Cha-Ching Touch Comes to the App Store

Posted by:
Date: Monday, March 23rd, 2009, 17:28
Category: iPhone, iPod Touch, Software

It was a long wait, but it’s finally here. The mobile version of Midnight Apps’ finance tracking app is now available on the App Store for $ 2.99 as of Saturday night. Partially coinciding with the 2.0 release of the popular desktop software, the new iPhone app will sync accounts and data with the 2.0 version allowing mobile expense entry, or can be used for stand-alone expense management on the iPhone.
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The 2.0 version of Cha-Ching Desktop is on the Midnight App web site as a public beta. Recent builds have added the ability to sync to the iPhone app. I have not had a chance to put Cha-Ching Touch to the test, but I have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity for some time. My checkbook, to put it simply, is a complete mess. Not even Quicken could help me, although they haven’t made it easy either. Cha-Ching was originally released as the “Quicken killer” and I wanted to give it a chance since it seemed to have a nice, Mac-like interface, and I liked it’s simplicity. The hardest part for me is staying on top of entering my expenses so that my balances are in sync with my bank account. Bus commutes are the ideal time to catch up with this busy-work, and allow me to be more efficient with my travel time. I’m really hoping Cha-Ching Touch helps me do that.
It seemed like the app wasn’t going to make it to the App Store for a while. I have been following the Midnight Apps Twitter feed (@Midnight_Apps) since the announcement that they submitted the app to Apple, and waited along with many frustrated people (including the Midnight Apps folks) as over a week went by before word was finally received late Saturday, March 21st, that the app was approved and due in the App Store “at any moment”. Apparently the app fell into that 2% that Apple wasn’t getting reviewed in 7 days or less.
The data sync seemed to go without a hitch, although I did have to FINALLY update my iPhone’s firmware since Cha-Ching Touch requires 2.2.1. I’ll let you know how the app fares after I have some time to work with it.

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Apple Drops iPhone Bluetooth Headset from Online Storefront

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Date: Monday, March 23rd, 2009, 13:30
Category: Accessory, iPhone

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Apple apparently stopped selling its official Bluetooth headset for the iPhone, as noted by MacNN today. Although the product’s page still exists over on the Apple Store, the company has marked the device as “discontinued”.
The headset, which was launched along with the original iPhone in June of 2007, dropped in price from US$129 to US$99 in 2008, while also losing its bundled dual-dock.
Though exact reasons for the disappearance are unknown, this could be connected to future iPhone hardware changes, especially those tied in with the recently-announced iPhone OS 3.0 firmware — and possibly iPod touches — that are expected to gain full Bluetooth functionality in the summer. Though the current iPhone technically supports Bluetooth 2.0, it does not allow stereo audio, nor does it support many of the advanced data functions possible on other cellphones.
Apple may intend to introduce a new generation of headset at the same time as a new iPhone, incorporating stereo and more advanced controls.
If you have any ideas on this, please let us know in the comments or forums.

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Rumor: Apple Seems Likely to Add Video Recording Features to Next-Gen iPhone

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Date: Monday, March 23rd, 2009, 07:40
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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Apple seems certain to add video recording capabilities in the next iPhone hardware revision per a source close to AppleInsider.
Though the details are currently limited, there is no suggestion of current hardware being able to support video recording. Given this fact, only an upgraded iPhone with a new built-in camera should support the feature. The source stated that the new revision is expected between late spring and early fall this year and could add video support and improved gaming hardware via multi-core PowerVR chips as the headlining features.
Oddly enough, a screen capture from the forthcoming iPhone Software 3.0 on Engadget’s website shows a MobileMe panel for uploading images titled “Upload Video,” thereby adding strength to the rumor.
An additional rumor has speculated that faster iPhone internet speeds are en route, AT&T confirming that the company currently has HSPA 3G peaking at 7.2 megabits per second, twice the current speed of the network. The extra speed would help to handle video transmissions via iPhone handsets.
A final rumor has stated that Apple will release a new iPhone App called “Movies” which will offer rudimentary video editing similar to the new “Voice Memos” iPhone app that Apple recently previewed. The software would allow for sharing video via e-mail and MMS messaging.
Even so, Apple may only offer the video capabilities as a premium feature only on a high-end model when it releases new iPhones this summer. References to four different multi-touch handheld products which were found in the new iPhone 3.0 software beta seem to indicate two distinct model lines, possibly one with video capability and one lacking the feature.
Stay tuned for details as they emerge and please let us know if you’ve heard anything on your end in the comments or forums

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AT&T to Begin Selling Contract-Free iPhones in U.S. Next Week

Posted by:
Date: Friday, March 20th, 2009, 08:48
Category: iPhone

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Recently, wireless carrier AT&T announced that it would begin selling contract-free iPhones in the United States beginning next week.
According to Boy Genius Report, the price works out to be more expensive than that of buying a subsidized iPhone with a two-year contract, paying the subscription for a month, canceling the plan and paying the early termination fee.
The phone, including the activation fee, would retail at US$599 for the 8GB model and US$699 for the 16GB model.
“This is simply another way AT&T customers can experience iPhone 3G on the nation’s fastest 3G network,” AT&T said in a statement.
Existing AT&T customers – the only people who can buy the contract-less phones – are eligible to purchase an iPhone at a subsidized price based on the amount of time left on their contract and their payment history. In many cases, these users fare better by waiting until they become eligible for a subsidized iPhone with a two-year contract.
There currently seems to be a “one per customer” limit tied in with the offer.
AT&T’s current cheapest plan retails for US$70 a month, including voice and data access.
iPhones without contracts have been available in some European countries. AT&T has long said that it would sell iPhones without contracts but until now had not said when.
If you’re looking into picking up a contract-free iPhone, let us know what’s on your mind in the comments or forums.

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Is Internet Tethering Finally Coming to the iPhone?

Posted by:
Date: Friday, March 20th, 2009, 01:30
Category: iPhone, Software

Well, that’s sort of a rhetorical question really. By now, reports of successful tetherings of an iPhone running the developer release of iPhone OS 3.0 have blanketed the blogosphere. It certainly isn’t without caveats, but then it IS a developer preview of unreleased software.
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On Tuesday, March 16th, Apple’s held it’s latest press release party to show off the iPhone’s next OS to media and developers. Scott Forstall stated, in response to media questions about when Apple was bringing tethering to the iPhone, “We’re absolutely supporting tethering in the client side in iPhone 3.0, but we’re working with carriers around the world to see when they can add tethering support on their networks. But we are building that support into iPhone 3.0.”. While no demonstration of this capability was given, the ravenous developer community began looking for hints within the software’s SDK that tethering was in the works.
Not only did they find clues, but apparently fully working components and system controls to manage a tethered connection through the iPhone. The software in the 3.0 firmware will allow connection to be be made using a USB or Bluetooth connection to a computer. Now that we know that the software is there, now we just have to wait for word from AT&T to see how much they are going to bilk charge us for the privilege. Odds favor it will cost around $30 per month like their other tethering plans for other phones. Maybe Apple will go to bat for iPhone users to get the price lowered.
What do you think about tethering and what would you pay? Let us know in the forums.

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Your Take on the iPhone OS 3.0 Announcement

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, March 19th, 2009, 09:04
Category: iPhone

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We asked for your opinions on Apple’s major iPhone OS 3.0 announcement on Tuesday and we got them.
So, here are your opinions in their pure, raw, unedited form brought to you by the PowerPage Server Hamster:

After having moved to the IPhone from the Blackberry, I’ve been astounded at the short battery life I now have. I can’t finish the day without having to plug the little bugger in. I know all the usual reasons (3G, Wifi etc…). What I’m looking for is a firmware update or something that will prolong the IPhone’s life. All those new bells and whistles, while welcome, will further drain the device and make it even more frustrating for road warriors.
Best, André

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What Do You Make of iPhone OS 3.0?

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, March 18th, 2009, 10:30
Category: iPhone

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Apple basically walloped its user base over the head with what’s coming this summer via its iPhone OS 3.0 upgrade, which appears to answer a lot of questions as to where specific features (such as turn-by-turn GPS directions, improved e-mail, Spotlight, landscape view across additional applications and the oft-cited copy and paste features) were.
Even so, other features had yet to be mentioned, the biggest hole still remaining a lack of Flash support as Apple and Adobe attempt to sort this mess out.
So, we’d like to know what you make of the situation and what to expect. What are you looking forward to? What did Apple miss? Will you snag the 3.0 update the second it hits or wait for fixes? Did Apple include the features you wanted to see on your iPhone?
Since the PowerPage Server Hamster is being finicky today, let us know what you think by shooting me an e-mail and I’ll have everyone’s opinions, for good or ill, up by tomorrow.
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As always, let us know what you think in the comments or forums.

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Apple Posts iPhone OS 3.0 Launch Video

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, March 18th, 2009, 09:33
Category: iPhone

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With the iPhone OS 3.0 update announcement taking place yesterday, a picture’s worth a thousand words.
Fortunately, Apple just posted the full presentation on its web site over at this address.
Users will have to wait until this summer to get their hands on the full release and new features such as additional APIs for programmers, improved GPS, copy and paste and the rest.
If you have a couple cents to hurl in on this, let us know in the comments or forums.

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Apple Announces iPhone OS 3.0 Firmware, Points Out New Features to Come

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, March 17th, 2009, 12:22
Category: iPhone

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Apple held its long-awaited iPhone OS 3.0 announcement today in front of a crowd of developers and invited media. The announcement mentioned prominent new changes including the addition of push notification, which Apple stated as requiring an overhaul of its servers to accommodate. Upon delivery, push notification can deliver signals such as sounds and text alerts to Apple, which can then push the data to the iPhones.
According to MacNN, Apple has also expanded the business models offered by the App Store and, allowing users to purchase additional content within an application provided that users have already signed in via their iTunes account. From here, users can purchase items such as books, regional content or extra game levels.
Apple then cited that the inclusion of approximately 1,000 new APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) will grant developers access to features such as iPod libraries, embedded e-mail, audio/video streaming and Google Maps integration. Core Location should also enable turn-by-turn navigation, allowing practical driving applications.
Company representatives also stated that iPhone OS 3.0 will support all standard Bluetooth protocols, including Bonjour, allowing iPhones to be able to use features such as automatic device detection as well as peer-to-peer gaming sessions that would locate possible opponents to play against within a given area. Third-party sccessory makers have also been given direct hardware control with the new firmware, permitting functions such as tuning an FM transmitter from the iPhone interface.
Click the jump for the full story…

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Rumor: AT&T Stores May Begin Selling Refurbished iPhone 3G Units for US$149

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Date: Tuesday, March 17th, 2009, 08:18
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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AT&T store locations in the New York and New Jersey region appear to be getting their hands on a stock of refurbished 16GB iPhone 3G units. While this isn’t unusual, the guys over at Boy Genius Report appear to have gotten some screenshots of shipping manifests citing a US$149 price tag.
The deal seems to require a 2-year contract and customers must be opening a new activation, as the refurbished units are not available for upgrades and are limited to one per customer.
If anyone catches wind of this in the tri-state area, please confirm this and let us know in the comments or forums.

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