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Posted: 6/9/2009 6:00:41 PM EST
Hello all,
I am in the market for a new Cell Phone. I saw the reports on the "newer faster" iPhone 3GS.
http://www.apple.com/iphone/
I saw a pretty cool demo which showed a cool compass utility as well as GPS functions seen here:
http://reviews.cnet.com/smartphones/apple-iphone-3g-s/4505-6452_7-33674173.html?tag=smallCarouselArea.0

It takes video (okay i guess) and a few other new features. What seems to be of interest of this forum members would be the compass future and GPS functionality. I figure the compass feature probably functions just as well as the one on my Garmin 60Csx. I would imagine ( and have seen reviews ) that the actual GPS function would be "decent" and if compared to a stand alone unit such as your favorite Garmin or Magellin, it might be considered second rate. However for a device that you would probably carry with you on a daily basis, it seems like it could actually turn out to be pretty useful.

There are other new features that others might find of value, but what do you guys think about the new compass/GPS features? I know the iphone previously did have a GPS function, however I am new to the iPhone functions since I have never owned one. I currently looking for a new cell phone since my contract is up. To tell you the truth, I originally told my wife that I just wanted a simple cell phone. I didn't really even care for the fancy fold/slide models and didn't even consider a camera a real big seller since I probably only used the one on my current phone less then 5 times. It just seems this new Compass/GPS/Mapping feature could be useful...

Plus with the foldable/roll up solar panal chargers, this item could be useful even when the SHTF
Link Posted: 6/9/2009 6:02:48 PM EST
Keep in mind that the iPhone battery will not last a whole day under heavy use.
Link Posted: 6/9/2009 6:17:57 PM EST
I’ve got nothing against survival electronics, but the iPhone doesn’t strike me as a good choice. Personally my camp and survival phone is a simple, tough phone with a long battery life.
Keep in mind that the iphone isn’t very tough, and not the least bit water resistant; not something I’d want to have out while hiking.
Also its battery won’t last long if being used as a GPS.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think the battery is removable either.
Link Posted: 6/9/2009 7:15:43 PM EST
I have an iPhone 3G and like it very much, the 3GS is in another league however, basically a computer and more in the palm of your hand. Instant internet, hot links for weather reports, internet radio, ipod for audio and video, Goggle map, a new TomTom ap, camera capable of video, full e-mail functionality with unsurpassed ease of sending pictures and even audio, those are just some of the functions.

The battery is not removable, and can be drawn down with heavy use, especially of the 3G service but I don't have a problem getting a full day out of it. Using wifi gives far longer life and there are auxiliary batteries that unobtrusively piggy back on the phone to double the battery life. The iPhone is not perfect, but it is worlds better than anything else out there in my estimation. The phone is a marvel of elegant design, engineering, functionality and capability and I recommend it wholeheartedly, especially with the GS enhancements. It is a very useful tool that can make every day life easier and more productive.
Link Posted: 6/10/2009 1:38:58 AM EST
Thanks for all the replies so far. The major con is, yeah the battery may not last all day under prolonged use. BUT, if im gonna have a phone in my pocket anyway, it might as be one that has some pretty interesting features. I didn't know that it had AM/FM capabilities as mentioned before which is also useful if it came down to it.

Any other thoughts?
Link Posted: 6/10/2009 2:16:14 AM EST
Yeah, I've got another thought.

Just buy the damn phone if you want it. Do you choose toilet paper based on its "SHTF-readiness factor?"
Link Posted: 6/10/2009 2:46:26 AM EST
If the new 3GS' "GPS" is the same as my 3G it's triangulated on cell phone towers , not satellites.

No cell signal = no GPS
Link Posted: 6/10/2009 2:48:38 AM EST
sounds like the iphone 3gs is trying to be just like the blackberry bold that i have (e.g., w/ their push technology and gps). my phone has gps and it works well. my wife has a samsung something or other w/ gps and it is very apparent in phones that not all gpss are created equal. mine will track me walking out of the house and to our metal building, about 50' from the house, it'll even accurately track me walking around the metal building. my wife's phone, however, won't get you any closer than about 3000 meters to where you're at, ever. i can get two days of battery w/ my bold, w/ limited gps use.

i would never depend on a phone in a SHTF scenario for gps or compass. hell, they don't always work well as a phone when stuff goes sideways. we had a tornado blow through here in february and all of the cell lines were full in the area surrounding the tornado. i high tailed it out of work when the tornado turned toward my house, i was hitting redial the whole 20 minutes home, but never got through once. my wife was already for it, she'd opened up the door to our cellar and had a BOB sitting next to the door, checked the batteries in the flashlights and drilled the kids on climbing down the ladder into the cellar. luckily the tornado lifted about a few miles from our house. we weren't so lucky w/ the hail, however, it beat the hell out of the house and my truck.
Link Posted: 6/10/2009 3:05:33 AM EST
IPhone should be all you need. Sell me your guns.
Link Posted: 6/10/2009 4:27:22 AM EST
Originally Posted By eracer:
Yeah, I've got another thought.

Just buy the damn phone if you want it. Do you choose toilet paper based on its "SHTF-readiness factor?"


This....

People who trust technology don't understand technology.
Link Posted: 6/10/2009 5:14:28 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/10/2009 5:19:30 AM EST by Quarterbore]
I disagree with the majority in this thread... SHTF is NOT TEOTWAWKI and any smart phone (I use a Blackberry) is an increadable tool for SHTF. Mine has GPS, I can use it with Google Maps, I can browse the internet, I can e-mail, I can access files I store on there, I have games to keep kids entertained, it does a lot and it is something I have on me every day! I use it for everything including browsing ARFCOM...

One think to make sure of is that you have chargers with you and I like my blackberry as it uses mini-USB so I can charge it from my car, home, or computer as well as buy those emergency battery extenders that run off of AA batteries.

I think an iphone or any similarly capable phone (like the blackbery) is a very handy tool and it should not be your only option but I sure as hell would not be without it!


EDIT TO ADD - When the new iphone is available, I plan to replace my Blackberry too! I love my Blackberry but the extra capability of the new iPhone has me very interested! The arguments from people saying they don't see the value reminds me of the arguments from people in the 80s that didn't need a computer! Just because you have not yet exterienced the capability does not make the systems any less capable. These pocket sized computers are very increadable and like any tool it may not work all the time but when it is working it is worth it's weight in gold!
Link Posted: 6/10/2009 5:38:19 AM EST

Originally Posted By Quarterbore:
I disagree with the majority in this thread... SHTF is NOT TEOTWAWKI and any smart phone (I use a Blackberry) is an increadable tool for SHTF. Mine has GPS, I can use it with Google Maps, I can browse the internet, I can e-mail, I can access files I store on there, I have games to keep kids entertained, it does a lot and it is something I have on me every day! I use it for everything including browsing ARFCOM...

One think to make sure of is that you have chargers with you and I like my blackberry as it uses mini-USB so I can charge it from my car, home, or computer as well as buy those emergency battery extenders that run off of AA batteries.

I think an iphone or any similarly capable phone (like the blackbery) is a very handy tool and it should not be your only option but I sure as hell would not be without it!


EDIT TO ADD - When the new iphone is available, I plan to replace my Blackberry too! I love my Blackberry but the extra capability of the new iPhone has me very interested! The arguments from people saying they don't see the value reminds me of the arguments from people in the 80s that didn't need a computer! Just because you have not yet exterienced the capability does not make the systems any less capable. These pocket sized computers are very increadable and like any tool it may not work all the time but when it is working it is worth it's weight in gold!

The question is not whether to buy the phone for SHTF - after all, lots of phone do the same things the iPhone does. The question is whether to buy a solar panel to keep it running. You like the phone. SHTF is not a deciding reason to buy it. But if it makes you feel more prepared, then buy the phone. And don't forget a good supply of TP.
Link Posted: 6/10/2009 5:43:13 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/10/2009 5:44:18 AM EST by Quarterbore]
So, when SHTF you think someone's only chance for survival because they carry a computer with them is to have a good suply of toilet paper? May I suggest that with a good pocket computer I will be better able to find the toilet paper then someone that is less equiped thanks to the fact that I have a better tool in my pocket?

Huddle around the campfire and flash your $300 ultratech knife that can slice a car hood but I absolutely believe a capable smart phone is a better tool for the same investment plus it is a tool you use every day.
Link Posted: 6/10/2009 5:49:37 AM EST
Having been through a SHTF scenario - not TEOTWAWKI - I can tell you, that if you depend on the cell phone for communications you will be throwing it out the window within 10 minutes.

Even if the cell network is still up and running, you will be hard pressed to get through. Every other person with a cell phone will have had the same urge as you and will be calling whoever to tell them that they just lived through the earthquake/hurricane/tornado/whatever ... and the sites were never designed to handle all the phones in the cell making calls at the same time.

Secondly, if you need a GPS, get a GPS. Preferably one that uses AA batteries. That way, you can stop at the stop and rob and get more if you need to - if the battery dies on the phone, yes, you can charge it, but it's going to be a PITA.

Third, you're most likely aren't going to want to take video, or even stills, you're probably going to need to focus more on getting out of the immediate area, than documenting it for later. And if you're not, well, IMHO you are simply increasing the risk of becoming a casualty (part of the problem, not the solution)

Of course, this is simply my own opinion, after having been through a simple, not major SHTF situation (Nisqually earthquake). Ham radio for coms, and a map, compass and stand-alone GPS if you're in unfamiliar territory were all I really think you need. YMMV

Now if you want to buy the phone because it's cool, and you like it and there are a hundred other uses (or apps that can be downloaded to it) you can imagine for it in your everyday life, by all means, buy it! The economy needs all the help it can get.
Link Posted: 6/10/2009 6:00:09 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/10/2009 6:01:26 AM EST by Quarterbore]
SHTF comes in shades of grey... My brother went through a Home Invasion and for several days we bunkered down as we didn't know what was going on. My SIL and Nephew were both kidnaped and we didn't know what happened to them for over a full day. We use the internet to keep in touch and figure out as much as we could and at that time I only had a web enabled phone as opposed to what are really pocket computers.

Yes, in a 911 or Katrina event a cell phone may well not work.... SHTF is not always Katrina or 911 and pocket computers are an extremely powerful tool! Your SHTF could be a car accident, a home fire, a home invasion, broke down car, etc, etc.

My point is do not understimate the capability! If you have one when you need it you will be thankful but if you don't have it available then I guess you can polish your fancy knife and go slashing cars with it!
Link Posted: 6/10/2009 6:02:49 AM EST
Originally Posted By weptek911:
If the new 3GS' "GPS" is the same as my 3G it's triangulated on cell phone towers , not satellites.

No cell signal = no GPS


I have had GPS working on my I phone 3G with no cell service ..... ( the dot moves, but maps won't upload, making the whole thing pretty useless... but it works)
Link Posted: 6/10/2009 6:06:05 AM EST
Originally Posted By sprayandpray:
Originally Posted By weptek911:
If the new 3GS' "GPS" is the same as my 3G it's triangulated on cell phone towers , not satellites.

No cell signal = no GPS


I have had GPS working on my I phone 3G with no cell service ..... ( the dot moves, but maps won't upload, making the whole thing pretty useless... but it works)


Doesn't it give your coordinates? My Blackberry will show me my coordinates which I can then use with a map to get my actual location. I have done that hiking where I do not get a cell signal and I want to verify where we are at.

Link Posted: 6/10/2009 6:12:46 AM EST
Link Posted: 6/10/2009 6:18:53 AM EST

Originally Posted By Quarterbore:
SHTF comes in shades of grey... My brother went through a Home Invasion and for several days we bunkered down as we didn't know what was going on. My SIL and Nephew were both kidnaped and we didn't know what happened to them for over a full day. We use the internet to keep in touch and figure out as much as we could and at that time I only had a web enabled phone as opposed to what are really pocket computers.

Yes, in a 911 or Katrina event a cell phone may well not work.... SHTF is not always Katrina or 911 and pocket computers are an extremely powerful tool! Your SHTF could be a car accident, a home fire, a home invasion, broke down car, etc, etc.

My point is do not understimate the capability! If you have one when you need it you will be thankful but if you don't have it available then I guess you can polish your fancy knife and go slashing cars with it!

I guess the definition of SHTF is at the root of our difference in opinion here. In what I consider SHTF (and not a relatively minor inconvenience like a broken down car) I think my choice of cell phone is at the very bottom of my list of priorities. It's higher up on yours because you have an expanded definition of SHTF. That's cool.
Link Posted: 6/10/2009 6:33:16 AM EST
Personally I will never rely on something as fragile and temperamental as a cell phone. If I have it and it works, ok. But I don't see myself in a position where right before I die I say to myself "If only I had an iPhone"
Link Posted: 6/10/2009 6:35:41 AM EST
Originally Posted By eracer:
Do you choose toilet paper based on its "SHTF-readiness factor?"


Yes. Yes I do.
Link Posted: 6/10/2009 6:52:44 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/10/2009 6:55:40 AM EST by Quarterbore]
Originally Posted By eracer:
I guess the definition of SHTF is at the root of our difference in opinion here. In what I consider SHTF (and not a relatively minor inconvenience like a broken down car) I think my choice of cell phone is at the very bottom of my list of priorities. It's higher up on yours because you have an expanded definition of SHTF. That's cool.


It may also be a difference in our exposure. I travel all the time for work both domestically and internationally and I have been putting away my survival gear for long enough now that I don't have many gaps in my preps. I have my guns, ammo, knives, water, food, shelter, first aid, BOV, BOL, and plans worked out. The Blackberry is a tool I use on a daily basis to do my job so I have to have it even if I didn't consider it an excellent tool for SHTF. Just after using it for about a year to two years max I firmly believe it to be the ultimate electronic gadget!

As these smart phone/pocket PCs evolve, I predict everybody will have one and with the processor power these have I would not be surprised if Garmin, Tomtom, and others will have software that will do everything a hand held GPS does but do it inside your favorite mobile computer. There are many days I don't even need to go to a computer and I just browse the web, email, etc from my phone!

The only downside to an iphone, blackberry, etc is the high monthly cost for those that really don't need the unlimited data plans that you must have to use many of the features. You also need to live in a more urban area where you have good signal and you also get higher download speeds. Hey, they don't call the Blackberry a "Crackberry" for no reason and I am fully adicted to mine and those that are not likely have just not had one long enough to see what you can do with one!

Just my STRONG and honest oppinions...
Link Posted: 6/10/2009 6:59:35 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/10/2009 7:12:20 AM EST by Quarterbore]
Here is a topo solution for the iphone...

http://appshopper.com/navigation/itopomaps

Note - You can download the maps to your phone and then it works without cellular or WiFi signal! Pretty much what most GPS units do as near as I can tell and it is only $15 Mind you, I don't even have an iPhone but I will fix that when the new one is relased!

This one looks cool too...

http://appshopper.com/navigation/gps-kit

I want to learn to code for iphones!
Link Posted: 6/10/2009 7:30:39 AM EST

Originally Posted By Quarterbore:
Originally Posted By eracer:
I guess the definition of SHTF is at the root of our difference in opinion here. In what I consider SHTF (and not a relatively minor inconvenience like a broken down car) I think my choice of cell phone is at the very bottom of my list of priorities. It's higher up on yours because you have an expanded definition of SHTF. That's cool.


It may also be a difference in our exposure. I travel all the time for work both domestically and internationally and I have been putting away my survival gear for long enough now that I don't have many gaps in my preps. I have my guns, ammo, knives, water, food, shelter, first aid, BOV, BOL, and plans worked out. The Blackberry is a tool I use on a daily basis to do my job so I have to have it even if I didn't consider it an excellent tool for SHTF. Just after using it for about a year to two years max I firmly believe it to be the ultimate electronic gadget!

As these smart phone/pocket PCs evolve, I predict everybody will have one and with the processor power these have I would not be surprised if Garmin, Tomtom, and others will have software that will do everything a hand held GPS does but do it inside your favorite mobile computer. There are many days I don't even need to go to a computer and I just browse the web, email, etc from my phone!

The only downside to an iphone, blackberry, etc is the high monthly cost for those that really don't need the unlimited data plans that you must have to use many of the features. You also need to live in a more urban area where you have good signal and you also get higher download speeds. Hey, they don't call the Blackberry a "Crackberry" for no reason and I am fully adicted to mine and those that are not likely have just not had one long enough to see what you can do with one!

Just my STRONG and honest oppinions...

Wanna' sell me some ammo? I'm good on everything else...
Link Posted: 6/10/2009 7:54:19 AM EST
I do not have an iPhone, but a Motorola Q9i or something like that.

If shtf, I will not be relying on this device for comms. It opens pdf's, and word docs, and I have ham radio freq tables on it and such.

I plan on getting a 32gig card for it, and storing manuals, family documents and other such things and that is where it comes in for me. It will replace a laptop except for reporgramming my radios.

If I am not using it, the phone will be turned off, and if I feel that it is being bugged the battery will come out also.

StagPower
Link Posted: 6/11/2009 2:43:55 PM EST
My blackberry pearl has sold me on these little phones that can do so much.

But as mentioned you have to see how everything actually works and how well it works between each company to see what will fit your needs.

I went with the blackberry pearl because I mostly wanted a cell phone and something to tether my laptop to the net.

Now that I have seen how useful it is I could see going with one of the larger blackberrys in the future when I need to renew my contract.

I consider it perfect for everyday life and person shtf stuff where I am having issues but the rest of the world is functioning just fine.

I consider it a cell phone for major shtf stuff and that means I don't expect it to work but will give it a try to see if it can get a text message through or not.

As someone mentioned, the monthly bill can be high.

But my pearl replaced a land line, a usb verizon modem, a dial up internet connection, and a basic cell phone.

All those bills cost more per month than the blackberry bill costs me these days and I even pay for the tethering now since locally we got a much nicer connection than I originally had.

One thing I really like about my pearl is the battery pops out and there are extended run time batteries I think. This is still pretty new so my run time is currently pretty nice but when it starts lasting less and less time I plan to look into an extended life battery because playing around with it a lot will suck the battery down pretty quickly.

But as tj said, there are many options for charging it up.
Link Posted: 6/11/2009 3:22:45 PM EST
I don’t think the battery is removable either


Thats the biggest problem. I have a blackberry with a plastic case over so it can drop on the ground whatever, i also have 2 batteries. That phone does a whole lot also. I would probably search for other phones as far as a survival.
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 9:03:03 AM EST
Tag, I'm thinking about the new iPhone because it would be handy to remote in to my servers and stuff at work.
Link Posted: 6/13/2009 10:18:41 AM EST
[Last Edit: 6/13/2009 10:20:42 AM EST by monkeyman]
Cell phones in themselves have turned out to be pretty valuable during emergencies. Sure the towers can go down but they seem to be less vulnerable than regular phones. They are also easier for everyone to check in with than with regular phones. In addition I have found the text often gets through when voice doesn't over cell systems.

My point is that while they are working cell phones (and 3G and WiFi) are very handy to have in an emergency. Just don't put all your eggs in that basket. Make sure you keep your conventional stuff available as backups.

I don't own one but the advantage of an Iphone is that there are so many aftermarket products and apps for it. You can buy cases and adapters and battery backup systems and chargers galore.
Link Posted: 6/16/2009 4:05:10 PM EST
even during katrina text messages could often get through the diminished system when calls couldn't. i use a AT&T fuze and have found it to be invaluable. i also used the previous generations of the same device and they were very useful too. I used to work as a PI in the mid-atlantic region and when in the field alone, it's damn useful.

i also have so many charging options that i don't know which one to use! hand crank to laptop to car chargers.
Link Posted: 6/17/2009 10:03:10 AM EST

Originally Posted By weptek911:
If the new 3GS' "GPS" is the same as my 3G it's triangulated on cell phone towers , not satellites.

No cell signal = no GPS

That just isn't true. The 3G and 3GS both use a combination of GPS, Wi-Fi and cellular tower triangulation. The 3GS also has a built-in digital compass for direction.
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