Apple’s Mapocalypse continues: Google Maps on iOS

Last night, late, just before Midnight EST, Apple graciously allowed Google’s Maps application through the firewall to the general App store consuming public.

One key addition of course is the turn-by-turn voice guided directions which is very similar to Apple’s own maps, with 3D buildings, 2D/3D views (though not *the same* as Apple’s built-in maps), public transit, street view, and even more features honestly. Of course one of the nice things in this maps app, if the fact it’s here isn’t enough for you, is that you also have access to all those awesome search capabilities that Google just brings by default.

Lastly, Google Maps for iOS also provides one thing not seen before and that is synchronization between devices which is something that Apple has yet to provide regarding maps specifically. Overall, I think this is a massive thumbs up and I can’t tell you how much nicer it is down in manhattan than Apple Maps. No really, I can’t, I haven’t tried it in-person yet, but I can tell you addresses in Manhattan at least show exactly where things should be correctly. That feature, as any Australian will tell you is indeed priceless.

One final note on the Apple Maps subject, I still like Apple Maps for some very good reasons, One being it integrates directly with Siri and I happen to love using Siri for many things. I also like their 3d version much better than Google Maps, but when it comes to being accurate, sometimes, it’s really really important to get it right the first time. I think the gauntlet has been thrown and answered reluctantly, now to see if both Google and Apple are up to the challenge of cooperating.

Get your Google Maps in the iTunes Store.

Also, others have written cool stories, here’s one that I’m sure a lot of you will like from “Life Hacker.”

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First Look: The Best Browser Your iPad Needs You to Buy.

Most people who use Apple’s iPhone or iPad are pretty used to the fact that mobile Safari and even Opera for the iPhone are ok, but certainly leave some things to be desired. Well, now there is, IMO, a true browser alternative on the scene and it’s name is iCab. The Apple Blog has a really great overview of this amazing browser that all of you might find a highly worthwhile read. This browser, in my opinion, is definitely worth grabbing and is a universal application so will run on your iPhone as well, but is much better suited to a larger screen and more power.

One significant improvement of this browser is the true Tab support. Which i so far have been very happy with. On top of that iCab also has a fairly speedy rendering engine. The browser is basically built with the same Webkit engine that mobile safari uses, but seems to render much faster, kind of a mix between safari and Opera. iCab also has “module” support which adds some interesting functionality

http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=308111628&mt=8

Look Here: Dear HDR Apps, You’re still as useful as ever.

This is just a quick update for all those folks out there that have gone on to say things like “HDR Apps soon to be obsolete … Thanks to Apple.” Or how about one like “Pro HDR app could be history thanks to Apple” from the good folks over at AppAdvice.com. Yes, Apple’s latest software update for iOS4 (4.1) allows users of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS to take HDR photos automatically using their phones. I personally think it’s awesome but the bigger question is why didn’t anyone do this with all the numbers of DSLR’s out there before?

So if Apple’s responsible for the intelligence that goes into *other* manufacturer’s products, then sure, its their fault. But the reality is that any manufacturer could add the HDR capability into the cameras at any time but have been leaving the capability up to the photographer or whoever processes the photos and I think, maybe I’m wrong, that most photographers will *still* want it that way, and having an option of using HDR will be just that. Just like in the iPhone, an option that not everyone will use, or want to.

Comparison: Apple TV (2010) vs Roku HD-XR TV Media Players

This piece is for one of my friends whom I work with and recently, upon hearing the new Apple TV announcement decided to pre-order. And in my opinion, that’s just fine cause overall, I think the new Apple TV kicks butt. Though I do have experience with the Roku first hand and think it’s very cool too. So what is a technophile to do? Buy one? Both? None? (that last one isn’t really an option I know, but still, had to put it in there.)

So, I have done one of the most basic things you can do. I decided to compare the two platforms on a one to one basis, or at least as closely as I could.

First let me give you the specs on the Roku. This comes directly from the Roku.com web site:

Roku HD-XR Specifications
Roku HD-XR Specifications

And here are the specifications for the new Apple TV. This was taken directly from the AppleTV web site:
Apple TV 2010 Specifications

Now in my opinion, this might be a bit excessive to easily compare, but at least their on the same page. But to make things easier, I’m going to break it down to make it easier to compare. So without further ado, here’s a quick comparison of what each respective company website says about each player. I would like to point out that Apple puts the processor information on their device specs, but we don’t see them on Roku’s site. Another consideration is the iTunes/iDevice compatibility that the ATV has. Enjoy.

Media  Player Comparison
 

Roku Player

Apple TV (2010)

Height 1.75″ 0.9 “
Width 5″ 3.9″
Depth 5″ 3.9″
Weight 0.7 Lbs 0.6 Lbs
Video Out HDMI HDMI
  Component X
S-Video X
  Composite X
Audio Out Stereo X
  Digital Optical Digital Optical
HDMI HDMI
Video Resolution 480i 480i
480p 480p
  720p 720p
Stream Services NetFlix NetFlix
  Flickr Flickr
YouTube YouTube
  From Computer From Computer
X To iDevice
  X iTunes
Network Connection WiFi (a/b/g/n) WiFi (a/b/g/n)
  10/100 RJ45 10/100 RJ45
Power AC Adapter Power Cord
  12.5watts 6watts
Video Format ? H.264
  ? MPEG-4
? MJPEG
Audio Format ? HE-AAC
? AAC
  ? MP3
? MP3-VBR
  ? Apple Lossless
? AIFF
  ? WAV
X = does not
have
? = not
listed in spec per web site

Discussion: Will June 7th, 2010 Bring Magic … or Disdain?

WWDC Keynote
It’s possible that today will bring another “Magical” device or that it simply will be an impressive display of Apple’s command of the mobile phone computing market. One thing is also possible, it could bring us a wonderful, magical, beautiful mobile phone computing device that will have the life and ultimate usefulness sucked out of it by the one thing wrong with the current state of the iPhone at large, the infrastructure. No, ninny, not the GSM network it runs on. Not the HSPA+ possibly coming to you, maybe by the end of summer … or ‘then [it] won’t.’ Not even the fact that we may not see a Verizon/CDMA+Voice version anytime this year. No, none of those things. Actually it’s much simpler yet complex at the same time.

AT&T
That’s right, I said it. I’m calling you out. Not that this hasn’t been done before, hell by many of us who just use an iPhone or iPad just as was intended. But this is a little different, IMO. This is almost like a gauntlet, or smack with the white glove. These guys are so smug now, the <a href=“http://www.electronista.com/articles/10/06/03/customer.unhappy.with.iphone.eligibility.data/“>CEO won’t even communicate</a> properly with his own (former) customer(s) and threatens them instead for doing so.
To me, this is not only a mistake, blunder, faux pas, or just plain idiotic. No, this is one of the worst things a person can do in business. Ignore and undermine the those who bring money to the table. If they *didn’t* have the iPhone, I would probably be back with Verizon if the prices were equal because overall, they run their ship better.

So, we will see tomorrow that the costs will now what has been touted in the press lately, but it is the future which holds the true story, and if AT&T and their [on] Crack PR team [jerk of a CEO] will not start making good on the promises they made over 2 years ago with the release of the iPhone 3G, I may be with them for 2 more years, but then I won’t go back after this next hardware refresh, which will make me unhappy to say the least.

Time will tell, but I have a few months to see if VZW ends up getting this new device by the time *my* contract is up! Here’s hoping AT&T gets some kind of backlash soon. Good luck to us all.

Review: Wired Magazine for iPad Issue 1

Hi there, I just wanted to tell everyone that I got the first issue of Wired for the iPad and wanted to share my thoughts

The Bad

Wired for iPad is a bit more clunky than hyped for sure. As noted, understanding what is a button, clickable, or otherwise can be interacted with is difficult. I like the round numbered buttons, but there are diagrams and topic pictures throughout the issue which seem like you should be able to at least touch to highlight. (The space shuttle article for example)

The other part was the layout. The whitespace, lack of transparent controls, or on screen map/location identifier is a bit of a pain. You can touch the screen and then get some of that control, but it takes a large part of the screen, and isn’t user customizable so far as I could tell. Which is where a handy mini map or transparent control scheme would come in handy.

The Ugly

There are 3 more things too, but they seem pretty simple to fix to me.

The price: 4.99, seriously? A dead tree subscription costs 16.99 or so a YEAR, is bad for the environment (increases carbon footprint in many ways), has no DRM (can be scanned and distributed), and overall, has got to cost a ton more than even publishing on the website. So the price for the iPad version needs to be rectified.

The size: this thing weighs in at about 500ish MB. Even if you put this in a library format, you can’t keep too many of them on your iPad, much less on your computer. The size alone is not very sustainable.

The details: several details about future versions are still forthcoming and so we are in the dark today but if the New York Times or WSJ subscription pricing is *any* indicator of what we’re in for, I probably won’t be getting a Wired subscription. Which would suck.

The Good

As a rendition of a magazine, Wired is very good. It feels like the dead tree version but with added media. I truly like the overall format of scrolling sideways through stories and then down the “page.” it’s unique, useful, and fairly intuitive for an experienced techie. I do like the navigation controls, once I figured out that’s what they were. The embedded media is very well done and encoded with very unique interfaces as well.

Last Thoughts

Movies and menu media play and display quite nicely and typically fit the flow of the magazine itself with the exception of the videos, I almost think they should play in-place but have the option of going fullscreen. Likewise with the animations as well. The mars and Iron Man animations are super cool and not like anything I’ve seen before, but the mars one has a slider which disappears and doesn’t come back until you switch pages. It also is a bit funky in it’s display, more for the gee whiz factor than the data displayed since it seems to just take off if you just give it a flick, but if you scroll it, constantly and slowly, you get to control the rotation of the display and read the information listed. If the slider had moved with my finger, I’d have understood that better off the bat.

Lastly, if the Wired folks could fix the Ugly bits, that would help a lot. Fixing the clunky controls and menu capabilities would be really great. Also, adding a true Library type function would make this magazine a huge winner. Good Luck Wired!

I’ll give this one 3 stars, out of 5.

Technology: iPad on WiFi using JB iPhone 3G with MyWi

If you’ve been wondering, how can I get my iPad WiFi version on the road this summer, without too much stress on the wallet, you might want to consider this simple technical solution. I recently got an iPad 3G + Wifi and I haven’t activated the 3G part yet, mainly because I really want to use the 3G capabilities later on, not now, so why spend the money on something I won’t use for a month or so. Now that your question about my sanity, or intelligence, is out of the way, consider this solution if you have one of the 500,000 or so iPad Wifi’s out there.

Requirements:
1. iPhone 3G or 3Gs (running 3.1.2 or 3.1.3 OS)
2. Spirit Jailbreak (only for the iPhone in this case)
3. iPad (running 3.2 OS)
4. A power outlet (need this if you’re using it in the car, etc, otherwise you’ll eat the heck outta your battery life on the iPhone)
5. An application which needs Wifi (In this case, Appstore on the iPad, Netflix, or maybe ABC?)

So, get your iPhone 3G or 3Gs (not already jailbroken), and download Spirit from http://spiritjb.com/ and choose either Windows or Mac to a computer with iTunes 9.x on it.
Then connect your USB/Sync cable to the iPhone 3G or 3GS and let iTunes back it up, after that has completed, you’re ready to run “Spirit”. Click the jailbreak button and wait.
Once your phone has rebooted, you will now have a Cydia icon somewhere on your phone. Open Cydia and search for RockApp and install it. Next quit Cydia and start RockApp which has been recently installed. Once RockApp is open, look for “MyWi” and download it. It comes with a 14 day full trial and it’s highly worth checking out before you buy.
Startup MyWi and use the Wifi Tethering option listed in the app. Search for this new Wifi network on your iPad and you’re ready to go.

Finally, startup your favorite app, I used Netflix, and start streaming something or downloading an app over 20MB from the appstore, and see what happens. Should pretty much be that simple. For those squeamish about jailbreaking, and you didn’t sped the 10$ for MyWi, you can just re-lock/un-JB your phone by restoring it to factory defaults. Cool thing is, as long as it’s 3.1.3, you can just JB again if you feel the need.

Here’s a picture from Netflix streaming across Edge:

one issue though, is that it’s just not that fast on Edge. 3G is much better, but either way, it *does* work well. Using things like twitter, etc even through edge seems to be just fine on the iPad. So good luck and happy streaming!

Spirit Jailbreak tool
MyWi on Rockyourphone.com