Apple

G1 has arrived! Cheap, Familiar, Easy

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008 | Personal | No Comments

The G1 is out today, you can check out the official site here, T-Mobile’sG1 Landing Page“.

I don’t have one.  So you won’t be getting a first hand perspective on the G1.  For that please go to Engadget, they usually do great jobs reviewing new toys (even check out their G1 section).

First off — the G1 is unlike the Apple iPhone, in that ANYONE can buy one.  That’s right, you don’t need to be a T-Mobile customer to purchase the G1.  

That’s a breath of fresh air.  We don’t have to activate it in store, we’re free to do whatever we want.

I just realized, that when using the keyboard on the G1, the trackball doubles as a mouse.  I know, it’s obvious to most people (I’m special).  It’s just like a mini laptop with one of those old trackballs.  

This IS a big deal.  Apple had to invent an entire new interface methodology for people to use the iPhone.  Yes, the iPhone interface is brilliant.  However the G1 interface is Familiar.  That’s right, something that doesn’t scare people away.  Something that developers are used to implementing and working with.  Something that means it will be much easier to port existing software packages to the — OPEN — platform.  

I know I’m a fan of the iPhone but this could give the iPhone a serious run for the money.  

It’s Cheap.

It’s available to Everyone.

It’s Familiar.

It’s Easy.

I hadn’t touched on that last one yet, easy.  In talking with one of my fellow iPhone friends the other day, I realized he hadn’t updated is iPhone 3G since he got it.  He was upset with the quality of the phone calls (as we all were at release).  He didn’t know you had to update it.  

I know what you’re saying — he should know to update it.  In actuality he’s one of the smartest people I know.  Perhaps he’s not the greatest person technicaly, but he is extremely intelligent.  

G1 has OTA updates.  That means Over The Air!  Over.  The.  Air.  When was the last time the iPhone did anything really over the air?  

Again, this update will be deployed to a much larger user base than an update on the iPhone (percentage wise), and it will affect the customer view of the device in a more positive way.

OTA.  I wish I had that.  As I type this my iPhone is tethered to my computer.

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iTunes 8.0.1 Released, Applications update!

Friday, October 3rd, 2008 | Personal | No Comments

For the past 2 weeks I’ve been having the problem that my iPhone’s applications don’t ever update in iTunes.  

I had submitted a request to Apple about it, they got back 48 hours later and pretty much told me to reinstall iTunes.  Thanks Apple, it only takes me about 18 hours to reinstall iTunes and add my 100 GB of media to the library.

The whole time, the applications have updated just fine on my iPhone.  

I even went as far as deleting applications from my library, and having them re-downloaded.  Turns out, unlike music, if you delete an application it just gets re-downloaded.  Why can’t they do this with music too?  I think it has something to do with the distribution of application updates.  

With the 8.0.1 release from Apple, my applications in iTunes finally all updated.  They downloaded in a few seconds, and the number that has been sitting next to “Applications” has finally disappeared.

Lets hope 2.2 isn’t far behind 8.0.1!

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Flash for the iPhone – Already developed by Adobe

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008 | Personal | 1 Comment

Announced at Flash On The Beach, Adobe confirmed it is actively developing a Flash Player for the iPhone.

Broken (as far as I can tell) by Flash Magazine, on the post Flash For the iPhone Confirmed At FOTB.

Now lets hope it doesn’t suck too many batteries, is fully compatible with the standard flash browser, and Apple will graciously let Adobe deploy the Flash Player.

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iPhone 2.2 software coming soon?

Friday, September 26th, 2008 | Personal | No Comments

In a photo posted at iphoneatlas.com (seen below), you can see some of the changes Apple has in store for the 2.2 update to the iPhone.

Please check out the article, Apple Debuts New Safari Interface in iPhone OS 2.2.

Why are we always so excited about this minor updates Apple releases?

I know I love getting new software in the hopes that it fixes some of the things I most find annoying.  Every release for me has “Copy Paste” in it.  Then I install, it doesn’t have the feature, so I assume it’s in the next one.

The whole point of this update CAN’T only be moving the Google search bar up, and the refresh icon over?  Can it?

If it is, we know for sure they’ll say “other fixes and security updates” in the patch.

Whenever I’ve deployed a website missing some importantly functionality, I’ve always spent the night up working on a fix for it.

Worse yet, what if Apple started charging iPhone users like they charge iPod Touch users?  I find it obnoxious that they charge those users to upgrade the software.  Perhaps this is part of a contract with ATT?  Not to release functionality developed for the iPhone for free to other Apple customers who aren’t paying the $30 a month for the “privilege” of owning an iPhone.

Here’s to hoping that the next release fixes more than the dreaded “Google search bar misplaced” bug (sarcasm).  Maybe I’ll have more time to work with actual web development topics, as opposed to the iPhone drama.

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Finally, the new T-Mobile G1 at Engadget

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008 | Personal | No Comments

Engadget has posted some hands-on coverage of the T-Mobile G1.

Can this device rival the iPhone?  

Based on the pure specs, yes:

  • WiFi
  • 3G
  • 3 Megapixel Camera (iPhone’s still stuck at 2)
  • Android Market
  • Amazon’s mobile MP3 store
  • Google Maps
  • Over the Air synchronization! (this is a big deal for me, I’m not sure how well it works, but why can’t my iPhone with WiFi access at least, synchronize over the air?)
  • PUSH Gmail support
  • Full QWERTY Keyboard
However, there are some problems:
  • All plastic
  • Screen doesn’t look as nice (my own personal opinion)
  • Just doesn’t look as nice overall
It’s important to note the differences, technically, it is a better phone.  Visually, the Android phones have always had image problems.  Something has to be said about the way Apple can make something that everyone else makes, look good.

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Apple’s controversy regarding stealing ideas from Intelliscreen

Monday, September 22nd, 2008 | Business | 2 Comments

 

Intelliscreen home page preview

Intelliscreen's modifications to the locked screen of the iPhone.

Intelliscreen is an application for jailbroken iPhone’s.  The application modifies the “locked” iPhone screen (normally your background with an unlock slider), and adds information collected from various sources.

 

After I got my new iPhone 3G, I had the privilege of fearlessly jailbreaking my old iPhone.  I installed the application, it was great.  When you pick up your phone you saw news, weather, and messages all without even unlocking your phone. 

To the right you can see what the Intelliscreen image looks like.  Very useful.

Recently Apple has announced they will be releasing the same functionality legitimately on the iPhone.  This is of course through a patent filing.

Everyone has been saying that Apple was stealing from Intelliscreen.  This coming as everyone is hearing the story about the furniture salesman who “invented” the iPhone (here’s a hint how that’s going, he’s still a furniture salesman).

In recent light, it turns out the filing actually dates back BEFORE the Intelliscreen application came out.  That’s right, the patent dates back to June 2007, whereas the Intelliscreen application didn’t come out until May of 2008.

I think the consumers win out on this one, as Intelliscreen has had time to test the application in a small subset of iPhone users.  Apple will officially release the alterations to the home page.

I hope Intelliscreen doesn’t get left out in the cold, as they made some nice software.

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iPhone 2.1 firmware

Friday, September 12th, 2008 | Personal | No Comments

A few questions…

Why did Apple release 2.1 for the iPod seperately from the iPhone?

Why do we have to wait for Apple to publish the 2.1 update?  Can’t they just give us a time so we can get things done?

Why do I feel the need to download software updates just a few hours before it becomes officially available?

My biggest hope is that the Backup / Restore process is made much less painful.  Yesterday it took me 5 hours to restore my iPhone after the whole AT&T debacle.

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Frustration with AT&T’s Customer Support, and setting up a second iPhone

Thursday, September 11th, 2008 | Business, Personal | No Comments

Over the last few weeks I have been trying to get another line added to my AT&T service so I can connect my old iPhone to my account (officially, although I did play, successfully, with jailbreaking the old iphone once I had my 3G iPhone working).

To summarize my experience in one word, miserable.

The process started off with a pleasant phone call (conversation #1 ~30 minutes) to AT&T sales (always the easiest to get a hold of) with an agenda of:

1) Confirm new address (I had just moved)
2) Confirm pricing of an additional line
3) Confirm that with a new SIM card I can easily upgrade my old iPhone.

Of course the call was great, he helped work through everything, confirmed prices, and told me the process I had to go through.  All I had to do was get a SIM card shipped (3-5 business days) and when it was received, plug it into the old iPhone and — it would work.

WRONG.

Start off with, at the end of the call, an official disclaimer that I had to listen to.  You got that right — those disclaimers that no one reads and always clicks through, well, they said I had to listen to it after the call.  I said ok. Alas, 15 minutes later I hung up on it.  It was just obnoxious.

Fast forward exactly 10 business days after the initial call.

Tuesday (9.9.2008) I call AT&T (conversation #2 ~15 minutes) to ask what happened to my SIM card.  They had no record of it ever being shipped.  Nor did they have a record of anything we talked about in my initial phone call. The guy was just saying things and didn’t actually DO anything.

So the following day I go to pick up the SIM card (free of charge, gee, thanks) which took about 20 min. to get there, 20 min. to get back, and 5 min. in the store (running total is up to 90 minutes).

The man at the store says he cannot access my second number to enable the SIM card and that I’d have to do that by phone.  I said “Ok” and went off to activate it by phone in my car. 

I like to give these Support personnel the benefit of the doubt, they aren’t the monster, they just work for them.  This phone call was a little rough explaining my situation (getting a new SIM card to install on an old iPhone with a new phone number), but it was going well.  Until at the end of the call when I was told, “You will need to call the Terms and Conditions phone number, which is … uhh … 866-895-10” …. no signal.  I thought that since she said it was no problem, and I just had to call that number I could go home and get it sorted out.

From that point on it would be approximately 17 hours until that phone worked again.  It is STILL “Restoring iPhone from backup”

Personally, I believe she had disabled the SIM card on my main phone (the 3G iPhone) but I would never get confirmation on that.  That is, except for that the ultimate fix was to install the new SIM card in my current phone, and get yet another SIM card for my “old” iPhone.

Overall that night I spent 3.5 hours on tech support with AT&T and 3 different representatives.  The first few contacts were clueless and told me I had to go back to the store to turn anything on.  They would transfer me to that Terms and Conditions number, at which point I would enter my phone number, it would say I’m already activated and it would hang up.

I kept telling them that I really believed it had to do with the CS rep from the earlier phone call, as it happened to my main phone, when she was supposed to be doing something similiar to my old phone — changing the SIM card.

No one would listen to that, they kept trying to troubleshoot.  Turn this off, try that.  I told them it said “No Signal”, but they kept wanting me to try to call my own voicemail.  Can’t any intelligent person understand that it wouldn’t work?

Finally they whipped out a checklist and said “Well, we tried to reboot your phone, we reset your account with us, we have determined this is an Apple specific issue”.  They gave me the Apple Customer Support phone number (which is available anywhere) and said “We would be happy to hear that we resolved your issue.” 

To be fair, the CS rep I had the last time at AT&T was very nice.  She was patient, she understood how frustrated I was and herself volunteered to escalate to a manager (this was when their Terms & Conditions didn’t work, she did the call with me to verify, and she was trying to find out what she could do for me).

I had to tell her that I still wasn’t satisfied, as my problem hadn’t been solved, and I thought I was just being handed off because they didn’t want to deal with me anymore.  However, I figured I’d have to go through Apple to get them to respond any further to me. 

So I did.

Apple was quick to the point.  The rep had me reset the phone, and call back.  When I called back nothing had changed in the phone (there was still the “No Service” label in the top left corner).  They got AT&T on the phone for me, and came back with the following, “We have decided that it can only be one problem, the SIM card needs to be replaced.”

Another trip to the store and I finally get everything back up and running.  The store employee took my SIM card from my original iPhone and put it in my new iPhone 3G (which was the phone that had traditionally been working).  To me this means — the original CS rep disabled my 3G iPhone’s SIM (which wasn’t to be changed at all in this whole process), and AT&T didn’t know how to check this.

I felt like Apple was really trying to help — they even got AT&T on the phone.  That shows me that they really wanted the issue solved.  The Customer Support representatives from AT&T just wanted to get me off the phone.  They wanted to fullfill their obligation to test certain things, and then hand me off.

I’m very UNHAPPY with the way AT&T treated the issue.  Especially since it’s one they caused.  My phone worked before calling in, after it failed, and I had to spend a total of 5 hours and 45 minutes of MY time dealing with this issue.

Please let me know if anyone has had similiar experiences.

I’m not an Apple fan boy myself, actually I’m one of those rare “happy” Windows Vista users with no desire to switch over.  This is just how I saw this specific incident.  I do, however, love the iPhone and iPod products.  It’s a problem.

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