I still remember those "pinch an inch" Slimcea ads, featuring an unfortunately dressed 70's woman alighting from the planet Earth powered only by a hot air balloon while joyously clutching a loaf of Slimcea to her chest. Unlike the loaf, iPhone seems to be living up to the hot air balloon of pre-release hype, and lets you pinch much more than an inch. (3.5 inches, in fact).

So there's this explosion of iPhone related tittle-tattle doing the rounds, and I thought I'd quickly assemble some of these little gems in a carbohydrate-free blog entry. You want news? You got it.

iPhone will support Exchange

Oh how I laughed at this. Apple's answer to iPhone critics who think iPhone won't be of use to enterprise customers through lack of support for Exchange is beatiful in its simplicity - the company's gone and licensed the technology, reports are claiming.

A report on ZDNet claims Apple will announce it has licensed the Exchange ActiveSync protocol. If correct (and like every iPhone-related tale, ZDNet's report leaves ample space for clearly demarcated areas of doubt and uncertainty) this means iPhone users will be able to connect to Exchange Server.

Does this mean all those who dwelt on this perceived product weakness will write more positive follow-up reports?

iPhone will offer ringtones

Well, this could be no more than a wish-upon-a-star rumour. Announced iPhone specs predicate installation of iTunes 7.3 on the host machine (Mac or Windows). Take a look and you'll see no sign yet of that application in the wild - iTunes in its current incarnation is v. 7.2.

Reports point out that a Ringtone tab was shown during Apple CEO Steve Jobs' original January iPhone announcement. References to this subsequently disappeared.

It's being claimed this feature will let you choose any song that's available at the iTunes Store and convert that song into a ringtone. You'll be presented with a GarageBand-like interface that lets you select your choice of 30-second clip from the tune you like, and you'll be able to purchase that section as a ringtone for 99-cents.

Third-party Cocoa apps

Many developers were disappointed at Apple's news that iPhone would support Safari-compatible web applications, as they want to build full solutions for the iPhone.

Security considerations, well, these and the need to ensure iPhone works properly without crashing every 15.23 seconds, have led Apple to adopt a walled garden approach to the phone.

But walls can have gates, and a note on MacApper claims Apple developers are working away to put a new portcullis into there mobile media castle.

The report claims to have "overheard" a developer "from the Apple iPhone team" say that Apple will eventually ("soon", the report claims) allow third party Cocoa apps to work on an iPhone.

"We haven't done everything we're going to do", he warned, apparently, if the report can be believed.

VPN support, too

They sure have been listening in Cupertino. This isn't a rumour - it comes from Apple's very own iPhone FAQ. It says: "For secure internet access, iPhone supports industry-standard WiFi security and virtual private networking (VPN)."

Additional notes explain the device will work with Mac OS X, Windows 2000 (SP4), Windows XP Home or Professional (SP2) and Windows Vista.

And you can apply a 4-digit password to your iPhone to prevent unauthorised use, probably in a similar way to the 4-digit code used by the latest iPods.

I guess the only other thing Apple needs to do is produce an elegant folding textile full-size Bluetooth keyboard for iPhone, which it can sell to people who want to use their device intensively in certain tasks.

Such as writing this blog.

(And an update to enable video capture using the device's built-in camera really wouldn't be a bad move, as would a software upgrade to enable picture messaging. Every phone does this, and these are becoming important features, at least in the consumer market).

Toodle-pip until next time.