FOR Malaysian iPhone 3G users who have been having problems with caller ID not appearing on their brand new smartphone, Apple’s latest announcement will sound like custom ringtone to their ears.
The iPhone maker has released a software update that promises to solve that very problem — and more.
The announcement on Tuesday by Apple will see its iTunes do-everything-from-music-to-movies-to-apps-to-contacts software receiving a feature boost in the form of a Genius for Contacts.
This is the second Genius feature on iTunes. Genius made its debut last year on iTunes 8 as a way to instantly and automatically create playlists of songs that go great together.
The songs are from iTunes Store as well as from the user’s own music library.
In similar fashion for Contacts, the names and phone numbers of iPhone users are anonymously sent to Apple’s servers where it is combined with the anonymously gathered knowledge from millions of other iPhone users and processed through Apple developed algorithms.
Information is also gathered from social networking sites such as Facebook.
Additionally, Genius will identify people outside of the user’s circle of contacts who are common friends or have similar tastes in computer and phone (Macs and iPhone), and recommend that the user adds these people to their contacts.
Apple has access to information on 30 million iPhone and iPod touch users to make this work.
In addition, the company knows an estimated ten-fold more of other consumers who have Googled “iPhone” on their computer.
“The Genius feature worked very well for music on iTunes. So we decided to extend it to other parts of the iPhone-iTunes-App Store ecosystem starting with Contacts,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice-president of iPod and iPhone product marketing.
“Besides, you need to be a genius to solve the iPhone caller ID problem. Bwahahahahaha!”
The introduction of Genius for Contacts was timely in light of problems faced by iPhone customers in Malaysia, Apple’s latest market.
Thousands of customers who bought their iPhone from Maxis recently in a fit of techno-lust discovered they had “lost” some of their contacts.
Instead of the caller ID, iPhone displayed the caller’s number.
Most people have no idea what their friend’s or spouse’s numbers are.
“Bengong betul. How can a company like Apple overlook something so basic?” an indignant customer was heard complaining loudly soon after wiping drool from his new iPhone.
“Even a RM300 China phone can do that properly.”
“I love my iPhone,” said another happy customer. “It allows me to do calls, SMS, listen to music, watch video clips, browse the Internet, get organised, play games – everything. Except see my caller ID.”
At least 30 marriages and relationships were reported dissolved nationwide when iPhone users, who received missed calls from their partners, responded with, “Sorry, who is this please?”
But these newly-single iPhone users have no reason to be sad.
Apple said Genius has a built-in Contacts Store containing over 25,000 beautiful people who are real-life iPhone users.
With just a few taps on their iPhone, users can add these beautiful people’s phone numbers at prices ranging from US$0.99 to US$4.99 and US$24.99 depending on desirability.
Third-party developers are also offering add-on Contacts that will allow users to add celebrities to their contacts and even have these celebrities appear on their Facebook friends list to impress people. Huhu.
Mac pundit Lee Harvey Aswad speculated that Apple will eventually extend Genius to other parts of the iPhone-iTunes-App Store ecosystem.
“I predict they will eventually have Genius for apps, Genius for e-books, Genius for quotes, Genius for twitter, Genius for FB status updates, Genius for Genius,” said Aswad.
An Apple representative declined to comment.