Sure, touchscreen phones look great, but when it comes to typing on the touchscreen most of the phones are lacking. Without having the feedback that a keypad provides, users often have to type slowly and frequently make errors on devices such as the iPhone.
Researchers at the University of Glasgow are trying to solve those problems by using actuators (the things that make your phone vibrate when a call comes in) to replicate the feel of a keypad.
Using existing haptic feedback software, the scientists are trying to squeeze more out of the actuators already present in cell phones. Their modifications provide a single pulse for the feeling of a button being clicked, a longer buzz to provide a “rough” feeling when the user has moved to a different key, and a buzz that ramps up and down when sliding a finger across a button to give that button a rounded feel.
The researchers found that users’ typing speed and accuracy were much closer to a standard keypad when using their haptic feedback software. The team will present their findings at the Computer Human Interaction conference in Italy next month, and hopefully we’ll see cell phone manufacturers picking up this software to make their touchscreen phones that much more usable. [via New Scientist]
Tags: cell phone, haptic feedback, interaction, iphone, touchscreen, university of glasgow
The folks at iPhone Dev Team are at it again, and this time they’ve jailbroken iPhone firmware before it was even released.
Apparently they got a hold of the new firmware that ships with the SDK, decrypted the disk image, and completely unlocked it. The screenshot shows some apps running on the new firmware.
Unfortunately, the unlock won’t work with AT&T iPhones yet. However, as always, we’re sure that will change in only a few days.
This should send a clear message to Apple – stop trying to lock down your devices. They’ve unlocked them before, and they will keep doing it as long as Apple keeps trying. Apple, do us all a favor. Please?
Tags: apple, firmware, iphone, jailbreak
Apple has finally released the much-anticipated iPhone SDK. The company has also announced a 2.0 software update coming in June which will add new functionality to everyone’s favorite phone.
With the new SDK will come a huge variety of new iPhone apps. Apple will be distributing the apps through iTunes and will have the final say on which apps will be allowed to appear on the iPhone. Some applications will be free and others you’ll have to pay for, with the developers of the applications making that decision.
A welcome addition to the iPhone will be games. EA has already shown off a touchscreen version of its highly-anticipated game Spore. Sega will be bringing Super Monkey Ball to the iPhone as well. These games are guaranteed to be fun time-wasters, but their impact on the phone’s battery will probably be huge. Read more »
Tags: apple, iphone
Numerous reports are stating that Apple will have control over which third-party iPhone applications will be allowed to run on the phone. Apps will be offered through the iTunes online store, allowing Apple to pick and choose which ones users can get their hands on.
It’s a sneaky move on Apple’s part, and one that we are not too fond of. The iPhone has a lot of potential, especially with the upcoming release of the SDK this Thursday. However, Apple is not willing to unlock that potential by keeping certain applications away from the phone.
On top of that, Apple’s strategy behind the move may be to drive more traffic to the iTunes store. Any time an iPhone user wants to get a new application, iTunes will be the way to go. And imagine all of those shiny music and movie ads on there. This could all be a gimmick just to increase sales through iTunes.
Hopefully Apple will surprise us in the future with a decision to allow all applications on the iPhone. However, we don’t really see that happening. We expect to see many applications from big names like Google on the iTunes store, but not as many from open-source efforts.
Tags: apple, iphone, itunes
Due to delays, Apple had to cancel the event planned for the last week of February and postpone the release of the much-anticipated iPhone SDK. It looks like a new announcement date has been set – March 6th.
One of the biggest gripes about the iPhone is its closed-source nature. With the announcement of an SDK, we will finally see third-party applications making their way to the iPhone. These new apps will allow users to take full advantage of their shiny, touch-screen toys.
Apple’s invitation to the event was sent via email and worded like this: “Please join us to learn about the iPhone software roadmap, including the iPhone SDK and some exciting new enterprise features.” It will be interesting to see exactlywhat enterprise features Apple is dreaming up.
In addition to all of this, yet another 3G iPhone rumor has sprung up. Analysts are predicting a 3G iPhone by mid-year, and that EDGE production will ramp down early so Apple can clear out current iPhone inventories.
It’s an exciting time for the iPhone, and we hope to keep hearing good news in the coming weeks and months that we can pass on to you.
Tags: 3g, apple, iphone, rumor
Nokia has recently announced their Morph concept, a gadget which should (in about 100 years) replace everything you carry in your pocket today.
Featured in The Museum of Modern Art “Design and The Elastic Mind” exhibition, the Morph aims to be the only gadget you’ll ever need due to its adaptable nature. Made of flexible and transparent materials, Nokia imagines this gadget taking on just about any shape and size.
For example, it can start in the shape of a cell phone, but then unfold into a screen to view movies and other media on. This larger screen would incorporate input devices such as keyboards and touch pads as well to allow for communication. It could then be folded up into a bracelet that you wear on your wrist. As Nokia says, the Morph would “allow us to communicate and interact in unprecedented ways.”
Read more »
Tags: cell phone, iphone, morph, nanotech, nokia, screen, solar power, touch
What do you get when you cross an iPhone with an iPod shuffle? An iStick, of course! Designer Alexei Mikhailov has dreamed up this gadget to show what he thinks that hybrid should look like.
The iStick is modeled after a tube of lipstick. However, all four sides have a touchscreen providing for a slick interface.
While the device isn’t for movie or photo viewing, it would be perfect for listening to music. It’s small, light, and has the same great interface as an iPhone. The iStick would also have Coverflow to let you scroll through album covers for an added effect. WiFi is also built in to browse iTunes.
The pictures also show some tiny wireless headphones. We’d really like to see some of those.
The concept is great, but it would be pretty hard to fit all that technology into a device as compact as the iStick. We’re also wondering what the gray end cap is for. Maybe you can twist it around as another way to interact with the gadget. Hopefully we’ll see a similar device from Apple sometime in the future. More pictures after the jump. Read more »
Tags: apple, iphone, ipod shuffle, istick, itunes, music, touchscreen, wifi
Posted in Gadgets
by Joel Levin on February 18th, 2008
A tip has surfaced saying that Apple is preparing to drop the prices on the iPhone and iPod Touch by $100 within the next two months.
The price drop is believed to be making room for 3G iPhones later this year. Also, the 8GB iPod Touch might be dropped from the lineup entirely.
Apple may be announcing these price changes at the February event, along with the long-awaited iPhone SDK. Good news as price drops are always appreciated, especially when Apple is involved. We wouldn’t mind Apple keeping the 8GB iPod Touch and dropping the price to $199.
Tags: apple, iphone, ipod touch