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Category Archives: Music
Even if the numbers of a million iPhones being unlocked are correct, that’s a MILLION iPhones walking around all over the world as FREE marketing and advertising for Apple – the most effective advertising of all – because it gives those users the cachet of doing something “not quite legal.” That they are “above the law,” and of course, eager to show off they know how to break the rules of normal society … (in reality, they just bought a phone but shhh, don’t tell them that )
Has Apple sold them a phone subsidized like nearly every phone on Earth at a 75-100% discount? No. Apple got full list price – even if someone marked it up, Apple made at least $399 or £299.
As for the revenue they are giving up that is recorded as future revenue in monthly chunks? Sure, but when you have to service cash, there are costs associated with servicing that cash …
Conversely, they also give up a lot of costs associated with it and saves them a lot of money. They don’t have to offer any tech support or service for these 1-million phones. How much accounting reserve is set aside normally for phone tech support that are locked to a service?
But it’s all just a gray number because how many tech-gadget companies would turn down an opportunity to seed a product in dozens of countries to build awareness & word of mouth? How much money would they have to spend to demo this product in dozens of countries – and less efficient than a “worldly” fan using word-of-mouth and a live demo to his/her friends? What could be better chachet than spending full price to own an “illegal” phone? AND then when the phone is available legally in that country? Won’t they be likely the first to convert anyway to get all the feature sets?
Isn’t all this worth the $10 dollars in revenue per month Apple “loses” (per person) if the phone were locked to its native carrier? Might this not be the CHEAPEST advertising possible AND Apple gets all the revenue upfront without having to share with anyone?
And of course, an “unlocked” phone is still entitled to the full range of services that the iTunes store sells. Of course, that varies from country to country but the most convenient choice is still the iTunes store. So it really a tragedy if Apple trades $10 from AT&T or Orange and instead sells a few iTunes movies, music tracks or videos?
It’s like anything else. When you sell something, you hope to garner a revenue stream down the line – as a car dealer hopes you always bring it back to them for service but at the end of the day, if you sold it at full price, then the rest is gravy.
Sure, you can view the future revenue stream as a 100% loss in accounting terms but if you look at the broader implications, it’s simply a tradeoff in overhead, advertising, marketing and a shift in revenues and expenses.
NY Times readers chime in on doing their part in advertising the iPhone everywhere around the world.
It’s pretty amazing the number of journalists who don’t look at a situation before just plowing ahead and writing words and “a conclusion.” They either choose to ignore the real world or they simply don’t understand it. Either way, it’s appalling.
Yes, Amazon’s entry into the “unlocked” DRM free Mp3 market will affect Apple & the iPod but its *affect* is DIFFERENT than you think.
If the iPod did NOT play the mp3 format, it would clearly have a major affect – just as when Sony’s players did not play Mp3′s directly (it would convert to ATRA mp3), when the iPod entered the market, people quickly choose the iPod over the Sony for the simple reason it played mp3′s very easily and transparently. Yes, the iPod looked nice and it was easy to use but if it did not play Mp3′s – there might be a few million out there versus 150 million.
There is no discussion. Mp3 is the preferred format for LEGAL and ILLEGAL downloads. Yes, there are others that hold some interest: mp4, FLAC, APE and even WMA but I don’t think anyone is going to argue that the preferred format OVERWHELMINGLY is not mp3 … sure, audiophiles can argue there are better formats but that’s not the issue.
You can do the math. 150 million iPods sold, 5 billion music tracks. That works out to about 34 tracks per iPod. Of course, it’s not 100% accurate as the bulk of iTunes sales are only in a few countries but even presuming double the number in the US per iPod user … and if iTunes music sales drops to ZERO for some reason?
How much is Apple losing in iTunes music store purchases per every iPod if that were true?
Apple is presumed to make $.20 per iTunes music track – not counting the cost of running the iTunes store and credit card fees … so actual profit is maybe $.07 a track but that’s presuming iTunes stores sales drops to zero which is unlikely … if Apple were to lose $7 per iPod in lost sales, I think there are dozens of ways Apple could make up that revenue including shaving $7 in costs from the iPod itself … but the bottom line is that the iTunes music sales are NOT the main reason people buy iPods.
Clearly, even people with iPod Shuffles have more than 34 or 68 tracks on their iPod. Whether it’s 100% legal converted from their own CD collection or LEGAL tracks downloaded from musician sites or other sites like iLike.com or ILLEGAL tracks, people know how to load tracks (1,000+ tracks) on a Nano (or up to 20,000+ tracks) on the Classic iPods. The iTunes store is a small part of the reason they buy an iPod.
So, what does that mean for Apple?
How about this ad from Amazon.com?
That’s right. It might even help Apple sell MORE iPods, NOT less.
Because for all the people who hated the iTunes store for its DRM, now they have a reason to buy an iPod. Sure, it might help sell a few more SanDisks and Zunes but it’s clear that 7 out of every 10 mp3/DAP buyers are iPod buyers AND now that mp3 player sales overall are slowing, it’s rapidly becoming inefficient to stay in the marketplace if you’re 10th or even 5th in marketshare … leaving consumers with fewer choices down the line and we know what’s still the first choice with or without iTunes store purchases.
If anything, this territory might be scary for Amazon than Apple.
Amazon sells about 6% of the 500 million CD’s sold in the U.S. or about 30 million CD’s. If we presume the average selling price is around $13 – that’s about $400 million in revenue for Amazon. Now, if you have the choice to buy 4 tracks of a CD for $.99 a piece (some tracks are less on Amazon, some more but let’s say an average of $.99) as an mp3 download or the full CD for $13, what’s your choice? That’s hard to say, of course but that’s precisely what Amazon has to deal with. Is that previous $13 purchase staying the same in revenue? Are you going to buy 13 tracks from 3 artists or are you going to stop at 4? In other words, is Amazon trading a $13 CD for $13 in downloads or are they trading $13 in revenue for $4 in revenue?
It’s impossible to say but the bottom line is that is the choice consumers have to make – sure, maybe instead of buying a $13 CD, that consumer can buy $25 in downloads … but what was holding back consumers before?
If we know the average iPod user was spending @$34 at the iTunes music store, what held them back from spending more?
Are you that convinced it’s all about the DRM – that without DRM, sales would be up 50%, 100? 1000 percent?
Digital sales are increasing 50% a year anyway but for people WILLING to buy LEGAL tracks online were not doing so because they said DRM was the major hinderance?
I’m not saying the Amazon store won’t sell a lot of tracks but is Amazon trading CD sales for fewer downloads? What is the age breakdown of CD buyers? Is the music industry losing the bottom end of 12-24′s who are downloading free LEGAL tracks from their favorite bands from the musician’s MySpace page/iLike page and of course, clearly, they know how to download illegal tracks to fill their iPods?
Are these the same people who know how to convert tracks to a CD-R?
Sure, there’s a lot of blog talk about hatin’ DRM (and I certainly am NOT for it) but it’s sort like arguing against burning down the Amazon rain forrest, right? Who outside of 300 Brazilians arsonists are for it? But what are people really doing about it?
My prediction is that sure, Amazon will grab some market share from iTunes music store but as Amazon’s ads say – BUY an IPOD to add Amazon tracks … Apple merely shifts revenue from iTunes to iPods – not exactly a tragedy and if Apple convinces you to buy a few tracks, rent some movies, buy a music video – there are pretty much back to $34 in iTunes revenue AND they’ve sold you another iPod.
The people who really hate Apple and think they should hate the iPod are not going to swayed by this anyway. They are buying SanDisks and Creatives as it is now – this won’t change anything.
The 75% who own iPods might switch and buy some tracks from Amazon but for less savvy users who like being able to preview, buy and sync with one click don’t care about DRM – nothing will change.
And in 6 months or a year, the record labels will be forced to sell DRM free on iTunes … a) because they can’t ignore the place where 70% of the digital music online market is and b) they’ll be sued for restraint of trade by not selling the same thing to everyone – will the iPod marketshare drop to some small percentage? No. Will there as good of a user tie-in as iTunes to the iPod as SanDisk’s, Creative’s or even MS for their software to their hardware? Unlikely.
Now that Apple has added movie rentals and more movie choices, the only real scenario is that the iPod will maintain its market share or more likely, grow slightly. Apple is still the leader in every aspect except the bottom end. There is no small player with the screen, movie rentals & audiobooks to match the Nano, for those who want 160GB, there is no competitor at the same price and of course, the iPod Touch trumps them all and has the highest margins/pricetag – so another 6 months of clear sailing for Apple and the iPod.
Sure, the iTunes store might drop a few percentage in market share to the Amazon mp3 store but the Amazon store has no movie rentals or TV shows (the Unbox has both but no portable player).
The Amazon mp3 store affects Apple just as if you were to open a Best Buy across the street from an Apple store. The revenues would shift around a little but at the end of the day, Apple actually comes out ahead because all you’ve done is given the consumer another reason to buy an iPod.
Not actually blogging from here since we’re only #72,000 on Technorati … there are only about 15 seats … maybe next year.
Other than the keynote, there’s not much to see that’s new – I don’t think Adobe is even here. The nicest booth by far is Belkin’s …
If this were in Venice, it’d be about $900,000.
The coolest booth is Crumpler (they make messenger and brief bags). It’s a castle made up of interlocking cardboard or some sort of polymer board.
Only thing I bought From XtremeMac:
I took a photo of the MacBook Air but not only were there way too many people crowded around it, there is no way a photo can do it justice in how thin it is. If you have a pad of yellow legal pads … yea, that’s your MacBook Air. It’s pretty amaazing and of course, me wantee. Apple website. Ad for Air. Guided Tour – multiple resolutions + downloads.
And linked with Leopard’s “Time Machine” backup feature, Time Capsule with allows you to back up wirelessly.
So, nothing as startling as last year’s iPhone but honestly, how many iPhone-like cottage industries can you pull out year afer year
Not sure why some people were so sure about a 3G iPhone … the 3G iPhone is ready to go when AT&T is ready and when Apple needs the sales boost.
The Tablet Mac? Pleezeee … Outside of 5,000 people and apparently 900 squeaky-wheel bloggers and analysts, hardly anyone cares or actually wants one – how are those WIN tablet sales? EGGXACTLY!
Everything released was nice, interesting and useful – it’s nothing revolutionary but that’s fine. Not every keynote can be revolutionary. Making food into pellets is revolutionary but sometimes you just want a juicy burger, eh?
Speaking of food, of course, just one block away – a dozen Beard Papa’s fresh giant cream puffs …
The best food surrounding a convention center in America … unless of course, you enjoy $8 pizza made in 2005 and reheated … oh, and it’s sunny and 65 degrees here in SF so come on by!
(PS – Of course for those that keep track of such things – Best Booth Babes – Skull Candy and best DJ!)
To some, Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T blabbing that a 3G iPhone is coming is a slip of the tongue, to some, it’s a well planned metaphoric stab at Steve Jobs and to others, it’s old news.
The bottom line is it’s a combination of all three but the consequences are very mimimal.
Why? Because there are two camps.
People who have no idea what 3G is.
People who care about having 3G.
Here’s your test, go up & asks someone if they are GSM or CDMA. That’s ALL you ask them – no alluding that it’s a cell phone acronym – just ask them GSM or CDMA?
90% of the people will go – huh?
The 10% who can actually answer can tell you about whether 3G is important to them.
Of that 10%, 100% can tell it’s a feature the iPhone will eventually add just like GPS.
IT’S JUST A GIVEN.
It’s like asking if the laptops in the stores will be faster next year?
Or if NAND memory will get smaller & cheaper per GB.
IT’S A GIVEN.
In fact, Steve Jobs answered the questioned that 3G was not included because of battery usage right upfront … part of the answer may have been AT&T was just not ready to provide a 3G network at the cost that Apple was happy with … how many people wants 3G at $60-$75 EXTRA per month? How many iPhones would Apple have sold if the lowest price package was around $120 a month and the high was $160 a month?
THOUSANDS of bloggers (lead by ZDNet, no doubt) would have SCREAMED – why not EDGE – it’s “good” enough for maybe $10 extra month?!! Why, oh why is Apple forcing 3G down the throats of innocent people who just want EDGE?
There is just no pleasing some people …
Part of the answer was undoubtly the battery life but part was also AT&T’s network capability … they seem barely able to handle the voice portion – how are they going to deal with 4 times the number of TOTAL 3G subscribers in the US all jumping on their network to text and VOIP?
When will we get 3G iPhones?
Well, part of the answer is when AT&T’s network is ready. Is it ready? Did anyone bother to ask the CEO that? It’s not like adding a feature to an OS – if AT&T networks is not ready, why bother? And analysts presumably can tell when it’s ready … ONLY THEN will we get a 3G iPhone.
Because a 3G iPhone itself is not hard – a software upgrade … a new chip … other than the battery issue, Apple’s portion of this is EASY … is AT&T ready? Is AT&T ready AND not ready to charge us another $60 a month because if that’s the case, it will be as popular as 3G is now in the United States … out of 150 million internet users and over 200 million cell phones, how many 3G users are there now at $60-$100 a month?
LESS than a million.
People have an opportunity to choose and buy 3G RIGHT NOW but it’s clearly not at a price that interests people.
Prior to the iPhone, people didn’t really want to surf the internet on the phone because they didn’t want to pay $15 to $30 extra a month – but Apple made AT&T bundle it in with the regular monthly fee which is only slightly higher than a non internet plan with other phones so is AT&T really ready to deliver 3G at a slight bump in cost?
And yes, Cringley is probably right that it’s a shot at Steve Jobs but ultimately, who cares?
Oh, boo-hoo that AT&T takes a shot at Apple because Apple might jump into bed with Google on the 700 Mhz thing … or boo hoo that Apple might “double cross” AT&T … to use a “street” phrase these “journalists” might understand …
THAT’S HOW CORPORATIONS ROLL.
Not only do corporations cross partners and jump in with someone else, sometimes they do it with their own divisions. That’s just the way business is. It’s nothing new and nothing different.
As for consumers, look 90% don’t care – the buy an iPhone because it offers 30 features no more than 2 taps away and with one device, they get a phone, the internet, SMS, music, video photos and handy information plus cachet & fashion … 3G is nice but do I want to wait 35 seconds for my NY Times page to load or do I want to wait 364 days and 8 seconds for 3G and my NY Times page to arrive.
If I want 3G when it actually arrives, I will buy another phone.
That’s how people roll.
Sure, do people claim that they will wait for a 3G iPhone – of course, but I’ll bet 90% of those people will then claim they are “now” waiting for a 3G & GPS iPhone or if Apple delivers both that, they’ll want a video camera iPhone … or if that’s included, a 12-MP camera … that “wish” list is never ending and it’s a moving target because they DON’T REALLY WANT AN IPHONE – they just want to appear they are rich or savvy enough to want an iPhone if only it had that one crucial feature THAT NEVER ARRIVES IN THEIR MIND.
Will there be a faster laptop next year – uh, d’uh …
Why buy a car when somewhere down the line a hovercar might actually be available – why compromise?
If you want an internet-iPod Phone, what are you waiting for? Perfection?
Or do you really never intend to buy one and just talk a good game?
There will always be something faster & better NEXT year but you can wait and use NOTHING or use something until the better one actually comes out?
Of course, we are at the nascent stage of the iPhone and it is understandable that not everyone needs an internet-iPod-Phone – but the bottom line is 90% of the people who claim to want is a 3G iPhone is just plain lying, just want to sound savvy or just like to hear themselves talk.
That’s NOT to say there aren’t plenty of other reasons why people don’t want to buy or don’t need to buy an iphone – some of the REAL reasons might include:
not wanting to pay more than $25 for a phone because they cannot afford it;
not wanting to pay more than $25 for a phone because they don’t see the need
they hate AT&T
they are boycotting AT&T for the wiretapping issue
they can’t get out of their contract
they hate Apple
they hate their cell phone as it is …
and the list is nearly endless but 3G is way down the list for the average consumer and even on the list of savvy buyers who claim to be holding off because the iPhone is not 3G … they clearly don’t need internet access that much because they’d rather WAIT ANOTHER YEAR for the internet on their phone instead of waiting :30 seconds more TODAY with an iPhone.
The biggest hinderance to wider iPhone acceptance is simply the price but that will not change. Apple is not about to do a Moto or Nokia and sell their crown jewel Apple “name” AND kill their margins just to grab market share willy-nilly. Apple simply wants the greatest market share at the highest margin … and the bottom line to slow(er) iPhone acceptance is much like the iPod. People do NOT believe anyone when they are told something is easy to use – they have not only been fooled, they’ve been conned so they are naturally leery. Even if their regular cell phone promises them music, the internet and the moon and is crap – at least, they are just out $25 bucks and can go swap it out AGAIN for another phone (of course, the cell phone companies are happy – they just re-trigger the 2-year contract from today – what do they care about Nokia or Moto branding?)
So, the 3G iPhone is not much news. Will a couple hundred people hold off? Sure – much like the iPod or the person who wants to wait just anoither 4 months before buying that new laptop to make sure a faster one isn’t coming (pssst, a faster one is coming but maybe you don’t need a laptop if you can go 4 months without one).
And yes, it could get interesting corporate-gossip wise if Apple jumps in with Google but AT&T is not exactly a mom-pop operation who have placed all their marbles in with Apple – they are advertising other phones and even have other competing features with Apple like the other music store but is Apple crying boo-hoo? No – because they realize that’s the business of business. It’s a cold hard world and only high margin revenue will keep them warm
UPGRADE SOME COMPONENTS FIRST
You will need to make sure your iPhone is updated to 1.1.2 and iTunes 7.5 & maybe even Quicktime 7.3. Of course, your iPhone upgrade is best handled by clicking on UPDATE after you dock your iPhone and turn on iTunes 7.5. This is a pretty big upgrade including a firmware upgrade so it will take 10-15 minutes in total – maybe sure you can do it un-interrupted.
Yes, you can still pay $.99 for a ringtone from Apple which is the least amount of work required and sounds the best – but it’s very limited – maybe one of every 20 tracks is available to scrub as a ringtone, you also can’t merge different parts of a song together and of course, personally, if I buy a song, I should be able to mash, squeeze it and manipulate to my hearts content as long as I’m not selling it … but anyway, custom ringtones are back and here are some basic guidelines to converting your tracks to .m4r ringtones.
You will need some software that can open music tracks and let you edit portions. It’s would also be nice if that software offered you features to manipulate the sound – in particular, useful features available to you include:
Fade In & Fade Out
Note, the update of 1.1.2 seems to have raised the volume again (yes!) so you don’t need to increase as much as previously, in fact, I actually had to turn the ringer down slightly.
Fade In & Out is SO much classier than it just jumping in to the track and jumping out.
Boosting the Bass – most AIFF to mp3 to AAC to .m4r conversion seems to strip out the bass so it can sound kind of tinny – try to boost the bass a bit but not too much.
Also keep in mind, it has to be below :30 seconds.
WHAT TO USE?
If you are extremely lazy, the track sounds okay and you don’t care about FADE IN or OUT, you can even use iTunes. Insert your CD. Click on the track, Select GET INFO and shorten the in & out points to what you want and select CONVERT TO AAC. You now have a :30 track. Go down to instructions beoow on conversion to .m4r and you are set to go.
You can kludge iMovie also to get a FADE IN & FADE OUT but much more work is involved. If you only intend to create one ringtone, it is a way to go.
Or QT Pro will also allow editing but again, not very precise and a last resort.
REAL EDITING SOFTWARE
If you got SOUND STUDIO with your Mac purchase as I did you are set (currently, it’s $79.99), select IMPORT WITH QUICKTIME to open any MP3 file, highlight the areas you want and paste into a new file – you can even clip, edit and smooth out your edits – just keep it around :30 seconds and use the Fade in and Fade Out – then EXPORT with QUICKTIME to create an AIFF file. Then drag into iTUNES and convert to AAC.
I don’t use GarageBand much but it’s free if you don’t have SOUND STUDIO. Create NEW Podcast. Open your ITUNES LIBRARY – search for song, drag TRACK to JINGLES – edit and manipulate away. Export PODCAST TO DISK – it will already be an AAC file.
Note, podcast export files are low fidelity but then it is a ringtone so you can decide.
Rogue Amoeba also offers FISSION if you don’t have SOUND STUDIO. It’s around $32 and offers additional MP3 features other than just editing. Can’t go wrong with a solid app like Fission.
There are probably 50 other editors ranging from freeware to studio quality music editors if you have other software you prefer – just make sure the volume is okay, add fade in and outs and boost the bass a bit.
Once you have your tracks as AAC files – the easiest is to use the FREE Make iPhone Ringtone courtesy of Rogue Amoeba.
Launch MakeiPhoneRingtone – drag your AAC file onto the front panel, it will auto convert, launch and place the file into the newly created RINGTONE line in your iTUNES LIBRARY.
Then sync and you are ready to go.
So, good luck – as long as you can convert the file to AAC, MAKE IPHONE RINGTONES will take care of the rest.
So if time is money, then you have the easy way but if you don’t mind a few minutes of work to save $.99, there are lots of ways to go.
Thanks to Engadget, we have the legal go-ahead.
Remember you can assign different tracks to different people in your contacts … just make sure your boss & your significant other gets an appropriate track …
For those who need a primer on using Apple’s iTunes ringtone maker feature, read our previous post.
NBC-U Jeff Zucker is now mad people consider him and his Hulu venture idiotic so he is trying to talk as if he actually understands digital and the television business going forward.
He now claims that $15 million from NBC iTunes sales is not enough for him.
Nevermind that is 7.5 million impressions of NBC shows … or that 7.5 million people were willing to pay for it instead of downloading it for free … instead, Zucker’s very confused.
The bottom line is he wanted to raise prices and Apple did not – no biggie, that’s a business decision, right or wrong – that is his right as the guy NBC/GE’s board decided to hand the major decision making to – they have appointed him as the brains of the operation.
But instead, he tries to open other areas of discussion that he is clearly not qualified to discuss.
He babbles about Apple controllling distribution. At no point has anyone ever raised the issue about exclusive content – so how exactly is Apple controlling distribution when previous and going forward, NBC can sell their shows in every format including on their own website. The only distribution point Apple controls is iPod distribution … network TV, DVD retail, other internet venues, VOD, etc, etc … all NBC – what exactly is the problem with another distribution point? Most companies consider a NEW distribution a good thing (see, Zucker, how this works, if another store can sell your thing, you make more money).
He also talks about wanting to get iPod revenue because clearly we’re buying iPods to watch NBC shows … uh, sure – even if that were remotely true … shouldn’t then the auto makers pay Goodyear because cars without tires aren’t much fun? Or hey, is NBC paying us to use OUR airwaves? What is Zucker’s position on that issue?
So, he’s mad that Apple is not willing to raise prices and has only added $15 million to NBC-U coffers … so he picks a fight with Apple that he clearly doesn’t understand. What is the alternative to $15 million from Apple?
At what cost to sell at Apple iTunes? Practically nothing – how much is to digitize a show to load onto a jukebox that you NEVER have to reload – that requires no real maintance on your part? Apple handles EVERYTHING else?
If you sell a series on DVD, you have to project how many you can reasonable sell and that retailers will order – convert the series to DVD format, create a menu, design jewel case artwork and box, get it manufacturered, shipped and have provisions for returns and damaged discs.
Which is simpler?
So, instead of having yet another format for consumers … another $15 million (even presuming that iTunes sales do not grow) from a different non-exclusive source, he choose to walk away from that …
But that’s not enough for him – instead he thinks he can launch another YouTube.
So, it’s not just good enough to subtract $15 million from revenue but let’s spend how many hundreds of millions to launch a YouTube 1.1?
They already have 100 employees for a site months away from launch … it takes most startups years to pass 100 employees.
I don’t know YOUTUBE’s headcount now but I’m sure before the Google buyout, they were under 100 …
Zucker seems confused about how a startup works.
Of course, GE doesn’t seem to mind he still doesn’t understand anything – GE & Zucker a few years ago paid $600 million for iVillage.com, launched a TV show to promote it and have thrown in hundreds of millions of free promotional spots in order to grow the page views … so far, no real growth at iVillage with some reports that the other massive women’s site has surpassed them. The TV show flopped.
Again, it’s fine to launch new business ventures – no real problem with that but why roil the waters by trying to annoy Apple? Why give up $15 million dollars in revenue for no apparent reason? Did Apple say NBC couldn’t launch streaming on nbc.com or hulu?
Zucker seems to think it’s an either or proposition?
He can’t conceive that some people might prefer to get a show commercial free? AND willing to pay for it? (nevermind the promotional value of people who actually want to watch a show?)
He can’t do a new business unless he walks away from something?
Can he multi-task?
What’s next? Because Zucker doesn’t control DVD pricing at WM or Best Buy – only sell DVD’s at NBC.com?
The bottom line is instead of a steady stream of revenue, he’d rather hire hundreds and spend hundreds of millions to launch Hulu … spending billions to make millions? That doesn’t sound like GE, sounds more like a certain company in Redmond …
A few weeks after the iPhone hit the market, AT&T sent out an extensive 20-question survey (covered in this post).
Now, AT&T has followed up with another email survey – some questions the same – obviously to gauge differences between mid-July and now mid-October but others are more detailed in asking what you would like to see changed on the iPhone.
So be sure and answer the questions so they know what you think of AT&T, Apple, the iPhone – and what other features you might like to see …
Part I covered the “extra” features of the iPhone – most not revolutionary and not even evolutionary but here’s a strange concept to them apparently for cell phone manufacturers and mobile service providers … something really, really radical …
A concept strange to them …
EASY TO USE.
What a strange concept.
Anyone can throw 100 features into a room but if the lights are off – what’s the point? How can you actually use them if you can’t find or see them?
That’s where the iPhone is different.
Yes, it’s fashionable and yes, it’s got lots of hype but the bottom line is you can LITERALLY access 20 of its features with ONE tap or TWO. There’s no complicated menu sequence to memorize … as noted in Part 1 of our post – straight from the Moto manual:
“Moto instructions for using “Quick Dial.” Go to TOOLS menu, select DIALING SERVICES, Select QUICK DIAL …”
Gee, imagine how many steps are required for something you don’t want to do so quickly?
In Part 1, we covered all the ONE tap features listed n the top portion of the phone and ALL fine or great, amazing features and reasons you’d want an iPhone but now comes the meat of the argument …
Yes, most cell phones are relatively easy to use as cell phones and this is one area where a plain cell phone actually beats the iPhone because if you want to dial a number from the keypad, it does take two taps to bring up the keypad but more on that later.
When you TAP on the Phone icon, you get the “phone” section which is a large screen with small icons at the bottom – in order, FAVORITES, RECENTS, CONTACTS, KEYPAD & VOICEMAIL.
Again, features many if not all phones offer but once you drill down a bit, again, the iPhone is hard to beat.
FAVORITES is pretty obvious. In CONTACTS, you click on those phone numbers you want to readily access and call often – your FAVORITES …
Then TAP once to make a call. You can also access FAVORITES by pressing the “home” button on the front panel twice.
The RECENTS is pretty self explanatory – you can scroll through to return or to call again – both SEND & RECEIVE recent calls are together because really, does it matter if you want access to the number whether you called them or they called you?
CONTACTS is also straightforward in one sense but again, smooth and easy to use in another much deeper sense.
I never did find sync software that would transparently and smoothly sync and track your contact info from phone to computer UNTIL NOW … so you only have to enter in names & contact info once – already a HUGE timesaver – and it syncs both ways with your ADDRESS BOOK app … iPhone syncs with the address book you already use on your computer — Address Book or Entourage on a Mac, or Outlook or Outlook Express on a PC. If you keep your contacts on the web using Yahoo! Address Book, iPhone can sync with them, too.
What’s even better is if you are on a phone call with them, put them on the speaker phone and you can tap CONTACTS, look up their name and start entering notes at the bottom of their contact page … again, possible with lots of other phones but how do you reach the notes screen without cutting them off?
The KEYPAD … again, not a major thing but who would not want a keypad this large so there is no mistaking when number you have tapped on?
And unlike some phones where the DELETE key deletes the entire freakin’ number so you have to start over, DELETE only deletes the last number you tapped on.
The last icon in PHONE is for VISUAL VOICEMAIL.
That’s right, instead of trying to remember if #7 slows the message playback or erases it or if #6 is save and #1 is to hear it again, it’s ALL right in front of you and best of ALL – look over all your messages – each one is on a separate line. If you see the 1st and 3rd message is the work idiot, you can ignore it and just listen to message #2 by taping on the messages you want to hear. See the slider at the bottom – miss a phone number or want to hear a portion again, just finger slide the bar and forth to hear one portion again and again – no more listening to an ENTIRE message AGAIN just to hear the phone number 3 minutes into a 4-minute v-mail. BRILLIANT!
Yes, that’s right – just hear the portion of the voicemail you want again and again by using the slider.
And ONLY listen to the messages you want to.
A couple of other great things about the phone portion …
After you dial or TAP on a name/number, you will get this screen – switch to SPEAKERPHONE?, just TAP once on SPEAKER – on my Moto phone, SPEAKER alternated with a CAMERA (why? NO IDEA!) or the PDA phone that required three menus to get to SPEAKER phone. If you need the keypad back to punch in numbers, just tap KEYPAD and you get that back … If you need to conference or add other callers, I have NEVER seen another cell phone that allowed you to link up with ONE tap. And as noted, you can tap on CONTACTS to access his/her page and add info.
Again, the simplest wins – large keypad, easy access to most frequent numbers, listen to only the voicemail messages you want to and you can access EVERY phone feature with ONE or at most TWO taps. EVERY FEATURE!
Once you get MAIL setup, it’s easy … the smoothness of your setup depends on what emails you want to access – this is the ONE area that Apple sort of feel down upon. This was our post a while back on getting setup – if you run into problems, you can read it to see if it’s useful.
Once you are up & running – then it could not be easier. Tap MAIL and it begins to search your mailbox(es). On EDGE, it’s slower than WiFi but that’s to be expected.
You can view old Excel spreadsheets, Word Docs and PDF’s – they look just as they should.
Sending email is easy. Tap on the ADDRESS BAR to bring up CONTACTS. Then tap out your words and hit SEND.
Again, hard to believe but you can surf to 90% of sites without it seemingly very different than your normal web surfing experience. You don’t get FLASH objects so you lose a tons of ads and of course, game sites don’t usually work but beyond that, you’re not losing a whole lot. If you’re wondering why Flash might be missing and why you might/should not really miss it – here is our take on the issue.
And sure, surfing the net on EDGE is slightly faster than old dial-up but what are your alternatives? When you’re sitting at Gate 23, waiting at the DMV or on a commute train – would you rather sit there or surf the internet (and/or check your mail/stocks/weather/etc …)? Waiting 20 seconds for a page to draw at home or at the office is infuriating but when you have an hour to wait at the doctor’s – what’s an extra 20 seconds when the alternative is the pamphlet on “internet addiction?”
And of course, the cool scroll, pinch and screen rotation are all available here. And for some who cannot access company mail via MAIL, you can access your company’s webmail via a browser.
I also found it to be a nice shopping guide – there was a long line at a store and I was debating if the DVD was really worth it – I checked Amazon’s price and decided it was worth getting in line. Nice. I can even keep tabs on sports games and scores in progress – though Yahoo’s Game Channel is flash so it’s not 100% interactive …
If you don’t normally use SAFARI, you can import bookmarks into SAFARI and then configure them as you like – then the iPhone will sync your bookmarks from SAFARI. Of course, when you are on the iPhone, you can save new bookmarks and it will sync with SAFARI when you open iTunes.
And of course, it’s a fully functional iPod with Video Capability. I think most everyone knows what’s what here but if you need a video demo, Apple’s demos will show off its features better than any words I can write.
The COVER FLOW feature is very cool but the video is amazing – while it would be nice if the movie store offered more choices but the TV choices are pretty nice (missing some NBC shows now though). Of course, you can always convert your own DVD’s – our HOW TO GUIDE.
So, yes alot of phones promise you hundreds of features from voice activation to 5-MP phone to a music store but the bottom line – how much time do you have to learn to use it? The iPhone does NOT have the longest list of features but EVERYTHING is literally ONE tap or ONE tap and a finger flick away – the iPhone is the first Apple product in a long, long time that actually includes a manual but you almost don’t need it because everything is clearly labeled … You want to look at your PHOTOS, it’s not 20 items down a tiny phone screen marked MULTIMEDIA and then a sub-menu called PICTURES, it’s simply labeled PHOTOS.
And just because you are doing one thing does not mean you can’t do another thing – you want listen to music and check the weather … you can make a call and type notes. (There is one downside to an EDGE connection versus if you’re connected on WiFi, you cannot surf the net while talking on the phone).
Most cell phone ads look great on TV – but in reality, everything is hidden away in tiny obscure menu choices or even the large screen cell phones like this new LG …
(By the icons on the right, it looks like it’s in ‘phone mode,’ and on the left is a web’n'walk button (presuming for surfing) but then underneath the phone icon is a web browser – for surfing the web when you are not walking?)
The iPhone is like the iPod – it is NOT NEEDLESSLY complicated.
If you want features and you don’t want to spend 10-hundred hours learning how to get full use of your Phone-PDA-DAP? Then buy an iPhone if your time, and your brain memory capacity is money.
It’s as simple as that.
When you just look at a checklist of an iPhone and discount the touchscreen, the iPhone checklist is not overwhelming to its competition but its strength is its simplicity …
It is NOT … “Moto instructions for using “Quick Dial.” Go to TOOLS menu, select DIALING SERVICES, Select QUICK DIAL …”
It is simply a cell phone, PDA, iPod, Internet, Email capable device all rolled into one object that’s easy to use throughout. ONE tap is usually all you need to access about 15 features.
If this is worth $399 to you, great – the iPhone is perfect for you.
If you are really only interested in talking to others, then any cell phone will do you.
(Yes, the Blackberry’s are nice for corporate email but really, just only for that – and presumably your company will pay for one).
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE
There are a couple key and MAJOR points that a lot of people skirt over.
Because the iPhone is not a normal cell phone, they can actually ADD and IMPROVE features with upgrades as they have done so recently – adding functionality to certain buttons and allowing more customization and adding the iTunes WiFi Store … so instead of being locked in, they can add and change things around at no additional cost.
First, you do not have to hand over your personal info and SSN to some guy in a kiosk – you activate your iPhone on iTunes in the comfort of your own home so even if something goes awry, you are at home. This includes porting over an old number – remember to turn off your old phone while this is going on.
Then iTunes will not only sync your music & video purchases & library, calendar, photos AND address book, it keeps track for you so as long as you sync regularly, it BACKS EVERYTHING UP including all your iPhone settings, photos your took, notes and bookmarks – does your cell phone do that now? Sure, if you buy an SIM copier and if you remember to save to the SIM card and not “save to phone.” How much is that worth to you? That even if lose your iPhone or a Mack truck drives over it – when you plug the new phone in – you can tell iTunes that this is now the “new iPhone” and it will sync and copy everything to this new phone. You can literally CLONE your phone in 10-15 minutes! Does your phone give you that choice now?
This leads me to the next part …
REAL ANSWERS AT THE APPLE STORES
There are very few if any manufacturers who sell you something and have hundreds of stores across the country (and eventually the world) available to answer ANY and ALL YOUR QUESTIONS. Sure, there’s the 800 number to call and you can buy the 800 service AppleCare – but during your warranty period and even after, there is a TRAINED employee you can walk right up to – who can answer your questions and in my case, actually resolve a problem by REPLACING MY PHONE – free. Does your kiosk do that? Can you imagine an employee at a kiosk who will replace your broken Moto phone? The glass cube Apple store is even open 24 hours! How re-assuring is it to know that you can always walk into a store and they will take responsibility* for THEIR product instead of just claiming it’s the other company or the retailer who you should be talking to.
* Yes, if you try and hack your cell phone by dropping solder on the circuit board or mess with OS, you are on your own.
No, the iPhone is not 100% perfect for 100% of the people but then what is – are there a few things that could be improved upon, sure. And yea, AT&T’s network is not the best but hey, I can’t get a decent pastrami sandwich in the SF Bay Area so that’s life … better to have an iPhone on an average network than still being on a 2-year contract on a slightly better network with a middling cell phone.
The iPhone is NOT for everyone. It will cost you a few dollars more upfront but if you want to have productive downtime by checking your email, surfing the net or checking out bits of info – then the iPhone is brilliant. If you want a phone/PDA/DAP where all the features are actually useful and at worst, two taps away instead of buried under 6 sub-menus using words that make no sense – then the iPhone is your only choice.
Sure, some people would like you to believe because it’s attractive and it’s coveted by people that it’s superficial – the iPhone is many things but it’s not superficial. It’s simply the best phone/PDA/iPod productivity tool. This post is not about whether it should be opened for hacking or your problems with AT&T – that’s not what this post is about. This is just a guideline as to why you might want to get an iPhone. NOT everyone needs one but if you have needs or interests like we’ve outlined in the two posts, you should get one.
And you can see 1-minute video demos of each feature live in action at the iPhone section of the Apple website here. Just choose the topics on your left.
(If you want a phone to hack, here are 12 from WIRED).
This is in German but it shows you how surfing on the iPhone is so much better than surfing on Nokia’s browser …
You can also check out this cool site to play with the iPhone ONLINE!
Now you can get the Led out via MP3!
The band has also made a deal with Verizon to have its songs available as ringtones (is nothing sacred?).
Led Zeppelin has been one of the most prominent hold outs from making their music available via electronic delivery. Yet another sign of the music industry changing forever or maybe Jimmy Page needs some Monopoly money…