Amazon's Kindle doesn't hold a candle to the iPhone/iPod

Amazon announced their highly- anticipated Ebook reader dubbed "Kindle" today.  Coming in at $399, it has some really good functionality, including:

  • Thumb keyboard
  • EVDO
  • 30 hour battery life
  • 2 hour recharge time
  • 10.3 ounces
  • 4.9 inches x 7.5 inches x 0.7 inches, 800×600 pixel
  • SD Slot for storage (from early specs)
  • USB 2.0 (from early specs)
  • Uses E Ink technology (high contrast display  – needs no backlighting)
  • Adjustable Font size
  • Can hold over 200 books
  • Can search books for phrase or name
  • 3.5 stereo headphone jack

Even with all of that it looks to us like it is going to be a really hard to justify this thing.  Why?  Because most of this functionality already exists in a product already out in the marketplace called the iPod touch.  The iPhone features add even more to this.  The books metaphors aren’t enough to switch us.  The E-ink technology is the only redeeming technology and it looks to be something exciting for people outdoors or with little access to power.  Overall though, we aren’t looking for another device to add to the man-purse.

When you compare the hardware, its not even close.  The iPod is thinner and about 1/3 the area but with more than 2/3rds of the screen – and more importantly it is something you can put in your pocket.  The screen is really easy to read (although the Kindle has a low voltage high contrast screen that will stay legible longer).  The Kindle’s ability to resize fonts won’t impress anyone who has pinched and panned on an iPod.  More importantly, the iPhone allows you to do many other functions – without carrying ten devices around with you.  While the Kindle is going to have an underpowered browser, the iPhone has a full Webkit Safari.

When you start getting into Youtube and Photos and Email it isn’t even fair.  Its like putting together the best high schoolers from around the nation and playing them against the New England Patriots. 

Those who have hacked their iPods and iPhones know there is a REALLY good Ebook reader aptly called "Books".  In hacked form it offers most of the features that Amazon’s Kindle offers.

The iPod comes in at less than the Kindle with much more RAM at $299, the iPhone and 16gb iPod match the Kindle’s $399 pricetag.

What still could be a winner for Amazon is the software and backend system they use to distribute the millions of books they have in their library (88,000) at launch.   While music and video content markets are quickly being cornered, the Ebook sales industry is still in its infancy.   Hopefully, Kindle turns into a service and hits all of the other hundreds of devices out there.  We love Amazon and wish them the best, but its hard to justify this type of device when a better one already exists and does much much more.

 Jeff Bezos sums it up best: "This isn’t a device, it’s a service."

Update: Forbes is thinking the same thing

Is Apple collecting your iPhone usage data?

Edit: Now there is a conflicting story saying that IMEI information is NOT being sent.

It looks like Apple is tracking iPhone users data including IMEI number, IP address and stock quote preferences (amongst other things) through a hidden string in the and iPhone applications.  This information is sent to "" (IP resolved "").  See screenshot below for details.

From this information, Apple could build a profile on users.  Where they travel, where they spend their free time, where they work, where they invest their money, what they browse, etc etc.  Obviously most users would like to be able to control who has access to this information.  If they connect this data with the credit card that you used to purchase the iPhone (remember, you can’t use cash anymore), they could build an even bigger profile on you.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like you can doanything about it – though hackers are working on it now.  According to, if you use an iPhone, you’ve already forfeited this right to privacy (from the Apple Terms of service):

When you interact with Apple, we may collect personal information relevant to the situation, such as your name, mailing address, phone number, email address, and contact preferences; your credit card information and information about the Apple products you own, such as their serial numbers and date of purchase; and information relating to a support or service issue.

Whether or not the backlash from this will cause Apple to change its policy remains to be seen.  However, there are alreadly lots of people deleting the and Weather.apps from their iPhones and donning their tinfoil hats. 

EDIT: IT looks like some Leopard applications behave in this manner as well.  A digg commenter found:

This is interesting to hear — and I noticed something similar in OS 10.5 (Leopard):

For those of you who don’t know what Little Snitch is, it tracks connections that any software makes to the internet (i.e. to "phone home") and allows you to block those connections. Imagine my surprise when I opened the other day and Little Snitch popped up asking if I wanted to block a connection that was attempting to make to "". After looking through’s source code, I figured out that it shares a little bit of code with the iPhone stuff… I’m seeing:

Does anyone else notice the word IMEI in there? Yeah. That’s what I thought. This could have bad implications — but I believe that may not be tracking us; I think that it may be providing support to applications needing dynamic conversion with changing ratios. Right below that IMEI line I found:

X-Client-ID%iApplication SupportCalculatorFinancialRates.xmlUpdate of currency conversion rates failed: %@

Which makes it look like apple is using it to do conversion stuff. But the fact that they use an IMEI is strange… unless they use it to determine where your phone is registered to give you the default conversion in your currency… Eh, or they could just be evil.

iTunes Minus

EDIT: Our mysterious friend, a Mr. Cruz X. Lefforts is not happy about his iTunes and needed a place to rant…it is Friday and why not?  So here, without further ado….

Cruz Lefferts is mad. Really mad. So mad, he’s talking about himself in the third person.

Cruz Lefferts wanted to believe that iTunes was The entertainment capital of your world, but Cruz found out that iTunes is only interested in his capital.

You see, Cruz had an opportunity to upgrade some of his library to the DRM-free, 256Kbps bitrate AACs offered by iTunes plus, but Cruz only wanted to upgrade a few select albums in his library. Cruz buys music for different reasons—not just for listening enjoyment. Sometimes he needs to research a song, sometimes he needs to hear a song he’s learning from the sheet music, and sometimes he wants to buy a joke. Cruz is just like that. But that doesn’t mean that Cruz necessarily cares about extra sound quality on a George Carlin rant—it just doesn’t matter. Isis’s Panopticon album, however, is something that Cruz wants to hear every friggin note of (and share it with friends in need of endarkenment). Cruz is pretty sure that Aaron Turner would approve, since he’s bought all the albums fair and square and seen three live shows for full ticket price. But Cruz digresses.

Why can’t Cruz choose which songs he wants to upgrade? This is an absurd vestige of the old music industry in what should be a beacon of the new. Cruz actually tries, within reason, to purchase all his music because Cruz thinks the artists he generally likes could use the money. If you’re into multiplatinum teenybop crap, then by all means, steal it. They only spend your money on cocaine and hair color anyway. But now Cruz is being punished when he attempts to upgrade, for 30¢ a song, his AAC files.

Mind you, sells the whole damned album for about what it costs to get one song on iTunes plus, and that’s at 192Kbps and no DRM. Okay, say you don’t want to give your payment information to a business in Russia. You can buy the album for 99¢/song from at 256mbps with no DRM.

But Cruz bought his version of Panopticon on iTunes, and rather than purchase it again elsewhere, he thought upgrading would be the right thing to do. But Cruz couldn’t just upgrade Panopticon, iTunes forced him to upgrade everything he’d ever bought from the iTunes music store that was now eligible for iTunes plus, including shit he doesn’t even really listen to anymore.

For those of you who find this whiny, Cruz apologizes, but they make it so hard for Cruz to be an honest consumer of music these days, especially when, in the midst of all these outrages, his clicking finger starts itching to find the Azureas icon on his dock and just torrent the shit. Apple ingeniously started the iTunes store on April 28, 2003, and since then, Virgin Megastores and Sam Goodys all over the country have been boarding up their windows and taping "retail space available" signs to their plate glass windows. Why? Because Apple made it too damned easy for Cruz Lefferts to sit on his fat ass and get his music over a cable modem in two minutes. But it’s the DRM and this stupid, draconian "iTunes Plus" upgrade that makes Cruz long for a life of crime. His CD towers were long ago donated to goodwill, and his local record shop is now a dry cleaners, so really the only other legal option is the gray legal area (not to mention the risk to your personal data) of a Russian music/mail-order-bride outfit, or Amazon, which is proving to be the best alternative to outright theft.

Which brings Cruz, at long last, to his point: We are in a period of evolution right now where the archdukes and demigods of the old economy are scared shitless for their survival, and are using their considerable reserves of raw power to screw the consumer into maintaining their outdated revenue streams. Well, the consumer is not going to put up with it for long because bittorrent is too damned easy, and when you’re pissed off because a company like Apple is considering the needs of its partners over its paying customers, it’s not only easy—it feels good.

Sure, Amazon is bucking the trend, but its music store started selling mp3s in earnest only this year, four years after the advent of iTunes. Shame on Amazon for that. Did they forget they were in the business of innovation? Was it really so long ago that they actually started turning a profit (4th Qtr. 2002, btw)? There are other notable exceptions. Radiohead let Cruz choose how much money he wanted to pay for their last album, and because he perceived that gesture as thoughtful, Cruz paid Radiohead £10. And in Cruz’s unscientific survey of everyone who also bought the album, it appears that everybody chose to pay at least something. Thom Yorke can finally afford to get that lazy eye looked at. Still, these two examples hardly constitute a consumer-friendly music biz.

So, Cruz Lefferts is thinking of stealing music from now on. He can take comfort in the fact that the artist really doesn’t  get a fair share of the $1.29 at iTunes anyway, and that if they are worth their salt as musicians, he’ll be able to see them on tour some time soon, when they can make their real money. But Cruz Lefferts has to remember that takes no responsibility for his actions should the Rapacious, Idiotic Assholes of America come knocking.

Cruz Lefferts is a freelance technology journalist living in (nice try, RIAA).

O2 iPhone numbers – not too fantastic

8000 activations.

That is how many O2 reported on the first day of iPhone sales.  To put that into perspective, Apple sold 270,000 iPhones in the first weekend in the US.  At that point it was an untested product.  All of the reviews, mostly positive, have come in and have been taken in by British consumers.

Of course, there are a lot fewer people in the UK than in the US – probably about 1/5th.  The weather was also rainy on the day of the opening – which wasn’t a help either (not that the UK is known for its great climate).

There are obviously a lot of hacked iPhones that have trickled into Europe over the last 3 months.  That may account for some of the "opening day types" who went abroad and brought them back or bought them from ebay or other unauthorized resellers.  The US models, which are reportedly the exact same hardware, cost much less before activation than their European counterparts. 

Also there are many in the UK who have bought an iPod Touch over the past few months – which could be cannibalizing sales to a degree.

Then there is the 3G issue.

Back to the pressNumerous reports in the British media were saying that the lines at the Apple Stores and Carphone Warehouse’s were below anticipation.  The Register said that it was a flop.

Incidentally, Tmobile reported 10,000 activations on their first day of sales in Germany.  Combined, the 18,000 activations so far tallied in Europe probably aren’t cause for celebration or concern yet for Apple.

We are looking forward to see how France does selling the unlocked iPhone later this month.


Singapore's MobileOne phone operator eyeing iPhone

Hot on the heels of the  announcement that China’s largest Telecom, China Mobile, was in talks to acquire the iPhone, Singapore’s MobileOne phone operator is also announcing it is in talks to bring the iPhone to Asia.

Singapore, a tiny nation-state, is almost completely saturated with mobile phone users.  MobileOne sees the iPhone as a way to differentiate and upsell current mobile subscribers.  MobileOne also is in talks to acquire other Mobile carriers throughout the world.

From AP:

M1, Singapore’s No. 3 telecommunications company by subscribers behind Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. and StarHub Ltd., also wants to diversify its revenue base by offering wireless and fixed-line broadband services in its domestic market and branching out into new areas such as mobile advertising.

It’s starting to feel like Europe all over again.

iPhone Goes to China

According to the IDG News Service, Apple is in talks with China Mobile to sell the iPhone to the World’s most populus country.  While Apple has already announced that it will sell iPhones in Asia starting mid 2008, no formalized partners or locations have been discussed.  China Mobile’s 350 Million(!!) subscribers would go a long way in reaching the goal of 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008 however.

From the story:

China Mobile is in talks with Apple to sell the iPhone in China, the company’s CEO said on Tuesday. But he’s not keen on the type of revenue-sharing model that Apple has insisted on elsewhere in the world.

Who is?

"Our customers like this kind of fashionable product," Wang Jianzhou, China Mobile’s CEO, on the sidelines of the GSM Association’s Mobile Asia Congress in Macau."

Who doesn’t?

As you may recall, China Mobile was also present at the unveiling of the Google Android platform that will likely be bearing some fruit about the time iPhones hit Asia.  It will be interesting to see what develops.

1.1.2 Cracked – but reason to upgrade is still baffling.

So you have your 1.1.1 iPhone/iPod hacked.  It is working great.  You are rockin’ the Voice Notes, Navizon GPS and Mobile Chat.  Of course you’ve fixed the TIFF exploit security hole weeks ago.  You have international languages and keyboards as well.  Heck, you might even be on another carrier than AT&T.

What is the reason to upgrade to 1.1.2?  Apple’s latest update doesn’t offer much that the community hasn’t already built/fixed.  For those of you in Europe who get a 1.1.2 out of the box, obviously (bummer) if you want to have all of the hacker goodies – you’ll have to do the downgrade/upgrade with the symlink.  There is currently no way to unlock a phone without activating it first. 

As for now, we are staying on 1.1.1. 

Oh, btw, for those of you who, when asked how long it would take to hack 1.1.2,  voted "Within a week" you were more optimistic (and correct) than us. 

Hackers 4, AppleT&T 3


1.1.2 iPhone Upgrade: Say it with us.. DON'T DOWIT!

OK Ipod Touch v 1.1.2 already hacked.  but iPhone…still wait

OK, here we are again.  Apple is updating the iPhone.  For most of us, there is no reason to upgrade.  YET.  Apple is reportedly bricking AnySIM iPhones again , breaking the iToner and disabling all 3rd party applications.  For the tradeoff, Apple is providing international keyboards (AZERTY and QWERTZ for our European friends) and fixing bugs – including the TIF browser exploit which was used to jailbreak the 1.1.1 version.

Obviously there is a subset of people who have no intention of Jailbreaking/ using any of the 3rd party applications now or at any point in the future.  If so, this upgrade is for you.  Enjoy.  Let us know how it goes.

There are those who are sitting on the fence and may want to use a third party application at some point but haven’t jailbroken their iPhone yet.  WAIT.  We know it is tempting but just wait.  WAIT.  If there is a jailbreak on the 1.1.2 or a Option-restore to 1.1.1 then you are golden – upgrade away.  If not, it is a one way street and your iPhone will be jailled.

If you are using/enjoying applications like Navizon (we luv u navizon), Voice Notes (Thanks Erica!), Apollo/Mobile Chat, NES,, WeDict, Sketches, Widgets, iBlackjack, Term-VT100, PDF Viewer, Sudoku, Themes, or the many other 3rd party apps, you can’t upgrade.  Let’s just repeat it just in case there is some confusion:


If you are (rightfully) concerned about the TIF exploit, AppTapp has a great fix for it.  They will likely also be able to port any imrovements that you’ll see in 1.1.2, so again.  So, again…Wait.

Hopefully the community will be able to knock out a hack for this phone pronto and we can all unite again under 1.1.2.

Apple, we understand you are just doing your due diligence and look forward to the day when you aren’t doing the bidding of the wireless telecom industry.

 Until then.  Thanks for the update.  We are going to pass…for now.

EDIT: As an astute reader just pointed out - it would also make sense not to update iTunes to 7.5 until we see exactly what Apple has planned for us.  Patience!

iRadio for iPhone

Its always exciting to see what iPhone software awaits us every morning from AppTapp.   In fact, we’ve gone to checking several times a day.  This morning was no exception.   A title in particular that caught our collective eyes is iRadio from Conceited Software.  While it is, of course in beta and only does MPEG streams at the moment, it worked great. 

It is, as you would expect, a streaming radio player.  The low speed streams even work over EDGE which we would have lost money betting against.  There are about 100 different stations to choose from.

It starts superfast, has lots of streams with different types of content and most importantly, doesn’t effect the other apps on the iPhone.  IT plays when the iPhone is locked just like iTunes does as well.

If you want to try it out – simply go to AppTapp and look under recents. 

EDIT: Upon further review we are getting some crashes and more importantly – it seems to be messing a bit with our synching…but – it is Beta Software…so, as always – use at your own risk…

Way to go Conceited…your software IS better than theirs!

iPhone Update 1.1.2 to add Voice Notes, other stuff?

EDIT: These didn’t happen in 1.1.2 – most likely these will be a 1.2.x update.

Some tidbits inside the recently updated iTunes 7.5 show that the iPhone and iPod Touch will soon operate more like their older iPod bretheran in allowing direct disk access and manual media management.  Also, a voice memo sync seems to exist in the code as well – though it has been in there since iTunes 7.3. 

It looks like a new (sactioned) iPhone application will allow voicenotes (on iPhones only obviously – no audio-in on iPod Touch).  Voice anyone?  This should allow iPhone 1.1.2 or 3ers to have access to the same great functionality that hacked iPhone users have been enjoying for months thanks to Erica Sadun’s Voice Notes.

MacRumors via Engadget