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-   -   ipod touch vs iPhone (http://www.ehmac.ca/showthread.php?t=77138)

imageinnovation Jun 10th, 2009 03:49 PM

ipod touch vs iPhone
 
I'm trying to get some basic internet connectivity away from home without paying an arm and a leg. I'm talking about checking a handful of web sites and email while on the road.

I currently have a very economical pay-as-you-go cell phone and it provides all I need as far as voice service goes. I was looking into getting an iPhone, but even the minimum monthly plans are too expensive for what I need. I've also been reading the threads about the high costs of receiving internet data on the iPhones and how everyone wants to turn data off anyway. So the iPhone (or rather, the plans) don't seem that attractive.

I'm thinking that the iPod Touch might be a better choice for me. A lot of the features that I want in the iPhone (calendar, mileage log, contact list etc.) are available in the Touch and don't require internet access. I would like a GPS too, but I'm thinking one of the specialized units for the car would be better, especially since the iPhone doesn't have voice directions (although I understand this may be coming.)

I figured out that the cost of the iTouch and the GPS, plus my PYG cell phone will be less than paying for a iPhone with a three year plan (about $1500 less over the three years, actually).

I'd appreciate any comments on whether my reasoning is sound or is there something I'm not thinking of? And -- my big question -- how easy is it to find WIFI networks to join so I can, in fact, check my web sites and email. Do you actually have to go right to a particular location that offers WIFI, or does the WIFI coverage extend over a fairly wide area? I'll mostly be in urban areas across Canada.

Finally, I'm looking for some information about the security aspects of joining a WIFI network. If anyone can fill me in on these questions, or direct me to where I can find out this information, I'd appreciate it:
1) If you have to join a WIFI network that isn't free, how to you pay for it? Do you have to have a subscription, or can you use PYG?
2) What sort of protection is there for your private data? If I want to access some password-protected websites, including financial ones, are the data and passwords secure from being stolen? If I use a credit card number to access a PYG WIFI network, is the CC number secure?
3) Is there a difference in security between free WIFI sites and ones you pay to join? For example, should I avoid accessing my bank account if I'm on a free network?

Sorry for all the questions, but this is all new to me and I need to make the right decision because I don't want to get trapped into horrendous expenses or put my private data at risk.

Thanks for any help.

Chris Jun 10th, 2009 04:18 PM

First of all, welcome to ehMac! :)

I think that you raise some good points, that, I feel, are worthy of further discussion. I really only [I]need[I] a phone and an iPod. The costs of the Rogers/Fido monthly plans are really nuts, no matter how cool the iPhone is.

My daughter has an iPod Touch and she really enjoys it, and has no problem getting on the web, when she finds an open WiFi network. I suppose it depends on how important web access is to you when you're out and about.

Now, a question for those with experience in this; if one really, really wanted an iPhone, but wasn't inclined to pay the Rogers/Fido rates, is it possible to transfer the SIM card from a different carrier and have the phone work? I know that both Petro-Canada and Sears wireless services use GSM phones with SIM cards, so could inserting one of their cards into an iPhone work?

I know that actually buying an iPhone that you can do this to is a challenge, but, assuming you can, will this work?

Both my phone and my iPod are getting long in the tooth, so I'm also trying to come up with the best solution. Any thoughts or observations?

Thanks.

imageinnovation Jun 10th, 2009 05:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris (Post 833989)
First of all, welcome to ehMac! :)

My daughter has an iPod Touch and she really enjoys it, and has no problem getting on the web, when she finds an open WiFi network. I suppose it depends on how important web access is to you when you're out and about.

Web access is one of the key reasons I want the Touch but most of the sites I want to access are password-protected so I need to feel comfortable about the level of security.

Someone told me that the Touch actually tells you when you're joining a network whether it's encrypted and what kind of encryption is in use.

I'd be interested in hearing about your daughter's experience using her Touch. Does she see this notification about encryption and does she access password-protected web sites while she's using it?

Thanks.

Chris Jun 10th, 2009 07:16 PM

Actually, yes. When she tries to log onto a protected network, if she knows the password, she puts it in, and surfs away. As I recall, it does indicate what type of encryption is used. But, of course, you'll need the password!

imageinnovation Jun 10th, 2009 07:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris (Post 834039)
Actually, yes. When she tries to log onto a protected network, if she knows the password, she puts it in, and surfs away. As I recall, it does indicate what type of encryption is used. But, of course, you'll need the password!

Sorry, I wasn't quite clear in my question. What I'd like to know is whether she accesses her own password-protected web sites (such as a bank account or an iTunes account) after she's joined the WIFI network, rather than just browsing non-sensitive web sites, such as news site. And does it make a difference if the WIFI network itself is password protected/private or public?

I have several password-protected websites containing personal information that I'd like to access using the iTouch but I'm concerned that this sensitive information could be hacked if accessed wirelessly.

Paul82 Jun 10th, 2009 07:50 PM

The short version of my answer would be it depends on how the network is setup, but in general it doesn't really matter you should assume it is NOT secure unless you set it up yourself.

Also just because you have to put in a password does not make it secure, if it's a public hotspot, everyone using it has the password and can see your data. Even a private wifi network setup with a weaker password (WEP) is relatively easy to hack.

imageinnovation Jun 10th, 2009 09:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Paul82 (Post 834047)
The short version of my answer would be it depends on how the network is setup, but in general it doesn't really matter you should assume it is NOT secure unless you set it up yourself.

Also just because you have to put in a password does not make it secure, if it's a public hotspot, everyone using it has the password and can see your data. Even a private wifi network setup with a weaker password (WEP) is relatively easy to hack.

That's what I was afraid of. It's pretty discouraging because it pretty much means that the iTouch won't be very useful to me, at least as far as Internet access goes. I guess I have to re-think my plans to buy one.

If I were to access a web-based email account, would my password to that account (not the password for the WIFI network) be visible?

I don't understand how so many people can use these public WIFI hotspots if there's so little security, unless they're just browsing web sites and never logging into any of their accounts.

Chris Jun 10th, 2009 09:28 PM

Sorry, I misunderstood your question. I think that Paul has the right of it; if it's not your own network, assume that the data can be intercepted. Personally, I'd follow this credo even with an iPhone. Call me a worry wart, but if it goes out as radio emissions, it can be intercepted and hacked. Remember when Prince Charles cell phone conversations with Camilla were picked up back in the '90s, and he was using what was then called a secure phone!

Yes, times have changed and technology has improved immensely, but I still wouldn't do things like banking with my iPhone. I'm still nervous doing it on my 'puter at home!

I guess I am an old fart! :lmao:

Paul82 Jun 10th, 2009 09:35 PM

Most people just go about their business and don't worry about it... just because it can happen doesn't mean it will happen to you. Another option to use when surfing in public hotspots is to use a VPN(Virtual Private Network), my knowledge is a little sketchy regarding them though, but as far as I'm aware everything that goes over the VPN connection is encrypted. I know they are supported in the Iphone and ipod touch, I'm not 100% sure, but I think you would need to install a program on your home computer, which you would then VPN into and would thus be as secure as if you were surfing from home.

imageinnovation Jun 10th, 2009 09:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris (Post 834079)
Sorry, I misunderstood your question. I think that Paul has the right of it; if it's not your own network, assume that the data can be intercepted. Personally, I'd follow this credo even with an iPhone. Call me a worry wart, but if it goes out as radio emissions, it can be intercepted and hacked. Remember when Prince Charles cell phone conversations with Camilla were picked up back in the '90s, and he was using what was then called a secure phone!

Yes, times have changed and technology has improved immensely, but I still wouldn't do things like banking with my iPhone. I'm still nervous doing it on my 'puter at home!

I guess I am an old fart! :lmao:

No, I wouldn't ever do banking on the iTouch, or anything involving financial transactions. I'm thinking more about theft of passwords to things like web-based email accounts and my Flickr account. It sounds like you shouldn't lot onto anything that requires a password.

Another question, then. The university I teach at has a WIFI network on campus and they've told me they use strong encryption. So, would it be safe to go to some of these password-protected web sites on that network. Maybe that's the kind of thing your daughter is doing with her iTouch?

This is all very confusing. :-(


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