Verizon officially gets the iPhone – available February 10th

Verizon iPhone.

It is finally, really, actually, verifiably true: Verizon will officially offer the iPhone starting February 10th of this year. Lowell McAdam made the announcement from New York this morning, saying, “If the press write something long enough, eventually it comes true. We’re very very excited about our announcement today.”

It is definitely exciting news. People have been waiting a very long time for this kind of announcement, though personally, I won’t be switching. Not yet anyway.

For one thing, Verizon’s network will be slower. More reliable? Sure, but still slower. I live in a small town in North Carolina and I rarely see service congestion on my iPhone. While AT&T is definitely unreliable in other parts of the world, it’s just fine here. My data is snappy and I rarely drop calls. The only reason to switch would be in network calling to the rest of my family, but I have enough rollover minutes saved up to more than accommodate my dialing habits.

At the very earliest, I’d think about switching in June of 2012. By then, the iPhone 6 should be out, and Verizon’s network should be fast enough to warrant the change. I’ll also, god willing, be living in a different part of the country, and I’d like the assurance that I’ll have a reliable network there.

There is one extremely compelling reason to switch, even if you aren’t having network trouble. The Verizon iPhone will allow you to create a Wi-Fi hotspot. After traveling near the holidays and getting stuck in airports with $7/hour internet fees, I would love few things more than the ability to use my phone as a hotspot. I would say that AT&T will get this feature soon, but the truth is it probably won’t. AT&T has enough data trouble as it is. Clogging its network with more data means reliability will likely take another hit, something AT&T can’t really afford. We’ll see how Verizon handles the iPhone data load.

Live video streams rush to the app store

iPhone running the Ustream app.There’s more good news for app junkies out there. UStream is now officially available in the App Store, allowing users to stream video content over 3G and Wi-Fi connections. It’s a big step for the app approval process and more like a leap off a cliff for AT&T’s network.

UStream isn’t the first app to offer streaming. That distinction goes to Knocking, another app that paved the way for UStream, proving that both Apple and AT&T would allow such a demanding application to break through the notoriously awful approval process. Of course, it remains to be seen whether the network can actually handle that sort of strain. In fact, AT&T has said several times that high data traffic causes most of the network issues. These apps definitely won’t help that situation.

It’s nice to see developers continue to push AT&T to provide some of the cool options the iPhone has available. Let’s hope AT&T will come around to the idea…right.

App Store breaks 100,000 mark

Apps from the App Store.Today Apple announced that the App Store has breached the 100,000 mark. That’s right, more than 100,000 apps are available for your iPhone or iPod Touch. A solid 50% of those apps are strictly for replicating flatulence and then auto-tuning it to your favorite T-Pain beat.

In all seriousness, it’s another great milestone, and another great reason to reorganize the whole damn thing. This is probably the last time you’ll hear an app count out of me until the 500,000, at which point the numbers won’t even matter because of the hellacious mess the App Store will be in. It’s not that I can find something when I’m explicitly looking for it, but that it’s difficult to get the new and unmentioned stuff, the apps that don’t make the blog circuit. Those are the things I still want access to. Appoftheday made a decent start, but app organization needs more than just a community vote.

AT&T Has Refurbed iPhone 3G for $50

AT&T iPhone.If you’ve been thinking about making the switch to a smartphone or considering an iPhone, now’s about as good a time as any. AT&T enabled MMS on the iPhone today, which brings it up to speed with candybar phones of nearly a decade ago. The wireless provider also just found some old iPhone 3G models lying around that it will sell for a paltry $50.

Now, if I were you, I would splurge for the 3GS. It’s faster, has a better camera, and records video, which makes it much more than a cell phone. If you don’t want to drop $199 on a phone right now, though, the $50 3G will do just fine. It’s not that much slower, and you could probably live without the extra camera features.

There’s still one big reason to stay away: AT&T. Their service sucks and 3G coverage away from major cities is spotty at best. Also, you might be able to get Apple’s baby on a different network before your contract is up.

The good news is you’ll be just fine in either case. If you buy, you’re getting a great phone fairly cheap. If you don’t, you’re avoiding all the headaches that come with being tethered to AT&T. That is all.

iPhone Finally Headed To China

iPhone on its way to China.They’ve been made in China, they’ve been counterfeited in China, and now they can finally be bought in China. Apple and Chinese cell carrier China Unicom have reportedly reached a deal to bring the iPhone to the East.

According to the International Business Times, China Unicom threw down cash on 5 million phones. The carrier plans to sell an 8GB model for 2,400 yuan, which is a about $350, and a 16GB model for 4,800 yuan, which you could probably guess is around $700.

Though the article didn’t mention, I would assume Apple is selling China Unicom the iPhone 3G. Though there’s been some speculation about an 8GB 3GS, there still isn’t one made, and it’s certainly not like Apple to announce one by simply mailing it overseas.

What is clear is that Apple is planning on China becoming a huge market for their flagship device. Another 5 million phones in circulation is more than 10% growth over total figures, and that’s on the low end. It could be as high as 15-18%.

iShot Machine Gets an Update

ishot_updateAbout a month ago I wrote a review on Oasys Mobile’s iPhone application, iShot Machine. At the time the app was ridden with more than a few bugs, but boasted a decent shot library that excelled in recipe quality. Oasys just released an update for the app that includes a few fixes and a much-needed update to their randomizer.

As far as I can tell, they’ve fixed all the bugs I was able to find in my test run. There’s no more crash to springboard and the shot expansion works as it’s supposed to. The randomizer also seems to be truly random at this point. I haven’t been able to duplicate a string of random shots yet.

The update does mention “improved search functionality,” though on testing it, it doesn’t seem the search function is working at all. Searching by name, again for ‘Lemon Drop,’ now yields zero results. The same is true for ‘drop’ and ‘wild,’ both of which are used in a wide variety of shots.

My guess is the search thing is just a missing bit of code somewhere, either left out or left in by mistake during debugging. As for the rest of the update, it’s a major improvement on an already decent app. Watch for a search update soon.

Nudie iPhone App Goes Live, Gets Pulled

The first iPhone app showing any sort of nudity debuted today and has since been pulled from the app store.

The app, called Hottest Girls, has been around longer than the parental controls that could supposedly allow explicit content to be viewed within an app on Apple’s iPhone. Previous to today’s update, the application simply showed pictures of girls (mostly asian) in various types of scanty clothing. The app was supposed to be the first to feature adult content.

There’s been no word concerning the removal of the app from the app store yet. I’ll be surprised to see Apple try to keep the pics from returning. It’s not particularly hard to find porn on the phone, considering it has a nearly fully featured browser. You can imagine, though, the massive influx of applications we’ll see if porn apps get the official sanction.

For now, looks like you’ll have to stick to Safari to get your mobile porn on.

AT&T Upgrades Should Alleviate iPhone Headaches

iPhone call failed.Yesterday, AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel told Gearlog that his company is upgrading their 3G services to include the 850MHz spectrum. As it stands, most 3G services run at 1900MHz and the spectrum is getting congested. The upgrades should alleviate some of that congestion.

This is good news for all of the new 3GS owners this week, but particularly those in cities like New York and San Francisco, where iPhone saturation is highest, along with network strain. The 850MHz frequency is a lower band, allowing it to travel further and penetrate walls more easily than 1900MHz.

Along with a more reliable signal in cities, AT&T customers could see 3G hitting previously EDGE-only service areas, though it probably won’t extend service areas by much. AT&T is also starting to upgrade to HSDPA, which is supposed to double the download speeds of their current network.

It’s nice to see AT&T trying to keep up with the influx of iPhone traffic, but it still feels like just that. Keeping up. And barely. Hopefully these changes will add enough stability to keep people happy until HSDPA provides a stronger backbone for the nation’s only iPhone provider.

Wireless iPhone Charger: Hemorrhoid Included

WildCharge iPhone Skin.One of the more gimmicky advantages (unless, of course, you build it into your BMW) of the Palm Pre over the iPhone is wireless charging via Palm’s Touchstone dock. Just slap your Pre on there and by magnetic magic (and a whole lot of heat) you get a fresh battery.

WildCharge wants to give iPhone users that same functionality with their WildCharger iPhone Skin. You may remember the WildCharger from days gone by, when the Motorola RAZR was the phone to have. On phones (like the RAZR) that allow you to remove the battery, it’s kinda cool. There are no funky connections required.

But the iPhone has a built-in battery, one that can’t be removed or replaced with third party units. In order for the WildCharger to work, you need the WildCharge iPhone Skin, a $34.99 silicone sleeve that adds one big pimple to the ass end of your sleek little phone. The full kit (skin + charge pad) will run you $79.99.

The WildCharger isn’t a bad idea if you’ve got multiple supported devices. For me, it would only support my iPhone, and frankly I don’t mind plugging it (the iPhone) in all that much. I certainly don’t $80 mind it, and if it means a little tip hanging off the end of my phone you likely won’t see me trying one. Not even for a minute. Not even just to see how it feels.

Jobs Gets “Excellent Prognosis,” No Special Treatment

Steve Jobs looking healthy.After having a liver transplant Steve Jobs is reported to have an “excellent prognosis” by the medical institute responsible for the operation. Nice to hear some good news surrounding a pancreatic cancer survivor, even if he is one with the means to pay for the very best in medical care.

The Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute also issued a statement with the prognosis claiming Jobs received his liver because he was “the sickest patient on the waiting list at the time a donor organ became available.” This was no doubt released to allay concerns that Jobs may have seen special treatment because of status.

Good news for Jobs means good news for Apple, whose stock dropped some 10 points when the CEO announced his leave of absence in January. There had been speculation about his health leading up to the announcement, though Jobs claimed it was a hormone imbalance until he finally had to leave.

Despite his absence, Apple stock has continued to blow up, surging 60% this year alone. Hopefully we’ll see Jobs taunting handicapped grandmothers in his Cupertino parking lot soon.