WWDC 2009

As like years past, I wanted to recap some of my thoughts on today’s WWDC keynote. This time more than ever im actually becoming an Apple developer (again) by starting to learn a lot of Cocoa this year. But with Apple using this time to announce new products and services, WWDC keynotes are like any other Apple keynote now.

What was announced:

  • New MacBookPros: My wife and I recently (about 3 months ago) purchased the base Aluminum MacBook, the one that was upgraded today to a MacBookPro. Im honestly not as upset as I thought I was once going to be about this. While its nice to have more power, some new features, and possibly a new display, our MacBook is still much closer to a MacBookPro that previous MacBooks. I always considered it to be closer to the 12” PowerBook it replaced. I am curious to find out though if the new 13” has a new “Pro” display as well at the new price point ($1199)
  • Snow Leopard: As I mentioned last year, I felt Snow Leopard was one of the biggest announcements. I still don’t think many Mac users really understand how awesome of a change this is. And only for $29. This is going to breathe a new life into all Macs, which makes up for the ‘loss’ of my recent MacBook purchase already being bumped today. Snow Leopard covers SO much, but were going to see a faster, more stable OS. With Apple’s close Hardware/Software tie, I’m sure were going to see a new breed of machines next year as well.
  • iPhone OS 3: I actually felt that this was probably the most boring part of the keynote. Honestly, everything they covered was recently covered in March at the small developer keynote they had. This time around we saw a few apps that have been made for it, and honestly nothing else. I was honestly expecting a few last minute features to be thrown in to 3.0, but it didn’t happen.
  • iPhone 3GS: Not as show-stopping as the original iPhone to iPhone 3G, but still pretty awesome. You get a better camera, video capture, TONS more speed, voice recognition, double the space, and a compass. This time though, 3G owners do not get a cheap upgrade, you only get to upgrade if it’s the end of your service (which many original iPhone owners should be nearing now). Honestly while this is cool, not really worth it to any current iPhone owner. While I would love the speed bump (while OS 3.0 will knock off about half the time loading a large webpage, the 3GS will knock that in half again), I can’t justify the $500 upgrade.

I was hoping to upgrade to the ‘new iPhone’ if they were going to have a plan, but now really don’t feel like its worth it. I would love to get the new features, but not at that price. Also, with the iPhone OS update coming out next Wednesday, its like getting a new iPhone anyways!

Some of the flops from today’s announcements:

  • AT&T Sucks. Not supporting MMS and Tethering at launch is borderline unacceptable. They had as much time as all the other carriers (probably even more) to get their act together. And you want to bet whats holding it up – WHAT AT&T WANTS TO CHARGE YOU FOR IT. Yes, it may be more load on their network as well, but I think it relies more on how much fatter we need to make their pockets.
  • Not allowing an upgrade plan like before. You have millions of users that gave you $200-300 last year for an iPhone 3G. Many of us would love to give you another $200-300 this year for a iPhone 3GS. Hell, I would even trade in my old iPhone to do this. While they don’t ‘need’ to offer this, it would have been nice if they did. Gizmodo had a post earlier (that they have now pulled) making it sound like there was a prorated upgrade plan available, so something may show up eventually.
  • No real announcement on the AppStore issues. While Apps now have a parental rating – can nearly everything go into the store now? This honestly doesn’t affect me at all – im just tired of hearing so many people complaining about it.
  • Not including more features into the iPhone OS 3.0 software. I wonder why the Voice Commands and Accessibility items are iPhone 3GS only. Both of those new features seem very software related, and no reason they shouldn’t work on iPhone 3G and be part of OS 3.0. They also don’t really seem to be major selling points of the new hardware either. Oh, and Voice Commands should have been in OS 1.0. My very first cell phone had this feature.

Finally, I think a lot of people are going to complain that we still haven’t seen an Apple tablet yet. I have two questions about that:

  1. Have any of these people WANTING a Mac tablet ever used a PC tablet? Its honestly not that awesome.
  2. Do people not already realize they already own an Apple tablet and/or Netbook? Seriously, think about that. Other than a bigger screen – theres not much more you would get.

I will be posting more on Jon’s Tech Talk later on, especially after the iPhone OS 3.0 release. My first things to cover will be what I am thinking about the new iPhone OS, as well as some points on why Mac OS X 10.6 is going to be so cool.

ZumoDrive invites available!

I recently recieved quite a few more invites to the ZumoDrive service if anyone would like some. If so, please leave a comment.

ZumoDrive is a cool new ‘cloud’ storage service, that works across Macs, PC’s, and the iPhone. Once you install their software, you have a new drive appear on your machine, that you can just copy files to, and have ANYWHERE. One thing that really sets this service away from some of the others is their iTunes integration, which basically streams your music from the cloud. 

I tried this out on both the iPhone and my Mac, and really enjoy it. Its great to just have a copy of a few important things with me at all times, especially when I dont have to worry about storage space on my phone. You can read a lot more about their service on their FAQ.

iPhone 2.0.1 Update solved quite a few of my issues

After my last post, I actually ran the firmware update on my iPhone while cooking dinner. After spending a few days with the latest update, I can say that quite a few of the issues that I was having with my phone have been resolved.

  • Contacts no longer has a lag, and response seems better than ever before.
  • I have yet to see any more lag in SMS (text messaging) but I hear a lot of people still are having problems.
  • Applications seems to launch a bit faster than they did before.
  • I also seem to have a better signal (still very random), but overall its better.
  • Like the wonder device it is, it now does the dishes and answers the meaning for live. Im guessing thats what the other 249.5 MB of the firmware was used for. Quite a bit new things for such a minor point release.
Overall the iPhone experience is getting better and better. The phone feels less like a hack job put out by Apple, but more like a ‘work in progress’. I cant wait till 2.1 rolls out, so we see features like push notification.
While the bug in my previous blog post has gone away, the bug where iTunes and your phone don’t talk to each other about what versions of apps are installed still remains. This is such a MINOR fix (the version number of the App has to be in a xml config SOMEWHERE in the app’s package), I don’t see why its still a problem!

Apple’s biggest Beta Test yet…

Im sure plenty of people have heard about the ongoing issues with the new iPhone 3G as well as the iPhone 2.0 software in general. The 2.0.1 update is right around the corner and should address a lot of this, but its still not coming fast enough.

Even last week, Apple released iTunes 7.7.1, which had ‘various bug fixes’. Well, who knows what it actually changed, and things still aren’t just right.

Take Applications for example. The whole process is easily handled if you buy an app on your phone or on the computer, and seems to sync just fine. But what about Application updates? I don’t know if I am the only one seeing this, but iTunes doesn’t seem to understand if you updated the application on your phone or not, and will still recommend you install the update.

Another issue I noticed yesterday was iTunes handling of updates. Im always anxious to check out new things, so I was excited to see the following when starting up iTunes the other day.

Awesome! I have an update. So I click on the button, and then get this page…

Huh? I thought you just told me I had an update?! I’ve restarted iTunes, my iMac, and even checked the App Store on my iPhone. No updates yet, just iTunes won’t let go of the idea that there is one, somewhere.

I love my iPhone, and I love my Macs. But please Apple, your scaring me. While I have seen some dirty nasty stuff from Apple, its never on the general consumer side. This makes me feel like I’m using some sub-par OS *cough* Vista *cough*!

Update! So I wrote this post around 6pm eastern. Well at 7:30pm eastern, iPhone software 2.0.1 is now available! Updating now!

TechCrunch is becoming more and more worthless…

For a while there, I was really starting to like TechCrunch. Something about their design, most of their stories, and even their ads (most of them relate to something I would ACTUALLY be interested in, like hosting). But recently, instead of a lot of their breaking news and/or very original content, they have been having to create a LOT of blog spam (very short articles on one site to link to another, mainly for only the purpose of gathering one of those all important page views), and really thinning down some of their content.

Case in point, their ‘story’ today about the Push Services API thats in the new Beta build of iPhone software 2.1. Its a VERY short paragraph that actually say much of anything other than try to explain what ‘Push’ means, complains about the iPhone 3G, then links to CrunchGear, another site in the TC network. If you go to the story on CrunchGear, you get an extra sentence or two, then it takes you to the REAL story, and full page on Apple Insider, a GREAT site.

I decided to make a pretty simple, yet blunt Tweet about the issue. Funny enough, a few minutes later, Michael Arrington himself (the ________ that runs the Tech Crunch network) replied. I then got a whole bunch of tweets from random people that follow him, mentioning that all of them had the SAME idea, but didnt speak up. I of course then cried for hours and hours that this random __________ blocked me.

So not only is the site becoming less credible, but seriously? If someone spoke out about a site I work on (which they do plenty of), I only use it as a boost to want to do something good about it. But to publicly proclaim that you BLOCK and don’t want to listen to your users? Now thats just stupid. Visitors come to your website (especially a tech site) because they want information. Not because they think a ________ like him is cooler than baby Jesus. Locking yourself up in a room and thinking this is going to make your website fail, and honestly right now…I hope one day it does!

Update: I just wanted to share this link about the NYT wanting to censor bloggers. Thanks Tripp!

Listening To: ‘ We’ll Meet Again’ by Johnny Cash (how ironic)

One Week with the iPhone 3G

Announced a few months ago, the newest version of the iPhone was a great update. I am a HUGE apple fan, and always wanted an iPhone, but couldn’t justify the $400 price tag or leaving Verizon for AT&T service. After the announcement of a $199 iPhone with more features, Debs and I decided to make the switch. The new iPhone was finally released 2 weeks ago, and has been in high demand (and pretty much sold out) since. Once Debs and I were sure we wanted to make the switch (after playing with demo units at the Apple Store), she started calling local AT&T stores and the Apple Store daily. Saturday morning around 10AM we found out that not only did they have a ‘untold amount of 8GB units’, but that there was NO LINE!

We got to the Store and immediately started the process. Debs phone took only 5 minutes to activate, but due to my account being part of a family plan with her, I had to leave the store with a different phone number, and wait 24-72 hours for it to activate. On Sunday around 4:30am I received a text welcoming me to the network, and after switching off my Blackberry Pearl, my iPhone worked great!

Ive already started loading it up with music and applications, including:

  • Facebook – great little app that lets you work on facebook, as well as chat
  • Twitterific and Twinkle (Twinkle crashes every time now though) – twitter clients
  • Ebay – search ebay, as well as track items in ‘My Ebay’
  • Google – Phone and Web search tool, as well as easy links to Google Products
  • Remote – Apple’s remote program to let you control iTunes Libraries, well, remotely!
  • Last.fm – Stream and tag music from your last.fm account
  • Shazam – Cool way to tag and discover music. Hear a song that you dont know? Hold iPhone to audio source, and it will figure it out for you!
  • Yelp – Find local Bars/Restaturants/etc
  • WeatherBug – Another weather app, mainly got this for great Radar images
  • WordPress – Lets me post to my blog from the phone.

With the new iPhone 2.0 software, these apps work great. And having the iPhone 3G, its great for some of these apps to tie into Location Services. And while yes, its just a cell phone, its really more than that now – its practically a mobile Mac that I get to carry with me!

To not make this somewhat review too long, Ill just list out some of the pros and cons.

PROS:

  • Its an internet tablet. I can just surf the web, check mail, check twitter, and more without having to go to the office or get out my laptop. Since I first played with the Nokia 700’s, i have always wanted something like this.
  • The Apple Remote app is awesome, great to be getting ready in the bedroom with the music cranked up in the office, and just change the song.
  • The camera on here is amazing, as long as you have light.
  • I usually waste time online when waiting in lines, shopping, etc. Now I can do it much easier, and have specific apps that do their tasks.
  • I LOVE having everything (music, tasks, email, calendar, etc) in one place. Blackberry came close, but never just right
  • Its own social network -I know quite a few iPhone users now, and its almost like its own social network. I can’t wait to see more apps that may come out that could use something like Location Services (I know there is loopt, but come on brightkite!)

CONS:

  • The battery sucks. I don’t turn on 3G now unless I need it, and going to start turning off location services and wifi as well. Its just absurd that even without ‘using’ it I still have to plug in every day.
  • It crashes more than a PC. Some of these are apps, but iPhone software 2.0 is just crap. SLOWWWW at times (especially in SMS). Luckily Apple fixes these issues QUICK and 2.0.1 has already been seeded, and should be out in a week or two.
  • Location Services fails a lot – often times I have to restart my phone to get the GPS to work. It sucks when im trying to show someone the cool feature and it doesnt work.
  • AT&T – more bars in more places? Yeah, if your outside standing under a cell tower.
  • AppStore delays – its Apples fault, and they need to do something about it. I would be TICKED if I actually paid for an app, and it crashed. Apple is taking too long to review apps.

I plan to write more on the iPhone again, eventually on more specific topics. Some examples may be specific applications, what Im using the phone for, and more.

Listening To: ‘Latin Simone’ by the Gorillaz