What’s New in Firmware 1.1.3? – Part II

Apple Web ClipsIn this ongoing series, I am examining the new benefits of the Apple iPhone firmware version 1.1.3.  This time around, I am looking at Web Clips.

It may not be third-party applications, but it’s close.

One of the largest criticisms of the Apple iPhone has been the lack of 3rd party applications. Apple has contended since the debut of the iPhone that web applications would be enough. Well, they have since relented, and a software development kit is forthcoming. For now however, all of those web applications that have been developed have been given new life. You can create a Web Clip for an application, and that web page will have a quick shortcut on your home screen. This saves a lot of time. The greatest aspect of this new feature is that your web clip will save any zooming, login, or cookie data that you have set.

I have Web Clips for various websites including seeqpod.com, a network speed test, Battle Ship and Frenzic. Having ready access to these websites makes them feel like actual applications. It also automates the process of visiting the site, making productivity on the iPhone a reality.


What’s New in Firmware 1.1.3?

I may be an Apple fanboy, but there is no denying that the Apple iPhone is one of the greatest multi-use phone devices of all time. Regardless if you feel it is a great cell phone or not, there are two truths that are undeniable. First, Apple is selling a ton of them. Steve Jobs reported in his MacWorld San Francisco Keynote Address that in 90 days, they have sold four million iPhones; that’s an average of 20,000 iPhones a day. Second, with every new firmware revision, the iPhone is adding new features, and constantly improving.

The iPhone’s latest firmware, version 1.1.3, adds some new features that improve the user interface and user experience. The new firmware also dramatically improves both the Google Maps application and the iPod application. In the next few posts, I am going to outline what is new and different in our beloved iPhone. Check back often.


iPhone News at MacWorld San Francisco – 2008

If you missed the MacWorld San Francisco Keynote address by Steve Jobs, you missed out on a lot of information.  The MacBook Air was born, Apple TV was reborn, and our iPhone received a little love from Mr. Jobs.

The SDK – Software Development Kit (3rd Party Apps, here we come) was confirmed for late February, Firmware 1.1.3 was announced and released (I will have a full feature review on this soon), and it was announced that Apple is selling millions of the things.

In case you missed it, here are the iPhone excerpts for you.  Check it out.

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IPhone Owners To Get A Rebate

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In lieu of the recent IPhone price drop, from $599 to $399, it appears that his Steve-ness has heard all of you out there that complained loud through emails. Here is a statement he released today, which is just like Jobs. I love how he says “After reading every one of these emails, I have some observations and conclusions.”

Here it is, straight from Steve Jobs himself…..

“To all iPhone customers:

I have received hundreds of emails from iPhone customers who are upset about Apple dropping the price of iPhone by $200 two months after it went on sale. After reading every one of these emails, I have some observations and conclusions.

First, I am sure that we are making the correct decision to lower the price of the 8GB iPhone from $599 to $399, and that now is the right time to do it. iPhone is a breakthrough product, and we have the chance to ‘go for it’ this holiday season. iPhone is so far ahead of the competition, and now it will be affordable by even more customers. It benefits both Apple and every iPhone user to get as many new customers as possible in the iPhone ‘tent’. We strongly believe the $399 price will help us do just that this holiday season.

Second, being in technology for 30+ years I can attest to the fact that the technology road is bumpy. There is always change and improvement, and there is always someone who bought a product before a particular cutoff date and misses the new price or the new operating system or the new whatever. This is life in the technology lane. If you always wait for the next price cut or to buy the new improved model, you’ll never buy any technology product because there is always something better and less expensive on the horizon. The good news is that if you buy products from companies that support them well, like Apple tries to do, you will receive years of useful and satisfying service from them even as newer models are introduced.

Continue Reading


iPhone Copy and Paste

Fresh on the heels of yet another Apple conference (seemingly every week) a new product has been launched simply known as iMockery. The engineer involved only goes by the moniker of Lonely Sandwich which we hope is just a nickname and not some horrible curse that his parents saddled him with. This will be the next big thing, a revolution on a device that is also a phone.

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iPhone Zone

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First off I need to apologize for my absence the past few days, Fake Steve Jobs dropped me a bogus email and then organized an intervention ‘invited’ me to iDaho where the new iPhone-aholics rehab program would rid me of my Bejeweled obsession. Sure at first I was hesitant to admit I had a problem but after ratting out Daniel Lyons for the fake bastard he was, I began to realize that only privileged Jesus Phone owners could have such an addiction so that meant it was OK to come face to face with my demons.

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BlackBerry owners have their BrickBreaker

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But iPhone users are all about a more sophisticated style of game, one with Jewels baby. Bejeweled

Luckily with the help of some Mac Geniuses I was able to fight my addiction with the SNES mod that allows me to play Super Mario

And now for the rest of the stories

A breakthrough has been made in regards to finally unlocking the iPhone, it is complicated and potentially dangerous as your cell phone provider could shut you down. Hackintosh has discovered the holy grail with the proceedure to unlock the iPhone, what is needed is the following:

1. iPhone
2. SIM Reader/Writer (Infinity USB Unlimited, Dynamite Programer)
3. SilverCard
4. SIM card (U must be a V1 ,U must be able to get Ki number)
5. A download

Good luck, you will need it.

PCWorld has come up with 10 must see apps and for the most part they are standard fare for the device, the highlights are:

Jivetalk – Multiple IM’s clients

JiWire – Find that WiFi and with Microsoft, find that free WiFi

iTWEET – Twitter on your Jesus Phone

Smart Device Central has an interesting article talking about how the iPhone will play a big part in killing WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) web sites. This will come as a huge disappointment for a lot of people that really enjoy the text based websites of some great newspapers and news sites. I for one will mourn the loss of this first step in wireless data.

MacWorld has an in depth look at one of the first iPhone customer satisfaction surveys. Highlights include the frustration with the battery and the huge rate of satisfied customers despite the bugs.


This week in iPhone news

iPhone productions about face

In a direct contradiction to our previous story on the iPhone productions dropping, DigiTimes advises “Sources at Taiwan-based component makers have said iPhone shipments schedules are still on track.” Of course DigiTimes has been wrong about many things in the past including production issues and in regards to the G5 iBook and the Powerbook they were so off the mark it was scary. I would take this report with a grain of salt and wait for Apple to make a statement and their silence today speaks volumes.

Microsoft Exchange on the iPhone

Mobile Gateway 3.0 allows mobile synchronization between Microsoft Exchange and the email client for the iPhone. Synchronica announced that they will allow free trials for iPhone users. Owners of the Apple Smartphone can now try Mobile Gateway free of charge to send and receive corporate e-mail using their iPhones.

20,000 iPhone Widgets
Plusmo is a free service that lets you run cool mobile widgets on your iPhone. Mobile widgets are tiny killer apps that offer a much better mobile experience for a specific purpose. There are over 20,000 widgets on Plusmo, most of them created and shared by users like you. These widgets include being able to read any RSS feed, allows you to keep track of your favorite sports team(s), up to date weather, traffic, and local news headlines. Many more options are available as well.

The Unlocking of the iPhone
The iPhone unlocking project is looking to be as tough as any one had anticipated. The security has two layers, first the one running in the CPU that runs the operating system and second is the nucleus that runs a secondary chip that controls the access to the baseband’s memory. The iPhone Dev team has reverse engineered the software allowing them to get one step closer to allow the iPhone to be used with other providers. This is a huge step in the process and now it seems that the final two obstacles are set to fall. When this happens an update will most likely come out to combat this attempt to free AT&T’s tight grip on this device.

Protecting that screen
One of the biggest concerns with a touch sensitive device is the possibility of scratching the screen. Not to mention all the other things that get on your hands that create smudges and marks that can create that cloudy look that makes you wonder why you spent all your allowance on the the thing in the first place. Luckily invisibleSHIELD has come to the rescue with their Made from a unique material originally created for the military to protect the leading edges of helicopter blades, the invisibleSHIELD offers protection that other screen protectors just can’t match. With over 1,000 copyrighted, precision-cut designs for a variety of gadgets, including PDA’s and mobile phones the invisibleSHIELD is the industry leader in screen protection.

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iPhone production and Apple’s stock plummet

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David Bailey, an analyst at Goldman Sachs has found some truth to the rumors that iPhone production has been reduced due in part to over eager predictions on the amount of units needed to meet demand. This news caused Apple’s shares to fall nearly 7 per cent on the Nasdaq market. Apple responded that it still expects to sell more than 700,000 iPhones in its current quarter and ten million by next year. In looking at the math of that goal, some would find it interesting that sales would actually need to double per quarter from its current rate for that to take place. In the 6 financial quarters until the end of 2008 if Apple sold 1 million iPhones each and every quarter it would still come up 4 million units short of that goal.

This of course would seem to indicate that Apple is taking the model of the iPod as its barometer for these sales predictions however as this is a different device without the affordable options that led to the success of its MP3 player this is decidedly optimistic. No one was forced to sign a 2 year contract with an iPod and generally speaking the people buying them didn’t already have one as do existing cell phone users. This might indicate that Apple has a cheaper version in the pipeline that will reinvigorate the buzz that seems to be fading slightly of late. Indications of past cell phone sales seem to show that interest and units sold actually diminish over time.

Sales figures for the Motorola RAZR V3 have gone over the 50 million mark* which is a truly amazing total, however we don’t see the type of promotions (free with activation) that helped the sales of that device with the iPhone, it is simply too expensive to provide that type of discount.

Also noted in the report was that this does follow some of Apple’s production history patters and that it might not be the best indication of sales problems or inventory surplus. But one has to look at the fact that this device can be had in virtually any Apple store or AT&T Wireless dealer location which would seem to indicate that its popularity is waning, anyone trying to buy a Nintendo Wii recently knows that when the shelves are empty its indicates the popularity of the device.

Apple’s iPhone still has the cool factor and sales will indicate this, the only thing that stands in the way for long term success is the staying power of the device and with Apple’s marketing and design prowess it would be foolish to doubt them. All they need to do is to get people to actually touch and play with the device, after that a sale is usually a slam dunk. How to make this happen is the biggest obstacle for any mobile phone provider. With the iPhone launching in Europe by the end of the year it just might be perfect timing for year end sales figures that Apple is famous for, who wouldn’t want one of those shiny black babies under the tree?

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* Motorola also holds the mark for the most popular cell phone of all time, the Motorola StarTac line in the 90s sold an estimated 75 million units. I added about three to that total myself.


iPhone v1.0.1 Update

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Apple has taken heed with the recent criticisms that have arisen over the iPhone security and bug reports with the release of their first update on the Apple iPhone firmware. Addressed are the Safari security hole and numerous other potentially harmful vulnerabilities. The best news is that iFuntastic Mark 2 still works and that might be a sign of things to come if Apple wants to keep interest in the device at critical mass.

Apple Docs