Category: iPhone

iPhone 5 – What Do We Expect

Today is the day that consumers around the world have been waiting for since the iPhone 4 was released two years ago. The iPhone 5 is expected to be announced later this morning at Apple’s unveiling event in San Francisco. The release of the phone is one of the worst-kept secrets in history, but what can we expect from the new iPhone?

The sure things

The new iPhone is going to have a new operating system (iOS6), a new dock connector, and is going to be taller, thinner and higher resolution (likely 1,136 x 640) than all of the past iPhones. It’s also just about a sure thing that you are going to be able to pick up yours on September 21st. We can be fairly sure that this device will include LTE (aka 4g), as well.

What we dont’ know

First of all, we don’t know they are going to call this thing. I was shocked at the last Apple event when they announced the newest iteration of the iPad was going to be called “the new iPad” rather than the iPad 3. In the same vein, I’d be somewhat shocked if this device wasn’t named the iPhone 5. Yet, there is some strong evidence pointing to Apple simply calling this just “the new iPhone.”

iOS6
We know iOS6 is going to mean new features not only for owners of the new iPhone, but also some past iPhones, iPads, and iPods, as well. We know there is going to be a revamped version of Maps including turn by turn directions, Facebook integration, a new app called “Passbook” for manages passes, coupons, gift cards, etc, Facetime over cellular networks, a new podcast app, the removal of the YouTube app, a new “Lost” mode, and much more.

Surprises

Of course, the big news is going to be what (if any) surprises Apple has in store. When releasing the 4S, there was very little (if any) rumblings around about Siri – a feature that turned out to be, for better or worse, one of the selling points of the phone. I can’t imagine what Apple might have up their collective sleeves, but a big feature or two might help consumers from feeling a bit somewhat burned by Apple hype machine as many did with the release of the 4S. I’m going out on a limb and predicting the rumored 7.85″ “Mini iPad” isn’t going to be announced today, but rather at a separate event in October.

I’m guessing we are going to see updates to the iPod and/or iMac line. It’s possible one could be announced now and another could be alongside the iPad mini announced in October. Anyway, I hope they announce to fix the iPod Nano which I mentioned is my least favorite Apple product ever.

There are minor surprises that we might see… increases in size, processor, and camera’s would all be welcome. At the very least, I expect to learn the new iPhone is going to include something that hasn’t really been strongly rumored.

The bad

The worst thing for many consumers about the iPhone 5 has nothing to do with Apple itself. For customers on AT&T and Verizon, unless you want to shell out $600+ for the subsidized phone, you’ll be forced to sign up for one of their Everything Sucks data plans.

Conclusion

The iPhone 5 (or new iPhone or whatever they want to call it) is going to be a cash cow for Apple. There is very little doubt that it’s certainly going to be the best selling consumer device of the year. I’m interested in seeing the response the announcements, new features (or lack thereof), new dock and much more. If you’re interested in all things iPhone, I highly suggest you follow my example and check out the Engadget liveblog during your lunch break.

My favorite iPhone Apps

A week from tomorrow, Apple is going to announce the new iPhone5. At least a handful of the (Rock voice) millions… and millions… of techble readers will be purchasing an iPhone for the first time. Whether you are new to the iPhone or have been aboard since day one, I’ve come up with a list of my favorite iPhone apps both paid and free.

Note: I’m skipping games for now as that’s enough for it’s own post… which in time, we will do

iCatcher – I love me some podcasts. It is only appropriate that I start a list of my favorite iPhone apps with my single favorite iPhone app. I currently subscribe to 28 different podcasts that I listen to throughout the week. Apple released a separate podcast app that will become standard in iOS6. It’s light years away from matching iCatcher, though. The ability to 10-30-120-second skip, set a schedule of when to check for downloads, and much more. $1.99

Waze – I’m a little sad that this program is probably going to be replaced by the default Maps program in iOS6. Waze is considered a “social” GPS app. What is a social GPS, you ask? Quite simply, they use your data and user feedback to help make the program better for everyone. The first time I used it was this past April when I was visiting Orlando, FL for my best friend’s wedding. As I was driving to our hotel, the little app told me “Police ahead 1000 feet.” Sure enough, 1/4 mile down the road, there was a police officer scanning for speeders. The new Maps may prove to be superior, but there is no risk (aka – cost) to trying out Waze. Easily one of my favorite iPhone apps of all-time! Free

Spotify – Even if you don’t have the $10/month package (btw – you should), I prefer Spotify radio to others like Rdio, Slacker or Pandora. If you do shell out the $10/month, though, you’ll find that Spotify will change the way you approach music. I can’t imagine a reason to ever listen to terrestrial radio again and my cd purchasing has been reduced to only “absolutely must buy” cd’s. And for the record, yes, I’m still the dude that prefers cd’s to iTunes. Free (subscription recommended, though)

Echofon for Twitter – I’m not a huge fan of the official Twitter client. I’ve tried out a handful of other Twitter clients, but my favorite is Echofon. It allows me to manage my 6 different Twitter accounts from one program plus I really like how it handles lists. Free

Pocket – This app has changed the game for me. I love cruising Twitter for links posted by my favorite people to follow. The problem is the workflow of going to Twitter -> clicking on link -> read article -> go back to Twitter -> rinse & repeat is very cumbersome. Pocket allows me to click on the link, add it to “pocket” and continue cruising Twitter. When I’m done, I can look at my collection of 5-15 links and read them at my own speed. The stuff I really like I save for Friday’s “dot… dot… dot…” column which is much better than what I used to do (open a document, paste the link and title, save). I can’t think of a single reason for you NOT to use Pocket and it ranks high on my list of favorite iPhone apps. Free

1Password – 1Password strangely has some bad reviews, but I love the program. If you are anything like me, you’ve got a million different passwords. Using 1Password, I have to remember one single password to get me into the program. From there, I’ve got all of my passwords for personal/work along with any important information I like to have (insurance info, phones numbers to call in case I lose my credit cards, SkyMiles info, etc.) It’s expensive and there are other free versions out there, but I prefer 1Password. $9.99

Reeder – If you go visit websites and you aren’t “fed” your news, you, my friend, are a sucker stuck in 1998. Let me put it this way. You use Facebook, right? Would you prefer to get status updates, links, etc. from the News Feed or would you rather click on each individual friend to find out what’s new with them? Exactly. Setup an RSS feed with all of the places you like to visit and you can get the news and info that YOU want and filter all the rest. $2.99

Netflix – If you don’t know what Netflix is, I obviously don’t know how to help you out. If you have a subscription, but don’t have it on your smartphone, though, you’re crazy. Subscription required

DirecTV – I love the ability to remotely record things to my DVR. I can’t tell you how many time I’ve been at lunch checking out my twitter feed. I notice that a soccer game or the 1987 NBA All-Star game or random 80s movie is on. 30 seconds later, I’ve got it recording for when I get home. Love it! Free

LogMeIn – I used to prefer TeamViewer as a remote desktop app, but since the Mac version stopped working completely (for reasons unbeknownst to me), I’ve tried out and found I much prefer LogMeIn. Free

SlingPlayer – SlingPlayer is lucky to be on this list because of the ridiculous cost. The “HD” box retails at $250 and the app is $30. I got my refurbished “non-HD” box for $79 but reluctantly had to shell out my $30. Prior to some updates, this app stunk. In fact, for a while it was on my least favorite iPhone apps list. It still isn’t perfect, but it is much improved. Works awesome when you are on the same network. Plus, the ability to stream it to AppleTV is awesome. $29.99

BigLens – Instagram gets all the attention, but I think BigLens makes for better pictures. $0.99

TripIt – Cool concept. You link TripIt with your email account and it automatically creates travel itineraries. For example, if you book an airplane ticket, hotel, and rental car to Miami, FL for October 15th, it will create a new trip. Once October 15th comes around, it will give you updated flight info (gate, departure, arrival, baggage claim), directions to rental care place, directions to your hotel and much more. Free

Running2Win – I’m a huge fan of the running2web running log. In fact, I’ve used it exclusively as my running log for the past year. I love how thorough (or simple) you can be with your runs. The app can also be used as a GPS device for tracking how far/fast you’ve run. $0.99

Arseblog – A daily must read! I love both the news portion and the incredibly entertaining daily blog.

NBA Game Time – Last year, the NBA offered free streaming on digital platforms if you also purchased the NBA ticket. This led to me watching way, way (and did I mention WAY) too many games featuring the hapless Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, and Portland Trailblazers games until midnight on my phone. Besides the live games, though, I also was able to watch the highlights from Inside the NBA every Friday during my lunch break.

Screenshot - Batman - Year One

How to Rip DVD to iPhone (or other mobile device)

If you are anything like me, you’ve got a closet full of old dvds. More and more, dvds are being phased out. Even if it seems to be a little slower, dvds will eventually follow the path of cds and be completely replaced by digital media. Anyway, onto the instructions.

Step 1 – Go to http://handbrake.fr/ and click on the downloads tab. Download the correct version for your computer. For this demonstration, I’m going to be using a Mac but it essentially is the same instructions for both Mac & Windows. Download and install the program. Should be a pretty straightforward install. Once you have it installed, insert a dvd into your computer. Click on the “Source” button in the upper left hand corner of Handbrake.

Example 1
Example 1

Step 2 – Find your dvd. You should see a “Video_TS” folder (see Example 1). There may be an “AUDIO_TS folder as well. Click on “Open.”

You may need to wait a few minutes. Handbrake is now looking at your dvd to try to figure out which file is the actual movie. I’ve had to wait as long as 10 minutes for it to “do it’s thing.” As soon as you see the “Source” change from scanning and the destination grayed out (see Example 2) to the name of your dvd along with a destination and browse button not grayed out(see example 3), you can proceed to the next step.

Example 2
Example 2
Example 3
Example 3

Step 3 – Pick where you want to save the file. Under the “Destination”, you can select where you want to save the file. I typically will save all of my movies to a backup hard drive because I’ve got a lot of them and I don’t use them very frequently.

Step 4 – On the right hand side, you will see a lot of profiles (Example 4). Each profile is going to save the video in a slightly different format. For me, I usually use iPhone 4. This setting will work just fine for you iPad, Android phone, AppleTV, or computer as well.

Example 4
Example 4

Step 5 – Click on Start. It will take a few minutes to complete the ripping process. As soon as it is done, go the folder where you saved the video file. Open up your iTunes and drag the file from the folder to your library in the upper left hand corner (see Example 5). From there, you’ll be able to sync it to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod just like any other music or video file. That’s it… now if you want to put your old DVD of “The Godfather” (or heaven forbid, the $1 dvd you picked up at Redbox yesterday), you can do it in five easy steps!

Example 5
Example 5