Apple Starts to Unlock iPhones?


On August 27, 2009

I just read that Apple is going to start unlocking it’s phone–but only in Finland.  I (personally) hope this is just the tip of the iceberg. Before you know it, I predict that other countires will be freeing users from their carriers. As more and more countries start to fall in love with their iPhone, more and more pressure is going to be put on Apple to make the  iphone ‘open’ to other networks. 

I think that freeing the iPhone from it a particular carrier will open the market to a broader base of users that are tied to a particular carrier because of a contract, requirement by their employer, or just preference for their service.  I can’t wait to see this happen.  Opening up the phone to all carriers be great for us users–as we’d get more "freedom"–and great for Apple–as they gain more market share; thereby making the iPhone even more ubiqutous in today’s culture.

Wall Street Journal talks about App Store marketing


On August 26, 2009

The Wall Street Journal has posted an article recently in its blogs section about the methodolgies that developers can use to market their app in the App Store.  Not surprisingly, some of them rely on timing and luck.

One interesting tactic that was mentioned was trying to quickly turn around a copycat app for a popular one.  Do you realize how many iFart clones are now in the App Store?  Seriously, as the App Store gets larger and obtains a greater variety of apps, it’s going to be tougher to create an original app for the iPhone (although this example of an app that can be used in conjunction with a rifle seems pretty original to me).

Another interesting fact is that the number one method mentioned for getting your app noticed on iTunes is good old word of mouth.  This is where sites such as What’s On iPhone come in.  I encourage all you developers to contact us with promo codes so we can take a gander and hopefully give you a good review.

Having never created or published an app, I was surprised when reading about the problems with release dates.  I heard that the vetting process for new apps takes months because there is such a long queue.  The approval process has a reputation for disorganization, but I’m sure Apple is doing its best.

If you’re a developer, what methodologies have you used to promote your application?  Did they work?


Is the Tom Tom App + Kit a good idea?


On August 25, 2009

I’m going to go out on a limb here–I’m betting that almost everybody here likes gadgets.  So when I heard about the Tom Tom GPS app, my first thought was "COOL!"

Then when I saw  the pricetag was $100 I thought, "Ok–but it’s a GPS in the phone, and if I didn’t have a GPS, this would be Cool."

Then I saw the kit costs another $100.  Um, where’d the ‘cool’ factor go?

From what I’ve read, the kit comes with a charger (nice), it’s own GPS chip that is supposed to be more accurate (not too bad), and it works with an iTouch. 

So with a few extras it MAY be worth it, but then again, for $200 I could purchase a stand alone unit and listen to Pandora on my iPhone.

Maybe I’m missing something? Tell me what you think!

Microsoft Office for iPhone?


On August 21, 2009

Microsoft and Apple (as well as Google, Palm and many others) have noted the growing importance of portable computing and thus created a new front in their war.  Microsoft is in the process of creating an updated version of Windows Mobile to compete with the iPhone.  Just to prove who they’re going after, they named it Windows Phone.  Note that they didn’t call it "MicroBerry".

I own both a Windows Mobile phone and an iPod Touch.  Windows Mobile comes with Office Mobile pre-installed and I’m wondering why Microsoft doesn’t sell Office Mobile for the iPod Touch or iPhone.  Granted, I don’t use it for typing that much (still waiting for that bluetooth keyboard) but it would be nice to be able to read Excel or Word files on the go.

Granted, I don’t think it would be cheap ($99.99 sounds about right) and it wouldn’t have the full functionality of the desktop version of Office, but why would Microsoft cut itself off from additional revenue like that?  You could argue that Apple is a competitor, yet Microsoft still allows their software to be installed on the Mac.

Microsoft, who pretty much owns the world of business desktop operating systems, has released very few pieces of iPhone software.  Does Steve Ballmer honestly feel that it’s not a viable market?  When 25% of the world’s music sales come from iTunes (as well as a growing number of apps), one has to question his wisdom in the matter.  Perhaps he knows something we don’t.

It’s only a matter of time before Microsoft starts developing Office for the iPhone (the only Microsoft apps I found are Tag Reader and Seadragon Mobile).  Until then, you’ll have to use Documents To Go or something similar.

Sling Player 1.1 for iPhone Is Out!



Well, this time it only took Apple a whole week to approve the latest version of Sling Player for the iPhone.  Does it allow you to access your videos over the 3G network?!  No.

I honestly can’t understand why AT&T wont allow this feature to be activated for the iPhone.  Sling Player on Blackjack ON AT&T works fine.  Whats with the double standard?  I just don’t get it.

Maybe when iPhone moves to Verizon (yeah right), we will finally get 3G support… for now, the 1.1 upgrade gives us these features;

Full 16×9 widescreen support (SOLO, PRO, and PRO-HD)

DISH Remote Access integration

Faster startup and channel surfing

and a better remote control interface

Do you have the sling player for the iPhone?  What do you think of it?  Is it worth having if you can only view it on a wi-fi connection?  The jury is out for us.

Pitt Power


On August 20, 2009

 A city cannot live on ice hokey alone. In the off-season, folks in Pittsburgh now have their own app to help maintain metropolis where the Three Rivers meet.

YinzCam and the city of Pittsburgh worked together to create iBurgh, a city-government-focused app. The iBurgh app is free and allows its users to connect with Pittsburgh’s 311 system. Using a geotagging system, civic-minded citizens can take pictures of fallen trees, worrisome potholes, and other public trouble spots, which are then processed and mapped by the app for repair by the city.

According to an article by Debra Diamond Smit at, the app is a national first:

"For the past few months we’ve been in a race against Boston, D.C., New York City and San Francisco to be the first city in the country to apply a mobile application to local government," says Councilman Bill Peduto, the driving force behind the push to partner with local tech companies and make the city the first e-democracy in the country. "This starts the process to not only expand our ability to communicate with local government, but empower people through an emerging industry that will start here. Pittsburgh will be the home of e-democracy."

First started as a research project at Carnegie Mellon, YinzCam is headed up by  Priya Narasimhan, the director of Carnegie Mellon’s Mobility Research Center. The group’s previous focus was in-arena events mobile technology. The team of sports fans launches their first effort during the 2008-9 NHL season as well as the Eastern Conference playoffs for the Pittsburgh Penguins first success came with the pilot of YinzCam, which allowed fans a close-up look at the action on the ice as well as player info and other stats.

What’s a Yinz? The people at YinzCam note: “The term "yinz" is the Pittsburghese derivation for the original Scots-Irish term "you ones," and is commonly used to represent the plural form of "you."

What government activities would you like to take care of via iPhone?

A Face Lift


On August 19, 2009

 Looks like Facebook is about to move up and out of the number-10 spot on the Top Free Apps list at the app store—the 3.0 update for Facebook has been sent to Apple for review. According to the developer, Facebook’s Joe Hewitt’s Twitter account, the app was submitted Aug, 16.  Hewitt also uploaded images of the new version on the app’s page on Facebook.

In the updated version, the social media hotspot will offer a broader variety of services that more closely resembles the web-based product, including a new News Feed, a Like option, and an Events feature (including the ability to RSVP).

Just in case that’s not enough, work has already started on the next update. Hewitt noted on Twitter, Sunday night “As excited as I am about 3.0, I am *really* excited about 3.1, which I get to start working on tomorrow. Tonight I can relax.”

The iPad? What’s in a name?


On August 18, 2009

According to popular rumor, the new large-screen tablet that Apple will begin marketing next year has a name:  iPad.  This is according to a choice on a Borders bookstore survey.  Now, the name could simply be an assumption on the part of Borders or it could be a leak from behind the Apple Iron Curtain.

Leaks don’t come easily from Cupertino, which is how Steve Jobs and company can surprise the public so often.  They’re wise in not having any sort of response.  Perhaps Apple leaked it intentionally to try the name out and see if it works.  On the other hand, if it were leaked, it would likely find its way to something larger than a Borders survey.

iPad is actually a pretty good name for the device.  The name evokes the iPod (and likely fits in the family if rumors are true and it will be running the iPod Touch OS rather than Snow Leopard or any other Mac OS) but is different enough for people to think of it as a functionally unique device.  On the other hand, it could make some folks think of tampons or something.  What next?  The iMaxiPad?  Perhaps "iTablet" would be a better name.

Granted, I don’t plan to buy an "iPad", particularly due to what I perceive as a high price if the rumors are true.  I may splurge on a new iPod Touch if it does, in fact, come with a camera.  We’ll have to wait until September to separate rumors from truth.

TomTom for iPhone US & Canada Released


On August 17, 2009

TomTom released the US & Canada version of their iPhone app today for $99 and according to the TomTom press release features include;

  • Navigation software including fast route planning and clear voice instructions
  • Automatic re-routing if a turn is missed
  • Route demo or map of route when trip planning
  • Alternative route options if avoiding roadblocks, toll ways or looking for high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes along route
  • 6 million Points of Interest included
  • Night and day color mode for optimized screen visibility in varying light conditions
  • Change view settings (2D or 3D map display)
  • Points-of-interest search and call capabilities from iPhone

In addition, the app includes multi-touch pinch to zoom capabilities, portrait and landscape modes, and integration with the phone’s contact list. TomTom IQ Routes are also included (recommends the best possible route based on the driving habits of others).

TomTom iPhone sales starting!



Tom Tom is finally available for the iPhone.  Some countries have already gone live including Australia and New Zealand, and it seems like the U.S. and Canada as well as 20 others will follow over the next 24 hours.

Prices seem to be as follows (as shown in the New Zealand iTunes system);

– U.S. & Canada: NZ $124.99 (US $84.41)
– Western Europe: NZ $179.99 (US $121.55)
– Australia: NZ $104.99 (US $70.90)
– New Zealand: NZ $119.99 (US $81.03)

These prices are only for the app / maps and obviously dont include the hardware car kit with mounts, additional GPS receiver, built in speaker, and power cables.  The additional kit will also have an audio output and mic so the iPhone can be used as a bluetooth speakerphone.  Tomtom also made a pre-order available at some retailers in the UK which included both app and car kit for around $163.39 USD.

I guess we will know much more details and pricing as the app begins to appear in more countries over the next day or so.

 What do you think?  Gonna buy it?  Ready to put away your portable Garmin for the iPhone TomTom?