• google,  ios,  ipad,  iphone,  microsoft,  touch

    Setting Up Your iOS Device with Exchange Push for Email, Calendar, and Contacts

    Yesterday I wrote a blog post about the upcoming iOS 4.2.1 software upgrade for the Apple iPad.  (iOS 4.0 is already available for current model iPhone and iPod touch units.)

    In the article, I talked about support for multiple Microsoft Exchange Active Sync (EAS) accounts.  EAS is a protocol that you can license and use from Microsoft to sync email, contacts, and calendar data from the email server down to a client, like an iPhone or iPad.

    If you use a Google account with your iOS 4.0 or later iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you can keep your email, contacts, and calendar in sync all the time and across multiple devices, such as an iPad, and a MacBook Pro, for example.

    If you want to learn how to set EAS up on your iOS device, just follow Google’s directions found in their article: Mail, Calendar, & Contacts: Set Up Your Apple Device for Google Sync.

  • apple,  ios,  ipad

    First Impressions of iOS 4.2.1 for iPad

    If the rumors are true, Apple is just about ready to release iOS 4.2.1 for current models of the iPhone and iPod touch, and more importantly, the iPad.

    The iPad is the last of Apple’s mobile devices to get the iOS 4 software upgrade.  It will be the first time that iPad owners will be able to use multitasking, Game Center, folders, and the enhanced Mail application with support for multiple Microsoft Exchange Active Sync accounts.  (I can probably go on for a full blog post, or two, about Mail, but I’ll save that for another time.)

    My quick list of things that I like and dislike about the iOS 4.2.1 software upgrade for the iPad are up after the break.

    iOS 4.2.1 iLikes

    1. Multitasking

    Multitasking is super easy in iOS 4.2.1.  All you have to do is double-click the home button and the multitasking bar shows up.  To switch to a different app all you have to do it tap it’s icon.  If you want to end a running application, tap and hold it’s icon, and when the icons start to giggle, tap the red icon that appears over the top left of the icon.  Multitasking done easy.

    2. iPad Controls

    With the arrival of the Multitasking feature, Apple has created an iPad control bar.  With the Multitasking bar visible, swipe to the right to display the iPad controls bar.  From here, you can access the iPod application and the standard iPod controls, adjust the volume and screen brightness, and turn the screen rotation lock on or off.  (I’ll talk more about that last one in a minute.)  I really like having access to the screen brightness controls without having to go to the Settings application.

     3. Enhanced Mail Application

    With iOS 4.2.1, iPad users will be able to work with multiple Exchange Active Sync (EAS) accounts.  This will be good news if you use your iPad with your corporate email server.  If you don’t, or can’t use your iPad with Microsoft Exchange, the EAS features work with other services that use the EAS protocol, like Google’s GMail and Calendar applications.  Once I followed Google’s directions for setting up mail, calendar, and contact sync with iOS 4, I had a similar experience to that of Synergy in HP webOS.  Very nice!

    4. Getting Organized with Folders

    On the surface, a simple feature like Folders can be easily overlooked.  But I like it because of the fact that Folders helped my slim down my eight pages of apps down to three.  It’s super easy to create a folder; just drag one icon over top another and let go.  That’s it!  Give your new folder a name if you don’t like the default name and you’re off to the races.  With folders, you can group up to 20 of your apps together.  Folders was a big help with cleaning up the clutter on my iPad.  Now I have a Dad’s Games folder and Kids Games folder to hold everybody’s games without clogging up the app launcher pages.

    iOS 4.2.1 iDislike – Hardware Rotation Lock Turns Into Mute Switch

    For the most part, I really like the features of iOS 4.2.1.  There are a lot of things, big and small, to like in this software upgrade.  For some reason, this one really bugs me.  First of all, I like the convenience of having an easy to access screen orientation lock, and having a hardware button was fantastic.

    With iOS 4.2.1 on my iPad, to lock the iPad’s screen in it’s current orientation, I have to double press the Home button, swipe to the right in the Multitasking bar, and then tap the Orientation Lock button.  Ok, count with me…1…2…3…4…5.  It now takes five button presses/taps/gestures to do the same thing I was able to do with the hardware orientation lock.

    And to add insult to injury, when I was playing with iOS 4.2.1 for this article, I learned that the damn Mute switch controls don’t even mute the iPod application.  What the hell!?  The one application I was expecting the Mute switch to work with and it doesn’t.

    If there is a silver lining to this mute mess is that I discovered that if you double-click the Home button while the iPad is locked and the iPod application is playing music, the clock portion of the screen is replaced with the iPod controls so it becomes sort of easy, if not a little bit annoying to, to pause whatever it is you are listening to.  But it’s still three clicks to bring up the controls and a single tap to pause the iPod.

    I understand why Apple wanted to switch the iPad’s hardware orientation lock to a mute switch: so developers only have one standard to write applications to.  Personally, I would have liked to see Apple put in a preference option in the Settings application to restore the original functionality of the iPad’s Orientation/Mute switch.

    All in all, iPad owners are going to really like the enhancements in iOS 4.2.1 for iPad.

  • apple,  ios,  ipad,  iphone,  mac,  mobileme,  touch

    Rumor: Free, Limited MobileMe Subscriptions On the Horizon?

    Back in June I read a rumor on the gadget blog Electronista.com that stated that Apple was considering launching a free version of their $99 a year MobileMe service.  At the time, I was really excited by the prospect, because, I have a number of Apple devices (three Macs, and three iOS devices) and this would be a great way to keep the address book and calendars in sync across all six devices.

    On June 4, Electronista.com wrote;

    “Apple has lately faced growing criticism for continuing to charge for MobileMe at a time when Google can promise free e-mail, calendars and contacts synchronized online for Android phones where the iPhone is still at least partly reliant on a physical sync without paying $99 per year. The company has recently been working on a North Carolina data center that could help scale such plans in the future.”

    And so, I stated to wait patiently.  In the mean time, Google’s Android platform began to grow in popularity until today, Google’s Android is breathing down Apple’s neck.  Does Apple think that they could continue to sell a $99 a year service when Google’s free web apps could deliver a similar service and experience?

    Fast forward to this weekend when Mac-centric website MacRumors.com released more evidence that Apple is still considering providing at least some of the MobileMe services for free to iOS users.

    In the latest iOS 4.2 and 4.2.1 builds of iOS, MacRumors has discovered error messages in the operating system that read “MOBILEME_CREATE_UNAVAILABLE_IPAD” = “The maximum number of free accounts have been activated on this iPad.”

    Well, well, well…looks like the iPad maker is still very much considering a free MobileMe offering of some sort.

    Naturally, Apple has not confirmed their plans to launch an new MobileMe services.  Many believe that an new MobileMe service would go into effect once Apple’s new $1 billion North Carolina data center is fully ramped up and is online.

    [Via Electronista.com, MacRumors.com…]

  • astraware,  ios,  ipad,  iphone,  touch

    Astraware Mahjong Released for iOS

    Today, Astraware has released Mahjong for Apple’s iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.

    Mahjong is described by Wikipedia as a Chinese game based on 152 tiles; which is a game of skill, strategy and  calculation with a little bit of chance thrown in for good measure.

    Astraware Mahjong for iOS includes the following gaming features:

    • AutoZoom – optional feature which zooms in or out from the play area
    • Mahjong of the Day daily challenge
    • Truly solvable puzzles at Easy, Medium and Hard difficulty levels, as well as Classic
    • Full tutorial with photos to help you learn how to play
    • More than 30 different puzzle layouts
    • Supports Game Center achievements. Earn all the achievements to unlock the Golden Tile Set
    • Optional tile highlighting – removable tiles appear lighter in colour. This can be adjusted in Settings)
    • Helpful assistance features including the ability to shuffle the tiles or undo moves
    • A choice of decorative tile sets and traditional backgrounds
    • Ability to play in landscape or portrait modes
    • Universal binary is optimized for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Retina display devices
    • Automatically saves when you exit and allows you to play your own music in the background.

     Astraware Mahjong is available now exclusively from the Apple iTunes store for $0.99. (iTunes link)

  • apple,  ipad,  iphone,  itunes,  lifestyle,  mac,  touch,  windows

    Confirmed: The Beatles Are Coming to iTunes

    MacDailyNews.com is reporting, and I have confirmed with my own tests, that The Beatles are finally coming to Apple’s iTunes Store.  (To test: Open the iTunes Store and search for the term “the beatles”.)

    While that is probably great news for many people, I’m not a big fan of The Beatles.  I’m still holding out for the iTunes.com steaming service.

    [Via MacDailyNews.com…]

  • att,  hp,  pixi,  pre,  sprint,  verizon,  web os

    Palm Pre Reaches EOL Status at Sprint

    According to a PreCentral.net article posted today, the Palm Pre, the original HP webOS device, has reached End of Life (EOL) status on the Now Network.

    “Today we’ve received word from a trusted Sprint source that the end is here for the original Palm Pre, with Sprint marking the device as EOL (End of Life). It’s not a surprise after it already disappeared from their site, but it’s still a blow: we still find that the largest and most loyal webOS contingent lives on Sprint.

    Quantities of new Palm Pre phones in Sprint warehouses are very low (we’re talking hundreds of units here), so it shouldn’t be too much longer before the phone is completely sold out.”

    With the Palm Pre gone, Sprint customers will only have the option of the original Palm Pixi should they want to use a Palm phone and stay with Sprint.  There has been no word as to whether or not Sprint will pick up the new HP Palm Pre 2 that has already gone on sale in O2’s network in France, and will be headed to Verizon and AT&T in the near future.

    Personally, without a new high-end HP Palm or Apple iPhone on Sprint’s Now Network, I’m not sure how long I’ll be sticking with Sprint past the end of my 2-year contact that I signed when I purchased my Pre.  Sprint, you have until April, 2011 to pick up either the HP Palm Pre 2 or newer device or an Apple iPhone.  If not, I’m heading for Verizon or AT&T.

    [Via PreCentral.net…]

  • android,  apple,  blackberry,  blackberry os,  facebook,  google,  ios

    Facebook Mobile Clients Updated

    I noticed today that Facebook updates started rolling out for iOS, BlackBerry, and Android.  Here’s a breakdown of the version bumps.

    iPhone/iPod touch/iPad version 3.3.2
    – Access account settings, privacy settings and Help Center
    – Fixed a bug that prevented users from uploading photos to specific albums

    BlackBerry 1.9.0.20
    – No specifics details as being included in this update

    Android 1.4.1
    – Fixed a bug to improved Places usage in non-English locales
    – Added higher resolution uploads
    – Various bug fixes

  • apple,  ipad,  iphone,  itunes,  touch

    Apple Schedules an iTunes Media Event Tomorrow, 11/16/10, 10:00 EST

    Well, well, well…what do we have here?  Anyone visiting the Apple website today was greeted by the above splash page.

    Apple’s legendary secrecy is clearly alive and well as we heard all sorts of rumors around the release of Mac OS X 10.6.5, iTunes 10.1 for Mac OS X and Windows PC, and we even had gotten word of not one, but two possible release dates for the iOS 4.2 update.

    But this, my dear readers, was completely off the radar.  If I had to guess what might be going on tomorrow morning at 10:00am, I will only speculate that whatever it is, will likely have to do with Apple’s new massive data center in North Carolina.

    Back on October 25, AppleInsider.com reported that “According to a Data Center Knowledge report published Sunday, the data center is “fully operational,” with Apple beginning to “ramp up production” at the server farm. The Cupertino, Calif., company could be planning to build a second facility on the site, the report notes.”

    Below is an aerial photo of Apple’s new data center.

  • astraware,  hp,  pixi,  pre,  web os

    Astraware Releases Tradewinds 2 for HP webOS

    Whether you are new to gaming on your smartphone or have been around for a long time, you owe it to yourself to check out the games that Astraware releases.  These guys make some of  the best mobile games around.

    Staffordshire, UK – November 11, 2010 – Astraware® and Sandlot Games® are excited to announce they are bringing the highly-acclaimed adventure trading game, Tradewinds® 2, to Palm® Pre™ and Pre Plus smartphones.

    Astraware has recently released its first games for webOS™, and is delighted to work with long-term partner Sandlot Games to add to the range of quality games on the App Catalog by bringing one of its most popular franchises to the platform.
    “Astraware continues to be a fantastic partner on a variety of platforms, bringing the best of our franchises to new users worldwide,” said Daniel Bernstein, CEO of Sandlot Games. “We look forward to the success of Tradewinds 2 on the webOS platform.”
    Based on the PC game of the same name, Tradewinds 2 is an adventure trading game set in the Caribbean. Players are invited to navigate a fascinating new world and discover uncharted ports teeming with friends and foes alike. They can be a master commander, defeating pirates and plundering their vast hordes of booty, or they can play it safe by trading exotic island goods, gradually amassing untold wealth, power and influence.
    “We’re delighted to work with Sandlot to bring Tradewinds 2 to webOS smartphones,” said Howard Tomlinson, CEO of Astraware. “Many long-time Palm users will know and love the Tradewinds games and we’re sure they’ll love the hours of in-depth game play, trading in goods, battling pirates and completing missions”.
    Tradewinds 2 is available now for Palm Pre and Pre Plus running webOS 1.4.5 from the App Catalog on device. For more information about the game, visit http://www.astraware.com/webos/tradewinds2.