iPhone5 Is Here. Hooray?

Its here, and because Apple has now gone from a company capable of keeping its stuff under Area51-like wraps to about as leaky as the sieve you use in your kitchen to drain pasta, what we got yesterday was a little underwhelming.

Not because it’s not cool, but because we already knew the ending.

We knew the iPhone5 was going to have a 4″ screen, LTE and be lighter, faster and all of that.  But we didn’t get any really cool new, “WOW” functionality that we didn’t already know about.  And that’s ok.

The iPhone5 is the best iPhone ever.

But “best iPhone doesn’t equal “best phone”.

Should you upgrade?  If you have any version older than a 4S, yes, especially if, God forbid, you are rocking a 3GS.  If you have a 4S the question is tougher.  Does your cell area have LTE available?  LTE is not anywhere near as widespread as 3G, and if you don’t have it, it probably isn’t worth the upgrade as, this is really the iPhone’s biggest advancement.  Yes, the bigger screen and form factor changes are nice, but $200+ is still a chuck of change for something that you will get 90% of the experience on your 4S.

If you’re not currently an iPhone users and want to be, getting the 4S at $100 is a major steal, but remember in 12 months it will become two generations old.  So think about that before you buy.  Plopping down an additional $100 ($199 for the 16g iPhone5) means that your phone will buy at least an additional 12 months of relevance.  You should also take the time to look at the slew of outstanding Android options, including the just announced Motorola Razr , and the best selling Galaxy S III.  I would also advise a look at any of the new upcoming Windows 8 phones.  Believe it or not, this new OS from Microsoft actually in many ways makes both iOS and Android look outdated.

The other big news from the event was the rollout of new Nano’s, and complete redesign of iTunes and maybe the coolest thing they debuted was a new iPod Touch.  the screen from the iPhone5, the power of the 4S, stupid thin, only weighing 88grams, and a work week’s worth of battery life (40 hours)… Five colors and $300.

below is a whole list of links of far more competent people’s opinions and some that have actually held the new iPhone.




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Why Did FBI Have This Data That Was Hacked?


Those pesky internet devils, AntiSec, announced in a posting on a hacker’s site the following:

During the second week of March 2012, a Dell Vostro notebook, used by Supervisor Special Agent Christopher K. Stangl from FBI Regional Cyber Action Team and New York FBI Office Evidence Response Team was breached using the AtomicReferenceArray vulnerability on Java, during the shell session some files were downloaded from his Desktop folder one of them with the name of ”NCFTA_iOS_devices_intel.csv” turned to be a list of 12,367,232 Apple iOS devices including Unique Device Identifiers (UDID), user names, name of device, type of device, Apple Push Notification Service tokens, zipcodes, cellphone numbers, addresses, etc. the personal details fields referring to people appears many times empty leaving the whole list incompleted on many parts. no other file on the same folder makes mention about this list or its purpose.

Out of the 12 million, the group posted one million of the UDID’s.  There’s a whole bunch of things wrong with this.

#1:  UDID’s are Unique Device Identifier numbers, which for an iPhone, iPad or iTouch is a 40 character, device specific number that identify that Apple’s device within the iOS ecosystem.  UDID’s are used in all sorts of ways between developers, iTunes and you can find your device’s UDID via a few different apps that you can download for free.   UDID’s are mostly used for testing apps before they are made available in iTunes, but there are other uses that require being able to ID a specific device.  You can check to see if your device UDID was part of the posting via this site.

#2: The group stole these 12 million UDIDs from a laptop of a FBI agent, and also there are claims that there are associated personal info with each number like, name, cell number, addresses and notification tokens (i.e.: what you’ve allowed to push notify/send info to the front of your device’s screen).  Why’d they steal it?  Because of….

#3: Why exactly was a FBI agent walking around with a laptop with 12 million private citizen’s UDID’s and how did he get them?   What are they being used for?

NBC News is reporting that a source within the FBI is claiming that the whole thing is a hoax and lure to get people to go to the site where the  original posting is hosted with malware hidden within the page.  Several other sources are reporting they cannot find any such malware on the page. (this is why I haven’t copied that link within this story, cause I ain’t sure)

What does this mean to you?  Probably nothing.  You can find your UDID, put part of it in the search link mentioned above, and if it doesn’t appear you’re safe.  But even if it does appear there isn’t much anyone can do with it at this time.  But while it is frustrating that this kind of data can be stolen, from the FBI no less, the larger question of why the FBI even had the data is certainly the larger question at hand.

More to come as it develops.

Apple Giveth & Taketh Away

This week Apple had a tremendously successful WWDC despite the fact there was no new iPhone, iPad or the mysterious ‘AppleTVBrainAbsorber’ that surely will be revealed sometime this year.

What in part made the presentation successful was the release of a new laptop so extreme in its design and specifications that even the most skeptical looked at it and at least raised an eyebrow of admiration.  Although it didn’t take more than 48 hours for someone to tear one apart and find out that Apple had basically welded the thing together so that not only can you not upgrade the new “Super” MBP, even self repairing the thing is about impossible.  This led to cries of conspiracy and finger pointing of evidence that Apple simply makes products that will only continue to make them more money – even after you’ve bought it.

Then there was the preview of iOS6, and what iPhones and iPads will be capable of in the coming Fall.  But not all.  iPhone4 and below won’t get it, and neither will the original iPad.  While the knee-jerk reaction is to call out Apple for device fragmentation and falling into the trap of what Android is so very guilty of, the reality is that what Apple really is doing is planned obsolescence – the phasing out of products as their capabilities fail to meet modern day demands. For better or worse, right or wrong it has powered Apple as a company for years.  Even from the start, desktop computing has dealt with for a very long time, it was just the variations of the x86 occurred over long periods of time, not the year or two we see in today’s handheld devices.

Today not only is the first two generations of iPhones not supported by the current iOS5, the 3rd gen – the 3Gs – will now find a similar fate.  The 5th anniversary of the original iPhone comes on the 29th of this month.  Yes, the oldest version of the iPhone is only five years old – and you will struggle to find anyone still using one.

If you look at Apple track of products, this is a repetitive thing, only accelerating with each new type of product.  It began with the single bodied desktops from the 512k to the SE, SE30 over the course of about five years.  The iMac has seen drastic iterations since its introduction in 1998 and even the more traditional tower, the Power Mac, has rolled out newer and newer models thru the years.  But even those changes never really felt like you were having to decide quickly to upgrade like you do with today’s handheld devices.  Buy an iPhone4s today, and it will likely be 18 months away from being two generations old – think about it.

This is something long time fans of Apple have known.  They joke about it, but as the products have become the mainstream less people find it funny, and more find it annoying.  iOS6 really kicks that into gear with outdating the original iPad, a device people still are using in mass quantities and consider ‘new, cool things’.  But the fact that its processing power and memory are mere fractions of its two newer siblings, meaning the two year old wonder-device is wandering into its “golden years”.  Even hard core Apple fans gulped when they heard that news.

Everyone’s heard of dog-years, one dog year is seven human years.  So maybe iPad-years are one for every 30 human?  ouch.

This isn’t exclusive to Apple.  Today there’s a better, bigger TV each year.  A new king of the Android hill every few months.  Good grief, is Nike ever not going to make a “new-best-ever” running shoe that’s lighter and faster than the one you just bought?

Apple’s devices are premium priced.  There probably should be an expectation that when you pay $x for it, it should last for a very long time.  But that isn’t the reality of today’s gizmo world.  Every iPhone has far outsold its predecessor and that will continue  to happen as long as what Apple turns out each time lives up to its promises (something in certain areas has slipped of late).

But with all of that on the table, Apple still had a really fantastic show and tell of new stuff this week.  They continue to find ways to improve their products, sometimes off the backs of other existing products, and generate excitement.  There are tons of hints of what is to come with the iPhone5 in what was previewed with iOS6.  And the introduction of Retina Display into the laptop is really a big deal, especially as we now should expect that to find its way into iMacs, and probably whatever this Apple-display-TV thing we heard rumored about for so long.

Whatever it is just expect that something better will replace it in short order.




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Dick Tracy Would Be Impressed

The old comic book detective had a watch that was the stuff readers dreamed of.  A watch that was also a two-way communicator and ended up being the inspiration for hundreds of modern day watch designs – Including “The Pebble”.

The Pebble is a new bluetooth connectable watch that works with an iPhone (and soon Android).  The group that is bringing it to the market also made the similar inPulse that connected to Blackberry phones for a while.  The Pebble is a considerable advancement from its forbearer.  It uses vibrating alerts to tell the wearer of incoming calls, emails, calendar alerts, Facebook and Twitter messages, weather alerts and more.  It’s also water resistant enough to swim with and sweat on.  Its functions, or apps, are all delivered from a master app on the phone, and the company is going to allow 3rd parties to create other apps/functions for the watch with their own SDK (how will Apple like that?)

What’s interesting is that the group was unable to find an investor, so they turned to Kickstarter and have become the single most funded project in the site’s history.  Currently at about $4million dollars have been raised from almost 30,000 backers.  Many of those backers bought themselves a version of the watch at a lower price than the $150 it will retail for in the Fall.

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Instagram is Coming to Android

Now used by over 10 million iPhone peeps, the much beloved Instagram photo app will finally port over to Android.

But when is still a bit of a mystery.  Instagram’s CEO announced the addition at SXSWi over the weekend to the delight of all Android users, but he admitted that he didn’t have a demo version to show off and that he couldn’t specify when it would be available in Google Play.  But “very soon” was given.

If you’ve never used the app, it is the photo filtering/social media app that really started the whole genre, or at least was the first to really take off.

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Shopping Apps Save You $$$

When you’re running around buying gifts for loved ones, if you’ve got a smartphone in your hand, consider adding one or all of these shopping apps to it.  Any or all of these can be used to scan the bar codes of something you’re looking at and tell you how it is priced online and in other stores in your area.  Not only can you immediately tell if you’re getting a good deal, you might find out where you can get a better one.

Google Shopper  iPhone  /  Android 

Shop Savvy   iPhone  /  Android   /   Windows Phone

Red Lazer    iPhone   / Android 

Amazon Price Check  iPhone  /  Android

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iTunes Match: For You?

**UPDATE** PC Magazine has a complete walk-through and explanation of iTunes Match for your consumption

After a promised launch of “late October”, Apple today launched iTunes Match as part of a new download of iTunes (10.5.1).

For $25 a year, iTunes Match will scan your library, give you access to stream and load any of those songs from the 18 million song iTunes library.  If one of your songs is not in that library, iTunes Match will upload that song and absorb it.  Therefore pretty much any song in your personal library, obtained legally or not, can be accessed by you on any iPad, iPhone or computer with access to the ‘net.  All songs will be streamed to you at the passible 256-Kbps AAC DRM-free quality file size.  Even if the originating file was a lessor bit rate, what you get back is 256kbps.  But know that it won’t improve sound quality.   If you upload a shitty sounding file, it will stream back to you in all its shitty sounding glory.  There is some thought that if you have a song that isn’t properly tagged and identifiable via Gracenote, it won’t upload.

This is different that Spotify, Rdio or MOG in that this is your library, whereas those are essentially giant public libraries of music that you don’t own, but pay a fee to access them for a monthly basis.  iTunes Match is your library of stuff you own now, or buy in the future, but gives you wireless access to the entire thing via streaming without having to store it directly on the device.  If you stop paying the $25 a year, you still own the song and have them stored (assuming you didn’t erase/lose them while using Match) you just can’t stream them from the service any longer.

So, what does this mean for you, and why do you want to spend $25 a year?  If you have enough music to make you happy on your iPhone or other portable device, or an iPod with your whole library, iTunes Match is not a need for you.  But if you’ve wanted to find a way to have access to your giant collection without having to stuff only a part of it on a device – well, here is a system for you.  Considering that other services like Spotify cost you $10 a month to stream music that may or may not be on your library, iTunes Match is a reasonable cost to access your personal collection.  Go buy the cheapest iPhone4S with only 16gig and stream your library to it for $25 a year.  That’s something to consider.  This certainly is the future.

Imagine an iPod the size of a Shuffle today that can play you any song from your library?   What if you could in the future access iTunes Match via an “app” built into the head unit of your car?  It’s coming…

At the time of this writing word is Apple is overwhelmed with requests for the new service, so acceptance of new subscribers has been suspended.  I can only imagine the server and bandwidth needed to scan/upload all of the millions of songs from the thousands of personal music libraries around the globe.

My personal fascination is the part that all of these illegally obtained files will now somehow become legitimized.  There are a lot of people that have bootlegged thousands of MP3’s of their favorite bands and Apple is about to have a really good idea of just how pervasive that has been.  I guess ripping off the band-aid and getting over it will go a long way to creating an environment where it’s just easier to buy music than rip it off.  I just want to know how Apple got the record companies to sign off on that part.

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Apple Investigating Battery Life

The new 4S was supposed to have bested the battery life of the iPhone 4.  While Apple touted an extra hour of talk time there was some head scratching over their admission of less standby time.

Now there are now reports that Apple is investigating poor battery life from users that claim their phones to poop out after just a couple of hours, even with apps closed and little 3G usage.

My personal experience with my 4S is that the battery will drain faster, but I think a lot of that is if you have geo-location using reminders and because I’ve been using Siri so much.  I do also know that there are apps that are not “sleeping” properly and continue to use a lot of battery life, the Facebook app in particular seems to be very guilty of this.  I manually close the Facebook app everytime I am done using this.

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An Apple TV is “Guaranteed”

The idea that Apple would make and sell a TV has been floating for a while, but in a new New York Times blog story, not only is the author told by a source, “Absolutely, it is a guaranteed product for Apple,” the breakthrough was Siri.

Siri, the new voice activated command center in the new iPhone 4S would be the viewer’s interface to the TV.

Want to watch a soccer match?  Ask Siri to show you a listing for soccer.  Want to find an old episode of “Seinfeld”?  Ask Siri and it would search the guide listings and any online service you have (Boxee, Hulu or even a You Tube search).

So, keep this in the back of your mind for future products.  It’s said it may be the last great Apple device Steve Jobs managed before his death.

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