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Category: iPhone

I have a bad feeling about this

Sometime when I wasn’t looking Apple posted the WWDC session schedule. I hope I’m wrong, but already I see the potential for some serious problems.

WWDC does not seem to have a big reputation for being well-run. I can’t speak to this personally with any great authority; I’ve only attended one previous conference, in 2006. I didn’t really know what to expect, and I was excited just to be there, but even still there were a few issues I noticed. That year the sessions on the newly-announced Objective-C 2.0 and garbage collection were scheduled in a room that clearly was too small for the amount of interest. I saw there was a problem and decided to bypass the sessions, even though I was interested, figuring I could read up on the material later.

Meanwhile, the session on application code signing had been put in Presidio, the largest room — which I interpreted as a sign of the importance of the topic to Apple — but there were well fewer than a hundred people there. So Apple’s track record on predicting attendance is suspect at best.

Now this year they’ve sold out the conference, so we know it’s going to be crowded, and we know many if not most of those people are there for the iPhone. Apple seems to have booked Presidio exclusively with the key iPhone sessions, which is wise, but I fear it won’t be enough. I imagine four or five hundred people lining up early Tuesday morning, parking themselves in Presidio, and staying there for three and a half days. People who try to come for a later session are going to be annoyed if they can’t get in — but if Apple tries to clear the room after each session, people will get really angry.

[In 2006 they apparently ended up “repeating” a few of the overcrowded sessions by replaying them on a video projector one evening. I didn’t go; if I remember correctly, that was Wednesday, the night of the Apple Design Awards and Stump the Experts, and I didn’t want to miss those. This time around I’d probably pass them up, though. For one thing, the former DTS engineer with whom I saw Stump the Experts, and who made it twice as much fun by filling in the back story for me, is probably not attending this year.]

As a would-be independent developer with interests in both desktop and iPhone software, I’m anxious about the scheduling. On the one hand, if the iPhone session fill up I can usually find other sessions of interest to me. On the other hand, the trip out to San Francisco from the East Coast is a big deal in both time and money, and it’s not clear when I’ll be able to do it again, so I’d like to take advantage of the iPhone sessions as much as possible, since they’re clearly of more immediate value. (After all, I’ve got my Hillegas third edition right here already.)

At least if I keep myself on Eastern Time I can show up early every morning and get in line. I’ll miss the evening socializing, but I’m pretty introverted and don’t know anyone in SF, so that’s not much of a loss for me.

I sure hope this works out…

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Micro-huh?

As reported by Macworld: “Exec touts developing iPhone apps without SDK”:

There are more ways to develop applications for the Apple iPhone device than using the company’s beta iPhone SDK. Through a combination of Microsoft and other technologies, developers can build a Web application for the iPhone, according to a speaker at the VSLive conference in San Francisco on Wednesday.

How would you use Microsoft technologies to make an iPhone application? Oh, right: VSLive = Visual Studio Live. Got it. Know your audience.

“Don’t worry about rubber-tired vehicles,” said a speaker at this week’s blacksmith convention. “They can’t take you anywhere a well-shod horse can go.

“And besides, they won’t let you make your own tires, which I find kind of offensive.”

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A Brief Summary of the Macalope's Fisking of David Berlind's Comments on the Next iPhone

David Berlind: Based on an off-hand comment Steve Jobs made at the iPhone U.K. intro, I predict the next iPhone — you know, the phone designed to be different from all the other crappy phones out there — will add all that stuff that the other phones have.

The Macalope: Dude. Are you even paying a little attention?

(Oh, and as far as I can tell the site Berlind quoted got the quote wrong. They have Jobs saying “You can expect a 3G iPhone later next year”, but the quote I saw elsewhere — sorry, can’t find it right now — was more like “You should not expect a 3G iPhone before late next year”, which makes more sense.)

(Oh, and of course Apple’s going to have a 3G iPhone out sometime next year. Duh. Wake me up when the 3G EDGE network comes to town, and then we’ll talk.)

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Well, maybe not… but then again…

I was seriously considering an iPod touch to replace both my current iPod and my Palm TX, until Apple somewhat arbitrarily decided not to permit editing calendar events on the iPod (although you can add and edit contacts … huh?). So now I’m not so sure.

Would it be completely absurd to purchase a refurbished iPhone for only $50 more than the “equivalent” 8GB iPod touch, and thereby get all the extra applications? Not just full-featured calendar, but weather, stock quotes, Google maps, etc. (Plus emergency 911!)

Is that worth $50? Maybe… I’d have to activate it and then cancel the AT&T service, but that seems pretty well documented. Many commenters mocked people who wanted to do this with their $600 iPhone, but for $349 it seems more reasonable. (Plus I’d have something to develop applications for… yeah, right. That’s what I said about the last three Palms I bought, too.)

Bonus notes from perusing the online features guide:

* “[To] quickly type a period and space: Double-tap the space bar.” Cool! Does the iPhone do this too?

* “[To] enter a pause in a [phone] number: Tap [some symbol], then tap Pause.

Pauses are sometimes required by phone systems—before an extension or password,
for example. Each pause lasts 2 seconds. You may need to enter more than one.”

They took editable contacts out of the iPod touch, and left this in? Hello, McFly?

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Thoughts on the new iPod lineup

  • Silver is the new white: With the new iPod classic coming in Black and Silver, it looks like the only remaining iconic white product in Apple’s lineup is the MacBook (unless you count accessories like the AirPort Express or Extreme).

  • Is there anything more ridiculous than the early iPhone adopters whining about how Apple is being disloyal to them with the $200 price cut? What is this, high school? Was Apple supposed to not cut their prices, to show how much they care? What do they think all this whining is going to get them, anyway?

    Oh, OK. Huh. Hey, Beelzebub, send me up another iced tea, please. (I wonder if that will work elsewhere. “Hey, Mr. Honda, I bought this Accord a couple months ago, and now you’ve knocked $5000 off the price? I want my five large back!”)

  • As a longtime Verizon Wireless customer, the iPod touch has just about exactly solved my next electronic device purchasing dilemma. Now (a) I don’t have to switch carriers, and (b) I can stop carrying a Palm PDA with me, as the iPod touch will do everything I need the Palm for, except doing crossword puzzles and letting my daughter play Bejeweled — and since the iPod touch presumably runs the same OS X that the iPhone does, those are just a matter of time. Bye, Palm; it was fun, but I’m getting off here. Have a nice journey into irrelevance.
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Rampage of Headlines Containing "iPhone" Continues Unabated

So here we have what appears at first glance to be another entry in the “put iPhone in the headline and get unwarranted attention” sweepstakes:

iPhone Users Find Texting is 2x Slower Than on QWERTY Phones

but which turns out in fact to be more like the “write an egregiously misleading headline and get attention” technique.

Clicking through to the actual release reveals that if you take some frequent text messagers accustomed to physical numeric or QWERTY keypads and have them send six — six! — text messages on the iPhone — well, gosh, it takes them twice as long to do that as on their own phones … which they’re already used to.

(Apparently rubbing the iPhone on your head doesn’t cure baldness in half an hour, either.)

To their credit, they acknowledge this issue, sort of:

We were aware that participants’ prior familiarity with their own phones meant that there would likely be a learning curve associated with text messaging on the iPhone … Although participants were given one minute to familiarize themselves with the iPhone’s touch keyboard, their texting abilities on the iPhone were still at the novice level. [Emphasis supplied.]

So, apparently, they didn’t give the users any kind of advice on how to adapt themselves to the iPhone — the sort of thing any reasonably intelligent new user might do. Such as, oh, I don’t know, watch a video showing how it works?

Nor did they do the obvious followup and see how the users did after a couple of days using the iPhone — since it’s been widely reported that performance improves once the user adapts to the iPhone’s predictive key entry. Wouldn’t a usability research firm be interested in that information as well? Or would it just be satisfied to get a quick result likely to draw attention to itself, and send out a press release?

No, it couldn’t be that. What was I thinking?

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