This time I couldn’t resist the temptation that every Mac-blogger faces sooner or later. Today I will not give an insight into Apple’s latest wanderings, but an overview of my personal favorite pieces of software. To make things a bit more interesting, I will omit the “obvious” tools from the big companies (assuming that most know that wordprocessor from Microsoft or that excellent piece of music management software from Apple), and I will instead focus on software from the smaller companies. In the Mac-community, many of those developers are well respected for the quality of their work. (If you are interested in the why’s and how’s of the Mac’s indy development community, and the very interesting ways it is socially organized, I highly recommend the thesis Indy Fever by Dutch researcher Michiel van Meeteren).
This listing ranges from handy, but very focussed system add-ons and utilities, to full-blown productivity tools. They are presented in no particular order.
Last week, Apple showcased the upcoming 3.0 version of the iPhone operating system, widely expected to be available around WWDC in the June timeframe. If one thing became clear from this presentation, it is that iPhone OS is the next big computing platform, at least as far as Apple is concerned. After first introducing the iPhone and its incredibly slick and intuitive user interface to the public in 2007, Apple then educated millions of people on the idea that their phone can indeed be an all-purpose mobile computing platform by intoducing the App Store in 2008. And now, Apple seems to focus the attention even more on developers. Sure, Apple did announce some pretty nice new end user features in 3.0 (of which the company promises over 100 in total when the final product ships), but the really impressive announcements were the additions to the Software Developers Kit, or SDK.
No less than 1,000 new APIs were introduced to programmers, letting them do even more advanced stuff with the iPhone and iPod touch then before. Think of using the dock-connector or bluetooth to communicate to dedicated accessories, or the direct iPhone-to-iPhone networking connectivity over Bluetooth that doesn’t need pairing or joining of a wireless network, or the widely disussed push notification services letting applications notify users even when the actual program is closed, or the voice-over-IP functionality that can easily be implemented in a game or app without much efforts, or the in-app purchasing features opening up the way for many new types of applications.
Surely, consumers will be spoiled, if not overwhelmed, with the flood of new applications (or renewed applications) in the second half of this year, pushing iPhone as a platform even further away of the curve.
In this article, I will briefly share with you some thoughts I have on some of the new features offered by the iPhone 3.0 software and the new SDK.