Sep 23

Google Gmail Comic One of the only true Gmail disappointments over the years has been the service’s lack of Push support for most mobile devices – including the iPhone. We’ve been lamenting this missing functionality for some time, but today, our laments are no more. 

Push Gmail is now a reality!

iPhone and iPod touch users can add Push Gmail to their handsets as long as they’re running the OS 3.0 or above.  Push service is available via Exchange, so when you set up the account in the Settings menu, be sure to select Exchange as the email service. 

For details on how to set up your iPhone with Push Gmail, click here.

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Jun 11

stereo_bluetooth One of the features we’re most looking forward to in the new iPhone 3.0 OS is Stereo Bluetooth support, also known as A2DP.  This means you can (FINALLY) use wireless Bluetooth headphones with the iPhone (the original iPhone won’t gain this ability in the 3.0 upgrade).

We had a lot of questions about this new functionality: Would it be locked down?  Would you be forced to buy Apple-approved Bluetooth headphones? Would Stereo Bluetooth work just in iPod mode or would all audio software be able to use it?

All of these questions – and more – are answered in a fantastic article by Jeremy Horwitz, Editor-in-Chief of iLounge.  Check out his article for all of the details on iPhone 3.0 and Stereo Bluetooth.

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Mar 17

iphone30 Apple took the wraps off the upcoming iPhone 3.0 OS this afternoon – along with a new SDK – giving us a look at what we can expect from the software update when it’s available later this year.

iPhone 3.0, according to Apple, boasts over 100 new and updated features.  Some of the more basic new features are (finally) Cut, Copy and Paste (text and photos, within and between apps), landscape and landscape keyboard support for all primary iPhone apps (including Mail and Notes), MMS support (including photos, contacts, audio and location), Auto-fill in Safari which will remember login information for web sites, Parental Controls, CalDAV shared calendar support, YouTube account support, updated news feature in the Stocks app, and Notes sync.

Push Notification will also be added to iPhone 3.0.  Because the iPhone does not (and will not) allow processes to run in the background (other than the native iPhone applications), Push Notification allows software developers to push alerts to your iPhone to prompting you to launch their app and view new data.  This will be particularly useful with third-party messaging applications.

There are two new apps being added to the iPhone with v3.0 of the OS: Spotlight and Voice Memo.  Spotlight is an app that will run on a new Home Screen window that’s to the left of the first Home Screen you see when you double press the Home button.  This window is Spotlight, a new all-in-one search center for the iPhone which you can use to search through email, notes, calendar entries, apps, music and more.  Voice Memo is a new app which allows users to record and edit voice memos, save them, email them or send them via MMS.

Apple is also allowing the iPhone with 3.0 to better communicate with accessories.  Hardware accessory makers can now write apps which can interface with and setup and/or control their accessories.  This will be particularly useful in that accessories makers will be able to allow the end user to adjust settings on the hardware without having to add a screen, buttons or other controls to the hardware itself.

iPhone 3.0 also adds A2DP Stereo Bluetooth support, meaning that you can finally use Bluetooth wireless headphones and earbuds with the iPhone and iPod touch without having to use a Bluetooth dongle.  We don’t know why this has taken so long, but it’s finally coming.  We hope that it will work with any Bluetooth audio device and not just the ones Apple will begin selling. 

Apple is also un-crippling onboard Bluetooth to allow Peer-to-Peer data transfers.  This will allow not only the transfer of contacts and other information to other Bluetooth-enabled devices, but also wireless gaming on the iPhone and iPod touch.

There were also details about changes to the iTunes App Store.  With 3.0, the App Store will support subscriptions (for digital magazines, etc.) and other purchases from within apps, a feature creatively titled In App Purchase.  With this feature, users can purchase additional elements of an app (levels, content, features, etc.) without having to leave the application.

We’re really excited about the new version of the iPhone OS, but we are a bit disappointed, too.  There will be no video recording from the onboard camera added.  There will be no turn-by-turn navigation, although Apple will make it easier for third-parties to create and sell navigation apps.  There was also no mention of voice dialing capabilities.  Better luck next time…

The iPhone 3.0 OS will be available in June or July of this year for the current iPhone, iPhone 3G and iPod touch devices.  The update will be free to iPhone users, and $10 for iPod touch users.  We also assume there will be a new model of iPhone released on or around the iPhone 3.0 release date.

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Mar 16

iPhone OS 3.0

Users won’t be able to get their hands on v3.0 of the iPhone OS until the summer, but Apple will unveil the newest version of its mobile OS during a media event scheduled for 12:00PM CDT tomorrow.

Apple is calling this an advance preview (redundant?), but hasn’t said much about what’s coming; that hasn’t stopped the speculation, of course, and predictions are flying about what users can expect.

Topping the list of possible features is Push Notification Server support, a capability long-promised by Apple but as yet unavailable. Because the iPhone doesn’t run third-party programs in the background, this would allow apps to be sent notifications when new data is available. For example, a third-party messaging app could alert you of a new incoming IM even if that messaging application isn’t running at the time.

Other predictions include Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), copy-and-paste, stereo Bluetooth headphone support, tethering (this is the ability to use the iPhone as a wireless modem over USB or Bluetooth; if true this feature will almost certainly require a monthly fee from AT&T), and even voice recognition.

We’ll post full details tomorrow during the announcement.

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Jan 09

apple_cal

While explaining why it is Apple will no longer officially participate in future MacWorld Expos, marketing executive and ‘09 keynote speaker Phil Schiller enumerated a loose calendar of product refresh cycles the company would like to stick to going forward.

According to Schiller, Apple’s product release cycles are as follows: “the iPod product cycle (October), the iLife development cycle (usually March), the iPhone cycle (June).”  January – the month in which the Expo has been held – does not fit into this schedule.

The last two iPhones – the original and 3G models – were each released in June, and iPods are usually released around September or October, so these dates aren’t exactly a revelation.  But it is worth noting that in laying out Apple’s refresh cycle in this way, Schiller all but confirmed that iPhone 3.0, or a new iPhone model altogether, will arrive this summer.  iPhone nano, anyone?

We’re looking forward to it.

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