iPhone OS 3.0 to Provide Much-Desired MMS Capabilities

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, May 6th, 2009, 10:03
Category: Opinion

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By Rachel Hoyer
So, you’ve just taken the world’s most adorable picture of your dog on your iPhone.
If you want to text it to your friends, you’re out of luck.
You’ll have to email it to them.
iPhone enthusiasts everywhere have bemoaned the lack of MMS support on the handset. MMS is the protocol which allows transmission of images in text messages. The current iPhone OS 2.2.1 software supports SMS, but not its MMS extension. SMS, or Short Messaging Service, is a communication protocol that enables text messaging between mobile devices. MMS, or Multimedia Messaging Service, is an extension of SMS that allows transmission of multimedia objects such as images, audio, video and rich text files within a text message. Both SMS and MMS are supported on a wide variety of mobile networks, including the 3G network used by iPhone. SMS and MMS technology are rapidly becoming obsolete due to widespread availability of the Internet on mobile devices via Wi-Fi, 3G and Apple Wireless technology. This may be the reason that Apple did not include MMS on previous iPhone software versions.
This begs the question: Why include SMS support, but not MMS support on iPhone OS 2.0? One possibility is that AT&T, the sole cell phone service provider for iPhone, pressured Apple into maintaining SMS text messaging support. Despite the advanced age of its technology, text messaging remains hugely popular among cell phone users. In addition, cell phone service providers such as AT&T rake in a ridiculously high profit margin on SMS text messaging services. But they make equal, if not more money, from selling ringtones and sending images delivered via MMS. Following the cell phone provider profits theory, it would be illogical to include SMS but not MMS. Another hypothesis: Apple did not want to deprive iPhone users of the highly convenient and popular SMS service, but assumed that MMS would not be missed given the ease of web access.
At present, when you try to send a picture on your iPhone, it is posted on a website. Then, a text message linking the page is sent to your selected recipients inviting them to visit the site to view the picture. While web browsing is a simple task on the iPhone, it is a problematic endeavor for many other types of cell phones. Although nearly all cell phones have MMS capability, typically their web browsers are both dodgy and expensive. Not to worry, iPhone users: Apple plans to release iPhone OS 3.0 in June which (along with a host of other improvements) will provide MMS support. The upgrade will be free for iPhone 3G owners and $9.99 for iPod Touch owners. Sadly, due to a hardware compatibility issue, older iPhone models are not upgradeable.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go email my friends pictures of my dog in a football jersey.

Intuit Releases Quicken Online Mobile App for iPhone, iPod Touch

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 1st, 2009, 08:30
Category: iPhone, iPod Touch

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Recently, software developer Intuit released Quicken Online Mobile, the company’s iPhone and iPod touch companion to the Quicken personal finance web service.
According to Macworld, the application focuses on a forward-looking view of your money, showing you how much you have left until your next paycheck. It lets you set budgets and keep track of them while you’re out and about, and you can enter cash purchases on the go to track spending, among other features.
Upon setting up a free account with Quicken’s online service (which reportedly works with more than 5,000 financial institutions for checking, savings, investments, loans, and credit cards), Quicken Online and the Quicken Online Mobile app lets you see and tracks all of those accounts, downloading your financial data once a day (Wells Fargo accounts, however, don’t currently support auto updating.)
Intuit has stated that the application doesn’t store any of your financial passwords and the Quicken Online Mobile app uses a four-digit passcode for added protection on your iPhone.
The app also includes an integrated ATM finder that uses the iPhone 3G’s GPS capabilities to help you find nearby places to get cash at ATMs that won’t add a surcharge. You can also enter a zip code to search for ATMs, which lets users of the iPod touch and older iPhones use the feature as well.
Quicken Online Mobile requires iPhone OS 2.2 or later to install and run.

Truphone 3.0 Released

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 29th, 2009, 23:26
Category: iPhone, Software, Uncategorized

Software Cellular Network Ltd., makers of Truphone software and call services, released version 3.0 of its popular iPhone app. The new version, available in the App Store (iTunes link), adds the following new features:

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  • View your call history in real time.
  • Instant messenger tool is now integrated into the app.
  • Super-clear sound and improved reliability.

The new version requires an iPhone running firmware 2.1 or higher.

Versions of Truphone are also available for the iPod Touch and G1 (Android) Smartphone.

Amazon Acquires iPhone eBook Reader Stanza

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 29th, 2009, 22:16
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Apparently the Kindle app for iPhone wasn’t enough for Amazon. Monday it was announced on Lexcycle, Inc.’s blog that the online retailer purchased the company which includes the popular iPhone eBook reader Stanza.

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According to the Lexcycle blog, there will be no changes to the Stanza application or it’s function as the result of the acquisition. They imply that they hope they will be able to offer more books and services through the Amazon connection. No mention of the company’s purchase on Amazon’s web site or PR releases.

Lexcycle is encouraging discussion of the move on their forums or by contacting them directly at info@lexcycle.com. You can discuss it on OUR forums and tell us whether you think this is a good thing or a bad thing. Is this the first step in an Amazon eBook monopoly? Personally, I think Stanza is a great program so I hope Amazon leaves it alone and just makes good deals on books available to it.

Rumor: Apple Could be Developing iPhone Lite, “Media Pad” for Summer Release

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, April 29th, 2009, 08:18
Category: Rumor

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It came from the very depths of Rumorville, but it’s interesting stuff.
Per BusinessWeek, two anonymous sources have stated that Apple and Verizon may release two new Verizon-exclusive iPhone-like products as early as this summer.
The rumors go hand-in-hand with recent talk that the iPhone is coming to Verizon, and that Apple has new devices up its sleeve for the summer.
The first device has been described as an iPhone nano of sorts and may function as a smaller, less expensive iPhone handset. The “iPhone Lite”, as it’s been coined, is smaller and thinner than the existing iPhone and will come cheaper because it “relies on a so-called system on a chip, which incorporates many types of chips and drives down the cost of silicon in such devices.”
The other device is a “media pad” which features the same functionality as an iPod Touch – music, games, photos – but with HD video and calling ability via a Wi-Fi connection.
The sources told Business Week that the device will be smaller than Amazon’s Kindle 2 ebook reader, but feature a larger touchscreen, paving the way for more speculation about Apple entering the eBook market.
“The media pad category might go to Verizon,” a witness told Business Week. “We are talking about a device where people will say, ‘Damn, why didn’t we do this?’ Apple is probably going to define the damn category.”

Mark/Space Releases Missing Sync for iPhone 2.0.1 Update

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, April 28th, 2009, 07:49
Category: iPhone, Software

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Mark/Space on Tuesday announced the release of The Missing Sync for iPhone 2.0.1, the new version of its data synchronization utility for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch handsets. The application allows users to synchronize data that the iPhone won’t ordinarily synchronize with the Mac, such as notes, documents, and tasks and archives text messages on the iPhone to the Mac as well as archives call histories, and features a “Migration Assistant” of its own that lets you transfer contacts and other data from another smartphone to the iPhone.
The new version, a 12 megabyte download (courtesy of MacUpdate), sports the following fixes and changes:

  • Fixed a crash that could occur while transferring files to Fliq Docs.
  • Fixed an issue where notes syncing would not work on Mac OS 10.4.x (Tiger) systems.
  • Fixed an issue where notes edited on the iPhone would not sync back to the desktop.
  • Missing Sync for iPhone 2.0.1 retails for US$39.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later and iPhone OS 2.1 or later to install and run.

    Apple Stores May Switch To iPhone Software for In-store Purchases

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, April 14th, 2009, 13:16
    Category: Apple, Retail Store

    With the release of iPhone 3.0 enabled hardware and software, Apple may be planning a switch from its EasyPay handheld devices to iPhones for checking out customers at their retail stores.

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    An AppleInsider report speculates that Apple may be planning to move away from the current Windows Mobile-based PDAs in favor of iPhones or iPod Touches using credit card scanners enabled by the new 3.0 software which allows devices connected to the 30-pin dock connector to finally talk to applications.

    Apple has reportedly had issues with the EasyPay system in the past, resulting in checkout delays and frustrated customers. Overall, however, the mobile checkout system has worked out well for the retail stores which were reported to average 3.6 million visits per week during Apple’s December financial conference call. Developing its own point of sale system around the iPhone could be costly, but would allow Apple Stores to show off the versatility of their mobile hardware.

    It is interesting to note that in the current batch of Apple’s iPhone commercials, one of the highlighted apps is CCTerminal which allows you to process credit card transactions online using an iPhone or iPod Touch.

    Thanks to Chuck Freedman for bringing this to my attention, although I’ve actually been musing about this possibility since the 3.0 sneak peek. Yes, I do spend too much time at the Apple Store.

    Apple Job Listing Points Out Possibility of iPod Touch Gaining Built-In Camera

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, April 7th, 2009, 07:11
    Category: iPod Touch

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    A recent Apple job listing points out that Apple may be looking to extend camera functions over to its popular iPod touch handset.
    According to AppleiPhoneApps.com, a job listing originally posted on March 16th stated that Apple is “looking for a Camera Engineering Project Manager (EPM) to drive the design, development and integration of camera modules across iPhone and iPod.”
    “The EPM is the interface between our internal engineering teams and the suppliers of sensors, lenses and camera modules,” the listing says. “In this highly cross functional role the EPM will work closely together with the HW, SW and mechanical engineering team to coordinate all aspects of the camera module design, production and integration.”
    Recent reports have indicated that Apple may be looking to expand its handset camera capabilities and that the next iPhone will see its camera upgraded from 2.0 megapixels to 3.2 megapixels as well as possibly add video functionality.
    Per an AppleInsider story, Apple changed the text of its job posting to omit the mention of iPods in the listing.

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    Apple Releases iTunes 8.1.1 Update

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, April 7th, 2009, 06:17
    Category: Software

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    Late Monday, Apple released iTunes 8.1.1, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, a 68 megabyte download, offers the following fixes, changes and new features:

  • Adds support for renting HD movies.
  • Provides a number of bug fixes, including addressing issues with VoiceOver and syncing with iPhone or iPod touch.
  • iTunes 8.1.1 is available for free, requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run and can be snagged using Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature.

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    Next-Gen iPhone, iPod Touch Models to Support Faster, Low-Power 802.11n Protocol

    Posted by:
    Date: Monday, April 6th, 2009, 10:02
    Category: iPhone

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    A list of wireless radio component specifications found within beta distributions of the iPhone OS 3.0 firmware offers details for a new chip enabling low power 802.11n bound for the third-generation iPod touch handset. According to AppleInsider, the chip is also likely to be en route for Apple’s upcoming iPhone models.
    The version of the existing Broadcom chip that supplies WiFi and Bluetooth on existing models jumps from BCM4325 to BCM4329 in the description. The component upgrade adds new support for 802.11n features, including the ability to find and join 5GHz networks.
    Current iPhone and iPod touch generations provide support for 5GHz 802.11a networks, or 2.4GHz 802.11b/g networks, pushing users who want the top speed of 802.11n (available on all MacBooks) but compatibility with 802.11b/g networks (to use the existing iPhone) to set up a 2.4GHz compatible network. That resulting push forces the wireless network to deal with interference from other networks on the often-crowded 2.4GHz band.
    Apple’s latest firmware update for its AirPort base stations added support for dual-band networks, allowing both slow and fast devices to hook into 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz signals at the same time.
    New support for 802.11n in the upcoming iPhone and iPod touch models would also provide the devices with additional network speed and reception range features of the significantly faster 802.11n specification as well as channel bonding (using two channels at once to double the top reception speed) and MIMO, the ability to use multiple transmit and receive antennas to improve reception speed and range.
    The new device also focuses on efficient power management, with a special integrated PMU (power management unit) and a shared Bluetooth and WiFi receive signal path, which “eliminates the need for an external power splitter while maintaining excellent sensitivity for both Bluetooth and WLAN.”
    The new component could dramatically speed up WiFi throughput and flexibility as AT&T and other providers also upgrade their 3G networks to take advantage of parallel improvements in mobile 3G speed capacity expected in the new iPhone.

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