They’re calling it "iDay"

I won’t even bother going into the details about today being the official launch of the iPhone, because unless you’ve been locked in a closet for the past 4 weeks you already know! Yes, the lines started forming yesterday at many locations such as the AT&T stores in major metropolitan areas. As I’ve said before, I’m not a camper and don’t believe in spending the night outside just to get a new gadget. However, it’s hard to ignore the buzz and anticipation. So I took the day off and decided to cruise the area and check out the happenings. I have an AT&T corporate store less than one mile from my house. I went there first and there were only 3 people in line as of 1:45 PM today.

Not much of a wait yet at this AT&T store.


I only counted 3 chairs so far. Smart move to come here as opposed to the Apple Stores.

The AT&T stores close at 3PM today and reopen at 6PM when the iPhone goes on sale. I then headed over to my local Apple Store in Troy Michigan and things were a lot different. I see the line the minute I walked into the mall. It snaked around the corner from the Apple store which is about 200 feet away. I estimated anywhere from 75 to 100 people in line at 2PM. So far everyone seems upbeat and civilized. Most people brought their own chairs or pads to sit on the floor. I was lucky enough to have friends that volunteered to hold a place in line (at the 30th spot and they even managed to grab a bench) for me even though they aren’t buying iPhones for themselves. Now that’s what I call friendship!

This is the beginning of the line…


The Apple store closed at 2PM. They’re hanging black vinyl so that we can’t see what their doing in the store to get ready for 6PM.

A little less than 4 hours to go… Expect a full review here once I get one and get it up and running…

iPhone rate plans and activation details announced


iPhone week is in full swing and today Apple/AT&T announced the long awaited rate plans and activation details. As suspected you’ll buy your iPhone from either Apple or AT&T and go home and activate it via your iTunes account, major credit card and social security number. I think this is brilliant as it will certainly keep the lines moving as people just pick between the two models, pay and leave the store.

Apple has released details of the service plans that will be available for the iPhone. Three special monthly plans are available:

– $59.99 for 450 voice minutes
– $79.99 for 900 voice minutes
– $99.99 for 1,350 voice minutes

All three plans include unlimited data (email & web), Visual Voicemail, 200 SMS text messages, roll over minutes and unlimited mobile to mobile calling. Plans have a $36 one-time activation fee and are two year contracts. Family plans and Rollover minutes will are also available. In addition, any standard AT&T service plan may be chosen. Existing AT&T customers will be able to upgrade their existing plans for as little as $20 more per month.

Apple® and AT&T Inc. today announced that iPhone™ users will be able to activate their new iPhones using Apple’s popular iTunes® software running on a PC or Mac® computer in the comfort and privacy of their own home or office, without having to wait in a store while their phone is activated. Activating iPhone takes only minutes as iTunes guides the user through simple steps to choose their service plan, authorize their credit and activate their iPhone. Once iPhone is activated, users can then easily sync all of their phone numbers and other contact information, calendars, email accounts, web browser bookmarks, music, photos, podcasts, TV shows and movies just like they do when they sync their iPods with iTunes.

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:


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?

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)

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

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

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

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.

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

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:

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.”

The iPhone is coming June 29th

iPhone coming June 29th

The most anticipated gadget of 2007 is coming June 29th. Apple has announced the ship date of the iPhone in the US via 3 New TV Ads. No idea yet on the final feature set or quantities that will be available, but you can bet that sales will be brisk on day one. So now I’m just waiting to see who will be first to start camping out at their local AT&T or Apple Store to be first in line to get one?

Apple TV updates and iTunes DRM Free

Apple not only released an update to iTunes (version 7.2) to support their new DRM Free aka iTunes Plus tracks, but they also announced updates to Apple TV. The first one was no surprise as Apple stated a while back that EMI’s catalog would be available in a Digital Rights Management (DRM) free version. These new tracks cost more at $1.29, but they are also sampled at a higher 256K quality AAC format. What’s nice is that iTunes will offer you the option (if you enable iTunes Plus in your account) to upgrade the songs/videos you already own from EMI’s catalog to the DRM/higher quality versions for the difference in price (30¢). I did this for my 71 songs and one music video for a mere $14.25. The iTunes store is being hammered by users downloading all these tracks and my downloads timed out several times before completing. So the question is "will you pay more for DRM free tracks on iTunes?"

The next update came as a surprise!

Apple Announced a new higher capacity Apple TV model sporting a 160GB drive for $399. This was one of the biggest complaints most reviewers had with the original model, which is still available at 40GBs for $299. This update is not earth shattering by any means, however what came as a complete surprise was Apple also announced a partnership with YouTube. Soon (mid-June) you’ll be able to browse the YouTube catalog directly on your Apple TV and stream videos from the popular site. When users were complaining about not having this capability, I wasn’t really one of them because YouTube videos don’t look that great on my computer, how crappy would they look on my high def set? Apparently this was Apple’s concern too. YouTube will be re-encoding all their content in an Apple TV H264/MP4 format which should yield a higher quality look to them. When these videos are ready, you’ll most likely have to do a software update on your Apple TV to add the new YouTube menu option. It’s all good and I welcome this new ability.

What the iPod hi-fi should have been

Apple made a lot of noise initially around the iPod hi-fi stereo system for the iPod. They clearly spent the majority of their time on sound quality for this product. I’m not knocking it as it is a great sounding system with lots of volume, but it entered a crowded market at the high end of the price range. At $350, there are lots of speaker system to choose from at that price and less. Even the Bose Sound Dock is only $299 (It’s hard to say Bose and "only" in the same sentence). I own both of these systems and they both have their advantages over each other. Even to my non-audiophile ear, the Bose SoundDock sounds a bit better in my unscientific side-by-side test in a big open room. It also doesn’t have that storm trooper look like the iPod hi-fi.

But like I said, they both have their advantages and disadvantages. The SoundDock is smaller and takes up less space. The iPod hi-fi can run on batteries and has audio-in. Therefore it can be used as a speaker system for other sources such as streaming from your AirPort Express or directly connected to your notebook for presentations.

Now it’s 2007 and there is a new kid on the block. Check out the New Altec Lansing iMV712 (what a catchy name). The new iMV712 comes in at the same $350 price as the iPod hi-fi, but offers an 8" LCD screen so that you can actually watch content on your iPod video without having to hold it right up to your face (exaggeration alert). While 8" is not all that big, it’s big enough for comfortable personal viewing from a reasonable distance.

The minute the iPod hi-fi came out, people (critics) started saying it should have had this and that. One of those things that people said it should have is a screen. Sure not everyone has an iPod video. However, since it would have come from Apple the screen could have had the iTunes visualizer built-in. It could have displayed the Album art nice and big while you were just listening to music whether it was an iPod video or not.

I don’t have the new iMV712 and have no plans to buy one. I’m pretty set between the speakers I already have and my Apple TV’s. However, if I were in the market for a higher end speaker system, this is the one that I would start my research with.

Griffin Technologies Does It Again

Dock Adapter for iPod shuffle

Although I don’t really have a need for the new “Dock Adapter for iPod shuffle“, I still think it’s a cool product. This little adapter goes into a standard Apple iPod dock, say the one on top of the iPod Hi-Fi and let’s your 2nd Generation iPod shuffle be a full fledged citizen on your iPod speaker system. It not only allows you to enjoy your music, but it also allows the shuffle to be charged as well.

It’s $19.99 and is available online or at your local Apple store.