More reasons Apple should release a Verizon iPhone soon

NPD mobile stats.

A few days back I wrote about the impetus for a Verizon iPhone launch in early 2011, mostly citing John Gruber from Daring Fireball. NPD just gave us a little information that could very well serve as more evidence of the impending release. The iOS market is actually shrinking, while Android is exploding. You don’t have to be a genius to see how a Verizon iPhone could change that, or at least help Apple’s position.

It’s not that Apple isn’t doing well – its market cap proves that it is – but Android is on so many more handsets now. From Peter Kafka at AllThingsD:

So how did Android gain share? Because it’s on so many other new phones. Canned quote from NPD’s Ross Rubin: “The HTC EVO 4G, Motorola Droid X, and other new high-end Android devices have been gaining momentum at carriers that traditionally have been strong RIM distributors, and the recent introduction of the BlackBerry Torch has done little to stem the tide.”

iPhone 4 impressions

My new iPhone showed up in the hands of a sweaty FedEx guy (it’s 100 degrees here today) right around 1PM and I’ve been playing with it ever since. The short version of this post, like so many other iPhone 4 posts, is this: The iPhone 4 is exactly what a smartphone should be – fast, (reasonably) flexible, and functional.

The first thing I noticed out of the box is the build. It feels so much more solid than the 3GS in your hand. It feels thin but heavy, like you’re holding something important, which is about how it should feel. Gone is the plastic from the back of the 3GS and in its place is a solid piece of glass – the same piece that graces the front. The volume buttons feel sturdy, as does the hold switch (a welcome change from the 3GS hold switch, which feels like it’s on the verge of breaking every time I flick it). I also love that the phone now sits flat on my desk.

The next thing to catch my eye was the screen. Dear god it is beautiful. You can appreciate the difference between the two immediately, but you really start to understand the difference when you look at the smaller details. When I installed iOS 4 on my 3GS I was excited, but I was a little underwhelmed by some of the display features. In folders, for instance, many of the app icons look blurry and out of focus. Not so on the iPhone 4. Icons look just as crisp within the folder as they do on any of your app screens.

The iPhone 4 is fast. A lot faster than the 3GS it seems, most likely because of the RAM upgrade from 256MB to 512MB. That’s especially nice with the fast app-switching in iOS 4. The faster processor also allows you to pull off the 720p video recording that now comes standard. Video looks great, as do stills, running through the new 5 megapixel camera, which added a flash.

Call quality has been improved with the addition of a noise-canceling secondary microphone. I haven’t yet been able to test FaceTime but as soon as I can I’ll post some more impressions.

If you’re on the fence about the new iPhone, get to an Apple store and play with one. Though I knew I wanted one, I couldn’t appreciate the new feature set until I actually saw it. Now, I’m in love.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Some iPhone 4 orders are being inexplicably cancelled


This is just getting ridiculous – after this morning’s report that the iPhone 4 had shipped for many pre-orderers, there’s now news that some consumers have had their iPhone 4 pre-orders inexplicably cancelled. Here’s what the emails say:

Your iPhone order has been cancelled.

Your credit card has not been charged.

If you believe you have received this email in error, please return to the AT&T store where you placed your order.

Sincerely,
AT&T

I’m thinking my initial response would be “Yeah, this is in error. I ordered the damn phone on day one. My order shouldn’t be cancelled without reason.” After many people talked to both AT&T and Apple, it seems there were either authentication issues on AT&T’s end or we just don’t really have a reason for things being cancelled.

Anyone actually think launch day will be a success? As it stands, I’m guessing I’ll be using my 3GS for another month because AT&T’s activation server is going to explode.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

iPhone 4s have started to ship

iPhone 4 shippedI woke up this morning to an email from the Apple Store with the above message. The iPhone 4 has started shipping to customers across the country. My phone is currently in Lantau Island, HK.

Though my own estimated delivery date is the 24th, some people have reported estimated deliveries for the 23rd. Apple will likely issue do-not-ship commands for Fed-Ex to keep the phone from releasing early. It always seems like someone screws those up, though, so maybe you’ll be lucky and get your iPhone 4 a day early.

iPhone 4 pre-orders are totally borked

I woke up early this morning all excited to pre-order my iPhone 4. I was up a bit late last night and noticed that the store was down, and with the iPad, pre-orders were available around 8:30am EST, so I planned accordingly. Much to my chagrin, the online system at Apple wasn’t working. Neither was the AT&T system. In fact, it seems the whole pre-ordering process has melted down.

I started digging around the web to find other experiences, and even the people in brick-and-mortar stores are having trouble pre-ordering. The problem, it seems, is on AT&T’s end (who’s surprised?). Requests for account information aren’t being handled properly, and presumably because of the massive traffic AT&T is receiving, every step of the upgrade process is causing errors. As in, you fill out the data for step one (which renews your contract), press enter and get an error. Resubmit until it goes through. Now you have a new contract, but no subsidized phone until you can get step two or three to work.

This especially sucks for the people in brick-and-mortar stores. Cross step one and you’re stuck in the store until AT&T’s system deems you worthy to leave or, as I mentioned, you get a renewed contract but no new phone. Hopefully this will get fixed at some point today, but knowing AT&T, that’s not going to happen. If you have a couple hours to kill and feel like testing your boiling point, head on out to your nearest AT&T retailer for a little fun.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Should I be more cautious about the AT&T upgrade?

Dueling iPhonesI am unflinchingly excited for the new iPhone, and even more so that AT&T has granted me an early upgrade eligibility. But why did they do it? Supposedly the subsidy on my 3GS, which is only a year old, is built into the life of my two-year plan. Is that $18 upgrade fee really going to cover the difference of a full year of service?

No. It’s not. So why is AT&T so ready to lock me in for what would only be an additional year. Here’s what AT&T says:

The reason we’re doing it is we recognize the commitment our current iPhone customers have made to us. We listened to people last year and took steps to make the process better. And we built on it this year by expanding further the approach.

Here’s what I say: bullshit. Of course you don’t want angry customers on your hands but losing even more money on each phone by selling it off to people who haven’t made up the difference seems crazy. You have to wonder if that Verizon iPhone rumor isn’t true after all. I know, it’s been denied up and down and back and forth and whatever other way you can deny it. But come on, is AT&T really that generous?

Get your iPhone 4 upgrade up to six months early

iPhone 4.Early adopters always get pissed when a new device comes out. After all, it can be hard to justify spending another couple hundred bucks on a gadget that closely mimics your current gear. The iPhone is no exception, but luckily AT&T has your back (sort of – their network still blows).

AT&T is offering iPhone 4 upgrades up to six months early for a minimal upgrade fee of $18. That’s a damn fine price to get your hands on the new iPhone. If you’re like me, you probably cringed when you saw that six month figure. I got my 3GS last June on launch day, which leaves me a far cry from the six month upgrade window. As it turns out, that “six months” is a little more flexible than you’d think.

If you want to know your upgrade status, dial *639# from an AT&T phone and you’ll receive a text message concerning your eligibility status. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was indeed eligible for the $18 upgrade. I’m definitely taking advantage – current 16GB 3GS prices range from $250-$500 on eBay. That more than covers the cost of the phone and the upgrade.

The iPhone 4 will be available June 24th.

iPhone 4 is here!

Apple iPhone 4.Apple has made an honest phone of the iPhone 4. Steve Jobs officially announced the iPhone 4 today during the WWDC 2010 keynote address.

It’s a beauty of a phone – the same phone Gizmodo leaked in April. With it comes a whole host of new features, including the long-rumored ability to make video calls. It is far and away the best phone on the market to date (more on that later), with a feature list that will make all the EVO 4G freaks go, “Oh…you have that too.”

From the outside, you can see that the iPhone 4 is thinner even than the 3GS. It now features a front-facing video cam for the video calling service, “FaceTime.” Both the front and back of the phone are made of a slate of glass. The camera on the back has been upgraded to five megapixels, records 720p video at 30 FPS, and has an LED flash. Apple also added a second microphone for noise cancellation during calls, a welcome feature.

On the inside, you’re looking at an A4 processor – yeah, that’s the same thing that runs the iPad – a larger battery, and an antenna system that has been integrated into the body of the phone. Storage capacity remains the same, at 16GB or 32GB, which has always seemed like plenty to me. There’s also a gyroscope along with the accelerometer, giving the phone six-axis sensitivity which is great for gaming and trainer apps among other things. The display on the iPhone 4 now has twice the pixel density of the 3GS. That’s huge, especially with the news that Netflix is coming to the iPhone later this summer.

On the whole, it’s a great update to an already great device. I’ll have more posts throughout the day detailing the changes so stay tuned. The iPhone 4 will be available for pre-order on June 15th, on sale June 24th.

Places to watch Apple’s keynote

Moscone Center.Apple’s keynote today is a big deal, and unless you were one of the lucky press to get an invite to the event, you won’t be seeing things live. There are a few options for getting the news out of San Francisco, though. Here’s a quick list.

Live Blogging – Most of the major blogs get press passes and perform live updates from the event. Here’s a quick list of the major sites and their liveblogs:

I’ve also heard rumors that CrunchGear will be livestreaming the event. You can find the CrunchGear feed at LiveStream.

I’ll be watching a couple streams at once, trying to get the latest news out to you guys in a timely fashion.

Gizmodo wasn’t invited to the Apple keynote

Jobs at a keynote.By now the Gizmodo/iPhone prototype story has been done and redone, blown sky-high with speculation. One thing is for sure, though. Apple is pissed. Really, really pissed. Gizmodo hasn’t been invited to the Apple keynote on Monday.

The blog is still planning to run its own liveblog, so it’s posting for attendees to help with the event. I, for one, am pretty bummed out. Gizmodo was my go to spot for liveblogging. There are other quality options out there, but Gizmodo tended to be the fastest and among the most reliable.

It is interesting, though, that Apple would be willing to shut out Gizmodo. The blog has given Jobs & Co. as much coverage as they could possibly desire, and breaking the iPhone quite possibly gave Apple and the new phone more hype than could ever have been generated organically.