Review: iPhone 4
The iPod app on the Apple iPhone is the best media player on any phone. First, the iTunes and iPod combo provide a one-two punch that makes it incredibly easy to organize and transfer your media library to your phone. It's simple to buy music on your phone and transfer to your desktop, or vice versa. Album artwork and advanced settings, like custom start/stop points and shuffling preferences, come through perfectly. iTunes could be better. I'd like to see hierarchical folders and better options to autocorrect large groups of song names and tag info, but as it stands its the best music transfer software around.
Second, the music player on the iPhone is fantastic. It is the unsung hero of the iPhone system, and it just keeps getting better. You get all the basic playback controls, plus variable speed scrubbing to scan through tracks quickly or very slowly. This is indispensable while listening to audiobooks. Making playlists has always been easy, but the new iOS4 lets you edit an existing playlist, clear the songs to start fresh or delete the list altogether. You can even use smart playlists that adapt dynamically as you listen, or genius lists that create playlists similar to a single song choice. There are preset equalized options available, and the fantastic cover flow browser to flip through album artwork quickly.
The iPhone doesn't come with removable storage, but the 16GB and 32GB capacities available should provide plenty of space for a week-long selection of music. It won't hold every song you own, but it will last through a vacation or a month of long commutes. The phone comes with a set of white earbuds with a built in remote control and microphone, so you can skip through songs, pause the music, change the volume and take calls without removing the phone from your pocket.
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I wish the iPhone would abandon the proprietary dock connector and opt for microUSB instead. Apple has already indicated support for microUSB as a standard, but has never followed through on its devices. Of course, since the iPhone and iPod have used the same connector almost since the beginning, it isn't hard to find cords and accessories that fit. Still, it's nice to have standards.
Google Now Pushing Desktop Search History to Android, iOS
Google today announced that it is providing Android and iPhone users with access to their desktop search history from their smartphone browser. As long as users are signed in to their Google account both in their desktop browser and in their mobile browser and have web history enabled, recent searches will appear across all types of devices.
iPhoto Available for iPhone and iPad
Apple today announced a new version of iPhoto, its desktop photo editing and management software, for iOS devices including the iPhone and iPad. iPhoto for iOS supports a wide range of photo-editing features, including scrollable thumbnails, crop, rotate, exposure, contrast, saturation, and other multi-touch editing functions.
AT&T Wants Platform-Agnostic Video Calling
AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega asked the wireless industry to agree on a single video calling standard that can be used by all devices and all network types so that customers can more easily use the service. As things stand today, there are plenty of video calling options, but the services are often only compatible with other devices running the same software and platform.
Dropbox Adds Auto Photo Upload Feature to Android App
Dropbox recently updated its Android application with a new feature that automatically uploads user photos from their phone to their Dropbox account. According to Dropbox, it will upload full resolution files over either Wi-Fi or cellular data to a special "Photo Upload" folder in the user's account, which can then be accessed from other devices and the Dropbox web site.
Google Refutes Safari Tracking Accusations Made by WSJ
Researchers recently discovered that some online-based advertising companies — including Google — were using a software workaround to avoid the privacy settings of Apple's Safari browser for the iPhone and its Mac computers. The Wall Street Journal reports that the workarounds allow the sites to install cookies on user devices even if the users have set their device to reject such cookies.