Dan Grigsby from MobileOrchard, discusses how he’s building a comfortable life for himself with a combination of projects, what’s lacking in the Minnesota tech startup community, and why that isn’t a problem.
25 years ago, Apple announced their new, friendlier, easier-to-use personal computer with the iconic 1984 ad where a heroine throws a hammer – taking down a non-descript technical figure.
Tonight, I watched Verizon’s new DroidDoes.com ad. Verizon is declaring Apple’s iPhone is too friendly, too simplified, too limiting – what you need is a non-descript technical figure to remedy that.
This ad is more than a direct attack on the iPhone – it’s a direct attack on more humane technology offerings. A return to 1983.
This is not a position I encourage other Android providers to take.
Yes, the iPhone does have weaknesses – humanity isn’t one of them.
A couple weeks back, I picked up a 2nd Generation Apple iPod Touch – partially so I could start playing with web apps for it and partially cause my much beloved 3rd Gen 40gig iPod is starting to flake out.
Compared to a Palm device, the iPod Touch is a far better experience. No question. As a music player compared against my iPod Nano or 40gig – it’s a miserable failure – especially in the car. Even as a video player it’s awkward if only because video and audio are treated differently in terms of navigation and rating.
The ‘slide to unlock’ gesture is the most elegant, convenient way to wake a device up – far better than the 2 key combo sequence phones require.
I was surprised to see the iPod Touch doesn’t have a camera. I fully expected it to. The omission makes me think the iPhone is far more heavily subsidized by AT&T than I originally calculated.
The apps the iPod ships with fared about as well, but I can’t delete them easily, which makes me grumbly.
Mail is nearly worthless for anything more than 1 (non-.me, non-Google) account, because there’s no rolled-up aggregate view of mail and it relies on server-side spam filtering.
Calendar is such a nice app. Good monthly and list views, easy to move events around and update their information. This is best calendar I’ve worked with.
Maps – Google Maps itself is an amazing piece of technology, then wrapped into tiny, tiny, highly-mobile Apple computer – astounding. There are a couple oddities I’ve found though; when I ‘drop pin’, ‘edit bookmark’ is the action for changing the name of the pin’s location (shouldn’t it be ‘edit pin’ or ‘edit location’) also, I haven’t figured out how to access my list of pins/bookmarks. Any idea?
Stocks, YouTube, Music, Clock, iTunes Music Store, Mail, and Settings have all been relegated to a secondary app screen, cause that’s most effective way to hide them.
Overall, I’m ‘eh’ on the device. It still has what I consider the iPod’s fatal flaw – required tethering to iTunes (my phone can update wirelessly from across the room, why do the iPod need to be plugged in?) and I’m not sure what – aside from basic PDA and media playback – I’d want applications on the device to do.
So, the numbers in the AppStore Secrets report from PinchMedia don’t surprise me (punch line: apps have ~30 day lifespan).
Apple’s been great about keeping their product offerings simple and straight forward. Historically, the biggest question when deciding on which Apple computer to purchase was:
Do I want the power & storage of a desktop or the portability of a laptop?
Even today, the prices between a 2.4GHz iMac and a similarly spec’d 2.0GHz Mac Book differ by only $125 ($1274 vs $1399 respectively).
At that price difference portability easily wins over processor speed.
Today, the same dilemma exists between the iPhone and the iPod Touch.
Do I want the power & storage of the iPod Touch or the persistent connection of the iPhone?
16GB iPhone: $1979.751
16GB iPod Touch: $299
Wow. I didn’t expect that.
Since I’m not excited about being an AT&T customer again and am good with WiFi as my network – I guess it’s not really a dilemma. Huh.
1. $299 + (($30 AT&T iPhone data plan + $39.99 AT&T 450 min/mn voice plan) * 24 month contract).
This is the first pass at the list. I’m expecting corrections and additions, especially post-July 11.
|From Apple||From AT&T|
|Lower device cost||Can’t purchase online. Higher monthly rates.|
|Custom, iPhone-specific Apps||Delivered via iTunes|
|Syncs data with other computers||Except for iCal To Dos and iPhone Notes|
|Internet connection when outside of wifi||No tethering internet connection to a laptop or VOIP calling|
Apple’s initial iPhone application model (build a decent website) is brilliant. Websites are easily the fastest, most compatible, most maintainable, most popular, way to create software applications. Once Apple supported adding specific website’s to the icons on the iPhone’s home screen, you’ve got the equivalent of applications on the Palm Treo – with internet access required, sure.
Doesn’t (or shouldn’t) this model cover 97% of all software?
The alternative is learning Objective-C, the development language in OS X and the amazingly popular GNUStep. Um. While not exactly wide reaching, this should increase the demand for ObjC developers.
For the commitment to ObjC, what to you get?
Some deeper ties into the iPhone’s hardware capabilities and iTunes as only distribution method.
In a client meeting earlier this week the team mentioned how the project needed to be available on mobile devices for internal use.
This brought to mind the Symbol barcode scanner running Palm’s OS and the handheld devices package delivery people at UPS and FedEx use.
Could they be replaced with an iPhone?
Scanning an object’s barcode and manipulating data about it by multi-touch is a very compelling vision – whether on sales floor or in the warehouse.
On the flip side, I have a hard time imaging signing for a package on an iPhone…or enterprises IT departments agreeing to push out updates to a iPhone-native app via iTunes.
A couple years back, after ‘getting’ the idea of having all my favorite audio with me at a moment’s click – I had grown bored of my then new 40gb iPod. A few minutes of searching and I found Doc Searls link about the iPod Platform. Suddenly, I was neck-deep in podcasting. Even in those early days, the open, informal, deep-dive nature of podcasting made my iPod interesting again in a way the closed iTunes Music Store just didn’t.
From another early days MN podcasters – emphasis mine:
“As a stockholder, I’m concerned about the command-n-control, draconian measures being exhibited by Apple around the iPhone and what that is doing to any semblance of an iPhone ecosystem. I’m also bored with a stock iPhone and was really enjoying what the ecosystem was delivering.” – Steve Borsch
I’ll be excited about the iPhone when it’s more of an ecosystem and less of a museum artifact. Looks like that time will be in February 2008 🙂
I stopped by the Roseville Apple Store this afternoon to diagnose 2 recurring problems with my year old MacBook Pro; 6 month old battery barely holds a charge, and bottom quarter of the LCD screen is all multi-colored stripes – completely unusable. It’s just a few weeks outside of it’s one-year warranty, again proving to always buy AppleCare for portables.
Finally got a chance to check out the iPhone – as the signs in the store remind you – it’s the best iPod. An iPod with 2 networks attached to it (WiFi & AT&T). Definitely not a phone with an iPod attached (my hope). As you’ve probably read before, it feels good to hold and to look at. I found the flatness of the touchscreen a little unsettling – no tactile-ness to confirm appropriate pressure.
I was also disappointed in how Apple implemented the YouTube integration – no way to browse YouTube’s tag structure – just the Most Viewed and Featured – making it feel too much like a rented walled garden.
Clicking around some more, I checked out the Notes application John Gruber eloquently called ‘a train wreck’ and started typing.
“Just type any word, don’t worry about the keyboard”, requested the Apple sales guy.
I start typing my name.
g. a. w. x. x. k. (or something just as off).
“Garrick?”, asks the spell-check.
I’ve never had a spell check guess my name from a misspelling. Even when correct, most think I’m garlic.
08 July Update: Just found why I might end up getting an iPhone: iPhone for Web Developers