Last year, I upgraded my 1st generation iPhone to the new iPhone GS. What a BIG improvement!
Despite all the griping in the news about AT&T’s overloaded 3G network and all the resulting user frustration, that usually hasn’t been a real problem for me. But, then, I don’t live in New York or San Francisco.
The new iPhone has a processor that is twice as fast as the original iPhone. It also moves from AT&T’s underpowered Edge wireless data network to their much more powerful 3G data network. But, if the 3G network isn’t available, the iPhone will still fall back to the Edge network (a.k.a. "sucking the Internet through a straw") .
The faster processor plus the faster data access means that web pages and email really do show up quickly all the time, and not just when I’m connected via my home network’s wireless router.
So, what happened to the old iPhone?
When I bought the original iPhone, it was totally useless until you installed Apple’s iTunes on your computer and connected the iPhone to iTunes. At that point, the only choice was to sign up for two years of phone service and sync to iTunes. Once I did that, the iPhone was fully functional.
Based on that experience, when I deactivated the phone service (transferred it to the new iPhone GS), I expected the original iPhone to become a non-working spare. After all, that’s what happens to all the old cell phones, too.
No, that’s not what happened — not at all.
Once the phone service was discontinued for that device, it shows "No Service" instead of showing the signal strength bars.
But, except for the phone aspect, it works just like it did when it had phone service — the iPhone didn’t die!
Effectively, I now have an iTouch without having to spend $250 to buy one.
It has Internet access via 802.11b/g wireless routers for web browsing and email, it functions as an iTouch for music and videos (just like an iPod), it functions as an iTouch for iPhone/iTouch apps. (Of course, if those apps require Internet access, they only work though wireless routers.)
So, I was very pleasantly surprised that my old iPhone retains so much functionality.