Opinion

5 Reasons to Jailbreak Your iPhone - and 5 Reasons Not

Jailbreaking your iPhone has never been simpler with the latest release of JailbreakMe. Instead of the previous method of hacking into the iPhone through your PC, JailbreakMe.com exploits a flaw in the Safari Web browser's PDF viewer that grants instantaneous freedom from Apple's notoriously locked-down policies. Even before jailbreakme, jailbreaking iPhones was a popular practice with many benefits -- and many downsides.

Here's are 5 reasons why you should consider jailbreaking your iPhone with jailbreakme -- and 5 reasons to avoid it.

4 Ways Camera Phones are better than Cameras

Aside from telling you when the bus will arrive, keeping tabs on your location, and maintaining an always-on connection to your various social networks, your phone takes decent pictures. It’s always in your pocket, too. If your phone offers that much functionality in addition to snapping serviceable photos, is there any reason to carry a dedicated camera with you?

Well, yeah. There are plenty, actually. Superior image quality, manual controls, and high-zoom optics are the obvious ones. Oh, and we’ve yet to see a smartphone camera that accepts interchangeable lenses, has optical image stabilization, provides good high-ISO performance, or supports high-speed burst shooting. In short, DSLR owners should stick with a DSLR.

But beyond that, it’s getting harder to make the case that a stand-alone camera is a must-have device for casual snapshooters. In fact, there are several ways in which a puny-lensed, small-sensored camera phone offers a better overall photography experience than a dedicated snapshot camera.

Point-and-shoot cameras, are you taking notes? Here are four ways that smartphone cameras are beating you at your own game.

The Jailbreakme Bigger Issue: iOS is now wide Open for Security Exploitations

Jailbreaking iPhones has been around for awhile but Comex's 4.0 Jailbreakme.com is different in one huge way that shouldn't sit well with you if you are on an iOS device. The jailbreak happens without any user intervention because of a security hole in iOS that allows a website to write data to your iPhone. Obviously if you can jailbreak an iPhone remotely, you can do just about anything else you want to it.

Your iOS device is insecure in such a big and obvious way right now. You should be extremely careful of what sites you visit.

iPad Shift may Wreak Havoc on Parts of Tech Sector

Apple sold 3.3 million iPads last quarter. That’s one of the best starts ever for a consumer electronic device.

The company led by Steve Jobs could sell 25 million of the electronic tablets next year, based on the trajectory of past consumer hits. While Apple and its suppliers are celebrating, many other companies will suffer. Of course, the game’s not sewn up — nearly every large electronics firm has announced or is rumored to be working on rival devices. But the iPad’s lead and momentum means it has a big advantage. In tech, one winner usually takes most of the spoils.

With that in mind, Breakingviews has compiled a list of the potential losers — from the obvious to the indirect.

ABC News declares the ‘iPad is No Laptop," Well Duh!

Everyone stop what you’re doing, ABC News has a breaking story that will shake you to your technology foundations — “The iPad is no Laptop.”

That’s right, it took ABC News writer Alan Kohler two months to finally come to the conclusion that Apple’s iPad is not the same as a laptop computer. It may come as a startling revelation to Kohler, but the rest of the world knew that before the iPad was released.

Ballmer (and Microsoft) still doesn't get the iPad

"The operating system is called Windows," claimed Steve Ballmer when asked about Microsoft's plans for the tablet/slate/pad form factor at the company's annual Financial Analyst Meeting on Thursday. He expressed dismay at the iPad's strong sales figures, "[Apple has] sold certainly more than I'd like them to have sold," he said. Ballmer then promised that Windows-powered devices will be shipping "as soon as they are ready," going on to explain that they would get a boost from Intel's low-power Oak Trail platform next year.

The message was clear: Microsoft still doesn't understand why its Tablet PC concept has repeatedly bombed over the best part of a decade. Apple sold more iPads in its first three months of availability than PC vendors sold Tablet PCs in the whole of last year; in fact, the number of iPads sold in that period is likely to eclipse the number of Tablet PCs sold both last year and this. But still the company is persevering: stick a regular PC operating system on a laptop, give it a touchscreen, and then take away the keyboard and pixel-perfect pointing device. Ballmer even reiterated the company's position: slates are just another PC form factor.

Why won’t Apple sell Magazine Subscriptions for the iPad?

The iPad was going to revolutionize publishing as we know it, taking books, magazines, and newspapers down as it turned them from dead-tree artifacts into high-tech digital versions.

But that dream has already hit a snag, because, while Apple is happy to let publishers sell magazines one at a time, it won’t let publishers sell an actual subscription. The upshot: You can buy a single iPad copy of Time magazine for $4.99, but you can’t pony up a flat fee for a year of access to the publication.

Who’s happy with this? Pretty much no one. Time is frustrated that users have to remember to pay every week for the publication, surely cutting into its earning potential. And users are downright livid: Of the nearly 6,300 reviews of the Time app for the iPad on the App Store, 4,500 are one-star ratings, and the average rating for the app is a whopping 1.5 stars out of 5. The most common complaint: Getting a year’s worth of Time for the iPad will cost you $260 per year. A year of Time in print — that’s 56 issues — costs all of $20.

What the heck is going on here?

Go ahead, Jailbreak Your iPhone - it's Legal. But is It Advisable?

Thanks to the valiant efforts of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the fact that the Library of Congress is required to hear arguments for changes to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act every three years, your government has declared that as far as the DCMA and the Copyright Office is concerned, tools for carrier-unlocking your cellphone so that you can use it on other cell networks and jailbreaking your iPhone so that you can install apps that haven’t been approved by Apple are perfectly A-OK.

We’re free!

Now what?

What the New DMCA Ruling on Copyright actually Says

The U.S. Copyright Office today clarified how it plans to enforce the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, making new exemptions for things like jailbreaking iPhones and ripping DVDs.

It might be exciting to think that it’s now legal to jailbreak iPhones for the purpose of installing software that hasn’t been approved by Apple or switching wireless carriers. But “jailbreaking is legal” is not what the ruling said. It said that jailbreaking is not a violation of copyright law.

iPhone 4 Discussion on last Wednesday's YML

Hi Shawn!

I'm glad that you moved to Portland OR. I love that city. :) I'm also am loving that you have the guys & Jean as part of the show. It really keeps a great dynamic with fresh opinions (although ur always right in my book ;) ).

I just wanted to comment on the discussion that was going on regarding the media's responsibility towards Apple and how this antenna-gate is still playing out. My take on this is that the media has a responsibility to report the news and follow-up if there is additional information as necessary. Steve being "mad" about the media making this issue a story is not responsible on his part. He should understand that if they are going to put themselves out there that this will be one of the things that could happen if the story is picked up.

So being mad about that doesn't make sense to me when I look at it from that perspective. It is like a celebrity hating paparazzi. It is part of the choice you made when you got into that business. You have to live with it and you have to do damage control and you can't act like a baby when things don't go your way. Maybe the video ticked off enough media people that they didn't care what solution Steve was presenting, it wasn't "fixing" the issue but rather just working around the issue. And they never admitted that there was a problem.

The whole thing is so fishy to me anyway. The software fix is one of those things that communicated to me that if they were changing the software to show actual bars rather than perceived bars then what they were actually trying to do is give the customer a perception that that AT&T network was stronger than it really was. And has done this for a while... So fishy. Oh well.

Fanboyism and Brand Loyalty

The Misconception: You prefer the things you own over the things you don’t because you made rational choices when we bought them.

The Truth: You prefer the things you own because you rationalize your past choices to protect your sense of self.

The Internet changed the way people argue. Check any comment system, forum or message board and you will find fanboys going at it, debating why their chosen product is better than the other guy’s.

Usually, these arguments are between men, because men will defend their ego no matter how slight the insult. These are also usually about geeky things that cost lots of money, because these battles take place on the Internet where tech-savvy people get rowdy, and the more expensive a purchase, the greater the loyalty to it.

The iPad clearly Cannibalized Mac Sales Last Quarter — Except the Opposite

Remember when the iPad was unveiled and some people tried to paint it as a lose-lose for Apple? The line of thinking was that even if the iPad was a hit (which many were skeptical of at the time), it would likely cannibalize salesof the Mac. You know, the higher-priced, and more importantly, higher-margin Apple products. If the iPad was the future of computing, it was going to come at a cost to Apple, was the thought.

Yeah. Good call on that one.

When Apple announced its Q3 2010 earnings yesterday, the big news was not only that iPad sales were huge (3.27 million), but that Mac sales were even bigger (3.47 million). Incredibly, it was the most amount of Macs Apple has ever sold in one quarter. Yes, ever. And again, this was the first quarter that the iPad was available.

So what’s going on?

iPhone IR Remotes Compared

While the iPhone and iPod touch may be wonderful devices for performing any number of tricks, they’re not particularly good universal IR remote controls when coupled with infrared dongles or cases. And they aren’t for a variety of reasons.

In order to charge the iPhone/iPod touch you must remove the case or the dongle, so if your device is out of juice, you’re out of luck. There’s no tactile feedback when pressing a button so you have to keep a careful eye on the remote app’s interface to ensure that you’ve pressed what you intended to. The iPhone/iPod touch’s screen is small for this kind of work—there’s a reason some remotes are large—so you have to either work with a remote with limited functionality, or move though several interface screens. A couple of these applications are “learning remotes,” which require that you slog through the tedious process of pointing the original remote at the dongle or case and capture each button press. And those remote apps that use device databases invariably miss the mark with some components, requiring you to enter a learning mode.

Bad Connection: Inside the iPhone Network Meltdown

AT&T’s network (has) proved unable to cope with the deluge of data traffic generated by the iPhone, particularly in cities like San Francisco and New York. Even as the #attfail meme burned up Twitter, AT&T accelerated its network upgrades — it has spent nearly $37 billion on new equipment and capacity since the iPhone launch and expects to invest around $13.5 billion in 2010.

The effort may have already boosted performance, with at least some independent studies showing that the carrier’s network has improved. And yet AT&T’s image remains deeply damaged, and the body slams keep coming — including insults from mischievous blogger Fake Steve Jobs, The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.

Meanwhile, the groundbreaking alliance has deteriorated into a loveless celebrity marriage. Each company has publicly described the other as the ideal partner (and neither would comment for this story beyond reiterating that talking point), but behind the scenes both have jockeyed for position while consumers have lashed out, looking for someone to blame.

Why iPhone 4 'Antennagate' Is the Lamest Scandal Ever

I’m beginning to think that Antennagate -- the so-called scandal over the Apple iPhone 4’s reception issues -- has become the most ridiculous tech story of the year.

Let’s recap the problem.

A small number of people reported iPhone 4 reception problems related to how they held the phone. I say a "small number" because there's still absolutely zero evidence of a high return rate or widespread customer dissatisfaction.

Then, a whole bunch of media types started trying to recreate the problem themselves by holding their phones every which way, trying to get the signal to drop.

So while these techno-hypochondriacs didn’t actually suffer from or notice this problem, they were determined to do so once they saw the opportunity to jump all over Apple.

Spinmeisters sound off on Apple's Communications Breakdown

A failure to communicate, as Paul Newman's "Cool Hand Luke" once learned, is never a good thing.

For Apple, the iPhone 4--a product that occasionally fails to communicate thanks to a funky wraparound antenna design and a corporate marketing department that has failed to communicate clearly what's wrong with the thing--is quickly turning into the company's worst product stumble since those pretty Cube computers started developing hairline cracks 10 years ago. Maybe worse.

Several lawsuits have been filed against the iPhone maker, claiming deceptive marketing and false advertising for knowingly distributing a defective product. Consumer Reports amended its review Monday, saying it can't recommend the phone because of antenna problems that will not be fixed by Apple's promised software update. CNET has also rated the phone highly but withheld the Editors' Choice Award due to the device's continued call quality issues. Now many in the media are clamoring for Apple to issue a recall of the iPhone 4.

So if you're Steve Jobs & Co., what do you do about what was supposed to be the most successful product launch in your company's history?

iPhone 4 Case Roundup: Part One

This may come as a surprise, so you may want to sit down: iPhone 4 cases are coming fast and furious. Instead of flooding our news headlines by covering them one-by-one, we’re taking the same approach we used with iPad cases by doing periodic roundups.

So let’s get on with it, shall we?

New iPhone 4 Ads change the Conversation

...Along come four new iPhone 4 spots that make you think not just about the future of phones, but about the future of conversations.

Here are four situations that would have all been very different if they had been enacted over a normal cell phone. Imagine a grandfather, for example, asking "what does the baby look like?" over the phone, as opposed to being able to see the baby as he speaks.

As technology grasps at ways that it can bring people into some kind of greater proximity, it is hard to resist the notion that FaceTime isn't merely a cool feature, it's the paradigm for all phone conversations in the future.

First Look: MobileMe Calendar beta

E-mail is an essential tool for many of us, which is probably why Apple launched its MobileMe Web app revamp with a significant Mail upgrade. However, scheduling appointments and to-dos often go hand-in-hand with e-mail, so it’s little surprise that Apple last week announced a private beta for Calendar, its Web-based counterpart to iCal.

The new version brings a number of new features and a major redesign to Calendar, and I was able to pencil in some time to take it for a spin.

How Apple maintains Explosive Earnings Growth

While Apple is now larger than Microsoft, Google, Cisco and Intel, it still enjoys the growth rate of small cap tech stocks. A few weeks ago I wrote an article entitled Apple's $63.5 Billion Revenue Year where I offer comprehensive revenue estimates for Apple's fiscal Q3 and Q4 of 2010. Picking up where that report left off, I'll take a look at Apple's potential 2010 earnings.

To get an idea of how deeply Apple continues to penetrate the market, Apple will likely produce 50% more in sales and 71% more in earnings in 2010 than it did last year. If this growth continues into 2011, Apple will surpass Exxon (XOM) to become the largest corporation in America. Not to mention that it already has more cash than any other company in the United States: $41 billion.

That is absolutely stunning when one considers that Apple recorded a whopping $43 billion in revenue during the 2009 reporting period – almost double the $24 billion it recorded in 2007. While the market continues to generally slobber over the financial prospects of the iPhone and Apple's business, it's important to step back and examine exactly where Apple's business stands.

Poking Holes in Apple's iPhone 4 Antenna Explanation

Apple has said that users have to hold the iPhone 4 the right way to get the best reception. Now it also says it has a software fix for signal issues.

Apple now blames reception issues that many new iPhone 4 customers are experiencing on a software miscalculation rather than on hardware design. But will a software update really fix the problems that many customers are reporting?

I'm not sure I am buying Apple's explanation.

Why iAd won’t Meet Steve Jobs’ Expectations

Apple’s much-hyped iAd is slated to debut tomorrow on iPhones and iPod touches, and there’s no shortage of advertisers willing to dig deep into their pockets to be a part of the platform.

As I discuss in my new report over at GigaOM Pro on in-app advertising, iAd will surely give the market a boost thanks to the emergence of the iPad, whose size and display quality make it an ideal device for using apps and viewing ads. But here’s why iAd won’t capture the 48 percent of the market that Steve Jobs is gunning for.

iPhone Restaurant Apps: 6 UrbanSpoon Alternatives

Apps for finding cool places to grab a bite to eat are some of the most popular in the App Store. Of course, most iPhone owners know about the gorilla in the category, UrbanSpoon. But have you seen these six worthy alternatives?

The State of iPad Satisfaction

Long before anyone knew much of anything about the iPad, people were expressing strong opinions about it. But the opinions that matter most didn’t begin to get formed until April 3rd, the day Apple’s tablet finally went on sale. That’s when teeming masses of consumers spent their own money on iPads, took them home, and put them to an array of utterly real-world tests.

Executive summary in case you don’t feel like reading the rest of this article: They like it. A lot. Ninety-eight percent say they’re satisfied with their iPads overall; ninety-six percent think it’s a good value. In category after category–3G service, most of the individual bundled apps, battery life, speed, the absence of Flash–a majority of respondents are pleased.

In only one major area did unhappy campers dominate: A majority aren’t pleased with Apple’s App Store approval process. More than half also wish Apple had given the tablet printing capabilities, a memory-card slot, and a front-facing camera.

The extremely warm response for the iPad isn’t astonishing.

More on the iPhone Signal Issue

Previously, I did some simple testing of reception strength on my iPhone 4 and concluded that I couldn’t see any problems. I’ve now done some more thorough testing, however, and have reason to think I was wrong.

Warning: this is very long and nerdy.

A Look at Who's Getting What on Apple's IAds

The first of Apple's iAds are expected to start popping up on iPhones later this week, but don't expect all the marketers that have committed to the platform to be there. A check-in with declared iAd advertisers found that many are still in the early stages of flushing out concepts and creative. Some are weeks -- perhaps months -- away from having an iAd in the system.

The July 1 rollout announced by Apple doesn't necessarily coincide with the objectives of the marketers themselves, and many are staggering launches on the platform through the fall. Apple is telling marketers that the device considered most promising for advertisers -- the iPad -- won't be on the iAd platform until November.

What are the i-advertisers up to? Here's a look at some of those willing to share.

iPhone 4 Antennas...

Just about every cell phone in current production has the antenna located at the bottom. This insures that the radiating portion of the antenna is furthest from the head. Apple was not the first to locate the antenna on the bottom, and certainly won't be the last. The problem is that humans have their hands below their ears, so the most natural position for the hand is covering the antenna. This can't be a good design decision, can it? How can we be stuck with this conundrum? It's the FCC's fault.

You see, when the FCC tests are run, the head is required to be in the vicinity of the phone. But, the hand is not!! And the FCC's tests are not the only tests that must be passed by a candidate product. AT&T has their own requirements for devices put on their network, and antenna efficiency is one of them. I know because I have designed quad-band GSM antennas for the AT&T network. The AT&T test similarly does not require the hand to be on the phone.

So, naturally, the design evolved to meet requirements - and efficient transmission and reception while being held by a human hand are simply not design requirements!

iPhone 4 vs. Droid X: A Head-to-Head Comparison

No two phones are hotter right now than the latest Apple handset and Motorola’s new Android phone. We compared both in hands-on tests in eight categories to crown an overall winner.

Invincible Apple: 10 Lessons from the Coolest Company Anywhere

For the past decade, Apple has released a series of platforms -- Mac OS X, the iPhone OS, iTunes, its retail stores, the App Store, and recently its own microprocessors and iAd, a mobile-advertising system -- that give it a stepping stone to its next products. The iPad is the culmination of all these things. Its glass screen, interface, unibody construction, operating system, and App Store all originated in other Apple products. Within the iPad are clues to Apple's future gadgets and services, though we'll only be able to spot them in retrospect.

The company has a plan. It's on the right path, and that fuels both confidence and grand ambitions.

What is Fast App Switching?

Those of you who have just used iTunes to install a shiny new iOS 4 on your iPhone or iPod touch, or who are about to obtain a shiny new iPhone 4 device, may find yourselves wondering about one of the touted features of this new system, fast app switching.

What is fast app switching? What does it have to do with multitasking? Does it operate only through the new Home button double-click behavior? And why, for most apps, does nothing very remarkable or new seem to be happening?