Monday, November 30, 2009

T-Mobile USA To Get iPhone Before Verizon?

Back in July, I began speculation about possibility of T-Mobile getting the iPhone some time in 2010.  Here's the low-down on why I had thought this was a possible, if somewhat improbable, scenario.  3G and GSM.

In the United States, if you want access to a GSM network, you've got one of two major choices.  ATT and T-Mobile.  As you know, T-Mobile is the smaller of the two.  It's in the 4th place as far as the major networks are concerned, behind Sprint.  As Apple as repeatedly said that there will be no CDMA version of the iPhone.  Conventional wisdom is that Apple will wait until LTE, the next generation wireless network, has sufficient coverage before the iPhone becomes available to Verizon's customers (both ATT and Verizon Wireless will migrate to LTE as their next generation wireless broadband network).

So why T-Mobile?  40 Million reasons.  More at Onxo Mobile Devices

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Quick iPhone Musing

I recently downloaded a couple of blogging apps for the iPhone in an effort or become even more mobile than I already am. One is free while the other a new introduction from The Blog Herald. It's called "altBlogger". It gives writers the ability to create links to sites that many other more rudimentary apps don't allow. As you can see, I've included a link.

Of course, if you don't see it, then either I did something wrong or the app isn't working properly. I won't know until I publish this post. Well, we'll see, won't we?

Why two apps? Well? altBlogger doesn't allow me to save drafts but thend second app, BlogPress Lite, does. But BPL does allow me to create links, which is needed at times.

Anyway, many readers are interested in mobile blogging so I'll post my experiences about it later.

The second musing I want to share is that as I try to become more mobile while sharing my experiences, I ind the iPhone to be an excellent replacement for a standard laptop or netbook for basic computing. I've got an assortment of apps for office work, writing, creating and editing arts, and references. Anything that I might need are quickly and easily accessible through mobile Safari.

Plus I've got my music, games, and videos all with me as well.

I have to say that while push notifcation is great and all, omitting the ability, even a limited one, to allow some apps to run in the background has created inefficiencies. Hence, it's why I needed two diff blogging apps.

Plus I recent got a battery case for my iPhone that gives me three times more battery life. I think I am all set to run three or four apps simultaneously, Apple.

Posted with altBlogger.

Friday, November 20, 2009

iPhone - Great For Gaming? Nah...But Sega Thinks So

Is the iPhone and sibling, iPod Touch, for gaming as well as a countless of other multi-purpose functions? You know, a mobile computer?

Sega thinks so. In fact, according to IGN, they're more than just excited. They've got stuff cooking that they can talk to anyone about. The first game in a long time from Sega is Super Monkey Ball 2. It's not out yet but it certainly looks pretty good.

So, what are these developments that Sega cannot talk about? I guess we'll know shortly. No matter what they are, it's important to understand what's being said. Sega, creator of Genesis, Dreamcast, Game Gear, and tons of gaming properties, believes the iPhone is for real. Hey, if it's good enough for Sega, it's good enough for me.

At the moment, you'd think Gameloft and EA were the only two big development houses making games for the iPhone but you should take a look at the app stores and you'll realize Sega has 5 games already in the store.  But it's been a while since Sega released anything new and the games they released, besides, Sonic, are known properties, but they've created nothing new or port over their other their A-list games.

I'm talking Virtual Fighter, Phantasy Star, and Total War.  Sega has dozens more top games that can bring over to the iPhone.

To really make a splash on the iPhone, I'm hoping for Sega to create a new slate of characters like for the iPhone.  I'm looking for Sega to make history once more like they did with Sonic for the Genesis.

Personally, I think Apple has changed the dynamics of mobile gaming but I don't know if it has what it takes to take on Nintendo yet.  Maybe with Sega in Apple's corner, that just might really happen after all.

Now for some video on Sega's upcoming Super Monkey Ball 2.


More at IGN, and Touch Arcade.

Apple Hiring Game Developers - More Than Just iPhone I Think

Apple is hiring someone who has worked on a big title possibly for some in-house gaming development to work on something that has to do with iPhone gaming.  Maybe.

Here's what I've learned about Apple over the years.  Never take what they let us see at face value.  I know this has to do with gaming but I don't necessarily fall in line with those who automatically believe this is for the iPhone platform.

While it's not likely for the Mac, there is still the possibility.  Plus, you've got to think that Apple thinking bigger than just iPhone or Mac gaming.  There's still the Apple TV that Apple is slowly but surely working to "get it right".

We ought to know in a year or so just what Apple intend for its new gaming team to be doing.  Don't be surprised if Apple does intend for the OS X to be more gaming friendly for developers as well as gamers.

  • Develop games for the iPhone.  Not likely.
  • Develop games for the Mac.  Not likely but possible.
  • Develop games for the Apple TV.  Not likely but possible.
  • Develop games for the forthcoming iTablet.  Not likely.
  • Make changes to OS X to make it easier for developers to create games.  Likely. Along that line, Apple can develop a couple of games to show OS X's new gaming potential.  After all, year after year, the Mac has always been an after thought to Windows in the realm of gaming.  So, yes.  This is a likely scenario.
So though the listing specifically mentioned the iPhone and iPod Touch, I doubt the job parameter is that narrow.  If Apple improve the OS X for gaming and all of its hardware uses OS X in one form or another, Apple's products across the board stand to benefit.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Parallells Desktop 5: Detailed Video Review

Remember running Windows XP or 2000 on Virtual PC on your older PowerPC Macs?  Powerbook G4s?  It worked well enough if you need to run simple non-CPU intensive applications but beyond that, can forget about it.  Today with Macs running Intel chips, you're no longer limited by speed or anything else.  It's true, you can use Bootcamp or any number of applications that let's you run Windows XP, Vista, or 7 without taking a huge performance hit.  As matter of fact, some benchmarks showed running Windows under Bootcamp is faster than those from Lenovo, HP, or Dell.

Via MacDailyNews, here is a detailed (15 minutes) review of the newest virtual environment for the OS X and Macs - Parallels Desktop 5.


Here are among the highlights for version 5:

  • Optimized for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard
  • Full support for Aero, including Flip 3D in Windows Vista and 7 & OpenGL 2.1
  • Parallels Compressor automatically reclaims hard disk space
  • Intel VT-x2 virtualization technology drives maximum performance
  • Unmatched virtual machine performance
  • Launch Windows apps directly from the Mac dock
  • Support for Multi-Touch trackpad gestures in Windows applications
  • Improved USB device compatibility — printers, cameras, mobile phones, scanners, GPS devices and more
  • Run Mac OS X and Windows on multiple monitors
  • Easily organize multiple windows with Exposé and Spaces
  • Use Apple remote to control Windows applications
  • Copy & paste formatted text and images between Windows, Mac and Linux
  • See into the smarter way to run Windows
  • Run more than 60 different — operating systems, including Windows, Linux, BSD and more
  • Full support for Snow Leopard, Mac OS X Server, 8 virtual CPUs and 64-bit Windows
  • SmartGuard’s instant "snapshots" make backup and recovery easier than ever
  • Use administrator tools to protect and secure virtual machines
  • Enhanced! DirectX 9.0c/9Ex with Shader Model 3 support for games and 3D graphics apps
  • Bonus Software Parallels Internet Security by Kaspersky protects from virus and spyware threats, plus Acronis True Image and Acronis Disk Director

I've stopped at Parallels 2 but since upgrading to Snow Leopard, it stopped working.  But just as well since Parallels 5 has a great many improvements over previous versions as well as its competitors.

Check out the video to see if this version is for you.



Also, you might want to consider a couple of other offerings such as Fusion 3 from VMWare or Sun Microsystem's Virtualbox, which is free.

More links and where to buys:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Apple's Macbooks Among The Best

It's the Holidays, because I've put up my tree and lights already, so many folks will be looking for gifts, for themselves or others.  As always, I'm recommending Apple's gears than anything else.  And here's why.

SquareTrade, a firm that sells warranties, reports two very interesting conclusions.  One:  Premium laptops, which Apple sells, has a lower failure rate than entry laptops and netbooks.  In fact, netbooks has a 28% higher percentage of failures than premium laptops, and entry-level laptops has a 12% greater failure rate than premium laptops.  All in all, you pay more but you're likely to have a laptop that isn't going to die on you.

What's interesting is that, in another chart, Asus, Toshiba, and Sony (if you don't get Macbooks, I recommend Viaos), all top Apple's laptops.  Of course, this survey is different from user-opinion surveys made their experiences rather than firms in the business of selling warranties.  Traditional polling of users always put Apple head-and-shoulders above everyone else.

Why is that?



Here's why.  Squaretrade is in the business of making money from selling warranties.  Netbooks have high failure rates such as the ones Asus makes and Asus hardware has lower failure rates than Apple, Sony, or Toshiba?  If you're a warranty company, you'll want to maximize profit, you want owners with Asus gears to stay away because you're gonna be replacing or fixing a lot of those while try to sell warranties to the likes of Apple and Sony, whose products are reported by users as highly reliable, thus, less likely to utilize their warranties and allow Squaretrade to pocket their money.

How do you sell to Macbook and Viao owners?  Make them think their laptops are just above average so that they'll feel the need to buy warranties.  So you might ask, why not just make the gears from Apple and Sony worse than average?  Because Squaretrade has to make the survey believable.

You'll need to decide who you want to believe.  But I love my Macbook and unless quality management starts going to hell at Apple, I don't see my self getting anything else.  And I don't need to go to a third party for warranties since I've got Apple Care.

But do yourself a favor and stay away from netbooks if you can.  There's a reason why Apple does not make them and why Sony's netbooks cost about $1,000.

I'll recommend which Macbooks to get in the coming weeks depending on your needs.  But if you need a laptop now, keep in mind that Apple now has a wide selection of Macbooks, from the white case to the unibodies.  From 13" LED screens up to 17".  Plus, the built-in battery gives the Macbook line a longer battery life than almost anything else on the market.

Plus, with OS X, Snow Leopard, you have a modern 64-bit operating system Microsoft recently added to copying and save yourself the headaches of the thousands of viruses for Windows.

Just saying...sure, Macs might cost more out the door but calling it a premium laptop doesn't really work for me.  You get the best hardware and software to do the job right.  And you deserve it if you want to optimize your talent and time.

Leonardo da Vinci isn't going to go down to Home Depot and pick up any old tool.  He's gonna want best tools he can get his hands on to do his work.  Shouldn't that be the case for you?

More at Mac.Blorge

Monday, November 16, 2009

Metal Gear Solid Touch for 99 Cents!

I'm surfing the Web planning for Black Friday and I cam across this from Dealnews.com:

Metal Gear Solid Touch, typically for $5.99 is now $0.99!  I don't know when it'll last so get it when you can.

Picking BR or iTunes HD Movie

Is $20 for a 720p HD movie from iTunes worth it?  Last week, I got the Blu-Ray version of Pixar's "Up" (it'll always be Pixar for me) last week for $24 after taxes at Target.  It also includes extras as well as a digital copy, and a travel journal.

Later that day, I downloaded the HD version of "Up" from iTunes, I paid $20.  A few weeks ago, it was something I would not imagine myself doing.  Today, in addition to the HD movie, I also get iTunes Extras which includes a couple of shorts, chapter selection, alternative scenes, and other “extras”.  For a long time, I did not think getting a digital movie from iTunes is worth it since you get so much more with a physical copy, whether is a DVD or Blu-Ray disc.

What you do get from iTunes is the convenience of a digital copy so that you don’t have to rip a copy of it yourself, which in the past, doesn’t always work for me.  Still, we are talking about $20 for a digital copy versus a $24 physical copy that sometimes comes with a digital copy.  I said “sometimes” because not all digital copies work with iTunes or the iPhone (I bought Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen that came with a Windows Media digital copy).  Plus, a BR copy offers 1080p while Apple’s HD version goes up only to 720p.

However, iTunes offers convenience once more.  You don’t need to go to your local stores to buy the movie.  No driving the 10 or 15 minutes to the store.  Just click and download with iTunes.  And you can watch the movie while you’re downloading if your Internet bandwidth is fast enough (mine isn’t).

Well, I have had a change of heart after watching “Up” in HD.  Wow.  Simply amazing even at 720p.

So, is it worth it?  The convenience is definitely worth it – no driving to get the movie or waiting for the UPS guy to deliver your movie from Amazon, no ripping, works with my Macs, iPhone, and iPods, and now has iTunes Extras.  And I think in the near future, Apple will offer 1080p version for the same price, possibly forgoing the standard version altogether.  But you’ll have to see for yourself if you want to sastify your HD appetite from iTunes or not.

So, it comes down to a couple of bucks and whether you really must have 1080p or not.

Note:  I bought my BR copy of “Up” as a Christmas gift for my nephew.  It’s always cheaper to get it during the first week of release.

iTablet Cost Speculation

Just how much will the Apple iTablet cost?  Alright, here's is what we think we know.  And then we'll get into some more speculations.  Remember, these are speculations based on what I've seen about Apple's moves and tactics from the past.

  • It should be available in the first quarter of 2010.  
  • It should have very good battery life (or else, what's the point?)
  • It should do everything.  "Everything" being relative.  
  • It should have a 10"-ish screen.  
  • It should be touch only.  A recent patent uncovered pen input and Apple does own a whole host of input patents with pens from the Newton days.
  • It should spark a whole new segment of mobile computing.
  • It should require a data plan thought not necessarily the case.But there will likely be an unlocked standalone version as well.
  • It should serve as a companion to the Macbook people already have.  It will not replace the low-end Macbook.
  • It should have a serious focus on education.  I know people talk about Jobs saving the print media but education is where it all starts. Don't you agree?
  • It should make iTunes even more indispensible.
  • It should be a global launch but international markets will miss important features until other media pieces are in place.
  • It should highlight gaming, reading, and creativity.  Ain't about voice and surfing the Web no more.

Did I miss anything else?  I'm sure I did but I'm also certain this will be updated between now and January as more information becomes available.

So, you're asking about cost.  Well, this is the part that is all guessing on my part.  And your wallet ain't gonna like it one bit especially if you're not into getting a subsidized wireless plan.

To soften the blow, I can tell you this.  It'll be unlimited.  If it's not, it won't fly.  Why get a "unlimited" wireless 3G plan from ATT with an artificial cap of 5GB.  Doesn't make sense no how.  But to make things easier, this ATT scheme will include Wi-Fi access via its thousands of hotspots.  Plus, in areas where there aren't ATT-supported hotspots, maybe Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo will fill in the void.

Now, cost.

  • A lot. $$$$$$$.
  • Estimated cost for Apple to make the iTablet will be around $500.  With a 35% operating margin that Apple likes to maintain, we're looking at paying at $800.  This is in the right ball park of what a lot of analysts (who I don't care for) and bloggers (best folks I know, aside from readers) are indicating.  We might see a $900 version depending on the size of the onbord memory.
  • Estimated cost of a smaller version to be $400.  With the same 35% margin, we might be looking at $700 to round out the number.  
  • Estimated memory will be 32-64GB.  Folks will go bonkers about the small size but I hold out hope that Apple will offer SD card slots since they offer them in the Macbooks.  That's assuming design and aesthetics allow for it.  The price difference will be $100.  
  • Subsidized versions should know $300-$400 off the MSRP.  For a two-year wireless deal with ATT (which everyone assumes will be the US carrier of choice), the initial out the door cost will be $400-$500.
  • Cost of wireless data.  I'm gonna go with $60.  Perhaps $70 or $75.  Keep in mind that ATT will be offering no voice plan at all.  And insteady, users will require a VOIP solution of their own but it's likely Apple and ATT will step in to fill this void.  After all, even Google Voice doesn't offer a full-featured VOIP solution at this time (Google bought out Gizmo5 last week).
  • Apple had patented a scheme that lets advertisers offset costs.  It's very unable so I don't think we'll see it in the way we think.  It'll likely be tied to media or print products.  Don't look for advertisers to know off $100 off the iTablet or anything like that.

So, that's how I think it'll go down.  There's a lot of assumption going on here.  This reminds me of the iPhone speculations prior its actual introduction.  Of course, we're assuming there is even an iTablet at all.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Two Battery Cases For the iPhone

I am a big battery guy. The more battery life the better. But my iPhone 2G going on two years, the battery while still pretty good, isn't what it used to be. Well, I have no way of telling for sure and I've done a pretty good job taking are of it.

On the other hand, my mom used and abused her iPhone and now her battery life, by my estimate, is half what it was and started complaining about it.

So, I went ahead and ordered a couple of battery cases. It was not an easy decision since I've heard both good and bad things on just about every model out there. To make the story short, I decided on two models.
My thinking at the time was that with two iPhones, it is more prudent to order two different battery cases in case one of them does not live up to my expectations. So, what do I think?

Only the Mili Battery Pack arrived. Today. I'm on my first charge and here are preliminary thoughts:
  • Good design. Nice curves and fits the iPhone 3G nice and snug, as many reviews on the Web indicated. But oh, wait, you said. You've got an iPhone 2G. That's right. And bummer. While they advertised it works with the original iPhone, it didn't fit tightly as the iPhone 3G.
  • I've been play around with it since about 3PM this afternoon, push notifications only, e-mailing, surfing the Web, and listening to music. I've depleted about 50% of the Mili battery pack.
  • Need to really push the iPhone hard into the case so the pins are touching. Otherwise, the iPhone will tell you that the accessory wasn't made to be used with it.
  • Yes, it is bulky. More than anything I've ever had. It's about the size of the old Gameboy. But holding something with the added weight certainly brings a different mobile experience. I kept it in my pants pocket and the iPhone with the battery pack never made me forget it was there.
As for the Fastmac iV, I'm still waiting for it to get here and with Veterans Day tomorrow, I don't expect it until Thursday or Friday. The iV is bigger but it has a larger battery but I don't want to get into it until I've had a couple of days with it.

If you're interested, google other reviews and see if the Mili or iV is for you. Again, I am always pushing for longer battery life. I don't think just because we go mobile, we have made compromises like rationing power usage.

A better review of the Mili Battery Pack is forthcoming. But I'm impressed with the change in attitude about battery life and how I've started using the iPhone more and more in just a few hours with the battery pack.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mobile Help For Your Macbook: Disable Features To Save Battery Life And Increase Resolution

I can never get enough battery life.  I can never get enough resolution in my 15" Powerbook or 13" unibody Macbook.  and for my fellow mobile Apple readers, I'm sure you're in the same boat.  But these quests for the two Holy Grails of mobile computing marches on.

There are two applications that I think you'll consider using that can help you squeeze more out of your Macbooks in terms of battery life and screen resolution.  Both of these applications are free and come from Cynosurex.

The first one is Spotlight Manager .  I find Spotlight very useful but I almost use it exclusively to launch applications.  Nevertheless, it does run in the background and so it takes up resources.  Spotlight Manager allows the user to turn Spotlight on or off during one's day through mobile work.

I don't know what the resource savings from having Spotlight off will translate into extra minutes from the battery but every minute helps.

Also, you'll want to check out MagicMenu.  Having the menu bar at the top of the screen is helpful.  We use it a lot and Apple figure it needs to stay there for us to easily access.  But there are some instances where I like to have a full screen and I'm quite ap with shortcuts.  There is where MagicMenu comes in.

MM is an utility that allows the user to hide the menu bar give mobile warriors extra real estate.  What do we get back?  5%?  Not bad at all.  What's very cool about MagicMenu is the customizability - it allows the user to toggle the menu on or off depending on what application you want to use.  

I am sure mobile OS X users will find both applications very useful.  I think the developers for these applications should bundle them together into one app to make it easier for folks to use.  After all, this is OS X and we want Mac specific experiences.

Note:  Please read the instructions carefully.  For instance, you'll have to enable Spotlight again should you decide to rid yourself of Spotlight Manager or you might find yourself without Spotlight.

Another Note:  If you find the applications useful, support the developer.  While these are freeware and some of them are happy to help out the community, we can still show them appreciation for their work.  Send him a coupon for a beer or something.

More iPhone App Chats And Comic Books

On On Apple, I think I'll start spending more time talking about apps that I find useful.  There are any number of sites that already do that but I have to wonder if they spend a few hours on each app, write up a quick review, and move on to the next one.

I'm gonna start talking about actual experiences.  Free apps we can use and delete and move on if we don't like it.  With apps we buy, it's a bit more involved since it require us to make a purchase.  

For instance, I bought some comic books from Panelfly and Comics from the in app stores since I'm a big Marvel fan.  Two separate stores but I want to see how the experience is like.  I've read ebooks on my iPhone but never comic books in depth.

So, when I find time this weekend to read the comic books, I'll get into some more.

Stay tuned!

Cry Translation: There's An App For That

If there is an app that ought to have been rejected, it is this one.  Six-year research project by a Spanish team translate into an app called Cry Translator.  It is suppose to do what the title says.  It'll tell you what your precious little one means when he or she cries.

As you well know, babies can't talk.  So, they make noises.  Mostly, they cry when they're not sleeping.  It's what I noticed with my brother's new baby.  Essentially, the research time claims there are 5 universal cries.  They're either hungry, bored, stressed, sleepy, or in discomfort.

Will this work?  Well, it costs $40 but will be available for an introductory price of $10.  Boy, I am attempted to see if this works as claimed if Apple's refund procedure isn't so, well, you know.

Then again, there are a number of fart apps and this is at least trying to claim to be useful.  Anyway, drop me a note if you end up finding this app useful.

More at Baby Chums .

iPhone: Skipping the Most Consequential iPhone Upgrade And Stick With My iPhone 13 mini

 The title of this post says it all. I'm skipping the iPhone 16 capable of handling Apple Intelligence and sticking with my iPhone 13 mi...