iPhone: High Priced Tech Toy?

January 12, 2007

There was a collective buzz of excitement following the latest Apple news delivered by CEO Steve Jobs this past week. Apple has now released the latest iPod, which is actually a phone with ipod capability, the “iPhone”. This gadget incorporates many daily essentials into just 1 handheld device. It has the capability to store mp3/digital music, play videos, connect to email and the internet, capture photos, and yes, even make phone calls.

Apple enters into smart new territory, the cell phone arena. A news report the other night noted how many million people have ipods, but many many more people own cell phones. So the move is brilliant, although it will make for a costly purchase for consumers which may cause many to hold off on this item, self included. The price range for the phone will be set at $500 to $600. There will be 2 versions, a 2 gigabyte version or a 4 gigabyte version. 4 gigabytes isn’t much in terms of music storage at this point. They make iPods right now which store 80 gigs of songs/videos/photos. To put it in perspective, 80 gigabytes gives storage fir roughly 25,000 mp3 songs on one hand-held music player. 2 gigs or 4 gigs gives you 500-2000 songs, but you have to keep in mind if you plan to store more data than that (such as movies, photos, etc), you need storage gigabytes. Overall the concept and design of the iPhone definitely gives it a cool futuristic look that will make it an addition to many people’s daily routines. Many tech geeks and savvy business consumers will have to be the first to have it.

It may be smart to wait on this new tech toy; Several reasons here; first the price should become more competitive. $500 to $600 is what kids are paying for Xbox 360’s and PS3’s. Obviously if you can afford and have to have the item, do so, but I’d always recommend buying a $600 Mac Mini computer over a cell phone. It’s just a smarter buy for all that you get out of it. More importantly, this will be the first version of the iphone released. Nobody’s really tested one yet or had a chance to complain about its shortcomings. Rushing out to buy the newest toy can often spell disaster, because it is unchartered territory. The iPhone may function great as a music player and internet communicator but fail miserably as a phone, which is what it’s billed as. It’s also so futuristic that it doesn’t have standard cell phone buttons, it’s fully touch screen. This is worrisome in terms of how quickly the item may break or the screen wears down from finger tapping and pressing. Another consideration is that Apple may be moving to make this compatible with its line of computers. Apple made the iPod compatible with both PCs and MACs, but if the iPhone starts incorporating software, why would Apple want Microsoft compatible with it? If the iPhone does move into “PDA territory”, MAC could gain many users but the iPhone would limit those who are strictly PC users. Finally, right now you are restricted to only using Cingular cell phone service with this item. Until there are more providers available it limits people who are under contract with other companies, which love when people quit, because it means a nice fat fee for leaving early.

All the pros & cons aside, the device looks exciting and slick, almost as if straight off the set of a new Star Trek movie. It allows for sending photos you take or store on the iPhone to your friends by email. It also has a smart keyboard built in so when you type messages/emails etc, it will spell-check or correct common errors. Just wait until they make it control your home TV, set the room temperature and automatically order take out food. It appears the true future of communication and technology is definitely upon us. View Apple’s iphone here


Why I Love the PSP

December 11, 2006

I can’t recommend the Sony PSP to people enough. In my opinion the coolest gadget I own, in that it’s not just a portable video game system, but it can store photos and music, play movies, and allow for browsing the internet.

The Sony PSP was released many years ago in attempts to take over the handheld gaming industry that Nintendo seemed to own. PSP’s games had a visual look that Nintendo Gameboy just couldn’t match. I first purchased the PSP as an item to take on plane flights, because it plays dvd type movies in addition to video games. Mainly it can play either the UMD card movies that Sony sold, or movies I moved from DVD’s onto the PSP’s memory card. You can buy special memory chips for the PSP which allow it to hold up to 6 or more hours of movies. Even though the battery drains in 2 hours from watching a movie, it’s still impressive.

But wait there’s more..the PSP plays mp3 music and holds photos, plus allows for browsing the internet. I took the item on a trip to Rome, and was able to use the wi-fi signal in the hotel to check my emails and CNN.com for news from the US. The cool factor of being able to do that with something built for video games, is pretty impressive. Even better, Sony keeps adding features and new program/firmware updates.

Another device which Sony has made the PSP compatible with is the Slingbox. Slingbox is a box you hook to your cable TV. You leave your cable TV on when you leave home with your PSP and theoretically you will be able to watch all of the cable channels you have at home, on the road, on your handheld PSP. Now people will never miss local news or sports teams because of that. Slingbox goes for about $199 or less, but is impressive nonetheless. Accessories for the PSP will cost you of course, the memory chips get pricier the more storage you go for, some cost up to $150-200, deals can be found all over Ebay. Games run as much as $50, which is why I again recommend Ebay. Its smarter to buy used titles that were popular but not as new..you save money and still get a great game. GTA and Wipeout are great examples.

So since Sony continues to build upon the item and upgrade its features, it’s highly recommended. I would like to see them build in something that incorporates AOL instant message type technology, and also put out an accessory keyboard for use on the PSP. Typing is one of the tougher tasks, even though it wasn’t primarily designed for that.

And by the way, the video games aren’t too bad on this thing either..