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Issue 6.3


iPhone (firmware 1.1.3)

Issue: 6.3 (March/April 2008)
Author: Dave Mancuso
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 4,127
Starting Page Number: 10
Article Number: 6307
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Full text of article...

When the iPhone 1.1.3 update became available on January 15th, I grabbed it within minutes of the MacWorld keynote. I probably should have waited a few days or a week, but with some updates, I like to live dangerously. The 1.1.3 upgrade was free, and it offers a number of significant new features and bug fixes. Sadly, if doesn't offer many clues to the final makeup of the iPhone SDK, but we'll discuss that later.

Of course, the most visible new feature is the ability to move home screen icons. The feature is pretty self explanatory, but note that you can have up to nine screens of icons, flicking from screen to screen or tapping next to the tiny bullets at the bottom of the screen (just above the bottom home row of buttons). I moved my most frequently used buttons to the bottom, but I've apparently already built muscle memory for the buttons' default locations. Reorienting my muscle memory took a few days.

The Google Maps upgrade is the most welcome. The locator function is a great poor man's GPS. It pinpoints me within 100 feet up to half a mile, but I'll take it. The new hybrid satellite view is nice, too, and the curling page of preferences is a nice UI element.

In Safari, the big change is the ability to save bookmarks to the home screen. These are technically called Web Clips because they remember not just a web page but also the part of the page you've zoomed in on. Web Clips store an image of the page on their buttons, but If you'd like to make your own buttons for your website, http://developer.apple.com/iphone/devcenter/designingcontent.html tells you how to make iPhone favicons. Clipalizer (http://clipalizer.com/) helps you make icons for any website and store them on your own web server as a JavaScript forwarder. Finally, Safari will reuse a page if you click a button for a URL already on a page, or it will just recycle the last open page. This helps keep the phone from running out of pages too quickly.

You can send to multiple SMS users now, but the phone can also store 75,000 SMS messages (up from 1,000).

Finally, the iPhone remembers your Bluetooth headset in voicemail now, instead of continually resetting itself to the phone speaker.

Now for the misses. There's still no copy and paste. There's still no way to choose audio output in iPod mode (I'd like to use my Bluetooth headset once in a while in iPod mode--I don't need stereo sound for podcasts). We still don't have Bluetooth syncing--plugging in to sync is a pain. Finally, still no voice memos and no voice tag dialing. We can only hope that the future brings these improvements.

As far as the iPhone SDK, the update gives us no clue if it's OS X-based (Cocoa) or webkit-based. We still don't know what this means to us as developers. Stay tuned--by the time you read this, the SDK should be imminent if not already released. Let's keep our fingers crossed that we'll eventually be able to program for this platform with REALbasic.

End of article.