I (think I) Saw the iPhone 5

Device in question is against the wall on the left, dark restaurant with an iPhone 4 camera.

Last week I saw a guy using a touch-screen phone that was super thin with a big bright screen and almost zero bezel.

It immediately caught my attention and I asked my friend Kayla, who was facing the table, to let me know if the guy picked it up and used it. It had been, until then, left to sit on the table unused.

The guy this friend was talking to said something that made the guy pull out his phone and pull up the notepad. This was when Kayla and I realized, this super thin phone was an iPhone. Sure enough, the home screen came back up and it was iOS.

It appeared that the screen took up most of the device, it was super thin, and shorter than the current iPhone. The phone was wrapped in matte black, almost like gaffers tape. It is thinner than I was able to convey in this mockup, almost as thin as a Motorola Razor screen.

I’m no good at making mockups but I did my best to illustrate what we saw.

iPhone 5 vs iPhone 4 mockup

These guys were talking about a new cloud service that was similar to “AWS” but had “no net loss.” AWS, for those who don’t know, means “Amazon Web Services” which provide a plethora of syncing and data hosting services, as well as Amazon’s new cloud music system.

We did our best to listen to their conversation as they drank beers but didn’t pull too much from it. Watching the WWDC live right now I now understand more of what they were talking about, which leads credence to the theory that this phone was indeed an iPhone 5.

All this said, I’m pretty sure that some blog like The Unofficial Apple Weblog will see this, post it and turn out that I’m totally high and these two dude work for IBM and everything is totally coincidental. However, I’m hoping that isn’t the case. 🙂

UPDATE: So after being mentioned on the TWiT Network and WWDC coming to pass, a post by Joshua Topolsky came to my attention about the design of the iPhone 5 via another blog post on some other tech site (too many to remember).

Joshua (or his people) made their own mockup and it is scary similar to the design I saw (and tried to mockup myself).

 

This is My Next iPhone 5 Mockup

This is My Next iPhone 5 Mockup

White iPhone 4 Unicorn Arrives with Sense of Humor

Finally. The White iPhone 4 is Here

I find it pretty awesome that Apple actually is making fun of themselves on the front page of their website right now. Yeah, it might be nearly a year late but the “magical” Apple unicorn is finally available to buy. Hats off to you Apple for keeping your sense of humor, you know, the one we never thought you had.

And you know the whole reason I waited from June 24th until September to get my iPhone 4 strictly because I wanted the white version. I eventually gave up and honestly don’t care. For the first time ever I own a black iPhone and my world didn’t turn upside down.

But back on topic. The white iPhone is here, it’s a tiny bit thicker than the black iPhone 4 and we can stop reading rumor posts on it. Thank G-d. Now let’s get those iPhone 5 rumors ramped up. Oiy… Continue reading

Klipsch Image One Review

I cannot believe it has taken me this long to write a review of the Klipsch Image One headphones. It was last November that I first posted about these over ear headphones, the first on-ear headphones made by Klipsch. And yes, one of these days, I will write a review that doesn’t take an hour to read. Brevity is not my strength.

I’ve decided to edit the introduction to this review with a summary of my thoughts. The full review is posted below, but if you’re in a rush, digest the following. Continue reading

Klipsch Image ONE Preview

Klipsch released their first on ear headphones, the Image ONE, this fall. Klipsch entered the headphone market just three years ago and quickly shot to the top of nearly every gadget sites’ “Editor’s Choice” list. With the massive success of the Image S4i, their first iPhone optimized headphones, Klipsch is back with a new breed of headphone.

With a sound signature modeled after the Klipsch S4i, an iPhone/iPod/iPad remote control, carrying case and full-sized drivers, the Image ONE headphones are certainly ready to take on the competition.

Klipsch Image One Headphones with iPhoneI picked up my pair of Image ONE headphones yesterday and have only had a few hours of listening to them but here is what I can tell you so far.

  • The packaging is worthy of the Apple products these headphones are made for.
  • The carrying case is perfect.
  • The headphones are comfortable and incredibly light.
  • The headphones are so light they might feel cheaply made to some.
  • The sound isn’t cheap.
  • Isolation doesn’t compare to their in-ear headphones but works well enough.
  • The cabling is solid, best headphone cables I’ve had lately. Thick, well insulated and yet pliable.
  • Remote control is improved over the previous Klipsch iPhone headphones.
  • Headphones started out harsh but have warmed up after some time.
  • Similar sound signature to the Klipsch Image S4i, which was the goal.

I plan to post a review of these headphones after some more listening in different environments and after some tests with the microphone. Hopefully this will be done by tomorrow but no promises!

Tomorrow Comes Today and Brings The Beatles to iTunes

It’s 8 am, Tuesday November 16, 2010 and I’m told again by Apple that, tomorrow is just another day.

I guess the fact that they had this same message up yesterday shouldn’t mean too much. Perhaps everyday will be just like the day after only the day after is more memorable. Wait, is that like having a dream within a dream within a dream? I hear that isn’t stable…

Meanwhile, it appears the Beatles are officially live in the iTunes music store. More fabled than the white iPhone, the Beatles in the ITMS.

After years of lawsuits between the two music giants, it appears a common love of money has merged these two in unholy union. Good on ya Yoko Ono, I have a feeling you had something to do with this.

Or not.

Testing out Apple’s iMovie 11

I had a few extra minutes (that’s a lie, it seems like I never have time anymore) and thought I’d give Apple’s iMovie 11 a try. Going on reviews, either iMovie 11 is “freaking amazing” or “Anything after iMovie 6 is absolute shit!”

I’ve been in the iMovie is awesome camp since iMovie 09 came out last year. Of course that probably has something to do with the fact that I never used iMovie 6 and that for the longest time, FinalCut Pro scared the living hell out of me. Not any more, now I lust for it, but still, iMovie 09 is pretty awesome considering what you get, for what price and at what skill-level is required to make great video.

So, yes, iMovie 11, what’s up? What’s new?

Better audio editing for voiceovers, music and audio from the video tracks. There are more and better sound effects, iMovie custom music tracks made especially for particular types of films, waveform editing and more. One of my favorite features is the ability to stretch out audio. Say you have a 1 minute clip of video, of which you must use every second, mixed with photos. You don’t want silence going on during your photo portions right? Either you put in a music bed or you spilt a video and audio track and copy the audio over. This works but is a little too obvious. With iMovie, you can just stretch the audio clip out and boom, great background audio for your photos! You can see that in the behind the scenes footage of a Drunk Driving public service announcement I’ve posted below.

The video was shot with my iPhone 4 with photos from my Nikon D700. I was capturing some behind the scenes stuff for the production crew making a drunk driving PSA. They were shooting with Red One Cinema cameras and then there I was with a freaking iPhone. Oh well. This video was really just a test of the audio features in iMovie, trying to get that NPR style.

There is also instant replay. Which is… instant replay. They add 12 special effects for these but nothing too crazy exciting. Well, except the “Jump Cut at Beat” effect. It’s basically the perfect effect for any garage band wanting to make a music video. Hmmm, garage bands… wonder if Apple makes a product for them. Oh yeah, GarageBand. How it works? Skips footage ahead to the beat of the music. Pretty fun effect.

Creepy, cool or revolutionary, you decide. The People Finder feature doesn’t really find or identify people like Faces does in iPhoto or Aperture, instead it does something that might actually be more helpful. It counts the number of people in a shot and can tell if the shot is a close up, wide shot or medium shot. Faces is already integrated into Aperture and iPhoto which are also integrated into iMovie so… best of both worlds? I’d wager so.

Themes. There are a lot of them. They are slick but also easily recognizable. Let’s leave it at that.

Distribution. This was surprising. Previously we had YouTube and MobileMe, now Apple has added Facebook, Vimeo and CNN iReport. The CNN integration is crazy. This is the future of journalism put into the hands of the people.

What is it they say?… Vox populi? This might be the biggest feature, if not the most under-represented.

But what feature will be the most overused of the bunch? Why the Trailer maker of course! In under 15 minutes I went through a gig or so of random footage and made a quick, mildly sardonic, trailer of my trip to Saudi Arabia last January.

I made this video to try out the trailers feature and to make some use of the video I shot last winter. It was incredibly easy, fast and surprisingly robust in features.

It’s easy, too easy really. I predict a flood of iMovie trailers flooding YouTube in 3…2…1…

Bottom line. iMovie 11 is solid, fast, surprisingly powerful and full of features, yet at a price that is honestly, laughably low. For $50 you get iLife 11 which includes a video editor that would otherwise be worth around $150, a photo library management software (iPhoto) that would be valued at around $50, a music creation and audio editing software suite easily worth $100-150 and iWeb (say $70), iDVD ($30) and this magical cohesion that brings them all together (priceless).

Hip to be Square

Twelve years ago the e-commerce world was turned upside down when PayPal was founded. It was the solution to money orders, checks in the mail and the still uncomfortable credit card purchase for goods on the web. PayPal came out and Internet buyers no longer had to worry whether their credit card was going to be intercepted by some nefarious hacker and sellers didn’t have to wait for checks to clear before shipping a product.

It was revolutionary for its convenience, safety and near immediate ubiquity. The 2002 purchase of PayPal by eBay seemed about as appropriate as any other acquisition, a much smarter decision than the Skype purchase in 2005. I’d wager that as much as half of eBay’s users already thought PayPal was owned by eBay, only once can I remember using another form of payment than PayPal.

PayPal’s reign on e-commerce lasted over a decade and managed to make it beyond eBay into the mainstream Internet marketplace. However, the problem they were once solving was under fire from other companies like Google and Amazon with their universal logins for making purchases all over the net and Visa’s Secure Pay authorization system.

Purchasing items over the Internet is no longer a risky, scary or cumbersome adventure. We do it more and more every year, much to the chagrin of state and local governments, it’s as natural as handing handing a credit card to the clerk at Target.

There was a new problem on the horizon, one that has existed longer than e-commerce but seemed to have no feasible solution. The problem? How does a consumer easily, quickly and securely pay someone for a product or service in person? We’re back to cash, checks and money orders. Credit card terminals are expensive and PayPal’s solutions aren’t proving to be the panacea they once were.

That’s where Square Inc. comes in. Early this year Square announced their intent to solve this problem by providing a free headphone jack dongle to iPhone/iPod Touch users to swipe credit cards. Instead of requiring both parties to be a member of the service, only the seller needs a Square account. Much like in an Apple Store, a seller is able to swipe a credit card for any amount of money, the buyer signs for it and a receipt is promptly emailed back to to both parties.

The seller can even take pictures of the purchased item and include it in the digital receipt.

The new Square dongle

That was quite the introduction, I know. It shouldn’t take 400 words to explain the principles behind such a tiny and simple device. Perhaps its complexity comes from its simplicity. How can something that small work and why do I need it? Shouldn’t there be a catch? Expensive iPhone attachment, monthly membership rates, minimum transactions per month or high transaction fees?

If Bank of America had created this device, sure. That would be the case. Luckily they didn’t. There are no membership fees, the dongle is free, no minimum monthly transactions and affordable transaction fees.

  • 2.75% + 15¢ for swiped transactions
  • 3.5% + 15¢ for keyed-in transactions

The Square dongle worked great on any iPhone/iPod Touch before expanding to the iPad, Nexus One, Motorola Droid, Motorola Droid X, HTC Droid Incredible, HTC Evo, HTC Hero, HTC Desire, Samsung Galaxy S series, and the LG Ally.

When the iPhone 4 came out, with its metal exterior construction, users began reporting problems with swipes not registering and other bugs. The metal on the dongle was shorting out on the metal of the phone.

Edit c/o @Arclite

Looks good, one problem: “The metal on the dongle was shorting out on the metal of the phone.” is incorrect. It’s not technically a short—works fine on the metal rim of the iPad. The problem is that the metal is an antenna and the data passing through the antenna causes interference with the dongle, causing the data to be corrupt.

It took months for the original Square dongle to come out. Learning about this new problem with the iPhone 4 made many Square users wince. Luckily it didn’t take nearly as long to release the dongle as it took to create an all new dongle. It wasn’t long before Square sent out the new and improved dongles, as pictured above.

The new design is thinner, smoother and sleeker. It looks more polished, swipes more reliably and maintains its price point of free. It even includes a hoop for a small lanyard (see the front right in the picture above).

I haven’t had more than a dozen times that I have used my Square but I’m also not someone who sells a lot of stuff. This is huge, however, for street venders, artists, wedding photographers, garage sale people and more. No more cash only, no more prepaying and no more worry about checks clearing.

It’s a solution to an age-old problem that only ingenuity, smart devices and the cloud could solve.

I love my Square and tip my hat to the brilliant people who made it possible!

Oh, and for what it’s worth, Square isn’t the only company in the mobile purchasing game. Intuit recently teamed up with Mophie to create the Mophie Marketplace iPhone case.

Mophie Marketplace iPhone Credit Card Reader

Their case is much more professional in appearance, sturdier and perhaps more user-friendly. This comes at a cost however, each case will set you back $180. Intuit also charges $13 each month for access to the service, thought their transaction fees are lower than Square.

  • 1.7% + 30¢ for swiped transactions
  • 2.7% +30¢ for keyed-in transactions

Which device is the right one for you really depends on how often you will use it. I for one am happy with my Square!