Everything You Wanted to Know About the iPhone 5 But Were Too Afraid to Ask

With the first reviews pouring in today for everyone’s soon to be most bragged about toy, the iPhone 5, it’s time to take a step back and look at everything we know about the new iPhone, to date.

The Look

It’s thinner (the thinnest smartphone in the world according to Apple), it’s taller (a half an inch taller to be exact), it comes in black and white (though that doesn’t matter according to the late Michael Jackson), and of course it’s pretty sleek. Apple has had more than enough time in this business to know what works and what doesn’t and they aren’t messing with the formula now. The iPhone 5 looks like an iPhone, just better.

The Features

For the most part, all of the usual upgrades apply. The sound is better, the video is clearer, and everything is supposed to be faster. Of particular note, though, are the new 4G capabilities and Siri functions. The 4G is supposedly as quick as you need it to be, Siri is better than ever, and can perform an array of new tricks from pulling up apps on request, to providing sports scores. Also, the camera is supposed to work better in lowlight, and the battery life is cited as working up to 12-14 hours in some cases with normal usage, which would mean a great improvement over the previous models.  However, if you’re looking for the real new feature of the iPhone 5, you have to turn to the new iO6.


The biggest upgrade to i06 is the new Apple Maps features which opposes the popular Google Maps program. Reviews aren’t particularly flattering for the new app, as reviewers cite trouble using it practically in urban environments ,along with being generally behind Google Maps, but with things like Yelp integration, and Siri enabled GPS, a few updates could put the system on the right track. Otherwise, the new operating system is offering up increased Facebook functionality, Facetime compatibility, and a great all in one travelling app called Passbook that also works with some of your payment methods to help create a virtual wallet. Nice.

Read the rest of this entry »


Can Facebook’s Buffy “Stake” Its Claim In The Smartphone Market?

I swear, that’s my last bad “Buffy” pun.

Various news outlets from The New York Times to the BBC are reporting that Facebook is reconsidering an entry into the smartphone market.

For some time now, the social media giant has teased the idea of launching a phone of their own. However, early reports indicated that the project started and stopped several times until it was ultimately determined that the actual complete process of making a phone from concept to manufacturing was harder than anticipated, and the idea was scrapped.

Now though the project seems to be back in earnest. Codenamed “Buffy” (which is odd considering Buffy was a TV character that slayed things that were better off left dead), the smartphone’s hardware is reportedly going to be worked on by HTC Corp, while Facebook will internally handle the software development, which could include an independent operating system. To help get the phone out by its alleged 2013 target date, reports are that Facebook is looking for former Apple and other high end smartphone developers to add to the team, of which they may have already hired almost half a dozen.

Everything revealed so far has suggested that Facebook is taking this project very seriously. The word around the company is that Mark Zuckerberg is worried that if Facebook doesn’t make a play to start its own phone service, that it will become just another mobile app and get lost in the shuffle of the new world order of smartphone superiority. Not to mention that Facebook could lose out on advertising revenue if it starts being accessed primarily through a third party device.

Facebook still carries a lot of name value, and its internal app market could potentially be very popular if kept exclusive to its new phone, but I still think this sound like a case of overreaching. If the initial conclusion was that smartphone development was going to be too complex just a year ago, I don’t know what could have changed their minds in the meantime. Well, besides that slightly embarrassing public offering fiasco of course.  But if this is all an effort to extend Facebook’s reach enough for them to wipe some egg off of their face, things could turn ugly.


Steve Jobs biography to be penned by Einstein/Franklin author

Steve Jobs looking excited.The world has long tried to understand Steve Jobs. There have been several biographies written about him, though none of them were authorized and most have lacked the kind of personal material that make a biography really great. Luckily for all the fanboys (and the haters) Jobs has agreed to an authorized biography.

Jobs struck the deal with former Time Magazine managing editor Walter Isaacson. Isaacson has written two other bestselling biographies on historical figures that show a bit of Jobs’ hubris: Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin. Criticisms aside, the book should be very interesting. Jobs has invited Isaacson on a tour of his childhood home according to the New York Times.

Jobs has never been a fan of those other biographies, either. He’s been known to pull books by those publishers from Apple Store shelves in spite.

Source: New York Times


Kindle bestsellers don’t cost a thing

Kindle with a bookIt’s not a revolutionary concept. You want some visibility so you offer what would normally be a paid service or product for free. As word of mouth grows, you bump the price back to normal levels, occasionally higher, and profit. Easy enough.

That’s what many book publishers are starting to do with titles on the Kindle, the New York Times reported this weekend. The article focuses on Maureen Johnson, an author whose young adult fiction has climbed as high as number three on the Kindle best-selling charts. It’s being run for free on the device to drive interest in her upcoming sequel, which will release this February.

While some publishers – Random House and Scholastic for two – embrace the free model, others, like Hachette, find it “illogical.” They believe the price of ebooks is already too low, so why go any lower? In fact, a lot of publishers delay ebook publication for a few months after a book’s release to capitalize on hardcover sales.

Obviously, as time goes on, we’re going to see publishers get more and more creative to keep profits up in the face of lower prices for retail media.


Classic authors fight for their ebook rights

Styron's Sophie's Choice.The NY Times published an interesting article today that details the struggle between classic authors and their respective publishing houses for ebook rights. The article is focused on William Styron, author of great books like Sophie’s Choice and Darkness Visible and his family’s struggle to maintain rights to the digital versions of those books.

It’s not that no one saw ebooks coming. They did. In fact, most titles published after 1994 have the rights for ebooks laid out in full detail. But there were a whole lot of books published before 1994, Styron’s books among them. As much as Styron’s family may want control of those titles for the digital age, the publishers are doing everything they legally can to maintain control. Random House recently sent out letters to authors and literary agents claiming control of the works, arguing that ebooks fall under the same category as books, so the rights extend to digital works.

It gets messier from there. In 2002 a judge in Manhattan ruled in the authors’ favor, but that’s probably not going to stop big publishing. In the mean time Styron’s family, like many others, have turned to third parties with the rights, trying to get things published before publishing houses can get a hold of the work.

Source: New York Times