How to waterproof your iPhone (or other smartphone) the right way!

There was a time when you could go to a pool party and be humorously thrown in fully dressed. You’d climb out embarrassed, but only upset that you spilled your drink. Or remember the days when you can just go to the beach, rip your clothes off down to your bathing suit and go flying into the surf?? Today, with all of our tech gadgets, but more specifically our phones, we can’t be as free anymore. We now have to consider the elements around us when we leave our pants in the sand or stand poolside with a bunch of punk kids around. [pullquote_right]”The most practical use you’d probably get from this product is the ability to answer your phone with wet hands or being able to use it while it’s raining.”[/pullquote_right]

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iPad 2 vs iPhone 4S vs iPod Touch (4th Generation)

With the release of Apple’s latest product, the iPhone 4S and iOS 5, Apple’s lineup has 3 great products all operating with the same OS. There is no longer a distinction between these devices in terms of software. The world of Apple now revolves around OS X and iOS with both of these revolving around iTunes. Steve Jobs may have left us, but Apple’s ecosystem is far from gone. However, the question still comes down to whether we need all three of these devices or just one or maybe two. Today, I’d like to compare all three and let you decide.iPod Touch (white)

Let’s start with the iPod. Here’s a device that changed the portable music industry forever. Of course, during its humble beginnings, it was simply a music device. For whatever reason, Apple felt like there needed to be more, so they have created numerous iterations of this one device over the years and today, we have iPod Touch.

iPod Touch vs iPhones

The iPod Touch has seen 4 revisions since it was first introduced back in 2007 and this latest one is the closest they’ve come to the iPhone since. Because of this, let’s first compare the Touch to the latest iPhones:

iPod touch iPhone 4S iPhone 4 iPhone 3GS
Capacity 8 GB
32 GB
64 GB
16 GB
32 GB
64 GB
8 GB (as of Oct ’11)
16 GB
32 GB
8 GB
16 GB
Screen size (inches)
3.5 / 960 x 480 3.5 / 960 x 480 3.5 / 960 x 480 3.5 / 480 x 320
Processor Apple A4 Apple A5 1 dual-core 1 GHz Apple A4 Samsung ARM Cortex-A8
Battery Life Video: 7 hours
Audio: 40 hours
Talk/Video/Web: 8/10/9 hours
Audio: 40 hours
Talk/Video/Web: 7/10/10 hours
Audio: 40 hours
Talk/Video/Web: 5/10/5 hours
Audio: 30 hours
A-GPS No Yes Yes Yes
Camera under 1 megapixel 8 megapixel & VGA 5 megapixel & VGA 3.2 megapixel
Video Camera 720p HD 1080p HD 720p HD Yes
FaceTime 4th gen. and later Yes Yes No
Siri Support No Yes No No
Phone No Yes Yes Yes
Wi-Fi Yes Yes Yes Yes
Size (in inches) 4.4 x 2.3 x .28 4.5 x 2.31 x .37 4.51 x 2.31 x .37 4.5 x 2.4 x .48
Weight (in ounces) 3.56 4.9 4.8 4.8
iOS 5 Support? 3rd gen and later Yes Yes Yes
Monthly Fees No $55-$99 $55-$99 $55-$99
Price $199/$299/$399 $199/$299/$399
(w/ 2-year contract)
(w/ 2-year contract)
(w/ 2-year contract)

Clearly, the 4th gen Touch most closely resembles the iPhone 4. The great thing about that is for all of you who don’t want an iPhone because you already have another device you love or you’re stuck in a contract, the iPod Touch is the perfect replacement. It can give you access to all the apps that iPhone owners rave about and now with the new generation of Touch, you have the dual cameras, iOS 5 software and it comes in white too! Also, with iMessage, you can now send instant text messages to every other iOS device over wi-fi.

Now I no longer own an iPhone, I’ve been seriously considering the new iPod Touch. Not only for its music capabilities in my car, but also for the apps that I miss—mainly my Chase bank app that allows me to deposit checks just by taking a photo of it. With the front-facing camera, you can use the Facetime app to communicate with every iOS device over wi-fi. So essentially, you can use the iPod Touch just like an iPhone when you’re connected to a network.

iPad vs iPod Touch

Apple iPad
The iPad was a “revolutionary device” that Apple made us believe that we needed. And despite the fact that it’s the best selling tablet on the market today, some people still wonder what its main purpose is. Those of us who have owned an iPad at some point understand that it’s really nothing more than a large iPhone. Although I make that sound like a negative thing, it’s actually the one fact that is what makes the iPad such a popular device. Apple’s ecosystem of devices and their connectivity to iTunes has made these products indispensable.

iPod touch iPad iPad 2
Capacity 8 GB
32 GB
64 GB
16 GB
32 GB
64 GB
16 GB
32 GB
64 GB
Screen size (inches)
3.5 / 960 x 480 9.7 / 1024 x 768 9.7 / 1024 x 768
Processor Apple A4 Apple A4 Apple A5 dual-core 1 GHz
Battery Life Video: 7 hours
Audio: 40 hours
Video/Web: 8/10
9 hours on 3G
Video/Web: 8/10
9 hours on 3G
A-GPS No Yes (3G models) Yes (3G models)
Camera 0.7MP back, 0.3MP front N/A 0.7MP back, 0.3MP front
Video Camera 720p HD N/A 720p HD
FaceTime 4th gen. and later No Yes
Wi-Fi Yes Yes Yes Yes
Size (in inches) 4.4 x 2.3 x .28 9.56 x 7.47 x .528 9.5 x 7.31 x .346
Weight 3.56 oz 1.5 lbs/td>

1.32 lbs
iOS 5 Support? 3rd gen and later Yes Yes
Monthly Fees No AT&T –
250MB $14.99 per month
2GB $25.00 per month
Verizon –
1GB $20 per month
2GB $30 per month
5Gb $50 per month
10GB $80 per month
AT&T –
250MB $14.99 per month
2GB $25.00 per month
Verizon –
1GB $20 per month
2GB $30 per month
5Gb $50 per month
10GB $80 per month
Price $199/$299/$399 Wi-fi only
Wi-fi + 3G
Wi-fi only
Wi-fi + 3G

The iPad and iPods are not to be directly compared of course due to their very different sizes, but the point of these charts were to show you just how close the iPod touch is to Apple’s other mobile products.

My two cents

I owned an iPhone since the first one came on the market right up until I sold my iPhone 4 just a few months ago. I did this in hopes that the new iPhone would be a significant upgrade, but it looks like I’ll have to wait until the next phone until I get back on iPhone. In the past year or so, I’ve also owned an iPad and an iPod Classic. For a phone, I’ve been using the Samsung Focus with Windows Phone 7 on it and I love it. However, I do miss some of the apps I once had on the iPhone and as a result, I’ve been tempted to buy an iPod touch. After researching the information above, I’ve concluded that the 4th generation iPod Touch is the closest thing I can get to an iPhone without having to buy an iPhone.

I don’t like the iPad as much because of the pricing, so I’m willing to try the new Kindle Fire in November before I consider ever going back to an iPad. My new lineup might consist of the following before Christmas: MacBook Pro, iPod Touch (white 32Gb), Samsung Focus and Kindle Fire. It’s crazy how times change!

A genius is lost

In thinking about the sad event of today, I was reminded that no matter how successful we are, no matter how much we accomplish in this life and no matter how many people we inspire, none of us can escape the finality of our lives.

I didn’t know Steve Jobs personally, I never met him and I was never even in the same room as him, yet like many, I felt connected to him. Maybe it’s because Steve Jobs was Apple or perhaps Apple was Steve Jobs, but whatever it was, he will be missed. It made me wonder if people felt like this the day Walt Disney died. With most large companies out there, we don’t get to see the corporate brass, we don’t make a connection between the logo and the people behind it and we certainly don’t develop a sort of kinship with its products.

With Apple, everything is different. We buy iPods and iPhones like they’re the best things since sliced bread, not because they really are, but because we want to feel like we’re a part of something unique and cool. Some of us stand in days-long lines to be the first to buy the latest gadget, others become irate when the pre-order system crashes online. Only Apple can create that kind of feeling.

I can tell you that a man like this doesn’t come around often in our lifetime. Here’s a man that had the will to start a computer company during a time when the idea of people owning personal computers was laughable. And although we can’t credit him 100% for every creation that came out of Apple, Inc., we can credit him for creating a dynasty—an empire of exceptional employees, designers, technology and products aimed at satisfying millions of people worldwide.

And just as Walt Disney made us believe in our dreams, Steve Jobs made us believe in ourselves.

iPhone 4 vs iPhone 4S – October 14th, 2011

Apple announced the new iPhone today and just as I speculated, it is not a brand new phone, but an upgrade to the iPhone 4. Naturally as they did with the original 3G upgrade, Apple appended a little ‘S’ to signify the difference between devices. This ‘S’ is presumed to mean speed with the iPhone 4S being truly faster than the original iPhone 4. Among the change in processor, Apple has also increased the camera’s megapixels to 8 and upped video recording to 1080p. Lastly, the new iPhone 4S is now a dual-band world phone with two antennas. This made it possible for Apple to have one device that works on all networks.

From a sales point of view, a few things have also changed:

  • There is one device for all carriers. No more GSM and CDMA phones being different.
  • The original iPhone 4 now has a lower-priced 8GB model.
  • The new iPhone 4S now has a 64GB model.
  • The white model will be available at launch. 😉

Comparison Chart

iPhone 4 iPhone 4S
Dimensions 4.5 inches tall by 2.3 inches wide by 0.37 inch thick; 4.8 ounces 4.5 inches tall by 2.3 inches wide by 0.37 inch thick; 4.9 ounces
Display 3.5-inch, 960×640-pixel Retina display 3.5-inch, 960×640-pixel Retina display
Camera 5-megapixel camera with LED flash, 720p HD video recording at 30fps; front-facing VGA camera 8-megapixel camera with LED flash, 1080p HD video recording at 30fps, auto focus, face detection; front-facing VGA camera
Connectivity Bluetooth 2.1; Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n); GSM/UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA; CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A Bluetooth 4.0; Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n); dual-band world phone; GSM/UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA; HSPA+; CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A
Processor 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 Dual-core 1GHz A5 processor with dual-core graphics
Capacity 8GB, 16GB, 32GB 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
Location Assisted GPS, digital compass, Wi-Fi, cellular Assisted GPS, digital compass, Wi-Fi, cellular
Sensors Three-axis gyro, accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor Three-axis gyro, accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor
Battery life 7 hours of talk time on 3G, 12.5 days of standby time; 40 hours audio playback; 10 hours video playback; 6 hours (3G)/10 hours (Wi-Fi) Internet use 8 hours of talk time over 3G, 14 hours over 2G, 40 hours audio playback, 10 hours video playback, 6 hours (3G)/9 hours (Wi-Fi)
Carrier AT&T, Verizon AT&T, Verizon, Sprint
Pricing $99 for 8GB, $199.99 for 16GB, $299.99 for 32GB $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB, $399 for 64GB
Colors Black, white Black, white

Full iPhone 4S specs can be found at

My two cents

Much like I went from the original iPhone to the 3GS (skipping the 3G), I plan to now go from iPhone 4 to the iPhone 6 which using my best guess will be out next summer. This naming convention will surely cause some confusion among the consumers, but remember that the iPhone 4S is in fact the 5th version of the iPhone making whatever comes next, the 6th. Waiting this out will serve two purposes: 1. Microsoft will have more time to sell me on how much greater Windows Phone 7 is to iOS 5 and AT&T will not have me locked into any contracts, thus allowing me to jump ship if I feel the need to in order to get the next phone on Sprint or Verizon.

All-in-all, if you’re a current iPhone 4 user, there isn’t much of a need to upgrade unless you’re seriously concerned about speed. If you’re a 3GS user or you’ve never owned iPhone, now’s your chance to finally get one at a great price. You can still get the iPhone 4 starting at $99 for the new 8GB model. But keep one thing in mind if you’re buying an iPhone 4S: you could potentially kill your ability to get a subsidized upgrade in the summer if iPhone 6 comes out and you’ll be stuck with a new 2-year contract.

As for me, I’m staying away from this phone and I might stay with Windows Phone 7 if I like the new 7.5 Mango upgrade. If not, I’ll probably just find a cheap iPhone 3GS or 4 on eBay and use it until the next device comes out. To all those who will be waiting in line on October 14th, good luck!

iPhone 5 Announcement and Release Date – What We Know So Far

Touted as the most hyped-up device to be released this season, the iPhone 5 has been tantalizing consumers for months and until October 4th, it is all just speculation, rumors, hopes and dreams. Apple is famous (or infamous) for keeping consumers (fanboys) in the dark about any details of their latest gadgets and of course this is no different. In fact, unless some drunken beta testers leave their test units in local bars, we never get to hear anything about what’s on Apples horizon.

October 4th is just 4 days away and I wouldn’t be surprised if people are already starting to line up to get the next iteration of the greatest smartphone ever to be sold (in terms of sales). Any poor souls doing so should be warned that October 4th is NOT a release day, but the day of the conference in which the new device will be announced. What can we expect? Well, there are basically two camps; those that believe the next iPhone will be a brand new device altogether and those that believe it will be nothing more than an iPhone 4 upgrade.

iPhone 4S

Like with the 3G a couple years back, Apple decided to release a faster and more beefed up iPhone called the 3GS rather than re-design the entire device. The 3GS was significantly faster and provided new features like video recording and more megapixels on the camera. The release of this phone was great for those who owned the first iPhone and skipped on upgrading to the 3G because of contract restrictions.

The yearly upgrades Apple was providing whether it be a new device or an upgrade set a tone in the community—that we could expect a new iPhone every summer sometime around June. This all changed when June came and went with no official talk of a new device. Then, on the heels of an unofficial announcement about a new souped-up iPad (not an iPad 3), theories began to speculate that Apple would do the same for iPhone…essentially creating an iPhone 4S. This way, Apple will have two new devices in time for Christmas and it will also pave the way for Sprint to gear up for getting the new phone.

If Apple is going this route, that will allow them to release an all-new device in the summer of 2012.

iPhone 5

iPhone 5 teardrop
The consumers have spoken and they are saying this is what they want—an all new phone souped up and ready to move beyond the already-familiar iPhone 4 design. Rumors are abound that a possible new design would look somewhat like a teardrop as seen in this picture. There is no word on what would be under the hood at this time, but we can expect a faster device with a better camera, seamless support for iCloud and a host of other features that have been on the minds of iPhone users for years. Did anyone say Flash support?! Yeah right, probably never.

My problem with this idea is simple. Verizon just got the iPhone 4. Sprint may be on the bandwagon soon. If Apple releases a whole new device now, then Verizon users might feel a bit shafted that they jumped on the iPhone 4 so quickly just to have be made almost obsolete in short time. On the other hand, it might be possible that this was the cause of the delay. Plus, if Apple did go with an upgrade-only, then Sprint users would feel shafted come summer time if a brand new design is launched. Either way, I think someone is going to get burned on this deal.

Some around the Internet speculate that Apple really wants to release a new design because they lost so much money on those free bumper cases and they know the most money to be made revolves around accessory sales. What better way to get people to buy new cases? Of course!! Make a phone that no longer fits your old ones!

My two cents

I think in an effort to allow Verizon to have more time with iPhone 4 and let Sprint play catch-up, Apple will announce on Tuesday that the next iPhone will be nothing more than a 4S and not a brand new device. Then, next summer after all major carriers have the iPhone, Apple will launch a brand new updated device for all to have from the start. From there on out, they could continue to release phones on a yearly basis and not worry about anyone being left out…except T-Mobile! Speaking of which, they may still be absorbed by AT&T so it doesn’t really matter.

As for me, I’ve been using a Windows Phone for about 2 months now since I sold my iPhone 4 on eBay. I did this to not only have a real-world test of Windows Phone 7, but also to wait for this new iPhone…whatever it may be. I guess I’ll have to wait until Tuesday to see if I’m going back to iPhone.

iPhone 5 Coming to Sprint in mid-October and With Unlimited Data

While it’s still anyone’s guess as to what kind of device we’re looking at with the proposed “iPhone 5” rumored to be making an appearance sometime next month, what is becoming clear is that the next iPhone is coming to Sprint—and most likely even T-Mobile. The best news to come from Sprint is the fact that they will be retaining their unlimited data plans with iPhone users, which will pit them against Verizon and AT&T in yet another battle for customers. If this is true, Sprint will be the only carrier left with an unrestricted, unlimited data plan for all of its customers.

The questions about the phone start with just one: Will the next iPhone be a completely brand new device called iPhone 5 or will it a simple spec upgrade, possibly being called iPhone 4S?

There are two big reasons why I believe it’ll be just a spec upgrade. The first reason is because Apple hasn’t followed through with their one-phone-per-year release model and the second reason is because they are also planning to release an upgraded iPad soon that won’t be an iPad 3. With that said, it would make sense for Apple to take the mid-upgrade step now like they did with the 3GS while holding off on a major upgrade and/or redesign until next summer. Another thought that came to mind is that maybe Apple was waiting until all the carriers had access to their phone before going forward with a brand new device. With Sprint and T-Mobile being the last ones left, this would make perfect sense not to release it until everyone has had a nice lead-in for new customers.

Sprint has admitted that even though unlimited data will be allowed initially, it may not be forever. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse has acknowledged that Sprint may not be able to keep up with data demands from the added iPhone customers in the future and has implied that, should this become a reality, Sprint will wind up limiting their plans just as Verizon and AT&T have done. Just how they plan to do this is unclear. For example, AT&T and Verizon have taken this approach slightly different:

  • AT&T – They were the first to remove the unlimited data plans from their service offerings, but allowed existing plan holders to be grandfathered in. However, a few months ago, AT&T decided that grandfathered plans would be subjected to speed caps for users going over the “invisible” 2GB cap—2GB being the max for their new plans. So whereas a new customer would be charged for going over 2GB, but retain 3G speeds, an older customer wouldn’t be charged for going over, but would have to suffer losing 3G speeds.
  • Verizon – Once Verizon got the iPhone, it was no surprise that people jumped ship from AT&T. This was in part due to service quality concerns, but also Verizon still allowing unlimited data plans. This has now changed although they followed in AT&T’s footsteps by allowing existing customers to be grandfathered in. It remains to be seen whether they will implement speed caps like AT&T has.
  • T-Mobile – Although T-Mobile doesn’t currently have the iPhone, they are another carrier (besides Sprint) still offering unlimited data plans, but they have always had speed limits on these plans. This is likely to remain the same even if they get the next iPhone.

My two cents

I sold my iPhone 4 because I figured that if the new phone came out, I’d lose more value on it. In the meantime, I’ve been using an Android phone for a short period and now I’m on a Samsung focus with Windows Phone 7. I like Windows Phone 7 and from the looks of things, Samsung and Nokia are coming out with a few cool devices this October to compete with this new iPhone.

For me, I doubt I’ll jump back into another iPhone right away unless it really blows my mind. If it ends up being an iPhone 4S, I probably won’t even touch it. I’ll either stick with my Focus after upgrading to Windows Phone Mango (7.5) and wait until a newer iPhone shows up or I’ll explore other options. I’m still undecided, but let’s just say that October seems to be looking like a very interesting month in the way of technology.

iCloud, You Cloud, We All Cloud!

iCloud is coming, and it may just change your life. Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled iCloud at the company’s annual World Wide Developer Conference in June. Ever since, the internet has been abuzz with ideas and opinions about what iCloud will mean for the tech giant’s loyal customers.Apple iCloud Logo

In short, the iCloud service will allow wireless syncing and storage across iOS platforms, PC’s and Macs. While this may not sound all that impressive at first blush, take a moment to consider what this really means: your music, documents, videos and photos will be accessible from virtually all of your devices simultaneously.

Automatic Syncing

In an increasingly mobile world, Apple is cutting the cord – literally. With iCloud, users will be able to take a picture on their iPhone and have it pushed to their iPod Touch, iPad, Mac and PC automatically.

No more plugging your device into your PC to sync it with your iTunes account, then plugging each device into your computer one at a time to add the photo. Nearly every device you own that runs iTunes or iOS will be able to sync from the cloud instantly, saving both time and frustration.

Service and Storage

Apple’s iCloud service will also provide storage for your devices – up to 5 gigabytes – free of charge, with the ability to purchase upgrades if needed. A 16 or 32 gig device will instantly become 21 or 37 gigs whenever internet access is available, allowing you to store more files and documents without having to shell out extra cash for a larger-capacity device.

iCloud will also work with iTunes, enabling a user to purchase a song or television show on his or her iPad and have it downloaded to their personal computer and iPod at the same time. Past purchases will be viewable on up to 10 devices, removing the need to physically transfer songs from one computer to another.

Home and Mobile Sharing

Homes with multiple iOS devices will enjoy the ability to quickly and easily share documents, photos and music instantly. Apps purchased on your iPad will be sent automatically to all of your other devices as well. Bookmark a page on iBooks on your iPad, and pick up right where you left off on your iPhone when you’re on the go.

With iCloud also comes peace of mind. Your iPhone or iPad will be backed up wirelessly directly to iCloud. Contacts, calendars and important documents will be pushed to the cloud as you update them, meaning users will no longer have to fear losing a phone number or appointment if their iPhone crashes.

Faster Updates

Similarly, new updates will be pushed to your device without the need to download and sync with a computer. Updates will take less time because they will occur incrementally, only downloading whatever changes have been made as opposed to reinstalling the entire operating system with every update.

Few would disagree that the iPhone changed the world of smartphones. Likewise, the iPad is turning the computing world on its head as more consumers opt to make the switch to the revolutionary tablet either to compliment or replace their laptops. All of this means more users on the move, who don’t want or need to be tied to a PC.

Loyal Apple fans have long loved the mobility and accessibility that iOS devices provide, but at the end of the day, they were still tethered to the personal computer. As Apple continues to usher us into a post-PC era, iCloud will bring a new measure of freedom to mobile users worldwide in way they’ve never experienced before.

With a strong background in technical news and information, Blake Sanders writes on behalf of broadband comparison site Broadband Expert. Blake’s specialties are high speed internet, cell phones, as well as news and information on internet service providers.

iPhone 5 Is Coming

As with everything “tech”, out with old and in with the new is becoming the statement of the week due to the ever-changing face of technology. One question that always follows in my mind is, “Do we need another device?”

It seems so. iPhone 4 is just over a year old and not only does this make it old news, but apparently its technology is ancient compared to that of the latest Android phones—or at least that’s what they’d have you believe. The reason I’m not that excited about iPhone 5 (yet) is that I still like my iPhone 4, but now that I’m using a Windows Phone, I don’t even use it anymore. In fact, I plan to sell it to the highest bidder before iPhone 5 shows up, just so it won’t lose any more value.

Nonetheless, I’m an Apple fan and my blog is about tech stuff, so I’ll be talking about iPhone 5 just as much as I did with iPhone 4. Let’s get it going.

iPhone 5

Not much is known about the new device, but that’s Apple’s style. What does leak out is information stemming from unusual movement in other industries—in this case, manufacturing. According to TechRadar, Pegatron was sent a massive order to produce 15 million handsets for Apple to meet a fall release date. This date has only recently been rumored to be September 5th after months of speculation pointed to a September release.

We don’t have any rumored specs and only a few photos have surfaced, but like every past iPhone release, these pics are nothing more than hopeful designs, assumed specs and/or straight fabrications. We even had a similar event regarding an Apple employee testing the new device in the “real world” and got caught on camera. Of course, the photo doesn’t do any justice.

Apple iPhone 5 Leaked

The major question of the day has been about whether this device will actually be called iPhone 5 or if it’ll just be a performance upgrade much like the 3GS. In this case, iPhone 6 might appear next summer bringing the franchise back on line with its prior June releases, while September’s device would basically be an iPhone 4S. That name will really throw off those people that still think their iPhone 4 is a 4G device!

Speaking of which, if the iPhone 4S doesn’t have 4G (and it most likely will not), then we’ll have to wait until iPhone 6 comes out before we see any important performance increase. And I wonder how AT&T and Verizon will handle a 4G iPhone now that both carriers have capped their data plans. Sprint is looking more and more like a great alternative at this point!

My two cents

As it stands, I am unloading my iPhone 4 and keeping my Windows Phone (Samsung Focus). I intended to wait out my contract period in case I wanted to jump ship to Sprint, but I just found out that I’m stuck with AT&T until next June. At this point, I’ll just wait and see what this fall brings us. One thing is for sure—with Apple potentially releasing iPhone 5, a new iPad, Microsoft launching Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) and Nokia attempting to bounce back into the smartphone world with the N9 and other Windows devices, this fall is going to be a nuthouse!

Unlock and Lock Your Macbook With Bluetooth Device

Thanks to Lifehacker, those of us who use OS X Lion can now lock or unlock the computer just by using a Bluetooth device. What a novel idea…it kind of reminds me of those little Mobil gas devices that allowed you to walk right up to the pump, pass the little wand over the invisible reader and you’re ready to pump gas. The only real danger to using something like that is what might happen if you lost the little device or if someone stole it from you.

But for those of you not fearing a hostile takeover of your computer and all that lies inside, you can now configure you Mac to recognize a Bluetooth device, be it in your pocket, on your ear or in your hand. Once the authorized device gets within Bluetooth range, your OS X software mysteriously logs itself in. While that sounds like a very convenient feature, remember that a good Bluetooth signal can reach distances of about 30 feet and while that seems short, imagine what could happen if you were in the room next door while the person you’ve been trying to keep off your expensive iMac is sitting in front of it trying to hack their way in?!

The process involves using a nifty little application called Proximity in conjunction with a few custom AppleScripts that tells the computer to lock and/or unlock when certain events happen. The thing I love about this setup is that the lock and unlock scripts are separate, which means you only have to use one.

If I scared you away from using it before, now you can rest easy knowing that the script I find more useful (locking after walking away) can be used independently of the other. This means that you’ll still have to log in each time you sit down at your computer, but have it lock itself after you leave—very handy for those of us who sometimes walk away while forgetting to log out or at least enact the screensaver with a password lock.

Setting this feature up might take a bit of time for those not familiar with setting up AppleScripts, but the end result means you could literally have your computer auto-lock itself when you walk away using the iPhone that is probably already in your pocket. How cool is that?!

AT&T Implements Throttling for Unlimited Data Plans

There was a time when you could get unlimited data plans on all the major carriers, but one at a time, they all dropped them like flies. Verizon was the latest to abolish their unlimited plan on July 7th, exactly one year and one month after AT&T dropped theirs.

This left T-Mobile and Sprint the last two with unlimited data plans. But, T-Mobile has a catch—while they do offer unlimited in the sense that there are no caps, when you reach the 2GB limit, they down-step your speed to that of something reminiscent of 2G speeds. AT&T has announced that they will be doing the same. That leaves Sprint as the only carrier left with truly unlimited data.

AT&T now throttling data plans

For the first time in cellphone history, the phone is dictating carrier moves. First, AT&T does away with unlimited data plans, then they allow existing users to keep their plans and now they plan to throttle those users.

In a statement last Friday, AT&T says that starting October 1st, they will begin reducing speed for the top 5% of their heaviest users, thus creating a better network experience for all. No data was given as to how much data these users actually eat up, so it’s hard to say whether you might fit into that group, but as part of the plan, they says many notices will be delivered to you informing you that your account will be affected.

The official reasoning behind this is that AT&T is running out of options. They have pushed their network to the max and are running out of wireless spectrum. In fact, the statement actually said, “Nothing short of completing the T-Mobile merger will provide additional spectrum capacity to address these near term challenges.”

Read the full statement from AT&T regarding data throttling.

iPhone destroys unlimited data

Ever since the iPhone debuted on AT&T back in 2007, the carrier has wrangled with the press, users and critics about the quality of service including lost calls, static on the line and slow data speeds. In most cases, things of this nature would usually get pinned on the phone itself. However, nobody could possibly blame the almighty iPhone! It had to be AT&T.

As it turned out, it was. No carrier at the time expected what was to follow as millions of cell phone owners jumped at the chance to own a device that could do everything for except cook them breakfast. What resulted was a large influx of customers that AT&T didn’t expect and therefore couldn’t handle. AT&T even admitted that they were surprised things were holding up as well. The backlashes just kept pouring in; mostly blaming AT&T for having a sub-par network compared to Verizon, but I never understood how the comparison could be made at a time where Verizon didn’t have an iPhone?

Verizon got to sit back for almost 4 years watching and waiting as things got heated up at AT&T, but more importantly, they got headstart into ramping up their own network for the debut of a CDMA iPhone.

At any rate, it can be said that iPhone may have single-handedly killed unlimited data plans for all carriers. This is probably the only reason why Sprint still has theirs although there is talk about Sprint possibly getting iPhone by the end of this year.

My two cents

I’ve been an AT&T Mobility customer since 2007, Cingular Wireless before that, AT&T Wireless Services before that and PacBell Wireless before that, which basically makes me to be an AT&T customer since sometime around the year 2000. I have seen many, many changes and have gone through many devices, service plans, customer service reps and service contracts in my 11 years. In fact, the only thing that hasn’t changed is my phone number!

Anyway, I’m really starting to think I’m done with AT&T. My cell phone bill is considered a low plan with the amount of minutes I have, yet with the $40 per month unlimited data plan (Enterprise version) and $20 per month unlimited text plan added, my bill exceeds $100 every month. This is also after a 21% corporate discount I’m getting! Verizon is not much better in terms of price. Sure I can get an iPhone and the network probably is much better, but without the unlimited data plan, I’m not interested. I could go with T-Mobile, but after the merger, I’ll be back in AT&T’s hands anyway.

So I guess I’m down to Sprint. Unlimited everything really shines considering the price is only $79.99 per month. I’m seriously considering this option if iPhone or some seriously good Windows Phones show up on Sprint’s network. For all you AT&T customers out there with unlimited data plans, what will you do?