iPhone Instant (gratification) Messaging

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Date: Monday, August 27th, 2007, 14:38
Category: iPhone

It’s been four full days and I find that I am still in an inebriated state when it comes to my new iPhone. Every time I pick it up to make a call, check my schedule or listen to a tune, I can’t seem to put it down. I dare say I have quickly become addicted to my new device. While I will make no claims that it is perfect, it has certainly exceeded many of my expectations.
There is one thing though, that knocks me into sobriety every time I think about it.
Were the hell is the Instant Messenger client?
Seriously, the developers of iChat didn‚Äôt think to include one of their most heavily used Internet applications in their brand-spankin‚Äô-new hand-held Internet device. Hello, who fell asleep in that meeting? While I’m not expecting to see iWeb on the iPhone I was looking forward to iChat.
I know this wasn’t some hideous blunder- that the iPhone team ran out of white-board space when listing what applications needed to be in the first release. It was obviously left out intentionally- but why? To sell it as an add-on application later; even though it is freely available on every Mac? Or perhaps it was at the influence of AT&T, attempting to gouge iPhone users out of an additional US$20 per month.
Isn’t it enough that AT&T didn’t have to subsidize the phenomenal price of Apple’s initial foray into the mobile phone market? Not to mention the number of new subscribers they must have picked-up as the only service provider offering the most sought-after phone in the history of mobile technology.
Both Apple and AT&T are making a fortune on this partnership. It is not my intention to begrudge them. I’m thrilled with the phones success and with a 55% profit on each unit, the board at Apple could fill the executive conference room with cash following the first few days of sales. Now there’s a party I’d like to be invited to‚Ķ tunneling through cash in Cupertino.
So my question is simple: Why? What were they thinking, that we would all be happy with an iChat-esque SMS window? That we would be able to ‚Äúchat‚Äù with friends, family and business associates via SMS and limited to reaching them on their cell phones. Sadly, I don’t have everyone’s cell phone number on my IM list. Even if I did, I wouldn’t put them in a position to pay 10 cents every time I had a quick question for them, with an additional 10 cents for them to reply (and God-forbid if they are roaming).
Over the last four days, I have spent more time emailing and Web browsing from my iPhone then I have my PowerBook. Through my experiences, it is obvious that Apple spent a great deal of time producing some well thought out and amazing smart phone applications. So much so, that I haven’t thought twice about my Treo since I copied over my contacts and put it in my desk drawer. But I’ll give one last shout out to my 650, at least it had true IM functionality. I was always connected, always available, all the time.
Yes, there are Web based IM clients that could be utilized through the Safari mobile browser. While I was thrilled to find them, (gracias Senior O’Grady) using them on the iPhone comes with a number of inherit limitations and so far has proved to be rather clumsy. After using the iPhone web-browser, iPod and numerous widgets like ‚ÄúWeather‚Äù and ‚ÄúStocks‚Äù I’m sure Apple would want iPhone users to have a similar experience when it comes to Instant Messaging. Since Apple doesn‚Äôt seem to want others developing Apps for iPhone- a slick, always available, widget-like Instant Messenger can only come from Jobs and Co.
Personally, I refuse to use SMS as IM, even if you paint the iChat interface over it. And I’m certainly not going to drop another US$20 per month into the bucket so I can pretend to have IM functionality. SMS is not the same; it serves a completely different purpose and it limits ones reach as well as their ability to be reached.
I can only hope that this was a timing issue and that the iChat Widget didn’t make it out of the oven in time to be at the launch party. If that is the case, hopefully that adorable blue chat bubble will appear on my iPhone home screen in the near future, as a software update.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a number of PDA Apps that seem to have missed the boat. My wife, in particularly would like to see an e-reader. I’ve locked on to IM as I find its absence glaring in such a product.
So yes, I have some issues with my iPhone, but to be honest every time I pick it up, I tend to forget what they were. (until I want to Instant Message someone)
CLG

iPhone Battles Recliner (Verdict: iPhone Loses Badly)

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Date: Monday, August 27th, 2007, 13:04
Category: iPhone

Apple iPhone crushed by recliner couchEarlier we brought you the iPhone v N95 Battle Royale Рa much fairer fight than battling a recliner couch. This time the Apple iPhone goes up against the reclining mechanism of kwarren’s couch. And, as we would expect, the iPhone loses…badly.
Apparently, this guy’s not-even-one-month-old iPhone slipped in between the seat cushions of his reclining couch. Getting up and folding the couch back into it’s upright position basically caused the steel bits underneath the seat to crunch the iPhone into an unholy mess of glass and metal. (Thanks KennM)

Apple iPhone battles recliner couch – loses badly

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USBFever.com Releases Ultra Slim USB Travel Charger

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Date: Monday, August 27th, 2007, 12:22
Category: Accessory

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On Monday, accessory maker USBFever.com announced that it had released its Ultra Slim USB Travel Charger.
The USB Travel Charger, which retails for US$12, functions as a charging unit for either an iPod or an iPhone. According to Electronista, the unit measures 42 x 70 x 15 mm, weighs 43 grams and uses a five volt output capable of charging other devices such as PDAs, cell phones and USB-powered MP3 players. The unit features a retractable power plug and is smaller than a credit card as well as half as high as a SIM card.
If you’ve have any thoughts or feedback about this or similar chargers, let us know in the comments or forums.

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Leopard Sees Interface Tweaks in Latest Builds

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Date: Monday, August 27th, 2007, 11:12
Category: Software

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The most recent pre-release build of Mac OS X 10.5 (“Leopard”) found its way into developers’ hands this weekend. Sporting several interface tweaks as well as a lengthy list of recommended testing suggestions, build 9A527 seems to show a reduced transparency in the Mac OS X menu bar as well as a new startup movie and desktop picture.
According to AppleInsider, the new build sports a galactic motif that coincides with Mac OS X’s anticipated Time Machine feature for 10.5.
Other interface changes include a refined toolbar in the Preview program and new preference pane icons for the Appearance, Desktop & Screen Saver, Sharing and Parenal Controls in the System Preferences window (leaked pictures can be found here and here courtesy of Flickr and ImageShack.
Apple has reportedly informed developers of almost a dozen known issues with Mac OS X 10.5 that they hope to isolate within the next few weeks. The company has said it plans to release the newest version of Mac OS X within the October timeframe.
If you have any thoughts, feedback or suggestions as to what you’d like to see in 10.5, let us know in the comments or forums.

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Why Lock DVD Players to a Single Region?

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Date: Monday, August 27th, 2007, 09:12
Category: Opinion

My MacTracker shows that I have owned 11 different models starting with the 128k original in 1984. Four are in the house with me right now (PB G3, PB G4, iMac G5 and MBP Core 2 Duo). I have dealt with the upgrades to System 7, 8, 9 and OS X as well as the jumps to PPC and Intel.
Through all of this I have been generally happy to be a Mac owner and user. For the past several years I have worked in IT Support in a Windows-only environment, which has given me a bit of healthy perspective about the pros and cons of each system, but my own investments have been in Mac hardware and software.
With that in mind I am truly amazed at how short-sighted it is of Apple to knowingly specify built-in DVD hardware that penalizes law-abiding citizens for the illegal activities of others. I’m referring to the built-in encrypted firmware that locks in the choice of DVD regions to a single region after a few switches. In my older machines I have circumvented this by using third-party software to reset the counter, but this option is not available on the latest hardware from Apple, and should not be necessary at all.
I am from the United States and return often for both business and pleasure, but I’ve lived in Europe for most of the past decade. My family and I have a variety of legally purchased commercial DVD’s from both sides of the Atlantic. I have yet to see any evidence that US or European law requires that DVD players be locked in to a certain region, and region-free players are legally available in all countries.
Steve Jobs has done more than any other single person to make legal, DRM-free music downloads available worldwide. If he is looking for yet another way to win friends, influence people and sell more hardware he can start by:
Read the rest by clicking on the headline…

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Parallels Desktop for Mac Build 5120 Beta Released

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Date: Monday, August 27th, 2007, 08:56
Category: Software

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Late Friday, virtualization software maker Parallels released Parallels Desktop for Mac 3.0 build 5060. The new build, an 87.1 megabyte download (courtesy of VersionTracker), offers the following fixes and enhancements:
-Automatically file sharing between the Windows and Mac OS X operating systems.
-Improved Coherence feature wherein a Windows application can also be minimized into Mac OS X’s Dock.
-Modified Shared Folders feature wherein Windows’ “My Documents” folder displays the same contents as Mac OS X’s home folder.
Parallels Desktop for Mac 3.0 requires an Intel-based Mac and Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run. The software retails for US$79.99.
If you’ve tried the newest build and have either positive or negative feedback, let us know in the comments or forums.

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New Jersey Teen Unlocks iPhone

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Date: Monday, August 27th, 2007, 07:08
Category: iPhone

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Back when I was 17, I spent my summer vacation working in a Burger King in Fall River, Massachusetts by a 400 degree machine that spat grease and fired compressed, heated steam at my polyester-clad self. It was about then that I realized I never wanted to do this again and that I felt really bad trying to push Disney’s “Pocahontas” merchandise on people.
George Hotz had a different experience. A 17-year-old Glen Rock, New Jersey resident, became the second person to unlock Apple’s iPhone and use it on an alternate wireless network from AT&T, in this case T-Mobile.
According to the Associated Press, Hotz commented that the unlocking takes about two hours and involves an amount of soldering according to his blog.
Hotz was able to confirm the hack by installing a reporter’s SIM card inside the iPhone and placing a call on the T-Mobile network using the reporter’s account.
With regard to instructions for people looking to unlock their own iPhones, Hotz has posted early versions on his blog, but cautions that the hack is complicated, requires skill with both soldering and software and that missteps may render the iPhone useless.
Neither Apple or AT&T have provided comments regarding the unlock and Hotz has stated that neither company has been in touch with him.
Hotz’s hack leaves most of the iPhone’s functions intact, but disables the visual voicemail feature.
Unlocking a cell phone falls into strange legal territory and last year the Library of Congress specifically excluded cell-phone unlocking from the coverage of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Hotz himself stated that he spent about 500 hours on the project since the iPhone became available, working with a wider community over the Internet.
“Some of my friends think I wasted my summer but I think it was worth it,” he told The Record of Bergen County, which reported Hotz’s hack Friday.
Hotz heads for college on Saturday. He plans to major in neuroscience at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

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