Xumii – Social networking portal for the iPhone

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Date: Monday, February 23rd, 2009, 20:05
Category: iPhone, Software

Last week saw the release of Xumii for iPhone, a free social networking application for Apple’s heralded smart-phone. Xumii is not new to the mobile community. It can run on many of the mobile phones capable of running Java-based applications. It was only a matter of time before a version came out for Cupertino’s pride and joy.
Xumii professes to be “your mobile, social addressbook” and intends to be the default location for keeping track of your social contacts. By adding your account login for networks (also known as “communities”) such as Facebook, Google, or MySpace, Xumii can list all of your friends and display their current status messages or chat status. Tapping on a contact allows you to see their full status message, online status, an option to invite them to use Xumii, and lastly, a method of sharing media stored on any of your added “communities”. If you select a contact who also has a supported chat account, and is online, the option to initiate a IM chat will also be listed.


Xumii has some other nice features, such as a separate page for recently updated status messages, and a rudimentary listing of top news stories, but it’s greatest strength is probably the media sharing feature. By clicking on the Share tab at the bottom of the screen, Xumii presents you with a list of photo albums from Flickr, Yahoo, or Facebook, to mention a few, which you can browse and then Share with your contacts, even across social networks. So, if you have that friend who is still a MySpace hold-out, you can still share your Facebook pictures with them. Xumii also mentions being able to view YouTube video on their web site, but apparently that feature is not yet available on the iPhone. Perhaps Apple feels this would be duplicate the function of the iPhone’s YouTube app.
I have a few criticisms of the app presently, which are likely due to the fact that it is a 1.0 product. On other mobile devices, you have the option to change the status message on any of your “communities” individually, or choose to post the same message to all your networks simultaneously. Currently with the iPhone app, it is all or nothing. If it had to be one or the other, I would rather have the ability to change individual messages. While I expect this feature to be added, it does keep me from truly considering this a one-stop solution. Since I rarely post across all my networks, I will still have to use the Facebook app or AIM app to do this individually. Also, another minor quibble is that contacts that appear on more than one “community” are listed separately, and in the case of AIM accounts, listed alphabetically by their AIM handle rather than their real name, making searching less convenient then I’d like.
With the addition of some missing features, I think Xumii for iPhone can do a lot to reduce the clutter of individual networking apps and offer a convenient interface. There is a lot of competition out there, but Xumii has a lot of experience in the mobile space to leverage and will hopefully develop a strong, feature-rich solution.

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Rumor: Apple Executives Rethinking iPhone Pricing for 2009

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Date: Wednesday, February 18th, 2009, 13:54
Category: iPhone

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With a new generation of iPhones all but certain this year, a discussion between analysts and Apple’s top brass has also dropped clues that the iPhone’s pricing may not be static this year.
According to AppleInsider, Toni Sacconaghi of Bernstein Research mentions in a research note that a discussion with Apple COO Tim Cook, CFO Petter Oppenheimer and worldwide marketing senior VP Phil Schiller point both to an upgrade to the touchscreen device as well as to the possibility of “different pricing/price points” this year, with Cook “examining iPhone’s business model” for possible changes.
Apple execs Cook and Schiller have dropped teasers regarding 2009 as being “very exciting” year for the company’s handset.
With no concrete details emerging, Sacconaghi was quick to dampen rumors of an iPhone nano or a similar low-budget cellphone. Without naming a source, he gathers from his investigations that the company isn’t presently chasing such a concept.
Any future iPhone, Mr. Sacconaghi said, will probably have at least a web browser and access to the App Store, the latter of which has Cook, Oppenheimer and Schiller particularly “bullish” about the iPhone’s success as it gives Apple an advantage over rival smartphone makers.
One detail which remained static was Cook and Schiller’s continued insistence that the iPhone wouldn’t come with a hardware keyboard. The duo seemed to inflect that a fixed set of keys made it harder to implement different keyboards, especially where different languages were concerned and would also make it harder for third-party developers hoping to use their own custom control schemes. Using the touchscreen as the primary input improves Apple’s bottom line by letting it ship what’s essentially the same phone across many different regions, the executives say.
Were a price shakeup to occur, it wouldn’t be out of character for Apple. Each year of the iPhone’s existence has had at least one major price shakeup: the iPhone’s maximum price fell from US$599 to US$399 in 2007, while the iPhone 3G in 2008 not only reduced this top price to US$299 but switched the behind-the-scenes profit model from revenue sharing with carriers to a heavy device subsidy.
While Sacconaghi doesn’t make many predictions in his report, he repeats frequent expectations of an iPhone in summer and also believes Apple may update the iMac in March.
If you have any thoughts on this, please let us know in the comments or forums.

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Adobe Developing Flash Light for Mobile Phones, Application Still Not iPhone-Ready

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Date: Tuesday, February 17th, 2009, 09:23
Category: iPhone

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Adobe’s Flash Lite multimedia player, while still lacking iPhone compatibility, may reach one billion mobile phones by the end of March according to market researcher Strategy Analytics. In a recent report, the company said that Adobe could reach its desired target mark one year ahead of schedule given its recent support for HD video as well as Nokia’s agreements to install Flash Lite on its phones. Another factor mentioned by the company is the absence of real competition for Adobe’s Flash Lite player. Representatives from the firm went on to predict that another 1.5 billion smartphones could carry the software within two years according to ComputerWorld.
On the competition end, Microsoft is currently developing a Silverlight for Mobile Player for release on Nokia’s Symbian S60 devices and its own Windows Mobile Phones. Representatives from the company expressed opinions that the plugin won’t make a significant impact on Flash Lite’s current increases.
To help continue with its progress, Adobe will be demonstrating a Flash Player 10 for smartphones at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week. Along with the Flash 10 beta, Adobe will also be releasing the beta of a new Flash Lite distributable player based on Flash Lite 3.1.
Even with the increase in phones using Flash Lite, Adobe is still thought distant from getting an equivalent application onto the iPhone. Analysts with Strategy Analytics claimed that Adobe is working diligently to get Flash onto the iPhone and is looking to have it ready to go much later this year.
Independent analyst Jack Gold of J. Gold Associates claims that performance and business are the chief obstacles to Flash on the iPhone. In order to get high performance, Flash must run in the lower layers of the OS, which Apple restricts as part of its iPhone SDK guidelines. Gold stated that Apple will want to push its own technology, such as QuickTime, rather than depend on a third party’s development, despite Apple’s long history with Adobe.
As always, let us know what you think of the situation in the comments or forums.

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Microsoft Implements Hotmail POP3 Support in United States, Other Countries

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Date: Wednesday, February 11th, 2009, 10:55
Category: iPhone

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Back in January, Microsoft announced that the company would be bringing POP3 access to its Hotmail services in select countries, a change which would prove helpful to a number of iPhone owners. Unfortunately, the service had yet to become available in the United States.
According to iPhone Alley, Microsoft seems to have implemented this feature in the United States as well as other countries since the announcement. Per notice received today, POP3 support is currently active and working on the iPhone.
In order to get Hotmail POP3 up and running on your iPhone, you’ll have to manually set everything up. To do this, use pop3.live.com (port 995) for incoming mail and smtp.live.com (port 25) for outgoing. Your account will be your full Hotmail/Live address.
If you’ve tried this on your iPhone or iPod touch and can offer any feedback, please let us know in the comments or forums.

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MobileChat AIM Client Released for iPhone

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Date: Wednesday, September 5th, 2007, 08:24
Category: iPhone


For anyone who ever wanted to use their iPhone as an AOL Instant Messenger device, the guys over at twenty08 have announced the release of MobileChat, their first AIM client for the handset.
According to MacSlash, the program can be installed via NullRiver‘s AppTapp Installer and worked with from there. The program’s source code is also available for download, review and tinkering with on your end.
MobileChat is currently still a beta and a few minor glitches have been reported to date. Users can also take a look at ApolloIM, another open source iPhone AIM client.
If you’ve tried either of these programs or have feedback of any sort, let us know in the comments or forums.

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iPhoneSIMSfree.com to Offer iPhone Unlocks Starting Tomorrow

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Date: Tuesday, September 4th, 2007, 12:29
Category: iPhone


Either ultra-confident in their legal team or just confident altogether, iPhoneSIMfree.com has announced that it will begin offering unlocks of Apple’s iPhone starting September 5th.
According to MacNN, the company won’t sell directly to iPhone owners and will only interact with iPhone resellers. Interested parties can expect to pay US$36 per phone for the first 50 licenses and US$25 per phone for 5,000 or more licenses. The service will have resellers and end users intall a .app file on the iPhone which will connect to iPhoneSIMfree’s back offices to enter information. This application can then be launched via the iPhone’s Wi-Fi feature, thereby completing the unlock.
iPhoneSIMSfree has demonstrated the unlock to CNN, which interviewed software consultant Brett Schulte. The unlock demonstration is said to have only taken about two minutes and allowed Schulte to swap an AT&T SIM card with a T-Mobile card.
Apple has declined to comment.
To date, iPhoneSIMfree has stated that they cannot guarantee that the unlock will remain through future firmware updates released by Apple. The unlock is current through version 1.0.2 of the iPhone firmware, but future updates may circumvent the unlock and return the handset to running exclusively on the AT&T wireless network.
If you have any thoughts or feedback on this, let us know in the comments or forums.

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Ambrosia Releases iToner 1.0.0

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Date: Friday, August 31st, 2007, 15:36
Category: iPhone

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In other news, Ambrosia Software released version 1.0.0 of iToner, its custom ringtone transfer utility for the iPhone.
With iToner, users can drag MP3 or AAC format files onto the iToner application window, click the “Sync” button and port the ringtones to the iPhone. Ambrosia has stated that the ringtones will continue to function even in the face of iPhone firmware updates.
iTones retails for US$15 and is available as a 2.7 megabyte download.
The application is programmed as a Universal Binary and can run at native speeds on both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware. iToner requires Mac OS X 10.4.10 or later to run.
If you’ve tried the program and have either positive or negative feedback, let us know in the comments or forums.

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iPhone Unlocking Video Posted

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Date: Wednesday, August 29th, 2007, 11:49
Category: iPhone

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A six-minute video posted on the iPhone Unlocking blog shows John McLaughlin, founder of Uniquephones, using a software unlock to allow his iPhone to function on the Vodafone wireless network to make two phone calls using the handset.
The video, which was shot using a Nokia N95 cell phone, demonstrates McLaughlin hooking the iPhone to a Windows PC, running a software program, resetting the iPhone twice as part of the process, then hooking it to a Mac, synching it to iTunes, swapping in a Vodafone SIM card and placing two calls.
According to Macworld News, Uniquephones already unlocks phones from several manufacturers, including Nokia and Motorola and cites about 60% of its customers as being in the United States.
A picture’s worth a thousand words, so here’s the YouTube video of the demonstration in action:




McLaughlin had reportedly planned to post his company’s iPhone unlocking method on the iphoneunlocking.com web site last Saturday, but stated that he feared legal action from AT&T Wireless if he posted the software. McLaughlin, having received a phone call at 3:00 AM in Belfast from a representative of O’Melveny & Myers, a law firm acting on AT&T’s behalf, stated that the caller said his company would be distributing and infringing upon the copyright of Apple’s intellectual property should he begin selling the software to iPhone subscribers.
As of Tuesday, McLaughlin has stated that he’s still undecided as to whether he’ll distribute the software, but claims that the video shows the the process is possible.
Got two cents to chip in on this? Let us know over in the comments or forums.

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Some Users Reporting Shorter Battery Life After iPhone 1.0.2 Update

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Date: Wednesday, August 29th, 2007, 09:06
Category: iPhone

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You may love your iPhone, but a surprisingly high number of users are reporting that their handsets are currently offering a shorter-than-previous battery life after installing the recently-released iPhone 1.0.2 firmware update.
According to iPhone Atlas, more than a dozen users have corroborated the issue via a discussion thread on the Apple web site.
Some of the more notable comments include the following:
-“Before the update, there was one time I had 12+ hours of using the iPod with over two days standby. Now after the update, I get about two days standby with 5 hours mixed usage.”
-“In 1.0.1 I was getting over 2 days standby and 6-7 hrs of misc. use. Now at 1.0.2 I can barely get 6 hrs of use and recharging every day. I’ve tried a deep cycle with no change.”
Other issues that have emerged appear to include an overly eager battery indicator. In these cases, users have reported the battery indicator suddenly jumping approximately 20% when connected to power, the end result being the user feeling they have a fuller charge than may actually exist.
Some users have reported success in restoring the iPhone by clicking “Restore” under the “Summary” tab and running the process.
If you’ve seen this or anything similar with your iPhone since the 1.0.2 or have ideas for a fix or workaround, let us know in the comments or forums.

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iPhone Instant (gratification) Messaging

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Date: Monday, August 27th, 2007, 14:38
Category: iPhone

It’s been four full days and I find that I am still in an inebriated state when it comes to my new iPhone. Every time I pick it up to make a call, check my schedule or listen to a tune, I can’t seem to put it down. I dare say I have quickly become addicted to my new device. While I will make no claims that it is perfect, it has certainly exceeded many of my expectations.
There is one thing though, that knocks me into sobriety every time I think about it.
Were the hell is the Instant Messenger client?
Seriously, the developers of iChat didn‚Äôt think to include one of their most heavily used Internet applications in their brand-spankin‚Äô-new hand-held Internet device. Hello, who fell asleep in that meeting? While I’m not expecting to see iWeb on the iPhone I was looking forward to iChat.
I know this wasn’t some hideous blunder- that the iPhone team ran out of white-board space when listing what applications needed to be in the first release. It was obviously left out intentionally- but why? To sell it as an add-on application later; even though it is freely available on every Mac? Or perhaps it was at the influence of AT&T, attempting to gouge iPhone users out of an additional US$20 per month.
Isn’t it enough that AT&T didn’t have to subsidize the phenomenal price of Apple’s initial foray into the mobile phone market? Not to mention the number of new subscribers they must have picked-up as the only service provider offering the most sought-after phone in the history of mobile technology.
Both Apple and AT&T are making a fortune on this partnership. It is not my intention to begrudge them. I’m thrilled with the phones success and with a 55% profit on each unit, the board at Apple could fill the executive conference room with cash following the first few days of sales. Now there’s a party I’d like to be invited to‚Ķ tunneling through cash in Cupertino.
So my question is simple: Why? What were they thinking, that we would all be happy with an iChat-esque SMS window? That we would be able to ‚Äúchat‚Äù with friends, family and business associates via SMS and limited to reaching them on their cell phones. Sadly, I don’t have everyone’s cell phone number on my IM list. Even if I did, I wouldn’t put them in a position to pay 10 cents every time I had a quick question for them, with an additional 10 cents for them to reply (and God-forbid if they are roaming).
Over the last four days, I have spent more time emailing and Web browsing from my iPhone then I have my PowerBook. Through my experiences, it is obvious that Apple spent a great deal of time producing some well thought out and amazing smart phone applications. So much so, that I haven’t thought twice about my Treo since I copied over my contacts and put it in my desk drawer. But I’ll give one last shout out to my 650, at least it had true IM functionality. I was always connected, always available, all the time.
Yes, there are Web based IM clients that could be utilized through the Safari mobile browser. While I was thrilled to find them, (gracias Senior O’Grady) using them on the iPhone comes with a number of inherit limitations and so far has proved to be rather clumsy. After using the iPhone web-browser, iPod and numerous widgets like ‚ÄúWeather‚Äù and ‚ÄúStocks‚Äù I’m sure Apple would want iPhone users to have a similar experience when it comes to Instant Messaging. Since Apple doesn‚Äôt seem to want others developing Apps for iPhone- a slick, always available, widget-like Instant Messenger can only come from Jobs and Co.
Personally, I refuse to use SMS as IM, even if you paint the iChat interface over it. And I’m certainly not going to drop another US$20 per month into the bucket so I can pretend to have IM functionality. SMS is not the same; it serves a completely different purpose and it limits ones reach as well as their ability to be reached.
I can only hope that this was a timing issue and that the iChat Widget didn’t make it out of the oven in time to be at the launch party. If that is the case, hopefully that adorable blue chat bubble will appear on my iPhone home screen in the near future, as a software update.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a number of PDA Apps that seem to have missed the boat. My wife, in particularly would like to see an e-reader. I’ve locked on to IM as I find its absence glaring in such a product.
So yes, I have some issues with my iPhone, but to be honest every time I pick it up, I tend to forget what they were. (until I want to Instant Message someone)
CLG