This past Tuesday I dedicated my LIVE show to many of the Adobe Mobile Apps. I took this opportunity to show off the many of the latest Apps for iOS and Android that allow photographers and creatives to do more without being in front of their computers…
I am a fan of Anker’s battery backup products and cables. I worked out a giveaway with them that will allow me to giveaway their NEW PowerCore+ 10050 battery backup for your mobile devices. To enter all you have to do is follow me on Twitter here and retweet this tweet. On Sunday, September 20th 2015 I will pick a US or UK based follower that retweeted the tweet.
Nomad has three new smartphone charging accessories that are pretty cool and convenient. The first one is their new NomadKey. This slightly larger than a key sized accessory means that you will always have a micro USB or Lightning cable with you right on your key ring.
Last but not least is their cleverly designed NomadPlus. Your existing iPhone charger goes right inside turning this device into both a charger and 1800mAh battery backup as well. My only disappointment with this one is that it’s only 5V/1A (same as the iPhone charger). I was hoping that as a battery backup it could be 2.1A instead for fast charging and charging iPads at full speed. Otherwise it’s a cool charger/battery backup for your iPhone.
Every time I turn around there seems to be a new, better car charger than the one I’ve been using. I actually started with this Scosche Dual Charger over a year ago. It worked great, but the thing that I didn’t like about it was that only one of the ports charged at the faster 2.1A speed. Then I discovered this one by Lenmar. It gave me what I wanted, TWO ports both charging at 2.1 AMP/10 watts each. Perfect! Well it was perfect until I discovered that Schosche released a dual 12 watt charger! If you have a newer iPad 4th generation or iPad Air you might have noticed that Apple now includes a 12 watt wall charger instead of the 10 watt charger included with previous models. Now you can charge your iPad Air in car at full speed or speed charge a smartphone. Since we usually aren’t in our cars for hours at a time each day, speed matters. You might be able to get back up to a full charge faster on a shorter commute. I also figure why have just one port when you can have two? This way you can charge your phone and another device such as a tablet or a passenger’s phone.
I also like the low profile fit. The original Schosche I used back in the day stuck out of the socket quite a bit. This one almost fits flush with the 12V socket. Even if your car has a built-in USB port I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it doesn’t provide 12 watts of power. In most cases it’s probably a 5v 1A USB port. As far as I can tell this is one of the fastest car chargers on the market.
I have been searching for the perfect car mount for my iPhone 5. All the ones I’ve seen or used to date were either too big or too cumbersome. Let me first explain that I also want a mount that I can travel with and use in rental cars. Most mounts fall into four categories. They either attach to the windshield, dashboard, cup holder or air vent. While the air vent ones I’ve used fit the bill for the most part they usually don’t travel well because they are too delicate or have too many pieces or are simply too big. I like air vent mounts and dashboard mounts best as they position the phone at a comfortable eye level to minimize distraction.
The Kenu Airframe is exactly what I was looking for
1. It mounts my iPhone 5 on the air vent. 2. It accommodates most phones even with their cases on. 3. It’s easy to clip the phone onto it and remove it (spring loaded). 4. It rotates to either vertical or horizontal. 5. It works on just about any vent style (round, rectangle, horizontal vents or vertical vents). 6. It slides right onto the vent in 2 seconds. 7. It’s small and very easy to travel with.
A few weeks back I reviewed the NEW Jawbone ICON Bluetooth headset. I continue to be impressed by this headset and it is now my default Bluetooth headset for voice communications. It even works with my WeePhone VoIP App for iPhone. One of the features that I wasn't able to review at the time was the new Jawbone MyTalk service. However, since that time I have been accepted into their Private Beta program. This is the first headset that I've seen or used that can not only be upgraded via your computer, but it can also be enhanced with additional options. One of the first things that I had to try out was the ability to download and install a different voice. You might be wondering why a Bluetooth headset has a "voice?" Actually the Jawbone ICON can give you verbal feedback. For example, if you press the button when you're not on a call it will read back the remaining talk time based on the current charge. I opted for a better voice. I really like The Ace voice. I love the accent 🙂
Being a gadget guy I’m expected to know all about the latest high tech toys. If you’ve followed this blog over the last couple of years, you’ll know that when it comes to a cellphone, the iPhone is my phone of choice. I’ve pretty much ignored everything else that has come out since, because there was nothing compelling enough for me to look at. At least not until today! Today is bitter sweet for me. The reason is that prior to the iPhone I was a Palm guy! My Palm Treo 650 was my trusted device and although Palm came out with newer models, they were based upon the Windows Mobile platform, in which I had no interest. Sure there were newer Palm OS devices, but nothing significant enough for me to upgrade. As a matter of fact, I remember standing in line at the 2008 Macworld Expo Keynote saying that “if the iPhone is not announced today, I’ll be heading over to the store to get a new Palm Treo.” Well they did introduce the iPhone and I haven’t looked back…
The Palm Pre looks great!
I’m certainly not here to knock the Pre. I have no reason to. From everything I’ve read and seen so far, it looks like a GREAT device. Palm certainly did their homework by looking out at the market leaders and seeing what features they were missing and making sure that their new device had them. There’s no question in my mind that the Pre has the things that the iPhone has been lacking.
Palm looked at the iPhone and said Ah-Ha, the iPhone doesn’t have Cut, Copy & Paste, MMS, multitasking, etc. so let’s make a phone that has all the things that the iPhone doesn’t have and we’ll win people over to our phone. There’s no doubt that people wanted Copy & Paste, MMS, etc. for sure, but they wanted those features on their iPhone. Those features are not new or revolutionary by any means. Even my Palm Treo 650 had them years ago. That’s what Palm and other competitors are clueless about. There are probably very few iPhone users out there, if any just waiting to jump ship when someone else comes out with a touch screen phone that has those missing things. Most iPhone users ARE frustrated by the lack of MMS messaging for sure, but they’re willing to live without it to have all the other benefits that the iPhone offers.
Competition is GOOD!
One thing that I’m elated about is the fact that the Palm Pre and others have kept Apple on their toes. Many of the advantages that the Pre had over the current iPhone such as Cut, Copy & Paste, MMS, Turn-by-Turn directions, System Wide Search, etc. all go away in about 48 hours with the expected release of the iPhone OS 3.0 update. Let’s face it, many of these features should have been on the iPhone since day one! We may have never seen them if there wasn’t any competition. So I definitely welcome the Pre and any other competitor that’s going to keep Apple and Blackberry on their toes. It makes it good for all of us.
The iPod factor
Any Palm user or other smart phone user will argue that their phones can play music and video. The new Pre is even said to (unofficially, via a hack) sync with iTunes. However, no matter how slick the built-in player is, it’s not an iPod. While it can play MP3’s and AAC files, it will not have support for your iTunes purchased content that has Fairplay copy protection. While you could argue that most of your music was ripped from your CDs and recent iTunes music purchased (or upgraded to iTunes Plus) is copy protection free, chances are you still have some music and videos/movies that won’t play on the device. So now you’d have to pick and choose what you could take with you and what you couldn’t.
One of the main reasons that the iPhone was so successful was that Apple had already done a fantastic job of getting iPods into just about everyone’s pockets. Therefore, people were already used to the experience and already able to play ALL of their content. So when the iPhone came out, people would finally be able to combine two devices that they were already carrying into one: their cellphone and their iPod. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at this way then: just about every phone sold today can play music, so why do most cellphone owners also have an iPod?
The App Store is the killer app
Lastly the Apple App Store is the iPhone’s Killer App. Although Palm has enjoyed 3rd party development for years, it hasn’t seen anything close that resembles the run away success of the App Store. In 10 months time the App Store went from 1,000 apps to over 40,000 apps and over one billion downloads. The iPod touch is the secret weapon. There are lots of people out there that for many reasons just won’t buy an iPhone. Mostly I hear it’s the AT&T thing. No arguments there. However, Apple makes another device that gives you the same experience of the iPhone without the phone and it’s called an iPod touch. So this means that developers can write an app and have a much larger market to sell that app to if they make it compatible with the iPod touch and most 3rd party apps are compatible. Developers have a finite set of resources and time. This means that they are going to develop apps for the “platform” that has the most potential users (seats). Today, that’s the iPhone hands down.
What about price?
Price is certainly important, but price alone is not enough. There have always been cheaper MP3 players than the iPod. There are certainly cheaper phones than the iPhone. When the iPhone first came out, hundreds of thousands of people lined up Friday, June 29th 2007 to pay $499-$599 and sign a 2 year contract with AT&T. They sold out by Monday morning. The first iPod had a 5GB hard drive and was introduced in 2001 at $399. Do I really need to go on? Yes, price matters, but it’s not the only factor and obviously for many it’s not the main factor.
The Pre is for Business Users and the Productivity Minded
I remember all the press that the iPhone got about how no business user in their right mind would use an iPhone. After all, there’s no physical keyboard. Balmer outright laughed at the iPhone and thought both the touch screen and price were ridiculous. Now EVERY phone manufacture has come out with a touch screen phone and is either in the process of launching an app store or has launched one.
The Palm Pre on the other hand has both a touch screen AND a nifty keyboard that slides out. The Blackberry has maintained models with a physical keyboard too. Blackberry conceded and came out with a touch screen that “clicks”, WOW! That’s innovation! No one would argue that the Pre’s keyboard is a nice implementation and probably faster to type on. However, having an onscreen only keyboard doesn’t seem to be a show stopper for most.
Even with all the naysayers, somehow the millions of individual and business iPhone users (like me) seem to be doing just fine without a physical keyboard. So maybe you can do real work with an iPhone? I seem to see business users using them every time I travel. I do corporate work on my iPhone everyday and my fingers are huge. 🙂
When it comes to productivity it’s about Contacts, Calendaring, Email, Making Calls, Taking Notes, etc. It remains to be seen how well the NEW Palm Pre will do in these areas. Certainly productivity is one of Palm’s strengths. However, it’s also a strength of Blackberry and with the multitude of 3rd party apps on the iPhone, I’m not hearing much complaining in this department. The iPhone’s calendar could definitely use some improvements, but even if the Pre’s calendar is the best calendar on the planet, it won’t be enough. Why? Because the calendars on all the other phones out there are “good enough” for all but the die hard power users. So even if the Pre gets this area PERFECT, it won’t be enough simply because their aren’t enough people that care enough to switch.
The Bottom Line
Like I said, I have no doubts that the Palm Pre is a great device! I’m sure that Palm spent a lot of time getting this device right. However, Palm missed the opportunity, rested way too long on its laurels and doesn’t have the money to overtake the iPhone or the Blackberry. Palm never made any significant updates to their OS. They never really made a phone hardwarewise that was kick ass! They could be where Blackberry is today, but they fumbled time after time. While the Pre has features that the iPhone doesn’t have (multi-tasking, removable battery, etc.), it’s not just about features! Look at the Zune, any Microsoft user would tell you that it out features the iPod. Yet, I’ve NEVER seen ANYONE using a Zune in person, nor do I know a single person that owns one. This is from a company that has way more money than Apple.
It’s going to take LOTS of money! When you watch TV, not a day goes by that you don’t see an ad for an iPhone, iPod or Blackberry. In order to compete for the mindset of their intended market, it’s going to cost a LOT of money, which Palm just doesn’t have. The biggest and most telling sign for me that the Pre won’t be the next big thing is that I have some pretty techie friends and outside of Larry “The Palm Guy” Becker, not a single person has even mentioned the Pre to me, let alone said they were going to buy one. Then who’s going to buy the Pre? The Pre will definitely sell to existing Palm users! No question about that. It will also appeal to those users who are all about the features and nothing else. Those are typically the ones telling you about how much better their ______ is over what you have, even though what you have is the number one seller. Anti Microsoft and anti Apple folks will be interested too. It should also sell to the people that are moving up from lesser phones and of course Sprint customers that don’t want to move to another carrier. Other than these select groups of people, Palm is going to have a major uphill battle. Luckily for them, it’s either do or die. When you have everything at stake, you usually try really really really hard to succeed or you disappear. There is definitely hope for Palm when you see folks like this woman who was very excited to get one! 🙂
Palm may make it to the number 3 spot, but this is a stretch (and only if they do everything right and have an absolutely KILLER DEVICE). Also Nokia, Apple, RIM, Google, etc. aren’t just going to sit still and wait. However, at the end of the day it always comes down to a two horse race, Coke & Pepsi, McDonalds & Burger King, Hertz & Avis, Nikon & Canon, iPod & er um, Zune???, Mac OS & Windows, and iPhone & Blackberry.
You can check out the Palm Pre here. It goes for $199 (you pay $299 and get a $100 rebate) and is initially only available on Sprint. Verizon users, screwed again 🙂
Here’s a nice video walkthrough
Also check out Larry’s blog as I’m sure he will cover the Pre in great detail.
Now that the iPhone software 2.0x and iPhone 3g have been out for a little over a month, I thought I would take a few moments to do a quick review on my favorite iPhone apps. Now keep in mind I currently have 31 3rd party iPhone Apps installed over and above the apps that come with the iPhone. There is something I like about each of them or I would have removed them from my iPhone. As a matter of fact, some of these apps have replaced others that I once thought were great. I have some apps installed like Band and Super Monkey Ball simply because I think they are great uses of technology and show what’s possible with a little creativity. However, when I looked at my list of Apps I asked myself, “name 10 that you use ALL THE TIME!” So here they are:
(also note that many of these will also run just fine on the iPod touch)
#10 – WordPress
The Free WordPress app for the iPhone is useful. It allows me to create blog entries from my iPhone on the go much easier than using the web interface and the biggest plus is that it allows me to use photos that I take with the iPhone’s camera or those already in my photo library. My wishes for an update include the ability to place the images anywhere I want in the post and the ability to do hyperlinks. If they added these two abilities I’d use it a lot more.
Although I’m not a gambler I like to pass the time away on flights or when I’m in a line waiting somewhere by playing a game. Of all the iPhone BlackJack games I’ve tried, this one beats them. It uses finger gestures to enhance the game play. If you want a hit, you swipe down. If you want to stay, you swipe across. If you want to double down, you double tap. If you want to split, you swipe up. Very cool and fun. Also it’s just like when I go to Vegas, the house tends to win way more than I do 🙂 Very realistic!
I’ve tried a couple different Tip Calculators on the iPhone. My choice used to be the free app CheckPlease. That was until I bought BigTipper. BigTipper’s interface is much nicer and I love the fact that there is a numeric keypad right there instead of the other apps that bring up an alphanumeric keyboard. Um, why would I need to type letters? This one also does what some of the others don’t do. It takes Sales Tax into account (optional) and automatically subtracts it so you’re not tipping based on the total which includes tax. It also includes a nice “Round” feature to round up/down the bill to an even number. Its fast, has big easy to use controls and just a better all around UI (user interface). My feature request for this one would be to have it put in the sales tax percentage based upon my current location. Optionally of course. If you’re wanting a freebie, then get CheckPlease. If you want the best then get BigTipper.
This is hands down the best Grocery List app I’ve seen to date! It comes with a database of 1,500 of most commonly purchased items already in place so that you can simply add them to your list without having to key them in. Of course there are going to be things that you buy that aren’t on the list. No problem, you can just key them in as custom items and save them for future use. The one feature that this app has the the other that I tried didn’t have was that it lets you create multiple lists! This is a huge feature for me. We shop at different stores for different kinds of items. This way I can maintain a different list for each store that we frequent. It’s also the little things. For example, you have the option of either having items disappear from the list as you check them off or my favorite, it puts a line through them. The same thing you would do with paper. I love it! If I had a feature request for this app, it would be to have ability to put the prices in as you shop. That way you’d have an idea of what your shopping trip was going to cost you before you headed out. The app works as advertised, stability could be improved.
If you’re a Bank of America customer, then this is a must have app. Not only does it allow you have an easy to use interface to access your online banking, but it also takes advantage of the iPhone’s Location Services. So for example, just the other day I needed to go to an ATM and I was in an unfamiliar part of town. No problem, the app was able to find the closest BOA branded ATM and plot a route directly to it. I also used it when I was in NYC last week for the same exact thing (little did I know at the time, all I had to do was turn around and it was right there. Luckily the iPhone doesn’t laugh at you).
I’m using FaceBook more and more to share photos with friends and family. The Free FaceBook app provides an easy streamlined interface to the site. It also allows me to upload photos directly to my FaceBook account using the built-in camera or photos from my iPhone’s photo library. A must for when I’m hangin’ with my peeps.
Yep, speaking of photos, I’m a photographer and I use Flickr too. I like Flickr.com over many of the other sites out there because of Flickr’s geotagging features. I like being able to plot my photos on a map. Well since the iPhone now geotags photos that you take with the built-in camera, Flickup will upload those shots and include the location information so that they are automatically placed on the map. You can upload shots either from the built-in camera or from the photo library. Now it’s much easier for me to document a trip all from my iPhone instead of having to make time to do it later. Although this app works, I would like it to be a little more stable. After uploading a couple of shots, I often have to restart it or worse restart my iPhone. One addtional point of frustration though is that you need to upload the shots right where you’re standing if you want the location information to be accurate. According to the developer, Apple strips away the location information from 3rd party apps. So if you had a shot say from Hawaii in your camera roll. The location information in that shot will be from where you were in Hawaii. However, if you waited until you got home to upload it with Flickup, the location information that gets uploaded will be from where you are at you home/time of upload. Hopefully, the developer will figure out a way around this in a future update.
I love this game! I’m not a gamer, so I don’t like games that are overly complicated. However, I don’t want games that are too easy either. This game hits my sweet spot. It’s challenging enough and entertaining enough to keep me interested, without being so difficult that I just want to give up. I’ve only had this game for a couple of days and I’m already addicted to it. Now I actually don’t mind when I have to spend time in a waiting room or in a line. Works perfectly! Not a single crash (other than my chopper) to date.
I’ve always wanted the ultimate Movies App for the iPhone and this is it (so far). OneTap Movies is Location aware so that it will automatically bring up the theaters in your immediate area and show you the movies playing and the movie times. You can also tell it the location to use instead if the theater you want info on is not in your immediate area. It also allows you to see movie trailers and ratings. Also rather than just show a simple text listing, it shows you the movie posters too! Although I really liked this app, I did have a problem with the way it worked. For example, when I’m home I always go to the same movie theater. So It didn’t make sense to me that it would have to look up the theaters in my area every time. Also the closest theater is not the one I go to. So I would have to collapse the listing for that one and scroll down to mine. I wrote the developer a note (right in the app I mind you) and asked for a way to have “Favorite” theaters. He never wrote me back, but I got my wish in a free update 2 days later! Wow! So now you can tap the star next to your favorite theater(s) and it will always be at the top of the list! I would still like a separate “Favorite Theaters” List, but this will certainly do for now.
The coolest absolutely most useful 3rd party app (for me) is actually by Apple! Apple’s Remote basically turns your iPhone into a Wi-Fi remote for your computer running iTunes or your Apple TV. This app is just killer! I have one computer that serves as an iTunes Server/Jukebox. It has all of my music, my favorite movies, music videos and favorite photos on it. I also have multiple Apple TVs and AirPort Express Base Stations throughout my home. Each AirPort Express is either connected to a stereo system or set of powered speakers. Now with this app I can CONTROL IT ALL from the palm of my hand. If I happen to be out by the pool and want to hear some tunes, no problem. I fire up Remote, see all of my playlists, choose one and I can even direct the sound to the speakers out there (iPod Hi-Fi). Skip songs, pause the music, switch playlists, change speakers, etc. It’s just AWESOME! If you have an Apple TV, the Remote app also serves as keyboard for doing things like searches, entering passwords or flickr contacts. When you’re in the app, the interface looks just like the iPod app. This app works in ways that no other 3rd party remote could and best of all it’s FREE!
I’m always on the lookout for cool iPhone apps. I’ll probably have a different top 10 list in another month. For the most part the 3rd party apps I’ve tried work well. Some are rough around the edges and crash on occasion. However with each update they get better and more reliable. That’s what makes the iPhone so cool is that it’s always changing and I’m enjoying the ride so far. The App Store took in $30 Million in the first 30 days and is looking like it can easily be a $500 Million-$1 Billion/year business. As you can see I’ve found some great FREE apps as well as some fantastic low cost apps. These apps make the iPhone platform just that much more useful to me. While I’m a ways off from not needing to carry my laptop, the iPhone 3g has certainly reduced my dependency on it. There are currently over 1,600 apps available for the iPhone and iPod touch. This is just the beginning. Imagine where we will be in another 6 months!
As many of you know I had found an app (iphoneringtonemaker.com) for adding custom ringtones to the iPhone. While the app works great! It is currently Windows only. The great folks over at Ambrosia Software have just released a new app that allows you to add your own ringtones to the iPhone and it’s a Mac app. It’s called iToner. iToner is a no frills app that does one thing and one thing well. It lets you put your own .mp3s, .AACs, etc. on your iPhone to be used as ringtones.
The app itself look just like the iPhone interface. You simply launch it and drag your audio files into and hit the sync button. That’s it! They are then on your phone without the need for any special hacking, jailbreaking, passwords or other secret backdoors. It even recognized the ringtones that I had added previously with the other app.
While this app is great, I’m not sure if it will be needed much longer. The rumor is that Apple is going to launch a ringtone service during their announcements on September 5th. However, Apple’s solution will likely be a pay per ringtone solution whereas apps like iToner let you use your existing tunes. My hope is that Apple releases their own solution, but doesn’t wipe out or disable the ringtones I’ve already put on there. In other words I hope we’re not "forced" to use their paid service.
iToner is $15 and while there are free solutions out there, none are as easy to use as iToner or as elegant. My biggest ask for the next version is the ability to allow you to trim the songs to just the portion you want to use as a ringtone right in the app. You can download it today and run it in trial mode for 30 days fully functional. That way we can wait and see what happens on the 5th and if we still need it or can still use it, great! Otherwise, you wouldn’t have to buy it only to find out that it’s no longer usable after Apple rolls out their service. So you have nothing to lose. Go download it now and give it a spin.
Keep in mind this review is by a guy who doesn’t care for in-ear Bluetooth headsets.
I’ll start by saying that even as I sat there in Steve Jobs’ keynote back in January and he splashed the photo up of the iPhone Bluetooth Headset, I wasn’t the least bit excited because it’s an in-ear headset and I’ve had horrible luck with all the ones I’ve tried in the past. So my immediate response was, "next!" I had zero interest in it. So when I was in my local Apple Store the other day buying an AirPort Base Station, the manager walks up to me and says, "you know we have the new Bluetooth Headsets in right?" I said, "yeah, I know." I could tell by the look on his face that he could tell that I wasn’t the least bit excited or interested. As I explained to him about the whole in-ear thing, he totally understood. I then said it would be nice to at least review one for my blog. So I bought one with the thought that if it doesn’t work out I could return it for a full refund in 14 days or less. He jokingly said, "see you tomorrow."
When I got home, I set up the AirPort Extreme Base Station first (see my earlier review of that product). Then I remembered the headset and said, "OK, let’s see what this thing is all about." I was once again amazed at Apple’s attention to detail in the packaging. Opening this thing was almost as cool as opening the iPhone itself. If you’ve never unboxed an Apple product, I wouldn’t expect you to understand, so I’ll move on. I knew that the headset came with a dock that allows you to charge/sync your iPhone AND charge your headset as well. However, what I didn’t expect to get was the separate travel cable that does the same thing while you’re on the road: a nice and necessary addition. At first I didn’t see the instructions. They were tucked away in some of the packaging. The dock has a hard wired USB cable and an audio out port just like all the other docks. There is no AC power adapter. You’ll either have to power it from your computer or the USB AC adapter that came with your iPhone. You’ll also find two foam covers in the same area of the packaging as the instructions.
At first glance
The headset is black and very sleek looking. It doesn’t look half as dorky as most other headsets out there. Also, you’ll be happy to know that there is no big blue flashing LED on it. As a matter of fact, there is only one button (sound familiar) on the end of it that controls all of its functions.
Pairing it to the iPhone
I pulled out the instructions because I wanted to know how to get it into pairing mode. I was astonished to read that it pairs automatically by just putting in the dock with the iPhone. It’s stuff like this that makes us appreciate and love Apple engineering. Speaking of Apple engineering, Apple did a really cool thing in that if both the iPhone and Headset are docked, the headset’s battery status appears on the iPhone’s screen. Very Cool! If you’re just charging the headset alone, the headset has a small LED (about the size of the one on the MacBook/Pro MagSafe adapter) that changes from orange to green when it’s charged. Also speaking of MagSafe, the headset magnetically goes in the charger/dock just like the MagSafe adapter on MacBooks.
Putting it to the test
I forced myself to wear it all day. I wanted to see if I could because I can’t stand anything being in my ear that long. Unlike other in-ear sets I’ve used, this one doesn’t feel like it’s about to fall out. This headset is very light weight at a mere 6.5 grams. The audio quality is crystal clear. Granted I haven’t been in noisy environments with it yet. Since it is in-ear, I can tell that it would be as good if not better than most headsets of this type. I called a few friends and didn’t mention that I was using a headset. When I told them that I was on a headset, they couldn’t believe that I wasn’t talking directly into the handset or a land line. They said that the sound was "GREAT and clear." As you would expect, it works perfectly with the iPhone. I had no trouble making or answering calls. When I would walk out of range of the iPhone, the headset would beep twice to let me know. That’s a cool feature. The one thing that’s missing though is there is no redial function. This is a basic feature of most headsets and the iPhone does support it if the headset does. From my Jabra BT 500v, I can hit the button for a second and it redials the last number I called. The Apple headset surprisingly doesn’t do this.
The one button also controls the call waiting features of the iPhone. You control the volume of the headset from the iPhone’s volume control on the side. Mac users will also be happy to know that the iPhone Bluetooth Headset can be paired with your Bluetooth equipped Mac for use in A/V applications such as iChat AV. Talk time is rated at up to 5.5 hours and Standby Time is rated at up to 72 hours. This is much lower than my existing headset which easily lasts all week without having to be recharged. Since the iPhone Bluetooth Headset comes with one cable to charge both the iPhone and headset at the same time, I cut Apple a little slack here. The charging time is about 1.5 hours. However, for the price I would expect a longer battery life.
The Bottom Line
I’m not an in-ear headset guy. Since this headset takes the one size fits all attitude, some will love it and some will hate it. Other than the in-ear aspect, I LOVE the design and integration. Although you can use this headset with other cellphones, I couldn’t see recommending it for non-iPhone users. It’s integrated so well with the iPhone and for the price of $129 you could do better with other headsets for other phones. Now, will I keep it or return it? I’m not totally in love with it, so I’m undecided. However, at this point I’m leaning towards keeping it. I’ve been wearing it pretty much all day for 2 days straight and it doesn’t hurt my ears like headsets of the past. We’ll see over the next 12 days with more real world use in less than ideal environments. For now it’s a keeper. For design and ease of use, I give it 5 out of 5 stars. For comfort, I give it 3.5 stars and for value, I give it 3.5 stars.
In other iPhone news
Apple sold 270,000 iPhones in the last two days of their 3rd quarter (June 29th and June 30th). Apple expects to sell its One Millionth iPhone by the end of September 2007. That’s more phones in 30 hours sold than AT&T has sold in an entire month of any other cellphone product launch, blowing the RAZR out of the water.
Our New iPhone Book has gone to press!
I got the honor and privilege of co-authoring "The iPhone Book" with my buddy Scott Kelby (author of the insanely popular iPod Book and number one best selling computer book author in the world) Scott is a joy to work with and we had a blast writing this book. We covered every detail that we could find at the time. However, as you know, new iPhone details, apps, accessories, etc. come out daily now (like this headset that shipped after the book went to press). So we’ll provide updates to the book via PDF downloads as needed. I’ll also continue to cover newsworthy iPhone developments here. So don’t hesitate, run, don’t walk over to amazon.com and place your order. Or buy it wherever you buy your cool books from.
Make your own ringtones for your iPhone
One of my number one complaints with the iPhone is that it doesn’t allow you to use your own music as ringtones. So when my buddy Dave Moser sent me the link to iPhone Ringtone Maker, I was a little skeptical. This $10 app allows you to convert your own MP3s, WAVs, etc. into the iPhone ringtones and loads them on your iPhone. So I decided that I’d give it a shot. I went to the site and found that it was a Windows only app. It would be nice to have it on the Mac, but it does work with intel Macs and Boot Camp/Parallels. So I fired up Windows XP on my MacBook Pro and installed the latest version of iTunes (7.3.1) for Windows. I then immediately set the preferences in iTunes NOT to automatically sync iPhones. This way I could plug in my iPhone without it trying to disturb the content that’s already there. I added a few MP3s that I wanted to make into ringtones. Next I loaded the iPhone Ringtone Maker app and plugged in my serial number.
The app is very simple to use. You choose your MP3 (or other file type), then you can trim it to as long as you want it to be. It automatically does a 2 second fade in/out. Next you hit the Send to iPhone button and it downloads the ringtone into your iPhone. You have to turn the iPhone off and back on for the new ringtone to appear in the list, but that’s it! Bam, my new ringtones were there and working. So now when Dave calls me I can hear the Imperial March that I’m used to when he calls 🙂
My only very minor issue with this app (other than it being Windows only) is that the ringtones don’t seem as loud as the original song and although there are audio effects there is no way to boost the gain. Otherwise, it was the best $10 I’ve spent all month.
AppleCare is now available for the iPhone
Apple has started selling AppleCare for iPhone. This $69 coverage covers the iPhone and Apple Bluetooth Headset for an additional year. I’m not jumping on this one, because it is very likely that I’d be on a new iPhone within a year, especially if they come out with a 3g model.