HELP! iPhone 3G broken in a million different ways - need help ASAP
So, a timeline of pure iFail:
1. Gave iPhone a restart after the keyboard was getting kind of laggy. I wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary with it and I hadn't damaged it in any way that I knew about, but it came up with this message:
"Restore Needed / iPhone cannot make or receive calls. Restore from iTunes." It has a screen for "emergency calls" that I can switch to that still has the background picture that I'd set for the phone, so I know all of my data should be in there somewhere, right?
2. I tried hooking it up to iTunes only to get a message saying that the computer doesn't recognize my SIM or my SIM PIN. I haven't taken out the SIM...um, ever, that I can remember. I just haven't needed to, and I'm painfully lazy when it comes to all things cell phone-related. It doesn't matter what computer I try it on--my laptop, my parents' desktop, heck, I even had them try and mess with it at the AT&T store here--it comes up with the same message every time and I can't backup any files, restore it, or do much of anything with it at all. They even tried sticking in a new SIM, which didn't work, either.
3. It gets worse! Shortly after discovering that no computer would recognize the fact that my phone had a working, active SIM installed, my iPhone started disconnecting and reconnecting randomly when it was attached to a computer. Now I can't do anything with it (even a forced recovery) without it disconnecting before I can finish up. GRR. There's no rhyme or reason to how it decides to disconnect and reconnect itself. One minute, it will be connected just fine with the computer with its "Restore Needed" page on the phone's display, and the next, the phone will go to a plain black screen with nothing but a grey apple on it and disconnect itself from my computer. It does this without me touching the iPhone or the cord connecting it to my computer....or heck, without me doing anything, really. It just randomly happens on its own. It even does this connecting/disconnecting thing when it's attached to the power plug instead of a computer. When I took it into be looked at today, it didn't even have much of a charge left on it even though I'd had it plugged in to the boxy plug-thing all afternoon. It's not the cord, either, since I just had to replace that, too.
4. I was able to explore some of the inner hiddenish files (five minutes of connection time at a time, of course) to get all of my pictures off as well as some other system files (iPod songs and data). Copied to computer. The biggest thing bugging me, though, is that I can NOT find the contacts' files. The program I used to break into the inner workings was iPhoneBrowser, but it apparently won't display everything unless my phone is jailbroken. Since it's essentially a big unusable black brick at this point, there's no way I can see to open it up like that, plus I don't want to do anything too major to the phone itself to void what's left of my warranty since I'm possibly sending it off to get fixed. I can't find any copies of my "synced" contacts on any computer, including the ones I first used my iPhone on. All my files are set to be manually managed without any automatic syncing because I didn't feel like figuring that out yet (that was supposed to be my project for the weekend - upgrade to the new OS and back stuff up...oh fail). So, I have no backup, either. All the names of my contacts pop up on my Microsoft Exchange e-mail account (the one I used with my phone), but none of their numbers seem to be saved with those names! GRR.
----> So, here's the giant, burning question I really want answered before I send this phone off in the mail: is there ANY way to get the stupid "contacts" files off of my phone? Even today, after trying to completely restore my phone multiple times, my phone still has my custom background on it, so I think the data must still be there for everything. My pics still load if I view the iPhone as a camera on Windows. Somewhere HAS to have the contacts saved in there. Where do I find them, and how do I get them off of an unjailbroken phone that doesn't work?
5. I tried multiple times to do a forced recovery because this is apparently the ONLY fix that Apple's and AT&T's iPhone support folks can come up with. Turn phone off, hold down "home" button, plug into computer, follow prompts on screen. Although it stayed connected for about 20? minutes before disconnecting in "forced recovery mode" (considerably longer than it did out of this mode), it still wouldn't stay connected to any computer for a long enough time to update/erase anything that's actually ON the phone. I think it downloaded the new OS to my computer, but even that download disappeared after my phone disconnected itself (...multiple times, during multiple tries of this) from my computer.
So, um, help. What is going on with this thing, and how could I fix it/at least rip contacts off of it before we have to send it to someone else to fix it?
The only big thing I can find that I haven't tried is a restore from DFU mode...what does this do, and does it overwrite all the data/apps/etc. when you restore it from there as well?
There isn't an Apple Store nearby. Nor is there a guy who even works on iPhones, apparently--the one service shop here that the Apple customer service line recommended only works on Apple computers, not iPhones. And I've definitely had no luck with anyone at an AT&T store around here. Help!