Computerworld just published its in-depth usability test of the Apple iPhone, the HTC Touch running Windows Mobile 6 Professional, and the Nokia N95 running the Symbian operating system. The tests involved a number of participants who had never used any of the three devices, and had measurable results (i.e. the time it took to accomplish various actions). Apple’s famed information architecture and interface design skills seem to have paid off as the iPhone bested it competitors by a factor of two in some of the tests.
The study praises the iPhones information architecture and consistent user experience as a strong benefit to any user be it someone new to the iPhone or a power user. At Gear Live we have noticed several inconsistencies in the user interface, for instance, the new message button being in different locations in the mail and SMS clients for instance. We do however agree with the general consensus of the study that overall the user experience with the iPhone is far more unified that it’s competitors.
Things were not entirely positive for Apple - some users found the lack of tactile feedback a little disorienting, however all users were able to finish each of the tasks with the iPhone. The also iPhone fell behind it’s competitors in the sheer count of features. The N95 managed to edge out the iPhone in this category with GPS, voice activation and the ability to record movies with it’s camera. Considering that the Nokia is $100-300 more expensive in the United States than the iPhone many users have elected to splurge for Apple’s $400 easy to use wonder device.
Read More | Computerworld
We picked up a pair of the new V-Moda Vibe Duos and took them for a spin. The Vibe Duos sound great (almost as good as the Etymotic ER-6s), and feature a microphone for making hands-free calls on the iPhone. They also feature cloth-wrapped cords, durable metal construction, and extended plug (for easy use with the iPhone’s recessed headphone jack) all add up to a stunning package. Check out after the jump for our full review.
Apple has finally gotten around to posting the details on how early iPhone owners can claim their $100 Apple Store credit. You know, the one that was a response to the backlash the company received after dropping the price on the iPhone by $200 - or 33% - just 61 days after it’s launch? It takes about five minutes, and Apple has done it in a way that makes it so only people who actually have the purchased iPhone in their possession, and activated with AT&T, can claim it. Here’s how it works:
- Head on over to the iPhone Store Credit page
- Input your iPhone’s AT&T phone number and serial number into the fields on the site
- You will receive an SMS which includes an access code. Enter the code into the site
- Print the result page, which includes the codes you need to redeem the credit at any Apple Store location, or at the Apple Online Store
To be safe, we’d recommend claiming right away, as you only have until November 30 to do so. If you bought your iPhone between August 22 and September 4, skip straight to the Apple Store itself, as you aren’t eligible for a $100 store credit - instead, you’ll just receive $200 in cash. For those who receive the credit, you can purchase just about anything sold by Apple, except another Apple Store Gift Card or an iTunes electronic Gift Certificate. You can use up to six credit codes when making a purchase at an Apple Retail Store and up to four credit codes at the Apple Online Store.
So, let’s cut to the chase - the reason that Apple slashed the price of the iPhone by 33% at the September 5 Apple Event was because Steve Jobs and company felt that was the best way to bring the device to the mainstream phone buyer. Everyone I know who owns an iPhone is someone who is an early adopter of consumer electronics. People who buy Apple products the moment they are available, people who refresh their RSS readers a few times an hour (or more), and people who scour sites like Gear Live for news multiple times a day. The only person I knew who owned an iPhone who didn’t fit the mold was my wife, Monica. I figured I would have her review the iPhone from her perspective - that being someone who couldn’t care less about technology, gadgets, the Internet, or anything that involves something that has to be charged or plugged in to a wall. This, dear friends, is a review of the iPhone from someone who is completely satisfied with the free crappy phone you get when you sign up for any standard cell phone plan.
Do note that the video was recorded prior to the iPhone price drop, so keep that in mind.
Earlier today, Apple announced ringtones for the iPhone, by way of a new version of iTunes. This will all happen by using a new Ringtone Composer that is built in to the new version of iTunes. You will find a new bell icon next to any purchased songs that are “eligible” to be turned into a ringtone, and will be able to choose any 30 second (or less) portion of that song to use as a ringtone. You have to own the song, and then when you want to buy your ringtone, that will cost you another $.99. $1.98 buys you both the song and the ringtone, which is completely unnecessary, what with program like iBrickr, iFuntastic, and others, that allow you to use any track in your iTunes library as a ringtone - for free.
Still, for those who are uncomfortable modifying their iPhone in any way, here is your chance at expanding your ringtone library.
We’ve heard it was coming, and today Apple made it official - the iPod touch is now a reality. Those of you hoping for what would essentially be an “iPhone without the phone” have gotten your wish. The iPod touch has the same 3.5-inch screen size and resolution as the iPhone, and even has WiFi built-in. Safari is included as an application, as is YouTube. It even has that multitouch goodness we’ve come to know and love. As for the differences between the iPod touch and the iPhone, those are more hardware related rather than software related. The iPod touch is just 8mm thick, down from 11.5mm for the iPhone. It also comes in two storage capacity sizes - 16GB and 8GB - which means you get double the storage that you’d get on the iPhone if you go with the top model. You will be able to pick up a 16GB iPod touch for $399 USD, while and 8GB version will sell for $299. It ships “in a few weeks” and will be available worldwide. No more waiting until Apple finds an iPhone distribution partner to get your multitouch on!
If you do a lot of flying, the Inflight Power Recorder plugs into any passenger seat audio jack and outputs regulated power to the attached USB charging cable/connector. It’s available in four units, the basic one for $34.99, the iPod/iPhone bundle for $44.99, the Blackberry model with a mini-B tip that will also work with some MOTOs and RIMs for $44.99. For heavy gadget hogs, the Power Executive comes with with both tips for $49.99.
Read More | Inflight Power
George Hotz decided to spend some time this summer unlocking an iPhone, so that he use it on his own network, T-Mobile. Partially inspired because his friend had just gotten one, the change of service fee, and the $20.00 monthly fee from AT&T for using an iPhone, he soldered two wires together and replaced the SIM card, although we are sure that the project is more complicated than he makes it sound in this CNBC video. It took about 500 hours to complete with the aid of four others online.
Being the kind fellow that he is, rather than selling his idea, he has posted it for free on his website, just in case you want to give it a try. Although he planned on selling one hacked iPhone on eBay, complications arose so he traded it for a Nissan 350Z and three 8GB iPhones. George left this weekend to attend the Rochester Institute of Technology where he will major in neuroscience or what he calls “hacking the brain.”
Read More | cell phone digest
Okay, we know that since Apple released the iPhone, you’ve all been wanting to modify it to do your bidding. Over on the OS X side of things, we have iFuntastic, which provides a slick GUI interface for modding your device. New to the Windows side of things is iBrickr. iBrickr is the Windows application that makes it dead simple to modify your iPhone, add and manage custom ringtones, and install third-party applications. We give you a full tutorial of how it all works in this episode.
Read More | iBrickr
With so many new accessories for the iPhone we can barely keep up these days, but this one about matches Mad TV’s iRack in usefulness. The Shuffle is simply one little button. Push it and it literally rearranges all your contacts, then calls one at random. Hold it down for 3 seconds and it will automatically dial another number for a three-way teleconference. There’s more, but we don’t want to spoil the other neat tricks that the Shuffle can perform with little or no effort.
We had you going there for a minute, didn’t we?
Read More | the geniuses