I am not crazy about Apple’s iPhone. Obviously it doesn’t work in Canada yet anyway, but it will, eventually. I think gadgets generally fall into two categories the day they launch: there are gadgets you “must have” right away, and there are gadgets where it’s wise to take a “wait and see” approach.
The difficult thing is that you can’t predict which of the two categories a particular gadget will fall into. I figured the Xbox 360 was in the first category, so I lined up and bought one the day it was released. That turned out to be a good decision (minus the lack of HDMI output). When the Wii came out, I figured it was in the second category. Turns out I probably could have bought that one right away! I think the iPhone falls into the second category, but I guess we’ll find out over the next few weeks.
Today is the first day where the lineups to buy the iPhone will be insane, though some individuals got started a couple days ago. The rules are basically that you can only buy two per person, and it’s first come, first serve.
It’s already hard to ignore iPhone-related news, and it’s not going to get any easier, at least for the next few days. That said, I’d be disappointed to look back in five years and not find a post about the iPhone. Most of the things I have read so far are kind of the same, but I did like Paul Colligan’s list of reasons for not lining up, especially his last point:
Ratatouille Opens On Friday Too! Shorter line, better snacks, my kids can come and Steve Jobs still makes money off of me.
If you are especially stoked about the iPhone, don’t miss Engadget’s coverage.
Just last week I wrote about Apple being evil by requiring iPhone users to have an iTunes account. Now they’re at it again, this time with forced perspective advertising. From BoingBoing:
Lars says: When I viewed the new iPhone site something struck me: did Apple change the dimensions of the unit?
A quick comparison of the official Apple photos revealed they’ve just changed handsize.
I copied the OLD and NEW photos below from BoingBoing. That’s pretty evil isn’t it? The two hand sizes aren’t even close!
There’s more too, all related to the iPhone. On Monday Apple was caught with some false advertising (they incorrectly stated that the Nokia N95 did not have Wi-Fi). And of course, they announced improved battery life and a more durable screen – for a device that you can’t even buy yet!
What’s next Apple?
I say ‘evil’ and you say ‘Microsoft’, right? Wrong. When you think evil, you should think Apple. At least that’s what I thought after reading this:
One of the first things you’ll need to do with your new iPhone is register with the iTunes Store in order to activate the handset.
Presumably, most of the iPhone early adopters will be Apple devotees with current iTunes Store accounts, but for those who don’t have an account already, have your credit card ready during the iPhone setup process.
Imagine the iPhone was a new product from Microsoft and it required you to have a Windows Media Player account (via Live.com or something). Would there not be an uproar? You can bet your ass there would be. People would be bashing Microsoft like there’s no tomorrow.
Why aren’t more people complaining about Apple? Double standards suck.
It’s no secret that an incredibly large number of web developers build sites only for Internet Explorer, ignoring standards and other browsers. It drives me nuts. Unless instructed by the client to focus on a particular browser, I build sites that work on as many different browsers and platforms as possible. Take Podcast Spot, for instance. We want it to work anywhere, no matter what technology the user happens to have installed. So far, I think we’ve done a good job. There’s always room for improvement however.
Since we’re a “Microsoft shop” we don’t have any Macs in the office. For testing, we’ve relied on friends and the incredible BrowserCam service. It would be nice to just have a Mac though. Or, you know, Safari on Windows:
Apple® today introduced Safari™ 3, the world’s fastest and easiest-to-use web browser for Windows PCs and Macs. Safari is the fastest browser running on Windows, based on the industry standard iBench tests, rendering web pages up to twice as fast as IE 7 and up to 1.6 times faster than Firefox 2.
Let me first say that I think this is absolutely fantastic news! The more standards-adhering browsers available the better. That said – what about Opera?! Dammit why does everyone ignore the best cross-platform browser. Argh!
You can download Safari here. It’s just over 8 MB. I just installed it and already found a bug. I have three monitors, and dragging Safari to a different screen than the one it launched in and maximizing causes the application to disappear. Oh well, it’s beta. Looks exactly like Safari on the Mac to me though (and that kind of sucks, I hate how Apple completely ignores the Windows look and feel).
There’s lots more discussion from around the blogosphere here.
Steve Jobs has finally made good on his promise to offer DRM-free music through iTunes. Apple is announcing today the availability of iTunes Plus:
Apple® today launched iTunes® Plus—DRM-free music tracks featuring high quality 256 kbps AAC encoding for audio quality virtually indistinguishable from the original recordings—for just $1.29 per song.
In addition, iTunes customers can now easily upgrade their library of previously purchased EMI content to iTunes Plus tracks for just 30 cents a song and $3.00 for most albums.
I think this is great news. The more retailers that offer DRM-free music the better! I am kind of confused by the pricing though.
Why are DRM-free tracks more expensive than DRM’d ones? They are higher quality encodings, sure, but so high than an extra 30 cents is warranted to cover the costs of storage and transfer? I don’t think so. Not when Amazon S3 sells bandwidth for 20 cents per GB.
I also find it kind of insulting that they named the store “iTunes Plus”. A more appropriate name would be “the iTunes you actually want” or something. Seriously.
I certainly hope so. EMI announced today that they will begin selling higher quality, DRM free music for $1.29 USD per download. I can’t stand MP3 files at less than 192 kbps, so they’ve got that solved – the files will be 256 kbps. And the price is pretty good – not great, but good. The only thing preventing me from dropping some cash right now is that only iTunes is selling the music so far. I can’t stand iTunes.
Eventually stores will be able to sell the music in either AAC, WMA, MP3, or “other unprotected formats of their choice.” Works for me! You can read much more analysis at TechMeme.
Did you know Napster had suggested this idea more than seven years ago? Don Dodge explains:
We suggested free file sharing of 56 kbps files that were good enough for “sampling” and probably analogous to AM radio quality sound. We would offer higher quality versions in 256 kbps format for sale at $1.00 per download. This way Napster could continue to offer free downloads of low quality files and sell high quality music.
We know how that turned out. In more ways than one, Napster was ahead of its time.
I never thought it would be Jobs, but in an open letter titled “Thoughts on Music”, the Apple head honcho seems to support getting rid of DRM altogether. Just over a week ago I mentioned that music should be free – no need for DRM if it is! Here’s what Mr. Jobs has to say:
The third alternative is to abolish DRMs entirely. Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music.
Bring it on! I am so glad he has written this letter. If nothing else, it will simply increase the pressure on the labels to give in and realize that DRM is a stupid way to sell music.
When I read about this letter today, I had the same thought as Jason Calacanis did: Somewhere Cory Doctorow is smiling! Indeed it sounds like he is…kinda:
Well, this is pretty excellent news! Now, let’s see if Steve means it.
I hope he does. The way I see it, there’s only a few people that will be hurt by abolishing DRM – the product teams at Microsoft, Apple, and other companies who have put a lot of time and effort into creating the DRM technologies. No one likes to see their hard work end up being ignored. Though I suppose, if they truly like music, they’ll benefit from having no DRM too.
I knew it was too good to be true. Turns out Apple did not manage to work out a deal with Cisco, who currently owns the “iPhone” trademark, and today they were sued by the network-equipment manufacturer:
Cisco filed the lawsuit Wednesday seeking injunctive relief to prevent Apple from copying Cisco’s iPhone trademark.
“We certainly expected that since they had gone ahead and announced a product without receiving permission to use the brand, that meant that the negotiation was concluded,” said Mark Chandler, Cisco senior vice president and general counsel.
Obviously I am not an expert on trademarks or anything, but I think it’s pretty amazing that Apple is “very confident” they will prevail. Too bad Apple is so tight-lipped, or we might be able to learn their side of the story.
Read: Yahoo News
The iPhone has already had a big impact on the technology industry, what with the stock prices of both RIM and Palm falling sharply today, and it will continue to have an impact over the next couple years. Certainly when it launches this summer, we’ll find out if all the hype is justified. And there will most certainly be copycat designs.
In any case, I think the launch of the iPhone bodes well for podcasting.
Apple describes the iPhone as “a breakthrough Internet communications device” thanks to its support for Wi-Fi and EDGE. We know that it runs OS X under the hood, and that it supports Widgets. It isn’t entirely clear just yet if it’ll be possible to get a podcatcher running on the iPhone, at least from everything I have read, but the idea certainly seems plausible.
Apple’s iPhone will let you walk around with Wi-Fi Internet access in your pocket. Even if it can’t podcatch all by itself, other device manufacturers and future editions of the iPhone most certainly will. The iPhone will open up the “pocket Wi-Fi device floodgates”, so to speak.
Heck, maybe it will even prompt Microsoft to open up the Zune’s Wi-Fi capabilities.
It might not be apparent for quite a while, but I am confident that the iPhone will have nothing but a positive impact on podcasting.
The main story people are buzzing about today is the launch of the iPhone from Apple. I don’t know how they can use the name, considering Cisco has already used it, but there it is. Engadget has a ton of photos up from the announcement, and I have to admit, the phone looks awesome. Okay, okay, it looks downright sexy.
Sweet, glorious specs of the 11.6 millimeter device (that’s frickin’ thin, by the way) include a 3.5-inch 480 x 320 touchscreen display with multi-touch support and a proximity sensor to turn off the screen when it’s close to your face, 2 megapixel cam, 4GB or 8 GB of storage, Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR and A2DP, WiFi that automatically engages when in range, and quad-band GSM radio with EDGE. Perhaps most amazingly, though, it somehow runs OS X with support for Widgets, Google Maps, and Safari, and iTunes (of course) with CoverFlow out of the gate.
You can see more at the official Apple site.
I wonder which carrier(s) will be selling the phone in Canada. Hopefully it’s not just Rogers. I would totally buy one of these if Telus sold them (or, alternatively, if we had number portability)!
Apple announced a bunch of other stuff today, but perhaps most interesting is that it has dropped “Computer” from its name and will now be known simply as “Apple, Inc.” If that doesn’t scream where Apple’s focus is, I don’t know what does.