Tuesday, September 29, 2009

mSpot App Could Mean Good News For Hulu And Netflix Apps

To those who are interested in Hulu and Netflix apps for the iPhone or iPod Touch, I think a little optimism is in order.

mSpot, an online rental company, somehow slipped their app that allows streaming movies into the iTunes app store.  

Does this mean Netflix and Hulu apps aren't too far behind?  It's difficult to say at this point.  But be prepared to pay for access.  I think Netflix users should be allowed free access to the library of online shows and movies because they already pay for it through their regular Netflix service.  Rupert of Fox, Hulu partner, has indicated Hulu will begin charging for access.

So be prepare to pay for streaming should these two apps become available.  I don't see that as a downside so long as there aren't commercials.  I'm just happy mSpot is in which means Hulu, Netflix, and others can't be too far behind.

More at MacRumors and Techcrunch.

Note:  There are already apps that allow video streaming in the App Store.  I'll bring this up later tonight in another post.  TV.com app quickly comes to mind.  Yes, you can watch original Star Trek shows on your iPhone and Touch.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Does Apple Have An Answer For MOTOBLUR?

I'm keeping a close eye on the Motorola Cliq for T-Mobile very closely.  I've got iphones, iPods, and a single G1.  But I wonder as far as mobile uses go, if Apple is missing the boat on this one.  

I can see it now.  In about a decade or so, when the books are out about this era, t will be said that Apple underestimated the importance of social app integration with the iPhone and lost the initiative much the same way Microsoft dismissed the World Wide Web.

Of course, I'm only worried about Apple position.  But this is the nature of the beast.  Innovate or be killed off.  Still, Palm has done something pretty neat with the WebOS and it doesn't seem to do anything affecting the iPhone or, for that matter, Blackberry's position in terms of sales.

Still, I've started wondering what kind of "skin" Apple may be deploying in the future.  So far, we have not see anything that shows what Apple may be offering to answer the challenges posed by WebOS and MOTOBLUR, Cliq's widget interface.

If Apple is developing something, no one has seen it.  Still, I hope out hope that Apple will come up with an innovative way to provide users with easy access to all their social networks, Twitters, IM and text, and e-mails.  It'll be a treat to use I'm sure.

Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

iPhone Overwhelms Google

Google's mobile services just get better and better and that happened when Google Sync enabled push mail for the iPhone and some smartphones.  

Well, things haven't gone quite as smoothly as we like.  There are multiple complaints about mail not actually being pushed through.  This is totally expected given the number of iPhone and iPod Touch users in the wild.  And it's likely millions upon millions of requests were being made simultaneously.

Plus this service is sort of free so can't really complain about that.  It just shows the vastness of the mobile market, particularly the iPhone market.

Of more on Google Sync, here is a great post about it.  You can see what Google offers at its sync page.  And for more in the current Google problem, Business Insider has the scoop.

Personally, I'd wait a bit and see after the dust and excitement has settled down.  I'm sure Google is working furiously to make adjustments and increase load capability.  You can follow the Twitter updates to see how things are progressing as well.  Is there anything Twitter cannot do?

I'm find it surprising that we even have this service.  Let's hope Apple is truly studying Google Voice and engaging Google in trying to make GV work on the iPhone as it was meant to be.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Taking Pics And Videos In Public; Nano Privacy Concerns

Given now touchy folks are these days, I'm always weary about taking pictures and videos in public.  I've got lots of events involving families and friends.  Sometimes, it takes place in public.  Birthday parties at Chucky Cheese.  Trips to Disneyland.  Dinners in restaurants.  I particularly like documenting events with video.

That has gotten easier with mobile phones capable of recording video.  iPhone 3GS anyone?  Oh, and while folks have been disappointed with the 3rd generation Touch lacking video, not so for the Nano. 

And there are beginning to be issues raised about privacy because of the new Nano with video capture capability.  Personally, I am always conscious about avoiding 3rd parties in my film or photograph when possible.  And since small phones have been around for ages.  

I suppose the big issue is the gym. Hence, the locker areas.  Well, for now, I only can caution vigilance.  Plus, some clubs ban phones with cameras or phones altogether.  

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Apple: Please Release An iPod Touch With A Bigger Screen

Meet the Archos 5 Internet Tablet.

Archos has been making multimedia devices for the longest time. And generally, they work as advertised. It's the battery life that people haven't been happy about. But then again, who has been happy with their mobile devices' battery life anyway?

But what makes Archos 5 Internet Tablet more significant is that it runs Android. That's right, the same Android that is the backbone of an increasing number of mobile devices from Motorola, HTC, and Samsung.

So, I wonder if Apple should have released an iPod Touch with a bigger screen. Perhaps something that's 5-6 inches in size. After all, the new mobile chip powering the iPod Touch and the iPhone are capable of support higher resolution and the bigger body format will allow for a bigger battery.

A bigger form factor also allows for additional memory as well.

Would you buy it? Personally, I can't wait and can only wonder why this has not happened yet. Surely, if Android device makers can just shove Android into a bigger body, why can't Apple do the same?

Here's a test of what the competition is doing that Apple ought to be doing as well. (Computerworld)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Here's Hoping Zune HD and Its Lineage Do Well

That's right.  I'm hoping Zune HD challenges Apple's iPhone.  ipod Touch.  And today, Sony unveiled new music players.  They're difficult to remember because they've got code numbers instead of names of "nano", "shuffle", or "classic".  But I hope they do well too.

In fact, I hope these products challenge Nintendo's DS and Sony's PSP.  I hope the MP3 market gets some kind of jump start this Christmas season.  

While this is an Apple blog and occasionally, I enjoy trashing Apple's competition good naturally, at heart, I'm a consumer just like you.  And that means I want longer battery life, more memory, more features, and faster rate of innovation.  And let's face it.  That'll only take place if there is competition in the market.  

While Zune HD's arrival is a welcoming sign that the marketplace, particular the mobile device market continues to be very dynamic, it was disheartening to see that Redmond isn't challenging the iTunes app store giant and give the Zune HD more PDA features.  In fact, much of what will make Zune HD isn't ready.

Then again, neither was the original iPhone and iPod Touch.  

So, going forward, I believe Balmer and Co. will mount a major attack on the mobile market to reclaim lost territory.  And believe me, Apple fans, that's good for Apple, the iPhone, and us. 

Monday, September 14, 2009

Forget iPod Nano - Meet the Precursor to iPhone Nano?

One of the things that Apple rumor mills have not brought up in a while is the talk about iPhone Nano.

Obviously, it's not quite going to be what the iPhone or the iPod Touch is capable of if there ever is an iPhone Nano. I'm not saying there is but let's suppose one is in the world. We have to assume that it is.

Having said that, why am I bringing this up now? Basically, we're moving away from an one dimensional device, such as the MP3 player. For a while now, the iPod line has stopped being an MP3 player san the Shuffle. The Nano and the Classic as been a multimedia device for the long time, ever since it gained the ability to play simple games and, later, video files as well.

Now, the Nano has a feature. In case you missed it, Steve Jobs started off the "Let's Rock" even on September 9th and introduced this shopping seaon's new iPod lines. The Nano, now in its 5th generation, gained a new feature: video capture.

Not only that, the chip inside also has Wi-Fi capability though it isn't functional at this time. So, given the engineering feat that fit a small video capture camera in the Nano and the ever strinking package inside the Nano, it is possible that Apple can eventually add telephone function for the Nano as well.

Hence, the iPhone Nano. I'm not sure Apple will call it that but you get the picture. The iPod sales has been dropping as consumers take up the iPhone and the iPod Touches. Apple will continue to innovate and add features to the iPod line but it stands that if the iPod doesn't go away, Apple will move it closer to the iPhone with telephone function.

Furthermore, voice command will play a greater role in Apple mobile product. And given the limited input capability of the Nano, it is possible for Apple to circumvent this issue with voice command. Thinking voice dialing. If you've ever had to call customer services, chances are, you spend a lot of the time speaking to a computer. The technology already exists.

Another limit will be the small screen of the Nano. Apple can possible go multitouch with the Nano but let's face it, 2" screen? No way. If there is ever an iPhone Nano, I don't know how Apple will solve this issue or if it will at all.

Anyway, don't be surprise if Apple offers telephony to the iPod Nano. Stranger things have happened (like Apple leaving out the camera from the 3rd generation iPod Touch) and if Steve Jobs feels Apple can innovate in this direction, we just might see an iPhone Nano or and iPod Nano with telephony.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Battery Life Needs Work According To Survey

In most surveys in the past, the weak link for the iPhone has been ATT. Over dinner last weekend, I missed to the opportunity to ask the plethora of iPhone owners their experience on their brand new iPhone 3GS and how their services and battery life was like.

In any case, the latest survey from Strategy Analytics showed that battery life is what users are most unhappy about with their iPhones. Well, unhappy might be too strong a word.

Honestly, I'm not sure how much things will improve with OS updates and future hardware upgrades. We aren't exactly seeing a breakthrough in battery technology. Plus, if you haven't noticed, we are in the beginning stages of a mobile hardware war - speed and 3D acceleration for gaming and other mobile features. It isn't as simple as the old Mhz war between Intel, AMD, and PowerPC but it'll be about cores and graphic accelerations.
As a result, battery life will be continued to be impacted greatly. Plus, Apple will never produce and iPhone with a user-replaceable battery. As highlighted in the report, iPhone warriors are increasingly relying on their iPhones for their link to the Internet, mail, and other wireless communications.

It's time the iPhone, despite having the "phone" in its name, is a mobile device with a very powerful mobile platform as its backbone. Fortunately for us, I think Apple see this as well and claiming the iPhone as more of a mobile computer than a smartphone is more than just marketing.

I think if Apple can even squeeze out another 20-25% more battery life would make everyone happy. Word is that Apple is very meticulous about picking the right chips for the iPhone and the iPod Touch and is even going as far as to buying a chip design company to make its own mobile chips.

Perhaps, with the right chip and the battery technology we see being used in the Macbook Pro lines, we can see a nice increase in battery life in the next iPhone.

More at MacNN, Strategy Analytics (reports will cost you $2999)

iPad and WWDC Prediction: Apple Will Upgrade Siri And Users Will Not Be Able to Choose Between ChatGPT or Gemini

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