Feb 09

iPhone “Smack Down” intro video

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Feb 07

That’s right it’s finally here…..  For the past 3.5 years I have been living with 2 phones: my iPhone (which did everything accept make reliable phone calls) and a variety of droid phones as my home in Montana is best serviced (and most of the country I think) by the Verizon network.

So starting today I will be testing the iPhone 4 Verizon vs. the iPhone 4 AT&T in a 30 day mlti-city performance “Smack Down”

I’ll be testing all the general functions along with data speed tests and phone call drops in a number of cities over the next several weeks.  Check back for the results.

Max

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Apr 04

Well it’s been about 24hrs since I received the new Apple iPad so I thought I’d let my daughter have a turn with it while I sit down and write some notes regarding my experience so far.  Let me first say when I get a new “tech toy” (as my wife would describe them) I can usually tell how much I like it by how late I stay up playing with it……..well it was after 4am this morning when my head hit the pillow so I would say this little puppy passed the first test of keeping my attention.  The first thing you may be asking yourself is “what would I use it for?”, well once you hold it in your hands for about 5 minutes you start realizing you would use it primarily access and consume information and media.  The color display is gorgeous and offers 1,024 x 768 720p HD viewing. iPad Display

This is a great size for everything from surfing the web, watching movies, viewing photos, reading books etc etc.  Beyond that the device is small enough that it tends to feel more personal after using it for awhile.  What I mean is that I found myself using it a bit closer to me than my laptop and you can be sitting on the couch or even lying in bed while reading a book, surfing the web or just getting that last Facebook status updated before lights out.

It’s not perfect, I still wish it had flash support as many of the sites you visit online that use Adobe Flash do not display correctly but I do think this will be addressed pretty quickly, either by the death of flash, a third party app that converts flash, or Apple allowing it to run. With an estimated 4 to 10 million (depending on who you listen to) of these selling this year the demand will be too great and that problem will get solved (keep in mind flash is used in many types of online ads which means advertisers will demand that their ads will be seen on this device).  I also wish it had a front-facing video camera for video chat etc.  This too I believe will be in iPad 2.0 (or whatever they call it)  later this year.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple pulled the camera (the technology already exists in the iPhone) as a result of negotiations with AT&T over the 3G wireless plan to be offered with this device.  AT&T has already experienced network overloads due to the iPhone and they probably felt video chat on the iPad would bring their network to it’s knees so Apple may have given them a little time to get their network upgraded before offering video on the iPad and in exchange AT&T said they would allow unlimited 3G data on the iPad for $29.95/month without a contract… (just a hunch on my part).

Unless you have some other sort of wireless broadband device (like the Verizon MiFi etc) or you just plan on using this at home on a wi-fi network I would definitely recommend waiting for the 3G version out later this month.  That will give you the mobility (very important for real estate agents) to obtain data connections in the field (granted AT&T is not available or even acceptable in many areas) for a great price with no contracts .

I also wish the iPad had a USB port for external connection to any number of USB devices.  There is an adapter that will be out soon for the iPad that will allow this and give the ability to insert SD cards to upload photos etc.  I am hoping their will be an app out soon that will make file transfer easier between the iPad and SD/USB/PCs, right now the easiest way (outside of iTunes) seems to be emailing an attachment.

Ok enough on the negatives (which there are very few) I really do enjoy using this device.  I truly believe that if some great apps are made for real estate agents and they can access their MLS along with other great information sources online this will become a very valuable tool in this industry.  I can absolutely see this as the mobile information and media device that an agent uses throughout the day for catching up on email, checking in on their social networks, blogging, grabbing some quick info from the MLS while out in the field , meeting with sellers and giving an impressive listing presentation and even writing up contracts……..if and I said if, those applications are created to take advantage of this new device.  At this point just using this device for listing presentations and throughout the day for Internet access justifies it’s usefulness to me.  Then throw in the access to tools like the Realtor.com app (even it’s current iPhone version is very useable on the iPad)  and online access to tons of data from county records to gis data to everything the web has to offer (as long as it’s not flash:-) and this device appears to have a bright future in the real estate business.

Here’s a shot of a home I pulled up on the Realtor.com app (if you have an iPhone or and iPad you need to get this app) and then when you rotate the iPad (just like the iPhone) the photo gets large in the landscape mode and it was pretty impressive.  I can see meeting a prospective buyer at an open house and then pulling up more homes for them to look at right there on the spot (or better yet let them do it they will get a kick out of playing with this).   With some of the latest research showing home sellers actually rank “agents use of technology” higher than “commission rate” as far as what’s most important when selecting an agent, this device may be the perfect way to show your customers you utilize technology in your business.

I will be posting another review soon regarding some tips and tricks I’ve learned and also talk about all the apps that I have downloaded and give you some ideas as to which ones I have found most useful and entertaining.  Also keep an eye out for a FREE iPad Listing Presentation that I am putting the finishing touches on tonight.  I will post a download link for all you new iPad Real Estate Pros tomorrow so check back (you will need to download and install “keynote for the iPad” ($9.99) from the app store but I think you will find it a very powerful program for this device.  More later and oh here’s a video review I posted to youtube early this am.  Take care…Max

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Mar 29

As I travel the country speaking to real estate agents the one complaint I hear over and over is “Max when are we going to be able to use our iPhones to access our MLS lock-boxes?” My answer has normally been that the iPhone does not have IR (Infrared) capabilities so if your MLS uses lockboxes that depend on IR to communicate you will have to stick with one of the older IR capable phones (such as Palm Treo etc) or be forced to cary another separate device (a dongle) that will allow you to access the lockbox.  Now all of that may be  changing as several companies have developed IR devices to be used with the iPhone.  They did not however do this in response to the real estate industry and their lockbox woes, but rather as a response to a much bigger market demand, that of the home consumer and their desire to use their iPhone or iPod Touch to control all of their home entertainment equipment (TV, Stereo, DVD etc).  That being said now that the hardware issue has been resolved it would appear that it will only take a progressive lockbox manufacturer that wants to satisfy the needs of it’s customers to simply write an app for the iPhone that uses one of these IR hardware devices to communicate with their lockboxes.  I am sure we will see the same devices soon appear for the Android phones that are flooding the market.  So here’s my public appeal to the lockbox manufacturers on behalf of thousands of your customers that now use the  iPhone (and now Android phones) PLEASE DEVELOP AN APPLICATION!

Here are a few of the manufacturers of these IR devices for the iPhone (and many for the iPod Touch as well), I am sure they will be looking at similar devices for the Android phones shortly.

RedEye Mini for iPhone

i-Got-Control IRB1 dongle Potato's FLPR IR dongle

POWER A Universal Remote Case with IR installed

POWER A Universal Remote Case with IR installed

POWER A Universal Remote Case without IR installed (still works as a case)

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Mar 27

As many of you know I have been an iPhone user since day one, currently on my 4th one which is the 3GS (I lose things…but at least I could track it last time I lost it…..it got stolen).
Anyway I also have a Motorola Droid and it’s the best phone I’ve ever had on the Verizon network….that being said as I use both often and the Droid is a far cry from the iPhone.  If Verizon ever get’s the iPhone (which is not looking good with the latest deal Jobs made with AT&T for the $29.99/month service on the iPad) I would switch in a heartbeat as then I could use just one phone.   The biggest complaint I have on the Droid (albeit again a nice device for those stuck on Verizon) is it just pales in comparison to the iPhone in basic usability on a daily basis.  Using the touchscreen for example has always been more pleasurable and accurate experience for me on the iPhone than the Droid.  Especially noticeably while using the on-screen keyboard as the letters are pretty small so touch-screen accuracy is key.

I recently read an article from Moto Development Group that confirmed there are significant mearsuable differences in the accuracy of the current touch screens on smartphones.  Watch the video below for details but the bottom line is the iPhone was most accurate followed by the HTC phones (the Nexus One and the Droid both Android devices) then came the Palm Pre, the Motorola Droid (almost a tie) and just a bit worse and rounding up the bottom the BlackBerry Storm 2.

I’m sure you will see these technologies improve fast as this was the first touch-screen for some of these companies but I can tell you from experience this is a pretty important part of your daily use.  Until next time…Max-out

Robot Touchscreen Analysis from MOTO Development Group on Vimeo.

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Feb 14

Seen this device recently won and award for best of show at a recent Macworld conference. It’s basically a new outlet that would replace one (or all if you really wanna go all out) of your normal three prong grounded AC outlets. These new outlets actually have a transformer built-in so you can plug 2 standard USB charging cables (5V- iPhone, iPod, Droid etc) directly into them and still use 2 standard three-prong AC plugs. They are made by FastMac but would work fine with any USB charging device. Kinda cool if your looking to remodel or just tired of looking for that charging adapter. For more info click on the photo.

New USB charging outlet

New USB charging outlet

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