Welcome New iPhone 5 (and other assorted items)

Yes, months of waiting are over. Yes, it’s called the iPhone 5. Like its predecessor, it’s all glass and aluminum, but only 7.6 mm thick, 18% thinner and 20% lighter than the 4S.  Same retina display density as the 4s, but a bigger, 4″ screen, which bumps it up to 1136 x 640 res and 44% more color saturation. That means an additional row of icons per page. Apple has updated all of the Apple apps to accomodate the new phone. Bigger screen means more data on each screen. And it promises to be fast. HSPA+ and DC-HSPDA and  LTE – fast. The antennas will switch seamlessly and you should be able to secure 4G speed wherever available worldwide.

Wireless is improved as well – the 5 will support 802.11 a/b/g/n at up to 150Mbps. New processor too – the A6 is 2x faster on processing and graphics, and smaller than its predecessor. Hopefully for a bigger battery. But all things considered, the numbers aren’t bad for all this new, faster, shinier hardware: Apple is indicating 8 hours of 3G talk, 225 hour of standby, 40 hours of music, 10 hours of wi-fi browsing, and 8 hours of LTE  browsing. The camera appears to be pretty much the same as 4S, with 8MP, faster capture and a smart filter for better color matching. Oh, and Panorama mode!  iOS6, which will come on this phone, includes a new Shared Photo Streams feature which allows you to share photos with friends, who can then comment on them or like them.

Video is updating too – it will still be 1080p but will have better stabilization and facial recognition features. The front camera is getting bumped to  720p.  You will be able to take pictures while recording video. Three mics on the device to improve audio capture.

Now, about that connector. The new one is called Lightning. Lightning is an all digital design, with 8 pins instead of 30. Needless to say, much smaller and incompatible without an adaptor with any of your existing iPhone peripherals. Of course, Apple is making the adaptor. Oh well. Wonder what that will run cost-wise?

iOS6 had its debut back in June, but the finer details as applied to the iPhone 5 are now cast. New Maps, with 100 million! points of interest and related info including Yelp reviews and photos and turn by turn directions. Not quite up to Google standards without walking and public transportation directions, but slick nonetheless. Access 3D satellite imagery by pressing the bottom corner of the screen.

Improvements to Notifications – access and update your applications, like Twitter, right from Notifications. Full screen mode in Safari. iCloud tabs to keep track of your browser sessions across devices. Mail has VIP filtering which allows you to set priorities for certain email senders. Passport which keeps important data close and integrates with your lock screen so you can flash your digital boarding pass at the airport.  Siri knows more about things like sports and movies,  can launch apps or post to Facebook for you if you ask her and even make a reservation for you through Open Table. Definitely getting more like Alfred here.

Same color scheme too – black or white. There is no room for grey area with this one.

All in all, improvements but no innovations. Positives but no “OMG!” But, the price remains the same – $199, $299 and $399 for 16G, 32G and 64G models, respectively. Gotta give Apple some credit for that. And the 4S and 4 get big price drops. I am using a 4 now and scoring a 4 for free on contract is pretty amazing – it is still a great phone.

You can preorder on September 14 and it will ship on September 21 – the day after my birthday (how appropriate).  For those not upgrading, phones from the 3GS forward will get iOS 6.

There were a few other announcements during the press conference as well – new iTunes and new iPods, the latter being far overdue for an overhaul. New iTunes incorporates more social features and integration with Twitter and Facebook, so might as well kiss Ping goodbye. New look too. More visually appealing with thumbnails of album covers instead of a text list. Access more functions in iTunes from a single screen, which is also a welcome change. Another cool add is a mini player that looks like a little bar and will allow you to play, pause, skip, and adjust volume. Very nice if you don’t want the whole of iTunes taking up your real estate. New iTunes in late October. Some updates to the iPods, but nothing earth shattering. Oh, and new earbuds, er EarPods. Like iPods, but for your ears.

Gotta love a company that closes its product launch with the Foo Fighters.  Didn’t even know they played “private” parties.

Oh, and yes, I will be getting one. In White.

BuzzVoice Reads the News To You

Technology provides the means for multi-tasking, there is no doubt about it. How about having your news and blogs read to you while your eyes are busy with another task? Check out BuzzVoice (link here), a free and paid Web service that collects the news and blogs that you are interested in and converts them in real time via text to speech so that you can listen to them in the car, at the doctor’s office, while waiting for your Motion to be heard in Court, etc.

BuzzVoice works on your iPhone, iPod touch, regular iPods/MP3 players, and computer, so your listening options are quite varied. But its not just listening – you can share your talking stories with friends via email and on the usual social networking haunts. Create a personalized playlist from 57 categories and over 1,600 top blogs and news sources. If you can’t find your faves, let BuzzVoice know and they will try to add them.

The free service is ad supported, with up to 20 playlist sources, ten minute daily Buzzcast episodes, BuzzRadio which streams stations of continuous content, and daily Buzz Alerts. The Pro version, $4.99 per month,  includes all of that plus 100 sources for your playlist, full 30 minute daily Buzzcasts, selectable times and voices for your Buzzcast, and no ads.

If you are a news junkie with no time, BuzzVoice might be attractive to you. And, with the ability to listen via computer and Web, iPhone or iPod Touch or MP3 player, options for consuming the news just got a lot broader.

Know Your Rights – Wherever You Are

Wests U.S. Constitution for iPhone

West's U.S. Constitution for iPhone

To the ever-growing list of mobile electronic legal resources, you can now add the United States Constitution. West Publishing has released the digital version of a Pocket Constition for iPhone / iPod Touch. The application, which costs 99 cents, offers the full text, a table of contents and audio of the text.

Interesting side note from West’s blog: I didn’t know that West created the original Pocket Constitution at the request of Chief Justice Warren Burger in the 1980s.

So, if you find yourself frequently engaged in constitutional arguments about rights to free speech or to bear arms or complex discussions regarding separation of church and state or the split of power between the branches of government, this app’s for you.

The Morning After: Apple’s 9-9-09 Event, Care of iPhone JD

Some of you may be aware that Apple held an iPod event yesterday in advance of the holiday season. There were a lot of new features rolled out, with implications for both iPod and iPhone owners and purchasers.

Sometimes the better part of valor is to simply step aside and let someone else do the talking. I cannot improve on the scope of Jeff Richardson’s comprehensive post on the new features and updates to the iPod, iPhone OS and iTunes software so I will simply point you to it here. Thanks Jeff for a great overview of what Apple has in store for its little mobile devices (until the next big announcement, anyway).

The Morning After: Apple's 9-9-09 Event, Care of iPhone JD

Some of you may be aware that Apple held an iPod event yesterday in advance of the holiday season. There were a lot of new features rolled out, with implications for both iPod and iPhone owners and purchasers.

Sometimes the better part of valor is to simply step aside and let someone else do the talking. I cannot improve on the scope of Jeff Richardson’s comprehensive post on the new features and updates to the iPod, iPhone OS and iTunes software so I will simply point you to it here. Thanks Jeff for a great overview of what Apple has in store for its little mobile devices (until the next big announcement, anyway).