A Life Untold

Ranting while I’m Raving; Technology News and Views

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Archive for the ‘apple’ Category

Apple Announcement: What Happened To It?

Posted by titusferguson on February 21, 2008

ShuffleSo last week and early this week the internet was abuzz with rumours that apple was going to make an announcement at a special event being held on February 20th. Well its February 21st now and it doesn’t look like there was any big announcement.

I mean other then the price drop of the iPod shuffle and the introduction of a 2 GB model.

I wonder if this was all Apple was ever planning on doing yesterday? Apple’s stock has been up the last few days so the analysts are happy with this announcement. I was hoping for something a little bigger myself.

I must admit though, at only $49 for a 1 GB shuffle it is definitely an impulse buy. If I wasn’t so short on cash right now I would probably pick one up myself.

Posted in apple, iPod, technology | Leave a Comment »

Unlimited Data Plan in Canada

Posted by titusferguson on February 12, 2008

This is a bit of a summary of the current state of data plans in Canada. Occaisionally I see people getting excited about unlimited data plans. I hope this post will put to rest some of the confusion.

Many sites like Apple Insider is reporting , IntoMobile and TalkiPhone are reporting that Rogers Canada has announced an unlimited data plan in Canada; the $20 a month Communication pack, they seem to think that this removed a barrier to releasing the iPhone in Canada. But lets take a closer look at what this plan offers and if that is even the case.

Rogers in fact has two “unlimited data” plans; the $20 Communicate Value Pack, and the $7 Unlimited On-Device Mobile Browsing Plan They are basically the same plan, for $13 dollars more though you get text and video messages, voicemail and call display.

What does Rogers mean by unlimited mobile browsing though.? If you read the fine print you’ll see this: “Important: This plan includes unlimited on-device mobile browsing only. Plan is available on select phones only (PDAs such as Blackberry or Windows Mobile devices, PC cards and non-Rogers certified devices are not eligible). Data usage incurred on ineligible devices, incurred while tethering (using device as wireless modem for laptop) or incurred using non-Rogers (3rd party) applications downloaded to your device will be subject to pay-per-use charges of 5 cents/KB.”

What does that mean? It means that if you use a non-rogers browser (like safari) you pay the per-use rate. It also means that all you have is unlimited WAP data. Translation: crappy web browsing, not what the iPhone was intended for.

It’s interesting that Rogers goes out of their way to put this disclaimer in: “3rd party applications are applications like Yahoo! Go or Google Maps. These are non-Rogers applications which can be downloaded to the device and incur data charges at a rate of 5¢/KB.”

So what does this mean for the iPhone. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. You do not get any added features on your hacked iPhone in Canada if you add this plan. In case you didn’t get that. This announcement does not mean that we will be getting the iPhone anytime soon. We Are No Closer to Getting the iPhone in Canada.

Shame on Rogers for continuing to screw their customers over. I hope that people read all the fine print closely before getting excited and adding this feature. I’m worried that when next months bill comes some people are going to be in for a shock.

Finally, I wish that American sites, like Apple Insider, who have no understanding of the issues would stop reporting on “developments” like this. Its getting annoying, please stop. Sites like ArsTechnica have understood that “unlimted” doesn’t mean unlimited, and I thank them for that.

Posted in apple, internet, iPhone, news, wireless | 3 Comments »

Apple Announcements

Posted by titusferguson on February 5, 2008

So today two new items appeared on the online Apple store, the typical way Apple announces things.  A 32 GB iPod touch and a 16 GB iPhone. The iPod touch is now $519 CAD which compared to the USD price of $499 is not really all the bad. The iPhone is $499 USD.

This is a pretty cool announcement. When I bought my latest iPod I decided not to get a touch because of it smaller size I decided against it. I’m sure Apple will see an increase in sales as a result.

I’ve delayed getting an iPhone here in Canada because of the costs and lack of full features due to the high data costs. But if the cost of the phone would drop even further, I might considered getting a hacked phone.

Posted in apple, internet, iPhone, iPod, technology | Leave a Comment »

I Was Screwed Over by iTunes

Posted by titusferguson on February 4, 2008

I am a big fan of the iTunes music store. I purchase a lot of my music there, individual songs and full albums. I’m willing to live with the lesser quality and high DRM for the convenience of desktop music purchasing. Up until now I have had no problems, that all changed last week.

Over a year ago I purchased a song, it never ended up on my computer and I totally forgot about it for quite some time. Last week I was browsing through my purchase history and saw this song. Since I did not have a copy of it on my system I emailed the service desk to ask the song be added to my download queue so I could download it again.

This is what I got back:

Thank you for purchasing music from the iTunes Store. I apologize, but I am unable to place this item back in your download queue.

We encourage you to back up your hard disk regularly. If a song needs to be replaced, you can restore your music and other data from the backup and avoid the need to purchase replacement copies of your collection of songs.

Well that didn’t really solve the problem. So I email them back telling them that this was unacceptable. Since I had purchased the song I wanted a copy of it. I thought I had purchased the rights to the song not just one copy and therefore saw no problem with a new copy. And because of their DRM, it would be almost impossible for me to violate the copyright law.

Another reply:

“I’m afraid that there may be some confusion. When you purchase a file from the iTunes Store, you are purchasing a specific copy. This is like purchasing a CD. When you do so, you own that particular CD rather than all copies of the album.

While I can appreciate your frustration, a new copy will not be provided. I understand that you have seen a new or modified version of the file on the iTunes Store. You are welcome to purchase this item but the payment for a previous copy of the item cannot be applied toward the purchase.”

I was shocked to say the least, I was not aware at all that I only had rights to one copy. Their ridiculous false analogy about CD sales aside, there seemed to be nothing I could do. Checking the user agreement though reveals this gem “Once a Product is purchased or rented (as applicable) and you receive the Product, it is your responsibility not to lose, destroy, or damage the Product, and Apple shall be without liability to you in the event of any loss, destruction, or damage”

I knew that there was strict DRM on all Apple media purchases I didn’t know that it went this far though. But what do I do now? Amazon’s music store is not available in Canada yet and eMusic only has a limited stock, most of it independent labels. It looks like I’m either back to brick and mortar or I resign my self to poor service and high DRM.

Another issue though. As far as I was aware when I purchase a CD, at least in Canada, I own any copies of that album. I can rip it to my computer and I own the mp3s. I can burn another audio copy and I own that. I know this is not what the RIAA in the U.S. wants but as long as Digital Millennium Copyright Act style laws stay out of Canada I can still do that here.

More then ever now I’ll be supporting Michael Giest on his crusade to protect Canadian consumers from unfair copyright laws. I’d urge everyone else to do the same.

Posted in apple, copyright, internet, technology | 2 Comments »

Audible, Apple, and Amazon

Posted by titusferguson on February 1, 2008

It was announced yesterday that Amazon is going to acquire Audible.com for $300 million.

I wonder how this will effect the relationship between Audible and iTunes. They have always had a strong relationship,  and Audible purchases are synced seamlessly into iTunes and onto iPods.

Since Apple and Amazon are competitors in the music market, I don’t see how they will want to cooperate the spoken book market. TUAW thinks that there must have been provisions made for Apple in the deal. I’m not so sure Amazon would want to do that. I think that Amazon wants to move into the web based  music store market. Now they have DRM free, cheaper-than-iTunes, music, as well as audiobooks, they could really threaten Apple’s dominance. Their plan might be to cut off Apple’s access to all their audiobook subscribers and force them into their service.

Posted in apple, internet, iPod, iTunes, news, software, technology | 1 Comment »

Really Outdated Apple iPod Site

Posted by titusferguson on January 31, 2008

So I was doing some research for an article of iTunes and Audible when I stumbled upon this really old iPod site, on the Apple webpage:

http://www.apple.com/lae/ipod/

I don’t exactly know what the lae directory is, or what country its for. Update: lae is Latin America, apparently they get to read outdated information down there. Reading the specs on the products, this site is from around September 2003. The iPods are generation 3’s, which was the first iPod I had.

Oddly enough, its only the iPods that have this old information up. Looking at the OS X link is all about Leopard. I wonder what mistake was made?

Update: hehe its been fixed. I wonder if I have a cached copy?

Posted in apple, internet, iPod, iTunes, technology | Leave a Comment »

Inside Source: Apple to Release an Ultra Portable Device

Posted by titusferguson on January 30, 2008

Yes, I know Apple has already announced the Macbook air, this is a completely different product. I would describe it as a combination of the air and the iPhone.The device is said to require two hands and be a touch based device. The device could then be a more upgraded iPhone or more developed iPod Touch. Another option is that this device would be more like current windows-based tablet PCs.

As per other Apple products, most of the speculation comes from hardware orders. Inside sources have tipped that recently Apple has been working with a German company Balda to purchase 5.2″ touch panels. This was also the same place that Apple procured their iPhone screens.

For a more in depth analysis check out David Sieger’s Eye on Apple blog. Mac Rumors  has also discussed this device before.

If this is in fact true, it would be very exciting news. Ever since the iPhone came out, Apple fans have been debating, is it a phone or is it a mobile computer. A new device would finally settle everything. But probably not Merlin Mann’s continuing desire for a return to the 12″ Powerbook

Posted in apple, rumors, technology | 3 Comments »

Microsoft Mobile 7 to Destroy Apple’s iPhone

Posted by titusferguson on January 29, 2008

According to Michael Ashley over at NetworkWorld Microsoft’s upcoming (?) mobile 7 will, feature wise, effectively destroy Apple’s iPhone.

The iPhone is certain to fade into history as another cool Apple innovation, that others soon rushed competitive, like-products to market, blowing away any significant lead Apple might have. The iPod mp3 player is an industry Apple essentially created, the iPhone isn’t. Too many major players are in the mobile phone market, who have and will bring iPhone-like products to market over the coming months and years. LG has already done so with the LG Voyager phone, and now Microsoft’s plans for Windows Mobile 7 OS have been leaked and described in considerable detail by InsideMicrosoft blogger Nathan Weinberg.

And:

I really like the thought Microsoft has put into WM7. It’s more than must “iPhone compete” — Microsoft is taking key ideas and extending them well beyond current mobile phone interfaces. I’m encouraged by the depth of Microsoft’s thinking about WM7.

I can already hear all the objections. Here are my thoughts on this article.

1. This is a Planned 2009 release from Microsoft. We already know how far behind Microsoft gets from their planned dates. Witness Vista. And who knows what innovations Apple will develop, they will not sit still and will continue to improved the iPhone.

2. Obviously there are others involved in the wireless industry who will try to release produces similar to the iPhone. Up until now they haven’t released a products as revolutionary as the iPhone, which puts Apple ahead of their competition, including Microsoft.

3. This is a leaked Microsoft announcement about their own products. Of course its going to say they’ll kick Apple’s butt. Problem is, they haven’t yet. For example, Vista, basically a 5 year late, rip-off of OS X.

4. This is Microsoft, they don’t release nice products. They release usable products. And even that isn’t even quit true, its pretty hard to use a product always under the Blue Screen of Death.

In the end? Microsoft might release a better product in 2009, but it will be a better product then a 2007 release. Who cares about that?

Posted in apple, ideas, internet, iPhone, technology | 20 Comments »

iPhone news: CDMA, Canada, and Corporations

Posted by titusferguson on January 18, 2008

Well, Steve Job’s Keynote has passed and Macworld 2008 is wrapping up today and what news have we got about the iPhone?

  • iPhone 1.1.3 : The firmware update that was widely expected ever since the video appeared back in December. I’ll leave it to other sites to describe exactly what new features have been released.
  • iPhone Corporate accounts: AT&T will be releasing a corporate account for the iPhone on January 21st. Gizmodo for more details.
  • No CDMA iPhone announcment: I don’t really know if this is that big of a surprise since apparently Apple and AT&T have a five year agreement. Since this is exclusively in the U.S then we might still see a CDMA phone in Canada or Europe.
  • No 16gb model: A lot of people, including most analysts and pundits, were expecting this release. That it wasn’t announced at Macworld might mean that Apple is planning big announcements later in the year.

What this means for potential Canadian iPhone users is that we’re stuck waiting for Rogers and Apple to come up with an agreement. Finally, Lance Wiggs has a great post about Apple and its treatment of international users.

Posted in apple, internet, iPhone, Macworld, technology | Leave a Comment »

Macworld 2008 Keynote Thoughts

Posted by titusferguson on January 15, 2008

Steve Jobs has wrapped up his keynote for this years Macworld. Here are my thoughts on the announcements that he made. This are really just prelimiary though, on the go as the keynote progressed.

The Time Capsule looks really cool. Since I need a new router anyways, and I’m always saying I need to back up more often, it might be a good idea to get one. The cost does seem high at first though.

The new iPhone software: I’m sure people that with iPhones will be happy. Doesn’t really do that much for me right now. Glad to see that they finally will be releasing an SDK though. Applying the same upgrades to the touch is cool, but charging people for them is not.

iTunes Movie rentals: Not a big surprise everyone was expecting that. I wonder when availability outside of the U.S will come? I like the price point though.

Apple TV: Doesn’t need a computer anymore. This is great news that will boost the number of units sold. A new user interface as well, always appreciated. All in all the Apple TV looks great. I kinda want one now, but it makes no practical sense for me.

Macbook Air: The worlds thinnest laptop…. amazing.. fits in a manilla envelope! No optical drive, that might be annoying. The remote disc option is really only any good if you have several laptops. Personally I need an optical drive, I still rip a lot of CDs and DVDs. I’m not ready to do all my shopping via Apple. Sealed case means no user-swapping batteries. I know the internet is not going to like that.

I love Merlin’s comments on this weeks Macbreak weekly. Nobody knows anything about what is going to be released ahead of time, its just a bunch of speculation. However everyone does it so they don’t lose their job. Well the speculation is over and I personally like what I’ve seen! In a few days I’ll discuss in more depth my complete reaction.

Posted in apple, internet, iPhone, iTunes, Macworld, software, technology | Leave a Comment »