Category Archives: Mobile

IPhone Upgrade from 3G to 3GS?

Planning on upgrading from an iPhone 3G to the new 3G S? You’d better have deep pockets, as AT&T and Apple may charge you $499 to upgrade.  That’s for the 32GB model; if you want to save a few bucks and go for the cheaper 16GB model, it will cost $399. These figures come from Apple’s own site, where you can now pre-order an iPhone 3G S ready for delivery on the 19th of June. Although Apple mentioned a $199 and $299 price for the new iPhone, the cost for upgraders is significantly higher; when we applied for an upgrade from a iPhone 3G purchased in 2008, the system quoted us a price of $399 for the 16GB version or $499 for the 32GB, plus an $18 upgrade fee.

The more expensive upgrade is because the account I tried this with had the 2-year term of the contract renewed when I upgraded to an iPhone 3G in 2008; AT&T does not offer reduced upgrade pricing until the initial 2 years are up. The only people who qualify for the advertised $199/$299 pricing are new customers, or those who have not upgraded their phone for more than 2 years.So, those who upgraded when the iPhone 3G was released last year will either have to wait until 2010, or pay through the nose to be on the cutting edge.

UPDATE: it seems that there may be some leniancy in the 2-year rule: when applied for the upgrade with a 1st Generation iPhone where the contract had a couple of months still to run, Apple offered the $199/$299 price. So, it looks like 1st Gen iPhones may get a break, but 3G users will have to pay the full cost.

iPhone 3.0 Tethering How To

After recently upgrading my iPhone to OS 3.0 I was interested in evaluating all the new features, esp. A2DP and tethering.  Since my car is in the shop, A2DP is going to have to wait a couple more days which left me some time to tinker with tethering.  

At first impression, os 3.0 is pretty slick, small subtle changes throughout the UI, you can activate spotlight search by swiping your finger right (as opposed to left to see additional applications screens.)  Several applications have been updated making them even more usable, stocks, mail (auto-rotate calendar) and of course, copy/paste.  One thing i did notice, the keyboard didn’t auto-rotate when working with calendar, which I have sync’d to our office exchange server, so it seems not everything got the keyboard auto-rotate update, at least not in the initial beta drop.

On to tethering, since it was not obvious (to me) how to enable and activate tethering, i reverted to the web and quickly discovered the link below which includes full details on how to get it setup!  I’ve included a few pics below to show you how it looks.

http://www.crunchgear.com/2009/03/19/complete-how-to-tethering-an-iphone-with-30-firmware/ – how to activate iPhone 3 tethering, step by step.

Or, you can skip the config file updates and just download this file, ATT_US.ipcc, (assuming your carrier is AT&T ) – then connect your iPhone to iTunes, option-click on the “Check for Updates” button, and select the ATT_US.ipcc file you just downloaded. Next, restart your iPhone.  After reboot, you then should be able pair your iPhone over Bluetooth by going to Settings-General-Network-Internet Tethering on the iPhone, and pair your iPhone with you Mac as you would with a normal Bluetooth device.  Once paired, click your blueTooth icon (on your mac) choose your iphone|Connect to Network – now you can surf the web using your iPhone and 3G!

Top 10 iPhone App downloads 2008

With 2008 on the way out and right around 10,000 applications behind them, Apple has released a series of lists outlining which applications scored the most downloads since the App Store’s launch back in July.

The lists are separated by whether the the application is paid or free – first as an overall look, and then by each major category (games, entertainment, utilities, social networking, and music). While the overall top applications should come as no surprise to anybody who takes an occasional glance at the iPhone’s built-in top downloads page, there are a few interesting gems hidden in the categorically separated data.

Top Paid Apps (Overall):

  1. Koi Pond
  2. Texas Hold’em
  3. Moto Chaser
  4. Crash Bandicoot: Nitro Kart 3d
  5. Super Monkey Ball
  6. Cro-Mag Rally
  7. Enigmo
  8. Pocket Guitar
  9. Recorder
  10. iBeer

Of everything on that list, I’m really only surprised Super Monkey Ball didn’t rank higher. When the app store launched, it seemed that Super Monkey Ball was the face of iPhone gaming – then again, the fact that it was one of the more expensive games at launch might have hindered sales a bit. Congrats to Pangea Software on the double-win (Enigmo, Cro-Mag Rally). Feel free to buy me a yacht.

Also of note: If you want to make buckets of money as an iPhone developer, make games.

Top 10 Free Downloads (Overall)

  1. Pandora Radio
  2. Facebook
  3. Tap Tap Revenge
  4. Shazam
  5. Labyrinth Lite Edition
  6. Remote
  7. Google Earth
  8. Lightsaber Unleashed
  9. AIM
  10. Urbanspoon

Wow – Google Earth only launched on the iPhone 2 months ago, and it has already cracked the Top 10 free downloads?

Top Paid Games:

  1. Texas Hold’em
  2. Moto Chaser
  3. Crash Bandicoot: Nitro Kart 3d
  4. Super Monkey Ball
  5. Cro-Mag Rally
  6. Enigmo
  7. Air Hockey
  8. Bejeweled 2
  9. Flick Bowling
  10. Line Rider iRide

Top Free Games:

  1. Tap Tap Revenge
  2. Labyrinth Lite Edition
  3. Sol Free Solitaire
  4. iBowl
  5. Pac-Man Lite
  6. Touch Hockey:FS5
  7. Cannon Challenge
  8. Audi A4 Driving Challenge
  9. Sudoku
  10. reMovem

It’s no shocker to see Tap Tap Revenge at the top of the list, as it has a fairly constant level of buzz surrounding it. Sudoku is all the way down at number 9? Is the trend of 2007 (and 1892) finally fading out?

Top Paid Entertainment:

  1. Koi Pond
  2. iBeer
  3. iChalky
  4. Face Melter
  5. iFish
  6. TouchScan
  7. What’s on TV?
  8. Pocket Piano
  9. Sketches
  10. OneTap Movies

The fact that “TouchScan”, a 99 cent application that “scans the mind of two people at once and compares the brain waves recorded” by way of a fake on screen fingerprint scanner, made it all the way to #6 hurts my head. A lot.

Top Free Entertainment:

  1. Remote
  2. Lightsaber Unleashed
  3. i.TV
  4. BubbleWrap
  5. Movies
  6. iDoodle 2 lite
  7. Showtimes
  8. Now Playing
  9. Scribble
  10. Crazy Pumpkin

If nothing else, this shows how much pull a niche, holiday-themed application can have. “Crazy Pumpkin”, which just puts Jack-o-lantern faces on your iPhone’s screen, managed to get enough swing from a good run of coverage around Halloween to reach the top 10.

Top Paid Utilities:

  1. Units (crossroad solutions)
  2. A Level
  3. Air Mouse
  4. Fake Calls
  5. Voice Record
  6. Clinometer
  7. Spell Check
  8. Speed Dial
  9. FileMagnet
  10. iNetwork Speed Test

Top Free Utilities

  1. Flashlight
  2. myLite Flashlight
  3. Say Who – Dialer
  4. Units (TheMacBox)
  5. Compass Free
  6. Alarm Free
  7. A Free Level
  8. Molecules
  9. Speed Test
  10. myLighter

Hm – “Units” shows up on both the free and paid Top 10 lists, although they’re two different applications. I wonder if there is any confusion on the buyer’s end here?

Top Paid Social Networking:

  1. MobileChat
  2. BeejiveIM
  3. Quip
  4. Rooms – Your Mobile Chat Client
  5. Twitterrific Premium
  6. Flutter
  7. Twittelator Pro
  8. mBoxMail
  9. Secrets
  10. hiCard – Suite

Wow – BeeJiveIM not only broke the Top 10, but lands at #2? I’m not surprised because of the quality of the application – it’s quite good, actually – but because of the price: BeeJiveIM costs 16 bucks. In a market where hoards of people complain about 99 cent apps costing too much, that BeeJive has done so well is a bit of a shocker.

Top Free Social Networking:

  1. Facebook
  2. AIM
  3. Myspace Mobile
  4. IM+ Lite
  5. Loopt
  6. Fring
  7. Palringo IM
  8. Earthscape
  9. Twitterrific
  10. Jirbo Avatar

That Facebook is beating Myspace shouldn’t be too amazing to anybody who has paid any attention over the last year or two.

Top Paid Music:

  1. PocketGuitar
  2. Drum Kit
  3. Ocarina
  4. Pianist
  5. Band
  6. Tuner Internet Radio
  7. Beat Maker
  8. Guitar Toolkit
  9. Harmonica
  10. Guitarist

Top Free Music:

  1. Pandora Radio
  2. Shazam
  3. AOL Radio
  4. Midomi
  5. Mini Piano
  6. iheart Radio
  7. MixMeister Scratch
  8. FlyCast Mobile Radio
  9. Last.FM
  10. DigiDrummer Lite

Not quite sure what to make of it, but it’s interesting to note: the vast majority (9 out of 10) of the top paid music apps are for making music, while the majority (7 out of 10) of the top free music apps are purposed for listening to music.

[Source: iTunes Link]

Apple 3G iPhone unlocked

Well that didn’t take long.

Despite the best efforts of Apple and AT&T, it appears that the latest version of the iPhone has been unlocked via the same method as used on the original iPhone.

A Brazilian blog, TechGuru, posted the first report of it. Gizmodo checked it out, and said the method involves using a special SIM card adapter. It tricks the phone into thinking it’s on an approved network.

“This method forges the International Mobile Subscriber Identity, making the phone believe it’s working in the network in which it’s supposed to work,” Gizmodo writes.

The Brazilian group posted a video showing an unlocked handset making a phone call earlier this week. When interviewed, leader Breno MacMasi said that the company plans to charge between $250-375 to unlock iPhone 3G cell phones.

Separately, the group known as the iPhone Dev Team claims they have removed the controls that restrict independent applications from running on the iPhone. Termed ‘jailbreaking’, the process supposedly allows Apple-approved applications from the AppStore to run side-by-side with non-approved independent applications.

U.S. takes lead in mobile web usage

A report that may seem somewhat surprising shows that the U.S. leads in mobile Internet penetration. According to a recent Nielsen Mobile report (see below), 16% of mobile phone users, or 40 million people, in the U.S. accessed the Internet (based on a 30-day time frame). This is up from 22.4 million in July 2006. The 16% accessing the Internet via their phones puts the U.S. above the U.K., at 13% and Italy, at 12%.

Another interesting stat released by Nielsen; people are spending 3 hours and 15 minutes a month watching videos on their cell phones. This compares to 2 hours watching video on the computer.

Other findings from the Nielsen Mobile report are:

  • There were 254 million mobile phone subscribers in the U.S. in the first quarter 2008, according to CTIA.
  • 57% of the 254 million U.S. subscribers were data users, meaning they accessed the Internet or sent text messages
  • 37% of mobile users paid to access the Internet, either as part of subscription or transactionally

Mobile Internet use accounted for $1.7 billion in revenue in the first quarter of this year, putting it on a higher run-rate than the $5 billion for all of 2007.

Apple 3G iPhone

Over the past several months, I’ve slowly begun experimenting in the Apple camp.  Having recently purchased a new macBook Pro laptop, to be used as my primary machine, officially combining my previous Toshiba Tecra M4 and Dell Precision desktop – and must admit, my new MacBook Pro trumps them both, its the single best machine I’ve ever owned, sure there’s a few grips, but I’ll save that for another post.

It is probably noteworthy to point out, I’ve been a long-time supporter of Microsoft tools and technologies, and continue to be.  Our organization is vested deeply in Microsoft tools, and support/compatibility is key for us.  We own several Macs, in addition to my own, from notebooks to the power G5 – and most dual boot OSX with Vista.

So, like most technophiles I was pretty excited to see the new Apple 3G iPhone finally hit the market.  I watched (and read) progress of the first generation iPhone, and like most corporate buyers, I sat on the sideline waiting, as I’ve gotten burned with previous first generation phones (such as HPs iPAQ).  This time around though, Apple seems more dedicated to the corporate market, by adding features such as 3G, GPS, bluetooth and exchange support.  Oh, and it doesn’t hurt to appeal to mainstream buyers also by reducing the entry price to $199 (with a new 2yr contract.)

While I’m not going to rush out and pick one up on day one, like most, I’ll be watching this phone closely.  With mobile software development aspirations, the new iPhone may just be ready to replace my trusty TMobile Dash, which overall I’ve been very happy with.

At this point I only have two issues.  The first, I’d prefer to keep TMobile vs. ATT, with the previous iPhone i understand it was rather easy to retro fit iPhones for other GSM carriers, so that was interesting to me.  This time around however, as I’ve read in several sources, Apple/ATT aim to hedge the unlocked/iPhone black market by forcing buyers to actually return the iPhone before ATT will cancel their subscription.  They clearly don’t want phones floating around not tied to ATT, regarless of the “bricking” technique used last time around.

The other issue to me, which is equally painful, is lack of A2DP aka Bluetooth Stereo.  How can Apple even think of doing such a thing?  Sure, they’re now offering a mini-headphone jack, but who the heck wants wires these days??  To date, I still do not own a iPod, I’ve been quite happy playing music thru my Dash (wirelessly) and hate the idea of having to carry multiple devices.  I guess a final complaint, which I’m not surprised by, would be the lack of support for microSD cards.  I guess I understand this one.

So with Windows 6.1 on the horizon and the new Apple 3G iPhone now available, us corporate buyers have some decisions to make.

A bumpy ride for the iPhone

Its been over six months since Steve Jobs unleashed the flashy iPhone to the world, and the sleek, do everything gadget has met his ambitious initial sales targets (and then some) with over 1.5 million sold.  And despite all the prelaunch hype and fear mongering, you dont hear many gripes that the novel, finger-driven user interface doesnt work, or that videos look crummy or the battery sucks.  if anything most of the iPhones features have exceeded technological expectations.

Still, the iPhone frenzy seems to evaporate even more quickly than it built up, with little gotchas seemingly popping up at every turn, the biggest probably being AT&T.  The official details haven’t been made public to my knowledge, it is believed Apple is getting kick backs on monthly subscriptions.  Apples customers have been pretty verbal with the quality of the AT&T network, coverage and data speeds – wanting better performance.  Apple recently estimated nearly 20% of the iPhones purchased so far havent activated their AT&T accounts; in other words, if they are in use – they’ve been hacked to work on other networks which has been reported as pretty easy to do.

Being hijacked right out of the gates doesnt instill alot of confidence in the new “platform”.  To combat the problem, I’ve heard Apple now refuses to sell more than two iPhones to each walk-in customer and wont take cash as payment.  Not very consumer friendly.  I’ve also heard they’ve released a software update that turns hijacked phones into “bricks”.  I’ve also read this problem to be a motivating factor as to why Apple has yet to allow outsiders to write applications for the iPhone.  The quick price discounts after launch also rubbed alot of consumers that forked over the $500+ bucks the wrong way, some evening resulting in lawsuits.

Between the quirky keyboard, locked-in vendor dependance, lack of 3G support – some say there are better phones for the money.  I know I certainly recall the first time I bought a phone from a first generation provider (HP) – man what a horrible experience that was, needless to say, I sat this one out.