Today firmware 2.2 was released for the iPhone. Here’s a rundown of the new features:
- Enhancements to Maps
- Google Street View*
- Public transit and walking directions
- Display address of dropped pins
- Share location via email
- Decrease in call setup failures and dropped calls
- Enhancements to Mail
- Resolved isolated issues with scheduled fetching of email
- Improved formatting of wide HTML email
- Podcasts are now available for download in iTunes application (over Wi-Fi and cellular network)
- Improved stability and performance of Safari
- Improved sound quality of Visual Voicemail messages
- Pressing Home button from any Home screen displays the first Home screen
- Preference to turn on/off auto-correction in Keyboard Settings
Most of these aren’t ground breaking, but a few shine through…
The Maps enhancement in incredible. Street View on the iPhone has to be seen to be believed. You can zoom up and down streets at the street level. By dragging your finger one way or the other, you can do a full 360 degree circle around you. Here are a couple screen shots from my iPhone:
The first is in front of my parents house. Looks like Sarah was working that day… Her car is in the driveway. The second shot is downtown Chicago, in front of Sarah’s building looking east on Washington St. You can look up, down, and spin 360 degrees to see what’s around you. Very cool!
The second big update was to the iTunes Store on the iPhone. Before the 2.2 update, you could only buy music directly from your iPhone. In addition to that, you can now browse the full lineup of podcasts (audio and video) and download them directly to the device. Anything downloaded with automatically sync back to your iTunes when you connect to your computer. I searched for our churches podcast and POOF! Up popped SouthField Community Church – ready to be downloaded directly to my iPhone sans computer.
The 2.2 update wasn’t the only thing I added to my iPhone this week.
Google released the Google Mobile App (iTunes link) that allows you to speak your Google searches. You hit a voice recognition button, say what you want to search for and Google starts searching. A couple initial tests showed that using the mic/headphones works better than just talking into the bottom of the phone. Regardless, it’s a very handy tool.
The mobile app also links to other Google tools, such as gMail, Google Reader, Picasa, etc.
Another useful program is SnapTell (iTunes link). This one blew me away. Open up the app on your iPhone, take a picture of a CD, DVD, book, or video game and SnapTell will tell you what it is, how much it costs and link to where you can buy it. It’s like Shazam (iTunes link) for physical media. I took a picture of a book on CD I have (Christian fiction – about as far from mainstream as you can get) and SnapTell gave me my results in about 10 seconds. Price, author, and where I can get it online. Simply amazing.