iOS

iPhone and iPad iOS 5 Wi-Fi Auto Sync Disabled

This is an issue that will likely only affect a small number of users.  But since it was an problem for me, it worth a post to explain the fix.

One of the great new features of iOS 5 is the ability to sync with iTunes over Wi-Fi and eliminate the need to plug the iOS device directly into the computer in order to backup and update software, content and playlists.  To enable this feature, first plug the device into the computer via USB.  When it appears in the Devices list on the left side of the main iTunes window simply click once in your devices icon.  Then select Summary from the top of the main window on the right.

Scrolling to the bottom of the main window, there is a section labeled Options.  Be sure to select the box labeled Sync this Device over Wi-Fi.  Until that box is checked, the iOS device will not sync over Wi-Fi.  If the box was already checked by default, you’re set.  But if you had to check it yourself, be sure to click the Sync button in the lower right hand corner of the window.  This insures that the settings take effect.

Apple’s documentation explains that iOS devices should auto sync with iTunes when the iOS device and the computer running iTunes are located on the same wireless network.  The auto sync is supposed to kick in shortly after the iOS device is plugged into a power cable to recharge.  But in my case this sync was not kicking in automatically.  I had to engage the sync manually.
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Glympse: Location Alert App for Smart Phones

This is one of those iPhone apps that fills a need most people didn’t know they had.  Its implementation is as close to perfect as I could imagine, and it brings functionality that all smart phones should ship with out of the box.  What it does, its does simply, it does cleanly, and it does very well.  And best of all— it does it for free.

The question to start an app review with is normally simple: What does the app do?  In this case, I think it’s easier to give an example of where and when Glympse can be used.  This makes the app a lot easier to explain.

So consider this situation…  You are running late for a meeting and you want to give the other meeting attendees a heads up about where you are and how long it will take for you to get to the meeting.  It’s a fair amount on information to convey especially if you are already on the run and already running late.  You could call and explain to the party on the other end.  But that could be awkward and end up being a longer conversation than you can deal with.  You could text, but that’s hard to do in a moving vehicle (whether you are driving or not (don’t text while driving!)).  And one text message could easily turn into a back and fourth volley that you don’t have time for.

Enter Glympse!  Glympse makes all of the pertinent information amazingly easy to pass to others.  The app sends your current GPS location to recipients so they can see where you are in real time.  This includes your current speed and updates your current position as you move.  No need to explain what is going on.  The person receiving the Glympse message knows where you are and has great insight into how long it will take you to arrive.  No fuss, and no discussion needed.  Just the facts of the situation and real time updates as time goes on.
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MyPhoneDesktop: The Missing App on Every iPhone

iphone-icon-3gsEvery once in a while I come across an iPhone app that is just plain essential.  This was the case when I first installed MyPhoneDesktop.  This app brings functionality to the iPhone that Apple should have included in the operating system.

Many iPhone users sit in front of a computer working for hours each day.  While they sit at their Mac working, their iPhone is dutifully at hand waiting to be used.  Need to text a friend?  Grab the iPhone and fire off a message and then its back to the Mac and the work at hand.  But with MyPhoneDesktop, the process becomes infinitely easier.  The app on the phone works with an application on the computer.  If I want to send a text via my cell phone, I can open up the computer-based application, select the message recipient from a list, quickly enter the message to send (via a standard easy to use conventional keyboard), and then tap send.  The desktop app hands the message off to the iPhone.  The iPhone enters the text into your text app and selects the recipient instantly.  All the user must do is tap send on the phone.  The application running my computer makes it much more efficient to compose the message, then hands it off to the phone for sending.
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Google Voice: The Official iPhone App

Google released the official Google Voice iPhone app this week.  Saying that this is a long awaited release is an understatement.  The app comes roughly 18 months after Apple pulled Google’s initial release from the App Store igniting great controversy.  And while it was never clear if it was Apple or AT&T company policy behind the removal of the Google Voice App, it looks like iPhone users can finally put the kerfuffle behind them.

For the purpose of this post, lets assume you understand how Google Voice works.  What I am really interested in at this time, is how the officially supported Google Voice App compares to other 3rd party apps such as GV Connect and GV Mobile +.

When Apple finally started to show signs of reversing the policies banning Google Voice type applications, apps like GV Connect and GV Mobile + quickly jumped in and filled the void before Google could get back in the game and devote resources to the project once again.  And while Google engineers spooled up to the task, GV Connect and GV Mobile + developers did an admirable job of filling the need to the best of their abilities.  But in my experience, there were key areas where their apps fell short.
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Proximity Locking With Bluetooth

Here’s one I’ve been wanting for a long time.  I think it would be great to pair my cell phone with my computer and have the computer screen lock each time my phone leaves Bluetooth range.  Seems like a great security feature given the prevalence of cell phones these days.

To the best of my knowledge there are no Mac applications to facilitate this right now.  Fee apps or otherwise.  I read about one possibility a while back that was a series of scripts.  But when I played with it, it just didn’t work correctly.  Over at phoenixfreeze.com, it looks we might have a solution on the way.  Right now their product only supports Windows XP and Vista.  But according to the FAQ section, Mac support is planned.

Its not world class security, but it could keep your workstation locked down should you forget to lock it before you head out of the office to lunch.  Its not even out yet, for that matter but it will be a release worth watching for.

A couple of gotchas come to mind.  Some cell phones will only pair with 1 device at a time.  This could be a big problem if you sit at your desk with your cell paired with a headset that is also in range.  It would mean that the phone could only be paired with the headset or the computer but not both.  I believe most of the modern phones support multiple Bluetooth profiles now.  To my understanding that would allow the device to be paired with more than one devices at a time.  But it does seem limiting to only pair a cell phone to one devices at a time.


Steve

Apple Announces the iPhone

MacWorld SF kicked off this morning, and as is customary, Steve Jobs got the show off and running with his keynote address.  Each year, the Apple CEO showcases the new software or products that showcase Apple’s creativity  in the personal computer market.  This year was no exception.  Jobs finally took the veiled off the long rumored iPhone.

Rumors of the iPhone have been circulating for so long that it might actually be hard for Apple to live up to the hype.  With so much wild speculation, how could Apple possibly meet with expectations?  I wondered… and now I know.  Apple simply put all of the functionality a customer could ask for into a single device and did it in a way the was truly revolutionary.

The Apple iPod was made famous by the click wheel.  It was the center piece of the systems well crafted navigation system.  That navigation and organization system made the iPod and the click wheel made that possible.  Following on that idea, Apple engineered a new user interface for the iPhone.  Knowing that the new interface had to be simple, intuitive and easy to use, simply made the entire interface a touch screen.  What could be easier than using your finger to point and click on screen?  One large touch screen was simple and offered remarkable flexibility.  With the physical buttons replaced with icons, suddenly there were no limitations for the user interface.  No buttons that only worked in one more and not in another.  No confusion for the user.

With the device interface constraints no longer an issue, Apple really took the device to the next level.  Not only is the iPhone a cell phone with all of the normal functionality, but the device was literally turned into a next generation iPod that could play music and wide screen movies.  While they were at it, engineers added Safari based web browsing, Google and Yahoo support, and even a powerful SMS based text messaging.

Apple partnered with Cingular for the service and even developed a new interface for voicemail.  Google added a powerful new software package that allows the iPhone to tap into Google Maps without the need to touch a full fledged computer.  Yahoo partnered to develop a new push based email system that works with Yahoo Email accounts, bringing functionality similar the those of the Blackberry.  All the major players jumped on the Apple bandwagon.

So what are the specs?  The screen size is 3.5 inches, 320×480 at 160 pixels per inch.  The device runs a version of OS X.  The device is offered with storage capacities of either 4GB or 8GB.  The iPhone is 2.4 inches wide, 4.5 inches tall, and .46 inches thick.  The battery will run for up to 5 hours when used for video, talk, or browsing and 16 hours when used for audio playback only.  Wireless support includes quad-band GSM, 802.11b/g, EDGE, and Bluetooth 2.0.  The entire phone weighs just 4.8 ounces.  Bluetooth support is included making it compatible with wireless headsets in addition to its built-in speakerphone.  A gyroscope in the phone makes it possible for the screen to be used in either portrait or landscape mode.

Pricing information isn’t currently available on Apple.com.  According to the information provided during the keynote presentation, one of the models will be offered for $499.  Further information was not available at the time of this writing.  Unfortunately the phone is not expected to ship until June of 2007 which means that those chomping at the bit to lay down their hard earned money will have to wait.

Jobs did hint at additional product announcements coming over the next few months.  With the great features found in the iPhone, it seems logical that a new version of the iPod will be forthcoming.  The iPhone’s max capacity will be 8GB.  That still leaves a great deal of need for high capacity iPods with the new interface, screen size, and functionality.

With an unprecedented, and largely unfounded series of rumors preceding the iPhone’s announcement, it’s impressive to see Apple delivering on a product that looks like it will actually surpass expectations.  With months to go before the product reaches the market, all we can do is sit back and see if the average consumer will be willing to a hefty price for a product that might well do for the cell phone what the iPod did for portable music.


Steve

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