Proctele apps in the App Store

Proctele apps in the App Store
Click the picture to see Proctele apps in Apple's App Store

Friday, June 29, 2012

iPhone's 5th birthday today

Wikipedia says: "The first iPhone was unveiled by Steve Jobs, then CEO of Apple, on January 9, 2007, and released on June 29, 2007".

Happy birthday iPhone!!!

The most impressive phone at the time of iPhone's release, was Nokia's N95, see The N95, a slider phone, was the first one to feature GPS. Some more highlights were: 5Mpix camera, VGA video @30 frames/s, 2.6" display 240 by 320 pixels, HSDPA (high speed internet) and Wi-Fi. The N95 contained 150 maps for cities worldwide. It cost US$732.

First reactions among people in the mobile business here in Sweden when iPhone was announced in January 2007, was that it looked good, but was clumsy and didn't feature 3G. Who would want such a brick stone in the pocket. A big format was a curse that had been overcome; small was the way to go as it had been for some years already. Not to worry. The N95 is the one to play catch-up with.

It's interesting to read this review of the first generation iPhone: Its frame of reference is Apple's iPod music player. The review sums up the pro's and con's:

  • Beautiful interface
  • Terrific integration on phone and with computer
  • Excellent Internet and iPod features
  • Near-revolutionary device

  • Battery life needs improvement
  • EDGE network is slowish
  • Some program crashes
  • Incompatible with many headphones
  • AT&T customer service is lacking
  • High price ($399)

There was no App Store at the time, so the device only had built-in apps. The App Store opened on July 10 2008, about four years ago, a year after the iPhone.

On iPhone's 5th birthday it's safe to say that the device was revolutionary (not near-revolutionary) and that it wasn't overly expensive.

Here's to iPhone!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

iOS user interface enhancement: tips for Apple

I like the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch! They handle very well and they really put information at your fingertips, like Bill Gates used to say. Still, here are some UI enhancement ideas for these devices.

Suggestion: Automatically make the most used applications more accessible.
Comment: This can be dangerous if implemented in a wrong way. Currently the bottom row is intended to make some apps more accessible than others. The bottom row could be extended to two rows and the extra row would be housing the most recently used app-icons.

Suggestion: Empower the user to set the icon density on the screens.
Comment: Looking at the iPads icon-screens I think there's a lot of empty space there. That's good, because otherwise it might look cluttered. Some users might want to put more icons there and that would mean less room for each icon.

Suggestion: Some icons on the table behind the bottom row icons.
Comment: There's a surface on which the bottom icons stand. This gives a nice 3D effect, but doesn't enhance the usability. The idea is to add extra icons at the back of the table that would seem to be at a greater distance from the user. They would be slightly grey or blue and a bit smaller than those at the front of the table.

I just might blog once more about this issue.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

What's Microsoft Surface?

Here's the picture of Surface featured on Microsoft's site:
It looks very nice and Microsoft says it'll be on sale this year. The price will be similar to the ultrabooks. That means it's going to cost a good bit more than the lowest speced iPads, the ones with 16GB memory and WiFi only connectivity.
Made of magnesium it's extremely rigid and light, only 1.5 pounds, and thin. Screen size is 10.6" (16/9 format) compared to iPad's 9.7" (4/3 format).
Looking at the picture you might think it's an extremely thin ultrabook, which is a class of thin laptop PCs from the major PC makers. That's because the picture shows the Surface with one of the protective covers (can't see which one).
There will be two different protective covers, both with keyboards. One is the touch-cover and the other is the type-cover. They connect to the device via a magnetic connector. The touch-cover has a touch-sensitive keyboard while the (thicker) type-cover has a more traditional keyboard.
For hands-free viewing in landscape mode, Surface has an onboard stand, which is extremely thin (0.77 mm = 0.03 inches).
The covers seem to be important to the Surface designers. It seems they intend the device to be two things, namely a laptop and a tablet. With the covers it's a laptop and then you'll be using the onboard stand, which angles the device 22°. I wonder if 22° will suit every user or if there's some elegant way to modify the angle.
Microsoft will be making the Surface and the reason is probably that the Surface project is older than the partnership with Nokia. I suggest Nokia should be invited to join the Surface project. To many people that would amount to a guarantee that the hardware quality is Ok and say, thermal breakdowns wouldn't occur.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Angry Birds Theme Park!

Angry Birds is a set of apps for iPhone/iPod touch/iPad and you already know them, no doubt. They also exist on other platforms. They are successful enough to be featured outside of computers. There is a great variety of Angry Birds merchandise on sale here and there.
But you might not know there's an Angry Birds theme park in the game's native country Finland, in Tampere.
That's only the beginning they say @ There will be more of them in Finland and the following countries are on the to-do list: Australia, Canada, China, France, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, United States.
I sometimes play the games myself on my Apple devices. I think iPad is the best platform for them, because there's more screen space. I should add that I only have the iPhone versions, which I play in pixel-doubling mode on the iPad.
I tried the games on my MacBook too. The Google Chrome browser has an app store called the Chrome Web Store, where the games are downloadable. That gives an even better gaming experience than the iPad, although I don't use it much. I rarely use the MacBook outside my office.
So once you've plucked the Disney-parks, Lego-parks and the like, there's still the Angry Birds-parks.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What's new in iOS 6?

Ok so there's no iPhone5 coming soon. "They seek him here, they seek him there ...". But there's new iOS 6 and it's got some very useful features.

  • Maps from TomTom give us turn-by-turn navigation, 3D flyover, but no street-view.
  • Siri can give us game scores, summaries and player stats, tweet our messages, understand 15 languages (but not Swedish), and become the next hands-free solution for some new cars. 
  • Facebook integration with contacts sync and calendar sync. Twitter was already integrated in iOS5.
  • You can now send a predefined SMS when you can't take an incoming call. Very nice feature.
  • Passbook can keep your boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons and loyalty cards. Passbook will alert you if your gate number changes. Great feature when gate numbers change at short notice and many of us know they do!!
  • Facetime is now available on mobile (cellular) networks.
  • Mail has been improved, but I think it was great already. Same thing with Safari browser.
  • These devices are compatible with iOS 6:
    • Iphone 3GS, 4 and 4S. 
    • iPod touch generation 4. 
    • iPad 2 and 3.
  • Support for iPad1 has been dropped, which is sad.
To complete the above picture, here's more information regarding the availability of features in older devices, which I copied from
Features are subject to change. Not all features are available on all devices.
Some features may not be available in all countries or all areas. Flyover and turn-by-turn navigation will be available only on iPhone 4S and iPad 2 or later. Cellular data charges may apply.
Siri will be available only on iPhone 4S and iPad (3rd generation) and requires Internet access. Siri may not be available in all languages or all areas, and features may vary by area. Cellular data charges may apply.
Shared Photo Streams requires iOS 6 on iPhone 4 or later or iPad 2 or later, or a Mac computer with OS X Mountain Lion. An up-to-date browser is required for accessing shared photo streams on the web.
FaceTime over a cellular network requires iPhone 4S or iPad (3rd generation) with cellular data capability. Carrier data charges may apply. FaceTime is not available in all countries.
VIP list and VIP and Flagged smart mailboxes will be available on iPhone 4 or later and iPad 2 or later.
Offline Reading List will be available on iPhone 4 or later and iPad 2 or later.
Made for iPhone hearing aids require iPhone 4S.
Find My Friends and Find My iPhone enable you to locate iOS devices only when they are on and connected to a registered Wi-Fi network or have an active data plan. Not available in all areas.

Friday, June 8, 2012

What will iPhone5 bring?

Apple's WWDC (developer conference) starts on June 11th. This is when product releases often occur. It may be time for another iPhone and this time it's likely to be called iPhone5.

This is my second blog on the subject. My previous try, which was ahead of iPhone 4S, went as  follows:

"It will be lighter. The screen will cover much more of the device's front. The screen will be at least the size of the iPhone4's and the whole device will be smaller. It will also be lighter and thinner. Its profile shape will be similar to MacBook Air.
The real revolution will be in sound. The new device will use the screen as its membrane, which will take its audio capability way beyond the competition. Headphones will no longer be needed, except for audiophiles.
It's going to cost less than iPhone 4. Of that I'm in no doubt at all!
The name will not be iPhone 5. I think Apple has way more imagination than that. My guess is they will at least stop using numerals from now and that the new device will be called iPhone Air or iPhone Aladdin or iPhone Sky."

The iPhone 4S was a minor facelift for the appearance, but much more happened on the hardware and software sides. This time it's the appearance.
I expect it to be thinner and the reason is Samsung's Galaxy SII, and the new SIII. Those attractive devices must have sent a message to Apple: It's time for some exercise, because you're too fat.
Same thing about the weight. It must come down. I think it will retain its boxy shape and shiny body, because it still looks good and expensive.
The screen will be over 4 inches and will perform very well in sunlight.
There will be two speakers and the sound will be much improved and wide; earphones will not be needed. There will be new stands for iPhones to make the listening position optimal.
Contrary to my previous name prediction, I think Apple will stay with the numbers. That's because of marketing: it's easier to remember numbers than names.
The price will be somewhat lower than the 4S.