Frugal Living 

Is iOS 7 an evil plot to obsolete your old iPhone?

This is what your iPhone 3GS looks like nowWhile Apple fanatics are celebrating the birth of a new iPhone, owners of older models reluctant to drop money on an upgrade don’t have much to cheer about.

When a new generation comes out, it brings a new operating system, or OS. For iPhone 4 and 4s users, iOS 7 means crucial functions may take up to twice as long. That’s a drag, but for iPhone 3GS users, it means something worse: Their phone is now officially obsolete and eventually, when new apps coming out demand iOS7 in order to be installed, they’ll be left out.

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 Personal Finance 

Quicken Online iPhone App

Last year, I did a brief Quicken Online review announcing that the online money management software would now be absolutely free and that the feature-set, while small, looked promising. I thought Quicken Online was superior to other services because they had brand recognition and integration with their other online applications. Last week, I was treated to a quick demonstration of the online application’s new features as well as a sneak peek of their new iPhone application.

Quicken Online

Quicken Online is like a light version of the Quicken 2009 desktop application, with a heavy emphasis on cash flow management. The tool was designed to help people manage their daily affairs and be more forward-looking. It tracks transactions, categorizes income and expenses, and even does a little prediction to determine if you may be in some trouble in the future. Here’s a snapshot of your “Spending Money Outlook” screen:

Quicken Online Spending Outlook

As you can see, it gives you an idea of each of the scheduled expenses you are going to have as well as scheduled income payments. It does this based on your historical data, your input and the input of the community. For example, if the tool sees that “Comcast” deducts $100 every month on the 15th, it’ll record that as a scheduled expense and show it on your cash flow chart. It warns you if you might overdraw, before you overdraw.

If you’re a novice to managing your money (or just don’t want to spend the time to learn a meatier full service application) and comfortable giving your data to a major corporation, give Quicken Online a look. It’s free after all!

Quicken Online iPhone Application

Quicken Online iPhone Application screenshotThe part of the demo that most intrigued me was the video looking at the iPhone application. With mobile applications becoming more and more popular, Quicken Online is trying to catch up to the multitude of financial applications out there.

Unfortunately they don’t have any official out yet, it’s a concept/work in progress, but I can say that the app itself looked pretty cool. The app wasn’t just a browser opening up the Quicken Online website, it’s a full fledge tool in and of itself. There was a lot of integration with the online site (your typical alertis and data push/pulling) and then some slick features I thought would be very helpful for novices. For example, they showed me a feature that integrated ATM and branch data on a map, showing you all the ATMs and branches within a certain distance. In talking with the Quicken people, I suggested that they label your bank’s ATMs with special markers, say green, so you could avoid ATM fees, if possible. What’s easier, trying to use a bank’s web interface to find ATMs or firing up a Quicken app to tell you which of your banks has an ATM nearby? I think just that feature alone would help people save a bundle on fees.

Another cool feature was being able to upload transactions on the fly with notes and pictures. So if you’re at a coffeehouse and you just spent $5 cash on a cup of coffee, you could take a picture of the cup of coffee so you knew what you bought when you went back to review it. It’s not a crucial feature but it’s one that certainly falls under the category of very cool.

I don’t have an iPhone but if I did, I’d be eagerly awaiting this little guy to debut in the spring… maybe I need one now, you know, for business reasons. 🙂


WIN: iPhone Mania Is Ridiculous

$200 iPhone VouchersWhen the first iPhone was released, the sticker price was six hundred dollars. That’s six hundred just for the unit, not counting the monthly plan. A scant two months later, Apple dropped the price by two hundred bones and gave all those suckers early adopters some vouchers to use at their store. And you know what? All those early adopters are still lining up to get their fix. L. Ron Hubbard ain’t got crap on Steve Jobs.

$999.99 Price of iPhone App I Am Rich$999.99 is the price for Armin Heinrich’s I Am Rich iPhone app that does absolutely nothing except flaunt your wealth to the world. It was available for one day until Apple pulled it but that didn’t stop eight people from buying it. Six were from the United States, one was from Germany, and the last was from France. Heinrich pocketed a cool $5,600 for his trouble. Not bad.

75 Days to Sell 1 Million iPhonesIt took Apple a mere 75 days to sell one million iPhones. Seventy five days… that’s 13,333.33 iPhones a day. The scary part is that iPhones flew off the shelves most rapidly after the price drop on September 5th. From September 5th to September 9th (the day they sold their one millionth), they sold 27,000 iPhones a day versus the 9,000 a day they were previously recording.

Now I’m going to go out and buy an iPhone.

 Personal Finance 

WIN: Early Adopters Always Pay

$1848 Total Minimum Cost of iPhone 3GThat’s the total minimum financial commitment to owning an iPhone 3G phone. Nearly two thousand dollars. Add a few more bells and whistles and you’re talking more. If you’re curious about the total cost of owning one elsewhere, CBC News has a cool interactive map you can use to navigate the world. (link courtesy of Loonies and Sense)

1,000,000 HD-DVD Players SoldI don’t know where the number stands now but the announced in January, before HD-DVD knew it lost the format wars to BluRay, that vendors had sold nearly a million HD-DVD players. Those million customers soon discovered they owned a dead format rebranded as “up-sampling DVD players.” Game over. Thanks for your money.

$1.06 Billion Writedown for Microsoft Xbox 360 Technical IssuesEarly adopters of the Microsoft XBox 360, myself included, discovered that the units were experiencing catastrophic technical problems. Later models solved some of the earlier problems and Microsoft increased their warranty to three years and had to take a $1.06 billion write-down in the second quarter of 2007.

$200 iPhone Price DropI couldn’t let Apple off the hook on this one… a scant 68 days after releasing the iPhone for the first time, Apple slashed prices by $200. The 8GB iPhone’s price dropped from $599 to $399. Those who bought within 14 days could get a refund of the difference but the rest had to be happy with a $100 credit at Apple stores. Steve Jobs is too hip and too rich to care about you, but keep on buying his products!

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