Thursday, July 10, 2008

Initial iPhone 2.0 app impressions

Here are some of my initial observations about the iPhone 2.0 software:

Settings: Has a "Fetch New Data" item that lets you turn push updates on or off, set data fetch interval (includes the email check intervals for non-push email). Has a new "Mail, Contacts, Calendars" item, which consolidates various items (I think, I don't remember the details of this from the old OS) and includes under calendar "New Invitation Alerts", "Time Zone Support", and "Default Calendar" settings. The latter corresponds to the Calendar app UI now showing the multiple calendars synced from iCal. Played with simplified Chinese international keyboard a bit; neat to be able to draw characters by hand.

Contacts: The iPhone 2.0 software adds a "Contacts" app, which appears to just be a shortcut to the "Contacts" tab in the "Phone" app. We now have search, but it appears to be strangely limited, in that it doesn't search all fields. From playing with it a bit, it appears to search names and company, but not address or notes, for example. At least, this is my tentative conclusion. The on-screen keyboard has a "Search" button, but results update as you type; the "Search" button doesn't seem to do anything.

Calendar: Updated UI includes multiple-calendar awareness.

Maps: UI spiffed up. Circular cross-hairs vibrate as it progressively refines your location.

App Store: It works; looks just like the "iTunes" app.

And some third party apps: BA Flights: Mostly, thought perhaps not entirely, lame. Only lets you search for departures/arrivals within the current month. About what you'd expect: a three-button web app front end.

Talking Italian Phrasebook: Not sure that all of the phrases are correct, but pretty good for free.

Currency: Nothing fancy, just like the Stock app. A nice, simple app.

Exposure: Interface like iPod app. No Flickr upload capability. Not sure I'd pay $3 for Mobile Flickr. Need to compare this to MoPhoTo (which also doesn't seem to support upload).

NearPics: Very slow, and I'm testing via wifi.

Twitterific: Seems fine. Allows "attaching" photos to twitter updates, but I'm not sure this is something I'd like to do often; I think I'd be more likely to photoblog here on Blogger.

So, what do I want?

  • Skype! There is an app/service called TruPhone that seems Skype-like. Seems to include the equivalent of SkypeIn for no extra charge. It's in beta, but maybe I'll try it (if it won't insist on calling pay via wifi within the US, given that I have thousands of rollover minutes). I'll report after/during my upcoming trip on my experiences.
  • A good photoblogging interface that doesn't force me to switch to another blog platform. In other words, Blogger app.

Neat looking apps that I don't have an immediate need for:

  • SignalScope, a spectrum analyzer.
  • StageHand, a presentation remote that also displays your talk notes, allows you to highlight/point parts of your slides, etc.
  • OmniTuner, which seems, despite the emphasis on guitar, to be a chromatic tuner app. Orfeo is definitely a chromatic tuner, though with less impressive graphics and at twice the price.

And, finally, exactly how many payware tip calculators does the iPhone need? Do people really have trouble calculating tips using a regular calculator (such as the one built into to OS distribution)? Or just ballparking tips in their heads (how difficult it it to figure 10%, then either add in half of that again or double that)?

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