Could iOS 4.1 be released on Wednesday?

Apple will hold a music-related event on Wednesday, September 1st. New iPods will be introduced, as it happens yearly. There is strong evidence of a new iPod nano based around the 3×3 cm touch screen seen earlier this year, and possibly a new iPod Touch with 3G data capabilities — essentially a smaller iPad.

This leads me to think that these new units may require iOS 4.1 at minimum, and the new firmware could therefore be made available to iPhones (and older generations of iPod Touches — ok now that’s a weird plural) on the same day.

Of course, the new units may be shipped with a particular version that won’t be made available to other devices, as it was with the iPad: iPhone OS 3.2 was never made available for iPhones, and iPads won’t see iOS 4 until the fall. Apple may also release iOS 4 for iPad on Wednesday, or give a release date. Or perhaps introduce iPad 2 whilst lowering the price of the current iPad, probably giving a refund to angry customers (it has already happened with the original iPhone.) Besides, Apple would get to use the line they love so much: our competitors are still trying to copy version 1, and we have already released version 2.

Personally, I don’t care what new hardware is on the horizon. I just want iOS 4.1 for the iPhone and I want it to make my 3G decent again.

iPhone 4 and iOS 4: my point of view

I have been an Apple user since Summer 2001: after having successfully used Linux as my primary system for a while, one day I decided that there was something wrong with having to manually do many things that a “desktop” system should do on its own. Computers, I thought, were supposed to simplify tasks. While I still think that Linux is great for a server — something I have experience with —, it wasn’t and still isn’t the best choice for everyday computing. Unless you do mostly office work, in which case a distro such as Ubuntu with OpenOffice will work fine, and be entirely free.

For the sake of completeness, here are the machines by Apple I have owned over the better part of the last decade: iMac G3 “Blue Dalmatian”, iBook G3, Airport “Snow” Base Station, PowerMac Dual G4, iBook G4, iMac Intel, MacBook, MacBook Pro, iPhone 3G. What can I say, I am very satisfied with their products, even though I have nothing against alternatives: my current wireless network is provided by a Netgear router and a D-Link access point, for instance.

I didn’t get the original iPhone because it was never officially available in Italy, and I didn’t want to play the cat and mouse game of jailbreaking to make it work. I got the unlocked 3G in September 2008, and have been quite happy with it. Sure, it did have a few strange limitations (tethering, just to name one; something that any Nokia phone has been able to do for years when it was simply called “using your phone as a modem”), but I was quite happy.

Continue reading “iPhone 4 and iOS 4: my point of view”

iPad, iTunes, iPhone OS; or: how you are not forced to use them

One day after the release of the iPad in the United States, reviews are pouring onto American and foreign websites alike. For every person who is amazed by the device, there is someone who is bothered by the Apple buzz. To these I say: what’s the big deal?

I happen to live in the Province of the Empire, in a country I oftentimes call “the third world of technology.” No way to rent movies online – or through the mail, for that matter –, no Pandora.com or Last.fm to easily find new music (the latter is available on a paid-membership basis; the former is simply forbidden), no iBooks when the iPad comes out, and so on. I live in Italy.

I am also a happy Mac and iPhone user. Not an evangelist, not anymore at least: I will praise how durable and enjoyable Apple products are, but I won’t urge anybody to buy them. I will, however, talk about them to people who ask me. After close to ten years as a Mac user (I do remember MacOS 9.2 and MacOS X 10.0) and years of previous experience with Linux systems, Apple has become an invaluable provider of my daily computing. OS X allows me tinker with the underlying UNIX system with ease while being extremely user-friendly with the rest of the user interface. As a web developer, it’s the closest thing to perfection I can think of.

When the iPad was announced, I was following Steve Jobs’s keynote through Engadget. I gradually turned from skeptic to disappointed: what, a big iPhone? A few hours later, a friend of mine summarized such feelings as: “I was hoping for a laptop replacement, and he just announced a tray. An iTray.”

A few days later, however, an article on a blog shone light on the matter: most of us computer people probably wouldn’t have much for a device like that. I’d personally much rather use my 13-inch MacBook Pro rather than an iPad, as it’s a full-fledged computer onto which I can install any program I want, with which I can multitask and that has a physical keyboard. I do sometimes use my MBP on the sofa, and while I agree that it’s not the most perfect experience, I’m willing to trade comfort for power.

People who do not have complex computing needs, though, will love the iPad. Take my father: he inherited the last PC I used, a glorious machine based on an AMD Duron 850 MHz CPU and 512 MB of memory. It runs Windows XP, and it’s far exceeded its time. Components keep breaking, and they are becoming hard to find. Every replacement has to be second-hand, and considering the higher price compared to current parts, it’s probably best to just ditch the machine entirely and build a new one. That was the plan, until the iPad was announced. Continue reading “iPad, iTunes, iPhone OS; or: how you are not forced to use them”