Apple End-of-Life’s iPhone 3G, support ends at iOS 4.2.1

The iPhone 3G (or 2nd Generation model) was released July 11, 2008, followed a year later by the 3GS then in 2010 the iPhone 4 (GSM/CDMA versions to arrive in 2011). Rumour has it an iPhone 5 is in the works.

It’s amazing to me, though not so unusual for a cellphone, for support to go bye-bye after a few years. The solution of course, given by Apple and the cell phone companies is to fork out another $200 for an upgrade swap to a newer phone, of course for people like me, whose use of the phone is a bit unconventional, that’s not part of MY plan.

I’m not paying on a monthly contract anymore, my phone is one of the thousands if not millions of phones which are “carrier unlocked” meaning I can pop in a sim card from anyone and use their network, unlike normal iPhones which are specifically “locked” to a single carrier.

Most people are content with the iPhone’s operating system, which is loosely based on the Mac OS X operating system and now dubbed “iOS”. My phone is a dual-boot phone (also referred to as “jailbroken” as if using only Apple-approved specific apps and OS were putting the user in some sort of cellphone jail term.)

So, I run Android (under a Linux kernel) and iOS 3.1.2 on my iPhone. I will finally update it to the last official release of iOS, which is 4.2.1, today, and then never have iTunes touch the programming code any longer. Most people use iTunes to get their apps and updates or backups to their phone.

I happen to hate iTunes, I use other applications whenever possible. I like MP3′s, I don’t like using AAC files any more than I would want to be limited to using WMA files on a Windows machine. Sure, I could use OGG format files too but, most of my tunes are ripped to MP3 or encoded to MP3 because I like the way you can tag MP3 files more than AAC, and I like the MP3 format because it is the most prolific, I hate having to convert my MP3s to AACs (like for audiobooks, for example) but meh, that’s life.

What’s the purpose of this rant? Hmm, well, I don’t like the idea of Apple simply dropping support of the iPhone 3G just because it’s discontinued. That’s lame. Imagine buying a computer, then 3 years later you can’t get anyone to support it or work on it or get new software for it.

Okay, sure, let’s say you bought a laptop and it came with WIndows XP. Windows XP SP3 was the final release, but people still run it on their PC’s, and most people who ran XP can upgrade the OS to Windows Vista or Windows 7. Heck, most people who bought Macs in 2008 can upgrade it to Snow Leopard and will likely be able to run the new OS X Lion when it comes out.

So, in regards to the iPhone, it came originally with a version of iPhone OS 3.0 or some such version, which later, through a series of many updates, we arrive at the highly unstable IOS 4.0, okay, yes it has gotten a few bugs worked out and we arrive today at IOS 4.2.1, the last, final, version of the official operating system for the iPhone 3G.

There’s something else though, we’re not just talking about the OS running on the device, we are talking about the device itself. People still make PCs, Apple still sells Macintosh computers, but the iPhone 3G is now discontinued.

One reason I ran a jailbroken unlocked iPhone was to get the use of the many non-Apple apps and features of the iPhone available through 3rd party repositories such as Cydia and BigBoss, which you can download lots of nifty themes, apps, and goodies for your iPhone. That, and the ability to dual-boot the device and run Android on it, well that opens me up to using most of the available Android apps, woo hoo! I have nothing against Apple or the iTunes app store, I won’t rant about my dis-satisfaction or big-brother aspects of locking people into a specific telephone carrier. I don’t even use my iPhone as a phone anymore, it’s more so a glorified iPod Touch really, I use WiFi and apps and the camera to shoot still photos and videos (yes, you CAN do video on an iPhone 3G as many of my and other people’s YouTube uploads attest!) but really I mainly use the iPhone to listen to audiobooks, its a great device for that, hehe.

Ah well, I do think the iPhone 4 is a nifty piece of tech but I’m not forking out $200 or whatever they are asking for it, I am happy with my stupid old out-dated iPhone 3G because it meets my needs. Sure, I don’t get the retina display or HD video recording or 2-way facetime, but I don’t have a need for any of those features at the moment either :)

I am sad Apple has discontinued the product, has valid commercial reasons for not making backwards compatible iOS for older devices, and therewith support for it, blah blah blah.

I am a bit miffed that many of the apps on the iTunes app store require you to be running newer iOS, but oh well, there’s progress for you. I mostly run my iPhone in airplane mode and don’t see advertising because there is nothing coming over data or wifi to serve said ads, however, there are many sloppy app programmers who can’t understand why people would be in airplane mode and thus their app crashes when it can’t fetch you their next ad. Try and run your iPhone in airplane mode and see how many apps you can use without a mobile data or internet connection. How tethered are YOU to your phone, in other words?

Everyone and their grandma has an iPhone nowadays, which is great in some ways and odd in other ways. Are they still cool to have? Yes. Just, not as cool as when they first came out.

Ah, guess I’ve ranted enough on that. Got comments, questions? There are a lot of iPhone 3G users out there complaining but you won’t find that on Apple’s discussion forums, because Apple likes to quietly delete negative feedback or rants such as this one, but you will find a lot of people all over the net who are whining about it. I’ve said my peace, I’ll continue to use my iPhone, but you can bet it’s going to be hacked and unlocked and untethered and jail broken and all sorts of mods that I can do to it, if Apple isn’t going to support it anymore, then Anarchy ensues and I just do whatever I want until the thing dies of extremely old age on me. :)