Perhaps one of the coolest features of the iPhone is its Wi-Fi capability, which handily trumps its EDGE data speeds provided a nearby Wi-Fi location is accessible.
According to Macworld News, the folks at JiWire (which serves as a mobile broadband advertising network that also provides a search engine pointing to accessible Wi-Fi locations) have released an iPhone-optimized version of their Wi-Fi location search engine.
The engine itself functions passively with no software to download or install but functions as a web site capable of detecting when an iPhone accesses it and includes optimized code specific to the handset. JiWire boasts that its Wi-Fi Finder tool lists 150,000 accessible Wi-Fi networks in 135 countries worldwide.
If you’ve had success with JiWire’s web site or know of a similar tool for finding publicly accessible hot spots, let us know in the forums.
A poster on Howard Forums claims that “a buddy from Apple” told him that a major iPhone firmware update is being prepped for “no later than when Leopard ships in two months.” On the rumored feature list are:
Disk mode support
More REAL applications are coming, including the special version of iWork and iChat
Search for files, a.k.a. mobile Spotlight
Widescreen keyboard in every app, not just Safari
You will be able to add mail accounts without iTunes
Syncing with .Mac accounts
Camera software upgrade to include stabilization feature
The good news: The iPhone is out and people seem to like it.
The bad news: It doesn’t come with its own two bedroom apartment As a result, you’re going to be forming a relationship with your friend’s couch over the next month.
This situation may improve within a few months, as Kevin Chang, an analyst for JPMorgan was recently quoted as claiming that Apple plans to launch a cheaper version of the iPhone in the fourth quarter.
According to Reuters, the revised iPhone would be based on Apple’s current iPod Nano digital music player. Chang cited sources within the supply channel who asked not to be named and pointed towards a patent filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office dated July 5th. The patent application detailed a multifunctional handheld device with a circular touch pad control similar in appearance to the scroll wheel on the iPod Nano.
To date, Apple has declined to comment on the rumors.
Chang has also stated that Apple would do well to follow up the iPhone with a cheaper version priced around US$300 or lower. The current, first revision iPhone retails for US$500 and US$600 for the four and eight gigabyte models, respectively.
If you have any thoughts or ideas on this, let us know.
The latest iPhone app that has no business model, but a very cool concept, is MockDock.
MockDock is a simple webapp that links to a number of other iPhone ready apps. The clever part? It mimics the look of the iPhone home screen, so you add apps to your ‘Dock’ and go from there.
Get the geeks together and, odds are, they’ll come out with something cool and useful.
This was apparently the result of the first iPhoneDevCamp help by BarCamp.org.
According to the mighty iLounge, the iPhoneDevCamp, which took place over the weekend, produced more than 20 web-based applications for Apple’s recently-released iPhone. The new applications include programs like gOffice for iPhone, which functions as a word processor that allows you to save documents as Microsoft Word-formatted documents and then e-mail them to yourself and others. Other programs, like Gas.app, allow users to find cheap gas prices in a given area.
A complete list, as well as full links, is available here and iLounge’s full list of iPhone applications can be found here.
Take a look and if you know of someone working on something cool for the iPhone, let us know.
In spite of how genuinely cool a device may be, problems are bound to occur at some juncture. According to iPhone Atlas, a number of users have reported that their iPhones are generating an uncomfortable amount of heat from their units under various circumstances.
Like other consumer electronic devices, excessive temperatures can lead to erratic behavior and potentially damage component surfaces.
The reader reports point to the following circumstances where the iPhone’s temperatures have become excessively hot:
-When being used while charging.
-While using Wi-Fi while on phone calls.
-When the iPhone is performing multiple simultaneous functions.
The article then offers the following advice to help keep the iPhone’s temperatures down:
-Remove the case, which can prevent heat from dissipating properly. Silicon covers tend to act as insulators and can retain additional heat within the iPhone.
-Activate Airplane mode, which powers down various parts of the internal circuitry and helps keep the phone cool.
If these steps have been taken and your iPhone is still operating at excessive temperatures, be sure to contact Apple in order to see if repairs or a warranty replacement might be applicable. And if you’ve seen this from your own iPhone or have a suggestion or workaround, let us know.
A representative of the group working to unlock Apple’s recently-released iPhone handset claims that the project could be finished in as little as three to seven days according to Macworld News.
‚ÄúWe believe it will be easy. We are privately aware many of the iPhone engineers came from other handset manufacturers, and we understand their design techniques fairly well,‚Äù stated a group member identified as “gj”, who has been communicative with the media throughout the effort.
An unlocked iPhone would allow the handset to function with providers other than AT&T. AT&T has penned a five-year deal to exclusively sell the iPhone within the United States.
By Tuesday night, the iPhone unlocking effort had cracked the iPhone’s activation process, having written tools that would allow them to activate an iPhone without Apple’s iTunes software. The iPhone’s activation process relies on a software token sent from iTunes to Apple. Apple then signs the token and returns it to the iPhone, which activates the iPhone’s capabilities. Recently developed tools written by the project allow a software token from an activated iPhone to be used to activate multiple iPhone units. The token itself is not being provided with the tools that have been developed so far.
IIf you don’t have a known token (which does contain identifying information) you won’t be able to use the tool,” gj said.
An alternative tool developed by a hacker known as “DVD Jon”, allows for the iPhone to be activated without iTunes and initiates certain functions, such as the iPod and Wi-Fi systems. The hack currently doesn’t allow for the phone capabilities to be activated, but is seen as a step in the right direction.
A rumored software update which was anticipated yesterday could undo some of the project’s work and patch security holes as well as areas that have been worked with for the effort. No firm date has been released as to when the update could be expected.
If you have any thoughts, ideas or workarounds about this, let us know.
I’ll say this about Walt Mossberg: Sometimes he comes up with some really interesting tidbits. I can’t quite say if I’d want him covering my back in a bar brawl, but he does the Wall Street Journal proud, whatever his bar brawl abilities may happen to be.
In Mossberg’s recent Questions About Apple’s iPhone column, Mossberg mentions that the iPhone will be able to play additional Internet video format via an Adobe Flash plug in that Apple plans to add through an early software update.
The guys at iLounge have made a good point in illustrating that Apple’s lack of Flash support in the Safari web browser for the iPhone has been a point of contention in early reviews about the device.
Mossberg’s column also mentions a cool tidbit about Apple extending loaner iPhones to its users for US$29 should your iPhone require repairs.
The column is a good read, especially with more people becoming interested in the iPhone and having questions as to its basic features, what can be done with the calling plans and what’s possible in terms of overseas calls, so give it a once-over if you have a moment.
One of the complaints that have followed the iPhone is the earbuds shipped with the unit. Like the iPod’s earbuds, they were apparently better suited to the guys out in Cupertino than their customers and it’s been noticed.
Unfortunately, there’s currently few (if any) third party alternatives to these earbuds, especially if customers want to keep the mic and music toggle options built into Apple’s headphone cable. Finally, a “non-standard, standard” jack makes things that much harder.
The guys over at Engadget have thrown together a tutorial video featuring James Papadopoulos, who shows you how to install a pair of third party headphones with a little confidence and some soldering. It’s somewhat for the brave of heart, but it the iPhone’s earbuds were driving you nuts, this might come in handy:
If you have any ideas or workarounds of your own to the earbud issue, let us know.
Apple’s iPhone has been out for almost a week now and has received ample feedback, both positive and negative. One of the most prominent complaints about the handset was the fact that it would be locked to the AT&T EDGE network and would be unable to work with other providers.
Generally, when a cell phone is locked into a single network, the effort is focused towards helping the provider recoup the costs involved with subsidizing the handsets for their customers. In AT&T’s case, Apple has taken on the costs involved, AT&T having become involved in a five-year agreement to function as the sole iPhone provider in the United States.
According to Macworld News, a group of hackers is currently involved with the process of unlocking the iPhone in order to allow it to function with other wireless carriers. As of Monday, members of the group posted that progress had been made in this effort.
The first major obstacle that’s been focused on is circumventing the authentication process in Apple’s iTunes software that allows users to sign up for an AT&T service plan as well as activate the handset’s features, such as its camera and music player.
One group member, identified as “gj” on the iPhone Dev Wiki (the site is apparently locked down at this point) commented that “We have been fairly successful in spoofing iTunes activation processes. This should allow us to activate the phone.”
Progress made to data apparently allows to group to set and read data on an iPhone as well as query as to whether or not an iPhone has been activated. “The rest of our work is legwork really, in understanding how certain functions operate with the rest of the phone,” commented one poster on the forums. The post also mentioned that the group was close to the ability to browse file systems on the iPhone.
Other questions facing the group concern how iTunes will react when faced with a phone that hasn’t been activated for use with the AT&T network as well as how the rest of the handset functions. This process is aided by the fact that the iPhone uses a SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) smart card which contains data such as a user’s phone number as well as storage space for contacts and messages, as opposed to a system that hardwires this data directly into the phone. Apple’s use of a removable SIM cards allows for the firmware to be more easily cracked.
If you have any thoughts, ideas or workarounds regarding this, let us know.