iTunes 8.2 and iPhone 3.0 Updates

iTunes
As a technology consultant at Achieve Kids, I am often the GO-TO Guy for technology outside the scope of the workplace. Sometimes this can be annoying, but when its about mobile phones, touch and gestural interfaces like the exciting Microsoft Xbox Natal gaming idea,

and Apple products, I am happy to oblige and “geek out” for a minute.

Just yesterday, there were questions to me,

“When is the new iPhone 3.0 update supposed to happen?”

“When can I cut & paste on my iPod Touch?”

“Is this new iTunes update for 3.0? Why is it numbered wrong?”

The iTunes 8.2 update gives support to iPhones and iPod Touches that have the iPhone 3.0 update……But the 3.0 update has not been released yet. Its an interesting order of events, but for those of us who are anxiously awaiting the new APIs coming with the iPhone update, this is like a teaser trailer.

In addition, the iTunes 8.2 has improved security. Apparently there is also improved bounds checking in the upgrade to prevent a stack buffer overflow problem that could lead to unexpected app termination or arbitrary code execution.

There is still not a specific hard date given for when the iPhone update will be but, but it’s expected to take center stage at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), which takes place June 8 – 12, 2009 in San Francisco.

Several articles have come out over the last 3 days about the iTunes 8.2 update

Macworld
The official Apple details
iPhone Mobility Blog

Skype on iPhone

skype for iphone

I am not sure how I hadn’t heard of this before (maybe because I went out of town the last 4 days and didn’t even take my laptop!) I was ‘off the grid’ for a while….really enjoyed it, actually.

Regardless, I was perusing the blogosphere this morning as well as monitoring Twitter and Facebook. Lo and behold, there is now Skype for iPhone (and my trusty iPod Touch).

There are reviews on PC World as well as CNet.

I downloaded the application from the iTunes store, entered my information (you need to have a Skype account) and it loaded up all my contacts and was working immediately.

The idea is to be able to use the iPhone and make calls without using AT&T minutes. The application will only work over Wi-Fi, but you can call your contacts directly (no video). There are additional features for allowing you to join conference calls and more to come.

If you have the iPod Touch, you will need to hook up a microphone or the headphone/mic combo like the iPhone in order to get the most out of the application.

After using the application this morning, I am convinced it will give Nimbuzz and Fring a run for their money on the VoiP front.

New Mac Products for 2009

Macworld is where Apple likes to introduce their products just a couple days earlier than CES…just to, you know, set themselves apart.

There are new accessories like mice, chargers, notebook cases and hands free bluetooth accessories for the car.

New software was introduced including all new iLife 09 with photo, movie, garageband and web applications that include alot more interactivity and control. The iWork suite has some new features, most notable is the new application for iPods or iPhones that allows for remote control of Keynote presentations that is similar to the Remote application for iTunes and AppleTV. The app will be available for $1 at the iTunes Store.

Real Software announced Tuesday at Macworld Expo that REAL Server 2009 will ship in February. REAL Server is a cross-platform, multi-user database server. There are several major upgrades for the update. The Real Server Developer Edition is free for developers to use to develop a server application.

iTunes is going DRM free in March, they are also changing their pricing on the products (songs, shows and movies) from a straight $.99 to $.69, $.99 or $1.29. Additionally, users will be able to make purchases over 3G as well as Wi-Fi, which would make it possible to buy items as long as you have a cell connection.

iPhone 2.0 Free Applications Review Part 1

iPhone Application Store

It seems that each night well after I should be in bed, I end up downloading and playing around with all the new applications available for the iPhone.

I realize that it may not be the most mature thing I am doing with my time… My only defense is that I have yet to pay for any (I cruise the free apps section) and try out those rather than paying the fees for apps that probably don’t work well yet, anyway. We are, after all, still in a kind of Beta grey area.

If you haven’t already looked, the new iTunes 7.7 is available and then you can see the application store. You will need an iPhone or iPod Touch with the 2.0 firmware upgrade to try these out.

The iTunes download page.

People don’t really know yet quite how all this will shake out. Remember that July 11th when everybody went to get their new iPhone that the servers were overloaded all day. There are still some bugs to be sure.

Regardless, I have already tried out:

Career Builder– I should have known from the fact that their site does not really provide quality jobs or networking that this app would not be any better, but like many others, I was exited to try. Don’t waste your time.

Holy Bible– While I would not call myself a religious person necessarily… I was intrigued by the description that it was the whole King James Bible with annotated notes as well as a dynamically updated comments on each entry. I was surprised and delighted by the interface and the content. I recommend it for those who wish to study and discuss the Bible

I’ve tried out the Jirbo Arcade, Break and Avatar – while the Break game has a cool interface and I like the idea of uploading my scores to compare with others, the interfaces seem simple and unimaginative. The icons are cutesy so maybe its not geared for my demographic, but I don’t see highly stimulated teens getting into memory games and a measly 15 levels of game play (I finished them all the first time I played). Forget it.

iMaze – This is one of the games that takes advantage of the accelerometer feature of the iPhone. Arguably the aspect that differentiates the games on the device from those available on other phones. Here, you attempt to move a ball through a maze by tilting the iPod touch or iPhone to get the ball to roll. As the levels increased in difficulty, I found myself getting fairly frustrated (a good sign) and one that shows that the game will provide distraction on those long flights or BART rides. Get it.

Moonlight Mahjong – This game is worth downloading if only for the interface. Gameplay is the same as Mahjong in that ‘free’ tiles must be matched in twos to remove them from the board, but the player can rotate and zoom in and out of the board in three dimensions. The graphics really take advantage of the iPhones abilities and when I get frustrated, I sometimes just zoom around the board to see the pretty blocks…Get it.

Twitterriffic – This application has too many letters in its name and there are too many applications accessing Twitter, considering that the interface for Twitter worked great on the previous iPhone firmware versions. I will admit that it is nice that now the tweets are ‘pushed’ to your device and the interface is a little cleaner and links are nicely dealt with. The application is free, so there is nothing wrong with downloading it if you already have a Twitter account (and the Fail Whale is submerged). Just don’t expect a paradigm shift to occur with the application. Take it or leave it.

PageOnce – I love it! One great compact interface that the user can customize to connect to bills, email, social sites, wireless accounts. Each link gives updates and hints as too when there is new information. A must have for those on the go who want to stay connected in business. Must Get it.

Remote – I have used this application nearly everyday. It allows me to control my music, podcasts, movies and iTunes on my network from my iPod. Now the iPod is a remote that I can use anywhere where I can access my home network. An absolute must have.

I will review more applications later and invite those of you who have already tried these or others to chime in with your opinions.

Read Part 2 of the Review