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Monthly Archives: June 2010

WWDC 2010 Impression

The video streaming is up on Apple’s site.
I’ll be going through the keynote chronologically, and provide my 2 cents.

1. The iPad.
Blah blah sales blah blah magical blah blah 2 million blah blah. Blah. The mash-up video of iPad releases in different countries was pretty neat though. Oh, and a jab on Google ads. But next please.

2. iBooks.
Highlights, notes, and the big one, native PDF reader! Finally. Not out now though, “later this month.”

3. App store.
Blah blah HTML 5 blah open blah. Approval process, etc. Sounds like Jobs just rehashing his script from D8. Netflix for iPhone, meh (yeah, tell that to AT&T. Say bye-bye to your 200MB data cap). Farm Ville for iPhone, meh. Guitar Hero, meh. Blah blah 5 billion blah blah 1 billion blah. We know what we are waiting for, so next.

4. iPhone.
Blah blah market share blah blah iPhone > Android, and obvious jab at google. For a newcomer, Android is actually pretty amazing getting those market shares. Steve should pay more attention.
Next, Steve was talking about each year’s iPhones. Before 2007, wireless carriers were in control of the phones. Well, they still do Steve. Your iPhone is still locked to AT&T, and the draconian bandwidth cap made things worse.

5. iPhone 4.

Finally, the real deal. All those leaked pictures and stolen iPhone is true. Rectangle design, flat edges, even thinner than the 3GS, thinnest smartphone on the planet, front facing camera, micro SIM, LED flash, noise cancellation mic. The last one reminds me of the Nexus One. 😉 The interesting part is the stainless steel trim, which doubles as antenna too. Scratch resistant glass front and back, which is nice as this means you don’t need a case. Really, I never use a case for a phone until the 3GS due to the highly scratchable plastic back. Glad Apple turned this around with glass on the iPhone 4.
Retina display… a fancy term for high res screen. The 326ppi is phenomenal though, as it’s even more than most regular laser printing. Yeah, a screen with higher res than print. That’s pretty awesome. Steve is showing how the retina display is better on text and photos, but the low res streaming video made it impossible to tell the difference.
Loading New York Times, and… the wifi issue. You will hear this often in the next couple of days. Even my local news is already discussing it. LOL. Even Jimmy Fallon made a joke out of it.

So, retina display in short: 3.5″ 960×640 res screen with IPS tech LCD (which is used on the iPad)
Steve Jobs is really doing an awesome job marketing his product. During the iPad announcement, he made it like the larger display is better. Now he made it like having this high res screen on the palm of your hand is better. Masterful!

iPhone 4 uses A4, and better battery life than the 3GS. That’s amazing, considering the faster processor and the higher res screen. Jobs didn’t mention the clockspeed though. iPad runs the A4 at 1GHz. Rumor says iPhone 4 runs it at 800MHz.

The biggest, and also the most disappointing announcement, is quad-band HSDPA. This is the first phone to have quad-band HSDPA (and FCC tests revealed that it’s actually penta-band HSDPA). Nobody has this before. Previous iPhone 3G/3GS only have tri-band HSDPA. Douchebag companies like HTC even opted to only put dual-band HSDPA on some of their phones, making them only usable in Europe and Asia for 3G. So, this is a good thing, right? Well, the advertised spec of the quad-band HSDPA frequencies are 850/900/1900/2100. AT&T 3G uses 850 band. The only other GSM carrier in the US, T-Mobile, uses 1700 band for 3G. So despite having quad-band HSDPA, the iPhone 4 still doesn’t support T-Mobile 3G. Penta-band? Even more disappointing, the 5th band revealed by FCC is not 1700 band, but 800 band, used in Japan by NTT Docomo. Yeah, it sucks, so iPhone is still stuck with AT&T in the US. 😦

Next, a gyroscope. 6-axis motion sensing. Hey Sony, call your lawyers. LOL. Hopefully this will result in amazing games and even better virtual reality apps. Jobs demoed jenga app, and it’s pretty neat.

Next, the camera. Apple seems to be serious in this, and Jobs stated megapixel is not everything. iPhone 4 has 5MP camera. Not that amazing as other phones are pushing 8MP and up, but the iPhone 4 uses backlit sensor, probably the first on cellphones. Backlit sensor is getting more popular in digicams, used in recent Sony and Nikon compact digicams, allowing them to capture more light in low-light conditions. Also, Jobs said the pixel size is still the same as the 3GS, despite having more megapixel. So hopefully this means that iPhone 4 pictures would be great. Obviously, one feature is not mentioned, the lens. Oh well, I guess Apple will start using better glass on iPhone 5. As for LED flash, I’m not too amused with LED flash. My old dumbphone, SE K550i has dual LED flash, and it’s not that great. A Xenon flash would be better.

The camera also records 720p video. Nothing new, but 30fps 720p is pretty cool. A lot of other phones can record 720p, but at lower framerate (24fps). Oh, and iMovie for iPhone! Wow, pretty cool. (Hey Apple, how about iPhoto for the iPad?) iMovie for iPhone is ground breaking. I mean really, when was the last time you edit your videos on your phone? Not just cutting, but complete with transitions and themes and music! I love iMovie on the Mac, and iMovie for the iPhone looks just awesome. This is true innovation! I mean, I’m speechless. Wow. It’s just amazing you can edit your movie, complete with music and transition, and export it in HD, all on a phone! It’s… amazing! Of course, the question is, will Apple made iMovie available for the 3GS? I mean the 3GS can only record SD VGA videos, but it sure is nice to have that editing capability. If not, than phoey, forcing people to get the iPhone 4.
Edit: looks like it’s iPhone 4 only. 😦 Boo!

Before Steve going to his next point, the wifi issue took its toll. He said there’s ~500 wifi access points in the room, and he wanted people to shut them off, or no demo. I was following some live-blogging during this, and I saw everybody paused. LOL. But in the end, people continued. I know gdgt continued their live blogging. I have a feeling Steve Jobs will put more restrictions on future Apple events to prevent stuff like this.

6. iPhone OS 4 becomes iOS 4, with metal fonts. Err… okay…. More rehashing of iPhone OS 4… I meant iOS 4 features (multitasking, folders, unified inbox, etc), something we already knew from the previous event. *yawn One thing I want to point out though, folders on the dock = Start menu on the iPhone. 😉 The circle is complete, and Bill Gates rolled. Speaking of Microsoft, bing search! Another jab at Google.

Next, iBooks. Wait, we went through this before. *yawn The new stuff are that this is for the iPhone and iPod Touch, buy once and read on all devices, sync bookmarks and notes. Jobs said it doesn’t get any better than text on the iPhone 4 screen. Wait the minute Steve, I thought you said the iPad is better for eBooks. I’m confused. 😛

Next, iAds. *sigh. Blah blah emotion blah blah. Another yawn. We went through this before already. Jobs showed a Nissan iAd.

7. One more thing. Video chat with Johnny Ive (Jobs was definitely pissed off about the wifi issue). Apple called it, FaceTime. Huh? Yeah, instead of the obvious iChat, it’s FaceTime. Doesn’t make sense imo. The catch, it’s iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 at first, and wifi only in 2010. Yeah, good luck seeing this over AT&T’s 3G with their 200MB cap. Even Steve said “wireless providers (need) to get ready for the future,” clearly a jab to AT&T. Now, video chat is not new. Nokia and SE have shipped tons phones with front facing camera. But have you actually seen anybody do a video chat with those? Not me. They’re bragging rights, but nobody uses them. Nobody knows how to use them, and what apps that utilize them. So why FaceTime is a big deal then? It streamlines video chat, building it into the existing phone app. Well, Jobs also said it’s going to be an open standard (which is why he was confident that there will be 10s of millions of FaceTime devices), and one of the protocol supported is SIP, which means a lot of existing chat apps should be able to utilize this feature.

8. iPhone 4 details. Available in black and white. 16GB: $199. 32GB: $299. And, a newcomer, 8GB 3GS for $99. Yeah, that’s actually new, as the 3GS were previously only available in 16GB and 32GB flavor. Oh, by the way, Apple is putting the current 3GS on clearance. The 16GB 3GS is only $149, and the 32GB 3GS is only $199. The 32GB 3GS for $199 is quite a nice deal, especially if you don’t think you’ll need all the fancy features of iPhone 4.

iPhone 4 will ship on June 24th, and pre-orders starts on June 15th. I hope there will not be a supply issue like the iPad. Japan will get the iPhone at the same time as the US, not surprising considering the recent rave of Apple products in Japan’s media and dorama. For Asian countries, the next ones will be Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea, getting iPhone 4 in July. This is a very fast rollout, and one of rare occasions where US gets a phone first before Asia. 😀 I mean compare this to Sony Ericsson, which still has not shipped the X10 in the US, and the douchebag HTC, which won’t release the Legend and Desire in the US. Screw you HTC!

iPod Touch will receive iOS 4 for free, probably because Apple wants everybody clicking on the iAds. iPhone 3G won’t get some features like multi-tasking, as expected.

So yeah, quite enjoyable keynote as usual. Apple is really a master in marketing. The special feature video about the iPhone 4 is even more mesmerizing. I mean I couldn’t care less about 720p video recording, video chat, and what not, but seeing the feature video, I’m drooling for the iPhone 4. Apple is just that good in making their stuff looks really tasty and delicious, making it extremely hard to resist.

A quick brief:
iPhone4:
-3.5″ 960×640 res IPS LCD screen
-quad-band HSDPA 850/900/1900/2100, 802.11n
-front facing camera with FaceTime video chat
-5MP camera with backlit sensor and 720p video recording, coupled with $5 iMovie app
-scratch resistant glass front and back
-black and white. 16GB: $199, 32GB: $299. Unsubsidized prices: 16GB: $599, 32GB: $699
-still locked with AT&T in the US, coupled with the new 200MB/2GB capped data plans

What’s missing from this WWDC? No mention of Mac OS X, ever. Yeah, quite disheartening that a conference for developers completely skipped the main OS itself, but it seems Apple is shifting their focus to iOS. No mention of Macs either, not even sales numbers, which something that Jobs usually mentioned. No updates on Mac pro. Nothing. Even Safari 5 was released the same day, silently, without any mention during WWDC.

I… might get the iPhone 4. 🙂 Like I said, it’s hard to resist Apple’s goodness, especially for a gadget freak like me. LOL. The unsubsidized price is quite steep though. I was hoping for Apple to really give the Nexus One a run for its money by pricing the iPhone 4 starting at $499, but I guess flash memory prices are still expensive.

So, what’s next? Steve Jobs said 10s of millions of FaceTime devices. I’m guessing the next iPod Touch would get a front facing camera. I mean it uses wifi, so shouldn’t be a problem.

There you go, another entertaining and masterful Steve Jobs keynote. His keynotes are definitely worth watching, and re-watching. His presentation skills is just top notch and his delivery is masterful. Good job Apple. Google, please drop the price of your Nexus One. $450 would be nice.

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Posted by on June 8, 2010 in 2010, apple, event, impression, Keynote

 

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iPhone 4

In before the analyst.
Well, watching various live blogging on WWDC 2010, one thing really captured my attention that nobody seemed to pay attention too. iPhone 4 have quad-band HSDPA! That means both AT&T and T-Mobile. So T-Mobile is getting iPhone 4! Or better, unlocked!

Edit: Well, so much for that. The spec for the iPhone 4 is up, and not 1700 HSDPA band. The quad-band is 850/900/1900/2100.

😦

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2010 in apple, iPhone

 

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WWDC 2010 Prediction

My prediction for WWDC 2010:
1. 10.6.4 & Safari 5
2. iPhone OS 4.0
3. New Mac pro & Mac mini server
4. New freemium MobileME
5. iPhone HD

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2010 in apple

 

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iPhone 3GS Impression

Well, tomorrow is WWDC 2010, and the 4th gen iPhone is expected to be announced. I guess it’s a good time to write up my impression of the iPhone 3GS.

So, what made me bought the iPhone 3GS in the first place? If you read my tweets and blog postings of the past, I always criticize the iPhone for being locked to AT&T in the US. Yes, the iPhone 3GS is the first phone I bought that is locked. All of my previous phones were unlocked phones. Why the change of heart? Well, it occurred during the Apple Special Event in September 2009, where Apple introduced the 3rd gen iPod Touch, sans the expected camera. I was so ready to purchase that iPod Touch if it had a camera, but it did not. So I was so upset that I decided to just get the full experience with the iPhone 3GS instead. Yeah, I’m so vain. 😛

Turn out, having an iPhone really change my digital life. I think it is, and still, the phone with the best user experience. I’m going to go through the devices I brought with me all the time. In the beginning, I always carry a dumbphone, a music player (portable CD player, MD, Sony Walkman, etc), a PDA, and a video player (Cowon). Yes, a PDA, remember those? LOL. I always have my Handspring Palm OS PDA with me. At this point, there were times where I even carried multiple audio players. The iPod changed that, being the best music player imo. At least now I’m sticking to 1 audio player. But then I wanted more on my phone. I want to be able to take pictures with it. I bought a Sony Ericsson Cybershot phone (the K550i). It has a decent 2MP auto-focus camera. Being an SE phone, it has a decent music player software on it, so I thought I would be able to use the phone as a music player too. That didn’t pan out, as the experience on the iPod is way better. On the PDA side, I upgraded to the Palm Tungsten E. I also tried to use it as an audio player, but it never worked out. So there I was, still carrying at least 3 devices with me at all times.

Then came the iPod Touch, and the app store. It blew the Palm OS PDA away. I immediately recycled the Tungsten E the minute the iTunes app store opened as the apps that I needed on the Palm OS are available on for the iPhone OS too. It’s also an iPod, and a video player. So, my carry-on devices went down as now I have consolidated the music player, video player, and the PDA with the iPod Touch. But then I wanted to do more on my phone since I started doing tweeter and using google maps. Yeah, the K550i is only an EDGE phone, but it has google maps and tweeter apps. However, the experience is very poor due to the slow data connection, the small screen, and the fact you have to use the phone’s keypad to navigate. My next phone was the Nokia E51. It has 3G, wifi, larger screen, and Symbian, a smartphone OS. Google maps experience is way better thanks to the larger screen. Twitter experience is better too thanks to the larger screen and faster data. Using more and more of the smartphone feature, I feel the phone is extremely limited in terms of usability, and I always wished the screen was larger. Even worse, the camera of the E51 doesn’t have auto-focus, so in the end I was still carrying my old K550i for taking pictures. In the end, I was still carrying at least 3 devices.

The iPhone 3GS changed everything. It has an auto-focus camera, smartphone OS with the apps I use, and it’s an iPod too. Having the 3GS allowed me to just carry one device that does everything. 🙂 The only catch is, now I’m on contract with AT&T. Before, I was always on prepaid, only spent about $25 every 3 months. Now I have to spend ~$75 every month, but at least I have unlimited data (I don’t plan to fall into AT&T’s trap of the 2GB cap).

So, how’s the iPhone? It’s just great. Actually, I wasn’t really surprised as I’ve been using the iPod Touch, but the constant data connectivity really changes the way you use the apps. The experience using the iPhone is just great. The maps app is extremely useful, and the constant data connectivity made it highly usable. The camera is great. Sure, there are other Nokia/SE phones having better cameras out there, but the integration with the apps on the phone made it much easier and usable to use the camera and upload the pics quickly to places like Facebook/twitter. The various Twitter apps (I use Echofon myself) are a ton more usable than on phones with keypads due to the multi-touch screen. Coupled with various location-based apps, social networking apps, mobile Safari, etc, it really changed the way you’re interacting with a phone. Imo it’s phenomenal.

Sure, smartphones are not new. There are Palm OS, Symbian, and Windows Mobile. But the iPhone is the first one that actually makes every feature that it has highly usable. Example, taking picture and uploading it to tweeter. I can do this already with my K550i, but the experience is extremely poor. No difference on the E51. Doing the same activity is a breeze on the iPhone. Maps, email, I can go on and on. You just cannot beat the iPhone experience, yet. It’s not until recently that we see the competitors are turning around. Android OS 2.2, Symbian^3, Windows Phone 7, etc. Things will be very exciting.

Now, why didn’t I go with Android? During that time, the latest Android phone on the market was T-Mobile’s myTouch 3G, aka HTC Dream, using Android 1.5. I played with it, and although it’s a decent phone (and also brought a new paradigm of touch-screen UI and apps to those coming from dumbphones), the overall experience is not up to the iPhone’s level yet. Everything is laggy. This experience is consistence across the various Android devices I tried (the motorola Cliq, and the Droid). I have a friend with a Droid, and when we’re trying to add each other as friends on Facebook, it was a breeze for me on my iPhone while she was having a hard time (mainly due to the laggy and unresponsive UI). Obviously things have improved today with Android 2.2, but seeing how no devices other than the Nexus One are guaranteed to receive 2.2, I was glad that I went with the iPhone 3GS.

Tomorrow, iPhone OS 4.0 will be introduced, and it will increase the usability of the iPhone 3GS even further, with multi-tasking, better mail app, and folders. As for tethering, I gave up. Obviously AT&T doesn’t want anybody to tether. We’ll see what will happen tomorrow, or maybe I’ll get the Nexus One (I hope Google drop the N1 price tomorrow).

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2010 in apple, impression, review

 

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