Archives for posts with tag: iPhone

My wife and I recently took a trip to wine country for a few days. We decided to bring the bikes as we had heard it’s a great way to get around Dry Creek and we both love cycling. This also gave me the opportunity to add a geek element to the trip. I had just purchased a handlebar mount for my iPhone and I was anxious to try it out (see image below).

iPhone mounted to my road bike.

iPhone mounted to my road bike.

The iPhone mount turned out to be a great addition to the bike. I was not completely familiar with the area, so I relied heavily on GPS and Google Maps to get me where I was going. When it was time to find a bite to eat, I’d fire up the Yelp application and in moments I’d have several top restaurant recommendations in the immediate area.

If it weren’t for the fairly dismal battery life of the phone when GPS is enabled for extended periods of time (my experience is about 2 hours on a full charge), the iPhone would make a great alternative to dedicated GPS devices like those from Garmin. As it stands today, it’s still incredibly useful for periodic checks on your current location, routes and distances as well as access to the Internet. Check out the iMapMyRide app if you want to track your route and don’t plan to be out for more than a couple hours. It provides real-time tracking of your distance, time, speed and pace. I chose not to use it on this trip in order to save my battery.

All in all, the iPhone as a dashboard is a pretty great experience and one that I would recommend for anyone who is doing any touring on their bicycle.

You can find the iPhone bike mount on Amazon.com.

iPhone 3Gs videoLet me start by saying that I love the Flip. I own two of them. But the introduction of the new iPhone 3Gs has me thinkng the Flip’s days are numbered. The new 3Gs has decent video, especially for a mobile device. More importantly, unlike the Flip, it’s a connected device. That means immediately after recording you can upload your video directly to YouTube or send it via email. While the Flip makes it relatively easy to move videos from the camera to your computer, it’s still a process dependent on a computer (and computer software, and drivers, etc.). The iPhone’s video experience is quick, efficient and direct and there’s no computer needed. It even allows simple video editing right on the device. Rumor has it that video is also coming to the iPod Touch. That can’t be good news for the Flip.

In response to all the buzz about iPhone’s video capabilities, the head of marketing for Flip says the iPhone provides, “an experience that goes down the route of demonstrating why single-purpose devices exist… Apple’s iPhone can’t stand for video, it’s not its primary purpose.” I disagree. The great thing about the iPhone is that its (nearly) all-software interface effectively makes it a single purpose device for whichever application happens to be running at the time (see Hardware Becomes Software). Unlike the modern camcorders that Flip typically competes against, the iPhone does not suffer from dozens of confusing buttons and multiple layers of complexity. It’s a simple, single-purpose experience that eliminates the computer from the equation, making easier to share, which is what low-end consumer video is all about.

The New York Times

The New York Times

The newspaper business seems to be in a world of hurt these days. Several local papers are closing or threatening to close their doors. This got me thinking about my favorite paper, The New York Times, and how I would hate to see that paper meet a similar fate. Most people would probably agree that newspapers need to start charging for their online content. That might be hard for a lot of lesser newspapers, but The New York Times is a paper that offers high quality content, interactive features and portability (e.g. iPhone).

So how would it work? I think Skype has a reasonable model that the paper could emulate. The Skype Out service charges either a per minute fee, for outbound calls to standard phones, or a very reasonable monthly fee for unlimited calling (currently $2.95 a month for unlimited domestic calls). Skype lets you bank a $10 credit for the pay-as-you-go model and you can set up your account to auto-recharge when the balance gets low. This makes it pretty painless to keep spending money which is critical to adoption.

Here’s what I’d be willing to pay for NYT content under a Skype-like model:

  • Micro-payment per article: $0.02 – $0.05 (more for interactive or extended content)
    - or-
  • Low monthly fee for unlimited access: $4.95/mo. or $49.95/yr.
  • Include a new and improved iPhone app (or Blackberry or Palm Pre) with a monthly subscription. The current NYT app is achingly slow and crashes frequently. Make it more like the USA Today app but with dramatically better content.

p.s. I know that the NYT is available on Kindle for a monthly subscription fee, but $13.95 a month is just too expensive to see a broad subscriber base.

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