I’m not a big cell phone user. When people ask for my cell phone number, I tell them that mine is an odd plan and it only dials out. That keeps the unexpected phone calls to a minimum.
In truth, I use AT&T, and selected the monthly plan and cell phone carrier for one reason; the Siemens S56 cell phone. It’s small, lightweight, surfs the web, is loaded with features, and it’s Bluetooth capable. So is my Apple PowerBook; the center of my digital hub. If I travel, my cell phone goes with me. So does my Mac.
In all fairness, Apple wasn’t the first to employ Bluetooth capability. They were the first to do it right.
Bluetooth has limitations. Bandwidth isn’t much and the distance is short, maybe 30 feet or so for good connections. Don’t try to use Bluetooth to upload a batch of digital photos to your Mac.
What’s cool about Bluetooth is what it lets your cell phone do for you. Get connected, stay connected, and not have to do much in the process.
I love to show this part of digital hub to friends.
It’s a two feature process; 1) sync my Mac to my phone without touching the phone, 2) dial my Mac and connect to the Internet without touching the phone.
The cell phone stays in my pocket the whole time.
Here’s how it’s done.
First, open up your Mac’s Bluetooth Preferences in System Preferences. You’ll need to “pair” your devices. The Mac (with a Bluetooth connector) is a Bluetooth device. The Siemens S56 is a Bluetooth device. Each device simply needs to know the other is there and capable of connecting.
For Windows users, getting a connection, “pairing”, can be painful. Mac OS X makes it easy. Almost too easy. Most cell phones with Bluetooth capability are just as easy to setup, so don’t worry if you don’t have ATT&T or a Siemens S56. Any cell phone company and any Bluetooth phone should work OK.
Just to be sure, Click Here to check out the cell phone list that syncs with Mac OS X. That’ll make life much easier.
Finally, once the devices, your cell phone and your Mac, are paired, connections become rather painless; simple, even.
There may be future uses for Bluetooth, including more Bandwidth and easier pairing, but for now, connecting a Mac to the Internet through a Bluetooth phone works well. And using iSync to synchronize your Mac’s Address Book and Calendar couldn’t be much easier.
For the demonstration to impress my Windows friends (we all have a few), I start out by showing off the basic Mac OS X utilities; iCal, Address Book, Mail (the email address feature). Then, I connect my iPod to the PowerMac and show how easy it is to update songs and playlists.
Most Windows users are really impressed with Apple when you tell them that the iPod and iTunes works the same way on a Windows computer (properly equipped, of course).
Then I bring up iSync to the screen. My iSync shows an icon of an iPod and my Siemens S56 cell phone. At this point I explain that, on a Mac, you can synchronize all these devices with one click.
Finally, I click the Sync Now button on iSync. A few moments later, all is done. My friends invariably ask, “Hey, where’s the cell phone?” I pull the phone out of my pocket and tell them it was sync’ed during the process; wirelessly via Bluetooth.
Ooohs and aahhhs. Icing on the cake is next.
The show’s not over. Now I explain that a Mac does a nice job of connecting to the Internet without a dial up connection, without a wireless 802.11b or 802.11g connection, or without DSL or cable broadband.
The ooohs and aahhhs turn to visions of perpexity dancing on their foreheads. Windows users. What a group.
Dial up connection requires two clicks, and a few seconds later my Siemens S56 cell phone has connected to AT&T’s data network and we’re surfing the web. At the beach, in the park, driving down the street in your car. In the library at school. Wherever AT&T Wireless connects, the Mac connects.
The cell phone stays in the pocket.
That’s the way the digital hub should work, right? Of course, not every cell phone carrier gives you phones with wireless Internet connections. Not every cell phone is Bluetooth capable. With the right pieces, thought, the Mac and Mac OS X takes a puzzle and puts it together.
Are we carrying this “digital hub” thing too far?
I don’t think so. Here’s another example of what you can do with Mac OS X, your Mac, and a phone line. Your Mac becomes a digital operator capable of answering your phone (home or business), saving messages via individual voice mail boxes, AND then sending the voice mail message direct to your Mac (or PC) so you can hear it.
Click Here for the details.
Wait. There’s more.
Apple and Motorola (big cell phone maker, maker of Mac chips) have announced that future generations of Motorola cell phones will be iTunes playlist capable. Click Here for more information, and a look at future products.
Finally, a word or two from readers about that so-called “digital hub” stuff. The iLife applications that come with every Mac these days—iTunes, iMovie, iDVD, iPhoto, and GarageBand—provide a little something for everyone. It seems Mac users have favorites among the iLife applications.
What’s your favorite? What iLife application is most favorite among Mac users? Click Here for the scoop and results of the iLife online poll.