Archive for the ‘iPod’ Category

Forceful Prediction: Apple Sunlight-Friendly Displays Would Scare The Daylights Out Of Competition

My first story for TechCrunch is up:

Forceful Prediction: Apple Sunlight-Friendly Displays Would Scare The Daylights Out Of Competition

With nary a peep on the possibility of Apple baking a seeable-in-sunlight transflective display into the rumored 11.6” MacBook Air that’s expected to come floating up from the Pulpit of Jobs at Apple’s “Back to the Mac” next week, I’d like to make a pretty safe prediction (read: offer unasked-for advice): An Apple-anything with such a display would make mobile-warriors’ and tree-huggers’ hearts flutter, and competitors’ hearts shudder…

Read the full story: TechCrunch | Forceful Prediction: Apple Sunlight-Friendly Displays Would Scare The Daylights Out Of Competition


Netflix for iPhone and iPod touch streams the big screen to the small screen

Last night my friend (and Flip Video For Dummies co-author) Drew and I crashed out in front around my iPad to watch John Cassavettes’ brilliant film “Husbands” (1970). Both of us were fading to black before reaching The End so we opted to pause and finish watching another night.

Drew this morning was saying how it would be cool if the Netflix app was available for the iPhone too so he could finish watching on the train, and low and behold, that feature (plus iPhone touch streaming) was added to the app today.

Key features of the Netflix app include:

  • Watch as often as you want
  • Resume watching where you left off on your TV, computer, iPad or wherever you last watched
  • Browse movies and manage your Instant Queue right from your iPhone or iPod touch (or iPad)

Download the Netflix app from the iTunes App Store here: Netflix.


iPhone & iPod touch tip: Undo accidental Home button press

It happens all the time: You’re using an iPhone app and you accidentally press the Home button, which takes you home whether you like it or not. Here’s an easy trick to undo an accidental Home key press:

Keep the Home button held down, then touch and hold on the screen for two seconds then let go of the Home button. You stay in the app rather than go home.


30-second review: Pogo Stylus for iPhone/iPod touch for the fingernail-challenged

The Pogo Stylus is an aluminum stick with a small and fuzzy hairdo on one end that can be used in lieu of your fingertip to interact with iPhone and iPod touch screens.

The stylus comes with a slide-on holder to keep the stick close at hand yet isn’t exactly comfortable to hold in because it must be positioned midway or below rather than near the upper half of the iPhone (doing so presses on the volume keys, a no-no).

While my iPhone 3G responds to my fingertip with the lightest touch, the Pogo Stylus requires a firmer press to get the iPhone to recognize it. Bottom line: Unless you’re sporting fingernails of the Cat Woman variety that prevent you from making contact with your device, hang on to your $20 and let your own fingers do the touching.


iPhone apps hit $30-million; Jobs confirms Apples power to hit “kill switch”

The Wall Street Journal today reports sales of iPhone and iPod touch apps via Apple’s iTunes Music Store hit $30-million last month, and wiley Chairman and CEO Steve Jobs publically acknowledge his company does in fact have to power to hit a “kill switch” to zap on users’ devices applications the company deems dangerous. I wrote about antivirus and antispyware protection for portable devices for Salon two weeks ago, on how protection for smartphones has been around for some time and recently Intego announced a half-assed means of protecting iPhones and iPod touches (not quite), but the kill switch definitely rates as the biggest Big Brother means of active eradication ever. Here on the home screen one minute, gone the next?


One-minute review: Invisible Shield for iPhone 3G – third time’s a charm

Last year I wrote about the Invisible Shield screen protector for my original iPhone. As many point out the iPhone, iPod touch and new iPhone 3G’s hardened glass surface is scratch resistant.

But it’s not smear resistant, and that’s the real reason I dig the Invisible Shield. So I was thrilled when the company sent me the updated version, which fixes something that irked me about the first one: The open circle around the Home button.

The new one closes the circle for a nicer finish – and also introduces two new flaps at the top and bottom of the shield that totally buzz-killed my first and second attempts to achieve the kind of perfect fit I attained with the original.

The flaps overlap the top and bottom metal edges, with little spurs on either side to allow for the device’s curvature. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the top or bottom flaps to completely seal, and blister/bubbles appeared in both tries.

Frankly I don’t see the point of the flaps in the first place, and when another set arrived I trimmed off the flaps and spurs with a sharp chef’s knife, which allowed me to achieve a nearly perfect fit.

I say nearly because I didn’t quite trim enough from the top flap and some of it extended beyond the glass. I trimmed most of it off without removing the shield, and I’m happy with the final result.

As mentioned in my original review, the Invisible Shield gives the screen a “watery”-like finish that I personally prefer to pure glass, and the fact that I don’t see smears will have me recommend it – though I also recommend you trim those pesky flaps and spurs so you achieve a perfect fit the first time around.


eReader 1.1 update for iPhone widens your virtual bookshelf

In my post for Salon’s Machinist column I wrote that eReader for the iPhone (and iPod touch) is a dream-come-true for me.

I’m pleased to see that FictionWise is sticking to its words to offer frequent updates and improvements to the program.

The first update offers the following enhancements:

eReader for iPhone and iPod touch version 1.1 includes the following new features:

  • The ability to download eReader PDB files from web sites other than and, as well as personal content in eReader PDB format. For details see the Personal Content FAQ.
  • New options to: lock screen orientation, tap instead of swipe to turn pages, choose white text on black background, turn off page animation, and turn off full justification of text.
  • Ability to sort the on-device bookshelf by author, title, or download date.
  • Better error messages and several bug fixes.

One-minute review: Griffin PowerDock 2 – brainless powerplay

This will take less than a minute. The Griffin PowerDock 2 allows you to charge two iPod or iPhone devices at the same time. That’s the good news – if that’s all you want. The bad news is there’s no USB connection. Deal-breaker for me because I want to charge and sync my iPhone 3G and iPod nano at the same time. End of story.


Revisiting the iPhone iWish-list after MacWorld 2008 and iPhone 1.1.3 update

Last summer I wrote a story for the iPhone (Can the iPhone do double-duty as a laptop replacement?), and a companion story (iWish: iPhone updates we’d like to see).

With Apple’s release today of the iPhone 1.1.3 update for iPhone, a number of new features have been added. Weirdly, a number of the top wish-list items – like the ability to cut and paste, or lookup a contact by typing in a few characters of a person’s name or contact info, the way you can on every other mobile phone in the world – are still absent.

Although only one of the 25 wish list items was addressed in today’s 1.1.3 iPhone software update, it is a big one: The ability to “Manually manages music and videos.”

To many the value of this feature (which has always been an option on iPods) isn’t obvious. The short explanation: With this feature turned on, you never have to worry about whether songs on your various playlists duplicate one another, hogging precious storage space. Thank you, Apple.

As Apple chairman Steve Jobs stated today, there are still 50 weeks left in 2008 to release more iPhone improvements, so at a rate one every other week they just might get to those remaining 24 wish list items by the time we’ve got a new president in the White House.

Let’s hope.

Share Cool holiday tech – MP3 and media players, by Joe Hutsko

Cool holiday tech: MP3 and media players
Give the gift of tapping in and tuning out with these music and video devices
By Joe Hutsko


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