iPhone OS 3.0: A revolution?

Posted in iPhone, Technology on March 18, 2009 by cdamion

Apple last Tuesday showed a lot about the upcoming iPhone OS 3.0. It’s a BIG evolution of functions that will upgrade iPhones and iPod Touches to a new level.

However iPhone OS 3.0 doesn’t bring us anything that wasn’t already wanted, asked and re-asked by customers ever since the original iPhone came out. No big science here. In fact there are several things that were asked and that it doesn’t bring.

But I believe that OS 3.0 is in fact bringing a Revolution, and that revolution has a LOT of value.

What is that revolution? It’s the fact that for the third time in a row, Apple is offering a complete and free upgrade to ALL it’s iPhone customers (and a paid one at 9,99€ to iPod Touch customers).

Why is this so revolutionary? Well, quite simply because Apple entered the Smartphone business after more than a decade of its existence (Palm, Symbian, Windows Mobile, RIM, etc). In this decade a LOT of hardware and O.S. generations passed, however the companies involved never gave its customers a consistent promise and delivery of software upgrades for previous hardware generations. The model has always been: hey, you want to have this new UI for the media player, hum? Well them buy a new device that comes with O.S. version 6.1.23 blah blah blah.

That and the fact that UIs were boring were the reasons why I stopped using Smartphones years before iPhone came out.

Apple’s iPhone market model

The market model that Apple uses for the iPhone is very interesting:
1) Customers feel confident in buying an iPhone because they now know that anything they buy will be software updated for several years, and with Apple, software is what is important.
2) Developers gain because they never have to worry to develop for several iPhone O.S. generations, because the iPhone customers will mostly all have the latest O.S. version.
3) And finally, Apple wins because this model guarantees that they will have a consistently growing client base for its very lucrative iTunes Store which sells Musics, Videos and Apps.

So … Everybody wins.

Why didn’t this model exist before, given that the Smartphone business has existed for so long?

The answer is simple: only Apple thinks its products like Software and not Hardware. Software is what Apple gives its customers, the Hardware is only there to serve the Software part.

All other Smartphone manufacturers are focused on selling Hardware, for them it’s always more memory, more MHz, more MPix on the Cameras, GPS of newer generation chipsets, etc, etc, etc. However the Software NEVER explores that Hardware to 10% of its capacity, so it’s all a boggled experience. But it’s that boggled experience that justifies selling the next Hardware with more memory, more MHZ, and blah blah blah again ad again in a never ending loop.

I’m wrong when I say that if they don’t adapt to the model Apple is creating they will fall? I don’t know but I really hope they learn and adapt so their competition takes Apple to innovate more and more in the near future.

The other smaller revolution: Background Push Notifications. What is this and why is it a revolution?

Again, it’s simple: up until now every Mobile OS manufacturer has only thought of giving the ability to have several apps running at the same time. They consider this as the ONLY working model for these devices.

However there are problems with this approach:
1) More expensive devices to manufacture because it needs much more memory to run several Apps at the same time, leaving less money to invest in software…
2) Much bigger battery discharge when apps running in the background, the device cannot enter a reduced power stage…
3) Bigger probability of inconsistencies appearing in the OS because if any of the running apps generates a serious error all the OS would suffer…

Apple chose to think about this and generate a way to go around these problems.

Then it came up with Background Push Notifications. It is an Apple Service that can be used by iPhone programmers to put in their apps some code to send messages to Apple Messaging Servers. These messages can be Text, audio or a badge. The message is delivered to a small messaging listener that is always running on the iPhone OS that will then update the Icon of the App that is supposed to received the message. This way the iPhone user will know that any given app has a message to show and it just needs to open the app.

There are some drawbacks to Apple solution though:
1) A Web Radio, for instance, needs to be always running to be receiving the music, so without background running that function is off.
2) Some other thing I don’t remember now… dependency on Apple’s servers, perhaps?

In time maybe a mixed model will be offered by Apple to serve each app with its ideal function mode, who knows for OS 4.0?

For now I’m happy but anxious waiting for the upgrade that will arrive in the summer.

What other great new things will be offered in iPhone OS 3.0?

Apple says more than 100 new features:
1) Cut, Copy and Paste (finally) with Undo and Redo, with what seems to be the most interesting implementation I have seen so far in any mobile OS.
2) Turn-by-Turn GPS that will at last give Tom Tom and other GPS software companies the ability to launch their products for the iPhone 🙂
3) Notes Synchronization with Desktop Apps…
4) To continue soon …

Keep coming, more updates to this article soon…

StuffRadar2 Review: Your Media Library in your iPhone

Posted in iPhone, Technology on February 23, 2009 by cdamion

Ever been in a store with great discounts in DVDs, Books and CDs looking at something at a incredible price but you couldn’t remember if you already had it?

For these situations you could just take out your iPhone / iPod Touch and open your Media Library to search for it. If you had a good Media Library on the iPhone… well, now you can.

By the end of January Synium released the version 2 of StuffRadar for the iPhone. I’ve been using this app since its initial release in Aug 2008 but it was plagued by a serious bug that made it loose entries. Several attempts were made to solve these issues but that wasn’t the case.

Finally comes StuffRadar 2 that I was glad to verify that no longer looses entries and becomes a serious usable app. Best of all several improvements were added that gave it a new value. More on them later.

StuffRadar2 is sold on Apple AppStore for 6,99€ which given the quality and value of the application I consider well justified.

The purpose of this app is to keep a detailed record of your Movies and Series (VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray, etc), your Books and Magazines, your Audio CDs and your Games. By detailed record I mean image and most of the information found on any Amazon. You can also have a WishList of Stuff you don’t have but want, and change items from here to the Library when you buy them.

On Settings you define which Amazon store you want to use for searching items (options are USA, United Kingdom, France and Germany). I always set mine on United Kingdom and when something isn’t found change it to France. This way I can find almost everything.

To add one item you can search Movies by Actor, Director or Movie name, or Audio CDs by Title or Artist name or Books by Title or Author name or Games for Title or Publisher name. The search gives a Listing of items from where you can check one or more to add to the Library or WishList.

There is also a way to import listings of items from files exported by other applications. Since it was only added on version 2 and I already had all my Media on the Library I didn’t use this function extensively. I added some Books this way and it worked alright after setting the exported file to TXT with column separator “;” and list items separator “,”.

Although opening the app takes longer than wished (around 30 seconds), after that all the interface is very responsive and scrolling the Lists is very smooth even with over 700 titles on DVDs like in my case. There’s even a Coverflow screen when you rotate the device although it’s not as smooth as Apple’s Coverflow, but it’s perfectly usable.

Included new in the version 2 came a excellent way of Browsing the Library from your PC/MAC browser, a WebDAV server  implemented on the app. It shows a URL that you can use to access the app from any computer browser in the same WiFi network. You can even protect the access with User/Password.

From the Browser it’s possible to make Backups of the app database, Restoring those Backups, as well as importing items from files exported from other applications. 



I must say: this Backup/Restore function gave me a very new confidence on this app because it took me a lot of time to input all my items (it was done one by one, there was no import then). 

There’s not any app to sync on the PC/MAC but the Browser Viewer and Backup/Restore options kind of replaces part of that function. I would like that application to exist though. Even greater would be to be able to sync with a very good MAC app called Delicious Library.

There’s not much more to say, the application is simple, but generally good apps are. All in all is a great app that will be with me always. I highly recommend it.

Reasons to Jailbreak the iPhone/iPod Touch are plenty… Would you?

Posted in iPhone, Jailbreak, Technology on February 22, 2009 by cdamion

I finally got around to studying what Jailbreak is all about. I must say: I GOT IMPRESSED!!!

It’s incredible what a few very strong minded and gifted persons can do to a device that was developed by a Hardware and software giant like Apple. After jailbreaking the iPhone and installing a few apps the result is SO MUCH MORE than what Apple gives us… it’s just unbelievable but true. Congratulations to the community! You guys are AWSOME!!!

But what is there to gain? It’s so much that it’s almost difficult to transmit…

I Think I’ll start with a few topics to get your curiosity going:

  • Copy and Paste support (Clippy and hClipboard)
  • Background running of Third party apps (Backgrounder)
  • Dock that allows us to open apps without exiting other apps (Dock)
  • Notifications on Top Bar for SMSs, MMSs, Mails, IMs, Calendar, Calls, Silence ON, etc (StatusNotifier)
  • Use iPhone as a WiFi Router to give Internet from the 3G Carrier to a Notebook (PdaNet)
  • Configurable Themes for the Screens, Icons, Backgrounds, Text, etc (Winterboard + Themes)
  • Organizing Icons into Folders (Categories) 
  • Use one Icon as a Stack (Stack)
  • Hide unwanted Icons (Poof)
  • Video Recording (Cycorder)
  • Security applications that activate contact, gps information and backup functionalities when the iPhone is stolen or lost (Cylay)
  • still much more to go… 


Do you guys know the website http://pleasefixtheiphone.com/? It’s all about users voting for requested features on iPhone/iPod Touch. Here it’s notable what users found more important because there are thousands of votes on the requests. 

Request 1) With more than 46000 votes comes MULTITASKING, that is running apps on the background. With a jailbreak iPhone you can, just install an app called Backgrounder.

Request 3) With over 43000 votes comes COPY AND PASTE. Again, wish granted for Jailbreak devices. There are two good apps for this: Clippy and hClipboard. Both of them attach to the keyboard ad work great. I think I prefer Clippy though.

Request 7) With over 29000 votes comes the request for Full Arabic support. With jailbreak there are advances in Arabic support but I didn’t really understood if they are Full support or just advances.

Request 8) With over 24000 votes comes VIDEO RECORDING. With a Jailbreak iPhone you can install Cycorder which records video and compresses it in real-time as it is saved. Very nice.

Request 10) With over 21000 votes comes being bale to HIDE UNWANTED ICONS from iPhone. With Jailbreak you can install an app called POOF which does exactly that. Wish granted.

Request 16) With over 20000 votes comes the request for the ability to use iPhone as a tether device to give Internet access to a computer via WiFi. Again wish granted using a Jailbreak app called PdaNet.

So, from the 16 most voted requests, 6 very important ones are solved exclusively because of the effort put to Jailbreak and develop solutions for Jailbreak iPhones and iPod Touches. In my book these guys are helping Apple.

A lot more things are possible on Jailbreak iPhones/iPods Touch, but just a few of the ones mentioned here are enough to justify it.