Posts tagged iphone

iphone 5

iPhone 4S – Black and White Pre-Review


Just like I did with the iPad 2, here is my black and white review of the iPhone 4S.

Note: It’s a pre-review since I don’t have one yet (nor does anyone else, except maybe this guy).

Btw, if you don’t like Apple (or secretly do, but like complaining about features it doesn’t have – go here)

UPDATE 20/10/11: I ended up buying one.  My iPhone 4s review is here.

Item Comment
Killer Feature Battery life (read that several times – got it yet?)
Anything else? Yes, iOS 5 (but you can get that on the 4, or 3GS)
What else is new/improved Camera, faster processor, it’s thinner, blah blah (sounds like iPad > iPad 2 eh?).  Full iPhone comparison here
What’s everyone talking about Siri - it’s where you can speak commands to your phone
What’s everyone bitching about? It’s not called and iPhone 5, and its shape is the same
Should I get one? If you want to.   Your call.  If you say “There are no new features” then you missed the killer feature of battery life.
Will I get one? For now I will say maybe. And like the iPad 2, the more I look at it, the more it will probably be a yes :)
There is a TINY WINY problem in that it won’t be avail in NZ for ages – so I guess I will have to order online and get it delivered to a mate overseas like I did with my iPad.  Or maybe a(nother) wee trip overseas?

Anyone with a smart phone (and who actually uses it as one) knows the frustration of battery life.  While it’s fine when you use it for calls and text, once internet use comes in to the picture, a FULL days work is hard to get on a phone.  Apple nailed that with battery life on the iPad, and now, have MAJORLY improved it on the iPhone.  To me that’s the true revolution of the iPhone 4S.

Black and White Version: iPhone 4S’s killer feature if battery life.  iOS rocks, and Siri is a “oh .. nice”. 

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Voicemail on XT with iPhone 4


For some reason this blog keeps coming up as a result for the search terms like iphone voicemail setup xt and such like.  In fact when I went to search for an image for this post using XT Voicemail Image in I found my site as #1 and #2!

Problem is I don’t have a whole lot of info on it – other than the # to dial for XT voice mail is 083210 and this post on XT Voicemail issues on the iPhone 4, which is now out of date, but has some useful links that are still relevant.

So here is my fix.

For those that have issues working with XT (Telecom) Voice mail on an iPhone check the following:

  • You should have a version 3 sim card from XT – if not swap it (free) at your local Telecom retailer
  • It should now work
  • If it doesn’t, go into your phone (as you would do dial a #) and press *5005*86*083210#
  • That’s it, your voice mail button should now work
  • Remember the fail safe is to dial 083210 (always works).

Black and White Version: Telecom XT Voice mail on iPhone 4 explained.

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Emoji Free! for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store

iPhone free smileys (emoji) – easy peasy


Everyone with an iPhone (probably) knows that you add in Emojis (smiley face icons etc) to the iPhone for 99c via various apps.

Almost a year ago I did a post about how to get emojis for free on the iPhone. Now that I have my new iPhone 4 to play with, I went to follow my own instructions on how to do this for the iPhone but found that the app required for step one has gone AWOL.

So a quick Google search and I found that there is now a MUCH easier way, and best of all it’s FREE!

Just go to the app store – search for Emoji Free (if there is more than one, choose the one with 4 images, one being a monkey in the icon).  Install it, run it, and follow the instructions on screen.  Easy peasy.

Black and White Version: Installing Emoji icons for free on the iPhone just got easier.

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Awesome iPhone App – Consume


I recently downloaded a free iPhone app Consume.

I have to say – it rocks!

It allows you to get real time updates on any mobile account, broadband account, and even track couriers in any one of 18 countries (with over 200 providers)

I added my Vodafone OZ pre-pay iPad sim, my Virgin OZ pre-pay mobile sim, my NZ Slingshot home broadband, my US T-mobile pre-pay sim all in around 20 seconds each.  The only two I have issues with are Vodafone and Teleocm in NZ.  The later because I can’t access ANY online data about usage since my connection is thru Gen-i and (for now), there is no way of checking usage online for any Geni-i accounts.  Vodafone NZ wont work for me, but I have no idea why.

Example of what the app shows:

Anyway .. it’s works very well, giving things like “MB/day” left for any broadband plan with a cap, and will even tell you if you are tracking to go over your data cap when its part way through the month.  For pre-pay it will show $, and also any free things left (like 2-Degrees free texts).   Given that it’s free I have to say – get it and try it!

Their web site reports that an iPad version of Consume is coming – and the images look great already!  You can also read another (positive) review of Consume here

Update 30th August 2010: It gets better – this app even does things like Flybuys and OneCard (for non kiwis these are both loyalty programmes in NZ) and even does tracking of Apple orders.   As James pointed out, it does Airline Frequent Flyer programmes too!

Update 11th Sept 2010: I got Vodafone working finally.  Appears Voda had something wrong at their end.  So now the only one not working is XT (any of my sims) since I am with Gen-i.  Might swap a sim to a simple pre-pay and see if it works.

Black and White Version: Consume for iPhone rocks!  Get it.

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Now that’s how you do an iPad app for a newspaper NZ Herald (and how not to do it AirNZ!)


The NZ Herald released its iPad app a few weeks back.  And I have to say, it rocks.

They got so much right, where others screw up, such as:

  • Easy to use interface.  It fully uses the iPad and its screen.
  • Formatting is consistent – all articles are in a small box, with categories at the top.  When you click on the story it opens up a window, which starts with a pic then scrolls through page(s) of the text.
  • No premium/free distinction – it’s all just there
  • It’s all FREE (so many get this wrong – I will no longer pay for simple access to info that others provide for free)
  • Even the ads are cool – check out the Merc at at the start – it makes you WANT to watch it

The even get this bit right, and have a YouTube version of their add so people like me can post it:

Another good News iPad app is the USA today App (I think you need a US based iTunes account to install it).  Not QUITE as good as the NZ Herald one – but still free, and easy to navigate.

Where newspapers go wrong

Where MOST newspapers go wrong is they try to bring their old business model online. Their model USED to be write stuff people want to read, mix in some ads and then sell the product to the readers. The online mindset says I want the stuff for free, and if you won’t give it to me I will get it somewhere else, or just download it for free anyway. Their old model had high set up cost (the article writing and production) PLUS a variable cost of production (printing, postage etc).  Their new model has a high(ish) fixed cost (although a lot of it is setting up the template/look) and then an almost zero variable cost (the cost of 10,000 people reading an online version is almost the same as 10 people).  But newspapers keep trying to change for content, where the rationale for doing so (the variable cost of each reader) is no longer there.  They can get HEAPS of readers by getting REAL good content, and as a result of more readers, charge even more for advertising, all while having no extra costs each time someone reads/downloads it.  Simple really, so why do so many Newspapers get this so wrong?  No idea really, I think they are just a dead technology waiting to die, and just don’t get the opportunity that’s there.  I actually think their window is closing here.  Right now they still have lots of customers, they can leavergae off this by marketing their online offering (the free one – like NZ Herald) and build a new business online.   However, as time goes on they will have less and less readers, and their will be more (competitors) alternatives online.  In time the window off opportunity will have closed, and they wont have any leaverage to use.

Another ‘how not to do it’ story

While on the subject of how to do it (or in this case NOT) – I see AIrNZ made their Kiaora Magazine (the one you get on the plane) as an iPhone/iPad app.  Cool I think, novel even.  But where they screwed up is they went and charged for it.  The App is free, but each issue need to be paid for ($NZ 5.29 I think).  What were they thinking? Here’s my thoughts on this:

  • The mag is free when you fly (they say Take me, I am free)
  • The cost of putting it online in any form has a (moderately high) fixed cost only (no variable cost for each copy, unlike printed copies)
  • The mag is full of advertising
  • I think few people will pay for the app
  • They COULD have had a premium for advertising coz of increased readers, but instead will unlikely even get back their fixed cost investment
  • They could have even had online only adds, targeting say technology or higher end travel (these people have more disposable money)
  • Such a lost opportunity for AirNZ
  • They will probably pull the plug in a year or less saying “not enough readers”

Looks like I am not alone here, most people think the fee from AIrNZ is a joke.

Black and White Version: Some people get how to use new technology, some don’t.  Well done NZ Herald, silly billy AirNZ.

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apple logo

iPhone 4 and iPad in NZ – the black and white version


I recently made a post about my take on the world in a black and white, cut to the chase, way.

Over the next few days I had a few friends ask me about the iPhone with questions like will they fix the antennae issue?, and should I buy one now or wait?

So here is my black and white answers.  Where possible, I try to answer in one (or a few) word(s).  The idea is to keep this straight to the point.  So here is my take on the iPhone 4, and the iPad in New Zealand

iPhone 4 in New Zealand

Where can I buy one?
Is there an antennae issue? Yep
Is the antennae issue a major one? No
Will they fix the antennae issue with a new model soon? Nup.
Will the next model fix it? They will change it, but it won’t “fix” it.  All phones suffer from it to some degree
When will the iPhone 5 come out? No one knows, but it appears to be about a new iPhone every 12-18 months.
Should I buy one? That’s up to you.  Do you want one?
Should I buy one now or wait for the next model? If you want to buy one, get one now.
How much do they cost? 16GB: $1099, 32GB: $1299
Should I buy one in NZ or overseas? New Zealand.  Coz the warranty is only in the country you buy it in, plus NZ and Australia are one of the few countries that have unlocked iPhones.  Do NOT buy one from the US.
Are we getting ripped off in NZ with the price? No, prices are about the same as OZ for an unlocked phone.  The reason US has such cheap phones is that you are locked into a 2 year plan with AT&T.
What provider should I use? XT
Do you get paid by Apple or anyone else to say stuff? No.
Who’s fault was the launch fail in New Zealand? Vodafone

iPad in New Zealand

Where an I buy one? or lots of retailers like JBHiFi
Should I buy one? Up to you.
Will overseas iPad works in NZ Yep, right out of the box.  ALL iPads are ‘unlocked’
Buy in NZ or overseas? Up to you.  Probably NZ.  NZ price is about the same (or cheaper than) most countries.   Can be a tad cheaper in the US.  Remember warranty is country specific for iPad (so if you buy it in the US you have to take it back there for warranty claims).  Also anything over $700 attracts GST when you bring it in.
3G of WiFi model? Does depend, but for 95%+ of people, I recon 3G model (it has WiFi too remember)
How much does it cost? From $799 – an iPad Price list in New Zealand is here
What mobile provider shoudl I use for data? XT for 90% of people.  2 Degrees for the other 10%.  A comparison can be found here
But really why would I buy one? If you are asking this, then don’t buy one.  There are lots of reasons you might want (or even need?) one.  It’s up to you, they are cool, the work well, but all depends on what you might us it for.
OK, is it cool, like really? Yep.  It rocks!  A useful work tool too.

Black and White Version: Prices in NZ are fair for iPhone 4 and iPad.  Both are great devices, but only buy one if you want to.  Buy them in NZ, and use them on XT.

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Grindr, gay men, sex and the NZ Herald


For those that don’t know, Grindr is an iPhone (and now Blackberry) application that uses location based search (i.e. it knows where you are) to tell you where other people using the same application are.  It has a simple image of each person (a photo you pick) and a short profile and basic stats (height, weight, age etc).   For anyone reading this, it’s easy to see that this is used by gay guys wanting to hook up ({f you don’t know what I mean by this check out this meaninglook for Slang Meaning 3(b) }.

Anyway, I have done a wee review of Grindr before, but had to laugh when the NZ Herald had this article today on Grindr. The headline was Gay men embrace GPS dates. That headline is quite wrong on a few levels:

  1. Grindr isn’t always GPS based – it’s LOCATION based.  An iPhone 2G uses cell phone triangulation to work out where it is.  But that’s a minor issue.
  2. How does one put this nicely?  Ummmm, Grindr is NOT about dates, it’s about HOOK UPs.  Cute that they say GPS dates, but yeah, no, not really.

It also quotes former Gay New Zealand editor Matt Akersten:

“You might not be in the traditionally gay areas like Ponsonby or Grey Lynn or the inner city – you could be in one of the smaller centres – and you just plug it in and realise you’re not alone, and there are other people like you out there, it’s a great networking tool,” he said.

Euphemisms are so cute..  It’s a great networking tool. Well if by networking you mean HOOK UP then sure, it is.

On a more serious level, Grindr works best in big cities with lots of users – like Sydney or bigger.  But when you go to Oamaru and you are the only person on it, it kinda falls down.   As they say, I am the only gay in the village. There is one downside of the super large cities: Since Grindr only lists a few pages (100 I think) of the closest people, in places like Sydney there might be 100 people within a few km, meaning you only see those people and not people further out.  In places like Auckland you see everyone (coz there are often only a few dozen online withing 10-20km at any given time).  Also as I have blogged previously, the application has to be running to work (no background push services unless you want to pay a monthly fee), so it kills the battery super quick.

That’s all.  Not a major issue, in fact it’s kinda nice that the media don’t write the headline Gay Mean use technology to have more sex, coz that would be true.  Mind you it would be true of MEN generally, not just gay men.

And fear not, new versions are coming:

A version of Grindr for lesbians and heterosexuals is expected by the end of the year.

Black and White Version: It’s nice to see a misleading headline (and story) that’s actually written more positively that the potential underlying story.

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iPhone Speed Test – Vodafone and XT in Dunedin


I got a very nice email from  Ahmad who has done some cool (and independent) iPhone 4 testing in Dunedin.

Ahmad goes to some lengths to point out hes NOT associated with any telco – and just wants to share info (like me hes just doing this out of interest).  Thanks Ahmad, and here is the video:

Full test results for iPhone 4 XT vs Vodafone here.

Update: Here is the disclaimer info from Ahmad’s page, which I think is important to re-post here.  Coz I just say “Wow .. XT rocks” which is not quite how he says it!

  • This is NOT a test of which network is “best” or “fastest” out of Telecom XT and Vodafone 3G.
  • This is an iPhone specific test, and should only be taken as such. It is a comparison of speeds using the  iPhone 4 device, on Wednesday 4 August 2010 in Dunedin.
  • The test results should not be extrapolated beyond the scope of the test. However the results should be of interest to iPhone users in Dunedin, and to iPhone users generally. Your milage may vary if you use a different handset/device, or if you live in another city/town.
  • I am not a telecommunications expert. I am simply an iPhone user with an interest in testing the claims of Telecom XT being “faster in more places”. I repeat – this is a hobby. I welcome any feedback about these results and will endeavour to correct any errors which have been made if they are pointed out to me.

Black and White: More evidence that XT rocks on the iPhone (although like anything, it can vary).

Hat tip: Ahmad.  Thanks!

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2degrees logo

2Degrees goes 3G


2 Degrees  (the third mobile company in NZ with a network) announced their 3G network is ready in the NZ Herlad.

Mobile phone company 2degrees will start using its 3G network next week, putting it on a par with rivals Telecom and Vodafone.

Specialists are completing the final network testing, so it will be available only to a select group of customers.

But company spokeswoman Bryony Hilless said the 3G network would be available to all “sooner rather than later”.

While at present the data plans on 2Degrees aren’t that appealing for any moderate to heavy users.

What’s quite interesting here is 2Degrees are doing a very soft launch, with this 3G Launch news just slipping in, rather than Vodafone that announces things with a big song and dance, but actually says nothing (see post here).

For iPhone 4, and iPad users, this will mean a 3rd network can now offer an alternative, but for iPhone 3g and 3Gs users, XT is still the only option (IMHO) due to the frequency issues (as explained in this post about the iPad).  While there are other providers in NZ (like Slingshot, Orcon etc) these are just resellers of others networks – 2Degrees actually has its own infrastructure and network, albeit that it only covers 50% of the country for now.

Black and White Version: Competition hotting up in the 3G space in New Zealand, hopefully prices will start to fall soon (esp for data).

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MicroSim Adapter 3FF mini-UICC Shop

Micro sims, what you need to know in New Zealand


Anyone looking into getting an iPhone 4 will hopefully know you need a micro sim for it.  The same applies for the 3G iPad, and for that matter many other high end phones/mobile devices coming out in 2010/11.

Just in case you didn’t know – a micro sim is smaller than a normal sim (called a mini sim).  The good news is you can make one by cutting bits of the edge of your existing mini sim (as I explain in my earlier post) AND for Kiwis, both Vodafone and Telecom have announced they will have micro sims available for their networks soon.

HOWEVER, this needs some thinking about, and I have some advice: If you you are thinking about an iPad, iPhone or indeed any device that uses micro sims the issue is LESS about cutting up old sims or getting the new micro sim and MORE about how to convert it back to a full size mini sim in case you want to use it in some other (older) device.  Cutting stuff off is (relatively) easy.  Adding bits on less so.

So here’s how it works.  If you are going to have an iPhone 4 or iPad 3G then:

  1. Get yourself a micro sim (or make one as I explained here)
  2. Get yourself a micro sim to mini sim adapter (basically a piece of plastic that bulks out the micro sim back to full size).  Costs less than $5 if you buy a few of them.

Now you have the best of both worlds.  You can take use your sim in ANY device.

To get the micro sim to mini sim adapter you could order one from here (that’s where I got mine, I got the five pack, and they arrived in the post within a week) or in New Zealand buy one off trade me, (it shows $20 for one when I searched just now – a tad pricey!) or anyone could order a micro sim adapters from here.

In Australia (and I am sire other places) there some extra advantages.  Vodafone actually offer BETTER data plans for the iPad (the only device in OZ as of today that uses the micro sim) than they do for mobile phones ($14.95 for 1GB, compared to $19 for 500 MB on other devices).   You could take your micro sim from your iPad and put it in your normal phone or mobile data stick using the adapter and then access the lower rates.  Even without the lower rates, you can still swap between ANY device with it this way.  You can also share data amongst more than once device (useful in NZ if you have, for example, a 4GB data plan on an iPad, but also get to use it in a data stick).

Black and White Version: Converting a mini sim to micro sim is easy, but converting back required an adapter.  If you have an devices using the new smaller micro sim its a good idea to trim them all so you have flexibility with what sim you put where.

Acknowledgment: The image above is from gomircorsim’s web page (the people I ordered my adapters off).

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