Hotspots Are Back – Officially – iPhones Are Gone – Officially

So, AT&T gave us free WiFi, then they took it away, and now it seems it is back.  Over at the AT&T website, it is officially part of the iPhone plan to include WiFi connections at the various AT&T hotspots.

AT&T Plan

On a similar but mostly unrelated note, iPhones are officially sold out in Europe.  O2 is reporting that stock on all 8GB and 16GB models is gone.  In the US, many AT&T and Apple stores are reporting the same thing. AT&T employees are reporting that they are not being allowed to take vacation during June 15th and July 12th.  I think it is all but official, I have a new iPhone coming in 5 weeks.


Web App Wednesday

Colorado (AP) – If that byline/dateline means anything to you, then this week’s web app is meant for you.  The Associated Press has designed a very sleek and sexy (for news that is) front end for their news site.  If you are into the news, then the Associated Press site will serve you well.

This is another great nod from a major entity out there that the iPhone is real, that it deserves special attention, and it is a great tool for accessing information. With the imminent release of the 3G phone, and expected 10 million of them being sold, I suspect that we will be seeing more and more iPhone specific portals and front ends.

If you are interested in the AP iPhone portal, then point your browser to http://www.apnews.com/.  The first thing you will notice is that the site is well designed and that it takes advantage of the iPhone screen. You will also notice just how snappy the portal loads. I have read the NY times on the iPhone as well as my local newspaper; they just don’t load this fast.

Now, to be fair, this portal will only present information from AP news sources.  But, for the major events and stories, that will be all you need.  So, if you want to know what is going on out there in the real world.  Head over to the AP iPhone portal and check it out.


iTunes $.99 Movie of the Week

This week is looking up. Not only do we have a great week ahead on television, but we also have a great, cheap movie rental. One of my all-time favorite movies, A Fish Called Wanda (Warning – iTunes link), is for rent from iTunes for only a buck.

Here is the official description:

Tour-de-force performances from an unparalleled comic cast highlight this much-loved hit that Roger Ebert calls “the funniest movie I have seen in a long time!” Monty Pythoners John Cleese and Michael Palin (Search For The Holy Grail, The Meaning Of Life) join Oscar winner* Kevin Kline (In & Out) and Jamie Lee Curtis (True Lies) in an entertainment so impeccably timed and executed that Time Magazine hailed it as: “Geniu[a film that] Redefines a great comic tradition!” Four conniving jewel thieves…three Yorkshire terriers…two heaving bosoms and one proper British barrister. It all adds up to “a non-stop barrage of…outrageous plot twists and over-the top performances” (L.A. Weekly) when a girl called Wanda (Curtis) tries to deceive her Nietzche-quoting boyfriend (Kline), an animal-loving hitman (Palin) and an embarrassment-prone counselor (Cleese) out of a fortune in jewels in this hilariously funny farce!

If you are looking for a great laugh, or if you have a buck that is begging to be spent on something hilarious, give this movie a rent.  It is available on the cheap until Monday, May 12.


The 3G iPhone is Official – In Austria

There is a report circulating the internets that confirms that the 3G iPhone is going to be alive and well in Austria.  It will be offered by T-Mobile, and it will be available soon.

T-Mobile spokesman Hendrik Kasteel said that T-Mobile “would debut “more flexible” service plans when the 3G iPhone launched.”

Now, how soon is soon?  I am thinking within weeks.  Also, will the concept of “flexible” come to other markets (umm… USA anyone?).  I am hoping so.  It would also be great if we could get some scoop from Apple instead of having to hunt down the rumor mongers and beating the truth out of them.


AT&T Giveth and AT&T Taketh Away – Free WiFi?

Sorry for the lack of updates. My beloved Macbook had a hard drive explode issue. I am back, up and running. And now, the rest of the story.

Remember the other day when I mentioned that AT&T was rolling out the free WiFi for iPhone users. Guess what, they took it back already. I can verify this. I lost my hard drive this weekend and while waiting for it to be repaired at the local Apple store, I realized that I could run over to the Starbucks and hop on the Wifi.

Didn’t work – not at all, not one bit. There was widespread knowledge that it was working. It doesn’t doesn’t work now. AT&T isn’t commenting on the rigamarole. It is possible that there was a premature release, or maybe the whole setup was too easy to hack into.

None-the-less, there is no free WiFi for now.

By the way, I will get my Mac back tonight so the post flow will begin again soon!


AT&T Brings the Free WiFi Love.

Back in February, I reported that AT&T and Starbucks were uniting for WiFi goodness, and that iPhone users would be able to use the WiFi hotspots at Starbucks for free sooner or later. Well, I checked my calendar, and apparently today is sooner.

Go out and find an AT&T hotspot. They can be found at Starbucks and many Barnes and Nobles. You should be able to connect via your iPhone for free. You will need to enter you wireless number for verification (this implies you must not have an unlocked iPhone and a valid AT&T account). The cool part about this is it opens up approximately 7000 additional hotspots across the nation for your iPhone browsing needs.

Is this AT&T’s way of prepping their network for the 3G iPhone? With so many free hotspots, it might very well reduce the load on their 3G networks. What ever their logic, I am glad their decision benefits me.


Web App Wednesday

This Web App Wednesday review might break the rules a bit.  I have never used this app, and I don’t think I will in the for the foreseeable future.  What I do know is that the potential of this Web App is outstanding.  It is also amazing that a large institution such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York is catering to iPhone users in such a way.

If you have been to a large museum, there are many displays that have interactive audio components to listen to while you view the art.  Usually these are handed out or even rented, along with some handy-wipes (to wipe ear gunk off of), and you look like a fool moseying about with everyone.

Well, over at the MoMA, they are allowing and encouraging iPhone users to browse the art and listen to the interactive audio components directly on their iPhone. Audio is available on demand by specific artwork,  tour program, or by floor. MoMA Audio is done professionally by  curators and artists on works in the collection.

This is spectacular.  I would love if I could use this type of technology at my local art museum or even the zoo.  The more the iPhone is integrated everyday life, the more people will use them and the quality apps, system upgrades, and hardware revisions will keep rolling.

If anyone has used their iPhone at the MoMA, please let me know how the experience went.  I would love to hear it.


Would You Buy an iPhone at $199

I have to admit.  My wife and I have already entered negotiations regarding my purchase of the 3G iPhone in June.  Things haven’t been going so well for me.  After all, it was only one year ago that I shelled out nearly $600 dollars for the iPhone that is still in my pocket working perfectly well.

The fine folks at AT&T and Apple might be willing to help me out a little bit.  Fortune.com writer Scott Mortiz is reporting that AT&T is considering subsidizing the iPhone to the tune of $199 if people are willing to sign their lives away for a 2 year contract.  Being realistically, I have always been with AT&T, then Cingular, and now AT&T again.  I have had cell service with them for nearly 8 years (my original cell provider was bought by AT&T as well).  I am not going anywhere at this point.

So, if I can get a new iPhone, complete with haptic feedback, a 3G chipset, and a real GPS for $199, I will be a very happy puppy.

I hope this rumor is true.  Come on, let it be true!.


iTunes $.99 Movie of the Week

Last week we had A snappy and exciting movie on sale – Ronin. This week we have Saved (Waring – iTunes link). It’s not quite as exciting or snappy, but I am sure someone will be want it. To be honest, this one is probably directed at the younger iPhone user set.

Here is the official description:

Classic teen comedy mixes with cunning satire in Saved!. Fervent Christian Mary (Jena Malone, Donnie Darko) believes God wants her to save her gay boyfriend by sleeping with him. But he gets sent to an anti-gay indoctrination camp while she ends up pregnant–which starts to drive a wedge between Mary and her snotty best friend Hilary Faye (Mandy Moore, How to Deal). Meanwhile, they’re both interested in the son (Patrick Fugit, Almost Famous) of their Christian school principal (Martin Donovan, Trust). Saved! respects faith but gleefully mocks the excesses and absurdities of contemporary organized religion, particularly its suburban, let’s-speak-the-language-of-the-kids manifestations. The actors, including Macaulay Culkin (yes, from Home Alone) and Mary Louise Parker (Fried Green Tomatoes), play their parts with sincerity, which makes the fusion of humor and heart succeed. A delightful movie. –Bret Fetzer

So, if you are interested in the movie, pick it up. For me, I might rent it so that my daughter can watch it on a weekend car trip.


More iPhone 2.0 News

Man, if I had a dollar for every leaked piece of iPhone 2.o news, rumor, or haphazard guess that comes my way, then I might actually be able to afford the thing when it comes out this summer. Today, there is a new onslaught of rumors and news, so let’s get started.

First, Apple has been rumored to be looking into, or have already licensed haptic (touch feed back, aka rumble, rumble) for the iPhone and iPod touch models. This would allow key presses or icon selection to give some sort of tactile feedback. Personally, I don’t know if it is necessary. Other devices, such as the Nokia Tube 5800 will be using the technology, so maybe this is Appl’s way of keeping up with the neighbors.

Second, a digitimes.com report is detailing that Foxconn (the manufacturer of the current iPhone) has received orders for over 3 Million iPhones.  The first shipments are expected for June.  It would appear that this is the first hard core evidence that the iPhone is coming this summer.  Incidentally, the report also states that Apple is expecting to ship between 24 and 25 million of the 3G iPhone.

Whoa, that is a lot of the bad boys hitting the street in the next few years.    What do you want to bet they still sell out in a matter of days and end up going for millions on Ebay.


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