Antennagate

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.


Category: iPhone

iTunes “Upgrade my Library” to iTunes Plus

I went looking in iTunes today for the link to upgrade my library from old, DRM encrusted files to new, freshly squeezed DRM free iTunes Plus files. After about 15 minutes of searching in the store to no avail, I finally found a link to “Upgrade my Library” outside the store, courtesy of an FAQ on Apple’s Support site.

So, if you are still carrying around some of these neutered music files and would like to remove the DRM (for about $.30 each), click on over.


Category: iTunes

AT&T moves to metered data for iPhones

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.


Category: iPhone,News

Apple now rejecting Desktop-like apps for iPad

Austrailian iPhone OS developers Shifty Jelly have found their app MyFrame rejected by Apple, after it was previously approved 3 times. The reason seems to be it’s Dashboard like functionality, giving it a “desktop” like feel.

From their blog:

Just yesterday the company that I work for (Groundhog Software) got a phone call from Apple, telling us that our photo frame application for the iPad My Frame was to be removed from the Apple App Store. They refused to be pinned down to an exact reason, simply stating that they were doing a cull of any applications that presented widgets to the user. All the guy on the phone would say is how much he liked our application, and how sorry he was, but there was nothing he could do. All we got out of him was that Apple no longer liked ‘widgets’ and wanted all widget apps removed. They refused to say what (if anything) we could remove from our application, or even who we could discuss this with.

An email sent to Steve Jobs ilicited this reply:

We are not allowing apps that create their own desktops. Sorry.

Sent from my iPad

It’s crappy behavior like this that poisions the well of happy, excited developers. Right now, the biggest thing driving developers to the Android platform is Apple itself. I can fully appreciate Apple wanting to prevent apps from duplicating functionality that Apple intends to provide in their operating systems, but they should have to abide by their own playbook, and when giving a developer a red card, they should only be able to do so when they can cite a rule that has been broken.

If Apple is working on adding Dashboard like functionality to the iPad, they should put rules specifically prohibiting such apps in their documentation. Additionally, they should give the developers a clear, concise path to getting their app approved. And for apps that are already in the app store, they should give the developer a grace period before removing the app completely from the store. Something like two weeks would probably be sufficient.

It’s behavior like this that has me pulling for Android, and hoping that Apple is taught a lesson sooner rather than later.


Category: News

Google TV

The best thing I can say about the Google TV platform is that it may finally motivate Apple to move AppleTV from being a hobby to a device worth updating more than once every three years.


Category: Links,News

iPad apps: Get ready for the second wave

Andy Ihnatko:

The brilliance of the iPad is the understanding that many notebook features aren’t relevant in a slate computer. I’m likely to use external hard drives and printers with a notebook. Not so with a slate. So why bother cutting three USB ports into it, and adding all kinds of troublesome third-party device drivers to the OS? And why bother adding all kinds of features to an app that will only be used 1% of the time, and which ruin the clean lines of the interface every time the app is launched?

36 hours in to my iPad experience, and I agree completely.


Category: News

Undercover Foxconn Investigation

One day in the near future, the people who buiild these gadgets at near slave wages will revolt. Hopefully before that happens, some enterprising and responsible companies will move their manufacturing back to America.

An excellent read.


Category: News

Search Warrant for stolen iPhone unsealed

You can read it here in all it’s glory.

Highlights:

  • 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.


Category: iPhone,Jackassery,News

Adobe, You Brought An Advertisement To A Gun Fight

Money Quote:

When you’re leaving notes all over the web trying to convince people how open your technology is, maybe leave out the Registered® Trademark® logos next time.


Category: News

Wi-Fi Sync: Another App Store Casualty

Well, you knew Apple would never let an application that handled syncing in to the App Store, didn’t you?

So, instead of letting his hard work go to waste, the developer has decided to offer his application up for $9.99 through the Cydia Store, which is available to jailbroken iPhones.

Although I’m not surprised in the least by Apple’s decision, I still find it annoying. WiFi syncing is something that is sorely missed on the iPhone OS platform. Users want it. Other platforms have it. An entrepreneurial developer has provided it. And Apple won’t let you have it.


Category: Links

About the author

A user of Macs since they had silly names like Performa and Centris, Theodore Lee is a techie who prides himself on his vast knowledge of all things Apple. OS X Factor was started in 2001 (originally as macosxcentric), and continues to churn out tips, tutorials, reviews and commentary on the tech sector.