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Using iTunes Auto Bit Rate Conversion To Save Space on iPhone

iTunes offers a bit rate conversion feature which allows you to load more music onto your iPhone, iPod and iPad devices by downsampling high bit rate audio files.  This was initially introduced with the diminutive iPod Shuffle, but has available for all devices since iTunes 9.1.

This iTunes conversion feature is most useful if you have songs that have been imported directly from standard audio CDs to Apple Lossless or other high bit rate formats.

bit rate conversion options

Upon enabling the “Convert higher bit rate songs to 128 kbs AAC” checkbox in the device options screen, iTunes converts all music set to transfer to the iPod, iPhone or iPad.  This conversion happens during the sync process.  All original music is left intact in your iTunes library, and the compressed audio is stored solely on the device.

This conversion process does reduce the quality of your music, but you’re likely not to notice if you use Apple’s included earbuds or other inexpensive compact headphones.  It’s perfect for listening on the go.

comment on this | posted in: iPad iPhone iPod Music Secrets of iTunes Tips

Apple WWDC Recap


This year’s Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) kicked off with a keynote by Steve Jobs.  With his team of execs, he revealed three major products- all software-based.  Thousands of new features, services and APIs were announced setting the stage for future products and services across Apple’s compete line of products.

1. Mac OS X Lion- Apple’s next desktop operating system- aka 10.7.

As previously demoed, multi-touch gestures and many details from iOS have been brought over to the desktop.  Security and OS refinement are central as well as the initial integration of iCloud for document, photo and data access.  Release date is “July.”

2. iOS 5.0- The next mobile operating system for iPhones, iPads, iPods & AppleTV. 

The early beta build shows that Apple has continued chipping away at the most-requested features list.  The most visible and obvious change is the introduction of a better notification system.  The OS is now a very capable desktop replacement on the iPad and even more feature-rich on the phone.  Other changes are much more subtle refinements.  Release date is “fall.”

3. iCloud- The long-awaited Apple cloud services offering.

iCloud replaces the earlier MobileMe service with free Contact, Cal, Docs, Photos, and Music sync for free.  The service becomes a wireless digital hub, replacing the requirement for USB to PC functionality with a broadband network connection.

In addition, three of the Apple online stores (Music, Books & Apps) get re-download capability. Furthermore, an option has been introduced to automatically download purchased content on all associated devices “from the Cloud.”  This feature is immediately available in beta release form.  There was no mention of TV or movies.

Most interesting was the announcement of iTunes Match.  This service matches all songs in a user’s iTunes library, including those ripped directly from CD and obtained from file sharing sites, and offers them in the Cloud with high-resolution audio.  At $24.99/year, this is the only paid component of iCloud (other than upgraded storage). Release date is “fall.”

iCloud does not include traditional music streaming or even “iTunes in the browser.”  Instead, it’s positioned more like iTunes-as-a-service.  The vision Apple articulated was that the Cloud exists to make native apps better, not to replace them as Google and Microsoft are pursuing by running software in the web browser.  To drive this point home, Apple’s did not even show web interfaces to the iCloud services (although I do expect to see them at some point).

If iCloud’s services do deliver as advertised, expect this robust service layer will likely grow into an expectation of functionality across both the mobile environment and the entire computing space. 

A few closing stats:

- Apple has sold 200 million iOS devices

- Apple claims 44 percent of the mobile operating system market. Android is #2 with 28%, RIM is #3 with 19% and Others at 9%

- 15 billion songs have been sold through the iTunes Music Store.

- 14 billion apps have been sold on the App Store

- 130 million eBooks have been purchased from the iBooks Store

comment on this | posted in: iPad iPhone iPod Mac News

Wow, Smartphones Are Now Outselling PCs

The future is now-  According to the latest numbers released by IDC, smartphones have finally outsold PCs for the first time ever.

Q4 2010 worldwide units shipped:

Smartphones- 100.9 million
PCs- 92.1 million units

Of course these numbers are for a single quarter, but still.. the writing is on the wall.

comment on this | posted in: iPhone News

Future Checkin app is too checkin-happy for my taste

image The Future Checkin iOS app attempts to execute on an excellent idea- automatically checking in users to Foursquare locations based on where they physically are (after a slight delay).  Unfortunately, it is hampered by poor location sensitivity.  I loved the concept, but was less than thrilled to find that my iPhone had a magical night out via Future Checkin, visiting bars and restaurants all over my neighborhood, while I was sleeping.

Then while at the office, future checkin took me out for lunch and coffee multiple times during the workday while I was siting at my desk. I guess I must live in an area that’s just too densely populated with Foursquare locations.

It’d be great to checkin to all these favorites, but I think I’ll use the real Foursquare app and actually go visit them in person.

comment on this | posted in: iPhone News Reviews

Best mobile error “Ohmigosh!”

Vimeo is sporting one of the best mobile errors I’ve seen.

Large Image

Sorry, there was an error showing this video. Why?

● No mobile version of this video (yet)
● You don’t have permission to see it
● Neptune not in the 8th House

All is not lost! Click here for the non-mobile version of this page.

comment on this | posted in: 404 iPhone Webdev

Hello World (from my iPad) + Keyboard Shortcuts

Hmm, simple Bluetooth pairing, does this “just work?” Yup, apparently so.

Let’s see how well the keyboard works.  Oh, yeah I’ve been typing all along.  Yes, the typing works great.  I wonder what this looks like on iPhone 4.0.  

Hmm, exactly the same… yes indeed… can anyone tell what I’m typing on?  Nope, I’m afraid not.  Sorry to be silly, but this just has to be done.  smile

Function keys on the Apple Bluetooth keyboard can control the brightness, iPod (very cool), toggle the onscreen keyboard, but not return to home.  Also, arrows don’t navigate very well.  The arrow controls seem to be pretty inconsistent.  Not a lot of UI elements know what do to with the arrow presses. 

PS: Ooh, command-a to select all and command-c to copy works great!  Too bad there’s no command-tab.. oh well, maybe in 4.0.

Update 1:

Keyboard commands that work:

Tab between fields (tab)
Select all (command-a)
Cut, copy and paste (comand-x, c, v)
Select letter (shift-arrow)
Select word (shift-option-arrow)
Select line (shift-command-arrow)
Select to end of document (shift-apple-up or down arrow)
Delete previous word (option-delete)

Wish list:

Shortcut for Home (available with Apple iPad hardware keyboard)
Shortcut for Search (available with Apple iPad hardware keyboard)
Switch app (command-tab)
Lock screen
Keyboard shortcuts for more apps
Safari controls (command-l for location bar in safari or command-t for new tab)
More consistent scrolling via arrow keys

comment on this | posted in: iPad iPhone News Reviews

Aardvark gets it right

Yes, this is a nice way to show your users that the service is unavailable.

Great job, Aardvark.  I’ve the additional screens as well.

Large Image

comment on this | posted in: 404 iPhone iPod

LogMeIn Ignition for iPhone

image LogMeIn Ignition allows you to connect to and control your desktop computers just like if you were sitting in right front of them.  The iPhone App works over any network connection, faster is obviously better, and is very easy to use.

With this software, you can:

  • grab a file you forgot to take home
  • start processes remotely
  • show pictures from a remote computer
  • logout or shutdown a computer
  • check to see if you have a song in a remote iTunes library

After downloading, simply enter your credentials and you’ll be presented with of a list of computers where LogMeIn is installed and ready for action.  If you haven’t installed LogMeIn on a desktop computer, you obviously won’t have any available destinations.

If you haven’t tried the desktop software, you’re in for a treat.  The basic screen sharing is free and I’ve used it for years.  The service is fast and just works.  I’ve been able to connect in every network configuration I’ve tried, including firewall and double-NAT situations.

The iPhone software is pricey at $29.99, but considering how much I’ve used the free desktop sofware and the fact that there are no monthly fees, it’s worth it. 

IMG 0398
Logging in with LogMeIn.

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My list of computers with LogMeIn installed.

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My remote computer in glorious 320px of width!

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Widescreen mode prior to zooming in.

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A zoomed-in search.

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A view of this posting.

LogMeIn - Remote Access and Desktop Control Software for Your Computer
LogMeIn Ignition (iTunes AppStore)

comment on this | posted in: iPhone News Reviews

A couple of notes about Nike + iPod on iPhone 3GS

The Nike + iPod on iPhone 3GS is pretty slick.  Since it is an official Apple App, it gets the benefit of backgrounding.  This means you can respond to SMS, take a quick picture or video and even Twitter without interrupting your workout progress.  However, taking calls while in a Nike + iPod workout does indeed pause the workout according to Apple.

Nike+ pauses on calls? Yes, I lost points as I freakishly/sweatily held up my iPhone, speaker on, talking to mom, for 1.5 miles (7:43 per)

One of the more interesting things about Nike+ on the iPhone is that you can control the music with the Apple headphone remote.  You can pause, skip, rewind, adjust volume and even run Voice Control to find out what song is playing!  The only unfortunate thing about the Voice Control is that when it finishes, the song remains paused even though the workout is still running.  To fix, just pause the workout with the remote and resume with one more tap.  You’ll hear both the music and a confirmation that the workout has resumed.

I couldn’t help thinking how cool it would be if this product added GPS tracking similar to iMapMyRun.  The Nike site already supports routes, but they must be entered manually.  The accuracy of GPS plus stride tracking would be killler!  Here’s to version 2.0-


comment on this | posted in: iPhone News Tips

Tips and Tricks for iPhone Voice Control

Apple has posted a handy support note: “Tips and Tricks when using Voice Control”-

Using the microphone

- Use the built-in microphone or the microphone on the headset. Bluetooth headsets are not supported for Voice Control

- For best results when you’re using headphones with a built-in microphone, let the cord with the built-in microphone hang freely. Avoid holding the cord with the microphone or bringing it closer to your mouth. When the headphones are in your ear and the cord dangles freely, the microphone is in the optimum position.

- For best results when you’re using the built-in microphone on iPhone 3G S, hold iPhone like you were on a telephone call. If holding it in front of yourself, you can hold it up to 12 inches with the built-in microphone facing you.

- If you are using a carrying case and experiencing some issues with Voice Control, the microphone may be blocked. Try removing the carrying case.

When to speak

- After you press and hold the Home button, you will be prompted by an audible tone to speak a command.

- Always wait until the prompt is complete before you start speaking. Any words you speak while iPhone is giving the prompt will be ignored.

- Be ready to speak when the beep has completed.  Long pauses may cause unexpected results.

For voice dialing

- Some short names may be too similar and may be hard to distinguish by themselves. For best results with these kinds of names, try saying both the first and last name.

- If you’re having difficulties getting iPhone to recognize a particular name, try editing the contact, tap Add Field, and add a unique nick name.

- Avoid possessive names. Instead of saying “call Frank’s mobile” try “call Frank on his mobile.”

For music playback

- You can play all songs in an album, playlist, or by an artist. iPhone 3G S will not recognize commands to play a particular song.

- If you can’t get iPhone to recognize the album or artist name, try telling it to play a particular playlist.

- If an artist has “The” in the name, make sure you say it.

(2) comments | posted in: iPhone News Tips
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