iNewz 2.5 (coming soon)

iNewz 2.5 (coming soon) - offlineUpdate (December 14, 2008): Version 2.5 is now available in the iTunes store.

The new version of iNewz is now with Apple for review… New features include an offline reading mode which was requested by a few people, complete with a simple bookmark option to tag an article if the summary information from the feed makes it sound as though you’d like to read more.

The offline mode will be used automatically if the application detects that there’s no network available, but it can also be switched on manually so that all articles will display in offline mode. You can then use the Open Page button to get to the full article on the web.

To make offline mode work, there’s also a bulk sync option that will update all the sources you’re subscribed to – can take a while if you have a lot of sources!

Apps or Applets?

sbux balanceI’ve seen a lot of discussion recently about application development for the iPhone and iPod touch platforms, and in particular whether the current trend for very low cost apps is sustainable long term.

The first article I read was Andy Finnell’s How to Price Your iPhone App out of Existence. My own experiences with the app store were pretty consistent with his observations, but it got me thinking a bit more about this issue.

VentureBeat also noted that the $0.99 price is going to make it next to impossible to live off of an application, and they’re suggesting that the price is tending back up towards $9.99. Driven in that direction not by consumers (obviously), but by the developers coming to the realisation that they can’t afford to write high quality applications at the lower price points.

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Top Three iPhone/iPod Touch Apps

There are lots of apps out there now for iPhone and iPod users to choose from, and plenty of reviews within the App Store as well as on the web, so I’m not about to review any apps here. Instead, I thought I tell you about my three most used applications, and why I use them so much. So, without further ado, let’s jump in to the list:

iNewz, news readeriNewz
iNewz is a news reader application that aggregates content from a number of news sources, mostly US ones in the current version. I use it because I spend an hour a day sitting on a bus commuting (half an hour each way), and I guess I’m a secret news junkie. The news is organised into categories, with articles for each category from several sources listed in reverse chronological order. My top categories? Headlines first, always, then World News and Technology news. That normally fills a commute!

Easy Wi-Fi
I have to include Easy Wi-Fi since I spent so much time working on both the initial jailbreak version, and then this App Store version. But aside from that, I do truly find it incredibly useful and I use it almost every morning at Starbucks – handy having that free Wi-Fi account from AT&T simply for using a registered pre-paid Starbucks card. The iPhone normally latches on to the Wi-Fi as I walk in, and one tap gets me online. Not quite as convenient as the background mode the jailbroken version had, but still a lot faster than typing my user name and password into the AT&T web form every morning (and I only have a few minutes in Starbucks most mornings to buy coffee, sync email and load up the Daily Irrelevant).

Last, but not least, Truphone – the voice over IP application that has been around for other mobile phones for a while (and one I use on my Nokia N95 via its built in SIP stack). Needs Wi-Fi to work, but that’s fine by me as I’m usually somewhere where there is Wi-Fi when I need to make international calls. Combined with Easy Wi-Fi to get me online in public hotspots, this means I can keep in touch with folks around the world for very little money. I called my mother over in England while sitting outside a Starbucks in San Jose last weekend – free Wi-Fi from AT&T, Easy Wi-Fi to get me online and Truphone to make a very cheap international call.