Category Archives: iPhone

iPhone 5 Unboxing and Review

Yep! I got one of these new-fangled iPhone 5 devices on Friday and, like a kid on Christmas morning, I could hardly wait to unbox the darned thing. Weren’t around? No regrets. You can see the video here!

In fairness to the fine viewers who saw fit to pay my YouTube channel a visit, I resisted the urge to rip the package apart within five seconds of receiving it and actually exercised a semblance of rational patience. And then I ripped that sucker open! My first photo taken with the iPhone 5 may amuse some and annoy others; it seems like that’s the story of my life. Do have an iPhone 5? Were you waiting for the unboxings and reviews online before taking the plunge? Or do you leave iDevices to the fanboys and shun them for your Android-powered doodads?

In any case, may your Monday be the beginning of a most wonderful week!

iOS 6 Review and Features

Yep! We still do live events, and if you missed the one featured below, you can join us tomorrow (Friday, September 21st, 2012 in my hemisphere at… well, whenever my delivery driver feels like showing up) for a live iPhone 5 unboxing!

Until then, have yourself a happy little Thursday! (Unless, of course, you live on the other side of the International Date Line and it’s already Friday for you, you lucky, lucky person.)

iPhone 5: Buy Now or Wait?

Remember how your telephone options used to be so much simpler in the 20th century? The phone company (there once was only one) asked you if you wanted service, and you were given the opportunity to freely answer “yes” or “no.” A “yes” answer would afford you a blocky chunk of what we now call retro tech that was designed to give your designated dialing finger a workout, and it was tethered to a selected (by the phone company) wall of your abode by a cable that would give you access to conversations with the world at large. Of course, you would sometimes have to share your line with the neighbors, but that was just another way to get to know the people on your block who might otherwise be strangers.

And sometimes, you realized, some people should remain strangers. But it was a mixed bag. You might get lucky and strike up a lifelong friendship with someone on the party line. Who could say? Ma Bell played the part of matchmaker and great destroyer. What could you do? It wasn’t like you could go to another phone company or get a private line. Not until later in the century, anyway.

Fast forward to now, and some might say that we have too many choices. (Let me go on the record to say that I’m not among them — consumer choice is always a good thing.) Not only can we subscribe to one of many phone companies, but we can pick phones and plans that generally correspond with our needs and budgets more than was once possible. You like the Android OS? Excellent! Get an Android phone! You dig Apple’s iOS? Terrific! Grab yourself up an iPhone! Don’t even need a mobile phone, but you want something at hand in case of emergency when you’re home? Superb! Get a simple landline or use a VoIP solution to contact the outside world on the rare occasion that you want to deal with other people. It’s really up to you.

Now that the iPhone 5 has been announced, of course there’s going to be a flurry of back-and-forth… conversation (yeah, let’s call it conversation — it’s a much nicer word than argument!) about which available smartphones currently on the market are the best. On that note, let’s just remember that someone else’s “better” doesn’t always equal your “better.” Embrace the diversity of opinion and celebrate the fact that we no longer have to endure the whims of one phone company!

Yep. I’m a fanboy, all right. I’m a fanboy of having choices. Let freedom ring!

How to Watch Live TV on the iPhone

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of MobiTV. All opinions are 100% mine.

We’ve all had it happen at one point or another. There’s something you really wanted to watch on TV, but you’re either on the road or someone else is hogging the set in your living room. Do you wait patiently until you can grab the remote control and relax, or do you take matters into your own hands with a mobile solution?

Enter the new AT&T U-verse Live TV app for iOS. This app actually delivers live television to your mobile device using your 3G or wireless Internet connection. In a method similar to your home DVR, the AT&T U-verse Live TV app delivers both live and on-demand programming to your mobile device with great clarity and very little, if any, buffering issues.

AT&T U-verse Live TV is a free app, but in order to take advantage of the service you will need to sign up for a monthly recurring $11.99 fee. When compared to some comparable services that deliver television shows to mobile platforms, this rate is very reasonable, especially when you consider that almost none of them deliver live television from popular cable channels including Fox News, MSNBC, CNBC, ESPN Mobile, Disney, ABC, and more. In terms of value for your investment, it would be hard to find something that delivers as much content on these platforms.

New channels are constantly being added to the app, which currently supports a wide range of live and on-demand channels. Here are some of the channels currently supported on the iPhone:

Live Channels:
FOX News, MSNBC, CNBC, ESPN Mobile TV (featuring live MLB, NBA and college sports), Disney Channel, ABC Mobile, NBC Sports Mobile, FOX Business, ABC News Now, Saturday Morning TV, Comedy Time, and Ataku.

Full-Episode, On-Demand Channels:
ABC Mobile, NBC, FOX News, FOX Business, Comedy Central, Spike, MTV, VH1, CMT, MTV Tr3s , NBC News Mobile, ABC News Now, ESPN On Demand, NBC Sports Mobile, FOX Sports, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Nickelodeon en EspaƱol, Teen Nick, and ABC Family.

How to Watch Live TV on the iPhone10 music video channels are also included and made available to AT&T U-verse Live TV app subscribers. Channel availability varies per device.

Just because this app is brought to you by AT&T U-verse doesn’t mean you have to be an AT&T iPhone user to take advantage of this service. Both AT&T and Verizon iPhones and iPads will work perfectly with this app. In fact, and iPod touch, with no direct ties to any carrier, can run AT&T U-verse Live TV as well.

There are a couple of points to keep in mind. First, you’re going to want to use this app on a Wi-Fi connection if at all possible unless you have an unlimited data plan. Video, no matter how well compressed, is bandwidth intensive and can eat away at your monthly cap very quickly. You’ll also want to be aware that the monthly fee is automatically recurring, and in order to cancel your commitment, you will need to do so through the app itself.

Over all, AT&T U-verse Live TV is a great way to stay connected to major news channels in times of emergency when you don’t have power, keep kids occupied with their favorite shows in the car, and otherwise free you from having to be on the couch while you enjoy your favorite television programs. This could be a very popular service for people working out at the gym who want something to take their mind off their 10-mile hike on the treadmill.

How to Play PC Games on Your Phone

For many StarCraft fans, finding the will to leave the house and stop playing can be difficult. Thankfully, Splashtop Inc. has created a product that allows you to play DirectX 9, 10, and 11 games where other remote desktop clients often lack any support for 3D. In short, they’ve created an app that allows you to play PC games on your phone.

Splashtop Remote Desktop is free for desktops and about $2 for mobile devices making it one of the most affordable solutions for handheld remote desktops in its class.

Compatibility across platforms is impressive, allowing users of iOS, Android (2.2 Froyo and above), and even WebOS to use the program through dedicated apps available in their respective markets. Windows and Mac users are both able to use the server software to stream their desktops, as long as they meet the necessary system requirements. For Windows, all you need to stream is XP, Vista, or 7 and at least 1 GB of RAM and a 1.6GHz dual-core CPU. Mac uses will need the at least the same hardware with OS X 10.6+.

Latency is low but still present, so this won’t be a good platform for playing games that require fast movements and responses. First-person shooters will likely frustrate you as a player, as the latency between your device and the computer is coupled with the system’s latency to the game server. Games that do play relatively well include RTS titles like StarCraft II and various Command and Conquer titles where queueing up forces and planning strategies doesn’t require optimized response times.

This solution isn’t perfect. If you plan on using this method to play competitively online, the results may prove disappointing. At its heart, Splashtop Remote Desktop is made to allow you to access your desktop using your mobile phone wherever you may be. While it has the functionality needed to stream games and video, you won’t be advancing to the finals in any StarCraft leagues with this as your interface.

Eton Soulra XL Sound System for iPod and iPhone Review

What’s better than an iPod speaker dock powered by solar energy? The answer would be a solar powered iPod speaker dock with 8 speakers. This is what you’ll find in the NSP500B Soulra XL Sound System by Eton.

The Soultra XL connects to your iPhone or iPod and gives you incredible sound with no annoying power cable to lug around. A 72 square inch enhanced monocrystal solar panel produces enough energy to charge its rechargeable lithium ion battery pack and your device at the same time.

When the sun is nowhere to be found, the batteries carry enough juice to keep the tunes going for quite some time. At an expected 4 hours of battery life, it isn’t the longest-lasting battery-powered dock around. This wouldn’t be the best dock to bring with you to an all-night party. Still, its ability to self-power using solar energy can really come in handy in situations where you’re outside on the lawn or at the beach.

Your iDevice sits inside of a chamber that allows you to see its screen, even in sunny conditions. This creates a level of protection so you don’t have to be too nervous about having it around during soccer practice.

The remote allows you to control the iPod from a distance so you don’t have to keep making trips over to the dock to switch to a different playlist, or turn the volume up.

The whole unit weighs 7 pounds, and the included shoulder strap is comfortable. It’s not a small device, by any stretch of the imagination, so you’re probably not going to be taking it anywhere you’re not comfortable carrying a sizable speaker system to.

Sound quality is exactly what you’d expect from 8 speakers. The 22W output and bass boost provide a rich sound with a significant amount of bass. Some smaller systems struggle with recreating bass in particular, though this unit doesn’t lack in that department. Music played through the speakers is very rich and vibrant. The 22W of power behind them also gives you plenty of room to turn up the volume and annoy the neighbors.

Overall, this is a solid solution for users that spend a lot of time outdoors in the sun. Having one of these during camping trips or at the beach makes sense. At just over $250, this product is geared more towards serious outdoors enthusiasts and not so much the homebody or casual music listener. If you want to see a value doors and windows review go here. If you throw frequent outdoor events such as barbecues, you may certainly want to consider the Eton Soulra XL Sound System.

Are Dedicated Digital Cameras Going Extinct?

A LockerGnome.net user named Senzers69 asked, “Are digital camera’s becoming obsolete now that phones have such good cameras?

What does this mean? Well, it certainly serves as a strong indication that the technology behind camera phones has advanced to the point where they are becoming “good enough” to replace the traditional point-and-shoot for many of their users. The fact that these mobile devices are capable of doing a lot more than just taking pictures may also be a significant contributing factor to this overall trend.

You no longer have to keep a camera in one pocket and your phone in another. The quality of the camera built-in to most phones today is good enough to get the job done, and there isn’t any real reason for most people to carry around another gadget when they really don’t have to.

Services and apps like Instagram and ToonPAINT expand the functionality even further by allowing photos to be edited in an artistic way and shared with little more than a few taps of a screen. Digital point-and-shoots have come a long way in terms of quality, but in their current form they really can’t compete with the convenience a smartphone can deliver.

In the case of SLR (or DSLR) cameras, I don’t see much changing anytime soon. While they may be behind in terms of percentage of overall users when compared to mobile phones, their core user base relies on quality over convenience. Camera phones have a long way to go before they can capture images with the same level of detail as a modern DSLR.

In fact, even regular point-and-shoots still have an advantage over mobile phones in terms of image stabilization. Optical image stabilization is just better than any digital equivalent smartphones available today can deliver. Until this changes, dedicated digital cameras are probably not going to die completely. They are, however, going to face an ever increasing amount of competition from the mobile space.

According to Flickr, the most popular camera used in photos uploaded to their site is Apple’s iPhone 4. After a steady climb, the iPhone 4 beat out the Nikon D40 and Canon EOS 5D Mark II. This means a larger percentage of their users are using the mobile phone to take photos than traditional digital cameras.

What do you think? Are dedicated digital cameras facing extinction at the hands of mobile phones?