TechVirtuoso

Why the iPhone 4S wasn’t really that hard to predict

October 4th, 2011 at 4:41 PM  4 Comments

Listening to people talk, a lot of them seem let down by the iPhone 4S. They have no logical reason to be. Looking at it, the iPhone 4S wasn’t that hard to predict. Let’s think about it for a second. When thinking about Apple product launches, ignore what “analysts” are constantly spinning, trying to manipulate stock prices for short term gain, and realize that Apple is generally pretty predicable.

In my head, you really have two major versions of the iPhone.

  • iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS
  • iPhone 4, iPhone 4S
I group the first three together, because the 3G was basically the same thing internally as the original, except for an upgraded radio allowing 3G. The 3GS had all new guts, but the same shell as the 3G. Therefore, I tend to lump them together into “generation one” devices, even though they were all released a year apart.
Then you look at the iPhone 4. Brand new (fantastic) design, powerful internals and the super clear retina display. Even against brand new Android and Windows Phone devices, the iPhone 4 holds it own. The way I look at it, Apple pretty much locked themselves into one upgrade path.
  1. Cost wise, there are a going to be a lot of physical parts that will be retained between the iPhone 4 (CDMA) and the iPhone 4S. Antenna, radio, front panel, back panel. This means they’re going to make more profit through economy of scale especially by continuing to sell the iPhone 4.
  2. They were obviously going to put the A5 dual core processor into it. It’s in the iPad 2 already, it’s the same path they have chosen with the iPad 1 to iPhone 4. This signals a predictable upgrade path. If the iPad 3 comes out in A6 processor that is a tri or quad-core, then you can almost be assured that it’ll make its way into the iPhone 5 in 2012.
  3. Looking at past performance, they always upgrade the camera. That pretty much goes without saying at this point.
The time was not right for a brand new design. There is no need for it. All these blow hards railing against Apple, Tim Cook, etc, saying that this product will be a failure are not looking at it logically. They’re looking at it emotionally, they want some fancy looking new device to show off. Again, Apple will bring that to you in the future, but the fact that they didn’t do it this time was the right move for them.
Those people who are still on a 3GS, should get a 4S. If you’re still on an original or a 3G, you should have upgraded to the 4, but I forgive you. Don’t bother waiting for the hypothetical 5, and get yourself in the pre-order queue for the 4S. If you have a 4, the choice is yours.
Oh yeah, those of you complaining that the 4S still has a 3.5″ screen, I don’t care. I’ve used devices larger, and they honestly are uncomfortable to me. Even 3.7″ is pushing it. If I want to look at something on a screen any larger than that and I’ll use my iPad.
One thing to note, and another reason I didn’t consider before as to why they’re not making this upgrade a major release, is that Apple will continue to sell the iPhone 3GS fully subsidized. $0. This is really pretty huge. If you’re someone looking at a feature phone, vs an iPhone at 0$ (even if you have to pay for a $15 data plan) it starts to become very attractive. Apple would not have continued to sell the 3GS along with the 4 and a hypothetical all new device. It starts to become to complex and doesn’t allow them to scale based on the current supply chain.

Doubling down on my previous next-iPhone predictions

September 27th, 2011 at 3:42 PM  No Comments

Back in February I wrote an article outlining my predictions for the next version of the iPhone. (For my purposes hereby referred to as iPhone X.) Rumors have run like crazy for the last few months about what the iPhone X will be. Thinner, lighter, the same as the current, faster, curved, larger, two versions. You name it, some knucklehead with a blog has come out and said it. With the announcement that Apple will be hosting a talk about iPhone X on October 4, now seems like as good of a time as any to double down on my predictions.

For the record, I make no serious attempt to back these predictions up with any hard facts. Take it all with a grain of salt.

Prediction #1 — Steve Jobs Will Introduce the iPhone 5

Unless his cancer reaches a point which seriously prohibits him from doing so, I believe that he will do everything in his power to be the one on stage to show off the new iPhone. Rumors of his impending doom are being greatly exaggerated

I still maintain that Steve Jobs will be present at the announcement, even after his recent retirement as Apple CEO. I think he will be there to hand it off to Tim Cook in some way, or perhaps participate in some FaceTime chat to highlight a new iOS 5 feature. At the very least, his presence will be felt.

Prediction #2 — Hardware Updates

I’m going to go on record by saying that the iPhone 5 isn’t going to look drastically different than the iPhone 4. While the antenna design my be altered slightly, the dimensions are going to be the same. In my opinion the market isn’t ready for something drastically different, yet. That will probably come with next years version. Aside from the well documented attenuation problems, the design of the iPhone 4 is solid. My best guess is, Apple won’t alter it much except to correct that flaw.

On this I will 100% totally double down.

The iPhone X will be what most are calling the iPhone 4S. An upgraded version of the current device. There will be only one device announced, but it will not be a revolutionary new device. The larger, thinner version will come in 2012. What you will see next Tuesday will be an evolutionary upgrade, along the lines of the iPhone 3G to 3GS. Same form factor, better guts.

Expect the A5 dual-core processor, upgraded camera, more memory, and possibly NFC integration, reworked antenna. Don’t expect a lot more than that.

Prediction #3 – Networks

  1. No LTE. It’s not needed, the chips that are out to support it are not mature, and suck a lot of battery life. Besides that, cellular networks around the world are not deploying it at the level where it’s even going to be utilized except by a few lucky few.
  2. Support for fake-4G also known as “HSPA+” — although I really hope that Apple doesn’t ever call it 4G. Enhanced 3G is all it is.
Again, 100% double down. There will be no LTE iPhone X this year. Save it for 2012 when the revolutionary device is released and when all three of the US carriers have a more robust LTE network. AT&T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint. Yes, I believe there will be a Sprint iPhone X, and it’ll be the same phone that AT&T and Verizon get. The iPhone X is going to have the same radio as the current Verizon iPhone 4, because it supports GSM/CDMA, therefore, as I’ve said before, it’s going to be essentially the same device on all three networks.

Prediction #4 – Software

Obviously with the release of a new iPhone comes updates to iOS, in this case bringing us to version 5.0.

We’ve seen from the already released iOS 5 betas that I was correct about most of this. We’ve got iCloud now, we’ve got wireless sync, we’ve got over the air updates on WiFi (that rock) — I’m going to add onto all of that and say there will be some at present unreleased features that will be exposed. Along with Twitter I expect to see Facebook integration into the core of the OS. Most importantly though, I expect to see voice commands take off and become a mainstream, front and center feature.

Prediction #5 – Most of this will be wrong

In all five of these areas, I’m probably going to be wrong more than I’m right. Predicting what Apple will do is like predicting the weather in Kansas on the day they announce the iPhone 5.

Actually, I think I’m going to be right about most of this stuff. But Apple is free to prove me wrong. However, I’m not making any plans to dump my current iPhone 4, once the “X” is released. I’ll be saving my money for the revolutionary upgrade in 2012.

Sprint may not have any magical devices, but they’re going to have a magic show

January 19th, 2011 at 5:32 PM  4 Comments

Sprint may not have any ‘magical’ devices (like anything made by Apple) but that’s not going to stop them from having a real magic show. The company announced today that magician/illusionist David Blane will join CEO Dan Hesse in New York on February 7, to unveil “yet another industry first” and “will show you that the impossible is possible.”

What, like managing to remain in business when your two biggest competors have the iPhone and you don’t?

via The Kansas City Business Journal

The mythical Verizon iPhone has arrived

January 11th, 2011 at 10:59 AM  1 Comment

Somewhere deep in the heart of the AT&T headquarters, their executives are huddled around holding a vigil to mourn the loss of the exclusive US contract. Likewise, Google execs are probably throwing chairs at the wall screaming “I thought we had something special!”

No longer a mythical unicorn, the much anticipated Verizon iPhone is now a reality. Available February 3 for existing Verizon customers (props to them for that) and then February 10 for everyone else.

The new device is almost exactly like the old one except for some small differences:

  • CDMA radio instead of GSM, this also means a slightly altered external antenna design
  • Support for Verizon Mobile Hotspot, allowing 5 devices to connect to the iPhone and use Verizon’s data service

There are a few of differences with Verizon and AT&T that should be pointed out:

  1. Verizon’s data network is larger, meaning more bars in more places.
  2. AT&T’s data network is faster, meaning when you get service you’re going to cruise faster.
  3. CDMA technology doesn’t allow for simultaneous voice and data usage. If you’re on a call and want to look up on Google Maps where to meet your friend for lunch? Too bad. Gotta wait for your call to end.

The biggest disappointment, but not unexpected, is that the Verizon iPhone will not support LTE technology, which would have allowed for faster data transfers and simultaneous voice and data. However, given that Verizon’s LTE network just started rolling out a few months ago, this isn’t surprising that Apple chose not to support it. It would have also required further alterations to the iPhone.

The unknown right now is what version of iOS this new CDMA iPhone will run. Will the iOS 4.2.1 guts support it? Will it require a 4.2.2 update? Will we get 4.3? Will the GSM and CDMA phones run the same iOS version? Or will it all be some sort of carrier update that doesn’t involve the a new version of iOS?

Last, Apple COO Tim Cook left the door wide open to future networks when he said this contract with Verizon is multi-year but non-exclusive.

Let the Sprint iPhone discussion commence.

(Or T-Mobile, if anyone still cares about them.)

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Sprint lights up 4G service in New York

November 1st, 2010 at 11:39 AM  1 Comment

Sprint customers in the Big Apple with the HTC EVO, Samsung Epic or an Overdrive card got a much welcomed surprise today. 4G service came online today. Get ready to blow through batteries like never before!

Hartford, New Haven, New Brunswick, Trenton and Tampa also got added to the ever expanding coverage list for Sprint’s next generation service. Customers can currently get 4G service in 61 cities, including Chicago, Baltimore and Houston, and by the end of this year Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Denver and Washington DC.

Sprint has some great videos up on the challenges of managing and expanding a network in an area like New York City. The first one is posted above, the other two are after the break.

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Sprint: iDEN will go away, eventually

October 27th, 2010 at 2:22 PM  3 Comments

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, speaking to FierceWireless, explained that Sprint will eventually shut down the iDEN network that they inherited in the 2004 acquisition of Nextel. But don’t expect your push to talk to quit working tomorrow. Hesse gave no firm date on its demise.

“Over time, we’ll have fewer and fewer customers on the iDEN network,” he said. “That allows us to use some of that capacity on the network that is freed up and use it for CDMA. It’s a gradual process. There will be an end date for all 2G, just like there was an end date for 1G.”

He also touched on their plans to implement 4G through LTE on their network, just as the other major carriers have committed to doing, but did not announce what network vendor they would partner with. As it is now, Sprint has their 4G network through Clearwire’s WiMax technology, which some have questioned its ability to hold up to LTE, once it becomes the standard protocol in the United States.

Samsung Galaxy Tab coming to Spring for $399 (with two year agreement)

October 25th, 2010 at 8:55 PM  3 Comments

Sprint announced today that the Samsung Galaxy Tab will be coming November 14, for $399 with a 2-year agreement. Sprint customers will have two rate plans to choose from: a 2GB data plan for $29.99 per month or a 5GB data plan with $59.99 per month. Interested customers can also pre-order at any Sprint store, with the purchase of a $50 gift card (which you can later use to help pay for the Galaxy Tab).

The tab posts some impressive specs including a 7-inch Enhanced TFT touchscreen display, Android 2.2, 1GHz Hummingbird processor, and dual cameras (3-megapixel back with flash and zoon and a 1.3-megapixel front for video chat). It also includes the SWYPE on-screen keyboard. It also offers mobile hotspot capability.

via Android Central

Windows Phone 7 going CDMA sooner than expected?

October 25th, 2010 at 7:49 PM  3 Comments

From the good people at Engadget:

So, here’s what we know: a Windows Phone from HTC just earned its FCC wings, it’s production (meaning non-prototype) hardware… and it’s a CDMA device. … Anyhow, if we had to guess, this is probably the tilt-sliding HTC 7 Pro, seeing how that’s the only CDMA Windows Phone 7 device to bow so far, equipped with 802.11b / g / n alongside Bluetooth + EDR. Sprint, let’s make this happen.

Microsoft had originally said that Windows Phone 7 would be GSM only at first. Hopefully this will mean a change of heart and that our Sprint and Verizon friends will get their hands on Windows Phone 7 sooner then expected.

TV Guide for March 30

March 30th, 2010 at 11:01 AM  1 Comment

This is the introduction post to the TechVirtuoso Guide, what we hope will become a daily breakdown of important IT tidbits from the previous day, and what we expect to happen that day.

Yet again, someone has come forward with another rumor that a CDMA iPhone is coming this summer. This time, it comes from the Wall Street Journal. The new iPhone would work on Verizon Wireless, as well as Sprint Nextel in the United States and a handful of carriers in other countries including South Korea and Japan. The current iPhone is designed to work on the vast majority of carriers world-wide, including AT&T and T-Mobile in the US, using a signaling technology called GSM.

It would seem that SSL isn’t as secure as once thought. The problem isn’t the encryption, but the certificate providers. Ars has a breakdown of how governments are working with the CAs to “subvert the entire system to allow them to spy on anyone they wish to keep tabs on.”

Apple has released a major update to OS X 10.6 “Snow Leopard” — fixes in version 10.6.3 include enhancements to USB, OpenGL, DNS, QuickTime X, AirPort, iCal, Mail, MobileMe, Time Machine, and numerous other areas of the operating system. Choose Software Update from the Apple menu to check for the latest Apple software via the Internet, including this update.

Future versions of the Ubuntu Linux operating system will change the way units are measured in the operating system and enforced throughout applications used in the OS. Starting in Ubuntu 10.10, coming this October, SI prefixes (base-10) will denote 1 kB as 1000 bytes, 1 MB as 1000 kB, 1 GB as 1000 MB, and so on. This is similar to the way OS X started measuring data in Snow Leopard. Neowin has a full breakdown of the measuring guidelines.

You will soon be able to jailbreak an iPhone over the air, instead of having it tethered to a computer. Your move Apple.

Need help running Linux as a guest OS in Microsoft Hyper-V? Sounds strange, but Microsoft has released a best practices guide to do just that. Download it off their website. Don’t blame us if you create a black hole in your datacenter though. In related news, Hypervizor.net has a great article on anti-virus exemptions in Hyper-V. Proper configuration of your antivirus can prevent performance issues, but also keep your VMs from being eaten alive by an aggressive scanning engine.

HTC Supersonic coming sooner then expected?

March 3rd, 2010 at 12:29 AM  2 Comments

SPRINT BRAND LOGO Sprints soon to be flagship Android device may be coming to big yellow sooner then anyone expected.  According to a article at Forbes.com the HTC Monster could be available by Summer of 2010.  Is it coincidence that this date has been pushed up a week after Verizon announced that they are looking better then expected for the LTE rollout of 2010?  Is Sprint trying to 1 up Verizon by getting their first WiMAX enabled phone out the door before Verizon gets their first LTE roll out functional?

No matter the reason I cannot wait to get my hands on this device.  The rumored Snapdragon processor, slim form factor and large display should make this phone a winner among many Sprint fans.  Look below for some leaked photos of the new device, these photos have been taken from EngadgetMobile.com, androidmobileos.com and youhtc.ru.

View HTC Supersonic
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