Posts Tagged ‘iphone’

iOS Cards

I travel a lot and one of the things I do when I visit a city is find a postcard, grab a stamp, and get writing to send Sara a postcard from abroad. All this does take time, effort, sometimes the card doesn’t arrive, etc. I’ve been wondering when I could just take a photo on my iPhone and have that mailed to her instead.

On my iPhone there is a folder called Postcards with apps like: Popcarte, Holiday Card, SnapShot Postcard, postcard by (this is a Conde Nast app), postagram. Some of these send physical cards for a buck or so, and some just send them via email. I’ve spent some time studying if this idea is viable and I’ve always thought that local printing makes sense. Stamps might be important too…

Apple just killed them all with Cards. Printed on cotton paper, and will cost USD$2.99 within the USA and USD$4.99 for the rest of the world. All billed to your AppStore/iTunes account. So no mucking with creating a new account, getting your credit card, etc.

The idea is brilliant. The camera in the iPhone is awesome. I take more photos with it now than any other camera. And the phone is always with me.

So there, Apple’s new iOS 5 killed a bunch of apps (cue… RIP October 12 2011). And I’m glad I didn’t hack on this idea. Guess the local stamps go the way of the dodo, and I might embrace spending five bucks the next time I’m somewhere. Now to guarantee the cards actually arrive…

MoSync 2.4 pre-beta available with some juicy new features

I was rather thrilled this past week to note that the team at MoSync have released 2.4-pre-beta, with support for not only Microsoft Windows XP/Vista/7, but also Apple Mac OS X 10.6. Goodbye Windows virtual machine, and hello native Mac app.

Check out the release notes, and you’ll also see some very interesting tid-bits. The largest request that I seem to hear from users is that they would like to target the iOS platforms. Apple iOS devices seem ubiquitous these days, and MoSync is now filling the gap. The highlights:

There’s also improved documentation, with example applications. Check out btServer (makes use of the Bluetooth features) and MapDemo (good example with various map sources).

While there are no binaries for Linux users, there is a guide on how to build MoSync using Ubuntu. I’ve not tried it recently, and the guide is a bit dated, but I expect it to work without too many issues.

Unexcited by Apple Music event announcements

Today I installed iTunes 10. Apple has stopped requiring you to reboot your computer the moment you get an iTunes upgrade – I consider this a plus point. Its now sporting a new logo, and things look a little more polished in the application.

iTunes PingNoticing no Ping, which seemed to be all the rage in the morning, I wondered what the cause might be. Quite clearly, you don’t get in on Ping, Apple’s new social network, if they don’t run an iTunes Music Store in your country! The moment I made the change to my US-based iTunes account, all seemed to be OK, and I could start playing around with Ping.

Then it became clearer why they didn’t want me to use Ping. “Each time you purchase, review, rate or like music on the iTunes Store, it will appear here” (so it said on my profile). At the moment, Ping does not fit my use case – I rip audio CDs that I purchase, and they have information within iTunes thanks to the CDDB database it syncs with. I have never purchased music from the iTunes Music Store, because I cannot be bothered with using a foreign credit card or looking for iTunes gift certificates.

Does this in any way hamper Probably a little, considering Ping is built-into iTunes. Plus you can follow your favourite artistes ;-) Does this mean people will quit for Ping? I find it highly unlikely. But is probably on their toes now, since there’s some overlap – concert recommendations, etc. Ping also is run within iTunes, you can’t use a web browser. There does not seem to be any API either.

Then, people got excited with Apple’s new Apple TV. I didn’t. Its not international. OK, not international enough. I can still buy the old Apple TV from the Malaysian or Singaporean Apple Store. The new ones seem to be available for sale in Australia, UK, the US, and probably a few other countries where you can rent/buy movies from the store.

The iPod Touch? Some good changes, but the camera isn’t all that hip. Good enough for FaceTime. Speaking of FaceTime, it is apparently based on open standards. Steve Jobs said something like it will be open. When will Apple release some information about how others can independently implement FaceTime? Or inter-operate with FaceTime?

Game Center looks interesting. Social gaming is going to be big (also, big in iOS4.1). The new iPhone 4’s don’t have iOS4.1 yet, but when the update comes (next week?), you will get Game Center too. And the iPod touch should be fast – sporting an A4 chip. Apple has successfully made devices do multiple things (iPod touch: music player, game machine, video conferencing tool, etc.). Would I buy one? I’m still too smitten with my iPad, so much so I haven’t used my 1st generation iPod Touch since April 2010!

The new iPod Nano looks cool. Its a pity they’ve removed the camera. And the shuffle, well, its a shuffle – I’ve never owned one.

So the Apple Music event turned out to mostly be a bummer, unless you live in a country where the iTunes Music Store is available.

Apple opens up Podcasts, iTunes U in Malaysia

I just noticed this: Apple now not only sells you apps in the AppStore in Malaysia, but you can also download podcasts and iTunes U content, using your Malaysian iTunes Store account. This is a big change, considering the directory was not available, this time last year. I believe this change is mostly international, across all iTunes stores.

Incidentally, you can now also buy iPad apps in the AppStore (yet, you cannot get an iPad from Apple or any of their authorised resellers; people are generally price gouging you now with their parallel imports). So what do you get in the Malaysian AppStore today?

  1. Apps: iPhone, iPad
  2. Podcasts
  3. iTunes U podcasts

So what’s missing? Music, Movies, TV Shows, and Audiobooks. I guess that’s stuff we should look forward to, in the future.

This could be big for podcasters in Malaysia/Singapore. Audio, video content can go into the directories. We’re getting faster Internet. And there are a lot of iOS-devices out there, which now may have yet another reason to use iTunes (and maybe purchase apps at the same time). Kudos Apple, we’ve waited long enough.

Postcards, an iPhone app idea, and HazelMail

First birthday wishes A few months ago, I had this idea, that I shared with a few people, for a cool iPhone app. The idea was roughly:

Take a photo. Use said app. Add a message. Pick an address (preferably out of your Address Book). And have it mailed out, without you having to look for a post office, a postcard or a stamp. And never have to worry about charges — it’ll just be billed via your account on file, either via PayPal or direct credit card debit.

The problem with this business model is that:

  1. I need to work out printers – there must be local printers in various locations, typically of the destination.
  2. I need to work out how postal services work, in general, and what’s the most profit-friendly option

The margins, I figured, will be low. The application will either work via (roaming – one would assume) 3G/EDGE, or a common WiFi network, which you tend to get pretty much everywhere these days. WiFi should be preferred, since you don’t want to be slapped with a large roaming data bill. The Two Apostles

Anyway, I purchased the iPhone 3.0 SDK about a month back, and started hacking. Finding a name was going to be interesting, since apps like iPostCard, already existed. Ha! Names are so important, I think.

Today, I read about how to Turn your iPhone photos into postcards with HazelMail. HazelMail does exactly what I was planning to do. They’ve worked out all the business aspects, too, and charge your account with HazelBucks (so 1 postcard = USD$1 basically).

The only problem I can see with this whole idea (HazelMail’s and mine)? Stamp collectors. Some people love stamps from foreign lands, and that is part of the appeal, of receiving a postcard. However, I don’t know that many stamp collectors these days, and I do want to send postcards, so this was really, just trying to scratch an itch, and I’m glad that HazelMail has done so. Time to give it a try, and work on my next app idea ;)

On the mobile data business, and iPhones

It always makes me smile when I see headlines like this: iPhone can boost mobile data business: Maxis. Lets decompose the article. (And yes, the answer is still that you shouldn’t buy a Maxis iPhone 3G.)

“We are seeing exponential potential in mobile data growth. With the launch of iPhone, I think it will strengthen Maxis’ competitiveness,” chief marketing officer Matthew Willsher said in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

What it means: Lots of people like mobile data. New phones practically demand it, otherwise you might as well buy a cheap as chips phone, that only makes and receives phone calls, and has a non-colour screen. The chief marketing officer continues to say that the iPhone will “strengthen Maxis’ competitiveness”, which means that they will get more mobile data subscribers yes. But they will all complain at the lacking quality of service. Its fine and dandy that there is a 3.5G network, but if each cell can only take a certain capacity (in terms of bandwidth), what happens in areas where things are oversubscribed?

So far, more than 1,000 units of iPhones have been booked and Willsher said the initial booking numbers have “exceeded expectations”. However, the company did not want to reveal its actual booking numbers.

What it means: There are over a thousand idiots (some tell me its mostly Maxis staff and partners, since Maxis provides hefty staff discounts) who purchased the phone. This after the announcement that there is to be an iPhone OS 3 sometime really soon, and the heavy, mostly accurate speculation that there will be a new iPhone coming out sometime in June. It also seems that Caller ID doesn’t work out of the box and will require Maxis to update the software themselves (how true is this, I have no idea). But the chief marketing officer is right, 1,000 units being booked and snapped up, really does exceed expectations — I expected Malaysians to be a lot that valued their money a lot more.

Industry sources revealed that Maxis may have ordered as many as 150,000 units of iPhone 3G, as part of the conditions to bring the phone into the country. Willsher also declined to comment on this.

What it means: Wow. 150,000 units of a product that is to become obsolete within the next few months? Especially noting that it may not be exclusive to Maxis?

What’s the appeal of the iPhone? The AppStore. The iTunes Music Store. Not being able to have the music store seems like a big boo-boo towards Apple/Maxis.

And just in case you made it this far, read Jeff Ooi’s rather satirical piece Cut Maxis from broadband, please! When it works, its usually a breeze — when it doesn’t, its mighty annoying. Sadly, its usually not working… i.e. probably lacking capacity.

So Maxis’ mobile data business will be boosted – chances are lots of people are locked in for a year or two, and even if the service sucks, paying the penalty of quitting early, will probably derail most folk. Let’s see how they flog off the remaining 149,000 units in the next few months ;-)
(and no, no amount of advertising on blogs [I’m looking at you Nuffnang], and getting funny man Kenny Sia to write about it will help – read the comments, it seems at least his readers are smart!)