My iPhone 3GS repair

As my iPhone 3GS slipped out of my hands on Sunday and hit the gravel, I was prepared to shell out whatever necessary to replace it. It seemed like the perfect justification to get an iPhone 4S. However, as I am currently on parental leave, I cannot really afford it. In addition, I have my doubts about the 4S and prefer to hold out for iPhone 5, if possible. Thirdly, iPhone 4S will not be available to me until October 28 anyway. Therefore I looked into repairing the screen. After giving it some thought, I decided to try the repair myself (and save even more money). I followed the guide on howcast and it was excellent.

Note that I do not know anything about iPhone repairing. If you chose to follow my comments, do it at your own risk.

  1. As the image shows, the screen was severely cracked. The suction cup method did not work for me. I found another video where a guy failed to open the phone using the suction cup method while stating that “that’s a first”. Apparently, this is not very common. He did not show how he managed to open the phone. I used two small slotted screwdrivers to pry it open, close to the home button. Later I learned that this may have damaged the frame a bit (which you will need intact), but it wasn’t so bad that the repair failed.
  2. Getting the LCD off by pulling the circle corner did not work for me. To get the screen off the frame, I had to separate the metal parts (which are kept together by the six screws) somewhat using a small slotted screwdriver and then pull out. This did not appear to damage my LCD, but I wasn’t anywhere near the surface of the screen either.
  3. Getting the glass off the frame proved to be tedious work. It took over an hour because I had to heat it several times in order to get it all off. Note that there are components under the glass that you probably can damage if you hack away too hard.
  4. Before attaching the new glass, check for splinters of glass under the home button. It does not appear to be possible to remove this later.
  5. Assembling was easy and fun. The only problem was that the digitizer cable did not stay in place. This forced me to re-open the phone several times (using the suction cup method) and re-attach the cable, but it still would not stay in place. Finally, I put a piece of folded paper on top of the digitizer cable to hold it in place.

After completing my repair, I ran a couple of tests to verify that all sensors were working and, to my amazement, everything worked flawlessly. My iPhone is as good as new! No point in showing a picture of it, because it looks exactly like any other iPhone 3GS.

iPhone 4S – to buy or not to buy

When Apple unveiled iPhone 4S on tuesday, I didn’t feel the same immediate need to buy as I did the first time the iPhone was released. Can I convince myself that I need this phone? I am ready to buy, but what am I really getting for my money?

Faster processor and new camera

Speed is always nice, but I own the 3GS, and so does a lot of other people. I could simply buy the iPhone 4 and still get a faster phone with a better camera. It wouldn’t be as fast or as good as on iPhone 4S, but it wouldn’t be as pricey either. It’s a selling point, sure, but is it enough to make me spend the extra cash?

World phone?

For those who live outside the U.S. that claim is almost a slap in the face. Adding support for an old technology that is only used in the U.S. instead of looking forward does not seem like a typical move from Apple. They should have added NFC instead.

Dual antennas

Better reception is undoubtly a good thing, but since it does not exactly take a genius to add a second antenna, it makes me suspect that they just failed to fix the original problem with the iPhone 4 antenna. Regardless of the reason for this apparent quick fix, the most evident sign of the dual antennas will probably be more heat in my pocket and reduced battery life.

Siri

Siri sure makes a nice demo, but I doubt I would use it much, even if it worked perfectly. Since English is not my native language I will never be able to “get directions to Björnnäsvägen” using the English voice control. But more importantly, a Swedish version of Siri would probably have the same problems as the existing voice control: I will not be able to “play Divided By Night” and “call Örjan Åkesson” without changing the language of the voice control first. Let alone dictate a text message in Swedish and then an e-mail in English (as is frequently the case).

Design

I would have liked to see a new design without the glass back. It is not a major issue, but it does not help me spend the money either.

iOS 5 and iCloud

The new version of iOS and iCloud is probably the most exciting of the new features, but those will be available for existing iPhones as well.

Conclusion

I want to buy a new phone, but preferably not this one. I hope that I can restrain myself until iPhone 5 is released, but now that Steve is gone (RIP), who knows what’s going to happen. iPhone 5 may be even more disappointing.

iPhone wallpapers

The iPhone contains every piece of information you could possibly need, and in that sense it compares to the fictional encyclopedia The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Douglas Adams, the author of the books in which it appears, wrote this about it:

“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” is a wholly remarkable book. It’s already supplanted the Encyclopedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for two important reasons. First, it’s slightly cheaper; and secondly it has the words DON’T PANIC printed in large friendly letters on its cover.

Turn your iPhone into your own Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy using these wallpapers. The space below the logo can be used to insert contact information, in case you lose your phone.

[Edit October 13, 2011: High resolution versions of these are now available here.]