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 existing iPhone’s software to iOS 4.
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 4 costs $600 or $700 (for the 16- and 32-gig models)—so if an iPod Touch is what you want, then you should just buy an iPod Touch and save a lot of money.
Incidentally, the iPhone is a locked GSM phone, meaning that it works only with an AT&T account. As of 2010, it won’t work with Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, or any other carrier, and you can’t insert the SIM card (Sleep Switch (On/Off)) from a non-AT&T phone and expect it to work.
Yes, hackers have succeeded in unlocking the iPhone so it can be used on other cell companies’ networks; their ...