Making the switch from iOS to Android…and feeling good about it

If you listened to everyone around you, you’d probably be under the impression that everyone has an iPhone or an iPad and they are the greatest devices in all the world. These people no doubt love their products (which is a good thing), but for them to imply that Apple has this leading edge over the competition in both quality and quantity is just absurd.

The Numbers

Android vs iOSThe fact is that Apple only has a 17% U.S. market share of phones as compared to Samsung who has 25.7%. Even LG beats out Apple with their 18% share. So why do we all believe that everyone has an iPhone?? Maybe they’re including the total products that have iOS installed…nope…it looks like Google wins that battle with 52.6% of all tablet and phone devices running Android leaving Apple’s iOS with only a 34.3% stake. Ok, maybe they’re counting mobile shares worldwide?! Again, not a chance; together, Samsung and Nokia share 41% of the international smartphone market while Apple only has 5%.

What Apple does have is the “it” factor. They have everyone believing that they do have the greatest product in all the world and that Apple is so innovative and chic that if you don’t own something with their logo on it, you’re somehow not hip. To me, this is similar to when celebrities wear certain clothes, eat certain food or drive certain cars; immediately the sales of these specific products go up. Does this mean Apple is a sham; pushing products that don’t meet expectations? Not at all…it just means that you don’t have to own an iPhone because you think it makes you look cool. And it also means that not everyone has an Apple device.

So what are your choices? Well, if we stick to talking about phones and tablets, the amount of choices is astounding. And if for the sake of this conversation, we push aside smaller competing phones such as Windows Phone, Blackberry and Nokia phones with their meeGo software (which I think is pretty much defunct), then we’re left with two titans: Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.

The Smartphone

One glaring problem for Apple is that they only have one device (not counting older models). The iPhone 5 is the latest version and offers the first iPhone with 4G data speeds. Making the switch here is very easy considering that you have tons of devices running Android software with Samsung being the reinging king here.

What to look for: Android devices come in a vast range of styles, specs, designs and features. No two Android devices look or work the same. This causing confusion among consumers because people who aren’t too tech savvy don’t know why one device is better than the other. This is why I think Apple holds an edge…they provide one device with one way to use it.

As with any purchase, you want to find something that fits your needs. If you need a file manager on your phone, you need Android. Apple doesn’t have it. If you want a better voice recognition program, Siri has Android beat…for now. If you plan on torrenting downloads on your phone, get Android because Apple won’t allow it.

In other words, there’s hardly anything (if anything) that an Android device can’t do that an iPhone can, but I think of plenty of things iPhones can’t do that Androids can!

The Tablet

There’s no doubt that the iPad is one sexy beast. But the problem is that there was a thought process long ago that dictated tablets would be used to replace computers. Unfortunately, iPad comes up short on this because it’s nothing more than a super-sized iPhone. Still no file system, still no mouse support and certainly no easy way to move files from computer to computer.

Android tablets fair a lot better in most cases, but are plagued again with the fact that there are too many choices. The reason I say this is a problem is because what happens when one manufacturer decides to stop making the device? You lose support and upgrades to the software. Look what happened to HP’s TouchPad (although it didn’t originally run Android). As an aside, Android has practically saved the underground support for the defunct TouchPad with users replacing its original OS with Android!

What to look for: Again, the same rules apply as do for the smartphones. The one difference with the tablets would be the screen size. Android tablets currently come in 7 and 10in sizes with a few manufacturers choosing a less than standard size. So until Apple releases a smaller (and larger) iPad, Android takes the cake on this one as well.

The Ecosystem

One of the number one reasons why Apple fans choose to stay with Apple is because they’ve invested time and money into setting up iTunes and iCloud just the way they like it. I don’t blame them…it’s a nice system and if you’re someone who has dropped hundreds of dollars on apps, music, tv shows and movies over the years, making a switch to Android and having to do the same thing all over is a daunting idea!

But for those of you who aren’t heavily invested and are just questioning whether Google and Android can compare with Apple and iTunes, then you’d be happy to know that once again, Google can do anything Apple can do.

So instead of iTunes, iOS and iCloud, you would use Google Play, Android and Google Drive. Many of you probably already have a Gmail account, so you’re already 99% ready for the switch! But how do these three compare?

iTunes and Google Play

iTunes vs Google PlayGoogle doesn’t have a dedicated software program that you install on your computer like iTunes. They believe that applications are headed to the cloud anyway, so why not start there?

  • Music, movies and tv shows — I’m sure there are some things you’d find on one, but not the other, but overall, you can just about the same content.
  • Apps — Apple touts how many apps they have, but they tend to leave out one important detail: many of those apps are duplicates of others. I mean really, how many flashlight apps do we need? While Google counts apps in the same fashion, they don’t seem to bank on the number as an indicator of their quality. However, there are many apps that iPhone users have that Android users don’t with just as many that Android users have that iOS users don’t. It comes down to which apps and games are more important to you, so head on over to and take a look if it’s there.

iCloud and Google Drive

Both services offer the same features…store items and device backups in the cloud. So what’s so different? Well for music storage, Apple offers iTunes match which is a feature that allows you to “match” your current music library of songs that weren’t purchased from iTunes on all your devices. In other words, instead of uploading 5,000 songs from your personal collection, iTunes Match will scour your library and give you free access to the songs for all your devices. It only costs $24.99 per year.

Google’s answer to this is to allow you to upload all of your music (up to 25,000 songs) to your Google Play account for free with no hits to your Google Drive 5GB storage limit. Cost per year: $0. The only drawback is you have to actually upload all of your songs…which for someone like me, could take a week.

Other than that, these two services are practically the same.

Final Thoughts

As some of my readers already know, I was a huge Apple fan for many years and this website was biased toward all products Apple at one point. However, I got a little put out when Apple kept releasing the same OS over and over again without really adding anything new. My brother being over on the Android side of things always showed me the features that his phones had and slowly but surely, I made the switch.

If anything, it was more of a test, but so far I’m about a year into it and I can honestly say I’ll never look back. Since I had already used Google for most of my services like email and all sorts of features used on my websites, it just made perfect sense.

Galaxy Nexus – Best Phone Ever?

Ever since I got rid of my iPhone and moved farther away from iTunes and the whole Apple ecosystem, I’ve tried quite a few different devices. Because I was funding my transition from device to device out of my own pocket, it hasn’t been a fast or cheap adventure. As an AT&T customer since the early 2000’s, I’ve fulfilled my fair share of contracts and purchased many subsidized phones. Today, I couldn’t be less interested in 2-year contracts and cheap upgrade prices. Enter the Galaxy Nexus…

iPhone users are quick to point out that while Android devices do have very similar functionality, the Android landscape is very complex. For the most part, they are correct. Here you have Google handing out a free operating system and a plethora of manufacturers waiting to destroy it. By “destroy”, I simply mean that they decide to add their own software which sits[pullquote_right]A 2-year contract carries over more than your promise to stay onboard with just cell service.[/pullquote_right]
on top of Android like a heavy fog in a city park. In most cases, this extra software adds a great deal of functionality that jives perfectly with the physical features of the phone. For the most part, the lines between Android and the add-ons are blurred, but once you pick up a Samsung device and compare it to an HTC device and then compare it again to a Motorola device, you start to feel like you’re holding three very distinct Android versions. In fact, you’re probably looking at the same version, but aren’t used to seeing the vast differences between manufacturer-skinned Android software. On top of this, you have the carriers adding their own software, network logos and other features all while blocking certain apps and hardware functions. This is simply unfair marketing.

Bloatware Abounds

For example, Google Wallet is a really sick piece of software that uses Near Field Communication (NFC) to allow you to pay for products at supporting retailers simply by choosing a digitally saved copy of your credit card information on your phone and touching the phone to the receiver at the register. This is a perfect marriage between hardware and software, but AT&T and Verizon block the app from being used on all their Android devices!! Why?! Because they are in a joint venture with T-Mobile to create a competing service called ISIS that does the same thing. The problem I have with this is what if I prefer to trust Google with my account information or maybe I like their software better…why can’t I choose what service to use? Apparently, the carriers feel that a 2-year contract carries over more than your promise to stay onboard with just cell service.

Another example of unfair marketing is how AT&T adds their versions of maps, navigation/GPS services and other software that is completely un-removable from the device. Granted, I don’t have to use them if I choose, but why can’t I remove them from MY device?! They just have to sit there taking up space. It doesn’t even end there…AT&T’s partnership with Yellow Pages has placed a permanent entry into my contacts list for the Yellow Pages directory service! It’s at the top of the list and cannot be renamed, deleted or moved.

Lastly, getting the latest Android updates are a nightmare! Because of all this extra software, the Android updates have to come down from Google, get approved and tweaked by the manufacturer, then sent over for the same process at the carriers. The entire process adds months and months onto the expected release time.  So while all the iPhone users are getting their updates on the same day, the Android users are all using different versions for a very long time.

But I digress. Wasn’t I supposed to be chatting about the Galaxy Nexus?!

Galaxy Nexus

Samsung Galaxy NexusOk, so the Galaxy Nexus is a Samsung device that is part of Google’s Nexus program. If you’re unfamiliar with it, WikiPedia has a nice spread about it, but I’ll summarize here. Google contracts with a hardware manufacturer to make a device worthy of a pure Android experience. Up until recently, this program has selected one manufacturer to make one device that is void of any software tweaks and hacks. The manufacturer is only allowed to make the hardware and cannot touch the software.

The Nexus phone came out last November and was only available on Verizon. I have to say that this single device almost made me switch to Verizon, but I stayed on AT&T due to my remaining contract. Needless to say, I was excited when I found out that Google began selling an unlocked GSM version on their website. I can’t seem to locate information on when the GSM version began selling, but I hadn’t seen it until about four months ago. The device sells for $349 + tax and comes unlocked and ready to use on any GSM carrier worldwide. I secured a 3-week old one on CraigsList for $300 tax free about a month ago.

I can’t explain it, but there is nothing like a pure Android experience on a phone! Having come from a Galaxy SII Skyrocket, which is technically a better phone spec-wise, I can say without a doubt that the Nexus is the best phone I’ve ever used. I have just two complaints. One, it’s not 4G and two, it’s stuck at 16GB with no SD card slot. However, the HSPA+ speed is very comparable to 4G considering that 4G isn’t even available in a lot of places yet and the memory issue doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would.

But the best part is that there’s no carrier branding, no locks on Google Wallet and no bloatware to laugh at me as I try unsuccessfully to remove. Also, just the other day I discovered that the built-in wi-fi hotspot tethering feature is not blocked either! Normally, AT&T requires you to upgrade to a tethering data plan before they allow you to hook it to your laptop or tablet. This can set you back $60 per month and remove your unlimited data plan if you’re lucky enough to still have one…like I do. The Nexus simply allows me to turn it on, configure a wireless network and be off and running. AT&T has no way of blocking this because the Nexus is not a device that’s registered on their network. In fact, when I log into my AT&T account manager, it doesn’t even recognize what kind of phone I’m using and that pleases me to no end.

For the first time, I feel like I’m on my own terms and have not fallen victim to whatever biddings AT&T and Samsung would like me to follow. I also love the fact that I can take this phone to another country, install a locally serviced SIM card and have cell service without having to pay international roaming fees. As for those pesky software updates that never seem to come…well the Nexus updates come directly from Google so there’s no more waiting.

All of this freedom comes at a price however. Gone for me are the days of subsidized pricing (but then again, so are the contracts) and it appears my device choices are limited, but that’s ok…I was an iPhone user for many years so I’m used to it. I can’t wait for the Nexus 2.

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.

Apple Is Targeting The Video Game Industry

Apple has collectively termed its line of products as being part of the “post pc” world and given that combined sales have beat the combined sales of all major video game consoles by at least 30 million, it can easily be said that Apple is making a dent in yet another market. Now of course, simply comparing these numbers isn’t entirely fair. Just because someone bought an iPad doesn’t mean they did it instead of buying an Xbox. But one thing is becoming increasingly clear…average people are becoming exposed to games through smartphones and tablets and seasoned console gamers are finding tablet versions of their favorite games in the app stores.

Even the global president of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata had this to say regarding Apple and the gaming industry:

“Game development is drowning,” he said. “Until now, there has always been the ability to make a living [making games]. Will that still be the case moving forward?”

There’s speculation among all major game developers that tablets are an unnerving cancer to the console game market. While it may be true that tablet and smartphone games are selling well, I can’t imagine that these little “novelty” games will ever kill consoles and PC gaming.

HardwareComputer gaming hardware

One of the major contributing factors to the success of console and PC gaming is the hardware. Usually in performance arenas, bigger is better. Take a car for example…the larger the engine, the more power it puts out. Computers are no exception…the bigger the graphics card, the more power it’ll churn out. Technology has certainly allowed wondrous things to be accomplished with very tiny devices, but the fact still remains that a beefed up powerhouse PC or console on a 50″ LED tv is going to be a much better experience than a rinky-dink iPad.

Another concern I have are the controls. How can you compensate for the lack of buttons on an iPad? Some of today’s games are so involving that they require controllers that have 8 or more buttons. The iPad can most certainly excel at simple games that require screentaps here and there or the physical motion of moving the iPad around, but can it really be used to play complex games? If not, does anyone even care?

The question about whether Apple will lead this industry isn’t about whether they can or not…it comes down to what the gamers want. If they want to trade in their World of Warcraft and Call of Duty for Fruit Ninja and Words with Friends, then that’s the new industry. Gaming experience plays a huge role in the psyche of consumers.

Gaming ExperienceiPad Gaming

The widely accepted culprit to Apple’s gaming success is the gaming experience itself. Today’s average gamer seems more interested in being able to play games on the subway or while waiting for their bus rather than be cooped up for hours in a stuffy bedroom. This means that kids are having more fun playing wirelessly with their friends on iPhones, iPads and Android devices. It seems the days of inviting all your friends over to your house to get down on some multi-player action are dwindling.

However, experience isn’t just about the device or the setting. It’s mostly about actual gameplay. Even though Apple touts the iPad as being a serious gaming device, anyone with a small tech background could tell you that there’s no way an iPad can compete with the hardware found in an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. As a result, the games on the iPad are still very mobile and for the most part are quick puzzle-type games that can be completed with minimal touchscreen controls.

Part of the reason for bringing all this up is because it makes me wonder if simple games have become fun again. Back in the 80’s, we were all content with controlling little Mario around on 2D side-scrolling levels that progressively got harder, but then we wanted more. We got it when console gaming exploded in the late 90’s. This new gaming explosion effectively killed off the arcade industry while opening new doors for immersive gaming adventures that required some major skill and buckets of time to complete. Then we got 3D. It seemed like just around the corner, we’d all be playing virtual reality simulator games.

Yet, amongst all the new devices like Kinect and Move, people still want to cut fruit in half with one finger.

My two cents

My opinion on this has always kept the two gaming industries separate. On one side, you had mobile (and online) games and on the other, you had console and computer games. All gamers could have the best of both worlds…fun, quick games while on the road and epic adventures when at home. Now it seems the lines are being blurred thanks to everything moving toward the “app” world. Game makers are now forced to created mobile versions of their big games just to stay competitive.

I probably shouldn’t really be speaking much on this topic considering that the only console game I really play is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, but at the same time, I could never see myself playing an iPad version of MW3. The graphics might be great and the motion of the iPad could be used well to control the game, but let’s face it. To downgrade from an 8+ button Xbox controller to an iPad screen just seems a little chaotic to me!

With that said, Apple is surly taking many industries by storm and over the years, they used the iPod to kill off Sony’s Walkman and Discman, used iTunes to almost destroy all classic music stores (remember Tower Records?), changed the entire phone industry with iPhone, practically set new standards for application and game distribution through the App Store and are now using the iPad to get people to buy something they never thought they needed. The irony here is that Apple was once criticized for not having much in the gaming sector and now they’re being hailed as a potential gaming leader. I’m curious to see how this plays out.

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 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.

Obama Steps In And Blocks The AT&T/T-Mobile Merger

Just as predicted by many, the Obama administration has filed a block against the AT&T and T-Mobile merger due to anti-competitive concerns. Sprint and Verizon (although Sprint has been more vocal) are concerned with the possibility that the merger could squeeze them out and allow AT&T to charge higher prices without any repercussions. While this may not make a huge difference with Verizon, it would sure impact Sprint.

The purpose of the merger was to help AT&T increase its network capacity while meeting the higher demands for high-speed Internet services. All of the wireless providers have been faced with heavy demands in data in the last few years due in part to new smartphones that were essentially started by Apple—at least in the sense of productivity through the advent of the App store. After the iPhone came out, AT&T once claimed that network activity increased over 300% and later admitted that their network was not entirely ready to support such increases.

This new era in smartphones prompted every carrier to increase their cell capacity and push toward new 4G networks. Verizon and Sprint led the forefront on this while AT&T keeps saying their 4G network is just around the corner. All the while, smartphone usage had been increasing and AT&T has a bad wrap to shake.

Even though the block has been filed, the FCC has not commented on the case and no decisions have been made. With that said, the merger might still be a possibility, but there will not doubt be some heavy restrictions and monitoring to ensure safe and fair business practices are being conducted.

My two cents

Personally, I’ve been with AT&T for so many years (and name changes), I don’t even know where to begin explaining just how I feel about this. On one hand, it might be nice to increase network capacity and possibly even better our service quality. It would also be nice to have a real 4G network so Apple can start making 4G phones. However, if getting these things means that AT&T could slap more and more restrictions on our services while also raising prices, then I’m not for it.

If this merger happened, it might be harder to switch to another company such as Sprint because at some point, the could potentially go out of business or be absorbed by AT&T too! AT&T has a long history of being a monopoly and the government has stepped in to break them apart at least once before. In fact, Verizon (formally GTE) is actually part of the original AT&T breakup.

All I can say at this point is that as long as service gets better and prices don’t go up, then I’m all for a merger. If not, then forget it.

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?

Verizon Unlimited Data Plans Are Going Limited

Just like AT&T did over a year ago and T-Mobile did last May, Verizon will be capping its smartphone users this Thursday. For about a year now, Verizon customers laughed at AT&T customers when the capping of data plans went into effect on Big Blue while pointing out yet another reason why Verizon’s network was superior to AT&T’s, citing that AT&T couldn’t handle the excessive data use by today’s smartphones. And then Verizon got the iPhone. Well it seems that the tables have turned!

Verizon plans to implement these new plans on new customers and those existing customers who are upgrading to new smartphones. There’s no word whether Verizon will allow current unlimited data plan holders to keep their plans, but if it’s like AT&T then the we can be sure they will.

New Verizon Data Plans

Just like AT&T once had, Verizon currently has an unlimited data plan for $30 per month. Starting Thursday, the new Verizon data plans will be as follows:

  • $10 – 75MB per month
  • $30 – 2GB per month
  • $50 – 5GB per month
  • $80 – 10GB per month

Going over these limits on all plans will cost $10 per gigabyte. Given the fact that AT&T once estimated that 90% of its customers can operate within their data plan limits, one can assume that the same will hold true for Verizon users as well, but then again, that estimate was done over a year ago and cell phone usage has increased dramatically in that time. Today, users are finding more and more to do with thousands of apps to choose from and more of them using data than ever before.

Of course, as these facts are becoming reality, I’d guess that more wi-fi hotspots are opening up which will further reduce the need for 3G and 4G data services.

My two cents

I’ve been grandfathered into AT&T’s unlimited data plan since 2007 and I love the fact that it’s unlimited, but I fear that when AT&T goes 4G/LTE, the data plan will remain on 3G service therefore if I upgrade to a new phone, I’ll be caught in the limited group. The only real solution to this is to sign up for a new Verizon plan today or tomorrow and leave AT&T because Verizon’s current unlimited data plan supports 4G/LTE.

My advice is if you’re thinking about going with Verizon, do it now because after tomorrow, you will be forced to use one of the plans above!