Great article from the NY Times:
Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option. One former executive described how the company relied upon a Chinese factory to revamp iPhone manufacturing just weeks before the device was due on shelves. Apple had redesigned the iPhone’s screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. New screens began arriving at the plant near midnight.
A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day.
The article skirts some of the main reasons why types of jobs aren’t coming back” Specifically, no mention is made of the high taxes companies pay in the US (which results in these jobs being filled overseas by ‘contractors’, whom Apple is not liable for).
Jobs is probably right that these jobs are never coming back to the U.S. though. And that scares the hell out of me. One day soon, the Asian companies that produce the hardware will figure out how to produce software that is good enough, and once that happens, the American companies who have used these Asian manufacturing companies will find themselves cut out of the chain, and competing with their manufacturers, who will be able to seriously undercut them.
Category: iPhone,News,Steve Jobs
So everyone is up in arms over the revelation that the iPhone (and 3G iPad) collects and stores information on every place it has been. More accurately, it stores information and location on every cellphone tower it has connected to. The longitude/latitude data that is being stored is obtained by cellphone triangulation, which iOS uses to determine location when no GPS hardware or signal are available.
The iPhone stores this information without your consent on both your iPhone and on your computer, if you are syncing your iOS 3G capable device to your computer and letting it create a backup of your devices data.
Pete Warden and Alasdaid Allan have crafted an app that scans this information, and places the coordinates on a map, along with a date scrubber to see where your device has been.
Looking over my data, it showed what I already knew – that apart from trips over the last year to Minnesota (business), Florida (family) and North Carolina, I lead a pretty boring life.
However, there is one anomaly that was odd.
I bought my iPhone 4 new last year on the day it launched, June 24th. However, the location data on my iPhone shows that it traveled down US95, right outside Las Vegas on June 23rd. I’m assuming this where the iPhone entered the country on it’s trip from China, and then was routed to a plane that took it to the Apple Store in Buford, GA.
The odd thing is the phone wasn’t activated until the next day. I had assumed that for the phone to log the location data, it needed an activated SIM card. Apparently, that isn’t the case.
So apparently your 3G iOS device will log it’s connection to each and every cell tower it connects with, even if it hasn’t been activated yet.
Either that, or my iPhone spent the night before it’s launch having a grand old time in sunny Las Vegas.
Spot on assessment from Ted Landau:
The very first slogan used to advertise the original iPod, back in 2001, was “1,000 songs in your pocket.” A coming slogan for the iPhone could well be “the only thing in your pocket.”
I’ve been thinking recently about all the stuff I used to carry around that the iPhone has made obsolete for me. Watch. GPS. iPod. Portable gaming device. Consumer grade digital camera. Phone. Put simply, the iPhone is the ultimate swiss army knife.
Category: iPhone,Link Roundup,Opinion
It’s been over a week since Apple held their “Antennagate” press conference, and while it is still early, I would say reaction to Apple’s free bumper remedy seems to be positive.
Apple is really going on the offensive, trying to communicate their point that all smartphones suffer some degree of radio interference when the phone is held in a person’s hand. Apple launched a new top level directory on their website “antenna” with examples of some of the more popular smartphone models exhibiting the same behavior as the iPhone 4. And it’s keeping this page up to date, adding videos of the Droid X and Nokia N97 in the last week to the previous examples.
Two weeks ago, Apple had a serious problem on it’s hands. I’d argue that it was more of a public relations problem than a product problem. They were getting beaten up in the press, and their flagship product, the iPhone 4 was in serious risk of becoming a punch line.
What was striking about the Press Conference was Steve Job’s tone. He clearly didn’t believe the level of noise surrounding the iPhone 4 antenna was worthy of the heaps of criticism it was receiving in the press (for the record, neither did I). He also clearly didn’t agree with free bumper solution. His tone during this part of the press conference can be described as nothing less than disgust. Hell, even the opening/closing music (Miles Davis’ “Freddie Freeloader”)to the press conference indicates this.
I’m sure the lawyers at Apple saw the free bumper as a relatively inexpensive way to make the problem go away until Apple can tweak their manufacturing process to provide some sort of permanent solution to the problem. Delays in the white iPhone 4 from next month to “some time later this year” seem to support this theory as well.
My guess is that Apple is currently reworking the outer band of the iPhone 4 to remove the black lines, so that it’s not quite as obvious where it’s achilles heel actually is.
One month in to ownership of my iPhone 4 and I feel the same about it today that I did on the day I purchased it. It’s the best mobile device I have ever owned. It’s a marked improvement over it’s predecessor in every category – speed, signal strength, size, build, and fit and finish. Consumer Reports may have a hard time recommending it, but I don’t. If you want the best mobile device currently on the market, the iPhone 4 is it.
Well, at least we now know how AT&T plans to fix it’s network woes…by limiting the amount of data iPhone users can use.
From the press release:
- DataPlus. Provides 200 megabytes (MB) of data – for example, enough to send/receive 1,000 emails (no attachments), plus send/receive 150 emails with attachments, plus view 400 Web pages, plus post 50 photos on social media sites, plus watch 20 minutes of streaming video – for just $15 per month.** This plan, which can save customers up to 50 percent off their wireless data charges, is designed for people who primarily like to surf the web, send email and use social networking apps. If customers exceed 200 MB in a monthly billing cycle, they will receive an additional 200 MB of data usage for $15 for use in the cycle. Currently, 65 percent of AT&T smartphone customers use less than 200 MB of data per month on average.
- DataPro. Provides 2 gigabytes (GB) of data – for example, enough to send/receive 10,000 emails (no attachments), plus send/receive 1,500 emails with attachments, plus view 4,000 Web pages, plus post 500 photos to social media sites, plus watch 200 minutes of streaming video – for $25 per month.** Should a customer exceed 2 GB during a billing cycle, they will receive an additional 1 GB of data for $10 for use in the cycle. Currently, 98 percent of AT&T smartphone customers use less than 2 GB of data a month on average.
- Tethering. Smartphone customers – including iPhone customers – who choose the DataPro plan have the option to add tethering for an additional $20 per month. Tethering lets customers use their smartphones as a modem to provide a broadband connection for laptop computers, netbooks or other computing devices. Tethering for iPhones will be available when Apple releases iPhone OS 4 this summer.
Additionally, iPhone plans will be converted from $30 all you can consume to $25 2GB plans.
You can read it here in all it’s glory.
- Hogan (the “finder” of the protoype) was turned in by his roommate.
- Hogan’s roommate tried to talk him out of selling the iPhone to Gizmodo, by arguing that it’s sale would ruin the career of Gray Powell (the engineer that lost it). Hogan’s response was “Sucks for him”.
- Hogan states that he was originally offered $10,000 for the phone from Jason Chen.
- Part of the sale to Gizmodo called for Hogan to be given a bonus in July if the prototype turned out to the real deal.
One of the more particularly juicy parts of this document is the email exchange between Brian Lam and Steve Jobs. Lam tries to justify to Steve why they are going to publish the story about the phone, knowing that it will hurt sales for Apple. Lam tries to negotiate a response from Apple where they would acknowledge it was a prototype, but not a production unit. You can almost smell the shit coming out of Lams mouth in this email.
Reading this affidavit, you can’t help but come away with very bad impressions of Lam, Chen, and Hogan. Three really douchey people.
Facebook Developer Joe Hewitt has written his last iPhone app. Or something like that. In protest of Apple’s well publicized AppStore approval policies, the iPhone Facebook Application Developer has handed the project off to another developer and is moving on to “more open” pastures.
Joe had this to say to TechCrunch:
“My decision to stop iPhone development has had everything to do with Apple’s policies. I respect their right to manage their platform however they want, however I am philosophically opposed to the existence of their review process. I am very concerned that they are setting a horrible precedent for other software platforms, and soon gatekeepers will start infesting the lives of every software developer.
The web is still unrestricted and free, and so I am returning to my roots as a web developer. In the long term, I would like to be able to say that I helped to make the web the best mobile platform available, rather than being part of the transition to a world where every developer must go through a middleman to get their software in the hands of users.”
I can definitely sympathize with Joe on the nebulous (at best) and nefarious (at worst) review process. Hopefully, Joe’s defection will cause someone at Apple to finally fix the problem once and for all.
When Nullriver introduced NetShare, the iPhone app that allows you to tethter your laptop to it for internet access, appeared on the App Store, many were surprised. Then, without any explanation, it vanished.
On Friday it returned. Those who were smart downloaded it and were able to put it to use. By Saturday, the app had disappeared. Again. With no explanation at all.
While Apple’s control of the App Store can be viewed as a mostly positive thing, the NetShare debacle highlights what most of us suspected: When Apple holds all the cards, people tend to get steamrolled. In this case, the people are the developers at Nullriver. Most of what I’ve read seems to indicate that NetShare doesn’t vioalte the terms of the App Store in any way. So why ban it? And then why reinstate it for 24 hours, only to ban it again?
What’s going to happen to the users who have bought the app already? How are they going to get updates? Will they get refunds if updates aren’t provided?
Apple’s really been stepping in it lately, and unfortunately, this is just the latest example.
The WWDC 2008 keynote has come and gone, and much like the Macworld Keynote of 2007, it was all about the iPhone. “Snow Leopard” was referenced, but not discussed in the keynote, instead being covered in the NDA bound Mac OS X State of the Union later in the day.
By now you’ve read the coverage of the iPhone 3G, Mobile Me, and iPhone 2.0 Firmware. Here’s my thoughts on the news.
First, the iPhone 3G is going to become the new gold standard for mobile devices. About the only thing missing from the new iPhone that I was hoping for is a better camera. I guess they needed to save something for the next iteration. With a speedy network to ride on, the best mobile browsing experience just got better. The new additions to the iPhone 2.0 firmware look great. Of course, as always, there’s things to nitpick over. So here’s the nitpick list.
Although you get Exchange support in iPhone 2.0 if you subscribe to a business plan, which (you guessed it) will cost you $45/month for unlimited data (versus $30 for the new unlimited 3G data plan, a $10 increase over the 2G price). While I’d like to fault AT&T for this one, I suspect the extra $15 also helps Apple defer the cost of the Exchange license they pay Microsoft.
Next (and more distressing) is the requirement that all iPhones must be activated in store. This one is a bit more murky, as AT&T says in their press release that iTunes activation for the iPhone 3G is not possible. However, in another release, it is stated that you will be able to activate your phone when you get home if you like through iTunes if you buy from the Apple Store. This was one of the most pleasant aspects of purchasing an iPhone. I bought my iPhone on the day it debuted, and I literally walked in to an Apple Store at 11:30PM, and walked out with my iPhone at 11:34. The transaction took less than 4 minutes, and I was extremely pleased. I’m hoping I’ll still have the option of at home activation, because the last thing I want to do is hang out longer in the Apple Store twiddling my thumbs while my phone is activated. While I can fully appreciate the fact that there are some people who are just too
stupid technologically challenged to handle at-home activation, I believe the ability was pulled due to iPhone hacking and not in an attempt to “simplify” the experience. Oh well. A subsidized iPhone purchase means that AT&T gets more of a say in how the device is setup.
One of the biggest things I was happy about was that the iPhone 3G has GPS. I was in the market for an in-car GPS device. I can now bypass that purchase and put that money towards the iPhone 3G. The bad news is that while the GPS technology is in the phone, you don’t gain turn-by-turn directions in iPhone 2.0 firmware. Google Maps becomes more accurate, and you can use their turn by turn directions, but you don’t get voice prompts or the 3D street view. Enter Tom Tom. They have already stated they will have a GPS app avaialble for the iPhone after the AppStore launches. What remains to be seen is how much it will cost. Anything above $20 will probably not seem worth it, since Google Maps handles about 60% of what I’d need from a GPS device.
A little background: I had been a .Mac subscriber since it’s inception as iTools. I dropped .Mac back in October of last year. I could no longer justify $99/year (well, actually about $75/year, the average price for renewal through Amazon) for email, iDisk and synching. With free alternatives like Gmail, DropBox, Box.net and a little Automator magic, I’ve been content since I left .Mac behind. The one feature I missed above all others though, was syncing. When I dropped .Mac, I lameneted that the one feature that could have brought me back was push email/calenders/contacts. Well, essentially that is what MobileMe is: Push email/calendars/contacts married with .Mac, and a new web based interface for all of the services features. I’m not sure if the general public will see this as enough to erase the bad memory of .Mac, but in my eyes it was. I purchased a .Mac family pack yesterday ($129 at Amazon) and look forward to it’s conversion to MobileMe in early July.
Third Party Apps
The third party apps demo ran for nearly half the entire keynote yesterday. Personally, I would have rather Apple debuted some new hardware, but it’s a testament to Apple’s belief in their developers (and this is a developers conference, right?) that they gave them nearly 60 minutes of keynote time to showcase their wares. It’s amazing to see what the developers have cooked up with just 3 months of time. The young Brit who demoed his app “Band” is about to become a millionaire. If he doesn’t walk away from WWDC with iFund money, I’d be shocked.
I believe in 6 months time the developer community will have cemented the iPhone as the third largest computing platform, right behind Windows and the Mac. I believe in 18 months time you will see the iPhone pass the Mac for a larger installed base, and essentially become the first new successful computing platform of the 21st century.
Back in 1996, before he rejoined Apple, Steve Jobs was asked if he were running Apple, what would he do to fix it. His answer: milk the Mac for all it’s worth, and get busy on the next big thing. Clearly, the iPhone as a computing platform is the next big thing. I don’t think the Mac is going away any time soon, but it’s pretty clear to see that the iPhone is Apple’s current darling.
I was thoroughly convinced an iPhone update would be coming at WWDC. However, with iPhone supply drying up in the UK, and now here in the US, I’m not so sure that Apple won’t drop the 3G iPhone before WWDC. It seems crazy for Apple to go 2-3 weeks with no iPhone inventory to sell in it’s biggest market, doesn’t it?