Category Archives: ATamp;T

I’m All For Competition – Where Competition Meets Hypocrisy

As the title says, I am all for competition.  Competition is what makes America great.  You can succeed and / or fail.  Most of us, if not everyone, has done both at some point in their lives.  If you succeed, that’s great; If you fail, keep trying or find something else to try.  

Ok, so what’s your point author?

For over a year now, when I wake up, and have checked my twitter feed, I read stories about Apple suing X company or X company suing Apple over various patents. I’m not a fan of pointless lawsuits, but if a company feels that one or more of their patents is in use in other companies products unjustly and the original patent holders are not getting a fair share for their hard work, then by all means, get some compensation. 

I am an Apple fanboy, but what I said applies to Apple too.  If Apple is violating someone else’s patents, then Apple should be held accountable and have to pay compensation.  Period.  That’s how it should work.  And if someone is violating Apple’s patents, then Apple has the right to defend themselves in court and ask for damages.  

I can see just from design that Samsung is violating Apple’s patents left and right, blatantly I might add.  I mean their charging bricks look identical to Apple’s!  That’s just taking an easy design route .  I’m sure there’s a plethora of combinations you can use to design a tablet charger.  

I hear people saying that what Apple is doing within these lawsuits is hurting the competition, stifling it to keep the iPad on top.  Maybe if the competing companies (I’m looking at you Samsung) would innovate instead of imitate, then I wouldn’t have to write a blogpost regarding competition.

I’m sure you can design a tablet with a different hardware design and yet make it functional for people too at the same time.  Google was able to achieve this!  They unveiled their new Nexus 7″ tablet and it doesn’t look anything like the iPad nor does the software interface either.  It looks original, hardware and software.  So if Google can pull it off, so can other companies.  Personally, I don’t like it.  It looks ugly with the large bezels.  

While I’m on the subject of Google, in relation to competition, I have a bone to pick with Google.  

As I said, I’m all for competition, but when does hypocrisy become competition or vice versa?  Let me explain what I mean.  

Google this morning announced a Siri-like competitor.  On multiple occasions, Eric Schmidt, former CEO and current co-advisor to current CEO, Larry Page, is quoted as calling “Siri a threat to competition.”  He testified in a congressional hearing that Siri is a “significant development” and says it is an “entirely new approach to search technology.”

Yes, I agree with him that Siri is a new approach to search technology.  But you’re just scared that Google will become less relied upon among iOS device users.  Yes, Siri does go around google.  When you tell Siri to look up a restaurant review, it doesn’t use Google.  Instead of going straight to Google, it goes straight to the most reliable source, Yelp!.  That makes perfect logical sense.  Siri takes Google out of the middleman position and instead directs your query to the most relevant site out there.  In a technological world, that makes perfect sense.  And by going straight to the relevant source, users won’t have to expend as much data (since data is becoming a precious mobile resource like water is to survival) as they would have if they had to go to google first and then to the relevant website. 

But Mr. Schmidt was at Congress, saying that Siri will hurt competition.  How can it?  Apple took search to a whole new level!  That’s innovation, Mr. Schmidt!  So in other words, Mr. Schmidt, you want to punish Apple for being innovative just so Google can stay the number one search engine in the world?  

So today, Google launched a Siri-like competitor.  Ok Google, is it powered by Nuance, the same people that power Siri?  Does your program understand and extract the key phrases of a sentence or question and pull in the necessary words to perform a specific function?  Is it powered by Google search, taking users straight to Google for answers and then do the end-users have to tap on the relevant answer or issue another voice command, or will it bypass your search engine completely and take your users to Yelp! for restaurant reviews directly?  

So Google called Siri a threat and a few months later, they release their own version of it.  If their Siri-like program takes users straight to Google search or other Google app before taking the user to their desired result, is that innovation?  I guess so, but it’s backwards because Siri takes users straight to their relevant answer right away bypassing search.  If Google’s Siri-like app takes users straight to the relevant source like Siri does for iOS users, then that’s straight up imitation.  Schmidt’s testimony at Congress should be repealed at this point since they developed something to compete with Apple, when they said that it would hurt competition.  

Schmidt should not have said that it is a threat to competition, but rather have just let it be and developed your own app or program.  The way he used Congress makes it look like a huge publicity circus.  Our government has more important things to worry about rather than turning the congressional house floor into a place of clowning around.  

Google, make your app, but know this…by making your Siri competitive app, you can no longer call Siri a threat to competition.  You’ve lost that right.  

And Samsung, hire some people who are creative and who will innovate for you rather than imitate other produces.  I’m sure you can produce great things with the right people in your company.  

What do you think?  Agree?  Disagree?  Do you feel like enough is a enough with the lawsuits?  Do you believe that if a company feels wrongly violated with a patent misuse, it should be able to defend itself?  What about Google?  Do you feel like they are hypocrites for launching their own Siri competitor when they called that new search method a threat?  

Please feel free to post intelligent comments.  I also invite my readers to do your own research and formulate your own opinions.  I hope I was able to spur some thought for you as you read this.  Let’s all be well informed readers.  

My iPhone 4S Pre-Ordering Experience

Through all the bad news this week, the highlight of the week was that on Friday morning at 3 AM EST, the iPhone 4S was going online for pre-ordering.

Like so many others, I decided to pre-order a Black 64GB iPhone 4S on AT&T. Before I went to bed, I got everything ready. I set an alarm for 2:45.

At 2:45 AM, my alarm went off. I got up, turned on my computer, I loaded up Safari and loaded up Apple & AT&T’s websites on separate tabs. On my iPhone, I loaded up AT&T’s Upgrader app on my iPhone. Thinking I was covering all the angles by having those sites loaded up, I thought I’d have no problem getting an iPhone. Boy was I wrong!

3:01 AM. I start refreshing Apple’s and AT&T’s sites. Whichever site loaded first was going to be the site I’d order from. Apple’s loaded up first a half hour later! I quickly selected the color, capacity, and carrier info, then entered in my billing zip code, etc. 20 minutes later, I finally ended up at the checkout page. I clicked on checkout. I was about to be very excited. ERROR! I had to start all over again!!!! Now I was freaking out!

Meanwhile on AT&T’s site, which I kept refreshing while I was trying to make my order on Apple’s site, the iPhone 4S didn’t exist! So at this point, I’m sweating profusely, I’m nervous, and I’m thinking I’m screwed…that I’d not be getting an iPhone 4S for a month.

Back on Apple’s site, I started all over again with my order. I couldn’t get past the “contacting AT&T” popup though! About ready to give up, I checked AT&T site again. Now the phone was showing up! Hope started to flood my system all over again! One other thing, AT&T’s site was really fast! I got to the checkout screen within 2 minutes! But then, I saw red text that threw me off. It told me that my data plan wasn’t compatible! I said screw it, I’m going to click continue. Good news! An unlimited data plan for iPhone 4S showed up!

(I gave up on Apple’s site by this point)

Back on track, I proceed to checkout. Then more red text popped up! My credit card billing address is different from my AT&T billing address. Apparently, AT&T will not let you place an online order if those addresses are different. I quickly changed my AT&T billing address to match my credit card address. I had to go through the whole process again, but at least it only took me a couple minutes!

I SUCCEEDED!!!!!

I got the confirmation page. I printed it, and within 30 seconds of printing it, I got the confirmation email. Contained in the email was a delivery date of 10/14! I became very excited!

After allowing myself to cool down (I was sweating so bad that I didn’t want to go straight to bed), I finally went to bed. When I woke up, I had the “Order Processed” email!

That’s my iPhone 4S pre-ordering tale!

Did anyone have a really bad experience pre-ordering? Good experiences? Feel free to leave a comment. I’d be interested in hearing how people’s pre-ordering went.

iPhone WILL NOT come to Verizon anytime soon

Good afternoon all. Hope you’re all having a great day or evening.

I love (note sarcasm) waking up in the morning and seeing the following in my Twitter Timeline, “The iPhone coming to Verizon,” “Verizon to get the iPhone,” “[insert news agency or person(s) name here] says iPhone to Verizon launch soon.”

You get the idea. Has it happened yet? No. Why? Let me list it out for you here.

1st. We have to go back 4 years ago before the iPhone was released. Apple actually approached Verizon first about the iPhone. They said no. Now we can all speculate as to why they said no. My theory is that Verizon didn’t want to take the gamble on the iPhone because they wouldn’t get any say in the phone software and what’s on the phone; something Verizon desires to have; complete control over the phone. As Steve Jobs said at the D8 Conference this year, “No one has done anything like this before. We were the the first to tell the carrier, you worry about the network and we’ll worry about the phone.” I don’t think Verizon was ready to take on that risk. And that’s their loss. Lick your wounds and move on. Don’t hate for your mistake Verizon.

2nd. Have you seen how small and slim the iPhone 4 is? Have you seen interior pictures? It’s filled to the brim! You couldn’t fit anything else inside. Now take a look at the CDMA modems. They’re bulky and huge. There’s no way you could fit a CDMA modem into an iPhone 4 without redesigning the whole phone. Now, there’s a company overseas working on a GSM CDMA hybrid modem that would allow Apple to design one phone and then you, the consumer, choose which carrier to use. Now that’s a great idea! I support that idea. However, that hybrid modem is still too big for past and present iPhone designs. If that company can find a way to slim the modem down, then maybe you’d see it appearing in future iDevice hardware. But there’s still a couple problems here.

3rd. Speaking of CDMA and GSM, let me explain what those are. GSM and CDMA are wireless protocols. It’s the method of how a cell phone communicates with the tower and network for voice and data. CDMA is an archaic network that’s only used in the US, Mexico, Canada, and a few European countries. That’s it. It is not a big standard. That’s the standard Verizon uses. GSM, which is the Global Standard for Mobile communications, is the protocol AT&T and T-Mobile use in the US. GSM is the largest standard around for mobile communications. It made sense for Apple to choose AT&T because it allowed Apple to sell their iDevices all over the world versus a select few. Also, something else you need to know about about these protocols, CDMA, in its current form has limitations. For example, if you want to send a picture to the person you’re on the phone with, good luck. It won’t happen. If I want to send a pic to my friend whose on Verizon, she needs to get off the phone to receive the picture. On GSM, specifically HSPDA (AT&T’s 3G), I can send and receive MMSs while I’m on the phone. You can’t do that on Verizon’s vast 3G network. Same goes for Internet usage. On Verizon, you can’t talk and surf the web at the same time. Now for some people, that may not be a big deal. But to me, and a lot of other people I know, that’s a big deal. Oh, for you Droid users, having Android OS makes more sense to be on AT&T. I played with 2 Android phones at an AT&T store and was very happy that I could be on the phone and load a web page at the same time. But there is one more issue here and it has nothing to do with networks and phone models. Can you take a guess?

4th. You’ll have to think way back to when the iPhone was first announced back at MacWorld 2007. Do you remember now? Steve mentioned it just after announcing the “exclusive” carrier for the US. Oh you remember know don’t you? That’s right, AT&T is the EXCLUSIVE CARRIER FOR THE IPHONE IN THE USA! Apple and AT&T have a 5 year exclusive contract with each other. At this time, there are 2 years to go yet. You don’t want Apple or AT&T getting in trouble, do you? I know there’s a nationwide class-action lawsuit going on right now because AT&T has a “monopoly” on the iPhone, according to the plaintiff lawyers. If the courts decide to rule otherwise, I’ll support their decision.

To conclude, I’m happy the iPhone is on AT&T. I can take my phone pretty much everywhere and it works. I have had better coverage and better Customer Service with AT&T than with any other carrier I’ve been on.

If the chip manufacturer whose making the hybrid chip can make it small enough to fit in the iPhone and Apple decides, after the exclusive contract with AT&T ends, to develop an iPhone to work on all carriers, then I’ll welcome it because, contrary to what the Obama administration wants, it encourages competition, thus capitalism at it’s finest! GASP!

What is your take on all of this? How do you feel about AT&T’s exclusive agreement with Apple? Are you satisfied with AT&T and its many aspects? I welcome your opinions and feedback. If you comment, please be intelligent. I’ll only approve intelligent comments.

***NOTE*** the picture was made using Brushes iPhone app; picture is copyrighted by me. Use with permission only.