updated 02:50 pm EDT, Sun May 11, 2008
3G on/off option on iPhone
Apple's latest iPhone 2 beta 5 firmware shows that the company will allow users to turn off access to the faster "3G" network to preserve battery life. The 3G network, while offering faster download speeds, consumes more power and will likely reduce battery life significantly. The screenshot surfaced on an independent blog, along with code references that support the screenshot from the latest firmware (only available to a select group of developers): "Note that this is not fake, it is in the beta 5 .ipsw, but will normally not show up on an EDGE iPhone. Turning 3G on will just crash the phone if you use an EDGE phone. If you do not believe me, then decrypt the beta5 rootfs dmg, and see for yourself in /Applications/Preferences.app/Network.plist ," the developer wrote in his post.
The new preference is available as part of the latest firmware, but is reportedly hidden; however, the hacker writing on Chronic Productions blog says he enabled it to view the preference.
While it appears that Apple will be using common firmware/software for both the current model iPhones and any newer model, the 3G on/off option will only be available to those who purchase a "3G" iPhone, which is expected to be announced in early June at Apple's WWDC. Reports indicate that it will likely be available in the second half of June or early July.
Previous reports have indicated that the new iPhone 2.0 will offer the ability to search contacts and accept meeting invites, YouTube support within Safari, GPS navigation, and remote media control. Another report indicated that Apple may also offer "push" email services via .Mac, its set of online services.