Reading PDF files on the iPhone

You can natively read PDF files with your iPhone yet one feature that is lacking is a go to page feature. This is not an issue when you have a file which is only 2-3 pages long, typical size of a file being send through mail. But when you want to get some serious reading done and have already read a couple of hundred pages in the book, having to skip through all of them when you want to continue where you left off becomes a serious issue fast.

There are a lot of options when you look for pdf or ebook reader in the App Store some are payware some are free. I was very reluctant to get one in the past, hoping that Apple, in its infinite wisdom, would add the feature to the standard PDF reader.

Yet as of this date it’s still not implemented.

A friend suggested I check out Aji Reader, it’s free at the moment and I’ve used it for several months. I’m quite happy with it. You can get content on your phone with a desktop application that syncs your pdf files.

With the iPad around the corner I’ll probably read less on the tiny iPhone screen and move to this new platform but this blog post has been in my todo list for far too long.

iPhone Tech Talk Amsterdam

In October I read about the iPhone Tech Talk tour and immediately registered for the event. I’m still teaching myself Cocoa so I thought this could be helpful. Only a week before the actual start time people got their registration confirmations and I was one of the lucky few. While I can’t go into detail about the content of the event, since I’m bound by the NDA. Which is strange to say the least, wouldn’t you want people who take the time to go to your event to talk about it with others?

Anyway, the actual agenda varied from the one posted on the website. The presentations I saw were:

  • iPhone Development Overview
  • iPhone User Interface Design
  • iPhone Development Tools Overview and Programming Concepts
  • Introduction to Objective-C and Cocoa Touch
  • Developing iPhone Applications with UIKit
  • Maximizing Your Application’s Performance on iPhone
  • Submitting to the App Store using iTunes Connect

If you compare this with their original list, you see that there were a lot more sessions than originally planned and as a result the speaker had a lot of trouble fitting it all in his schedule. Which is disappointing, removing two or three topics would have been better especially since there was a lot of overlap between some of them. User Interface Design for instance explained all the different controls available and this was repeated again in the UIKit presentation. What would have been better was explaining the concepts behind it in the first session and then actually implementing a sample application using the UIKit. Model View Controller was also explained three times, why not explain it once and show code the second time. Knowing the theory behind it is good, but actually showing us why some things are in place would have been better.

Did all this make it a useless event? Certainly not, if there is one in the future I hope I will be able to attend again and because this was the first time Apple organized something like this they probably still have to learn what content fits and what not.

And ow yeah, catering was excellent! 😉

The iPhone has landed

Last week, through a series of events, an iPhone ended up on my desk. I was not planning on getting one, since I really liked my HTC s710 . But if I hated the new phone, I could allways sell it on ebay and make a profit.

The phone has a very nice design, everything just looks good. The box it comes in, the housing, the screen,… it just breathes quality. Now I’m not going to write an in detail review about it, but the most important improvement, if I compare it to my previous phone, is the web surfing. No longer is the layout of any site screwed up, you can zoom in and out on any site. Turn the phone on its side and you get a panoramic view, it’s just amazing, boom! This is significantly better than on the htc, but webmasters should still think about the footprint of their site on smartphones. I read the news on the mobile version of tweakers and while I could use their normal version, I still prefer the lighter one. It loads faster, has less graphical content,… just because the iPhone can display a full web page in all its glory doesn’t mean you can forget people are using other devices to visit your site.

The Youtube integration is a cool feature as well. I was able to get youtube content on my htc with vTap, but no way near the sound and video quality I now have.

Sending mail, nothing special here. Except ofcourse the touchscreen enables the nice scrolling feature which you have in all iPhone applications. There is integration with for instance, google mail, and you get imap integration if supported by the mail provider. But I just stick to the regular pop3.

Music playback, the iPhone is an iPod so you get all of the features they have and more. Most notably is the coverflow which is a visual representation of your music albums. So instead of moving through the folders on the disk you get more of a real life experience of going through your cd collection.

There is plenty more I could talk about but you’ll be able to find all of it on the internet, a good place to start is the Apple site. So what’s my advice on this new toy? Great device, it has a nice user interface, is more stable than my Windows Mobile device, doesn’t hang as much as the htc but it isn’t perfect. There are improvements that should be taken care of, for instance the keyboard doesn’t follow the rotation of your iPhone in all applications. Also I don’t think the device is for everyone, while I enjoy having my mails with me all the time and have the capability to go online everywhere anytime, I’m not Mr. everyday consumer. Most people will settle for a simple cell phone and MP3 player which you can both get for 1/4th of the price. But hey, don’t listen to me, you won’t regret having the device and the Apple marketing machine will probably do it’s best to convince you it’s the next best thing ;).

Below is a side by side comparison for the size.From left to right: a Nokia 5510, a HTC s710, an iPhone. There’s a screen protector with some air between it and the screen on the htc and some fingerprints on the iPhone 🙂 All can be removed easily.