iPhone Developers Given Access to iPhone 3.0 SDK and Firmware Starting Today (Updated)!

17 03 2009

After the 3.0 preview Tuesday, Apple has updated the iPhone Developer Connection website to let developers get their hands on the 3.0 SDK and firmware.

We'll be back soon. iPhone Developers

The site which normally hosts the latest firmwares and SDK releases and notes is temporarily down and displays the famous sticky note reading “We’ll Be Back Soon” from the online Apple Store. In the 3.0 event, over 1000 new API’s have been opened up to developers including the Push Notification Service, which is finally making light since the WWDC 2008 preview (and promised September 2008 availability date). Apple promised all current and future iPhone developers will have access to the new firmwares and SDK builds- but is unclear at this time if that extends to non-paid iPhone developers.

Update: [3:22 PM EST] The Apple Developer homepage (developer.apple.com) and other pages (here) has been updated with new iPhone SDK information but the iPhone Developer Center is still down.

Update: [3:37 PM EST] The iPhone Developer Center is back up, fresh with new content for 3.0. We are combing through it now and will post up interesting finds soon. Note: the site is being very unresponsive.

Update: [5:02 PM EST] The iPhone Developer Center, while up, has not let us log in yet.

Update: [5:42 PM EST] The iPhone Developer Center, is still being very temperamental, but we have managed to get a look and begin downloads of 3.0 software!

More information will be coming as soon as we can get it.

In Sync: Nuevasync has new features!

20 01 2009

If you don’t know what Nuevasync is, see my previous article for more information and how to get started using it.

This just in! Nuevasync has just gotten better!

Nuevasync has now released two of their most requested features, Selective Calendar Syncing , and multiple, separate calendars (which you can color code!). You can sync up to 8 separate calendars.

Nuevasync Multiple Calendars

You can now also sync read only calendars, like holiday calendars or anything else your given share only access to.

Also, unlike using Exchange with Outlook, your secondary calendars can have alarms and reminders.

Mysterious Push Notifications

2 12 2008

With the recent 2.2 firmware update, Push Notifications are still absent from the iPhone OS.

Scott Forstall announcing the Push Notifications

At WWDC 2008, Scott Forstall, Senior VP of iPhone at Apple announced an update to the SDK dubbed “Push Notification Service”. Solving one of the major complaints surrounding the iPhone SDK, Push Notifications would allow you, for example, to receive instant messages even when the AIM application wasn’t open. It works by keeping a persistent connection to the Apple Notification server and lets the third party such as AIM notify the Apple server of events (such as receiving an instant message) if no existing direct connection exists.

Very well received by developers and consumers alike, Mr. Forstall revealed this new feature at the WWDC keynote and said that it would be seeded to beta testers shortly and would be available in September. Shortly after the release of the 2.0 software in early July, iPhone OS beta testers indeed received a seed of the 2.1 firmware which included hooks and documentation for the Push Notification service. After the fourth iteration of the 2.1 beta release, the Push Notification service was mysteriously pulled for “for further development”.

Beyond that vague statement, over two months past the given release window, we have still heard nothing more about Push Notifications from Apple. This seems to be a recurring trend for Apple, who seems to be over promising and under delivering, which could be attributed to its growing size. Perhaps we will get the status of Push Notifications soon, but for now the consumers and developers are still in the dark. If they can’t deliver on these dates, then why give them in the first place?

There is probably a good reason we still don’t have Push Notifications, however, since Mr. Forstall took the liberty of announcing it at WWDC, why haven’t we had an update? If anything was learned from the 2.0 firmware and the related bugs, or the MobileMe launch, we should be glad Apple is keeping a low quality release from going public, but there is no reason to be in the dark about it–especially considering it is almost two months late already. There are developers and consumers who are anxiously awaiting the release of this new feature and we all just want to be in the know! According to recent rumors, due to major issues with the initial implementation, it appears we might have to wait until we start receiving push notifications to our devices.

RSS, why no full text???

29 11 2008

RSS, or Really Simple Syndication is a great tool for staying on top of the latest news. But a growing trend is hindering this protocol.

I love the fact that my RSS reader allows me to quickly browse through all the blogs I read,—plus it wirelessly syncs up with my iPod Touch (Thank you NewsGator/FeedDemon/NetNewsWire)—however, lately I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. A few feed publishers have begun offering only a short summary of their articles, requiring you to click a “Read More..” link(I’m calling you out Ars Technica), forcing you to open the page in a new window. The reason this bothers me so much is that the whole reason I use RSS is that I want all the content from multiple blogs in one place. Having to open up the article in a new window is frustrating, but it’s even worse on my Touch, where I can’t quickly switch back and forth between windows. Of course, to add insult to injury the article isn’t pre-fetched, slowing me down even further.

More importantly, I don’t understand why Ars would choose this format. They were never in print media; they started as a technology blog that caters to technologists who are on the go and want information quickly. Why would they want to slow down their readers, much less force them to work to access their content? Furthermore, even the newspaper industry, which has traditionally provided only snippets of text, is starting to relax its death grip on its content. For example, The Guardian has started releasing full text in its RSS feeds.

So, to all content publishers out there remember, readers want information on their terms, not yours. This includes letting your readers selectively subscribe to your articles, which has been a request by many readers on other blogs during this election season, who think that tech blogs and politics do not mix, (cough lifehacker cough). Really, just give the readers what they want.

Keep a look out for my next post coming up in the next few weeks.

Nuevasync: Over the Air Syncing of Calendar and Contacts for your iPhone or iPod Touch

29 09 2008

Love the cloud? Always accessing your Calendars or Contacts from several places? Tired of having to connect your iPhone or iPod Touch to your computer to sync your contacts or calendar? Updated: NuevaSync has added new features! Learn more about them here.

Well, now you don’t have to. The easiest solution to this problem would be to hook up an exchange server to your iPhone so that it stays in sync, but unless you’re an enterprise user, you probably don’t have access to one. It’s not worth setting one up and, if you’re a Google user, you want your info synced there, not your work place. That is no longer a problem, thanks to a free service called Nuevasync. Nuevasync creates an exchange account running only the mobile protocol, and can sync your contacts and calendar with Google.

I originally found out about Nuevasync from a Lifehacker article offering Nuevasync as a Mobile Me alternative. I use Nuevasync with my iPod Touch, so no matter where I am or how I want to look at my data, I have access to it. It also makes it easier to enter a lot of data onto your calendar, and lets you easily import from web sources. Just add it to your Google Calendar and in about 5 seconds, it will show up on your iPhone (as long as you have service or Wi-Fi). This is especially helpful if you use shared calendars in a group setting, such as a family calendar or a group project calendar, by using Nuevasync you will always know that you have the most up to date version. The only catch is that currently, Nuevasync can only sync calendars that you have edit permissions for (there is a tool to help you figure out which ones those are, the link is after the jump) and they get merged all in to one calendar on your iPhone (they stay separated on Google Calendar).

Nuevasync was started in November 2007. Amazingly its creators David Boreham and Thomas Lackey never expected the high volume of users Nuevasync receives now. The original Nuevasync was designed as a Windows Mobile sync solution using Google Calendar and Plaxo (an online address book and social networking service) as data sources, but now Google Contacts as well as the other two are supported. Once Apple announced that they would be introducing Exchange server support with the 2.0 firmware upgrade, they got a beta copy of the firmware and began testing using an iPod Touch. They only expected a few iPhone users to be trying the service. Two days after the launch of the iPhone upgrade, Nuevasync’s servers were heavily hit, their user count had doubled. After that, Nuevasync began to drastically scale their code to support the new workload. Because of this, most of the planed new features had to be delayed. The two most requested new features are the ability to select which Google calendars are synced (including public calendar syncing) and for multiple calendar support. Both of these features are currently in development and is expected to be ready for testing within the next fe
w weeks. After that, the next feature to be released will be push email support from Gmail.

Probably the biggest reason people don’t currently use Nuevasync is that when you add an exchange server, all of your calendar and contact data on your iPhone gets erased, but the easiest way to avoid this is to sync your iPhone with Google via iTunes. I’ll walk you through the entire process to show you how you can have over the air syncing, without losing any of your data. Take a look after the Jump!

Read more…

The First Android Phone Appears

20 09 2008

The first “Google phone” is rumored to be introduced into the market early next week.

An article in the Wall Street Journal on thursday announced Google’s plans for their first Android based phone. It is the first commercially available phone to run Google’s Android operating system since the announcement of the project in November of 2007, almost a year ago.

The phone is said to be priced at $199 to directly compete with the iPhone 3G. Service and data is rumored to be through T-Mobile USA. At this price point the hopes are to make it more appealing to those considering the iPhone. The phone is said to be released on September 23.

Reports from an iPhone 3G and iPod Touch running firmware 2.0.1

4 08 2008

Here are some notes from the 2.0.1 firmware update installation.

Here are my notes, in chronological order since installation:

Downloading the firmware took about 7 minutes on a 20/5 Mbit/s connection. Fairly slow for Apple’s servers, probably due to heavy traffic.

My iPhone update took about 20 minutes. Note that I recently synced and backed up my iPhone with my computer about one hour prior to the installation.

This update WILL disturb a previously jailbroken 2.0 device, but will not brick it or fail to install the update on a device that was PWNED using the latest PWNAGE tool.

Things seem to be snappier. No Apple application crashes yet, no sign of sluggish performance.

Now trying third party applications. Installing an update on the device from the App Store still relocates applications to the back as if they were never installed.

After over 12 hours of extensive use, we have found 2.0.1 is a great improvement to the buggy 2.0 firmware. However, there are still some outstanding issues.

More updates coming soon.

iPhone OS 2.0, iTunes 7.7 Bugs, Slowness and Headaches!

31 07 2008

Although the 2.0 firmware brings many new features, it also brings many bugs and headaches. Here is some tips to help ease the pain.

While the enhancements found in the new iPhone OS are wonderful, native third party applications have brought along a whole new set of issues to the platform. While it has still been under a month since the public introduction of the App Store, there are a number of major issues across the platform. Hopefully Apple will formally address and fix them however, at the moment it is up to the users.

On the Device:

Applications Crashing:
Immediately after opening a third party application, the newly launched application will quit. This bug has affected a number of applications, and often can be corrected by a hard reset of the device or re-installing the application.

Extremely slow Performance:
Even when in one of Apple’s own applications such as Safari or Contacts, the keyboard will be extremely laggy and sometimes even unexpectedly quit. Another common issue is loading Settings only to find a blank screen. Try holding down the home button for 7 seconds to force quit the application and if the issue persists, reset the device.

Random Restarts:
Sometimes when using an application (usually third party) the device will just randomly restart. There seems to be no definitive cause or solution to this issue.

Application Updates:
The App Store shows new updates to your applications. It downloads the new version and installs it (however long it might take) and treats it like a new application! It erases the old version, but adds the icon all the way at the last position. The only way around this is to update via iTunes.

In iTunes:

Application Updates:
Sometimes, the App Store Icon on your device will show there are updates to applications. When you go into iTunes, it doesn’t show any updates. Even if you manually click “Check for Updates” it says there isn’t any updates available. The only way to fix this is to go and re-download each application you want to update to; or update the application on your device and have it synced back to iTunes.

Long Backups:
Backups are recommended so you can restore your device back to how it was at any given point in time. Sometimes, after installing or updating applications backups may take a very long time. The best bet is to wait it out or press the X to cancel the backup.

These are a few remedies to a bunch of large issues. If you have any more tips or tricks you think we missed, please contact us or leave a comment below!

The iPhone 3G Shortage: How to get a hold of your iPhone quicker and more efficiently

29 07 2008

Since it’s July 11th premier, the iPhone 3G has become a difficult phone to get a hold of. Here are a few tips on tracking down your new iPhone.

The 3G iPhone is in high demand this summer. Lines outside Apple Stores of seven or more hours have become commonplace. Seeing entire states selling out of iPhones for days at a time isn’t uncommon. AT&T stores seem to get shipments least often, and generally flagship stores will have some models in stock, but accompanied with a long line outside. Even Apple is having trouble keeping phones on their shelves. Last week, Apple announced all stores were going to open at 8AM and have more employees helping in anticipation of iPhone 3G sales.

On apple.com/retail:

“Your favorite Apple Retail Store is making it easier and more convenient to purchase an iPhone 3G. All stores will now open at 8:00 a.m. every day but Sunday and, to accommodate demand, we’re adding staff to help you get up and running as quickly as possible.”

Like last year and with the MacBook Air, Apple has added a Store Availability Checker to their retail website which is updated at 9PM. Many sites have attempted to tap into this service, which isn’t available during the day, to provide updated iPhone availability. Apple has since changed the backend so these sites can no longer use the checker during the day. You can view the official one here (after 9PM).

Among the most effective ways to find stock at any given time is to call. Visit Apple.com/retail to find a few Apple Store phone numbers near you and start calling. This process might require some time, and you might have to call several over the course of one day and week.

Recently, Apple has also setup a “raincheck” program, where if you lineup for an iPhone, you can set aside a 3G iPhone and return later in the day to finish the activation process when convenient. Generally you have until 6PM to pickup your new device.

Finally, among the most important things to do before you go out to purchase your new iPhone is to become iReady (PDF).

To purchase and activate iPhone 3G, you need the following:

Credit card (In Your Name)
Social security number (In Your Name)
Valid, government-issued photo ID (In Your Name) [Must be 18 and older]
Your current wireless account number and password or PIN (if you’re new to AT&T)

And if these steps are too much for you, the simple answer is to wait. As the holiday season draws closer, and the device is on the market longer, production will ramp up and Apple may be able to handle the heavy demand better. If you have any additional tips or suggestions, feel free to drop us a comment below or contact us.

A Guide to iPhone OS 2.0: Tips, Tricks and New Features!

17 07 2008

With last weeks release of the iPhone 2.0 OS for iPhone and iPod Touches, Apple has added a host of new features. Among the most prominently covered is the App Store, however there are many other refinements under the hood- take a look.

The 2.0 firmware adds a large number of fixes, refinements and additions to the iPhone platform. Free for existing iPhone owners and a $9.95 upgrade for iPod Touch owners, 2.0 adds the App Store as well as Microsoft Exchange support and many other enterprise level features. Below are some lesser known additions to the iPhone OS 2.0 firmware:

If you are entering a URL in Safari, for example, you’re probably aware of the .com button. In the new 2.0 firmware, if you would like to type in .edu, .net or .org, if you hold down the .com button and you are presented with “.net, .edu, .org and .com” as an option.

Like QuickTime movies, the new Safari version found on iPhone OS 2.0 allows you to see embedded YouTube videos. If you click on an embedded YouTube video, the video launches in the YouTube application.

If you see an image you would like to save while in Safari or Mail, if you tap and hold down the image, a prompt will ask if you would like to save the photo. Your saved photos can be found the Camera Roll as well.

If you want to take a screenshot from your iPhone or iPod Touch, hold down the home button and click the Sleep/Wake button at the top and the screen will flash. Whatever was displayed on your screen will be added to your Camera Roll.

If you want to jump to the top of a page in Safari, or your Inbox in Mail, simply tap the Menu bar (where the time and battery information is displayed) and it will jump to the top.

Continue reading after the jump for more new features! Read more…