News

Apple upgrades iPhone to 2.0 and adds a new 3G model

Mike Wendland
Detroit Free Press (MCT)

Now there's iPhone 2.0, a much upgraded version of the trendy smartphone from Apple that forever changed the way mobile devices communicate when it was first introduced a year ago.

The new version, announced Monday at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, refines many of the features, adds many more, and targets a major new audience: the corporate user.

By adding push e-mail and over-the-air synchronization of calendars and contact lists that supports the Microsoft Exchange Server that processes e-mail for most corporations, the iPhone now becomes- for the first time - a rival of Research In Motion's BlackBerry, the dominant smartphone that is so popular with corporate types that it's been dubbed "the CrackBerry."

The iPhone 2.0 upgrade, all software based and Internet delivered, will be free to all iPhone users in early July.

But there will also be an entirely new iPhone model – the iPhone 3G - running new hardware on the AT&T 3G – or Third Generation – high-speed wireless data network that delivers near broadband speeds. It will be available at Apple and AT&T stores starting July 11.

A major criticism of the first iPhone was that it was stuck on the much more stodgy EDGE network of AT&T, mostly because of hardware limitations.

The iPhone 3G, said Jobs, operates at 2.8 times faster than the models that run on EDGE.

In the U.S., AT&T has exclusive rights to the iPhone, reportedly for several years yet. It's been a huge boost to AT&T, much to the chagrin of Verizon and Sprint and other carriers whose customers can't use the iPhone.

The new iPhone 3G has all new and more powerful hardware that not only operates at faster wireless speeds but is capable of offering such new features as Global Positioning System navigation that can pinpoint a user's exact location, show it on a map and help plot turn-by-turn directions.

The iPhone 3G will start in price at $199 for an 8GB model in a black case. There will also be a $299 16GB model that will come in either a black plastic or white case.

The new iPhone - whether a current model with the new 2.0 software or the new 3G iPhone - will be able to run hundreds of new programs, games and special medical, educational and professional applications.

Apple showcased many of them Monday, ranging from SlingPlayer Mobile, which lets you access your home TV from your iPhone and watch your favorite programs from anywhere in the world, to various social networking applications that displays, on a map, where your friends are at any precise moment, based on GPS technology.

Other new applications written just for the iPhone came from eBay, allowing live auctions to be searched, reviewed and bid on; a blogging tool called TypePad that lets users make blog posts with photos; and a breaking news program from The Associated Press called the Mobile News Network.

There was a game called "Band," which lets musicians compose and record music over their iPhone, and "At Bat," which shows the day's Major League baseball games, the current score and even who is up at bat at that precise moment.

The new programs can be purchased and downloaded directly to the iPhone through a special App Store section on Apple's iTunes website, just as users of the iPod now do with music and videos. Most of those announced Monday were either free, or available for $9.99.

In perhaps the biggest move aimed at wooing the business crowd, Jobs announced iPhone 2.0 - and the new iPhone 3g model - will offer complete support for Microsoft Office, including the Word, Excel and PowerPoint applications.

Apple also unveiled a new service called MobileMe, that will work like Microsoft Exchange but is aimed at non corporate users. It will push e-mail and synchronize calendars and address book contacts.

Apple has announced a goal of selling 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008. Through March, it had sold some 5.5 million units, enough to give it a 28 percent share of the smartphone market, according to the research firm Canalys. Jobs said that the current total of iPhone sales is now at about 6 million.

Although that's still far short of the 41 percent share held by the BlackBerry, Apple did that in just 10 months time, in the U.S. alone. The BlackBerry, in various forms, has been on the market for almost a decade.

It has just now made the iPhone available worldwide and with the new pricing and faster network and push e-mail functions that let it compete feature-for-feature for the first time with the BlackBerry, it is expected to quickly tighten the competition.

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

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TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

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The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

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Long eclipsed by the works of many country contemporaries, Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge's first album, Full Moon, gets a new look.

Why is it that 1973 albums by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson have become classic country staples (see: Jennings' rough-hewed landmark Honky Tonk Heroes and Nelson's before-its-time Shotgun Willie), while Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge's duo debut from that same year has been relatively overlooked?

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Music

Mike Stern: Trip

Photo: Sandrine Lee (Concord Music Group)

Mike Stern has fallen. Trip shows that he can get back up just fine.


Mike Stern

Trip

Label: Heads Up
US Release Date: 2017-09-08
UK Release Date: 2017-09-08
Label website
Artist website
Amazon
iTunes

Guitarist Mike Stern suffered from a big owie last year. It seems that, while trying to cross a street in Manhattan, he tripped and fell, breaking both of his shoulders in the process. He underwent surgery and reports that "I still have to use glue so I can hold a guitar pick." While you're busy trying to figure out just how a jazz-fusion guitarist needs glue to hold a pick, keep in mind Stern is an embodiment of a working musician, and his chosen genre of expertise is famous for its pay-to-play, sink-or-swim business model. Such a setback can really eat into one's career. Gigs need to be canceled, which sometimes leads to venues blacklisting you in the future. And in a world where most people listen to their music via streaming services, gigging may be your only reliable source of income. Thankfully, Mike Stern, who was 63 at the time of his injury, has made a full recovery and is back to work with an impressive array of professional help. His new album is ironically named Trip. Apart from the title,

Trip makes it sound like nothing ever happened to Stern. At all. In the same way that John McLaughlin and his current Fourth Dimension band sound like a bunch of barnstormers who haven't hit 40 yet, the powerful performance of Stern and his colleagues coupled with the high quality of the material belie both age and medical condition. Now I'm aware that our very own Steven Spoerl did not care for the writing on Mike Stern's 2012 All Over the Place, but there's no way I can sling the same criticism at Trip. The opening title track alone is enough to nullify that. Stern plays the melody in unison with saxophonist Bob Franceschini, and it's all over the place. The song slinks into a B section where the chords shift from a minor vi to a major IV, and again, Stern and Franceschini drive an even meaner melody down the scale with plenty of sharply punctuated intervals. This guy fell, broke his shoulders, and now needs glue to hold a pick? Are we all sure he wasn't just replaced with Steve Austin?

Another number that, to me, offsets any concerns about the able-bodiness or strength of the material is a spunky one named "Watchacallit". This time, the B section brims with even more tension with Franceschini flying high and bassist Tom Kennedy doing little divebombs at the start of each bar. When it's all put together, it's truly a moment for you to crank your listening device of choice (in the past, we would say "stereo" right about here). But that's just two songs. There's a total of 11, spanning an hour and six minutes. Stern doesn't use every bar of every number to punch us in the gut. He still goes for the smooth bop ("Emelia"), the funky intersection of Miles Davis and Funkadelic ("Screws"), and the soothing ballad ("I Believe in You" and "Gone").

No review of Trip would be complete without mentioning the musical pedigree of Mike Stern's friends. When it comes to drummers, he managed to net Dennis Chambers, Lenny White, and Will Calhoun (yes, that Will Calhoun). Those names alone give you a money-back guarantee that the rhythm section will never, ever falter. But just to be sure, Stern summons Victor Wooten to play bass. Top shelf names like Randy Brecker and Bill Evans, in addition to Franceschini, provide Trip with soulful wind. Pianist Jim Beard pulls double duty as the session pianist. Normally, I'd wrap this up by saying that Mike Stern is under the process of pulling himself up by his bootstraps and dusting himself off after a major boo-boo. But after listening to

Trip over and over again, I'm convinced that he's beyond that. The straps are up, and the dust has cleared. He's back, playing and composing just as well as he ever did. Better than he did before the accident, perhaps? You can be the judge of that meaningless hairsplitting exercise because Trip is worth the journey no matter where your expectations may lie.

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