Tag Archives: iPhone

iPhone 4 Gets a 326ppi Screen: What Does this Mean for Web Design?

The new iPhone 4’s screen may be the same size as its predecessor’s, but the resolution is much higher. 326 pixels per inch, versus the 160ppi of the previous models. (This works out to pixel dimensions of 960×640 for the new model and 320×480 for the old, but that’s not really relevant to this post.) 326ppi is roughly the same resolution as is used in printing images, as opposed to the 72-96 pixels per inch that most web designers design for.

Already, if you view an iPhone screenshot on a computer monitor, it will look strangely oversized due to the difference in resolution. The new “retina display” will make the effect further pronounced.

My question is: with phone displays increasing in resolution, can we assume that desktop and laptop monitors will follow? Will it become more common to see full-size screens with upwards of 300ppi? It might cause some problems for designers at first, but it will make for more richly detailed web designs eventually.

AT&T Axes Unlimited Data for iPhone Users

AT&T will no longer be providing the already overpriced $30/month unlimited data plan to new customers. Their new plans are $15/month for 250MB of data, and $25 for 2GB. Tethering is $20/month extra, and is only available for the $25 plan. (So you’ll have to give up your existing unlimited plan if you want to tether your iPhone when OS 4.0 is available.) The good news is that there isn’t a cap. If you want to use more than 2GB you’re more than welcome. You will just have to pay $10 for every additional gigabyte of data you use.

Wow. If you think about it, you’re paying $10-12.50 per gigabyte. Pricing like that is just…unreal.

I find the tethering charge outrageous as well, perhaps more so than the steep data prices. A $20 monthly “convenience fee” for the pleasure of having a feature built into the phone activated. You don’t get any more data out of it, just the same 2GB plan you’re already paying for. There is absolutely no reason for AT&T to charge for something that costs them absolutely nothing to provide, and something that may very well cause you to reach your quota sooner. You get nothing for your $20, except for an Apple-provided feature that AT&T decided you shouldn’t be able to use without forking over an Andrew Jackson.

AT&T’s argument for their axing of the unlimited plan is that 98% of their customers use less than 2GB monthly. If that’s the case, why is it necessary to get rid of the unlimited plan? If only a tiny percentage of users, probably the most loyal customers, are using more, what difference will it make to stop them from using five gigabytes? (I doubt anyone is using much more than that on a phone yet, though it’s certainly possible with streaming video.) It will stifle innovation, just for a bit more profit.

Here’s an idea. If you can download at 100 kilobits per second, your “cap” should be 32.4 gigabytes. If I did my math correctly, that should be how much data you can use if you were downloading 24/7 for an entire 30-day month.

iAds: Apple Reinvents Mobile Advertising

One of the things Steve Jobs announced in the iPhone OS 4.0 keynote was Apple’s new advertising platform, “iAds.” It’s something I have high hopes for. I think it will promote the development of more free applications.

What’s so special about iAds? For starters, clicking on one of the small banners doesn’t take you out of your application. It just opens an overlay with an HTML5-powered “mini application” from the advertiser, which you can then exit at any time.

The page displayed when you tap an advertisement is very interactive. Video and sound can be streamed to you, freebies like iPhone wallpapers can be downloaded. You can even play little HTML5 games.

Another example Jobs showed-off a few times was using the location tools to help find nearby store or movie theater locations. Imagine clicking a Pizza Hut or Dunkin Donuts ad and having it show you where to find the nearest franchise location.

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Gizmodo and the iPhone 4G: An Example of Unethical Journalism

On April 19th, 2010, the popular tech blog Gizmodo (owned by Gawker Media) published an article, complete with a photo gallery, detailing the specs of the iPhone 4G. The phone Apple is said to release this summer. The one that’s supposed to be a secret, in order to create a whirlwind of hype and anticipation over the next couple of months.

How did Gizmodo get photos of the device, including the internals? Apparently an Apple employee accidentally left it at a bar, and it eventually made it into the tech blog’s hands. (Gizmodo’s account of what happened can be found here.)

The phone, which a few have described as looking “ugly,” is likely a prototype lacking the case the end product will have. Its two metal volume buttons, rather than a single plastic rocker switch, is just one indicator of that. It is incontrovertibly an Apple device, seeing as it has an Apple-made processor, iPhone OS 4.0 and a plastic case designed to disguise it as an iPhone 3G. John Gruber, of Daring Fireball, made some calls and confirmed that Apple was missing a unit. Also, it was remotely erased.

Did Gizmodo do the right thing and return the device to Apple? No. Instead, they posted pictures and other details in an effort to bring in the usual massive traffic spike that an exclusive Apple story guarantees. I’m pretty sure that would be considered theft, as well as leaking trade secrets.

Because of this leak, Apple lost the element of surprise. Their competitors now know what the next iPhone will feature, and they can make plans for their own competing phones. Gizmodo has just painted a big legal target on their collective backs, and I imagine Apple will be launching their missiles any day now.

I really can’t see how Gizmodo is justified in their actions. Did we all want to know what the iPhone 4G would be like? Yes. Did we need to know? No. Did we have a right to know? Absolutely not.

Not only has Apple taken a blow as a result, but an Apple employee could conceivably lose his job. Gizmodo crossed the line separating ethical reporting from unconscionable profit-seeking.

Twitter Acquires Tweetie

The big news story of the day, it seems, is that Twitter is acquiring Tweetie. You know, the popular (arguably the most popular) Twitter iPhone application? Yes, that Tweetie. The $2.99 app is going to be free from now on, and it will be renamed “Twitter for iPhone.” This stems from newbie users’ frustration and confusion when they search for an official “Twitter” app, only to find a mess of clients with unfamiliar names.

We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve entered into an agreement with Atebits (aka Loren Brichter) to acquire Tweetie, a leading iPhone Twitter client. Tweetie will be renamed Twitter for iPhone and made free (currently $2.99) in the iTunes AppStore in the coming weeks. Loren will become a key member of our mobile team that is already having huge impact with device makers and service providers around the world. Loren’s work won the 2009 Apple Design Award and we will eventually launch Twitter for iPad with his help.

So we can look forward to an iPad version of Tweetie, and possibly more frequent updates since Loren Brichter is joining Twitter’s mobile team.

One burning question has plagued exiting Tweetie users in the hours after the announcement: what will become of Tweetie for Mac? Good news, a beta of version 2 is sill on the way, according to an Atebits posting on the MacHeist forum. (Loren had previously promised buyers of the recent MacHeist bundle early beta access.)

Hey all – first of all I apologize for any confusion, things have been a bit crazy!  I just want to says I’m blasting through the todo list to get a beta put together as fast as I can, the Mac UI stuff I’ve been prototyping is just too cool to have anything else happen to it.  Sorry for keeping it short, gotta get back to coding!

Reeder 2: A Fast, Polished iPhone RSS Reader

Why is it so hard to find a good RSS reader for the iPhone? Sure, there are a few, but not many are as refined as Reeder.

When I first started using Reeder, I thought the interface was pretty good. The only real problem was that Google Reader sync was slow. In version 2, a free upgrade for existing users, that has finally been fixed. It only takes 3-5 seconds to download about 250 unread items. Once that is done, the app starts caching all of the images it can find in the feeds so you can still see them when offline. This takes awhile, but you can still read while it works. (You can turn the feature off if you don’t like it.)

Reeder 2 now offers state-saving functionality, as well. If you exit the app to check your email, Reeder resumes right where you left-off when you come back.

Really, it strikes me as the “Tweetie 2 of RSS readers.” It’s one of the apps that easily earns its spot on page one of my iPod’s home screen.

Now, if only the developer of Newsfire would add Google Reader syncing. Then my feed-reading experience would be excellent.

Apple to Launch a Mobile Ad Platform on April 7th?

There have been some interesting rumors going around in Apple land again. MediaPost is convinced that Apple is going to announce a mobile ad platform called “iAd” on April 7th.

Precise details of the system and its features could not be discerned at presstime (and calls to Apple had not been returned), but it is believed to have been built on top of Quattro, the mobile advertising developer Apple acquired in January for nearly $300 million, and it is expected to be the first real battle of a Silicon Valley Holy War between Apple and arch frenemy Google that is shifting its front line to Madison Avenue.

I know, the idea seemed a little outlandish to me at first, too. After pondering the thought of an Apple ad network for awhile, it started to make sense.

Apple has two devices that are similar, but radically different in their intended usage, and they both are good candidates for an ad network.

The iPad is intended to be a media consumption device. It’s form factor is supposed to make it a device to read magazines, news and books on. With Apple pushing for publications to make their content available on the iPad and iPhone, doesn’t it make sense for them to provide a premium ad network to make the move more profitable for both parties. With a New York Times iPad application, a Wired app, and more on the way, doesn’t it seem like a comprehensive in-app advertising solution would be an attractive deal for publishers?

The iPhone is primarily used on-the-go. Its users pull it out to find nearby restaurants, check movie show times, buy train tickets, or make other informational or monetary transactions one does while out and about. Geolocation could really be a game-changer for some forms of advertising. Suppose you’re looking for a restaurant in the Yelp application. If you’ve enabled the app to have permission to geolocate you, it could forward your location to the Apple ad network and display ads for restaurants nearby.

Apple has a chance to build an ad network that does things differently. If they impose strict guidelines on the advertisers allowed in, so as to be useful to the user while not becoming too intrusive, they could have a hit. How often do you find ads to be useful? If Apple can break that paradigm, they’ll have done something truly revolutionary.

Dayta: The One Week App

Developer Sahil Lavingia built a high-quality iPhone app in only one week, and blogged about it on the One Week App blog. The resulting application is called Dayta.

Dayta is designed to help you log any sort of data set that you wish to track over time. How many miles do you drive between refilling your gas tank? How much money did you spend on iPhone apps last month? Is your World of WarCraft guild improving its raid success ratio? You can create a Dayta log for anything.

You can recall data points by date, or view them on a graph. The charts Dayta generates are simple, and much like Google Analytics in style.

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iPhone Application Development For Dummies

Have you ever wanted to learn how to write your own iPhone applications? It’s certainly more difficult than web development, but the device is a good platform to learn client-side programming with. Mobile applications that tie into web services are becoming increasingly common, so now is a good time to give it a try.

iPhone Application Development For Dummies is a good primer on building applications for the iPhone or iPod Touch. It covers the basic theory over the first few chapters, and then moves on to building a simple View-based application. I haven’t finished the book quite yet, as I’m working my way through the tutorials as I read, but the book seems to cover all of the basics quite well. There are parts on data storage, input events, and many other things that are critical to iPhone development.

I’m finding the book to be a bit challenging, as I don’t have any real desktop programming experience, other than BASIC if that counts. I don’t think I’d recommend it to someone who doesn’t have a strong grasp of at least one programming language with a C-style syntax, such as PHP or Java. Knowledge of object-oriented programming is important, in addition to more basic skills such as dealing with variables and control structures. If you’re a total programming newbie, I would recommend reading a good introductory book first, and then moving on to iPhone Application Development for Dummies.

I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of the book so far, and I hope that, by the time I’m done, I’ll have a good enough grasp of things to develop an idea I’ve had for awhile into an app.

The iPad Will Find its Niche: My Thoughts on Apple’s Tablet

Unless you’ve been living in a cave somewhere, you’ve almost certainly heard about Apple’s new iPad tablet. The $499 device is essentially a giant iPod Touch, but with a few additional features.

The integrated ebook store (or iBooks, as Apple prefers to call them…) places the device as a competitor to the Kindle, and already they have the support of several major publishers. The form factor makes it perfect for sitting in a chair and reading, whether your content be an ebook or a web page. It also has a version of the iWork suite available that takes advantage of the touch interface.

Already, there are predictions circulating that the device will be a miserable failure. I will tell you now, so we can all look back at this and decide who gets the last laugh, that my forecast is the opposite. Apple knows their market, and the iPad will sell.

Why? Isn’t it just an iPod Touch that doesn’t fit in your pocket?

At a glance, yes. However, each device has its own strengths — and the iPad’s give it a niche that will enable it to carve out a space between the laptop and the smartphone.

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