iPhone 5 is here, but does anyone care?

I know the title sounds vicious and I don’t mean to imply that nobody cares about the iPhone anymore because clearly they do. I’m just asking because it seems to me that Apple has hit a roadblock with their “innovation” ideas. Samsung’s Galaxy S III features technology such as NFC, which allows you to connect automatically to other NFC-capable devices like portable speakers; S-Beam, which allows you to perform data transfers simply by touching your device to another and new motion gestures such as being able to convert a text conversation into a phone call simply by raising the device to your ear. What exactly has Apple improved on iPhone 5 as compared to the iPhone 4S?


From the looks of it, not much. Yes, they finally addressed the size issue that some have been complaining about when comparing an iPhone to just about every Android device. But rather than make the entire phone larger, they simply made it taller. Their reasoning behind this was that a smartphone should be easy to use with just one hand and making a wider phone would limit this. Instead, they’ve added about an inch to the phone’s height which brings the screen size to a total of 4 inches and a 16:9 aspect ratio. This is a 0.5 inch increase over the iPhone 4.

The Retina display remains mostly the same although they claim that the resolution and depth of colors have been improved making the display more vibrant. This is true considering the resolution is now 1136px-by-640px whereas the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 screens were 960px-by-640px.

CameraiPhone 5 camera

The camera has not changed at all on the spec side, but there is apparently a new type of lens that allows sharper and more vibrant images to be taken. I have a feeling the pictures just look better because the screen has been improved! We’ll have to wait and see. They’ve also added better image stabilization and the ability to take still photos while recording a video.

I’ve never been a fan on cell phone cameras other than their convenience and portability, so for me personally the camera specs aren’t usually what I look for on a phone. Besides, the Galaxy S III also has only an 8MP camera. One change with the iPhone 5 is that the front-facing camera now records video in 720p HD and takes 1.2MP photos, while the iPhone 4 only had standard VGA quality.


iPhone is now LTE compatible. This makes iPhone 5 the first true 4G phone even though Apple recently touted the iPhone 4 and 4S as being 4G phones. They were able to pull this off by comparing the actual download speeds of iPhone 4 on the 3G network and a true 4G phone, in which they found that they were comparable.

iPhone 5 also now uses the new nano SIM card which makes this phone no longer compatible with the previous micro SIM cards. What this means is that if you buy this phone from a 3rd party and it doesn’t come with a SIM card, you have to go down to your carrier and pick up a new one. This could cost a fee.

My two cents

First of all, if you want to see the complete comparison between the iPhone 5 and and iPhone 4S, check out Apple’s page. Second, I’m not impressed at all. Yes, it looks great (as most Apple products do) but I’ve gotten out of that club…the club of people that will buy anything with an Apple logo on it. To me, the iPhone 5 isn’t much of an upgrade and I would tell any iPhone owner that there’s no real need to buy this phone…unless of course you’re using an iPhone 3G.

Currently, I’m using a Samsung Galaxy S II and I was waiting on getting the S III to see what Apple was planning on releasing. Now that I’ve seen it, I’m getting the S III.

But if you’re an iPhone fan and love what you see, pre-orders start tomorrow and the phone ships September 21st.

AT&T and Apple Are Officially Unlocking Old iPhones

For years, iPhone owners have been stuck with their devices being network-locked to AT&T even when they’ve fulfilled their contract commitments rendering these devices useless on other GSM networks. That is, until now. Last week, AT&T began unlocking iPhones that are no longer under contract. For years, many users who have upgraded their phones have searched for ways to sell their old iPhone and it is common knowledge that selling an unlocked phone gives it more value on the secondary market.

The problem has been that unless you purchased your iPhone unlocked from Apple (not available until iPhone 4), then you were stuck with illegal software hacks to get the device unlocked. Unlocking an iPhone could easily be done by jailbreaking the software, but this option is not always safe and it certainly voids your warranty.

Official AT&T Unlock

The easiest way to do this is to simply chat with AT&T online! Here are the steps:

  1. Find your IMEI number using one of these four ways:
    1 – Go into Settings –> General –> About.
    2 – Dial *#06#.
    3 – Take your SIM card out and look at the bottom of the tray (iPhone 4 and 4S only).
    4 – Take a look at the bottom of your box…this is assuming you haven’t swapped out your phone at some point in the past.
  2. Head on over to the AT&T chat support page. You will need to log in to your AT&T wireless account.
  3. Begin the chat by asking to unlock your old iPhone.
  4. Verify any account information they ask you for and send your IMEI number.
  5. Wait for 5-7 business days and AT&T will send you an email with instructions on how to perform the unlock.

The email will contain something similar to the following:

iPhone Unlock














This email will come to you once AT&T has authorized your device to be unlocked. I’m not sure what exactly will keep you from getting your phone unlocked, but one of them for sure is if you’re still on contract and have NOT upgraded your device. It’s also not certain whether the steps above will work on older iPhones. An alternative method for unlocking your device is to call customer support at 611 from your current cell phone.

It looks like the restore process will check the Apple and/or AT&T database for an authorized IMEI number and perform the unlock if applicable. There’s nothing easier than that and the best part is that it’s free! I hope everyone finds this information before getting suckered into paying someone to do this for you!

My two cents

My friend upgraded his phone to the 4S and asked me to sell his old iPhone 4. Since this news came out, I decided to get the phone unlocked so I could attract more buyers from all over the world. I just performed the above steps earlier today, so I have yet to see how well this whole process works. However, when I was doing the online chat, I wasn’t presented with any roadblocks, so I hope that is good news.

I’ve heard some people have had to produce receipts for proof of purchase, but I don’t know how AT&T has been handling that. There wasn’t anywhere I saw to upload scans nor was there any information about sending copies in for review. I’m fairly certain that AT&T has as much information as they need simply by punching the IMEI number into their database.

If anyone has completed the unlock process already, please share your experience in the comments below!!

Apple OS X Mountain Lion Hits Mac This Summer

Much like Snow Leopard was an incremental update to Leopard, Mountain Lion is expected to add some new features over Lion, but not be a complete makeover. After looking at the limited information we have so far, Mountain Lion proves that Apple is beginning to look more toward their iOS software for inspiration. With the major success of iOS on the iPhone and iPad, Apple has decided to add some features to OS X that will reflect iOS.

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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!

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 Apple.com

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 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.

Apple to ban iPhone cameras at concerts?

There are days when I love technology and then there are days when I hate to see the power that it can have. Apparently, Apple is developing software and hardware that can render an iPhone camera useless in very specific situations. According to them, infrared devices can be used to disable all “capturing” features of the camera and/or any other app that has capture capabilities!

How it works

Apple states that infrared devices could be installed on a stage for example and shoot out infrared signals into the audience. Anytime an iPhone is pointed toward the stage, the signals will tell the device not to allow capturing. Whether it will shut off the camera app completely or simply take a blacked out photo is unknown. However, Apple also states that the technology could be used to allow pictures to be taken, but apply a watermark to it declaring its copyright status.

On the flipside, this technology could be used as a search tool. Say you’re in a museum and you want to know more about a painting or sculpture. Simply take a picture of it and those same infrared signals could be used to send informational data to your device for further research.

I can think of at least two other big industries that might implement image blocking technology.


Apple iPhone concert picture
Today, more and more concerts and events are banning the use of cameras and recording devices. Long gone are the days where you went to a concert and you got to see the flashing lights of thousands of little cameras in the audience. In those days, nobody seemed to care because there was never anything on the consumer market that could be of any “print” quality for someone to bootleg. At best, you got a blurry, over-exposed shot of a performer on stage, which made good for your personal photo album, but could never be sold to Rolling Stone magazine.

Nowadays, anyone with a few hundred dollars can get insane quality cameras that fit into your pocket and with the use of sites like Facebook and Twitter, you could capitalize on so many different fronts when it comes to distributing content that you don’t own. While this could pose a negative threat to a musician, does it really warrant the use of device-disabling hardware? I mean seriously—with today’s concerts being so dark and in such large venues, do these artists really care about an iPhone picture floating around the Internet? You can’t zoom (with any usable quality) and you can’t flash adequately from far away, so what kind of pictures are you really going to get? Or maybe video…ok I can kind of see the point here, but how does this shaky, no-zoomed video taken from the top section compete with the official DVD release bound to hit the shelves?

I’d say who cares…let the fans get some memories for their Facebook page, prosecute only serious offenders of your copyrighted work and just sit back and be happy that people are actually buying your overpriced concert tickets. But I’m not a musician, so I guess I can’t relate.

Movie theatres

Now here’s probably the only valid reason I can think of to use this technology. Movie theatres already use night vision cameras to scope the audience looking for people who brought their camcorders into the latest blockbuster, but this new tech would literally put a stop to anyone planning on using an iPhone to record the film. Of course this doesn’t seem to address the issue of using some other video recording device, but if this takes off, I’m sure it’ll open plenty of doors for similar protections across a slew of other devices.

However, who really wants a copy of a movie that is likely to be very shaky, a little out of focus and has sound coming from a tiny tin speaker? Of course the argument could be made that if someone could watch a new release (of any quality), they would probably not spend the money going to the theatre to watch it. While this might be true for a very small number of people, I have to disagree. The way I look at it is if you really want to see a film in all it’s big-screen glory with chest-pounding sound and all, you’re going to buy a ticket. If you’re not, then you probably wouldn’t have watched it anyway, but figured you’d take a gander because you found a free download online. To me, nobody loses here.

Attention movie studios, go after the real threat…people who are making real copies of real DVD and Blu-ray discs because I can completely see people wanting to save 50% off of buying a copied version over the retail version of a movie. In this case, real money is lost.

Movie theatres can then focus on the real crime going on at the movies—patrons trying to sneak in cheaper candy and snacks from outside sources and those people that buy one ticket only to bounce around inside the theatre watching more than one movie on a given day. You know who you are!

My two cents

As a photographer, the thought of my camera being disabled is horrible. I understand where and when I can use a real camera, but I always look to my iPhone in times where I don’t have access to a real camera and as such, I would never expect to take “great” photos with it. What this means is if I’m taking pictures with my iPhone, it’s because I wanted to snap a quick shot of something funny and post it to my Facebook. Or maybe I just wanted to share a memory or two.

While I do understand that piracy and copyright infringement run rampant today, I think this is a bad solution. The day this technology is implemented is the day I no longer own an iPhone.

Apple now sells unlocked iPhones

Today’s post is just a quick blurb about Apple now selling unlocked iPhones. Yesterday, I explained the difference between unlocking and jailbreaking and today I found out that Apple now sells the iPhone already unlocked.

Why would you want an unlocked iPhone? The number one reason is so you don’t have to be locked into any contracts with a cell phone provider. These contracts are designed in such ways that keep you under their thumb so you can’t upgrade whenever you want, you can’t change plans very easily and you can’t cancel without paying a hefty termination fee. Here’s a quick breakdown of the benefits:

  • No contracts
  • No carrier locks – You can swap SIM cards in your iPhone with just about any other SIM card you can get a hold of.
  • No country restrictions – Because you can use SIM cards from other services, you are no longer bound by your country of origin.
  • No roaming – You no longer need to roam when travelling out of your network.
  • Resell value – An unlocked phone will always be worth more than regular phones.

The price of an unlocked phone is basically the retail price. In the case of the iPhone 4, the 16GB model is $649 and the 32GB model is $749. Both of these can be purchased directly from the Apple store.

All of this makes you wonder if it’s possible to simply unlock your own device. I know back in the old days, when Nokia was really big, you could literally unlock your phone by uploading some flashed firmware and you’d be good. Today, things are a bit more complicated due to newer technology and better ways for companies to secure their proprietary software. After searching the Internet for some time, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s no legitimate way to unlock an iPhone.

Of course there are workarounds and carrier hacks that work after jailbreaking your device, but nothing seems to really stick. Generally, these “fixes” will only last until the next software update—assuming you can even update your device without bricking it.

One such workaround was a service provided by GSM Phone Source that claimed they could issue you a new IMEI number that is not locked to AT&T for a small fee of $180, however, accessing their page in regards to the product simply spits out the following: The product you are trying to view no longer exists. Even if they could “whitelist” your IMEI number or provide you with a new one, who’s to say Apple (or AT&T) couldn’t remove that number just as easily it was added?

I found another interesting product called the Rebel Micro SimCard that apparently enables your phone to work unlocked by using a specially designed SIM card and tray that slips right into your existing slot. From what I’ve read and seen, these cards get the job done. But again, you’re still possibly stuck by not being able to upgrade in the future…unless they release new product updates.

My advice is to just buy the officially unlocked phone if you need one!

Apple Store Unionizing, Common iPhone Passcodes and Verizon iPad Recalled

Today I was reading about some current news coming from Apple Inc. and found three little stories that I thought I’d share with you.

Apple Retail Workers Union

Workers Union
It seems that Apple Store employee Cory Moll isn’t too happy with his $14/hr part-time wage he earns in his San Francisco Apple Store, so what does he do? Well, instead of asking his boss for a raise, working towards a promotion or possibly even finding a better-paying job, he decides to make a go at starting a union! The first argument that comes to mind is how well does $14/hr carry you in San Francisco? As I live in the Los Angeles area, I decided to use a cost of living calculator available at BestPlaces.net to compare salaries between Los Angeles and San Francisco. I was somewhat surprised to learn that the cost of living in San Francisco is about 43% higher than LA with housing being 69% greater.

With this information, I plugged in a salary of $29,000 per year. This is rounded down using $14/hr at 40 hours a week before taxes. The calculator tells me if you were making $29,000 in LA, you should find a job that pays $41,331 in San Francisco in order to maintain the same cost of living. Now, I’m not saying Cory can’t live off of $14/hr in San Francisco because I know plenty of other people are getting by making less (SF minimum wage is $9.92), but these numbers do paint a real picture.

The second argument is about whether a union would actually help retail employees or not. Typically, unions are found in heavy industries where work conditions generally include real-life dangers to health, long-term physical injuries and other ailments that employees must “suffer” while trying earn decent wages. Over the years, unions have helped to keep employees safe and protected against negligent employers. However, some might argue that due to the many changes in employment laws and protections offered to employees by national and state governments, unions are no longer necessary. I won’t get into that here, but the point is, aside from maybe securing higher salaries, what real good will a union of Apple employees do? I can imagine one negative downside to this: higher prices for consumers.

At any rate, Cory has acknowledged the daunting task ahead of him in trying to secure favor from all 325 Apple Stores, but he says his first task is to just get people talking.

The Most Common iPhone Passcodes

iPhone lockscreen
Hackers and wouldbe crazy girl/boyfriends listen up! According to the makers of the Big Brother Camera Security app, the most common passcode used on iPhone and iPod Touch devices is ‘1234’. The next most commonly used passcodes are ‘0000’, ‘2580’ and ‘1111’. The app, by the way, allows you to set your screen to lock like normal, but if someone grabs your phone and makes an attempt at accessing the device, it takes two photos of that person using the front facing camera.

The makers of the Big Brother app, Amitay, collected anonymous information from over 200,000 of its users to compile the list of most-used passcodes. Of course, these passcodes are only used in the app itself and Amitay has no access to find out what passcodes are being used on the iOS screen lock, but the results are still ironic considering these very insecure passcodes are being used by individuals who are also using security software.

All of this goes to show just how insecure our passwords are. This is especially true for those out there that not only use a very simple password, but end up using the same password on many different sites! If one lesson can be learned here, it’s to create a unique passcode, don’t use dates and don’t make it obvious. If all that fails, disable “Simple Passcode” in your iOS device—this allows you to create a real, complex password.

Verizon iPad 2 Recalled

Verizon iPad
Ok, so the headline sounds a bit more alarming than the actual news, but the point is that a small number of Verizon iPad 2 units have been recalled due to problems with them connecting to the 3G network. Apple is claiming that an “extremely small number” of units have a manufacturers defect in them that makes it near impossible to get 3G service on the device.

It seems that the recalled devices suffer from having a duplicate MEID code of another device. This apparently happened during the flashing of the chips inside the device. It’s this MEID code coupled with a mobile equipment identifier that make each iPad unique. When an iPad goes to connect, the network authenticates these numbers with accounting to ensure that the device is authorized to be on the network. However, when two devices have the same MEID number, it’s game over for both of them or at least the one that tried to connect last.

It’s been reported that Apple caught the problem quickly, but not quick enough to keep any flawed units from entering the marketplace. With that said, if you have a Verizon iPad 2 and are having connection problems, head on down to the Apple Store and get yourself a new one.