Thoughts about the 3G iPhone

19 06 2008

Since the release of the 3G iPhone at WWDC last week, there are still many questions unanswered and speculation regarding the new iPhone.

This years WWDC keynote brought us the hotly anticipated 3G iPhone. Aggressively priced at $199, it is clear that Apple wants to take on the smartphone market and get iPhones in more hands this year. True to some rumors, the new iPhone is launching for $199 in 22 countries later next month. Thanks to subsidization by AT&T and the other official iPhone carriers in other countries, Apple was able to cut the price of the iPhone in half.

While this is ultimately a win-win situation for both AT&T and Apple, it could cause some consumers headaches. One of the greatest parts of the iPhone started with the privilege to activate at home through iTunes. This slick implementation of Apple’s existing software allowed for consumers to avoid the hassle of activating your phone in the store- and for Apple employees to quickly sell more iPhones, Macs or iPods.

Although it is still preliminary speculation at this point, it seems that because of the subsidization, In-Store activation is going to be required. This means that if you want to buy an iPhone, you must purchase the phone and activate in the store regardless if you’re in an AT&T store or an Apple Store. During busy times, such as the holiday season or during launch day, July 11th, this could mean many Apple Store employees being tied up with activating iPhones instead of helping other customers with Mac or iPod sales- which just leaves both sides aggravated.

It also means that the unlocked market is going to suffer. Because Apple gave consumers the liberty to purchase the hardware without any binding contract, many people took their iPhones onto other GSM networks such as T-Mobile. It is believed that over 500,000 iPhones have been unlocked and brought onto other networks around the world. This time around, because AT&T is paying for a portion of the iPhone hardware, requiring immediate, ins-store activation would make sense to further deter these people from bringing the iPhone to other networks.

However, some theorize that since Apple already requires a credit card for an iPhone purchase, they could charge AT&T’s subsidization amount back to their card if the phone wasn’t activated within a certain period of time. This could allow Apple to continue to activate phones through iTunes, but keep AT&T from loosing money.

Because there hasn’t been any official announcement, theoretically, we won’t know for certain until there is. The iPhone 3G is set to launch on July 11th. If you can’t wait, check out our new dashboard widget. Stay tuned for more information regarding the launch and launch coverage of the new 3G iPhone here at

Mac Basics: an introduction to Growl

19 06 2008

Guest poster Dan Foy from Macsimum News gives us an overview of Growl. You can read his original post here on Macsiumum News!

You’re working on a project at work, and you hear the “bing” of Mail, telling you there’s a new e-mail. You are confronted with the question, “Do I stop what I’m doing and see if the e-mail is important, or do I take a chance and keep working on my project?”

What if you didn’t have to? What if a little box popped up on the side of your screen with a summary of the e-mail, giving you a short-term look at the e-mail so you can decide if it’s important or not?
Believe it or not, the software that does that is already here. And it’s free (donations are accepted).
It’s called Growl. Growl is a notification system for Mac OS X: it allows applications that support Growl to send you notifications (took the description right off their web site because I couldn’t have said it better myself).

I had heard of Growl, but didn’t see much use for it until I accidentally installed it. Yes, I accidentally installed Growl. I don’t even know what program installed it for me (which I don’t like, but I seem to recall an installer asking me if I wanted to install Growl, so I must have said “yes.”)
Anyway, all of a sudden, I started seeing notifications when my RSS reader, the open-source Vienna, downloaded new articles. Thought that was pretty handy. I could tell when there were new articles without bumping down to the bottom of the screen and making the dock appear (Vienna has a number notifier in its dock icon and I keep my dock hidden). Saves time.
So I started investigating and found Growl in my System Preferences (in the Other category at the bottom). After some exploration, I found that there is a plugin for Apple’s Mail program that allows Growl to notify you of new e-mail.

And there are a whole bunch of other programs that are either written to work with Growl, and for some others there are plugins.

But the one that really helps me is the Mail plugin. My day job is at a newspaper. I do page design for my home paper and tech support for several other papers. As part of that, I get an enormous amount of e-mail from the Associated Press. Most of if deals with their web-based video network, and for some reason, they can’t just send me the important stuff, they send me an email every time they post a new video.

I have them whisked off to a folder in Mail, but it “bing”s every time one of those e-mails come in and I don’t always have time to see whether or not it’s important. But I want to know immediately if someone is having a problem related to their deadlines.
Growl shows me who the email is from and allows me to more-easily ignore the AP stuff.
And that’s just one example. I also use Semulov, which unmounts volumes. Now when a volume unmounts, I see it in a Growl notification.
I’m sure you can come up with many other uses, but I just wanted to introduce you to this cool little program.