Category Archives: iPhone

Speculation on future AppleTV

Guy English: How I’d Build an Apple Television Set

The piece of Guy’s essay that appeals to me most is this:

So if you’re in an Apple based household the odds are good that your new Apple TV will be able to talk to one of your other devices and get the required network info from it. I’d bet heavily that this capability makes its way into AirPort devices and Macs. “Want to let this device on your network?”, is exactly the level of simplicity that Apple tends to aim for.

Setting up and using an AirPort network is much simpler than any of the other wifi routers I’ve played with over the years and my guess is that Apple is going to continue to make it simpler to add new devices to the network, including the AppleTV. It’s easy now and it will be even easier which is part of the puzzle of making a living room appliance that’s easy to use and integrate with other devices you already own.

I’m not entirely convinced that Apple will get into the flat panel TV business but I’m convinced that they’ll expand the capabilities of the current AppleTV, turning a Sony or Samsung flat panel TV set into a dumb HD screen, which is fine by me, I hate the menus on my Sony Bravia.

[via Steve Splonskowski]

Talk to the wrist

Apple’s Work on Wearable Computer Concepts Includes Wrist-Wrapping iPod with Siri

Imagine an iPod Nano wristwatch that’s also a bluetooth-connected communicator. Makes perfect sense, the question isn’t if Apple will make this, more like when.

Not sure I want to have even a short phone conversation talking to my wrist but for some things I think it might work out quite well. Bring up a todo list, a shopping list, a music list (on the phone, not the iPod), and more with voice using Siri.

Amazing comment thread at MacRumors, a few are asking why one needs a wristwatch, assuming that if one has an iPhone one can always get the time from it. Man, am I old. Not only do I wear a wristwatch, I wear an analog wristwatch (and it’s not an iPod with an analog screen on it).

New Samsung A5 plant in Austin

Samsung’s New Texas Factory for A5 Chip Production Now Fully Operational

If you don’t think Apple is making a lot of iOS devices, read the numbers on this: Samsung built a 1.6 million square foot, $3.6 billion plant in Austin, Texas to build Apple A5 processor chips for iPhone 4S and iPad 2 devices.

Since the devices are assembled in China at the moment I wonder if this marks a move by Apple to have an assembly plant in the United States. I’d love that. But, short of that, the more components in these devices that are manufactured in the US, the more Americans will have jobs even if the factories are owned by other countries, in this case, Samsung is a Korean company.

iPhones buying iPhones

Apple’s Retail Self-Checkout Doing Well, Strong Promotion Coming at Grand Central

Apple has an iPhone app called Apple Store that’s grown to not only help you locate the nearest Apple store and schedule a genius appointment but it also allows iPhone 4 and 4S users to easily buy things in any Apple store using “Easy Pay” which allows the scanning of barcodes of Apple Store merchandise, paying and leaving the store without having to talk an Apple Store employee. Nothing wrong with talking to them, most of them take happy pills and are very nice, but this new system helps you get in and out of a usually mobbed Apple store with the goods you want quickly.

This is brilliant and reminds me of robots building robots except in this case it’s iPhones buying iPhones.

Memo Touch

Introducing Memo Touch, a tablet designed for elders with short-term memory loss

While the implementation may not be the best, this is a killer good idea and it allows family members to log into the account and set up reminders.

Of course, someone might write an app like this for iOS and then one could have all the benefits of an iPad plus a custom reminder system.

The problem with any idea like this is it has to be made fully accessible to people who can’t see, hear, or use the tablet’s UI well.

I think this is a job for my friend David Niemeijer at AssistiveWare.

AssistiveTouch

Apple’s AssistiveTouch Helps the Disabled Use a Smartphone

David Pogue is pretty worked up over AssistiveTouch and I can see why. After reading his piece I just played around with it and it’s quite fantastic. Settings/General/Accessibility/AssistiveTouch.

Try it (iOS 5), it’s quite interesting.

I’m most interested to see if it might make the iPad more accessible to my 96 year old mother. I don’t think so but it would be great if Apple worked on making iOS devices more accessible to the elderly.

More on iPhone 4S battery issue

In my last report on this I noted that an Apple phone support person (Patrick) had me completely reset my iPhone: back it up to iTunes, reinstall iOS5, then sync my stuff back onto it.

When I did this yesterday it seemed to be helping, a single full charge lasted all day and while I wasn’t using Siri heavily (Siri was down yesterday) I did various things with the phone during the day.

Last night when I went to bed I noticed that the phone was at 78% charge and I left it unplugged to see if standby mode would wipe it out again. The phone was connected to our wifi network and to our AT&T macrocell so I assume that it’s nightly maintenance connections got made and it was active during the night.

The good news is that this morning it has a 76% charge on it, only losing 2% overnight.

No doubt the update to iOS 5 will improve battery life even more but there is now no doubt in my mind that completely resetting the phone helped a lot and people who have this problem should at least do this step, it can’t hurt.

I may eat these words in the next few days: I’ll be in New York tomorrow and I have a friend coming to visit who’s an iPhone user and who will want to mess with this new phone. My phone will get a good workout and we’ll see if Patrick’s “fix” is what I think it is. But I’m a lot happier today than I was yesterday, and this is a good thing. Of course, having electricity in the house (finally) doesn’t hurt.

Possible fix for iPhone 4S battery issue

I’ve only had my iPhone 4S for a week but I noticed early on that it was sucking battery juice much more rapidly than my iPhone 4 with the same apps and iOS 5 on it. Unfortunately, we lost power for almost a week so it was tough to get it charged regularly to test various things. Today the power came back and I was on the phone with Apple and we made the appointment for me to get down to the Danbury Apple store to swap the phone for a new one.

But, Patrick, my excellent Apple phone support person asked me if I’d tried backing up the phone, then using iTunes to restore it to factory settings minus my apps and data. In other words, clean it off and reinstall iOS 5 from scratch. No one had recommended I do this and he thought if I did it it might give me a baseline to see if the problem with battery was my apps sucking juice, iOS 5 sucking juice, or underneath it all a problem battery.

It was worth a try so while we were on the phone I backed it up again, then reset the phone to factory settings reinstalling iOS 5 in the process. I did not migrate my stuff back.

I got on our network, got it on our AT&T micro-cell, got it up and running, charged it to 100% and put it to sleep and went outside to carry the bags of now defrosted tomatoes from our garden to the trash (boo, we lost all our frozen vegetables).

I came back in an hour later and the phone was still at 100%. This was a good enough sign for me and I then synced all of my apps and stuff back on, checked things out to make sure the sync worked correctly, charged back up to 100%, put the phone to sleep and went outside again.

Two hours later the phone is at 97%. This is a great sign.

I may still have a problem phone and given my calls to Applecare I’m sure I’ll be able to swap it for the next month, but, I’m going to stick with it for a while and wait for the iOS 5 update to come out and see what happens.

The short of it is, if you’re not getting what you think you ought to out of a charged battery try reinstalling the system, it may help. It can’t hurt.

More off the grid

I’m back at the Danbury Mall to charge up our electronics and be online for a bit. Today I brought a power strip and I’m sitting on the floor near enough to the Apple Store to get on their network which is fine and far enough away from the mall walkers so I’m not distracted by tweens and teens marching around.

We still have no power and may not have it for the rest of this week. Not sure about that and no one seems to know when our inept power company, Connecticut Light and Power, will get to our little town. Amazingly, a mile away down the road there’s full power so the post office, gas station, restaurants and some stores are open. This is a good thing but it frustrates us since power is so close.

A large tree came down on the east side of Lake Waramaug and cross the road and maybe took out the power. That may be the only problem or the largest problem and if it is, as soon as they get a crew on it they’ll have it restored in a day. But no doubt there are other problems too.

I cut up some of the big downed branches and did some yard cleanup in wet snow this morning. It’s warming up so the snow should melt pretty fast now, we sure hope so since we still have maple leaves and now a load of oak leaves to get up before “winter.”

AT&T restored power to the one tower we can get a signal from (2 bars if we’re lucky) so we have very bad but some cell coverage.

My theory on why iPhone 4S phones are having battery problems (I have one, I have battery problems) is that using Siri and many of the new iOS5 location aware utilities off wifi and on a cell network, especially a weak one, draws a lot of current. Couple that with the new A5 chip in the 4S and you have a problem.

Once we have power and our home network is up I’m going to experiment using my 4S without Siri just as I did my 4 to see if it’s only Siri or it’s also the new stuff in iSO5. Anne is running iOS 5 on her iPhone 4 and it’s definitely draining faster than it did before. Both phones can go from 30% to empty while in sleep mode so since we can’t charge at home at the moment we’re shutting things down overnight. This is helping. More on this soon when I get recharged myself.

Stay warm wherever you are, not sure when I’ll post again but I’ll try to get here or somewhere from time to time.

Informal e-reader library comparison

Informal e-reader library comparison

Marco Arment (creator of Instapaper) has done a very nice comparison of the Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and iBooks on the iPad. He’s comparing availability of content (books and periodicals) less usability of the various tools.

By the way, Instapaper on the iPad is an incredible way to read articles that you’ve stored there. It caches the articles so they can be read offline and has many of iBooks’ reading features like type size and face control and more.

Ask Different

Ask Different

Ask Different is a brilliantly built discussion site that allows people to ask questions about their Apple products and get a variety of answers and tips from others.

I first heard about it back here and I decided to subscribe to its RSS feed for a while to see what kinds of questions and answers were being put up.

In short order I figured I might be able to answer a few of the questions so I registered and posted an answer. That led to another and pretty soon I was hooked, less on being a know-it-all (I know much less than most people posting there) but on the challenge of attempting to explain in words the answers to various questions (one can also post screen shot images there).

Questions and answers are rated, much like Amazon or eBay reviews might be and in this case it’s less about a popularity contest, more about helping folks find the credible sources and to support well written questions and answers. Brilliant.

I’ve learned quite a bit from this feed, not just answers to my own technical questions but also about the types of questions and problems people are having in the Apple world. Ask Different could easily turn into a more up to date and fluid source than Apple’s support area or Wikipedia (Apple products) for these types of things. Certainly a parallel source for more specific questions.

Many of my Mac and iOS using friends who read this blog could easily become addicted to this so I’m warning you, be careful.

B&H Photo app

B&H Photo has a free iPhone app that’s quite good and if nothing else allows you to check out your wish list(s) while browsing around the store, instead of printing them out as I usually do.

Tip: consider making wish lists of things you buy often, like ink and paper for for your printer. That way you’re not searching all the time for things. I have four wishlists:

Stuff I want (camera gear)
Stuff I have (camera gear
Ink and Paper
Other stuff (other electronics)

I now have access to these lists on my iPhone. Useful and no doubt useful for B&H too.

B&H Photo app in iTunes

Phonetic pronunciation field

I just read on Shawn Blanc’s site about a new field in iOS 5′s Contacts app for adding a phonetic pronunciation of a name so that Siri gets it right.

That same field is in the Address Book in Mac OS 10.7.2 so you can add those phonetic equivalents for your iPhone 4S and Siri on your Mac if you like, syncing through iCoud.

Add the field in Address Book’s Preferences/Template pull down.

screen shot of a dialog box

Apple October 4, 2011 Special Event

Apple has posted the video of yesterday’s October 4, 2011 Special Event.

I really like Tim Cook’s style, I think he did extremely well in this new role. No doubt the pressure was on. I loved his pauses to underscore some of this points. He’s not Steve Jobs and that’s just fine.

Here’s the iPhone 4S video and while we’re at it, the iCloud video and the iOS 5 video.

Apple iPhone 4S Siri demo

Today Apple released the new iPhone 4S which looks similar to the iPhone 4 on the outside but has a new processor, antennae, and more. It will be running the new iOS 5 which will also run on iPhone 4s and 3GS models.

I didn’t see or track today’s big announcement from Tim Cook at Apple but it seems to me that the new iPhone 4S’s power will be essential for running the Siri Assistant. I can’t wait to use Siri, it looks fantastic.

Here’s Apple’s page for Siri.

Note that Siri isn’t just about control, it also does dictation. This is extremely meaningful to the disabilities community as well as those of us who find the iPhone’s on screen keyboard tough. I can’t wait for Siri to move onto the iPad and Mac OSX.

Assistant

Apple’s ‘Assistant’ Seen as Key Feature for New iPhone Hardware

Apple has been thinking about virtual assistants for years. Some of you may remember their mock up called Knowledge Navigator that included a visual person in the form of a guy with a bow tie. That bow tie guy is an assistant who understands natural language and figures stuff out.

We’re starting down that path with this new assistant.

Apple is using speech to text technology from Nuance Siri to power Assistant. Here’s Siri’s demo I posted about earlier. Apple’s assistant technology will be built into iOS 5.

My guess is this kind of assistant will be part of all Apple products at some point.

Public Library Books for Kindle

Public Library Books for Kindle

You can borrow Kindle books from more than 11,000 libraries in the United States to read on any generation Kindle device, free Kindle app, or in your browser with Kindle Cloud Reader. Public library books for Kindle provide the same unique features as Kindle and Kindle books, including Whispersync technology that synchronizes your notes, highlights and last page read, real page numbers, and more. This feature will become available to libraries nationwide in the coming days.

This is a very big deal. Amazon is really on to something here.