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Monthly Archives: October 2011

Steve Jobs, 1955 – 2011

Yes, Steve Jobs passed away. I just found out about this mere minutes ago. I’m truly saddened. Here’s the statement from Apple.

I couldn’t believe it at first. Sure, we saw the thinner and thinner Steve that looked really frail, but it’s still a shock. To be honest, I’m still shocked to this minute typing this post.

Steve Jobs is truly a visionary. Watch his keynote in Macworld 2003 and you see his vision for the things we do today.

I was mainly PC user back then, since at that time Apple computers are above the prices of Windows PCs, and using power PC. So how did I get into the Apple ecosystem? Answer, the 5th gen iPod. The 5th gen iPod is my first exposure to an Apple product, and boy it changed the way I listen and organize my music. iTunes is a phenomenal music database/jukebox software. Added to that gapless playback being introduced to the 5th gen iPod. After realizing how Apple products are so intuitive to use, I started to want more. iTunes on Windows was great, but it’s dog slow. Later on, I switched to Mac after they transitioned to intel. The switch happened in 2007 when I bought the Black Macbook. And I never turn back. Sure, I still have Windows PCs to do miscellaneous stuff like gaming, but my primary computer is now an iMac. iLife, especially iMovie, exposed me to the ease of making personal videos to be shared with friends and families. You don’t find this intricate seamlessness between software and hardware on any other platform.

Then there’s the iPhone. I still feel the excitement every time I watch Steve’s keynote announcing the first iPhone. It has truly revolutionized the way we think of smartphones, especially multi-touch and the app ecosystem. I used to carry a dumbphone, an MP3 player, and a PDA. The MP3 player evolved from CD player to MD player to MP3 player/iPods, and finally the iPod Touch. Ever since Apple opened up iOS for apps, I ditched my Palm PDA and my iPod Touch becomes my PDA too. The iPhone 3GS, my first iPhone, consolidated everything into one. The constant internet connectivity changes the way I do email, social networking, etc. Sure, smartphone with internet was not new, but at that time, nothing beat the ease of use, intuitiveness, and responsiveness of the iPhone/iOS. Now, I have the iPhone 4, and the rest is history. At the same time, competitions rose from Android to Windows Phone. None of them would’ve come up without iOS (Microsoft was comfortable with their aging Windows Mobile, and Google’s Android was imitating RIM’s Blackberry).

Here’s a mashup video I did quite a while back, featuring multi-touch and Steve Jobs’ first iPhone announcement.

Even if you don’t care much about tech, simply download the Apple keynotes from iTunes, and watch Steve Jobs doing his presentation. His style has become defacto standard on anybody’s presentation/product announcements (just look at the recent Facebook and Amazon Kindle announcements). Steve Jobs is not only a visionary, he’s a a genius and master in presentation. I mean really, he turned all the Apple followers from hating intel (during powerPC) into loving intel (during the intel switch) in one swoop. Just watch his keynote in 2005, masterfully performed.

For closing, here’s another video clip from 1997, how Steve Jobs talked about the customer experience being the focus, something that is commonly forgotten in almost every business out there today.

R.I.P Steve Jobs, a true visionary.

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Posted by on October 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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iPhone 4S Keynote Impression

Well, the iPhone 4S Keynote is available now, for download and for streaming. Here goes my impression:

First, we have Tim Cook, looked and sounded subdued for whatever reason, talking about the new Apple stores in Hong Kong and China. For some reason, he kept talking about the glass staircase, saying how only Apple could do that. Hmmm, maybe Apple patented glass staircases now? 😛 The Hong Kong stores look great though.

Then he talked about Lion. Errr, I thought this was iPhone keynote? 6 million downloads of Lion. Tim Cook is comparing Lion to Windows 7, and how it took longer for Windows 7 to reach 10%. Well, 10% of Windows users is a heck lot more than 10% of Mac users. :roll eyes: Just the typical statistic spin of Apple. Mac outgrows PC… well duh. It’s easy to grow from 1% than 99%. 😛

Next he talked about music, iTunes, revolutionize, blah blah. Guess what Tim Cook, I still cannot buy many J-Pop and Eurobeat tracks from iTunes US as they are only available in iTunes Japan. So much for “revolution.”

iPod sales. With the death of the Zune player, it’s a clear win for Apple. As such, being the dominant player, things are slowing down. It’s a given ever since Apple jumped the shark and added a camera to the nano. The classic has not been updated, again. And, well, no updates on the iPod lineup at all. We’ll talk about this later.

iPhone 4 (finally, he’s talking about iPhone), best selling smartphone, “ever.” Well, considering it was selling out in countries like Singapore at the beginning of the year, yeah, it’s selling a lot. Mobile phone satisfaction…. yeah yeah, this BS talk is getting old.

iPad sale. You know, for a keynote that secifically said “Let’s Talk iPhone,” Tim Cook sure did talk a lot about everything else. Everybody loves iPad, sure, blah blah. Watch for the Kindle Fire. Tim Cook sounded like a really old person. Steve Jobs had so much more energy, even at the later days where he’s so skinny.

Next, Scott Forstall. Good, as he sounded more energetic than the tired Tim Cook. Blah blah apps blah blah app store blah blah number one blah blah billion.

New app, Cards. You can create and mail cards directly from the iPhone. Yeah… when the last time you send a card to somebody? There’s something called email and Facebook. Push notification when the card is sent. Sure, knowing how “reliable” the USPS, this is not anything you can rely on. $2.99. Meh.

iOS5. Urgh, just a recap from WWDC. 200 new features, notifications, iMessage, Reminders, Twitter integration (yup, no Facebook here), Newsstand, Camera, Photos, Game Center, Safari, Mail, PC free (it’s weird the he didn’t talk more on this other than what we already know from WWDC). October 12th.

Eddy, iCloud. Again, more rehashes from WWDC. *yawn Something new though, Find My Friends. Yeah, an official stalking app. I’m guessing a more controlled version of Google Latitude. 5GB free storage for documents (music and photos are not counted against the 5GB). iTunes Match, $25 a year, the service to legalize your downloaded music. Not something I’m interested as most of my music are not available in iTunes anyway. Same ship date as iOS5.

By the way, Apple is very good in making these videos of their own products to show the features and whatnot. I mean they have an iPhone downloading music automatically while a dad is taking care of his baby in the background. Talk about subconscious marketing.

Phil has been downgraded to talk about nothing new on iPods. LOL. Big icons on the nano and more skins for the watch feature. Whoop dee doo. Previous nano users should be able to get all these new features via an update as nothing has changed hardware wise. Phil said how people are using the nano as wristwatches by themselves. No Phil, Steve Jobs actually hinted at it when he said one of the board member was going to clip it to his arm band as a watch. It has been planned all along by Apple. Slight price drop, 8GB for $129 and 16GB for $149.

iPod Touch, nothing new. Only a white version and price drop on the 8GB version to $200. Nothing else changed, not even the prices of the 32GB/64GB Touch. Sad. What’s the point of trying to push the Touch as a gaming device if you don’t even put the A5 in it? This is another sign how innovation slows down to a halt as Apple has virtually no competition in this market.

Well, Phil finally talked about the new iPhone 4S. Sound similar? Yes, Phil also did the keynote for iPhone 3GS. iPhone 4S has A5 chip (dual core), like the iPad 2. Who knows if it’s clocked as fast as the iPad 2 though.

Mid intermission, Epic Games was showing Infinity Blade 2. Ooooh, Koi in the pond. Phil doesn’t look too amazed though.

Okay, back to iPhone 4S. 8 hours 3G talk time. “Fantastic battery life.” Sounds good, right? But what Phil didn’t mention is the standby time is a lot less than the iPhone 4, down to 200 hours from 300 hours. New switching antenna. LOL. Now you don’t have to worry if you hold your phone wrong. HSDPA+, 14.4Mbps down, fake 4G. World phone, meaning there’s only 1 version of iPhone 4S, having both GSM and CDMA radio. Question is, will it be unlocked? Nobody knows.

New camera. 8MP sensor, backside illuminated CMOS (sounds like the one Sony was talking about), f/2.4, software features like face detection (something that is commonly available in point-n-shoot digicams), faster than Droid Bionic (getting a cup of coffee?) and SGS2 (well, better be). One of the sample photos showed no barrel distortion, something that is a problem in most compact digicams.

1080p video recording. Meh, I hope it can be scaled back down to 720p. Also I find it funny that Apple never supported their own iFrame format in their own hardware. The big thing is video image stabilization. If this works, it will be a God send. The camera features themselves imo is worth getting the iPhone 4S.

Airplay. Meh, I don’t have the Apple TV.

“Most amazing iPhone yet.”

Oh, Phil forgot something. Yup, as rumored, Siri personal assistant, built-in to the iPhone 4S. The idea is mind blowing. Yeah, it’s Star Trek’s computer that you talk to. Scott Forstall doing the demo. The problem with voice recognition is recognizing the words for a non-perfect-English-speaker. Hopefully this will work, because currently the voice recognition of iOS4 is mediocre at best (I cannot have it do anything). Siri + wikipedia + wolfram alpha = ultimate exam machine. God, I wish we had this technology when I was in school. 😀 This is going to freak out a lot of old school teachers that think you have to memorize everything on earth. Now in beta. Can’t wait for the technology to enable automatic real-time translation, just like Start Trek’s Universal Translator.

More videos. Where’s Johnny Ive?

Black and white, 64GB option. Apple also keeps the 3GS and iPhone 4 (downgraded to 8GB). Subsidized price for 8GB 3GS is $0, or $375 unlocked. Yeah, it’s the first time Apple made an unlocked 3GS available in the US. It took them like what, 2 years? iPhone 4 8GB subsidized price is $99, $549 unlocked. Subsidized price for the 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB 4S are $199, $299, and $399 respectively. No info on unlocked price yet, but looks like it’s going to be $649 for the 16GB version (and adding $100 for the next size up). New carriers mentioned, Sprint for US and KDDI for Japan. My biggest question is, since the 4S is a world phone and (maybe) unlocked, does it mean users can jump from AT&T to Verizon to Sprint and back willy nilly? I hope so, but US carriers are notorious for their anti-consumer and anti-competitive business practices of provider locking. Hopefully Apple can lead the way to a world without provider-locked phones in the US.

October 14th, shipping to 7 countries. October 28th, pretty much everywhere else. Compare this to Android OEMs that are dragging their feet in releasing their phones in the US. Yeah, I’m looking at you Sony Ericsson, Samsung, taking 6 months after releasing their phones in Europe/Asia to the US.

Keynote ended with an old and tired sounding Tim Cook. I hope he’s just nervous. He needs to be more upbeat and energetic like Scott Forstall.

Well, there you go. And yes, I’m going to get one as to me the camera and A5 alone are huge improvements. Besides, I’m a sucker for new gadgets anyway. Gotta cath-em-all!

PS: I’m typing this entirely on my iPad (with a bluetooth keyboard of course, the touch keyboard on the iPad sux). Just trying to live in a post-PC world. 🙂

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Apple event coming up, iPhone 5

Well, it’s just hours from now. Regular live blogs: gdgt, Engadget, and thisismynext.

My guess:
-iPhone 4S: A5 chip, 1GB RAM, up to 64GB config, HSPA+, new voice recognition features. Same design as iPhone 4.
-iPhone 4 8GB taking over the 3GS spot for the “lower end.”
-iOS5 and iCloud tie-in will be the bigger focus.

I have a feeling that’s about it. The evidence for the iPhone 4S is just too many to ignore. I was hoping Apple would use a continual numerical system instead (iPhone 5 instead of 4S). It was perfect with the tie-in with iOS5 and A5 chip, but I guess not. There are rumors that Sprint is getting an exclusive iPhone “5,” but I doubt it. Why would Apple want to make a Wimax iPhone just for 1 carrier, while the future is LTE? Besides, world market is way larger than Sprint’s, so it’s in the best interest of Apple to make a GSM/HSDPA iPhone 5, if it was to exist. There’s also a rumor about Apple keeping the 3GS. I don’t know. Apple is known to iterate and ditch the old stuff quickly. Why would they stick with a 2+ year-old hardware with so many new features they want to bring with iOS5?

Since the invite specifically mentions iPhone, I don’t think we will see any iPod related announcement… unless Apple makes the iPod Touch into the “cheap iPhone.” Apple is pretty much un-contested in the portable music market. Even Microsoft stopped production of the Zune. Apple could simply let things the way they are, maybe just cut some prices for the Touch. It’s sad though, as I feel there wouldn’t be anymore exciting stuff in this segment as the market is overtaken by smartphones.

Well, it’s just hours before we find out the real deal. Get you wallet ready. 😀

 
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Posted by on October 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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