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This Friday will mark the two month anniversary of our launching WhatsOniPhone: An iPhone Application News And Review Site.
It’s amazing to us that eight weeks have already gone by. During this time we seen the release of the iPhone 3G, the App Store, and the upgraded firmware that turns the iPhone 3G into the best mini-computer ever. Since July 11th there have been two firmware updates and the number of available apps has swelled to over 2000. A lot has happened in just eight weeks and we’re just getting started.
The growth of WhatsOniPhone has been fantastic and we have all of you to thank. We were trying to think of a fun way to express our gratitude when we realized- while WOiP is about finding the very best stuff for the INSIDE of your iPhone or iPod Touch, we had better make sure we protect the OUTSIDE, too.
One of our favorite ways to do that is with a case from SENA Cases. As Dan wrote a few weeks back, between SENA’s WalletSkin case and eWallet he no longer carries a separate wallet. (His full review can be found here.) While the WalletSkin is a great case, SENA also offers a variety of other options so that all tastes and needs are covered. Each is made from the same high quality leather and superb craftsmanship. While we like them all, we especially like the UltraSlim Pouch and the brand new Dockable case. So we’ll be giving away one of each (in black) this Friday.
Read on for how to enter…
As I recently posted, I have become a huge fan of reQall. The service itself, the gorgeous, easy to use, resident iPhone application and the responsiveness of the company (all the way to the very top leadership) combine to make it one of the standout productivity applications currently available. It has quickly become one of the most used applications on my iPhone 3G.
I had the opportunity to speak with Deb Miller, reQall’s VP of Products, earlier today and I am now even more enamoured of the company and excited for what comes next.
In talking to Deb two things particularly stood out–
The first is how responsive the folks at reQall are to customer feedback. I wrote about my fantastic experience when I ran into difficulties last week but it is now clear that that kind of responsiveness is the RULE, not the EXCEPTION. As much as the reQall team has a clear vision of where they want to take the product, they are also quite attentive to feature requests on their forums.
Which leads to the really big news…
For anyone who uses the Getting Things Done approach to task management Things from Cultured Code is an excellent option. The Mac application has a neat, clean interface and makes creative use of tagging for much of the detail for each specific task. The iPhone app has an equally nice interface and is uncluttered as compared to some of the other excellent choices such as OmniFocus.
The biggest problem with Things was that integration between the Mac applicaiton and the iPhone app did not exist. As a result, for the last month the two applications had no way to communicated with one another. All that changed tonight with the release of Things Version 1.1
As you can see from the image to the left, the main feature of the new version is the ability to sync with the desktop version.
How does it work? Quite well, actually.
After spending more than a few hours trying to update my iPhone and being repeatedly visited by this:
I finally broke down and did a full restore on my iPhone with the new firmware. It is back up and the main apps I use have been downloaded again. (I chose to load them fresh from the server rather than through iTunes) I have been using it for a bit.
A few initial observations-
While it might be my imagination the device feels MUCH "zippier" now.
It is definately NOT my imagination that apps that took a tremendous amount of time to download previously now downloaded is half the time or less. I am in the same place, the WiFi connection is running at the same speed but from the app’s icon first appearing to it being loaded was… fast.
Have you loaded the new firmware? If so, I would love to hear whether or not you are seeing a difference.
iPhone firmware update 2.0.2 just arrived on iTunes.
Initial word is that it contains "bug fixes" so hopefully the connectivity issues will be resolved by it. The number of iPhone affected by these issues may be "just 2%" but 2% of millions is kinda large. While my iPhone has been quite stable I’m still downloading it right now. and will let you know what, if any, impact we see.
I have the good fortune to be married to someone who is an excellent cook. Trained by the Natural Gourmet in Manhattan, she not only prepares amazing food, but she prepares amazing food that is incredibly healthy. I share this not to brag (although I do think she is amazong on many levels- this just one) but because, thanks to her, I have never needed to think about my diet or count points. When I needed to lose weight a few years ago and went on South Beach, she proceeded to guide me and do all the food prep and I needed. Thanks to her, tracking my food intake is not an issue.
For those who don’t have a culinary expert as a spouse (or is one) iPhone applications like Edibles could be a huge benefit. COULD BE but, in this case, IS NOT. Why? Because for an app designed to be "a food journal for tracking a specific value related to whatever diet you are doing" this is a joke or, at least, should not have been released. In its current form, for any diet that requires nutritional information, it is a complete waste of $6.
Since upgrading to the iPhone 3G I rarely sync my devices anymore. In fact, since my email, contacts and calendar sync over the air now (so long as MobileMe is working), the only reason for me to perform a physical sync is to back up apps I downloaded directly to my device and to transfer new podcasts and audiobooks from my Mac.
I am a big fan of audio books and have subscribed to Audible.com, the DRM’ed Audio Book service, for a few years now. DRM may be "evil" as Jamie put it yesterday, but you can’t beat the content.
Now word comes that Audible has begun AudibleAir, a service to stream your Audible content directly to your phone.
Audible’s ad says it all-
Give your phone something to say. Now all of the great content at audible.com is available to you on your cell phone. No matter where you go, you can wirelessly and automatically download spoken word audio to your mobile phone. So who’s to say that important call on the other line isn’t something you really, really want to listen to? Take your bookshelf with you. AudibleAir makes managing and accessing your audible.com audio effortless and sensible. From newspaper delivery to your favorite periodicals that update themselves to audiobook chapters that download as you need them and delete themselves after you’ve listened to them, this is technology the way it was meant to work. This is AudibleAir.
Great! Right?!? NOT SO FAST…
One of the real surprise apps for me was Koi Pond. I downloaded it expecting it to fall into the "crApp App" camp but have found that I really like it.
I know, I know, it is a little embarrassing to admit, but I like having a virtual Koi Pond on my iPhone.
It might be the fact that the sound when you touch the water is amazingly realistic…
It could be the fact that the water responds so realistically that you almost think it’s real…
Or maybe, just maybe, it’s the fact that in a world that moves so quickly, Koi Pond makes you slow down for a minute. And that is always a good thing.
Regardless, Koi Pond just got an update to version 2 that brings new goodies to this silly, but endlessly entertaining, app.
By: Marco Arment
Out of all the various apps that I have come to use on a regular basis (and believe it or not there aren’t that many), one of them has really stood out for me. I’m a music buff, and like most music buffs, I’m always looking for that new unique sound, band, etc. But I only have so many friends, and they only listen to so much music that they can recommend. Moreover, let’s be honest, how many times have you found someone with the exact same tastes as you? Could a computer formula help me find stuff I like? The resounding answer is Yes!
Pandora has been an unbelievable source of good recommendations for music I haven’t heard before. Within the first few days, it was playing songs brand new to me that I liked. More than once I found myself running to the iPhone (mine is hooked up to my stereo when listening to music at home) and quickly hitting the thumbs up button so I could come back to that song later. Pandora has done an amazing job introducing me to stuff I want but didn’t know existed.
Problems with Pandora? I have a bad feeling that they are going the way of the dinosaur. It’s not that they want to, or not by any lack of interest by users (do you have any clue HOW many people have already downloaded their iPhone app???), but due to a big comet called "music licensing". It seems that royalty fees have skyrocketed and Pandora is running out of money. Rumor has it they aren’t going to be around much longer which, of course, I am dreading.
So what am I supposed to do? I just want to simplify my music and listen to new stuff I don’t have but might like.