Thursday, October 9, 2008

iPhone & iPod Touch support greatly enhanced

I went ahead and bought an iPod Touch (Apple's opinion) for debugging my little aprs web project. The Touch is basically an iPhone (Apple propaganda) - without the phone and the camera. It's much cheaper, but it has the same operating system, web browser, and can run the same applications, so it's fine for the purpose. I got the new second generation 16GB model (with external volume controls, speaker, etc), around 300 EUR ($400 USD). It's very pretty, and the user interface is very cool indeed.

I did a little debugging yesterday evening and tonight, and fixed a few rough corners which broke things for iPhone users. The fixes should help other mobile browsers, too. All of the pages should now render properly on the iPhone & Touch. The real-time map now loads new items nicely, and handles panning of the map. The map controls (zoom, satellite/terrain/map buttons) do not work, but that's a bug in Google's code, and they know about it already.

The changes I did in the real-time map code had an interesting side effect which benefits all users. When you pan the map on a normal web browser, targets coming in the view load a bit quicker, and the overall experience is slightly smoother than before. What a nice surprise.

The bad news is that it seems quite hard to make the real-time map work on the S60 browser, at least on my E61i (the static map works fine, of course). It simply blows up, probably runs out of memory. Maybe it could work on Nokia's new Linux-based products. Too bad I don't have one to debug with.

I'll get back to this some another day. A lot of stuff needs to be done (a nicer front page with address search, etc).

11 comments:

Dennis said...

Loving the browser on the iPhone. Looking forward to having zoom tools though.

Have you ever thought about writing a native app for the touch/iphone with location services?

oh7lzb said...

Yeah, of course. I'll always want to write some code for every device I have, just to see how it works out, and for the education. But it might take a lot of time to write a complete deliverable application, so I don't know if I'll ever get that far myself.

kk5mr said...

Well, while you were working, i was playing... which you can see at http://kk5mr.blogspot.com/

And did alot of aprs activity during that trip using KK5MR-9.

N4JDF said...

Thanks for the great work. I look forward to more enhancements in the future.

k9swx said...

This is much better now on my iPhone! Thanks for the continued work on all of these platforms, keep up the good work!

morgret said...

I just bought an iPhone, and was using aprs.fi to follow a couple of specific stations. I can't figure out how to get rid of the balloon that shows the information about that station -- I keep trying to press the x, but the information never goes away. It takes up a good part of the screen. Am I missing something, or does this just not work?

Sylvain VE2FET said...

Any expected support for the well use BlackBerry phones? Or specific internet browser config required to display the maps?
73!
Sylvain VE2FET
http://www.ve2fet.com
(VE2FET-1 and VE2FET-7)

oh7lzb said...

morgret: The map controls (anything clickable on top of the map) are still buggy on the iphone. Google has made some fixes recently, I'll test them soon.

Sylvain: At least the static maps at http://aprs.fi/static/ should work. I don't know how good the blackberry browser is, and I don't have a device to test with. Does http://maps.google.com/ work with it?

Dave 2W0PWR said...

I too have an iPhone however not yet a GPS one, it's the 2G. Anyway is there or has there been any thought in using the GPS on the new one and the map to transmit or relay the information of location onto aprs.fi? This would be really great to see and make the iPhone a real good tool...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for setting up on Ipod Touch!!

Im using it and works great...
Tom KA8HUZ

Anonymous said...

I just bought an iPhone, and was using aprs.fi to follow a couple of specific stations. I can't figure out how to get rid of the balloon that shows the information about that station -- I keep trying to press the x, but the information never goes away. It takes up a good part of the screen. Am I missing something, or does this just not work?