After years of battling cancer and recovering from a liver transplant, Steve Jobs, the innovator of my time, has passed away. The news hit me like a freight train in the form of a tweet from @BreakingNews.
At first I was certain it was another cruel joke. Just last month CBS mistakenly reported Steve’s death and rumors of this kind have been going around for years. He actually made fun of it at his 2008 WWDC keynote address saying, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” A nod to literary genius, Mark Twain.
It wasn’t until I read the report on Apple‘s own website that it really sank in. Steve is gone.
I know there are many people who follow me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook, and even those that just stumbled upon this post, that might be reading this and thinking, “He was just a dude” or “He wasn’t an innovator, he was a borrower” etc.
When Steve Jobs hit the stage to announce all the goodness Apple was rolling out with their new iOS 5, the feature that had me most excited was iTunes Match. This service would cost you $25 each year but provide you with one of the coolest things to hit the music industry since Napster. Only this time it’s sort of on their terms.
Here’s how it works. iTunes goes through all of your music and matches it with the iTunes Music Store library. All that music you bought on CD back in 1998, Shania Twain, Paula Cole, Savage Garden (you know who you are), and ripped at 128kbps for your computer are now available for you to download from iTunes. Only now you’ll be able to replace that sad 128kbps MP3 with a 256kbps AAC audio file, far superior if you ask me.
This even works with all that ill-gotten music you might have on your computer… As long as iTunes can find its match, you are good to go! Sounds great doesn’t it? A $25 get out of jail card that also improves quality of music in your library. Worth every penny if you ask me.
Of the top ten highest grossing applications in Apple’s Mac App Store, nine are made by Apple. Looks like the App Store for non-mobile was a great idea after all. Also, I predict that with the release of Lion, Apple will hold all ten, top ten grossing apps. Brilliant.
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…
Today Steve Jobs and Company announced iPhone 4.0, the future operating system for their iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad devices (don’t like the iPhone moniker throw you off. While the actual announcement came as much a surprise as did the huge number of sales for the first generation of the iPad (450,000 as of today), the predictions from John Gruber were spot on.
Here’s the short list. Multi-tasking, unified inbox, custom wallpapers, better enterprise data encryption, multiple Exchange accounts, background tasking (uploading photos to Flickr, running Pandora, SkypeSMS/calls etc) as well as nearly 100 other major and minor improvements. I recommend reading this post from TUAW for all the details.
Gruber said multi-tasking and used Pandora as his example. So did Jobs today. Gruber also predicted a unified inbox. Jobs showed that off today.
But what really caught my attention, and the attention of many others I’m sure, was the Skype news. Still no Google Voice here but get this. You will soon be able to run Skype in the background, all the time. If someone calls your Skype number you simply slide to answer, just as you do now with regular calls to your iPhone.
Obviously we’re all seeing how cool this can be. We’re on the same level with the possibilities here. But what about this. What if you are like me and love your iPhone and have an iPad 3G on the way. What does this 4.0 update mean for me? It means, for the first time in my iPhone life, I might dump my iPhone!
Do the math. If you dump the iPhone for the iPad 32gb WiFi + 3G, you will make a saving of $590 in your first year, including the cost of the iPad! The second year, and every year after that, you save $1,020! How does this happen? Simple.
Get the iPad 32 WiFi + 3G, pay $30/m for AT&T unlimited 3G coverage, pay $30 for unlimited Skype in/out calls within Canada/USA for a year (it’s on sale right now, 15% off), pay $30 for a Skype in/out number (it’s on sale for 50% off right now from its normal $60) and you’re done.
I made a handy chart that explains the savings.
My good friend Ryan @rzhale pointed out how cumbersome it would be to answer phone calls on an iPad. Remember all the jokes about people carrying around iPads as a phone? Holding them up to their faces as they would an iPhone? Well get that out of your head because the iPad allows A2DP stereo, two way bluetooth. That means the stereo headsets with microphones, the bluetooth in-car systems, or simply bluetooth headsets you’re already using with your iPhone to do handsfree phone calls will seamlessly be integrated into the iPad.
With Skype you will have unlimited calls within the USA and Canada (not offered on AT&T at this price) and unlimited SMS for $60 a year. That’s less than one month of access from AT&T.
Will I be giving up my iPhone once this comes to my iPad in the fall? Maybe, who knows. But the possibility here is pretty awesome. I can see the iPad replacing desktop office phones while you’re at work on WiFi, a nice dock and Skype interface for that. When you head out, slide the iPad in your bag, briefcase, backpack and continue your call over 3G as you drive to lunch. As long as you are within thirty feet of your iPad, you’re good to go.
For the travelling entrepreneur, you’ve just gained a new level of freedom. iPad’s 4.0 operating system will allow you to make and take calls and sms while reading email, while writing a Pages or Numbers document, or updating your Twitter status. You will no longer need your iPod, your Blackberry, your laptop. You just need your iPad. Lighter than your laptop, more powerful than your Blackberry or iPod and more functional than an iPhone.
Yeah I know, there are use cases where you need a laptop but for someone like my brother, sister-in-law, mother, father and grandmother, all professionals with corporate-type jobs that travel a lot, the iPad is all they need and something they’d all love to have. Especially if it means not having to carry so many other devices on their person.
Don’t forget, airlines are even thinking about charging for carry-on luggage, not just your checked bags. Spirit Airlines is the first to do this. Yet another reason to decrease all that gadget bloat.
Are you excited about this prospect? Would this get you to drop your iPhone and contract? Would this get you to get an iPad now or in the fall?
UPDATE: So how about this? You don’t want the iPad but still want to take advantage of some sort of savings with this iPhone OS 4.0 release. Check this out. Did you know AT&T has a Data for the Deaf plan? Unlimited data and SMS for $40/m. Now, this might not be as ethical as the above option but it is certainly an option for the penny pincher who wants all the latest gadgets!
How would that break down for you? Pretty sweet actually. Here’s the chart.
Being the Apple fan boy that I am, when iTunes 7.7.1 came out yesterday, I hopped right on it. Supposedly it fixed some bugs and stability issues. I installed it through Software Update, went smoothly, usual, blah blah.
Then it started to sync my iPhone 3G. It reinstalled every application, even those I had requested to not be installed onto the iPhone.
Then it said there were updates for all 24 applications. I had them download and then install.
First off, let’s complain that iTunes keeps every version of every application, it never just deletes the old buggy ones. So you end up with 1, 2, 3, 8+ versions of applications.
Oh and it loses them, or at least iTunes 7.7.1 did. Do you see a problem here?
One hour later, still installing and then it froze. I restarted the computer, then started the sync again.
Warning, 11 files could not be synced because they could not be found.
Warning, 100 files could not be synced because they could not be found.
Meanwhile, only 600mb+ songs synced out of the previous, um, 12gb of music.
Did a check… Apparently some 10-90% of my music was moved to my Time Machine, as far as the library was concered.
10-90% because it would only show up if I tried to play or sync them and the vast majority of my synced songs didn’t sync… So thinking that might extend throughout the Library… yeah…
Not only iTunes 7.7.1 “move” files from my 1tb MyBook external and into my other 1tb MyBook external which is my Time Machine, and not just to there, to inside of email account archives. WHAT THE F*CK?!
So guess what I get to do? I get to reload my entire iTunes Library. Anyone that knows me probably knows that I have quite the iTunes Library of music, movies, television shows, applications, podcasts, games, audiobooks and then some; we are talking over 700gb of data.
Now I have no stats on my music, no play counts, skip counts, ratings…
Now I cannot sync to AppleTV or to my iPods or iPhones because I can’t do smart playlists. I cannot say pick the newest 5gb, I can’t say choose the Top 1,000 Played, I can’t say pick the Top 5gb Top Rated…
I had stats on over 35,000 songs and over 1,400 television shows and 80 movies…
So now what? Now I call Apple, first thing in the morning and bitch bitch bitch.
Never have I hated Apple, but this is really getting me close to that point.
Moreover, I have more stuff to bitch about. iTunes refuses to Sync my Microsoft Exchange accounts from Mail to my iPhone 3G. It also doesn’t store my iPhone Apps on the proper drive, they go to my Macintosh HD not my iTunes drive.
So much of this could be prevented by iTunes storing song ratings and play counts within the files just as MediaJukebox did.