Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The new iPhone is REAL!! (but not here yet)

Anyone who reads my blog, even in passing, has to notice that I am a big fan of Apple's iPhone. Over the last 6 months or so, I have become absolutely obsessed with it. I decided in March that when the next generation iPhone came out, I would do whatever I could to get one. Since then, I've been putting away my nickels and dimes to cover not only the cost of the new phone and a few needed accessories, but also the Early Termination Fee (ETF) that I'll have to fork over to Verizon. I have saved what I thought would be enough, but I couldn't know for sure until they announced the new details.

So it should come as no surprised that I followed yesterday's announcement of the updated iPhone by Apple VERY closely. Needless to say, I was blown away. Not as much by the specs, most of which were pretty well-known by the rumor mill (3G wireless technology, GPS, Exchange/MobileMe integration, etc.), and not by the form factor, which while appealing does not seem to be quite as cool as the first iPhone. Rather, I was blown away by the price: $199 for the 8GB model, and $299 for the 16GB model. That is MUCH less that I thought it would be. I couldn't believe this when I heard it. I knew there had to be a catch... and there was.

The new iPhone will not be available until JULY 11. That's right. July. Not June. July.

That really bummed me out. Did I mention that my obsession had been going on for months now? When I found this out, I emailed Kari:
Good news: $299 for the top model (16GB)
Bad News: Release date July 11
My Calendar is marked.
Her reply:
What about all those boxes being shipped?
What about Father's day presents!
I have to hear you pine and lust for another MONTH?
So, yeah. It's going to be a rough month to come.

But I guess I might enjoy learning more about it, feeding my obsession with a fervor never expressed before. To start, I could list all of the things I love about the device, but I think it would be easier and faster to list all of the things I DON'T like about it. Here is the comprehensive list:
  1. No cut-and-paste: Why is this so difficult? While I can't imagine this being a big deal to me overall in the long run, I could certainly see how it might be an inconvenience at times. DEALBREAKER? NOT REALLY
  2. No video recording: Granted, I know next to nothing about what it takes to turn a camera phone into a video phone, but my thinking is that if my LG VX9900 can do video, why can't the iPhone? Potentially, this could be fixed by a third-party application to come, but it really should be integrated into the firmware by Apple. Again, though, I don't use video-on-the-go very often, so I might not miss it. DEALBREAKER? NOPE
  3. No document editing: Although Apple announced full ability to view iWork and Microsoft Office documents, it did not allow users to be able to edit those documents on the iPhone. Nor did they provide an easy way to port Keynote or PowerPoint presentations to a projector or monitor. This would have been a much bigger deal for me 2+ years ago when I was still working on my doctorate and needed to edit documents on the go. Now? It would be nice, but DEALBREAKER? NOT EVEN CLOSE
  4. Storage max out at 16GB: This is definitely the hardest one to swallow. I really thought they would come out with a 32GB model, which would have been perfect for me. My current iPod is a 30GB 5G iPod with video. For me to completely replace my iPod with the iPhone, I will need to find a way to cut the amount of media I have on me by more than half. (I'll need to save some room for apps and available storage for on-the-go downloads.) This will be difficult, especially considering that my music collection alone is around 18GB. Although this comes the closest to giving me pause about a purchase, ultimately DEALBREAKER? *gulp*... no...
As you can see, that's a relatively short list, and I cannot find a true dealbreaker in the bunch. Although other bloggers and fans have found a number of other flaws with the World's Most Complete Phone/Gadget, none of the other criticisms are in the least bit relevant to me.

As iDay (July 11) approaches, you can expect to see more iPhone related posts to help me feed my obsession.

[Update]: I can't believe that I forgot this, but I actually have one other problem with the iPhone.
  1. No voice dialing: This is a feature that I never used on my phone until a year ago. That's when I started commuting 1 hour away once a week. Voice dialing became important for me to use in the car, and given the iPhone's UI, I would think it would be even more important. The only reason I can think of not including this is that the voice recognition technology for phones is not at the level that Apple expects for its products, and I can understand that. The voice dialing on my LG VX9900 only works about 50% of the time, and is VERY frustrating the other 50%. Although I will miss this feature, I'm sure I can learn to live without it. DEALBREAKER? I don't think so.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Tweet me up!

Twitter Screen Capture

Some of you may not know that I actually post many times a day to one of my blogs. It's not this one, obviously, but rather my Twitter account. A while back I wrote here about Twitter when I first opened my account. After a period of ambivalence, I started to really embrace the service to the point that I now post around a half dozen times a day or so. I try to post each time something interesting happens, I have an interesting (to me) thought, or when I something new.

I have really enjoyed this because it allows me to maintain a public, short-attention-span diary of what I'm experiencing. Now, I'm not narcissistic enough to believe that anyone but me would even care about those sorts of minutia regarding my life. Rather, I just enjoy being able to document my life for my own purposes. Not that I go back and review it regularly, but it's interesting to write something (in 140-character chunks, no less) that I know may be around indefinitely.

What makes twitter really cool, however, is that it has such a simple API that many other applications, websites, and services can easily integrate Twitter into what they can offer. For instance, when I post a public video to Viddler, Viddler automatically posts a link to the video on my Twitter account. The same is true when I post a mobile photo to Flickr through the use of TwitterGram. One of the cooler integrations, however, is that I can set Facebook to use my latest Twitter post (or tweets, as they're known) as my current Facebook status. And because I can tweet from the web, numerous desktop clients, IM, and SMS, I can post anything from almost anywhere. There are also reply, direct message, and privacy functions, which theoretically could be used to expand the possibilities much further, but I haven't had a chance to fully explore these. One notable example, however, is one programmer's use of a private twitter account (and some fancy-schmancy curl scripts) to create an iPhone lo-jack system for finding a lost iPhone.

My purposes, however, are much simpler: I just want to keep track of what I'm doing! So along those lines, I thought I might start posting a Twitter Digest on this blog periodically. It's just a summary of all of my tweets during the previous 24-hour period. So here's the digest for yesterday, June 5, 2008. (BTW, if anyone out there reading this already has a twitter account, let me know and I'll follow you.)

  • Making the most of another no-show by Installing OpenPandora. Good use of my time, right?
  • The lengths that people go to avoid talking about the problem amazes me, especially when they COME to therapy to talk about their problems.
  • Came home for lunch today for no reason and feeling guilty for wasting the gas needed for the 7 minute drive.
  • @cdevroe Here you go. http://is.gd/rCl
  • Already had too many cancellations this week. The summer client dropoff has officially begun!
  • @ecc1977 Absolutely! A Facebook app for GFF would be a great idea. I'd use it.
  • Looking for a good twitter client for Windows to use at work. Methinks I'll give Twhirl a whirl.
  • I am really up too late. I need to go to bed. **anticipating my own worthlessness tomorrow**
  • After the LAST t-ball practice of the season, trying to pretend we can have a clean house with 2 small children.