iPhone 3.0 Software: A Semi-Cautionary Tale

My advice to those planning on upgrading to iPhone software version 3.0: don’t do it.
At least not yet.
I don’t mean to sound dire about this, but for me iPhone 3.0 software on my first-generation iPod Touch has caused a lot of unnecessary annoyance, and I wish I’d waited until 3.1 was released. (We hear it’s coming soon.)
I upgraded to the new software a few days after it was released; I heard that most people didn’t have issues with it, so I figured I’d go for it. The upgrade itself went fine– I paid $10 through the iTunes store and my Touch was running the new software in a matter of minutes. Most of my apps seemed to work right away, so I didn’t think anything was heading in the wrong direction.
Now fast-forward a day.
I have a registered Starbucks card which gives me free wifi at Starbucks stores using the AT&T WiFi network.
When I had the version 2.x software on my iPod Touch, I used Easy WiFi to log on to the AT&T network at Starbucks– it automatically held my login credentials and I did not have to go through the login/password/”I accept the terms” entries on the AT&T splash page that showed up once I connected to the network at Starbucks. I would walk in, turn on the iPod touch, and within 10 seconds I was on the network ready to browse and check email.
With iPhone software 3.0, there’s a new login splash page that comes up when I go to connect with my Touch– it looks exactly like the Safari page that used to come up before I had Easy Wi-Fi. I enter my credentials just as I had to do before I had Easy Wi-Fi, and I’m on the network. In other words, Easy Wi-Fi no longer handled this portion for me.
When I returned to Starbucks at any time in the future, I had to go through the same drill all over again.
Supposedly the iPhone 3.0 software saves the login credentials somewhere, but that’s not true– I had to go through the login/password/”I accept the terms” page every single time I log in at Starbucks.
What iPhone 3.0 does do for you is remember entries in Safari forms– but not the popup login screens.
I tried forgetting the network, turning off and on WiFi… nothing worked. I went so far as to completely wipe my iPod and start with the vanilla 3.0 software and the exact thing happened every time. The iPod did not remember my login credentials on the AT&T wireless hotspots at Starbucks.
After scouring the help forums on several sites, including Apple’s Discussion Forums (which I’ve found over the years to be of dubious value), an answer was finally posted on Devicescape’s (Easy WiFi’s developer) web site.
I loaded the Boingo Wireless app on my Touch, which disables the auto-login process on iPhone 3.0 software.
Now when I visit S’bux I just fire up the Boingo client (no account or password needed– just bring up the app) and then bring up Easy WiFi. No more squinting and inputting passwords.
It still means I have to go though an extra step, but at least I don’t have to waste time entering my login credentials every single time I want to check my email. The fact that Apple broke a great app like Easy WiFi is simply a shame.
Secondly, there have been tons of postings in forums on the internet about the lousy post-3.0-upgrade performance of the iPod Touch’s wireless capabilities. Lots of users are complaining that their WiFi connections at home and on the road have simply turned lousy.
Here’s a quick anecdote– you can interpret the data however you wish.
I bought 1st Gen iPod Touches for my daughter Becca and myself around the same time. They both ran flawlessly, and both upgraded to 2.x without an issue. They connected to our home network and hotspots perfectly.
I upgraded my Touch to 3.0, and started to see some strangeness, as described above. Becca did not upgrade hers and it continued to work normally.
A couple weeks ago, we were at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, where they have free wifi. Becca turned on her Touch and it connected immediately to the network. I turned mine on, waited two or three minutes, and it never found the airport’s wifi network– and the iPods were literally inches apart.
The likely root cause of this situation is clear to me.
I’m posting this here because it was pretty difficult for me to find any straight answers on the internet. I hope some of you find this useful.