Activate your new iPhone at home- with social security number

Apple and AT&T today confirmed you can activate your new iPhone at home through the iTunes Music Store.  This will avoid long delays at the retail stores on June 29th for sure but the devil is in the details as usual.  You will need an active iTunes Music Store account with a valid credit card on file (no surprise about that) but even worse AT&T is requiring a social security number for the phone account.  So your iPhone will cause you to turn over very sensitive personal information to the iTunes Music Store to get online.  I feel some bad vibes about this, especially the SSN part.

Touchscreens with hover are near

If you have used devices like smartphones or UMPCs with passive digiters (touchscreens) and you’ve also used Tablet PCs with active digitizers you know that one of the useful functions you give up is the ability to hover.  That’s where you move the digitizer pen over the screen and the cursor follows it around even though you’re not touching the screen, something you must do with passive digitizers to make something happen.  Loren Heiny is playing the mage and telling us that hovering passive digitzers are on the way and that it will shake up the way we interface with our gadgets. 

Called Projected Capacitive Touch Sensing, these new touchscreens will enable us to interact with the device by hovering our finger over the screen, much like the active digitizers on Tablet PCs.  This technology is being employed in the iPhone, and we all know how cool that is.  Loren links to a great article about this technology and how it will impact our mobile workstyle.  Great stuff.

Nokia sees the iPhone in their rear-view mirror

IphoneNokia has long been in an enviable position in the mobile phone arena due in no small part because they have released a constant stream of innovative phones.  From the E-series to the N-series they have continued to push the envelope with features, form and function.  I do believe that Apple has them a little uncomfortable scared with the iPhone, and rightly so.  Apple is synonymous with envelope pushing and the iPhone has quite a few handset makers running scared right now.  One thing that Nokia has never produced is a phone with a touchscreen, and the company has long maintained the party line that they are not needed on mobile phones.  Just a couple of weeks ago the GM of mobile devices stated that people do not want touchscreens, preferring keyboards and joysticks to operate their phones.

This week the CTO of Nokia had a different take on the lowly touchscreen, saying that "Optical sensors and touch will be the next big things, I believe there will be a lot of innovationaround these."  Somebody at Nokia sees the iPhone in the rear-view mirror, and it’s getting closer.

(via engadget)

iPhone ads are busting out all over

It’s no surprise that iPhone ads are appearing everywhere with the June 29th launch drawing nearer but I did a double-take when I saw this appear here on jkOnTheRun today:

Iphone_ad_jkotr

Cool!   🙂

No, Apple did not invent predictive text entry

Iphone_kbFrom the moment Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone to the world a lot has been written about the lack of a keyboard.  Mainstream media has been publishing articles about the big gamble Apple is taking by relying solely on an on-screen keyboard for input to email messages or IM messages.  I agree that this is a gamble and we will have to wait and see how this is received by consumers.  Most of these articles discussing the keyboard on the iPhone invariably get around to mentioning a great innovation by Apple for including the ability of the software to guess what word the user wants to input after just tapping the first letter or two.  The iPhone uses a list of common words that start with those letters and then offers the option to just tap the word in a box to enter the whole word, thus saving the user the effort of tapping all the letters in the word.  It is easy to see that this functionality is essential for an on-screen keyboard and is the only way such a keyboard would be tolerable.

This method of text entry was not invented by Apple, in spite of what these journalists are implying.  This is called predictive text entry and it has been a stock feature on Windows Mobile devices for years and years.  The Windows Mobile on-screen keyboard has always had this feature and the user can configure it to offer multiple word choices that pop up in the prediction box so the chance of the software offering the correct word is much more likely.  It has always worked well and is nothing new, not by a long shot.  The T9 text entry system has also had predictive text entry for some time and it works really well, especially on the Nokia phones that I’ve been testing recently.  It learns over time what words you are most likely to input (even names and URLs) and it is uncanny how the word you want to enter is often the first choice in the list.  Predictive text entry is a boon for text entry with keyboards on the screen and it will no doubt be useful on the iPhone.  But come on, this is nothing new and Apple is not introducing anything new with this.

Apple iPhone ads make you want to stand in line now

Apple_iphone_ads

If you haven’t seen the Apple iPhone television ads just yet, you can view them directly on the web; even in high-def. James and I were chatting on Skype this morning and both of us came to similar conclusions:

  • Aside from designing products with ‘wow factor’, Apple is excellent at marketing that ‘wow’
  • A similar interface approach could go a long way with Windows Mobile devices and UMPCs or other touchscreen Tablet PCs
  • Regardless of the missing 3G support (a stable for us on the run), the ads just make you want this device

Neither of us is a current AT&T customer, but come June 29th….well; who knows?!?