Buying an iPhone 3g is going to be a little harder and more costly for some

We’re just a little over a week away from being able to buy the new iPhone 3g. However, it’s going to be a little (in some cases, a lot!) harder to buy one this time around. Last year when Apple released the iPhone I thought it was brilliant that they let you buy the phone and then take it home to activate it on your own time. This was a very innovative way to buying a wireless device. However, it won’t be so easy with the iPhone 3g. You’ll have to activate the device before leaving the store. This also means, no buying one for your buddy (unless your buddy is with you!).

 

You might be asking, why would Apple make it harder?

That’s a pretty easy one to answer. By not requiring you to activate the device before leaving the store gave people a chance to circumvent “the plan” and therefore cause Apple/AT&T a loss in reveune. Many many thousands of iPhones purchased last year were never activated on AT&T. The process to jailbreak (unlock/hack) and iPhone became so easy that even I could do it in a matter of 10 minutes or less.

This time around it will probably still be fairly easy to jailbreak the new iPhone, but it won’t really matter if you can’t get one without first activating it on a carrier. This way AT&T (and other carriers around the globe) get’s their cut/contract up front. So even if you activate it and then cancel the contract, you’re still on the hook for an early termination fee.

I certainly see the reasons behind this, but this is definitely going to make for some long lines on day one. I estimate the process to be on average at least 30 minutes a person to complete the process. If you think about it, the average buyer is not going to know which plan they want up front and will have to have things explained to them before completing the activation process. Prepare for frustration and tempers to flare.

 

What’s the iPhone 3g really going to cost me?

AT&T has released some rate information (finally) and it seems that the iPhone 3g plans ARE going to cost you more than the previous plans. For one, text messaging is no longer included. You’ll have to pay extra for a text messaging plan if you want it. Also the low cost of entry of $199/$299 for the 8GB and 16GB models only applies to NEW AT&T customers or those who are eligible for an upgrade! The rest of us must spend $399 or $499 respectively. AT&T has also annonced a “No commitment” option for $599 or $699 for the 8 or 16GB models, but no timeframe as to when that/those options will be available.

What about the iPhone 2.0 software for those of us with iPhones/iPod touch already?

Apple has not released a date as to when the FREE iPhone 2.0 software will be available for existing iPhones. Speculation ranges anywhere from any day now til some time on the 11th. Although the software is probably done (after all the software has to be done in order to be included with the new phones), Apple is probably going to wait to release it to continue the buzz around the 3g model. Technically, existing iPhone users will get all the same features that the iPhone 3g has except the faster 3g data and the built-in GPS. Those are hardware specific features and you’ll need the new handset to get them.

 

Sales begin at 8am on July 11th

Due to the longer process to buy an iPhone, AT&T has announced that the iPhone will go on sale at 8AM on the 11th. Last year’s iPhone went on sale at 6PM (and I was in and out in 15 minutes with 2 iPhones!). Be sure to check out the AT&T iReady Check List (PDF).

 

Apple has put out this Guided Tour video showing the new features of the iPhone 3g/iPhone 2.0 software update. Check it out! (If I didn’t know better I would swear this guy is part robot 🙂 )

More on the iPhone 3g

Now that the dust has settled a bit on yesterday’s announcement of the iPhone 3g, a few little tidbits are coming to the surface:

  • The iPhone 3g will REQUIRE in-store activation! So no more picking one up, never activating it on AT&T (or whomever) and jailbreaking it just to resell it.
  • The AT&T data plan is going up by $10/month to $30/month instead of the original $20/month. Rod Harlan has an interesting take on that and the price comparison between the iPhone 1.0 and iPhone 3g.
  • As it stands right now, no online orders for the iPhone. You’ll have to go into a retail outlet to get one!
  • See the Steve Jobs WWDC ’08 Keynote introducing the iPhone 3g and iPhone 2.0 software update here.

So it looks like even though the entry price for the iPhone is only $199, Apple has tightened up on making sure you activate your iPhone with the appropriate carrier (and sign up for the 2 year contract). Also for those that ask the question: “why is it that I can get a 16GB iPhone 3g for $299 while an iPod touch 16GB goes for $399?”, the answer is with the iPhone you can’t use it without signing up for phone service. Apple appears to be taking a more traditional method of using the service contract to bring down the entry price of the phone. It will be interesting to see as time goes on, whether they will officially offer an unlocked version here in the states at a higher price?

iPhone 3g coming July 11, 2008

As expected Apple announced the iPhone 3g today! This is the iPhone that takes advantage of faster 3g data networks for near wi-fi data speeds.

 

It’s the software stupid

Apple lead their keynote today with lots of talk about software. As with any successful platform, it will live or die by the apps that are available for it. Apple realizes that they can’t do everything that everyone wants. So many 3rd party developers announced and showcased their apps today. Apple also showcased their support for Microsoft’s Exchange syncing which is HUGE in the corporate world. Not to leave consumers out, Apple announced “mobileme“. Mobileme is the successor to Apple’s .Mac service. This service will provide push email, calendar, contacts and photos to consumer users of the iPhone.

3rd party iPhone apps will range in price from FREE on up. You’ll get your apps directly through the iPhone App store on your iPhone running the 2.0 software.

 

What we know…

  • Shipping: July 11, 2008
  • Software: iPhone 2.0 as a free download to existing iPhone users and $9.95 for iPod touch users
  • Capacity: 8GB (only in black) and 16GB (available in black or white)
  • Speed: 3g data network
  • GPS: YES!
  • Push Data: via Microsoft Exchange and Apple’s NEW mobileme (no announcement of when mobileme goes live)
  • iPhone 2.0 Software and the iPhone App store: a free download to existing iPhone users ($9.95 for iPod touch users) in early July.
  • Terry’s Pet Peeves Addressed: Not sure what else from my list of “50 ways to make the iPhone better” will get solved in the 2.0 version, but one thing that has been added is a Search feature for Contacts. Also we now get Bulk Delete and Move of things like email messages.
  • Other NEW Features: View PowerPoint, and iWork (Pages, Numbers & Keynote) document attachments. New Scientific Calculator. Adding photos from emails to your iPhone Pictures library. Also many more languages are included.
  • Price: 8GB model $199!, 16GB model $299

Learn more here.

 

iPhone 3G: Twice as fast. Half the price!

Probably one of the biggest shocks of this announcement was the price! You’ll be able to get a iPhone 3g 8GB model for a mere $199. The 16GB model will go for $299. Both models are slated to be available Friday, July 11th (I’ve got to imagine that there is some idiot out there who is already standing in line. Please tell me it isn’t so!) Don’t get me wrong, I plan to upgrade on day one, but camping has never been my thing 🙂

When you think about it, $199 is a STEAL for a touch screen iPhone, with a GPS, that is also an iPod that plays video, does web, email, mapping and allows for 3rd party apps. Wow! The first 5GB iPod was $399 if that gives you some perspective.

 

Start the countdown…. July 11th can’t get here fast enough!

I had internet access in my car!

Actually it wasn’t my car, it was my car service. As you may have read in yesterday’s post, I’m in San Jose California this week on business. I usually fly into SFO because it’s a direct flight. I’ve used the same car service for years now. El Paseo Limo has never let me down. They are always on time, courteous and hassle free. However, when I got into the back of the car this past Saturday, I decided to do some email using my iPhone. As soon as I fired up the iPhone it detected a Wi-Fi network called "elpaseolimo9". I’m so used to blowing off networks that I don’t recognize (many of them being fake) that I dismissed the dialog box immediately. After a couple of minutes I started thinking about it and thought, "why would someone create a fake network at the airport called "elpaseolimo9"? So I went back to my network settings and sure enough it was still there! I asked the driver, "do you guys actually have internet access in your cars now?" He said, "yes!" He then pointed to the back window and low and behold there was a Linksys wi-fi router sitting back there. For a split second I thought I was on a episode of Pimp My Ride.

 

There was no additional cost or passwords. No login pages either. It was also fairly speedy and I was connected the whole way from SFO to downtown San Jose. My guess is that this router was connected to some type of 3g network such as Verizon’s EVDO service. However, I was impressed by just how seemless and well it worked. El Paseo, way to stay ahead of the competition and to keep your business customers productive/happy!

A really cool idea for the 3g iPhone

While I can’t take credit for the idea (wish I had thought of it), I have never heard anyone mention it before as it relates to the iPhone. I was reading a post on engadget.com about a new phone (I don’t even remember which one it was), but it had a feature that would be KILLER on the 3g version of the iPhone.

Here goes: Most of us that travel with iPhones also travel with laptops. One feature that we hope for on the 3g iPhone is to be able to use it as a wireless modem (tethering/DUN) via Bluetooth. However, what would even be sweeter is having the iPhone itself become a Wi-Fi access point. Having a 3g iPhone means that we’ll have the potential for significantly faster data access than what we now see over EDGE. Since the iPhone already has Wi-Fi built-in, why not just tap a button, set a password and have it broadcast a Wi-Fi access signal that you could tap into with your laptop and surf?

Of course there’s the whole battery life thing and I have no idea if the Wi-Fi radio uses more power than the Bluetooth radio, but it would be pretty sweet nonetheless. It would also allow multiple devices to share the 3g internet connection simultaneously whereas Bluetooth would not.

Either way, the next version of the iPhone should definitely have either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi internet sharing for your laptop! Steve would probably argue that the iPhone is so good that you shouldn’t need to connect to the internet from your laptop and maybe with all the new corporate support (MS Exchange support, VPN access, etc.) that’s coming in iPhone 2.0 he’s right. I can’t wait til June to find out!

You may remember that I have a running list of features that I would like to see come to the iPhone (some of which have either been addressed in recent updates or have been announced for the 2.0 software update due in June) and all of which could be implemented via software updates or 3rd parties. So while were on the subject of the 3g iPhone, here are my:

 

Top 10 iPhone 2.0.1 Feature Requests

  • Flash Player! – We can’t keep pretending that we don’t need this! With a faster iPhone, there’s no excuse
  • Video Recording – No reason not to have this either
  • MMS Messaging – Can we send some picts and video directly to our buddies without using email?
  • Cut/Copy/Paste – Duh!
  • Contact Search – I’m sure I’m not the only one with hundreds of contacts
  • Note Syncing – No reason not to have this
  • Audio Recording – Taking notes/Voice recorder would be a very popular feature
  • Email Anything – The ability to email anything that’s on the device, ie: contacts, voicemail messages, maps, etc.
  • Voice Dialing – Lesser phones have this basic feature
  • Consolidated Email Box (option) – I have 5 email accounts on my iPhone – my screen is starting to wear out in the spot that I have to keep hitting the Back button on.

AT&T and Verizon 3G cards compared

I’ve been a long time fan of Verizon’s EVDO network. I was a fairly early adopter and have been quite happy with the service. However, there is one thing that has led me to have to look at an alternative network and that’s the fact that I’m traveling abroad more and more for work. Verizon’s EVDO network is great in the states, however it’s practically non-existent outside of the US.

So with that in mind I signed up to get a AT&T 3G card through work. At the time I ordered the card, the ExpressCard version was not available to us to order. So I went with the USBConnect 881 card. While I would much rather have an ExpressCard version simply because it fits better into the MacBook Pro, the USB version works with computers that don’t have ExpressCard slots and it’s not that bad.

Before I have my Verizon card turned off, I decided to do some speed tests in various locations before my next international trip. I went to Miami for a conference and I fired up both cards and did some tests at my favorite internet speed testing site, speakeasy.net/speedtest/. While I was in Miami, I got these results (tested against the Atlanta server):

Verizon EVDO speeds using a V740 (rev.A) card

AT&T USBConnect 881 card

 

Next I traveled to Seattle for a week of meetings and here’s what I got (tested against the Seattle server):

Verizon EVDO speeds using a V740 (rev.A) card

AT&T USBConnect 881 card

The speeds vary from location to location. However, AT&T’s upload speeds seem consistently faster than Verizon’s.

 

Traveling internationally

Sunrise in Marbella Spain this morning (makes you feel all warm and fuzzy doesn’t it? 🙂 ) If you’re interested in exactly where this shot was taken, check out the embedded GPS metadata in the shot or simply click on it above.

 

This week I’m in Marbella Spain for meetings and while I have a very good Wi-Fi connection at the hotel here, there were a couple of times I had no access and used the AT&T card. So I decided to run a test here too and here’s what I got (tested against the New York server):

As you can see 3G speeds are not the same everywhere. Although the driver reported that I was on a "3G" network here, the speeds were dramatically slower than what I was getting in the states. Although slower, the speed I’m getting here in Spain is fine for email and general web surfing.

 

 

Mac compatibility?

The Verizon cards are directly supported by Mac OS X 10.4.x Tiger and Mac OS X 10.5.x Leopard. This is a great thing because it means never having to worry about installing or updating drivers. You just plug the Verizon card in and activate it directly from the menu that pops up in your menu bar. However, this is not the case with the AT&T USBConnect 881 card or the AT&T ExpressCards. With the USBConnect 881 card I had to go download the free driver from Sierra Wireless. The instructions were pretty clear on where to download the driver right in the packaging that came with the card. However, this driver seems minimal at best. I find that I have to launch and relaunch it a few times occasionally to get it to actually connect. Once it does connect it’s pretty stable and stays connected for me. I’m surprised that Apple doesn’t support the AT&T cards natively in the OS like they do for Verizon cards considering their relationship with AT&T with the iPhone.

Sierra’s Mac driver

 

What about the costs?

3G wireless cards/plans aren’t cheap. However, if you travel regularly you could easily justify one if you regularly pay for hotel internet access which ranges from from $9.95-$24.95/day. Of course some hotels have free internet access, but unfortunately that’s not the norm. The Verizon V740 EVDO card/plan goes for $59.99/mo. ($79.99 for the card if you do a 2 year contract or $204.99 if you do a 1 year contract). Verizon also offers a USB solution. Although Verizon claims their service to be "unlimited", there are in fact limits and if you hog too much bandwidth, you could get your service suspended. Check out the 3gstore.com site for best prices and info.

The AT&T card goes for $60/mo. (5000MB/mo. max bandwidth without paying overages) When roaming in Canada – 0.015/KB, when roaming internationally 0.0195/KB. The card is $49.99 with a 2 yr. contract and after rebates. You could just buy the card outright for $299.99 with no contracts.

 

The Bottom Line

If you spend more than 7 nights a month in hotels paying for high speed internet, getting a 3G wireless card is a no brainer. If you travel internationally, then you’ll want to go with one of the AT&T cards. By the way, the hotel internet here in Spain is € 19.95/day (including local tax) which works out to be $30.63/day US! If you only travel in the US, then Verizon has the better coverage at the moment than AT&T.

Eye-Fi is cool but has limited uses

I first read about Eye-Fi Wi-Fi enabled SD card over a year ago and anxiously awaited its arrival. Eye-Fi is an SD card with built-in Wi-Fi capabilities for wirelessly transferring your shots from your SD based digital camera either to your computer or to an online photo service such as flickr, facebook, smugmug, shutterfly, kodak, etc. Although I requested to be on the beta program, I never got the call. So a year later I bought one of the 2GB cards to try out.

The card arrived and setup was very straight forward. You get a card reader with the card that you plug into the USB port of your Mac or PC to set it up. You configure the card with a web browser (although Safari on the Mac wasn’t supported). I used FireFox to get mine going. Once I got it setup (which only took a few minutes), I was snapping away and the images automatically downloaded to the designated folder on my computer. After the first batch I took some more and didn’t see a way to start the new picts transferring again. After a few minutes of scratching my head I just turned the camera off and on again and that started the transfer process. Since your camera doesn’t know anything about the Wi-Fi abilities of this card, there is no way to control the cards functions from the camera. It’s all automatic.

 

It works, but I question its usefulness?

OK, now what? I have this wireless SD card that can transfer the images to my computer or directly to a photo service. This sounds cool and I’m sure some will love this idea. However, here are the issues I have with this card. Like I said, it works as advertised! However, here’s the thing, rarely would I ever want my shots transferred to an online service without first reviewing/editing them. Secondly, even if I opt to have them transfer to my computer, the process is not speedy and drains the camera’s battery more. It takes several seconds for each shot to download over 802.11g/b. Even a USB2 card reader is MUCH FASTER (and doesn’t require the camera’s battery power)! The next problem is that there is no way to use this card where you might have public Wi-Fi access that requires you to accept usage terms via a web page first. So while this card is cool and works, what would it save you from doing? I guess if you want direct upload to a photo site from your camera without having to go through your computer first, then this is your answer. And a good answer at that. However, for me it has limited appeal in it’s current format. Perhaps if they come out with a Compact Flash version that operates at 802.11n speeds, I’ll want to take another look.

The 2GB Eye-Fi SD card goes for $99. Post a comment on how you would use this card!

Time Machine not feasible over Wi-Fi

Now that I’ve been running Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) for a week, I’m actually finding Time Machine to still be one of my favorite features probably with Quick Look being a close second. However, 7 days after installing Leopard on my home Macs I have abandoned the idea of backing up wirelessly using Time Machine. While it does work, it’s just too resource demanding. I could always tell when Time Machine was backing up my MacBook Pro to a shared hard drive connected to my Power Mac G5 because my internet browsing would slow to a crawl. I just couldn’t take it anymore and decided to outfit each Mac with its own external hard drive. Luckily I had some drives left over from upgrading to larger drives on my Server, so these drives worked out perfectly for Time Machine backups. I bought some external cases from Other World Computing and I was on my way.

 

Having a "regular" backup has already paid off!

Last week I screwed up iCal and Mail (two separate incidents) and was able to easily and quickly get back up and running by restoring the previous day’s files using Time Machine. It just works!

Mount your AirPort Extreme N

I’ve learned that wireless routers work best when mounted higher. The original AirPort Base Stations came with acrylic mounts for mounting on walls and ceilings. However, the newest AirPort Extreme 802.11n doesn’t. This is due largely in part to the antenna array that is built in. The experts say that the new Extreme Base Station is best positioned into a horizontal flat orientation. Knowing this doesn’t change the fact that your range will increase drastically when positioned higher.

One of the base stations that I manage is located in a garage just outside the meeting room that MacGroup-Detroit meets in. Luckily the ceiling is open and I have access to the rafters. This meant that I could mount the AirPort up high for maximum coverage. However, the beams are only 2 inches wide and the AirPort is much wider. So I turned to the folks over at H-Squared who make the tvTray for the Apple TV. They enhanced their Air Mount product for the new AirPort Base Station. This mount is custom designed for the AirPort Extreme and therefore is a PERFECT FIT.  It comes with the base and the screws for mounting to a wall or ceiling.

I mounted it horizontally up high and like I suspected, this position provides coverage for the entire area. They even make an optional $15 USB backlight to add a little flare to your AirPort Base Station. However, since this one is mounted where no one will see it, the light would go unappreciated.

The bottom line is that if you need to mount your Apple gear there are no better mounts than those from H-Squared. The Air Mount is $37.99.

Apple iPhone Bluetooth Headset Review

Terry with iPhone Bluetooth Headset

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."

Unboxing it

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!

 

The iPhone Book

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.