Apple iPhone & Apple TV improvements

Phil Windley couldn’t have summed up my own thinking better:

In all the years I’ve owned mobile phones, not one ever got better as it aged. The iPhone has gotten better three times now and promises to do so in the future.

My upgrade was seamless and two new features were ones that have a significant impact on usability. The first was the pseudo-GPS feature. I was very surprised that it worked from my house Where I was connected via WiFi, since my house isn’t a public hot spot. Is it GPS? No. Is it good enough? Absolutely. The second feature is the ability to have web sites show up as buttons on the home page. There are three sites that I visit regularly on my iPhone: Gyminee, SportsTap, and Facebook. While navigating through bookmarks wasn’t that difficult, navigating to them with at most two touches (home button and an icon tap) is superb. It was only about two weeks ago that the thought of having buttons on the home page for web sites occurred to me, and now great that Apple’s provided it.

The only thing I’d still like to have is a native (not web-based) instant messaging client. I rarely use SMS, so multiuser SMS isn’t a big deal for me. With the SDK due out in a month, I’m sure an “approved” IM client will appear in short order. There’s only two reasons I can think of for why it doesn’t exist. First, SMS generates revenue for AT&T, IM will not. Second, IM could be a drain on battery life. I don’t know the first thing about the IM protocols and how often it would require the phone to be sending data for an “always on” approach, but I do know that my old Motorola V360 had it, so it can’t possibly be that significant.

The other interesting announcement was the Apple TV Take Two. I’m hoping to get HD into my house in the spring, and with the new announcements, I’m now including AppleTV into my budget. I had previously said that the key to success would be adding video rentals, and it’s now happened. I’ll admit that I was a bit concerned about the 24 hour rental time limit, but the caveat that it’s 24 hours from when you start watching it helps a bit. I’d still like to see this longer, as I’ve watched movies in 30-minute segments during my daily workout, but at least I can rent 2 movies before a trip somewhere and watch one on the flight out and one on the flight back. I still think it would be cool if Apple would embed the Apple TV into an actual TV, but that’s a pretty crowded market right now. I also wish they would have lowered the price of the 160GB model. But, they’ve made just enough changes to convince me to get one in the near future.

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