Less than a day after it was unveiled at WWDC 2009, the new Apple iPhone 3G S got the Federal Communications Commission's blessing. You now can peruse fascinating technical data about Apple's newest device, including its SAR measurements. If you're not an iPhone fan, there's no reason to despair, as a handful of other new cell phones passed through the FCC as well.
Google has been once again revamped its iGoogle start page for easier use on iPhone and Android handsets. It lets you see and interact with your gadgets in a similar fashion to the desktop version, by making use of tabs and displaying content that runs in iFrames. The previous version, which was mysteriously discontinued by Google in late January, simply put everything into one, large vertical stream, and required you to go back and forth to get at different sets of widgets.
One nice feature that was not found in the previous version, is the option to set certain widgets … Read more
Puzzle games and the iPhone and iPod Touch go together like peas and carrots (and they're nearly as good for you). They fit beautifully on the small screen, they have no awkward controls to master, and they're ideal when you have 5 minutes or 10 minutes to kill (and don't feel like killing things).
Here's a list of my five favorite puzzle games (so far):Hanoi A beautiful rendition of the classic Towers of Hanoi game. The object is simple: move a stack of disks from one side of the board to the other. There's … Read more
Apple had its own E3 press conference at the beginning of the week, with its newest model in the iPhone line finally being unveiled to the world. The iPhone 3G S, while in some ways a modest upgrade, introduces significant improvements for gamers--some obvious, others not so much. Will it help even further cement their growing position in a handheld games market previously dominated by Nintendo and Sony? Read on.
Faster processor speed, more RAM. T-Mobile leaked the hard 3G S specs, and they're all-around zippier than the old 3G--which Apple confirmed when it promised overall speeds up to 2x faster. This will matter in particular with game load times and game crashes, both of which can tend to plague an overstuffed iPhone. While the spec bumps are relatively modest, the iPhone's game-playing prowess has already been more impressive than early pundits predicted, especially on recent releases like The Sims 3 and a PC-perfect port of Myst. The only thing missing now is...
Proper controller support. Sneaked in under the radar amid the iPhone 3G S news is the fact that the 3.0 software update allows third-party app interfacing with peripherals. While a larger focus on this functionality has been on medical devices, it's now possible for someone to make a clip-on control pad case and to have that controller be usable in any game. What should happen is that publishers gather to designate one universal controller that then gets adopted as the iPhone's "gamepad." The question is, who will make that accessory? For a while last year it was rumored to be Belkin, although it was unclear who would support the device. On consoles, the manufacturer usually settles these issues by making the controller themselves (except in the case of peripheral-driven games like Rock Band).
While it would be easiest if Apple made a gamepad, it's entirely unlikely. The whole appeal of the iPhone is its interface simplicity--too many plug-ins kill the minimalist chic. If a third party makes a controller, there's a likelihood that some publishers would support it, while others splinter off under some other controller accessory. Either way, someone should make sure there's a good consensus. Otherwise, soon enough we'll be buried in plastic miniperipherals, not unlike what's currently happening to (or plaguing) game consoles.… Read more
I couldn't pick just one deal today, so here are five to jump-start your weekend:
Much as I'm loving the iPhone version of Peggle, I think it's a little pricey at $4.99. Good news: Right now it's on sale for just 99 cents [iTunes link]. No-brainer. Buy it. Thanks to reader Harold for the tip!
I'm not loving Amazon MP3's current selection of $5 albums, but there's one standout: Holst's The Planets, one of my all-time classical favorites. ("Mars" gets all the attention, but "Jupiter" is really … Read more
In addition to the big Apple announcements of new laptops and the iPhone 3G S at this weeks WWDC, other well-known developers used the conference as an opportunity to release some big name iPhone applications. I usually try to balance my coverage of iPhone apps by talking about one game and one useful utility, but with this week's big releases, I'm going to talk about two games. These games are both $9.99, so with the higher price point, I think it's worth it to give you the rundown of both so you can decide if you … Read more
No doubt about it, Apple's just-announced Find My iPhone app is pretty cool. If your precious goes missing, you can remotely transmit a "Help, help, I'm lost!" message in the hopes that whoever found it will return it.
If that doesn't pan out, you can send a Mission Impossible-style self-destruct command that'll wipe the iPhone's memory, thus protecting any sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands.
MobileMe's Find My iPhone service is alive and ready for anyone using iPhone OS 3.0. Using it allows you to locate your iPhone or iPod Touch on a map, send a message along with a sound to the device, or wipe your device remotely if its been misplaced, lost, or, stolen.
Here is the location screen for an iPhone (iPod Touch is similar in all cases below) in the Account settings section at me.com.
The location screen supports the following actions:
Press the Update Location button and MobileMe will attempt to query your iPhone and display an updated map showing its location.
Press the Display a Message... button, and MobileMe will send a text message to your phone that displays with an optional sound playing for up to 2 minutes. You'll be prompted to enter your message and check the box to include the sound.
The message then appears on your iPhone like this:
Next, you get a confirmation e-mail that your message was sent, received, and displayed on your missing iPhone.
Press the Remote Wipe... button and MobileMe will remotely erase your iPhone. According to Apple:This will permanently delete all media and data on your iPhone, restoring it to factory settings. This will not suspend your wireless service. Once wiped, your iPhone will no longer be able to display messages or be located. Learn more.
You'll be prompted to erase your device with a warning that you cannot undo this process once it has started.
If the iPhone is eventually recovered, users can restore their data by enabling their MobileMe account on the iPhone or syncing with their computer. It's unfortunate that the iPhone cannot be completely disabled, but at least you have a chance of destroying your personal data if it lands in the wrong hands.
The system isn't foolproof, however. One problem with Find My iPhone, according to Jonathan Zdziarski in a Twitter post, is that, "There's a magic button on every iPhone a thief can use to disable remote wipe and LocateMe; it's called the SIM eject button."… Read more
So, where does the Apple iPhone 3G S get its claimed "2x faster" leap in speed? Rumors are rampant that Apple is using a new chip to crank up the performance.
Why rumors when Apple has already announced the iPhone 3G S? Apple doesn't disclose chip-level hardware specifications. Moreover, Apple clearly wants to convince any prospective buyer than it's not the iPhone's individual parts that matter but the Apple-branded whole.