iPhone 3G apps, Microsoft cloud OS, Facebook ban, YouTube police...

Stories of the month - August 2008...

Stories of the month - August 2008...

The iPhone 3G may have blasted off on 11 July but August was the month Apple's shiny handset was put through its paces and managed to churn out all sorts of headlines - even as older Apple-flavoured rumours did another round of the blogosphere.

silicon.com resident Apple columnist, Seb Janacek, plundered the App Store to come up with 10 of the best iPhone apps. From location-savvy pub finders to a microblogging facilitator, a photo-editing tool, games and of course the ubiquitous Facebook app, Our Man with the Minority Report harvested the low-hanging fruit of iPhone developer land so you don't have to.

Stories of the month - August 2008

Click on the links below to read the stories everyone is talking about...

Minority Report: 10 top iPhone 2.0 apps

Citizens use YouTube to keep gov't in check

Cheat Sheet: Cloud computing

iPhone nano: Fact or fiction?

Photos: Top summer holiday gadgets

Photos: The jet pack blasts off

Microsoft Windows set to retire?

Apple issues iPhone 3G software update

Companies urged not to ban Facebook

iPhone 2.0 cuts business mustard, says Gartner

Check out all 10 in the photo story - and add a Reader Comment if you feel moved to laud an app not already listed.

But even as Janacek was demolishing a few levels of SuperMonkey Ball - in the name of expert research of course - analyst house Gartner was putting the finishing touches to its report on the business credentials of iPhone 2.0.

The verdict? A cautionary thumbs-up for enterprise use, provided you don't mind the odd 'inconvenience' or two. And by 'inconvenience' it's talking issues such as dealing with iTunes on the desktop; coping with an ungenerous battery life; the abject lack of cut and paste; and a scattering of glitches in the email and calendar implementation which Gartner's testers claim to have found.

On the plus side, the browser is described as "excellent" - and the App Store is given plaudits too. So a B+ perhaps.

But wait! August hasn't finished with the iPhone 3G yet… A possibly red-faced Apple may or may not have been forced to issue a firmware update which did definitely incorporate some "bug fixes".

Exactly what bugs were being fixed here was unclear - as Apple refused to give details once again - but bloggers speculated it might be down to problems with dropped calls and unreliable web reception on the 3G handset. Time will have to tell.

Cupertino, of course, declined comment - possibly because it was too busy dealing with problems with its MobileMe cloud-based storage system.

Yet another Apple-flavoured story going large on silicon.com this month - for which Steve Jobs' minions also refused comment - was all about the as-yet entirely fictitious iPhone nano. UK red-top the Daily Mail resurrected this flea-ridden rumour so silicon.com's Natasha Lomas took it on herself to attempt to get a little closer to the truth.

Is Apple working on a nano phone? Well read the article and decide for yourself.

But August wasn't just Jobs' month. This summer silicon.com readers got very excited about cloud computing. If you're scratching your head and saying 'what witchcraft is this?', reporter Tim Ferguson's popular Cheat Sheet is here to help.

Whatever it is, cloud computing loomed large as news emerged Microsoft could well be contemplating a web-based operating system, code-named Midori; a Windows in the cloud as it were. So you see you have to care now.

Finally the month was rounded off by a brace of web 2.0 stories that got several silicon.com readers reaching for their keyboards.

User-generated video sharing website YouTube is apparently being used by the great British public to police the police state or at least shame governmental failures. A practice dubbed "sous-veillance" - or one in the eye for the nanny state, according to silicon.com readers.

As reader Karen Challinor commented: "Well it's not the 24/7 cradle to grave surveillance the government has planned for us but it's a start. Not so much fun for the government when they are on the receiving end is it?"

Meanwhile, businesses were once again being urged not to take a draconian attitude to social networking and instead develop polices for 'responsible staff use' of sites such as Facebook and MySpace. Good luck with that.