Blurry iPhone 4S photos [Updated]

I’m a week into owning an iPhone 4S. It’s a great device, and I’ve been eager to play with the improved camera. I’ve only taken a handful of photos, but so far I’m a bit disappointed as I’m getting a lot of blurry pictures. The iPhone 4S camera seems very sensitive to motion, both on my part as the photographer and my subjects.

I’m not sure if the problem is me, the camera or bad practices, so here’s a look at what I’ve been shooting. Suggestions/comments welcome.

Updated with input from readers after the break.

Continue reading →

Sprint reports best-ever sales day [Updated]

Sprint’s product chief Fared Adib, in an email to Boy Genius Report:

“Sprint today reported its best ever day of sales in retail, web and telesales for a device family in Sprint history with the launch of iPhone 4S and iPhone 4.”

This is becoming a familiar chorus. While RIM struggles, American carriers, I can only assume, are tripping over themselves to carry the iPhone.

Update: AT&T is on track to double its single-day activation record.

iOS 5 makes a beautiful first impression

Here are a few screenshots from the iOS 5 setup procedure. New customers can initiate the process at home when they’re ready. There’s no indifferent, heavily-piereced carrier clerk to deal with, no Muzak-filled mall or long line.

What’s better is that it’s beautiful. That’s notable because most users will only ever see this once. Since most people don’t reminisce about the day the set up their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, Apple could have made something effective yet forgettable.

But that’s not how Apple does first impressions. That’s not why people record themselves opening boxes that contain Apple products. This attention to detail and respect for its customers is one of the reason I appreciate Apple so much.

White iPhone 4 is thicker than the black model [Updated]

white iphone 4

Ryan Cash noticed that the white iPhone 4 is slightly thicker than its black counterpart. In the image above you can see that the white plastic is slightly thicker. Apple lists the depth of both devices as 0.37 inch (9.3 mm).

I wonder if this will affect the fit of existing cases. I’ve noticed that the DODOcase BOOKback, as thin as it is, prevents my black iPhone 4 from fitting inside a Mophie Juicepack Plus. If you can test a white iPhone with an iPhone 4 case, please let me know (especially if you’ve got a micrometer or a vernier caliper lying around).

UpdateTiPB confirms that the white iPhone is 0.2mm thicker than the black iPhone.

Some Game Center screenshots [Updated]

Just a few hours after iOS 4.1‘s release, Firemint and Secret Exit released Game Center-enalbed versions of their games (Flight Control, Real Racing and Zen Bound 2). I own all three, and spent some time playing with them this evening. Here are some early screenshots and thoughts on Apple’s venture into social gaming.

The Game Center lists the compatible games you’ve got installed, but not until you launch/quit those games. Simply installing them won’t do it. The first time you launch an app, it registers itself with Game Center and drops a little graphic with the icon and your username.

An app’s achievements can be found in two locations: the app itself and with Game Center. Here’s a shot of Flight Control’s achievements list in both places. It’s too bad that the achievement icons are so small, as I bet they’re beautiful and I’d like to get a better look. For example, in the screenshots below, I can’t select the Safety Card achievement to bring up a detail page. It’s simply a part of the list.

Once a game is registered, it appears in Game Center’s list of available games. The “Find Game Center Games” banner launches Safari and points it to Perhaps in the future it will list supported games, but for now it’s just a web link.

Each game gets its own great-looking page. Below are some screenshots of Flight Control in the Game Center. A full-sized icon sits atop the page (again making me wish for large achievement icons), which lists the last time you played, your place on the leaderboard, achievement history and aspect of the game (maps, levels, etc.) you recently played. The leader board is fun because it separates your friends from the global pool of players, and data can be restricted to today, this week or all time.

Just for fun, here are two screenshots from Real Racing.

Of course, the project’s success hinges on the effectiveness of the social aspects. As a gamer, I’m eager to earn achievements and brag to my friends. But will casual gamers be equally motivated? Perhaps. When looking at a friend’s page, you can see what games you have in common. If your good buddy is playing Game X, you’ll probably check it out. Additionally, Apple lets you set your status for all to see. I can already predict using it for trash talk among my friends.

Good luck to Apple and all the developers involved. Again, this was a quick post to share some screen shots and initial thoughts. So far, I’m enthused about Game Center.


Update: There’s now a dedicated section of the App Store. I wondered how long that would take.

FaceTime’s future

In episode 20 of The Bro Show, Myke, Terry and guest Patrick discussed something I want to expand upon. Namely, the future of FaceTime, the mobile video calling solution that Apple introduced with the iPhone 4. It’s certainly the device’s marquee feature.

Myke [2. I think it was Myke. Correct me if I’m wrong.] made an astute observation: if you consider the television ads that have aired so far, you’ll notice that Apple hasn’t advertised the iPhone 4 per se. Instead, it’s advertised FaceTime. FaceTime is the product and the iPhone 4 is the delivery system. Of course that will change, but how and when? Here are my thoughts.

FaceTime for Mac

During The Bro Show, the guys suggested that iChat will be replaced with “FaceTime for Mac.” I agree and expect it to be a part of Mac OS 10.7. [3. With support for old school text chat.] It will allow those without an iPhone 4 to enjoy a FaceTime call with those who have one. Just consider the huge number of machines Apple has shipped with iSight cameras built in. To implement it, Apple can expand upon the video conferencing features that are already a part of iChat.

FaceTime for iPod touch

This is a logical evolution of the touch and I expect to see a demo at Apple’s September 1 press event. The addition of a front-facing camera should necessitate a redesign of the super-thin touch to accommodate the hardware. It will be interesting to see if Apple goes with a flat back and, if so, what it will be made of. As the guys pointed out in The Bro Show, there’s no need for a wrap-around antenna as the touch is Wi-Fi only.

The iPod nano is capable of video, but FaceTime will be restricted to the touch. The nano has long been the best-selling iPod model (as the mini was before it), and the low price is primarily responsible. Plus the screen is too small and adding the camera and Wi-Fi hardware would necessitate a redesign that would turn it essentially into a touch.

FaceTime for iPad

Here’s something that many people are looking forward to, myself included. However, I don’t expect to see it this year. Look for an announcement in January.


You can blame this restriction on AT&T, but I think they’ll soon make this available. Now that the unlimited data plan no longer exists, [4. Except for those who were grandfathered in on plans from 1st-generation iPhones.] data-hungry customers switch from being a network-taxing hindrance to a new cost center. Do you plan on making lots of FaceTime calls? Then opt for the higher-priced data plan.

The main problem with FaceTime right now, aside from requiring Wi-Fi, is that both parties must have an iPhone 4 to participate. By significantly expanding the pool of participants, Apple will finally bring the “Jetsons phone” to the masses.