iPhone – unanswered questions

The iPhone is only days away from going on sale to the public, but I still have lot’s of unanswered questions. Apple has “leaked/announced” a few more tidbits like the fact that it will now have up to 8 hours of battery talk time, an impressive 250 hours of standby time and it will have a glass protective, more scratch resistant screen instead of plastic. Also we now know the 12th icon is for YouTube (which will be interesting to see how that works over Edge). However, I’ve been waiting to get more details and I can’t believe that Apple would expect everyone to buy an iPhone without disclosing the full specs first. As I think of a new question I jot it down in my notes. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

 

Bluetooth
Does the iPhone have Bluetooth hands-free car support (download address book to car)?
Can it be used for DUN – use it as a wireless modem to your MacBook, PowerBook, etc.?
What’s the compatibility like with non-Apple headsets?
Can you Redial/Answer from non-Apple headsets?

Is Bluetooth syncing of Contacts, iTunes, etc. possible?

Phone
Does it use a SIM card that is user accessible? (rumor has it as NO)
Does the iPhone support voice dialing?
Will there be a VoIP solution for making calls while on Wi-Fi?
Can I use iTunes songs as ring tones (mp3 or AAC)?
Can I assign ring tones to contacts?
Does the iPhone support Address Book categories?

How is it for one hand operation?
Is there a single button speed dial feature? (looking at the tutorial, it takes at least two taps to speed dial)

Calendar
Does the calendar have Alarms?
Can I add/modify calendar entries from the handset?
Does it have multiple Calendar support from iCal?

Notes
I assume this will sync to the new Mail app in Leopard, however what other notes programs will it sync to?

iPod
Can I listen to music over Bluetooth?
Can I sync music from one computer and contacts/calendar from another?
Will iPod games work?

Web/Internet/Email
What happens when you visit a site that has Flash content?
Does it have connectivity to MS Exchange servers beyond IMAP?
3G support (when? and will my version 1.0 phone be upgradable to it?)
MMS support? – rumor has it as NO.

What happens when you click a link to download a file from a website?

Will there be .Mac integration?

Why no .Mac “push” email. It really seems odd that they would choose yahoo mail for this over their own solution instead of both.

AT&T
What will the data plan(s) cost?
Rollover minutes/family plan?
Can you put it on a corporate plan? – rumor has it as NO.

Do I have to activate it on the spot? – rumor has it as NO, you bring it home and do it remotely

Other
Is there a GPS option, coming?
Does it have an Alarm Clock?
Does it have a World Clock?
Can I use my own sounds for alerts other than ringtones?
Does it have Unit conversions in the Calculator?

Most of the above questions come from my use of other smart phones. So these are the little things that I’ve become accustom to that I would like to know if the iPhone has? Apple has posted this 20 minute guided tour that shows you how to use an iPhone. If we don’t find out before the 29th, I will certainly give a complete review and answer these questions after the 29th. I’ll be in line on the 29th, but camping is not my thing. So we’ll really see how many they actually have in stock on day one?

Leave no iPod shuffle behind

It’s no secret that there is a BIG business in iPod accessories. One of the biggest markets is iPod cases. I look for useful practical cases that do a good job in protecting my iPods and also make it easy to carry them. I didn’t really see anything that I liked for the second generation iPod shuffle until I ran across the Mophie Bevy. This iPod 2g shuffle case is designed to put your iPod shuffle on your key chain. It also allows you to wrap your earbuds around it too. It’s very light weight and does a good job of keeping the iPod from getting all scratched up on the front, although the back is still exposed. The Bevy also doubles as a bottle opener. Sure, why not?

Thanks to the Bevy, I always have my iPod with me. The Bevy goes for $15, is available in multiple colors and is available from the Mophie site.

The guys at Mophie put together this video as they shipped their first batch to Apple in Cupertino for evaluation and consideration for the Apple Store:


CS3 Tour – Live in Hollywood!

I’m here in Hollywood at the Renaissance Hotel which is the seventh stop on the CS3: Creative License Tour. This is one of the two day events. We have over 800 people registered for this event. I’m here with my colleagues: Sebastian Distefano – showing the Design Premium Suite, Abbas Rizvi – showing the Web Premium Suite and Kevan O’Brien showing the all new CS3 Production Premium Suite. The LA crowd is lively and in the groove. This two day event started out with some great pre-conference breakouts before the main event this afternoon. This evening we have more breakouts and activities including the InDesign Users Group.

I’m posting this blog entry live using Adobe Contribute CS3 during my keynote address. I hope to see you in New York.

Also check out some of the CS3 Logo’d Wearable Gear that was unveiled at this show.

 

The view from my hotel room. It’s the famous Hollywood sign.

This facility was awesome and we presented to a standing room only crowd.

More iPhone details/hype

For a product that is a mere 11 days away from shipping, Apple has not released very many final details. However, today Apple Announced that the iPhone would have up to 8 hours of talk time. Now we’re talking (ooh that was bad, I know).

 

June 18, 2007—Apple® today announced that iPhone™ will deliver significantly longer battery life when it ships on June 29 than was originally estimated when iPhone was unveiled in January. iPhone will feature up to 8 hours of talk time, 6 hours of Internet use, 7 hours of video playback or 24 hours of audio playback.* In addition, iPhone will feature up to 250 hours—more than 10 days—of standby time. Apple also announced that the entire top surface of iPhone, including its stunning 3.5-inch display, has been upgraded from plastic to optical-quality glass to achieve a superior level of scratch resistance and optical clarity.

“With 8 hours of talk time, and 24 hours of audio playback, iPhone’s battery life is longer than any other ‘Smartphone’ and even longer than most MP3 players,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’ve also upgraded iPhone’s entire top surface from plastic to optical-quality glass for superior scratch resistance and clarity. There has never been a phone like iPhone, and we can’t wait to get this truly magical product into the hands of customers starting just 11 days from today.”

Charge your MacBook Pro batteries externally

Newer Tech Intelligent Battery Charger and Conditioner

 

I’ve always been a fan of external notebook battery chargers. I like being able to roam around the house on battery power. When the battery gets low I put the computer to sleep, swap out the battery, wake and keep going. The problem is that I haven’t had an external charger since the original Titanium PowerBooks.

Newer Technology to the rescue!

Newer now makes an external battery charger that can charge two MacBook Pro batteries at once. This new Intelligent Battery Charging Station is great. I got it and setup was very easy. Basically just plug it into the wall and place your batteries on it. One of the two slots has a "Recondition" button that actually drains your battery and recharges it for you. This is a good thing to do every now and then even for your Lithium ion batteries. Another good use for this charger besides being using it home is using it when you attend a seminar. Often times wall power is not very accessible from your seat. However, you can go plug the charger in at the wall and charge one battery (or two) while you have one in your MacBook Pro. The Newer Tech Intelligent Battery Charging Station goes for $149.95 at OWC. Newer Tech also makes them for MacBooks, iBooks and PowerBooks too.

CS3 Tour – Live in Seattle!

Great Crowd!

I’m at the sixth stop on the Adobe CS3: Creative License Tour here in Seattle at the Adobe University Room at the Adobe offices. We have over 200 people signed up for the event today. We actually saw the sun yesterday :-). Lisa Forrester is doing the Design Premium Suite, Abbas Rizvi is doing the Web Premium Suite and Kevan O’Brien is once again doing the Production Premium Suite.
This is the last of the one day cities so I hope to see you in LA or New York for the two day events.

I’m doing this post live during my keynote using Adobe Contribute CS3.

Just say no to HDD and MiniDVD camcorders

Just say no image

Life in the Digital Video space used to be simple. You would buy any Mini DV based camcorder you wanted, pop in a tape, hit record and when you were done, you could hook up that camcorder to your computer via its Firewire (IEEE 1394) port and edit away. Just about every editing app out there supports editing standard DV content from these camcorders. Life isn’t so simple anymore and consumers are paying the price of this new level of confusion. Not only are there standard DV camcorders out there, but there are HDV camcorders. These are still cool. Many pros will argue that HDV is an interim standard and something better is coming. So don’t buy these. I happen to think it’s OK to buy HDV because these camcorders still use regular mini-DV tapes, the video quality is better than DV and they have Firewire ports on them. Most current editing apps can edit in HDV format so life is still good.

If all you want to do is shoot video and then play it on your TV as is, you can stop reading here and have a nice day.

It’s the other two types of camcorders that are driving me insane: HDD and mini DVD. Consumers are getting confused an running out buying HDD camcorders thinking they’re getting HD (high-def). The HDD stands for Hard Disk Drive and that’s where the problem comes in. These consumer camcorders have hard drives built-in which is a REALLY COOL IDEA! However, the problem is the camcorder doesn’t record standard DV or HDV to these drives. It records in some super compressed MPEG format that for the most part is next to impossible to edit in. Most of the popular video editing apps don’t support editing in these formats. So you’re stuck using the lame software that came with the camera or finding a utility that converts the video to something usable. The other format mini DVD actually records the video onto a miniature DVD disc. This is fine for the person that just wants to shoot and watch and do NO EDITING! Again, the format is MPEG2 based which doesn’t lend itself to editing. Most apps don’t edit MPEG2 video. While the concept of having a hard drive built-in to a camcorder is appealing, the thought of recording directly to a DVD disc escapes me. Very rarely do I show people my raw footage. I want the ability to edit it down and spruce it up a bit. So why would I want a camcorder that records directly to a playback media?

Why I’m fried about this at the moment?

I’m working a project for a cousin of mine. Her family is having a rather large family reunion this summer and they had the idea of making a DVD and include videos from the various relatives scattered about the US. I’ll be the one creating this DVD and doing all the video editing. Sounds great right? Well it does until you realize you’re working with people that don’t know the first thing about video (good lighting and audio, let’s not even go there). They asked me to recommend a camcorder to one relative who was going out to buy one for this particular event. I should have been way more specific, but I said any mini DV camcorder they get should be fine. So weeks go by and I get the first package in the mail which was supposed to contain the tape so that I could start the editing process. I open the package and it’s a mini DVD disc. ARGGGH! Luckily I remembered the great app HandBrake and was able to convert the DVD into an MP4 format that I could edit with.

Last weekend the last of the relatives came over for the final shooting and one brought her camcorder that she used to video other relatives while she was traveling. At first glance it looked small and I thought it was a standard mini DV camcorder. Of course it wasn’t. It was a JVC HDD camcorder. The files were in a strange .MOI format. Luckily a quick search on Google lead me to a $40 utility that allowed me to convert the .MOI files into standard DV.

So yeah, I’m a little annoyed at where this industry is going and where consumers are getting caught up in the cross fire. Yes, I’m all for advancements in video and hard drive based camcorders make perfect sense. However, let’s make the hard drives removable (like tapes) and lets make it so that they have the option of recording in standard DV for editing.

OK, that’s the end of my rant. Time to get back to editing.

CS3 Tour – Live in Boston

I’m here in Boston at the Hynes Convention Center which is the fifth stop on the CS3: Creative License Tour. We have close to 500 registered for this event. I’m here with my colleagues: Sebastian Distefano – showing the Design Premium Suite, Kyle Thompson – showing the Web Premium Suite and Kevan O’Brien showing the all new CS3 Production Premium Suite. Boston is always a great crowd and we hope to learn a lot about Adobe Creative Suite 3 throughout the day.

I’m posting this blog entry live using Adobe Contribute CS3 during my keynote address. I hope to see you at one of the upcoming cities.

News from Apple’s WWDC

Leopard disc

OK, I don’t think anyone is shocked by Apple showing a near final version of it’s next operating system Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard (with over 300 new features) at its World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC), however, I must admit to being a little puzzled by the announcement that they’re bringing Safari (Apple’s web browser) to Windows. I’m not sure what the benefit to Apple is here? Is this just something to tick off Bill? Probably. I would have much rather they brought out iChat AV for Windows. Now that’s something that would be useful for both sides. However, I will download the public beta for both Mac and PC and give it a spin. It’s supposedly up to twice as fast as IE 7 on Windows and 1.6 times faster than Firefox. The real question is will Windows users download and use it? One benefit that we could gain from this is that more sites would support Safari if more users were using it. So maybe that’s Apple’s real agenda here. The next “Get a Mac” ad should be funny if PC is using Safari.

In other WWDC news the iPhone will gain 3rd party apps that are written in Web 2.0. Apple is trying to maintain this balancing act between allowing developers to add apps, but also maintaining security and stability. Apparently Web 2.0 gives them that. I’m not that familiar with the Web 2.0 development environment so I can’t speak to what’s possible and what’s not. However, I’m quite pleased that 3rd parties now can step in and hopefully fill some of the potential iPhone gaps. It’s all good.

UPDATE: You can watch the Keynote here

My Favorite Things…

FavoritesPeople ask me to recommend products and services to them all the time. Sometimes they take my advice, sometimes they don’t. But that’s besides the point. Rather than having to constantly go back and dig up a link to a product that I like, to send it to them, I’ve decided to put it all in one place, here on my tech blog. This way you will always be able to tell which products and services I’m currently recommending at any given time. The products and services listed here are the ones that I actually use (or have used in the past) and I don’t get paid to recommend them (other than Adobe products of course. Although I was using and recommending Adobe products long before I worked for the company.) Most of these companies don’t even know that I exist.

So the next time you’re looking for a hot gadget recommendation or you’re wondering what I use in any given category, you can just take a peek at "My Favorite Things" to find out. I’ll keep the page updated as I swap out my gear over time.

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