Monday, April 25, 2011

How Apple can improve the next iPhone

Phone blog website GottabeMobile has got an interesting article here about practical teen concerns on the areas where an Android phone has managed to do better than the iPhone 4.

In the article, the author Kevin Purcell highlights four practical areas his teenage son feels Android phones do better than iPhones:

(1) Text Messaging
(2) Casing and Screensize
(3) Onscreen keyboard
(4) Camera access

Funny thing is, 2 out of the 3 iOS related issues already have jailbreak solutions. The drawbacks of iOS text messaging in terms of the inability to quick reply at lockscreen have been addressed on the Cydia store by iRealSMS 3.0, BiteSMS 5.2 and other sms apps, while his gripe about quick camera access can be easily overcome by button remapping jb tweaks.

I would add that iOS 5 should really address the issue of why we cannot organise our photos into different albums on the iPhone. The only clean solution is to pay US$4.99 for a Cydia app like Photoalbums+ to do this.

And unfortunately, I think Swype is not going to be available on the iPhone anytime soon...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Breakdown of iPhone components: Assembled in China by FoxConn for US$6.50

Every once in a while, there’s an economics professor who manages to put together a research paper that appeals to gadget geeks and iPhone nerds. Recently, it was reported in Vox that a Professor Xing tried to do this by digging up a breakdown of the country of origin and the corresponding costs for the various components that go into an iPhone 3G.

Table 1. Apple iPhone 3G’s major components and cost drivers

His thesis was that the Chinese labour costs for the iPhone assembly accounted for only $6.50 out of a grand total of $178.96 and hence a revaluation of the Chinese dollar will not really have a real impact on US competitiveness and the global demand for products simply assembled in China. In fact, if the same iPhone was assembled in the US, given that labour costs are 10 times more than China, the manufacturing costs would have been $65, resulting in a grand total price of $237.46 or a 30% increase in price. Now, looking at how laptop costs have come down, I suppose the costs of materials wouldn't have increased substantially for the iPhone 4(despite the higher specifications) and so this analysis probably still holds true.

Given that the iPhone 4 is currently priced at $199 bundled with an AT&T plan, I would say that the iPhone pricing seems to be fairly competitive based on the estimated costs of materials which obviously haven’t taken into account software development and integration costs, as well as other administrative overheads. Which explains why Apple is still the world leader in the smartphone market - not just on account of its App Store.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

How to reset and reboot your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch

How to Reset or Reboot iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch

Recently, I've had quite a few friends asking me what to do when their iPhone crashes or locks up in a way that prevents the iPhone from responding to the normal iPhone restart procedure. This happens occasionally with jailbroken iDevices whenever there are cydia app conflicts with the firmware. Typical symptoms are having the iDevice going into an endless boot loop or having the screen stuck at the Apple logo.

Reset the iPhone by holding the sleep/wake button (the 'Power Button') at the top right of the device and the home button (the 'Circular Button') at the bottom center of the face at the same time. Hold them both until you see the screen go black and the white Apple logo appear. When this happens, you can let go - the iPhone is rebooting. Sometimes, I've had to reset several times before the iDevice goes back to the homescreen. Once you reach the rebooting sequence (where you see the spinning graphics), you should wait for the reboot to complete and this may take up to a minute. If nothing happens or if the spinning graphics stops for more than a minute, there could be a system hang and I would try to reset again.

Resetting the iDevice should not remove or delete any data or settings.

Monday, April 4, 2011

iPad parody: Can you swat a fly with an iPad? Answer: Yes

Newsday had a TV commercial several months ago where they introduced their app for the App Store. You can use a newspaper to swat a fly. Can you do the same with an iPad? Answer: Yes.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

How to update weather locale in themes for Singapore users

Simplest way:

1. Install iFile from the Cydia store (kinda like a Windows Explorer for iOS) or you can try to ssh into your device.

2. go into var>stash>themes>

(A) Using iFile

For example, if the theme you wanna change is 'revi-krs', look for the files 'lockbackground.html' and 'wallpaper.html', enter edit mode and change the var locale = '1062617' and var isCelsius = true. Then save the edited files.

This will change the weather to reflect Singapore and toggles Celsius for the temperature rather than Farenheit.

Note: in the latest update version 1.5, the weather locale is now in the file 'config.js'. Replace 'CODEHERE' with your location code e.g. for Singapore, use '1062617'.

(B) Using ssh

If you ssh, depending on the theme you're gotta change either weather.html or in the case of revi-krs, similarly, you gotta copy both lockbackground.html and wallpaper.html to the desktop, then edit them.

change the var locale = '1062617' and var isCelsius = true
then delete the one on the phone and replace with the one you edited.

Note: in the latest update version 1.5, the weather locale is now in the file 'config.js'. Replace 'CODEHERE' with your location code e.g. for Singapore, use '1062617'.

Top Cydia Apps for iOS 4.2.1 (updated for 11 May 2011)

It puzzles me why Apple doesn't put out a REAL iOS update that incorporates some or all of the following features offered by Cydia apps on a jailbroken phone? I've included MyWi4 just to demonstrate that this is a feature in iOS4.3 that was already available some time ago on Cydia. If all or most of these features are implemented, it will definitely make it less worthwhile for many people to jailbreak their iPhones.

1. AppInfo
Works out the memory space taken up individually by every app.

2. DriveSafe.Ly (requires 3G/Wifi for the audio files)
Reads aloud your incoming sms, say, while you're driving.

3. iRealSMS3.0 (requires 3G/Wifi for the audio files)
Feature-full sms app. also reads incoming sms.

4. QuickLock2
Software lock (without using Sleep/Power button).

5. Sbsettings
Pop-up menu for one-touch toggling of various settings e.g. Wifi on/off, 3G on/off.

6. Sbsettings Volume Slider Widget
Allows touchscreen volume adjustment.

7. Sbsettings Remove Background Toggle + Remove Background
Closes all apps in the task switcher with one toggle.

8. 20 Second Lock Screen
Extends waiting time to 20seconds before iPhone goes into lock screen mode.

9. Cydelete
Allows uninstallation of cydia apps directly from the app screen.

10. Five Icon Dock
Allows 5 app icons on the dock (instead of the default 4)

11. Five-Column SpringBoard
Allows 5 rows of apps (instead of the default 4)

12. LockInfo
Allows customisation of the lock screen to show calendar, missed calls and unread sms. (iPhone default is a battery indicator)

13. WinterBoard (had problems with Mac Collision theme)
Allows customisation such as theming of wallpaper, app icons and layouts.

14. iSHSH_it
Allows manual archiving of SHSH blobs i.e. Apple server authentication signature for iOS firmwares.

15. Tap to Unlock (activate under WinterBoard)
Replaces the 'Slide to Unlock' feature with 'Tap to Unlock'.

16. Silent Photo Chill
Mutes the camera click.

17. Rotation Inhibitor
One-touch Toggle that stops the screen rotation.

18. Bytafont
Allows Font replacement.

19. 5 row keyboard iOS4
Adds an extra customisable row of keys for the iPhone keyboard.

20. MyWi4
Turns the iPhone into a hotspot that allows other devices to share the iPhone's 3G dataplan.

21. Gridlock
Allows apps to be placed anywhere on the screen.

22. Photoalbums+
Allows photos to be reorganised into albums in camera roll.

23. BiteSMS 5.2
Another feature-rich sms app. But doesn't read your sms aloud. Reportedly still unstable i.e. might crash the phone if sms is received while other apps such as Skyfire is streaming video.

24. Lock Calendar
Free alternative to LockInfo and Intelliscreen if all you want is to be able to view Calendar entries on your Lock Screen.

25. 3G Unrestrictor
Allows Facetime over 3G and downloading/updating over 3G of apps >20mb in size. Basically tricks iPhone apps into circumventing limits placed on data transfer over 3G.

26. iFile
Works like a Windows Explorer for the iPhone. Allows you to edit and save files on the iPhone. For e.g. you can edit html files and customise themes directly on the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad without a PC/Mac.

27. Poof
Allows you to hide any app icon. May require a reboot before the selected icon disappears.

28. iAnnounce
Before the phone starts to ring, a female voice will speak the caller id and the incoming number.

29. iCallAnnounce
Before the phone starts to ring, a female voice will speak the caller id and the incoming number. Also announces incoming sms text and id. User is able to toggle and select what to announce. However, this is not compatible with Bite SMS 5.2.

30. CallTell
Functions are the same as iCallAnnounce but sms text announcement function is broken and will crash the iPhone when user receives an incoming text from a blocked number or web sms such as a secure mobile pin number text message from the bank. Otherwise, CallTell, unlike iCallAnnounce, is compatible with BiteSMS 5.2.

31. WiCarrier
On the iPad or iPod Touch, replaces 'iPad' or 'iPod' on the status bar with the current wifi network name.

32. EasyRerrange
When rearranging your icons in 'wriggle' mode, the icon that you're moving will freeze wherever you move it. Makes rearranging your icons a little easier - but not by much.

33. VUnlock
Allows your volume buttons to be used to unlock the phone (instead of using your home button. Useful cos my volume buttons are underused given that I have SBsettings Volume Slider. Potentially saves your home button from overusage.

34. Infinidock
Allows up to 10 icons on your dock. Dock can also slide to next page so you can have as many icons on your dock as you want but they won't fall onto the 1st page. (And I don't see the point if the icons are not on your homescreen).

35. Yourtube 2
Allows downloading of Youtube videos onto your iPod Touch or iPhone.

36. Yourtube HD
Allows downloading of Youtube videos onto your iPad 1G.

Still Not working:
Fontswap (I've received feedback that this is now working with iOS 4.2.1 in the latest version)
Cydget and add-ons
6 and 7 Icon Docks
LockDockBar (crashes my iPhone)
Barrel (crashes my iPhone)