Technologizer posts about Apple. iPhone

Foodspotting: It’s Not Just for Food Photographers Anymore

By  |  Posted at 8:13 am on Thursday, February 2, 2012

2 Comments

Until now, I’ve thought of Foodspotting mostly as an iPhone app which my wife uses to share photos of her meal when we dine out. She loves it. So do enough other people that a million pictures have been uploaded since the app’s launch, making it feel a bit like an Instagram that’s entirely devoted to things you can eat..

But there’s probably a limit to how many folks there are in the world who want to obsessively photograph food. So the new version of Foodspotting that launched this week is designed to broaden the app’s appeal. The photo sharing’s still there–but it feels more like one feature in an app whose primary purpose is to let large numbers of people find and see the best dishes at local restaurants before they place an order.

The new Foodspotting lets you browse popular dishes at nearby restaurants, or pull up a “picture menu” of a specific eatery. Lists of picks from media outlets such as Zagat’s and New York magazine supplement the recommendations from Foodspotting users. And there’s a section of Specials–which consisted of 50% discounts at several restaurants when I checked–which is the start of Foodspotting’s strategy for making money.

With its new emphasis on finding places to go and stuff to eat, Foodspotting feels a bit more like a competitor to traditional sources of restaurant reviews such as Yelp. But the similarities don’t run deep. Foodspotting still focuses on pictures and thumbs-up ratings, not full-blown critiques. And there’s no way to steer other users away from disappointing dishes by giving anything a thumbs down.

Judging from my experience so far, Foodspotting also doesn’t have a Yelplike critical mass of content practically everywhere. At the moment, I’m in Newton Corner, Massachusetts–not exactly a hotbed of fine dining–and only see a few photos from a few restaurants. Yelp, however, has dozens of nearby establishments that have dozens of reviews apiece. (Back home in food-centric San Francisco, Foodspotting is a much richer resource.)

Of course, one of the goals of the new version is to ramp up more quickly. If it works, the app, which was already lots of fun, will be even more fun, and much more useful.

Foodspotting is available for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry; the iPhone and Android editions are the first two to become available in this updated version.



Read more: , , , , ,

Highlight, a Social Network for the Real World

By  |  Posted at 8:30 am on Tuesday, January 24, 2012

7 Comments

For all that Facebook does to help you organize your online relationships, it doesn’t do much to help you interact with folks in the physical world. Every time you enter a restaurant, conference, or hotel lobby, you’re surrounded by strangers who you might be linked to through mutual friends or shared interests. But it’s hard to know who’s who–and if people you know do happen to be nearby, you might or might not stumble across them.

Enter Highlight, a new iPhone app that aims to tell you about the people in your immediate vicinity. Install it on your phone and connect it to your Facebook account, and it’ll begin alerting you to other Highlight users who are within approximately a block and a half of you. You can pull up profiles with information on them from Facebook and send them text messages (such as “where are you, exactly?”). Founder Paul Davison told me that the app is designed to help you meet new people, refresh your memory about people you’ve met before, and alert you to friends who could be lurking right around the corner.

Continue reading this story…



Read more: , , ,

Boy, Microsoft is taking Apple’s iOS seriously these days. Today, it announced SkyDrive for the iPhone and Kinectimals for iPhone and iPad. Yesterday, it unveiled OneNote for the iPad and said it would soon bring its Lync integrated-messaging app to Apple devices.
 
All this activity doesn’t prove that Microsoft Office for iOS is on its way. But it does suggest it’s not a pipe dream, doesn’t it?

Posted by Harry at 5:04 pm

2 Comments

Zite’s Personalized Magazine App Comes to the iPhone

By  |  Posted at 9:36 am on Friday, December 9, 2011

1 Comment

 
It’s been a busy week for mobile applications that mimic the feel of a magazine, but with content from an array of sources. First, iPad hit Flipboard arrived on the iPhone. Then Google unveiled Currents, an iOS and Android app which basically answers the question “What if Google had invented Flipboard?”
 
Now Zite, another iPad mainstay, is joining Flipboard on the iPhone. The company recently gave me a sneak peek and a bit of hands-on time with the app.
Continue reading this story…



Read more: , ,


[UPDATE: Flipboard is working for me; the company says that folks with existing accounts should be able to get in, but it's temporarily stopped registering new users.]

When Flipboard debuted for the iPad last year, it got so much attention that the company’s servers buckled under the load and the app didn’t work. And now, it’s deja vu all over again: After arriving in an excellent iPhone version yesterday evening, Flipboard has gone down. I’m getting the above on a freshly-installed copy of the iPhone version; on the iPad, the app is behaving oddly, sometimes going to the wrong section when I swipe.

Outages of this sort are almost a rite of passage for impressive new services. They generally bounce back pretty quickly, which leaves me wondering: If it’s so easy to add adequate capacity after the fact, why does it seem so tough to have it in the first place?

Posted by Harry at 9:43 am

Comments Off

First Look Flipboard Lands on the iPhone, Winningly

By  |  Posted at 9:01 pm on Tuesday, December 6, 2011

5 Comments

When social-magazine app Flipboard debuted on the iPad in July of last year, it instantly became the closest thing yet to a defining app for Apple’s new program–a beautifully-done program that was beautifully tailored to the platform’s strengths. It was hard to imagine it running on any other device.

Starting now, you don’t need to try and imagine what it might be like elsewhere: Flipboard is arriving on the iPhone. It should be available on the App Store around the time this post goes live.

Continue reading this story…



Read more: , , ,

Good rant by Gizmodo’s Mat Honan on the iPhone 4S’s Siri, a rare Apple product that’s being used as a major selling point even though it’s unquestionably unfinished. Me, I like Siri even in its current state–but Apple needs to follow up with a version that feels less like a beta and more like an Apple product.

Posted by Harry at 9:49 am

2 Comments

Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land has the best piece I’ve seen on why the iPhone 4S’s Siri can’t find abortion clinics–and scads of other things–and why that isn’t the result of a conspiracy.

Most often, Apple waits to release stuff until its exceptionally polished. With Siri, it unveiled something that’s a beta in the classic sense of the word: an unfinished product. I’m glad it did, but the company is catching (rather silly) flak in part because people expect Apple products to just work.

 

Posted by Harry at 9:45 pm

6 Comments

EA Sells iPhone Tetris Subscriptions, is Probably Genius

By  |  Posted at 9:23 am on Friday, December 2, 2011

4 Comments

No one in their right mind would pay $30 a year for Tetris, right? Right?

Electronic Arts thinks people will. The publisher is relaunching Tetris for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, with an optional subscription for extra features, Gamasutra reports.

Here’s how it works: For $1, the basic Tetris app includes three game modes and a ranking system that allows people to level up as they play. For $3 per month, or $30 per year, players can join the “T-Club,” which provides performance-enhancing perks, faster rank progression and exclusive content. Yes, EA wants people to subscribe to Tetris.

Continue reading this story…



Read more: , , ,

Path 2, a Brilliant Smart Phone App With One Annoying, Self-Inflicted Limitation

By  |  Posted at 1:55 am on Wednesday, November 30, 2011

5 Comments

A year ago, a new photo-sharing app for the iPhone called Path debuted. It was slick and fun, but the most noteworthy thing about it was an intentional limitation: It only allowed you to connect with up to fifty other users, the theory being that it was for sharing images with your family and close friends, not the world.

Path did OK, but it didn’t become a big hit–unlike Instagram, which arrived at around the same time.

Now Path is back. The new version, Path 2, isn’t just about photos: You can share your textual status updates, your location, who you’re with, and whether you’re awake or asleep. You can also have the app automatically alert people when you travel a great distance and land in a new place. The original 50-friend limit has been bumped up to 150. And you can now push the items you post out to Facebook and/or Twitter.

The Path people now call the app a smart journal, which is as coherent a way as any to describe what it’s doing.

Continue reading this story…



Read more: , , , ,

Samsung Taunts Apple

By  |  Posted at 10:02 am on Wednesday, November 23, 2011

17 Comments

Behold Samsung’s new commercial for the Galaxy S II:  
 
 
 
It’s a pretty clever ad–certainly more so than most that make fun of Apple, and even if its claims about 4G are questionable–and if it ticks off iPhone owners, that’s apparently OK. In an interview with Steve Kovach of the Business Insider, Samsung marketing honcho Brian Wallace says that the company isn’t actually trying to convince iPhone owners to switch to Galaxy phones. It’s addressing users of other Android handsets, and using Apple fans as a target of satire.  
Side note: All ads that mock Apple do so based on the notion that the company’s customers are style-obsessed young people. I’ve come to think of this as the Unicorn Tears theory. And I don’t think it bears much resemblance to the reality of Apple’s user base.  
 
I’ve stood in lines to buy new Apple products. I’ve waited at the Apple Store to talk to a Genius. I’ve done a lot of observing of Apple customers, and while it’s possible that the company’s customers include more style-obsessed young people than average, I don’t think such folks dominate. Mostly, the Apple customers I’ve seen look like America. They’re young, old, hip, square, smart, clueless, pretty, ugly, admirable, alarming, and–like people in general–what former New York City Mayor David Dinkins used to call a gorgeous tapestry…



Read more: , , ,

Chris Foresman of Ars Technica conducted an ambitious comparison of the iPhone 4S camera vs. an Olympus point-and-shoot and a Canon DSLR (as well as Samsung’s Galaxy S II phone). The results weren’t conclusive: Foresman says that the best camera is the one you have with you, which was always true and always will be true. But the story’s worth reading and the image samples show just how far camera phones have come.

Posted by Harry at 11:32 am

Comments Off

Yipit’s New App: Nearly Every Deal, on Your iPhone

By  |  Posted at 9:02 am on Saturday, November 19, 2011

2 Comments

Yipit co-founder Jim Moran is a self-confessed “deal maniac.”

And that’s a good thing because he and his team have come up with a new offering for other deal chasers: The Yipit iPhone app, which went live this week in the App Store.

Continue reading this story…



Read more: , , ,

If you’re not sick of thinking about the end of Flash on mobile devices already, people are still writing stuff about it that’s worth reading:

Adobe’s Mike Chambers gives several reasons for mobile Flash’s death, but the first he mentions is Apple’s rejection of it:

This one should be pretty apparent, but given the fragmentation of the mobile market, and the fact that one of the leading mobile platforms (Apple’s iOS) was not going to allow the Flash Player in the browser, the Flash Player was not on track to reach anywhere near the ubiquity of the Flash Player on desktops.

And Mobile Opportunity’s Michael Mace–thoughtful as always–says that greed did Flash in:

So here’s what Adobe did to itself:  By mismanaging the move to full mobile browsing, it demonstrated that customers were willing to live with a mobile browser that could not display Flash.  Then, by declaring its intent to take over the mobile platform world, Adobe alarmed the other platform companies, especially Apple.  This gave them both the opportunity and the incentive to crush mobile Flash.

I agree that there were a bunch of reasons why mobile Flash never amounted to anything, but I still think one of them trumps all others: It didn’t work. If it had been fabulous, even Apple might have had to reconsider the situation.

Posted by Harry at 1:38 pm

1 Comment

Wait, in the United Kingdom, Siri is a guy?

Posted by Harry at 7:28 am

Comments Off

Tweets and blog posts are reporting that Siri–the iPhone 4s’s coolest feature–isn’t working, at least for some folks. (When I try it right now, she’s telling me she can’t connect to the network.)

Posted by Harry at 1:01 pm

1 Comment