Tag: iPhone

One place where Apple is blowing Google/Android out of the water

With the recent iPhone 5 release we are seeing quite a few comparisons between Apple and Google, Samsung, Nokia among others. All the technical specs aside, there is one thing where Apple is literally blowing all the other competition out of the water. And that is, with their control over the cellphone providers (AT&T, Verizon, etc.). Let me explain what I mean.

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Cannot unlock iPhone: baseband 05.11.07, bootloader >05.09 (e.g. 06.04)

2009-11-03, update: GeoHot released the unlock for baseband 05.11.07! Check it out.

Recently a friend purchased an iPhone off of craigslist that he wanted to unlock for use with a different carrier. The phone was running iPhone OS 3.1, which the dev team has released a jailbreak for. Unfortunately, what he didn’t know was that the boot loader (or bootloader) version mattered a lot 🙂

He wanted a good, clean unit, and this was a newly refurbished one, jailbroken, very clean, no scratches, and 0 minute usage. He thought all he had to do was install ultrasn0w and he would be good to go. Well, he tried, but no luck. After a few tries he brought it to me and I started my research. Apparently, because it is a newly refurbished unit, it had the latest version of everything: iPhone 3.1 (seller might have upgraded it), latest baseband, and latest boot loader. Here is what my research turned up.

  1. Baseband 05.11.07 cannot be unlocked at the time of this post (October 2nd, 2009).
  2. You can downgrade baseband 05.11.07, but only if the boot loader is version 05.08 or older. In this case the easiest solution is to use fuzzyband downgrader.
  3. If you have baseband 05.11.07 and a boot loader newer than 05.08 then, unfortunately, you are out of luck because you cannot unlock your iPhone.

If you are buying an iPhone for use with a carrier other than AT&T then make sure that your device can be unlocked. Also, be careful once you do get the new, compatible iPhone because upgrading to iPhone OS 3.1 using the official ipsw will upgrade the baseband! and possibly the boot loader; you will be stuck without an unlock! (Hopefully you are not reading this post after the fact :|)

The easiest way to check the boot loader and baseband versions is to install Fuzzyband using Cydia. Do this before the purchase. You want a boot loader that is 05.08 or older, and a baseband that is 05.11.07 or older (if it is 05.11.07 then you will have to downgrade to an older version, which is possible assuming that the boot loader version is correct).

What if you have an “un-unlockable” iPhone?

Basically, you need an AT&T subscriber 🙂 Here are a few (realistic!) possibilities.

  1. The cleanest option is to sell it to someone who is an AT&T subscriber. There are AT&T subscribers looking for iPhones. My guess is that it is because they don’t want to extend their contract.
  2. A rare case would be an AT&T subscriber with an unlockable iPhone looking for an iPhone for a family member who is not on AT&T. In this case they can unlock their phone and give it to the family member, and use the new device themselves (on AT&T).
  3. Swap it with an AT&T subscriber who is using an unlockable iPhone. You will have to give them some incentive to do this though, e.g. if your iPhone is newer, cleaner than theirs, or maybe offer coffee, lunch, etc. 🙂

Apple iPhone or the Palm Pre? Maybe the HTC Hero (T-Mobile MyTouch)?

I have been using the HTC Tytn for almost two years and my contract with my current carrier, T-mobile, expired in December. At the time the main options that I was considering were the Apple iPhone, T-mobile G1 or the HTC Touch Diamond. The HTC Touch phones run Windows Mobile (WinMo) and I wasn’t particularly excited because I have been using a WinMo 6 phone for a while. It gets the job done, but isn’t pretty or “finger-friendly.” The G1’s operating system was new, but the hardware wasn’t particularly exciting. Just when I was starting to seriously explore the iPhone, Palm announced the Pre. Looking at the initial videos of the Pre I decided to wait for it. Well, finally the Pre has been out for a month and it is about time for me to decide.

Palm Pre iPhone 3GS

Here is what I am looking for in my next phone…

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