Archive for the 'Email' Category

Cupertino, We Have a Problem

July 11, 2008  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

This week’s big launch hasn’t gone so well for Apple. MobileMe – scheduled to launch late Wednesday night – was down well into Thursday. MobileMe webmail still doesn’t work for me (although I had a few glimpses of it yesterday).

The iPhone 2.0 launch hasn’t gone so well either. I was elated to finally see the message from iTunes that I had an update to download (after repeatedly being told that no update was available). That excitement was short-lived as the update failed rendering my iPhone currently useless. Clicking on my iPhone in iTunes gives me one of several error messages. The reports coming in seem to indicate that 3G iPhone activation is running into trouble too.

It hasn’t been a good couple of days for Apple. Hopefully I’ll get it working and be able to visit the App Store by tonight. Then I can go shopping and post some screenshots.

MobileMe Coming July 9th

July 7, 2008  (Jeffrey Kabbe)


… but only if you stay up late. The .Mac homepage has the following service announcement from Apple:

MobileMe Launch 7/9/2008, 6pm-12am PT

As part of the MobileMe launch, will be taken offline at 6pm PT on Wednesday, July 9th.

Members will be unable to access or any .Mac services during this time with the exception of .Mac Mail accessed via a desktop application, iPhone, or iPod touch.

MobileMe will be available as soon as possible during this maintenance window.

So, if you’re prone to staying up until the wee hours of the morning (Pacific Time, which pretty much rules it out here at Apple Briefs), you might get to see it on July 9th 1. The rest of us can expect to see it the morning of the 10th. The MobileMe iPhone features should be activated the following day (July 11th) with the release of the iPhone 2.0 software update. I’ll try to find some time in between games of Super Monkey Ball to test out the MobileMe push email features.

1 Yes, technically after midnight it becomes the 10th. But I have always maintained that the day doesn’t change until you’ve decided to pull an all-nighter (n/a on holidays).

WWDC Keynote: A Late Bloomer

June 10, 2008  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

The WWDC keynote speech started pretty slowly. Most of the first hour was devoted to things that:

  1. Only a developer would care about (which makes sense consider the venue, but still); and
  2. We already knew

To be more precise, the first hour of the keynote was spent on iPhone 2.0, the upgrade to the software of the iPhone and iPod Touch. Some interesting third-party applications were previewed, but nothing show-stopping. We did learn that the iPhone will support the viewing of Microsoft Office documents. That’s about all I took away from the first hour as a business user.

The new product announcements arrived about an hour into the keynote. They went pretty much according to the script too. Let’s take a look:

3G iPhone

There were plenty of (often contradictory) rumors swirling about the 3G iPhone. So what does the new iPhone have?

  • 3G for faster downloads
  • GPS
  • More battery life
  • A thinner body
  • A lower price (16GB for $299, 8 GB for $199)

Apple has posted the full specifications for the new iPhone on its website. If you took all of the rumored improvements and new features (with one exception), you would basically have the 3G iPhone. The one thing missing was a video camera for video iChat, but that rumor didn’t have a lot of credibility behind it. The new iPhones are nice, but I am not overcome with jealousy and feelings of obsoleteness yet.


MobileMe replaces the venerable and much-maligned .Mac service. MobileMe brings with it new web applications called Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Gallery, and iDisk. Each does pretty much what you would expect based on the name. MobileMe also brings with it push email, contacts, and calendar to the iPhone. Apart from MobileMe, the only way to get the push experience on your iPhone is to use Microsoft Exchange. MobileMe brings push down into the realm of home users. I am hopeful that a future release of Mac OS X Server will allow for push service to iPhones without using either Microsoft Exchange or a email address.

A handful of resourceful people were able to figure out most of this last week. But it’s still nice to get the official word from Apple and see the demo. The announcement wasn’t all happiness though. With the transition to MobileMe, Apple will be removing its iCard service and web access to Safari bookmarks. I did not use the bookmark feature, but I often used the .Mac iCards because I found them much nicer (read: less tacky) than many of the other services out there. At least I get to keep my email address.

Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

Rumors of a new version of Mac OS X surfaced in the last few days before the keynote. Snow Leopard would mark a departure from Apple’s stated intention to move to a longer release cycle (early versions of Mac OS X were released on almost a yearly basis). Leopard was released last, suggesting that 10.6 would not arrive until late-2009 or early-2010. To my dismay, the keynote came and went without any mention of Snow Leopard. But my disappointment was short-lived. Soon after the keynote Apple confirmed Snow Leopard and released some basic information about this new version of Mac OS X. The press release was followed up with a full-blown preview page with, well, just about the same information (but prettier!).

The press release mentions two new features worth talking about. First, Snow Leopard will include Microsoft Exchange 2007 support in Mail, Address Book, and iCal. This probably shouldn’t be a surprise considering the forthcoming Exchange support in iPhone. But I was still surprised. Second, Safari will include the “fastest implementation of Javascript ever.” Apple may be referring to the recently-announced Squirrelfish Javascript engine for Safari. Javascript speed seems to be one of the new benchmarks by which browsers are judged (with good reason in the age of Web 2.0 applications). But the real reason to check is Squirrelfish is its really cool logo (which longtime readers should know is of major concern here at Apple Briefs).

Apple plans to release Snow Leopard in about a year (suggesting a later release date than the rumors had predicted).

Apple iPhone Event

March 6, 2008  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

Apple held an iPhone event today at which two topics were discussed. First up were the enterprise announcements Apple referred to when news of the event was first released. The announcements involved the two areas in which the iPhone has been most often criticized or use in the enterprise: email integration and security.

Enterprise Email: The iPhone will have built-in integration with Microsoft Exchange servers. Push email, contacts, and calendar events will be supported. Global address book support is also included. To me the big word from the announcement is push. I would like to be notified when I get a new email. Right now I have to get out the iPhone, unlock it, click on the Mail icon, and go to the email account I want to check. I’ll be interested to see how energy efficient the push email solution is. Push email won’t be useful if it means the iPhone’s battery can’t last the whole day.

The only drawback I see so far is that it requires the use of an Exchange server. As a Mac user, I wouldn’t be too happy about having to buy a Windows box to run Exchange just so I could get push email on my iPhone. What I would really like to see is push email on the iPhone powered by Leopard Server.

Security: The iPhone will receive a big security boost too. Most users won’t care about this, but their IT departments certainly will. One of the big fears about allowing corporate email access on the iPhone was what would happen if an iPhone is stolen. The iPhone’s remote wipe feature will allow the IT department to disable or delete at least part of the iPhone’s data (it’s unclear if the wipe feature will extend to everything on the phone or just the Exchange component).

Other security features include:

  • Cisco IPsec VPN
  • Two-factor authentication, certificates and identities
  • Enterprise-class Wi-Fi with WPA2/802.1x
  • Tools to enforce security policies

There’s a lot there to love, and it looks like Apple really listened well to the corporate IT folks.

The other set of announcements from Apple today relate to the iPhone SDK. The SDK (software development kit) is what allows people to write their own applications for the iPhone. Apart from games (something else to do on the train on the way to work), it looks like developers will be able to write some really cool applications. I won’t get into the details, but Apple has put together a pretty good set of tools for writing iPhone applications.

I am already excited about one application coming to the iPhone: OmniFocus. The ink was barely dry and the guys at The Omni Group were already announcing an iPhone application for OmniFocus. I like OmniFocus, but my big problem is that I don’t get to use my Mac for most of the day. My standard operating procedure has been to email myself reminders. I can create tasks in OmniFocus with emails, but I want real remote access to my task lists. That’s where an OmniFocus iPhone application comes in. I can’t wait!

Apple has a video of the event up on it’s website. You might get bored once they start talking about the SDK, but if you stick around you’ll get to see some cool video of Touch Fighter.