Imagine: a virtual iPhone for everyone

I was downloading a free iPhone app at noon, and I thought: some of these applications have no good alternative in the browser world. Imagine everyone could start using/buying the Apple iPhone/iPod Touch applications right in their browser. You give your Apple ID, you purchase an app like ColorSplash and off you go. Some of the multi-touch interface would be hard to emulate, but still. It would have to be an Apple application that does it: like e.g. iTunes. It’s got your Apple ID anyway. Why not run a virtual iPod Touch in there?

The advantages:

  • some applications for iPhone/iPod just have no worthy counterpart in the ‘normal’ world.
  • an application would run immediately on Apple MacOSX as well as Windows XP/Vista/7
  • the iPhone developers wouldn’t be looking anymore at a potential audience of some X million iPhone owners, but at all iTunes owners.

Research analyst Sam Bhavnani, of the market research firm Current Analysis, says that iTunes has 200 million users. Research analyst Shaw Wu, of the market research firm American Technology Research, gives a figure of 100 million. Oddly, Apple itself gives a much lower number: 10 million.
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iPod Touch running inside iTunes

Touched by the iPod

Apple iPod TouchAs most geeks in my circle of friends, I am known to buy hardware slightly more often than the average Joe. I have 3 Wifi routers at home (just gave away my 4th one), I have more than 2TB of hard disk storage, split out over half a dozen of PCs and devices, and I have more USB cables than teeth. But hardware that makes me *really* happy, that is uncommon. Don’t get me started on failing hard disks and non-functioning printers. So let me tell you about this new piece of hardware that I bought: the iPod Touch.

No iPhone, thanks

This is not my first iPod, I think I’m at n° 5. And before you start telling me “the iPod Touch is an iPhone, that can’t be used for calling. Why not buy an iPhone?”. Well, I don’t need a new phone yet, I’m probably gonna buy an iPhone in a year or so, when the GSM providers have reasonable data transfer prices, and there’s the price too: the 8GB iPod is slightly over 200 euro. The iPhone is 525 euro.

Applications

But this baby is really neat. It does music, sure, and video, like the previous one. But it’s got Wifi, a big, smart touch-screen, games, applications, and … From day one I’m using Google Mail (via IMAP), the Weather application, Google Maps. Then I started looking through the free applications on the App Store. So what am I using now:

  • Games: Dactyl, Cube Runner, BlueSkiesLite, Sudoku, TapTap
  • Stuff: iDoodle2Lite, WhiteNoise, Remote
  • Network: AirSharing, Speedtest, IM+, Palringo
  • Social networking: Facebook, AroundShare, GooSync, ShoZu, reQall
  • Info: BuienRadar

I’ve just started using reQall, a kind of task list + shopping list, which allows you to add via the iPod/iPhone, via the web and via a IM (Gtalk) account. This looks promising.

The games are not bad. Dactyl is strangely addictive, the movement sensors work really well with BlueSkiesLite, … I expect to see some killer iPod/iPhone games in the future.

The only thing I miss now is a good sync with my Google Calendar. iTunes can sync my iPod contacts with Google Mail, but not my calendar. GooSync is supposed to be able to do that, but I can’t get it to work. Of course Apple wants me to use (paid) MobileMe, but I want to see if I can find a free way first.

In any case, I discover a new use every day. It’s … exciting, actually.

Continue reading Touched by the iPod

my iPod Nano cannot be unlocked

iPod Nano cannot be unlocked

My iPod Nano has gone into the equivalent of a coma. No matter what you do with the “HOLD” switch, it remains in a locked state. So while you can see when you connect it to a PC that the music is still there and the battery still works, you cannot use it, since the play-button (as well as all the others) does not respond.

Switching frantically between HOLD ON/HOLD OFF does not work, pushing excessively towards “HOLD OFF” (to the left) does not work. Is there a way to disable the HOLD button, or is that a mechanical connection that is not managed by the firmware? Can you open an iPod Nano and ‘clean the contact’?

The only other option I see is to buy a docking-station-with-speakers that includes a remote control. But why spend another 100€ on a 4GB iPod that doesn’t work properly …

Any ideas?