Why Apple is full of it

Today Apple held a news conference of sorts.   The ostensible purpose was to respond to concerns about the antenna design in the new iPhone 4.  The real purpose was to see if everyone is as stupid as Apple seems to think we are.

Consider just the following  two contentions about iPhone 4:

  1. It has the best reception of any iPhone to date.
  2. The iPhone 4 drops less than one additional call per 100 drops, when compared to the 3GS (according to AT&T data on call drops)

Apple attempted to use the second contention to describe the antenna problem as an illusory issue, suggesting that the drop rate is so close to the 3GS drop rate that it is just a part of life with a cell phone, and not a design error.  This is false.  Apple touted the antenna in the iPhone 4, and independent testing of the phone has confirmed that, when you aren't touching the call signal zone of death, the iPhone 4 has better reception than its predecessors.  This is not surprising, given the big external antennas on the iPhone 4.

But if the iPhone 4 has a substantially better antenna, it should show a noticeable improvement in the drop rate.  It does not.  Based on Apple's own claims, I have to conclude that the most probable explanation for these observed results is that the external antenna holds calls longer, but suffers precipitous signal failure.  In other words, the design flaw slightly overwhelms the overall improvement in the antenna over the long haul.  You will probably have fewer drops in high signal strength areas, but you will drop more calls in low signal strength areas if you hold the phone like any normal person would.

I have an iPhone 3GS.  It is a very nice phone.  I have looked appreciatively at the iPhone 4.  But I don't like being called an idiot, and my intended upgrade to the iPhone 4 is going on the back burner.  I will give Windows Phone 7 a very thorough examination before deciding whether to give Apple another chance.  This isn't a problem with all smartphones (I also have a Blackberry Bold 9700, which has no such problem - for that matter, neither does my iPhone 3GS).  This is apparently a problem with a phone that was designed first and foremost with materials and appearance in mind.

My advice to Apple:  if you are going to go to the trouble to hold a news conference to address a widely-reported potential flaw in the normal use-case design of one of your flagship products, don't view that time as your chance to offer contradictory assertions as you bitterly deny that anything unusual is going on with your new phone.  It is just insulting.  Just admit it, say you will work on a fabrication correction to the issue, and move on.  A bit of humility goes a long way with the average consumer; Apple evidently has none.  Here's your free rubber bumper (you crybabies).

Court certifies Apple-AT&T monopoly abuse suit

United States District Court Judge James Ware, of the Northern District of California, certified certain claims in a class action lawsuit alleging that the 5-year iPhone exclusivity arrangement between Apple and AT&T created a monopoly of sorts.  WindowsITPro has additional, interesting comments here.  I feel like such a victim.  Luckily, they didn't get my money for the iPhone 4 yet, which apparently has a bit of an issue with its exposed antennas.

How-to: iOS4 installation tips for the iPhone 3GS and Windows systems

After installing iOS4 on my iPhone 3GS and using it for a day, I can confirm that it is snappy and seems stable.  The new email format and folder icon features are immediately useful.

But before installing, I suggest that you do the following:

  1. Sync your phone with iTunes.
  2. If iTunes prompts you with the new operating system, decline at this time.
  3. Reboot  your system.
  4. Temporarily disable your antivirus and firewall (this is much safer if you are behind a home router that provides its own basic firewall services)
  5. Start iTunes.
  6. If you don't get a prompt to download once you connect your iPhone, click on the phone name in the left-side panel and then choose the check for updates option.
  7. Download and install.
  8. If the installation generates an error, disconnect the phone, close iTunes, restart it and follow the prompt to restore the phone.  This should result in a restore and upgrade.
  9. Don't run other applications while the OS is downloading.  It is a big download; just let it finish.
In my case, I had to recheck all the applications in iTunes to get them to sync with the phone, but that was likely due to the fact that my installation generated an error and required a restore before upgrading the OS.

With Apple's position clear, Adobe delivers Acrobat Reader to Android platform even as Android pulls even with iPhone OS

While Apple attempts to use its clout in the mobile web marketplace to kill Flash, the potential heir to the mobile throne, Google, has opted for the open route and, thus far, has encouraged Adobe to join the party.  Last week, at Google I/O, Adobe demonstrated a beta version of Flash 10.1 running on the Android mobile device operating system.  But Adobe had a few more Android tricks up its sleeve.

On May 21, 2010, Adobe announced that Adobe Reader is now available in the Android application marketplace.  First release features, according to Adobe, include:

Adobe Reader for Android offers multi-touch gestures, like pinch-and-zoom, as well as double-tap-zoom, flick-scrolling and panning. We've also added a "reflow" mode, which will take text-heavy documents with wide margins, and automatically wrap the content for easy viewing on smaller screens. 

So, for the last several years I have used an iPhone as my personal smartphone.  But, with developments like this, and a flood of sweet-looking devices running Android, it's hard not to consider trying the Android ecosystem.  Then again, I'm also intrigued by the potential of Windows Phone 7, so I hope that Adobe has plans to support what looks to be another powerhouse smartphone OS.  Decisions, decisions.

Dragon Dictation is now available in the iPhone app store

Dragon Dictation, which is a simplified version of the PC software, Dragon NaturallySpeaking, is now available in the iTunes App store.  And, for some limited amount of time, it is FREE.

What You See:

This application is simple, but very nice.  At launch, all you see is a button, with text that reads, "Tap here and dictate."  Go on, tap!  The application immediately begins recording what you say.  When you are finished, press another button, and the speech-to-text conversion occurs.  Once you have text, you can either edit the text or export it to e-mail on your phone, text messaging, or the clipboard.  If you don't like the virtual keyboard, this program offers a way to write a significant amount of text in a hurry.

It Works:

In my testing, it was shockingly accurate.  Admitedly, I tested the application is a quiet room, with no significant background noise.  Dragon Dictation recognized punctuation and "new line" commands.  I'm still amazed at the quality of the recognition from a phone.  A phone.