According to court documents Apple filed in 2008 in a response to a class action lawsuit in California, AT&T and Apple have an exclusive term of five years.
Engadget got a copy of those documents yesterday and confirmed that the original deal was supposed to last until 2012. Of course it is very possible that Apple and AT&T renegotiated the deal when the iPad came out.
USA Today broke the news of the five-year exclusivity deal prior to the iPhone’s launch in May 2007, but at that time, the news was never confirmed and no one really cared as much since the iPhone was still very new. It seems though that with the proof in the court filing, US iPhone users will be with AT&T until at least 2012.
Only Apple and AT&T know whether their original five-year exclusivity is still in effect, but that might just mean a big window of opportunity for the Verizon/Android users to continue to grab market share and be a serious contender to Apple/AT&T.
We’ve started to receive our first review samples for cases and accessories for the iPad, and decided that this case would be a good place to start.
Case Mate has made hundreds of different cases over the years for mobile phones, and the quality and reliability of their product line has always been up to par. The case we received for review for the iPad is their Gelli Checkmate Case.
The case is made from a flexible, plastic-like, translucent material that has a check board pattern across it where the squares are rotated 90 degrees. It comes in 3 colors (Grey, Blue, Green), and the one we received was blue.
It easily fits onto the iPad with just a little stretch over the iPads edges. The material is thicker than we expected (which is a good thing), and has a nice "cushion" if you squeeze it. The texture has a nice tactile feel and provides a good surface to get a firm grip on your iPad.
We like the fact that unlike some of the other ‘snap on’ cases, this case goes around the whole iPad and all of the edges are covered completely. There is even a ridge over the front of the iPad and this adds just a little security for the front in case you drop the iPad on its face.
The Gelli Checkmate is very light, and does a good job of protecting the iPad from scratches and minor impacts. Case Mate claims that the material is more resilient than silicone and rubber cases, and quite honestly, I don’t know if i would trust the iPad dropping on a hard surface with any case.
The case has all the appropriate cut outs for easy access to the dock and controls. Once we put it on the iPad, the pattern came through nicely, and the case actually looks great.
Our only issue with this case is the lack of glass protection for the front. If you use a screen protector for the front of your iPad to prevent scratches, and you don’t want a physical cover for the front, then Case Mate is a good choice.
At $39 suggested retail, its a little steep, and I would think that a clear plastic screen for the front should be provided, but overall, its a quality product and will definitely get the job done if this is the type of case your looking for. You can get it on the Case Mate site.
Smartphones like the iPhone and their "always on" internet have sparked the creation of numerous social networking applications that allow you to connect and "check in" with your friends and co-workers wherever you are. Most of these apps offer the ability to add geolocation information to a post so others can see where you posted from. On the surface this appears to be a great way to connect with people and share with the world at large. Yet beneath the glossy veneer lie the issues of how much information about ourselves and about our daily lives we make public knowledge.
These apps can help connect people with similar interests and geographical locations allowing messages to be left for others. The power and polish that these networks bring are a real testament to what social media has to offer; and with their integration with mobile platforms like the iPhone and Android it becomes convenient and enticing to take up these apps. Therefore, while using social networking services like Facebook, Brightkite, or Loopt, there are three main ways we can run into problems: through the public, our friends, and the company.
First of all is the public. I’m sure most people want to retain at least a certain degree of privacy online. In the case of location-based social networks, one must consider who can see your location information and how they might use this in ways you might not consider. One highly publicized example of this is a website called Please Rob Me. While the site owner has taken down the search function of this site, the information is still public and the point the site was trying to make is still valid. When you post publicly it is like a giant billboard and the information we provide is given to essentially everyone. A great quote from this site sums up the problems very well:
"So here we are; on one end we’re leaving lights on when we’re going on a holiday, and on the other we’re telling everybody on the internet we’re not home."
We must be conscientious of who we trust with our information. Some of the social networking apps now have features to make the location less accurate but apart from setting it to just the city you are in it really isn’t much different. Every time you post where you are at you should ask yourself, "Would I care if a complete stranger in this town knew exactly where I was and what I am doing right now?" If not, perhaps you should make that a private post to just your trusted friends.
Speaking of friends, who are your friends? Do you personally know everyone on your friend’s list, or are you one who accepts every request you receive? In the context of social networks, the definition of a friend, for many, is a loose term for someone they have met at some point either online or in person and may or may not know much if anything about. As your friends list grows this problem can become even harder to manage. Who are these people and who do they know (or who are they "friends" with)? As social media has become even important to advertising we are seeing an increase in attempts to acquire friend data either through voluntary means (think Facebook applications) or through hacked accounts. Sharing your information with only friends is only as secure as each friend’s account.
The last piece in this chain of trust is the social media companies themselves. For the most part it is in the companies best interest to keep user data secure in order to instill trust in its users. Though, as you can probably guess, we have recently seen Facebook take advantage of its users trust in order to expand its ability to use private data for financial gain. We must be mindful of what the companies that run our social media applications are doing with our data. Companies, like Facebook, may start with a clear policy of privacy, but as time passes and the lure of larger revenue increases, social media companies may evolve into creatures that may be too public for some people’s taste.
As a final note we should also be careful of ourselves. Images and opinions can have a powerful effect on what other’s know about us. As more and more employers look to social media to see what type of person they are thinking of hiring people are realizing that what they say and do on social media sites can, and will, effect their opportunities in the real world. In the early days of the internet, people enjoyed a freedom to "be someone else" online. There was a distinct separation between online and real life. Today, this is not the case as one’s online persona is tied more and more to the person behind the keyboard.
So as we open our iPhones to tweet or to reply to our friends on Facebook, remember how our actions online affect, us and be mindful of your chain of trust.
New features are being found in the latest iPhone 4 Beta SDK including the ability to capture video at higher resolutions than the current standard 640×480. The video classes that are now available imply that the new iPhone will be able to capture video at 720.
This new ability to capture HD video could provide some new interesting apps for video editing and much more detailed augmented reality.
The new iPhone has been rumored to have a 5 Megapixel camera and is expected to be announced during this years June 7th WWDC in CA.
It seems that after a lot of hearsay, and he said / she said, we finally got a direct statement from Steve Jobs / Apple about what his / their reason is for not supporting flash on their devices.
Fresh from Apple’s web site, Steve Jobs points out the following 6 reasons why Apple does not currently support Flash on their devices. We can’t say that we agree with all of these, but a few actually make some sense to us, see what you think, since from the sounds of things, Apple will probably never support Flash on its devices.
1. Flash is 100% Proprietary to Adobe. They control pricing, updates, etc. and this non open standard is something Apple doesn’t approve of.
2. The "Full Web". Even though Flash video is used 75% of the time on the web, Apple points out that there are many other alternate video formats that they would prefer to support on their products which are being used on most popular video sites.
3. Reliability, Security, and Performance. According to Apple, Symantec recently said Flash has one of the worst security records in 2009. Apple also claims that Flash is the number 1 reason that Macs crash.
4. Battery Life. Chips used in modern mobile devices contain decoders called H.264. Its a standard used in Blu-ray (something Apple still doesn’t support, whats the issue there Apple?). Even though Adobe recently added H.264 to Flash, older generation decoder used on web sites are not implemented in mobile chips and therefore must run on software which taxes the chips more and "wastes" battery life.
5. Flash does not support Touch Based devices. Its made for PC’s which include keyboards and mice, and works on rollovers (when the pointer rolls over the item you want to create an action for), therefore the experience that Apple wants users to have is lost if Flash was used.
6. Apple doesn’t like 3rd party development platforms, and I quote, "If developers grow dependent on third party development libraries and tools, they can only take advantage of platform enhancements if and when the third party chooses to adopt the new features. We cannot be at the mercy of a third party deciding if and when they will make our enhancements available to our developers.
So there you have it. Apple’s 6 reasons for not allowing Flash on their devices. It seems that Apple probably will never allow Adobe’s Flash at this point. So the real question then becomes, will developers of Flash products ultimately recode their products in more open formats like HTML5 in order to work with Apple? Or will Apple users have to learn how to live without?
You can read the full Steve Jobs post here.
We were excited to get our iPad 3G today, and after signing up for the monthly AT&T plan we went out to do our testing.
It seems that a few apps we have grown to love and use work differently on 3G. We can’t say that we are too surprised, but its pretty annoying to find out after we subscribe that the ABC player will not work over AT&T’s 3G network. We just get the message that Cellular Networks are not supported at this time.
After trying ABC, we went to Netflix and although the streaming does work, the quality has obviously been downgraded. iTunes Video previews seem to be the same downgraded quality.
I guess the $15 / month plan with AT&T may be enough for us after all.
I have many days wished I could figure out a way to get rid of my cable company and find a better (cheaper) way to watch television. Hulu, an online video streaming service (2nd in popularity only to YouTube), offers the ability to pull up video from the US’s 5 major networks online, but unless you’ve hacked your Apple TV, there is really no way to easily get it on your TV (baring you connecting your computer every time you want to bring up a show).
Well now it seems that HULU will be making their debut on the iPad. The LA Times has announced that Hulu plans to launch their iPad app next month! The plan is to offer the most current episodes for free, but charge $9.95 / month for gaining access to the complete back catalogue of TV shows.
The service is rumored to start its testing around May 24 for the Apple iPad and Android phones. Maybe they can bring the service to Apple TV too, and then I won’t have to connect the video out to my iPad each time i want to watch something on the "Bigger" screen. 🙂
After the applause at last week’s conference had died down, and Apple packed away its reality distortion field until the next show, many iPhone users began to wonder what was to become of the one unmentioned iPhone: the first generation. I know it may be hard to believe that there are those out there who still use Apple’s initial entry into the mobile phone world. The first generation iPhone not only initially sold for $600 with a contract, but was an EDGE-only phone with a measly 8GBs of space for your music, photos, etc. Mind you, it was a different world out there. The app store was merely a twinkle is Steve’s eye, and Apple told us that web sites were just as good as real apps on the iPhone. Our iPhones couldn’t look up a website while making a phone call unless we were connected to wifi. It was a harder time, and we paid dearly to be a part of it.
From the iPhone’s simple, yet presumptuous, beginnings to last year, we have seen incredible improvements to our little Cupertinian smart phone. I now rarely take my laptop with me on trips so long as I have my handy iPhone, with all of its handheld entertainment, organization, and productivity apps. I feel like my phone has finally grown up to become the all-inclusive device I always wished it would be. So there I was, at the edge of my seat, anxiously awaiting the newest upgrade to my digital life when his Jobsness dropped the bomb on us: the last update would not fully support first generation iPhones.
At the time, MMS was one of the big missing features of the iPhone. It was one of those things people would ask how you ever got along without it since their $20 LG phone from three years ago could send MMS. We made do without it (and found workarounds) but now was our time to say, "See? Now we have all those features, AND we can do so much more!" You can imagine my disappointment when I realized that I wouldn’t be sending anyone photos of what I had for lunch, or forwarding the latest lolcat picture that was going around the office. It wasn’t that I didn’t understand the reasoning behind the feature snub I received. I knew in my heart that my aging iPhone was due for a trip to the great Apple Store in the sky. I also knew Apple would need to leave behind the elderly if they were going to make it through the pass and sell more iPhones. The shiny new 3GS was very tempting indeed, and in fact, I started setting aside funds to make the upgrade to the "latest and greatest" class.
As my savings account grew, and the days until I would have my new "precious" drew near, I began to realize more and more that the consumerism and gadget lust I felt masked the simple fact that my first generation iPhone was still, in fact, a fantastic mobile device. I was quite use to the speed, or lack there of, of the EDGE network. MMS aside, it remained on par with the core features of the OS. The only apps I could not enjoy were a handful of games that I probably shouldn’t be wasting my time playing anyway. So, with all things considered, I decided to punt this last year and wait to see what 2010 would hold in store for my pocket.
Now with Apple’s iPhone OS 4.0 announced and with Steve’s confirmation that first generation iPhones are being completely left out in the cold, It seems this year is the final year for those of us still clinging to our aging iPhones. WWDC 2010 is still months away, but after seeing what’s ahead with iPhone OS 4.0, I believe I made the best calculation. If Apple continues its current trend, the fourth generation iPhone will undoubtedly surpass the 3GS in many ways, and as Apple has demonstrated, be a viable piece of hardware with substantial updates to the OS for at least 3 years. My little first generation iPhone may have the battery life of a digital camera on alkalines, but it should hold together a few more months; at which time it will be turned over to my children to use as an iPod touch, while Daddy goes to open the box for his new slice of Apple goodness.
In general, we try to stay away from unconfirmed rumors, especially when it comes to Apple and iphone news, but it seems this time, the rumors are true.
It seems that last month on March 18th, a phone was found in a beer garden in Redwood City, CA. A young Apple engineer had a few drinks and left it behind at their table. A new customer picked up the phone thought it was a standard iPhone (it had a rounded case on it that you would see on any 3G phone)
, ……….He decided to turn it on, look up the contact information in Facebook and tried to contact the owner (Grey Powell) at Apple. Unfortunately for Apple (fortunately for us), Apple simply provided him with a case number and not much else. The next day, the phone was no longer working (it seems it was disabled remotely).
After it was clear that it wasn’t going to be that easy to return the phone, the customer, still not realizing what he had found took off the case, and underneath the 3GS like cover was what looked like the new iPhone. It had a completely different case, buttons, even a front facing camera.
At that point, the customer realized what he had and decided to contact Engadget and Gizmodo to see who would pay for the phone. Almost immediately, Engadget published pictures of the phone as the rumored new iPhone on their site. Of course at that time, no one could confirm this particular rumor more so than the handful of photos we’re always seeing out of China about images of the new iPhone, etc. So why would this set of photos be any different?
……….. As with most rumors that come out and future product pics, this got some attention but not quite as much as what followed. It seems that Gizmodo went out and bought the device directly from the customer. Gizmodo confirmed that they paid $5,000 for it and a few weeks later posted complete information about the phone, its features, and inner workings (they took it apart). It seems that this phone has;
- 80 GB of storage – no way to really confirm this one, we’ll just have to wait and see.
- A Glass / Ceramic Back — Gizmodo guesses that this would let radio signals through much easier, and of course provide for swipe gestures on the back of the phone.
- Unconfirmed Resolution of 960×480 – since the phone was almost immediately shut off, this is just a guess, so i wouldn’t bet the farm on this one.
- Front-facing camera – Mobile video conferencing. Enough said.
- Flash — It seems that on the back of the phone, the 2nd camera has an LED flash next to it.
- Micro SIM Card — Since the iPad will have this in their 3G version, I’m not surprised that the phone would too.
Updated OS — Since the phone was only turned on for that one night briefly, and the only person who played with it was the customer who found the phone, we can’t be sure, but it seems the phone was running a new OS (was it 4? or something coming? Guess we’ll have to wait to find out).
What makes this all so interesting, is that after Gizmodo published their findings this weekend it finally caught Apples attention and the following letter was received by them from Apple.
So at the end of the day, it seems we got an advanced look at whats coming down the pike this summer from Apple. Wonder if this is going to delay or speed things up!? I hope the latter.
Apple reported today that over 500,000 iPads have been sold in the US and is creating a high demand for the newest Apple offering.
Todays announcement by Apple says they have delayed international delivery by about a month;
Although we have delivered more than 500,000 iPads during its first week, demand is far higher than we predicted and will likely continue to exceed our supply over the next several weeks as more people see and touch an iPad. We have also taken a large number of pre-orders for iPad 3G models for delivery by the end of April.
It seems that international details will be made available May 10th.