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November 2010 - Posts

Windows Phone 7 with your Mac

Yes, I might report to the Death Star every morning and Darth Ballmer (and I like it, too), but it's true that I still have plenty o' Macs around the house. I'm just not able to be religious one way or another, even for the company I work for. But you may have heard that Microsoft was buying their employees Windows Phones, and today was the first day we could get them. Truth be told, I was converted a long time ago, when I saw some of the first demos.

So today, I happily relinquished my iPhone 3GS, and put that naughty SIM card into the Samsung Focus at an AT&T store in Redmond. It. Is. Awesome. For all of the messing around with prototypes and such, you don't really start to appreciate it until you start populating it with your various accounts. If I were to describe the promise of WP7, it's that the age of syncing crap to a desktop computer is almost gone. Almost.

I always sync'd my phone to my iMac, because I use Aperture for photo stuff, and, for reasons I can't quite explain, the Mac version of iTunes has always been a stronger performer. When I learned there was a Mac Connector app, that sealed the deal for me. I would get the new phone as soon as I could. So here's how you evolve to the new world as a Mac user. Download the Mac Connector here. It's beta, so keep that in mind.

First off, your contacts are the most important thing because, you know, phones do call people. Or so I hear. iTunes syncs the iPhone contacts to the Address Book app, which just so happens to sync with Gmail (or Google Apps for Your Domain). There's a great article explaining that here. It took two tries for me, and going to Gmail on the Web took a few tries before I could see the entire contact list. Once it's there, add a Gmail account in the settings app on the phone, and be sure to check the box to sync contacts. Poof! You've got phone numbers! If you've added Facebook, you may want to link some of your people with Facebook accounts.

Next up, music. The Connector does a solid job of letting you select playlists and/or artists to sync from iTunes, and it just works. Huge, huge win. It kept choking on songs for me, so it took me a few retries, but I'll give us a pass for that since it's beta. If you've never used the Zune interface for music, I think it's far superior to the iOS iPod app. Keep in mind that if you have any DRM'd music in iTunes, that stuff will not sync.

The Connector also syncs from iPhoto, which does me no good since I use Aperture. Bummer. But wait a second... when I entered my Facebook information, I automagically got all of my FB albums in the photo app. Since those are already resized smaller, and edited to just the good photos, that's actually perfect. This is where I was getting to my point that all of this cloud business actually makes a ton of sense, and the desktop is less important than it used to be with relation to the phone.

So that's it! After I've spent more time with it, I plan to do a top to bottom review, including the development and deployment story for apps, as I've got a simple one that will hit the marketplace any minute. Believe the hype, and drink the Kool-Aid. So far, it's delicious. There are a few minor annoyances, but for the most part, wow did we get it right.

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