It's worth the hell

Apple continues to amaze. I’ve never seen a company have a technical meltdown in front of the eyes of the world the way Apple did today. Yet when my son got out of the store after three hours of hell inside the store (we were snuck to the front of the line by someone who gave us cuts so that we could be among the first to get one, so that we could document what it was like for him to walk into the store and be #1 — he waited for two days) he said he still loved Apple and still loved his 3G iPhone.

After playing with it today I’ve got to agree. This is the company that can give you a crappy camera. No video. Charge you more than other devices. Make you wait hours in line. Take hours to get your credit card approved, your iPhones activated. And, at the end of it all, make you feel good.

I’ve been comparing the iPhone 3G to my Nokia N82 and N95 and my Microsoft Mobile-powered Samsung Blackjack II cell phones and, again, the iPhone kicks ass.

The App Store is simply brilliant. The new things available for the iPhone are just years ahead of other phones. The experience of using an iPhone is just way ahead of even the best Nokia and Microsoft phones (although I met with both companies recently and don’t expect them to let Apple have all the fun for long).

It’s worth the hell. Apple and AT&T will do just fine after fixing all the bugs that caused today’s debacle.

That said, no other company in the world has so much brand love in reserve that it can get this reaction. Any other company in the world would have seen riots after it took more than an hour to process even a portion of the first group of 20 people to enter the store.

VentureBeat has the video of the ‘iPocolypse.”


It’s worth the hell.

What do you think?

What I learned by sitting in an Apple store during WWDC

Yesterday morning I was in the San Francisco Apple Store. I was watching these sites:

1. FriendFeed. Refreshed it every 15 seconds.
2. MacRumorsLive. Automatically was refreshing on a browser.
3. TechCrunch, when I could get to it.
4. Engadget. Refreshing every 15 seconds.
5. Gizmodo. Refreshing every 15 seconds.
6. TechMeme (which, now, is showing all the best posts).

Plus, there were lots of Apple fans in the store and many were doing similar routines to me (refreshing pages trying to learn the latest news).

So, what did I learn?

Well, for one, FriendFeed was better than any of the other sites. Why? Because it had all the sites and more. Most of the time I learned about the latest Steve Jobs announcent on FriendFeed 45 seconds before I saw it pop up on MacRumorsLive. It was consistent enough that it amazed me.

Plus, the commentary was higher quality there.

Plus, people would point out who had the best stuff. The community was doing comparison shopping in live time and it was glorious for someone like me.

At the end of the day I knew before anyone else in the store that there wouldn’t be anything shipped yesterday. There were still 20 people in line when I left and they didn’t believe me that a phone wouldn’t be coming. I said “I have friends at the show and they say there’s nothing coming.” They wanted to believe. I let them believe and left.

I did something different this time, though. I “liked” each good Tweet, each blog, each photo, etc. that came in. Hundreds of them. I wish I could repost them all here, but that wouldn’t be any fun because it’s pretty much old news anyway.

But my Discussion page was rocking and rolling with new things showing up there every few seconds. Overall the consensus was FriendFeed was best, MacRumorsLive was close second, and Gizmodo had the best photos.

Some key points that are being missed:

1. The new iPhone is NOT that much cheaper. Yeah, it’s $199, but you have to sign a two-year-contract and the 3G network plan is $10 a month more expensive. So, do the math. It isn’t cheaper.

2. The camera continues to disappoint. It really sucks compared to my Nokia N82. When I get my new 3G I’ll do some demonstrations.

3. Video? Not a word. Steve Jobs usually makes a big deal of things when he has them, especially sexy things like video. Nokia is safe for another generation because of this one feature alone.

Other things I liked?

1. GPS. I wonder if Apple is going to do something really cool with this.

2. Battery life. Longer is better and this delivers.

Put it all together and I’ll buy one. But I’d buy one even if it were a pile of dung. Why? To be able to tell you it’s a pile of dung, of course. So take that with a grain of salt.

Anyway, the lesson I learned is that FriendFeed was a major winner today.

Oh, and VentureBeat deserves the credit for posting to FriendFeed directly. That was a major reason why FriendFeed was faster than the other major blogs. Look at the conversation underneath each post, this was happening in live time and was really great for me to see how things were being perceived.

Where to watch today's Apple news

I have all the top blogs and Twitter accounts coming into FriendFeed. Already the news is flowing (that’s a view of everything I’m “Liking” or “Commenting On” inside FriendFeed).

But, seriously, there’s five places that’ll cover the important stuff well: Leo Laporte’s TWiT Live, Mac Rumors Live, Engadget, Venture Beat, and TechCrunch.

For discussions, nothing will beat FriendFeed anymore. Here’s a search on FriendFeed for “Apple.”

Of course TechMeme is already all over the latest Apple rumors and I’m sure that it’ll take about 15 minutes for it to switch over to the best reports from the WWDC.

UPDATE: One of the links I just put on FriendFeed is this one where you can see 33 places to watch live.

I’m off to hang out at an Apple Store in SF.

UPDATE2: Twitter is really straining to keep up with the load.

iPhone 3G?

The hype is in overdrive that there’s a new iPhone coming on Monday. On the other hand, I’ve been hearing that Forbes/Financial Times/Barrons’ rumors of troubles in getting the new 3G iPhone design done and to production are correct and that there’s no way that it’ll be ready to ship this month. It’s very possible that my source is working on a phone that’s coming later this year and there’s another one coming from another team that my source (who, obviously, needs to remain anonymous because Apple employees and contractors aren’t allowed to speak with the press and/or bloggers) isn’t involved in (which, if true, demonstrates that Apple is probably working on several iPhones to be released by the end of this year).

I’m also hearing that the new processor (that’s not ready yet, my source says) they are working on is a four-core design ARM (my source says it’s an ARM 11) that Apple has designed — the first processor in the original iPhone was a three-core ARM (my source says it was an ARM 7, but Wikipedia says it’s an ARM 11)  that was integrated into a chip designed by Samsung. I’m also hearing that the new iPhone (again, the one that my source said isn’t ready yet) will have a much better graphics processor, too, but he wasn’t sure of the technical details on that, so we’ll have to wait and see. What will the one released on Monday have (if an iPhone is getting released at all) is still unknown.

But, again, my sources aren’t that good and Apple really makes sure that any one employee has absolutely no idea what else is being worked on, so who knows what we’ll see on Monday? Over on TechMeme (still my favorite news site, although FriendFeed has taken over my obsessive “noise” reading — news is breaking on FriendFeed 15 minutes to 75 minutes faster than TechMeme, but you gotta wade through a lot more noise to find that news) iPhone is already dominating the page, and within minutes of the announcements that Steve Jobs will make on Monday.

Me? I’m not going to WWDC. I’m going to some fun stuff up in Seattle instead. Translation: there’s absolutely no reason for any journalist except for the A list to be at the press conference — it’s going to be the most overcovered event of the year). That said, I’ll be watching Engadget and TechCrunch like a hawk to see if I should run to an Apple store (they do the best early reporting on Apple’s live events). If Apple does indeed, ship something, I’ll buy one of the first ones and let you know what I think.

Will the Scobles wait in line for 3G iPhone?

New 3G iPhone is coming this summer, it seems. Will Patrick and I wait in line overnight again like we did last year?


Why? Even though the line was a heck of a lot of fun, I think that’s a one-time deal. It’s pretty clear there won’t be any scarcity (there wasn’t any real scarcity last time, either) and I doubt Bill Atkinson (Apple’s first software developer) will come and wait in line overnight with us like he did the first time.

That said, I will be one of the first to buy the 3G version. I hope it has video on it.

The downside? With millions of people getting new 3G iPhones, I bet the speed and quality of AT&T’s 3G network will go down. In the United States there aren’t many 3G phones yet, and the ones that are out there suck for Web browsing, so other than a few freaks like me who are using it to broadcast video there isn’t much usage yet.

The 3G iPhone will change all that.