The long-awaited Verizon iPhone is finally here! On Tuesday Verizon announced that their iPhone 4G would be available to current customers on February 3 and to everyone else on February 10. There was a bit of good news/bad news. The good news is that their iPhone will come with tethering. You'll be able to use your iPhone as a WiFi hotspot for up to 5 computers and devices. The bad news is that it'll be 3G — and won't be able to use the 4G network that Verizon is rolling out. It's basically the same phone as the current iPhone 4, but with CDMA chips instead of GSM and the ringer/mute switch in a slightly different location.
The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Verizon will be announcing their iPhone at a special event on Tuesday. Invitations from Verizon went out to the media yesterday, but didn't say what would be announced. Rumors are even saying that Steve Jobs will be present at the event.
I got pretty excited about this gadget when I first posted about it last October. But I mistakenly thought that the 7-inch LCD would play videos stored on the iPhone. Nope. Music, but not videos. Now they've announced their new AVi Alpha docking station that can play iPhone video, and at $149 it's $50 cheaper than before. Of course it has a bunch of additional features, such as a digital photo frame and the ability to stream web videos from popular sites such as YouTube or Netflix onto the LCD (if you're connected via WiFi). Oddly, their website still seems to have the previous model.
Ever since I heard that our public library in this small town had audio books that you could download from their website, I've been wanting to give it a try. But as with so many things, I never got around to it, mainly since it entailed going to their website, downloading, and them moving to iTunes to put it on my iPhone or iPad. Now the free OverDrive Media Console makes the whole thing a snap: you do everything from within the app.
Those who rely on their iPhone alarms found that as we moved into 2011 their alarms were no longer working. Apple acknowledged the bug on Sunday and said that the problem would only be evident on January 1 & 2, and that it wouldn't affect any days after that. Also, it only affected one-time appointments, not repeating alarms. You can read more about it in the New York Times.
Jon Stewart and his sidekick John Oliver give us their hilarious take on the Verizon iPhone in this video. It goes a bit over the top characterizing the dislike of AT&T, including a montage that juxtaposes the toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue and the toppling of an AT&T sign. Also, the New York Times has a video recorded at the event that gives you a good overview of the new phone.
Version 3.0 of Skype (free) just came out yesterday and now offers video calling over both WiFi and 3G. Skype has long been the most widely used service for Internet telephony, and now you can use the iPhone 4 front-facing camera to conduct video calls. You can read a great hands-on review on the PCmag.com website. The quality is reportedly quite good, even over 3G. And you can call cross-platform, even to PC users.
The Wikipanion app is one that I use often, and I'm always on the lookout for good reference apps. Hyper Facts ($0.99) is a new offering that gives you access to Wikipedia in a new way, in that it highlights the categories and infoboxes associated with each article as well as giving links to related information. It also integrates locational information and maps. You can do a search by person, location, event, or work (e.g., a song title), or you can search All. The Nearby feature is pretty cool.
Kim Komando, the popular talk radio show host and newspaper columnist, has posted her list of top 10 apps for 2010. Her selections include two freebies that help you save money: Nextag Mobile, which searches retailers to find the lowest price, and pic2shop, which also lets you scan barcodes to find the lowest price. Kim's link above also includes links to her other top-10 lists: videos, cool sites, and more.