Sunday, February 28, 2010

iCal Idea: Apple Should Add More Social Features

I started using Momento as a personal and private Twitter.

But what I also started doing is using iCal to document where I've been and what I've done and who was there.

But then I realized it would be great if Apple integrates Twitter and Facebook into the calendar.

Right now, I have to tweet, update Momento and iCal, and deal with Facebook. Since I've got a testy relationship with my Facebook experience, I rather deal with it by other means. For instance, I use Tweetdeck on the iPhone rather than access Facebook directly.

Hence, I thought about iCal.

Futhermore, I think it would be cool for Apple also make the other applications in its iLife suite more sociable.

Posted with altBlogger.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Will iPad Have Unannounced Features?

Tons of folks have poured through the iPhone SDK looking for indications of what new features the iPhone and iPad will have. We're about 4 months away from new iPhones (Apple traditionally announces new iPhones in the June-July time frame). So it stands to reason that Apple will be unveiling a bet of iPhone 4.0 pretty soon, right?

And what did these fine folks find? A lot and a lot of nothingness. Let's go through what they've found. After some digging, many blogs have found icons that would seem to indicate that Apple has at some point thought about adding cameras for the iPad.

Also, it would also seem to indicate that Apple is allowing for some type of voice communication. Since the iPad doesn't have traditional telephony features like the iPhone, we're on firm ground to say Apple is doing something VOIP-related.

Now, here's where it's possible all this means nothing. What folks are digging through are iPhone 3.0 features. So, had folks been digging through the same SDK, can't the same claim be made that these VOIP evidence are as much for the iPod Touch as it is for the iPad?

Evidence or not, there is a more important question. At the iPad unveiling, did Apple show us everything there is to know about the iPad or was there more? Common sense says that if there are additional features that will make its way to the iPad, Apple will not make them known until iPhone 4.0 is available because some of those features may make their way to the iPhone and iPod Touch. And not to disappoint some conspiracy theorists, Apple would not exclude features on the iPad in the initial Jan announcement just to obfuscate its competitors.

On the other hand, timing can tell us a lot. First is the pre-orders for the iPads. I don't know if there will be pre-orders. Steve Jobs has indicated that the WiFi version will be available 60 days after the initial announcement while the 3G version 90 days after that.

As time slows, and it always does when you're waiting for something you desire greatly, and creep towards the end of March (around the 60 day wait), Apple may schedule a special event to showcase the next version of the iPhone OS. A couple of things may happen. Apple will unveil additional features for the iPad, iPhone, and the iPod Touch.

What many, including myself want to know is if Apple will add a frontal camera at the last moment to allow for the eagerly awaited video conferencing feature.

So, Apple allowing for preorders will be critical in tell us about any hardware add-ons like the frontal camera. It would not make sense for Apple to initiate iPad preorders without telling people that they're getting an iPad with a webcam. Personally, I think that would be a welcoming thing but I'm not sure it's a wise thing from a business and image standpoint.

However, if Apple doesn't say a word until the availability of the WiFi-only iPad and couple it with a press event for the iPhone 4.0, Apple can say they decided to add a webcam at the last minute. Everyone walks away happy.

How likely is this? Unlikely because it would mean Apple also plans on adding a frontal camera to the next version of the iPhone. It would really hurt sales between the end of March and until the end of June, the period between surprising everyone with an iPad equipped with an iSight and when an iPhone with iSight is unveiled. Why get a 10-month old 3GS when they can wait two more months and get something better? The only way this can be remedy is if Apple moves up the release date of the next iPhone.

That certainly is not going to happen. Either way, I'm looking forward to the iPad as it is now. If there are additional hardware enhancements like an iSight, I am certainly not going to complain about it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hoping for iPad Surprises

You already saw the iPad unveiling video from Apple's Quicktime site like fifty times already. Once each day since the release and 25 times more the first day. Okay that doesn't make a whole lot of sense but you know what I'm talking about.

Personally, I've only seen bits of it here and there and I have no interest in sitting through the whole thing. But I'm just as expected as any Apple and mobile fans about the iPad. Only those anti-Apple jihadists are dead set against the iPad. And they're against anything Apple anyway.

But I'm hoping that Jobs left out a few things because the iPad can be so much more. I'm guessing what we don't see in this version of the iPad, we'll definitely see in the 2nd or 3rd version.  Here's what I'm looking for:

  • Battery Life:  10 hours is great.  But I was expecting something in the range of 12 hours.  There is hope that this can still happen.  In the past, reviews have shown that the iPhone and iPod batteries have better staying power than Apple's official numbers.
  • Gaming changing OS update.  More than just the iPad, it's also the iPhone 4.0 OS that is important.  Already, devs have found stuff that Apple hasn't talked about in public.  With good reasons - timing, competitors just to name a few.  I'm betting (hoping) on something that will change the game again.  It'll be the 4th edition of the mobile OS and it's time for Apple to blow everyone else away again.  
  • Webcam.  It makes sense for tablets or slates to have webcams.  After all, this new class of devices are about being mobile.  It means mobile communications - voice and video.
  • Those sides around the screen are more spacious than necessarily.  Maybe Apple has special plans for them.  Something we're not seeing.  Touch related?
Those are what I like to see happen at the next Apple event when Apple affirms the existence of iPhone 4.0 and any added features that pertains to the iPad.  

Here's hoping for more iPad surprises.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Mobile Convergence Starts With the iPad

It was only last summer that I was sitting at a local supermarket's deli section hacking away on my Macbook. I was too cheap to go home and turn on the air conditioner. I did that often. And if you think about it, the market was already cool. Why waste energy? Plus, I was spending money whenever I go. Now, there was a few instances when I wished it had 3G connection so that I could do some spur of the moment research.

At the time I had not rooted my G1 so that I can tether my laptop to it. I was able still able to get the information I needed because of the G1. Still, I thought, "why Apple? Why no 3G?"

Fast forward to today. By this summer, I'm sure I'll head out to the same deli but there will be some difference. I'll be working away on my portable device but instead of my Macbook, this device will likely be an iPad with 3G connection.

I can totally see that happen. And likelihood of this happen will increase greatly when the iPad starts to ship. The reason for this is that I'm in the camp whose opinion is that Steve Jobs did not show us everything the iPad is capable of. I can surmise what those reasons are but it's pointless since we'll know if I'm write in 50 or so days.

But the point is this: mobile devices, whether it's laptops, smartphones, or iPad or tablets like it are meant to be linked wirelessly to the Internet. So don't be surprise if the iPad is the first step of Apple adding wireless Internet access beyond just Wi-Fi.

Imagine Apple and AT&T offering a special iPod Touch model with 3G, possible dubbed "iPod 3G". Wouldn't that be something? Obviously, this is all speculation on my part. However, I don't think it's all that far-fetched. As a matter of fact, maybe people believe the killer app of the iPad isn't the bigger screen or what new features Apple offers but it's the fact that you can get 3G on the device without signing a multi-year contract.

So, we're less than 75 days from the release of the iPad 3G versions. Two months after that, It'll be summer again and I can't wait to be there at the moment when I can look back at a year ago and think how much mobile computing changed.

Revolutionary or evolutionary?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Subsizided iPads - A Solution For Wireless Providers

You want an iPad but you can't get it? What do you do?

Oh, I'm talking to the wireless carriers out there. Not us regular mobile warriors. But if you're T-Mobile and you want your users to have the iPad but Apple isn't looking to make a deal with you, what do you do? You can go with an Android option. I'm sure HTC or Motorola will be happy to hook you up.

But it's not the iPad after all. No app store or anything like that. Well, I've got a couple of options for you. Neither is as perfect as having AT&T provide the 3G with Apple's blessing. But it'll work.

Option One. Stick with EDGE. Just like what I've got going on with T-Mobile, I continually switch between my G1 and my iPhone. I get 3G speed with the G1 and I often use it to provide wireless connection to my iPhone or Macbook through tethering, thereby, turning my G1 into a Wi-Fi access point.

But when I switch out my SIM card over to the iPhone, I'm instantly downgraded to 2G speed. It's fine by my needs. And it was fine for millions of the original iPhone users as well before the iPhone 3G came along and millions of the original iPhones are still in use.

It might not be a detriment for some iPad users to suffer through EDGE. T-Mobile can sweeten things somewhat with a cheaper data plan. Say, $20 of unlimited use. That can work. T-Mobile can then provide subsidies as well. Maybe something between $100-150 for folks who sign up for a multi-year data plan. These folks would need to buy the 3G version of the iPad and after tax, say in California where sales tax is about 10%, it comes out to about $150 more than the iPad with Wi-Fi only. So, it'll be gentleman-like of T-Mobile to lessen that pain by provide a rebate in exchange a two-year contract.

Why pay $20 for EDGE from T-Mobile when you can get a plan from AT&T for $15 a month? Well, the $15 a month plan limits you to 250MB a month. Slower speed but unlimited or faster speed, cheaper but a real cap. Your choice.

Now, what's more is that in some countries that offer 3G access using the same frequency as AT&T, they can offer 3G speed at whatever price they want.

Option Two. I like this option only because it precludes you from having to buy the more expensive iPad 3G. And unlike option one, option two allows just about any wireless provider support the iPad. Instead of the EDGE option, 3G speed is possible.

All the wireless provider has to do is offer a 3G modem. And there are two ways to do this. The mobile user can buy the modem along with a monthly data access plan or receive the modem for free in lieu of a contact. I like this plan very much because you get a modem along with faster wireless access. Similarly, getting a 3G plan from AT&T provides fast Internet but there is no tethering allowed.

The two drawbacks to consider. One is that you'll end up having to carry around another device. And second, it's a device that relies on an energy source. You know, a battery. And I've yet to come across a battery that doesn't die yet.

Both of these two options aren't limited to T-Mobile USA. As a matter of fact, 3, an Austrian carrier, plans just that by provide a 3G modem along with an iPad along with a two-year data contract. A pretty good deal as the 3G modem allows you to share the connection with other devices within range.

As a matter of fact, just about anyone can provide subsidies on any device by going with the second option. All you need is a 3G modem.

So, for any provider who are feeling down that Apple didn't select you to be an official wireless provider for the iPad or Steve Jobs is currently making you jump through hoops, let him know that you're determined to provide support for the iPad, with or without his blessings.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

ATT: Liberalization of 3G Network, Soon Supporting Slingplayer

ATT is now saying that after working through things with Sling Media, the next update for the iPhone app will support 3G streaming. Let me repeat: once the update is available, you can stream video over ATT's 3G network using the iPhone app Slingplayer.

You pay $30 for an app, you kind of expect to be able to use it when you want to, where you want to, and how you want to, right? Well, if you're like me and you play $30 for the Slingplayer, you had to be tethered to a Wi-Fi access point or hotspot.

Well enough since just about everywhere these days have a wireless hotspot.  Starbucks, MacDonalds, Borders, and Barnes And Noble. What if you're not frequenting these social places or anywhere else where Wi-Fi access is unavailable? Well, you're out of luck.

What changed? Techno-magic. It's as simple as that. I'm not kidding. This is what ATT said in their press release: AT&T been been working collaboratively with Sling Media since December to test its revised SlingPlayer Mobile app, which has been recently optimized to more efficiently use 3G network bandwidth and conserve wireless spectrum. Optimization reduces the risk of the app causing congestion that could disrupt the experience of other wireless customers so, with that improvement, we will support it on our 3G mobile broadband network.

This subject specifically touch on the iPhone 3G and 3GS. How about the iPad? Hey, like Steve said, all of the 140,000 apps will work on the iPad. I'm guess that Steve also mean anything that works on the iPhone will translate over to the iPad. And this includes the ability to streaming video via the Slingplayer on the iPad 3G.

This liberalization is due to collaboration between AT&T and Sling Media as the press release says. So I have to ask this. What about other video streaming services on the Internet like Hulu and Netflix?

I'm going to do a bit of speculation here and say that Apple had a hand in it and probably is readying some sort of video streaming service in the second half of the year (there's too much going on already and it's not in Apple's DNA to try to confuse the consumer).

Plus, there are other factors that seem to be working towards this anyway. This new development followed closely on the heel of Apple's changes to the iPhone OS to support VOIP over 3G. I don't know about you but even if you don't care for 3G video streaming (there was already some apps doing this) and chatting over the Internet, this really flies in the face of all the complaints against Apple and AT&T.

I surmise this is in some part due to competitive pressure from the likes of Android and Verizon Wireless. So I think we'll see more wireless and access developments leading up to June, when Apple's likely to introduce their next generation iPhone.

More at 9to5mac.  You can google this subject if you like to know more about it.  Frankly, it's a waiting game for me.  Waiting for the 3G-enabled Slingplayer and waiting for the iPad 3G.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What's Likely To Be Updated First? iPhone or iPod Touch

In the late 2009 refresh of the iPod lines, the iPod Touch got a great update when Apple ram the internal organs of the iPhone 3GS into the insides of iPod Touch. Hence, we got the 3rd generation Touch. Still that wasn’t enough for some folks. Rumors had it that it was suppose to include a camera. Nevertheless, Touch sales rocketed, much to the chagrin of these critics and analysts. Magical. Unbelievable. Incredible. You may continue down this line by using whatever adjectives Steve Jobs has used in the past and any additional ones that you think he would approve of.

Now today. The iPhone Blog is reporting evidence of upcoming iPhone revision as well as the 4th iPod Touch lifted from the iPhone 3.2 SDK and the just released iPhone OS 3.1.2. I’ll let you enjoy the gory details there.

What I want to know is which of the two will get the upgrade first? Well, I’m inquiring about this point because the Touch was suppose to get a camera last fall but it was taken out at the last minute, likely, due to technical reasons as many have surmised. Months already passed and ample time for Apple to work out the kinks in the camera for the Touch, would now be a good time to make the upgrade?

Here’s why I think we’ll see an iPod Touch upgrade sooner rather than later and before the next iPhone. Frankly, Apple isn’t this sloppy. It’s unlike Apple to leave evidence of what it’s going to do 8-9 months down the road, that’s when the traditional iPod line gets updated in Sept or Oct. And as far as product line goes, Apple will focus on the iPhone in June, which means no iPod Touch update in the summer. So, don't let the rumors fool you. June will only be about the iPhone, OS X (maybe MobileMe) updates. Apple's very good and they don't like confusing the message.

Hence, the best time to sneak in an iPod Touch upgrade with a camera is now, between Feb and early March. Because in March, April, and May, it’ll all be about the iPad.

More at The iPhone Blog.

Note:  This is would be against standard Apple behavior but with the mobile war  heating up, standard doesn't cut it anymore.  There's also talk of a Zune phone as well as new clouds that signal new pressure from Nintendo and Sony in the coming months.  Look for Apple to stunt any momentum its competitors have or try to gain in the marketplace.

iPad: 3G Or Just Wi-Fi

54 More days until the Wi-Fi iPad is available and 84 more days until the Wi-Fi+3G version will be on sale. So I've got plenty of time to ponder this issue: which version to buy.

For most iPhone users, their iPhone cannot tether to another device so that device can share the iPhone's Internet connection. Nor can mine. But I’ve also got a rooted G1, an Android phone with T-Mobile, that allows me to tether any Wi-Fi enabled device like my Macbook or iPod Touch and use my G1's 3G connection.

Now my T-Mobile contract is coming up and that means I should be free to cancel my data plan with T-Mobile at any time (I’ve got a family plan for voice. Canceling that will make many folks unhappy). This allows me to go with the $30 3G plan for the iPad if that's what I end up deciding to do.

Or I can stick with T-Mobile, buy an iPad with Wi-Fi only and retain the freedom to use the G1 as a 3G modem. The drawback of this is that I’d have to carry an extra device with me wherever I go.

You’re probably saying well, you have to carry a phone around anyway. Not necessarily.

Well, the thing is I use my mobile devices like the G1 and the iPhone exclusively as, well, mobile computing devices. The few phone calls I get in between are social calls that I can move to Skype or Fring at any time with the iPad or the iPhone now that VOIP over 3G is possible (still waiting on you, Skype!). (It’s absolutely insane to make plans and change things at the last minute. If I’m driving through midtown Wilshire, I don’t want to be getting a call saying that the dinner plan have changed and I’m gonna have to brave to 405 Southbound to get to another restaurant. We make a plan. We stick to it, people!)

For my mom, it’s easier. On the day Steve Jobs officially unveiled the iPad to the world, I got a few calls from my mom that I missed. I thought it was an emergency. It was. She wanted an iPad with 3G. (She also wanted to know if she can get it with a 15” screen for her Slingplayer.) For my mom, who has a 2G iPhone, the decision to get her a 3G iPad is a lot easier.

I”ve got between 54 and 84 days left to decide what I want to do. Meanwhile, maybe Apple will reveal more details about the iPad that I’m sure we’re gonna like and that will factor into my decision which model to buy.

Update: There are issues about whether there is space for a webcam in the iPad from some updates last night about this. An authorized Apple repair company received parts that indicate room for a webcam. While I am hoping for a last minute change that includes a webcam, I'm not hopeful.

MacBook Air M2 - I Love It And Any Laptop You Get Will Always Be Right For the Time

The 2016 MacBook sitting off to the side still has some value as I gleefully starting using my MacBook Air M2 that I got for a decent price ...