Unlocked iPhones available in the US–FINALLY!

This is indeed great news: Apple is now going to sell unlocked iPhones in the US! This greatly simplifies my life in that now I don’t have to figure out how to travel to the UK or Canada to buy one. Having to buy a locked phone and commit myself to an expensive, multi-year contract for thousands of minutes of call time I’ll never use was ridiculous (and should be illegal, frankly). Now I can pay more up front, but spend a lot less in the long run.

Of course, I don’t happen to have $749.00 lying around at the moment. And then I’ll probably want to wait for the iPhone 5 now anyway (and hope it will be sold unlocked). Sigh…

Check out the story on Macrumors.com

This news is HUGE…

This morning, Apple kicked off their annual World Wide Developers Conference with a keynote address. In it, the likes of Steve Jobs, Phil Schiller and Scott Forstall introduced, demoed and talked about a host of really cool upcoming stuff in Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5 and what promises to be an amazing new service, iCloud.

But what I think is the most important key news item is that iOS 5 will be “PC free”.

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Farewell, my iPhone…

iPhone 3GS in BlackThis morning at around 9:30—a mere 24 hours or so before taking delivery of my incoming iPad WiFi+3G—I handed off my iPhone 3GS to one of my coworkers. She’d agreed to buy it from me so that she could escape having to sign up for a long-term AT&T contract.

It was kind of strange. When I got up this morning, it was not to the sound of my iPhone alarm but rather my regular alarm clock. Instead of reaching over to check the morning emails, I had to…uh…get out of bed. When I got dressed I discovered I was “listing to port” since there was no phone in my right-hand trouser pocket like usual to balance me out.

I still think that the iPhone has been one of the best pieces of technology I have ever owned or used in my entire life. It revolutionized a lot of things from smart phones to “pocket computing” to human interface design. I used it every single day from when I bought my 1st generation iPhone through today. So why the heck did I sell it then?

The only problem I ever had with the iPhone was that I’m not a “phone-talking kind of person”. It always secretly infuriated me that I had to pay lots of money every month for cell phone minutes I’d never, ever use. I had thousands of them! The cheapest plan you could buy still gave 450 minutes (and that’s not counting the thousands of “Night & Weekend” minutes) and in a chatty month I might use 60-75 of them. But after paying the $39.99, they’d roll over, and over, and over every month until after a year they expired and went into the cell minute dustbin. This irked me to no end.

What I did on my iPhone was use email, the web browser and several applications. All this will be done better, stronger and faster on an iPad—and without the $69.99 a month recurring bill. If I need 3G, that would be at the most $30.00 per month.

But what about making phone calls when I do need them? Well, mark my devilish ingenuity: I use Skype. I’ve had a Skype account ever since my first trip to Japan in 2006, but I mostly only used it when I traveled. You can get Skype on the iPad. The ingenuity part is that I bought a local call in phone number to give people who want to call me from the phone—that was $30.00/year. I then purchased a one-year, unlimited calling plan to anywhere in the USA or Canada for $30.05. There you go—all the calling I’ll ever need for a whole year for less than a month’s iPhone bill. And besides—what did we all do in the not-so-distant past before cell phones? We called regular phones and left messages when necessary. I have a home phone and a work phone where I—you know—actually use the telephone. I’m not bothered at all.

I plan on having my iPad with me all the time, so there’s not much I’ll miss. But just in case, I bought a 5th Gen iPod Nano (the one with the video camera) just to have as my emergency backup pocketable device.

So farewell, iPhone—I knew you well…

Quote

“Much of the negative response to the iPad seems filled with anger—which, as Yoda adroitly pointed out, stems from fear—and it mostly comes from the kind of power users who like dealing with the underpinnings.”

— Dan Moren, macworld.com

What I think about the iPad at the moment

I’ve been reading everything about the iPad that I can get my eyeballs on ever since the announcement. I absolutely can’t understand all the vitriol and consternation being spouted about a product that isn’t even available yet. A shining example of why I pretty much never listen to the “pundits” or “experts”.

I don’t even really want to say much about it until I’ve actually seen and touched one myself, but I can’t resist at least mentioning a few impressions I have. FYI, I’m definitely in the “It’s going to change computing for the better” camp.

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More iPhone Wants: iLife/iWork Integration

Now that Apple has put a lot more polish on their iLife and iWork suites, it’s now time to integrate them even more with iPhone.

One of the best integrations is through the new .Mac web galleries and iPhoto. Having the galleries on the web means you don’t need them right on your iPhone which saves storage space. It’s also really easy to take snaps on the phone and directly upload them via email to galleries, so I created an “On-the-Go” gallery specially for that purpose.

But now I’m hoping for even more integration like:

  • Direct viewing of Pages, Numbers and Keynote documents on my iPhone. I think that right now I’d have to convert them to other formats like Word, Excel and/or PDF to view them. This should be a no-brainer.
  • A way to submit entries to my iWeb-created Blogs from the iPhone. I mean, that is the main reason why I’m staying here on blogger: so I can post entries from places other than my Mac. An email-it-in function like with the photo galleries would be stellar.
  • Of course, that would also necessitate a better text editor on the iPhone, the biggest thing I was lamenting in an earlier post. Just give me TextEdit and I’d be happy…

There was a posting on the MacRumors.com website about most wanted iPhone apps, and someone went so far as to propose an “iMovie Lite” application that would let you take vids shot on the iPhone (also something you can’t do right now), do simple editing and then share online through galleries and YouTube. I think that would be really fun, though again I doubt I’d want to turn my iPhone into a video creation tool. But you never know…

I also very much liked his idea of being able to have a book reader to access your eBooks on the iPhone. He mocked it up with the Delicious Library GUI which I would also like to be able to access on my iPhone—it’s frustrating when I’m out at a bookstore and I can’t remember which volumes I’m missing. It would be nice to be able to access my library on the go (and, incidentally, as much as I love Delicious Library, its reporting/exporting/publishing functionality sucks at an abysmal level).

So there you go—some more observations on what I’d like to do with the coolest piece of technology I’ve ever owned.

Apple’s Bluetooth earpiece for iPhone—COOL!

Amazingly, when I went to the Pasadena, CA Apple Store on Saturday, they actually had the BT earpieces in stock. I bought one, of course, and it really has to be the best one I’ve ever had.

The earpiece has essentially the same shape as the regular Apple earbuds, so it’s comfortable to wear. The body is black aluminum like the iPod Nano with only a single button on the end to answer/hang up calls. The microphone end also contains the charging pins which fit into the dock magnetically like the MacBook power adapters—very smart! The good part is that you get BOTH the deluxe dock (charges both iPhone and earpiece simultaneously) and the travel cable in the box. And it’s in a beautiful, sturdy box just like the iPhone itself.

It’s very comfortable to wear, it’s easy to hear (because the earpiece actually sits in your ear like headphones) and it’s so lightweight you forget it’s even there. There was absolutely no trouble pairing either: you simply place both the iPhone and the earpiece in the dock and—ba-da-bing—you’re good to go. Just another piece of gorgeous design and engineering from Apple’s masters!