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iPhone autopsy June 30, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in iPhone.
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More iPhone craziness. When everyone on the entire planet is desperately wanting to get one but can’t, some guys in the US bought a couple, then proceeded to immediately and systematically take apart a perfectly new and perfectly working unit. And take pictures. Gulp.

(What I want to know is, can we see if we can swap GSM SIM cards on this thing? *wink wink* )

See these wonderful lunatics over at ifixit.com.

Look if you dare.

UPDATE: The ifixit page is a work in progress (they update the page as they go along) – and it’s just been a few hours since they got the phone. Apparently my question’s just been answered – it looks damned difficult, but entirely possible. See the pic below, upper left – the Cingular SIM! I think a Globe, Smart or Sun SIM would look pretty at home there. Now the next question is, can we activate it through iTunes with an alien SIM inside? Better question is, do we need to? (Hey, purely theoretical discussion here, folks. Just some geek talk. Don’t mind me.)

UPDATE II: Was watching an excruciatingly-difficult-to-watch episode of Systm, where host David Randolph and guest host Leah Culver (who’s a dead-ringer for Veronica Mars’s Kristen Bell) of Pownce stress-test, torture and take apart an iPhone literally minutes after they buy it (stuff like dropping it onto the pavement from six feet up, or deliberately scratching it up with keys), and found out that you can after all just pop out the SIM card by pressing down on a teeny-tiny recessed button on the top of the unit. (By regulation, it has to be removable anyway.) This fact is probably somewhere in the downloadable manual, which I have yet to read. Good to know.

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iPhone unboxing June 30, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in iPhone.
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First “unboxing” picture gallery of the iPhone up over on Engadget.

Go ahead, torture yourselves.

Meantime, Apple has posted the iPhone manual up for download.

MacBook Pro Software Update 1.0 June 30, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Uncategorized.
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It’s not all about the iPhone. Life goes on.

Apple’s also released Software Update 1.0 for the MacBook Pro. Fire up SU again.

Apple’s always-detailed and helpful fine print says:

This update provides important bug fixes and is recommended for all 2.2/2.4GHz MacBook Pro models.

Ostensibly this is being issued to address complaints about graphics issues and improve the Nvidia drivers. And make it work better with the iPhone too?

Mail call June 30, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Announcements, Apple Inc., iPhone.
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Got this in my e-mail a couple of hours ago from Apple.

*sigh*

Meantime, Apple’s put up an iPhone Accessories page, and another set of short instructional videos called Finger Tips on the main iPhone page.

The iTunes that iPhone needs June 30, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in iPhone, iTunes, Updates & Patches.
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Fire up Software Update again (not that most of us outside the US really need to for this one). Apple just posted an update to iTunes, Version 7.3, which includes the software needed to activate the iPhone being released today, among other things.

This is what iTunes 7.3 does, according to the fine print:

With iTunes 7.3, you can now activate iPhone service and sync it with your music, TV shows, movies and more. Also, you can now wirelessly share and enjoy your favorite digital photos from any computer in your home with Apple TV.

It’s a few hours early. Was thinking they’d roll this out at the same exact time the iPhone is released. Big sucker too. 24MB on my PPC Mac desktop, 34MB on my Powerbook and 56.13MB on the Windows laptop. Mileage may vary for you.

Ah, well. An update’s an update.

The Big Experiment Part 4: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (Conclusion) June 29, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Apple Inc., Microsoft, Operating System, The Big Experiment, The Other Side of the Fence.
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I suppose it’s time to take a definitive stand, and this is as good a time as any.

I am a Mac user. The outcome of this experiment was never in any doubt, was it? But at least it comes with experience and authority now, rather than just unsubstantiated, uninformed tech bigotry and xenophobia.

Truly, Windows sucks. Without a doubt. Surprisingly though, not as much as I was expecting. But why does it suck at all?

Through no fault of the user, that’s for sure. If anything, the Windows user is complicit only because he tolerates the crap. No one should be made to go through the hoops that Microsoft requires its users. As Peter Finch screamed into the TV camera in Network: I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!

Fight back. Just say no. I think if enough people expressed that opinion Bill and Co. would comply.

It’s horrible that even the most basic things in Windows will screw up. Just booting up is an interesting experience. The simple task of opening or closing a window might bring grief, or installing a simple shareware app might cripple the system. To get the ball to just roll might require additional expenditure in terms of memory and storage, or of video ram; let us not even get into the complicated and arcane field of processor speeds or multiple processor cores. Think Vista, and experience despair.

Why does this have to be? I’ve mentioned this before in the previous post in this series. Windows is screwed up because it’s a step forward and five steps back; trying to live in (and for) their storied and profitable past is taking a major toll. Maintaining a relationship with that which should be obsolete might keep the revenue up and running, but at what cost?

The Gordian Knot analogy is apt. This knotted ball of problems is best cut in half, and starting over is the perhaps the only solution. This requires a penalty that Microsoft and its millions of acolytes mired in the glorious mess might not be ready to pay.

The ugly part is that Windows Vista users are doomed to work on a bright, pretty new system built partly on rotting foundations, akin to dollying up a cadaver with a wig, make-up and a nice dress.

(more…)

Why it’s good to work for Steve June 29, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Apple Inc., iPhone, Steve Jobs.
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Think Secret reports that all regular Apple employees and part-timers who’ve been with Apple for at least one year will receive a free 8gb iPhone next month.

Apple’s 17, 878 employees will get their free phones at the end of July after the first release wave is over and most of the Mac faithful have gotten theirs already. Previously, Apple had given everyone there a free 1GB iPod shuffle. With the expected windfall from iPhone sales, I think things’ll only get better for the working folk up in Cupertino.

I’m in the wrong profession.

Lost keys June 27, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in iPhone, Video.
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The big question with the iPhone is the keyboard – or lack of one.

For a lot of folk, this looms as the deal breaker; it’s a paradigm shift not many feel they can get used to. Some are skeptical if smooth glass would ever displace QWERTY (including myself). But Apple claims their system is workable, with built-in intelligent spell checkers and a fault-tolerant virtual keypad that dynamically changes the size of the press zone. Apple recommends getting used to typing with one hand first, and later when you get comfortable, start with the two-thumbs thing. Ok. We’ll see.

In the meantime Apple has posted a video on how to use the new non-keyboard on their site, and like the previous vids, are viewable in S/M/L sizes, plus a download link for the L version, another hefty 67MB download. Go ahead, it’s your bandwidth.

Initial iPhone Reviews: The floodgates open June 27, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in iPhone, News.
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The review embargo has been lifted for the iPhone! Two days before release, the word is, literally, out. Some prominent examples:

Walt Mossberg

New York Times

USA Today

David Pogue

Newsweek

General consensus is, it lives up to the hype, with some reservations. Most notable are: no MMS; no voice dialing; the OS takes up nearly 700mb of the storage space; ringtones are proprietary – you can’t use that Macarena clip you love so much, but there are 25 to choose from at the moment with more to come; you can’t copy or paste text (huh?); it syncs with Outlook; it is amazingly scratch-resistant; the battery life is as promised; there is no option for expandable memory; the battery is sealed inside – once it goes, you have to send it in to Apple to be replaced; it takes snaps, but not video; voice quality is good; it’s a full-blown, fantastic iPod; iTunes games are not compatible, and; I still can’t get one.

More reviews coming. Apparently a lot of folk had one, but were honoring the NDAs. Sneaky devils.

Stoning the competition some more June 27, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Music, New Stuff, The Other Side of the Fence.
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Creative announced late last week an update to their new iPod shuffle killer Creative Zen Stone, dubbed the Zen Stone Plus. What, so soon?

Build quality and plastic look comments aside, the Zen Stone’s advantages over Apple’s shuffle are considerable – the price, and the sound quality, which has been a Creative strength across the board ever since. Apparently they’ve had another Stone up their sleeve the whole time.

And it’s not one of those ninny incremental upgrades – it’s a whole new animal – with the big surprise that this one has a screen! Not in color, though; that’d be asking too much – but at least it’s blue OLED, if that’s significant.

It has lots more goodies : it’s twice the capacity (2gb), it’s got an FM tuner, it records, it has stopwatch and timing abilities, runs for 9.5 hours, plus some other features that’d put it up against the nano more than the shuffle (save for the color screen, of course). It also has a host of new accessories available, including a strap that lets you wear the Stone Plus as a wristwatch.

And for all this, it just retails for about US$69!

Take that, you iPod meanie, you.