The iPhone 4 Line

Wish I had ordered home delivery of the iPhone 4! There’s a multihour wait at the Stanford Apple store for reserved orders. I stopped by early this morning and it was worse but I had hoped to just walk in this afternoon – no such luck!

The iPhone 4 Line

An iAd Ecosystem?

For me, the most interesting part of today’s iPhone 4.0 announcement event was the announcement of iAd. It was the last of the seven “tent poles” – and certainly the most strategically interesting.

Don’t get me wrong – the other iPhone 4.0 enhancements (for both end-users and app developers) were important. But the introduction of a new advertising platform – iAd – was especially important.

As he was building the rationale for doing so, Steve Jobs talked about how mobile handset users tend to search less and tend to spend more time in mobile apps. iAd is intended to enable app developers to insert powerful, interactive, emotional ads into their apps – and to participate in a majority (60%) of the advertising revenue stream.

At today’s event, Jobs demonstrated several ad mockups that incorporated interactivity, video and emotional levers. It was impressive.

The question that’s open, of course, is how this ecosystem actually gets off the ground – how it gains some semblance of balance – enough of those powerful/emotional ads from advertisers balanced against enough advertising opportunities from app developers. This kind of ecosystem demands that kind of balance to be successful.

I’ll be watching with keen interest how this all evolves.

Recommendation: The Pipeline Podcast by Dan Benjamin

I don’t have a long commute – but sometimes find myself in the car for trips up to an hour in duration. For those times, I try to keep my iPhone up to date with a variety of podcasts that, depending on my mood, help me pass the time while driving (see my earlier recommendations for photography-related podcasts).

One of the best podcasts I’ve recently discovered in The Pipeline by Dan Benjamin of HiveLogic.com. This morning I listened to Dan’s discussion with Merlin Mann – and it was just great. If you want to stimulate something other than your lizard brain (!), give it a listen. Some of Dan’s earlier guests have also been great!

A Very Pretty Afternoon in Sharon Park

See my post “A Last 2009 Sunday in Sharon Park” over on InMenlo.com, a “hyperlocal” blog about Menlo Park that we started about six months ago with a couple of very good friends.

Today was a mixed day weather wise – some drizzle and some spectacular sun. I took Lily for a late afternoon walk at Sharon Park and caught the low sun angle reflecting on the pond and fountain – taken with my iPhone 3GS using the BestCamera app.

Curious About Book Edition Pricing – The Lost Symbol Example

Dan Brown’s latest novel The Lost Symbol is available in a Kindle edition – said to be selling better than the hardcover edition at Amazon.com!

Yesterday, while browsing the iTunes Store, I noticed there’s also an edition of The Lost Symbol available for the iPhone (in an edition powered by Iceberg Reader)! Iceberg says:

“We currently offer over 500 best-selling books in the App Store, and are thrilled to announce we will soon be bringing more than a million books, as well as more than 50 major magazines and over 170 daily newspapers to the iPhone.”

Frankly, I hadn’t noticed they had over 500 books for sale in the App Store!

Anyway, back to The Lost Symbol. What’s curious is the pricing: Kindle ebook edition: $9.99, hardcover edition at Amazon.com: $16.17 (plus any shipping), iPhone ebook edition: $24.99. Hmmm.

Eating Crow!

OK, time to fess up and eat some crow…iPhone crow.

Two weeks ago I penned a post about how the iPhone 3GS was the iPhone I really wanted – but wasn’t going to get because of AT&T’s then-current approach to subsidizing iPhone purchases.

At that time, I wrote: “I’ll most likely be skipping an iPhone 3GS upgrade this cycle – and just living with my 3G until June 2010 when my current bondage to AT&T is exhausted and complete.”

Turns out that AT&T listened – and adjusted. Thank you!

Through a combination of determining the qualified date based upon total payments to AT&T (e.g., family plan, data plan, text plan, etc) and an accommodation they made to accelerate upcoming qualification dates to being qualified now, I was able to suddenly qualify for the iPhone 3GS at the fully subsidized price – in my case $299 for the 32 GB model. I picked one up today at the Apple Store at Stanford and have been enjoying its much improved speed and responsiveness, the new camera (with video!) and Voice Control!

What am I offered for a “mint” 16GB iPhone 3G that has suddenly become surplus gear?

The iPhone 3GS and Me

Unfortunately, I jumped from a Blackberry to an iPhone 3G last August shortly after the new 3G was introduced. I say unfortunately because the iPhone 3GS is the phone I really wanted – but didn’t get. Let me explain.

I’m a payments professional by day and an aspiring photographer otherwise. The photo and video features of the iPhone 3GS are just about ideal for a go anywhere device that’s always in your pocket. The new iPhone’s everyday photo/video capabilities coupled with a high-end digital SLR (in my case, the Canon 5D Mark II) for those special photo shooting occasions are just about everything I might need to satisfy my photography desires!

Would I love to upgrade from my iPhone 3G to the iPhone 3GS for its enhanced photography features? Absolutely. But, then there’s AT&T – who thinks I haven’t owned my iPhone 3G long enough to qualify for the best pricing on the 3GS. Based upon the pricing signals AT&T is sending to the market, they’d prefer that I stay with my original iPhone 3G for at least another year.

For non-qualified customers, including existing AT&T customers who want to upgrade from another phone or replace an iPhone 3G, the price with a new two-year agreement is $499 (8GB), $599 (16GB), or $699 (32GB).

The result? I’ll most likely be skipping an iPhone 3GS upgrade this cycle – and just living with my 3G until June 2010 when my current bondage to AT&T is exhausted and complete. I really don’t want to give AT&T another $200-$300 for an upgrade! As this BillShrink post indicates, AT&T is already the high cost provider without giving them extra for the upgrade!

Who knows – by June 2010 I might be even happier with the mid-2010 rev of the iPhone – perhaps available then on another wireless network other than AT&T?

The Zepp Over San Francisco – iPhones and Lizard Brains

IMG_0491-300x400.jpgIt was another one of those stunning Spring mornings in San Francisco today – perfect (if a bit warm!) for all those Bay to Breakers crazies!

On my walk into the UCSF Conference Center in Mission Bay, the Zeppelin poked through on an early morning cruise (8AM) over downtown SF.

I was heading to UCSF to attend day two of an O’Reilly iPhone application developers workshop – trying very hard to get my lizard brain around things like Objective C-2.0, XCode 3.1, and the iPhone SDK (pre 3.0).

I must say I came away from my iPhone training with a new found respect for successful iPhone application developers. My experience at the workshop reminded me of why air traffic controllers generally retire by age 40. Beginning around that age, they just can’t keep the spatial relations all in their head to be safe.

The iPhone SDK brings to mind similar notions – iPhone app development seems to me to be a young person’s skill! These folks at Stanford seem to be perfect candidates!

The O’Reilly workshop was great – and I got through it just fine. But I came away with a real appreciation for the effort required to build a great iPhone application! I’m just not sure my ideal bank branch locator app will be coming to your iPhone screen anytime soon! Maybe you’d settle for my Tic-Tac-Toe game instead?

Where did I put my RPG programming manual, anyway? 😉

A Late February Friday

I took a day off today for some R&R with my new Canon 5D Mark II camera. I headed up to San Francisco, spent some time in Golden Gate Park (Stow Lake), crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, and headed up to the Marin Headlands. Here are some of today’s shots on Flickr.

I can’t recommend the Marin Headlands highly enough – the scenery from the headlands is truly stunning. If you go, head directly for Hawk Hill – you’ll be on top of the world, looking down on the Golden Gate and San Francisco when looking east and on the Point Bonita Lighthouse when looking southwest. Heading back from Hawk Hill, I had hoped to find the Nike missile site open – but it turned out I was an hour too early and I needed to keep moving.

Heading home just before lunch, I came through the tunnel and out to Fort Baker. Friends had told us that the new Carvallo Point Lodge at Fort Baker was a great spot – so I headed there. Amazingly, a free parking spot was open right in front of the building with the Murray Circle restaurant – so, I took it as a sign that this was where I should have lunch!

Murray Circle (also the name of the street that loops around in front of the lodge) has a half dozen tables outside on the porch – and the weather was just ideal for sitting outside today. Here’s the view from my outside table today – snapped from my iPhone 3G:

IMG_0334.jpg

I had the Petrale Sole – a very tasteful slice of sole served on a bed of broccolini. I brought my Kindle 2 along and had a delightful meal while reading in one of the most beautiful settings I’ve seen in the Bay Area. Almost too decadent!

But, what a wonderful way to end a delightful Friday morning away from the office!