really frig'in cool!"

JGF said...

Your Nokia wasn't $30 of course, the cost of the phone was divided between an up front cost and a distributed cost throughout the contract.

Without a contract the Nokia probably costs $150, and the iPhone adjusted cost would be $650.

You're right about the geek-speak meaning of "phone". We mean "mind extension/communication" device, our vision of what a phone should be.

In terms of a match to that fuzzy ideal, the iPhone and the long dead very unsuccessful PalmOS Samsung i500 are comparable devices. The iPhone is a far better web/messaging client, the i500 a far better PDA and (for now) even a better computing platform (since the iPhone is locked and the base apps are very inadequate and incomplete).

The i500 "didn't suck", it was great. Alas, it's dead, and so is Palm (insert deep sigh).

Microsoft's phones have been awful to date, and anyway I can't use them since they don't work well with OS X.

So for me the iPhone is the phone that "sucks less".

See my posts on the RAZR for a contrary example.