Potpourri: Download Service Explosion, Miss South Carolina, iPhone Hacking

I don’t have the juice to go in-depth about anything this week, so I thought that I’d take a few swipes at some things:

Download Service Explosion — With Nokia’s recent announcement announcement of their download service on the heels of CD Baby and Wal-Mart’s services, it looks like we are in another round of download service offerings. Add these to the DRM-free service that Universal announced last month, and the long-rumoured Amazon download stores, and consumers will have every type of choice.

While none of these would be able to challenge iTunes in and of itself, my guess that all of these combined will begin to erode iTunes dominance — if they don’t lock consumers into anti-iPod DRM schemes. That’s the key.

The Internet’s Weird Star-Making Power — It’s almost easy to feel sorry for Miss Teen South Carolina, as her awesomely incoherent answer to the stock variation of the standard “why are kids these days so stupid?” question became an instant sensation. Ich bin ein U.S. Americans!

But, of course, the reality is that she is now more famous than she would have been had she actually won that pageant. And as a matter of fact, if you are going to feel sorry for any of these people (which, really, I don’t), feel sorry for the winner of, er whichever pageant it was. Which I care so little about, I’m not even going to bother to look it up.

But think about it: at the time, the winner no doubt watched the actual answer of her competitor with amusement and schadenfreude, and when she won, it was the best thing that ever happened to her. She had to be sure that this was going to be her big step. After all, she was the winner of Miss Teen Something-Or-Other, she was going to be famous.

Not so much.

Hack the iPhone — It will be interesting to see how the iPhone hacks that uncouple it from AT&T play out. Will one of the parties take legal action? Will this mean that the iPhone gets officially deexclusified from AT&T much sooner? I agree with the people who think that all of this hacking bothers AT&T way way more than it bothers Apple.

Oh, and have I pointed out how much AT&T’s EDGE network sucks ass? Because it does.

In the meantime, there is a whole cottage industry going on in modifying the some of the functionalities and even the UI of the iPhone. For those inclined, a program called iBrickr makes it amazingly easy to add ringtones and modify icons from a nicely intuitive interface.

Once you’ve made the leap, you’ll discover that are also programs that address functionalities that currently don’t exist in the iPhone, like voice recording or reading eBooks. Most of these programs are so new that they are barely Alpha, much less full-featured.

But they are a great start towards fulfilling the iPhone’s promise as an all-in-one communications/computing device.

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