The MacCast » Alex Curtis

New iPhone in town, well, almost in town—July 11 it will be released. Here are a number of quick details we know so far from the WWDC keynote today:

New 3G iPhone Hardware

Memory Capacity: 8GB & 16 GB

Colors: Black and White (White = 16GB option only, unclear if 16GB comes in black as well)

Frequencies: UMTS/HSDPA (850, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); WiFi 802.11b/g; Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR.

Screen Size: 3.5 inches (diagonal), 480 by 320 pixels (163 ppi).

Dimensions: 4.5 by 2.4 by 0.48 inches (115.5 by 62.1 by 12.3 mm)

Camera: 2.0 megapixels

Location Services: Assisted-GPS, previous cell tower and WiFi geolocation services from previous generation iPhone.

The big change is the high-speed 3G data connection, which Apple claims approaches the speeds of WiFi, and for some websites some 2.4 times faster than the original iPhone’s EDGE speeds.

iPhone Software

Besides the hardware specs, there are a number of new anticipated software changes, most of which will be available to current iPhone and iPod touch users via a software upgrade, due in early July. We’ve heard before about the Exchange Server and ActiveSync synchronization to keep your calendar, contacts and emails up to date over the air with your iPhone. Now, the new version of .Mac, called mobileme, will empower the average consumer a number of the same synchronizing functionality, for $99/year, all contacts, calendars, emails, and photos synchronized with the “cloud.”

The iPhone’s Mail app is also upgraded, and lets the the user select multiple messages to delete or move, and can also now view PowerPoint and all iWork (Pages, Keynote, and Numbers) documents. The iPhone’s contacts are also now searchable, so you don’t have to scroll through all of your contacts to find the right person. The Calculator app is now scientific, the new functions reveal themselves when the iPhone is tilted on its side. Language support is also significantly improved, allowing for simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, and Japanese language support through new keyboard and character recognition input controls.

Last, but probably the most significant software addition to the iPhone platform is the App Store. The App Store allows for third party developers to create and distribute applications to iPhone owners. Apple announced that applications under 10MB could be downloaded over the cellular network and WiFi, and those over 10MB would be available over WiFi only. Apple also announced two additional ways for developers to distribute their apps, via the enterprise via a company’s network or “ad hoc,” which allows for the download of up to 100 copies of an app.

Additionally, it was noted that Apple will be providing developers with a specialized push messaging service, one that would permit applications to receive information from the Internet without having to run in the background. My first take is that while this may be a good thing to prevent the draining of an iPhones battery, it could be problematic from a competitive gateway point of view, as application developers would be required to go through Apple to pass along messages to their app (especially since other apps like Mail have this information automatically pushed without this kind of service, today). I’m sure this new service will be discussed in the days and weeks to come.

That’s the quick and dirty. I’m sure there will be more details soon enough.

Nova Media today announced introduction of a new version of their FoneLink app, version 2.0, which gives Mac users a really nice tool to keep their mobile phone in sync with contacts, calendar, and media—in ways that iSync can’t. If you know how iTunes lets you sync with your iPhone or iPod, this is the closest thing to it.

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Divine Robot has developed a new tool that allows Sony Ericsson mobile users copy and synchronize songs from their iTunes library to their phone.

Mac OS X’s iSync is good for synchronizing your contacts and calendars to your mobile phone, but not so much for your music. iTunes will generally only sync your music with iPods, some older MP3 players, the Motorola ROKR phone, and the iPhone. Not so much help if you want to play songs from your iTunes library on your phone. That’s where the helper-app EasyListening comes in.

Start up the app and plug-in your supported Sony Ericsson phone via USB. Up pops a brushed metal window that looks iSync, showing the name and description of your phone. From there, fire up iTunes and select individual songs or a whole playlist (not supported by all phones) and then drag them to the EasyListening window. You can also use EasyListening to sync songs to a Memory Stick card.

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For those who have hacked their iPhone, Erica Sudun has put together another little gem of an app called Listen, that lets your iPhone identify songs that it hears playing on your radio, on the TV, or where ever.

Listen is in beta, and the version I’m using is “beta 06” which has a nicer push-button interface than initial releases, and some more useful functionality. Because it’s beta, I should say use it at your own risk—but that pretty much goes for any app you’ve installed on your hacked iPhone or iPod touch.

If you haven’t hacked your iPhone yet, directions to help you can be found here. You can download the Listen app from the Multimedia section of the iPhone Installer app, simply listed as “Listen”. After you do so, it’s going to be listen in your Springboard home screen with a purple icon. To start it, just tap on the icon.

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One of those things that irks me about the iPhone and iPod Touch is that you can download iTunes music directly, but you can’t subscribe to podcasts. These two mobile devices are amazing because they free us from the traditional computer paradigm, but they just feel artificially limited by business model constraints. Fortunately, Matthew Smith is developing a solution called MobileCast that lets you download your podcasts directly to your iPhone, without having to first sync with your Mac or PC. Let’s take a quick look…

MobileCast is a native iPhone app, not a web app. So, at least until Apple puts out their SDK, you’re going to need to jailbreak your iPhone / iPod Touch to install this app. If you’re running a recent version of the, MobileCast can be found in the Multimedia category. Tap to install it, like any other app. After you exit the installer, MobileCast’s icon should be located on your Springboard (the home app menu).
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Flickr on the iPhone with iFlickr

Written by: Alex Curtis

Categories: Cool Stuff, Hints & Tips


One of my previous posts pre-iPhone, I wrote about how there were ways to work around the iPhone’s limitations, and how you could use email to send your photos to Flickr. Well now, thanks to some hacker/tinkerers, we have a 3rd party native iPhone app that does the job splendidly!

The app is called iFlickr. It can be installed via the hack which is really the only (read: easiest) way to install 3rd party apps on your phone. New and improved applications are finding their way to the iPhone every day—from an old-school NES game player to IM applications, a webserver, one-off iPhone-unique games like Lights Off and Tap Tap Revolution, all among many others. No, they’re not all perfect, some in alpha or beta in quality, but these apps are diverse in function and imaginative.

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While the iPhone is going to be great, there may be a few things that we might find lacking. So here are some hopefully useful shortcuts to get around some of the iPhones “missing features.”

Uploading photos to the Web:

Even though we don’t have a special 3rd party photo uploading tool on the iPhone like we do on the Mac, many web2.0 photo sharing services provide other means of uploads. One of the most popular is Flickr provides its users a special email address that will receive and post your image. Log into and then go here to find your special email address. To provide more detail to your uploaded image, here’s a cheat sheet:

subject line = title

body = description

tags = in the email’s body or subject put “tags:” followed by the tags as you would normally add them to a flickr photo.

limiting who can see your photos = in the prefix (just before the “@”) of your special flickr email, add “+friends” for friends only, add “+family” for family only, “+ff” for friends and family, and lastly, “+private” to make the images only visible to you.

Of course, this isn’t specific to iPhone, so if you want to use this method to post your Flickr photos, it should work just fine.
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New Apple Ads say iPhone release date: June 29, 2007

Written by: Alex Curtis

Categories: News


Three new Apple iPhone ads were released over the weekend, and there’s a little more information they provide for all of us that can’t get enough iPhone in our diet. You can view the new ads on Apple’s website, or embedded below from YouTube.

Each ad gives us a little more of the iPhone interface and a few built-in apps in action:

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Who knows whether you MacCast readers will even see this before the actual Apple World Wide Developers Conference Keynote happens, but a few of us on the MacCast crew thought we’d take a shot at some (harebrained?) predictions for what we might see (or at least hope to see) tomorrow at WWDC.

Live Maccast Chat: If you are reading this before or during the keynote and want to chat about it live join us on iChat/AIM in the room: maccast. To access it using iChat:

1) Launch iChat
2) Go to: File–>Go to Chat… and enter ‘maccast’m as the chat name.

See you there.
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iTunes 7.2 and iTunes Plus: Initial Reactions

Written by: Alex Curtis

Categories: News, Reviews


Adam already posted that iTunes 7.2 and iTunes Plus went live, but I don’t think the actual functionality was live when he made the post. Here are a quick look and a few points I’ve noted with the new iTunes features.

After you’ve updated iTunes to 7.2 from either downloading it separately or running Software Update, when you fire-up the iTunes Store in 7.2, you may not notice much change. To setup your preferences for future iTunes Plus purchases, you’re going to want to hop into your iTunes account settings (which can be found in the quick links on the right column or by clicking on your user name just below the search field in the iTunes window). From there, the first option you should see is labeled “iTunes Plus.”
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