Update Your iPhone : Version 2.2 Now Available

Town Crier IconSo my last post was railing against the iPhone… it sort of depressed me to write it… but now with my morning email I was made happy again. One of the many cool things about the iPhone is that the software updates are free, easy to install and always come packed with a ton of new features and functionality. Software version 2.2 was made available this morning… I downloaded and installed, messed around with the new stuff a bit and here’s my report…

Google Street View > I haven’t made up my mind on whether this feature is too intrusive or not, but what could I possibly do to stop this train anyway? Taken in its pure form, this is pretty cool stuff. Tap your Contact icon, tap a contact where you have an address filled in, tap the address… the iPhone pops you over to Google Maps and drops a pin for the address. To the left on the info bubble that appears… tap the person icon with the orange background and it drops you down into street view. Not sure what purpose this might serve for anyone but your iPhone can now do it regardless.

The one problem I suppose is that the pins don’t always drop right where you need them to be. You can touch on the pins and drag them to a new location, but if you’ve dropped a pin by tapping on an address in your Contacts, the pin doesn’t allow you to move it (Why Apple?). Anyway, the workaround is to just drop a second pin and move that one to where you need it to be… Another slight criticism is that the pins are awkward to move… when you’ve covered the pin with your finger to move it, you can no longer see what you’re doing and it’s hard to drop it precisely… do this without Wi-Fi and you have to wait a while before finding out you need to move it again… a bit of a pain in the butt but worth it if you really need to see a picture of the street…

The coolest feature though (in my opinion) is the now enhanced directions feature… you can now get walking directions as well as transit info all the way down to what time the next bus or train is leaving… very useful, very cool. This functionality shows itself once you’ve asked the iPhone for directions from one point to another… and it’s good to know that it would take me about 16 hours and 8 minutes to walk the 48.9 miles to my Dad’s house… you never know.

And one last very useful enhancement… say you’re at a club or something, you want one of your friends to meet you but you’re not exactly sure where you are… simply use the iPhone to automatically locate yourself on the map, drop a pin and then email that location to your friend… what gets sent is a Google Maps URL that your friend just clicks on to locate you. Nice…

Podcasts > The iPhone now has the ability to download/stream Podcasts directly to the phone over a Wi-Fi connection or straight through your cellular network. Before this update you needed to download the Podcast first to your desktop (iTunes) and then tether the iPhone to your computer to transfer it over… pretty much useless if you were out and about in the world… but now, you can access all Podcasts directly through iTunes on the iPhone…

Try this… from the Home screen tap iTunes… tap the Search button in the row of icons at the bottom of the screen… type in WGN and wait for the search results… tap See All Podcasts. Scroll down to Steve & Johnnie¬†and tap it… then have it… very, very cool. And if you get a call while you’re listening to a Podcast, the Podcast will fade down and pause while you answer your call… when you hang up it will fade back up and continue from where you left off.

These were the two new features I liked the best… but there’s a host of other updates, enhancements, etc… for a list of those visit the announcement page on Apple’s website.

Have fun.

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