What’s new in the iPhone 4?

Written by admin on June 13, 2010 – 10:58 pm -

So we all want one. Ok maybe not all of us. Besides wanting the latest and greatest iPhone what do we know about it compared to its predecessor the iPhone 3GS? Heres a quick rundown on what new with Apple’s latest creation and my thoughts.

First lets go through the superficial stuff, the design of the new iPhone is boxier. Two glossy panels of aluminosilicate glass, the kind used in helicopter windshields and high speed trains sandwich a custom alloy stainless steel band which provides the structural rigidity for the internal components. Apple claims that the glass panels are 20 times stiffer than plastic making it more durable and scratch resistant as the previous iPhone. Let’s see if these claims are true as I’m sure as soon as its officially out a few individuals out there on YouTube will provide us some drop tests for our viewing pleasure.

On the hardware side, the iPhone 4 now sports an Apple A4 processor, same as the iPad, meaning we can expect it perform faster than the 3GS. Why are phones suddenly becoming reminiscent of computers where we are looking at CPU speed and memory capacity? Well maybe because these little gizmos are now in fact small handheld computers.

The screen is a major upgrade. It has what Apple calls Retina Display, which boasts a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch. Apple claims that the pixels are so small the the human eye cannot distinguish individual pixels. For us mortals that means a sharper text and graphics.

The iPhone 4 now has a gyro. The 3GS had a accelerometer so what does a gyro do for the iPhone 4. An accelerometer senses rotation making it possible for the previous iPhones to sense the orientation of the screen. A gyro would be able to detect full 3D attitude, velocity and acceleration rates. Enough geek talk! What can we expect with this new hardware? New apps such as motion recorders, better interaction with games and other ingenious applications that app developers can surprise as with.

Apple has also upgraded the iPhones camera from 3MP to 5MP. A front facing vga camera for video calls which Apple calls Facetime. I’m looking forward to a future Skype app that will use this front facing camera. The rear camera can also take High Definition video at 720p, I’m just not sure how memory will stack up especially if you choose the 16GB model, especially since the iPhone does not have any external memory slots like most smart phones. Theres also a LED light for low light conditions when taking still photos and videos. Nothing new there, most phones have had this for the past five years.

Lastly the iPhone 4 sports an additional microphone on top near the headphone jack to effectively cancel out external noise making for much clearer conversations. We’ll have to wait to see how effective this is as I’ve tried a dozen bluetooth headsets with so called noise or wind cancellation with less than remarkable results.

In a nutshell we get a faster processor, higher resolution display, higher resolution camera, front facing camera, noise cancellation and a gyro.

So am I getting one when they release it in the U.S. on June 24th? Nah, I’ll wait till it is released in Singapore, although the prices are steeper, Singapore mobile phones are all unlocked (open line) as it is required by law, which means I don’t have to wait to software unlocks or hacks to upgrade to newer firmware versions as they come out.


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Monster Beats mini review

Written by admin on April 29, 2010 – 4:36 pm -

I’ve been eyeing these beats for a while now and when my Sony XB20 earbuds went south on me I decided to spring for the most expensive earbuds I have ever purchased to date. These buds will set you back USD160 a pop.

On the outside these buds sport a tangle resistant cable, a mic with remote controls that work with the latest iPods and the iPhone 3GS. A neat feature I like is the voice control feature on the iPhone 3GS which means I don’t even have to take my phone out of my backpack to control the iPod or to pickup calls.

The buds come with an assortment of silicone earbuds but I find the rounded ones to the most comfortable and provide a snug fit for my ears. Sound quality is a very subjective area so let me just say this, if your kind of music is dance, hip-hop or rock then you won’t be disappointed. Some people have been complaining about call or voice quality on these buds, well there are a little bassy for voice calls but it doesn’t really bother me.

The downside as I have feared and read from all the reviews is the chaffing of the cable itself near the mini jack. Sad to say but it is true. I’ve had mine for over five months now and I’ve been extraordinarily careful in handling and storing my Beats but I noticed that the insulation has started to crack on my pair. I can only attribute this to the fact that the cable is too flat and probably the material. The only fix I can think of is to put some shrink wrap tubing on it to prevent the tear from continuing. Disappointing build quality for such an expensive pair of earbuds.

The Monster Beats get these scores from me :

Cool Factor   9/10 – eye catching red colored cable, cable is soft and manageable and love the in-line mic and remote.

Sound Quality 9/10 – especially if you love your bass.

Build Quality 3/10 – cable prone to cracking or chaffing.


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My view of digital point and shoots

Written by admin on April 28, 2010 – 6:01 pm -

When I was packing for my new assignment in Mumbai I left my D-SLR’s at home thinking to myself that I would not have the time or the inclination to get out of my house to shoot photos. Instead I brought my old but reliable Kodak v610 dual lens point and shoot with me. Incidentally I bought this Kodak camera in 2006 when I was in Mumbai. The camera had served me well shoot well over a thousand photos and a hella of a lot video’s. So when a colleague of mine was happily showing off his brand spankin’ new Canon S90 I didn’t even pay attention thinking to myself how different can it be from my Kodak.

A few weeks later we were out having dinner and again he was showing off photos on his S90 which he had taken in Goa (Goa is a beach on the southwest of India). I took a peek and immediately noticed the impressive low light capabilities of this little camera. After closer inspection I noticed it had an f2.0 lens all throughout its 24-105 zoom range. No wonder this little bugger shot so well in low light, plus it had image stabilization as well. To further things, we both shot underneath our dining table using my Kodak and his Canon S90. My Kodak V610 came out with nothing but black and noise, the Canon S90 was able to capture some detail in our shoes albeit it was a little noisy but still sharp thanks to its image stabilization.

This changed my perception that high end digital point and shoots have come closer to D-SLR’s in terms of performance and image quality. They shoot a lot faster, focus faster and have less shutter lag than models from 3 years ago.

Time to find a replacement.


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iPhone 3G finally lands in South Korea

Written by admin on November 28, 2009 – 3:17 pm -

korea-iphone

South Koreans finally get their grubby little hands on Apple’s iPhone, after months of waiting and speculating the iPhone has had a fairly successful launch in The ROK.

I wonder if the fanfare will last though, I suppose someone has to localize it heavily such as CyWorld apps (Korean version of facebook) and have some sort of device that could use the dock connector to allow DMB. DMB or Digital Mobile Broadcasting allows South Koreans to watch TV on their mobiles, GPS navigators and computers. Also curious as to what data plans KT has to offer for the iPhone.

Historically, the smartphone market has not taken off in Korea as in other countries, most of the so called advances in mobile technology as far as South Korea is concerned relates to camera resolution, video and mobile television.


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Vodafone India – Happy To Help???? go suck eggs!

Written by admin on November 22, 2009 – 3:36 pm -

vodafone-logo

You’d think that a global brand would have the same kind of customer service you’re used to… well think again.

When I first arrived in India, I didn’t think twice about choosing Vodafone as my mobile provider simply because I was really satisfied with them during my stint in New Zealand.

What can I say about Vodafone India? Stay away, far far away… in the event that you require any customer support, I can assure you that you will be met with frustration and grief just dealing with them. Don’t be fooled by their robotic incantations and politeness. The lot of them are mindless drones answering phones constantly putting you on hold to try to resolve issues by asking someone else down the help pipeline.

I’ve recently requested that my iPhone data plan be activated, for starters I should be able to do this by simply sending a text message activating my data plan since I’m on a post paid account. Upon calling customer support, guess what I can’t even do it over the phone. The person tells me I have to personally go to a Vodafone Store to do it. The very next day I go to one near my place and guess what, the customer rep asks me what plan I want and after a few minutes off tapping away at his terminal he tells me it’ll be active after 4 hours. So what gives??? The guy doesn’t ask me for any additional documents. What I don’t understand is why the inconvenience of personally showing up at the store when I could have activated via SMS or over their toll-free line? Strike one for Vodafone.

After 4 hours I restart my phone and also taking out the SIM as instructed by the customer rep. Surprise! it ain’t working. So I call Customer service and I’m greeted by the usual Happy To Help yada yada yada…. on their top level menu you will not find any option to talk to a real person so here’s a little tip. Select 1, then press 1 again for billing, then 9 to speak to a customer rep. Long story short… it’s been two days and my GPRS still isn’t working. The last time I spoke to a customer rep I was promised another 4 hrs before it would be activated.

If a Vodafone exec reads this, at least have a customer ticket number for technical problems, its tiring, frustrating and downright annoying having to repeat the same information and explain a problem over and over again when a new rep picks up that help line.

If you’re thinking about going with Vodafone here in India I suggest you pick another carrier like Airtel.


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Posted in India, Tech, Telecoms / Internet | No Comments »