Apple iOS 5 Features

Apple is really great at giving you things you never thought you needed. I remember thinking with iOS 4 and 4.3 came out with all their new features, that we must have everything now. The phone is awesome and what else could you really want or need?! I guess that’s the way life is with technology—just as you settle in with your new device, along comes another one to make you feel like you’re behind the curve again.

There are over 200 features with the new release of iOS 5 coming out this fall, so I won’t touch on all of them, but here are my top 5 favorites:

iOS 5 Features

iOS 5 Notification CenterNotification Center – As it is right now, whenever you’re using an app or playing a game on your device, you will be rudely interrupted if you get a text message or some other app notification. To retrieve your message, you have to exit the app and then come back to it and some apps might not return you to where you were. With Notification Center, all messages and alerts appear at the top of the app in a little information bar which you can then pull down with one swipe, reply to a text, acknowledge an alert or whatever else you need to do and then make it disappear having never to leave your app or game!

Another great feature of this is that these notifications also appear on the lock screen. They are fully functional too, so you can listen to voicemails or read texts without having to unlock your phone and access them directly. I wonder how it’ll handle privacy for those of us who don’t allow the content of text messages to appear on a locked device.

iOS 5 Quick Access CameraCamera – How can you better a camera that already has physical specs that can’t change? Oh yeah, make it available to use without having to fumble around with passcodes and icons. Such a simple solution to a really annoying problem. There’s an old saying that says “The best camera is the one you have at the moment.” and how true is that when you’re out and about and you see something you really wanted to take a picture of, but you missed it because you took your phone out and you spent 30 seconds trying to enter your passcode and then remember where you put your camera app icon?

No more worries with that one! iOS 5 allows you to access your camera right from the lock screen and what’s even better is the ability to take shots using the volume-up button! Adding to this amazing feature is the ability to use grid lines to compose a shot and then perform basic editing like redeye removal, cropping and autoexposure to clean up your photos. When using iCloud, all the photos you take are instantly sent to all of your other iCloud devices. How much better can this get?!

iOS 5 iMessageiMessage – Text messaging has replaced phone calls, but for those of you who don’t like paying for texts or maybe you’re an iPod Touch user or non-3G iPad user and you can’t use text. Or at least if you wanted to, you had to download an app for it. Well not anymore! With iMessage, you can now send texts from any 3G or wi-fi connection to and from all iOS devices and just about any other 3G text-capable device. Plus, you can now see when the other person is typing. Another neat feature is the ability to start a text conversation on your iPhone and continue it on your iPad—no more fumbling around between devices.

A couple of other cool features are the ability to track sent and received messages through tracking receipts and the universal ability to send group messages as well as photos, locations, contacts and videos to all iOS devices.

iOS 5 NewsstandNewsstand – For those of you that have digital subscriptions to magazines or newspapers, you now have a better place to get the latest issues. Before, you were probably downloading them one by one or having to use the publisher’s app to get the latest edition, but now Newsstand will organize all of you subscriptions in one central location. When a new issue comes out, it’s automatically sent to Newsstand with an image of the newest cover automatically. If you want to manage your subscriptions or purchase new ones, you can do so right from Newsstand or access the new subscription store in iTunes.

I only feel sorry for today’s paperboy!

iOS 5 RemindersReminders – There are literally tons of reminder apps out there—some are free, some you have to pay big bucks for. What I never understood is why didn’t Apple ever make their own a long time ago?? Now, we don’t have to worry about that. Reminders makes creating to–do lists super easy. You can create any number of things you need to do complete with due dates, locations and alerts. What’s really cool about the location feature is let’s say you create a grocery list and you map it to your favorite grocery store. On the off-chance that you forgot you actually made the shopping list, you might have gone shopping and didn’t remember some items, right? Not with Reminders!! With location mapping, as soon as you pull into the parking lot of that store, you are sent an alert that reminds you about your shopping list.

This app appears to be absolutely amazing; especially for someone like me who always forgets the little things.

My two cents

From what I see so far, iOS 5 is just more proof that Apple keeps delivering great features with every new update they put out. I know a lot of Droid owners will probably read this and say they’ve had features like this for a long time now, but what I love about Apple is these features are integrated into more than just one device and the they are created by Apple directly. I for one would prefer not to use third-party apps because sometimes they don’t always play well with devices.

At any rate, I can’t wait for this release and if you’re interested in seeing the complete list of features within iOS 5, check out Apple’s website.

Apple iCloud Features

This fall is going to be a big deal for Apple. Not only will they likely be releasing the iPhone 5, but they are officially launching iOS 5 and another nifty little software suite called iCloud. That’s right folks, MobileMe is out and iCloud is in! Cloud computing has been taking off in the last year or so with what seems to be Facebook leading the pack when it comes to networking your social media presence.

Using Facebook as an example, anyone who has an account can see just how easy it is to connect EVERYTHING about our personal lives to just about almost anything on the Internet. Remember the days when you used to have to create new user accounts at every site you wanted to sign up for? Now, it seems just about every website allows you to sign in using your Facebook account. This is a slight example of cloud computing—being able to connect to everything wherever you’re located. However, even the almighty Facebook has its limitations.

Cloud computing as a whole is much more than connecting your wall to Twitter. It involves the centralized storage of your documents, emails, pictures, videos, etc. while connecting (or syncing) these items to all of your devices. In the old days, you had a computer at home and some sort of sync software that you would use to send documents to each one of your devices one at a time. The problem was that whenever you wanted to update something or make other changes, you had to wait until you got home to re-sync everything again.

While Apple iCloud does not purport itself to be an all-inclusive solution to address everything cloud computing can offer, it does provide a very simple and intuitive way for iOS users to wirelessly sync information to smartphones, laptops, computers and Internet storage. I’m hesitant to use the term “sync” because iCloud actually performs this process live, which means you don’t actually have to do anything for your stuff to appear across all of your toys—except to provide a wi-fi connection to the Internet.

iCloud Features

Likely the biggest feature of iCloud will be the free 5GB of online storage you have alongside the free iCloud software itself. However, this is a far cry from the two MobileMe plans that were available: a 20GB individual plan and a 40GB family plan. But as with any online storage service, this is just the basic offering and we can be sure that for some money, you can add more features and storage to your account.

  • Photo StreamPhoto Stream CloudPhoto Stream is probably the second biggest feature to come from iCloud. To explain it simply, I’ll quote Apple: “With iCloud, when you take a photo on one device, it automatically appears on all your other devices. No syncing. No sending. Your photos are just there. Everywhere you want them.” The best part is that all of this works with PCs as well! If you add an AppleTV to the mix, you can create visual slideshows to display on your tv for all to enjoy!
  • iTunesiTunes CloudiTunes in iCloud allows you to purchase anything you want from the store and have them appear on all registered devices. So imagine you’re at work and you buy a new song on your iPad. This song gets stored on iCloud and then gets synced automatically to your iPhone, which will come in hand for your ride home when you want to plug the phone into your car.
  • Wi Fi Backup – Now you don’t even have to connect your device to a computer to do your backups! When you go to sleep at night, your device will automatically back itself up over your home wireless network.

My two cents

I love the concept of cloud computing because it’s less hardware for me to own and that means less trouble when it comes to connecting devices and making sure that every computer has all of my updated files. I’m happy to know that iCloud still has many of the features I wanted to use when MobileMe came out, but didn’t want to pay for. We have yet to see what kind of “premium” services iCloud will bring to the table, but as it stands now, I think the free, basic service will be just enough for my usage.

Get Paid to Take Pictures With Your iPhone

Attention iPhone owners! Get paid to use your camera while walking around various locations where you’re already at! Say what?! That’s right, I just discovered a new company called Gigwalk that creates photo assignments for you to pick up and complete. For that, you get a simple commission.

I downloaded the app and began the signup process, but it looks like they don’t accept just anyone. I’m actually in a virtual line to find out if I’m approved. How they pick and choose who get’s access is beyond me, but until I get an answer, I’ll at least go over how this new service works.

Photo Assignments

Gigwalk uses pre-assigned tasks to hand out to the community of app users based on a number of various requests such as verifying street signs, business locations, interior photos of restaurants, etc. Once you choose an assignment that is close to your current location, Gigwalk will tell you the instructions for what kind of photos you need to take, how many and any other instructions that are required. Once you complete the assignment and it gets approved, you get paid.

So who’s paying for all this and why? It’s business owners and anyone else interested in obtaining photos from people using the app. As an example, if you own a local restaurant and you want Gigwalk users to come take photos of it, you create a new assignment (a Gig) dictating what you want a Gigwalker to take photos of and where to do it. The assignment is then sent out to all the local Gigwalkers and they begin to take the photos.

These assignments can range from the mundane like taking pictures of toilets in bar or the detailed like exploring the ins and outs of a swanky hotel. The cost of these assignments can range drastically. In the case of the toilets, you could make about $4, but the hotel review could bring in about $35.

What’s all this for?

Just like Google is out there mapping the world with street view access to almost any populated area on the Earth, Gigwalk decided to take things a step further. For one, they’re not investing in a huge fleet of camera vehicles that simply drive around and take pictures of whatever it sees. Plus, it allows businesses to decide how they want their businesses to be presented.

For users, I think the biggest benefit is to have more accurate information at your disposal. I’m sure you can understand that one of the most frustrating things about using a GPS or even Google Maps Street View is when you finally locate a business you were looking for, but when you drive to it, it no longer exists. Gigwalk can help with that by providing verification photos of things that have changed.

An example of this might be a user complaint that says such and such restaurant is no longer there, so a Gigwalk assignment is put out for someone to go take a picture of the empty building or even the name of the new place.

My two cents

Of course I can’t actually review the service as I haven’t used it yet, but from the surface, it looks very promising. Since I’m an iPhone owner and I like getting out, I know this will be just one more thing I can do with my device while I’m on the go. And if I make some money doing it, then so be it! I’ll report back with my findings if I get chosen to become a member.

In the meantime, go check out Gigwalk.

Is Apple "Watching" You Through iOS 4?

It would appear that a newly discovered un-encrypted file located on iOS 4 devices has been storing location information since it launched back on June 21, 2010. What’s not entirely clear is exactly how Apple is using this information, if at all. The file is called consolidated.db and it works by downloading latitude and longitude information taken from triangulated cell phone towers as you move about various locations.

As you would imagine, the iPhone and the iPad are the only iOS 4 devices that this could possibly affect, however there are no indications that any of this information is being sent to Apple. Some believe it’s just an easier way for iPhoto to correctly tag information to pictures taken on the devices while others think it may have to do with the new free MobileMe feature called Find My iPhone that allows you to find the location of a lost phone with the added benefit of being able to send a direct system message to the device and/or wipe its contents remotely.

Of course, this new information is likely to only upset a small handful of users seriously concerned with data privacy issues and anyone developing any new concerns should be reminded that the information collected in this file is the same that any phone company can obtain from their own data-collection processes. With cell phones, it’s possible for any law enforcement agency to find out your previous GPS history—with a court order of course.

As far as protecting you and your device from unwanted eyes, the best thing you can do besides turning your device off is to simply encrypt your iTunes backups.

Finally, for anyone wishing to complain to Apple (or anyone else), understand that all of this information was divulged to us in a long EULA that we all generally fail to read on just about everything with buy! Here’s a direct quote from Apple’s terms:

Apple and our partners and licensees may collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device. This location data is collected anonymously in a form that does not personally identify you and is used by Apple and our partners and licensees to provide and improve location-based products and services.

I, for one am not worried about anything—for two reasons—1. I’m doing nothing wrong and 2. There are plenty of apps out there that use location tracking as their primary function.

So, to answer the stated question directly, no, Apple is not watching you! But at least it’s nice to understand how your device works a little bit more, right?

The Mysterious White iPhone 4

What a week this has been. We talked about the new iPad 2 and how it compares with the Macbook Air, looked at the overview of what’s in store for OS X Lion and now we’re talking about the white iPhone…again.

It’s been 10 months since the iPhone 4 launch and even though Apple clearly stated that the white version was going to be delayed, I don’t think anyone ever expected this kind of delay! There were all sorts of speculation as to why the delay even happened…everything from parts not being available, manufacturers not being able to live up to Apple’s standards and my favorite…Apple couldn’t create white glass.

The real reason was simply because the color white naturally has some opacity, so there were areas around the screen and camera that caused some light leakage (although this has not been confirmed by Apple). This would have caused flawed photos as well has a rather pretty-looking iPhone to be have its image marred. But nonetheless, Apple stated that the white iPhone is indeed due out this spring. What’s interesting about these Apple delays is that there are companies out there selling after-market kits that allow you to convert your iPhone into another color including…white. So how is it that they have managed to make the parts, but Apple can’t??

Check out these sites:Transparent iPhone 4

  • – If you’re willing to drop $80+, you can change the color of your iPhone without getting a lame case. I thought about changing mine to white, but they also have a transparent kit!!
  • – They offer just the white, but also have sim unlocking services as well. The pricing for the kit is £129 which equals about $210. Ouch!

But do we even really care anymore? Given Apple’s release history of the iPhone, shouldn’t we be expecting the iPhone 5 sometime in June? Well, it may seem that this won’t the case this year. PCWorld estimates that the iPhone 5 might not be released until late 2011 or as far out as 2012. This would seem likely due to the fact that Verizon just recently got the iPhone 4 and Apple may want to let those customers settle in before bringing out a new device so soon. In fact, there are already manufacturers claiming that iPhone 5 production isn’t beginning until at least September.

At any rate, if we can’t expect an iPhone 5 this summer, I’m all for it! I’m really getting tired of forking over large amounts of cash just to get the latest and greatest. I know I don’t have to, but I just can’t help it! 🙁 If a new iPhone 5 does make an appearance this summer, let’s just hope that Apple releases it in both white and black so we can stop blogging about this whole issue.

Apple iPhone 5 Rumors

As with everything Apple, the rumors are already abound regarding a 5th generation iPhone. What will it look like? What new features will it have and most importantly, do I really need another iPhone?

It seems that every time a new iPhone comes out, we quietly tell ourselves that this will be the last one we’re going to buy…because it has everything we need. And then a few months before release date, the blogs are on fire about the all new design and features. That’s when the excitement overtakes you and before you know it, you’re trolling around every website you can find trying to scoop up just one more piece of new information.

iPhone 5 News

The blogs are already here! I found the first one by typing “iphone 5” into Google and it looks like is claiming to be the first site dedicated to the iPhone 5. The fact is that there is no actual news yet…just rumors.

As with other tech sites online, I plan to follow this product into oblivion like I’ve done with previous models to bring you the latest as it comes. And just like in the past, I’m sure I’ll have a week or two of discussions simply about iPhone 5 and nothing more!

The Rumors

Let’s get to the good stuff. I’ve rounded up some of the latest rumors about the new phone. Please remember, these are just rumors. Actually, it might be closer to a wishlist than anything else.

  • Larger screen – If only they added a phone feature to the iPad…then we’d have a larger screen! Actually, it’s very possible that the screen could reach a 4-inch size to compete with the latest Droid phones.
  • iPhone on T-Mobile – After AT&T announced they are buying T-Mobile for $39 million, it came as no surprise that T-Mobile customers were excited that this would enable them to get iPhone for the first time…legally. There’s no word whether T-Mobile will still operate as an independent company.
  • Faster processor – While it would be cool if they went with a dual-core processor, Apple might opt for a new A5 chip instead. This would likely be due to battery life.
  • Higher resolution – Just when you thought the screen couldn’t get any better, it just might! Dare I say a 3D iPhone?! How crazy would that be? I mean it might look cool to be using apps and placing phone calls in a 3D environment, but how funny would you look to people on the street?
  • Thinner and lighter – Of course this could be expected given the overhauls they’ve done to the iPad and the MacBook Air. How thin and light could they go if they plan to make the screen larger?
  • 4G service – I can’t imagine Apple releasing their next phone without 4G capabilities, so we can *hopefully* assume this one is true!

More Information

Stay tuned to this site for more information as it comes. I’ll be blogging more and more as news is delivered and you can expect to stay informed by accessing

Lastly, I found an interesting website that created this really cool mockup of the presumed iPhone 5 features. I’m re-posting the image here, but to see the original source, please check out
iPhone 5 Rumored Features

UPDATE April 20, 2011 – Reuters seems to have confirmed that iPhone 5 will likely ship in September. It would also seem as though the new phone will be more of a slight update rather than a whole new device. If this is true, we can expect a similar transition like we saw between the 3G and the 3GS. According to the article, it’s possible that the processor will be the only thing upgraded.

Verizon iPhone Is Coming

I am certainly not reporting anything new, but as usual, I do have an opinion! There’s a new iPhone section of Verizon’s website and it appears that they’re going with a pretty outlandish tagline: iPhone 4. Verizon. It begins. I can’t tell if they’re simply just that excited about the phone coming to them (as well as the influx of new customers) or if they’re declaring an all-out war on AT&T, but either way, let’s hope all these claims of Verzion’s superiority over AT&T are true.

It’s no secret that AT&T has suffered some harsh criticism over the last 3 years due to the breakout device of the century. Looking back, we had a phone that was developed by a computer manufacturer in a time where RIM ruled the day with their Blackberrys, so lovingly called “Crackberrys” and nobody (even Apple) thought it was going to go anywhere. We all know what happened next.

iPhone on AT&T

We’ve had the chance to see how AT&T has handled the iPhone and to many, it’s been a disaster. From complaints about dropped calls, network crashes and static on phone calls to pre-order disasters, iPhone 4 antenna issues (this was Apple’s fault) and the loss of the unlimited data plan, AT&T has built themselves quite the reputation. It’s no wonder why many people have opted to move to Verizon and pick up some kind of Droid phone.

In the wake of every major problem to hit AT&T, their response has been slow, inadequate or just downright lacking. Meanwhile, Verizon has been sitting in the back of the room just waiting semi-quietly for this day to come: the perfect combination of AT&T’s bad press and the end of the exclusivity contract. I say semi-quietly because none of us can forget the epic, and very public advertising battle between the two giants. AT&T says “There’s an app for that.” while Verizon touts, “There’s a map for that.”, in which they tried to tell everyone that AT&T has less network coverage than Verizon. The reality of that statement is that AT&T does have less 3G coverage, but overall, AT&T’s network is the same size, if not bigger than Verizon’s.

By far the biggest complaint among iPhone users on AT&T has been the data usage. iPhones are powerhouse, data guzzlers! When the phone first debuted in 2007, nobody had a device that could match it and AT&T was forcefully giving away unlimited data plans. What they weren’t prepared for was the increase in customers. Not only were more people jumping on the Apple bandwagon, but the phone allowed them to do so much more than anything else at the time. It was simply human nature at that point: if it’s there, why not use it. So what was AT&T’s answer? “We’re improving the network. Oh and by the way, we’re taking away the unlimted data plans.”

To add to all of that, AT&T has been able to maintain its exclusive contract between Apple that was hammered out in 2007, basically keeping the iPhone from being on any other network. Well, this contract is ending and now we’ll see how Big Red handles this wonder device.

iPhone on Verizon

Rumors that have been fluttering around the blogosphere for the last year or so have now been squashed. The iPhone is coming to Verizon on February 10th, 2011. and there’s no looking back! Many Verizon customers have had ‘iPhone envy’ for as long as they can remember—those customers not willing to jump ship to AT&T because they love their “more” reliable service so much. Who can blame them? With everything that I mentioned above plus all the bad press that AT&T has suffered the last 3 years, I’m amazed that I’m still an iPhone owner.

It’ll be interesting to see exactly what happens now that Droid phones have been able to gain some foothold in the industry. Will Verizon customers trade phones? Will AT&T customers pack their bags and head for Verizon-land? Will Blackberry finally meet its demise? Nobody can say for sure, but investors are already prepping. AT&T stocks have started to drop while Verizon’s have started to rise.

One other important note is that AT&T offered early upgrades to all existing iPhone users with the release of the iPhone 4. Of course many, many customers jumped at the chance to get the new phone, but failed (or didn’t care) to realize that they were being locked into 2 more years of AT&T’s service. This was no doubt AT&T’s last attempt to keep its iPhone customers alive and well.

The last major issue of concern is the well-known antenna issue–you know, the one where you couldn’t hold your phone without a bumper case? The question is whether Verizon will be getting the same, defective phone or if a re-design is in order. Time will tell, but these pictures sure point to good news.

New iPhone antenna "slits"
New iPhone antenna “slits”
Old iPhone antenna "slits"
Old iPhone antenna “slits”

For a closer view, check out Engadget’s article about the new iPhone casing design. The potential new design is somewhat of a concern due to the movement of the vibration switch and you know what that means!! That’s right, all new cases!!

My Two Cents

As if my opinions matters to you anyway…I’m sure you’ve already made up your mind about what you’re going to do. As for me, I’m locked in for just over one more year and after reviewing AT&T’s early termination fee schedule, I don’t think I’m going anywhere soon. Just in case you didn’t know what it is, if you own an iPhone, the cost is $325 minus $10 for every month you were in your contract. For me, that fee will be $225 if I jump over to Verizon in February.

My plan at this point is to wait for everyone else to jump ship and that should alleviate the network congestion. But that’s just hopeful thinking I guess and at least I’m not the only one who feels that way.

Is the AT&T Unlimited Data Plan Coming Back?

UPDATED AT THE BOTTOM :: Verizon will be getting the iPhone and offering unlimited data plans to all customers. Will AT&T keep up??

We all know what a disaster it was when AT&T pulled the plug on the unlimited data plan for iPhone on June 7th, 2010. Then they slapped us in the face by launching the tethering feature AFTER the fact, so they would ensure that nobody could possibly tether their iPhone while on the unlimited plan unless they felt like jailbreaking their device…but that’s another story!

From a business standpoint, this made perfect sense. I mean, ever since the iPhone launched, AT&T has taken quite a beating from both consumers and critics for their QoS problems (that’s quality of service for those non tech-savvy readers!), but who could have predicted the popularity of the phone? I think everyone was skeptical of another computer company releasing a phone–look how the first Microsoft-powered phones fared.

Lack of sufficient data

When the $30 unlimited plan was pulled, we were left with two limited options: 200MB for $15 per month or 2GB for $25 per month. The fear was that we now had to vigilantly watch our usage so as not to be hit with per MB overages. On iPhone (or any smartphone for that matter), it’s hard to put a ‘mental’ cap on something like data because practically the entire phone is using data for everything! However, the truth of the matter is that when you looked at your actual data usage and compared it to what you thought you used, most people were very surprised–myself included.

So now we have two caps and a new feature: tethering. It adds $30 or $35 to your data cost depending on whether you get the Enterprise plan or not. The problem here isn’t the price because you could easily spend $60+ on a 3G plan from any major provider. The issue is simply that a limited data plan my be fine for a phone, but not a laptop! How many YouTube videos or Netflix movies can you stream until you hit your cap?!

Unlimited plan coming back??

Due to my recent ramblings about how the iPad compares to the new MacBook Air, I have put serious thought into selling my iPad and getting an Air, but my main problem was the lack of wireless 3G Internet access for the Air–and considering the fact that almost every other netbook has 3G services built in, this is a big deal.

I began searching for other options. I was looking into how much more cost I would incur by adding a 3G/4G Internet device to my tech arsenal. The logical first step was to check out AT&T since I’m already a customer. All I ended up finding was the same limited data plan at a high cost. I figured if I was going down this road, I might as well just add the tethering to my phone.

That’s when I discovered this:

Current iPhone data plans from AT&T
Current iPhone data plans from AT&T

What you’re seeing here is a current screenshot from my AT&T Wireless account. While looking at my options for adding tethering to my account, I discovered that the original unlimited data plan is now on the list of features I can change! Also, a new Enterprise data plan has seemed to appeared although I’m not sure why it’s there and more importantly why it’s cheaper. When clicked on, both plans show almost identical product descriptions except the cheaper one talks about “savings”.

What does this mean?

I can’t really say. It could be that because I’m a grandfathered customer, I still have access (at least visually) to the original unlimited plan. The second Enterprise plan may have just shown up because they changed the price. Who knows, but what I can say is that until I learn more about the above screenshot, I’m not changing a thing! I don’t feel like running the risk of losing my current unlimited plan!

If someone from AT&T is out there, please look into this matter and see what you can find because the few AT&T reps I’ve spoken to don’t seem to have a clue.

New Verizon iPhone

UPDATE: Jan 12, 2011 — I’m posting this update because as everyone is aware, Verizon is now getting the iPhone on February 10th. Verizon has also stated that they will be offering the same unlimited data plans enjoyed by their current customers to all iPhone customers as well.

If AT&T is smart, they’ll want to reinstate their unlimited plans on the iPhone, but only time will tell. It looks like the flood gates just got opened!

MacBook Air (2010) vs iPad vs MacBook Pro

I know it’s been awhile since my last post, but I’ve been working heavily on my other site and just trying to maintain sanity throughout my life due to some unexpected changes not too long ago. At any rate, this post comes after my in-depth look at the new MacBook Air that came out less than a month ago. For all of you that feel Apple is just releasing the same old products in different packaging, understand this…you’re right.

Ok so I’m an Apple fan boy and I love to see what’s next and yes, I’ve been known to drop more shiny pennies on their products than I do on more important things in life, but rather than try to explain myself, let me at least justify my purchases! Actually, I already did that when I went over the various reasons about why I own an iPhone, an MacBook and an iPad. Of course there are plenty of other devices out there that could have done almost exactly the same things (if not, more) for a LOT less, but Apple has me sucked in!

So I buy an iPad because I wanted to take the mobility of the iPhone to a new level and I must tell you, I succeeded. Everything was going fine until I saw the new MacBook Air. And so it begins–the never-ending quest to have the perfect combination of technology to ensure that no matter where you’re at, you’re always connected and functional.

MacBook Air (2010 model)

When the first MacBook Air came out, it was “revolutionary”, it was “sleek” but most importantly, it could fit in a standard size manilla envelope. The problem with it was that it cost way too much money! In fact, I think the only good thing that came out of it was that it set a new standard for future MacBook designs.

Today, we have a new pair of MacBook Airs that look better than ever, are more powerful than ever and…still cost way too much money. Here’s the break down:

2010 MacBook Air models
2010 MacBook Air models

From this comparison, you can see that there is really only two models: the 11-inch screen and the 13-inch screen. Within those two models you can choose the size of your hard drive, but that’s it.

Now I already own a 13-inch MacBook (2008 model–before they all went to MacBook Pros), so the only real excitement I got from these is the fact that one of them is 11-inches. The other attractive feature here is the solid-state flash memory. If you get a chance to check out one of these in the store, you’ll notice quite a difference between the boot up and running speed of a MacBook Air and a MacBook Pro. The Air will beat the Pro almost every time and it can do so with almost half the processor speed!

Pros and Cons


  • Small, portable and lightweight
  • Fast, flash memory
  • Full keyboard, full OSX
  • Built-in SD card reader
  • 5+ hours of battery life


  • No ROM drive
  • Small screens
  • Not upgradable
  • Onboard memory
  • No backlit keyboard
  • No built-in 3G service

iPad (1st Gen)

Apple iPad 1st generation
Apple iPad 1st generation

The iPad is great, but it’s only as great as the iPhone with a slightly better advantage of having a larger screen. The reason I bought one was to go more portable than my MacBook, but to have a larger screen than my iPhone and so far the results have been…ehhh. Granted, I love using the iPad and it comes in handy when you want to write something down, check your email while in the car or even just play some games when you’re bored.

The problem I keep running into is the fact that I want to use it like my MacBook, but because it doesn’t have an actual file system, I’m still stuck with the same limitations as the iPhone. So where before, I was looking for a mid-point between smartphone and laptop, it looks like now I’m looking for a mid-point between iPad and desktop computer. So far, all signs point to MacBook Air.

UPDATED: Now that the iPad 2 is coming out this month (March 11, 2011), take a look at the direct comparison and find out if you think you should upgrade! After reviewing its specs, I’ve decided that aside from a slightly faster processor and the addition of two new cameras, it’s practically the same as the first iPad.

MacBook Pro

Apple MacBook aluminum unibody (2008)
Apple MacBook aluminum unibody (2008)

As I mentioned, I don’t officially have a MacBook Pro because my model came out with there was still just MacBooks, but since my system specs are the same as the new Pros (albeit no SD card reader), I can speak on this. My original setup consisted of a desktop PC and an HP laptop. I sold the HP and got the MacBook for two reasons: new computer and to become more portable. That’s why I chose the 13-inch model.

As time went on, I noticed I was using the MacBook more and more and the desktop less and less. The problem with this was that the laptop became my desktop replacement, but now I was stuck with a 13-in screen!


While each of these devices serves different purposes and not everyone will find the same use in them, my opinion is that owning a MacBook Pro and an iPad or a MacBook Air and an iPad are great additions to the smartphone you probably already own. Each of them allows you to be portable in different ways and depending on the situation, you will find that they complement your life very well. Now, if you own all three, you just have nothing better to spend your money on!

As for me, I’m almost at the point where I want to change my tech setup once again. This is what I foresee:

  1. Sell my current desktop PC
  2. Sell my iPad
  3. Sell my MacBook
  4. Buy a Mac Mini to replace my desktop
  5. Buy a MacBook Air (11-inch) to replace my MacBook and iPad
  6. Keep my iPhone 4 as my extremely portable device

Now if only Apple would put some built-in 3G capabilities on the MacBook Air–or any MacBook for that matter, then we’d be sittin’ pretty!

iPhone 4 Lands June 24th, 2010

I tell you, the last few months have been crazy over this new device! First of all, we caught a glimpse into the world of Apple when a man by the name of Gray Powell left a prototype device at a bar in Redwood City after celebrating his birthday. Shortly after he left the bar, someone found the device and sold it to Gizmodo who then explored the device to it’s fullest to get a clearer idea of what it was.

Gizmodo broke the story about the iPhone 4 to the world, thus causing Apple to sue for theft and have the editor who wrote the article turn over his property to the cops for evidence.

Once the phone was finally claimed by Apple and then officially announced, all we wanted to know was “how much?” and “when can we buy?”. Not only did the phone itself cause the demand to be exceptionally high, but the announcement of AT&T allowing early upgrades for basically any contract that would be expiring in 2010 opened to flood gates to just about every single previous iPhone owner.

Black Tuesday

June 15th was the day selected for the pre-ordering of iPhone 4 and boy what a day it was! Here are a few of the things that went down (pun intended) that day:

  • iPhone 4 Pre-order system shuts down – The pre-order system was opened at about 1am on June 15th and right from the start, people were complaining about not being able to get in the system to place an order.
  • AT&T account security breaches – Many AT&T users (including me) experienced a wide-spread security breach within AT&T after logging into their wireless accounts online. Instead of seeing their own information, they were presented with the information of someone completely different.
  • AT&T stores took iPhone pre-orders on paper – Many customers (including me) were forced to have a pre-order written down on paper only to be processed later.
  • iPhone 4 orders were being randomly cancelled – It almost seemed completely random, but iPhone 4 orders were getting cancelled left and right with no apparent reasoning behind it. I think it had to do with people placing multiple orders on single accounts or the old rule about upgrading your account where you actually couldn’t upgrade if you had a balance due. I made sure I paid my bill before I started this process!!
  • Shipping date for iPhone pre-orders pushed to July – It appears like July 14th is the earliest date you can expect your iPhone to ship. The demand was just too much for AT&T and Apple to handle.
  • Best Buy was pre-ordering white iPhone 4s – Somehow, a few people were able to successfully order a white iPhone 4 from Best Buy even though it was clearly stated that the white iPhone 4 would not be available at launch date. We’ll see about the “successfulness” on June 24th!

The Aftermath

After all this, AT&T and Apple have both formally apologized. Apple released this statement:

CUPERTINO, Calif., June 16 — Yesterday Apple and its carrier partners took pre-orders for more than 600,000 of Apple’s new iPhone 4. It was the largest number of pre-orders Apple has ever taken in a single day and was far higher than we anticipated, resulting in many order and approval system malfunctions. Many customers were turned away or abandoned the process in frustration. We apologize to everyone who encountered difficulties, and hope that they will try again or visit an Apple or carrier store once the iPhone 4 is in stock.

And AT&T had this to say:

DALLAS, June 16 — AT&T issued the following statement today:

IPhone 4 pre-order sales yesterday were 10-times higher than the first day of pre-ordering for the iPhone 3G S last year. Consumers are clearly excited about iPhone 4, AT&T’s more affordable data plans and our early upgrade pricing.

Given this unprecedented demand and our current expectations for our iPhone 4 inventory levels when the device is available June 24, we’re suspending pre-ordering today in order to fulfill the orders we’ve already received.

The availability of additional inventory will determine if we can resume taking pre-orders.

In addition to unprecedented pre-order sales, yesterday there were more than 13 million visits to AT&T’s website where customers can check to see if they are eligible to upgrade to a new phone; that number is about 3-times higher than the previous record for eligibility upgrade checks in one day.

We are working hard to bring iPhone 4 to as many of our customers as soon as possible.

After the aftermath

The dust appears to be settling and the lucky people who got orders in on the 15th or manual orders on the 16th (taken on the 15th) are starting to see shipping information in their AT&T accounts. The blogs are on fire with people talking about their own personal experiences and of course griping from people who aren’t getting theirs on day one.

I had my own streak of good luck turned bad and then turned good again. I started off with two orders for the same account and then I thought I was getting none. I was thinking I’d see my phone in mid-July, but then I got the good news that mine had shipped! You can read my whole story on my blog. The story is called ‘How I Almost Got Two iPhone 4s on Release Day‘.

UPDATE 6-23-10

I just wanted to share that I received my new iPhone 4 today and from what I’m hearing, I’m one of few that actually received the device today and even fewer received it yesterday. Here are my last pictures from my iPhone 3GS (which is now on sale on eBay) and the first ones of my new iPhone 4.

©2010 and

©2010 and