Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The new iPhone 4th Generation has revealed itself!

Several weeks ago, a version of the iPhone that was "just a bit different" from the 3 prior year products was found at a bar not far from the Apple Cupertino campus. This device was remotely shut down hours after it was lost, but not before the yet unseen 4.0 OS (it is available as a beta now for developers to test) was played with briefly, and the supposed owner was identified through the phone's Facebook application.

The popular gadget blog site Gizmodo purchased the phone for $5000 from its pub crawling finder after they were unable to get Apple corporate to accept it in return, let alone get them to acknowledge that it exists via phone calls to the headquarters. We can only assume the amount of secrecy that Apple takes with products that are developed internally, and call center agents know nothing of new devices existence until the rest of the world does. These agents took the description of what was found to be a Chinese knockoff. This "rogue phone" became a nice find for Gizmodo, as their purchase has lead to massive traffic (6.55 million views as I write this) once they posted a story with full details on the device on Monday April 19th, a full two months before its assumed launch of June 22nd, 2010. With years of unfettered secrecy around prior Apple product launches, this is a huge snafu for their marketing machine. Or was it? Although, it is no secret among the tech elite that a new phone is eminent this summer, and even firmware hints of a flash and other hardware leaks via software - the features of this device were a worst kept secret in the industry. In fact, Apple has launched a new device each summer since the iPhone June 2007 debut. Plus, on their earnings call today, they announced that 8.75 million iPhones were sold this quarter alone. This is a mass market device, and the technology pros will want the newest model, while the masses should be fine with what they have. As such, I do not see this premature announcement hurting the sales of units. In fact, it is getting Apple even more press in a slingshot after tremendous iPad hype.

The new features with this fourth generation iPhone are a slimmer style (even slimmer than the first generation unit) along with a forward facing "video conferencing" camera, and flash on the photo camera on the back. It uses a new micro SIM as was first seen in the iPad 3G and perhaps has a noise canceling microphone on the top of the device. Usability features like battery life, type of processor and speed were not able to be tested, as the unit was remotely software locked by Apple. This version may be the first iPhone with the Apple owned A4 processor inside, which is what runs the speedy iPad with a compelling 12-hour battery life. With larger batteries within, we may be onto a full-day device, I consider the models sold to date to be half-day usage. Remember when your old Nokia "candy bar" phones would go a week between charges?

Below is a link to a news segment with the Los Angeles CBS anchor David Malkof talking with me about the found iPhone and what its implecations are for the Apple Engineer, Gary Powell who seemingly lost it!


Thursday, April 01, 2010

I cannot WAIT to get my new iPad.

OK, for those of you who know me, and are astute to seen that this post was created on April Fools Day, I can just hear your chuckles now. I bet you are saying "Ha Ha Dave! You got me on this one!" But alas, I will probably buy a few. You see, I was present at the Apple launch event to cover it for G4 and back then said that the device was going to be a big fail, limited in use and will not be adopted. I even shot some YouTube HD video of my and another G4 producer's lack of love for it.

Yet today, perhaps due to my being out at sea for three days, I am considering a different tune. I have read the Walt Mossberg Wall Street Journal review where he says it has lasted more than 10 hours with constant and quality use, calls it a decent consumption device for media and websites. Uncle Walt even goes so far to say that the limitations on content creation, due to its lack of USB ports and an on-screen (for the time being) keyboard are not so bothersome. I have also read David Pogue's piece for the New York Times where he saved face and wrote two reviews. One for the technology experts like myself, and one for the people who just got on Facebook in 2009. He kind of likes it too. Those stories are OK, but this one is better.

At the 2010 SXSW Interactive festival in Austin, I covered a session on HTML 5 Video for Gearlive.com; which supports streaming media without the requirement for Adobe Flash. The iPad and iPhone do not support this format, as Steve Jobs says that it is a processor hog, unfortunately it is seen on many websites like YouTube, Vimeo and pro-media outlets like Hulu. Newspaper websites even use the format to give some "flash" to their words. This HTML evolution should integrate its capabilities within. At the same time, Google is announcing that Flash support will be built into Chrome, their browser. It is also supported in their Android mobile phone handsets, which I have been testing successfully with the Nexus 1 Smart Phone. More on that in a subsequent post.

So HTML 5 should make the iPad be a more usable media CONSUMPTION device. Accessories and hacks to Bluetooth should make it a better CREATION device. But one important thing is happening that I did not foresee due to prior stubbornness; Media sites like CBS, Hulu and New York Times are building specific applications and web sites for the iPad. This will deem the lack of Flash media support moot, but will most likely come with "premium content" pricing schemes.

If you want to find the real reason that I am excited about the iPad; with its no-contract 3G service plan with UNLIMITED (for now anyway; lets keep it up AT&T) data plan for $29.99 a month, take a look at the episode of Cranky Geeks that I was a guest on, just one week before the unit shipped to stores and Apple fan boy's hot little hands via UPS.

Ziff doesn't do embedded video, so enjoy this URL: http://www.crankygeeks.com/2010/03/episode_211_apple_ipad_details.php You just click on it, and a page opens!