Tuesday, March 29, 2011

MobileMe: Paid, Free, or Somewhere in the Middle?

MobileMe is an online service provided by Apple that provides you access to a "me" email account, online storage for documents, music, and photos, plus, Mac specific features to keep all your Mac settings in sync across multiple Mac OS X computers.

In 2011, many people are hoping for a major revamp of the service, thanks to a brief email from Apple CEO Steve Jobs that said MobileMe will, "get a lot better in 2011."

Mr. Jobs' statement touched off the rumor mill that MobileMe would get new services, become free to compete with other offerings from Google, DropBox, and the like, or get a new mix of "free-mium" options.

With the introduction of iOS 4.2.1, Apple chose to make the Find My iPhone service free to their iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch customers.  It is a great feature for any iOS device owners, specifically for iPhone owners.  Again, this change to MobileMe, which allowed anyone with an iOS device and an Apple ID account could now use the service which typically required a $99 annual subscription to use.

Most recently, Apple stopped shipping boxed "copies" of MobileMe to their retail stores and authorized resellers.  Many people, myself included, thought that this change signaled the impending switch to a free service or some other free or build your own package service offering for MobileMe.

Today, TUAW.com has a report up that Apple could be changing the way you pay for MobileMe, which sounds like MobileMe isn't going to be a completely free service.

Up until now, I haven't feel a need to have a MobileMe account, a side from the Find My iPad app.  Having already made the decision to switch from my Palm Pre to an iPhone 5 this year, I am revisiting my decision to subscribe to MobileMe or not.  With two MacBooks, and iPad, and a new iPhone 5 in the cards for this year, albeit maybe later than I planned, a MobileMe subscription looks to be a good way to keep all of my Apple gear in sync.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Apple WWDC To Be Held June 6 - 10

 Today Apple announced that their annual developer's conference, World Wide Developer Conference, will be held June 6 - 10 in San Francisco this year.

Tickets to the iOS and Mac OS X developer conference sold out in less than 12 hours.

For fans, however, today's announcement might disappoint.  Apple is clearly sending us a signal to set our expectations as we head into the summer event: this year's WWDC will not feature any new hardware announcements.  The tag line for this year's event is, "Join us for a preview of iOS and Mac OS X."

No new Macs.  No new iPhones.  Nada.

This year's event will feature Mac OS X and iOS.  Some rumors circulating around the Internet say that Apple may expand on their future plans for iOS 5 and the revamp for MobileMe which could include new streaming options for iTunes and a digital document "locker" for Mac OS X and your iTunes purchases.

Those of us who were expecting to buy a new iPhone 5 this June or July, should reset their expectations for new iPhone hardware between late September and the end of the year.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Apple Releases iOS 4.3.1 Update

On Friday evening, Apple released a minor update to iOS, 4.3.1.  The update address the following issues:

  • Fixes an occasional graphics glitch on iPod touch (4th generation)
  • Resolves bugs related to activating and connecting to some cellular networks
  • Fixes image flicker when using Apple Digital AV Adapter with some TVs
  • Resolves an issue authenticating with some enterprise web services
Notably, the CDMA iPhone 4 for Verizon and the iPad 2 did not receive the update.

I have been using iOS 4.3.1 since Friday evening when it was released and I have not noticed any changes for better or worse.  Some people have claimed that the battery life on their iPhone 4 was decreased after applying the iOS 4.3 update on March 9.

The update is also rumored to address a security flaw uncovered during the security and hacking event Pwn2Own, which too place earlier this month.

The software update is available now for most current model iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models.   

To upgrade your iDevice, make sure that you are running the latest version of iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC, and then connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, and follow the on screen directions.

Need Help Upgrading to iOS 4.3.1?  Check out our iOS upgrade directions!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Photo of Apple CEO Steve Jobs - With a Collar?!

 We all get it - Apple isn't about pinstripe suits, and Apple's CEO Steve Jobs wears a black turtleneck shirt and jeans.  He wears it to work, during keynote speeches, and when meeting with government officials.

I found the above photo on 9To5Mac.com, which shows Disney CEO Bob Iger talking to Apple CEO Steve Jobs - wearing a black shirt with a collar!

You can read the article over at 9To5Mac.com.

[Via 9To5Mac.com...]

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ya, I Wish!


Unfortunately, Sprint isn't working with Apple to bring the iPhone to the Now Network; at least that we know of.  For now, this modified photo of the iPhone will have to do.

And while we're waiting, check out some of the Sprint buy out/merger ideas that 9To5Mac.com has up on their site today.

[Via 9To5Mac.com...]

The Deep, iPhone Pinball Game Free Today


I just found out about this a short while ago, but The Deep (App Store link), a super cool pinball game for the iPhone and iPod touch is available free today.  Normally, The Deep is $0.99.

Go grab it now for free before time runs out!

[Via MacStories.net...]

Apple Posts Mac OS X 10.6.7 Update


Today, Apple has released Mac OS X 10.6.7, the latest service pack update for Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.

In addition to numerous minor bug fixes, Mac OS X 10.6.7 also improves the reliability of the Back to My Mac feature (requires a MobileMe account, $99/year and rumored to be going free later this year), corrects an issues with transferring files to Windows PCs and Servers using the SMB protocol, and lastly, corrects some Mac App Store  bugs.

Mac OS X 10.6.7 is available now by running the Software Update control panel in the Settings application.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Apple Continues to Offer Support to Employees in Japan

Following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan and with the seemingly imminent threat of an unimaginable nuclear disaster, only one technology company is brave enough to stand up an offer the kind of help their employee need.

Today, a reported email from Apple CEO Steve Jobs was sent to the company's employees in Japan offering to help them in their time of national crisis.

"To Our Team in Japan,
We have all been following the unfolding disaster in Japan. Our hearts go out to you and your families, as well as all of your countrymen who have been touched by this tragedy.
If you need time or resources to visit or care for your families, please see HR and we will help you. If you are aware of any supplies that are needed, please also tell HR and we will do what we can to arrange delivery.
Again, our hearts go out to you during this unimaginable crisis.
Please stay safe.
Steve and the entire Executive Team"

While still unauthenticated, this really seems like the kind of thing that Apple would do for their employees and their families in Japan.

I'll be the first one to admit that I'm an Apple fanboy, but I have to ask, where are Microsoft and Google?  Surely they can offer to do the same for their employees?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Facebook for Android Get Updated to 1.5.2

The Facebook client for smartphones running Google's Android operating system got pushed up to version 1.5.2 today.


New photo features have been included in the latest build allowing you to upload photos to your friend's walls and groups.  Improvements to landscape mode and security are always welcome.

Ready to update your Droid?  Tap the Android Market icon on your device to get the update, which is available now.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

HP: Still No webOS 2 Update for Sprint Pre Customers

It has been almost four months since HP/Palm introduced the world to webOS 2, and there is still no love for Sprint Pre customers.

Anyone who has purchased a Sprint Pre, either on launch day or afterword, was told by HP, then still Palm, that webOS 2 would be coming to all current webOS devices; the Pre 2 and earlier, which, we believed to also include the Pixi line of smartphones.

After HP's acquision of Palm was completed, things changed a bit, and HP told Sprint Pre customers that a webOS 2 update was not coming as an OTA update and that in the coming weeks "alternate plans" would be made.  No details have been shared yet.  No updates have been released yet.  No new webOS phones have been announced with availability on Sprint.

Winning!

To check your eligibility for a webOS 2 update or for details on HP's "alternate plans" for you, check out the HP webOS info page.

Apple Sees Strong Sales of iPad 2 During Launch Weekend

Apple enjoyed long lines and strong sales of their new table device, iPad 2 this weekend.

The iPad 2, which went on sale this past Friday at 5pm, generated the kinds of lines that the previous iPad and iPhone 4 created.  According to a post this weekend on AppleInsider.com, Piper Jaffray researcher said that there where over 1,000 people in line at Apple's 5th Ave retail store in Manhattan, New York City. Friday afternoon hoping to get their hands on the new device.


Throughout the weekend, "supply checks" at various Apple retail locations and other authorized resellers indicated that the iPad 2 had been selling well and that some models had already sold out.

Orders placed online for any of the Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi + 3G models of iPad 2 are listed as shipping in 3-4 weeks.


In the days leading up to the iPad 2 launch, Apple was not taking online reservations or pre-orders as they had done with the original iPad and the Verizon iPhone 4.  As a result, the launch of the iPad 2 generated the kind of customer lines that have become almost common place for an Apple mobile device product launch.

For competitors hoping to finally get product out on the market this year who had been chasing after the original iPad, the bar has just been raised that much higher.

[Via AppleInsider.com...]

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Apple Releases iOS 4.3 Update Ahead of iPad 2 Launch (Updated)

Earlier today, Apple has released the iOS 4.3 update for current model iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch mobile devices.  iPad 2, which will go on sale at 5pm on Friday (3/11/11) will come pre-loaded with iOS 4.3 from the factory.

Interestinly absent from the iOS 4.3 part is the new CDMA Verizon iPhone 4.  The Verizon iPhone 4 will not receive an update along side it's GMS counterpart on rival wireless carrier, AT&T.

iOS 4.3 provides some new features, including iTunes Home Sharing (streaming between your Mac or PC and your iOS device), iPhone 4 Personal HotSpot (Mi-Fi like cellular Internet connection sharing), and a new preference to allow iPad owners to chose the function of the slider switch (screen rotation lock or mute switch).

In addtion to the new features, iOS 4.3 also enhances the Safari browser and the AirPlay feature, which requires a second generation AppleTV, first introduced in iOS 4.2.  ComputerWorld.com also reports that iOS 4.3 patches some 59 iOS bugs.

iOS 4.3 supports all current model iDevices, include: iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 GMS, iPad, and iPad 2, iPod touch (2009), and iPod touch (2010).  There is no world on when iOS 4.3 will be coming to the Verizon iPhone 4 or the second generation AppleTV.

To install iOS on your device, first upgrade iTunes to the latest release, and then connect your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to your computer and follow the on screen upgrade prompts.

Update

Apple has released a software update for the second generation AppleTV to bring it to version 4.2.  Click the Read More link for details.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Google Uses Remote Kill Switch, Secures Compromised Handsets [Updated]

According to a new report from Boy Genius Report, Google has used the remote kill switch feature in the Android operating system to kill and remove malware installed on Android phones.
"To try and fix the problem, Google has started using a remote kill switch feature in Android to wirelessly nuke those installed apps on user’s handsets. That’s not the entire story, though, as Google is actually installing new code in the process. The new code undoes the exploit and prevents your data from being shared, and it’s kind of creepy to plainly see how much control Google has over your Android phone from afar. "
I'm glad to see that Google is using their powers for good.  Earlier uses of the kill switch angered users, if not make them a bit paranoid that Google has a back door into their devices.  But I have to wonder, shouldn't Google have done a better job of curating their Android Market and have prevented these apps from becoming available for download in the first place.

Regardless of whether or not you believe the Android platform and the Android Market is any more or less "open" and the Apple iOS platform and the App Store, it is up to us, the consumer, to make sure we know and understand what software we are installing on our devices.

Update

ComputerWorld has posted an article covering this issue online, stating:
"Last Wednesday, Google removed more than 50 infected apps published by three different developers from its marketplace, but didn't trigger automatic uninstalls until several days later."
You can read the full article on the ComputerWorld website.
[Via BGR.com...]

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Blogging From Your Droid

I guess that I shouldn't really be surprised by this, but Google has a Blogger app for Android phones.

I recently had to replace my company issued RIM Blackberry Storm2 with a Motorola Droid Pro.

I still miss my "CrackBerry" but the Droid Pro and I are getting along well.  As cool as this is, I don't see myself posting a blog entry much longer than this from this tiny keyboard.

Tap or click the Blogger icon below to download the app to your Android device from the Android Market website. (Link)



Update

I noticed a typo in the above post, "has" rather than "had".  So I jumped on the blog with my Mac and after I made the update, it looks like the formatting from the Blogger app on the Droid was lost. Interesting.  I'll have to keep an eye on that.

Friday, March 4, 2011

iPad 2 Coming To Best Buy, Sam's Club, and Walmart on March 11

9to5Mac.com is reporting that the iPad will go on sale at Best Buy, Sam's Club, and Walmart on March 11 along side Apple retail store and Apple.com.

[Via 9to5Mac.com...]

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

iPad Competitor "Cat Fight"


I just finished reading John Paczkowki's Digital Daily post titled "HP to RIM: Our iPad Challenger Is More Original Than Your iPad Challenger", in which HP and RIM fight over who's Apple iPad clone is more original.

Mr. Paczkowski writes:
"Isn’t this ironic. Hewlett-Packard and Research in Motion, two companies that haven’t officially launched their first tablets yet, talking smack to one another the day before Apple debuts its second."
Read the full article on Digital Daily.com.

[Editor's Note: I'm sorry, but I had to replace the original article's Dr. Seuss art with the two women locked in a "cat fight" because that was the first thing that popped into my head when I read the headline.  My apologies for my sense of humor.]

Apple: 2011 The Year of iPad 2


Apple indirectly squashed iPad 3 rumors today be calling 2011 "the year of the iPad 2."

If I talked to you in the last two weeks warning that iPad owners hold off on getting an iPad 2 because iPad 3 could be coming in September, you now have an official Smartphone Fanatics green light to purchase an iPad 2.

[Via AppleInsider.com, Engadget.com...]

iOS 4.3 Coming Soon, iTunes 10.2 Available Now


Along side of today's iPad 2 event, Apple released iTunes 10.2 for Mac OS X and Windows PC, and previewed iOS 4.3, which will be released on March 11 also.

iOS 4.3 Update

In iOS 4.3, Apple has added incremental improvements to Safari and AirPlay.  Apple also baked in iTunes Home Sharing, iPad Side Switch (formerly known as the orientation lock switch and mute switch) preference setting, and, for the iPhone 4, the Personal Hotspot.



iOS 4.3 will be available for current model iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models.  While reading the Apple website for details on iOS 4.3, the second generation AppleTV was not mentioned, however, I expect that device to also receive an update before too long.

iTunes 10.2 Update


iTunes was updated to 10.2 today to bring support to Macs and Windows PCs for the new iOS 4.3 features, and probably support for the iPad 2, however, the iPad 2 was not specifically mentioned in the update description.

iTunes 10.2 can be downloaded now via the Software Update control panel on your Mac or PC.

Check out all the details over at Apple.com.

Apple Unveils iPad 2, Ships March 11


Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad 2 today.  Bask in it's coolness, now in two colors: Black and White.

The new iPad features a new lighter design, a dual-core Apple A5 processor, FaceTime cameras, and all for the same $499 price point as the original.

iPad 2 will go on sale at 5pm on March 11, 2011.  For more details, check the Apple website.