Sunday, November 18, 2007

iPhone Diary - part 1

This shouldn't be so difficult

So it's been about a week that I've had my iPhone, and I have absolutely no regrets about getting it. Compared to my 5-year old Sony, on pay-as-you-go, there wasn't much debate to be had.

That aside, its flaws are noticeable only because it feels nearly perfect.

I thought it interesting that most "web guys", including myself, have to take a second to understand how to go back to the main menu. It's the only button on the phone, but we're all looking for navigation affordances on the screen. This isn't a flaw -- there are a few things like these that feel like a conscious decision to keep the interface simple.

But here are my proper gripes:

- I'm very slow on the keyboard. My big fingers are always slipping on to the wrong letter. I'm starting to learn the press-and-pause behaviour that lets me quickly switch to the correct letter -- but that's less intuitive than tap-tap-tap. I might have to get a stylus even though it's "so PalmPilot" -- not multitouch sexy

- Speaking of multitouch -- I don't like that I can't zoom with one hand. Standing on the bus is how I do most of my web browsing in the morning, and there is no way to zoom pages with one hand. (Although I've just seen a TV ad that seems to suggest you can by tapping)

- Apple is usually very careful about the start up experience, they've put a few iPhone tutorials on the website -- why aren't those preloaded as videos in the device itself?

- iPod features -- or lack thereof. They really needed to put a small pause/play/fwd/rev device on the cord for the headphones. (Also, not really an issue, but I've gotten some strange looks when I answer a phone call, because it looks like I'm talking to myself while listening to an iPod)

- I won't mention Edge being slow compared to 3G, etc. etc. I've watched YouTube over Edge, so it's not so horrible. And I don't care that it has a low-end camera.

Now, about Apps. I realise that Apple will probably release a lot of Apps very soon. But there are a few no-brainers they could have included that would really come in handy. (Of course I could Jailbreak my iPhone to get them, but I shouldn't have to):

- Native RSS Feed reader - The iPhone was built for catching up on RSS feeds. I rely on Bloglines, but I'd rather have a native iPhone version.

- WPS - Skyhook wireless positioning (as with Loki) -- this gives very accurate positioning (in London at least) and would be a nice feature to be included with Maps.

- Document storage, or at least a PDF sync folder in iTunes. I would like to keep PDF maps and eBooks on my iPhone. Again, I'm sure this is coming, but it already has PDF support in the web browser, so why not allow document storage in iTunes?

- Instant Messenger - again, I'm sure Apple has a version of iChat coming, but I'd really like to keep messenger open on my iPhone. Meebo doesn't seem to work over Edge, and it since it's browser-based, it won't work when the iPhone goes to sleep. But Meebo is a very nice Web app (if you set it up beforehand).

- iTunes support of other file formats. (AVI, XVid, MOV for video, MP3,WAV for ringtones) -- iTunes should convert these on-the-fly. Instead I have to use iSquint for Video and Max for audio / ringtones. Ringtones require an extra trick of copying the m4a file and renaming it m4r.


What else could I ask? Well, maybe the next version could be used as a WiiMote too -- now that would be cool.


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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A truly portable iPod

I read something about Parallels software that gave me an idea.

Parallels will allow you to associate your iPod with iTunes on a virtual PC. This means that if you put that Virtual PC on a portable drive, you can take that iPod and drive anywhere and access your iTunes.

Still not very convenient -- but I bet there is a way (via parallels or bootcamp) to keep a version of Windows on the iPod itself.

But here's where it would be worth offering a bounty to hackers -- what about hacking the iTunes app that runs on the iPhone so that it will recognise the hard drive of whatever machine it's attached to and transfer files to and from that machine?

Technorati submit A truly portable iPod to reddit