Monday, June 09, 2008

The iPhones Are Coming; The iPhones Are Coming


I've got to hand it to Apple. They know how to create product excitement. But never having owned an Apple product, I can't attest to the real value of their products versus their competitors.

The new 3G iPhone goes on sale today. My two younger sons are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to purchase one. Given that I have a couple of antique [in cell phone years] cell phones that are already on their second set of batteries [and those may need replacement soon], I may consider going to the opposite end of the spectrum with an iPhone.

Actually, it is more for my wife who cannot travel more than 5 miles without internet withdrawal. When we travel, I have to bring my laptop and we must stay at places that offer wi-fi. So many blogs to read; so little time to read them.
My wife and I are probably like a lot of couples who have children whose ages are in the 20s and 30s. We don't actively seek new technology, but can be sold on a product... after it has been thoroughly vetted by our children. All it takes is "this stinks" from them to immediately end any consideration of a product. On the other hand, a "this is great" allows further consideration... after a careful weighing of the costs, probable use, and identification of specific benefits that we simply "must have."

So, it is possible that we may eventually become iPhone customers... or not. I might find it useful as a device to get internet access for my laptop... if it can serve that function. Looking at a small screen and trying to type on a keyboard the size of a Hershey's miniature candy bar does not seem either functional or appealing. It might come in handy in an emergency, but certainly not for constant use as a primary interface.
I could see value if there was a foldable, standard-sized keyboard that I could whip out and use with the iPhone... not one of those flat, Mylar types, but one that gives some tactile feedback. Maybe that's available at a reasonable price.
I recognize that my wife and I are not the target demographic for the iPhone. Still, it could be an interesting upgrade from our old single-function cell phones.


This is what I had in mind:

A Bluetooth keyboard for the iPhone?

by Stephen Chinnadorai on Jan 22, 2008 at 03:25 PM

Bluetooth Keyboard with SmartphoneThe Macworld Expo is like CES - so many products to see that you forget about most of the smaller ones. But sometimes, the smallest products are the coolest and most innovative out there. Macworld picked up on something quite special: The $100 BTKeyMini from MacAlly. It’s a small, portable, foldable Bluetooth keyboard - something that many of you will have seen before in the past. So what’s so special about the BTKeyMini? A writer at Macworld had a talk with one of the MacAlly representatives, and apparently when the BTKeyMini arrives in March, it will be compatible with iPhone. If this is true - it will be a first. You will be able to use it in any iPhone application where the normal touch-screen would be used as a keyboard input.


Actual available date is July 11; prices start at $199.


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Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
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Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)