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.”

Apple’s MapGate: Fallout

The person in charge at Apple for their latest iteration of Maps has been let go as per This Story, but there is still a long way to go until “Maps” is ready in my opinion. Here is my first-hand account of using maps, when compared to many others, of which I’ll be posing a comparative later this week or early next week about several mapping apps.

First, folks complained about [Apple Maps] 3D version being all screwed up, and I mean yeah, those kinds of things suck, but I’ve had a lot of problems where I expect maps to be able to tell me and it hasn’t been working. In the field, like in Manhattan, there are *tons* of problems (Penn Plaza anyone?) and in NJ while looking for a gas station, or something like it, has been a huge pain. i.e. BP is a gas station, and a business. Looking for corporate headquarters told me it was a gas station, while the gas station was in-fact the headquarters. Trying to meet someone for a meeting when time is tight has caused me some hair-raising moments with regard to timeliness.

Simple, stupid, blatant issues like these, of which there are tens of thousands at least, (look how long google has been at it and there are still mistakes), not to mention in NYC you no longer have the subway schedules, in NJ no more NJT schedules(sometimes, depends on the day 😉 ), poor directions for walking versus driving, lack of efficiencies (telling you to drive up 3 miles to find someplace to turn around to come back almost 3 miles to the “correct side of the highway” so you can go the right way when you could’ve gone .1 mile south and done the same thing.)

I’ve been giving it a fair shot and driving on major roads has been fine, but it’s going to all those places not on the main strip that tends to suck and when you sold however many *million* phones, you have that many users with a potentially crappy situation where maps is concerned. At the very least a huge embarrassment for Apple, at the worst lost mind share for the quality they hold dear resulting in lost customers or revenue streams from partners.

When you look at the immediate impact they have by rolling out a sub-standard maps application like they did there are very real business implications from reputation to valuation and that is why Williamson was let go, not just that “maps sucked too bad.”

It’s because of these issues I still have 3 other mapping tools on my iphone and 4 if you count google maps web link!

Why multi-booting Android on PCs is wrong headed.

The Android operating system has a lot going for it and has become a very useful player on the mobile device landscape. With recent advances leading up to the 3.0 (honeycomb) version, the OS has been able to go from it’s simpler, sometimes shoe-horned type of one size fits all, into a one size that fits all because it is truly meant to, sort of.

Now that 3.0 has arrived, and has finally been delivered to consumers on tablets, phones, and other interesting mobile devices, many companies are even suggesting it should boot on PCs too. This is truly a mistake. It’s fine for hobbyists to have access to the OS to boot on their PCs, but it would be much the same to dual-boot, say … WebOS on a PC. Really kind of pointless except for marketers at these companies to say “we have our own flavor of Android or some OS and it comes with every PC we sell.” It’s a good marketing game, but in the end it offers no true benefit to consumers as nothing has changed with the delivery of this OS except more pre-used space on a bundled PC from a branded PC maker.

Adding touch capabilities definitely makes Android 3.0 much better and up to date, as well as all the other speed, graphics, and many other optimizations, like increased hardware support, etc. that this new version offers. So you’d think that dual booting in a touch screen PC like the HP TouchSmart might make at least a little more sense. Personally I still say no, not even for the recently acquired WebOS.

The reason I’m saying this is wrong is very simple indeed, and it comes down to one word: Revolution

The addition of such OSes is just that. Extra. Fluff. Flab. Superfluous. Much like our appendix has been considered in our bodies, overall doesn’t make much sense, causes us problems if it gets messed up, and ultimately has to be removed if it does cause problems. Dual booting PCs to the other OS that customers didn’t order will surely expose them to it, but the problem is are we exposing them much like those who ride on a packed subway car near someone with the flu or like our children when we take them to a museum and provide a lot of explanation and hand holding.

Adding another OS to the PC landscape is a great idea, but an idea which has surely been rushed. Consumers and PC makers will both have to make an adjustment to the OS once this starts happening, but if it fails in the slightest, this type of integration will be viewed as a failure the same that most of us still run Windows and Mac OS today, and not Linux. That’s not to say that North America doesn’t have a pretty large base of Linux desktops. But the average consumer will stick with familiarity and ease of use, often one in the same.

So what can these companies do to get it right? I think it’s simple, but I’ll say it here: Start a revolution. Don’t just say how cool this OS is, or what it can do, but use that old Apple motto to seize the opportunity and “think different.” Go another direction and actually innovate, invent, and discover things that you can offer to people to make our lives easier. Not this “add a different topping on the same sandwich” approach and call it better or disguise it as choice. It isn’t. I don’t usually rant too much about this kind of stuff, but like so many example before, we live in a time when there is another opportunity to change how people that use computers and devices think or how those that don’t might be enticed to. Alternatively those people will change anyway and these companies will be left behind trying to catch up, a decade later.

The ball is now in your court HP, DELL, IBM, SAMSUNG, MOTOROLA, and the countless others out ere trying this approach. Bring real changes, or the world will change without you.

[UPDATE] Mac Office 2011 SP1 not installing on some systems?

It appears that some installations of Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 are either bitten by a bug, or the SP1 installer is faulty in that both the DMG and the auto-update versions fail to install stating the proper software was not found for updating. I attempted this on an iMac and hackintosh pc with 10.6.3 and 10.6.7 with the same result. I have previously updated Office 2011 without issue, but this SP1 seems to be broken. Has anyone else experienced this?

[Update 1]

I found this very (un)-helpful link that also shows this is happening to others:

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/officeversion_other-office_install/office-mac-2011-unable-to-install-sp1-update/40d29dc1-2045-48b0-baf9-39e03689aac0

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.

First Look: iCab, the Best Browser Your iPad Wants You to Buy

Most of us who use Apple iPhones or iPads understand there are some shortcomings of the Mobile Safari and Opera for iPhone browsers. Certainly we are left feeling there are things which we want the browsers to do and they just don’t quite meet the standard we’re used to. Well there’s a new web browser on the scene and it clearly means to change things with features not yet seen on an iPhone or iPad. The Apple Blog has a great review of this browser and it is absolutely well worth the read, IMO. That said, I have some of my own thoughts and we can talk about some of the cool features this wonderful browser has.

iCab has tabs, like for realz. Along with the tabs, the render engine seems to be pretty quick, sort of in-between Mobile Safari and Opera. Interestingly enough, iCab still uses Webkit that Safari uses, but is certainly much faster. Another interesting feature is the use of multi-touch “gestures” in full screen mode. For example, 2 fingers for the Settings bar, 3 fingers for the “scroll pad”, another interesting idea, and 4 fingers for the tab selection interface. Overall the feel is polished and highly usable and I can easily say that this is one of the coolest browsers I’ve used on an Apple device, at all. (sorry Opera)

There is however, one problem with this browser. I originally typed this article on iCab on the WordPress site, cause I was so jazzed that everything worked so well, I then wanted to look at some of the features to then write about them. Upon doing so, iCab opened a new page, but not in a new tab, in the same window as my WordPress page. “Oh, I better hit the back button” I said to myself, and upon doing so, I had a “reloaded” page, albeit for a new post, but nothing was in it. All my fields were empty. “Crap”, I also said.

So, that’s a big sore thumb in my opinion. I hope the folks who made this browser as cool as it already is can fix that soon. Maybe there’s a setting I need to use that I haven’t set or something, but so far, I haven’t found it. Anyhow, it’s worth the 1.99$ that you’ll spend on this and has far fewer of the downfalls I feel Safari has, *and* it’s universal so it works just fine on the iPad and works great with many tabs, so go get it already!

Discussion: Response to Sorry Adobe, you screwed yourself

The line has been drawn, a long time ago (IMO), and the argument has been transformed from a discussion about displeasure with Adobe by Apple, to something much more fundamental based on corporate and consumer philosophy. This post “Sorry Adobe, you screwed yourself” I think does a pretty good job of laying out the major issue(s) which have leaked from the shores of some distant corporate landscape to our very towns and streets.

Clearly Adobe and Apple have had disagreements in the past, just read the referenced article as I mentioned earlier, good read, but now the level of noise and vehemence has risen to an almost unbearable level, at least for me. I’m in the middle, like a lot of folks, not necessarily chosen a side, and would like to see everyone just get along for the benefit of the consumer. This is *not* the first time we’ve seen this issue though mind you. Adobe’s idealism matched against Apple’s iDealism, and we the consumers who drive the market, are left somewhat without a voice, again.

When Apple first released the iPhone, I was totally a nay-sayer. I didn’t think it was worth crap, there were issues with the OS, no multitasking, didn’t support alternate web-browsers, couldn’t run Adobe Flash Apps, so I thought I’d be a smart-ass and go Windows Mobile on VZW. Yeah, I showed Apple, and embraced Adobe alright. NOT!

Turned out WM5.x and 6.x didn’t do a very good job of multitasking anyway, and on VZW I couldn’t make a call while web-browsing or using actual “network” applications. I was more than disappointed. The saga of displeasure didn’t stop there. I upgraded from one phone to another with no relief in-sight of something so simple. Can I please make a call at the same time as browsing a web-page? “Of course sir, just buy the ‘mobile office package’.” Uh, no, that was dumb, I was stupid, and I locked myself into something I didn’t know enough about and believed would be fixed, “soon”. Problem is CDMA doesn’t let this happen anyway, not even 4G currently. SO what does this have to do with Adobe, Apple, and feeling in the corporate Flash-based recompiled crosshairs?

I spent the better part of the time of my contract looking for a web-browser that supported flash streaming just so I could watch Hulu on my XV6700 WM6.x based phone. I found this capability in SkyFire. It’s awesome. I loved it, full Flash environments were running, IN MY HAND! Yay…..except for that battery thing. I even had an extended battery on my beast of a phone, and maybe, I could get 1HR of streaming. Not happy, not good, and I couldn’t even make a call during such streaming activity, like watch Hulu with subtitles, and talk to someone. no, couldn’t do it. Then I realized I didn’t want to do it. No Hulu on iPhone, Flash not worthwhile on such a beast of a phone, with basically no power but costs a lot to support, and I was just unhappy wasting my time with it.

My next phone was an iPhone. I was not holding back from what I really wanted. I was a bit uneasy about all this non-adobe/flash business, but it’s ok. I didn’t need it. One thing I really hated having to admit, being a huge *nix/Linux/BSD dood was that Steve was right, at least in part, about the fact that I wouldn’t need Flash. It’s a nice to have, but honestly, I’m not missing it too much. So then we get to iPhone 3GS. Still no Flash. Nothing was really that big, but huge improvements in the apps and capabilities of the phone as a platform and I was indeed pleased with the upgrade, even though I still have yet to own one, but that’s OK. Summer’s coming and my contract is coming due, so it’s good timing. Then iPad comes, and still no Flash, despite Adobe’s efforts to get Apple to bend to it’s will. Then the iPhone OS 4.0 SDK changes.

The gloves, metaphorically for now, are off. At least that’s how I see it and it’s not so much as Adobe trying to pick a fight, despite many emails/posts might sound like it, Apple has become the antagonizer for now. I think it’s somewhat justified though, especially after observing all the craziness lately. I liken what’s happening now between Adobe and Apple like a fight between two long-time acquaintances who got drunk at a bar and that bone to pick was brought out on-display. Adobe has become a bit boorish in it’s quest to bring Flash to iPhone and related platforms in a seemingly unwanted way, and Apple has been left to respond as someone who has been this recipient of unwanted advice. (Problem is, Apple’s users have been delivering the same message, though not in such a huge way, more like “Meh, maybe you do, maybe you don’t, would be nice to have.”) So I can only imagine Apple and Steve Jobs feeling pressured to do something they feel/know/believe in their gut they don’t want to do. Like a blind date with someone you have an idea about before you go on the date. One might feel the end of the date is going to be inevitably not great.

So the fight breaks out, Apple hates the pressure, isn’t sure what to do next except to follow it’s gut, and voila. Here we are. The bill’s unpaid, the acquaintances are arguing over who gets the check, and both feel philosophically justified to pass the bill to the other party. For it’s part overall, I feel Adobe should back down and situate itself at the table. Not because I simply think Apple’s right, but Apple is a much more forward thinking company overall. Hell, their mantra is “Think Different.” Right? So for the good of consumers, Adobe should figure out how to end this battle and at least let Apple feel they’ve won. We, the consumers, just want to get our damn email, watch stuff on youtube, get some Hulu action, and share experiences via the web and whatever other mechanisms the web/network offers. The way “how” and what language the “bells and whistles” people have in and around their apps really doesn’t matter, so long as everything is reliable, responsive, and reasonably priced.

I don’t see how Flash itself helps us with *any* of those aspects, and I don’t see how Apple helps either, but I do think that the hardware platform and ultimately it’s maker have the last say for the guidelines in how it should be developed for what technologies should be allowed in. Apple certainly is trying to control the platform, they own it. It’s at this point where Adobe should concede. Adobe’s apps don’t run without a platform, and they can choose to play on the platform(s) or not, but they can’t choose how the platform should respond to their application, it is inherently the other way around.

Again, have a read on the referenced article here; http://innerdaemon.wordpress.com/2010/04/10/sorry-adobe-you-screwed-yourself/