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iPhone 4: Drool-Worthy

June 12, 2010 Leave a comment

The Atlantic Wire has a good summary of the reasons that the iPhone 4 looks to be a worthy upgrade. Time to start a new budget envelope.  Now to just talk AT&T into letting me restart this contract.

This hi-res image gives some idea of how improved the resolution is on the new iPhone. Nice and crisp:

Usable Apps Weekly

February 15, 2010 1 comment

Please welcome Jason Morales, 98 Pound Geekling’s first staff member. He’s working for zero pay, but he is excited to be our new “Apps Pimp” (yes, that’s his official title), whose primary mission is to tell me about apps that I can’t live without for at least a week or so. Jason’s iPhone 3GS is currently home to a legendary amount of apps, 90% of which he hasn’t used in a very long time. But he has fun loving them and leaving them.

This week’s usable app is Siri, a “personal assistant” app which has the ability to find information on restaurants, events, taxis, movies, weather, and just about anything you would want to spend your time or money on. The genius of this app is that the method for getting an answer is to simply ask a question. You speak into the mic, and Siri finds what you are looking for.

Questions like, “What’s playing at TPAC this week?” will prompt a list of shows coming up at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville (as long as it knows your location).

I’ve tried the YellowPages app, and tried using Maps to find things I’m looking for, but Siri looks to be a one-stop app for this purpose with great ease of use.

The application currently supports iPhone 3G and 3GS with OS 3.0 and is expected to support the iPod Touch in the future.

Is The End Near for Apple’s Exclusive Contract with AT&T?

January 26, 2010 2 comments

The first question during the Q&A of Apple’s Conference Call on Monday went straight to the question of whether or not AT&T would remain an exclusive carrier for service on the iPhone. It’s an important question, since Apple is bound by contract to miss a huge portion of the market, thanks to their firm handshake with AT&T.

Tim Cook, Apple’s COO, had an indirect answer to Munster’s question about staying with a single phone service carrier. When Gene Munster from Piper Jaffray asked Cook to “remind us what the benefits and the virtues of sticking with a single carrier in the US are,” Tim hem-hawed around with his answer. If you read carefully, you’ll see that his answer below was, “There are none.”

First of all, AT&T is a great partner. We have been working with them since well before we announced the first iPhone to get it out. I think it is important to remember that they have more mobile broadband usage than any other carrier in the world. In the vast majority of locations, we think that iPhone customers are having a great experience from the research that we have done.

Let’s rephrase the conversation. Munster asks, “You must have good reasons for only using one carrier for iPhone service. What are some of those reasons?”

“AT&T is neato.” Tim replies.

He might as well have come out and said it directly: AT&T’s days of being the iPhone’s sole provider are coming to an end.

Did anyone else hear the sound of a blackberry being squashed?

iPhone OS 4.0 Wish List

January 20, 2010 Leave a comment

BoyGenius is reporting that they have “some exclusive iPhone OS 4.0 details” from one of their trusted inside sources. Sounds like it will be a significant upgrade which may give a fresh feel to 3G and 3GS iPhones.

If I could ask Apple for only one thing, I would vote for an improved navigation method for getting to the many apps on my phone. Some users like myself have nearly 100 apps on our phone, and getting to page 7 just takes too darn long.

“Why the crap do you have almost 100 apps?” you may ask. God knows I’ll never be able to use most of these on a regular basis, but for the intermediate geeks out there, it’s nice to mess around with a variety of different apps, if only to see what the iPhone is capable of.

So the first item on my iPhone 4.0 OS Wish List is a new way to navigate the iPhone. Here a few other things I’m hoping for:

  • Wireless syncing over Wi-Fi with iTunes.
  • Improved formatting for emails when sending to Windows Outlook users. (“Geez man, what’s with the Times New Roman font on your iPhone?”)
  • This is a small request, but an ongoing annoyance… please allow us the option to tap anywhere on the screen to take a picture with the Camera app!

Will Apple get into the iPhone OS details on January 27? Seems like they have a lot to cover, even if the rumor mills are half-right!

iPhone 3G: First Impressions

July 12, 2008 1 comment

Without diving into the frustrations surrounding the activation problems that 99.9% of new iPhone owners experienced, I am glad to report that I now own a 16GB black iPhone 3G. Overall I am thrilled with it and don’t regret joining the line in Nashville at 5:45 a.m. yesterday morning. It was actually fun, thanks to my wife who came along and some terrific people next to me in line.

The iPhone 3G feels great in your hand, it’s size being a good balance between providing enough screen real estate and not being too large to carry around. The new iPhone design is not much different from the first version, but this one has even more of that intangible Zen-like quality to it.

The screen has the capability to be very bright. I’ve kept it at about 70% indoors, which is plenty of brightness for viewing photos, movies or the internet. When going outside, the auto-brightness feature cranks up the meter, and I was able to see my contact list without a problem.

The GPS is amazing. I tracked myself on the way home from work and it followed me perfectly. This feature alone is worth the upgrade!

3G is obviously much faster than the EDGE network, so the speed increase was clear. Safari loaded pages at a much more tolerable rate and Mail pulled in about 70 messages from my various accounts in a very short time. Surfing the internet on the 3G network will be a completely different experience for you if you currently have the original iPhone.

I’ve surfed enough of the App Store to realize that it will be a great addition to the iPhone experience. There are plenty of useful, free apps available to get you started along with others which can be had for a small charge (usually around the $3-$10 mark, though I’ve seen a one as high as $79.99).

The only negative was a problem I had with Wi-Fi which required a complete system restore. For some reason, the iPhone would not switch to a Wi-Fi network that I was clearly connected to already. Once I restored the original system and wiped it, Wi-Fi worked as advertised.

Now that the activation problems are over, get your hands on the new iPhone if at all possible. It’s some of Apple’s best work.

iPhone 3G is Cheaper… if You Qualify

July 6, 2008 Leave a comment

iPhone 3G

AT&T has announced iPhone pricing details and the the good news is that you can buy one without a contract.  The bad news is that if you don’t sign a contract it will cost you $400 more.

On Tuesday of last week, AT&T announced the various voice and data plans available for the iPhone, and gave tips on how to be “iReady” when iPhone 3G goes on sale at AT&T retail stores this coming Friday, July 11.  All AT&T stores are opening early at 8 a.m. to accommodate the demand, but with each iPhone requiring an in-store activation, many are in doubt that they’ll be iReady when the clock strikes eight.

Regardless of that, I’ll be in line on Friday morning (unless the line is insanely long), and here is what AT&T is telling me to expect:

Pricing and Eligibility

iPhone 3G will be available for $199 for the 8GB model and $299 for the 16GB model. These prices require two-year contracts and are available to you if you fit in one of these three catagories:

  • iPhone customers who purchased before July 11
  • Customers activating a new line with AT&T
  • Current AT&T customers who are eligible, at the time of purchase, for an upgrade discount

If you are an existing AT&T customer, but you are in the middle of a contract, you can purchase the iPhone 3G for $399 for the 8GB model or $499 for the 16GB model (both options require a new two-year service agreement).  AT&T has said that a no-contract-required option will soon be available ($599 for the 8GB or $699 for the 16GB).

Remember that you will have to pay the ridiculous $18 “upgrade fee” if you are a current AT&T customer.

Voice, Data and Text Messaging Plans

iPhone 3G users can choose from four individual AT&T voice/data plans, each one including unlimited data (e-mail and Web browsing).

  • AT&T Nation Unlimited: Includes unlimited Anytime Minutes for $129.99 a month.
  • AT&T Nation 1350: Includes 1350 Anytime Minutes and unlimited Night & Weekend Minutes for $109.99 a month.
  • AT&T Nation 900: Includes 900 Anytime Minutes and unlimited Night & Weekend Minutes for $89.99 a month.
  • AT&T Nation 450: Includes 450 Anytime Minutes and 5,000 Night & Weekend Minutes for $69.99 a month.

Unlimited text messaging can be added for an additional $20; $15 (1,500 messages), or $5 (200 messages).

When you finally reach the counter on Friday morning, tell AT&T that 98 Pound Geekling sent you.  I promise that you’ll at least be rewarded with a strange look.

iPhone Holdouts Licking Their Chops

April 25, 2008 Leave a comment

yummy

Those who are waiting for the next version of the iPhone to come out continue to see signs that point to a June announcement at the World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June.

O2, one of Apple’s iPhone distributors in England, has said that in only a few weeks, their iPhone stock has dwindled after they cut the prices on the 8GB model by about 37%.  Carphone, Europe’s largest independent mobile phone retailer, is completely out of the 8GB version and they “do not expect to receive any additional stock at this time.” (link).

Retail locations across the US have also reported having little to no stock of the lower-end model.

Apple didn’t mention the iPhone in their quarterly financials update on Wednesday, but that’s no surprise. In typical Apple fashion, we will have to speculate and wonder until Stevie gets up on stage on June 9th.

Until then, holdouts like me are poised to pounce on the 3G, whenever it arrives.

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