General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division

A service of the ABA General Practice, Solo & Small Firm Division

Technology eReport

American Bar Association - Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice

SEP 2009

Vol. 8, No. 3

Columns

  • MacNotes
    Updated iPhone software will even help you find your phone if you lose it.
  • SurvivingEmail »
    Could Google-hosted mailing lists make real money?
  • Sites for Sore Eyes »
    Where to go to find out where and how to go: travel websites.
  • TechNotes »
    How to primp your PDFs.
  • ProductNotes »
    Xerox’s Phaser 8860MFPMFP and Quickbooks for the Mac.
  • DivisionNotes »
    Call for Nominations of Officers and Council Members Election—2010/11, 2009 Fall Meeting and National Solo & Small Firm Conference

 

MacNotes
iPhone Software Update 3.0

Apple recently released a free update to its iPhone software. The price does not reflect the value. Note that if you have an iPod Touch, the upgrade will cost you $9.99, still a very good buy and easily worth the cost. The upgraded software brings significant new features to the party. For a full list of new features, visit Apple’s iPhone website at www.apple.com/iphone/softwareupdate/. In addition to the new features incorporated within the operating system, the upgrade allows you to use the next generation of iPhone apps, designed to take advantage of the new capabilities of the iPhone and its operating system. (In some cases, the upgrade itself is not enough, as some of the new apps will not work on older iPhones.)

Apple released its SDK (software development kit) for the upgrade to app developers some time ago, in order to allow them to develop new apps that could be made available in the App Store at the time Apple released the new software.

Highlights of the new features include:

  1. Cut and Paste. The upgrade gives you the ability to cut and paste from one application to another. That means you can copy text from one document and insert it into another without having to retype it, a substantial improvement and great time-saver.

  2. Landscape keyboard. For those of you who have found the portrait-oriented keyboard a bit too narrow for you to use comfortably, the new operating system allows you to rotate the iPhone and get a wider, easier-to-use keyboard in landscape perspective.
  3. Cut & Copy

  4. Improved Calendar Functions. In addition to your own calendars, you can now subscribe to the calendars of others in your office, your spouse, children, friends, and so forth and have them update through MobileMe. One of my biggest complaints about the calendar app prior to this upgrade is that my assistant could not get my calendar on her iPhone. She could subscribe to it through MobileMe and get it on her computer; but she could not get it on the iPhone. Now she can, and life is that much better!
  5. iPhone CalendarCalendar           iPhone Search Voice
    Pictures courtesy of Apple Computer, Inc.

  6. Spotlight Search. Spotlight has come to the iPhone! Just as it does on your desktop or laptop computer, it can search the entire device (including information in your apps). This is a much better way to find a contact, an appointment, or any other piece of information. A very good addition to the iPhone’s functionality.

  7. Find My iPhone. If you have GPS capabilities in your phone, the new system will help you locate a misplaced phone. It is not perfect—if you lose it in your house, it will not tell you that you left it in the bathroom or the kitchen or the garage. On the other hand, if you left it at the office and search for it, it will let you know that it is in the neighborhood of your office as opposed to your house or at the courthouse. To locate the phone, you need to log onto your MobileMe account and tell it to find the iPhone. It will display a map showing the general area where the iPhone is. Once you get close to where you left the iPhone, you can have it play an alert sound to help you find it. You can also have the display a message on the home screen identifying you and asking that it be returned to you. Most importantly, for data security purposes, you can do a remote wipe of the phone’s memory, restoring it to factory settings and a blank memory.
  8. iPhone Find        Safari Find
    Please return message       Map showing iPhone’s location.
    Pictures courtesy of Apple Computer, Inc.

  9. Voice Control. You can now talk to your iPhone and direct it to call a particular contact or play a song from your collection. These features may need a bit more refinement, but they represent a move in the right direction. The iPhone responds to my commands at least as often as my dog does, so things could be worse. I have not noticed that repetition makes any difference, so, unlike voice recognition to text software (or, for that matter, your dog), you cannot train it to get better.

  10. Voice Control                Voice Memos
    Pictures courtesy of Apple Computer, Inc.

  11. Voice Memos. You can record your own comments, thoughts, ideas, conversations with others, meetings, classes, and so forth. The iPhone can multitask as the Voice Memo application will continue to record while you do other things, such as check your calendar, send a text message, surf the web, and so forth. You can store the recordings on the iPhone and even edit them with built-in software.


Pictures courtesy of Apple Computer, Inc.

The new software also gives you the potential to use your iPhone as a tethered Internet connection for your computer. For the time being, however, you cannot use that feature in the United States because AT&T does not yet support it. Undoubtedly, that will come in the future, once AT&T figures out the pricing plan for such use. Count on the fact that it will not be in the “all you can eat” plan that now comes with the iPhone.

A feature that you can make use of comes from a new App released by Apple to work with the new system. The iDisk App allows you to access your iDisk from your iPhone and view files that you have stored on your iDisk on your iPhone.

You probably already know that Apple released the 3GS iPhone shortly before the new software came out. I am using the 3GS these days and have perceived an improvement in the GPS functionality. I have not yet determined whether that results from the software upgrade or a hardware improvement in the new phone, or a combination of both. If you have a 3G iPhone, and an upgrade available to you so that you can get the 3GS at the discounted price, you may want to do that. If you don’t have the available upgrade, you may want to skip the 3GS and wait for the next iteration. The 3GS offers some improvements over the 3G, but they are not earthshaking. If you have an earlier generation of the iPhone, you may not know it yet, but you really want to upgrade to one of the newer models. Many of the new apps coming out will not work with the older models of the iPhone, and the newer hardware is slimmer, lighter, faster, has more available memory, and is just all-around better than the older hardware.

In the rumor department, several readers have asked me about the rumors relating to Apple releasing a netbook. Yes, I have heard those rumors too. While I have joked about the MacBook Air being Apple’s answer to the netbook, I have no inside information to share with you about the release of a smaller, lighter, and less costly netbook. I will, however, share with you the best rumor I heard on the subject (“best” meaning the one that actually made the most sense to me). That rumor was that Apple would release a larger version of the iPod Touch some time prior to the end of the year. The rumor I heard was a 6" screen and a $599 or $699 price point. My rumor had no information as to the amount of memory, but if this release happens, I would guess at a minimum of 32GB and possibly as much as 64 GB (or maybe two models with the ability to choose). Now, here’s the deal— if Apple comes out with a new netbook that looks something like what I described, remember, you heard it here. On the other hand, if Apple does not come out with a new netbook or comes with a netbook in a different configuration, remember that I told you not to put too much stock in rumors—especially when they relate to products that Apple supposedly will release.

Jeffrey Allen is the principal in the law firm of Graves & Allen with a general practice that, since 1973, has emphasized negotiation, structuring, and documentation of real estate acquisitions, loans and other business transactions, receiverships, related litigation, and bankruptcy. Graves & Allen is a small firm in Oakland, California. Mr. Allen also works extensively as an arbitrator and a mediator. He serves as the editor of the Technology eReport and the Technology & Practice Guide issues of GP Solo Magazine . He also serves on the Board of Editors of the ABA Journal. Mr. Allen regularly presents at substantive law and technology-oriented programs for attorneys and writes for several legal trade magazines. In addition to being licensed as an attorney in California, Jeffrey has been admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales. He is an associate professor at California State University of the East Bay and the University of Phoenix. Mr. Allen blogs on technology at www.jallenlawtekblog.com. You can contact Jeffrey via email jallenlawtek@aol.com.

© Copyright 2009, American Bar Association.