iPhone 2.2 Software Release

November 29, 2008

in iPhone,Tech

I updated both our iPhones to the new 2.2 software release this weekend.  First thing I noticed was the update process itself.  I usually sit and watch as the updates are applied.  This time I noticed a status bar on the phone itself that showed the overall progress of the update.  The second thing I noticed was that the update was not just a new version of the operating system.  The firmware for the modem was also updated to 2.28.  Both the status bar and the firmware update may have happened on previous updates but this is the first time I have noticed them.

Advertised updates included in 2.2 are:

  • The addition of Google Street View
  • Public transit and walking directions
  • The ability to download podcasts directly from the iPhone
  • Improvements to Safari
  • Home screen shortcut
  • Fewer dropped calls
  • Enhancements to Google Maps, mail, and Visual Voicemail

I have to admit that being able to switch over to Street View is cool, but for me not that big of a deal.  I found the method of activating Street View not all that straight forward initially.  It is a two step process.  First you have to drop a pin on the map where you want to view.  Once you have placed the pin, you will notice the addition of a new red icon on the left hand side of the pin’s banner (see Figure 1).

Figure 1

Figure 1

Tap the red icon and the phone will switch to Street View.  You can now pan around to view different directions.  Notice the circle at the bottom right hand corner.  This serves two purposes: it indicates which direction you are viewing by showing a small map in the circle that is grayed out with the exception of a slice that represents your line of sight.  In order to switch back to the map view you simple tap the circle (see Figure 2).

Figure 2

Figure 2

I am excited about the addition of walking and public transit directions (see figure 3).  My wife and I experienced the need for these features a few months ago when we visited Chicago.  It had never crossed my mind that the driving directions failed to address the needs of the people who regularly walk or use public transit.  While in Chicago we were following the directions from Google maps and trying to walk to various locations downtown.  I found the needed to review the full set of directions to try and account for one-way streets so we were not doubling back around the block for no good reason.

Figure 3

Figure 3

The podcast update initially was the most exciting feature for me out of this update.  I listen to more podcasts than I do music on my iPhone.  What I was hoping for was the ability for the iPhone to automatically pull down the latest version of my favorite podcasts that I have subscribed to.  What we got was the ability to find and manually download podcasts off of the iTunes store from the phone (see figure 4).  Just like music and applications, if your download is more than 10MB you will need to find a wireless network.  While I am sure I will use this feature more that the rest, I am still disappointed.

Figure 4

Figure 4

The most noticeable updates to Safari include the addition of the Google search field in the address bar (see figure 5).  Additional updates are supposed to increase the speed and stability of the browser.  It is too soon to comment on if this is true or not.  I am hoping that the increased stability is true.  In the past when I have surfed the web more than 10 or 15 minutes Safari has crashed.

Figure 5

Figure 5

Home Screen shortcut?  I have to admit I had little idea what a home screen shortcut was.  So I goggled it.  As it turns out it is a nice little feature that allows a user to tap the home button on any of the home screens and the phone will return to the first home screen..  A home screen is the main screen on the phone that displays the icons for all the applications.  If your like me you probably have 5 or 6 home screen’s of applications.

The only other update that we can dive into at this time is the addition of the share location button in Google Maps.  If you drop a pin on a location and tap the blue arrow to go into the information screen, there is now a share location button in the bottom center.  When you tap this, your email will open up and you can email your location to someone.  If the other person has an iphone they can tap the link in the email and Google Maps will open up to your location (see Figure 6).  I actually have tested several third party applications from the App Store that claimed to do this and found them not to be very accurate.  I only played with this update a little but it does seem to work much better.

Figure 6

Figure 6

As a I stated earlier, these are the advertised updates.  As time goes on I am sure we will discover additional changes that have not been as advertised as these.  As they come along I will try to point them out.  How has your experince with 2.2 been so far?  Are there other features that you have discovered? Other ways to get to these new features than I have outlined above?  Let me know, leave a comment and share your tricks and tips.

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