Episode 1 Feedback

Just a quick post to say thanks for the comments, tweets and e-mails on our first podcast. Lot’s of great feedback and useful advice which we’ll try and incorporate on our next episode which should with a bit of luck will be out over the weekend. One thing we didn’t expect was this:

digitaloutbox-week-1-2

Caught this snap on Sunday (I think) so I’m not sure if we were higher than this at some point. Call us stat whores – we were delighted! Easily pleased even though we’ve no idea how iTunes calculates it’s charts. Hopefully we won’t become obsessive over this though as I fear a fall in the near future if we do.

One thing we will be trying to do is make the podcast a bit shorter, more punchy. One snag – new iPhone this week. Someone gag me now.

So you want an iPhone 3G S

After last weeks iPhone 3G S announcement there has been a lot of heat, not so much around the product itself, but around the costs involved in purchasing one. This is especially true in the UK, where the cost of the handset and the upgrade costs have sparked a lot of controversy.

Firstly, the iPhone 3G S – worth the cost if you’ve already got a 3G? This is a hard one to call. The improvements are:

  • Jump in size from 16GB to 32GB (assuming you buy the 32GB version)
  • Improved camera – 2 to 3 megapixels
  • Camera functions improved – auto white balance, better low light performance, macro
  • Touch to focus
  • Video recording
  • Video editing
  • Digital Compass
  • Voice control
  • Much improved chip speed
  • Double the RAM to 256MB
  • Screen has oleophobic coating

Not exactly ground breaking but for me it’s enough of an upgrade. We see the future of iPhones, much like the iPod range, to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary apart from a platform reboot ever 3-4 years. So assuming you agree and decide an iPhone 3G S is for you, how much will it cost? This is the real burning issue for 3G owners in the UK. For the iPhone 3G launch O2 allowed existing iPhone owners to upgrade to the iPhone 3G for £100. Everyone was happy and most also assumed that this was the model for iPhone’s upgrades in the future. Wrong!

Like every other mobile phone contract in the UK you would need to buy out your existing iPhone 3G contract before you could upgrade to the new 3G S. This announcement, made first on twitter, caused a bit of meltdown with #o2fail jumping into the trending topics on Twitter for a couple of days. Initially disappointed, in the cold light of day it was fairly obvious that this was the same rules for everyone else, so why not the iPhone – a bitter but expensive pill to swallow and if you don’t like it, don’t buy the 3G S. For me though, a purchase is likely so is there a better way to purchase than to buy out existing contract and start on a new fresh 18 month deal?

The spreadsheet above lists out costs assuming you buy off existing contract. Not cheap. Highlighted in blue is what we think is the typical option for most users which assumes that you will get £230 for your current iPhone 16GB 3G. There’s a few places that will buy your iPhone:

  • MazumaMobile.com will buy your phone for £200
  • Carphone Warehouse will buy it for £160
  • eBay – forums quote £300 for your phone but it’s more like £250-£270. Remember those eBay fee’s too

Considering the potential flood of iPhone’s then £230 for a phone in great condition sounds fair. The issue with this method of upgrading is the new 18 month contract. Assuming that Apple will release an upgrade every 12 months, buying in to an 18 month contract will give you this hassle every year. Taking a 24 month contract will force you into upgrading every second generation which might not be too bad a thing if the theory on product evolution is sound. However there is another way which involves going down the Pay As You Go route.

It’s this route that offers the best cost and flexibility in our opinion. The table above assumes a 32GB purchase on Friday. You then swap the contract sim from your current phone to the new 3G S. Take the new sim from the 3G S and use that in your existing phone which you can then sell on for £230-£250. Let the 18 month contract expire then sign up for either a monthly or 12 month Simplicity contract from O2. This takes monthly costs down from £35 to £20 although you do lose visual voicemail and unlimited wi-fi on this tariff. You can also make a further saving by signing up to the Simplicity contract via QuidCo and you should also be able to leave the 18 month contract at least a month early so that’s another saving.

The monthly average via this route is slightly higher than opening a new 18 month contract but the benefit comes next year and the next iPhone. No contract to pay off and a tidy sum to be made on selling on the 3G S. Well, that’s the theory at least. If you don’t upgrade next year then another 12 months on Simplicity will be a significant saving over the iPhone contracts.

Hopefully that helps spell out some options for this coming Friday. All you need to do now is queue up on Friday morning, pre-order from O2 stores or make an appointment at a local Apple store which is the option I’m doing. Alternatively, chortle at the amount of money this is all costing and enjoy OS 3.0 which has just come out. The choice is yours.

Wired UK Magazine

WiredWhen Wired announced it was launching a UK edition of it’s well regarded tech magazine we were a little sceptical at DigitalOutbox. The American edition was becoming precariously thin due to the credit crunch and the decline in print media – why launch a UK edition now, especially as it tried a UK launch around 10 years ago without much success (some articles from the mid 90’s UK magazine)?

We shouldn’t have been worried though as the first three issues of Wired UK have been excellent. Lot’s of up to date content with a definite UK and European bias. One worry though is that they are republishing some older US features. As long as they don’t go to far into the past or add in updates to the features then this shouldn’t be too big an issue. They are also still doing a really good subscription deal – just @2 an issue for 12 months. Bargain.

Macbites

Macbites is a UK podcast about all things Mac. What makes it so good isn’t the reviews, the recommendations or the topics they cover which are great in themselves – it’s the rapport between the presenters and the laid back style in which the show is presented that I love. This was a favourite podcast of mine but around last September, on only their 16th episode it all went quiet.

I never really dug in to why it disappeared but it’s absence was certainly something that was in the back of my head when I started to think about putting together DigitalOutbox with Shakeel. However to my delight, on Tuesday morning at work while looking through the new podcasts on the iPhone I got a really nice surprise – a new edition of Macbites. Turns out one of the presenters had been ill, hence no podcast. The new edition was back on form though and it was pretty ironic that I listened to it on the day we recorded our first edition of DigitalOutbox.

Highly recommended podcast and quite refreshing compared to the other casts out there.

DigitalOutbox Episode 1

DigitalOutbox Episode 1
In this episode the team discuss E3, Windows 7, the Palm Pre and WWDC.

Playback
Listen via iTunes
Listen via M4A
Listen via MP3

Shownotes
– New iPhone specs – http://theappleblog.com/2009/05/19/rumor-has-it-leaked-iphone-specs-describe-big-improvements/ http://daringfireball.net/2009/05/the_next_iphone
– iPhone launch mid july?,32gb on t-mobile austria, end of life notice in australia
– Palm Pre – http://www.engadget.com/2009/05/24/plethora-of-palm-pre-interface-videos-emerge-from-leaked-emulato/
– http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2009/05/26/palm_pre_o2/
– New Zune – iPod touch rival? M$ Project Pink iPhone killer??
– E3
– No new console hardware – two years ago many thought 2010 would be time for new xbox – not any more
– PSP next version, why no mobile Xbox – could it be Zune HD is a game player? – http://www.engadget.com/2009/05/30/sonys-psp-go-leaks-out-before-e3-is-obviously-a-go/
– PS3 – Fat princess, wipeout hd update – at last, uncharted 2, heavy rain, gran turismo
– Microsoft E3 Conference – Rock Band Beatles, Tony Hawks, Modern Warfare 2, ffxiii, crackdown 2 (infamous made me play crackdown again – what a great game), left 4 dead 2 – nov this year – great news, splintercell conviction – fall 09, forza 3 – oct 09, halo 3 odst – sept 09, halo reach – 2010, alan wake – spring 2010, last.fm on xbox live – didn’t see that coming – free for gold members, sky Player on Xbox 360 – http://www.techradar.com/news/gaming/consoles/first-look-sky-player-on-the-xbox-360-603323 (no new hardware required), zune video – 1080p instant on – doubling countries (uk?) – compression – pixelation – bull?, facebook on the 360 – send game screenshots to your facebook account – tiger woods first to support, twitter on xbox live, last.fm – twitter and facebook – very smart moves by ms, metal gear solid on xbox – mgs rising, Project natal – motion controller where you are the controller – new camera – detects sounds too – facial recognition to sign you into xbox – minority report style navigation of menus – wii style games demo’d – dev kits issued today – no dates though?, really strong keynote from microsoft, who’d have thought they would have beatles on a keynote before apple and got speilberg on stage, mgs and also nintendo’esque type innovation
– Will we see more on the streaming services – OnLive, Gaikai

Welcome to DigitalOutbox

Hello and welcome to our brand new website and podcast – DigitalOutbox. Join Shakeel, Ian and friends as they discuss computing, gadgets and gaming from a distinctly UK perspective. Each week the podcast will be based around everything that impacts our daily digital life’s. Via some friendly banter we hope to educate and entertain while learn at the same time.

Podcasting is new to us both but we’re never really short of things to talk or whinge about. We’re aiming for a weekly release but we both have day jobs so the schedule may hop about from time to time. You can subscribe via the RSS link on the site or via iTunes. A normal and enhanced version of each podcast will be available as well as shownotes from the website. We really prefer the enhanced format though as you can skip through chapters easily on your iPod, iPhone or iTunes if we’re discussing something that isn’t to your taste…or we’re just being dull.

One thing we do really want is feedback. We have some plan’s to grow over the coming months to include some video features but we’d love to know what you like and dislike about our podcasts. But do go easy – we will learn from our mistakes of which, initially, there will be will probably be many. All that’s left to say is that we hope you enjoy the podcasts. (what have we done!)