A saner, post-geekgasm look at the iPhone

Yesterday I made a very impulsive post about the iPhone, going nuts over it, etc. Now that I’ve had a chance to settle down now that I’m over the ridiculous excitement I had yesterday, I have a few things that very well could keep me from buying the phone.

  • Up to $599 and no 3G?!? It may be a “revolutionary Internet device” but it needs 3G, which offers broadband speed over wireless, to work to its full potential, IMO. EDGE just won’t cut it. For $199 I could land the Blackjack, with smartphone functions as well as 3G support.
  • I have serious worries over a device that shiny getting scratched to the dickens. Has Apple learned from the first-gen Nano experience?
  • How is this going to work with Windows machines? Will it have Outlook integration? I’m sure it’ll work fine with Windows iTunes, but that’s just a quarter of the functionality. Address book synchronization is critical to me, and a showstopper if it doesn’t work with Outlook, IMO. Again, ActiveSync…erm…excuse me, Windows Mobile Device Center, is just an incredibly elegant solution, and can be had for much less.
  • I’d like to see how they pull off the purported five hours of talk time…and very curious to see the standby time. The fact that they haven’t released that yet kinda worries me.

It’ll be a cool phone, to be sure, but the real killer for me is that it’s far from futureproof. EDGE will hamstring this device bigtime in a year or so, and I would not be surprised to see a slow launch, at least until the prices go down.

Forget the Blackjack…

…because it’s all about the iPhone. Gorgeous. I can’t wait to get my hands on one…

As Per Whatever

Other things of note…

In addition to fawning over Office 2007, I’ve had a few other things going on that are worth noting. Here’s two more nerd items and then some general real life things…

  • I’m now running Windows Vista Business Gold, build 6000, at work. The differences between RC2 and Gold are mainly visual in nature, but things also seem much smoother just in general operation. It doesn’t really handle like a beta anymore, which is pretty fantastic. In fact, I’d venture to say that it’s faster than XP about some things, and that says a lot. I’ll have more of a full review in the coming days, as the driver situation begins to shake out a bit more. I was also able to install the newly-minted gold version of Office 2007 Enterprise Edition as well. Performance is much improved. Office 2007 is one of the best software packages to ever find its way out of Redmond, and they managed to keep it small enough to fit on a CD, to boot.
  • This weekend I decided to switch back to using iTunes 7 for sending files to my iPod versus Winamp’s functionality. It seemed Winamp had totally mislabeled the songs from Ryan Farish’s Beautiful album, so listening to a song from Beautiful was certainly an act of mystery, as I had no clue what I was going to get. After firing up iTunes, it prompted me to upgrade my first-generation Nano to software version 1.3. Bug fixes, better standby times…hey, why not? I proceeded with the installation. Things got off to a fairly inauspicious start, with the whole downloading of the software from the Apple servers and the like going smoothly. iTunes told me that it was going to initiate the installation, and that the iPod would restart a couple times. Then, an endless progress bar. I gave it a few minutes, and then got frustrated. I hit The Google™ and promptly found instructions to unplug the Nano, give it five seconds, and re-plug it in, and the update would resume. So, that’s what I did…and the upgrade proceeded. Sweet, I thought, until the Nano restarted and my system promptly started locking up, unable to recognize the device as an iPod. Greaaaaaaaaaat. Sure enough, after fighting with Windows to let me remove the device safely, I checked out the iPod and promptly saw that my playlists, tracks, etc. were, erm, gone. Lovely. Upon plugging it back in, the Nano rebooted again. This became a fairly common occurrence. So, once again I hit The Google™ and stumbled on this thread at PlanetAMD64, which turned out to be solid gold. After sticking the iPod in recovery mode as per the instructions, I was able to format the damn thing, restore the software to a properly working state, and get on with my day, restoring my files…in Winamp. :P Winamp 5.3 fixed a few things with iPod support, I think, because it’s working a lot better now. So, yet again, screw iTunes. :) I’ve got a bit more of an eclectic mix on there now (didn’t include all three CDs of Trammell Starks’s Music For Local Forecast this time around) and I quite like it. The software improvements in version 1.3 are nice, too, with a maximum volume limiter, improvements to battery life, and better responsiveness coming from standby. Too bad it was such a bitch to install, though. I’ve got to redo my playlists but that’s a task for Thanksgiving.
  • Microsoft seems to have fixed a very annoying issue in one of its recent patches (likely the MSXML patch): I was freaking out for a month because it seemed like every few clicks, it would register as a double-click, sometimes really fouling things up for me. Thanks, MS.
  • The forecast for the rest of the week: Crappy, icky, terrible cold rain. I absolutely abhor this type of weather, especially around Thanksgiving. I can’t remember having a rainy Thanksgiving in forever. Stupid coastal low, “sou’easter”, whatever. I heard rumors this morning that there would be some snow this weekend but I can’t find anything that suggests we even have a chance at that. Maybe in the mountains…who knows. It most definitely won’t be here.
  • I’ve been digging back into Ryan Farish’s back catalog recently, with an opportunity to hear some of his rare works from his mp3.com days. There are so many songs that are out there that he should repackage and sell in a Selected Works Super-Duper XPanded release. “Healer” is most definitely one of those tracks that needs to live on. Pure Farish musical goodness in that one.

Catch you guys during the day tomorrow…I’m sure I’ll find something to harp on. :)


The inevitable may be happening: iPhone to enter production

I saw a segment about this last night on CNBC while at the Mellow Mushroom; there are, once again, rumors that Apple is going to be, as many have anticipated, manufacturing an iPhone that contains the iPod’s music technology. This wouldn’t be the first time an iPhone was rumored; but the AppleInsider article states that the phone has already been released to manufacturing by Foxconn, so hmmm…perhaps there’s some weight to this one?

This is quite a gamble for Apple. Previously, you might recall, they paired with Motorola to put iTunes on several phones, including the ill-fated ROKR and the RAZR V3i, which really hasn’t taken off over the traditional RAZRs out there. (I’ve seen one — yes, one — V3i in the wild.) Apple has to convince people like me why one device is sufficient for talking on the phone and listening to music. While it is convenient to have the music stop to take a phone call (my MPx220 has Windows Media 9 on it and this is a feature), I also question the wisdom of putting two battery-sucking applications on one device (in my experience with the MPx220, the batteries drained a lot faster when playing music). In order to succeed with this, Apple would have to bundle a fairly potent battery with the phone and find a way to retool the electronics to where the signal processor for the music is extremely efficient.

Some requests for the Apple iPhone group, if indeed they’re doing this:

  • A rotary dial option would be awesome for the clickwheel…innovative, oldschool, and just plain unique for a cell phone. Apple, DO IT.
  • Don’t impose an artificial limit on the number of songs in the iTunes library. That’s where the ROKR and RAZR V3i failed miserably. Don’t repeat such a stupid mistake. If you’re going to meld iPod technology with a phone, take it all the way. If I bought an iPhone, I expect the full features of an iPod nano available.
  • Stick with the standard iPod connector, and make it effortless to sync contacts and calendar items between both Macs and PCs. Outlook integration would be a real plus.

I really, really believe the iPhone could be a real winner if they did it right and didn’t skimp in areas that Motorola’s implementations have.

As Per Whatever

Reporting to Boot Camp

Apple product naming in the last several years has been fantastic. Their latest utility, Boot Camp, enables Windows XP to be installed on an Intel Mac alongside OS X with full driver support, and uses a boot menu. It’s available for a free download and will be an integral part of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard (whew!).

This is pretty fantastic – no more hacking needed to put Windows XP on a Mac. That makes one of those machines that much more attractive now.

As Per Whatever

Microsoft I-pod 2007 Professional Human Ear Edition (With Subscription)

See what happens when Microsoft tries to package an iPod. Truly hysterical, and 100% authentic – yes, this actually did come from MS.

Via Neowin.