Apple Trifecta

Oct 26 07

Apple Trifecta

Paul Weinstein

Zoomshare On Your iPhone?
Apple has been quite busy since June’s release of the iPhone. The latest news being that yes Virginia, there indeed is a software developer kit (SDK) to write iPhone specific applications with and it will be released to the public for third party developers in February.

Why the delay? Well Apple originally stated that no SDK would be released for AT&T’s fears of network abuse from malicious software writers targeting the iPhone platform for their trojans, viruses, and worms. A legitimate concern, but a few developers didn’t buy it, noting that AT&T already allows other smartphones, such as those running Palm and Windows Mobile, on its network, each of which, with their own SDKs, opens the AT&T network to possible attack.

Did Apple have a change of heart? Doubtful, from the original Apple II to the iPhone, Apple has a long enough history to know that third party software developers are important to the success of any computing platform. The delay of course was simply about priorities. Now that the iPhone is out the door, the iPod line has been updated and the latest version of Mac OS X (more on Leopard in a bit) is shipping Apple has the manpower to polish off the SDK focusing, you guessed it, on protecting “iPhone users from viruses, malware [and] privacy attacks.”

What, you might be thinking, does this really have to do with Zoomshare? Well given the iPhone’s “rich Internet capabilities” anyone with an iPhone can already access and/or manage a Zoomshare site on the go. Moreover, in theory, some of the more modular features, such as Zoomshare Widgets, can be used sans website.

However, even via iPhone’s Safari web browser some features won’t translate well, if at all. Zoomshare wasn’t designed with mobile computing in mind, let alone around the iPhone’s unique Multitouch abilities. With an SDK, the possibilities open up a bit more. We’ve already batted around a few interesting ideas here in our office.

Does this mean Zoomshare is coming soon to an iPhone near you? I really can’t say. After all the SDK is still a few months off and while Apple has sold 1.4 million iPhones already the iPhone market is still in its infancy. Apple has a stated goal of selling 10 million by the end of 2008, which may or may not happen. It took Apple five and a half years to sell as many iPods. On the plus side any iPhone developed application will also work on the new iPod touch.

Only time will tell.

We Are From France
Speaking of the iPhone, it seems my guesstimate of a European sold iPhone working with an American number from an American cell phone provider other than AT&T was off by one country. If you recall I speculated that the iPhone about to go on sale in the German market via Deutsch Telekom’s cell phone subsidiary might work just fine in the USA given a SIM from T-Mobile. Why? Because Deutsch Telekom’s cell phone division is in fact, T-Mobile.

While it might not be that easy it seems it might not matter. See the original rumor of the European iPhone release included three cell phone providers for three specific European markets, T-Mobile in Germany, O2 in the UK and Orange in France. Yet when official word came from Apple and its European partners Orange was suspiciously missing. Only later did Apple and Orange make the partnership official, announcing iPhones in France by the end of November a few weeks after the German and UK release date.

The delay? Rumors have the profit sharing agreement between the two companies holding up the official announcement and release, but a few observers have pointed out that French law requires cell phones to be unlockable. Now, I don’t know French law, let alone the specific law(s) in question. For all I know to comply with it Orange simply needs to sell one and only one unlocked iPhone to Joe Six-Pack (in France would that be Jean-Pierre Bordeaux?) and be in compliance. But it does open up the possibility of unlocked iPhones from France making their way Stateside.

But as I noted previously that iPhone, given Euro-to-Dollar conversion, oversea shipping costs and whatnot, would be a bit expense. More than even the overpriced eBay market currently prices “unlocked” iPhones at. Guess only time will tell.

Last, But Not Least, OS X
Finally, the original impetuous for today’s post, the latest, greatest version of OS X goes on sale today.

While I’m not lining up at an Apple Store today, alas payday isn’t until the end of the month, I will be picking up a copy for my home and work Macs in the coming week. The features I can’t wait to put to use? Time Machine and Spaces.

Time Machine, while practical, just looks slick. To visually go back to a previous saved computing state and recover a lost or damaged file in a heartbeat is a must have in my book. Sure, I’m a slouch when it comes to keeping files around and given how cheap disk space is these days, it’s quite easy to keep stuff around, just in case. But really backing up important files only gets my attention when I run out of local disk space and need to offload recently unused files to a secondary location. Every now and then I’ll run into trouble, now I don’t have to worry as much.

Of course, Time Machine still needs a secondary disk to save previous versions on, but I already have that, its just the actually doing that can be a bit more infrequent than it should be. But what I’m really hoping for is the ability to use Time Machine with an iPod in disk mode or a remote fileshare. While, I’d still want a copy that can’t get lost or stolen, like one stored on my home build half-a-terabyte RAID server, I do like the idea of being able to have a mobile backup with me as I go. Hopefully both options are possible.

Initial reviews note that yes, you can backup to a remote system, but that remote system must also be running 10.5 – Leopard and the file share must be via AFP

I’ve blogged else where about virtual desktop setups and some of the issues with third-party options for them on OS X. Even with those problems I love virtual desktops and can’t work with out them. Sure OS X has Expose among other features for dealing with desktop clutter, but for organizing application windows based on function or task, nothing in my mind beats virtual desktops. Given how common they are in other Unix-centric windowing environments, I remember impressing a friend of mine with fancy desktop transitions on a Linux workstation when I worked at Red Hat a few years ago, I’m kind of surprise its taken this long for builtin support to appear in the Mac world.

Does this mean we know of at least two new features for the next release of Windows; support for automatic backups and virtual desktops? I suppose only time will tell.

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