Wednesday, June 30, 2010

iPhone 4 now available at Sim Lim Square. Only costs $4,000.

A shrink-wrapped iPhone 4 box on display in a Sim Lim Square shop.

Now I have proof I look stupid. While walking around Sim Lim Square today, some guy wanted to charge me 4,000 smackeroos for an iPhone 4.

It was a shop on the ground floor. The guy behind the counter said they had the iPhone 4. When I asked how much, he took out a calculator and punched out "3,999". I walked out.

Yes, the iPhone 4 is now available in Singapore. It's not as common as the iPad (also not yet launched in Singapore) but look carefully in Sim Lim Square and you'll find them. I went on a quick walkabout today and found at least two shops which had iPhone 4 boxes inside display cabinets.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

iPhone 4: More reviews and the grip of death

Jacqui Cheng of Ars Technica has a comprehensive review of the iPhone 4 up if you're still on the fence (again, who are we kidding here?). It's nine pages long but I devoured everything.

Jason Chen of Gizmodo has a nicely written, more impressionistic, review of the phone here.

Earlier, Macworld had a thorough review of the iPhone 4's performance as a still and video camera, comparing it with a bunch of other smartphones. PCWorld does the same thing. Both conclude that the camera on the iPhone 4 beats other cameraphones. The Ars Technica covers the camera aspect here (I told you the review was thorough).

Meanwhile Nokia is laughing at Apple's antenna woes. On the official Nokia blog, it has a post entitled "How do you hold your Nokia?" The post ends with the following zinger:

Monday, June 28, 2010

SingTel joins the iPhone 4 fun

You will need Flash to fill in this form.

SingTel has finally allowed people to register an interest in buying the iPhone 4 from them. The page is here, cleverly hidden under one of the menus on the homepage.

The page itself is a strangely tone-deaf effort. You have to have flash enabled on your browser if you want to register your interest, which consists of filling in a form with your name and mobile phone number.

If you're a SingTel user and you want to check if you are eligible to recontract, call *1626. You will receive an SMS from SingTel. Hit 4 to reply.

SingTel is the last of the three telcos in Singapore to put up a page. M1 and StarHub had the pages up earlier.

(Thanks to all who sent tip-offs!)

Update: Going to the registration page on your iPhone will allow you to sign up without needing Flash.


New location-based web app available is new web app that allows you to find points of interest around you. You can find ATMs, bank branches, Singapore Pools outlets, schools, clinics, restaurants and supermarkets. You can also use this app to find places that are screening the World Cup live.

To access this service, go to in Mobile Safari.

(Note: Don't forget to follow iMerlion on Twitter here)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

M1 and Starhub start accepting registrations of interest in buying the iPhone 4

M1 and StarHub have set up pages on their site to allow you to register your interest in buying the iPhone 4. The M1 page is here while the StarHub page is here.

Both M1 and StarHub have prominent links on their home page to get people to register their interest in the new iPhone. SingTel's home page, on the other hand, is completely silent.

What every homepage should have: two bored guys.

Review: Tech 21's iBand case for the iPhone

Note: We have negotiated a special offer for iMerlion readers. If you want to buy the Tech 21 iBand iPhone case, you can get it for S$30 if you call +65 6509-4484 and order it using the promo code iMerlion. (This is a S$10 discount over the retail price.)

iMerlion gets a very small cut from each sale. For more on the case, read on.

Tech 21's iBand case.

The other day, I dropped my iPhone onto the ground. Repeatedly. I let it fall from my hand. I tossed it at a guy 2.5 metres away who failed to catch it. I held it over my head and I dropped it. And all this while, the video on it was running. Have a look below:

I was able to do this because my iPhone was protected by Tech 21's iBand case. The case is made from some weird material known as d3o that stiffens on sudden impact. There's a great video on YouTube showing how the material protects some guy's finger as it gets whacked repeatedly by a hammer. Check it out here.

iPhone 4 and the grip of death

I'm no antenna designer nor am I an electromagnetics PhD. Fortunately however, there are people on the Internet who are. Spencer Webb, an antenna designer, explains that mobile phones have antennas at the bottom (where the hand covers it) to ensure that the radiating portion of the antenna is furthest away from the head.

Meanwhile, a PhD in electromagnetics explains on Reddit why the grip of death occurs. MacDailyNews has a nice summary but if you're interested, you can check out the original Reddit discussion too.

Based on what I've read so far, the problem of the iPhone 4 dropping bars does not seem to be universal, ie, not everyone can reproduce it. David Pogue of the New York Times has not experienced this, nor has John Gruber of Daring Fireball. In addition, the dropped bars do not seem to affect the ability of the iPhone 4 to make calls though there have been reports that it will affect data transmission speeds. Check out MacRumors for the (lengthy) debate about this issue.

The retina display on the iPhone 4

Dr Bryan Jones, a retinal neuroscientist looks at the iPhone 4G's display under the microscope, and compares with the older iPhones as well as the iPad. His verdict? "Since the iPhone 4G display is comfortably higher than that measure at 326 pixels per inch, I’d find Apple’s claims stand up to what the human eye can perceive." Click here to see the photographs. Don't forget to read the comments as well.

Friday, June 25, 2010

iPhone 4 issues

Reports are coming in about the new iPhone having connection problems when you cover the lower left corner of the device. According to Apple, this is not abnormal:

"Gripping any phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas. This is a fact of life for every wireless phone. If you ever experience this on your Phone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases."

 Gearlog has a nice analysis of the situation.

iMerlion app submitted to Apple for approval

Fans of iMerlion, that wonderful and invaluable app, will be happy to know that we have isolated the cause of the problem and have submitted an update to Apple. We will let you know when Apple approves the latest version.

I've tested the new version already and it is as solid as a rock. In addition, it now supports the "suspended animation" mode that saves the page when you leave the app. Neat!


Thursday, June 24, 2010

iPhone 4: a roundup

If you're interested in the new iPhone (who are we kidding here?), you'll be happy to know that reviewers everywhere are giving it the thumbs-up. Engadget probably has the most comprehensive review of the iPhone 4.

Boing Boing has also done a pretty good review too. They also have a sample video shot on the new camera (Flash, sorry). According to reviewer Xeni Jardin:

"You can see the difference, but the verdict in short form is this: iPhone 4 outperforms other smartphones and handheld ultra-mobile digital video camcorders, and I've tried nearly all of 'em for web video production while on the road. When it comes to video recording in a smartphone (and in "Flip" class devices), iPhone 4 is the one to beat."

Almost universally, reviewers are saying that the Retina Display is living up to expectations.

Can't wait for it to be released in Singapore. By the way, Apple has announced that the white iPhone 4s have been delayed till mid-July. It's not clear if they will be available by the time the iPhone is released here.


New in the App Store: ST app updated, StarHub TV Guide

The Straits Times app has been updated. It seems much faster than the previous version and in terms of interface, it is better at sharing stories via Facebook, Twitter or email. I'm also told that this version is also friendlier to the sight-impaired, which is good news.

However, the app does not seem to do suspended animation. If you double-tap the Home button to go to another app, and then you return to the ST app again, you end up restarting the app.


The app does seem to have made odd interface decisions though. For some reason, ST has chosen to make ads one of the items on the tab-bar. Did they honestly imagine that people would want to see their collection of banner ads? I admit it's pretty, but still...

If you haven't got it, you can download it here.

StarHub TV Guide is a free app that gives you show times and highlights, especially necessary now that they've changed all the channel numbers. You can add up to 15 channels as favourites. StarHub TV Guide is free. You can download it here.

iOS4: Third impressions

After two days with iOS4, here are my thoughts:

Folders needs work. The problem with Folders is that they all look alike. Unfortunately, we've been trained to identify apps by how they look so now we have to retrain ourselves to read the labels under the apps. Bummer. However, I'm hoping that muscle memory will enable me to find my most used folders quickly.

Multi-tasking really is great. It's changed the way I used Tweetie. First of all, it convinced me to upgrade to Twitter for iPhone. Secondly, I now happily click through to the website from Tweetie. Previously, I would hesitate because if I had to leave the website to answer a call or SMS, I would lose the page. Now, the page remains if I leave Twitter, which is great.

Suspended animation takes getting used to. It's shocking how many apps I've opened in the last 24 hours and I end up scrolling through quite a few pages looking for an app I previously used. That's probably not the best way to do it. The taskbar really works well when you have to flip between two apps that you are currently using. The OS arranges it so that you quickly press the Home button twice, the icon on the far left is the previous app you were using. For example, if you click on a link in Mail, it would send you to Safari. When you're in Safari, if you want to get back to Mail, double-press the Home button and the Mail icon will be on the far left.

It's not all sunshine and roses though. A few apps are crashing under iOS4. I'm happy to note that I stand in the same august company as the New York Times, which is unusable under iOS4. Loyal iMerlion readers will be glad to hear that we think we know what's causing the problem with the app and we are working feverishly to fix it. Over the next few weeks, I expect most of the apps to be updated, especially now that users are actively complaining to developers. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

iOS4: Second impressions

First of all, yes. We've heard. The iMerlion app crashes in iOS4. We're not sure what's going on but rest assured, I'll be sending a stiff email to Steve about this. In the meantime, use your browser and go to instead. Once we find out what's wrong, we'll let you know.

Taken in low light.

iMerlion snafus aside, iOS4 is starting to grow on me. The Camera app is now much much faster. The "shutter" moves much faster now which means you can take more pictures within a short period of time. You also get 5X digital zoom, but I've never found digital zoom to be that useful.

Without digital zoom.

At maximum digital zoom.

In Photos, you can now choose to send off emails at different sizes. This allows you to send appropriately sized photos to people depending on your bandwidth and their needs.

You can scale down photos when sending via email.

The unified inbox is great. I have four email accounts and I can now access all my new emails quickly. It's also nice to be able to follow a threaded conversation.

So far, iOS4 is a winner on many fronts. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to send Steve an email.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

iOS4: First impressions

I've just spent the past few hours getting used to iOS4. I really like Folders and I spent about an hour just organising my apps. I've also put three folders in my dock. This puts my most used apps just two taps away. Neat.

I'm loving the fast app switching that iOS4 allows. I love responding to an SMS while I'm using Safari and being able to switch quickly from one app to another. What I would love better is apps that take advantage of multi-tasking so we don't lose our place in an app or game.

Fast app switching also makes the iPhone feel faster. Since apps are "frozen" rather than closed, selecting an open app immediately makes it available.

I'll add more impressions over the next few days.

iOS4 causing some problems with Google Apps, MS Exchange

Some people who have updated to iOS4 are reporting problems syncing with Gmail, Google Calendar or Google Contacts.

It's not clear how widespread the problem is. I've just updated to iOS4 and I'm not experiencing any problems with my various Gmail accounts. However, other people are.

See this ZDNet story for details.

(Thanks and commiserations to Richard Allen for this).

iOS4 is out!

Go get it kids. Make sure you have iTunes 9.2 and connect your iPhone or iPod touch to your PC or Mac. Select the device and go to the Summary tab. Then click on Check for Updates. It's about 400MB so have a cup of coffee or four before coming back.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Review: Standard Charted Breeze

The information in Breeze is clearly presented.

Standard Chartered’s Breeze is an online banking application that was recently released by Standard Chartered. It offers almost everything that you would expect from a standard online banking application: you can use this app to check your bank balance, transfer funds, look up recent transactions and pay bills.

This is the bank's first transactional app for the iPhone and Singapore is the first place in the world to have the opportunity to use this app, mainly because the bank's consumer banking group is based here in Singapore. Breeze will be rolled out to other markets over the next few months.

I have two Visa cards with Standard Chartered as well as a checking account so I decided to give this app a whirl.

When you log on, you can see your bank balance and your credit card balance, presented as "i have" and "i owe", which is a nice way to summarize your financial position. When you log on with your username and password, the only thing you will be able to see is this summary. You will need to key in your second password, delivered via SMS, in order to proceed further.

The calendar view makes it easy to hone in on particular dates.

Once you’ve keyed in the second password, you see a screen that defaults to the “see my money” page which shows how much you have and owe. Tap on any of the accounts to get more details. I checked my credit card transactions and immediately found that I was paying for stuff I no longer use, so that was pretty useful. One unique thing about Breeze is that it allows you to see a calendar view so that you can go quickly to a date to see what was spent on that date.

Tap on “move my money” to pay bills, including your credit card ones, whether the cards are Standard Chartered ones or with other banks. Note that payees need to be set up via online banking on a regular PC first. You can’t currently add a payee via Breeze. There is also an eCheque function which allows you to send cheques to predetermined payees. Once again, you have to go online to set up the payee on a PC before you use this function, though a few institutions like HDB and CPF are already on the list.

According to the bank, over the next few months, they will be adding new features like bill reminders (which is something I really need). However, the feature I'm most looking forward to is the ability to add payees via the Breeze app itself. This means that you literally have your cheque book in your pocket at all times, which is handy when you need to write a cheque in an emergency.

Your cheque book on your iPhone. Very neat. 

Another neat thing about this app is that you can use it to find branches, ATMs (whether belonging to Standard Chartered or the ATM5 network), or AXS stations nearby. You can also use this app to locate merchants who have special offers for Standard Chartered card holders. I wish they would give you the ability to locate such merchants nearby though.

Breeze is not perfect. I managed to find a bug in the way it displayed the amount owing for my credit card. Coincidentally, I had paid my credit card early last month, mainly because I got tired of paying late fees. Unfortunately, the app could not tell that I had already paid the bill. Instead, the app showed that I had to pay $149.51 by June 7. In fact, the $149.51 was the total amount I had racked up during the new billing cycle, and it was actually due July 7, rather than June 7. I’ve filed a bug report with Standard Chartered and hopefully it will be fixed soon.

Not bug-free though.

I've been a Standard Chartered customer for more than 10 years and throughout that time, I have relied on my monthly statements to find out the state of my finances. Sure the bank offered phone banking but honestly, who voluntarily uses phone banking in order to check their balance or pay bills? I would rather go through a root canal than to have to negotiate the hell that is IVR. As a result, I have never bothered to really use my account. After all, most of use have a DBS account that works fine for most things. Now that I am finally able to check my account and do transactions via my iPhone, I am one happy customer. And the bank benefits as well because I am much more likely to use my Standard Chartered account more actively from now on.

Breeze is free. You can download it here.


iTunes 9.2 released

If you're like me, you're planning to get iOS4 when it gets released on Monday (or early Tuesday). In preparation, you'll probably want to download the latest version of iTunes. iTunes 9.2 supports various iOS4 features, including the ability to organise and sync PDFs as books and the ability to organise apps into folders using iTunes. Here's a short list of new features that Apple provided:

- Sync with iPhone 4 to enjoy your favorite music, movies, TV shows, books and more on-the-go
- Sync and read books with iPhone or iPod touch with iOS 4 and iBooks 1.1
- Organize and sync PDF documents as books. Read PDFs with iBooks 1.1 on iPad and any iPhone or iPod touch with iOS 4
- Organize your apps on your iOS 4 home screens into folders using iTunes
- Faster back-ups while syncing an iPhone or iPod touch with iOS 4
- Album artwork improvements make artwork appear more quickly when exploring your library

Click here to get to the appropriate download page.

(Hat tip to David Ho for reminding me!)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Local course in iPhone development in Obj-C starting soon

Local training consultancy DivZero is now offering courses in iPhone programming aimed at aspiring developers who already have a background in C, C++, Java or C#.

The course will teach developers how to develop in Objective C, XCode and Interface Builder and will be taught by Mugunth Kumar, the developer behind iCash SG and StationAlarm SG, amongst others.

It is a 30-hour course that will run over the three weekends between August 14 and August 29. The course will cost $1,999 (early birds pay $1,799).

Locally developed apps: Trafficam SG, Magic Lesson and Liya

Here's a quick update of locally developed apps:

Trafficam SG for iPad 

Find out what the roads look like before you set off. The app currently has 49 webcams updated every five or 10 minutes. This iPad app allows you to see two webcams simultaneously. (Unfortunately, this app will not help you to avoid floods because the LTA does not appear to have a traffic cam on Orchard Road.)

Trafficam SG is by Joseph Wee and is free. Download it here.

Magic Lesson

Learn how to do magic thanks to these videos. Comes with 10 magic lessons.

Magic Lesson is by Ignition Soft and costs US0.99. Download it here.

(note: Ignition Soft is apparently a Hong Kong developer, not a Singapore developer but it's still an interesting app.)

Liya for iPhone

Liya connects to MySQL and Postgre SQL databases and allows users to access and edit the database content.

Liya is by Bernard Teo and is free. See the website for more details or download the app here.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Get triple chances to win in the last Hoiio-iMerlion iPad contest!

Drawdeo, the first winner of the Hoiio-iMerlion iPad contest.

Ok, people, here's the deal. Hoiio has given out two iPads so far. There's just one more to give away. So here's your last chance to win a free iPad courtesy of Hoiio.

Like the first contest, the more Hoiio minutes you rack up, the higher your chances of winning. This applies to everyone. However, as an iMerlion reader, we've arranged it so that you get triple the points of the other guys. Yup, sucks to be them. This is what you need to do:

1. Compose an email saying what you like or dislike about Hoiio
2. Send it to
3. For your subject line, use “iMerlion” followed by your mobile number, for example “iMerlion 98888888”

That's it. Your Hoiio minutes dollars gets multiplied by three when it's time to do the draw. Which means that if you spent 60 minutes 60 Hoiio dollars, you get 180 chances to win. Pretty sweet deal. Hoiio is doing this because they want to get feedback from people about the app so they can improve it. Which means, no need to suck up this time!

Note that you need to have an account with Hoiio and you need to rack up those minutes Hoiio dollars between now and  30 June, 11.59pm. For maximum points, use Hoiio for local calls. That way, you get the most bang for your buck.

Good luck!


Here's the fix for the iToday app

We've received word that if you have been having problems after upgrading your iToday app to 2.0.4, you should first delete your app and then download it again. Merely updating the app will cause problems.

According to one iMerlion reader, after upgrading to 2.0.4, the app would not work at all. On emailing Today, the reader was told to delete the old version and reinstall it.

(Thanks to iMerlion reader O ZS for the tip-off!)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

iTunes app now works in Singapore

Update: Podcasts now also appearing as an option in iTunes software on the Mac.


It's not entirely clear when Apple flipped the switch but the iTunes app now works on the iPhone if you are in Singapore.

Previously, tapping on the iTunes button would lead to a message saying that iTunes is not available in Singapore. Now, tapping on it will open the app. You can now access iTunes U and podcasts (in audio and video) from your iTunes apps. Unfortunately, music, TV or movies are not available.

For podcasts, you have a choice of downloading the video or watching it as it streams. Once the app is downloaded, you can access it from your iPod app.

What podcasts can you get on iTunes? Currently, video available includes Apple's Keynote, Dilbert Animated Cartoons and Jamie Oliver. The audio podcast from City Harvest Church is also on the top 10 list.

(Thanks to Kia An and Rayboey for the tip-off!)

Happy Tree Friends is also available. If you don't know what this is, don't start now. Not if you value your sanity. (And despite the cheerful-looking graphics, definitely do not let your kids watch this cartoon.)

Note: For the latest iPhone and iPad news in Singapore, follow us on Twitter. To find Singapore-related apps in the App Store quickly, download the iMerlion app.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Now Free: Taxi Lah and Explore Singapore MRT Map

Two apps are now free, one at least briefly.

Explore Singapore MRT Map is free just for this week. This app allows you to plan your route and find the nearest MRT station. It also works offline.

Taxi Lah! allows you to call a cab and estimates the cost of the journey.


New: Traffic@SG, Link Points, Football Clean Sweep

A bunch of new local apps have hit the App Store:

Traffic@SG gives you:

• real-time traffic updates (such as road congestions, road accidents, vehicle breakdowns and roadworks);
• notifications of traffic conditions at specified times, e.g. before you leave for work and/or before you leave for home;
• helps you locate and check ERP rates;
• estimates journey times along all local highways.
• quickly identifies if there is congestion along favourite routes and
• highlights and displays nearby EMAS messages

Free. Download it here.

LinkPoints On the Go is a comprehensive guide for all LinkPoints members.

This app allows you to:
• View the latest LinkPoints promotions
• See the full list of participating merchants
• Locate merchants
• Check your latest LinkPoints balance!
• Earn LinkPoints instantly by shaking your device
• View the list of online rewards items available for redemption

Free. Download it here.

Football Clean Sweep

Run a sweepstakes with friends and family with this app. It will connect with Facebook to round up friends who will be allocated teams playing in the World Cup. This app will manage the sweeps as each game is played. You can also take part in a competition to guess things like the number of yellow cards in a game. A global leaderboard lets you know how you stand and allows you to win weekly prizes.

US$0.99. Download it here.

(Hat tips to shpljh and Jim Goh for spotting these).


Amazon Web Services reaches out to local iPhone developers

There's no better time to be an iPhone developer in Singapore. Consider the facts:

1. Apple will sell its 100 millionth iOS device this month
2. The App Store has had 5 billion downloads
3. Apple has paid out $1 billion to developers.
4. 1 in 10 people in Singapore have an iOS device.

Those are pretty mouth-watering numbers. But making money isn't easy of course. You need a good idea, you need to execute well and, if you're successful, you have to be scalable. That is where cloud services like Amazon Web Services comes in. Amazon now has an office here to service Singapore and the rest of the region. iMerlion spoke to Amazon's Kingsley Wood about what Amazon can offer local iPhone developers.

World Cup Fever begins

Just in time for the World Cup, we have Football Kaki, an app by the New Paper. Get news, fixtures and scores as well as prognostications by the New Paper's stable of columnists. And if you don't want to give SingTel or StarHub more money than you have to, use this app to find bars near you that will be screening the matches. This app should be on every football fan's iPhone.

Football Kaki is free. Download it here.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

1 in 10 in Singapore have iOS device, highest penetration in the world

You know how it seems like every other person on the MRT is peering at their iPhone or iPod touch? Well, now we have confirmation of how iPhone-crazy Singapore is. According to calculations, one in 10 people in Singapore have an iOS device, making Singapore the country with the highest penetration in the world.

Developer Nelso has taken the numbers from Ad Mob (for April 2010) and Wikipedia to calculate iPhone penetration in different countries. Ad Mob says that there are 480,950 iOS devices in Singapore while Wikipedia puts Singapore's population down at 4,987,600. That gives Singapore has a penetration rate of 9.64 per cent.

What's more remarkable is that penetration in Singapore is so much higher than elsewhere. Australia, at number 2 spot, has a penetration rate of 6.96 per cent. Behind Australia is the UK with 6.11 per cent,  Switzerland at 5.94 per cent and the US at 5.91 per cent.

For those interested, the breakdown in iOS devices for Singapore is as follows: 402,922 iPhones, 76,575 iPod Touches and 1,453 iPads. (Nelso also points out that these numbers are likely to be lower than reality because Ad Mob only measures requests to its ad network.)

Other interesting numbers from Ad Mob (note: this is for April, before the international iPad launch in late May):

Singapore has more iPhones than Spain (377,346) or Switzerland (399,364) and more iPads than Australia (1,400).

There are more iPads in Hong Kong (2,306) than in Japan (2,293).

China holds the number 2 spot for number of iPads (12,516) in the world. Even though it is number 2, it is very far behind US, the runaway leader. The US has 10.7 million iPhones, 7.4 million iPod touches and 223,269 iPads.

Check out the Nelso Blog here and Ad Mob's original numbers here.

(via Preetam Rai)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Will SingTel get the iPhone "in the coming months"?

Apple appears to be popularising the phrase "in the coming months". Among telcos that are associated with the iPhone 4, the timeframe they are all citing is "in the coming months". According to Dow Jones, Hutchinson Telecom and SmarTone have both said they will offer the iPhone 4 "in the coming months" in Hong Kong. As a bonus, Hutchinson is also going to offer the iPhone 4 in Macao, in, you guessed it, the coming months.

Famously, both StarHub and M1 have used the phrase "in the coming months" as well. This is undoubtedly language that Apple requires the telcos to use.

It does, however, raise the question of why SingTel isn't using the phrase. In a statement carried by both Today and the Straits Times, SingTel is in "in the final stages of discussion with Apple" about delivering the iPhone 4. Not in the coming months? Hmmmm.

Which telcos will have the iPhone 4 in July?

The new iPhone, iPhone 4, is definitely coming to Singapore by July, according to Steve. But which telco will carry it? Let's look at the news reports.

According to Today: "Telco SingTel said it was in the final stages of discussions with Apple to bring the handset to Singapore, while StarHub and M1 said they hoped to bring in the product in the coming months."

This is what the Straits Times had: "In separate announcements on Tuesday in the wake of the official unveiling of Apple's fourth iteration of the sleek touch-screen handset, StarHub and M1 said they will have the handset on sale within the next few months. SingTel too is 'in the final stages of discussions with Apple' to bring the handset to Singapore, a spokesman said."

If we take them literally, "in the coming months" or "within the next few months" doesn't sound very hopeful. After all, July is just next month. Could it be that SingTel might have the new iPhone in July, but that M1 and StarHub will get it later? Or are M1 and StarHub just being coy because of NDAs?

On the other hand, SingTel's pronouncements aren't particularly reassuring either. Being in the "final stages of discussions" means things haven't been fully worked out yet. However, it is hard to imagine that the deep-pocketed SingTel, which had the original iPhone monopoly, will not have the iPhone 4 on day 1.

What do you think? Will all three telcos launch the iPhone 4 at the same time? Is it conceivable that M1 and StarHub will get it before SingTel? Will SingTel use its muscle to get a headstart over its rivals?


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

iPhone 4 spoof features Glee star Jane Lynch and name checks Singapore

A Parliament underground pleasure lair?

(Sorry about the formatting. Click here to watch the video on Youtube.)

Hands-on impressions of the iPhone 4

I'm collecting firsthand impressions of the iPhone 4. Here are a few I've found:

- Daring Fireball
- Ars Technica
- Engadget
- Wired
- Recombu


What, you might ask, do our intrepid developers think of the new iPhone 4? Unfortunately, so far, only the press have had the chance to handle the device. The developers are learning about stuff they can't talk about, thanks to an NDA, but from the Tweets we read, it sounds pretty exciting. According to Jeremy Foo, the NDA stuff is "so much cooler" than the keynote.


New features of iPhone 4

In case you didn't stay up to watch the Stevenote last night, Ars Technica has a good overview of what the iPhone 4 has here.

Here's a quick summary:

1. The Gizmodo and Tinh te leaks were genuine. It's thinner than the 3GS.
2. Has a camera, LED flash and front facing camera, allows for video conferencing, HD video capture (720p, 30fps, LED as lightsource for video)
3. Has four times the number of pixels as 3GS (326 pixels per inch). Means sharper text and images.
4. A4 processor
5. Promised 6 hours of 3G web browsing, 10 hours of video
6. Has gyroscope for six-axis motion sensing
7. Videoconferencing, called Facetime, uses Wifi to deliver video
8. Available in black and white
9. Will be available in Singapore in July (the second wave). Will initially be released in US, France, Germany, UK and Japan on June 24.

Full details, recommended, at Ars Technica.

We were able to get updates on the exciting time that the local developers had queuing up for WWDC. Our heartiest thanks to Hon Cheng and Jeremy for their efforts. Hon Cheng for the great photos and video, and Jeremy for the excellent live blogging up until Steve ordered all WiFi base stations killed. Thanks guys! Have a great WWDC!

Singapore to get latest iPhone, iPhone 4 in July

Too much to post at this late hour except that the newest iPhone, the iPhone 4, will be launched in Singapore in July, according to Apple CEO Steve Jobs.

Picture on Mobile Crunch live blog definitely shows Singapore and July in the same slide.

Macworld has a summary of the features of iPhone 4.


Monday, June 7, 2010

Local devs at WWDC

Note: This blog will be updated continuously with photos live from SF. Thanks to Hon Cheng and the other Singapore developers at WWDC.

P.S. Jeremy Foo and Wilfred Phua are blogging here.

Update 1am Singapore time: And it's started. 

Update 12.40am Singapore time: Looks like they're in and eight rows from the front.

Update 12.28am Singapore time: 9.27am. A minor stampede. Who says developers are out of shape? Check out the video here.

Update 12.07am Singapore time: 9.07am. A little under an hour to go. People are getting up. Presumably getting ready to enter the auditorium.

Update 11.21pm Singapore time: 8.19am. Hon Cheng: hardworking developer, dashing jacket model and intrepid iMerlion correspondent.

Photo by Willson Cuaca (Foyage)

Update 10.24pm Singapore time: 7.22am. Video of lots of people sitting peacefully and waiting. Well, they're peaceful now. In 2.5 hours, I'm guessing peaceful won't be the first word that springs to minds.

Update 10.17pm Singapore time: 7.15am. Aaaannnd they're inside and having hoping to get breakfast.

The app wall looks nicer this year:

Update 9.56pm Singapore time: 6.55am. Three hours to go. A panoramic view. Looks like a beautiful morning. Click on the photo to see the larger version.

Update 9.11pm Singapore time: 6.05am. Four hours to go. A link to video of the queue outside Moscone West.

Update 9.08pm Singapore time: 6.03am. The view from the outside looking in. The caption below WWDC10 says: The centre of the app universe.

Update 9.01pm Singapore time: 5.53am. It's getting light. According to Hon Cheng, they tried to code but it got too cold so they've just been taking pictures. And some people are looking for breakfast while other people are holding their place in the line.

Update 8.13pm Singapore time: 5.15am. Free coffee courtesy of Urban Airship.

Update 6.45pm Singapore time: It's 3.44am in SF and the queuing has started.

The queue for WWDC forms six hours before the doors open. Developers are standing in the cold outside Moscone West.

Clearly the WWDC jackets are coming in useful!

(Note: Unless otherwise stated, all photos in this post are by Hon Cheng)
Local developers Hon Cheng and Jeremy Foo are at WWDC getting ready for the big day. If you've been following them on Twitter since they landed in San Francisco, you know that they've been having fun.

They've already registered and picked up their WWDC badges. This year, Apple is giving out jackets rather than t-shirts. Check out Hon Cheng exploring a career as a jacket model here.

They've also been exploring the bars of Cupertino. (The happy looking dude in the picture is Jeremy. And this is before he's had the beers...)

For the benefit of the rest of us who are stuck in Singapore, Jeremy and Wilfred Phua are planning to live blog WWDC. You can follow it here.

And if you want to know what's likely to be unveiled in a few hours, check out this story by Ars Technica which has photos and a round-up of rumours.

Following Steve's keynote live

WWDC will start at 1am Singapore time. If you're up and you want to catch the keynote live, here is where you can follow some live blogs:

- Jeremy Foo and Wilfred Phua for IT Channel
Ars Technica

Photo Credit: Adam Jackson / Flickr


NAVFone Singapore GPS Navigation winners!

We received lots of worthy entries for the NAVFone Singapore giveaway and it was tough picking just five winners. In the end, after much deliberation and debate (ok, after some deliberation and debate), we've picked the following people and their entries. Not all of them are necessarily funny, but we think you'll agree that these people deserve to win.

I will need NAVFone as my son likes to play the role of navigator while in the car. Using Google Maps, he gets upset if I do not follow his turn-by-turn instructions!

(We're suckers for justifications that involve children.)

I need the promo code because I just got a job as a taxi driver.

(We think we can all agree that Singapore needs fewer lost taxi drivers.)

My wife is a homebaker and has orders for delivery. As my father-in-law helps to deliver the cakes, he is lots of problems navigating his way to the clients place.

With the NAVFone Singapore GPS Navigation, and a trusty iPhone, he will definitely deliver the cake on time.

(Roy takes the cake. Or rather, his father-in-law does.)

Although my dad often gets lost on the roads, he always insists on giving my sis and I a lift in his car as an expression of his love for us. We felt that the NAVFone app would be the perfect Father's Day gift to reciprocate his love and prevent him from getting lost in future. As we have already planned to get him an iphone, the NAVFone app would be a timely and appropriate complement for the occasion.

(See children explanation above.)

Choon Hwee
Hi, how about a visually impaired navigator using NAVFone Singapore GPS Navigation to guide a driver to his/her destination. Seriously, I would love to have this app for its "postal code search" feature and points of interests. Also, if I am travelling in a vehicle, "turn by turn" will at the least, tell me when I have reached my destination. What is stopping me from paying for it is I am not sure if it will work with Voiceover.

(Sounds like a bunch of pretty good reasons to us!)

Congratulations to all five of you! We'll be sending the promo code soonest! For the rest, thanks for playing. Don't be too disappointed if you didn't win. Buy the app instead. It's only US$9.99!

(Huge thanks to Asia GIS for sponsoring the giveaway!)


App helps Muslims find prayer rooms in Singapore

This app will come in handy if you're Muslim and you find yourself in need of a prayer room while out and about. Musollah@SG is has locations of prayer rooms in Singapore and prayer times as well. The app also shows the direction of Qibla when you select a particular prayer room.

Musollah@SG costs US$1.99. You can download it here.

Kim Eng allows you to trade from your iPhone

If you have an account with Kim Eng Securities, you can now start trading from your iPhone using their app KE Trade.

The app allows you to monitor your investments, place orders and view your order status. Naturally, there is access to market data such as market indices and top gainers and losers.

KE Trade is free. You can download it here. (Naturally, you need an account with Kim Eng first.)

This is the second stock trading app in the App Store. The first was iOCBC TradeMobile by OCBC Securities.

(Thanks to iMerlion reader William Muk for the tip-off!)

UOB has an app but it doesn't do online banking

Even though UOB is the only local bank without an online banking app, and even though both Citibank and Standard Chartered have an app that does online banking, UOB believes it is much more important to deliver an app "designed for the modern woman who is always 
on the move" instead.

The app is called UOB Lady's Soulmate and it allows you to keep track of promotions offered by the UOB Lady's Card. It will tell you your location so you can call a cab easily and it has an organiser function to keep track of your schedule, your shopping lists and your contacts.

You can download the app here.

(Thanks to Stanley for the tip-off!)

Hoiio announces winner of second iPad

Hoiio has announced that the winner of the second iPad giveaway is young1. His or her phone number ends with 9019. Congrats young1!

Property apps in the App Store can form basketball team

Ok. Things are getting ridiculous. In the last few days, not one but two property apps have been added to the Singapore app store, iProperty Singapore and OrangeTee.

iProperty says it has 40,000 places for sale and lease in its database. You can also search by agent or developer. The app also delivers property related news. The OrangeTee app, on the other hand, contains OrangeTee's database of places for sale and lease.

Thanks to these two, there are now six property related apps in the App Store. The other four are PropertyGuru Singapore, ERA Singapore, ProxiHomes and SG Property.

iProperty Singapore and OrangeTee are free.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Local developers leaving on a jet plane

WWDC starts Monday in San Francisco and local developers are already making their way there. Hon Cheng (buUuk, SG NextBus) is either waiting for his flight or on a plane at the moment while Jeremy Foo (Traversity) is definitely on his way. Good luck guys, have a safe trip and bring back t-shirts! (And if I missed out anyone, let  me know in the comments!)

Last call for NAVFone promo code giveaway!

As I write this, there are 14.5 hours left to win a free promo code to the top grossing GPS app in the App Store, NAVFone Singapore GPS Navigation.

All you have to do is email us at (note: replace the word "spam" with "iphone") and tell us why why you deserve to get a promo code.

The best five entries, which are relevant and which display a sense of humour, will win. The contest will end at midnight tonight!

Good luck!


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Budget calls made EZ

The good people who developed iCall-018 have now released iCall-019 and iCall-021.

Like its predecessor, these apps will automatically append the 019 or 021 prefix in front of numbers in your Contacts. This makes it easy and convenient to use these budget IDD services.

All three apps, iCall-018iCall-019 and iCall-021 are free.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Get arrivals and departures at Changi Airport

A new app, FlySingapore, delivers arrivals and departure information at Changi Airport. The app gives gate information and latest status.

You can view information by time, destination or airline.

FlySingapore costs US$1.99. It runs on both the iPhone and the iPad.

The information in this app can also be obtained free from Changi Airport's website. Arrivals can be found here while departures can be found here. A web app iSinjet, also offers similar information free. iSinjet requires you to key in the flight number to get an update of the flight.

If you still think FlySingapore is useful to you, you can download it here.

Find the cheapest petrol in town

Thanks to a new app called SG Petrol Prices, you can now fill 'er up without breaking the bank. This app gives you the pump prices of different grades of petrol at Shell, Caltex, Esso and SPC petrol stations. The app uses push notification to let you know whenever there is a change in petrol prices.

SG Petrol Prices costs US$0.99. It can be downloaded here.

(Thanks to Siong Huat for the tip-off!)

Update: Note, however, that the same information can be obtained free from the website of Petrolwatch Singapore.

Highlights of the Steve Jobs Q&A

MacDailyNews has the highlights if you want a quick summary. Video highlights are here.

Steve Jobs is speaking at the All Things Digital conference in a few minutes!

Check out the live blogs from the All Things Digital site or from the CNET site here.

Update: Engadget is also covering it. Currently, CNET's Ina Fried is doing the best job blogging about the event. Her updates are the fastest.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Win free promo codes for NAVFone Singapore GPS Navigation app worth US$9.99!

Thanks to the good people at Asia GIS, we are giving away five promo codes for NAVFone Singapore GPS Navigation! The app, which retails for US$9.99, is currently number 1 on the Top Grossing chart on the Singapore App Store, which is not surprising given its competitive price.

This app allows you to search for locations by postal code, and has voices in English, Mandarin and Malay. In addition, it will also warn you when you are approaching speed check areas and ERP gantries.

If you want to win a promo code, all you have to do is email us at (note: replace the word "spam" with "iphone") and tell us why why you deserve to get a promo code.

The best five entries, which are relevant and which display a sense of humour, will win. The contest will run from now until 2359 on Friday, June 4. Good luck!

Important note: You must have an account with the US iTunes store to redeem the promo code. This is because Apple is still only allowing promo codes to be redeemed in the US store.

If you don't have an account with the US iTunes Store, but you would like to get one, there are resources online that can help you with that.


Apple sells 2 million iPads

Apple has announced that it has sold 2 million iPads in just two months. In comparison, it took them two years to sell 1 million iPods. Business Insider has a nice analysis while Fortune has a nice collection of videos from the international iPad launch in Europe and Japan.