My Picture Book 1.4 released

At last, version 1.4 is available for download! Despite our best efforts to provide a release alongside iOS 7, things got delayed. A lot. Well, such is life with kids, right? Anyway, we hope you enjoy the new possibilities to create cards with numbers and letters… Or, why not teach your toddler the meaning of emoticons? ūüėČ

Can you put Sennheiser Amperior cables on HD 25-II?

For quite some time, I have used my Sennheiser HD 25-II headphones almost exclusively outdoors. While I love my Bose MIE2i headset (as you can tell by¬†this post), it is not the best choice in a noisy environment. A replacement cable with mic and remote for iPhone seemed like a natural fit for HD 25 the first time I looked around for it. I even e-mailed Sennheiser about it in late 2011. At that time, there wasn’t anything to be found, but when I took up the search again a few weeks ago, I found the Amperior! Instead of offering a replacement cable for HD 25 as I had suggested, they had launched a new product (albeit “based on” the HD 25’s). The price for the”replacement cable” for Amperior is suspiciously high and the lack of official support for HD 25 is even more suspicious. It’s almost as if they want me to think that I have discovered something that they don’t want me to know and that this somehow excuses the ridiculous price. After all, it’s not meant for me, it’s meant for people who buy the Amperior and break it. Yet, I cannot help thinking that selling these spare parts to HD 25 owners will be more lucrative than selling the headphones they are made for. If they fit, that is. So, do they? After a few anxious days of weighing pros and cons,¬†I ¬†finally ordered my spare parts from Custom cable.¬†Fitting them on the headphones was dead simple. ¬†Have a look at¬†this video¬†if you’re in any doubt.

HD 25-II with Amperior spare parts
HD 25-II and the Amperior spare parts

So, was it worth it? The Amperior cables definitely fit and they sound the same as far as I can tell.¬†I haven’t really tried them out for real yet, but I don’t think I will be disappointed. In the end, it’s an expensive upgrade, but not as expensive as buying the all new Amperior.¬†Sennheiser knows how to maximize their profit, no doubt about that. I guess that’s called a win-win situation.

iOS 6.0 performance on 3GS

Last night I decided to upgrade my iPhone 3GS to iOS 6.0 without waiting for reports on performance. Almost every update has caused battery drain issues, but I am pleased to find that this has not been an issue this time. Battery drain seems comparable to iOS 5.1.1. I have not noticed any speed issues either, on the contrary, ithe GUI seems much snappier than before. It makes me remember a time when 3GS was the fastest iPhone ever. ūüėČ

I am sure there will be issues for some, but based on my experience, I’d say go for it.

iPhone 5 – no analog line out?

iPhone 5 is announced. This is it. It is time to upgrade that old phone. I don’t need any of the new “features” anymore than I did last year when the 4S was announced, but a thinner and lighter phone can’t hurt. Here we go! Oh, wait a minute…

No analog line out? That’s a deal breaker. I mean, everything isn’t digital nor will it be in the next five years, and I actually use the analog line output. It’s not a theoretical nice to have feature that I would never ever use, such as the ability to “root” my phone (I don’t even know what that means, but I imagine it’s something Linux people like to do all day long). It does not take much effort to realize that the 8-pins, duplicated on each side of the connector, is not enough to support analog line output. Judging from the existing connector’s pin layout, USB probably uses 6 of those pins and the remaining two is probably supplying high current power.

For a moment I considered forgetting about the iPhone 5 and purchase a 4S instead, if nothing else to show them that I was disappointed… But then I realized: the headphone jack has been moved to the bottom of the phone. While I disagree with this move, it makes perfect sense. Moving it to the bottom of the phone enables a docking station that uses the headphone jack directly for analog line out, since you can’t keep your headphones plugged in when attaching to a docking station anymore. This is why I disagreed with the move in the first place. However, while you could keep the headphones plugged in in previous models, you would only get sound from either the speakers or the headphones. I think that this is almost certainly because the same components serve both the headphone jack and the line out. All iOS needs to do is turn off the headphone jack and adjust the output level when the docking station is plugged in. This is still possible with iPhone 5, but using the headphone jack directly (and obviously adjust the level, but not turn it off).

I will keep an eye on this issue, specifically because I haven’t seen any accessory that matches the above description yet, but I feel confident that there will be analog line out for the new iPhone.

What’s the next revolutionary iPhone feature?

I have been thinking about the iPhone 5. Specifically, what the next revolutionary feature could be. The first time I saw the iPhone, it felt like it was based on some alien technology. That feeling was not there when the iPhone 4S was released, as I have written before. I am sure that some think that Siri is as revolutionary as the touch based GUI once was, and I might think so too sometime in the future, but it has a long way to go in my opinion. This is largely due to the fact that it does not support the language that I speak daily, and I am not alone with this problem.

So, what could bring that feeling of alien technology back to the iPhone? Yesterday I was reading about eye tracking technology and I realized that eye tracking on the iPhone would again change the way we view mobile phones forever (pun intended). It already has a front facing camera so it has the necessary hardware. In the article, the Swedish eye tracking company Tobii estimated that mainstream breakthrough was about two years away. Could this be the next big thing for iPhone? I would love to see this come true! iPhone (and iPad) would once again blow the competition out of the water.

This reminds me of a scene in Back to the future Part II where Marty is in the Cafe 80’s and he is showing a couple of kids how to play a video game and their response is: “You mean you have to use your hands? That’s like a baby’s toy!”¬†I have always wondered how that might come true. Could this be it?