Interview: cracked iPhone working in New Zealand

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Monday, September 3, 2007

The unlocked Apple iPhone working on Vodafone New Zealand's network.
Image: John Ballinger..

Freelance journalist Gabriel Pollard interviewed John Ballinger who has what is believed to be the first unlocked iPhone working in New Zealand on the Vodafone New Zealand GSM network.

Ballinger, director of Bluespark Ltd., managed to unlock the iPhone without having to solder anything. This is unlike George Hotz, the first person to unlock the iPhone, who had to by using a different method involving soldering.

Ballinger followed the steps on how to unlock it on a website and had watched a few videos the day before. He described the website, despite containing a few spelling mistakes, as "really good". He says that the spelling mistakes are noticeable and can result in file-not-found errors. "A few things were guess work."

It took Ballinger around four to five hours to complete all necessary steps. However, half of this time was trying to get the case of the iPhone open. "Getting the case open is amazingly difficult," he said. He also didn't want to scratch the case, unlike others, so he used plastic tools "used to replace iPod batteries that worked okay."

He also recommends having two people on this job as this will help when it comes to shorting a circuit.

After that, all you have to do is run some software, according to Ballinger. "The software part is pretty simple, follow the instructions and it could be made even easier if all the files were in one download.

"Anyone could do this."

However, he cannot use either the built-in YouTube application or the email applications as it will not connect to the Post Office Protocol. "I can use all of them via the web browser but none by the inbuilt iPhone applications... but I am sure there will be an app you can install that will fix this or a new hack or it's just me." He can also only get the Internet if there is a Wi-Fi connection, as Vodafone NZ has 3G but no EDGE; additionally, Ballinger could not get the slower GPRS working.

"If there was a 3G phone then this phone would be amazing!" He says he "really really" does love the iPhone due to its small size, its quietness, and the fact that it does not get hot.

"[I] just love it."

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