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Why won't you call your mother and let her see you?!
June 7, 2010 12:38 PM   Subscribe

With Apple's release today of its newest iPhone and the HTC Evo 4G released last Friday, video phones are poised to flood the consumer market. All of this raises the uncomfortable question of videophone etiquette and whether David Foster Wallace was right about the problem with videophones (excerpt from Infinite Jest).
posted by Brandon Blatcher (462 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Isn't this going to wreak havoc on the limited-bandwidth (or $ per GB) model that 4G providers use?
posted by tybeet at 12:40 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


It only works via WiFi.
posted by the biscuit man at 12:41 PM on June 7, 2010


Face to Face video chat is available only across Wi-Fi connections for exactly that reason.
posted by Lokheed at 12:42 PM on June 7, 2010


Videophones are fine if you are under 25 or have fulltime stage makeup.
posted by R. Mutt at 12:43 PM on June 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


Jobs said there would be freedom from porn. With videochat there will be porn the likes of which god has never seen.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 12:43 PM on June 7, 2010 [77 favorites]


On the one hand it's interesting, in that Apple didn't ship videophone software until their product had a large enough userbase for it to approach general utility. That Apple is opening the technology to it for even broader acceptance is good, but you can probably hold your breath long enough before discovering it's dependent on h.264, which is an entirely other can of standards worms slash argument.

On the other hand, I kinda' wish every Apple product didn't get its own FPP. These threads get kind of monotonous kind of fast.
posted by ardgedee at 12:44 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Thanks a lot, I was just waiting around for someone to post this so I could make a DFW reference.
posted by ghharr at 12:44 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can barely stand to talk to people on the phone. I so, so, so do not want to video talk with anyone. Maybe I'm just misanthropic and in the tiny minority, this is one of those things that I do not want.
posted by kbanas at 12:45 PM on June 7, 2010 [37 favorites]


On the other hand, I kinda' wish every Apple product didn't get its own FPP. These threads get kind of monotonous kind of fast.

If you listen closely to your monitor, you can hear the sound of a thousand fanboys having iGasms.
posted by zarq at 12:46 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Actually, I think Netflix on the iPhone is the bigger threat/reason for no more unlimited plans in the US.
posted by R. Mutt at 12:46 PM on June 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


This is going to make phone sex so much sexier and awesome-er.
posted by Avenger at 12:46 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Some comments should be posted on a continuous scroll of semi-translucent paper.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:46 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, I kinda' wish every Apple product didn't get its own FPP. These threads get kind of monotonous kind of fast.

I missed the part where mathowie was standing next to you with a gun to your head forcing you to read them.
posted by entropicamericana at 12:47 PM on June 7, 2010 [14 favorites]


aren't front facing cameras all over the rest of the world? I got that impression a while ago, but this "ipohne" thing has really poisoned the search.
posted by boo_radley at 12:48 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


> I missed the part where mathowie was standing next to you with a gun to your head forcing you to read them.

HE'S READING OVER MY SHOULDER OH SHI-
posted by ardgedee at 12:48 PM on June 7, 2010 [11 favorites]


I can barely stand to talk to people on the phone. I so, so, so do not want to video talk with anyone. Maybe I'm just misanthropic and in the tiny minority, this is one of those things that I do not want.

Thank GOD the current totalitarian regime in power in your locality has decided not to force you to buy or use this.

Dodged a bullet, didn't ya?
posted by grubi at 12:49 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


On the other hand, I kinda' wish every Apple product didn't get its own FPP. These threads get kind of monotonous kind of fast.

I hear ya, hence the inclusion of another video phone which beat the iPhone to market and the the social implications of a video phone for consumers. It's one thing to be video conferencing for business, but socially? Jesus, in a year sexting it probably going to look old fashioned. What happens when you answer the phone in the morning, do you turn on the video? What if the other person REALLY wants to see you, say your significant other or your boss, to see if you really do look sick?

Things are going to get a lot weirder.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:50 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I bet there will be a transitional period while everyone is getting used to this where the first 20 seconds of most calls will be video of the inside of someone's left ear.

"Um... mom... take the phone away from your ear. Just look at the camera... the little dot above the screen... Yes I can still here you..."

On the other hand, I kinda' wish every Apple product didn't get its own FPP.

It's always interesting seeing what angle will be used to get a post about a new Apple product because a "Hey, new iPhone!" post isn't gonna fly. It was sort of like that when we approached the Lost finale and posts were created discussing all sorts of stuff about Lost without actually saying "Let's talk about the Lost Finale!"

I don't mind 'em, I just find it interesting to see how they're approached.
posted by bondcliff at 12:50 PM on June 7, 2010


The problem with these devices is that I am not ready to invite someone into my home in the span of four or five rings.

I'm barely ready to connect with someone telephonically as it is. I'm going to need a clean room and a robe if this takes off.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:51 PM on June 7, 2010


On the other hand, I kinda' wish every Apple product didn't get its own FPP. These threads get kind of monotonous kind of fast. - ardgedee

If you listen closely to your monitor, you can hear the sound of a thousand fanboys having iGasms. - zarq


It must suck to be forced to read threads you don't want to.
posted by chunking express at 12:51 PM on June 7, 2010


It would be kinda cool if this didn't derail into Apple love vs Apple hate thread. But if we were all on video phones, that might make it interesting...
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:53 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


entropicamericana: "I missed the part where mathowie was standing next to you with a gun to your head forcing you to read them."

It's because matt's busy apparently holding a gun to your head, making you comment.
posted by boo_radley at 12:53 PM on June 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


The new iPhone 4 ad totally sums up video-calling etiquette espectially w.r.t tucking in your baby from a payphone.
posted by GuyZero at 12:53 PM on June 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


With videochat there will be porn the likes of which god has never seen.

The next time I see a volcanic eruption, I will be thinking of this comment.
posted by ignignokt at 12:53 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


heh. I remember reading that part of Infinite Jest on the bus on the way to work one morning; I started laughing so hard the bus driver asked me if I might want to get off and catch the next bus.

Later, I copied it and posted it to my Live Journal (ah, the good ol' days!) and I believe that passage single handedly turned at least five of my friends onto DFW.
posted by mannequito at 12:54 PM on June 7, 2010


Yeah, apparently when Jobs said 'freedom from porn', he meant porn you had to pay for... this is an amateur gay voyeur's dream. There will always be men who want to look at your cock.

Or so I can figure.

And this is one of those times when I'm actually speaking about people I know, not pretending to speak about people I know but really talking about me.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:54 PM on June 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


$199/$299 w/2-year contract, June 24 in the US, still AT&T only.

I imagine this covers most of what people want to know, and the rest of it Gizmodo already covered anyway.
posted by box at 12:54 PM on June 7, 2010


aren't front facing cameras all over the rest of the world? I got that impression a while ago, but this "ipohne" thing has really poisoned the search.

Yes, most 3G products outside of North America already have them, and have had them for years. In fact many of the 3G models sold in the US are basically just the global versions with the front facing camera removed.

I hear ya, hence the inclusion of another video phone which beat the iPhone to market and the the social implications of a video phone for consumers. It's one thing to be video conferencing for business, but socially?

It's hardly been a game-changer in other regions, but who knows, if it gets pushed hard in the US people might actually start using video chat. There were touchscreen phones before the iPhone, after all.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:54 PM on June 7, 2010 [3 favorites]



Thank GOD the current totalitarian regime in power in your locality has decided not to force you to buy or use this.

Dodged a bullet, didn't ya?


Yes, free will has saved me yet again. Perhaps I was unclear - I get that it's a big deal. It's one of the main selling points of both the EVO and the iPhone 4G, and people seem very excited about it, and good for them. I hope everyone has fun.

I'm just saying that, for me, it seems awkward and uncomfortable and its siren song has no pull on me. As I said, I guess I'm just a misanthropic type.
posted by kbanas at 12:55 PM on June 7, 2010


hmm. Since its been years since I read the book, is that the exact quote from the book? it credits it to DFW from 2005, but wasn't IJ released back in the mid to late 90's?
posted by mannequito at 12:55 PM on June 7, 2010


It only works via WiFi.

Considering AT&T's abysmal 3G service (and new data plan), that's a big plus.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:55 PM on June 7, 2010


It would be kinda cool if this didn't derail into Apple love vs Apple hate thread.

No offense, but you posted about a new apple product release. What the hell else could you possibly expect the thread to be? Just an apple love thread?
posted by Nothing... and like it at 12:55 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


If this thread does nothing but bring that awesome endnote deconstruction of the videophone idea from Infinite Jest to a wider audience, I declare it a great post.
How long, then, could one expect it to have been before the relentless entrepreneurial drive toward an ever-better mousetrap conceived of the Transmittable Tableau (a.k.a. TT), which in retrospect was probably the really sharp business-end of the videophonic coffin-nail. With TTs, facial and bodily masking could now be dispensed with altogether and replaced with the video-transmitted image of what was essentially a heavily doctored still-photograph, one of an incredibly fit and attractive and well-turned-out human being, someone who actually re­sembled you the caller only in such limited respects as like race and limb-number, the photo's face focused attentively in the direction of the video-phonic camera from amid the sumptuous but not ostentatious appointments of the sort of room that best reflected the image of yourself you wanted to transmit, etc.
Goddamn, I miss the hell out of David Foster Wallace.
posted by gompa at 12:55 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, phones with video calling capability have been pretty widespread around the world for a long time. Most of the time equivalent models for the US had their front-facing cameras removed. My unlocked E71 has a front facing camera and you can make Skype video calls on it via Fring, but I've never tried it.

I can only imagine the feature on the iPhone will be quickly opened up to 3G once jailbreakers get their hands on it.
posted by kmz at 12:56 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I thought the part in Mendes' ad with the deaf couple "talking" was really cool. That's some actual utility.
posted by chunking express at 12:57 PM on June 7, 2010


Holy shit. Apple released another iPhone????????????? It's like they make a new one yearly or something!!1!?1
posted by eyeballkid at 12:58 PM on June 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


Yeah, phones with video calling capability have been pretty widespread around the world for a long time

Argh, ignorant American again, sorry!

But based on what others have said, video phones haven't really resulted in any sort of new social etiquettes or taboos, is that correct?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:59 PM on June 7, 2010


On the other hand, I kinda' wish every Apple product didn't get its own FPP. These threads get kind of monotonous kind of fast.

Microsoft Kin thread, anyone?
posted by Thorzdad at 1:00 PM on June 7, 2010


Wifi-only, iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 only? This is going to go down worse than godawful 3G video calling did across Europe.

(as for porn ... Nah. Teen boys will still be asking for video they can save.)
posted by bonaldi at 1:00 PM on June 7, 2010


Can't wait for the app that turns my face into a wildly attractive high-def broadcastable composite of a face wearing an earnest, slightly overintense expression of complete attention.
posted by Dr. Zira at 1:01 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


video phones haven't really resulted in any sort of new social etiquettes or taboos, is that correct?

Cf. everything on chatroulette. That is, it's taboo to focus the camera on your naked junk during the call. And everyone does it anyway.

TATERPHONE
posted by GuyZero at 1:01 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


But based on what others have said, video phones haven't really resulted in any sort of new social etiquettes or taboos, is that correct?

I remember seeing Jane Jetson put on a mask when answering her videophone. Someone should invent super-realistic-looking ones and make a killing. :)
posted by zarq at 1:01 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


TATERPHONE

HEY BABY I HEARD YOU LIKE TATERS SO
posted by zarq at 1:02 PM on June 7, 2010


I'll be impressed when they announce you can *save* the video from your video call.
posted by grubi at 1:03 PM on June 7, 2010


I missed the part where mathowie was standing next to you with a gun to your head forcing you to read them.

Thank GOD the current totalitarian regime in power in your locality has decided not to force you to buy or use this.

It must suck to be forced to read threads you don't want to.

Apple threads seem to be the only place where comments like these show up. We have opinions on all kinds of things we don't like but aren't forced to deal with. Can you imagine if every critical comment on, say, the Arizona immigration laws was countered with "Nobody's forcing you to live in Arizona"?

People don't like this thing you love. Deal with it.
posted by rocket88 at 1:03 PM on June 7, 2010 [9 favorites]


TATERPHONE

Also... you bastard... Now I have Lady Gaga and Beyonce singing "Taterphone" in my head.
posted by zarq at 1:04 PM on June 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


You know what, I've had it. They amped the display, the battery, cleaned up the OS a bit, and oh yeah, there's video conferencing.

Blagh.

I'm finally buying one. DAMN YOU, JOBS!
Helps that I'm marooned on AT&T and will never expect to see a HTC phone this lifetime
posted by cavalier at 1:04 PM on June 7, 2010


iphone + tethering -> pc with ad hoc wifi = video conferencing over 3g...
posted by jenkinsEar at 1:04 PM on June 7, 2010


Apple threads seem to be the only place where comments like these show up. We have opinions on all kinds of things we don't like but aren't forced to deal with. Can you imagine if every critical comment on, say, the Arizona immigration laws was countered with "Nobody's forcing you to live in Arizona"?

People don't like this thing you love. Deal with it.


No, the problem is people who don't like this thing often show up in these threads to complain that the thread exists at all. Which is rude.
posted by grubi at 1:06 PM on June 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


I was reading something, somewhere, in which one guy asked for unvarnished opinions on the iPhone (last model, not this new thing). A bunch of people chimed in at how addictive it is, how it's life-changing, etc...I can't be the only person for whom those theoretically-glowing reviews are actually off-putting. I spend enough time fucking around on MeFi, political blogs (depressing in their own way), checking to see that I still have the same number of read messages, and no new messages, in my inbox as I did at 6:55 this morning. To be "addicted" to one's phone to the point that it changes your life? Eek.

I was an early cell-phone adopter; got one to keep up with the rich kids I went to college with. After a year, I realized that I saw these people in class, and received any useful info from them via email - so what was teh point of the $40/month chiropractor's dream in my back pocket?

Does anyone else feel like they can't keep up with the frantic pace of the entire 'net; considering just closing it all down and reading that stack of books they've not touched in months?
posted by notsnot at 1:06 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Some might say it is threadshitting.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:07 PM on June 7, 2010


Anyone have any video of the Apple gendarmes yelling at people to get off their WiFi devices whenever the 3G network crapped out? That seemed pretty creepy.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:07 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


only in such limited respects as like race and limb-number,

This phrase always made me wonder if he had read Vinge's Fire Upon the Deep, and was thinking about the inter-species communications automation/translation in that novel.
posted by aught at 1:08 PM on June 7, 2010


People don't like this thing you love. Deal with it.

Complaining about the iPhone is cool. Meta-comments about what should and shouldn't be a post are annoying, though. And it's not only Apple threads where you end up with people questioning whether something should or shouldn't be an FPP. I wish people would just flag posts they think are stupid, or start MetaTalk threads. Anything less is really just derails the thread.

Like this comment!
posted by chunking express at 1:08 PM on June 7, 2010


zarq: "HEY BABY I HEARD YOU LIKE TATERS SO"
Call me hash brown cause Ima take you to idaho
Fingerling your yukon gold gonna make you say whoa
heard you like taters so
let's get our mash on instantly like you was betty crocker.
posted by boo_radley at 1:08 PM on June 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


I just want folders.
posted by mrnutty at 1:08 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, the problem is people who don't like this thing often show up in these threads to complain that the thread exists at all. Which is rude.

I hope you're not talking to me, because that's not what I was implying. This thread was inevitable, and that's not bad, it just is. I made the point I made (I don't want to videochat) because I was curious if I was in the minority or if a vast majority of other people felt similarly. That's just one tiny bit of what the new iPhone can do, and by all accounts it's wonderful, so, you know, great.
posted by kbanas at 1:08 PM on June 7, 2010


Apple threads seem to be the only place where comments like these show up.

Hey, did you hear that Lady Gaga is getting an iPhone and joining a sorority that won't let her wear cheap jewelry and clothing from Walmart?
posted by zarq at 1:10 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


This particular thread is a weakly and transparently dressed up "Apple release a new product today!" advertisement announcement. Comments saying it shouldn't exist are valid.
posted by rocket88 at 1:10 PM on June 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is the future of telephony: a semi-erect penis slapping against a video camera--forever.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:11 PM on June 7, 2010 [23 favorites]


The world is on fire! Pay that no mind and leer at my incrementally improved bauble!
posted by Burhanistan at 1:11 PM on June 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


I just want folders.

No doubt, there's an app for that.
posted by zarq at 1:11 PM on June 7, 2010


Does anyone else feel like they can't keep up with the frantic pace of the entire 'net; considering just closing it all down and reading that stack of books they've not touched in months?

Yes -- daily.
posted by aught at 1:11 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


iphone + tethering -> pc with ad hoc wifi = video conferencing over 3g...

Whoa, OuroboroPhone.
posted by kmz at 1:12 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some men just want to watch the world burn (as filmed in glorious 720p on their new iPhone).
posted by entropicamericana at 1:13 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


In 60 comments we've gone from "videophones" to "snarky comment on snarky comment on snarky comment on snarky comment relating to the validity of criticisms directed at the comments relating to the validity of criticisms of the existence of Apple threads."

Metafilter: Infinitely Meta
posted by Avenger at 1:15 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Okay, I succumb. This exchange via MacRumors' liveblog was amusing:

10:43 am: Steve apologizing again
10:43 am: Asks Scott for any suggestions.
10:44 am: Someone shouts, "Try Verizon."
10:44 am: Steve concludes demo.

posted by ardgedee at 1:17 PM on June 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


My sister almost got herself injured trying to Skype on her 3G iPhone. . .this should help her.
posted by Danf at 1:18 PM on June 7, 2010


Apple threads seem to be the only place where comments like these show up. We have opinions on all kinds of things we don't like but aren't forced to deal with. Can you imagine if every critical comment on, say, the Arizona immigration laws was countered with "Nobody's forcing you to live in Arizona"?

That's the law in Arizona. You aren't forced to purchase an iPhone by law. You don't go to prison if you don't buy an iPhone.

People don't like this thing you love. Deal with it.

I don't have or want an iPhone and I find it irritating how whiny anti-fanboys get about it.
posted by stavrogin at 1:19 PM on June 7, 2010


To steer this thread a bit back on track, was anything about OS 4.0 mentioned in the conference, specifically multi-tasking?

As for the critics, I had a lot of fun making fun of the iPad when it was announced. And while I stand by some of my criticisms, the market laughs them in the face.
posted by hiteleven at 1:20 PM on June 7, 2010


Does anyone else feel like they can't keep up with the frantic pace of the entire 'net; considering just closing it all down and reading that stack of books they've not touched in months?

I've got a feeling I could keep up with the 'net just fine, if I could afford the ridiculous ~$100 a month two-year service contract phones like the iPod and the various flavors of Droids require. I'm always amazed when people who make less than I do whip these things out and tell me their work doesn't pay for it. They're really worth that kind of financial commitment?

For now I'll just have to settle for videophoning using Skype on my laptop (plugged into my TV). It's a great way to stay in touch with my nieces a few hundred miles away from my home, and the 42" screen is a bit bigger than a cellphone's.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 1:23 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


> That's the law in Arizona. You aren't forced to purchase an iPhone by law. You don't go to prison if you don't buy an iPhone.


Luddite savages
posted by Burhanistan at 1:23 PM on June 7, 2010


Wifi-only, iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 only?

I think this is fantastic, though at the moment I don't see myself ever videophoning anyone (when I used skype or other chat things, I turn the video feature off).

However, I can only think that iPhone 4 to 4 will increase sales and Wifi-only means Wifi will become more widespread, which can only be a good thing.
posted by dobbs at 1:25 PM on June 7, 2010


Inevitable thread in inevitable. You may have to learn to live with that.

TBH The videophone interests me not a bit... though this was amusing. Things that do stand out:


- Using the edge as an antennae is rather clever and cool.
- As that kind of pixel density becomes ubiquitous we will have reached the point where resolution will soon becomes irrelevant as a measure of anything.
- The X,Y,Z axis stuff is super sweet. Not sure what it would be used for,
- Data plan changes aside, I am kind of impressed that the pricing and contracts stuff is fairly ungougey.

(Apparently it's so cheap because it's made in a sweetshop?)

My next phone will probably still not be an iPhone though.
posted by Artw at 1:25 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wifi-only, iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 only?

Ah, but it uses Standard! Standards now being a meaningless Apple buzzword.
posted by Artw at 1:26 PM on June 7, 2010


Don't forget the html5 demos apple made.
posted by boo_radley at 1:26 PM on June 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


A sweetshop? Like Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory? HAVE YOU SEEN HOW HE TREATS THE OOMPA LOOMPAS?!?!
posted by entropicamericana at 1:27 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ah, but it uses Standard! Standards now being a meaningless Apple Adobe buzzword.

FTFY.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:28 PM on June 7, 2010


Okay, I succumb. This exchange via MacRumors' liveblog was amusing

Heh. Anyone whose tried using a smartphone around any of these major industry presentations know that they perform horribly under those circumstance, especially the iPhone, which has always been a little weak on that front.
posted by Artw at 1:29 PM on June 7, 2010


Speaking of html5, it's remarkable that Apple has the clout to try and force a standard it likes down our throats, Microsoft-style. Especially when it is taking on Adobe -- and they might actually win.

Those who aren't amazed by this turn of events are too young to properly remember the 90s.
posted by hiteleven at 1:30 PM on June 7, 2010


Yes, most 3G products outside of North America already have them, and have had them for years. In fact many of the 3G models sold in the US are basically just the global versions with the front facing camera removed.

Indeed. I've had a phone that can video call since, oh, 2006, and I've never bought a phone that costs more than about a third of a not-so-smart phone. A 5 MP main camera and video calling means it's almost caught up with my old S-E K850, except my phone will do video calls anywhere I can get a 3G signal, with any other phone that supports standards-based video calling.
posted by rodgerd at 1:30 PM on June 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Apple’s HTML5 Showcase Less About Web Standards, More About Apple
posted by Artw at 1:31 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Because the video feature apparently only works on wifi and between owners of the new iphone 4, I figure it won't play any larger role in my life than the Skype app on my Droid or video camera built into my laptop. It will be interesting if we ever get to the point where all phones can and do support video conversations, and at that point a "video off" command and/or a permanent icon/avatar is probably going to be my preference.

I do think it is a big deal that "[o]ne of the highlights of the phone is a much sharper display, which Jobs said has four times more pixels than the current iPhone. " The upgraded camera, reported faster speed and better battery life, and instant viewing Netflix App, not to mention the ereader capability of the new phone are also attention getting.

But is the Iphone ever going to be marketed by anyone but AT&T? I'm never putting up with their rotten coverage again.
posted by bearwife at 1:32 PM on June 7, 2010


I think I just flinched, deep inside, at the thought that this would become some kind of societal expectation.

Not long ago, someone wanted to pass along my email address to a mutual friend. They wanted to take a picture as some kind of tag (to which I declined, "No, thank you.") and then add in the email address — I have no idea how this works, but the idea that I didn't want my photo taken failed to penetrate. I ended up holding a book in front of the camera's CCD, repeating, "No. No. No. NO. NO." in increasingly louder tones to avoid this. I eventually received a glazed, puzzled look like "But that's how this works" before reminded "You can type my name in instead of taking a picture. Not that many letters. Even less than my email address." The glassy stare was straight out of "this is what the machine tells me to do" space.

I'm so not doing a videophone. You can joke about not having to buy it, but if it takes off, that's where the pressure will be. And, instead of holding the thing to your ear, now you will fix your gaze upon it, making it even more likely that someone chatting on the phone will walk right into me.

They joke at work about me being the Technological Luddite. The latter part gets a little bit larger every day. Shack in Montana, you say?
posted by adipocere at 1:33 PM on June 7, 2010 [11 favorites]


iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 only?

Apple is calling it FaceTime, releasing it for other developers, hoping it will become a standard.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:33 PM on June 7, 2010


But is the Iphone ever going to be marketed by anyone but AT&T? I'm never putting up with their rotten coverage again.

The rumours are fast and furious that Verizon is working out a deal as we speak. It just must not have been finalized in time for the presentation.

If you think you have it bad in the States, however, you should try getting a cell phone plan up here (the country just north of you).
posted by hiteleven at 1:34 PM on June 7, 2010


I'll believe any claims about iPhone battery life when I see them put to the test, however the iPad claims were apparently pretty much on the mark, and this has the same guts and presumably similar power consumption.
posted by Artw at 1:35 PM on June 7, 2010


I'm always amazed when people who make less than I do whip these things out and tell me their work doesn't pay for it.

I'm amazed when i see the unemployed or underemployed with such devices, as it shows me they have the worst cash management skills around.

I also hate when I see children with these very powerful devices. This tells me they have parents who have no interest in making sure these children understand why they are so impressive or that they are not owed this awesome thing and should therefore learn to value them. Handing a child the best of the best when it comes to this sort of thing is a good way to ensure a spoiled brat. Make 'em earn the dough to pay for it, or let 'em do without.

I especially hate when people who don't understand the appeal of such devices decide there is no appeal whatsoever.

They're really worth that kind of financial commitment?

For me, yes. For many others, yes.
posted by grubi at 1:36 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I find it interesting how many misanthropes and luddites hang out on and contribute to a community weblog.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:38 PM on June 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


Microsoft Kin thread, anyone?

How a Silly Phone for Teens Reveals Microsoft’s Plan for Us All
posted by Artw at 1:38 PM on June 7, 2010


Apple is calling it FaceTime, releasing it for other developers, hoping it will become a standard.

It's SIP and some video streaming protocols which means it will be theoretically interoperable with every other VoIP app out there just like they're all theoretically interoperable today. Yay standards - so many to choose from.
posted by GuyZero at 1:39 PM on June 7, 2010


It's a pretty impressive phone. If it wasn't for:

- AT&T, and the associated tethering ripoff, bad network, metered bandwidth, and failure to offer competitive subscription prices
- Headache of having to jailbreak to get full use of my hardware, then having to battle Apple to stay out of jail with every OS update
- Apple generally being people I don't feel good about supporting with my dollars

I'd be all over it. As it stands, this is not an EVO killer.
posted by mullingitover at 1:40 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Did anyone else watch the youtube video of the AT&T ads from 1993 and notice that in the second one, where the lady is coming home to her apartment that is was the same apartment as Deckerd from Bladerunner?
posted by daq at 1:41 PM on June 7, 2010


It's because matt's busy apparently holding a gun to your head, making you comment.
posted by boo_radley


This doesn't make any sense.

Can you imagine if every critical comment on, say, the Arizona immigration laws was countered with "Nobody's forcing you to live in Arizona"?
posted by rocket88


This doesn't make sense either, and as a bonus is idiotic.

People don't like this thing you love. Deal with it.posted by rocket88

No, see that's not whats happening. If you don't like the iPhone, great. Why? But just complaining because you hate apple is trolling. Sure, I'll deal with it, but it doesn't make it a better discussion, which is really the bigger picture.

Plus, the thread isn't even about the iphone, but video chat. But what ya gonna do, ya know? Like the kids say... haterz gonna hate.

:)
posted by Dennis Murphy at 1:41 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


A sweetshop? Like Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory?

Exactly. And that special glass? Made from spun sugar and the tears of the workers. TEARS OF HAPPINESS.

Rumors that it emits a fog of despair are completely groundless.
posted by Artw at 1:41 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sorry to repeat, but any mention of multitasking? Or an iTouch 4 coming out soon?
posted by hiteleven at 1:42 PM on June 7, 2010


My next phone will probably still not be an iPhone though.
posted by Artw


Dude, there will be no zunephone!

:)
posted by Dennis Murphy at 1:42 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Did they fix the thing where it can barely make telephone calls?
posted by wcfields at 1:42 PM on June 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


I predict this is going to revolutionize the Darwin Awards.
posted by tommasz at 1:43 PM on June 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


hiteleven: "The rumours are fast and furious that Verizon is working out a deal as we speak. It just must not have been finalized in time for the presentation."

I've been hearing this rumor since the first iPhone launched, and I'm sure I'll keep hearing it right up through 2012. If this was really going down, somebody would've leaked it and AT&T's stock would've tanked. I have zero confidence that they're getting out of AT&T's clutches anytime soon.
posted by mullingitover at 1:45 PM on June 7, 2010


Briefly mentioned, glossed over, they've made their big announcements there. Their semi-multitasking is pretty much the same thing the upcoming Windows Phone 7 phones do anyway.

Dude, there will be no zunephone!

Already here in the form of the Kin, and it's the media player for Windows Phone 7 too.
posted by Artw at 1:45 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dennis Murphy: "But just complaining because you hate apple is trolling. "

You said it best: Dennis Murphy: "This doesn't make sense either, and as a bonus is idiotic."
posted by boo_radley at 1:45 PM on June 7, 2010


(That was in response to hiteleven)


Did they fix the thing where it can barely make telephone calls?

That would be a very good fix - certainly the area where the present phone is poorest.
posted by Artw at 1:47 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


As it stands, this is not an EVO killer.

No, the EVO's battery life is.
posted by grubi at 1:47 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sorry to repeat, but any mention of multitasking? Or an iTouch 4 coming out soon?

Yes, multitasking is in iOS 4 (the new name for iPhone OS), which will be supported on the iPhone 4 and the 3Gs, but not the 3G or first gen iPod touch. No mention of an upgraded iPod Touch though.
posted by antifuse at 1:47 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


and generally on topic: Apparently the new OS has folders.
posted by boo_radley at 1:48 PM on June 7, 2010


The iPad is basically your upgraded iPod Touch.
posted by Artw at 1:48 PM on June 7, 2010


Halloween Jack: This is the future of telephony: a semi-erect penis slapping against a video camera--forever.

Ring, ring, ring, ring, BANANAPHONE!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 1:49 PM on June 7, 2010 [11 favorites]


> I'm amazed when i see the unemployed or underemployed with such devices, as it shows me they have the worst cash management skills around.

Owning an iPhone or Droid and a data account is cheaper than owning a computer and a broadband account plus a voice-only mobile phone. If you're homeless or close to it, you aren't likely to have broadband, even.

Certainly a lot of people are buying smartphones and digging themselves deeper into debt, but I think it's a matter of possible priorities. Having some kind of online access is getting close to mandatory for jobhunting, accessing government services, and so on. Being able to do so through your phone, in lieu of being able to count on a hand-me-down computer and cadging open wi-fi points, can qualify as not-stupid.
posted by ardgedee at 1:49 PM on June 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


And yeah, not really concerned about the video chat feature in the iPhone 4 or the Evo... Excited about the nice new screen on the iPhone 4, and 802.11n, and *being available in Canada* (presumably) which is something that definitely trumps the Evo (unless Bell/Telus decide to bring a new high profile CDMA phone to market up here, which seems unlikely, or a GSM version gets announced).
posted by antifuse at 1:50 PM on June 7, 2010


TATERPHONE

stop calling, stop calling
I don't wanna see anymore
please keep your junk and your ass undercover

ring ring ring but there's no one home
and you're not gonna reach my taterphone


...etc
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:51 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


iPod Touch usually gets updated in September or so, so ti's not surprising there was no news about one today.

Sprint says they made record sales for the EVO, but don't have specific numbers.

It's no longer the iPhone OS, but iOS, 'cause it does more than phones now obviously.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:52 PM on June 7, 2010


> and you're not gonna reach my taterphone

If you're flexible enough you can reach back there.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:52 PM on June 7, 2010


Owning an iPhone or Droid and a data account is cheaper than owning a computer and a broadband account plus a voice-only mobile phone.

Oh, god, the horror of having a phone as my primary internet device. Jesus.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:53 PM on June 7, 2010


Oh, god, the horror of having a phone as my primary internet device. Jesus.

I have friends with perfectly good laptops who choose instead to use their iPod Touches for their primary internet device at home. I wouldn't do it, but for some people it seems to be enough.
posted by antifuse at 1:54 PM on June 7, 2010


Maybe the biggest news is this: Apple is bringing multitasking to the iPhone. CEO Steve Jobs and his crew showed 12 apps running at the same time. (CNET LiveBlog)
posted by filthy light thief at 1:54 PM on June 7, 2010


The rumours are fast and furious that Verizon is working out a deal as we speak. It just must not have been finalized in time for the presentation.

Hope so. I was holding my breath for a carrier alternative, and what we got was Apple rebranded video chat. Is FaceTime really that much better than Skype?

Okay, there were some other interesting things in there. Personally I think iMovie is the most interesting part. People have been saying these are consumption/entertainment devices and this is a highly visible challenge to that conception of the iMobile devices.
posted by weston at 1:54 PM on June 7, 2010


Oh, god, the horror of having a phone as my primary internet device. Jesus.

Dude, different strokes, etc. Not everyone is as boss as you.
posted by GuyZero at 1:55 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Having some kind of online access is getting close to mandatory for jobhunting, accessing government services, and so on. Being able to do so through your phone, in lieu of being able to count on a hand-me-down computer and cadging open wi-fi points, can qualify as not-stupid.

Good point. But I can still hate on the children, right?
posted by grubi at 1:55 PM on June 7, 2010


What I haven't determined yet is whether I can upgrade to it at retail price so as not to restart my contract with H8T&T and their increasingly deranged ETF policy. I'd consider it, then.

On the other hand, my 1G still does everything I need it to, has unlimited data grandfathered in (EDGE-only of course), is as flat as the new one and actually has really good battery life, unlike the 3G and 3GS what make mayflies look like Methuselah, 153dpi is plenty on a screen this size, multitasking (apart from music continuing to play or keeping a call open) is ass on a phone and I need a front-facing camera the way I need buboes. So on second thought, fuck that shit.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:56 PM on June 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


grubi: "No, the EVO's battery life is."

Yes, the 4G can be taxing on the battery, just like 3G murders the iPhone's battery if you're in the vast areas of the US where AT&T has little to no 3G coverage. On the bright side you can turn it off and (lady runs down aisle with hammer past blank-faced audience, smashes giant screen) you can upgrade your battery.
posted by mullingitover at 1:56 PM on June 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


iAds kind of looks like a shit sandwich, I hope it doesn;t get overly used.
posted by Artw at 1:58 PM on June 7, 2010


Just did this on my EVO:
Test Date: Jun 7, 2010 1:36:12 pm
Connection Type: Wifi

Download: 9078 kbps
Upload: 1802 kbps
Ping: 40 ms
posted by buggzzee23 at 1:59 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dude, different strokes, etc. Not everyone is as boss as you.

While this is doubtless correct, it's a needless dig. I wasn't implying anything about the bossness of myself or the lack thereof in others. It really would be a horror for me to have my iPhone as my only connection to the internet. I did not imagine some people would choose it. The paucity of my imagination is once again revealed.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:59 PM on June 7, 2010


And, yes, I keep the EVO connected to the charger whenever possible.
posted by buggzzee23 at 2:00 PM on June 7, 2010


The paucity of my imagination is once again revealed.

Not everyone can afford broadband. I see people every weekend in the library with their laptops watching online video. Presumably they can afford the machine but not broadband access so they go get it at the library. Seems weird to me but whatevs.
posted by GuyZero at 2:02 PM on June 7, 2010


The thing has a gyroscope in it, a gyroscope. Only one, but still.
posted by R. Mutt at 2:06 PM on June 7, 2010


The gyroscope is pretty damn retro-futuristic. If only it was a physical gyro and not one of those lame MEMS gyros so the damn phone would remain upright in your hand regardless of how hard you turn it.
posted by GuyZero at 2:07 PM on June 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


I wish to make it clear, via a series of increasingly opaque and angry remarks, that my choices in electronics are both more rational and more moral than yours and that as a consequence I am a better human being, equipped with a more thrilling penis, more friends, more money, and a more desirable body generally. I may also be more beneficial to the rest of the planet. It may also be possible that I am an angel sent directly from heaven.

If you were to avail yourselves of the same electronics as I have acquired, you would also experience all of these glories, except for the extra-thrilling penis, which some of you may not require and which would be replaced appropriately as your gender preferences demand.

Thank you.
posted by aramaic at 2:17 PM on June 7, 2010 [32 favorites]


Artw: There are tons of ad-supported apps out there right now. Apple is just offering another way to the devs.
I assume that it will be either shitty free games with ads or "demo" versions with ads, where you can buy an ad-free version for the usual prices. I could live with that.
posted by _Lasar at 2:19 PM on June 7, 2010


Microsoft Kin

Hey you guys, I just made this awesome new wetnap! I think I'll call it Klee
posted by Sys Rq at 2:23 PM on June 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


Most interesting part of this story is that SOMEBODY introduced a new feature before Apple rather than just copying what Apple is doing. But then, since that infamous prototype leak, maybe they were just copying it before it became official.

Statistical reality check: All smartphones represent 23% of mobile phones, up from 15% last year, so they are becoming less of an elite item, but not really mainstream yet. And iPhones are 28% of that market, while Android phones are only 9% (both up 2% in the last quarter). But remember Windows Mobile still has 19% and Blackberry 35% (both down 2%).

Just as the finale of "Lost" got less than 15% of the TV audience, Apple has less than 7% of the mobile phone market, leaving 85% and 93% respectively of the general public wishing you'd just shut up about it already.
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:23 PM on June 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


Hmm.. I've been waiting for a handheld videophone for ages. I may be the only person around here who has used the AT&T Picturephone. In the late 1960s, maybe early 70s, my dad had one at his flower shop. There was an early pilot project by FTD, they installed color Picturephones at florists so they could take orders by video, and show customers the flowers they were purchasing. Of course the project was a total flop since no customers had Picturephones yet. The only users were other florists, who could talk to each other and show each other their product, which was ridiculous because they already knew what the products were. The Picturephones went away after about a year.

I presume this field test was heavily subsidized by AT&T, because my dad was a cheap bastard and was still using early 1950s mechanical tabulators and posting machines. I guess AT&T wanted a highly visual product to pitch to potential customers, "hey, you can shop at the florist by video!" FTD always was cutting edge on communication tech, they were early into almost every medium. A lot of them were flops, but a lot of them were huge successes and kept their franchisees ahead of the game.

Anyway, the one coolest feature of the Picturephone was that it had a little pop-out prism, it pointed down at the desk, so you could draw on paper and the other phone could see it live. I wonder if anyone has considered how to implement this on a handheld device like the iPhone. That would be a killer feature.
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:24 PM on June 7, 2010 [11 favorites]


Probably better put in AskMeFi, but now that the iPhone and iPad are using micro SIMs, I wonder if it's possible/economical to use an iPad SIM in the iPhone and use Skype for calls in place of a voice plan.
posted by howling fantods at 2:24 PM on June 7, 2010


This picture phone is all well and good, but am I to understand that no other products were released today? No updates to laptops, desktops, monitors or the like? That's odd.
posted by ColdChef at 2:30 PM on June 7, 2010


Three years after being sued by Cisco Systems for giving its iPhone the same name as a Cisco product, Apple has taken another page from the Cisco playbook, renaming its iPhone operating system, iOS.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:33 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just as the finale of "Lost" got less than 15% of the TV audience, Apple has less than 7% of the mobile phone market, leaving 85% and 93% respectively of the general public wishing you'd just shut up about it already.

To be fair, that is two points higher than Apple's operating system market share.
posted by octothorpe at 2:36 PM on June 7, 2010


Do the new iphones do actual handsfree GPS (rerouting, voice announcing of turns, etc.) without buying the TomTom app yet? I could care less about video chat. A friend's Droid did a much better job of car navigation, so I am considering ditching the iphone for an Android phone soon.
posted by benzenedream at 2:42 PM on June 7, 2010


No updates to laptops, desktops, monitors or the like? That's odd.

This was just the WWDC keynote. WWDC continues for the rest of the week.
posted by GuyZero at 2:43 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the biggest indication that AT&T is losing its exclusivity is the fact that they are letting people upgrade to this iPhone 6 months early, as long as you renew your 2 year contract.
posted by Mick at 2:45 PM on June 7, 2010


Or that AT&T conceded early upgrades to Apple in exchange for continuing exclusivity.
posted by GuyZero at 2:46 PM on June 7, 2010


This was just the WWDC keynote. WWDC continues for the rest of the week.

Are Apple in the habit of announcing anything big outside of Keynotes? Do we get another Keynote tommorow?
posted by Artw at 2:47 PM on June 7, 2010


When is Matt going to implement videocommenting?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 2:52 PM on June 7, 2010


I wouldn't be surprised if Mac Pros were silently updated tomorrow.

Apple supposedly has the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts venue booked for 6/22. If this is true, I suspect this will be for a cloud-centric event (i.e. MobileMe and iTunes.com).

Hopefully the iSlate will be released soon so I can throw my mouse in the trash.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:59 PM on June 7, 2010


> I think the biggest indication that AT&T is losing its exclusivity is the fact that they are letting people upgrade to this iPhone 6 months early

In 2009 AT&T allowed people at least 18 months into their contract to upgrade without penalty. If you try to upgrade sooner than that, AT&T charges a penalty.

What's different is that last year the penalty was some arbitrarily large figure allegedly intended to recover the balance of the subsidy on the phone. This year the penalty is some considerably larger arbitrary figure which, as far as I can tell, is intended to recover the balance of the subsidy and be profitably evil.
posted by ardgedee at 3:00 PM on June 7, 2010


ardgedee: "This year the penalty is some considerably larger arbitrary figure which, as far as I can tell, is intended to recover the balance of the subsidy and be profitably evil."

Emphasis on the latter. ETFs are pure evil and a pack of lies (o noes, we poor corporations must recover the huge hardware subsidy) revealed to be such by the fact that subscription rates don't change when your hardware is paid off and you're out of contract.

The hardware subsidy should be accounted for in parallel to your contract, such that if you cancel early you owe the remainder of the subsidy, and not some arbitrary number the carrier pulled out of their arse. Meanwhile if you own your hardware you pay less each month than someone who does not.
posted by mullingitover at 3:09 PM on June 7, 2010


Do the new iphones do actual handsfree GPS (rerouting, voice announcing of turns, etc.) without buying the TomTom app yet?

I use Motionx GPS Drive for that. It's buck, and it's only 3 dollars for a 30 day pass, so you only pay for it when you need it, like on a vacation or something. Unlike TomTom or Garman where I would have to pay monthly and would never need it in my hometown.
posted by sourwookie at 3:15 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Do we get another Keynote tommorow?

You've had enough keynotes, go to bed!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:15 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


posted by zarq If you listen closely to your monitor, you can hear the sound of a thousand fanboys having iGasms.

There's a fap for that.
posted by mattdidthat at 3:16 PM on June 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


Owning an iPhone or Droid and a data account is cheaper than owning a computer and a broadband account plus a voice-only mobile phone. If you're homeless or close to it, you aren't likely to have broadband, even.

Really? I know AT&T just changed their plan, but I remember this old two-year cost estimate for the old iPhone. Seems like one could get a netbook computer for a couple hundred bucks, then pay $20-30 a month (with no contract) for broadband access for a long, long time before they hit the same dollar amount. Or are costs that much less these days?
posted by Thoughtcrime at 3:30 PM on June 7, 2010


> Are Apple in the habit of announcing anything big outside of Keynotes? Do we get another Keynote tommorow?

They just do press releases, unless it is something phenomenal about the products. Being that the MBP's were just revved, etc.

Also, there wasn't a mention of 10.7 or even an IT track at this years event, so WWDC is just iOS related.

(As i wrote this, Apple just announced / released Safari 5).
posted by mrzarquon at 3:34 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fine, you can have Safari 5, but that's it young man!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:36 PM on June 7, 2010


Meh. The biggest iPhone 4 is 32GB. I was really hoping it'd be 64GB at least, with 80GB being my dream scenario, so I could sell my iPod Touch and use my iPhone as my sole MP3 listening device.

As cool a refresh as it is, I'm not sure it's something I need to get. I might just buy a 64GB iPad instead.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:39 PM on June 7, 2010


> Unlike TomTom or Garman where I would have to pay monthly and would never need it in my hometown

Huh? TomTom was a one time fee, and downloaded all the map data on my phone, so it could keep navigating me around random parts of california and mountain ranges where I wouldn't assume I'd have cell coverage, but would still have GPS coverage. You could buy the once a year traffic subscription (which worked great and was useful while in LA) as well. Navigon does a region for $30 or so, does turn by turn, voice, etc. as well.

I don't know if Apple would want to get into the GPS business, since they don't own or have access to that map data (one of the license restrictions of their access to the google maps information, who I don't know if they have removed that restriction yet, as they are the only ones who do turn by turn with their own google maps that I know of, and chances are they wont write that app for the iPhone anytime soon...).
posted by mrzarquon at 3:40 PM on June 7, 2010


With videochat there will be porn the likes of which god has never seen.

Not with Apple's new patented Nipple Blocking Algorithms there won't be.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:41 PM on June 7, 2010


Going from an iPhone 2G to a Nexus One, I was at first surprised by the crappy battery life on the N1. Then I learned about turning off all the crap in the background I didn't need, and then discovered JuiceDefender. This nifty app only turns on the phone's data service for three minutes out of every 15, rather than being on ALL THE TIME.

I can now leave the phone on 3G (instead of forcing it to 2G to save battery) and easily get a full day's use without having to look for the charger.

Sure, Apple's walled garden sure is pretty, but sometimes I like to trim my own hedges and mow my own lawn.
posted by mrbill at 3:46 PM on June 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Effigy2000, that surprised me too (only 32gb). I'll probably get the 16gb and stick with my 32gb iPad for media use. I sure hope this software upgrade fixes the wifi issues with it, though.
posted by TochterAusElysium at 4:07 PM on June 7, 2010


Meanwhile, in 2007...

(Although, it wasn't until 2009 that the n900 shipped with a front facing camera).
posted by pwnguin at 4:08 PM on June 7, 2010


I've been playing with video chat mainly using one of MS Research's better products, Microsoft Portrait, on Windows Mobile since 2005 or so. Works very well over 802.11g, and quite well over Sprint's 3G network with a 2007 vintage. As long as you have a good upload you avoid pixellation. The main issue is not showing off your nose hairs too prominently so regular plucking is key. Also, it makes your nose look bigger. This is assuming you don't have adaptive face tracking running, which can zoom in and out and fill the screen with a well-proportioned face. One issue is with motion. Assuming you can talk and walk, the other person tends to see lots of streaming behind you, which is slightly nausea inducing if you try to focus on it.
posted by meehawl at 4:13 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Burhanistan: The world is on fire! Pay that no mind and leer at my incrementally improved bauble!

Because none of us could possibly hold two thoughts in our heads at the same time. How can you surf MetaFilter at a time like this? The BP rig continues to spill oil into the gulf!
posted by tzikeh at 4:22 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Facetime API will be utilized by Chatroulette and it will be awesome.
posted by sourwookie at 4:40 PM on June 7, 2010


I was really hoping it'd be 64GB at least...

While Toshiba does have the single 64GB NAND that would be required, I'd be willing to bet that Apple is saving itself the extra unit cost in advance of moving iTunes to the cloud sometime later this year... at which point mobile device storage capacity becomes somewhat moot.

(Previous MeFi post on Apple's acquisition of Lala, likely to be the technology platform used).
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 4:41 PM on June 7, 2010


WHERE MY 256 GB IPOD CLASSIC AT?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:44 PM on June 7, 2010


Sure, Apple's walled garden sure is pretty, but sometimes I like to trim my own hedges and mow my own lawn.
posted by mrbill


I'd much rather have someone do my yardwork for me so that all I have to do is enjoy the time I spend in it.
posted by ColdChef at 4:47 PM on June 7, 2010


ColdChef - I totally appreciate that sentiment. Though it would be nice to have the option to till my own soil on the land that I already payed good money for.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 4:49 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


but that's another, probably longer argument
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 4:49 PM on June 7, 2010


Bora Horza Gobuchul: "I'd be willing to bet that Apple is saving itself the extra unit cost in advance of moving iTunes to the cloud sometime later this year... at which point mobile device storage capacity becomes somewhat moot. "

But then AT&T's metered bandwidth jumps in and makes streaming data something you want to avoid.

sourwookie: "The Facetime API will be utilized by Chatroulette and it will be awesome.


Do developers even have access to this API right now?

posted by mullingitover at 4:54 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Folks concerned about the social implications of videophones probably have nothing to worry about, long or even medium term. My money's on it being a flash in the pan fad. We've had videocalling-capable smartphones available in Australia since late 2002 (I remember discussing it with a mate the first time we saw the posters, and commenting that Arthur C. Clarke had only been off by 12 months or so). Eight years on, I don't think I know anyone who bothers with videocalls on their phone any more.

It's gimmicky as hell, and the mania for it died off pretty quickly; a whole batch of handsets don't even include a front camera anymore. The reasons are simple: no-one can hold their camera steady, the lenses typically have a very narrow angle (so all you see is a very shaky face - the advertising had you believe a video call would look like an OB from a news reporter), and everyone looks like crap on the camera because of the ambient lighting.

Videocalling is another example of our technology catching up with science fiction and us realising that it's nowhere near as good as it looked in the movies (cough, VR, cough).
posted by MarchHare at 5:01 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do developers even have access to this API right now?

Yes, it's in the sweetshop.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:02 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


They just do press releases, unless it is something phenomenal about the products.

Yeah, I can't see anything in Safari 5 that would be worth presenting. Steve could do it if he needed to, of course.
posted by smackfu at 5:17 PM on June 7, 2010


I may be wrong, but I thought he said that developers would have access to both cameras and the Facetime tech.
posted by sourwookie at 5:21 PM on June 7, 2010


It's possible video calling will go no where. It's also possible that, like tablet computers, Apple's implementation is just going to work out better than everyone else's and they will do well in a market everyone else has sucked in. At the very least I would imagine video calling tech has improved in the last 5 years or so. Some of cases seem handy. Like showing people what's happening where you are, or the sign language thing, etc.
posted by chunking express at 5:21 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


The EVO 4G is called 4G because it's the first phone to have actual 4G network access, on the first US 4G network.

The iPhone 4G is called 4G....apparently because Apple thinks 4G sounds cool.

The usual gadget blogs have completely missed this fact.
posted by miyabo at 5:25 PM on June 7, 2010


It's called the iPhone 4 (no G) because it's the 4th iPhone, I suspect.
posted by chunking express at 5:27 PM on June 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's not iphone 4G, it's just iphone 4. Because it's the 4th one.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 5:28 PM on June 7, 2010


I guess they could have called it the iPhone 3GS Ultra Edition or something.
posted by chunking express at 5:29 PM on June 7, 2010


Hey, let's not let facts get in the way of a good anti-Apple rant!
posted by entropicamericana at 5:36 PM on June 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Did anything come of the rumors of a wireless trackpad? That actually got me pretty excited. Apple has an almost supernatural ability to design the worst mice in the history of computing, but they make it up with the trackpads.
posted by mullingitover at 5:41 PM on June 7, 2010


Okay, I retract my earlier comment. I am curious how many casual gadget watchers will be as confused about the 4G issue as I was.
posted by miyabo at 5:43 PM on June 7, 2010


I guess they could have called it the iPhone 3GS Ultra Edition or something.

Or they could have used a Dell, HP or Sony naming convention and called it the AIP-3GS4GUL.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:44 PM on June 7, 2010 [9 favorites]


Phone-borne videochatting will come down to use cases and will be different for each person. The video on their website is a fair indicator of how they think people will use it and, from my experience, not far off the mark. Most of the videochatting I'm aware of happens in families, especially any time children are involved. There's a real thrill on both sides then: kids are engaged so much more by grandma's face than by her voice and vice versa. "They're growing up so fast!" means something when you can actually see the little buggers.

I love the ease of switching back and forth, and I think it has the potential to really open up the use of video for communication. Video-all-the-time is one of the problems I have with computer videochatting: once the kids are off to bed I'm stuck on a phone call with vestigial video. But think about fast switching: how about talking with your SO and he quickly switches to video to show off the new kicks he bought? Then switch back to voice for the rest of the conversation.

There's also an interesting more casual use case, the "look at this!" scenario. Crazy shit is going down, this party is nuts, look at this parade etc etc. I can definitely see myself pulling that one (it would be double-time great if you could also record that video). The basic paradigm—"I can show you right now what I'm seeing right now"—has real potential.
posted by wemayfreeze at 5:56 PM on June 7, 2010


The basic paradigm—"I can show you right now what I'm seeing right now"—has real potential.

Hmm. Would it be an arrestable offense to point a cameraphone a police officer if it's the person on the other end who does the recording?

Loophole!
posted by Sys Rq at 6:08 PM on June 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's not iphone 4G, it's just iphone 4. Because it's the 4th one.

Just like the 3rd iPhone, the iPhone 3.
posted by smackfu at 6:08 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dude, stop trolling.
posted by entropicamericana at 6:14 PM on June 7, 2010


Actually I assumed it had 4G as well until I went to the Apple site and looked at the specs. I would guess that then name is really half "4th iphone therefore iphone 4" and half "let us confuse the consumer."
posted by synaesthetichaze at 6:22 PM on June 7, 2010


> Just like the 3rd iPhone, the iPhone 3.

iPhone
iPhone 3G <- Because it's a 3G phone
iPhone 3GS <- Got me, man. The S is for "See? It's the third one, not like the second one!!!" maybe
iPhone 4 <- Sanity restored! Peace reigns! Everybody gets ice cream!
posted by ardgedee at 6:23 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some men have a weakness for the drink, some for the women, some fortunate for sport and some less fortunate for the poppy.

Of all these, those of who are good design's bitches are the most pathetic. I'll just be at the appropriate apple page, mumbling things like, "I can see forever....."
posted by digitalprimate at 6:26 PM on June 7, 2010


Sanity restored! Peace reigns! Everybody gets ice cream!

The next one will be the iPhone 4G, of course.
posted by Artw at 6:31 PM on June 7, 2010


The next one will be the iPhone 4G, of course.

Yeah, and that one won't be a 4G phone either.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:36 PM on June 7, 2010


Apple threads seem to be the only place where comments like these show up.

Hilarious. I like this sort of comedy, almost Beckian. Despite evidence to the contrary in numerous political threads, Microsoft product threads (one guy objected to linking to software that wasn't Mac compatible, it was yet another gem of comedy), any thread about Ann Coulter, threads involving religion(s), etc. The tradition of questioning the repeated existence of posts about X continues, but as usual, Apple gets all the fucking credit.

As for the critics, I had a lot of fun making fun of the iPad when it was announced. And while I stand by some of my criticisms, the market laughs them in the face.

It's just like Windows then. Constantly criticized, cast as the devil, constant problems, constantly infected, but the market laughs them in the face.
posted by juiceCake at 6:46 PM on June 7, 2010


Okay, I retract my earlier comment. I am curious how many casual gadget watchers will be as confused about the 4G issue as I was.

To be fair, it's not like the naming for the iPhone's hasn't been confusing. Naming the second one (the 3G) after the modem was probably a bad idea.

It's strange because Apple's other product lines don't really differentiate between models. I have a 21" iMac. There have been several different models since mine, and before mine, all of which are slightly different. It's the same for the iPods. There have been 3 different models for the shuffle, but they are all called the shuffle. I don't see why they didn't just say, "hey this is the new iPhone."
posted by chunking express at 7:27 PM on June 7, 2010


I am still desperately trying to figure out the logistics of doing video-chatting on a handheld cell phone. Are you going to be doing video chats while you are walking down the street? Sitting on the bus? Sitting in a cafe? I assume it would have to be speaker phone or require a headset, since it's a little further from your ear than normal.

My main issue with video telephony is understanding how it would be feasible while out and about. I am happy doing video skype chats with my mother while I am in my apartment on the weekends, but the idea of doing it in public seems very . . . something something.

For anybody who is excited about doing video calls, where do you plan to do it, and what situations would make using a computer significantly less convenient than using a cell phone?
posted by that girl at 7:34 PM on June 7, 2010


I'm already nervous enough about my laptop and video chat after the Lower Merion school district chat. For all that I recognize it's a good thing to have on my phone in theory, I'd prefer not to worry about being caught on video when I'm not ready. For me that may be more of a girl thing (eep, no makeup!) than a luddism thing, although I cop to hating phones and being no more enthused about vidphones.

Also, there's the problem that if you caught me at home at the wrong time with a videophone, I'd be breaking the public decency laws. It's hot in the summer and clothing-optional households aren't conducive to video chat!
posted by immlass at 7:35 PM on June 7, 2010


Lower Merion school district chat

Should be Lower Merion school district THREAD. My kingdom for an edit window, or reading in preview.
posted by immlass at 7:36 PM on June 7, 2010


First phone IN THE U.S.. Other countries have had these things for years and years.
posted by delmoi at 7:42 PM on June 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Is it too late to get some of that ice cream?
posted by box at 7:42 PM on June 7, 2010


On the one hand it's interesting, in that Apple didn't ship videophone software until their product had a large enough userbase for it to approach general utility.

I'm sure the providers didn't allow them to add one. There have been cameras with front facing cameras sold in other countries, with the same model when sold in the U.S. the front cam would be removed.
posted by delmoi at 7:45 PM on June 7, 2010


Only saw 1 other mention of the notion of universal access/accessibility for deaf communication, piqued my interest- how novel of an application is this/how well served is the deaf community with current mobile phone assistive tech?
posted by oldefortran at 7:53 PM on June 7, 2010


One of the cutest uses for videocalls I've experienced is when someone couldn't make it for a party so she dialed in to one of our phones, and it became a "proxy" for her for about 15 minutes. The phone had a face you could look at, you could talk to it, it could see you. Unfortunately it wasn't ambulatory, so we had to prop it up on the table or somewhere with a similarly good vantage point, and we all made it a point to come up to the phone and talk to her once in awhile. And when we took a group photo there she was propped up next to the cake... of course we tagged her on facebook.

The best part was when the phone fell over and we could hear "help, help!" coming from the facedown phone....
posted by xdvesper at 8:00 PM on June 7, 2010 [12 favorites]


> First phone IN THE U.S.. Other countries have had these things for years and years.

Yeah, my wife bought a Motorola A1000 in Indonesia in 2004 that had two cameras and all sorts of smartphone functionality not seen until 2007 here.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:03 PM on June 7, 2010


delmoi: "There have been cameras with front facing cameras sold in other countries, with the same model when sold in the U.S. the front cam would be removed."

Yes. This has been true for virtually every good HTC phone for the past four years or so, in specific Asian markets or in the "International" versions (meaning, the unlocked, non -carrier-subsidised versions). What's also interesting is that the international CDMA versions also can come with support for GSM frequencies, and unlocked SIM cards. The Touch Pro 2 was the first HTC phone in the US to support both CDMA and GSM and their 3G enhancements but, in a typical boneheaded move, its basic firmware radio has been disabled from attaching to any US carrier (unless you unlock it and replace the radio). So you can use it on CDMA in the US, and roam on GSM abroad. I'd imagine that any Verizon CDMA Iphone 4 would use the same sort of mechanism (except that its SIM card won't be user accessible, will be locked and will not be easily upgraded to dual or triple SIM slots).
posted by meehawl at 8:04 PM on June 7, 2010


Also, I'm sure jailbroken iPhones would let you video chat over 3g/4g. There's no practical reason why you couldn't do it over any Internet connection.

The fact that you can only do this over wifi kind of makes it not much different from a laptop with a front facing camera. The only difference is that you'll have to hold the phone the entire time, rather then setting on your lap. I suppose people will come out with various stands, though.

It sounds like the HTC Evo DOES let you do video calls over the cell network, which actually makes it a lot more useful then Apple's. Also, any adroid app should be able to access the front cam, so it's likely video chat will work with things like Google talk, MSN, Skype and other common Internet video chat protocols. So if you actually care about video chat (which most people probably won't) the HTC or another android phone would be a much better option.

It seems like a 3G connection, or even EDGE should be enough for low quality video link.
I've got a feeling I could keep up with the 'net just fine, if I could afford the ridiculous ~$100 a month two-year service contract phones like the iPod and the various flavors of Droids require.
Wha? My t-mobile unlimited data plan comes out to about $80/month.

How a Silly Phone for Teens Reveals Microsoft’s Plan for Us All


[From the article]The concept is simple: Each Kin phone automatically and transparently uploads virtually everything created with the phone to Microsoft’s servers, from photos and videos to text messages and social media updates. Everything can later be accessed through a single web interface. It’s no surprise that the Kin came from the same team that had designed the Sidekick years earlier.
Meh, that's kind of obvious. Although it's annoying that all of this going to Microsoft servers. Why not a server I get to control? There's no reason why a server needs to be any harder to use then a phone, so while they can be difficult to administer now, that's just because the target market is techies. I think a 'personal server' is a possibility and a lot better then this whole 'let's just upload our stuff to some corporate site and forget about it'
posted by delmoi at 8:14 PM on June 7, 2010


Brandon Blatcher, you're my hero for linking the passage in _Infinite Jest_. every time i hear about Skype, i think about my need for a more-perfect-me silicone mask to sling over my existing mug.
posted by Throbsicle at 8:24 PM on June 7, 2010


I am still desperately trying to figure out the logistics of doing video-chatting on a handheld cell phone.

I'm pretty sure you just point the camera at your crotch.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:50 PM on June 7, 2010


RING RING RING RING TATERPHONE!
posted by blue_beetle at 8:55 PM on June 7, 2010


It amuses me that to this day they do not setup a separate wifi network for their demo units. Why not give the bloggers a network on one end of the spectrum (channel 1 or 2) and then put your demo units on 13 or so. The same thing happened at the Google keynote with bluetooth (a bit harder to segregate) and wifi. Pretty sure Jobs called Trump to borrow his trademarked "You're fired!" hand action with some networking guys.
posted by msbutah at 8:55 PM on June 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure you just point the camera at your crotch.

Aha! I am female (and I have avoided chatroulette like the plague), so that did not immediately come to mind.
posted by that girl at 8:58 PM on June 7, 2010


I wonder, for the jailbreakers or hypothetical future officially sanctioned 3G videochat users, what the bitrate is on that FaceTime thinger. Also how it handles slower connections - does it shed framerate, or resolution? But mostly I'm wondering, if you're in one of the cities that actually gets AT&T service and manage to use that videochat on 3G, how fast it'll tear through your metered data plan.
posted by kafziel at 9:12 PM on June 7, 2010


It amuses me that to this day they do not setup a separate wifi network for their demo units. Why not give the bloggers a network on one end of the spectrum (channel 1 or 2) and then put your demo units on 13 or so. The same thing happened at the Google keynote with bluetooth (a bit harder to segregate) and wifi.

My understanding is that there were a lot of people sharing connections on laptops, MiFis, etc. eating up channels at the Apple keynote. Presumably the same thing happened at the Google keynote.
posted by immlass at 9:14 PM on June 7, 2010


I'm gobsmacked, charlie don't surf. America is amazing.

I saw on a TV show the other day that Americans invented on-line gaming back in 1969.

/on TV, must have been true
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:18 PM on June 7, 2010


> It amuses me that to this day they do not setup a separate wifi network for their demo units. Why not give the bloggers a network on one end of the spectrum (channel 1 or 2) and then put your demo units on 13 or so.

The reports were 570 WAPs in that one room alone. Not counting the WAPs Apple had setup to provide their own wireless connections to the attendees (which I've used when I was there). I trust that this number is accurate because when I was at WWDC last, they event networking guys had setup a massive system showing off their real time network heatmap, including tracking of rogue APs, etc. There is no way to handle that many radio sources in a single room, and aside from Jobs actually standing in a faraday cage with a WAP, I'm assuming there will not be a way in the future. Unless Apple doesn't do a wifi demo until they are shipping 5.8ghz N wifi on their phones as well.

Also, you need a 2-3 channel buffer for 802.11 last I checked, so in order to avoid interference from a device on channel 3, you need to be on 1 or 5, etc. So you really have a lot less channels available to you as it is. Assuming that the MiFis were nicely settling on lowest used channels (by default they still channel hop), you have 40-50 or so devices ON EACH CHANNEL in one room. And while their effective two way communication distance is only a few meters, their interference range is a great deal larger (ie, at 20 feet they might not be strong enough to pickup an IP from, but they are still adding noise to the channel used by other devices).
posted by mrzarquon at 9:44 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


So load locally stored content. If you're demoing the clarity of the display, which he claimed to be, why introduce all these extra points of failure?
posted by kafziel at 9:58 PM on June 7, 2010


"Unless Apple doesn't do a wifi demo until they are shipping 5.8ghz N wifi on their phones as well."

fun fact: The iPhone 4 actually has 802.11n. I guess it didn't help.
posted by grandsham at 10:03 PM on June 7, 2010


> fun fact: The iPhone 4 actually has 802.11n. I guess it didn't help.

802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi (802.11n 2.4GHz only)
posted by mrzarquon at 10:18 PM on June 7, 2010


I've been to a couple of these industry keynote things - You're basically sitting in a sea of people with smartphones and laptops, all struggling to keep and maintain a connection. The iPhone, or at least my 3G, doesn't cope well with that at all.
posted by Artw at 10:18 PM on June 7, 2010


Actually, I think Netflix on the iPhone is the bigger threat/reason for no more unlimited plans in the US.

I'd say its simpler - the Phone Companies just want to make sure they have more money.

Me, I say 'screw em' and hope that this will be the kick in the arse for IPv6 local mesh networks that way the locals can chat-rolute it up.
posted by rough ashlar at 10:33 PM on June 7, 2010


How to re-enable Netflix in Safari 5
posted by Artw at 11:48 PM on June 7, 2010


I'm getting one because I've never had an iPhone and my contract is up and the time is right,

BUT

The video for the iPhone 4 on apple.com is so full of sef-congratulatory smug that I was to punch everyone in the video in the face. It's like they're delivering the second coming of christ with every product. It's making me feel sick.

and FACETIME? Really? C'mon son.
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 11:56 PM on June 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Like other europeans, I already have a video-phone. My daughter has been video-calling her gran since she was wee (before verbal communication this was the best way to keep in constant touch with gran - we both have Sony Ericsson phones for this). So I'm not that impressed by that part of it, but glad it has finally arrived to iPhones as well.
posted by dabitch at 12:50 AM on June 8, 2010


I'm gobsmacked, charlie don't surf. America is amazing.

How does a videophone from the 1960s make america amazing? The Germans had working public videophone service in 1936
posted by delmoi at 1:04 AM on June 8, 2010


I am still desperately trying to figure out the logistics of doing video-chatting on a handheld cell phone.

When I go to my French class in the evening the dinner break is at the same time as my daughter's bed time; I nip out to a quiet room, call, and say good night. We both love it.

Unlike the iPhone, it works between, well, arbitary cellphone brands, and where I can get a signal, as opposed to locking everyone who wants to use it into a particular device from a particular company, and where there's wireless. If I knew I was going to have wireless, I'd just bring a netbook and Skype.
posted by rodgerd at 1:05 AM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm getting one because I've never had an iPhone and my contract is up and the time is right,

BUT

The video for the iPhone 4 on apple.com is so full of sef-congratulatory smug that I was to punch everyone in the video in the face. It's like they're delivering the second coming of christ with every product. It's making me feel sick.
Why not just get a different phone then? There are lots of other phones, the EVO mentioned in the FPP, other android phones will probably have front cameras too.
posted by delmoi at 1:06 AM on June 8, 2010


Because hating a commercial is a really really dumb reason to not get the best product available.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:26 AM on June 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Because hating a commercial is a really really dumb reason to not get the best product available.

How is it 'the best product available'? It's not even a 4G phone. Video conferencing doesn't work without wifi and it doesn't integrate with existing chat programs. And you can't (as of now) get it with an unlimited data plan.
posted by delmoi at 1:33 AM on June 8, 2010


Jobs said there would be freedom from porn. With videochat there will be porn the likes of which god has never seen.
Not with Apple's new patented Nipple Blocking Algorithms there won't be.

There's a reason why the camera has an illuminated backside sensor.
posted by acb at 2:58 AM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm wondering whether they'll rename it for the Chinese/Japanese/Asian market. The number four is considered unlucky there, because the Chinese word for it () sounds like the Chinese word for death (sǐ)). This superstition is strong enough for companies like Canon to skip versions with fours in the number (i.e., there was no PowerShot G4) and for buildings to skip floors with fours in them. (Not only in Asia; I once stayed in a building in Sydney which had no residential floors ending in 4, presumably because Chinese/Singaporean/Hong Kong tenants were a significant market.) Or is Steve Jobs betting on being able to bend Chinese tetraphobia to almighty his will as he did the recording industry and the mobile phone market?
posted by acb at 3:04 AM on June 8, 2010


How is it 'the best product available'?

Sorry foot-stamping nerds, user experience and software quality matter.
posted by Space Coyote at 3:16 AM on June 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Sorry foot-stamping nerds, user experience and software quality matter.

Yeah. And it's a good thing that software quality is totally objective and not dependent on preconceived notions and fanboy orgasms! Also why are you answering a question that wasn't even addressed to you?
posted by delmoi at 3:53 AM on June 8, 2010


delmoi, you're getting a bit dickish there, maybe ease off a bit and recognize what we all know, that our special snowflake gadget love is kinda subjective.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:06 AM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


For those who are aware of markets where videophones are common, did the introduction of them or presence of them change social morals/guidlines etc in any way that was mentioned in the last link of the post?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:09 AM on June 8, 2010


delmoi, you're getting a bit dickish there

Guy calls me a "foot stomping nerd" and I'm being dickish? Whatever.
posted by delmoi at 4:16 AM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Folks concerned about the social implications of videophones probably have nothing to worry about, long or even medium term. My money's on it being a flash in the pan fad.

Your money will be lost. Once video is ubiquitous and reliable, it will be immensely useful. People may not use it all the time, similar to how many people favor text messages instead of voice calls. But it will have its place.

One example off the top of my head is helping someone change a flat tire. Pretty tedious to talk someone through it. Much easier when you can see what they're doing. There have to be tons of situations like that alone.


It's gimmicky as hell, and the mania for it died off pretty quickly; a whole batch of handsets don't even include a front camera anymore. The reasons are simple: no-one can hold their camera steady, the lenses typically have a very narrow angle (so all you see is a very shaky face - the advertising had you believe a video call would look like an OB from a news reporter), and everyone looks like crap on the camera because of the ambient lighting.

You don't think the technology will improve? There are many ways to stabilise an image and capture a wider field of view. As for everyone looking like crap, even if they can't solve that problem, it's not going to stop people using it. Did it stop people using the still camera on their phones?


Videocalling is another example of our technology catching up with science fiction and us realising that it's nowhere near as good as it looked in the movies (cough, VR, cough).

Perhaps that's because VR technology also hasn't caught up yet?
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 4:36 AM on June 8, 2010


Your money will be lost. Once video is ubiquitous and reliable, it will be immensely useful.
Video chatting is already ubiquitous on desktops and laptops, and has been possible for over a decade. So I don't see why having it on cellphones would be any different. (and actually DFW's quote was actually about using videophones at home, on a big TV like device, not a cellphone)
posted by delmoi at 4:50 AM on June 8, 2010


how novel of an application is this/how well served is the deaf community with current mobile phone assistive tech?

If frames get dropped, FaceTime may not be as useful as the Sidekicks I think a lot of deaf folks use to type out a phone call.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:51 AM on June 8, 2010


It seems like a 3G connection, or even EDGE should be enough for low quality video link.

What makes you say that? Are we talking about ideal conditions here, such as full bars and off-peak traffic? There's also a quality threshold at work here; people may not want to bother with video if it's too blocky or stuttery.

I suspect Apple simply doesn't think video calls are quite ready for prime-time. However, they think it's close enough that they need to start preparing for it, so they've done what they normally do; ship it in a limited implementation until it can be properly.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 5:04 AM on June 8, 2010


what situations would make using a computer significantly less convenient than using a cell phone?

when one is drunk dialing at 3 am.
posted by empath at 5:18 AM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Video chatting is already ubiquitous on desktops and laptops, and has been possible for over a decade. So I don't see why having it on cellphones would be any different.

For starters, 10 years ago, the number of people I could have chatted with via video on my computer would have been very limited. Many people were still on dial-up back then. I think I was, too.

The main difference is obvious; most people carry their phones with them all the time, unlike a laptop or desktop. And they can used them at moment's notice without having to set anything up or plug anything thing in. You don't think that makes a difference?


(and actually DFW's quote was actually about using videophones at home, on a big TV like device, not a cellphone)

Seemed like it was about videophones in general. This is a post about a new cellphone, is it not?
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 5:25 AM on June 8, 2010


What strikes me is this. One year ago I was in the same hotel waiting for the same keynote to the same conference. The iPad was a distant rumor, and Steve Jobs was on medical leave, two months out from a life-saving liver transplant. Now here we are, and the iPad is an amazing industry-changing smash hit (I’m writing these words using one), Apple’s market cap has surpassed Microsoft’s, and Steve Jobs is getting ready to take the stage, in his prime and at the top of his game.

It’s been one hell of a year. ★

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:37 AM on June 8, 2010


I think the biggest obstacle to video chat is that cell networks can't figure out how to charge you for it by the minute. As long as they can't, they'll figure out how to keep it the realm of geeks through weird incompatibilities and bandwidth restrictions.
posted by miyabo at 5:42 AM on June 8, 2010


Guy calls me a "foot stomping nerd" and I'm being dickish? Whatever.

1. The original quote used the plural, so it wasn't just about you.

2. Just because someone is a dick to you, doesn't mean you have to be a dick back, it's a choice.

3. I singled you out because of your response, which admits one's preference for their special snowflake gadget is subjective, yet just a few comments before you were challenging someone's idea of what the best snowflake gadget is. Why, if you know it's subjective?! Then you finished it all up by wondering why someone was answering a question that wasn't directed at them, which is hardly an unknown thing to do on Metafilter and you know it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:45 AM on June 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is the future of telephony: a semi-erect penis slapping against a video camera--forever.

Ring, ring, ring, ring, BANANAPHONE!


I may have to change my ringtone now. THNX A LOT.

(Yes, bananaphone is my ringtone. For serious.)

Only saw 1 other mention of the notion of universal access/accessibility for deaf communication, piqued my interest- how novel of an application is this/how well served is the deaf community with current mobile phone assistive tech?

Marlee Matlin commented on her Twitter that she's wicked excited (paraphrase) about the video chat for sign language conversations.

(and actually DFW's quote was actually about using videophones at home, on a big TV like device, not a cellphone)

I think DFW's commentary on videophones is totally spot-on since the whole point is "Wait, I use the phone so NO ONE KNOWS I'm an unattractive slob." Same conditions apply on a cellphone. I think really, the reason that it was a TV like device is that DFW probably couldn't imagine that you could make an actual video telephone. Because in 199whatever, you couldn't.

If someone calls me on my cellphone and wants to SEE me? If I'm in any position to carry on an actual conversation, chances are I'm either in pajamas or work clothes and I'm either half asleep or carrying Samsonite bags under my eyes. There's a reason I prefer text chat/regular phone conversations and wholeheartedly refuse to video chat.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:00 AM on June 8, 2010


Just like to rant about the Evo "4G" for a second.

An IMT advanced cellular system must have target peak data rates of up to approximately 100 Mbit/s for high mobility such as mobile access and up to approximately 1 Gbit/s for low mobility such as nomadic/local wireless access, according to the ITU requirements.

The Evo is 4G only in Sprint's imagination land.

The Xohm network delivered a peak download speed of 4.4Mbit/sec

4.4 megabits?

More crap WiMax speeds. What speedtest.net saw.

Here's the list for reference:

Henderson: 4.07 Mbps
North Las Vegas: 3.82 Mbps
Salem: 5.19 Mbps
Tacoma: 3.41 Mbps
Everett: 2.89 Mbps
Boise: 3.54 Mbps
San Antonio: 7.95 Mbps
Schaumburg: 4.38 Mbps
Marietta: 5.03 Mbps
Duluth: 4.03 Mbps
Lawrenceville: 4.82 Mbps


And they can't even get this crap going without draining a massive 1500 mAh battery quick as lightning.

In comparison, we've got people over here on Telstra 21mbps HSPA sitting on over 10 megabits. Normal Telstra consumer on regular old "3G" using a regular 5MHz channel. 21mbps sector bandwidth just jumps on and pulls 10 megabits to the client. Another regular punter on an elite 21mbps gateway pulling 8 megabits. Another over 8 megabits.

That's your "4G" people. An antiquated piece of Sprint fantasty land crap that only looks good because AT&T and EV-DO is the competition. And the fact that delmoi got sucked in by sheer fantasy "my number is bigger" marketing hype all the while trying to assert himself by pissing all over Apple (which I don't give a crap about either way) for not having "4G" is just absolutely hilarious.

HSPA+ for life yo. Peace out.
posted by Talez at 6:19 AM on June 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Apple threads seem to be the only place where comments like these show up. We have opinions on all kinds of things we don't like but aren't forced to deal with. Can you imagine if every critical comment on, say, the Arizona immigration laws was countered with "Nobody's forcing you to live in Arizona"?

Not only is this exactly how I feel about Apple threads, it's exactly how I feel about the Arizona immigration law!

Well done.
posted by rulethirty at 6:35 AM on June 8, 2010


1. The original quote used the plural, so it wasn't just about you.
Right, he wasn't talking about me specifically, just everyone who agrees with me. Much better.
I singled you out because of your response, which admits one's preference for their special snowflake gadget is subjective...
What I said was that software quality was subjective, not that all attributes were objective. Of course, even with objective measures, people may prioritize them differently. So one person might want a phone with a keyboard, while another wants a phone that can do video conferencing without needing wifi. Of course, that means no one gets an iPhone 4.

Think about it this way. For each individual i there is some function Pi(s,o) the vector s would be the subjective evaluations, and o would would be the objective measures. Now each function is individual, and each person needs to determine the values for s on their own. But the values of o are the same for everyone (but how they affect the decision is not). Then the user buys whatever phone has the highest P() value.
yet just a few comments before you were challenging someone's idea of what the best snowflake gadget is. Why, if you know it's subjective? Then you finished it all up by wondering why someone was answering a question that wasn't directed at them
The problem here was that Space Coyote answered a question about why someone who didn't like the ad would buy the phone. He basically claimed that it was objectively better. When I pointed out some of (what I thought were) objective facts that made it worse, he basically said that that the software quality was objectively better. so much better that you'd have to be "dumb" not to get an iPhone. But those are both subjective things.

And, a lot of people just aren't even aware of apple's competitors, and therefore haven't evaluated other phones, or what they might do better, which is why I was pointing that stuff out. Trying to figure out why someone who didn't like apple's advertising and had never owned an iPhone would want one. I thought it might be because they hadn't thought about the alternatives.

But if Space Coyote is such an Apple fanboy that he get's upset and calls people "dumb" if they don't get an iPhone because of an ad or "foot stomping nerd" if they don't think one subjective measure is more important then all others then they can't possibly answer that question, can they?

*sigh* way too much typing to answer this. TL;DR: Some things are subjective, other things are objective and which things matter is subjective. One person can't say what things matter to people with different aesthetic preferences and they can't claim that subjective things are objective or objectively matter more. But I think it's reasonable to point out objective things you think might matter, if you think they might be unaware.
posted by delmoi at 6:59 AM on June 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I heard someone was wrong on the Internet.
posted by chunking express at 7:03 AM on June 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


An Android User’s Take On Yesterday’s iPhone News - A pretty balanced evaluation of the iPhone 4 from someone who's had both iPhones and Android phones. Seems like it's better (in some ways) than any current Android phones but probably won't stay that way for long. It's fun seeing Apple and Google constantly trying to one-up each other.

I won't be in the market for a new smart phone for about 18 months but I'm sure that both this iPhone and my current Droid will seem pretty antiquated by then.
posted by octothorpe at 7:42 AM on June 8, 2010


When I first moved to Ireland in... 2005? Vodafone was hyping up video chatting pretty hardcore (they had a little CGI sequence before the movies as a "turn off your phone" thing that advertised their fancy 3G network and video chatting). I still don't know a single person who has ever bought one of the video-chat-capable phones in order to do video chatting. In fact, I don't think any of my friends/family over there have ever done a single video call on their phone. I think this is a fun gimmick for now, but the real test will be once it's available over 3G. If I'm at a wifi network, I'm just going to use Skype on my laptop.
posted by antifuse at 8:01 AM on June 8, 2010


she dialed in to one of our phones, and it became a "proxy" for her for about 15 minutes.

I have seen this done with a laptop (a Macbook, FWIW) at a wedding reception. A good friend was overseas and unable to attend, except by proxy.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 8:04 AM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


delmoi, are you aware of any changes in societal norms, customs or etiquette that resulted from the introduction of video phones in other markets?

As to the rest of your comment, I understand what you're saying, but disagree with it. I think you're taking subjective statements as objective and feeling the need to battle against them, based on your own subjective measurements. Food for thought, or maybe not.

It doesn't do us or the site much good to engage in nerd thunderdome for the 3,249 time, so take it easy, ok?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:04 AM on June 8, 2010


delmoi, are you aware of any changes in societal norms, customs or etiquette that resulted from the introduction of video phones in other markets?

Nope.
posted by delmoi at 8:15 AM on June 8, 2010


The end of :hover?
posted by Artw at 9:25 AM on June 8, 2010


Is anyone aware of a change in the social norms of phote etiquette in a market where videophones already are? and for those markets that have them, are they used a lot or ignored?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:51 AM on June 8, 2010


Brandon - as I mentioned above, I don't know of ANYBODY who uses videophone calling in Ireland, nor did I ever see anybody doing a videophone call on their mobile in public. It was largely considered a gimmick by everybody I ever mentioned it to - even my 15 year old sister in law thinks it's silly.
posted by antifuse at 12:51 PM on June 8, 2010


> Is anyone aware of a change in the social norms of phote etiquette in a market where videophones already are? and for those markets that have them, are they used a lot or ignored?

I can't be sure, but I would imagine that you won't see much in the way of shifting norms until an overwhelming percentage of mobile phones have two-way cameras and the data networks can easily handle all the video feeds. Then, the built-in ubiquity will probably start to be utilized in earnest. Kind of the same thing with email adoption in the past decade.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:53 PM on June 8, 2010


Apple revises iOS rules on outside advertisers, cuts out Google, Adobe by implication
posted by Artw at 1:22 PM on June 8, 2010


Hutchison 3G launched in the UK with a range of phones entirely videocall-enabled in 2001. Most European carriers have had them for at least seven years now.

How can we make this clearer?

Nobody.

Ever.

Uses it.
posted by genghis at 1:35 PM on June 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


How Apple Tricks You
posted by Artw at 1:43 PM on June 8, 2010


You know what else people don't use? Tablet PCs.
posted by entropicamericana at 2:23 PM on June 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Almost noone uses video calling in Sweden either, and we have had it since 2003. Never even heard of any Swede using it until I read dabitch upthread.

entropicaamericana: You are incredibly annoying. We get that you love Apple, thanks. Now please cool it or I'll call Banksy.
posted by mr.marx at 2:57 PM on June 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Many people find valid counterpoints and corrections to blatant untruths to be incredibly annoying when they interfer with their dogmatic beliefs.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:07 PM on June 8, 2010


Well, to be honest - we've all had it for longer (and I've had video-enabled phones since 2004), I didn't start using it until the wee one started saying "mo-mo! mommo!". I promptly gifted gran her video-enabled phone just so that she could watch babydrool. Daughter yanks the phone from me whenever she wants to show gran something now. She thinks all phones are videophones and doesn't quite get it when there's no picture.
posted by dabitch at 3:10 PM on June 8, 2010


...meant as a reply to mr.marx.
posted by dabitch at 3:11 PM on June 8, 2010


How Apple Tricks You

Seems like the problem there is with people taking diagrams too literally. Of course Gawker would run with such a non-story.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 3:12 PM on June 8, 2010


*comes to the sudden realization that BABIES are the video-phones killer app, just like in that 194 AT&T ad....*
posted by dabitch at 3:22 PM on June 8, 2010


Of course Gawker would run with such a non-story.

Case in point, the Steve Jobs "keynote meltdown" silliness they're also running with...
posted by rollbiz at 3:59 PM on June 8, 2010


Babies aren't so much the "killer" video-calling app so much as the only video-calling app. Baby-related calls account for 90% of my Skype usage as well.
posted by GuyZero at 4:01 PM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apple revises iOS rules on outside advertisers, cuts out Google, Adobe by implication

The funny thing is that (some) people were claiming that the "real" reason apple wanted to exclude flash was so that they could control the libraries and thus the advertisements. But if apple wanted to do that, they could just ban competitors apps by fiat.
posted by delmoi at 4:03 PM on June 8, 2010


You know what else people don't use? Tablet PCs.
Tablet PCs were obviously broken. Video calling isn't: it does exactly what it promises, now works well in fact, and *still* no fucker uses it, despite some huge ad campaigns and effectively free calls.

On top of that, FaceTime is worse than what we've already got in Europe: it's only iPhone 4 to iPhone 4, and it only works if both ends are on wifi.

Seriously, the amount of grousing and bitching over things the iPhone had missing is a great indicator here. There was no end of belly-aching about the fact it couldn't send MMS picture messages. It seemed weird to me, but there was clearly a huge demand for the feature.

The amount of complaints that a 3G phone couldn't handle video calls? Zippity squat. Nobody cares.
posted by bonaldi at 4:04 PM on June 8, 2010


But if apple wanted to do that, they could just ban competitors apps by fiat.

I am not an anti-trust lawyer but I expect there are legal issues with doing that.
posted by GuyZero at 4:05 PM on June 8, 2010


GuyZero, hehe, I bet. Can't get anyone outside of business to Skype so I only use that for showing off desktop stuff when collaborating on design projects / reviewing stuff with several people far away. Sometimes this is all kinds of awesome, especially when you can drop files to each other mid-conversation.
posted by dabitch at 4:07 PM on June 8, 2010


Here is my business experience with Skype: "We can barely hear you Allen, are you on Skype again?"
posted by smackfu at 4:11 PM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's just one step better than "Hey gran, take the phone away from your ear! Look at the phone! C'mon gran, stop holding the phone to your ear, LOOK AT THE PHONE!"
posted by dabitch at 4:22 PM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am not an anti-trust lawyer but I expect there are legal issues with doing that.

Well, I would think there are theoretical legal issues with a lot of stuff their doing, like not allowing third party app stores (which you can actually do on Android) Banning flash from even exporting iPhone apps, etc. Apple still doesn't have the market share Microsoft did, though.
posted by delmoi at 4:22 PM on June 8, 2010


On top of that, FaceTime is worse than what we've already got in Europe: it's only iPhone 4 to iPhone 4, and it only works if both ends are on wifi.

3G-324M video calls are on a 64kbps bearer using H.245 for call setup, H.263 video and AMR audio. From experience I know that these calls provide jerky, heavily macroblocked videos despite the video being the size of a postage stamp.

Facetime on the other hand is a Wi-Fi only app using SIP for call setup (like most VoIP services), H.264 encoding for the video (which is already hardware accelerated and well understood) and AAC for the audio. If you've ever used iChat AV it's like chalk and cheese compared to 3G "videocalls" and, probably more importantly, it should be dead easy for everyone else to implement for interoperability.

Whether it's better or worse is in the eye of the beholder. Me personally? It's video calling being done properly, bringing people up to an awesome, well supported baseline standard in baby steps rather than trying to shoehorn crap video into a pathetically small bandwidth and I can't help but commend Apple for doing that.
posted by Talez at 4:31 PM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am not an anti-trust lawyer but I expect there are legal issues with doing that.

Which is why they are not naming companies in either case, though here, where they specify that you can't use anyone but an independent advertising service provider whose primary business is serving mobile ads (for example, an advertising service provider owned by or affiliated with a developer or distributor of mobile devices, mobile operating systems or development environments other than Apple would not qualify as independent), they might as well have added "THIS MEANS YOU, GOOGLE" in bold red underlined text.
posted by Artw at 4:31 PM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it remains to be seen how/if they can enforce those restrictions. I agree - they may as well have stated that no companies with "OO" in their name can collect data. Sorry Loopt.
posted by GuyZero at 4:37 PM on June 8, 2010


It's video calling being done properly, bringing people up to an awesome, well supported baseline standard in baby steps rather than trying to shoehorn crap video into a pathetically small bandwidth and I can't help but commend Apple for doing that.

Yeah, this. Apple tries to put out great products/features, even if it's in a limited capacity (i.e. Wifi and iPhone 4 only). It's also "sneakily" exclusive. If you want it to work, you need of the latest iPhone's, hello double sales! I don't think it'll be a big draw at this point, except to those who really want it, who will impress others with the quality of the chat and incite techno lust. Eventually it'll trickle down to the general populace and the carriers will be waiting with to charge you and arm and leg for it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:01 PM on June 8, 2010


TBH with the wi-fi restriction and despite some of the reservations I suspect it would be much more usefull as a Skype client, since people are actually on that already.
posted by Artw at 5:13 PM on June 8, 2010


Perhaps. But Skype a closed standard and there's no way in hell that Apple will support that.

iChat and mac desktop support will probably show up though.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:29 PM on June 8, 2010


Well it will be interesting to see if Skype adds video chat to their iPhone client.
posted by chunking express at 5:53 PM on June 8, 2010


Well it will be interesting to see if Skype adds video chat to their iPhone client

Apparently, Skype is interested in that as well. Not sure the details about how "open" this "standard" is that Apple's touting, but to make videochat even partially ubiquitous (and useful) it's a step in the right direction. Ideally, if any video-capable phone were able to run its own version of FaceTime (or at least the protocols) then it might actually take off. That's been the barrier to entry - neat tech, not enough people to share it with.
posted by revmitcz at 6:35 PM on June 8, 2010


"Open" is a pretty empty term as used by Apple these days.
posted by Artw at 8:01 PM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


My daughter has been video-calling her gran since she was wee (before verbal communication this was the best way to keep in constant touch with gran - we both have Sony Ericsson phones for this).

Thanks to this comment (and the insomnia that made me read this thread) I have discovered that my trusty old Sony phone can do video calls. I'd always wondered what the little dot on the front was; turns out it was a camera. Thanks, dabitch, I had no idea I'd been living in the future already for three years!

I have no idea if t'other half's phone has it. I may have to start calling random numbers to find someone to wave at.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 10:23 PM on June 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Tablet PCs were obviously broken. Video calling isn't: it does exactly what it promises, now works well in fact, and *still* no fucker uses it, despite some huge ad campaigns and effectively free calls.

It still doesn't work well, yet. It doesn't do what it promised; it doesn't work as well as voice calls. No one uses it because it's still far from ubiquitous. At least that's the case in most places from what I gather.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 10:48 PM on June 8, 2010


APPLE's new
TARGET:
Your BABIES

There's a headline for ya'!
posted by mr.marx at 12:17 AM on June 9, 2010


"Open" is a pretty empty term as used by Apple these days.

Oh come on. Outside their walled gardens Apple is all about driving innovation through open standards. Just because they do something dumb like say "download Safari because you'll get the true hardware accelerated experience" (which by the way is fairly accurate since Safari is the only browser at the moment hardware accelerating 3D CSS transforms) is no reason to throw away so much work and goodwill.
posted by Talez at 5:12 AM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


The big question about "open" is whether Apple means "uses open standards" or "is open for interoperability". If you can't call an iPhone from an Android phone, is that really open?
posted by smackfu at 7:08 AM on June 9, 2010


In the case of the 3D transforms it means Apple have come up with something and got it into a standards document (note the editors).
posted by Artw at 7:20 AM on June 9, 2010


Not sure the details about how "open" this "standard" is that Apple's touting

Why put this in scare quotes? Why not just look it up?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:26 AM on June 9, 2010


Um, Facetime is not just SIP. But you know that.
posted by mr.marx at 10:00 AM on June 9, 2010


If you can't call an iPhone from an Android phone, is that really open?

That may depend on Apple AND Google.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:44 PM on June 9, 2010


If you can't call an iPhone from an Android phone, is that really open?

Just clear up any FUD before it becomes a meme, you can call an iPhone from an Android phone. Now, video calls? That'll depend on Google, probably.
posted by entropicamericana at 12:55 PM on June 9, 2010


FUD? Video calls are the topic of conversation. Stop being dense.

And if Apple's "open" video call will, as you say, "depend on Google" to work on Android, that's pretty frikkin far from open.

You do not argue in good faith, at all.
posted by mr.marx at 1:50 PM on June 9, 2010


I don't see the word "video" prefacing the word "call" in the comment. I'm clarifying an imprecise statement.

As for the latter, if Google opts not to adopt Apple's FaceTime, I don't see how it would be Apple's fault?

we now return you to our regularly scheduled APPLE GRAR
posted by entropicamericana at 2:03 PM on June 9, 2010


Open standards that rely on patented technologies (H.264, AAC) may not be amenable to open-source implementations. Handset manufacturers other than Apple may not care enough to pay for license to provide FaceTime to their users.

As for the latter, if Google opts not to adopt Apple's FaceTime, I don't see how it would be Apple's fault?

Because Apple chose technologies that require payment to use.

It's the same reason there's no free sat-nav on iPhones. All Apple has to do is write Nokia or Google a cheque and every iPhone user could have turn-by-turn for free tomorrow.
posted by GuyZero at 2:29 PM on June 9, 2010


Open standards that rely on patented technologies (H.264, AAC) may not be amenable to open-source implementations. Handset manufacturers other than Apple may not care enough to pay for license to provide FaceTime to their users.

Compared to what? You think royalty free H.263 and AMR licenses are handed out in a muffin basket to every 3GPP licensee when they come along to the meeting at the lodge up in the mountains? That Skype just asked On2 "pretty please with sugar on top" to get VP7 for their video conferencing?

Apple tries to do something cool with near de facto industry standards? Hark kids it's time for fantasy land where every other competing thing is already free and open sourced! Reality? Reality be damned we're busy dissing Apple over here!
posted by Talez at 5:32 PM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Compared to not spending any money I guess. No point in paying money to build a feature that won't ship units. AMR is somewhat harder to avoid licensing.

Apple tries to do something cool with near de facto industry standards? Hark kids it's time for fantasy land where every other competing thing is already free and open sourced! Reality? Reality be damned we're busy dissing Apple over here!

What the heck are you on about? FaceTime, wooh hoo. it's great. If the question is "Why would everyone else (i.e. Android) not implement FaceTime right away???" then one possible answer is that they're too cheap. It doesn't have much to do with Apple at all.
posted by GuyZero at 5:37 PM on June 9, 2010


Apple tries to do something cool with near de facto industry standards? Hark kids it's time for fantasy land where every other competing thing is already free and open sourced! Reality? Reality be damned we're busy dissing Apple over here!

Welcome to Metafilter!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:45 PM on June 9, 2010


$222 billion companies don't need any sympathy.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:51 PM on June 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


$222 billion companies don't need any sympathy.</em

No one asking for sympathy for Apple, but a realist approach would be nice. I doubt anyone would would say they're a golden company that can do no wrong, but it seems people often go overboard in bashing Apple and don't let facts or reality get in their.

posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:44 AM on June 10, 2010


There's just a bit of skepticism towards companies proclaiming they are open nowadays. For instance, the iPad eBooks reader uses the "open" ePub standard but for practical purposes that means nothing since the standard supports DRM and Apple uses it. So what did that use of open standards gain the consumer?

Apple brags that FaceTime will use open standards, but what does that mean practically other than that someone else solved the problems for them?
posted by smackfu at 5:56 AM on June 10, 2010


It's depends on what the definition of "open" is. According to Wikipedia, an ePub doesn't have to contain DRM nor does it specify what DRM system to use. Does open mean no DRM at all or does it mean the option to add it is there?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:06 AM on June 10, 2010


You can load DRM free ePubs into iBooks. Also, iTunes can play regular-ass MP3s, in case you weren't sure about that.

I suspect Apple would sell eBooks without any DRM if the publishers didn't give a fuck.
posted by chunking express at 7:55 AM on June 10, 2010


My point is that I don't see much practical difference between these files:

1) Openly published format that is not usable in any other apps due to DRM.
2) Proprietary format.

Except that I suppose using DRMed ePub makes it easier to support non-DRMed ePub.
posted by smackfu at 8:32 AM on June 10, 2010


Apple faces new antitrust investigation over iOS advertising restrictions
posted by Artw at 9:33 AM on June 10, 2010


It still doesn't work well, yet. It doesn't do what it promised; it doesn't work as well as voice calls. No one uses it because it's still far from ubiquitous. At least that's the case in most places from what I gather.

I don't hear anybody in Ireland saying "I don't use video calling because it doesn't work well" - everybody I've talked to has said "I don't use video calling because I don't need to. If I'm out and about, I only need my phone for voice calls. If I'm at home, I can use Skype for video calls"
posted by antifuse at 10:13 AM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]



My point is that I don't see much practical difference between these files:

1) Openly published format that is not usable in any other apps due to DRM.
2) Proprietary format.


EPUB is a pretty open format, project gutenberg makes their books available in it. You can use it with or without a DRM format, if you load an epub document into itunes, it doesn't magically be stamped with DRM before your iPad can play it. However if you buy a book via the iBookStore, it will be the epub format with DRM enabled. Just as movies I add to itunes on my own, in MP4, doesn't have DRM, but movies I buy from the iTunes store do. Bother formats are open, but some content can be DRMed.
posted by mrzarquon at 10:16 AM on June 10, 2010


Yeha, I don't see any particular problems with ePub - it's widely used, it's not patent encumbered, you can create it obn any system and it makes a fair degree of sense for what it's intended to do.
posted by Artw at 10:40 AM on June 10, 2010


Oh, and talking of CSS3, This would kick so much ass and be so useful if it was standard...
posted by Artw at 11:36 AM on June 10, 2010


Mozilla man blasts Apple and Google for HTML5 abuse
posted by Artw at 11:44 AM on June 10, 2010


This would kick so much ass and be so useful if it was standard...

Yeah... I don't know. I know you've been witness to my complaint that the w3 box model forces the developer to balance the equation between the offsetWidth of an element and the padding and content width, rather than having the computer do it.

calc would be one way of fixing this, but there's a better way: box-sizing: border-box. However, imagine an alternate timeline in which CSS 2 had included calc (maybe to compete with DSSSL in a world where it had gained more ground or something). I worry that most people would have just accepted the problematic box model and there'd never have been border-box, and I wonder what bad decisions might be kept around because calc will work as a band-aid.
posted by weston at 12:15 PM on June 10, 2010


Yeah, that's basically "turn on the old IE box model". You know, despite the immense hassles it has caused over the years I can kind of forgive them implementing it that way at first, because it actually made sense, and what we have now doesn't.

You're right that it esentially eliminates most of the use cases for calc, and is available cross browser today (ignoring IE7 and under).
posted by Artw at 12:28 PM on June 10, 2010


Heh. Apparently IE used to do something similar to Calc, but it sucked and it's been taken out now.
posted by Artw at 12:46 PM on June 10, 2010


Adobe Flash Player 10.1 now officially available for download - currently no Mac hardware acceleration.

Macs running Steam are more powerful than PCs, on average
posted by Artw at 1:27 PM on June 10, 2010


This is such an awesome way to compare 83% to 90%:

While 17 percent of Windows users are also stuck with a single CPU, over 90 percent of Macs running Steam have a dual-core
posted by smackfu at 2:03 PM on June 10, 2010


Microsoft bares Steve Jobs' Flash rant claptrap
posted by Artw at 2:17 PM on June 10, 2010


Oh dear... Safari 5 hangs a LOT so far
posted by Artw at 2:27 PM on June 10, 2010


artw: "Macs running Steam are more powerful than PCs, on average"

This just seems like they're covering for the fact that graphics performance is worse in OS X than in Windows on Apple's own hardware. Sadly I'm not deleting my boot camp partition just yet.
posted by mullingitover at 2:53 PM on June 10, 2010


10.6.4 is supposed have a lot of driver updates; obviously gaming performance hasn't really been a big issue on the Mac until Steam.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:25 PM on June 10, 2010


This is more of a "Macs running Steam have to be more powerful, in hardware, to get the same performance out of running in an Apple OS." As it always has been, even with as traditionally Apple-friendly game companies as Blizzard.

There's also the inability to upgrade components to consider. A PC user might upgrade parts as they individually get outdated, and only as far as they need them, while a Mac user is forced to purchase an entirely new system when the only problem with the old one was insufficient RAM. A processor and video card that could have run TF2 fine with 2 gigs of RAM have to get pitched along with the 1 gig that they came with.
posted by kafziel at 3:56 PM on June 10, 2010


> There's also the inability to upgrade components to consider. A PC user might upgrade parts as they individually get outdated, and only as far as they need them, while a Mac user is forced to purchase an entirely new system when the only problem with the old one was insufficient RAM.

You can upgrade ram fine on most machines (the exception being the macbook air), the hardest components to upgrade have been processors (good luck) and video card (only mac pro's, and its really finding a graphics card that supports the EFI chipset at this point). Now the machines may have limits (iMacs only have 2 ram slots on them), but you can upgrade them with standard ram. This macbook pro can go up to 8gb using ddr3-1066mhz so-dimms I can buy from crucial, etc.

No the poor graphics performance has been because Apple hasn't really be optimizing the drivers or tuning them for gaming, since their goal has been 2d space image rendering / corevideo / opencl stuff, not game FPS. The flip side is, since apple has maybe 10 graphics cards they have to support across the entire 10.6.X os level (intel only hardware), they can get those up to speed and optimized a lot faster than other manufacturers. And probably get nVidia and ATI to throw some engineer time their way as well.
posted by mrzarquon at 4:16 PM on June 10, 2010


Oh god. Not the upgrade thing again. Last time I wanted to upgrade my WinTel box, I had to replace the motherboard, which also mean replacing pretty much everything except my network card and the case. It was easier to get a new computer, and hardly much more expensive. Upgradability is overrated. I can upgrade the RAM and HDD on my Macs and that's all I care about.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 6:36 PM on June 10, 2010


while a Mac user is forced to purchase an entirely new system when the only problem with the old one was insufficient RAM

It's trivially easy to upgrade memory in Macs. This kind of trolling does you no service.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:39 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't know about current Mac towers, but I always liked how the old ones would swing open to let you at the guts.
posted by Artw at 8:56 PM on June 10, 2010


Canonical making full-fledged Ubuntu tablet push in early 2011
posted by Artw at 12:36 AM on June 11, 2010


I don't know about current Mac towers, but I always liked how the old ones would swing open to let you at the guts.

Actually those were a bit of an annoyance, since you had to position the machine so there was clearance for the door to swing open. Not a big deal, but when you needed that access, you suddenly realized the problem.

The latest towers allow you to take the side off. Weird to think I'll probably never buy a tower again since laptops are so powerful these days.

There's also the inability to upgrade components to consider. A PC user might upgrade parts as they individually get outdated, and only as far as they need them, while a Mac user is forced to purchase an entirely new system when the only problem with the old one was insufficient RAM.

I think the Mac mini was the only one that suffered from that problem and it seemed intentional based on what the unit was supposed to be, a buy once, never have to fool with machine. Otherwise RAM is easy to install and I'm thinking of swapping out the network card in my Macbook, which while isn't trivially easy, there are plenty of documented step by step photo and video instructions to do so.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:18 AM on June 11, 2010


I can pop a Powerbook open like a sardine tin. iBooks were a little tougher, and I have yet to dig into a unibody, but it's no biggie to get into a Mac.

There's a line between the all-in-one iMacs & the towers as far as what they were designed for, & the compact design of the iMacs necessitated that the video chip be set on the motherboard, (after the G3 gumdrop iMacs, anyway) but other than that, they're usually a couple of screws, & in. The one that was a pain was the lampshade design, because you needed thermal paste to get the the hard drive or DVD drive, as you had to pull the logic board off the heat sink.

All the towers, since the original blue & white G3 were as easy, if not easier, to get into than any PC I've seen. you could upgrade CPUs on the G3 & G4 towers, as well, but not the G5's, since CPU speed & bus speed were integral. I think the Intel towers are CPU-upgradable, now, but haven't messed with one.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:37 AM on June 11, 2010


The Mac Pro is a $2500 computer, so I can't imagine that is a major part of the install base nowadays.
posted by smackfu at 7:06 AM on June 11, 2010


No, it's not -- the whole PC industry has seen a huge shift towards portable, anyway. Portables all have everything integrated due to space constraints.

I think the whole "Macs are Expensive!/PC's are Upgradeable!" debate is about ten years out of date. It goes back to the mid-late 90's when you HAD to upgrade a cheap Windows box to have much of a computer. Audio? That's a PCI card. Ethernet? That's a PCI card. Wirelesss? PCI card. USB? Firewire? PCI cards. Macs from that era were more expensive out of the box, but shipped with a majority of that on-board, integrated in other ways than PCI. Not as user-configurable, but not as necessary to be configured in the first place. Apple were trying to move the add-on market from inside the computer to outside of it, via USB & Firewire, instead of PCI, as a move towards the consumer market. Want additional drive space? go buy an external drive and plug it in here. Done. It was a very successful paradigm shift for them.

The downside to the consumer Macs of course, has always been that if any of this stuff went out on the motherboard, you were sunk, but historically, that's not what breaks on Macs anyway, from what I've seen. If a motherboard goes, it's usually the CPU or a RAM slot, not the Firewire bus, so I don't think it ended up costing people a lot overall in terms of repair.

You can get into a Mini pretty easily, but basically, a Mini is a Powerbook/Macbook without a built in screen or keyboard. Adding ram or swapping a hard drive of DVD drive isn't that big a deal.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:25 AM on June 11, 2010


Well, I would never describe getting into my mini as "easy". More like "possible".
posted by smackfu at 7:57 AM on June 11, 2010


I think the whole "Macs are Expensive!/PC's are Upgradeable!" debate is about ten years out of date. It goes back to the mid-late 90's when you HAD to upgrade a cheap Windows box to have much of a computer.

I think it's out of date as well, but moreso because everybody is getting laptops nowadays, and laptops aren't really upgradeable.

Having said that, there used to be a time in the PC world where *all* you had to do was upgrade your CPU/RAM (keeping the same motherboard) and you had a vastly improved machine for relatively little cash. I haven't been keeping up with that world these days, but it feels like there's new CPU/RAM slot/speed architechture coming into play all the time nowadays, so if you want to upgrade your PC you're looking at a whole new MB/CPU/RAM/Video card combination.
posted by antifuse at 8:47 AM on June 11, 2010


Have you tried? It takes a small putty knife and about 15 seconds. But seriously, if what you want is a cheap computer with lots of PCI slots, then a Mini is not a good computer for you. They're after the Aunt Cindy market with those, though. They're starter machines. When was the last time your Aunt Cindy wanted to upgrade the GPU on her computer?

Apple has chosen to ignore the low-end tower market for reasons obscure to me, but it doesn't make the machines they do have impossible to get RAM into. It's specifically easy on all the iMacs, really.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:50 AM on June 11, 2010


I think the whole "Macs are Expensive!/PC's are Upgradeable!" debate is about ten years out of date. It goes back to the mid-late 90's when you HAD to upgrade a cheap Windows box to have much of a computer.

It's still very much true. Apple wants $3000 for a desktop that you could build for less than a grand. They want $2000 for a laptop that costs $600 from any other manufacturer. Apple consumers pay a 200% markup for the privilege of the logo.
posted by kafziel at 10:53 AM on June 11, 2010


Ugh, not a Mac vs. PC pricing debate. They're silly anyways since the problem with Macs is not generally the prices, which are fairly comparable to the equivalent on the PC side, at least when it comes out. The problem with Macs is the gaps in the line. You have to buy that $3000 professional desktop because Apple doesn't make the equivalent of the $1000 consumer desktop. And they don't make a $600 low-end heavy laptop. So if you do want that missing Mac, you're screwed.

For instance, the trade-offs of the mini are not ones I find useful. It uses laptop parts which hurt the performance, just to get it in a smaller box. I'd prefer desktop parts in a slightly larger case. But Apple doesn't make that, and their next step up desktop has an integrated display, which I really don't want. To get what I want, I'd have to move from the $600 mini to the $2500 Mac Pro. Crazy.
posted by smackfu at 11:06 AM on June 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fine, you can have some of your damn games in the App store, but only with written permission.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:08 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apple consumers pay a 200% markup for the privilege of the logo.

At a certain point, one just stops arguing with wildly inaccurate claims.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:08 AM on June 11, 2010


You know I was all excited for FaceTime because I figured you'd be able to switch out of it back to a voice call (see my previous comment), but from the looks of the interface that may not be possible.

Has anyone seen a review that mentions this functionality? Without it I think you lose a lot of casual use that would get a lot of folks using it (and inspire sales).
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:19 AM on June 11, 2010


that sounds like a really cool feature wemayfreeze.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:25 AM on June 11, 2010


smackfu: "It uses laptop parts which hurt the performance, just to get it in a smaller box. It uses laptop parts which hurt the performance, just to get it in a smaller box."

On the bright side, it makes a hell of a HTPC thanks to being near-silent. I have a last-gen Mini with craptacular Intel integrated graphics and it still manages to push 720p video in a not-entirely-horrible fashion. My roommate shockingly manages to play WoW on the thing (although it has overheated and suddenly rebooted a few times while he was doing this). I definitely agree that they should make a roided-up Mini to plug the gap, but I think they could get a great deal of power into this form factor simply by waiting for the components to get more powerful. Just move up to DDR3 and nVidia graphics with hardware h.264 decoding, drop in a SSD, and give it a Core i5 or so and suddenly things start looking pretty usable.

Apple's hardware isn't necessarily marked up 200%, but their profit margin is over 20% which is double (or triple) what the rest of the industry is pulling. OTOH the resale value for their hardware is extremely good. It's a reliable rule of thumb that you can craigslist your 2-year-old Apple hardware for 75% of what you paid for it without any trouble.
posted by mullingitover at 11:54 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


To get what I want, I'd have to move from the $600 mini to the $2500 Mac Pro. Crazy.

It is vexing. I've got a 7-year-old G5 right now because I don't have the means to replace it with an Intel tower, and I've got a nice display already, and lots of peripherals that would make an iMac a poor choice, and the mini isn't the machine for me, as I really need multiple capacious, fast hard drives for audio. The no-midrange-tower thing is vexing to a lot of would-be Mac purchasers, for sure. I guess they just don't see a whole lot of margin in what's a pretty commoditized portion of the market. When I finally do replace the G5, it'll probably be with a used Intel tower off of craigslist or something. I can't do teh shiny new.

The minis are great little machines, if you want small. I've got one sitting under my Airport, right now, on top of a speaker. I can't for the life of me think of a use for the thing, though.
posted by Devils Rancher at 12:50 PM on June 11, 2010


You have to buy that $3000 professional desktop because Apple doesn't make the equivalent of the $1000 consumer desktop. And they don't make a $600 low-end heavy laptop.

My point, is, they do make that $1000 desktop. They just charge $3000 for it.

Here are the components, including OS, to make a brand new desktop that outperforms anything Apple will sell you. Final price before shipping, $1138.91. Apple's top of the line Mac Pro costs $3000 for a weaker system. Don't want to assemble it yourself? Here's an $1100 Dell with capabilities still in excess of that $3000 Mac.

The Apple Tax is inarguably a real thing.
posted by kafziel at 1:10 PM on June 11, 2010


But dude....unboxing. UNBOXING!
posted by Burhanistan at 1:14 PM on June 11, 2010


Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit, English

Dealbreaker.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:16 PM on June 11, 2010


Oh, your newegg.com links go to an account login page
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:19 PM on June 11, 2010


Effectively paying $2000 for OS X is a dealbreaker for some people.

Also: anyone who isn't hand-toggling bits onto their processor bus is a loser anyway.
posted by GuyZero at 1:22 PM on June 11, 2010


Here are the components, including OS, to make a brand new desktop that outperforms anything Apple will sell you. Final price before shipping, $1138.91.

Ah, but the devil is in the details. Apple uses a 2.66 GHZ Nehalem Xeon processor in their $2499 Mac Pro. This is a $999 part. Now it's true that the 2.40 GHz version is $569 at NewEgg. Would anyone pay $430 for that little benefit? Not many people. Does that mean Apple is "taxing" you by using the better part? I wouldn't say so.

Apple uses expensive stuff in their expensive workstation. If you price out a Dell Precision workstation using that Xeon processor, it runs about $2500 too.
posted by smackfu at 1:53 PM on June 11, 2010


Effectively paying $2000 for OS X is a dealbreaker for some people.

I was thinking about that, if I was looking to buy a tower, would I still go with the Apple tower vs a Windows one.

The answer, based on working almost daily with PCs and a Mac at home is HELL YEAH, though I'd actually probably get an iMac, the 27" screen is friggingg gorgeous, I'd marry it if I could.

The strict money comparison never worked for me. Paying money for quality tends to save money in the long run.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:02 PM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


smackfu: I think you're spot on... at least, I've long felt the same way. You can kindof skirt the issue by buying 2-3 year old pro hardware and upgrading, but that can sometimes leave you dealing with the hardware issues some of use Apple's stuff in part to avoid.

kafziel: like most of the people with part price lists who bring this up over and over, you're right and you're wrong. It's true, there's some Apple markup on hardware, and if you want to put in some additional investment in system assembly/setup/administration costs and trade out any support and warrantee, you can skirt this and save some cash. Where you're wrong is (a) you're not quite making an apples-to-apples part comparison, as it were, but more importantly (b) in the analysis that there's no additional value in the products as a whole other than the brand identity.

Effectively paying $2000 for OS X is a dealbreaker for some people.

If that was the actual price tag for the software license (plus maybe the bits on plastic), it might be a dealbreaker for me, but it might not be. But, then again, this is because of a particular confluence of things I want from my computer. Not everyone has those, and unsurprisingly, many of those people don't see the same value I do in OS X.
posted by weston at 2:07 PM on June 11, 2010


Apple sells expensive products to people, who somewhat by definition, are not price sensitive. There's no moral imperative in price sensitivity - buying a more expensive product when a cheaper substitute exists isn't bad or something. But I don't think anyone should pretend that Apple doesn't charge a premium for something that's functionally equivalent, personal tastes aside.

What's really surprising is that no one else seems to have made this trick work. Lots of car manufacturers do it. Somehow there's isn't an Audi of Windows boxes to Dell's VW.
posted by GuyZero at 2:07 PM on June 11, 2010


> Somehow there's isn't an Audi of Windows boxes to Dell's VW.

Maybe not Audi, perhaps a Unimog though. You can drop A TON of cash on Dell boxes if you want.

Anyway, with a decent box, Windows 7 is pretty darned good, especially if you use its built-in home networking with other Windows 7 boxes. You can have a decent home media network without a server with painless setup.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:15 PM on June 11, 2010


GuyZero: "What's really surprising is that no one else seems to have made this trick work. Lots of car manufacturers do it. Somehow there's isn't an Audi of Windows boxes to Dell's VW."

There are other manufacturers that make beefy machines, they just lack the slick marketing that Apple has mastered. Game PC puts together some jaw-dropping machines (in specs and price), but they're more Caterpillar than BMW to Apple's Audi.
posted by mullingitover at 2:23 PM on June 11, 2010


There was AlienWare. They got bought by Dell though. Dell does have a more stylish line of desktops too under the Studio brand, like the one linked above.
posted by smackfu at 2:26 PM on June 11, 2010


something that's functionally equivalent, personal tastes aside.

It depends on what you mean by personal tastes. If you're talking about aesthetics and preferences on little details, sure.

If you're talking about time investment in system administration/maintenance and a platform that's both a pretty good Unix and a desktop environment that'll seamlessly run many popular commercial software packages, not so much.

Somehow there's isn't an Audi of Windows boxes to Dell's VW.

It doesn't happen with Windows because of the separation between hardware and software. I'm not just talking about the stability of the integration, though that sure matters. You might build a box that runs Windows really really well. But if you're building Windows boxes, the focus of the overall experience using the computer is still going to be Windows, unless you take pains to customize Windows. But if you were doing that, why not sell your software to users of other Windows boxes? And, while you're at it, either get bought by the people who own Windows or find yourself in competition when they realize they can do what you're doing?

The market logic of really distinguishing yourself in the Windows world doesn't work really well. So you don't really see luxury cars. You see solid and/or muscly boxes.
posted by weston at 2:30 PM on June 11, 2010


> The market logic of really distinguishing yourself in the Windows world doesn't work really well. So you don't really see luxury cars

Sony used to make a passable attempt at that with the VAIO line, but there's no reason to get one of those.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:34 PM on June 11, 2010


But I don't think anyone should pretend that Apple doesn't charge a premium for something that's functionally equivalent, personal tastes aside.

I think it's a bit of a stretch to say Windows is functionally equivalent to OS X. Powershell is nowhere near the ease of use and functionality of a UNIX or AppleScript shell in OS X. The UI features are clearly different and more numerous in OS X. There are so many other under-the-hood differences that make OS X a better experience and a better value. We pay a "premium" for a better mousetrap.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:27 PM on June 11, 2010


From, the standpoint of an economist, Windows and OS X are pretty much perfect substitutes. There are some externalities like investments in platform-specific software but there's really nothing one can do that the other cannot. I use a Mac every day so don't think I'm some sort of hater here. Solaris, Mac OS, Windows, Linux, OS/390, whatever. They're all different in the specifics but they're all pretty much the same.

For Macs I think there is a legitimate split between people who deal with OS X because they like the hardware and people who are willing to pay a hardware premium because they like OS X. Eiterh way, people are willing to pay a premium.
posted by GuyZero at 5:44 PM on June 11, 2010


We pay a "premium" for a better mousetrap.

But like a beautifully built luxury car that doesn't really get you to the supermarket any faster than a cheap enconobox, spending the money on OS X doesn't really buy me anything extra that I need. My cheapo HP laptop browses the web, plays games and runs a remote desktop to my work computer pretty much as functionally as a MacBook would.

As someone with a couple of CS degrees, I can see that OS X is a very nicely designed OS, a very nice implementation of Unix and much better under the covers than Windows but as a consumer, I don't care. Ever since XP, windows has been good enough for 95% of what I need to do and it's not worth the extra $1000 to get that last 5%.
posted by octothorpe at 9:23 PM on June 11, 2010


spending the money on OS X doesn't really buy me anything extra that I need... as a consumer, I don't care

Some consumers are getting sick of viruses, spyware and malware that make Windows machines unusable. Not all, but some, people are realizing that having a better foundation underneath the frame of the house is worth a little extra up-front.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:52 PM on June 11, 2010


Ever since XP, windows has been good enough for 95% of what I need to do and it's not worth the extra $1000 to get that last 5%.

Oddly enough my daughter had an interesting take on this. She's going to college next year, needs a new computer, wants a laptop, so we've been looking around at them at the local Best Buy. Loves the Macbook Pro, but in the interest showing her everything, we "made" her look at the netbooks too. She played with them for a bit and said this (paraphrasing): "I have no problem using Windows, that's fine. I'd prefer the Mac, but I Windows is fine, but I'm sick of using computers with it, they're always breaking down or getting viruses. At school it seems like there's always some computers that are messed up or slow. You know there's been the same virus running around on them for the past two years?

Me: "Oh, they must have crappy computer administrators then."

Daughter: "Yeah, but when I go to Grammy's, her computer is messed up sometimes too. When I use my Mac at home, I never have to worry about getting a virus or it being broken or not working, we've never had to take it to somebody to fix. So yeah, the netbooks are nice and a lot cheaper and I get that's important what with college being expensive, but I really want a Mac, especially if I'm going away a small ass town."

She makes a great point. Windows is fine to use, but it comes with such baggage, that it's possible to develop a negative attitude towards it. Hell, at work, after the 3rd time of having my personal PC rebuilt and having to spend half a day resetting the settings in Creative Suite and other programs, is it any wonder I'd stab myself before using a PC at home or the App store's walled garden approach doesn't bother personally me that much? I just want to use the computer, not spend hours dicking around with it or being without it 'cause it needs to be rebuilt by an overworked computer tech who will get to it in a couple of days.

Obviously Macs aren't bulletproof and the threat from viruses isn't non-existent, but the overall experience of not having to spend time taking care of and getting an OS I feel is superior is worth the paying the extra money for quality.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:18 AM on June 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've been having the exact same conversation with my daughter for the exact same reason. She's going to engineering school in the fall, and had been leaning Windows-ish because of some of the software. I pointed out that a Macbook could boot natively in OS X and Windows, or she could run Windows in Parallels, and that was pretty much the end of the conversation. So in a month or so, I get to take my first crack at Boot Camp & installing a Windows 7partition, but I'm glad that it'll be on a computer that I can administer with some ease for her, otherwise. (that & she wants the free iPod deal. She's still kind of a kid, after all)
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:26 AM on June 12, 2010


Yeah, mine had been totally wanting for the free iPod deal to come around again.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:05 AM on June 12, 2010


iPhone 4: Why video calling is a wasted feature
posted by Artw at 8:34 AM on June 12, 2010


iPhone 4 launch day at AT&T stores: 7AM opening, awesome t-shirts confirmed
posted by Artw at 8:38 AM on June 12, 2010


iPhone 4: Why video calling is a wasted feature

It's hard to take someone seriously if they're complaining about the lack of QWERTY keyboard on the iPhone.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:07 AM on June 12, 2010


Those shirts are definitely awesome. Wish I could get one.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:36 AM on June 12, 2010


This prompted the Wired article editors to give it the headline "iPhone 4’s ‘Retina’ Display Claims Are False Marketing". As it happens, I know a thing or two about resolution as well, having spent a few years calibrating a camera on board Hubble. Having looked this over, I disagree with the Wired headline strongly, and mildly disagree with Soneira. Here’s why.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:16 AM on June 12, 2010


Making an iPad HTML5 App & making it really fast
posted by Artw at 7:33 AM on June 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Interesting question on the resolution front : With the high-res iPhone 4 display, can they stop using anti-aliasing? Would that be a perf boost, or does more pixels make it a wash?
posted by Artw at 7:35 AM on June 13, 2010


On the flip side, what would you gain by dropping anti-aliasing. There's not any additional runtime complexity to anti-alias font rendering. Also, if it didsub-pixel rendering the effective DPI would be even higher. But unfortunately the iPhone doesn't do that.
posted by GuyZero at 3:43 PM on June 13, 2010


But unfortunately the iPhone doesn't do that
I think that's probably for the best -- all the sub-pixel rendering I've seen is dubious at best in the native orientation and simply awful when the display is rotated. Given that the iPhone and iPad displays can be used in all four orientations, it'd be worse-looking more often than not.
posted by bonaldi at 5:41 PM on June 13, 2010


the iPhone and iPad displays can be used in all four orientations

That's the reason: subpixel rendering only works in one orientation, because LCD crystals are oriented horizontally, from red to green to blue.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:43 PM on June 13, 2010


Apple's launch of Safari 5 made it final: the marketing people have snatched the term "HTML5" away from the developers.
posted by Artw at 4:53 PM on June 14, 2010


Anyone managed to get a pre-order successfully placed this morning? I've been trying for about 2 hours now...
posted by rollbiz at 6:11 AM on June 15, 2010


No, and I'm about to a strangle a manatee.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:43 AM on June 15, 2010


So for anyone who happens to see this and is also having problems pre-ordering, I have a solution from an Engadget commenter that worked for me. This requires two things: You must be able to pick up at an Apple Store, and you must have an iPad or iPhone already...

Go download Apple Store app
Select iPhone 4
When you see upgrade or new line, regardless of upgrade or what, select new line
This will then ask you for your apple id password,
This will then confirm your reservation for the phone you picked.

I used this method to book a reservation, and it seemed to work (I have a confirmation email). Two people who have used it since also claim to have either called a store or walked into one and they were told this will be fine.
posted by rollbiz at 10:26 AM on June 15, 2010


iPhone 4 Pre-Order Disaster: Total Collapse, Security Breaches
posted by homunculus at 10:29 AM on June 15, 2010


They accidentally the whole iPhone.
posted by GuyZero at 10:38 AM on June 15, 2010


According to that Gizmodo article, using the Apple Store app leaves you with a $700 phone, no upgrade pricing. So ... don't do that.
posted by kafziel at 10:45 AM on June 15, 2010


According to that Gizmodo article, using the Apple Store app leaves you with a $700 phone, no upgrade pricing. So ... don't do that.

No, not really. No payment info is required when you reserve the phone. According to the guy I just spoke to at Apple, the specialists will be able to sort this out on release day. This will depend on AT&T of course, but so does every other method. At least this way you can get your name assigned to a phone.
posted by rollbiz at 10:50 AM on June 15, 2010


Well, the new Mac mini is smaller and more expensive, but much easier to get into. So that's a mixed bag.
posted by smackfu at 1:48 PM on June 15, 2010


> According to that Gizmodo article, using the Apple Store app leaves you with a $700 phone, no upgrade pricing. So ... don't do that.

You don't buy the iPhone through the app, just hold a reservation. I managed to persevere through the Apple store issues, and got my order in. For those who didn't know, Apple can only ship a subsidized phone to your ATT billing address, on a thursday, which means home. So I guess I get to work remotely thursday. Possibly justifying by being slightly more useful than my colleagues waiting in line at the Apple store.

As for why this crapped out so poorly:

When you check the eligibility of the iPhone, it has to query ATT's servers, the same servers that were just publicly exposed as being extremely insecure last week. I would not be surprised at all that this system was designed to fly through activation until the ATT engineers realized that it wasn't secure at all, and had to do some last minute tweaks that totally messed up any performance optimization the had planned for (ATT has to query against your account history and see if you are eligible). Ontop of this, once you do go through all these hoops, you aren't actually issued a standard 'iPhone 4, 32GB, Black" model number and SKU, apple has to account for the fact that they are getting money from you and some sort of fake money from ATT from your account, so instead of 3 SKU's in their system for 8gb 3Gs, 16GB 4, 32GB 4, if they just sold a million iPhones as upgrades, that is a million new SKU's to track somehow. Now there are probably way to optimize it and balance it out, and under normal load it works out fine, but considering that Apple has already sold out of it's existing scheduled inventory for the iPhone's 24th release (that first batch is being flown over from Taiwan, the second batch is coming on a boat, hence 4-6 day delivery time) in under 20 hours, they sheer volume of transactions must have been brutal.

So combine a pretty horrible bottleneck of ATT's servers (which may have just had all their optimization broken by last minute security changes), and customized inventory objects for each user, with possibly a million purchases and how many more nerds hitting refresh over and over again trying to get through, and you get today. Granted this is entirely uninformed, armchair sysadmin speculation, but it's the internet, and whats that without speculation.

Really at this point, Apple should adopt a rapidshare type system that is pretty much "we can process 5,000 customer requests at a time, if you are customer 5,001 we will actually give you a Nx2 timer that will display on your screen, counting down until we handle your order, where N is the average time it takes to handle a lookup". I believe Best Buy had negotiated some sort of pre-access or cached access to ATT's user database, so they were able to presell iPhones without having to actively query ATT's servers, why they can do that and Apple can't may have something to do with the lower volume from Best Buy, or previous deals with ATT.
posted by mrzarquon at 10:32 PM on June 15, 2010


It's still very much true. Apple wants $3000 for a desktop that you could build for less than a grand. They want $2000 for a laptop that costs $600 from any other manufacturer.

Links please.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 6:19 AM on June 16, 2010


Here's the $3,000 desktop, honest.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:40 AM on June 16, 2010


Hacker in AT&T-iPad security case arrested on drug charges
posted by homunculus at 8:48 AM on June 16, 2010


Links please.

Spec a Mac Pro, then compare it to a comparably-specced PC. After the $350 it costs to upgrade from a 640gb hard drive to a 2TB hard drive - something that even for a fresh purchase costs a PC user $200 at the absolute most and more reasonably around $140 - and the $200 it costs to upgrade to the best video card they offer - something two years old and at the bare minimum of available memory and still, somehow, more expensive than even a far more powerful and newer card from either chipset manufacturer - you're past $3000. Keep in mind those prices are upgrades, a $140 hard drive is costing you $350 plus whatever their base price for that 640gb is.

Can't seem to get Newegg to display a published wishlist, so I'd point to this case, this motherboard, this video card, this power supply, this processor, this memory, this hard drive, this DVD burner, and this copy of Windows 7 Professional for a desktop more capable than anything Apple's willing to sell you, for a third the price - $1,157.91 plus shipping if you order the parts this very second.

As for laptops? Spec a 15" Macbook Pro, then compare it to this $650 Acer. Or look at this $1200 Acer, cheaper than the shittiest Macbook Pro and more capable than the $3000 top of the line. And they don't expect you to use Apple's godawful, borderline-unusable buttonless touchpad.
posted by kafziel at 11:05 AM on June 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


> Can't seem to get Newegg to display a published wishlist, so I'd point to this case, this motherboard, this video card, this power supply, this processor, this memory, this hard drive, this DVD burner, and this copy of Windows 7 Professional for a desktop more capable than anything Apple's willing to sell you, for a third the price - $1,157.91 plus shipping if you order the parts this very second.

That logic board can't support two 16x pci-e cards and two 4x pci-3 cards all at the same time? Or a xeon 5500 / 3500? Spec a windows machines that actually matches those tech specs and try to find me one in the same price range. It doesn't even have dual gigabit ethernet, something essential if you were planning to integrate workstation into a production video editing environment, one of the core areas of Apple's workstation market.
posted by mrzarquon at 12:41 PM on June 16, 2010


kafziel: "As for laptops? Spec a 15" Macbook Pro, then compare it to this $650 Acer. Or look at this $1200 Acer, cheaper than the shittiest Macbook Pro and more capable than the $3000 top of the line. And they don't expect you to use Apple's godawful, borderline-unusable buttonless touchpad."

Macs keep their resale value, so that's a factor. Also, the Acers have lower-res screens, weigh more and are generally bulkier, and are made from cheaper materials.

Meanwhile, as data point, there are things that irritate me about OS X but the new trackpads are something they got right imho.
posted by mullingitover at 12:58 PM on June 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Didn't we already have this argument?
posted by smackfu at 1:04 PM on June 16, 2010


We have, I just wanted to kill some time when I was waiting for this windows workstation to update. There is more than just raw specs for any computing decision. And arguing over self built gaming desktop vs cad or graphics workstations that make money by the hour is a continually pointless comparison
posted by mrzarquon at 1:31 PM on June 16, 2010


HTML5 'unhinged from reality,' say Javascripters
posted by Artw at 2:19 PM on June 16, 2010


I think we need more bullet point lists of hardware specs to convince everyone.
posted by benzenedream at 2:58 PM on June 16, 2010


As for laptops? Spec a 15" Macbook Pro, then compare it to this $650 Acer.

The Macbook is lighter, smaller and has almost double the battery life (8-9 hours vs 4) and has a 800mb Firewire port. Can run Windows if need be.

Or look at this $1200 Acer

The Macbook is still smaller, lighter and definitely more battery life (8.9 hours vs 3.5 hours!), can run Windows, but come with it, woot!

Hell the difference is battery life alone could justify the price difference to me as a consumer.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:22 AM on June 17, 2010


I think we need more bullet point lists of hardware specs to convince everyone.

Some people just can't resist.
posted by smackfu at 5:39 AM on June 17, 2010


Peter Serafinowicz: Five Reasons I Love Apple and Five Reasons I Hate Apple
posted by Artw at 10:50 AM on June 17, 2010


Just like I thought: You base these things on features that you think are the most valuable while ignoring the ones you don't value. No consideration to even the most basic things such as screen quality.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 6:23 PM on June 17, 2010


And what's wrong with their touchpad? Mine works just fine, even for right clicking and dragging.
posted by Soupisgoodfood at 6:25 PM on June 17, 2010


Valve says Apple, NVIDIA and ATI are working to improve Mac gaming performance

Suprisingly Jobs hasn't taken time out to calls any of them lazy, bad developers.
posted by Artw at 6:35 PM on June 17, 2010


Well, they are actually working to improve performance, without trying to strong arm Apple, so that's not too surprising.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:53 AM on June 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Did Apple Update Mac's Malware Protection--But Not Tell Anyone?
posted by homunculus at 6:02 PM on June 19, 2010


Privacy Change: Apple Knows Where Your Phone Is And Is Telling People
posted by homunculus at 11:51 PM on June 21, 2010


Uh, no shit? How else are things like movie apps that tell you the nearest theater going to work?
posted by empath at 7:54 AM on June 22, 2010


Ceiling Steve Jobs is watching you use Firefox.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:13 AM on June 22, 2010


Uh, no shit? How else are things like movie apps that tell you the nearest theater going to work?

It's a pretty weird paragraph since it conflates the location services that you explicitly agree to in each app with some kind of anonymous Apple data provision.
posted by smackfu at 9:23 AM on June 22, 2010


And what's wrong with their touchpad?

It's on a laptop with an Apple logo on it?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:43 AM on June 22, 2010


Ceiling Steve Jobs is watching you use Firefox.

Someone I know was an amateur IT guy and freaked out when he discovered the OS X Calculator application was issuing strange and scary HTTP requests to an Apple server.

With a bit more investigation, turns out it was just asking for currency exchange rate updates.

People are really scared of Apple for some reason, even though Google and Microsoft have much more insidious and hidden control over everyone's day-to-day computing experience. Weird.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:46 AM on June 22, 2010


> It's a pretty weird paragraph since it conflates the location services that you explicitly agree to in each app with some kind of anonymous Apple data provision.

Yeah, the Apple paragraph is pretty much covering their ass, specifically with iAds, which would allow for location specific targeting of ads. Now since the iAd framework is part of the system, I don't know if you have an option to disable location specific ad's based on that, or if the location query would be based on the Application, which you can disable.

As for being able to track you on your phone, most folks have been able to do that through the existing setup of the cell systems without needing any warrants or 'hacking' anything, just by dissecting the information transmitted to make the GSM system work.
posted by mrzarquon at 11:50 AM on June 22, 2010


People are really scared of Apple for some reason...

They're turning into bullies and thugs and want to personally boss people around!! Why can't they be more like Google, who clearly love us and will do anything for us as long as they can sell us ads and collect information on us!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:11 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's ok to have a healthy cynicism for all corporate brands while still using their products and not reverting into tribalism.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:13 PM on June 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a good thing that no one is doing that.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:52 PM on June 23, 2010


Couldn't hold back any longer? That was over 24 hours ago.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:54 PM on June 23, 2010


Come on braggarts, tell us all how great your phone is now that you have it.
posted by GuyZero at 2:07 PM on June 23, 2010


Apple turns racist: White iPhones unavailable until late July.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:09 PM on June 23, 2010


That's because the white phones get the early summer off to go to the Hamptons.
posted by GuyZero at 2:10 PM on June 23, 2010


While the black iPhones are working, wake up iSheeppeople!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:13 PM on June 23, 2010


Gruber:
That FaceTime is currently only available when connected to Wi-Fi is, obviously, a limitation. But that it uses Wi-Fi — data, rather than voice networking — is an indication of just how big a deal it is. It’s the beginning of Apple’s end-run around the phone carriers.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:16 PM on June 23, 2010


An end-run around the only sales channel the iPhone has, its single-source carrier. You know what else didn't need a carrier? The Palm Pilot. The iPaq. The Journada. Pick a dead PDA and you'll have a device that was doing an "end-run around the phone carriers". Carriers have an effective channel oligopoly.
posted by GuyZero at 2:20 PM on June 23, 2010


Couldn't hold back any longer? That was over 24 hours ago.

No one is reverting into tribalism just because they like talking about a subject you don't like.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:16 PM on June 23, 2010


I'm reverting to tribalism. You're not the boss of me!
posted by GuyZero at 3:22 PM on June 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


> No one is reverting into tribalism just because they like talking about a subject you don't like.

Nonsense! I like the new iPhone just fine, and would have already ordered one if my current Blackberry and mobile broadband service wasn't comped.
posted by Burhanistan at 4:04 PM on June 23, 2010


This new admission stands somewhat contrary to some of your comments in this thread, which make it appear as if other people discussing the iPhone upsets you on a personal level.

In any case, no one is being "tribalist" here. It's okay to be intelligently cynical of tech companies while not reverting to the kind of paranoia that is not very far from wearing empty Kleenex boxes on one's feet and keeping jars full of urine on the shelf.

It's a fairly clear ToS about location data that is opt-in, and one that is always adjustable on a per-app basis from the phone's settings app -- it's not a GPS surgically implanted into your forehead. If you don't want the data collected, turn off the option for the App Store app and download apps through iTunes on your GPS-less computer. No big deal.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:31 PM on June 23, 2010


iPhone 4 Loses Reception When You Hold It By The Antenna Band?
posted by GuyZero at 5:33 PM on June 23, 2010


> This new admission stands somewhat contrary to some of your comments in this thread, which make it appear as if other people discussing the iPhone upsets you on a personal level.


First off, I hate going back and forth with you because you're kind of slimy and keep twisting things. Secondly, that comment you linked is obviously a joke and there's nothing "personal" about it. Thirdly....eh, who cares.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:53 PM on June 23, 2010


Wow, how'd they miss that?

From the link, this seems to be the heart of the issue:
Update 16: Reader Erik confirms what FameFoundry (Update 13) found, which is, if you don't touch the bottom of the phone, you're fine. But as soon as you connect the left side with the bottom, that's when reception starts to drop.
It's gonna be like the Newton Message Pad handwriting recognition but worse is this really what's going on.

Droid: The phone you hold any way you want.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:54 PM on June 23, 2010


iPhone 4 Loses Reception When You Hold It By The Antenna Band?

You see? If Apple hadn't bricked that prototype, or if Jobs had acquiesced to their blackmail, Gizmodo could have done some valuable research for them and saved then this major embarrassment that they're only now able to break as a result.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:06 PM on June 23, 2010


Yeah, it seems like a rookie mistake that should be obvious to anyone who's adjusted a radio or tv antenna and then lost reception when you walk away from the set. It's the kind of thing that's so obvious that I'm inclined to believe it's a false positive and that maybe when they ramp up the power in-call the effect is reduced. But who knows - maybe everyone at Apple uses those rubber cases and they never noticed it in practice.
posted by GuyZero at 6:08 PM on June 23, 2010


More like they all used the cloaking 3G cases to hide the prototypes and didn't notice. (Apple's secrecy is one of the huge reasons never to buy a 1.0 of their products -- they're so barely tested outside the labs)

The original iphone had a similar issue, but not as severe. On that, they put the antenna at the bottom, right under where your hand goes when making a call. Pick up the phone to talk in a lowish signal area and more often than not the call drops..
posted by bonaldi at 7:10 PM on June 23, 2010


First off, I hate going back and forth with you because you're kind of slimy and keep twisting things.

Honestly, no one is being slimy or twisting anything you've written, Burhanistan. But you are most certainly being annoying, perhaps deliberately so, and it would be much appreciated if you give it a rest if you really have something significant to add.

Online privacy is a very real and serious issue. Google and Microsoft have undue control and influence over personal information exchanged between Americans. Apple does not, in the general scheme of things. You're not doing the discussion any favors by belittling people when they point this out.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:27 PM on June 23, 2010


Congressmen want to know what the hell is going on with all this location information sharing!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:45 AM on June 24, 2010


Excuse me, are these some of the same Congressmen who voted for CALEA? What hypocritical jackasses. At least if you don't like Apple's privacy terms, you can buy another (smart or dumb) phone. You can't opt out of using hardware that's required by law to be wiretappable.

(Also, you can tell when you're reporting location data with apps on iOS4. It shows you on the menu bar of your phone.)
posted by immlass at 11:14 AM on June 24, 2010


Steve says if you'd quit holding the phone wrong, you wouldn't be having problems.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:43 AM on June 25, 2010


Wow.

Hey, Steve, can you exdplain what the fuck is up with iTunes on my machine since the last upgrade, and why when it tries to update my phone it starts a "backup" and just fucking hangs there?

Just works my ass.
posted by Artw at 6:45 AM on June 25, 2010


Don't be bitter Artw, it causes wrinkles.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:50 AM on June 25, 2010


I;m not bitter, I just want iTunes not to be a peice of shit, not cause general instability after an upgrade, not fuck up all my podcasts and not hijack my phone for hours on end while "updating" it and fail to have actually updated it when I finally get it to back out of that process.

TBH I'll probably leave it at the current version, iOS4.0 doesn't add much for 3G and by previous experience probably breaks stuff.
posted by Artw at 6:55 AM on June 25, 2010


Weird, the only problem I have with iTunes is the long time it takes to back up my iPod Touch when syncing, but otherwise it's cool.

Apple's response to the iPhone 4 problem sucks. At least throw in the rubber boot for free, rather than charging people for it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:09 AM on June 25, 2010


iTunes is my favourite response to the "Apple just takes one idea and elegantly polishes it and elegantly buffs it to an elegant shine!" fan wankery.

"This is how Apple rolls"? "Apple does one thing and does it perfectly"?

Yeh? iTunes.
posted by bonaldi at 7:32 AM on June 25, 2010


They're still polishing it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:51 AM on June 25, 2010


Same problems here with iTunes failing syncs and wiping out music libraries lately. I'll wait to upgrade the OS until I see it in action on the same phone (my 3G still stutters and hangs doing autocompletes).
posted by benzenedream at 9:25 AM on June 25, 2010


Hey, Steve, can you exdplain what the fuck is up with iTunes on my machine since the last upgrade

iTunes is starting to make the list of things I watch really carefully on updates, letting everybody else upgrade while I hang back a few revisions. I've been shopping around for a replacement. iTMS adds some marginal benefit, mostly through their directories and free stuff they give away, though.

Also, I'm beginning to suspect that on Leopard, the various WiFi indicators and settings aren't so much practical utilities as they are an innovative form of interactive fiction.
posted by weston at 11:04 AM on June 25, 2010


Weird, the only problem I have with iTunes is the long time it takes to back up my iPod Touch when syncing, but otherwise it's cool.

I had this problem with my iPhone originally, and the solution was to not send debug information to Apple. I don't recall how to turn that setting off though.
posted by antifuse at 1:08 PM on June 25, 2010


Motorola took out a full page ad in the NYTimes yesterday that made fun of the iPhone's reception issues:

"You have a voice. And you deserve to be heard."
[The Motorola Droid X] comes with a double antenna design. The kind that allows you to hold the phone any way you like and use it just about anywhere to make crystal clear calls.

posted by zarq at 9:39 PM on June 30, 2010


I can't use iTunes any more. When I plug in my g5 iPod it starts "analysing gapless playback", gets to a particular Radiohead track and then just sits there, locked up, until I unplug again. I think Thom Yorke killed it.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:27 PM on June 30, 2010


I can't use iTunes any more.

I don't have an iPod any more, but I'm a huge fan of Songbird as an iTunes replacement.

Sharepod (windows only) should allow you to remove the Radiohead track if it has become corrupted. In Win7, you'll need to disable UAC for it to work.
posted by zarq at 6:37 AM on July 1, 2010


I've still not updated the 3G - iTunes hangs at that backup stage and TBH I haven't had the time to sit down with it and track down possible solutions.

And though I don't necessarily want iOS4.0 - it has nothing much features wise for me and I;ve heard bad things about what it does to performance - looking at the mounting pile of App updates I've been ignoring I suspect this is going to be a problem someday.
posted by Artw at 6:44 AM on July 1, 2010


I just updated my iphone 3G (not 3GS) to OS 4 -- can someone give me a rundown of what actually got updated on that platform?
posted by empath at 6:54 AM on July 1, 2010


I've still not updated the 3G - iTunes hangs at that backup stage and TBH I haven't had the time to sit down with it and track down possible solutions.

That actually happened to me. I ended up trying a new cable and it worked.
posted by empath at 6:55 AM on July 1, 2010


Letter from Apple regarding the iPhone 4
The iPhone 4 has been the most successful product launch in Apple’s history. It has been judged by reviewers around the world to be the best smartphone ever, and users have told us that they love it. So we were surprised when we read reports of reception problems, and we immediately began investigating them. Here is what we have learned.

To start with, gripping almost any mobile phone in certain ways will reduce its reception by 1 or more bars. This is true of iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, as well as many Droid, Nokia and RIM phones. But some users have reported that iPhone 4 can drop 4 or 5 bars when tightly held in a way which covers the black strip in the lower left corner of the metal band. This is a far bigger drop than normal, and as a result some have accused the iPhone 4 of having a faulty antenna design.

At the same time, we continue to read articles and receive hundreds of emails from users saying that iPhone 4 reception is better than the iPhone 3GS. They are delighted. This matches our own experience and testing. What can explain all of this?

We have discovered the cause of this dramatic drop in bars, and it is both simple and surprising.

Upon investigation, we were stunned to find that the formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong. Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength. For example, we sometimes display 4 bars when we should be displaying as few as 2 bars. Users observing a drop of several bars when they grip their iPhone in a certain way are most likely in an area with very weak signal strength, but they don’t know it because we are erroneously displaying 4 or 5 bars. Their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place.

To fix this, we are adopting AT&T’s recently recommended formula for calculating how many bars to display for a given signal strength. The real signal strength remains the same, but the iPhone’s bars will report it far more accurately, providing users a much better indication of the reception they will get in a given area. We are also making bars 1, 2 and 3 a bit taller so they will be easier to see.

We will issue a free software update within a few weeks that incorporates the corrected formula. Since this mistake has been present since the original iPhone, this software update will also be available for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G.
So they're claiming it's not the design that's at fault.
posted by zarq at 7:33 AM on July 2, 2010


To fix this, we are adopting AT&T’s recently recommended formula for calculating how many bars to display for a given signal strength. The real signal strength remains the same, but the iPhone’s bars will report it far more accurately, providing users a much better indication of the reception they will get in a given area.

Translation: We're getting rid of the bars.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:47 AM on July 2, 2010


At the same time, we continue to read articles and receive hundreds of emails from users saying that iPhone 4 reception is better than the iPhone 3GS.

...because the bars were artificially inflated. Wait. How is this a good thing?
posted by ColdChef at 7:48 AM on July 2, 2010


Upon investigation, we were stunned to find that the formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong. Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength.

I think they've got the same error in the formula that calculates how much battery life I have left on my 3G.
posted by immlass at 8:18 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


AP is essentially reporting from the press release.
posted by zarq at 8:20 AM on July 2, 2010


Apple is "stunned" it is "totally wrong". I'm pretty sure that recalibrating the bars was actually an advertised feature of OS 2.1.
posted by smackfu at 8:37 AM on July 2, 2010


Wow. An honest-to-God fuckup from Apple. I honestly never expected to see one.
posted by GuyZero at 9:53 AM on July 2, 2010


So, when people have seen calls drop just by bridging the antenna, and gone from being able to access 3G to looking for service depending on how they hold the phone ... we are supposed to swallow that it's just a display error?

You are being lied to.
posted by kafziel at 10:05 AM on July 2, 2010


Well, I can buy the bit where the iPhones reception sucked all along, because frankly that;s always been my experience.
posted by Artw at 10:14 AM on July 2, 2010


It's not a lie - it's a -20dB drop which, depending on your initial signal levels, either makes no difference or destroys your reception entirely. The trouble is that both those initial situations count as 4 bars on the iPhone display. This situation, while easy to prevent, is also very easy to explain and understand.
posted by GuyZero at 10:33 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Daring Fireball: Translation From Apple’s Unique Dialect of PR-Speak to English of the ‘Letter From Apple Regarding iPhone 4’
posted by zarq at 6:53 AM on July 3, 2010


I actually believe apples explanation.

I heard from lots of people that they were making calls in places they couldn't before, but if they held the phone wrong it dropped the calls.

Basically, this change lets you know that if you're in a 2 bar area, be careful how you hold the phone.
posted by empath at 7:21 AM on July 3, 2010


Basically, this change lets you know that if you're in a 2 bar area, be careful how you hold the phone.

Is this really a problem with other phones, though? I use Verizon and only rarely experience dropped calls, but I haven't noticed a similar problem on any of the phones I've owned over the years. From my first, a StarTac to a Motorola Q, to my current, a Blackberry Curve, their signal strength truly doesn't seem to depend on how I hold my phone.
posted by zarq at 7:48 AM on July 3, 2010


> I heard from lots of people that they were making calls in places they couldn't before, but if they held the phone wrong it dropped the calls.

Exactly. In my apartment in LA, I could only make phone calls on my 3G iPhone (or any ATT phone, but my 3G was the most reliable) if i stayed within a certain part of the apartment. I'd bet that with the new iPhone 4, I could walk around the apartment and not worry about dropping a call now, as long as I didn't hold that part of the phone.

Considering that I was contemplating a 3G microcell before I moved, a $29 bumper (which fixes the issue entirely) or a .05 cent piece of scotch tape would have been a much better option. Not to mention all the other aspects of the phone that are just amazing. (Look at this fucking camera).
posted by mrzarquon at 12:10 PM on July 3, 2010


Is this really a problem with other phones, though? I use Verizon and only rarely experience dropped calls, but I haven't noticed a similar problem on any of the phones I've owned over the years

I know that I've joked about this but seriously, I'm sort of amazed at the willingness to put up with bad reception from ATT. I've had Bell Atlantic -> Verizon service for a decade now and with the 1/2 dozen different phones I've had from Audiovox, LG and Motorola, I may have had three or four calls dropped in that time.
posted by octothorpe at 12:22 PM on July 3, 2010


That's been my experience. This morning I rode all the way into Penn Station while chatting on my BlackBerry. That means that the call stayed connected during a trip through the entirety of the East River Tunnels.

To be perfectly honest, the only calls I ever seem to have drop these days are from friends and clients using iPhones.
posted by zarq at 12:35 PM on July 3, 2010


I never use my iphone to actually make calls, so this wouldn't impact me, anyway.
posted by empath at 2:30 PM on July 3, 2010


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