iPhone 5S Rumor – Genius or Financial Pain?

There’s a rumor from a usually reliable source (iMore) that the iPhone 5S might hit shelves as early as August. This is either the genius of Tim Cook in managing his pipeline, or the stupidity of Apple in setting themselves up for a big fall.

Let’s start with the stupidity: The biggest purchasers of the 5S will be people like me who are currently on their 4S. We’re not eligible to get a subsidized phone until October, though, so we can’t buy the phone for the first two or three months it’ll be out. Sales out of the gate will appear “low” for that reason, and the usual link-baiters will point that out, the stock with sag, and woe be to Apple for another couple of months.

Genius: This means steadier sales for the first three or four months the phone will be out. Every time a new iPhone is released, it sells out and people jump on the waiting list. If a large portion of potential purchasers of the phone have to wait until October, the pool of people buying the phone will be smaller at first. So Apple won’t have a problem keeping the pipeline full of phones, selling what they have without putting anyone on a waiting list. And sales of a new phone will be spread across two quarters, boosting quarterly earnings twice. Plus, that gives Apple extra time to build up stock for when October hits and all the 4S owners show up to upgrade.

It’s a plan that makes sense when you think about it for longer than thirty seconds, which puts it out of the range of so many anti-Apple tech and finance blogs, plus Wall Street.

Best iOS 6.1 Upgrade

The best change in iOS 6.1 is this one. Finally, Apple UI realizes how easy it once was to accidentally skip to the next track or back to the beginning of the current track by mistake. Spreading out the controls is huge for podcast junkies like myself.

new iOS 6 music controls

iOS Feature Request: Calendar

When I type an event into the Calendar app, I’d like it to attempt autocompleting any names or locations I type in. Facebook does that as soon as I start typing a name in, with no signifier. Twitter does it after you type the “@” in and I think Google+ will do it after a “+”, but Facebook does it from plain text. It just knows you’re typing a name and gives you options from your contact list.

When I’m typing in an event in iOS 6 and start typing a name or location, I’d like for iOS to recognize that and offer up autocomplete suggestions in a dropdown. It might be more consistent with iOS standard right now to offer up one suggestion in the same way the autocorrect spelling does. That’d still be helpful.

For example, if I say the location for an event is “Robert MacGuffin’s House”, I’d like iOS to suggest “Robert MacGuffin” after I get to about “Robe”. That would be cool.

Just a thought. . .

Google Maps – All About the Ads

If you’re missing the Google Maps application with your new iOS 6 installation, don’t worry. I have no doubt Google will be back with an app for you to use. Because, you see, the maps application is not a handy guide to get you from place to place thanks to the kindness and benevolence of Google. It is just another vehicle for Google to serve up advertisements.

That’s what Google is: An ad company. So they want to get as many people looking at their maps as possible. And they probably want to show you even more ads.

Take note, for example, that with their new YouTube app, they control things and you get to see more ads. So, too, shall it be with the maps application. Because if you don’t pay for it, someone else will, and you’ll just get annoyed.

That’s just the way the world works.

All this of course raises the question once more: Did Apple get rid of the Map application to spite Google or to chart its own future? Or did Google leave Apple make more money from serving more ads?

My Wet iPhone 3GS

My iPhone went in the pool with me last Sunday.

I didn’t get too far into the water when I realized it, but I immediately took it out of my pocket and threw it in a towel in a bag and left it alone. By the time swim time was over with my daugther and we got home, the phone was dead as a doornail.

Well, not completely. Throwing it in airplane mode elicited a vibration. But the screen wouldn’t come on, and there was a white border along the upper corner of the screen. Water droplets were visible on the camera lens.

The phone was a goner. After two years of owning it without ever dunking it in the toilet, and two months before the next generation phone was due out, I had hosed my phone. Granted, Apple had a program letting me buy a new one for $199 one time only without affecting the carrier contract. But that’s still $200 more than I had to spend.

Thankfully, I had read about this kind of thing before, and my wife did a quick Google for it to confirm what I had read. So here’s what I did on Sunday afternoon:

  1. Removed the SIM card. There was water on it. Dabbed it dry, laid it aside.

  2. Took a blow dryer and blew into every open hole of the iPhone — namely, the spot where the SIM card slid out, the headphone jack, and the connector port at the bottom.

2a. After a couple of minutes of hot air, the camera lens was clear again.

2b. Two minutes later, the camera lens was covered in droplets and had to be blown dry again.

  1. Took a sandwich-sized zip-lock bag, filled it with white rice (thankfully, we had some in the kitchen), and put the phone in there, with the wet side sticking most conspicuously into the rice.

  2. Waited. A couple hours later, I did a quick round of blow drying. The camera lens was half covered, but that quickly evaporated.

  3. Put it back in the bag of rice overnight.

5a. Before going to bed, I turned the phone over.

  1. The next morning, plugged the SIM card back in, held down the power button, and — nothing.

  2. Plugged the phone in. The battery was drained dry. The phone must have been on the entire time.

  3. With enough power in it, the phone responded to the home button and came to life. The screen responded to touches. The camera took perfectly clear pictures. So I turned the phone back off —

  4. — No, I didn’t. The power button at the top of the phone didn’t work. The water did its damage there. So anytime I wanted to put the phone to sleep, I had to wait for it. The worst part of that? No screen shots.

  5. Also, the phone thought there were headphones plugged in at all times. That’s the way it behaved. So, no sounds, and no phone calls without Blue Tooth or ear buds plugged in.

  6. By Monday night, the power button was working again, and the iPhone recognize that there wasn’t anything plugged into the headphone jack.

  7. As of Wednesday morning, the only defect on the phone is that the volume up button doesn’t work. I can turn it down, but never back up again. Airplane mode works fine, though.

  8. Now, a week later, I’m back to not being able to talk regularly on the handset. It’s back to thinking the headset is plugged in continuously, I guess. So it’s speakerphone, headset, or Blue Tooth for all phone calls now. And the volume up button is still hosed. The camera continues to work perfectly.

I just need it to last another month or two. C’mon, iPhone, you can do it!

I Miss iPhone Tracking

Joseph Linaschke laments the loss of iPhone tracking:

It’s all a load of bull, frankly. Anyone carrying any cell phone is tracked by the cell phone companies anyway, and I don’t even subscribe to the notion that the real problem wasn’t “big government”, but the ability for your spouse to look on your computer and find where you’ve been. If you’re that worried about it, all you really need to do is enable that little check-box “encrypt iPhone backup” in iTunes and all your logs were locked up automatically. Anyway, it’s all a moot point now, since the most recent iPhone update gets rid of functionality. Which is a shame, because frankly, it’s cool!

I’m with him, actually. Looking at mine was pretty cool. I’m hardly a traveler, but I saw a couple of spokes in my travels that reminded me of specific trips. Fun stuff. Now, it’s all gone.

The Inbetweens for 28 Jan 2011

There are some topics that come to mind which are too long for Twitter and too short for a blog post. These are “The Inbetweens.”

  • I forgot to mention in my Milwaukee AI10 round-up that one of my favorite songs was used as a bed in the opening. It’s Marc Broussard’s “Home,” and it comes highly recommended. It’s available on Amazon MP3 and probably iTunes, though I don’t have a link for it there at the moment.

  • With any luck, the Nashville write-up will come this weekend, if anything interesting happened.

  • Who’s the guy who discovered Sea Salt? He must be making a fortune, because suddenly it’s all the rage. The latest is in Wendy’s French Fries. I hate it when the fries I like change recipes. Burger King never recovered from their change a decade ago. When Wendy’s made the switch, I was worried. But, I think it actually improved the fries. I love them.

But what’s up with Sea Salt? Cheaper? Latest health craze? Makes cooking quicker? What do you think it is? The cynic in me doubts that it’s in there because it just makes food taste better. That has to be an accidental side benefit.

  • Saw someone complaining the other day that Near Field Communications might change life as we know it if the next iPhone has one. Why the complaint? Because there’s an Android phone or two that have already had it for months now, and nobody got excited. This, the commenter said, was a sign of Apple Fanboyism in the press.

No, it’s a sign of reality. Android users don’t use their phone nearly as much as iPhone users do. Apps don’t fly out of the Android store the same way that they do with the App Store. And Apple has tens of millions of credit card numbers on file. Android — well, doesn’t. It’s the Apple infrastructure that makes the possibility of NFC so exciting. The pieces are in place if Apple wants to pounce on it.

“I’ve seen the NGP up close and the screen is the most beautiful gear I’ve ever seen in my hand. It punches the iPhone 4 screen in the junk,” said James Mielke, a producer at Tokyo game design studio Q Entertainment, on Twitter following the announcement.

The NGP is the “Next Generation Portable” that Sony plans to release for Christmas this year. It’s the next PSP. And the specs on it are so amazing that you know the battery life will be dwarfed by everything else in creation that runs on batteries. They claim it’ll run as long on a single charge as a Nintendo 3DS, but I’m not sure I believe those numbers either. Battery life is never up to the figures the manufacturers claim, after all.

  • “Strength to strength” is another one of those overused phrases I’d like to see banished from the internet. It used to be just Brits I heard use it, but now it seems to be a worldwide thing. Thanks for that import, UK!

New iPods Are Coming

Isn’t it amazing how the thought of new iPods causes us to yawn now? For years, this September announcement was an exciting thing. You never know what was coming next: size, price point, color, form factor. Nowadays, who cares? We’re already committed to our iPhones as Apple Geeks, and the rest of the world already has enough iPods that a new one isn’t all that exciting. It’ll be nice to see a camera in the iPod Touch, but that’s hardly a shocking announcement.

Are we expecting too much from Apple? Does EVERY event have to announce an iPhone to get excitement surrounding it? That hardly seems fair.

I don’t know what we’ll see for sure this year, but I’ll say this: If it’s Facebook/Twitter integration for iTunes, then I’m staying off those sites for a few days. You’re going to know what EVERYONE is listening to for a few days, because everyone will want to test it out and let the rest of the world know what “random” (i.e. pre-selected to make them sound cool, not necessarily something that they like) track they’re listening to Right This Very Minute.

That Beatles Rock Band game looks cool, though, doesn’t it?