iPhone: A Timeline

Often, I’ll flag a story for discussion or posting and then forget about the article.   Here’s such an article.   A couple months ago, The Unofficial Apple Weblog published a very interesting story detailing the timeline of the iPhone:

The only applications loaded in by default were SMS, Calendar, Photos, Camera, Calculator, Stocks, Maps, Weather, Notes, Clock, Phone, Email, Safari, iPod and Settings. While the list may seem impressive typed out, there weren’t even enough applications to fill the whole screen. There certainly weren’t the 50,000 applications that are available today.

Steve Jobs and company told us from the beginning there wouldn’t be an SDK. Instead developers were encouraged to write web apps, taking advantage of the iPhone’s great mobile browser. Obviously people weren’t happy with this arrangement, and jailbreakers (including our own Erica Sadun) got to work shoehorning in native applications with no help or documentation from Apple.

I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us iPhone geeks next summer!

Palm Pre iRony

Gizmodo this weekend linked to a survey of Palm Pre users that shows they want a feature of the iPhone that perhaps drove many of them away from the iPhone:

Smartphone users just don’t know what they want. One of the biggest, loudest complaints about all-touchscreen phones like the iPhone is its lack of a hardware keyboard, and now a survey shows Pre users most want a soft keyboard.

The lack The beauty of not having a hardware keyboard on the iPhone is that it’s there when you need it and gone when you don’t without you needing to physically alter the device to get the keyboard as the OS on the iPhone hides and reveals the keyboard for you.   No pesky sliding that you may or may not be able to do with one hand, no worries about switching the language on your device should you need to and not having the proper keyboard to match, no reason to manufacture separate devices with keyboards for specific languages, etc.

(Nod: Just Another iPhone Blog)

Today’s the Day!

iPhone OS 3.0 is finally here today. Sometime today, that is. I feel like a little kid on Christmas morning whose parents told him he has to wait until after church to open his presents–the presents are there, I know they’re there, but I can’t have them yet. We know the upgrade happens today, but we have to wait until Apple deems us worthy. Ahh! The suspense!

There Isn’t an App for That… Yet

MG Siegler at TechCrunch  argued  this weekend for a Genius feature for the iTunes App Store, similar to how the Genius feature for music and movies already works.

The problem is that while early on, it was pretty easy for small-time developers to make an app and get it noticed in the store, now with 50,000 apps, we’re getting to the point where you need to do something else to promote your apps. That’s good news for big time development studios like EA, which can throw marketing money at the problem. But for some smaller developers some of which are just one person that’s simply not an option. But there is one potential solution, and it’s one Apple already has built-in to iTunes: Genius recommendations.

So, like the music and movies Genius feature, the App Store Genius would give recommendations for other apps you might be interested in based on what you have as compared to other similar users.

What a terrific idea, and I find it hard to believe a) Apple hasn’t already thought of this or b) this isn’t in the works already if the Genius feature, originally only for the music store, was recently extended to the movie store.   iPhone and iPod touch  users knowing what other apps they might also like could open an additional stream of revenue, no?   Hard to argue against instating a feature to bring more cash in.

I know I would find this helpful.   I used to subscribe to a couple RSS feeds that listed new apps, but I quickly found I couldn’t keep up with the volume of new apps that came in.   That volume is great for Apple, but bad for users who can’t keep track of the apps and bad for small-time developers who can’t get their apps noticed.

With a Genius feature, more apps will be exposed to more users, resulting in a win for users, a win for developers, and a win for Apple.   Perhaps there’ll soon be an app for that, too.

(Nod: Just Another iPhone Blog)

AT&T Fail

iphone 3gs

As expected, today Apple announced a new iPhone, one that boasts faster operation and data speeds, a built-in compass, voice activation, a 3-megapixel camera with auto focus, and video recording and editing capabilities.

Since the rumor mill was churning out its speculations, I speculated on whether or not I would pony up the cash for a new model even though I purchased myPhone 3G in February.   Based on what I saw on the features list, I’m definitely interested in an upgrade.   For as much as I use the iPhone camera, a better camera with focusing and white balance abilities is a huge plus.   And who doesn’t like a faster device?

But then I heard about the fine print: there is a set of prices for new AT&T customers and a set of prices for existing AT&T iPhone 3G customers.   Those of us already in contracts with the carrier would have to pay $200 more for the particular model of iPhone we would purchase.   The same 16 GB iPhone 3GS that would cost a new customer $199 would cost me $399.

iphone pricing

Any chance of Apple or AT&T getting me to fork over more cash for a new iPhone are nil now.   What percentage of existing iPhone 3G customers does Apple and AT&T expect to pay twice the retail price of the phone to upgrade?   I assume this decision is that of AT&T.   I’m not a business major, but this decision seems like it is slamming the door on a potentially huge stream of additional revenue for both Apple and AT&T if many existing iPhone 3G customers like me are unwilling to pay the doubled price for the new phone.   Instead of forcing us to pay the additional price, which will likely be unlikely for many or most iPhone 3G owners, why not extend our contracts two years from whatever point we are in our contract and allow us to pay the normal price for the phone?   We’re still locked into a contract, but now the contract is even longer, so that’s additional monthly revenue for AT&T, no?

I imagine there will be a significant amount of pushback from iPhone 3G owners.   As a result, perhaps this policy will fall.

Furthermore, what’s with AT&T not offering MMS (multimedia messaging) until late summer and no date for tethering ability?

Those small digs at AT&T from Apple today during the keynote were well deserved.   What a spectacular fail for AT&T today.

“Finger Painting”

The latest cover for The New Yorker magazine wasn’t designed in Photoshop, and it wasn’t created with paper and drawing materials; it was created with an iPhone.   Jorge Colombo used the app Brushes to create the cover:

new yorker cover

Said Colombo:

I got a phone in the beginning of February, and I immediately got the program so I could entertain myself.

Thanks for entertaining the rest of us, too.   The best part, though, is that the app records your brushstrokes.   Watch Colombo create the cover:


(Nod: TUAW)


For the iPhone enthusiasts, an iPhone doormat:


Can this mat really unlock your door?   Perhaps there’s an app for that.

This mat will go along with your other Apple novelties.

(Nod: Just Another iPhone Blog)

Clarify with Clarifi

griffin clarifi

(Image from Griffin)

I recently purchased an iPhone case after I decided I didn’t want my iPhone encased. But the selling point on the case I bought wasn’t the case itself; rather, a unique feature of the case sold me. The case I purchased was the Griffin Clarifi, and what is unique about the case is it includes a tiny lens on the back of the case that slides over the camera to improve close-up shots.

Because the iPhone camera doesn’t offer any focus controls (or the camera hardware itself is incapable of changing its focus), close-up shots taken with the camera often are blurry and any text is illegible. Enter Clarifi. From the Griffin website:

Slide the Clarifi lens into place over the built-in lens of your iPhone. Your macro and close-up shots are instantly finer in detail, more accurate in color. With Clarifi’s lens, your iPhone can image an entire business card with astounding clarity. Slide the lens aside for normal photography. WIthout Clarifi, iPhone requires about 18 inches to focus properly. Slide Clarifi’s lens into place and you can move in to 4 inches for crisp detail and great pictures.

The important thing to remember is for non-close-up shots, slide the lens off the camera or your photos will be blurry.

As I said, I bought the case for the lens, but the case itself is solid and sturdy, and it keeps my iPhone from sliding around when I lay it down on a surface and try to type on it.

Photo of text without using Clarifi:

without clarifi

With Clarifi:

with clarifi

Photo of my computer screen without Clarifi:

without clarifi

With Clarifi:

with clarifi

The case retails for $35, but I found it on Amazon for $15 plus shipping. If you’re like me and don’t care if your device is in a case or not but are interested in crisper close-up photos, I highly recommend purchasing the Griffin Clarifi case. The clarity of your close-up shots will amaze you.

iPhone OS 3.0 Wish List

iphone os3

The Unofficial Apple Weblog, amongst others, reports on this coming Tuesday, 17 March, Apple will hold a media event to preview iPhone OS 3.0 software. Speculation has abounded as to what 3.0 might include. Here’s what’s on my wish list:

  • copy and paste: seriously, STILL not having this ability is both ridiculous and embarassing
  • background app support: some ability to run apps in the background; I hate using a radio app and then having to open my calendar or to-do list only to have the radio app close
  • Flash
  • turn-by-turn GPS directions
  • landscape Mail: viewing wide emails in portrait mode is painful; who likes to horizontally scroll?
  • more camera controls: how about focus modes (auto, distance, macro), white balance settings, exposure settings
  • consistent playlist-creation menus: when adding songs to a genius playlist, the alphabet scroll list is present on the right side of the screen (the list that enables you to touch a letter to jump to songs or albums beginning with that letter); when adding songs to an on-the-go playlist, the alphabet scroll list is not available, so trying to get to the end of the list is a pain
  • better way to organize apps: something like this
  • ability to change ALL the sounds on the iPhone: why can I change my ringtone and the new text message sound but not the new voicemail, new mail, etc. sounds?
  • ability to edit, delete, and save new playlists: this ability is available for genius and only the current on-the-go playlist; why not make it available to any playlist?
  • ability to change calendar colors: I liked the default iCal colors, but to keep consistent with the for-whatever-reason different calendar colors on the iPhone and iPod Touch, I changed my iCal colors to match
  • MMS: I’d like the built-in ability to send a picture to someone’s phone
  • animated scroll on super-long song titles: other iPods auto scroll the song title when it gets clipped because the title is too long to display in the space allotted; why not the iPhone, too?
  • video recording
  • search Mail
  • native dictionary/thesaurus: Mac OS comes with one; port it please

That all isn’t too much to ask, right?! :-)



Last month, I finally caved and purchased an iPhone.   The device is everything I was hoping for and even more.

When the iPod Touches were launched in October 2007, I was quick to snatch one up.   I was in awe at the iPhone but was still in a Verizon contract.   Over the next year, many separate functions or utilities of mine merged with my iPod Touch.   For instance, carrying around my Touch meant I had my address book, calendar, note pad, grocery list, checking account register, unit converter, English dictionary, and Spanish dictionary/conjugator.   When I was in a wifi zone, I had The Google, The Facebook, The Wiki, and The Internets at my fingertips.

But even with these features, I still craved an iPhone for a couple reasons.   First, it was time for a new phone, and if I stayed with Verizon and bought some iPhone-wannabe, I knew I would be sadly disappointed and would constantly compare the phone with my iPod Touch and by extension the iPhone.   I knew another phone manufacturer couldn’t match the level of usability afforded in the iPhone and iPod Touch’s menus and interface.   Second, I wanted to rid myself of a device.   In my pockets everyday everywhere I went were my phone and my iPod Touch.   If I were to get an iPhone, I knew I would then only have to carry one device (and not have to keep two separate address books, too).   Finally, being a fan of gadgets and touchscreen technology, I think the iPhone is an uber-cool device not currently matched by any other similar device.

With all these thoughts in mind, I made the jump to AT&T and purchased an iPhone and I don’t regret a thing.

Now, not only do I have all the capabilities of my iPod Touch, I have so much more.   If I want to look something up on The Wiki, I can without having to find a wifi spot.   If I want to take a picture of something and upload it to Facebook, I can.   If I want to check the directions to my destination while I’m in the car, I can.

I thought with the constant connection to The Internets I might find myself distracted often, but I haven’t been distracted at the level I thought I might be.   But having that constant connection for when I have a random question (like how long does a pace maker last) satiates my incessant thirst for answers.

Another aspect of switching to an iPhone I worried about was having to reenter or lose data saved in apps on my iPod Touch, information such as my favorited and custom grocery items, my checking account register entries, and Safari bookmarks.   When I was moving through the setup process in iTunes, however, I had the option to restore my iPhone from an iPod Touch backup, so all of the app data saved on my iPod Touch was transferred to my iPhone.   Genius!

Overall, I am delightfully pleased with my purchase.   My iPhone is easily one of if not the best thing I’ve ever bought.

Charge Your iPhone with the Sun

If you can’t afford to convert your home to use all solar power but want to, perhaps you can at least power your iPhone with solar power.   TUAW writes:

The case is essentially a lithium ion battery pack with a solar panel that doubles as a flip cover for the iPhone. The construction is said to be leather, however I cannot imagine this being very kind to Mother Nature. There is also an LED status indicator that informs you of the capacity of the case’s battery pack when charging and discharging.

The instruction manual notes that an empty iPhone battery can be re-charged in 3 hours when the included Li-Ion battery pack is full. When the battery pack is empty you can set the case to direct charge mode and get your iPhone recharge on straight from the power of the Sun itself!


If you’re searching for the perfect gift for the Mac lover in your life (or yourself), how about the Mac dock throw pillows?

finder pillow

Or how about the iPhone icon coasters?

iphone coasters

(Nod: TUAW and Fumin)

Copy and Pasting Rumors

ChannelWeb reports on the possibility of iPhone firmware 2.2 including something that has eluded iPhone and iPod touch users thus far:

Apple is set to release version 2.2 of the iPhone operating system on Nov. 21, according to a Greek language post in enthusiast blog iPhone Hellas.

In addition to a redesigned MobileSafari interface, the iPhone 2.2 update will reportedly add Google Street View, transit route information, walking directions and over-the-air podcast downloads, according to Gizmodo, which described iPhone Hellas as “consistently reliable.”

Gizmodo noted that because the 2.2 feature list hasn’t changed from previous beta versions, it’s possible that Apple could decide to sneak copy/paste into the 2.2 update, a development that could lead to a collective outcry of joy from iPhone users who’ve long been clamoring for this basic functionality.

If I only had copy and paste on my iPod touch, I could have written this post on my iPod with the copied and pasted quote from the article.   Sigh.   Seriously, though, how much longer do we have to wait?

(Nod: Patrick)

Locked In… Illegally?

Now, I’m no expert in anti-trust legal affairs, but doesn’t the cell phone industry with their exclusive contracts and back room deals smell of monopoly-esque activity? Like, for instance, Apple and AT&T’s exclusive deal for the wireless carrier to be the sole provider of service for the iPhone. Isn’t that akin to Ford or GM saying only BP or Mobile gasoline will run their cars? That sad thing, though, is we’ve come to accept these exclusive wireless deals. But why?

Macnn.com ran an article on this topic a couple days ago:

Lashing out at the wireless carrier cadre, Walt Mossberg says that the United States federal government has been duped into allowing AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and others to lock consumers into terms unprecedented by any other industry.The problem lies in two areas: the US government did not set up a wireless standard when it needed to a few years ago, so there are two competing networks: CDMA and GSM. This means that switching to a new provider often requires a new, compatible phone. Second, the government allows the GSM carriers to ‘lock’ their phones, “so a SIM card from a rival carrier won’t work in them, at least for a period of time.”

Mossberg argues that lifting these restrictions and standardizing the network would result in cheaper, unsubsidized phones and the elimination of draconian contract cancellation fees.


So I received my iPod Touch this morning, and I’m actually typing this post from my iPod! I’ve only played with it for about twenty minutes, but I think it’s awesome so far!

How Do You Like That Apple?

After seeing the touch-screen technology on the iPhone, it was only natural to expect an extension of this beauteous creation to the iPod. And today we’re treated to exactly that. Yay. It, meaning one with my name on it, ships by the end of the month.

ipod touch