Technologizer posts about Apple. iPhone

GarageBand Comes to the iPhone

By  |  Posted at 2:37 pm on Tuesday, November 1, 2011

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When Apple brought its OS X music app GarageBand to the iPad earlier this year, it was a convincing counter-argument–one of many–to the increasingly tired theory that the iPad is only good for consuming stuff, not creating it. Now it’s taken that iOS version of the app and made it work on the iPhone (and iPod Touch), too. (It’s one universal $4.99 app for all three devices.)

On the iPhone, GarageBand is a nicely shrunken-down version of its iPad self, with virtual pianos, organs, drums, guitars, and the ability to record and play with samples and plug in a guitar. You can record music and transfer it to the OS X version of GarageBand (which is part of iLife) for further work.

I don’t even qualify as an amateur musician, but GarageBand is fun to play with, and the general level of polish and ambition is exceptionally impressive. I’ll be fascinated to see what people who know what they’re doing do with it. Images after the jump.

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TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld is unhappy with his new iPhone 4S:

Today, my iPhone died after about 8 hours—not even enough to get me through a full day without recharging (and this is typical). This was not 8 hours of constant use (unless you count the constant pinging of notifications, which may be the culprit). It was 8 hours total from the time I unplugged it in the morning and took it with me until the screen went black at around 4 PM. According to the specs, the iPhone 4S is supposed to get 200 hours of standby time, 8 hours of talk time, and “up to 6 hours” of Internet use on 3g. During the day, I made half a dozen calls less than 5 minutes each, used the Internet for an hour on the train (email, Twitter, light Web browsing), and then maybe another 90 minutes throughout the day.

Schonfeld isn’t the only person I’ve seen grumbling about this issue. Macworld’s Chris Breen has covered it, and provided some troubleshooting advice. And the Guardian’s Charles Arthur says that Apple is on the case.

How much battery life you get out of a phone is heavily dependent on how you use the phone and what you use it for–and I’m not sure if there’s such a thing as a typical user of the iPhone 4S or any other smartphone. But in my time with the iPhone 4S so far, I haven’t noticed any striking difference in battery life compared to the iPhone 4. With both phones, I can almost always get through one day, and a bit more, on one charge.

If you have an iPhone 4S and upgraded from an earlier iPhone model, have you detected a difference?

Posted by Harry at 5:35 pm

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Over at The Understatement, a revealing info graphic about Android phones (and iPhones) and the situation with software updates. Overall, it’s ugly for Android owners…

The announcement that Nexus One users won’t be getting upgraded to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich led some to justifiably question Google’s support of their devices. I look at it a little differently: Nexus One owners are lucky. I’ve been researching the history of OS updates on Android phones and Nexus One users have fared much, much better than most Android buyers.

Posted by Harry at 9:54 am

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Remember when the iPhone 4 was only available on iPhone in the U.S.? Now it’s coming to a carrier I’ve never even heard about.

Posted by Harry at 9:37 am

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Samsung’s Boneheaded PR Mistake

By  |  Posted at 2:32 pm on Tuesday, October 18, 2011

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File this one under “So Stupid You Can’t Believe It’s True.” With all the legal hubbub between Apple and Samsung at the moment, you would think both companies would be walking on eggshells. But one of them apparently isn’t paying attention. Daring Fireball’s John Gruber was tipped on Monday that promotional materials for the upcoming Galaxy Player include a very interesting screenshot.

Nestled within the list of features is a section on the Galaxy Player’s Google capabilities. The screenshot is not of the Android OS Google app, though: instead, it is a shot of the Maps app in iOS. Yes, really.

Some enterprising investigative reporting has tracked down the image to female-centric technology blog BlogHer, in a 2008 post about “game changing” iOS apps. How the PR department didn’t notice this when lifting the image is beyond me. Doesn’t Google Image Search tell you where it comes from?

The errant screenshot sat on Samsung’s own website for an unknown amount of time here, but has since been removed. See the image after the jump, you have to see this to believe it!

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My pals at PCWorld Labs compared the iPhone 4S camera to those on a bunch of Android phones, plus a Nikon point-and-shoot. The results? The 4S and the best Androids were basically tied, and just a hair behind the Nikon. (The iPhone 4S rated Good for video, but the best Androids did even better.)

Posted by Harry at 12:47 am

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Brooke Crothers of Cnet is reporting that analyst Ashok Kumar says that the iPhone 5 that some people thought Apple would announce this month–the thinner one with a bigger screen–is real, and will be announced at Apple’s WWDC conference next year. He also says that it’ll be an LTEC device and that he expects it to be a blockbuster based on the fact that it will be the last major product to bear Steve Jobs’ personal imprint.

Kumar has, um, a spotty track record when it comes to rumors. Sometimes they pan out; quite often they don’t. But there’s nothing inherently implausible about this one, and it’s presumably true that we haven’t yet seen the last Apple stuff that Steve Jobs worked on.

Posted by Harry at 9:40 am

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The iPhone 4, Only More So

By  |  Posted at 5:25 pm on Saturday, October 15, 2011

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Over at Techland, I’ve reviewed the iPhone 4S. Executive summary: It’s not the one right phone for everybody, but I do think it’s the single best smartphone on the market, in part because of the features it offers, but just as much because Apple’s level of polish and efficiency beats Android so handily, and because the App Store is such a huge asset.

As the 4S’s very name tells you, it’s not a big advance on the 4. But the faster processor is noticeable and welcome, the camera is much better, and Siri is both useful and fascinating.

One question I touched on in the review but want to write about at greater length soon: Is the 4S’s small screen compared to Android and Windows phone handsets a pro, a con, or something else? I’m still figuring out my take on that, and am curious what you think.



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The iLine outside the Stonetown Galleria for the iPhone 4 this morning was practically pleasant: Cheery Apple Store employees provided advice, coffee, and bottled water while we waited for 8am to come. But once my wife and I got into the store, we ran into trouble–namely AT&T activation glitches that prevented her from paying for her iPhone 4S and taking it home. In fact, it’s 11am now and she’s apparently still waiting. (I had to leave eventually.) And she’s not alone.

Posted by Harry at 11:01 am

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Greetings From iLine 2011

By  |  Posted at 5:20 am on Friday, October 14, 2011

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Once again, Apple is releasing a new iPhone. Once again, I’m in line at the crack of dawn at the Stonestown Galleria in San Francisco. This time I’m here with my wife Marie, who’s excited about upgrading from an iPhone 3GS to a 4S. We’ve been here for an hour; there were around 40 folks here when we arrived, along with a few phantom lawn chairs.)

There may be Apple Stores where iLines are still festive, even circus-like affairs. Not this one, at least so far. There are no kids dressed as iPhones. And Woz isn’t here. Just a lot of rather quiet people. And some Apple employees, who have already been consulting with people about carriers, capacities, colors, and the many and varied virtues of Applecare.

I’ll let you know if any excitement breaks out…



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Hey, Let’s Start Planning iOS 6

A few dozen ways to make an excellent mobile operating system even better.

By  |  Posted at 9:17 pm on Thursday, October 13, 2011

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In a strange way, there’s something exciting about the fact that mobile operating systems such as iOS and Android are relatively immature, and still lacking some features that people really want. If nothing else, it certainly allows their makers to release upgrades that are a big deal, since there’s no lack of worthwhile stuff to add. (With Windows and OS X, there are far fewer obvious holes; a cynic, in fact, might contend that those OSes would benefit from having fewer features.)

I’m enjoying iOS 5 on both both my iPhone 4 and iPad 2. But as I use it, I’m also reflecting on the missing features I still crave. (One example: More serious font support, such as the ability to add my own typefaces.) And over on Twitter, I asked my pals for their iOS 6 wish lists, and got lots of nifty nominations–most of which sounded like things that Apple might plausibly add, and only a few of which were (coughcoughFlash) painfully obvious.

After the jump, a few dozen of them–thanks to all who participated in this brainstorming exercise.

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iPhones: Always Evolutionary

By  |  Posted at 6:00 am on Wednesday, October 12, 2011

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“…really just a minor improvement…”

“Trust me, Apple won’t maintain its lead in the market if it continues making iterative updates.”

“But one thing didn’t happen today: We weren’t blown away. We weren’t surprised. We didn’t jump up and down, screaming. We don’t even know if we’ll rush right out and get one.”

Boy, people really aren’t all that giddy over the iPhone 4S, are they? It’s not like the old days, when every iPhone upgrade prompted hooting, stomping, and cheering by throngs of grateful Apple fans. Apple should be worried. Very worried.

Except: Those quotes above aren’t about the iPhone 4S. They’re about the iPhone 3G, 3GS, and 4, and you can read the stories they came from here, here, and here, respectively.

I dug those sound bites up as I thought about some of the initial commentary that declared the iPhone 4S to be a snooze compared to earlier upgrades. I had a nagging suspicion that a fair number of people always say that about new iPhones. And in fact, they always do.

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The Early iPhone 4S Reviews Are Here

By  |  Posted at 11:20 pm on Tuesday, October 11, 2011

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I don’t have an iPhone 4S yet, so I’ve been reading the first round of reviews from folks who got them ahead of the handset’s release this Friday. I don’t see any stunning conclusions. Everybody likes the phone either a lot or a lot, everybody’s impressed by the Siri voice assistant and likes the improved camera, and nobody’s overly traumatized by the fact that the case design hasn’t changed. As per Hallowed Technologizer Tradition, let’s look at the final paragraph (or two) of some of the reviews, which is the place where most reviewers finally tell you what they really think.

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Wait, Isn’t the iPhone 4S Supposed to Be a Disappointment?

By  |  Posted at 1:27 pm on Monday, October 10, 2011

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Boy, does Apple’s iPhone 4S event feel like it happened a long time ago. In fact, it was less than a week ago, and as you may recall, many observers declared the new phone to be a disappointment. But now Apple has released pre-order data, and it seems to suggest that real folks are excited about the 4S. A million people pre-ordered in the first 24 hours, breaking the iPhone 4′s record of 600,000 in the same period.

Why the disparity in reactions? I can think of a few reasons.
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The Best iPhone 4S Plans by Carrier

By  |  Posted at 2:58 am on Monday, October 10, 2011

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With three carriers now selling the iPhone, your options have gotten a bit more complex as far as monthly service plans go. We’ll take a look at which carrier’s plans are best for cheapskates, big talkers, big texters, and those who want it all—voice, data and text messaging.

Before we start, some constants between all three carriers:

The iPhone 4S starts at $199 with a two-year contract.

Voice plans include unlimited minutes to people on the same network, so even if you have the 450-minute plan on Verizon, for instance, you won’t use any minutes when calling other Verizon customers.

Apple’s new iOS software features “iMessage,” which lets you send and receive free text messages (for now, at least) between other Apple devices that have the iMessage feature turned on as well.

And with that, let’s get started.

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