For those of you craving a better iPhone/iPod touch keyboard experience, 4iThumbs introduced its tactile keyboard product at Macworld Expo in San Francisco.
Per Mac Observer, the 4iThumbs system consists of three major components. The first is the transparent overlays that provide tactile guides that go between the keys on iPhone onscreen keyboard. There are also overlays for landscape, and one for portrait keyboard orientations with the idea being that, similar to a traditional keyboard, having tactile guides can improve your accuracy over time.
The second part of the system are adhesive guides that are placed on the top and bottom of the front of your iPhone. These allow the quick, accurate insertion and removal of the keyboard overlays. The third, optional part of the system are additional adhesive guides that you can place on the rear of your iPhone, for situations where you don’t need the overlays.
The standard keyboard retails for US$14.95, the landscape keyboard retails for US$16.95, and a kit with both keyboards sells for US$19.95.
If you got your hands on the Tactile Keyboard and have an opinion on it, please let us know.
With relations between Apple and Google growing strained, a new set of rumors places Apple as having gone into discussions with Microsoft towards making Microsoft’s Bing search engine the default for the iPhone.
According to Businessweek, a source close to the story offered the following: “Though Microsoft did not confirm or deny any chatters on the likelihood of Microsoft wining Apple search deal for iPhone, [Microsoft executive] Mr. Apter told us that for right economics Microsoft would like to win the Apple search deal.”
In a recent note, Collins Stewart analyst Sandeep Aggarwal, also commented: “In our view, Apple search deal can be strategically very significant win for Microsoft not only because of Google and Apple’s history of working together but also because Microsoft has been lagging behind in terms of making in roads on fast growing mobile Internet market.”
As mentioned yesterday, Apple’s inclusion of the Google search engine on the iPhone platform nets the company about US$100 million a year from Google as part of a revenue-sharing deal, making it less likely Apple would want to develop its own search engine.
If you’ve ever worried about your iPhone or iPod touch’s hard drive crashing, DriveSavers has once again proven useful.
Over at Macworld Expo, the company has announced that it will update its free DriveSaver app for the iPhone and iPod touch that can simulate solid-state drive failures.
Per Macworld, the Crash a Hard Drive feature educates users about how hard drives can crash and what you can do to ensure safe data storage. The new addition will now add a solid-state drive to the mobile app’s simulations of real-world drive failures.
If you want your iPhone or iPod touch to be able to do everything, including spackle the den this weekend, you might be one step closer.
Per Daring Fireball, Square has opened up a beta version of a payment system wherein users can create an account on the Square web site, receive a hardware dongle and swipe debit and credit cards through the device as a means of payment.
Even with Apple and HTC working to patent their own capacitive stylus, the South Koreans might have come up with a better solution: frozen sausages.
Per Gearfuse, snack sausages from the CJ Corporation have proven to be electrostatically compatible with the iPhone’s capacitive touchscreen, leading many to use them as a “meat stylus” in the cold weather, rather than remove a glove.
As a result, South Korean snack sausage sales are apparently soaring.
We’re not sure what other deli items constitute an adequate iPhone stylus, but if you play around with this and find something new, please let us know.
Over at Macworld Expo, developer SHAPE Services introduced Headset, an application that allows iPhone and iPod touch owners to use their device as a wireless headset for a PC.
According to iLounge, the application connects with the free Mobiola Headset Desktop PC application over Wi-Fi to provide two-way audio communications between the device and PC applications such as Skype and MSN Messenger. Users can also record, pause and playback audio sent and received by the headset application.
The desktop application requires Windows XP (SP2) or later to function.
Mobiola Headset is available from the App Store for US$2 and requires an iPhone or iPod touch running iPhone OS 3.0 or later to install and run.
A recent rumor stating that Apple may be looking to develop its own search engine may be untrue, an inside source citing that Apple may look to extend its current search engine deal with Google to continue providing such a function for the iPhone.
The deal may also be worth over US$100 million per year to Apple in revenue sharing.
Per Silicon Alley Insider, a source has stated “there’s too many options” for search on the market and thus no reason for Apple to build its own search engine.
Another reason Apple might not want to build its own search engine: It’s getting over US$100 million a year from Google in its revenue share deal, according to the source.
According to the source, although US$100 million isn’t a ton of money to Apple, it wouldn’t make sense for the company to invest a significant number of resources building its own search engine when Microsoft has Bing and a nigh-limitless checkbook to finance its research and development.
Additional rumors have stated that Apple and Microsoft have been in talks to make Bing the default search provider for the iPhone as the relationship between Google and Apple has reportedly soured as competition between the two companies has become increasingly intense.
Despite Apple’s best intentions, the iPhone OS 3.1.3 firmware update may not have gone as well as the company would have liked.
Per iPodNN, a number of users over on the Apple Discussion Board have reported that issues such as erratic battery life have emerged.
In certain cases, the unit’s battery meter may potentially swing wildly, for instance going from 25 to 7 to 10 percent, then jumping back up to 24%.
Worst-case scenarios may see phones losing hours of power, and even running unusually hot. The v3.1.3 firmware was in part meant to correct battery meter trouble on the iPhone 3GS.
Another major problem involves iTunes playlists, which in some cases are failing to sync properly with the iPod touch. While files will copy over properly, playlists may be empty or simply absent. The glitch is believed to affect only smart playlists, and potentially only those with multiple criteria. Temporary workarounds may include reducing criteria to a single field, and/or deleting and remaking previous playlists.
Apple has yet to formally address or fix either of the cited errors.
If you’ve seen this issue on your end, please let us know.
Recently, the cool cats at iResQ leaked photos of what they claim are parts from Apple’s upcoming iPhone 4G, which is anticipated to be released this summer. Per MacRumors, the iResQ pictures focus on a screen that is apparently 1/4″ taller than current models. The site also notes that the screen is glued to the digitizer, which would make screen repair of the next-generation device more costly than 3G and 3GS models.
The images also point out that the part has a reflective, mirror-like surface right above the earpiece. It’s generally thought that this is where a proximity sensor would be located, which also happens to be a different location than previous models. Although iResQ has been around for a while, it’s difficult to determine if this is a production part or just a prototype.
Feel free to hurl your two cents in and let us know what you think.
It’s a conflict as old as time: Apple releases an iPhone OS update and the hacking/unlocking community releases an updated version of its software.
For those of you who are happy to use an unlocked version of the iPhone, the iPhone Dev Team has released PwnageTool 3.1.5 that handles Apple’s newly-released iPhone OS 3.1.1 while preserving your device’s ultrasn0w unlock and jailbroken state.
As usual, there are the customary precautions to take regarding the legality of this, what Apple has to say about this, etc. Still, in the end, you can see improvements such as the improved accuracy of your iPhone’s reported battery level.
If you’re up for this, take a stab at it and let us know how it goes.