Once upon a time, I dismissed the iPhone as a wannabe smartphone, lacking the key features that truly warranted that label. Since I wrote that column about two years ago, Apple has gone on a feature-adding rampage—adding push email, support for Exchange servers, third-party applications, and a veritable alphabet soup of new acronyms (GPS, MMS, and 3G, for starters). Two years into the iPhone era, the device is so much more than a phone with an iPod attached— it’s an instant-on, always-connected, pocket-sized computer.
On paper, the 3GS doesn’t seem like a major upgrade from the previous-generation iPhone, especially when you consider that many of the bullet points on the 3GS’s feature list came to older iPhones in the form of the 3.0 firmware release. And at first glance, even the new 3GS-exclusive features—a faster CPU, more memory, a more capable GPU, faster network connectivity, a higher-resolution camera that can finally shoot video, voice control for key features, and a compass—seem like a mixture of unsexy, incremental, shoulda-been-there-already features, and just plain meh. Worse, some of the features require carrier support, so things like MMS messages, higher-speed HSPDA support, and tethering won’t be available in the United States until AT&T deigns to support them.
Steve Ballmer recently sat down with Techcrunch to wax philosophical about browsers and their connection to the operating system. Ballmer was asked about the legal disputes over Internet Explorer bundling. Without missing a beat, he called the notion that operating systems can be independent of internet access “not a sensible concept”.
Ballmer went on to take a few swings at the upcoming Chrome OS, saying, “If you remember, [Marc Andreessen] said something like, Windows will just be a poorly debugged set of device drivers running Netscape… Now, that’s kind of basically the attitude expressed in Chrome Browser, Chrome OS.” He also called Chrome’s browser market share a “rounding error”, but noted that Firefox is having a real impact. Ouch for Chrome.
When asked about how Microsoft will fare against the continued onslaught of competitors, he answered like he’d been thinking about it a lot. Ballmer explained that Macs attack from the top of the market, and PC sales have gained a bit on Macs in the last year as people shied away from more expensive options. He went on to say that Netbooks were going to continue to be a big part of the Windows strategy.
Ballmer clearly lays out a world in which competitors are sometimes operating systems, sometimes browsers, and in the future may even be both. Even with all these new threats, he seems pretty sure Microsoft will stay on top. What do you think?
After the USB Implementers Forum reprimanded Palm for using Apple’s USB Vendor ID to re-enable iTunes sync on the Pre – Apple had blocked Palm’s Vendor ID, Palm was left with little choice but to abandon the practice. With the release of webOS 1.2 for the Pre, Palm has grudgingly abandoned its fixation with iTunes and opted for Amazon in its stead. Users can now download their favorite tracks from the Amazon MP3 store using either WiFi or WAN. But iTunes aficionados, who own a Pre for some reason, can use third-party alternatives like double Twist and iTunes Agent to enable iTunes sync on their own.
Apple today announced that its App Store has recorded more than two billion app downloads since the site first launched in July 2008. Apple added that there are now more than 50 million iPhone and iPod touch owners who have access to over 85,000 apps.
"The rate of App Store downloads continues to accelerate with users downloading a staggering two billion apps in just over a year, including more than half a billion apps this quarter alone," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "The App Store has reinvented what you can do with a mobile handheld device, and our users are clearly loving it."
Earlier this month, Jobs said there were 75,000 apps available at the App Store, with 1.8 billion downloads recorded. That means in this month alone, the App Store added 10,000 more apps, or half as many as Android Market's entire catalog. And with Google recently dropping the hammer on Android's third-party ROM development community, Apple's probably in no immediate danger of being dethroned.
Apple has been called out in the past for using its software updater to push unwanted applications out to Windows users, but apparently all the bad press wasn’t enough to teach them a lesson claims ZDNet blogger Ed Bott. Apparently Apple has taken to forcing out its new “iPhone Configuration Utility” using their automated Software Updater, and even systems that have never come in contact with an iPhone before are being targeted.
Upon further testing he was able to confirm that this update was being suggested out to every system that had allowed the Apple Software Updater to become installed, and suggests users keep a close eye on it to avoid downloading applications they don’t need. It’s bad enough Apple keeps trying to force Safari on Windows users, but iPhone configuration utilities for those without iPhones? That’s low.
When did dating get so complicated? In the 'old' days, it was boy meets girl, boy meets girl's father, girl's father wields shotgun while interrogating boy, boy returns girl by agreed upon curfew. Simple, right?
Not anymore, but if you own an iPhone, you can weed out potentially bad dates before ever bringing them home to meet the 'rents. A new app called DateCheck runs a background check on a would-be Romeo to see if he's been hiding a criminal past, including sexual assaults, drug arrests, or drunken driving.
Players be warned - the app also exposes financial data, such as how big your house is, the home's price, and how much real estate tax is paid, TGDaily reports.
There’s been loose talk of a Zune phone for some time now, and it looks like we’ve finally found out what it might be. According to some scoop from the folks over at Gizmodo, Microsoft’s reported Pink phone is the device at large, and it’ll come in two forms.
The two models, which are known as the Turtle and the Pure, look an awful lot like a Palm Pre and a Sidekick respectively. The phones will be made by Sharp, who will share branding with Microsoft. The phones are reportedly aimed at a younger audience, which explains the perpetually round aesthetics.
For some time now Apple has stolen all the thunder when it comes to the idea of a tablet – but it appears that we’ve been looking in the wrong place. In a very real announcement, Microsoft has revealed their Courier tablet concept, and it looks absolutely divine.
The Courier (which can be seen in conceptual video form here), is reportedly in the late stages of development and despite its appearance, is a tablet, not a booklet. The 7-inch screens will support multitouch, writing, flicking, and drawing with a stylus or your fingers. A hinge that houses an iPhone-style home button, which you can use to bookmark pages, connects them both. The back cover will sport a three megpixel camera, and the lights that display status (wireless signal, battery life, etc.) will line up on the bottom.
No word yet on pricing or availability, but there’ll be plenty of news to come in the next few days.
We're not sure if the grass is necessarily greener on the other side, but it doesn't have to be, so long as there's more green to go around. Citing sources who have spoken on the condition of anonymity, The Loop says Microsoft has been in contact with numerous Apple retail store managers to come work for the competition in exchange for a pay raise.
Sources say not only are Apple employees being offered "significant raises," but in some cases, Microsoft is willing to pay for moving expenses as well. Once hired, the ex-Apple employees begin contacting the top sales staff from their previous place of employment to offer them a higher paying job at Microsoft.
Good move by Microsoft or foul play? Hit the jump and sound off.
More details of Apple’s rejection of Google Voice for the iPhone have come to light. When Google, Apple, and AT&T submitted their letters to the FCC back in August, a large portion of Google’s was redacted. Speculation was that the section (which dealt with what Apple actually told Google) contained descriptions of sensitive correspondence between the two companies.
Today Google allowed the FCC to post the full text. Sure enough, the previously redacted section detailed the contact Apple had with Google. This culminated with none other than Apple Senior VP of Marketing, Phil Schiller, calling Google on July 7 to say the Google Voice app was rejected. This seems to directly contradict Apple’s assertion to the FCC that they hadn’t rejected Google Voice, but were still studying it.
Now the plot thickens even more, as Apple put out a statement saying, "We do not agree with all of the statements made by Google in their FCC letter. Apple has not rejected the Google Voice application and we continue to discuss it with Google." Rejected or not, it still means iPhone users don’t have a Google Voice app. Is Apple arguing semantics here, or just straight-up lying?