The crux of the problem is this: a new iPhone model comes out every year, but you have to sign a two-year contract. That means if you're lusting after the latest and greatest, you'll often be locked into your old contract and will have to pay considerably more than the price paid by new customers. If, for example, you want the base model iPhone 4 right away and your contract expires in 2011, it'll cost you $400 rather than $200. But AT&T is making an exception for iPhone users whose contract expires any time this year. You'll be eligible for the $200 price.
In a recent column I wrote about the Slacker streaming music service that lets you create "stations" that stream only your favorite type of music. And I highlighted a new feature of their Slacker Radio app for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad: the ability to cache songs for offline listening. But the caching feature requires a Slacker Radio Plus account. I have good news: I'm giving away five 1-year and five 3-month subscriptions to Slacker Radio Plus.
Apple has done it again with the iPhone 4. The new retina display is pretty amazing, with 326 pixels per inch and an 800:1 contrast ratio. You can read more about it in this article on Macworld. They also have hands-on article giving their first impressions of this new phone.
Tonya Engst of the legendary TidBITs website has written a 109-page pdf ebook titled Take Control of iPad Basics. It's free, and if you're thinking about getting an iPad or if you have one, you'll want to get this book. Some of the content is, well, very basic, such as how to use the touch screen, but other information was quite useful to me. For example, I had no idea that you could combine gestures to get diacritical markings when typing. And to be honest, I didn't know that you could shake it to Undo.
In about 5 minutes the keynote by Steve Jobs will begin at the Worldwide Developers Conference. Expect big news from Steve Jobs's keynote. Everyone is assuming it'll be a new phone. You can follow it live on the Macworld website. The keynote begins at 1 pm Eastern, 10 am Pacific.
A friend has created a useful app if you're serious about photography. iWatermark ($2.99) puts a digital signature on your photos. This can be useful not only for protecting your intellectual property, but also for promoting your brand by having your logo in all your images.
CNET has a great article that answers all of your questions about AT&T's new tiered pricing. And it scrutinizes how this new pricing will affect you. Bottom line: many will save money but those who are heavy users are screwed. And the tether option? "it's actually a terrible deal for consumers." David Pogue of the New York Times says that the new plans will save you money. Bottom line: "I think you’ll wind up coming out ahead. I think AT&T has put together one of the fairest, most carefully considered plans in a long time."
I love the Slacker and Pandora websites — free services that let you create your own radio stations that only stream music that you like. Both are very popular, and both have iPhone apps. Now Slacker has taken an interesting — and timely — new direction. Given the constraint on data usage in AT&T's new plans, the ability of Slacker Radio 2.0 (released today) to cache songs can be a convenient and money-saving feature.
iLounge is offering a free downloadable pdf buyer's guide for all things related to the iPad, iPhone, and iPod. The 150-page guide helps you choose a particular model and highlights a wide range of accessories and apps. The guide has three sections: a 40-page section on iPad-related products, a 60-page section for iPhone and iPod, and a section with articles that give an in-depth look at six leading makers of products for these devices.
Lots of iPad wannabes are in the gate, and we'll be seeing them soon. You can read more about them in Macworld.