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iPhonery

Posted on Friday, November 21st, 2008

Dave!Today is the release of the new "Blackberry Storm" phone which, like we've all heard before, is supposed to be an "iPhone killer." I admit the click-screen sounds very cool, but there's nothing else about it that really appeals to me. iPhone is its own iPhone killer, because they keep updating it. Late last night Apple released version 2.2 software which adds some more cool stuff.

Podcasting. You can now download podcasts from the iTunes Store App directly from your iPhone. This is not a really big deal for me, because I don't listen to very many podcasts. About the only one I grab consistently is "Cereal Wednesday" because I love breakfast cereal, and it's got NYC Watchdog and (sometimes) Poppy in it.

It works pretty much as expected. You do a search for what interests you, then pick from the results. Simple...

Cereal Wednesday on iPhone App Store

Once your podcast has been downloaded, you can view it from the "Podcasts" tab in iPhone. Horizontal orientation video is supported, so you can flip the screen and make it bigger if you want...

Cereal Wednesday on iPhone

I will probably end up listening to a lot more podcasts when stuck in airports that don't have free wireless, so this is pretty cool.

Google Maps Street View. This is one of those features which sounds like a novelty, but is actually very useful. Because I regularly travel to places I'm not familiar with, I like to pop up Street View so I can visualize my route before I head out. It's much, much easier to navigate your way when you've been there before... even if it was virtually.

The feature works as expected. Type in a destination and a new icon pops up if Street View is available. Then just navigate around by touching the arrows which appear when you drag around the 360-degree panorama. You can go back to the map by touching the little "angle of view map" in the lower right-hand corner (which also tells you which direction you're facing, so it's a compass too!). Very cool. The first thing I did was check out a few monuments in Washington, DC, and it worked great...

Google Maps Street View: Washington Monument

Google Maps Street View: Lincoln Memorial

Google Maps Street View: Jefferson Memorial

It's like visiting somewhere without leaving your house!

Interesting to note that if your maps don't load right away, it's like being on the holodeck in Star Trek: The Next Generation...

Google Maps Street View: Holodeck

And now, since I'm already talking about iPhone, here's a few apps I'm in love with right now...

MyWeather Mobile (iTunes Store Link). Sure iPhone comes with its own weather forecast app, but it's pretty limiting. Fortunately, there's a terrific app that adds all kinds of useful information. By far my favorite is the "weather trend" tab and animated weather radar maps... both of which can be put into full-screen view by rotating iPhone horizontally. A very handy travel companion, and well worth the $9.99 price tag...

MyWeather App

MyWeather Trends Tab

MyWeather Animated Radar Map

USA Today Crosswords (iTunes Store Link). There are a few crosswords apps out there, but my favorite focuses on the USA Today Crossword PLUS the USA Today Quick Cross, which I love. Both new puzzles are downloadable daily, or you can switch to calendar view and grab older puzzles too. The only negative I have is the the top buttons should be moved so you don't accidentally press them while filling out a puzzle, but otherwise it's a great app. When stuck in an airport, the $4.99 price tag seems trivial given the hours of entertainment it provides...

USA Today Crossword Puzzle on iPhone

USA Today Quick Cross on iPhone

Adventure (iTunes Store Link). Way back in 1979, Atari released the brilliant game "Adventure" for the Atari 2600 gaming console. It may not look like much now, but back in 1979 it was an instant classic. Nothing else like it had ever been released, and it was a fantastic beginning for all the action-adventure games that would come after. I fondly remember playing the game for hours... not so much to solve it, because that happened rather quickly, but to see what tricks and secrets I could uncover. Then there was "Speed Adventure" where you'd compete with friends to see how fast you could complete the quest. Not bad for a game that's only 4K large! The iPhone translation is perfect, looks and plays the same, and even has the secret "easter egg" surprise to be uncovered! Genius, and it's FREE...

Atari 2600 Adventure: Yellow Castle

Atari 2600 Adventure: Black Key

The only thing I don't care for is the wacky tilt control (finger gestures would have been much nicer, but too complicated?!?) but it's a minor quibble.

And now lunch is over, so it's back to work...


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Comments

  1. Howard says:

    Holy shit! Adventure? I was like you — played it for hours and it was the first video game I ever completed. I want an iPhone, but have to wait until May when my AT&T contract is closing to being up to get the better price.

    *sigh*

  2. Avitable says:

    You know what other podcast is available on iTunes? Hmm?

  3. whall says:

    iPhone definitely has it’s place as a consumer-based toy phone. It wins on UI alone!

    But when you need corporate tethering, and other little things like a removable battery, micro SD card, copy and paste and multiple apps running, the Storm fills the void nicely.

    My coworker has his and is taunting me with it. Now I feel I must submit my resignation to Cingular/AT&T and give up my 8700C and move to the Storm on Verizon. One advantage is that the Verizon network is much better here in TX and out in CA (bay area) where I’m likely to use while roaming.

  4. Dave2 says:

    Howard. Uhhh… there is no “better price” to be had with iPhone. The cost is the cost when bundled with a required contract. Since you are already an AT&T customer, they just extend your contract 2 years, so you can get an iPhone now if you want.

    Avitable. Like this one?

    Whall. iPhone has tethering and remote deactivation for corporate use (along with other things like push email and Exchange support). Multi-app support is a tricky business because it drains the battery very quickly. Apple instead has “push services” which allows apps to notify from the internet when new data is received… a pretty good solution, IMHO. Replaceable batteries don’t bother me much now that so many 3rd party clip-on battery extenders are available. About the only thing on your list that’s truly missing with no substitute is cut and paste, which totally sucks ass, and Apple should have fixed that by now. It’s stupid to the extreme that they haven’t.

  5. Avitable says:

    Why yes, that is the one. How fortuitous!

  6. One more reason why I want an iPhone. I almost don’t care about the new Blackberry to be honest.

  7. Dickie Maxx says:

    I am convinced that posts like this are a right-wing to make me switch to the iPhone. I love my blackberry. And the Storm is pretty hot, but not offered on my network. Dammit I guess I am going to have to get that iPhone after all.

  8. OMG, Adventure!!!!! I haven’t thought of that since 3rd grade. I loved that game.

  9. Crail00 says:

    You have just provided more ammunition to Dickie Maxx to entice me to buy an iPhone.

    You know that he is charmingly devious.

    Thanks a bunch. NOT !!!

    LOL

  10. Sarah says:

    I want an iphone but since I don’t actually pay my phone bill maybe I should stop bitching that I don’t have one.

  11. NYCWD says:

    Obviously your taste in podcasts is exemplary.

    And obviously the iPhone make me look at least 15 pounds heavier.

  12. Poppy says:

    MY BOYFRIEND IS ON YOUR PHONE. WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH MY BOYFRIEND ON YOUR PHONE?!??!

    hehehe.

    Seriously, that is VERY cool.

  13. yellojkt says:

    My wife has become a Wordle addict.

  14. Karl says:

    Didn’t know that about the podcasts on the update. Cool! And yeah, I’d still love the cut and paste thing and a replaceable battery, but still love my iPhone.

  15. Lisa says:

    If it weren’t for you I wouldn’t have a clue that I ever had to update my iPhone nor would I know anything about it’s features. Thank you Dave! You are like my personal iPhone help desk.

  16. kapgar says:

    Can I ask how you get the screen caps of your iPhone?

  17. Dory says:

    I have to wait a couple more months to become “upgrade eligible” and get the iPhone for a cheaper price. That’s what my local store said, anyway.

    I have to use text only; no voice calls. How do you like the “keyboard” on your iPhone? I can’t imagine typing without having the tactile feedback of keys. I bet that took some getting used to.

  18. Whit says:

    I’m downloading Adventure right now! Thanks for the heads up.

    Also, you can make your keyboard click for texting on iPhone- it’s in the settings.

  19. Dave2 says:

    Yep! But that’s just a clicking sound… the Blackberry Storm has a physical “click” when you press down on the screen (there’s a metal plate with a dimple under the screen that presses a button, giving you tactile feedback).

  20. ChillyWilly says:

    Awesome new features for the iPhone. I know some of them are part of the iPod touch update, although understandably so, the Google Street View isn’t part of the Google Maps update for the touch.

    The USA Today crossword app looks pretty nice.

  21. Justin Scott says:

    Ever since podcasts were integrated into iTunes, I’ve been addicted. 80% of my iTunes/iPhone/iPod time is dedicated to listening to podcasts.

    This 2.2 update is going to just ruin my music listening. It used to be true that while on vacation, once I was out of podcasts, it was off to the music.

    This Thanksgiving I was able to download new episodes of Keith and the Girl, The Dawn and Drew Show, etc etc, over the air.

    I got zero music listening in! Not sure if I’m in love or not haha.

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