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Dear Auntie TUAW: What's that little dot in the iPhone's status bar?

Dear Auntie TUAW,

I was driving home from an appointment today with my brother, and at a stop light, I noticed that instead of the Edge "E", I had this little blue dot. I just assumed that it was where i had connected to WiFi and had no bars, but it was much too big and centered.

My brother, who also has an iPhone, pulled his out to find that we both had the little dot. They are both first Gen iPhones, his 4GB, mine 8GB. I did not know what this meant, but being the Apple nerd I am, I figure I would have heard something of this dot before now.

Do you know what it is? Could it have something to do with 3.0 coming out soon as expected? Thanks, And I look forward to hearing what you think.

With love from your nephew,

Andrew Dixon


Andrew, sweetheart,

Speaking of the iPhone, are you including enough roughage in your diet? Now that I'm entering onto what we oldsters can only term our "tender years," I've grown to realize that bulk, bulk, bulk is the key to world happiness. Fiber is health; health, fiber. That is what we know at TUAW, and all ye need to know for better digestive function.

As for your question, that little blue circle means you youngsters were connected to a GPRS network, aka General Packet Radio Service. When the iPhone first debuted, it displayed the EDGE "E" when connected to GPRS. This made pedants cry. Newer firmware versions show this blue circle instead. As noted below, GPRS is quite a bit slower than either EDGE or 3G.

To check this icon out for yourself, you can browse through your iPhone files using sftp (on a jailbroken iPhone) or iBrowser (for iPhones with the developer deployment). The EDGE and GPRS icons live in /System/Library/CoreServices/SpringBoard.app and are named FSO_EDGE_ON.png and FSO_GPRS_ON.png. You'll need to convert the compressed iPhone-style png images to Mac compatible ones using a utility like fixpng.

Send my love to your brother and don't forget to wear a scarf to keep your neck warm!

Love and hugs,

Auntie T.

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