Ever been frustrated with the newfangled gestures for rotation? Want the simplicity and tactility of a traditional knob? Well you prayers have been answered:
Simplicity is beautiful wouldn’t you say? Hit dsLabs to find out how they did it.
Every geek knows the whole story about the iPhone 4G (aka HD). If you don’t know, here is the fast version. READY. GO. Prototype tester walks into a bar, gets drunk, leaves it on a stool, some dude finds it, same dude sells it to Gizmodo for $5,000, Gizmodo posts everything about it online, Apple wants it back, Gizmodo gives it back, then Apple sends police to raid Gizmodo Editor’s house. *huff* *puff* *huff*.
Now that you’re all caught up on the story, below is a video recording from last night’s The Daily Show. Jon Stewart puts in his two-cents and thinks that Steve Jobs went too far with the police raiding the Gizmodo Editor’s house. He had the following words to say as he brought Steve to “camera 3.”
“Apple – you guys were the rebels, man, the underdogs. People believed in you. But now, are you becoming the man? Remember back in 1984, you had those awesome ads about overthrowing Big Brother? Look in the mirror, man! …It wasn’t supposed to be this way – Microsoft was supposed to be the evil one! But you guys are busting down doors in Palo Alto while Commandant Gates is ridding the world of mosquitoes! What the fuck is going on?!
…I know that it is slightly agitating that a blog dedicated to technology published all that stuff about your new phone. And you didn’t order the police to bust down the doors, right? I’d be pissed too, but you didn’t have to go all Minority Report on his ass! I mean, if you wanna break down someone’s door, why don’t you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone! I mean, seriously! How do you drop four calls in a one-mile stretch of the West Side Highway! There’re no buildings around! What, does the open space confuse AT&T’s signal?!
…Come on, Steve. Chill out with the paranoid corporate genius stuff. Don’t go all Howard Hughes on us.”
Have you ever wondered why we haven’t seen more of these iPhone prototypes floating about in public? OK, Apple’s legendary security and secrecy obviously plays a role, but you might have seen an iPhone prototype in the hands of someone at a bar and just not realised it. Apple hides these important test devices in custom made cases that both resemble previous generation devices and the plethora of cases available for them. Looking at the very start of the video below, you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s just an iPhone 3GS in a rather bulky case. I won’t spoil it any more, just watch and have a think about all the times you’ve looked at someone’s non-discript iPhone in a bar or cafe.
The thing that struck me is that with that flat back, which personally I’m a fan of rather than the rounded backing of the current generation, if Apple was to do NFC (near-field communication) then a flat back would make it a heck of a lot easier.
We use NFC in our daily lives without noticing it. All those RFID access cards we touch onto the reader to let us into our places of work, or the Oyster card that we slap onto the pads to let us traverse the city, all work using a simple form of NFC. Nokia used to have a phone that did it, Barclay Card even has a credit card that does it and we know Japan has lots and lots of NFC uses. Will Apple use the next iPhone iteration to make NFC their own? A flat backed iPhone could hint at it that’s for sure.
Opera’s approach to this problem on the iPhone is the same as any other edition of it’s Mini browser; do the page crunching on their servers and compress the resulting complete file before sending it to the mobile device. This in essence means you get a fast loading page on your pocket pal, even over slow connections. Now of course this does mean that all your traffic is going through Opera’s servers and I do mean ALL. I don’t know about you, but I don’t trust any intermediary that I don’t have to, so for anything with a login I’m not going to be using Opera Mini. That said, there are lots of excellent use cases for the speedy browser, especially when 3G fails you and you’re booted back to EDGE or even GPRS.
OK, so Opera Mini is a free download, and disregarding the apps that essentially skin the mobile Webkit browser engine of Mobile Safari, it’s the only real alternative to Mobile Safari on the iPhone. But is it any good? Well the short answer is yes, it’s fast and light and simply gets the job done. The long answer is it’s good, but there are a few niggles.
Apple held an iPhone OS 4 event today at 10PST/1800BST in the Town Hall at Apple’s Infinite Loop campus, Cupertino, California. The event was titled ‘a sneak peek into the future of iPhone OS’ and for all intents and purposes that’s exactly what we got. Apple laid out it’s plans for the next evolution in what it’s still calling the iPhone OS, despite powering three distinct devices. iPhone OS 4 brings enhancements and changes across the board, but the standout features we’ve collated for your and listed below:
- Over 1500 new APIs for developers including cal, photo library, still/video cam plus touch to focus, ‘Accelerate’ (accelerometer suite of APIs) and many many more.
- Bluetooth keyboard support.
- Multi-tasking using seven multitasking services available to developers as APIs: Audio, VoIP, Location (both GPS and Skyhook plus privacy settings and an indicator), Push & Local notifications, Task completion (like uploading photos to flickr) and finally Fast App Switching (using the Dock). It’s more like multi-threading rather than multi-tasking but we’re splitting hairs here. Very reminiscent to Palm OS with it’s App saved states.
- App switching with a multi-tasking enabled pop-up, scrollable dock.
- Folders for app categories or names you can create yourself (‘jiggle’ drag and drop on device creation) with ‘multi-icon icons’ (placeable in the dock) with a total of 2160 simultaneously installed apps (up from 180).
- Home screen wallpaper.
- Email enhancements: Unified Inbox (thank goodness), multiple Exchange accounts, threaded mail, fast inbox switching, openable/saveable attachments with App Store Apps (such as Docs to Go etc).
- iBooks for iPhone including wireless syncing (like the Kindle) and free Whinne the Pooh to get you started!
- Enterprise additions including data protection, wireless app distribution, device management, Exchange 2010 support and more VPN options
- Game Centre social gaming network (a PSN/Xbox Live type network) including Friend invitations, Matchmaking, Leaderboards and Achievements.
- iAd – Apple entering the mobile ads market. Full OS integration, keeping you in the app with ‘motion plus interactivity’ perhaps this now makes sense. The ads essentially look like apps within apps with a 60/40 split developers/Apple, all ads hosted and sold by Apple. It’s pretty big news, but I’m not sure how much you’re going to like this as a consumer.
The developer preview as with 3.0 ‘beta’ is going live today, the rest of you with iPhones and iPod touches will have to wait till this ‘summer’, more than likely WWDC. Interesting to note that only the 3rd generation iPod Touch and iPhone 3GS will get the whole caboodle, iPhone 3G and iPod Touch 1g/2g users will get a stripped down version without multitasking and ‘some other features’. Original iPhone owners, even though you have essentially the same running hardware as 3G units, there was no mention of you so, I’m afraid, you might be out of luck.
iPad owners, iPhone OS4 will be hitting your brand new pride and joy come Fall (that’s Autumn for those outside the US). That’s your lot for now. Interesting to see what Apple has in-store for iDevice range. Certainly some real game changers there, at least for current iDevice owners. How will Google react to this intrusion into it’s advertising domain? Will Game Centre really bring the mobile gaming market home to Apple? iBooks on all iDevices but what about the Mac/PC? All these questions and more will have to wait and see I’m afraid.
[Update] From GDGT: Steve Jobs: ‘We do not have plans to be a worldwide ad agency. We don’t know a lot about advertising, but we’re learning. We tried to buy AdMob, but Google snatched them up because they didn’t want us to have them, so we bought another smaller company, Quattro. But we’re babes in the woods.’
Ouch, seems like it’s getting a little bit personal between Apple and Google.
[Update 2] The whole presentation is up for you to gorge yourself on, if you just can’t get enough.
Hit the break to see the event in photos Read On
I’m a big fan of The Woz. A geek who has all it all. When I say “all”, I mean the gadgets that one needs and of course all the gadgets that one doesn’t need. In an article from Newsweek, writer Daniel Lyons was able to have a few words with Steve about the iPad and of course some other gadget geek talk.
What phones do you have with you now?
I have two iPhones, a [Google] Nexus One, a [Motorola] Droid, plus a Garmin [GPS] and TomTom [GPS]. I turn them all on at the same time, plus the navigation system in my Prius.
I know you might be asking yourself, “Why would one need all that gadgetry in one car?”. The answer that would be “Why not?!” I’ve told some of my close friends that I’d like to be just like The Woz one day. A man who has everything a geek would want (gadgets, Apple stock, money, a 3rd Generation Prius), but still plays it low key and mingles with the regular geek crowd.
When asked if he was going to buy an iPad, he said yes and that he would be standing in line just for fun. Just like he did for the first generation iPhone.
Unlike other apps offering simple rhythm games, “LINKIN PARK 8-BIT REBELLION!” plays like a full-on action-adventure game. Players must free Linkin Park’s idyllic 8-bit world from the clutches of the evil PixxelKorp, whose corrupt agents have stolen the band’s music. As members of the rebellion, players will take on missions that lead them through several unique districts in the game–each district is themed after a different band member. During their missions they will fight off the PixxelKorp forces, hunt down the lost tracks and save the band from pending disaster to become an 8-bit hero! Among its many highlights, the app features “Blackbirds,” an exclusive Linkin Park song that’s unlocked upon completion of the game. This is the first time an artist has released a brand-new song through a mobile game app.
It’s always been the case that poor network coverage and speeds (here’s looking at you AT&T and EDGE) makes loading webpages on iPhones an often tedious business. But, just yesterday, Opera has shown that through compression and server side processing even AT&T’s EDGE network can deliver a snappy, quick loading and responsive browsing experience in a demo video of their upcoming browser app.
After clicking and loading five whole webpages on an EDGE (2.5G) network, the default mobile Safari browser app loaded just one webpage. Amazing stuff in theory, but the proof will be in the playing-with. Now, will Apple approve this app, something that strictly doesn’t duplicate functionality on the actual phone, with all the fancy stuff being done on Opera’s servers? Or will Apple use that big red DENIED button making the iPhone one of the only mobile phone platforms not to be graced with Opera’s Mini marvel?
Opera is hoping to get it approved and in the meantime to increase publicity for the app, is conducting a contest to giveaway an iPhone if it does. To join in on the contest, all you have to do is register here, guess when the iPhone app will be approved, and wait. Whoemver submits the closest time to when the app is approved whens that iPhone. Not sure if someone could win by submitting a time of ‘never.’ Might be worth a try.
News just in from Mac stalworts 9to5Mac that Apple is planning to sell iPhones at list prices direct from it’s stores. That’s the unsubsidised price, meaning $499 for 8GB 3G, $599 for 16GB 3GS and $699 for the 32GB 3GS if you happen to live in the US. Apple’s been carrying unlocked iPhones all over the world for some time, but they’ve been extremely difficult to get hold of, unless you live in France of course. It’s currently unknown whether these ‘list price’ iPhones will be sold unlocked, with some stores saying yes, AT&T free, whilst others are saying still beholden to network behemoth. Whatever the outcome, it’s a step in the right direction for consumer choice at the very least.
Is Apple doing this in an attempt to counter the growing threat of the Android platform and Google’s direct to consumer sales of the Nexus One? Perhaps it’s in response to AT&T announcing the Palm Pre and yet more Android phones coming to it’s network? Whatever the reason, we’re all for the unlocked, no binding contract option, even if it does cost you a pretty penny up front.
UPDATE: Looks like they’re not unlocked, but they are out of contract, so you can stick any old AT&T SIM in there. If you’re seeking a bit of T-mobile loving, I’m afraid you’re still going to have to ‘unlock’ the phone yourself.