Thursday, June 29, 2017

Apple iPhone celebrates 10 years

Mossberg was in classic form in nailing it on the iPhone - it's not just a phone!

Apple iPhone celebrates 10 years today and I've been using one about 98.5% of that time. I remember when one of my marketing students (the local variety) had one that he showed me during a class break shortly after the launch, and I resolved that I had to have one too! I was already an AT&T Wireless customer and felt I'd missed the boat on cell phones up to that point, and that this new Apple gadget would help me catch up. I remember being particularly intrigued with the two-finger, in-and-out interface for viewing photos.

Early on, I remember reviewers as well as a jealous neighbor expounding that the iPhone's "telephony" (remember that word?) capabilities were not all that impressive. Again, coming from behind in that field, I was happy enough, but I was more inclined to take the "big picture" view inspired by Walt Mossberg (see above) that it was not so much a phone but more a revolutionary pocket computer.

I had fun taking my new iPhone on the road to an industry conference, in Vegas during August believe it or not, but had to live through having a dedicated BlackBerry user tell me how it was a nearly useless toy and that it couldn't come close to matching his device's built-in contact directory. (Again, more on that "phone" thing.) But later in the summer I also remember having a few young techies from a Portland startup visit me in Boise on their way to a Denver industry event, and their favorable impression of the device's technology (especially that two-fingered thing) renewed my faith!

Later in the year, after speculation that it was a bit over-priced, Apple did a price cut, and rewarded existing owners with a gift card, which I used to help my wife do her own catching up, this time in the iPod department (remember the iPod?). And also, near the end of the year, I remember being at a niece's wedding and enjoying being in the "iPhone club" when owners would notice other owners (which was quite infrequent except at something like a millennial-oriented event like the wedding) and offer a nod, wave or some other acknowledgement.

The year ended, and things like apps, and yes, printing, were still in the distant future, but it was great to be an iPhone early adopter. And now, looking back, who knew its impact would be so far-reaching? I recommend a nice summary in USAToday, "The iPhone’s smartphone revolution in 4 graphs", which boils down the trends to sales numbers, time spent on mobile devices, and consumer expenditures, and also includes a clip of Steve Jobs introduction speech. ReCode has a series of tweets also well worth reviewing, if only to answer the trivia question, what do the iPhone and gum have in common?

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

We didn't start the Fire...

My early-2015 "ColorFest" - A new lime-green Kindle Fire, along with Chromebook and Mouse
Wow - I haven't done one of those song-title-tribute headlines for quite awhile, and for that matter, I haven't been posting much at all lately. With that in mind and risking that I might have a little rust showing, my recent upgrade to a new Amazon Kindle Fire had that Billy Joel classic rattling around in my head.

Readers of my blog may recall that I've been an Amazon Kindle owner/reader since its inception. (See "Observations: Amazon's Kindle Stirs Up E-book (and Printing and Imaging) Excitement" from 2007.) And while I have had lots of experience using both the E-ink and color ("Kindle Fire") versions (and even do a significant share of my reading on the Kindle Cloud Reader running on my Chromebook), it's those lollipop-colored versions of the Fire that have recently gained my affection. The colors, and also the clever pricing that Amazon offers. This time, the new Fires came with an irresistible deal to spread the purchase price over five months, meaning that my new one at $49.99 would require a monthly payment of $10.00 for five months, automatically charged to my Amazon Visa meaning a 5% cash-back credit coming my way too! The State of Idaho (finally, starting on the first of May this year) gets their share with Amazon now charging 6% state sales tax, added to the initial payment, when my new Fire shipped, was $13.00, and now with four $10.00 payments upcoming. How painless can it get? (Of course I did the mental comparison that the payment would be less, sometimes far less, than my monthly e-book purchases.)

The new Fire is officially, in Amazon-speak, an "an All-New Fire 7 Tablet with Alexa, 7" Display, 8 GB, Punch Red - with Special Offers." I love the punch red! In the painless department, the new one asked me if I wanted to "restore" the Fire I was replacing, and I said "sure", which meant starting out, it had exactly the same setup, including apps, that I was accustomed to. A few password updates and I was in business with my "James's 4th Fire", according to Amazon. And so far, it's noticeably faster and a pleasure to read on, as well as being an adequate email and social media checker.
The "restore" option was a huge plus (and nice surprise)
As far as what others are saying about the new Fire 7? Brian X. Chen of the New York Times wrote a review entitled, "What You Get (and What You Don’t) From a $50 Amazon Fire." It is a realistic view of the product, i.e. don't expect a top-of-the-heap tablet for $50. Which I didn't, and I am happy!
Amazon's Fire 7 - and by their count my new one is "James's 4th Fire"