Posts Tagged ‘iPhone’

iPhone 4S Coming October 14

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

The iPhone 4S was officially revealed today in Cupertino, along with iOS 5. Though it looks like the iPhone 4, there have been some important features added, bringing the iPhone up to par with its Android competition in some respects, while maintaining the general Apple look and feel so many know and love. Throughout the announcement, I couldn’t help but think about how Android phones already have a lot of these features. Here are the specs:

  • 3.5″ Retina display, 960×640 resolution (326ppi)
  • 1GHz dual core ARM-Cortex A9 processor
  • Apple A5 chip (like iPad 2)
  • 8MP rear facing camera with LED Flash and Face Detection
  • VGA front facing camera, 30 fps video
  • UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz);
    GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
  • CDMA EV-DO Rev. A (800, 1900 MHz)
  • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi (802.11n 2.4GHz only)
  • Bluetooth 4.0

An 8MP camera, finally. Apple has had nice cameras in the past, but lingered for years without an 8MP camera. With an LED flash, face detection, image stabilization, and 1080p video recording, Apple finally caught up to Android in camera specs. Sony in particular has had all but the 1080p for a couple of years now, and tacked on smile detection too.

Of note is that there will be a single iPhone 4S phone, across carriers and world-wide. It has both CDMA and GSM antennas, making it suitable for AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint in the US, and the GSM networks in Europe. T-Mobile has been left out of this round. AT&T will reportedly get the fastest speeds with the HSPA+ network, and Sprint has committed to unlimited data plans for the iPhone. The iPhone 4 is also coming to Sprint.

Apple offers iCloud synchronization, so you can access all your content on any of your Apple devices automatically. Think of the Amazon Kindle’s Whispersync. This is a helpful feature, especially for those with both an iPhone and an iPad.

Though iOS 5 is coming to the original iPhone 4 and the iPhone 3GS, the OS’s main attraction will only be available on the iPhone 4S. Siri was an app in the Apple app store. It is now a pretty attractive feature in the iPhone, and has been removed from the store. Siri allows you to speak conversationally into your phone to make things happen. You can send text messages, e-mails, check show times, weather, and more, simply by talking to your phone. If you’ve used Android at all the last couple of years you may be familiar with this concept. Vlingo had a popular Android App, and then Google introduced Voice Actions. With Voice Actions you can also access Google’s free Navigation software on top of the features you get with Siri. Apple did upgrade the service a bit, which is good. You can ask questions with nuances that other programs might miss, such as asking about whether or not you need an umbrella and getting the weather report. Apple has raised the bar a bit on voice features, so it will be interesting to see how Android responds. The customers end up winning in this particular aspect because the feature is pretty cool on both systems.

Another feature highlighted today was iMessage. You can chat with other iOS users and keep the conversation going across devices. Again, this is already possible on Android, and includes the Chrome browser as well, specifically with Google Talk. Apple took it even further with GPS-based friend location, called Find My Friends. This works like Google Latitude, and you can see your friends on a map, assuming they opted in to the service and have allowed their location to be known.

I think the best features announced today were the camera and Siri. Other than that, think of the iPhone 4S as an upgrade to the iPhone 4. Though many were disappointed with this launch, there is nothing wrong with upgrading the phone without calling it the iPhone 5. There were plenty of new apps and features added to make it a significantly better phone than its predecessor.

The iPhone 4S will be available for pre-order on October 7, and will be available October 14. There are three versions available, subsidized by Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T. You can get a 16GB phone for $199, 32GB for $299, and 64GB for $399. Yes, I said these were subsidized prices. Meanwhile, the iPhone 4 (8GB) will drop to $99, and the 3GS (8GB) can be picked up for free.

Check out all the new features at

iPhone 4 – Verizon vs AT&T

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

The iPhone 4 is nearly at Verizon’s door. Just a few more days and the pre-order will begin. As more details are being revealed about the iPhone at Verizon, one wonders if it is really a better deal than AT&T.

Verizon’s iPhone4 will be available for $200 for 16GB or $300 for 32GB. AT&T’s iPhone4 is available for $200 for 16GB and $300 for 32GB. Verizon will offer a personal hot spot for $20. AT&T offers Wi-Fi tethering for $20. Verizon will offer unlimited data for a limited time. AT&T has an unlimited plan for grandfathered customers, and a limited plan for everyone else. Verizon will follow suite. Seeing a pattern here? Verizon and AT&T are offering the same phone with the same pricing. So how do you choose your carrier?

Verizon is the largest US carrier. The size is partially due to the outdated CDMA network. It may be big, but it is not fast. Verizon does has some perks though. Rather than using hot spot access from your data plan, a separate 2GB is allocated for the feature. This will be helpful for conserving your data plan usage once the unlimited plan goes away. Verizon will have a lot less congestion on its network, so you probably won’t experience the major crashes that AT&T customers suffered as the iPhone rapidly increased in popularity. It’s not all roses at big red. Verizon can’t currently offer a simultaneous connection to voice and data services. This is a big deal.

AT&T, is on the more advanced GSM network, as is T-Mobile and virtually the rest of the world. AT&T has the fastest service, when it is actually available. . AT&T offers simultaneous voice and data services. AT&T’s huge coverage gaps are annoying, but recent upgrades have improved things, at least in the L.A. area. AT&T is even rumored to be offering unlimited data to those who opted out of the service last year. AT&T is trying to reduce the number of people jumping ship in February.

As you decide which carrier to go with, ask yourself a few questions. Do you want speed or reliability? The pricing is mostly identical. Do you want a fast network that is sometimes reliable, or a slow network that is typically reliable? Do you want to be able to check your email while talking on the phone, or not?

All of this might be moot, however, as Apple is expected to announce the next iPhone within the next couple of months. At the end of the day, the iPhone 4 is almost a year old. As much as I’d like to see a mass exodus from AT&T to benefit the rest of AT&T’s customers, you may want to think twice about signing up for a two-year commitment this close to the next version’s launch.

Sony Reader for Android Now Available

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

A while back I posted about a Sony Reader app for iPhone and Android coming in December. I checked back in December and saw a new image indicating it would be available in January instead. January being nearly over, the app is now available, at least on Android.

Some of the highlights:

  • Create and edit bookmarks and highlights in books
  • Includes 3 Classic titles and 3 excerpts from Bestsellers
  • Adjustable Font sizes
  • Sync reading position, bookmarks, and highlights to Reader Daily Edition (PRS-950SC with firmware 2.0)

Is the Sony Reader app ready to compete with the Kindle and Nook apps already available? We’ll have to see. I tried to install the app, searching everywhere for it. I started from my phone in the Android Market, then tried using my browser to download directly from Sony. Finally I got on my computer to search. That’s when I found the problem. This app is available for Froyo and beyond. That’s right. Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 users need not apply. You can’t use a Sony app. Eventually I’ll install a Froyo Rom on my phone and test this app out, but until it is stable I’ll have to watch from the sidelines. While this minimum OS requirement will not be a problem for the forthcoming Xperia Arc, it seems like an ill-timed slight for X10 fans who recently learned there will be no official Froyo upgrade. Hopefully this will be addressed, though it is unlikely.

If you’ve been looking forward to viewing your Sony Reader content on your phone, and you have Froyo, go ahead and enjoy the app. iPhone users will get their app soon. You can follow the download link here. For the rest of us, there is always the Kindle, Nook, or Google Book app for our reading pleasure.