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Lesser-Known new iOS 4 Features

iOS 4 Software Update

Besides a couple of the very helpful new features of iOS 4 like folders, multiple Exchange accounts, and unified inboxes, there are a few things I've been finding in my use of the new OS that are underrated, but very helpful improvements:

  • In the iPod app, you can now edit, delete, and create playlists.
  • If you plug the iPhone into a device which may cause interference, instead of giving you a vague popup asking you to put the iPhone into Airplane mode (which was almost always unnecessary), a popup simply says "there might be interference with this device," with only one button to dismiss the message.
  • The Contacts app is much faster when searching an Exchange global address book. Still can't browse the global address book, though.
  • Multiple apps/switching is really quite easy, and extremely useful. On top of that, it happens transparently—you don't feel the need to do anything extra to use this feature.
  • 5x Digital Zoom works great with the camera for stills, but doesn't do anything for video (not like I'd want to do that anyways—it would result in pretty blurry video!
  • The Photos app has been rearranged in a very good way—now you can tab through Faces, Places, Events, etc. directly, rather than having everything in one huge album list.

There are a few small quibbles I have so far, like Pandora's inability (so far) to run in the background—that will have to wait for an update—but on the whole, I'm glad I tried out the golden master preview of iOS 4 on my iPhone 3GS.

Four Apple Stores in NY in Two Days

It is said that, during a jubilee year, one would receive a plenary indulgence by visiting all four major basilicas in Rome (nowadays, it seems you only have to visit one of them—pfft!).

During this Apple Jubilee of 2010, I have visited all four of the Major Apple Stores in New York City (my total Apple Store visit count is about 25 now) in two days... I didn't buy anything, so I might've missed one of the conditions of the plenary Apple-dulgence, but I did get my photo taken by an Apple employee!

Apple Store - Upper West Side

Entering into the Upper West Side Apple Store feels like entering a major train terminal or union station; the space is HUGE, with a ton of vertical space. It was fairly chilly inside, and I wonder how much money they spend on air conditioning and heating the place!

Apple Store Upper West Side
(Eek! Not very flattering, I know)...

Apple Store - West 14th Street

This was the most unique Apple Store experience I've had so far; not only is there an amazing glass spiral staircase, the building looks almost like an old printery or newspaper mill—very unlike most other Apple buiding façades.

Apple Store West 14th Street

Apple Store - Soho

This store is almost identical in layout to the Chicagoland Apple Store I visited a few months ago, except the back end of the store extends an additional 30 ft. or so.

Apple Store Soho

Apple Store - 5th Avenue

The elevator at this store is unique in that it is driven only by a single piston, and has no cables on the top of the car. I can imagine there's quite a bit of weight on that metal piston! As usual, there is an overabundance of three-ply glass panels... everywhere.

Apple Store 5th Avenue - Elevator

Thanks especially to my fiancée, who encouraged me to enter into each Apple Store, even though I felt unworthy at times.

Steve Jobs on "Freedom from Porn" [Updated]

[UPDATE: Looks like LifeSiteNews is corroborating this news...]

Interesting snippet from an email exchange between Steve Jobs and Ryan Tate (from Gawker Media):

Steve Jobs on pornography

While Steve and I might not agree on many things, his (well, Apple's) philosophy on porn has been pretty awesome so far: they'll have none of it... or at least almost.

The App store is happily void of the smut that covers all corners of the Internet. And Apple's OS X, iPhone, iTunes Store, etc. all have relatively robust Parental Controls as compared to most other devices/services. Apple could do better, but I think Steve might be pretty solid in his stance that pornography is not a good thing for 'freedom' and 'openness.' Rather, it's a crime against human sexuality.

Those of us who are the digital curators of the Internet should help stamp out pornography. Programs like My House are cropping up in the Church to help with this problem on a family level, but we all need to double our efforts to get rid of this societal scourge!

New MobileMe Mail Features - Server-Side Rules!!

The day has finally come for cloud-based rules in the MobileMe world :-)

I have been an iTools -> .Mac -> MobileMe user through the whole ride (starting the day after iTools was open for new users), and the service has had me wanting to leave for some time... and I still might in a year or two. However, server-side mail sorting rules (along with other new features of the online webmail client) are a huge boon for me:

Rules to keep your email organized everywhere. Mail rules help you reduce inbox clutter by automatically filing messages into folders you select ahead of time. Set them up at me.com, and your rules organize your incoming email on the web and everywhere else — on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, and PC.

One of the most annoying things about using my iPad as a laptop replacement is the fact that rules aren't applied to my emails. I get about 100-150 emails a day, and about 50 of them are sorted by rules (into archival folders, routed to the trash, etc.), and I don't want them marked as Junk.

Until now, I've had to manually sort these messages whenever my home or work Mac is turned off and I only have my iPad. Now the server will do the sorting, and there won't be discrepancies between my various devices.

Now, how about Dropbox-style syncing via MobileMe?

iPad Camera Connection Kit

Jeff's Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Summary: 
The iPad Camera Connection Kit is an excellent accessory for the iPad, allowing users to import photos from most any camera (RAW or JPEG), and connect to some other helpful devices via USB.

If you haven't already, check out my iPad review (from the first few days of use, and including some important updates).

iPad Camera Connection Kit

After a few weeks' wait, people (including me) have started receiving their iPad Camera Connection kits. This little kit comes with two Dock connectors that let you either plug a standard SD or SDHC card, or a USB cable into your iPad. (Sadly, the connectors do nothing on the iPhone... at least not yet).

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Apple iPad (Original)

Jeff's Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Summary: 
The iPad is one case where Apple has clearly hit the ball out of the park, in all aspects: usability, utility, form, function, and pure tech delight. There is a reason Apple sold almost a million iPads during it's first day on retail shelves.

[Update: Here's a guide to tethering your iPad to your iPhone via WiFi. Also, see my review of the iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter cable and my review of the iPad Camera Connection Kit.]

On April 3, 2010, I purchased the 32 GB iPad from Best Buy. Here are some bits of information that may or may not be called a 'Review.'

Apple iPad

Purchasing Experience

I bought the iPad at my local Best Buy (in Brentwood, MO), and decided to skip both of the St. Louis Apple Stores (they both had lines about 40-80 people long throughout the morning). Best Buy didn't have any accessories, but that was okay—I'm planning on waiting to see if there are any really nice folio cases that come out soon.

There was a flock of people (both old and young) around the Apple area in Best Buy, and they were all talking about the iPad. Best Buy had four on display, and I decided to simply go over to the cage containing about eight 16GB iPads, three 32GB iPads, and two lonely 64GB iPads (they're all WiFi for now - the 3G models don't come out until later this month.

Best Buy had a nice deal where you can get 3 $10 iTunes Gift Cards for $25, so I bought two packs, and in effect, shaved $10 off my App purchases for the day.

Out of the Box

Rather than bore you with yet another iPad unboxing video, here's a link to Engadget's story on the iPad, complete with an unboxing.

Jeff with his iPad
Yours truly, with yours truly's iPad.

The iPad is surprisingly heavy, but not so heavy that I couldn't imagine carrying it around almost anywhere I currently tote my folio notepad (for meeting notes, etc.). The iPad comes with a boring USB sync cable and 10W wall charger. Nothing special there.

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