Sunday, November 13, 2011

Last month, Apple was in the news a lot. Chronologically speaking, there was the new iPhone launch, immediately followed by the sad news of Steve Job's demise. Then there was the usual iPhone launch excitement, huge lines in front of the stores, the "how awesome Siri is" etc etc. And, soon, the biography of Steve Jobs was released - the "authorized" one. There was, and still is, a lot of discussion about the abysmal battery performance of iPhone 4s and/or iOS5, and the subsequent release of version 5.0.1. So, let me get started on what I think of each of these.

The Launch of iPhone

The gadget and the rumor sites were filled with so called leaks and design mock ups about the new iPhone for the past few months - designs that made imaginations run wild. Sleeker and tapered form factor, 4inch screen and what not. Even I was caught in this rumor mill, against my better judgement, and had a full expectation that new iPhone will look completely different. Well, everyone who was expecting this was disappointed on the 4th October, when Apple and co took the stage and introduced the revamped iPhone 4 - with a "S" appended to its name. 

I am generally at work when Apple decides to announce new products, so incessant refreshing of blog sites is what I end up doing. The keynote was a bit subdued, but I couldn't guess why (Jobs' absence? But I expected him to pop up on the stage anytime). Anyways, they announced the phone, and the tech world was sure to be disappointed - after each of them publishing thousands of posts on the "new and revamped" design.

Anyways, my good old 3GS was out of contract, so I decided to upgrade anyways. For me, it was a worthwhile upgrade - awesome screen, awesome camera, faster processor, and finally - a 64Gb option!

Steve Jobs Passed Away

I was driving home from work in the evening, and the radio jockey announced the news. For a second, I thought I had heard it wrong. Parking outside my apartment, I immediately opened up a reader app, and was shocked, and sad.

The Pre-Order

Yes, this was the first gadget I ever bought on the launch day. I stayed up past midnight, ready with my credit card, to buy the new phone. Unfortunately, Apple and AT&T would let me - at least their website didn't. Wasted 1.5 hours, before finally giving up. But I set up a 5AM alarm, to go back and see if their websites were back up to take my order again. Which I was able to.

The New iPhone

Well, this was a Friday. And as usual, I was at work. As with all other things I order online, I expected UPS / Fedex to deliver it to the leasing office of my apartment, if I am not at home, Guess what, not this time! Instead, they asked me to drive 30 miles one way to Commerce City at 8PM to collect the phone from their sorting / storage center. And, made me wait for 2 more hours before I could get my hand on the brown box.

Siri, and the Initial Impressions

The phone is fast, and beautiful. I didn't own an iPhone 4, so I liked the phone. The screen is beautiful, the camera is awesome, and the iOS5 seems snappier on the new phone - with all the new features like notifications, iCloud etc.

I was a bit skeptical about Siri - had full faith that it wouldn't work at all with the Indian accent. But, I was in for a surprise. After initial hiccups with network connections with Siri, it started understanding me better. Yes, like everyone else, I asked the usual nonsense questions to Siri, and giggled at the responses. Now, I use it to set alarms, set timers, create meetings / reminders, and sometimes, dictate messages. Works most of the time, and I am happy.

Battery Issues

Oh yes, there were sure some HUGE battery issues in the beginning. Didn't last for a full day without plugging it in to a power source every now and then. I was disappointed - the 3GS gave me a better battery life.

Finally tried the following: took a backup of the phone, restored the os using iTunes, and then restored from the saved backup. May be the os with which the device came was corrupt? Don't know, but that fixed a lot of my battery woes (after turning off some of the useless location services).

Apple acknowledges battery issues with iOS5, and assured that a new patch will be ready with a fix for the battery problem soon.

The Biography

Well, initially, I wasn't to keen to read his biography. I had read iCon by Jeffrey Young and William Simon a few years back. I thought that the "new" biography, as it was authorized by Jobs himself, would have been controlled would end up being a toned down version.

After a week of going through a few reviews online, I decided to purchase it from Amazon Kindle store, and finished reading the book in a week's time.

The book impressed me - it showed Jobs in true light - mean, arrogant, yet a visionary and a perfectionist. The chapters went through history of Apple, NeXT, Pixar, and his comeback with launch of the iMac, the iPod, iPhone, iPad and the iTunes store - with quite a lot of trivia, and Jobs' personal opinion, quotes and conversations on each of these products. 

A good read - if you want to know more about the company and the person who created the iPhone, and those lovely and adorable Pixar movies.

The iOS OTA Update

Yes, finally, I was able to update the OS to 5.0.1 without connecting the phone and the iPad to the computer. The update was incremental (a mere ~40Mb), and the installation was complete in a matter of minutes. My phone's battery was good anyways, so I won't be able to say if this update fixed the battery issues.

“I like to think that something survives after you die,” he said. “It’s strange to think that you accumulate all this experience, and maybe a little wisdom, and it just goes away. So I really want to believe that something survives, that maybe your consciousness endures.” He fell silent for a very long time. “But on the other hand, perhaps it’s like an on-off switch,” he said. “Click! And you’re gone.” Then he paused again and smiled slightly. “Maybe that’s why I never liked to put on-off switches on Apple devices.”
from Steve Jobs biography by Walter Issacson


  1. am waiting to get my hands on his biography....was very impressed when i read iCon during my college days....

  2. Yes, iCon was a very well written book - giving the readers a in depth insight into Jobs' life. This book, in a way, continues where iCon ended, and I think, the last 10 years of Steve Jobs is the most fascinating period.