Appendix A. Setup and Signup

In its first year of existence, the iPhone was remarkable (among other ways) in that you didn’t activate it (sign up for service) in the cellphone store, with a salesperson breathing down your neck. You did it at home, on your computer, in iTunes, where you could take all the time you needed to read about the plans and choose the one you wanted.

That all changed with the iPhone 3G in 2008. These days, you sign up in the cellphone store, with a salesperson breathing down your neck.

This appendix covers the AT&T plans you might sign up for, plus how to upgrade an original iPhone’s software to the 3.0 version.


Activation means signing up for a plan, turning on the service, and either finding out your new phone number or transferring your old number to the iPhone.

A non-activated iPhone isn’t altogether useless. It’s still a very nice iPod—in fact, it’s pretty much an iPod Touch. But without a two-year AT&T contract, the iPhone costs $600 or $700 (for the 16- and 32-gig 3GS models)—so if an iPod Touch is what you want, then you should just buy an iPod Touch and save a lot of money.


Some wily fans have realized that they can buy the iPhone for $200, sign up for service, then cancel and pay the $175 early-termination fee. The result: a no-service, liberated phone for $375 total. (That’s still more expensive than an iPod Touch, though. And you never know when that loophole might get closed.)

Incidentally, the iPhone is a locked GSM phone, meaning that ...

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