Stories by Mike Keller

How to unlock the hidden Facebook iPad app (again)

Yesterday, after Facebook accidentally leaked their long-overdue official iPad app, the blogosphere erupted with instructions on how to unlock the hidden app. Facebook quickly responded by blocking Facebook for iPad. Clearly there is a lot of interest in the app, because today hacker chpwn released a tool called FaceForward that re-enables the hidden feature.

iOS 5 Beta 3: Stability and features galore

Yesterday, Apple seeded iOS 5 Beta 3 to developers. The latest beta brings performance and stability enhancements as well as more of the promised 200+ new features. Here is just a glimpse at some of the latest iOS 5 beta goodness.

Snap photos with your iPhone headset in iOS 5

One of the 200+ new features in Apple's upcoming iOS5 is the ability to snap photos by pressing the physical volume up button. This was formerly a hidden feature in the Camera+ app by developer tap tap tap and was cause for the app's removal from the App Store for violating Apple's Human Interface Guidelines.

Google I/O: Android Ice Cream Sandwich boasts 3D gestures

Google's annual developer conference kicked off today with an unsurprisingly sweet Android announcement. The next mobile OS, Android 3.1, will be dubbed Ice Cream Sandwich and has a fittingly cute logo to boot. Among the new developer API goodies are an impressive 3D display system that can detect spatial movement, ala Microsoft Kinect. ICS devs will apparently be able to use minute facial gestures, such as eye movement, as input. The practical usage of which (beyond being totally future-y) remains to be seen.

Xcode 4: The Windows Vista of Apple IDEs?

A major update to Apple's iOS IDE was released a few days ago and so far Xcode 4's weaknesses greatly outweigh its strengths. After having spent a bit of time with Xcode 4, I am strongly considering going back to the old version. Google "i hate xcode 4" and you'll see I'm not the only one considering an IDE downgrade. Here are just a few of the reasons Xcode 4 may end up being the Windows Vista of Apple IDEs.

Enable iTunes Home Sharing in iOS 4.3

The next major iOS update is slated to be released this Friday, March 11, alongside the ultra-hyped iPad 2. One of the key features is a little something called iTunes Home Sharing, which allows users to stream music, podcasts, movies and more from PC to iOS device.

Will the smartphone replace the PC?

It would be hard to imagine a world completely devoid of PCs. But as smartphones continue to skyrocket in popularity and some people have already abandoned their desktops in favor of their do-it-all handsets, rumblings of a PC-free future abound.

iOS 4.3 Beta 3 seeded to developers

Apple's third beta of iOS 4.3 is now in the hands of developers. This new beta includes three separate packages: iOS, the SDK, and Apple TV Software. Typically, Apple releases three betas to its developers before seeding a Gold Master. This latest beta feels snappier and more polished, as well as introduces a welcome surprise.

How to 'tether' your iPhone free without jailbreaking

The solution I came to was to write my own "NetShare"-like app for personal use. After poking around the web for some jumping off points (and a tip from the developer of the controversial "Handy Light" app), I stumbled on a GitHub project called "iProxy". While it does not use true "tethering" (thus the quotation marks) but rather HTTP and SOCKS proxy, it turns out that is exactly what NetShare used.

What not to do when designing your app

The other night, I was using the Netflix app on my iPhone 4 and had a shocking revelation: this is one of the worst designed, "professional" apps I've ever seen. Yes, I can stream video over 3G. I can search for movies and manage my queue. In most areas of functionality, Netflix for iPhone delivers. It is relatively new and I'm sure a work in progress but as of the current version, it is a prime example of what not to do in terms of iOS app design. Here are some reasons why.

iOS 4 lock screen flaw grants access to contacts

MacRumors reported today a security flaw in iOS 4.1 that would allow someone to bypass the 4-digit passcode lock in order to access the Phone app. While the home screen and other apps appear to remain secure, access to the Phone app is no small prize, granting the unauthorized user the ability to view or edit contacts and voicemails, as well as make non-emergency calls. You can also apparently start Voice Control to play music or *gasp* ask what time it is.

5 criticisms of Mac App Store (and why they're wrong)

The Mac App Store has the potential to breathe new life into the Mac platform. With Mac marketshare rising and there being a growing number of developers with skill in Objective-C from the iOS side of things, the time is definitely right for a centralized, and familiar-looking app delivery model for the Mac. However, since Apple released the Mac App Store guidelines similar to those for iOS, there has been a fair bit of criticism going around. Here are some of the criticisms I've seen and why they're wrong (or at the very least probably shortsighted).

Apple's new MacBook Air: 5 things it didn't get

The new MacBook Air is certainly a great improvement over previous models - namely the move towards exclusive solid-state storage in a laptop is a welcome paradigm shift. However, there were a few notable oversights in the new models that I'm sure a lot of people are disappointed about. Here are a few of them, and the reasons behind Apple's omissions.