Tag: iPhone

Not much comes close to setting the interwebs ablaze than an Apple keynote. Fanboys everywhere were glued to their computer screens yesterday to learn what new things would come out of Cupertino this summer. While the WWDC is a developer’s conference, there were many intriguing announcements that are of interest to the general Mac-using public.

Here are some of the big points from the keynote yesterday:

iPhone 3G S
The iPhone 3G — and, it could be argued, the iPod Touch — have been fairly revolutionary for mobile computing. Apple tries to continue that with the iPhone 3G S, which they are touting as the most powerful iPhone yet. According to the keynote, nearly all the standard operations done on the phone are faster and more responsive. Things like launching messages, webpages and basic applications all seem to be quicker. Hardware wise, a new 3 megapixel, autofocusing camera makes an appearance, which even includes video recording. Hardware encryption and voice recording were also added.

Prices vary by carrier, naturally, but Apple’s price is $199USD for 16GB storage, and 32GB goes for $299USD. Is it worth it? While I don’t use an iPhone myself, I think the benefits over the iPhone 3G are subtle, but if you jumped in with the original iPhone, or have even held off purchasing the phone since the beginning, now is certainly a great time to join the party.

iPhone OS 3.0
The big deal of the keynote was more detail about the iPhone 3.0 software. Since the entire convention is for developers, most of the announcements were for the SDK included in the new software. The biggest news is that the new software includes support for copy and paste right on the phone. Additionally, landscape mode has been added to multiple applications, Find My iPhone and an undo function have been added. The latter is available just by shaking the phone — sort of like an Etch-A-Sketch function, and Find My iPhone is a feature of MobileMe that enables users to track their phone should they lose it, and optionally wipe the data remotely should it be stolen.

Phil Schiller and Scott Forstall (those taking Steve Jobs’ place presenting the keynote) had a few digs at AT&T about functions added to iPhone 3.0, that may not be available from AT&T until later. Tethering is a feature many people have asked for, now that most phones are connected to the internet with a speed almost equal to a home DSL line. It is a way of connecting the phone to a computer through USB or Bluetooth so that the phone can be used as a modem to get the computer online. The other jab at the American provider was that multimedia messaging service won’t be able to share your photos, videos and sounds with other people until later in the summer. This feature, which is available on nearly every other handset in the world, will finally bring the iPhone on part with what can be considered an essential service.

New MacBook Pros
In what I thought was a somewhat unusual move, Apple announced that the 13″ aluminum MacBook would now be a MacBook Pro, making the white polycarbonate model the only remaining MacBook. Besides the natural speed increases, the hardware changes made to the whole line were SD card slots instead of ExpressCard and a new, longer-lasting internal battery that cannot be removed. The battery situation is one I think may see some strong opposition. For a computer that is a “pro machine”, where the user is in the field for a long time, the inability to swap out a battery and get another 4 hours could be frustrating. The fact that all the previous MacBooks could have batteries swapped while the computer is sleeping means that with enough batteries, users can work continuously. Fortunately, though, I think that the power and design of the computers mean that the batteries may be an afterthought.

Snow Leopard
My personal favourite announcement of the keynote was the announcements about the newest Cupertino cat, Snow Leopard. As previously shown, Snow Leopard foregoes hundreds of new features in favour of making OS X faster, smaller, more efficient and more stable. The big news was the addition of technology to take advantage of multi-core processors and advanced GPUs. Grand Central Dispatch makes it very easy for developers to use every ounce of power from advanced Intel CPUs. This is because early versions of OS X were not optimized for multithreading, preventing software from using all available horsepower. To take advantage of GPUs, Apple has spearheaded an initiative to create a new language that threads operations in a way that GPUs can handle. Best of all, nearly all the major manufacturers have jumped on board.

Breaking from tradition, Apple has decided that this new upgrade should be available for $29USD for Leopard users, making it the cheapest 10.x upgrade yet. A family pack for 5 users will be available for $49USD, which is a full $150 off the Leopard price. If a value pack is available with a Snow Leopard license, iLife 09 and iWork 09 for ~$100, I know where I’ll be when it’s available in September.

As we’ve come to expect from Apple’s keynotes, a wide array of new products and services will be available from Apple this summer, making it yet another exciting time to be a fan of the fruit company.

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It’s happening again. Just like the last 3 Septembers, Steve Jobs is on stage in San Francisco introducing us to new iPods that need to be purchased. There’s a new nano, new classic and new touch and each has a more curved shell than before, and packs in even more great features.

Here’s what has gone down so far.

iPod classic

Bye bye 2 models, and say hello to a single configuration: 120GB. That’s a good idea. One model with massive storage for everyone. It also has new interface changes and a modified exterior.

iPod nano

Just like the pictures that have made their way around the internet in the past week, this new nano is rounded on the edges and has a more elongated screen for watching widescreen videos. Thin and light, it comes in 4 and 8 GB sizes, and also in a wide range of interesting colors.

iPod touch

Continuing the trend of making all iPods more like the iPhone 3G case, the iPod touch has a rounded body, with improvements like external volume buttons and an internal speaker. While I have a 2G iPod touch, I wouldn’t mind getting one with a speaker. It also has Nike+ built in, so you just need the shoe sensor and you’re good to go. They’re also pushing the touch as a gaming platform, likely because of the graphics power and interface.

iTunes 8

To take advantage of the new features in the new iPods, there is a new version of iTunes that includes a tool called Genius. Apparently it looks at your playing habits and recommends songs from your library or the Music Store to help you find new music. Probably some more smaller fixes, but we’ll find that out later. The Music Store has also added HD TV shows, and shows from NBC (like the Office).

iPhone Software 2.1

Finally! This update supposedly fixes app crashes and makes backing up faster. No one will really know until we can try it this Friday though.

New headphones

For a more inflated price of $79 USD, you can now get a new and improved set of earbud headphones that have more speaker power, a microphone and remote control. The mic is kind of cool, but I’m not sure it’d be worth the extra cash.

So there you have it. New iPods, new iTunes, new features. Time to start saving again.

[tags]iPod, Apple, keynote, iPhone[/tags]

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When the iPhone arrived on the scene in 2007, it brought with it the ability to pinpoint your location to a fairly small area. This meant that if you were looking for, say, a local fish and chips restaurant, the iPhone would provide the closest matches. It did this by using the same techique as GPS — triangulation — with the signals from cell towers. The second generation iPhone includes real GPS, making it even better at finding your current location, and makes location-aware application much more enjoyable.

Of course, the iPod touch is limited to connecting with WiFi signals, which means the only way for it to find your location is through a database of WiFi hotspots set up by Skyhook wireless. This list tracks the ID of your router and connects that to coordinates on a map.

You can even submit your own router data, and enjoy the nerd bonus points that come along with having your iPod find your house. To do this, navigate to Skyhook’s submit page and enter your address. Once the map appears, move the pin to as close to your house as possible and fill in the additional information. The ID of your router is found in your administration panel. For Airport Extreme users, it is called the Airport ID and is displayed on the summary page of the Airport Utility.

It took more than 3 weeks for my iPod to be able to find my house. If it seems that nothing has happened after submitting your info, just be as patient as possible and give it a few more days.

So give it a try if you want to impress your friends with an iPod that knows where it is.

Photo edited to make it look like I live on Apple’s Cupertino campus. Sadly, that is not the case.

[tags]iPhone, iPod touch, Google Maps, GPS[/tags]

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When you use your electronic gadgets out and about during your daily travels, you need a way to protect them from the inevitable scratches, scrapes and accidental droppings. To make matters worse, most of the iPods now feature a shiny metal back plate that acts like a fingerprint magnet. To protect your investment, you need a case.

Since late in June, I’ve been using a Speck ToughSkin case for my iPod touch and I’ve had a hard time finding a better product to protect my expensive gadget.

Black with thick rubber pieces around the side of the iPod, it adds heavy-duty protection from fingerprints, scratches and moderate drops without adding much mass. Where I was once leery of putting my iPod down without something soft beneath it, I now worry more about battery life than scratching the back. Unlike many other products, this case offers exactly the result it says it does.

It does not offer a screen protector, but an additional $20 for a clear screen takes care of that. Right now I use the original plastic cover, and it does the job nicely.

If you’re looking for a rugged, lightweight case for your iPod touch, look no farther than the Speck Toughskin.

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In 2001, Apple introduced the 5GB iPod. At first it wasn’t the amazing success it is today, but soon people realized that Apple’s hardware/software integration made the MP3 player experience that much better. Soon Apple came out with different models, and today there are 4 models to choose from. Each model has benefits and drawbacks that make it best for a specific type of user.

Continuing on from my Pick the right Mac post, here is a guide to pick the right iPod for your music listening needs.
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