One of the more interesting features that will be coming to the iPhone and iPad in the future is NFC. NFC stands for Near Field Communication. What NFC technology would do for the iPhone is let iPhone customers use their phones to pay for transactions. Some examples of NFC devices are the Mobile Speedpass or a credit card that you tap on a payment device, in order to charge your card account.
Currently there are opportunities for iphone customers to pay with their phones such as with the Starbucks Mobile app, however the implementation is not perfect. Inside the app, a barcode is displayed to be scanned at the register. There seems to be a large delay in the reading of the barcode and sometimes the barcode will not even scan. These issues could be as a result of things trivial like the angle the iPhone is held at amount of light given off by the backlight.
Some of these issues would ideally be fixed by NFC technology. Users would only have to have a device onto or next to a reader rather than at a specific angle or using certain default settings. However NFC technology also incorporates a new threat which is security. With RFID, there is a lot of debate about security in that people with special devices, pick up RFID information from large distances, without users knowing. It will be interesting to see what security precautions NFC will utilize and if it will be safe enough for most people to consider.
The VAIS Tech SoundLinQ2 SL2i device is probably one of the best purchases I have ever made. I love that the sound pumping out of my stereo is nice and crisp. I love the fact that there is no static whatsoever. That means no scanning for new channels as you pass different mountains or repositioning the iPhone or iPod so that the signal is closer to the radio. I love the fact that I can choose a song on my iPhone and then switch songs from my steering wheel as I’d like. I also have the ability to control everything like playing playlists right from the touch screen in my Toyota Prius. If you have iTunes Plus music then playing it over the stereo sounds remarkable. They also have a model that will allow you to play video right through the screen on your car. Amazing!
The fact is that before I decided to get this module installed, I had purchased 3 different FM transmitters. The first Griffin FM transmitter I purchased worked pretty well and I really loved it but the issue was that they changed the charging method on the iPhone and so that old transmitter would not charge my new 3G iPhone. Because of this, I purchased another Griffin FM transmitter however the signal of transmitter was terrible. I could plug the new one in and the old transmitter would totally trump the signal of the new one. Plus they had a auto scan feature that was just worthless. I was truly disappointed at the dismal quality of the device. Then I purchased a competing transmitter from Belkin and it was just as bad as the new one from Griffin. I was totally done with these new crappy FM transmitters and soon looked into better setups. I searching I found VAIS Tech which specializes in modules for Toyota and Lexus cars. Everyone in the forums were talking about their products so I thought I would check it out for myself. I went down to the local Al & Eds Auto Sound. I got a quote and then had them install the device. I am definitely pleased. Al & Eds Auto Sound stands behind their work and offered to remove the unit free of charge if there were ever any issues with it.
- Amazing Sound Quality
- Charge your iPhone 3G – One of the first (SL2i-UP model only)
- You can use the rest of your iPhone while listening to music.
- Control your music with the steering wheel.
- Uses Advanced noise canceling technology
- There will never be a 100% assurance that the device will work in your car.
- You cannot control both the iPod and touch screen in your car at the same time.
- In simple mode (controlling music through the iPod) you cannot display track information on the car’s touch screen.
I’ve had a very interesting experience buying my new 3G iPhone. Getting it has been a roller coaster ride from trouble porting to activating to trouble getting service to incompatible and poorly manufactured accessories. But now that things have finally really settled down… Here is my story.
Since the World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco, I’ve been really excited about the iPhone. It was exciting to see live updates via MacRumors.com right as Steve Jobs was announcing the new iPhone with all of its features during the conference. Since then I have been thinking about the new iPhone but it still just seemed implausible to switch since I was still under contract with Verizon and therefore I would have to pay a huge cancellation fee.
However in the final days leading up to the release of the new iPhone 3G, I was sold as I saw the iPhone 2.0 OS, especially all the cool apps up in iTunes in the app store and the introduction of mobile me. Seeing all these features I new that I would have to be apart of the new cell phone industry. As I see it Apple is doing amazing things to advance usability and customization in the cellphone industry so that technology will finally be fully compatible. The fact that you can install apps on a phone is truly amazing and opens the door to completely new horizons. I knew I couldn’t loose out of this shift from closed devices to customizable machines.
Night Before iPhone 3G
The night before Christmas the iPhone 3G I was drowned in suspense. I figured I would try to get a good nights sleep and then head over to the AT&T store early that morning. Forget that! There was no way that i was going to sleep with the iPhone on my mind. I finally got some sleep and then headed on over there early in the morning with my mom. We stood in line for a couple of hours until it started moving. It was an awesome experience from talking to the people around, getting free beverages to being solicited by non-wireless AT&T salespeople. My mom and I were about the hundredth person in line for the iPhone and around thirty minutes after the line started moving, a guy in front of us received a call from a buddy who was waiting at the local Apple store and was told that the stores network went down. My worst nightmare would have been if after all that waiting, a server error would have led to a delayed purchase. We also found out that even though he got there the same time, the line was double the size as ours.
Finally it was time to set foot through those doors and into a new experience. I made it. I finally had the wrapped iPhone box within reach. I figured this meant the complicated part was over and I couldn’t wait to finally hold my beautiful new phone. It seemed like the calm after the storm. There was no more waiting or the agonizing question of if I would even get a phone, I was set. But that was when we ran into problems adding my line to the account. For some odd reason they couldn’t just add me to an existing account but instead had to create a brand new one for me. This took around an hour for a process that should have taken 15 minutes. Then when they got the AT&T stuff straightened out, I found out that the iTunes activation was taking way too long and that I would have to do it all at home instead of at the store. This is what I was afraid of. Everything was all ready for me to activate and instantly use my iPhone but now that wasn’t a possibility because of an undervaluation made by Apple’s I.T. department. I would think that they would have a pretty idea of how many iPhones were going to be activated in each time zones before the launch and could have planned accordingly so it was back home for now.
All I was able to do at this point was plug my beautiful iPhone into my laptop and watch as the standard ‘plug your phone into iTunes’ picture came up. So I plugged it into iTunes and sadly but surely I could not do anything to my iPhone because the activation servers were overloaded. Finally a couple hours later my phone was activated and I had to wait an hour or so for everything to sync to my phone.
For the next few days i was carrying my iPhone with me everywhere and trying to use it as I pleased but I noticed that I wasn’t getting the service I should have. I would be walking around with ‘no service’ most of the day no matter where I went. My mom has another 3G phone and I compared signals and I might have 1 bar when it showed I had service when she would have full bars. The problem of having no service continued about everywhere I went. The phone should have at least defaulted back to EDGE if there was no obtainable 3G service. So finally I was like screw this, I’m going to the Apple store to see what was going on.
When we go to the Apple store there were a couple of lines. There was a line for getting the new iPhone and then there was even a line for just walking into the store so what I did was I went up to the guy in front of the store and demanded to speak to a manager. He in fact was a manager and I explained my situation and frustrations and he sent me back to the genius bar with priority. Basically that meant that he made me next in line for the Genius bar even though there were a bunch of people looking to be seen for iPods/mac/iPhones. After some paperwork and whatnot I walked out with a re manufactured new iPhone 3G and this one worked. I was so stoked! besides the part of all my data being on the old one and having no data on the new one but that fix was only a sync away.
The next big failure, I believe, on the behalf of the iPhone 3G is that many of the old accessories that used to work in charging an iPod don’t because of a changed electrical configuration. This may not seem like a big deal but it is because I had an FM Transmitter from Griffin Technologies that worked wonders but then I couldn’t use it anymore because it wouldnt charge my new iPhone. i figured the thing to do would be to get a new FM transmitter which would probably have more features and stronger signal but I was definitely wrong. I tried a couple FM transmitters from Griffin and Belkin and they were completely worthless. They were horrible products. I guess maybe I should be more lenient because i live close to the Los Angeles area where every channel has something on it but i found that even when driving in the middle of nowhere, these devices were worthless. There were times however when it would sound perfect. It seemed as though if my left hand was on the steering wheel a certain way and if I had the iPhone in a certain place and then transmitter in another pointed a specific way then it worked great. But Come On! The transmitter I got year ago worked a heck of a lot better than either. If I plugged one of the new ones in and played music it would be all static and some of the music I was playing. However if I kept one of the new ones plugged in and then plugged my old one in, the old one would trump the new transmitters signal and would sound crystal clear. Eventually I just turned to buying a VAIS Technology modulator into my car which just sounds absolutely amazing and is not comparable.
The Down Low
So far since then I have not had too many issues. Its true the apps do crash occasionally and the 3G reception is less than desirable especially at my house where I have resigned to EDGE. There have been some significant billing issues due to AT&T’s inability to get things straightened out when we first purchased the phone but that has been worked out. The only other big issue I have run into was when I updated from 2.0.1 to 2.0.2, something happened during the update which corrupted my iPhone so that I had to fully restore it. In the middle of that process the 2.0.2 update was having trouble re-downloading because our Time Warner Cable wasn’t stable that night which led me without a phone for a day. For a while there I thought I had an iBrick and I that I wouldn’t be able to restore it at all and have to give AT&T or Apple hell for a new one.
In all I have been very pleased with my iPhone purchase. I think the benefits outweigh the costs and I really do enjoy using my phone even though my parents don’t see the necessity for it. I don’t think I would go back and do anything any differently except for seek out assistance sooner when my phone had no signal. I definitely think my phone allows me to be more productive and I’m glad that I got to be one of the first to experience to new age or revolution in the cell phone industry.
I posted information earlier about a great Netflix widget. However I was looking around some more and found another great Netflix widget. This widget is provided through AdaptiveBlue. AdpativeBlue is a great service if you want to add beautiful widgets to your website using RSS feeds from common websites. They provide widgets for services like Amazon, Blockbuster, Epicurious, iTunes, Last.fm, Netflix, New York Times, Rhapsody, Rolling Stone, Snooth, Wallstip, Wine.com, and Yahoo. The great feature is you don’t even have to have an RSS feed; you can show the best selling books off of Amazon or the music you’ve purchased off of iTunes. You can sign up for other features that include keeping track of stats, toolbars that help you see media reviews fast and easy, and also add great information to links about books, movies, music and stocks. Many of their features integrate with common platforms.