I caught up with Apple’s announcement of the iPad 2 after I got back from Comixlunch with Scott. It appears at least to me to be an evolutionary enhancement to the original iPad device. The A5 dual-core processor is a very good improvement and the cameras are certainly quite nice to have. In many ways it’s as if the iPhone 4 design team and the original iPad design team had a kegger and came out with a really great new design. It seems to be a forward-thinking blend of the two reference devices.
Along with the actual meat of the matter, the silly stuff is also front and center. People moaning and carrying on about “does it come in white?” will be happy. When I fielded some questions about the iPad 2 today one of my coworkers remarked on the devices lighter weight and thinner presentation than the original device. In response I laughingly referred to the original iPad as being made of neutronium and wondering over how we all coped with the agony of the first iPad. I see this next device to be an evolutionary step up from the original iPad. It’s not revolutionary, to do that would require a wholly new form-factor, a new design, a new OS, new everything. If it isn’t that, then it’s evolutionary. It’s impressively better, but it’s still an evolved form of the original device.
So, for those people who are seeking my advice about buying an iPad, here’s the skinny:
If the pricetag is the most important thing for you, then go for the now deprecated original iPad. Apple knocked $100 dollars off the price of the device and now it’s really quite compelling.
I would seriously avoid buying any refurbished device. I’m quite bearish on refurbished devices. If you can find the extra $50, you really owe it to yourself to get a factory-fresh model and not some repaired victim.
If money isn’t an issue then I strongly recommend buying the iPad 2. The speed, the cameras, the new software and the 1080p via cable is quite compelling.
If you already have an iPad and it’s working for you, I don’t see any reason to dump your current device and buy a new one. The only caveat to that is if you are planning on gifting your device to someone else, then feel free to buy the new iPad 2. The new iPad itself doesn’t have enough “Killer Features” to warrant the dropping of iPad 1 and rushing out to the Apple Store for iPad 2.
I forecast that the iPhone 5 will be even less of an evolutionary leap. What more could the device do? Get thinner? Transparency? What new technology could possibly be stuffed into the device to make everyone get all hot and bothered for it? Apple is running out of room to innovate. Saying that, I could be surprised, but it would take a lot to really get me to look at my current iPhone 4 with anything less than utter adoration.
Now that I have my new iPhone, I’m thrilled to have it and using it is wonderful. While I’ve been working with it I’ve run into a strange oddity and a workaround for it. The oddity came when I tried to create my own iPhone-compatible ringtones. The creation of iPhone custom ringtones are in themselves needlessly fussy procedure. First you find the music you want, trim it to 40 seconds, then convert it to AAC format. Then you tear it out of iTunes, change the extension from m4a to m4r and then insert that back into the device for assignment.
What gets me about the ringtone creation is how involved and outrageously fussy it is. It wasn’t meant to be this way, the design clearly points to strict control. When Apple makes something easy, it’s ridiculously easy. This is something different. This is capitalism. Apple went a long way to make this obfuscation stick and the proof is in the obnoxious lengths that you have to go through if you don’t want to buy a ringtone from the iTunes store.
I ran into another issue with my new iPhone. I plugged it into my MacBook and tried to add the newly manufactured ringtone to the device. Then I discovered a rather new and odd limitation. An iPhone apparently fixates on the iTunes library that it first sees, it is with this library that you can turn on “Manage Manually” mode with an iPhone. Any other library locks the phone out but offers you the option of continuing by wiping your device and re-fixating on a new iTunes library. I quickly came up with a great way to beat Apple at this oddity, I created a new iTunes library from scratch (just the directory structure and some key files) and placed it on my Dropbox. Then using the option-key goaded iTunes to start from a different library, pointed it to my Dropbox-iTunes folder and now I have a work-on-any-machine-Manual-Manage iTunes skeleton that allows me to insert homemade ringtones into my new iPhone.
What a long way around for something that should be simple. Apple, if you are listening, the solution is only lengthy and annoying. It’s been paved by your own software and the only piece missing is either a USB memory stick or Dropbox. How easy would it have been to design this with the same vigor that you designed everything else? Eventually your customers find ways around this sort of thing, doesn’t that inevitability mean it’s not worth pursuing in the first place?
A week ago a policy was sent which indicated that the IRS was effectively going to strangle the life out of our wireless infrastructure. Yesterday afternoon I learned that while the policy may be published, it was an error that it was sent out and the brouhaha that it caused was a mistake.
I talked it over with my boss and I commented that the only information I had to act on was the policy sent down and I didn’t have any other guidance. I had sent an email to management but never got a reply. Then my boss told me that sometimes not hearing an answer is an answer – and it hit me – a line right out of Serendipity, one of the best lines that Jeremy Piven’s character Dean Kansky said “So the absence of a sign, is a sign!?!.. They should make pills for this…” hit me and I had to suppress a serious case of the giggles.
So after talking with management, which is apparently dominated by the doppler effect, in so far that the words I hear are modulated by pitch changes as they rush away to another meeting, I got what I was after, which was an ounce of clarification.
So the policy exists and we are moving ahead with a wireless infrastructure. I contacted our Verizon rep and placed the toy train back on the tracks after so violently derailing it earlier and set the track power to maximum so we could catch up. Just as much as we don’t know exactly how we’re going to approach our wireless infrastructure, Verizon doesn’t know how they are going to handle our contract, at least yet. I bet when we make decisions, that will oddly be the same moment that Verizon makes it’s decisions. I suspect we’ll have a bumper crop of Kismet coming down the pike.
Sprint is utterly adorable. So far there have been two notable problems we’ve had, the first was trying to get a new line established for a new staff member in the office. They gave us a number with the exchange 363, which fails local dialing because the other POTS companies don’t understand that 363 is in the 269 area code. Sprint’s solution wasn’t “We’ll fix it” but “You should call the other POTS companies and request it be fixed.” Oh, really now? The second problem we had been crappy service in Kalamazoo Township. Instead of owning the problem, they simply just gave me the 1-800 number to essentially DIY. If I had 3 lines and ran a dumpy mom-n-pop shop out of Climax Michigan I’d be fine with it, but I’ve got damn near 25 lines and I spend two grand a month – I would appreciate some TLC god damn it. So here is an email I wrote to Sprint…
Thanks for the information.
This is the second time that Sprint has kicked the can as it were, the first time was Sprint’s determination that their customers were the proper party to resolve local carrier exchange switching errors and now with poor signal quality, as well. On some level I could be upset that Sprint has refused to take ownership of problems related to their network and problems brought to them by their customers but I am really not that invested in haranguing either of you about this. The first time is a mistake, the second time is by design. I have made a personal resolution to reduce the amount of stress and trim my rage for my own personal health and wellbeing. We are learning quickly that Sprint isn’t really invested in the whole ‘taking ownership of problems’ practice and because of these failures we are awaiting the announcement of an Apple iPhone 4-CDMA class device to be brought to Verizon and when that device is announced and manufactured I am going to recommend that we take our business to Verizon. I don’t expect any better customer support from Verizon, but at least I won’t be filled with fantasies of skeet-shooting my mobile device any longer and feeling little blossoms of cluster headaches whenever I reset my device and get mocked by “SprintSpeed”.
As for the twin problems, the first one being the 363 local exchange switching error, we’ve avoided that by swapping numbers with a line number we already had possession of in the 599 exchange, solving that problem by sheer abandonment. As for the second problem, conditions may have improved for my user who was having problems, and if they come up again I will not bother either of you but take the issue to BWTS directly.
So all we have to do now is wait. Wait for Verizon and Apple to ink those contracts, make sure Qualcomm has enough Viagra to go the distance, and hope that Foxconn doesn’t endure anymore “It’s Raining Men (and Women)”