iTunes 11 is (finally) released; would Steve Jobs have allowed the delay?


A late welcome, but welcoming nonetheless.

So, originally Apple promised iTunes 11 to us for a vague October release. The days passed slowly by, the eager among us waited patiently and expectantly, and then the release month was subtly pushed back to November by Apple. And then the days of November slowly passed by, and it was still looking uncertain. With one and a half days left, I was starting to get less and less optimistic. Then 6PM GMT, Apple’s typical software launch time, passed, and I gave up hope for the night. But then I checked again, just being curious, and there it was. Perhaps it wasn’t 6PM because of daylight savings, I’m not sure, but nonetheless, it was a very delayed release.

Tim Cook has definitely been getting a lot of flak about how he’s running Apple. iOS Maps didn’t go down too well, so perhaps that was a motive behind delaying iTunes 11 until they determined that it was as polished as possible. But I don’t recall Steve delaying products. Remember Ping? Well, it wasn’t much of a success, but we still got it. Remember MobileMe, the precursor to iCloud? Well, that was infamously rather a shambles, but we still got it.

Anyway, enough complaining about the delays, we’ve got it now and that’s what matters. What’s new? A lot. The UI looks really minimalistic and clean, and the overall feel, as a Windows user, feels a lot more like something straight from Mac OS, as iTunes never really felt like it looked 100% Mac OS native to me, despite obviously being so. Oh, also, the icon’s changed again and I’m sure we all remember the uproar that occurred last time that happened  It looks okay in a medium scale, that is, I dislike the desktop icon appearance and the taskbar appearance, but the size on the start menu looks nice. Perhaps it’ll grown on me though.

October Apple Event


Rather unusually, Apple not only hosted their traditional September music event, but also an October event. Anyway, onto the key points:

Statistics – the usual stuff, unbelievably high figures:

  • 125 million documents in iCloud
  • 300 billion iMessages sent
  • 35 billion app downloads
  • $6.5bn in payouts to 3rd party developers
  • 1.5m iBooks with 400m downloads

Now that the lonely statistics are out of the way, time for the new items:

new iBooks:

  • Now has Japanese, Chinese, and Korean
  • Continuous scrolling
  • Better sharing capability and better iCloud functionality
  • Night and sepia modes

new Retina 13″ MacBook Pro

  • Similar to the 15″ update a while back, this now has retina display
  • Ivy Bridge, lots of bits crammed inside to the thinner body
  • up to 768GB flash storage space
  • 7 hour battery life
  • Starts at $1699 for a 2.5GHz dual core i5, 8GB RAM and 128GB flash storage.
  • Oh yeah, no optical drive
  • ‘Power Nap’ – the skeuomorphics are clearly invading their names as well as design… it can update contacts, mac app store app updates, iCloud documents, mail, Time Machine backup etc. while in sleep

Apple are still continuing the non-Retina MacBook Pros, and there doesn’t seem to be an update to the Air

A new Mac Mini. Seems to me like it’s been a long time since Apple last updated it:

  • up to 16GB RAM
  • dual or quad core Ivy Bridge i5/i7
  • $599 for base edition, $999 for server edition

New iMac. This is turning out to be quite a lot of updates being gone through in a brief period of time…

  • It looks pretty insane. The design looks quite like the size of my monitor, really thin at the edges but rather large in the centre. Although of course this isn’t just a monitor, it’s also got a computer inside it, so it’s to be expected.
  • the edge is 80% thinner than before
  • the display is laminated to the glass, similar to the iPhone. Means less reflection and the picture looks better.
  • Nvidia Kepler graphics
  • quad core ivy Bridge i5/i7
  • up to 3TB of usual storage, 768GB maximum flash storage.
  • You could opt for Fusion Drive, which gets you an Imac with one storage drive combined of 1TB/3TB mechanical HDD and a 128GB flash drive. This means your most frequently used apps get automatically moved onto the flash storage (for speed).
  • Again, the optical drive has vanished.
  • Standard amount of RAM seems to be 8GB, which is pretty good. 21.5″ starts at $1299 with 2.7GHz quad core i5, 8GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GT 640M, 1TB HDD. 27″ starts at $1799 for 2.9GHz quad core i5, 8GB RAM, GeForce GTX 660M, 1TB HDD.

iPad time. Probably the main thing everybody’s been anticipating. 100 million iPads sold in total, 91% of tablet web traffic is people using iPads. The usual spiel about the iPad being used in education. You’d get the impression that iPads are only used by schools, businesses, hospitals…

New version of iBooks Author (what people use to create textbooks for iBooks). Publishers can use their own fonts, update books OTA, directly insert mathematical expressions, insert multi-touch widgets for even greater functionality.

I do find it slightly odd that their latest generation is always their fstest selling with everything…

4th generation iPad (seems like only yesterday we got the 3rd generation):

  • Apple A6X chip
  • Lightning connector
  • expanded LTE and 2x faster WiFi
  • 16GB WiFi model starts at $499, 16GB WiFi+cellular starts at $629

7 inch iPad, the ‘iPad mini’. Really, it just looks like somebody stretched the new iPod touch horizontally and made it a bit bigger.

  • dual core A5 chip
  • FaceTime HD camera on the front
  • 5MP iSight camera on the rear
  • 10 hours battery life
  • WiFi and LTE
  • Lightning connector
  • ‘as light as a pad of paper’
  • 1024×768 resolution
  • runs all the same 270,000 iPad-specific apps
  • apparently were all going to love doing everything on the iPad mini
  • new Smart Cover
  • while I’m not a fan of the iPad mini, at least Apple managed to do a small tablet right unlike all the others. Really, the bezels on other tablets are ridiculously big and they’re all tacky plastic. Although unless you are gripping it round the edges as suggested and instead having your thumbs all over the front in the way you would on the regular iPad, you’ll be blocking part of the screen.

Current base iPad lineup prices are:

  • iPad mini: – $329
  • iPad 2 – $399
  • Retina iPad – $499

the 16GB Nexus 7 is $249, so an Apple product of the same form factor and storage for $329 isn’t too bad.

aaaaaand… that’s all. Strangely no update on iTunes 11 launch date, which is a shame.

An idea for how apps should be purchased


Just spit-balling here, but it’s an idea nonetheless.

Yes, I acknowledge that there is a vast amount of people who own a smartphone because the phone store sales rep persuaded them to get one instead of a ‘dumbphone’ so don’t really use the ‘smart’ feature of the phones much, but, there is also a large proportion of people who use their phones to their fullest extent.

My idea started off with the frustrations of switching mobile platforms. Admittedly I change my phone significantly more frequently than most people, but the majority do still change their phone, say, when their 24 month contract has ended. They won’t necessarily stay with the same platform. Yet they’ve invested potentially hundreds of dollars into apps. And now they have to buy them all again on a different platform.

Before you point out what you think is a flaw, yes, if you buy a PS3 game you shouldn’t then get the Xbox 360 version for free. But I think mobile apps are different. For starters, they’re at a much lower price point.

Here’s the idea:

  • All apps are free. As in, on the app store/ marketplace/Play store etc, all the apps are listed as free to download. In fact, while I’m thinking about it, let’s also throw in a Windows Phone style incorporated trial version into the apps if the developer so pleases so that you can try basic functionality before unlocking the entire app.
  • The user pays for access to the app by using an account – this is the only flaw, a universal account would be needed (or you’d have an account with every single developer – not so manageable if you have a lot of apps)
  • To appease the platform providers (Apple, Google etc.), the yearly subscription is bought via an in-app purchase, so the platform provider still gets their 30% or so.

As I said, just an idea, but it’s an interesting one. Many companies are trying to push for ‘universal’ accounts, such as Facebook commenting on many websites, Google account commenting on some websites, using your Apple ID to purchase Macs, iPhones, iBooks, movies, TV, music etc. so perhaps this idea could be even more realistic once the battle of universal accounts has been won. I may have confused myself with the account explanation and therefore you as well, so let me clarify: You would pay for the in-app purchase subscription using your Apple ID or Google wallet etc., the current payment system on the platform in question. But to authenticate that you already have a subscription, you would need to prove that somehow on the second platform, thus needing a cross-platform account of some sort. Unless Apple and Google played nice of course… but that’s never going to happen.

Personally, I think I’d be happier with this system of payment. If you like an app, you get to reward the developer on a yearly basis rather than a one-off (of course the subscription price wouldn’t be as high as the current prices to buy apps are so as to be more appealing). Personally, I don’t see any flaws with this purchase model, but do you? If so, please feel free to offer “your two cents” in the comments below.

A disappointing Apple event?


I, like many, have been anticipating this event for a while – wondering if Apple was going to make foolish moves with timing, what they were going to release in their traditional Music month, and whether or not the various leaks and rumors were true.

However, I feel a bit dissapointed with the results. I’ll run through the products in order:

iPhone 5:

  • Thinner than my current phone the HTC One S (HTC’s thinnest device), but not as thin as the upcoming Huawei Ascend P1s. Maybe Apple wanted to rush out the iPhone 5 with the ‘thinnest smartphone’ title while it was merely a dubious claim rather than untrue.
  • At long last a wider screen, up from 3.5″ to 4″. However, they didn’t appear to do the smart thing of keeping the aspect ratio the same so as to not annoy developers again (as they had done in the past with the iPad screen size and then retina display). From what it looks, normal iPhone/iPod apps will sit in the centre of the screen. Which, speaking from the point of view of someone with a 4.3″ phone display, which suffers from the lack of a physical menu button, I have to have a significant amount of my screen space wasted for a virtual menu. At least that space is used for something though rather than Apple’s empty space
  • A better camera. Yeah, yeah, another incrementally better camera. Still 8MP, but better low light performance and noise reduction, with some impressive demonstration shots. I challenge anyone with the phone to take photos that looks that good.
  • The design has been updated in that it’s got those previously seen matt bars across it on the back
  • A new power connector – ‘lightning’ (don’t worry, they make a 30-pin to lightning adapter, though I don’t see the practicality of the adapter when it comes to accessories such as speaker systems with an enclosed iPhone area that now won’t be tall enough due to a) the adapter and b) the new height of the iPhone.

iTunes:

  • Rather a Zune-style re-design. I doubt it’ll become more usable or bloated, probably less usable and more bloated
  • The mobile iTunes and App Store apps have been updated to have the currently popular matt black style and a slightly clearer yet bulkier App description page view

iPod Nano:

  • Now looks suspiciously like the Zunes of yesteryear, seems more like a childish micro-iPod touch, with a plethora of gaudy colours to choose from
  • Has a bigger touchscreen and iDevice style home button (but is a circle in a circle instead of a square in a circle)
  • Same lightning connector
  • Defeats the whole point of ‘nano’, a word synonymous with very small. This is no longer very small. Admittedly some past generations of Nano weren’t that small either, but they do enjoy fluctuating between form factor with the Nano… perhaps we’ll see a nano Nano next year…

iPod touch:

  • Thinner than before. What a surprise, I thought they’d make it thicker. Oh, wait, no I didn’t, because that would be un-innovative and unappealing.
  • Has a 5MP camera and looks like it has a flash
  • As usual, not comparable to the current iPhone. Or even the 4S for that matter. Still, an improvement.
  • Aren’t you lucky, they just made the iPod touch as childish as the Nano – you can pick cyan or banana yellow if you really want to!

Earphones:

  • Eventually a new earphone design. Personally, I’ve never had any shape issues with the previous earbuds, but now you can have EarPods. And we all thought iPad was a ridiculous name back in 2010
  • Hopefully the sound quality won’t be as weedy as before and perhaps the cable will last a little longer.

So I don’t know what I was expecting, but I haven’t been particularly excited by this product announcement. Maybe it’s because iOS is not much different to how it was in 2007. After all, I wouldn’t be impressed by a supercomputer if I had to run Windows 98 on it rather than something a bit more up-to-date. An iPhone was inevitable and given that it’s September, new iPods were inevitable along with iTunes. So nothing really exciting, just timely updates. All in all, this video rather sums up the iPhone 5.

The new YouTube app


As you may know, last month Apple stated that their license with Google to include the YouTube app pre-installed on iOS devices has ended. What does this mean for you? Well, if you have an iOS device, you can get the new YouTube app from the app store right now. After installing it, you’ll notice it’s slightly different to the Android app with the main feed – you can opt out of Google’s non-subscription based suggestions. That is, you can stick with just seeing uploads from people you subscribe to in your main stream, rather than also see what they comment on, what they rate, and what they add to playlists. Personally, I welcome  this for two reasons; one being that with YouTube preloading on Android bumps subscribed uploads off the list in preference for newer activity which is just someone commenting on a video, and secondly, the entire activity list resulted in browsing through a lengthy stream of potentially uninteresting material.

The animations also feel a bit slicker than the Android ones in that it bounces a bit rather than just sliding to the side, resulting in the new iOS app feeling more polished and thought-out than the Android one.

What I miss about Windows Phone 7


So, as those of you who may follow me on Twitter, you might have gathered that I now have the HTC One S, a month or two earlier than I said I’d move on from the Trophy. So, I’ve now been using the One S with Android 4.0.3 and Sense 4 for nearly a week, and am certainly missing several WP7 elements.
When I moved on from WinMo to WP7, I was missing a lot. No multitasking, no IRC app that worked properly, hardly any customizability. However, I adapted. I learnt to live with the closed ecosystem and the pitiful amount of non-expandable storage. In fact, I must take a minute here to thank Microsoft for preparing me for the One S’s limited amount of storage space, which, when using the same syncing ethos as I used with the Trophy, has made me think that there is ample storage space.
So, after that slight diversion, what do I miss about Windows Phone 7, or, what do I find annoying about Android?

1) Awful smiley keyboard. Look, I use smileys a lot, and I much prefer, for example, colon P, rather than colon dash P. On the Trophy, straight from the alphabetical keyboard screen, I could tap a smiley button and instantly add any of two pages of very diverse smiley choices that pandered to anybody’s tastes.

image

The first page of smileys on WP7. The button to the left of Space is there on the alphabetical keyboard to instantly get to smileys.

To type colon P on the One S with the Sense keyboard, I can do one of two things. 1, tap and hold the period key, then shift then P. Or 2, hit 12#, 1/2, 😛, ABC. Either way is long winded and rather stressful. Stressful in that typing a smiley should be a thoughtless task, a break from the mental exertion of typing and trying to get autocorrect to stay away from words it isn’t welcome to touch.

2) It isn’t friendly. WP7 was a very apologetic operating system, all the errors seemed sincere and as if they were to blame rather than the user. But that isn’t my main point here. When I got a text message, the Trophy would buzz and the screen would stay off. Then, when I took it out of my jacket’s top pocket, the screen would warmly turn on within a certain time frame and I could see the text. With the One S, as far as I have tried, it doesn’t do that. I liked that feature, it meant I could just lift the phone briefly out of my pocket, see the text, and let it drop back down into my pocket, without pressing a single button. Coincidentally, once again, WP7 providing a way of doing things with as little exertion as possible.

3) Live tiles. Now, I don’t miss this as much as some people may if they made the transition, but it was nice having tiles on the home screen automatically update. I had and have an unlimited data plan, so I am not at all bothered by the system fetching new data. The HTC people hub doesn’t seem to automatically update, which just adds.waiting time for the user.

There are other such minor things as the lack of a hardware shutter button, the space bar being far too keen to insert a . between words (the double tap space timing on iOS is perfect, the Sense one waits no time at all before inserting a period, and I’m a pretty fast typer). Also, the Sense app drawer is unbelievably unintuitive. I know I can order it by install date etc., but on iOS you customize the entire layout, and on WP7 you can jump to the letter in the alphabet. All in all, the shortcomings are bearable, though the lack of a fast smiley keyboard is infuriating. Congratulations Microsoft, in hindsight, you created a very friendly and usable OS. The dictionary may have got in the way all the time, but all in all, it was how a smartphone should be. Smart.

HTC website refusing to publish my review, claiming “inappropriate language”


I have just spent a fair amount of time painstakingly spilling my views on my current phone to the HTC form-based review system. However, when it came to clicking “Preview”, it rejects my review, citing “We’re sorry, but we have encountered the following issue(s): Your review text contains inappropriate language.” Does it tell me where? Well, it does to the extent of ‘which box on the form the offending text is in’, but any further than that is anybody’s guess amongst the 722 word-long review.

Please feel free therefore to read what I wrote, copied below, and please do point out to me where the “inappropriate language” is. Was it because I ticked the “no” box for “Do you recommend this product?” ???

Features? WP7 rather limits that, but with Mango it’s a bit more bearable (though don’t expect any proper multitasking, and do expect it to get slow).

Ease of use? Well, WP7 is seemingly designed for kids, which doesn’t help. Also, If you have a reading age above that of a two-year-old, you’ll constantly be frustrated by it changing real, legitimate words that you type, with ones that are irrelevant and simple. The so-called ‘dictionary’ and keyboard fill up about 80% of the screen, and if you want to type in say, IM+, say goodbye to being able to see anything other than the keyboard and word ‘suggestions’ in landscape view. The auto ‘correct’ is a complete nightmare for even the slowest typer, especially with the form OVER function keyboard design. Always tapping space, backspace, enter… always when you aren’t trying to.

Battery life? Appalling. Doesn’t last me through the day, its usually turned on power saver by midday. I bought a 3500mAh battery for it, which makes it last a whole day, but ruins the entire form-factor of the device, which brings me on to…

Design. Beautiful. The actual design of this phone is, in my opinion, the best looking of ANY Windows Phone out there, 7.0 or 7.5. If you don’t mind your battery dying after some usage, you’ll really appreciate the elegant stealthy design of this phone. It is rather prone to scratches all over, including the screen, and I’d buy a second battery cover if I were you, y’know, one to pop on when showing it off to people rather than showing them the smudged, scratched, and soon-to-be-incomplete “HTC” lettering, as it will inevitably fall off. Not that I personally show my Trophy off of course, I don’t find it anything to boast about, as it’s not just the cover…

It’s the rest of the book. The OS can become ridiculously sluggish. I’ve been using Windows Mobile since WinMo 2003 and this is my fourth Microsoft-powered pocket device, so I’m no stranger to the inevitable slowness. However, WP7 removes all the power-user functionality of WinMo, and replaces it with an undeniably smooth and original UI. However, it still slows down. Just try having internet sharing turned on and three devices linked, see your battery vanish and the tiles on the Start screen take time to jitteringly load. I know that would slow it down, but even when you don’t do that it can just get really slow.

Also, syncing with the Zune software can welcome you to a new hell you thought was only possible with iTunes. It’s not awful, but it can be incredibly restrictive.

Now onto the pros… the speakers, so long as you have the right setting in the HTC sound enhancer on (personally I find Dolby Mobile for phone speakers and SRS enhancement for headphones provides the fullest, clearest sound), they are superb. The entire design looks fantastic, and I genuinely do find this phone to be the perfect size, the screen is ample enough for videos, but doesn’t even come close to bordering on the tablet-size phones that are becoming increasingly common nowadays. You will probably find yourself accidentally brushing your hand on one of the capacitive buttons though, pulling you right out of whatever app you were in. My Trophy’s screen is pretty scratched, but unlike my iPod it isn’t at all noticeable when the screen is on.

The bottom line is, if you aren’t a power user but are a “social fiend” with a good sense of taste, this IS the phone for you. It looks really nice, it’s fast if all you do is social stuff (the “what’s new” area on the people hub can keep you in the know with everything on twitter and facebook all in one fluid feed).

if you do:

-Facebook updating (text or photos)

-Facebook liking and commenting (as well as viewing text and photos)

-Tweeting (posting and replying/retweeting)

-Quickly emailing people

-Snapping a quick photo of a passable quality

-Like listening to music with the opportunity to use great inbuilt speakers

-Like getting to everything quickly

-Group people’s social streams, e.g. twitter and Facebook view of just your closest friends,…

…then you will love this phone. If you are looking for a business phone or a device to heavily consume media on, look somewhere else.”

It’s not about what you make, it’s about what you do.


Once again, Apple is in the process of announcing some new products, in this case the new Apple TV and the new iPad. As usual, they are using facts and figures to rubbish their so called ‘competition’. I’m being flippant with the competition in inverted commas, obviously. But Apple does have a knack for bending the statistics to their advantage. For a company that has for so many years provided for a niche, they do like to try and go all-out these days. It would be fairly hard to argue against the typical statement that “Apple don’t invent, they merely innovate through providing a better solution to a problem created by those who didn’t get it right the first time”. So the new iPad has a better graphics chip in the form of the A5X processor. I can imagine that the first real game to utilise the new retina display and graphics capabilities will be Real Racing by Firemint… Other companies may make better graphics chips, or provide devices with higher specifications, but as this post is titled,

“it’s not about what you make, it’s about how you do it”

Apple is good at making things work well with the lowest specifications possible. My 3rd generation iPod Touch can play Real Racing 2 just fine, with better visuals than my HTC Trophy. The iPod has a processor clocked at 600MHz and 256MB of RAM. The Trophy has a 1GHz processor and 576MB RAM. No, my iPod doesn’t have retina display, so I can still see the pixels, whereas I can’t on the Trophy, but the games just look better. The games on WP7 and for that matter, Android, just aren’t as visually appealing. I’m fairly sure many die-hard Android users would claim otherwise, even after they’ve used an iOS device, but they are usually being just a bit short sighted. If i showed them two identical screens, and all they could see was the screens,   and I showed them NfS Hot Pursuit on an iPod with retina display, versus, I guess, NfS Hot Pursuit on an Android device, they’d say the iOS one was better. You have to hand it to Apple, they really do know how to do it right.

iOS USB cables


The fourth cable's demise

First off, I’ve never used any other brand of cable for my iPods other than Apple, based on the last time I bought a third party cable, for one of my old Palms, it snapped.

I’ve got through three or four Apple USB cables over the past few years, ll of them eventually dying due to the cable seemingly being bent too much over time, always at the device end. One of them died, despite looking completely intact on the outside, the first died because the plastic/rubber coating over the wire had come away and it turns out taping it up only makes it worse (at least, with sticky tape it does, never tried electrical tape), and the third died for a similar reason to the second.

My fourth cable just died. It’s been visually on its last legs for several months, with the covering ’round the device end wearing back, and a crack in the covering at the USB end appearing. There I was, sitting at an old Compaq D310, happily running an OS that it shouldn’t have been capable of running given that it’s a PC, if you get my drift… 😉 and as the only USB ports are on the rear (plus I didn’t want to mess up the stability by putting in attaching front panel  USB ports to the motherboard), I had an aprox. 10CM flexi-hold USB cable extension plugged into one of the rear ports, with my iPod sitting on top of the PC connected to the computer with the Apple USB cable and extension, plus there was a standard audio cable plugged into it going into my speaker setup. So, I pick up the iPod as I’m about to go to bed, and hear a *krzzzzzt* noise, which I’m fairly accustomed to what with the speakers hardly being connected in the most conventional manner. However, a blue flash in the corner of my eye isn’t typical. Well, only when I plug something into the wall extension leads :/ . I look down at my hand, wondering what the smell is, and there’s the iPod, with the cable smoking away. Literally smoking away, without a care in the world, smelling, I guess like, you know those model N gauge trains with motors? Kind of like the smell of one of those burning out. So, naturally my first thought is “damn, now I’ve got to buy another cable”, with my second though being “thank goodness it’s stopped burning, I hope the iPod wasn’t damaged by a surge or anything” (doesn’t seem to have been).

I wish the cables were a bit longer-lasting 😦

Please HTC, I’m begging you.


First off, happy new year. Secondly, long time no see. Sorry about that, but there hasn’t been much happening in the world of Apple. Next, apologies for the following post not being Apple-related, I just find it stress relieving to air views like these.

As you may have read before, my main mobile phone at the moment is an HTC 7 Trophy. Before that, I had an HTC Touch Pro2, and before that, a Qtek 9100 (effectively an HTC Wizard). I also have a 3rd generation iPod Touch running iOS 5.0.1.

Windows Mobile always did what I needed. Well, it did what I needed in its hey-day, but when the web became more social, I became more restricted. The Qtek was fine for IRC and the odd tweet from Opera Mini, but I wanted something a little less brick-like. After having several years of productive joy with a physical landscape keyboard, I knew there was no alternate. So, I went for the latest Windows Mobile phone by HTC that had a landscape keyboard. Now I was able to have a fair amount of storage (the Wizard’s miniSD card slot never seemed to work) and less of a brick in my pocket. I missed the presence of a tab key, but a five row keyboard and tilting springing screen was worth the sacrifice. Now, firstly, who at HTC thought this phone had adequate specs?? I know I’ve gone on about this before at great length, but SERIOUSLY?? If you can’t run TouchFlo 3D smoothly all the time, the phone doesn’t have good specs. Being one of the few who actually utilises WinMo to its full potential, I had to disable TouchFlo. I am not alone when I say that on boot, 48%+ of the RAM was in use; and it NEVER drops below that. So, it was a painfully sluggish device and for a 2009 phone, really didn’t cut it on the twitter etc. front.

Some of you may remember my initial hatred for Windows Phone 7 when Microsoft announced it. Well, there was no way in hell I was sailing over to the Android ship, and there was no better WinMo device. Well, the HD2 isn’t bad and I do really want one, but it wouldn’t be a large enough step forward. I decided to go a little different and go for a phone with no physical keyboard. I still regret that choice on a daily basis when, for example, I’m busy pressing enter rather than backspace or send. I have an unwritten list of about five things I would really like to see in WP7, which I doubt I’ll be seeing any time soon. I loved the openness and flexibility of Windows Mobile, and after years and years with WinMo (even before the Qtek) and a year of jail broken iOS, I didn’t quite feel like stepping into a world arguably more locked-down than iOS. However, I made the leap and I don’t fully regret it.
The Trophy is undeniably a lovely looking phone. It doesn’t have any naff silver stick-on grille or buttons where the icons get rubbed off. What it does have is a perfect hand-held size (and I mean PERFECT), nice weight to it, classy slim silver outline around the screen (not quite the bezel?) and a simple-yet-elegant feel to it, but beneath the battery cover conceals its bit of orange flair. Unfortunately, mine does have rather a bit of cosmetic damage as it was second hand, but nothing to stop functionality. Whoever it was at HTC who designed this phone deserves a huge reward, as this phone beats all the typical HTC mode of plastic/rubber/metal/easily-damaged.
I can’t take a good photo (typically blurred from slight motion) and does holding the focus button make a difference when recording a video, or is that just me thinking it does to pass the time while it automatically tries (and fails) to re-focus. So, the camera isn’t great (true, but the shutter button is perfect). As everyone else, I too keep accidentally touching the capacitive buttons, especially the search button. I don’t like being trapped in an operating system. Yes, it makes you feel like there’s less chance of it going wrong, but I like freedom. I liked being able to transfer a file onto the microSD card of the TP2 with any computer instantly. And then I’d be able to open the file, in whatever I like. On WP7? No. It would be nice if there was an expansion slot, as it’s a real pleasure to watch, say, a TV episode on the Trophy’s screen rather than the iPod, but 8GB vs 64GB? iPod wins hands down. Well, TCPMP never worked smoothly on the TP2 and putting videos on the Trophy makes iTunes seem like a breeze. WP7 is great at keeping me in touch, mostly, and is incredibly fluid at performing social sharing tasks. Exceedingly slick. When the Titan was announced, I thought “imagine TV shows on a screen that size…”. And I still held that longing desire for the Titan… until I used one. It’s beyond big. I knew it was big, but it’s not big, it’s huge.

Look, my sincerest apologies Microsoft, we’ve had a really good run for goodness knows how long, but you just didn’t quite keep up when Android appeared. You thought you had, but all you did was create a better version of iOS. I remember your USP for WP7, and how I loathed the adverts. Then I owned a WP7 device, and accepted just how slick it was. Then I updated to Mango, and saw that you had abandoned the unique slickness and were trying to head down the other path and catch up with iOS and Android. Fair enough,

“the public gets what the public wants.”

“But I want nothing this society’s got”

The phone I want doesn’t exist. The mobile OS I want has been murdered. And it was a homicide, not a suicide. I don’t want to ditch the Trophy, as while it doesn’t do all the job, what it does do it does perfectly. The iPod fills my media needs just about. But I do think that Android is on the horizon for me… I would say “okay, if not the Titan, then the Sensation XL”. Umm, it’s white. And slow. And a complete copy of the Titan. The Titan looks good in black, just like the Trophy. I really don’t want a white phone. You know what was a factor of me being put off the Titan? The phone right next to it was the XL. Same price, same physical features. I had known for a long time about how much of a copy it was, but seriously? I’m fairly sure HTC will have lost more than one potential Titan customer due to “well, the Android version is exactly the same, and Android can do more”. But HTC didn’t let the XL do more on the hardware side. On that front, the XL sucks, so that’s no contender either. And whilst I would be lost without my iPod, I really don’t see myself being able to cope with an iPhone. So, until July, I shall be sticking with the Trophy. Please HTC, have a GOOD Android phone out then. One that is genuinely good. Better than the Droid 4 (doesn’t take much effort beating), better than the Galaxy S II. Something genuinely brilliant. I want a good camera, a physical shutter button (two-stage like the Trophy), microUSB, a microSD slot, 1GB+ RAM, 1.5GHz+ single core/1GHz+ dual core (per-core clock speed, not total), lovely design (same colour scheme as the Trophy would be nice), and a large-but-not-as-large-as-the-Titan screen. I suppose a device that looks like the Trophy, perhaps a teeny bit bigger screen, 0.1/0.2 inches bigger perhaps? Do what you want with the four OS control buttons, as I can’t decide, but please make them look nice if they’re physical. Oh, and a directional pad of some sort would be fantastic 😀 Look, if you bring out a device like that, I’m fairly sure you’ll gain a LOT of fans. Everyone who cares about mobile phones has a phone like this on their mind, but to them and I it’s just a wild dream. Please make it a reality.