Thoughts from an unhacked iPhone user in Canada

Apple iPhoneFor someone who had a whole theory about why he wouldn’t buy one, I am very surprised how long I lasted before getting my iPhone. Yes, I finally have one and it is, all in all, and amazing combination of technology and user experience design.

Living about one hour north of the US border, I drove down to a small town in upstate New York last weekend to get my iPhone and activated it as a pay-as-you-go cell phone from a Starbucks (you know, the other Apple partner when it comes to this device) and updated it to the 1.1.1 firmware. As soon as I crossed the border back, I took the SIM card out so that the battery would not drain to quickly, especially as AT&T dosen’t offer international roaming on their GoPhone plans. Oh yes, Apple, I know I removed the SIM card… no need to remind me about that on a regular basis with a modal dialog box.

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Even more unfounded rumors about the iPhone software SDK

Yes, I know, I should get another area of interest… but the topic of the month for me seems to be related to Apple’s first generation of cellular phone. Last week, I shared my completely unfounded thought about the business model behind the third-party applications for the iPhone. Well, having a quick look at the iPhone Human Interface Guidelines available from the Apple Developer site, I noticed something that seems to have been missed by all the tech blogs out there: Native third-party applications ARE coming.

Well, it’s not stated in such an obvious way, but I thought it would be fun to apply the same type of translation as between the Apple PR and the geeks community. So what is actually included in this document. Well, there is a simple sentence that states:

Currently, developers create web applications for iPhone, not native applications (page 7 of the PDF published on Sept 27, 2007)

I highlighted the word “Currently”, but if that’s not the best source for the rumors to explode, I really don’t know what could make it happen :-)

And if you wonder what for a crazy idea I have to read these times of documents, I always found the Apple UI guideline documents very interesting to read, especially when working in Product Management for a software company.

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Apple to announce iPhone apps SDK at WWDC

Time to get a new completely unfounded rumor out of thin air: Apple is expected to announce the first four third-party applications as well as the SDK for the iPhone at the upcoming World Wide Developer Conference in San Fransisco, California. All these applications will not only be available for iPhone users, but will also be compatible with the iPod touch. And to make it the best user experience, all these applications will be available directly from the iTunes store for as little as $9.99. For the third-party developers: think about the game consoles model.
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OK, I want an iPhone

Yes, I know. A few weeks back, I came up with a theory about why I didn’t want to have an iPhone… Well here I am playing with a collegue’s one and I now have to rationalize the purchase decision as I so want one. It takes a while to get used to the keyboard (it sure isn’t a Blackberry) but I start to get the neck of it and the predictive detection works quite well.

The web browser experience is really great (blogging from the iPhone right now) and Google Maps is fun to use. YouTube will be fun, but this small device won’t replace the AppleTV. I haven’t tried the mail client (it is not my phone) and the phone doesn’t work as this is a locked US iPhone with an AT&T pay as you go SIM.

Rogers, can you please speed-up the introduction of the iPhone in Canada? I would rather not want to buy it in the States and have to hack it. Well, let’s see how long I can wait 😉

Update (Sept 18, 2008): the big question is much more iPhone 8Gb or iPod touch 16Gb… is a de-featured device with more space better? After trying out the email client with my IMAP server I’ve got the answer: iPhone, even one where the phone part doesn’t work 😀

Steve, I’m impressed

I have to say, Apple has done an amazing job with the hype around the upcoming iPhone. We are two days before the actual availability of this new device, and it’s the number one topic of interest online and off-line. I only hope that the amazing Cupertino, CA based marketing machine hasn’t oversold a “revolution” in smart-phones that cannot be delivered.

I was a few days in the USA for a user conference and had the opportunity to experience first hand the work done by Apple’s communication and marketing teams in preparation of the iPhone availability at 18.00 local time on June 29, 2007… Blogs and news sites are buzzing like crazy about this new device, Podcasts covering the whole tech world spend most of the show talking about it, and the daily nation-wide newspapers provide in-depth coverage of the convergence between and iPod, a Phone and an Internet device, some even doing so on the front page.

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A brief history of the Psion organizer

In a nostalgic note, The Register, an online news site from the UK, has written an in-depth history of the Psion organizers. This device was, and still is, an amazing piece of technology with many features modern smart phones can only dream of having. I never became a Psion user myself (I went the Palm route), but a few of my friends where huge fans of these devices (mainly the Serie 3 and then the Serie 5). The Psion OS had features equivalent to OLE links on Windows that PalmOS still is lacking today, amazing response speed and great usability. The OS itself lives on in the form of Symbian, used by Sony Ericsson and Nokia for many of their smart phones.

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A new toy: the Sony Mylo


I’ve been using a WiFi Skype phone for a while. While the form facor was great, the sound quality wasn’t perfect and I was missing the chat capability, which is one of my main usages of Skype. As the industry specialized in toys for geeks cannot stand still for very long, I knew it wouldn’t have to wait for an extended period until a replacement device would come out… I just didn’t expect it to be from Sony.

I got myself a Mylo about two weeks ago. It’s a wired little piece of WiFi electronics that is targeted at the IM generation. The Sony Mylo is a device that is just slightly larger and thicker than an average modern cell phone, with a color screen, an 802.11b network connection and a sliding keyboard made for one thing: communicating through instant messaging and VoIP.

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Apple, you should learn from 3 in the UK for your iPhone: Unlimited Skype phone calls

Looks like 3, the cell phone operator in the UK who has a complete 3G network and who is also fighting for market share against giants such as Vodafone, is ready to change a little their business model. I recently found that their new 3 X-Series will provide unlimited Skype calls from their cell phone network “for free” (e.g. included in the price-plan), in addition to many interesting services.

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Why is Blu-Ray going to fail?

The reason is simple: I got a Blu-Ray and not an HD-DVD player, and I always have the impression that the technology I go for will be the one that won’t be the standard a few years later… but right now, all indications are going into the other way. While HD-DVD had an initial “first-to-market” advantage, Sony’s decision to include a Blu-Ray player in the Playstation 3 has dramatically shifted the game and enabled this format to overtake the former within a few weeks.

As for any new technology introduced, being the choice of the early adopters and the market leader while adoption hasn’t reached the mainstream users is in no way a guarantee for success. Offering the best or most advanced feature set is also a no indication of becoming the long term leader. We’ve seen this over and over again, from Apple Macintosh to the Palm. Being backed by Microsoft can help in the long term, but the iPod / iTunes offering is (so far) a proof of the opposite.

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A non-gamer view of the Playstation 3

Just before Christmas, I was able to find a Sony Playstation 3 at my local retail store the day I decided to get a console… Not sure what this availablility shortage scare was all about? This is my first console, having almost completely left the world of gamers over 10 years ago (shortly after Doom and Descent 1.0 came out). I therefore consider(ed) myself as one of these non-gamers the WII is trying to attract.

I have been considering buying a console for a while, and my initial choice was to get a PS3, mainly because of its HD capabilities, the built-in Blu-ray player and the strong history behind the Sony brand when it comes to gaming. But with all the hype behind the Wii at launch, I almost went with that one as it seemed to be the least “serious” console. As they only had the PS3 in stock that morning, I came back to my initial choice.

Having enjoyed this device for just over a month now, my biggest problem with it is that I simply don’t have enough time to use it!

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Why I won’t buy an Apple iPhone

So, it’s finally been announced: the Apple iPhone! What a cool looking device. The user interface looks absolutely beautiful, and the whole user experience appears to be as good as you would expect from Apple Inc. OK, the iPhone won’t be available until this summer in the USA (no words about Canada) and this fall in Europe, but based on what has been shown so far, I don’t expect to buy an Apple iPhone when available…

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Too many USB charging devices!

Have you noticed that more and more small devices get charged through a simple USB connection… to name a few of those I have: the Blackberry, the Netgear Skype-phone, the iPod, point-and-shoot cameras, the Palm TX (with a special USB cable that Palm doesn’t provide). This is really great, except when you run out of USB ports on your laptop while travelling!
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