Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mobile Tip: Updated Info On Extending Battery Life (Many Tips Specific To iPhone Users)

Last weekend, more than one million iPhone 3GS's were sold and who knows how many more since.  We won't know until Apple reports their earnings in July but some smarty-pants Wall Street know-it-all have already predicted 7 million for the current quarter.

Regardless, that means lots of folks will notice how the battery in the iPhone can't be changed out and if they're heavy users, the newcomers to the iPhone family might notice the battery life can be quite short.

So, we've republished our battery tip from Onxo and added a few new ones to account for iPhone 3.0 and some neat ones from CNet.  From my past experience, these minor adjustments and behavioral changes to our mobile uses have helped extend my iPhone's battery life thorough a day of mobile computing and entertainment.

Apple Expands iPhones For New Carriers In Canada?

Via MacDailyNews, Toronto Star is reporting Bell Canada Inc and Telus Corp have been collaborating on creating their own GSM network to the tune of $1 billion to entice Apple to let them carry the iPhone.

According, the report, launch is expected this fall and the two Canadian wireless providers will be paying huge sums to Apple for the honor.  Previously, It was only Rogers that carried the iPhone, allowing it to pretty much have its way with iPhone customers with sky-high rates.

So, competition is good.  But I wonder if there are additional implications for folks in the US.  There has been no work of Verizon Wireless building a GSM network on top of its CDMA network.  But there are other GSM competitors to ATT in the United States.

T-Mobile, I'm looking at you.  Previously, I had stated the possibility of Apple punishing ATT for not keeping up its end of the partnership by launching the iPhone with T-Mobile.  Well, it's not really possibility but more like wishful thinking on my part.

My reasons are simple.  Apple has worked with T-Mobile's parent company in bring the iPhone 3G to the EU zone.  So, I'm sure if Apple kind of threw it out there, T-Mobile would jump at the chance.  Plus, it'll be a huge negotiation play with ATT on future deals.

Honestly, don't be surprise if this were to happen.  Steve Jobs just got a new liver.  A new lease on life and perhaps a new perspective on the competitive mobile landscape.  If Apple were to bring just the iPhone 3G at $149-199, there would be a lot of folks who detest ATT but don't mind making the switch to T-Mobile from Sprint or Verizon Wireless.

Yes, that is a $50-100 premium over the offer from ATT's iPhone 3G but folks wouldn't have to deal with ATT.

Plus, it makes sense for Apple to do this now that Palm's Pre is deemed a close competitors to the iPhone, Android's potential rise in the 2nd half of 2009, new offerings from RIM, and Microsoft's mobile rebirth.  By offering more sales outlets for the iPhone platform, Apple can force its competitors to battle on more fronts.

Love to hear what you think.

Note:  Apple and ATT does have a deal but no one really knows how long the deal is for and the terms. I'm basing my assumptions (for fun) on the fact that ATT violated the terms of the partnership when it failed to support features in the iPhone 3.0 on a timely matter.

Source:  Toronto Star, MacDailyNews

Related Articles:

Monday, June 29, 2009

Two Apps I Want With Push Notifications

How many of you know that Google has more than just Maps and Google Earth on the iPhone?  Yahoo has two apps, Yahoo and Yahoo Messenger.

Well, if you don't know, I understand.  Both Google and Yahoo don't really push their iPhone apps all that much on users.  Google is probably torn between supporting Android and keeping Apple happy.  Yahoo has said it'll dedicate more resources to the iPhone development at the cost of other mobile platforms.

However, with Google and Yahoo making the maiden iPhone introduction, both companies have not really done all that much for our favorite mobile device.  And with push notifications now a feature that's likely to play a prominent role with the platform, I'm disheartened to say that neither of these companies have updated their apps with push notifications.

And it stands to make sense that Yahoo and Google offer push notification.  First, there's Google.  The app is nothing more than an app with icons that link you to the mobile web apps in Safari.  And with some features not ready for mobile use, like Blogger and Docs, they serve nothing for the mobile users, iPhone or Android.

I'm being kind to say Google has a lot of catching up to do with their app and but to put it bluntly, Google app is a dismal failure.  Voice Search is cool but it isn't a feature that has lit up iPhone and Apple blogs since its introduction.

Yahoo has the most complete app of the two portal companies.  And I have use Yahoo app from time to time.  I'll get more into Yahoo's app with kickass potentials next but I'm still waiting for the 3.0-compatible version.

Fully, we'll see more from these two companies in the coming weeks rather than months.  Yahoo's app shows the potential of what a big corporation with the right development can leverage its online properties to better serve mobile users.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Punishing ATT And Solidify the iPod Touch As the Premiere Mobile Device

There has been grumblings about ATT in recent weeks.  First, it's ATT.  Second, when Apple unveiled iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3.0 at the WWDC keynote a couple of weeks ago, we find out that ATT has not pulled its weight in the iPhone partnership.

So, talks about Apple and Verizon hooking up intensified, if not in reality then at least with tech bloggers.  I even called out that Apple may even bring the iPhone to T-Mobile just to let ATT know that the iPhone has outgrown it.  Seriously, bring just the iPhone 3G at $99, $149, or even the original price of $199, and Apple will have no problem find millions of T-Mobile fans switching to the only other GSM network in the US.

More and more I think that's not likely to happen.  So what should Apple do?  Well, Apple has created a viable and advanced mobile platform of the which no one has seen before.  When Apple came out with the iPod Touch, even ATT was surprised.

Perhaps Apple can surprise ATT once more with the following changes to the iPod Touch:

  • Add a camera just like the one on the iPhone 3GS.  But let iPod Touch owners shoot HD video, namely, 720p.  According to some blogs, the iPhone 3GS is capable of handling 720p video.  I surprise that battery life is the only reason Apple decided against bring 720p video to the iPhone 3GS.  Of course, that can still change with future iPhone 3.0 updates.  
  • Give iPod Touch a digital compass as well.  I think this is a given since future apps are likely to take advantage of this new feature.  
  • Last, give the iPod Touch GPS.  This too should be a natural upgrade since third parties will be bring turn-by-turn apps to the iPhone platform.  Hence, it stands that Apple will take a percentage of each app sale.  Why limit these apps to iPhones only?
Now, those features seems like evolutionary additions to the iPod Touch.  What Apple ought to do is to bring features to the iPod Touch that the iPhone does not have.  There were talks about an radio antenna just before the iPhone 3GS was introduced.  Perhaps, it would be a feature that Apple can enable for the iPod Touch.  There is no sense for Apple to make iPod Touch play second fiddle to the iPhone.

Oh, and remember some of those doctored pictures that made many, including myself, believe that video chat was coming to the iPhone?  Perhaps, Apple should grace the next generation of iPod Touch this this killer app.  Imagine the kind of pressures this will put on ATT and the other wireless providers.  Millions of iPod Touch owners will be able to chat and see each other through iChat. 

Furthermore, Apple can enable video chat with Macs.  I'm sure that'll sell a few hundred thousand extra Macs a year.  

Apple has been a leader in technology and taking the mobile and computing world in whole new directions for decades.  Perhaps, by providing the iPod Touches with new features not seen in the traditional smartphone market, Apple can finally loosen the grip mobile providers have on us.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Artist Uses iPhone App to Create New Yorker Cover

This is news some time ago but I've just seen the video of how Jorge Colombo used an app called Brushes on the iPhone to create last month's New Yorker cover.

It just shows how much mobile creativity and computing has come in the last couple of years.  There's a short video of how Jorge created the cover at Onxo Gadgets.  

What's amazing is that we're only scratching the surface of what the creative mobile society can do with their mobile devices.  I'm more than certain that we'll see more amazing things in the coming years.  

And this is only possible given the mobile revolution that Apple had ushered in since the original iPhone.  Imagine the kind of creative energy that'll be unleashed when Apple eventually lets loose a multi-touch tablet.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Why iPod Touch Will Not Connect To Some Bluetooth Headsets

I wrote earlier about my failed attempts to connect my Bluetooth headset to my iPod Touch.  I couldn't figure it out but now I know why.  Well, someone else figured it out.

To make the long story short, you need a BT headset that supports AD2P standard, a standard allowing for audio to be streamed.

So, if your BT headset or ones you're thinking about buying doesn't support AD2P, iPod Touch might or might not see the headset.  And even if it does, it won't work.

Also, if there is a mic on your BT headset, it won't work.  See I was thinking a BT headset would be my ticket to avoiding having to buy a new wired headset with a mac from Apple to use the Voice Memos app.  No go.  Apple didn't enable it.  At this point, I wouldn't be surprised if Apple enables BT mic for VIOP with a later update or simply left it out to force folks to buy the headsets.

Whatever the reason, well, we'll can only guess but we won't really know.  But I hope this answers your question why some iPod Touch owners can't get their BT headsets to work with the Touch.

Note:  I wonder if iPhone users can use their BT headset with Voice Memos.  Wanna guess?

Source:  CNet

Monday, June 22, 2009

iPhone Apps: 50K Today, 100K Soon. 1 Million Apps. What then?

Apple will likely stop counting how many apps there are for the iPhone and iPod Touch once the 100,000th app has been reached.  Because we may eventually see 250,000th.  500,000th.  Or even the millionth app.

A some point, the app business is going to be bigger than it is today, both in terms of the number of applications and the number of apps that will eventually be downloaded.  You think it's impressive Apple got its one billionth download in 9 months?  How about about the 2nd billionth in five to six months or the next billion after that in 3-4 months when China joins the iPhone craze?

By then, we might be 75-100 thousand apps in the iTunes app store while Android Market may well reach over 10K.  But how does Apple manage 100,000 apps in the app store as it currently exists?  And if Apple's competitors are willing to admit this, they are waiting to see what innovative means Apple will conjure up to do just that.

Already, developers have gone through difficulties learning the app business in trying to get the word out about their apps.  Some blog about it.  Some sites that are dedicated solely to apps write about them but more slip through the crack than not.  Eventually, folks learn to produce lite or free versions of their apps to get attentions of users since free apps generally dominate the top apps list.

The EA, Sega, and Ngmoco of the app world will get its share of attention but what of the crack team of 2 or 3 who pour their collective hearts into these apps?  It was easier when there were 500-1000 apps in the store but now, it's nearly impossible to get any kind of attention. 

By this time in the post, I'd offer bullett points of suggestions on what app developers can do or what Apple should do to reorganize the iPhone app store but unlike some matters I've got familiarity with, this is one area I only know has a problem but am unable to provide any analysis on where the app store will go from here.

There have been talks for months that Apple may come up with a premium tier for the app store that allow some developers to charge more for their apps.  That certainly is a way to highlight some apps.  They'll be highlighted as more expensive than others.  So I suspect Apple will no go in that direction since it does nothing to solve the underlying problems.

For users, the difficulties will be find the right app for their needs.  Perhaps, that is the direction that Apple will go.  Allow users to find the apps they need rather than giving app developers tools to make their apps stand out. 

When the fall iPod lineup is refreshed, I think it is a good time for Apple to unveil any kind of changes they may make that makes it easier to find the 100,000 or so apps on the market.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

2nd Generation iPod Touch - No Mic Use With Bluetooth?

One of the most exciting features I was looking forward to with the iPhone 3.0 update is the Bluetooth access with iPod Touch.  In particular, I was looking forward to using my Motorola BT headset as a mic along with my trusty Touch.

With apps like Skype and Voice Memos featured prominently in the minds of Touch owners, I was excited at the prospects of Touch owners being able to use their existing headsets, negating the need to buy a sanctioned wired headset be would a welcoming addition.

Unfortunately, I'm here to save you some googling and tell you that doesn't appear to be a feature for the iPod Touch Bluetooth.  I've gone through a few forums and no good news.

Most people were unable to connect their iPod Touches and their BT headsets.  A couple of users pointed out that the iPod Touch will only pair with stereo BT headsets.  

I'm continuing to see if there is a workaround through my knowledgeable friends or the forums.  For now, we march on and hope that this feature will come in a future update.  Ready for iPhone 3.1, anyone?

Friday, June 19, 2009

MacObserver Has It Right - iPhone Exclusivity for ATT Days Are Over

Dear Senators, particularly John Kerry, I hope that you continue to press the FCC on the wireless "gatekeepers" not just on exclusive deals on phones but also on their messaging and net neutrality issues.  But as for the iPhone deal that ATT has exclusive access to, don't worry about that.  It's over.  

And MacObserver made a great point in their post in this matter.

While most executives at Apple are working on iPhone numbers - how much they'll sell today and how much to order for the days ahead, Steve Jobs is fuming over how many billions of dollars are left on the table because of ATT.  

Where to begin?  
  • Customer dissatisfaction.  
  • A 3G network that was not ready for the iPhone 3G, then or today.  
  • Claims to support net neutrality but handicaps Slingplayer and Skype while MLB, OrbLive, and a few other apps get a pass (More at Onxo).  
  • An iphone upgrade policy that punishes, rather than rewards (I'm a bit iffy on this one but I'm just so mad at the wireless providers now, I'm just going to throw it in there).
  • LTE network that will be about a year behind Verizon's own LTE network.
So, if Apple had indeed been sitting down with ATT about extending the exclusivity, ATT can forget it.  What ATT should be doing is planning for the day when the iPhone becomes available on Verizon or T-Mobile (but like most execs today, it's about short-term growth and bonuses - not saying that's a good thing or bad, it's just a fact of life).

Source:  MacObserver

Note:  I maintain that while we're not likely to see a CDMA version of the iPhone at all, it is possible for us to see an iPhone on T-Mobile in 2010.  Why not?  It give Apple a stronger position when it comes to negotiating with Verizon and ATT. 

Looking For an iPhone? Try Best Buy

A couple of weeks ago when I went to my local Best Buy to check out this upstart mobile device that was labelled a challenger to our dear iPhone, I was told that Best Buy may be getting their own allocation of iPhones.

In fact, I stumbled onto a site yesterday that supposedly had a screen shot of their iPhone distribution.  I don't know if that was real or not but I have not reason to believe it is what it appears to be at this point.

So far, ATT seems to be running out of stock while Apple has things stacked their way.  I suppose that's a smart move.  Get folks to go to the Apple store to get the iPhone and at the same time check out all the cool Macbooks and iPods while they're there.

For the most part, hanging out at the Apple store is pretty cool.  I certainly do see a potential for some stores to offer a coffee bar for folks to hang out.  What do you think?  In fact, Apple had considered doing this in the 90s, which as we know did not pan out but we did get the Apple Stores.

So, if you're getting a new iPhone, congratulations.  You're gonna love it.  Right now, I'm still going through all the 3.0 features.  I particularly liked the ability to share information across apps.  That's the most powerful aspect that I can see in the new update, more than MMS or tethering (not that those two features even exist at this point).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

3.0 Installation Success And Loving It!

It's not like many of the features like cut/paste are new to us but finally having it available on our favorite platform is truly truly "about f2#$% time"!

I was finally about to download 3.0 around midnight last night.  Came home earlier but connections were refused a number of time so I decided to go workout.  After dinner and messing around the house a bit, I finally decided to give it a try.

First thing I tested out was the cut-and-paste feature.  Flawless.  Then I wanted to test out the push notification feature but I didn't really know which apps offer it.  There was no IM apps that I like except I had Yahoo's app.  It didn't seem to work.  I was not able to tell if the app simply didn't support the feature or push didn't work.

And the push notification is the one to watch this weekend and in the coming weeks.  It was built as the sensible substitute to allowing apps to run in the background since that would decimate the battery life on the iPhone.  It'll be interesting to see if Apple's network can handle the countless number of pushes are are sure to come.  IMs.  Scores.  Gaming updates.  News updates.  Oh, Twitters too.  Wow.  

I'll be back later when I've gotten more time with 3.0 on my iPod Touch and provide an impression of each feature as I get a handle on it and use it for a bit.

Right now, I certainly recommend getting iPhone 3.0 for the iPod Touch, even for 1st gen Touches.  There are just too many features there that you don't want to pass up.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

No Hulu App But I'll Take NBC Mobile For Videos

You've likely read or heard about Hulu working on an iPhone app.  Well, it's a killer app if there is one.  While Apple might tolerate a Hulu app (it has allowed TV.com and a few others to offer apps that stream videos), ATT will never go for it.  ATT sucks bit time.  There, I said it.  

Back to the subject at hand.

Point your mobile browser here:  NBC Mobile.  You can watch many videos including full episodes.  It was a sweet discovery and I'm glad to be sharing it with you.
For other mobile sites that offer videos for your iPhone or G1, go to Onxo Mobile Tips.  

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Reminder: iPhone 3.0 To Be Available For Download on June 17th

So, the iPhone 3.0 should be available for download on the 17th.  I said it "should" be available.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed on this one.

It is too earlier in the iPhone product history for us to try and discern how good Apple is with the mobile OS.  So far, their track record has not been all that great with respect to updates.  Even features such as push notification is late.  Nine months late to be exact.

Therefore, it isn't inconceivable that something may pop up at the last moment and delay things for a couple of days.  Like Apple has indicated, there are 40 million iPhone and iPod Touches out there.  It's going to be crazy with that kind of numbers download 250MB each.

For now, let's just say we're looking at Wednesday but it could be Friday or next weekend until it is available.  But for my iPod Touch, my $10 is all set.

Note:  I think this is a major upgrade and Apple should charge $10 for all the new features in iPhone 3.0.  I'm hoping Apple will be more flexible with future 3.0 upgrades.  $5 makes more sense than charging $10 for every 3.0 incremental upgrades.  After all, many Apple fans opt for the iPod Touch because of ATT.  And we should not be punished for avoiding ATT and its "late to the game" features.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

It's Official: iPhone And iPod Touch Gamers' Preferred Choice

CNet provided Apple the opportunity to overtake other gaming platforms in five easy steps.  Since I'm a mobile fan and am an iPhone devotee, I already consider the iPhone platform to be my choice for gaming, at least for the next couple of years.

What's interesting is the poll that CNet put in the article.  The results did surprise me.

I was able to gather two things from the poll.  First let me say this that isn't a scientific poll as those conducted by professional consultants and even those are wrong half the time.  But CNet did provide an opportunity to say where the state of mobile devices and smartphones are and what it means to its users.

  • Apple fans are nuts.  And we're proud of it.  However, this would not be the case if Apple did not come out with innovative products with the ease of use, app support, and design, I'm pretty sure this won't be the case.  From Macbooks to the iPhone platform to the changing iPod lines, as long as Apple continue to push the envelope, Apple fans will flock to and relish in the reality distortion field and will shell out top dollars for it.  For that matter, this is the situation for any company.
  • I thought perhaps if the option for "Apple iPhone/iPod Touch" was replaced with say "Android/G1" or "Blackberry Storm", what the numbers might be.  Given all the gaming attention the iPhone platform has been given, numbers for Android and Blackberry won't nearly as high.  However, I would not be surprised if they are chosen in large percentage.  I think that is because of the evolution in how mobile gamers and users view their devices.  More and more, folks are interested in devices that can multitask - e-mails, surfing the web, playing music, games, and videos, and other forms of mobile computing.  Increasingly, Sony and Nintendo needs to look beyond gaming.  Nintendo has done this with the DSi but they risk losing ground to smartphones and mobile platforms.
Simply, focusing on one function, gaming as in this poll, is not how owners of the iPhone and iPod Touch look at their devices.  I think that in itself is more interesting and says a lot about how Apple has really changed the mobile market and behavior of users.

At the end of the day, Nintendo and Sony might still dominate gaming but it will be devices like the iPhone that dominate and dictate how mobile users use their devices.  

Coming away from the article which I didn't find a lot of information useful, I think CNet's suggestion that Apple allow larger app sizes for downloads.  Gaming apps is going to require that as Apple move the iPhone 3G S and the forth coming iPod Touch in the fall to next generation graphics, Open GL 2.0.  

Via CNet

Thursday, June 11, 2009

PC World: Ten Things We Didn't See At WWDC

WWDC 2009 has come and gone.  And it was one of the best I've seen in a long time.  After all, Apple has to make up for a lackluster Macworld, that ended up being the last Macworld keynote ever.

Now, PC World, on behalf of bloggers and critics, is already doing some Monday morning quarterbacking - focusing on things that were missing from WWDC.  Let me be clear, I don't like spreading rumors but, boy, I love them.  Over the years, it's always been rumors, some rooted in truth and others just really really out there, sustain the reality distortion field in between Apple product updates and media events.  

On Apple and Onxo will not traffic in rumors but PC World's article of missing things from WWDC has provided me an opportunity to deal with this.  By address some of the points PC World has brought up, I'll preempt them before they become rumors.

Brilliant, eh?  I'm just gonna pick a couple here and make you head over to PC World to read the rest.

  • iTablet - this is what they started off with.  Talk about a greedy lot.  It was never really something that I expected.  I didn't expected it in fall of 2008 and I did not have hope of seeing it on Monday.  Heck, I was surprised to see the new iPhones after 8 demos of the iPhone 3.0.  I thought Apple was just killing time.  With the iPhone 3G S and some of its inner workings now known, we can potentially deduce what the iTablet will be like indirectly.
  • FM Transmitter - I think once the intrepid folks get their hands on the iPhone 3G S and gut it, we might find an FM transmitter in there.  Just because Apple didn't say a word about it doesn't meant it isn't there.  Just because Apple doesn't have a word to say about it doesn't mean they won't bring it up at a later day when an add-on feature to iPhone 3.0 update is ready.  Remember the Bluetooth in the iPod Touch?
I've got one of my own.  MobileMe.  And hey, how about the online components of iWorks?  Nothing.  I really expected to see more of that in conjunction with iPhone 3.0.  Perhaps, it's one of those things that Apple will bring up when they're ready.  I still think MobileMe can use some more optimization, particularly the Web components.  Man, they're slow.

A few of the things PC World brought up is just ridiculous but fun reading just the same.  One that really surprise me was removable batteries at number six.  So, fellow Apple mobile warriors, help me out there.  Since when has Apple released an iPod that has removable batteries?  In fact, Apple has only one product left that has removable batteries:  The lone Macbook.  

Adobe Flash.  Okay, I don't even want to go there.  It's not happen, it's not going to happen.  With Flash, iPhone development will be taken out of Apple's hands.  If Flash ever happens for the iPhone, it'll be so crippled Adobe might as well not offer it.  It's the same reason why it's not on Android, WebOS, or Blackberry.

Lastly, another carrier.  Wow, this could have happen and may still happen.  Apple isn't happy with ATT since they can't even get a simple feature like MMS to work for the iPhone.  We discussed ATT being singled out by the crowd.  I speculated on the possibility that ATT may potentially violate its agreement with Apple when it was able to to deliver features for the iPhone.  That may free up Apple to take the iPhone to another carrier.  Apple hates CDMA and in the only other guy in town is T-Mobile.  It not out of the realm of possibility.  But looking further ahead, Apple will need to wait until LTE is completed for it to consider Verizon.

There a few more PC World talked about that was missing from the WWDC keynote.  Look for these ten items to be recycled into rumors in the coming weeks and months.  The only Apple media event we can confidently say will take place is in the fall when the 2009 iPod lineup is introduced.  That'll be in the October-November timeframe.  If we're lucky, Apple might surprise us with something between now and then.  

Note:  PC World missed something obvious:  Apple TV.  One possible rumor to watch out for is iPhone games working on the Apple TV.  More than a few people suggests that Apple is interested in gaming beyond the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

ATT Is In Trouble

Who wold have thought that someone else would get booed more at an Apple event than Microsoft.

That's exactly what happened to ATT.  

When Apple started delivering the iPhone for ATT, Apple really delivered.  In the beginning, it was a true partnership.  But with prior 3G issues and now ATT not being able to deliver all the features iPhones 3.0 promises, ATT is starting to look more like a liability.

But ATT still needs Apple and its iPhone to fend off Verizon and its arguably better network.  Now, it's all about playing defense for Ma Bell.  Here's why.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Macbook, You've Been A Great Friend

You were a great friend.  To many of us.  Isn't that right, people?

After the WWDC 2009 keynote, you were left without a companion in the Macbook lineup.  Just you with your white plastic case but very powerful system inside.  Why just last week, Macworld had you pegged as the faster Macbook than your former teammates, those unibody Macbooks with their aluminum case and LED screens.  

But it was you who has been there with us every step of the way, going back to the G3 days.  Then G4.  Now Intel.  You put us through school.  Launched blogs and careers.  Heck, you've probably made those two-man developer teams rich who developed their awesome iPhone apps on you.  You did it all.  There was nothing you couldn't do.

Now, it looks like Apple is prepping you for retirement.  These are going to be the last generation or two of Mac users, switchers, and thousands of school children who will get to know you.  You continue to take good care of them, you hear?  

Look, I'll make sure folks remember you.  I'll keep on telling them stories about your glory years.  And don't mind those 'Softie commercials.  You rock and you put those Vista PCs to shame.  And I don't know what Tim (or Steve) is going to replace you with but you sure left a big shoe to fill.  

I know you can't talk about it.  We know all about that tablet.  But who knows, maybe you'll be around in limited capacity since the kids'll need you to take them through the challenges of the 21st Century.  

Anyway, chin up and head high.  You're still the best, Macbook. 

iPhone 3.0 - Innovative or Mere Playing Catch up

If you're like me, you couldn't be at the WWDC and spent the morning following five or six live blogs providing updates from San Francisco.  And with each update, the more excited I got.  

New Macbooks.  Sales figures (40 million iPhone and iPod Touch users).  Snow Leopard and iPhone 3.0.  And finally, iPhone 3G S.  I had trouble containing my excitement.  Oh, and three cups of coffee didn't help the situation.  

Now hours later, with time to digest the data and allow the reality distortion field to wear off a bit (I'm sure Steve was near by projecting his legendary RDF), I have to ask myself this question.  Did what we see today revolutionary or evolutionary?  Or worse, was Apple merely catching up with features that has been available to the mobile market but has managed to implement them more elegantly and user-friendly?

I can't shake the feeling that there's been a reinventing of the wheel or simply making the wheel easier to use.  Don't make sense?  More at Onxo Gadgets.

Review: Wattpad ebook reader

We're starting to generate some reviews and app analysis. But I'm focusing more on creative contents, ebooks, and games.

The first one I'm reviewing is Wattpad, an ebook file sharing site, that has created an iPhone app for iPhone and iPod users to gain access to its library.

I use Wattpad along with eReader, Stanza, and the Kindle app daily but I especially like the free material that is being shared for readers.

More Wattpad review at Mobile Goodness

Monday, June 8, 2009

WWDC Thoughts

I've waited a whole day to weigh in on the announcements from the WWDC. I've made some notes but I'm not about to weigh in just yet.

For some reason, this is very different. This is a very different beast up at Cupertino. Maybe it's because there is no Steve. But it's more.

Just a few quick notes here:
  • Phandroid wondered if the $99 iPhone 3G was an attempt to clear out the stock. No. It's not. I've wondered about that myself but this is Apple going for the kill. The iPhone is the one to beat. And here's what amazing about the competition (except maybe Android): they're trying to beat the iPhone with smartphones. Folks, the iPhone and iPod Touch are a part of mobile computing platform (iTablet will be too when it's finally released). The iPhone just happens to be a handheld computer that makes phone calls.
  • Moving the 13" Macbooks up to the Pro league. It's been talked about as a mini Pro but who would have thought that Apple would give the unibody Macbooks the pro designation. Apple is gearing the Macbook Pros for the corporate market. Don't ever say that Apple doesn't have a corporate business plan. This is it.
  • And speaking of the business plan from Apple, Snow Leopard (which I'll call SL) coming in at $29 when Microsoft will likely charge hundreds. Look for PC and Mac commercials driving this point home to users and businesses.
  • SL with Exchange support - good biz plan even if you have to sleep with the enemy. Business is business. Now about the other optimization such as getting back 6GB of hard drive space after installing SL, multi-core CPU optimization, and using the GPL to help along with traditional computing tasks are just the thing that Apple can lay claim to its base and switchers.
  • Price drops on the Apple portable lines. Maybe it's the economy but Apple has said that it will offer no umbrella room for which its competitors can compete. When that statement was made a few financial quarters ago, I thought Apple execs were only talking about the iPhone. They meant the Macs in the PC market as well.
  • The refreshed iPhone 3G S and the current iPhone 3G along with the features from iPhone 3.0. Let's be honest. Apple has just caught up with the folks who think of themselves as iPhone competitors with features such as cut/copy/paste. Pre has it (beating Apple by a couple of weeks), Blackberries, WM devices, and Android has it. Now Apple has it. I can think of a few other features that Apple had been playing catch up but Apple has caught up in that sense. However, iPhone 3.0, multi-touch, 50K of apps in the store, the elegant hardware designs, prices really has these competitors in a bind. We'll get into how Apple has really put a hurt on the market and analyze its main competitors' technology, positions in the market, and how they can try to deal with the new iPhones. Seriously, does anyone see a 32GB competitor on the market?
So just a few thoughts. Please come back later tonight and the next few days after we've had a chance to catch our collective breathes and see where things stand with Apple's mobile offerings. One thought I want to leave you with before this post ends.

iPod Touch. What will Apple do to keep folks coming back to the Touch? How will Apple put even more distance between the Touch and the Zune HD that will certainly gain a lot of media and blog attention?

Note: This was a longer WWDC keynote than ones in the past or the Macworld keynotes. After the endless demos, I thought to myself "this is it. No new iPhone hardware announcement today".

Another Note: I like to think that Apple has continue its tradition of bring out hardware when it thinks it is ready. Obviously, the iPhone 3G S is ready for prime time but you have to wonder if the Pre has anything to do with this. Past iPhone releases took place at the end of June or early July. June 19th is less than two weeks ahead of schedule but still...I wonder...well, competition is good I suppose.

Third Note: Make your coffee or hot chocolate. Pull up the blanket (it's cold tonight, that's why) and enjoy the video of WWDC keynote 2009 courtesy of Apple.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

On Android: G1 Gets Onscreen Keyboard

Over at On Android, I've updated my user experience with Cupcake and I focused on the onscreen keyboard.

Go on over and see if the new Android OS has made things better for G1 users and how it compares to the iPhone's input scheme.

Pre: Needs Redesign?

I think this picture from Engadget says it all. It's from their post from a Sprint store that started selling both Palm and Sprint's savior, Pre.

I'm going to reserve judgment until I get a chance to visit a Sprint store and hold one in my hand but if nearly every review out there indicates problem with the hardware, basically the cheap feel of the case, and wholesale complaint about the keyboard, I'm going to go on the limb here and say that an iPhone or traditional Palm PDA form factor is in the works. I've read a couple of posts about a WebOS Centro as well.

As you know, Palm is now loaded with a bunch of former Apple executives and engineers. Maybe the Pre's design is what the iPhone could have been and Jobs simply dismissed it. Now, the Pre's design is a push of of those ideas that Apple rejected.

Now, only the WWDC. Maybe we'll see something about the iPhone. Maybe we won't. I still very happy with the iPhone and all that it can do. It's still much better than anything out there though the Pre's iPhone features have made it a very close competitor. We'll see if Apple (or Jobs) put some more distance between the iPhone platform and its competitors.

On the whole though, Palm's Pre design may need work especially when Blackberry folks are trashing the keyboard and more people are beginning to come around to the excellent virtual keyboard on the iPhone. In trying to make the Pre small and easy to fit into the user's pocket, Palm might have created a design error. We'll know in the coming days whether this is nearly as big an issue for users as it was for reviewers.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Pre Reviewed But Walt Says Wait Until You See iPhone 3.0

Walt Mossberg does indeed know that Pre (going on sale this Saturday) is being pit against the current iPhone and it has a lot of folks excited. But next week, Apple may finally show us if there is anything else in iPhone 3.0 that they've kept from the public. There's been a lot of speculations about unannounced features and hardware additions.

Walt seems to believe that Apple will be surprising us at the WWDC or whenever new iPhones are announced. In fact, he seems to believe that claim strongly. Over on Onxo, we've summarize the current reviews (most came online in the last few minutes) and the Pre is probably the device most people will look to if the iPhone doesn't exist. So just in case you're wondering, based on the reviews, the Pre is pretty good but the iPhone is still the go-to mobile device.

Here's are some perceived advantages the Pre may have over the iPhone: physical keyboard, WebOS, background apps, Synergy, removable battery. Now, I did say "perceived". I rather like the iPhone's intuitive and smart virtual keyboard. I wouldn't mind having a removable battery on the iPhone though.

As for the other perceived advantages, well, it's a matter of personal preference and we still don't know if the iPhone 3.0 will address those issues - I'm particularly looking forward to the search function. And I don't want to go into the advantages the current iPhone over Pre and its other competitors. You know what they are. No need to go into that. Too many to address (and most of them may be subjective).

We'll know next week or the coming weeks what how Apple intend to answer the Pre.

Using Generative AI Has Given Me A New Appreciation For Siri and Excited For The Future of Apple Intelligence

I used generative AI this week to find the dimensions of a refrigerator based on the model number. I googled first because of muscle memory ...