Rumor Mill 5…

It’s no secret that I read alot of tech blogs and keep my eye on half a dozen or so rumor sites. When it gets to be this time of year and they all start coalescing around the a few key pieces of information, it’s impossible to keep my mind from turning to the thought that perhaps these might be more than the run of the mill rumors. As it stands after the last day or so, the blogs have all lit up with September 12th being the day Apple officially announces “iPhone 5”. Most are going so far as to point to September 21st as the expected launch date. Apple, of course, does not comment on rumor or speculation. Apple barely comments on products that are already in their lineup, which is sort of an impressive quality in a world full of companies that spend alot of time telling you how great their products are.

So, with the coming of the massed rumors, this would now be the time of the year when I start thinking that I don’t really “need” to upgrade my phone this time around. Eventually that will slip to only upgrading if there’s a major update. As specs start leaking out, I’ll be caught in the maelstrom and come around to understanding that this is a product update that I just can’t live without. Maybe this year I’ll skip the foreplay and go ahead and say for the record that I’m really, really looking forward to having a new model iPhone to play with and that baring any unforeseen circumstances, I’ll be throwing a pile of cash in Apple’s direction in September, as is my annual tradition.

So yeah, if anyone is looking for a good quality previously owned iPhone 4S, let me know and come September I’m sure I’ll be able to make you a good deal on it.

4S

Some of you are probably expecting a detailed iPhone 4S review. There are plenty of them out there already. Adding one more to the mix doesn’t seem like a great use of time. All I’ll say is that after a weekend of heavy use it’s an absolute winner. I thought I was going to be disappointed that it wasn’t a newly redesigned phone, but what I didn’t expect is that it’s just the shell that’s the same. All the electronic innards are new, improved and seamless. If you’re due for an upgrade or even if you’re not and just want to step up to a best in class piece of work, do yourself a favor and give this thing a test drive. It’s a game changer. Again.

Live blogging the launch…

In the past, I’ve been in the habit of live blogging iStuff launches from the line at the Apple Store at Saaddle Creek. Since a trip to Memphis seemed a bit excessive even by obsessed Apple fanboy standards, I thought I’d change gears a bit this time around. I promise I’ll spare you the details of sitting in the kitchen casting longing looks out the door every time I here a large truck pass by. Today, I’ll focus a little on unboxing and adding a few pics and initial impressions.

If you’re wondering what I’m doing to pass the time, check out the forums at http://www.macrumors.com. They’re always a great time waster. Oh, and laundry. I’m doing that too. Judging from the line the local morning news programs are showing at Towson mall, hanging out here at the house seems like it might have been the best idea. Plus, sitting around in the rain never seems like a good idea.

Without further runup, here’s what we know so far…

– 0611: Package out for delivery from the UPS sorting facility in Newark, Delaware. Delivery address is still wrong on their website. Status: crapshoot.

– 0822: Six cups of coffee down. Dogs snoring. Tapping foot impatiently. Updates and pictures as breaking news happens.

– 1014: Still waiting. Coffee count is 12 cups.

– 1151: Still waiting. Hail the size of marbles and torrential rain. Switched to Coke Zero. If I’d have gotten up early this morning and stood in line I’d be up and running by now. Lesson learned.

– 1224: The mail truck sounds an awful lot like an UPS truck. Sadly, it only brings bills and other junk mail.

– 1336: And still waiting. Next launch I’ll be back in line. With iPhone 4 I was home, activated, synced, and at the Flying Saucer by this point in the day.

– 1428: Still waiting. Last visages of patience evaporating and beginning to seriously ponder the likelihood of finding a phone “in the wild” at a retailer at this late hour of the day.

– 1451: Aaaaaaand there goes the FedEx truck.

– 1523: FedEx truck #2 delivering on my street. Yet no UPS.

– 1544: It’s here. It’s here. It’s here!

– 1616: It’s now the traditional time on iPhone launch day when AT&T chokes.

– 1705: AT&T activated is still hosed. They are allegedly running 2-3 hours behind demand. After 5 years of doing this, one might think they’d have gotten an effing clue.

– 1759: Finally broke through the server jam. iPhone 4S is restoring from backup. We’ve got a pulse.

Dear Lord, please don’t let them screw this up…

Today is the first iPhone launch that doesn’t find me standing in line somewhere. The first iteration was the local AT&T store, but after that I discovered the grownup candyland that is the Apple Store. As much as I don’t particularly like hanging around large groups of people, launch day crowds are something a little different. We’re all geekily obsessed in more or less the same way. Plus there’s always a smattering of hot nerdy chicks in line and really, who doesn’t like that?

This time around, in the absence of confirmed in-store reservations, the better course of action seemed to be ordering direct and waiting for my shiny new precious in the comfort of my own home. Judging by a look around at the weather, that’s probably for the best. There’s still a part of me that feels a little bad about missing the lineup. Not needing to get up at 2AM and having fresh hot coffee, my fuzzy slippers, and an actual chair to sit in temper that feeling just a little bit.

If the internet is to be believed, my phone is now out for delivery. I’m still more than a little concerned that UPS will jack something up at the last minute, but in an effort to maintain some semblance of reasonableness I’m working under the assumption that I’ll have a tasty new treat in my hot little hands by around noon. Then I’ll need to find something else to look forward to (i.e. obsess over)…. Sooooooo when did they say iPad 3 was coming out?

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Iran. A country that’s our sworn enemy planned to carry out a terrorist attack on US soil and our response is the diplomatic equivalent of telling Iran that gee wiz it would be great if you wouldn’t do things like that anymore. Call me an hawk if you want, but when a sovereign country decides it wants to threaten the United States, I want a house-sized bomb to fall on their head. Maybe that’s just me.

2. People who say “I don’t believe in social media.” I think what you actually mean is you don’t like social media or maybe even that you don’t understand social media. But since it exists and is becoming pervasive, I think the ship has sailed on the decision to believe in it or not. That’s probably just semantics, but I just don’t understand the mindset of someone who wants to exert their moral superiority by abstaining from Twitter.

3. Occupy Wall Street. Who, exactly, are these people that apparently have unlimited free time to do nothing all day but defecate in the street, paint witty signs, and generally make a nuisance of themselves? If they went home, took a shower, and spent as much time looking for jobs as they have squatting in the financial district, they’d have a better chance getting themselves into the top 20% or 5% or 1% of incomes earned. I wonder how many people with a little skin in the game are so eager to burn the system down. America isn’t about guaranteeing success, it’s about getting the opportunity to be successful. Knowing the difference between the two is important.

4. UPS. How damned difficult is it to get your website to say MD instead of DE? This should not be a major technical challenge for a company that generally manages to move massive amounts of product around the globe within 24 hours. I’m just saying.

5. Sleep. It’s what I won’t be getting much of tonight because it’s the fanboy’s equivalent of Christmas Eve.

Feeding addiction…

I got up at 2:45 on Friday morning to order a cell phone that not one living consumer has actually gotten a chance to hold in their grubby little hand yet. Websites ground to a crawl, crashed, reloaded, and then crawled again, but I stuck with it for almost four hours. Some people might call that obsession, but I like to think of it as dedication to the task at hand. Sticking with it was better than the alternative of getting up the following Friday to go stand in line at an Apple Store or AT&T retailer in the hopes of getting one on the first day of release, like I have the other four iterations of the iPhone.

My precious, precious iPhone 4S is, even as I write this, sitting on a pallet somewhere in Eastern China waiting to be loaded onto a Fedex jet and flown to Alaska to clear Customs, then on to the Memphis hub for sorting, and then into Philadelphia for local routing. Not that I’ve looked into how this usually works or anything. Assuming there are no hiccups with Fedex getting from there to here, I should have my shiny new bauble delivered right to my door around noon next Friday. From manufacturing plant to consumer on the other side of the world in a week and all synchronized to happen the fay the item is first available in stores. You’ve got to admit that’s pretty slick. Who says international commerce doesn’t work?

Maybe it’s just one more addiction I’ve gotten myself into. Fortunately it’s mostly harmless to everyone else and doesn’t leave that hollow feeling in the pit of your stomach the same way putting $500 on red tends to do. So yeah, after 16 months of waiting for the next great thing, I’m just a few days from getting a fix to carry me through another year. Then I’ll be after the next big thing. When you’re feeding addiction, that’s just the way it goes.

Increment…

It would be easy enough to climb up on my soapbox and do a hack job of dismissing the iPhone 4S as an incremental upgrade. It would be easy because, let’s face it, that’s exactly what Apple rolled out today. Bump up the processor, tweak the antenna, and roll out a spiffy new version of iOS with a few new capabilities and call it a day. The company will make billions, investors will be happy, and in another year or so another incremental improvement will roll off the line.

Today’s update wasn’t the iPhone I wanted, but it was the one I expected. It’s a nice little upgrade from the one I’ve been carrying around for the last 15 months and It’s the one I’m going to take pains to get my hands on when it shows up October 14th. If this iteration sticks around for a year, the cost breaks down something like $17 a month. I guess that’s not a bad price for an incremental improvement.

That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, but it’s enough to let Apple dig a little deeper in my wallet. Technology is a painful, painful mistress.