January 2012


Apps updated for my iPhone & iPad in the past week: 35


Thirty-five (35) of the apps for my iPad &/or iPhone were updated in the past week. Apps that do not have comments in the list below indicates that the update is simply a bug fix release.
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iPad
iPhone

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The Starbucks iPhone app is going away. But, where is the new one?

The most used mobile ecommerce app on my iPhone is Starbucks Mobile Card app. The app is currently issuing a messages telling users that it will be discontinued soon and to install the new app. However, if you tap the banner as instructed to get the new app, you are led to the App Store entry for the current app (the one that says it is going away). So, what is going on?

It looks like the replacement app is buggy or, from the point of view of the end-user, non-functional and was pulled from the App Store. Here are some comments on the current’s app’s product page:
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Mobile Devices

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Hmm. T-Mobile USA providing more support for unlocked iPhones from AT&T starting Jan. 30?

Food for thought from TmoNews:

T-Mobile To Offer Additional Unlocked iPhone Support Beginning January 30th

Ever since AT&T Wireless announced “improved” cell sites in my area, my 3G download and upload speeds have FALLEN dramatically. Download speeds are a bit over 1995 ISDN-BRI speeds at the moment. And, there are large areas where no apparent data bandwidth is available (no email, browsing, etc.) despite AT&T 3G signals being “detected” by my iPhone 4. Others have noted the same problems in the same problem areas I’ve noticed. This problem has been going on and getting worse since November 2011.

I’m keeping an eye on this development.

iPhone

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AT&T says cell sites greatly improved in my area (twice). Oh, really?

On Nov. 26, 2011, AT&T Wireless sent me a text message stating that over 50 cell sites in my area had been enhanced. Did I see better coverage or data speed? Actually, since then it appears that a section of the city of about 2 miles by 0.5 miles does not have any 3G data capacity (despite phones reporting it has a 3G signal) and often no voice coverage. In other areas, voice coverage has deteriorated to the point where voice conversations are difficult to conduct for more than a few seconds at a time.

Yesterday, Jan. 25, 2012, I received another text message from AT&T Wireless stating that a call site in my “local area” (whatever that means) was enhanced specifically for wireless Internet access. Oh really? The Speedtest.net app reported a ping time of 432ms (very slow), 0.16 Mbps download (that’s 160Kbps) and 0.06 Mbps upload (that 60 Kbps or nearly analog modem speed). This is actually far worse than it was before the enhancement.

To say the least, I am not impressed by AT&T’s “enhancements” to their cell towers.

Mobile Phones

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Will iBooks textbooks need ads to support expensive multimedia book development?

Apple’s multimedia iBooks textbooks fascinates me in terms of its development (Apple iBooks Author for Mac OS X) and the books themselves. One thing is clear, developing these multimedia textbooks is going to be an expensive proposition. Textbooks tend to be much more complicated publications that, for example, novels because of the the number of page components. Novels tend to be a stream of text in, for the most part, a single typeface and font size. Textbooks have sidebars, indexes, charts, photos, maps, and even objects requiring different ink colors. Adding audio, video, and interactive learning tools ups the ante for textbook development even more.

The E.O. Wilson’s Life on Earth project estimates that the production and maintenance (updates) will cost millions of dollars: Initial development of Life on Earth will cost $8.5 million. Continuing costs will be approximately $1.5 million per year, including continuing development, maintenance, and bandwidth expenses. In all, we will require continuing annual support equivalent to the budget of a very small municipal museum, yet we expect to deliver value on another scale altogether
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iPad

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Students will need 64GB iPads to store multiple rich media iBooks

Apple’s updated iBooks 2 app supports highly interactive multimedia textbooks created by the new free iBooks Author software for Mac OS X. iBooks Author’s EULA lock-in clause has raised a ruckus (see: Publish an ebook created using iBook Author & lock yourself in Apple-land forever). However, there’s another problem that may be a showstopper for students and other people who want to use these multimedia iBook ebooks: Their iPad may not have enough storage space to house the ebook.
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Apple
iPad
Mobile Lifestyle

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