Apple announces the iPhone

apple iphone

I think perhaps for most of us this was the most expected announcement made by Apple at MacWorld. With all the buzz flying around, and no solid facts. Though Kevin Rose apparently spilled the details a lot of people were holding his story credible, but it isn’t all true. In fact, most of it is wrong. At the MacWorld keynote, Steve Jobs, explained how they had to keep this a secret for over 2 and a half years. However they managed that, I am truly amazed. The full specs and details are listed below.

  • Single front button
  • 3.5 inch widescreen display, 320 x 480 at 160dpi
  • 2 megapixel camera
  • iPod dock connector
  • Accelerometer to detect the changed between landscape and portrait mode and adjusts the screen accordingly
  • Proximity sensor to turn off the display backlight when you are holding the phone to your head, which saves battery life.
  • 11.6 mm thick
  • Syncs with iTunes
  • GSM/EDGE
  • 802.11b/g WiFi – Switches seamlessly between WiFi and EDGE whenever you are in/out of coverage
  • Bluetooth 2.0 +EDR and A2DP
  • Cinglar only (US)
  • Visual voicemail – shows a list of your voicemails like you see a list of emails
  • Error correcting with the on-screen keyboard
  • Gestural interface
  • Apple Mail
  • Safari
  • iTunes with intergrated CoverFlow
  • Google Maps
  • Widgets
  • Free Yahoo! IMAP email service to all iPhone purchasers
  • 5 hour video battery life
  • 16 hour audio battery life
  • Runs on Mac OS X*

The 4GB costs $499 and the 8GB $599, which includes a two year contract. It starts to ship in June for the US, 4Q 2007 for Europe and for Australia they see it in 2008 (ouch).

*Though Apple lists the iPhone to run OS X, and what Steve Jobs said, it has been confirmed by an Apple Rep that it will not allow you to install OS X applications. This is a big blow to the device, at least in my opinion. Why would Apple, and Steve Jobs, specifically highlight the fact that it runs OS X when in actual fact, it is a truncated version of OS X, probably incapable of running fully featured applications. This has irritated many people, including myself. Will you not be able to run any applications at all from it, or will Apple release some sort of optimiser to iPhone-ise exisiting applications? From what I know, you will be able to add your own Widgets, or exisiting ones that you can download for the Dashboard.

What are my thoughts on the iPhone? Well I like it. I thing the design is amazing, not just the user interface, but of the phone as well. The ideas that have been incorporated are truly unique and visionary. Apple really has set the bar high this time. What I am annoyed about is not only the lack of 3G, instead uses EDGE (2.5G, Enhanced GPRS), but the fact that it is only coming out in the 4Q of 2007 here. Though I already have my K800i, which is one amazing phone, I don’t know if I could give it up for the iPhone. Though it’s PDA-esque features are nice, what would I do about applications like GPS software (I use TomTom on my PDA) and other 3rd party software I have come to love and enjoy, especially with the news that you can’t install your own applications. The price as well is intimidating. I currently don’t use my phone enough to warrant a Pay Monthly service (I use Pay as you go), but with the 2-year contract, the base price, as well as a monthlu plan that will have to have an unlimited service (how could I not use Safari while on the go?) Not only that, but what service provider will we get out here in the UK. I don’t want some crappy provider like Vodafone or O2. I hate them, I do, more so than Orange, which have the world’s worst customer support.

Scratches? Don’t even get me started, with a massive 3.5 inch screen, this is destined for scratches. You would have to buy a protector/shield for it as well, which is not free, and there is none out there on the market yet for the iPhone. The proximity sensor is truly inspirational, and who else but Apple would come up with something like that. It is nice for Apple to incorporate an accelerometer to switch between the landscape mode and portrait mode in the OS, as well as other functions. I have something similar in my Canon PowerShot A540, which automatically changes the orientation based on how you are holding it. Well done Apple, you have once again succeeded at making me want I product I cannot afford, nor cannot get my hands on until 3/4 of a year later.

Engadget has a lot of photos taken during the keynote, of the iPhone and its interface, as well as fully explaining the demo Steve Jobs gave. You can check that out here.

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Quick Update

I guess you have all heard of the iPhone (no, not the Linksys one, the one made by Apple) and the iTV being rebranded to Apple TV. Or if you haven’t you must be living under a rock. Anyways, I just wanted to say, that I will be making posts on them, with my thoughts (obviously :) ), however, I couldn’t make them yesterday as I was busy studying for the Biology exam I had today. It went quite well, but I have a Chemistry one tomorrow, and a Physics exam on Friday. I hate exams packed together like this, especially so soon after Christmas. I hate revising during the Christmas holiday.
I did, however, somehow, manage to follow most of the news, and I had the #mwsf2007 IRC channel in the background. A quick note about it, I did feel a bit dissapointed, with the fact that a 2 hour long Keynote, only covered 2 products. It didn’t even touch Leopard (which I was really hoping) — I know this is no WWDC, but still. I was surprised at there not being any actual Mac announcements, as in no computer updates/bumps. Shame.

Apple Welcomes Us to 2007

apple welcome image

If you haven’t already peaked at Apple’s frontpage, you would see the pretty large graphic that welcomes us to 2007 (above). Their bold title is this: “The first 30 years were just the beginning. Welcome to 2007.” Steve must have some big thing up his sleeve, if this year will top the past 30. Apple hasn’t publicised this much since the revealing of the original Mac, back in 1984 when they said:

On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you’ll see why 1984 won’t be like “1984″

Now the Mac was pretty revolutionary, don’t you think? So I wonder what they’ll introduce this year to top that. Will it be something new about Leopard, an iPhone perhaps, a builtin DVR inside iTV? It won’t be over until Jobs springs on us that ever familiar phrase “One more thing…”

Month of Apple Bugs: So VLC is Apple software?

moab

I have been reading up on this ubiqutous ‘Month of Apple Bugs’, and in light of this article, I have become increasingly angered with the website. The article on AppleGazette makes very valid points, as to why effectively the MOAB project has lost all of its credibility. I want to state upfront that I’m not writing this as an Apple Fanboy (though I am), I am writing this as a user of OS X and Windows, and various Apple products.

The MOAB project aims to show off a vunerability in Apple products over the 31 days of January. The first bug was understandable, a Quicktime based Buffer Overflow that has a “vulnerability in the handling of the rtsp:// URL handler allows remote arbitrary code execution.” This affects Windows an Mac OS X. This is a real flaw in Apple software, and can allow the execution of malcious code, via this buffer overrun, so it is critical.

The second vuneralibility however is debatable. In my eyes, this flaw is neither OS X, nor Apple. This flaw is based within the popular VLC Media Player. Now lets stop here for a second. VLC? Yes, the cross platform and open-source media player available on Windows, Linux, *nix and other platforms. However you look at it, I have no idea how this is an Apple Bug. Yes remember the title of the project. Other than running on OS X, and the actual vunerability allowing execution of arbitrary code (as with the Quicktime flaw above) which as you can see it would allow execution of code on OS X. But does this mean the problem is anything to do with Apple themselves? NO. Do we blame Microsoft for 3rd party software that has holes in it which can cause Windows to get a buffer overrun? Abosultely not. We blame the software developers. Why should Microsoft (or in this case Apple) deal with an application that they do not develop? It makes no sense. If you call your project ‘Month of Apple Bugs’ then please use Apple bugs, and not an open source software that has the same vunerability in every other distribution!
As AppleGazette pointed out, they do state on their website:

Are Apple products the only one target of this initiative?
Not at all, but they are the main focus. We’ll be looking over popular OS X applications as well.

Yeah they do defend themselves, but for goodness sake, if you create a title, which is then missleading what do you expect people to do? How is an OS X application an Apple Bug. It is only on the same OS. I’ll re-iterate myself: Do we blame Microsoft for flaws in developer ‘x’ software? Hell no. The developer is blamed. It seems that they are only seeking attention by putting Apple and Bugs in the same title. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for this. After all publicising vunerabilities helps to get them fixed faster, and thus leading to a more secure application. However I don’t like the other statement on their website:

John Doe has written a ‘post’ in his blog, saying he debunks the XXX bug, what’s that?
No worries. It’s probably someone begging for attention or PR-brainwashed.

Maybe they should have a look at their answer, because when you post titles of the project on social websites like Digg, del.icio.us, forums, etc, people will be miss-lead on what the actual flaws are on. Posting an open-source software bug on the second day is no good way to get started, and with their title it seems like they are the ones begging for attention.

The third vunerability is similar to the first one in that it is a vunerability which allows the execution of arbitrary code through Quicktime, but in Windows. Specifically it is “A vulnerability in the handling of the HREFTrack field allows to perform cross-zone scripting, leading to potential remote arbitrary code execution.” I understand that this is Apple bugs, and again this makes sense, even though the proof of concept “uses Microsoft Text Driver ADODB connection which requires an anonymous FTP login to the exploit location, for an unknown reason“. After all, Quicktime is Apple software. It’s like Microsoft patching flaws in Microsoft Office for Mac.

How many actual flaws do they have that are Apple software / OS X bugs? I would like to know, as it seems to me they have little. Displaying a flaw in an a open-source and cross-platform (Windows & Linux included) which is not even developed by Apple on the second day is really shoddy. I for one am quite annoyed, not for the fact that they are displaying Apple bugs, but because they don’t! Granted we have only seen three, and 2 out of these 3 were Apple software (Quicktime) related. I am saying this for all the Diggers and those alike who like to skim read articles and are a lot of time miss-informed by such things.

Get your act together MOAB, this is not a good start (a pretty bad one at that).

My Macworld 2007 Predictions

apple logo

I have finally gotten round to write a prediction list. This one is for the upcoming Macworld 2007 Expo that is happening in San Francisco on January 9 – 12. So what do I think big Stevie will announce, well here they are:

  • iWork and iLife ’07 – This one is a definite. Every year Apple announce the release of a new version of their iLife and iWork suite, and every year it has been at Macworld. I think largely iWork will remain the same, except (hopefully) a spreadsheet application will also be intergrated. Maybe called ‘Numbers’ (as the old rumours have put it). iLife will get upgrades, but nothing too major.
  • Detailed iTV information – I think this one is also a definite. More specific information about the iTV; such as it’s actual name, as I hardly think Apple would keep such a name. I couldn’t imagine the legal battles that would ensue from the UK’s ITV TV channel, and maybe Elgato with their eyeTV software (not same spelling but it is a homophone). Other information such as its actual price, maybe a HDD inbuilt with PVR — a feature I’m sure many people would love — functionality, maybe a 802.11n wireless. Release date will be soon, if not the same day.
  • Leopard ship date – This will most likely be announced, maybe available to buy quite soon. A lot of people have been waiting for this, including me, and I will most likely be getting it. I don’t care that it will probably have bugs, and some software will be incompatible, I want it! I just hope that my mac mini can handle it ok. It seems to have been under a lot of pressure lately, and has begun to slow down some bit, even with a 1GB memory upgrade.
  • iPhone – But it won’t be called the iPhone — Apple will user some other name, because of Linksys’ iPhone. It seems that everyone has been talking about it, and a lot of people want it, even though not a peep has come out of Cupertino at all. Kevin Rose seems to think it will happen with his inside information, 4GB and 8GB, flash memory, slide out keyboard, maybe touchscreen. I personally don’t want one. My current SonyEricsson K800i works just fine for me. It has a fantastic camera, nice big screen, plenty of memory, and works with my Mac — effortless syncing.
  • iPod revisions – It’s been ages since Appl last updated the iPod ;) , so it’s about time. Nothing too major, maybe making it thinner/smaller, slightly longer battery life, and a software update for some enhancements. I don’t expect a widescreen ‘video’ iPod at all.
  • iTunes 8 – Or maybe a smaller update, but I think Apple will have HD content. This is the year of high-def (for the second year running ;) ) and with Apple’s high-def trailers, I think Apple will jump aboard the ship and have high-def movies from Disney.
  • Core 2 Duo Mac mini – I think Apple will keep one Core Duo just for the pricing scheme, however you will be able to buy the updated Core 2 Duo Mac minis. A similar thing happened with the MacBook. It’s bound to happen.

I think that’s most of it. There will be a one more thing, however I think it will be the iPhone, or maybe Apple actually announcing the early availablity of Leopard. Just maybe…

Happy New Year!

fireworks

I wish you all a happy new year. As we roll into 2007 in the next few hours, in Europe that is, I hope that you all have fun during this next year, and I hope to see a lot of new technological advances. I didn’t make one oif those prediction lists for 2007, but there are a few things I wish to see from various big name companies, *cough* Apple *cough*.

SonyEricsson Bluetooth Watch: Review

SonyEricsson Watch

For Christmas we decided to get our dad the new SonyEricsson watch (made by FOSSIL). In more than a few not so unobvious ways he pointed out that he wanted the black version, and it was damn hard to find. I looked everywhere on the internet and I couldn’t find one that actually had it in stock. Or so I thought. On SonyEricsson’s online shop, they said that they had it in stock, which I was quite surprised at, and the price was cheaper than anywhere else (which surprised me even more). The key thing is it arrived before Christmas. It was great to see my dad’s face at Christmas, because he thought that we wouldn’t be able to get one.
I took some post-christmas photos of the unboxing, it didn’t seem fair to take photos while my dad opened his present :) . All of the following is based on my dad’s opinions of the watch.

The actual box of the watch (not the packaging), is designed like a real watch, so you can stow it away safely. It is really versatile and looks really sleek. The watch itself is extremely cool, and not surprisingly it is only compatible with selected SonyEricsson phones. However the phone does excel at what it does, as it displays the name of the person who’s calling the user as well as being able to play/pause the music being played on the phone, and skip a song. What is extra special, is the the watch can display accented characters (ie, á and é), which is important, as we are Hungarian and a lot of names have accents in them.
A feature, which my dad pointed out, is that if you have a bluetooth headset also paired with the phone, you can chose to accept the call, and the voice is forwarded to the headset. This means the watch doesn’t interfere with the headset, and you don’t need to even touch the phone. It also needs to be pointed out that although the watch itself is relatively heavy (~150g) it doesn’t feel heavy at all when it is on your hand, and you really don’t notice that extra weight. The digital time and date on the watch is received from your phone, so you don’t need to enter that in manually.

You can head over to my Flickr page to check out all of the photos of the watch, as well as the certificate card that comes with the watch to show that you own a genuine SonyEricsson watch.

Happy Holidays

happy holidays

This past week has been quite busy for me, as I have been away on a Medical Conference at Nottingham University. However, I wish you all a Merry Christmas, or Happy Hannukah, or whatever religion you are following. I do have free time off school, but with my presents, studying for my exams in January and lack of news during this time, there probably won’t be many posts.

DIY Component to VGA Adapter

component to vga adapter

The way I connect my Xbox 360 to my LCD Screen, is using Elgato’s EyeTV Hybrid tuner and the EyeTV software. This works fine, however the picture produced is only SD. I wasn’t happy with the way the picture looked, especially on my 17″ Dell Monitor. I looked around the net and I found a page with lots of details on the wiring on how to connect a component (PbPrY) to a VGA out. After spending lots of time working out what pins go where and stripping all the cables, connecting them all together, it ended up not working. I double checked the leads with a multimeter, and everything was fine, all the cables were connected the right way. My Dell screen just showed: “Error: Cannot display input mode”.
I searched over the internet, and I found the problem was listed on the original page I visited. The problem is, the cable doesn’t convert the PbPrY signal to a VGA, it just hooks it up to the VGA. This means your input device has to support component input, which my LCD obviously didn’t. Converting the signal is much more complicated and requires IC’s and software. All that work for nothing! I even cut my finger! Let’s hope I can put the cable to good use somehow else.

PC to Mac Conversions

A friend of mine informed me today that she got a iMac for her birthday. So far only one non-techy friend of mine has had a Mac, so now it is two! She said she got the “huge one” and commented that (on Mac OS X) “It is really different“. I hope she enjoys using it, with that massive screen, it really is humongous. I guessed it was the 24-inch one (judging by her comments), but it could have been the 20-inch one as well. I’ll make sure to ask her. I don’t think I even blogged about the release of it! BTW: That is not hers above, just some random one I found on Flickr. Now to somehow get all my other friends to get Macs (James, Ben I know you’re reading this!)… There should be a word for a person that has transitioned from Windows to Mac. I should invent one…