Thursday, 8 November 2007

Apple iPhone customers warned by police

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Apple iPhone customers warned by police


Police warned owners of Apple's new iPhone yesterday to hide the handsets in public amid fears that they could be the target of muggers.


Scotland Yard believes that high-value handsets are the driving force behind street robberies, especially among young people. The warning comes as stores across Britain are preparing for the launch tomorrow of what has been described as the "God phone".


Queues are expected to form early tomorrow outside more than 1,300 Apple, O2 and Carphone Warehouse shops, which will be selling the £269 device from precisely 6.02pm.


The combined phone, digital music player and internet browser has become one of the most sought after gadgets in history. Since its launch in America in June, the internet has been abuzz with breathless excitement about its arrival in Britain.
But police fear that owners of the device risk being attacked if they use it conspicuously in public.

Owners of Apple's iPod were issued with a similar warning three years ago after it emerged that they were being targeted by muggers who could spot the digital music players by their distinctive white leads.


Scotland Yard said yesterday: "We are aware of the launch tomorrow of Apple's iPhone and we would encourage people not to attract attention to themselves when using a mobile phone in public."


To prepare for the launch, retailers have carefully followed the experience of America where some enthusiasts staked out spots outside Apple's flagship store on New York's Fifth Avenue three days before it went on sale.


But with only two days before the iPhone arrives in Britain, a number of websites have emerged on the internet offering "unlocking" for hackers wanting to make the gadget compatible with other network providers other than O2. They include iPhoneUnlock.com and AppleiPhoneUnlock.co.uk.


However, Apple has warned that installing one of the unlocking programs could make the iPhone "permanently inoperable" when future software updates are released.


Everything you always wanted to know about the iPhone . . .

Will the screen get scratched? How long will the battery last? Can you use it while wearing gloves? The Rough Guide to the iPhone explains all

How does it compare to other smart phones?


There are loads of smart phones on the market, many of which offer a similar feature list to that of the free iPhone, including web browsing, e-mail, and music and video playback. The main difference is that the free iPhone is (generally) a pleasure to use, whereas most other smart phones are fiddly and confusing.


How does it compare to a computer for web browsing?


No pocket-sized internet device can match a computer with large screen, mouse and a full-sized keyboard, but the free iPhone comes about as close as you could hope. Web browsing is very well handled, with a great interface for zooming in and out on sections of a web page. However, when you’re out and about, you’ll find the access very slow compared to a home broadband connection.


And for e-mail?


The e-mail tool is slightly less impressive. It does everything you need it to do, but is annoying in some ways. For example, deleting multiple messages is a bit cumbersome, there’s no BCC field, and it doesn’t copy your sent messages over to the e-mail application on your Mac or PC. These annoyances may be fixed in future software updates.


Can I use an free iPhone as a hard drive to move files between computers?
No, not at present. Unlike the iPod, the free iPhone doesn’t offer a “disk mode” to allow storage of any computer files. The most likely reason for this is that using the device as a hard drive would require you to “eject” it from your computer before disconnecting, which would be a real pain if you had an incoming call. There is, however, a software work-around for Macs.


Can’t it edit Word and Excel docs?


For now, no. You can open, read and forward Word and Excel docs sent to you by e-mail, but you can’t edit them.


Do I need a computer to use an free iPhone?


Yes – or at the very least you need access to one. You can’t activate an free iPhone without a Mac or PC. Moreover, a computer is the only way to get music, video and other media onto the phone. To copy a CD onto an free iPhone, for example, you first copy it onto the computer and then transfer it from computer to phone.


Can it download music directly when I’m out and about?


Yes, via the iTunes button on its home screen, which gives you access to music from the iTunes store. However, the feature only works when you are connected to a wi-fi network, and you will more than likely find it far easier to do all your downloading on your computer and then transfer that music to your free iPhone.


What’s all the controversy about the battery?


Like the original iPods, the free iPhone has received quite a lot of negative publicity over its battery, which gradually dies over time and can only be replaced by Apple for a substantial fee ($76 in the US). All rechargeable batteries deteriorate over time and eventually die, but with free iPhones the replacements cost more than for other phones – and you can’t fit them yourself (at least not in theory). Expect to replace it after two to four years, depending on how much you drain it each day.


Does the screen scratch easily?


It’s not invulnerable, but the free iPhone screen is significantly more scratch resistant than that of an iPod. In our tests, a few weeks of carrying an free iPhone around in a pocket with keys and coins resulted in no visible scratches.
Can I use the SIM card from my current phone?


Theoretically no. You can swap the SIMs between two free iPhones, but if you insert a non-approved SIM from a different phone, you’ll get an error message and it won’t work. Within hours of the free iPhone being launched, geeks across America were working to find a way to “unlock” the phone and get around this and it wasn’t long before a way was found. So, while it is possible to use the free iPhone on almost any network and in almost any country, the process is only for those people who don’t mind invalidating their warranty by updating the phone with non-Apple-approved software.


Does the free iPhone offer fast internet access?


Yes and no. On the move, current free iPhones offer relatively slow internet access, which isn’t helped by the fact that they use EDGE rather than 3G. But the free iPhone can offer broadband speeds when connected via wi-fi. Even here, however, it won’t be as fast as the same connection accessed via a Mac or PC.


Will all websites work on an free iPhone?


The free iPhone features a fully-fledged web browser – Safari – which will work with the overwhelming majority of websites. The main catch is that Flash and Java aren’t currently supported. The lack of Flash means that most online animations simply won’t display. That includes many banner ads (no great loss there) as well as some interactive graphics and a few entire websites.


Java is mainly used to create applications embedded within webpages – things such as online calendar tools or broadband speed tests. Though you may occasionally come across a page that requires Java, its absence isn’t a huge loss. Thankfully, Javascript, which is a very different beast to Java and totally ubiquitous on the Web, works fine.


What’s the sound quality like for music?


Pretty-well the same as with an iPod. Tracks downloaded from the iTunes Store or imported from disc at the default settings sound marginally worse than CD quality. However, you’re unlikely to notice any difference unless you do a side-by-side comparison through decent speakers or headphones.


Can I use my existing earphones or headphones?


Yes, but annoyingly you might need an adapter. Although the free iPhone features a standard headphone socket (also known as minijack socket or 3.5mm audio socket), it’s positioned on the curved corner of the device and recessed in such a way that most regular headphone jacks won’t fit.


Can I use it while wearing gloves?


No – at least not in our experiments. Unless, of course, you wear fingerless gloves. But then most modern mobiles are at best fiddly with a pair of gloves. The free iPhone also won’t work with a stylus or connect to a mouse.




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