I had hoped to not be sucked into the Reality Distortion Field, but it happened. The Steve Jobs presentation of an iPhone shooting video directly to the AppleTV was too much for me. With the blogosphere going crazy last week when 4.2 was not released, I grew excited. But this morning I have begun to have buyers' remorse. Yes, I know it was a free update, but I have remorse none the less. It seems that my favorite company is guilty of doing something that Dell has begun doing recently: Overpromising and Underdelivering. It is unusual, but it has happened. As I pressed the buttons of my iPhone in excitement, I soon began to realize that my happiness should never revolve around a gadget. With that, here are my views on a few of the salient updates:
1. Codec limitations on streaming.
This was supposed to be the most insane thing available. The thing that would make Apple exceed Google in the cool factor arena. The thing that would just drive sales of this device out the window. The ability to use 3rd party apps that support codecs outside of .mp4, .mv, .mov finally being allowed to coexist with their Quicktime partners and streamed to the Apple TV. The easing was found on the iPad first, then on the iPhone and iPodTouch devices over the past 8 weeks. For a brief moment I thought that hell had frozen over and the chain had finally been broken. But alas NO! Using VLC or OVideo, both of which play Xvid and AVI as well as MP4, MV and MOV to stream to the AppleTV will only give you sound but no video. I don't think that this is an engineering issue since VLC and OVideo were able to do it without a glitch on the phone. But it gets worse! Even Apple's own iMovie found on the iPhone will not stream to the AppleTV, nor will any movies stored in the Photo Library. Now that makes no sense at all !! And again, I am left feeling completely frustrated by what could have been a major leap in innovation for this company.
2. SMS Ringtones.
I know many in healthcare have been clamoring for this. This is the Pager - Breaker. Place a good Ringtone on an incoming message from the hospital switchboard or the floor and you're set. But alas, this was not "the cat's meow." The ringtones are a set of Hollywood tones that have no meaning to me at all. There is no ability to draft a beeper sound or any custom tones.
Airprint is also a major disappointment. I was so excited that Apple went this route and opened up printing to almost all printers, but then I read the fine print. Only available to wireless printers and only a handful. I have a network printer which an app called e-Print finds very easily, but Apple's Airprint doesn't even recognize it.
The printing feature is so major that I wonder how many people will remain quiet about it. Even with the use of an Airport Base Station, Airprint still does not recognize the printer.
4. Proximity Sensor Issue.
Can you believe that this has not been fixed yet? I was so disappointed by this earlier tonight as I spoke to a Radiologist about a test result. Not knowing that it had not been fixed, I struggled trying to press the Speaker Phone button, resorting to my "Keep the Home Button Pressed" technique that I wrote about earlier. This is clearly begining to feel like a Hardware issue, perhaps from an IC that can or cannot be re programmed. Is it some logical statement written in the software or a hardware switch issue? Right now, it's annoying to have spent this much money on a device and have to put up with this.
5. Notes with new fonts.
I have no complaints about this one. I think that this is a great idea. Although I have found myself using Notemaster a lot more, the simple Notes app still serves its purpose. Perhaps we could see folders next for this little puppy?
6. ICS Calendar Invitations.
Finally more cohesiveness with Microsoft and the ability to import ICS calendars, something that should have been done a long time ago. But I am happy for this one.
7. Close all Apps button.
No, you won't find it anywhere it doesn't exist, it was just something that I thought would be nice to have. I don't need to have all of the apps that I opened in a rested state of meiosis all of the time. It eats up memory.
8. Facetime from different modes.
Facetime from an SMS message is nice.
9. Find My iPhone.
I have not installed this yet, but I probably will this weekend. Seems logical particularly if you have important data on your machine. However, there is a little voice inside my head that asks, "will this be abused?" Giving a hacker carte-blanche details of my whereabouts seems a little eery, but if you're at a party or a bar (wink :)), this program is a God send.
These are my initial thoughts on iOS 4.2 thus far. Slightly disappointed that Apple did not hit the ball out of the ballpark with this one. DLNA is right around the corner with a much more open Codec selection and already winning the hearts and minds of the living room. If the new AppleTV is to become anything more than a Netflix conduit, of which there are many to choose from, I think that Apple will need to step up to the plate removing the past restrictions that they have previously imposed. This codec issue being the most irritating of all. And there is ample evidence that other companies are listening, if Apple is not. Take a look at the LG BD590 Blue-ray player with codec support that includes the following: DivX®/DivX HD, MPEG2 TS/PS, MPEG1 SS, XVID, MKV, AVI, WMA, MP3, AC3, AAC, JPEG, PNG. Not to mention a 250gb hard drive and ripping of DVD's to the hard drive; 2.0 usb connectivity, Netflix®, Vudu™, YouTube™, Roxio® CinemaNow, Pandora®, Picasa™, AccuWeather®. Support for Netcast and DLNA.
It is time for Apple to shed this crazy QT limitation and let the customers decide what format they want to watch. As you can tell, this is my biggest pet peeve for iOS 4.2. I know that an App store is just around the corner for the ATV and that is very exciting, but I would like to have some of the basics taken care of first.