I finally got my iPod touch updated to the new 2.0 software today. I had tried repeatedly yesterday, but eventually gave up due to all the errors. The download was about 230 MB, and it took about an hour to get installed with all my data restored. The update costs $9.95 for iPod touch owners and is free for iPhone owners.
The first thing I did was poke around the App Store in iTunes. Pretty quickly though I realized that the best way to browse it is actually on the device itself. So far I’ve installed Twitterific, Evernote, the New York Times app, and the Facebook app. The second thing I did was get Exchange working. The applications are cool, but right now the Exchange support is what makes the update worth it for me.
I know that more applications will appear over time, but right now it seems like there aren’t very many useful ones. Here are five applications I’d love to see:
- Remember the Milk – They’ve already got a web app for the iPhone, but I’d love to see a full app complete with offline access to my task list. I’d be surprised if they didn’t create one, actually. This is the app I want most.
- Buxfer – I use this app all the time to manage my personal finances, and I’d love to have on-the-go, offline access.
- Brightkite – Apparently they have one in the works, and it should be ready by the end of the month. I hope it has some sort of auto-check-in feature (based on the network I’m connected to or something).
- Ping.fm – The current web app works great, but it would be better to not have to open up the web page and possibly log in.
- WordPress or Windows Live Writer – I’m not sure how often I’d post to my blog from my iPod touch, but it would be cool just to know that I can.
A couple of honorable mentions: a better weather app than WeatherBug (from Environment Canada would be wicked) and some sort of FriendFeed app.
What applications do you want?
Live Mesh and other consumer facing initiatives tend to garner the majority of the headlines related to Microsoft’s cloud computing initiatives, but it’s the simple, more boring things like hosted Exchange services that will probably have a bigger direct impact on the bottom line. I’ve run my own servers for a long time now, and while it isn’t incredibly difficult it is time consuming. I’d definitely welcome a switch to having Microsoft run them for me. They seem think it’s going to happen very quickly:
In an interview ahead of the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit, Chris Capossela, who manages Microsoft’s Office products, said the company will see more and more companies abandon their own in-house computer systems and shift to “cloud computing,” a less expensive alternative.
“In five years, 50 percent of our Exchange mailboxes will be Exchange Online,” said Capossela, who expects a portion of Exchange Online customers to come from customers switching from International Business Machines’ (IBM.N) Lotus Domino system.
When you run your own Exchange server, there’s a lot of things you need to worry about. You need to ensure it is patched with the latest updates, that the junk mail filters are configured correctly, that data is being backed up properly, etc. It would be much better if Microsoft just did all of that for me.
I know there are already companies that do this sort of thing, but there’s something about having Microsoft behind the service that appeals to me. They should be the experts on their own software, after all. And I’m sure they’ll eventually offer a suite of these services that’ll just be a no-brainer for small businesses.
Why buy, install, and support an increasingly expensive Small Business Server, when you can just pay Microsoft a monthly fee to do it all for you? That’s where cloud computing will have the biggest impact on businesses.
Read: Yahoo! News