pre-Apple iPhone 5 event


Well, tomorrow is once again the big day.

Firstly, I wonder who will be presenting it? At a guess, I’d say Tim Cook. However, he doesn’t seem quite as enigmatic and enthusiastic as Steve Jobs was.

What’s on the list to appear? Well, the next iPhone (be it iPhone 5, iPhone 4S etc.).

What do I hope will be announced? I’m hoping that they’ll announce the release of iOS 5 tomorrow. Well, it’d be a smooth time to deploy it.

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7 days of Windows Phone 7


(yes, I know I’m late posting this for it to have been 7 days, but I got a bit delayed)

After using Windows Phone 7 for 7 days (so far it’s actually 11 days), I have found it to be a speedy and efficient mobile OS. Whilst it is missing many key features that made be long to return to Windows Mobile or even leap to Android, I made do.

  • It’s great for communication. The speed I can now send a text message or manage emails is amazing. The on-screen keyboard is rather annoyingly small and it is very easy to tap the wrong button , but it’s still bearable (and I can imagine it’s a lot more comfortable to type on the HTC Titan)
  • It’s great for media. Yes, videos (seemingly) need to be converted, but let’s put it this way. The Zune software is a LOT more bearable than iTunes. The limited amount of storage space on WP7 devices can get annoying but isn’t too bad to be a major annoyance. To get a video onto the phone, just plug it into the computer, the Zune software starts, drag and drop the file from the Zune library onto the phone icon in the Zune software and then wait. Simple.
  • The multitasking is rather annoying in WP 7.5. It’s like the iOS 3 to iOS 4 update, where app developers slowly and NOT surely release multitasking capable updates. I’m not quite sure why Microsoft would have wanted to follow this path, especially after seeing how it worked out for Apple.
On the whole, it seems to be the most efficient mobile OS for communication by far. However, it does have many drawbacks and I do have to frequently turn back to Windows Mobile when I really need to get something done properly.

World Wide Developers Conference 2011 – Apple keynote


So, Mac sales are up. Hardly surprising, but good news nonetheless.
Mac OS X Lion:
-over 250 new features
Consisting of multi-touch gestures. I’m pretty sure these already existed. Maybe they just improved them. Oh, it’s the ‘physical realism’ that’s new…
Full screen applications. We already know about this from the original keynote about Lion. Apple basically explains how it will be easily for developers to incorporate it into their apps. Apple has also made ‘a number’ of their apps work full screen as well (Safari, iMovie etc.). The transition to full screen is pretty neat.
Photo Booth has some face detection stuff (and full screen).
Mission Control. Again, we’ve all heard about it. It sounds rather like the Windows 7 window features.
The Mac App Store. Apparently it’s the number one channel for buying software. I find that rather surprising… Anyway, in-app purchases and push notifications are now available. I really don’t like the way iOS is invading the desktop. And there’s the big app page view we all saw before that even has folders. Apart from the icons looking like they have more freedom than a little black square, it’s pretty much identical.
Resume. A pretty cool feature. Imagine the iOS multi-tasking, but when you close it; it still picks up where you left off.
Auto Save. Most of us are probably familiar with computer issues that result in you losing your work. Well, Lion saves it automatically. I guess that will be handy in the most part, but sometimes I want the older version of a document, say, one that hasn’t bee edited to death. Well, Apple seem to have noticed this, as you can turn it off (but that could end in tears) or revert it to how it was when you opened it. Document duplication is actually a handy feature. Going back to my point about wanting to go back, it can restore previous versions, but only delta version (I guess so you don’t have an auto save for every new character you type).
AirDrop. We’ve all been there. Well, at least I have. Rushing around with memory that aren’t formatted for the other person’s system (e.g. NTFS on Linux), rushing back, changing everything… you get the picture. Well, AirDrop allows you to wirelessly share files to nearby users. Kind of like DropBox, but as its P2P, it’ll be faster. Oh, and there’s no setup. Imagine the iOS Wi-Fi connection thing but without the wep keys etc.
Mail. It looks new. Pretty nice looking to be honest. The searching has improved and it has the iOS Mail-style conversation feature.
The Price. Well, for all those big features, also including a Windows Migration assistant and FaceTime built in (amongst other things), it’s pretty cheap. Well, there are no discs. Only available through the Mac App Store for just $29.99 (probably also £29.99 since Apple don’t know how to convert currency for us British… :/ ). At least it’s only a 4GB download. Maybe it’s just a huge patch unlike the seven-or-so-GB Snow Leopard disc. Just circle the whole of July on your calendars.

iOS 5 time! Here’s… Scott! Facts and figures time:
-Over 200,000,000 iOS device sold to date
-Apparently it’s the number one mobile operating system with more than 44% of the market. I’m not doubting that, but I’m pretty sure Google were happy with some recent Android figures. Oh yeah, those were just US. Maybe Google were aware of the other less impressive figures. (Apple’s claim was based on Comscore’s figures for April. Oh, and Android was second.)
-Over 25,000,000 iPads sold in the fourteen months it’s been available. Scott claims they’ve created a whole new category of device. Pretty sure that MS were in the tablet game about a decade ago, amongst others.
Then there are the iTunes and co figures. In the millions and billions… Apple is enjoying a few more exclamation marks when announcing how much has been paid out to developers ($2,500,000,000). Interesting they didn’t show how much developers didn’t get due to Apple’s rather large cut. Also, 225,000,000 iTunes accounts with credit cards and one-click purchasing. I’m surprised there are that many who put faith in their hand wandering across iTunes.

Alerts. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who finds notifications popping up right in the middle of the screen annoying. Introducing Notification Centre. All notifications are now in one place, accessed by swiping down from the top menu (the same style SBSettings users probably use). It looks and sounds rather like the Android notification area. If you’re in an app that doesn’t show the top status bar, a notification bar peeks in from the top. There are also notifications on the lock screen. Not surprising that this seems rather like some features available from Cydia, as apparently Apple hired the guy who made them.
Newsstand. Future Publishing, National Geographic, The Telegraph, The New York Time, Bloomberg… I could go on. Imagine the iBooks bookshelf. Now imagine that, but in the style of a home screen folder. New issues get downloaded automatically in the background and it just looks really really nice. I’m starting to want to update… (see my iOS dilemma post two posts ago).
Twitter. Well, looks like the rumours were right. Humorously, the account used for the demo was @forstall, who still hasn’t tweeted (he did demo a tweet though. The interface looked really nice, a floating bubble above the keyboard.). You can also tweet articles from Safari and location from Maps.
Safari. Another impressive statistic. Apparently 64% of all mobile web browsing is done through safari. It’s easy to see why. Given that there isn’t really a way to make the Opera Mini app (or others) your default iOS browser, you’re rather stuck with it. Not that that’s a bad thing. It does have its shortcomings, but it’s bearable to use. Safari Reader allows you to read just the text of a news story in the browser. I’m guessing advertisers aren’t going to be too happy. Also announced was ‘tabbed browsing’. I’m pretty sure the 8-tab-limit feature has been available in Safari for quite some time. Well, they demonstrate iPad tabbed browsing, which looks pretty much like Safari for Desktop tabbed browsing. Oh, and you can use ‘Tweet Sheet’ to tweet bits like links from in Safari.
To-do lists. I’ve been using a to do list in my pocket since way back when I was using Windows Mobile 2003 on a Dell Axim pocket PC. Anyway, it syncs through iCal (even though WinMo tasks synced through active sync and WinMo Device Centre…). Well, I guess it’s a welcome addition fro those who don’t stray off the Apple path.
Camera. There’s now a lock screen shortcut! I do welcome this feature. With the HTC Wizard you just pressed the camera button and you were there instantly. With iOS, you side, you type in your pass code, you quit the app you were in, you navigate to the camera icon on the home screen and then you’re ready. Not sure how they’re going to deal with speed vs. security (pass code entering or strangers taking thousands of photos). Just read that photos can be taken without entering it (so they went for speed), but previous photos can’t be viewed. At least they think of everything, unlike some other companies I could mention. Another camera feature I’m really excited about is the volume up button is now the shutter button (not sure if it’s replaced it or is a toggle feature. I’m guessing it only functions as it from the lock screen camera feature). As I mentioned above about just pressing a button on the HTC Wizard (a feature I sorely miss on the Touch Pro2. The only button you can assign is holding down the green phone button). At least people don’t need to buy a new iDevice to use the button feature. There’s also photo editing availability right after capturing (in the Camera+ style), which I guess is a lot faster than loading Photoshop Express.
Mail. As I’m about 23 minutes behind typing this (in correlation to the live event0 I’ll quickly blast through the new Mail features: Indentation control, rich-text formatting, draggable addresses, search entire messages, flag messages and S/MIME.
Dictionary: A bit like the iBooks dictionary, you can now use a dictionary on any word in any app (including App Store ones).
Keyboard. Most people I know seem to go ‘urgh’ when I show them a picture of an innovative thumb keyboard (half the keys on one side of the screen, the other half on the other side). Well, you can now turn the iPad keyboard into one. Just hold down on it with your thumbs and drag up, splitting it in half.
PC Free. So, you’ve bought a new iDevice. You tear it out of the packaging (keeping the packaging intact to display to people :P) and… now you have to spend ten minutes with iTunes at a computer setting it up and registering it. No more! Switch on the device the first time and its slide to set up with a pleasant ‘Welcome’. Also, software updates over the air. At long last. Pity that wasn’t available on iOS 4, as if I want this, I’m going to have to wipe my iPod, losing all App Data (even though there’s the iCloud stuff, read on for that). This all seems to be more like a proper operating system in its own right, hence the ‘cut the cord’ pun.
Game Centre. Well, Apple boasts that they have 50 million Game Centre users, whereas Xbox Live has just 30 million. Well, you can’t exactly play a plethora of amazing 3d (models), current, popular and real games on and iDevice, can you? Who’s laughing now, Apple? Well, you can now purchase and download games from directly in Game Centre, so it’s a bit more akin to Xbox live and PSN, but the games still aren’t as great (mainly because they can’t. The PS3 may have low specs, but it’s dedicated to gaming, so don’t expect to be able to play GTA 4 on your iDevice anytime soon. Gangstar (awful draw distance and memory) and Chinatown Wars will have to be enough). (Had a technological hitch that cost ten minutes, so I’m having to get more to the point).
iMessage. You know all those AdMob ads for turning you iPod into an iPhone? Well, now you can message between all iDevices with iOS 5! You can send text, pictures, and videos. There’s also AirPlay mirroring for iPad, so you can do the whole HDMI presentation feature, but without the cable.
You can also sync your iTunes library over Wi-Fi as well! This really does sound like every reason people jailbreak has been brought to iOS…
As I suspected, it’s available for the devices mentioned in a previous post (iPhone 3Gs and 4, iPod touch 3rd and 4th generation, iPad and iPad 2) and will be available for the public this autumn (fall).
iCloud. Steve starts talking about how the computer was always the hub for everything (like I said in the ‘My opinion on Google music’ post). Then the syncing problem. It sounds like, despite Apple having not changed until today, that they were aware of all the issues we had. The ‘hub’ label is moving from your computer to the cloud. I personally don’t like cloud computing as an idea (with somebody else having all your data in some unknown place), but if this simplifies iLife (not the suite, the living the Apple life). Content now gets wirelessly pushed to your device. MobileMe is now iCloud; it’s all wireless and cloud-y. However, ‘MobileMe’ no longer exists. Pity, as I was planning on getting it soon. iCloud won’t have adverts… yet it’s free! (well, the three main apps at least). iBooks now works better wirelessly, content is backed up every day and when you get a new device, you just type in your ID and everything is accessible. The iDocs suite (launched for pocket iOS devices last week but been available on the iPad for quite some time) is now in the cloud and it all works across iDevices, Macs and PCs. There’s also PhotoStream (photos are kept in the cloud for 30 days) but stored permanently on your device if you put it on it.
And now, something I am so glad of that it deserves a whole new paragraph, “anything I’ve bought [in iTunes] I can now download to any of my devices at no additional charge.” At last! No more paying for TV shows, Music and Movies again and again because they were lost in sync! (Can be pushed to up to 10 devices, but hey, it’s a free service.) You get 5GB of storage space free (but music and photos don’t count as part of the 5GB limit, probably because apple makes money from the iTunes sales t be able to afford it…). iCloud runs on iOS 4.3 Beta.
One more thing: From what it seems, music you have that hasn’t been purchased via iTunes gets just the same ‘privileges’ as stuff that has. Sounds like Google Music…
The End, at last. No iPhone 5, as expected. Apologies for the formatting and spacing being everywhere, but I have been running this to a tight schedule from type to ‘print’ as I wanted it to be up as soon as possible, not weeks later.

 

UPDATE on iTunes past purchase restrictions:

As before, you can re-obtain apps (as it assumes it’s an update) and books. In the US and the UK (amongst, many other countries, I’m sure, but haven’t heard any reports on) you can re-obtain music for free. In the US only (it seems) you can re-obtain TV shows. Real pain for those of us in the rest of the world 😦

Two hours to go…


So, just two hours until the WWDC 2011 keynote. It’s pretty obvious even just from the banner outside the Moscone Centre that the key featres will be OS X Lion, iOS 5 and ‘iCloud’. Just going to throw this out there; has Apple said it will be called iCloud? If not, this will probably be another fun game of guessing the new Apple product/service name, such as iTab, iSlate etc. that was just called ‘iPad’ by Apple. iEther anyone? (yes, I know it’s officially iCloud. Rather takes the fun out of it…)

Anyway, pretty much everyone who’s interested in Apple stuff is eagerly awaiting the keynote, whether being their in person to see it, getting the vidcast or reading live updates as the events unfold. Apple may or may not be streaming it live.

My probable iOS update dilemma


Well, it’s nearing the sixth, and Apple will most likely be announcing iOS 5 (maybe it’s been confirmed by them, I forget). As you may have gathered from some of my tweets over the past while, I have a third generation 64GB iPod Touch running iOS 4.0 (yes, 4.0, not 4.0.1 or 4.0.2, just 4.0). I updated to it about two hours after it’s release (a day which I had been eagerly anticipating since Apple announced a specific release date. I even made a rudimentary countdown thing out of post-it notes) as soon as I got back home. Overall, I was pretty happy with it. There were several huge flaws, such as all photos that weren’t in ‘saved photos’ were now awful quality. Oh, and the Music app (including the Videos app) crashed each time I tapped on it, meaning my iPod now no longer performed it’s primary function. I managed to sort out the crashing problem within a few days, but it was a pain nonetheless.
I remember it vividly yet I’m not sure what the event was. On the way back from the coast, I kept checking for Apple news updates. Just remembered what the event was (as this is statically displayed this probably looks odd. If it was live text display, such as speech, it would make sense), it was the September Apple music event where they had just announced the new line of iPods. When I got home, I decided to jailbreak my iPod, with some helpful tips and guidance from the two twitter users @wondroushippo and @zabmanic, two very nice and helpful people, so I would like to thank them here properly for their tips rather than in a limited 140 characters. So, thank you 😀
I had attempted to jailbreak my iPod before, using the USB to PC methods many many times, but it had never worked. There isn’t really any method easier than http://jailbreakme.com. You simply visit the site on your iDevice (you have to be running iOS 4.0 or 4.0.1. Can’t remember if 4.0.2 was the last working one or the one Apple released as a patch) and just slide a lock-screen style slider. Then you wait a few minutes, and it’s done.
Anyway, I always seem to manage to go into deeper detail than is properly necessary. I’ll try to get back to the main point now. So, currently, my iPod is jailbroken. I do benefit from it, whether just using SBSettings (fantastic, especially being able to change the brightness without having to quit an app and go to settings), backgrounder (makes all apps multitask. Sure, it slows the device down if you have too many running, but it’s better than having just about 20% of apps having multitasking and the rest not) and mxtube (hard to locate the videos, but handy nonetheless, YouTube downloader), to name probably my top three most used jailbreaking features. I’ve managed to get by without Game Centre and all the other updates, but will I be able to cope without the new features in iOS 5? As far as I am aware, it isn’t really a good idea to try and update the firmware on a jailbroken iDevice. Also, as I discovered running 4.0, most hackstore (Cydia) stuff works best on older versions of iOS. For example, the version of MobileTerminal on Cydia crashes on startup in 4.0, but their is a newer compatible version available through another source.
If iOS 5 is just a teeny update, then I doubt updating will even cross my mind. However, this is Apple. They work like clockwork (mostly). Chances are, this update is going to provide some pretty groundbreaking stuff (and will probably be compatible with the 3rd generation, considering the past. 4.0 is compatible-ish with 2nd, 3rd and 4th, so 5.0 will probably be compatible-ish with 3rd, 4th and the future 5th. By “compatible-ish, I mean the 2nd generation iDevices couldn’t do multitasking or home screen wallpapers, but they could run the OS).
Would I be able to cope without the jailbreaking advantages? I doubt it. And if I had to, my usage of the device would be a lot more time consuming and less productive. It would also result in me using computers more than it. Is that really what you want happening, Apple?

The white iPhone is even more imminent…


Need I even bother saying? It’s been going round the internet faster than any other Apple rumor I’ve seen before. Anyhow, the (well, ‘a’) white iPhone is going to be coming out on Wednesday. With it being this soon, I’m guessing it’s just going to be a white iPhone 4 and not the next generation, but some suspicious photos of it have been circulating that don’t look like just a black iPhone 4 but in white. Intriguing…

iPhone knows where you’ve been…


As probably everyone with a twitter account knows (from probably at least two of the people you follow), it has been discovered that the iPhone tracks and logs all locations it has been to. The map shown by the first person to write about this story shows dots over the map, but I would have thought they would be lines  unless the iPhone jumped from one location to another. Anyway, apparently it applies to devices running iOS 4 that have GPS of some sort in it, so that means the iPhone and the 3G iPad. All the data seems to just be stored on the phone and on backups, but this is still rather worrying.

iPad 2!


At long last, Apple have finally announced the iPad 2! First thing to notice is that yes, everyone got the name right in their predictions (unlike the 3Gs). It looks amazing. 33% more amazing to be precise. With a rear style akin to the iPod Touch and a grill on the back, this looks old yet very, very new. Why a grill? My guess is because of the 1Ghz dual-core A5 chip. Everything has improved. Two cameras, better graphics, thinner than the iPhone 4 (the world’s thinnest smartphone) and a fast processor. And you’ll be able to get some great new Apple apps for it, such as GarageBand! I have to say, this seems to be Apple’s biggest update to a product ever (e.g. this is like jumping from the original iPhone straight to the iPhone 4). Oh, and it’s being released in a week (in the US, later this month for most other big-on-Apple-products countries).

 

 

 

More in-depth post about the event coming soon – *spoiler alert*  Steve Jobs was back on the stage presenting it!

Double App review: VLC and FileApp Pro


VLC

Publisher: Applidium
Price: Free
Availability: Still available. Apparently Apple aren’t to pleased though. Pulled

The ‘Videos’ app and most other media apps can only play MP4 videos. The VLC program for computers can pretty much handle any format, and the app isn’t too different. While having a very minimalist interface, it does the job. Most of the time.Most .avi videos I’ve made it play have played seamlessly. You know, videos like Diggnation. Some other videos I try don’t play so well. The frame rate drops massively and is unbearable. It doesn’t seem to be able to play audio alone either.The user interface is okay, but still rather awkward. I’m guessing this is because the videos aren’t mp4, so Apple’s video GUI doesn’t work. This is a pain, as you are therefore stuck with a massive scrubbing circle (with only one speed). However, one handy feature is that it remembers for far you are through the video after you press done.

FileApp Pro

Publisher: DigiDNA
 Price: £2.99
Availablity: Available, free version also available.

Now, FileApp Pro isn’t just for videos. Nor is it just for audio. It’s for all kinds of stuff! Images, MP4 videos, PDFs, zips, Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. Unfortunately it can only read those file types, but you can create and edit .txt documents. For 59p you’re hardly going to get an office suite, are you? And of course, videos play with Apple’s standard controls, but doesn’t save your progress through the video.Of course, if you want to transfer files from your computer, you can use WiFi (normally slow and not very reliable), iTunes (seriously slow on normal computers), or, for just $10 and a ridiculously mad-but-cool-in-a-way registration system, you can use DiskAid (free 14 day trial before you pay – if you want to keep using it). USB file transfer has never been easier. And it doesn’t only manage file transfer for FileApp! No, it does it for VLC and several download managers! With using FileApp, I haven’t had to load iTunes for the last sixth months.

VLC Publisher: Applidium
Price: Free
Availability: Still available. Apparently Apple aren’t to pleased though.
The ‘Videos’ app and most other media apps can only play MP4 videos. The VLC program for computers can pretty much handle any format, and the app isn’t too different. While having a very minimalist interface, it does the job. Most of the time. Most .avi videos I’ve made it play have played seamlessly. You know, TV shows, Diggnation (all legally obtained, of course). Some other videos I try don’t play so well. The frame rate drops massively and is unbearable. It doesn’t seem to be able to play audio alone either. The user interface is okay, but still rather awkward. I’m guessing this is because the videos aren’t mp4, so Apple’s video GUI doesn’t work. This is a pain, as you are therefore stuck with a massive scrubbing circle (with only one speed). However, one handy feature is that it remembers for far you are through the video after you press done.   FileApp Pro Publisher: DigiDNA Price: £0.59 Availablity: Available, free version also available. Now, FileApp Pro isn’t just for videos. Nor is it just for audio. It’s for all kinds of stuff! Images, MP4 videos, PDFs, zips, Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. Unfortunately it can only read those file types, but you can create and edit .txt documents. For 59p you’re hardly going to get an office suite, are you? And of course, videos play with Apple’s standard controls, but doesn’t save your progress through the video. Of course, if you want to transfer files from your computer, you can use WiFi (normally slow and not very reliable), iTunes (seriously slow on normal computers), or, for just $10 and a ridiculously mad-but-cool-in-a-way registration system, you can use DiskAid (free 14 day trial before you pay – if you want to keep using it). USB file transfer has never been easier. And it doesn’t only manage file transfer for FileApp! No, it does it for VLC and several download managers! With using FileApp, I haven’t had to load iTunes for the last three months.

Not as much hype?


From what it seems, there isn’t as much hype with Android updates as iOS updates. That said, I don’t have an Android phone, let alone an easily updatable one, but no one else seems to either.

When Apple releases an update, there is loads of hype. People staying up all night just to see if it’s released and updating the second it comes out. You will already know if your iDevice can support it and what features there are as Steve Jobs has already told you months ago in a keynote. You have probably been anticipating this release with bated breath.

With android, you know a release is just round the corner (normally) but you aren’t to excited with what it brings. The it’s released! Got a Nexus/Nexus S? You’re hopefully good to go. Got any other Android phone? I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a few months, and be wary, you may end up bricking your phone.

Sounds appealing, doesn’t it?