I’ve been using Apple products for just over a year now, having been an exclusive PC enthusiast for the past fifteen years. I usually make hardware and gadget purchases after skimming through the technical specifications of a product and then choosing equipment based on best bang for buck and choosing Windows/PC based gear usually made sense. So you can see that I was put off by the typically higher-than-average up front cost of Apple hardware. I was encouraged by Steve Amani (friend) to get a Mac – along with the iPhone 3Gs that I picked up on launch day. Back then I was using the HTC Touch HD (Windows Mobile) phone – one of the best you could get at the time – and it did the job. In terms of bang for buck the HTC Touch HD packed a high resolution 800×640 screen (compared to the 3Gs’ 480×320). The HTC Touch HD also had a faster processor (it needed it!) and a larger camera. I also dropped my superior-on-paper Dell XPS M1330 for the Macbook Pro, and you know what? I haven’t looked back.
I find that with the Apple kit I can be more productive than with the generally lower quality hardware Microsoft’s hardware OEMs put out, like HTC, HP and Dell. The lower screen resolution of the iPhone 3Gs was made up for by the way in which it arranges and displays the pixels it has and it took better pictures with it’s 3mp camera than the Touch HD ever did with it’s 5mp one. I took a step back in spec-sheet land, but a long leap forward in terms of usability-for-the-buck or “What can I accomplish”-per-pound.
So on Sunday I thought I’ve give myself a challenge and see what I could produce within an hour from scratch using only the Macbook Pro (and out of the box software), the iPhone 4 and my favourite compact camera, the Panasonic Lumix TZ7. This is the result:
A little rough around the edges, I’m sure you’ll agree, but not bad for an hour of ‘work’. Both Video & stills were taken using the compact Panasonic Lumix TZ-7 and iPhone 4. Edited in iMovie ‘09 on a Macbook Pro. Total time taken: 1 hour.
I also made the following two movies exclusively on the iPhone 4 device. I am absolutely blown away by iMovie for iOS4 on the iPhone 4. Whilst the iPhone 4 lacks any appreciable optical zoom and the video is noticeably shaky in places, try to appreciate that the lens is only a few millimeters wide on a device that’s almost as thin as a laptop screen and it’s hard not to be impressed.
Filmed, edited and uploaded on iPhone 4. Total time taken: 10 minutes.
Filmed, edited and uploaded on iPhone 4. Total time taken: 5 minutes.
Uploading the footage is a little more tricky. The iPhone 4 has built in facilities to upload to YouTube, MobileMe or to compress the video and send by email or MMS. However the maximum resolution for sharing videos is only 540p. it seems rather lacklustre to have 720p content but be artificially restricted in sharing it, especially as YouTube supports 720p resolution video.
The answer was to use the free PixelPipe application on the iPhone 4. PixelPipe makes it easy to publish video, audio and photos from your device to any of your social network. You have to set up an account with them first as your HD video will be sent to their servers who will then upload it to YouTube for you, effectively bypassing the restrictive resolution limit. PixelPipe is also available as an Android application too if you’re with the other side 🙂
Confession time. Upgraded my mobile to an Apple iPhone 3G a week and a half ago (yeah – I know the 4 is coming, but this is Oz OK? ). Always been ambivelent about cell phones. Have to admit I love this one. The sync between Outlook contacts and appointments alone makes it worthwhile. Not to mention the integrated iPod. Sold. 😉
You still get iOS 4 (how’s that for supporting your product?) and you can even sync your calendars, contacts and mail with Exchange, including GMail. It’s fantastic.
Usability 10/10, even if the specification sheet, on paper, isn’t the most amazing.
Mobile Safari – isn’t it a brilliant browser? 🙂
Time for the negatives:
iTunes on Windows. Eugh.
Came with OS4 installed, first thing I did was pop in 4.01. 🙂
Yes, the sync is awesome. That really surprised me. It just works.
Haven’t done much browsing. That’s the kicker downunder – mobile browsing costs are not amusing. Though the ability to browse via a local Wi-Fi network is something I do want to try a bit more.
“Though the ability to browse via a local Wi-Fi network is something I do want to try a bit more.”
Take a look at http://maps.fon.com and see if there are any FON spots near you. These are wifi spots which are put up by users willing to share a little bit of bandwidth to other FON users (or they might be sharing to random people for a profit). Either way, if you get yourself a FON router and share a little bit yourself you can use other people’s FON WiFi hotspots yourself.
I bought a FON router on a special offer – I can’t remember how much it was but I think it was £25 or so. And for that I get access to a free WiFi hotspot in nearly every street in the UK. I’m not sure what the coverage is like near you, but it’s a good, cheap alternative to extortionate mobile data or international roaming charges 🙂