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Revenge of the iPhone 3G questions

CNET tackles more of your questions about the iPhone 3G.

Apple iPhone 3G Corinne Schulze/CNET Networks

Reader questions about the iPhone 3G continue to pour in, so I'll take another stab at answering them in a special edition of On Call. If you still have a query, check out my previous columns from last week or the week prior, my iPhone 3G FAQ, and CNET's iPhone 3G review.

Q: Will applications purchased from the App Store take up storage space?
- David

A: Applications absolutely will take up space in your iPhone 3G's memory. As such, your usable memory for videos and music will be affected not only by the number of saved applications, but also by your saved photos, videos, and contacts (to name a few).

Q: I have the first iPhone, which was hacked in Hong Kong. Do you think Apple will open the Bluetooth for File Transfer Profile (FTP)? I think not, but there should be a software for this.
- Malcolm

A: This is something Apple could do via a software update, but I think it's pretty unlikely. In my cynical view, Apple would rather have you transfer files via iTunes. That way, the company can control the experience.

Q: Thanks for the unbiased iPhone review. Currently I have a BlackBerry Pearl, but I am eligible for a new phone and I'm having trouble finding a good comparison between the iPhone 3G and the upcoming Blackberry Bold. Which one would you recommend? Also, do you know if you can sync podcasts through the iPhone, or does it have to be done through the desktop version of iTunes?

A: I'll take your last question first. Currently, you can sync podcasts only through the desktop versions of iTunes. I know this isn't the most ideal scenario, but it's what we have to do right now.

Since I haven't spent a whole lot of time with the BlackBerry Bold--its release date remains under wraps and we have yet to review it--I passed your question to our smartphone expert, Bonnie Cha. She had the following to say:

"Chris, it's difficult to give a definitive answer since we haven't done a hands-on review of the BlackBerry Bold, but given that you'll want a phone for personal use and Web browsing, I would say go with the iPhone. While BlackBerrys have come a long way in becoming more consumer friendly and "personal," it's still very much a business- and messaging-centric tool. The iPhone's Web are better, plus you get a pretty decent camera and plenty of third-party apps."

I hope that helps!

Q: I currently own the original iPhone. I know that Apple will soon be switching to their MobileMe service. Will this only be available on the new 3G iPhone, or can I use this on my existing iPhone?
- Ross

A: You'll be able to use MobileMe on the current iPhone with the 2.0 software update. But based on our initial impressions of MobileMe, I wouldn't be too eager to use it.

Q: I currently have the AT&T Tilt (which I am happy with), but I'm considering switching to the new iPhone. What are the main differences and is it worth the switch?
- Karen

A: I didn't review the Tilt but I know it's one of Bonnie Cha's favorite smartphones. Again, I yield to her expertise:

"Karen, there are a couple of major differences between the iPhone and the AT&T Tilt. First, they run on two different operating systems: Windows Mobile 6 for the Tilt and obviously, Apple OS X for the iPhone. You also get a tactile keyboard with the Tilt. As with the Bold, I would say the Tilt is definitely more business friendly, so if you need a smartphone for work and you've been happy with the Tilt so far, I don't see a need to switch."

Q: I want to get an iPhone, but the city where I plan to use it does not have 3G. There is EDGE coverage, but I have no way of getting the original iPhone, which would be fine me. If I want an iPhone, must I get a 3G iPhone, pay for 3G service and not be able to use it?
- Daniel

A: Though you no longer can buy the original iPhone new from AT&T or Apple, you might consider getting a used model. The handset won't be new, but you'll get full use out of it after you update the software. What's more, you can activate the handset via iTunes (and save yourself going to an AT&T store), and you can sign up for the cheaper monthly plan.

But, if you have you heart set on a new model, you will have to buy the iPhone 3G at its normal price and sign a standard contract, regardless of whether you use the 3G or not. As consolation, your city may get 3G in the near future (inquire with AT&T to make sure), but for the time being you will pay more than a bit of money for a cell phone that you won't fully utilize.

Q: I've seen a pretty long list of missing features on the iPhone 3G. Of all the items on your own wish list, which ones can't be fixed via a software/firmware update?
- Regi

A: You're quire correct, Regi, that the iPhone doesn't deliver a few features for which we were hoping. These include: Apple multimedia messaging, stereo Bluetooth, video recording, a landscape keyboard for messaging, cut and paste, voice dialing, and Flash support for the Web browser. Apple could add these features with an update, but both a removable memory card slot and (possibly) Haptics feedback would need a completely new device. But of all the possible features that Apple could add, those two are last on my list.

Q: I have a secondary phone on my AT&T account with a first generation iPhone. The primary account holder lives in a different state. Does the account holder need to be present when upgrading my iPhone to iPhone 3G?
- Ryan

A: I know that AT&T requires iPhone 3G buyers to be in the store at the time of purchase to sign the new contract. Of course, that means you'll have to be there, but I'm not sure if the primary account holder needs to be along as well. Since that person isn't buying the iPhone, I would say no. But since your purchase will result in changes to their plan, then I would say yes. I advise you to check with AT&T for confirmation.