How Accurate is your iPhone “Locate Me” Feature?

The Google Maps app works very well, make no mistake, but the “locate me” feature, which is part of firmware 1.1.4, has mixed results. For me, when I am in my hometown, it is accurate to about 1 city block. In a large city like Denver, it is accurate to a few feet. I went for a drive in the country this weekend, and the “locate me” button drew a circle on my map about 1 mile wide.

If you have accuracy issues with the “Locate Me” feature, then there is something you can do about it. Skyhook Wireless, the developers of the technology which allows for the cell tower / wireless access point triangulation to work has a service that will allow you to help the service be more accurate.

Follow this link, and enter your wireless access point information. As this database grows, then the accuracy of “locate me” will improve. If you would like Apple’s 2 cents on the matter, here is a Knowledge Base article on improving “locate me” accuracy. If enough people jump on this bandwagon and register their access points, it will help everyone so go out there and register!

Google Takes a Jab at Apple and the iPhone

Google is ramping up its impressive media engine to start touting its new phone and phone operating system Android. For those of you who hadn’t heard, Google is developing a mobile phone operating system that will run on a variety of different hardware pieces from a variety of manufactures.

So far, HTC, Motorolla, and Samsung are all interested in Google’s Android mobile platform. The question is, will Android threaten the iPhone. Google seems to think so, here is a quote from Rich Miner, a manager for the mobile platform group at Google:

Once you have devices out there from Motorola, HTC, Samsung, and so on, there’s a much larger potential market on Android than for the iPhone.”

Mr Miner told a conference in Silicon Valley that whereas the iPhone had “a single manufacturer” and was “targeted at a particular demographic”, developers could expect a much wider uptake of applications they developed for Android-based phones, the first of which are expected to be released later this year.

Since its release, 7 months ago, The iPhone has sold more that 4 million devices. The SDK has been downloaded well over 100,000 times. iPhone 2.0 is on the way out in just a few months, and there are rumors of a hardware revision. I am not sure that Apple is as frightened as Google thinks they are. What do you think?

iPhone SDK and iPhone Development

There is good news and there is bad news. The good news is that Apple is reporting that in the first four days of availability, there were over 100,000 downloads of the iPhone Software Development Kit. Think about that, it is staggering.

That means that well over 100,000 people will be developing software and applications for our iPhones. With that may brains solving problems and creating products there is bound to be some amazing things happening.

Or so I thought.

Here is the bad news. I was one of those 100,000 people ready to whip out my SDK and code the next “Great American Application” Apple didn’t agree. Here is a letter that I received from Apple today:

Dear Registered iPhone Developer,

Thank you for expressing interest in the iPhone Developer Program. We have received your enrollment request. As this time, the iPhone Developer Program is available to a limited number of developers and we plan to expand during the beta period. We will contact you again regarding your enrollment status at the appropriate time.

Thank you for applying.

Best regards,

iPhone Developer Program

That’s right – I was DENIED.  🙁

Now, I am not the best programmer out there, but I know my way around code.  I also have had an iPhone since the very moment I could (I was 2nd in line).  I won’t be developing for my device however.

Now, I hope it just wasn’t me that was denied.  I would hate that over 99,999 people were better than me in the minds of Apple, but I suppose it is possible?

What about you?  Did you get Apple’s iPhone Golden Ticket, or did you get the pink slip like me?

Web App Wednesday

BejeweledEveryone likes games right?  If not, then the overwhelming support of games on the iPhone platform is a bit misguided.  Well, if you cannot wait until the aplications start flowing and iPhone 2.0 hits, then here is a little jewel to help pass your time.

Game producer and publisher PopCap games has created a version of the fantastically popular bejeweled for the iPhone.  The iPhone version looks, and sounds like any other version, and it plays pretty well too.

If you have not played Bejeweled, the premise is simple.  It is your job to jostle, shift, or otherwise move around jeweled tiles so that you are capable of lining three or more of them up.  When you do, they will disappear, and new tiles will drop into place.  The new tiles shifting might very well cause a chain reaction.

What I like about the iPhone version of Bejeweled is the touch aspect.  When I played this on another phone, it was very complicated because I had to use the dial-pad to manipulate a cursor around and then select jewels.  Playing it by touch is mighty handy (pun intended).

To load Bejeweled, point your browser here.  It can take a minute or so to load via EDGE, but it loads very quickly over WiFi. Give it a shot.  It might just curb your gaming cravings until something else comes along.

iTunes $.99 Movie of the Week

This week’s iTunes $.99 movie of the week is the sci-fi classic Dead Zone (warning – iTunes link). This week’s movie will be on sale until 17 March, 2008.  Here is the official iTunes description:

Christopher Walken plays a schoolteacher, Johnny Smith, who awakens from a five-year coma. He discovers that he has acquired the ability to foretell a person’s future simply by touching his or her hand. After seeing several examples, Smith’s doctor (Herbert Lom) becomes convinced that Smith can not only predict the future, but also has the power to change it. This ability is given its severest test when Smith shakes the hand of ruthless political candidate Greg Stillson (Martin Sheen)—and suddenly has a flash-forward to a nuclear holocaust. The Dead Zone is not only one of the best-ever Stephen King adaptations, but also one of the most consistently successful (and least gory) efforts of director David Cronenberg.

With the addition of a SDK, dozens of promised games,  and cheap movie rentals, this little iPhone of mine is becoming quite the little super-handheld.

Make sure to come back each week to check on the $.99 movie.

iPhone Games Are-A-Comin’

iPhone GameFor those of you who voted for games as the number one requested iPhone application, there is good news. 

Michael Guillemot, CEO of Gameloft, has  promised that his company will produce no less than 15 titles for the iPhone this year.  Sounds great you say.  15 games is a lot you say.  Well, Gameloft happens to be the fourth publisher to promise iPhone gaming support.

The other companies include EA, Sega, and FreeVerse.  If things pan out right, then the iPhone might just be the next great portable gaming system.  It kind of makes the Nintendo DS look a bit antique doesn’t it?

Will Search Come to iPhone 2.0?

Chalk this one up to rampant speculation and eagle-eyed observation.  The iPhone obsessed folks over at blargKaboom did some close-inspection of the recent SDK Roadmap press release.

While the new features of firmware 2.0 were being discussed, there was the following screen iPhone Searchshot.  It seems that one of the great features tucked away for our summer Christmas present is a spotlight style search function.

The question begs to be asked if this function will be confined to the address book as in this picture, or if it will be a more universal function like it is in OS X.  We shall see.

Weekend Distraction

This week’s weekend distraction is my own.  This weekend I took my son to a Colorado Avalanche Hockey Game.  I snapped this picture, and sent it directly to iphone[at] from my iPhone.  That is what I would love you to do.  If you see an interesting or amazing site, take a picture and send it to me on via your iPhone with a little note and I will feature it here on the weekend distraction.

Avs Game

If you are interested in sharing your iPhone captured memories, moments, or maniacal mayhem email me at iphone[at] I will be glad to share a shout-out, link back, or well wish in exchange for your Weekend Distraction.

What iPhone Applications Are You Wanting?

The iPhone SDK is official.  There are games announced (more on this later), JAVA support promised, and Flash is unknown.  With the the only limitation at this point being the imagination of the developers, anything is possible.

I have a list of things I want to see.  What about you?  Let me know on the poll below what type of applications you are most looking for.  If I have left something off, let me know in the comments.  You can choose more than one option.


June is right around the corner.  iPhone 2.0 is going to be great, and the applications are going to make an already great device nearly perfect.

iPhone SDK FAQ Available.

Have you pondered downloading the iPhone SDK? I tried, but the site was down yesterday.  I am going to try next week once the hoopla dies down.  While I was waiting, I did brainstorm some questions, and I found answers online. 

If you have any of the following questions, then you should check out the SDK FAQ over at

What is iPhone Firmware 2.0? When can I get Applications/Enterprise Features?

What is the SDK? Should I download it?

I want to write an iPhone application, how much will it cost me?

But can I download the SDK and install my own Applications on my iPhone?

I am not much of a programmer, but developing in XCode is easier than a lot of other programming I have tried over the years.  The SDK and the probability of a 3G iPhone in the new future paint a real positive picture for the iPhone.  This thing is already huge, it is going to be GIANT!