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Mix: iPad demand, supplier responsibility, iPhone 3GS mod, George Fox

  • February 24, 2010

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According to a new survey from ChangeWave, 13% of respondents were either somewhat or very likely to purchase an iPad, a higher percentage than that of potential original iPhone customers before its launch. In the February survey of over 3,200 respondents, 4% said they were very likely to purchase an iPad, while another 9% said they were somewhat likely; these numbers compare to percentages of 3% and 6%, respectively, from a similar survey conducted ahead of the original iPhone launch in April 2007. Interestingly, the iPad numbers are down from ChangeWave’s January pre-announcement iPad survey, in which 4% of respondents said they were very likely to purchase an Apple tablet, and another 14% said they were at least somewhat likely. In addition, three-quarters of interested consumers in the January survey said they were willing to pay $500 or more for the device.

Apple has released its official 2010 Supplier Responsibility Progress Report (PDF Link). The report outlines Apple’s Supplier Code of Conduct, covering areas including labor and human rights, health and safety, environmental impact, and ethics. According to the report, Apple conducted audits at 102 facilities in 2009, up from 83 in 2008 and 39 in 2007, and performed annual audits of all final assembly manufacturers. Overall, the company identified 17 core violations—the most serious class of violation in Apple’s Code of Conduct—including eight violations involving excessive recruitment fees; three cases where underage workers had been hired; three cases where the supplier contracted with non-certified vendors for hazardous waste disposal; and three cases of falsified records provided during the audit.

iPhone owner Martin Schrotz has created a custom rear case for his iPhone 3GS (Pictured). Dissatisfied with the phone’s plastic back, Schrotz created a new back cover in a CAD modeling program, and had it made out of a special RF-transparent titanium alloy, as his first aluminum effort was “a complete disaster.” More photos of the modded 3GS are available at the above link. [via Engadget]

George Fox, a Christian college in Oregon, has decided to offer all incoming undergraduate student a choice between an iPad and a MacBook, beginning in August. “With this, we’re basically asking students ‘What computing system will work best for you?’” Greg Smith, the university’s chief information officer, says. “By giving them this option, they can choose between the iPad, a mobile device known for its networking and E-textbook capabilities, or the laptop, which offers more computing horsepower.” Macsimum News reports that the college has supplied incoming students with a computer for more than 20 years, and is planning to expand Wi-Fi coverage in its dormitories to help accomodate the growing number of mobile devices on campus.

Ngmoco CEO discusses Freeverse, free-to-pay model

In a recent interview with Touch Arcade, ngmoco CEO Neil Young clarified the company’s position on the recent acquisition of Freeverse and its move toward a new free-to-pay model. In discussing why ngmoco specifically chose to acquire Freeverse, Young described the company as “wonderful people” who “shared their vision and values.” Young indicated that Freeverse will remain functionally independent and retain the Freeverse brand on their applications.

Discussing ngmoco’s shift to a free-to-pay model, Young dispelled rumours that the move was in response to high piracy rates for iPhone games. Young described the move instead as a result of a combination of other factors, with the two main concerns being significantly higher download numbers for free applications and a general trend away from higher-priced premium games. [via Touch Arcade]

Matias rolls out keyboard with integrated smartphone stand

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Matias has introduced its new USB 2.0 Keyboard + Smartphone Stand. The white, full-size keyboard features a USB 2.0 port on the top of the keyboard, two standard USB ports on the back, printed Mac symbols on the keys, and a numeric keypad. In addition, it has a smartphone stand built into the face of the keyboard above the arrow keys, allowing users to keep their iPhone or other device in view at all times, and featuring a non-slip silicone pad to keep the device in place. Matias’ new USB 2.0 Keyboard + Smartphone Stand is available now for Mac, coming soon for Windows, and sells for $50.

Disney releases Alice in Wonderland game

Disney has released an official Alice in Wonderland game for the iPhone and iPod touch in anticipation of the upcoming theatrical premiere of its new movie. In Alice in Wonderland—An Adventure Beyond the Mirror, players take on the role of Alice and must solve a series of puzzles while exploring the world of Wonderland. Other well-known characters such as the Mad Hatter and White Rabbit appear during the game to assist Alice with their special abilities. The game also includes integration with the iPhone GPS, camera and photo library to unlock hidden objects. Alice in Wonderland—An Adventure Beyond The Mirror is available on the App Store for $5.

Daisy Mae returns to app store unchanged

At least one application has returned to the App Store unchanged following Apple’s recent purge of “overtly sexual” content. IUGO’s Daisy Mae’s Alien Buffet was reportedly pulled from the App Store late last week as part of the culling of adult-themed apps. Daisy Mae is a B-movie style survival shooter game that contains a voluptuous lead character and some mildly risque elements.

Yesterday the game reappeared on the App Store, quietly reinstated without any changes from the original version. IUGO indicates that the game just quietly reappeared without any contact from Apple explaining the game’s return. Further, the game now appears as a featured title with the App Store games section. [via Touch Arcade]

Latest iPad SDK supports front facing camera, zoom, and flash

  • February 24, 2010
  • iPad,

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A number of camera characteristics found in the third beta of the iPhone SDK 3.2 for iPad suggest Apple had considered adding a camera to the iPad. Mac Rumors reports that in the latest SDK, Apple’s private camera framework tests for three characteristics—“supportsZoom,” “hasFlash,” and “hasFrontCamera”—that are not present in the current iPhone-only 3.x SDK. Also discovered is an interface to accept or decline a video chat, with buttons that Mac Rumors claims seem to be meant for the iPad and not the iPhone. It’s unclear why Apple decided against adding a front-facing camera to the iPad, but it does appear that the company is considering the feature for future models.

Photo of the week: iPhone 3G in Belize

This week’s featured photo comes from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows an iPhone 3G resting on a beach at Kanantik Resort in Belize. To share your photos and to be considered for our Photo of the Week, you simply need to submit your own photo to one of our galleries. So get out there, take some pictures with your iPod or iPhone, and maybe your submission will be our next Photo of the Week!

Apple posts third update to iPhone OS 3.2 SDK for iPad

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Apple has released the third beta version of its iPhone SDK 3.2 for iPad. Originally released on January 27 following the introduction of the iPad and updated on February 10, the new SDK is tailored specifically for iPad development. It includes support for the device’s 1024x768 resolution, other iPad-specific interface functions, and an iPad simulator application so developers can pre-test their apps in an environment similar to that of the final device. It is currently unclear what, if any major changes were made in the latest version. The iPhone OS 3.2 SDK beta 3 for iPad is available now to registered iPhone developers through the iPhone Dev Center.

Power A intros Universal Remote Case for iPhone 3G, 3GS

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Power A has introduced its new Universal Remote Case for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. Working in conjunction with the company’s free Power A Universal Remote app, the Universal Remote Case allows the iPhone 3G or 3GS to control nearly any infrared-controlled product. The case itself is a two-piece hard case offering open access to the headphone port, sleep/wake button, ring/silent switch, camera, screen, home button, and volume buttons, with the bottom piece connecting to the iPhone via dock connector to allow for app control of the built-in IR transmitter. The app lets users customize their own virtual button layouts, create macros that perform multiple tasks with a single button tap, and program the app to learn the codes of their existing remotes. Power A’s new Universal Remote Case for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS is expected to be available from the Apple Store later today and will sell for $60.

Ngmoco acquires Freeverse

TechCrunch reports that following a third round of venture capital funding, ngmoco has acquired iPhone game developer Freeverse. Ngmoco is known for such titles as Rolando, Eliminate and TouchPets, and has recently announced a shift to a free-to-play pricing model. By contrast, Freeverse has a staple of popular paid games including Skee-Ball, Flick Fishing and Moto Chaser. With this acquisition Ngmoco has confirmed that it plans to move these titles over to its free-to-play model whereby the games will be offered for free and revenue generated from in-app purchases instead. Ngmoco CEO Neil Young indicates that this business model has been working well for the company, and expects that ngmoco will release approximately 20 new games this year with the newly-acquired Freeverse team releasing about the same number.

Incase launches new iPhone Slider Case colors for spring

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Incase has launched new spring colors of its Metallic Monochrome Slider Case for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. The two-piece hardshell cases feature a soft touch finish, metallic upper portions with matter slide-off bottom pieces for easy docking, interior rubber guards for shock protection, and open access to all ports, controls, and the camera. In addition, the cases include a horizontal stand for video viewing. Incase’s new Metallic Monochrome Slider Metallic Monochrome Slider Cases for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS are available now in blue, purple, and silver, and sell for $35.

iTunes 10 Billion Songs contest near goal, $10k prize offered

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After just twelve days, Apple’s “Countdown to 10 Billion Songs” promotion is nearing its end. The counter graphics on Apple’s contest page and the iTunes Store indicate that the total number of songs downloaded is roughly 9.99 billion, leaving only 10 million left before the winning purchase. By comparing the counter number from February 12 to today, we estimate that the store has been seeing roughly 10 million downloads per day, which means the 10 billionth download should happen sometime within the next 24 hours, and possibly sooner, if the pace of downloads accelerates as the goal nears. The winner of the promotion will receive a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card; for more information, see Apple’s Official Rules page.

Street Fighter IV characters and pricing revealed

IGN has confirmed some additional details on Capcom’s upcoming release of Street Fighter IV for the iPhone and iPod touch. The game will allow users to play as one of eight characters from the console game: Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Blanka, M. Bison, Abel, Guile, and Dhalsim. There will reportedly be no additional characters that can be unlocked later in the game. It is expected that the same moves will be available on the iPhone as the console version for each of the fighters, and both single player and local two-player modes will be supported. An on-screen joystick and virtual buttons will be used as controls and assists will be available to automatically use special moves. Street Fighter IV is expected to be released on the App Store in March and sell for $10. [via IGN]

Rogers launches new North American data roaming plans

Rogers Wireless has introduced its new North American One Rate wireless data plans, designed for Canadian residents who frequently find themselves travelling to the United States. Generally priced at $10 more than their Canada-only equivalents, the new plans allow Rogers customers travelling to the U.S. to use their device’s data capabilities the same way they would at home, without incurring roaming fees when using data within their monthly allotment. Adding the One Rate option to the high-end 1GB smartphone data plan results in a price of $40, instead of $30 for Canada-only coverage; a 500GB plan is also available. It is unclear whether promotional accounts, such as the $30/6GB that many Rogers Wireless iPhone users are on, will qualify for the new One Rate offerings.

GoodReader adds text editing, photo support

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Good.iWare has released an update to its popular GoodReader application. GoodReader 2.6 adds support for editing text files, importing and exporting photos from the iPhone and iPod touch photo album, and a page slider for quickly browsing through large PDF files. The update also adds support for Adobe Illustrator files saved with the PDF Compatible option and fixes several issues with FTP servers, downloading of spreadsheets from Google Docs or iDisk and downloading e-mail attachments. GoodReader is available from the App Store for $1; a full-featured “Lite” version is available for free with a limit of five stored files.

Dropbox update adds new features and enhancements

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Dropbox has released an update to the iPhone application for its online file storage service. Dropbox 1.1 adds a several new features including support for locking the app with a passcode, copying file and image sharing links to the clipboard and adjusting photo and video upload quality settings. The update also adds full-screen document viewing, a scroll bar for navigating large documents and the ability to zoom in on photos. The search feature now allows users to search sub-folders and the application will default to displaying the last-used folder on startup. The Dropbox application requires an iPhone or iPod touch running OS 3.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Apple posts third new iPhone TV spot

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Apple has posted yet another new iPhone 3GS TV advertisement online. Joining “On Hold” and “First Steps,” which were posted yesterday, “Family Travel” continues the new theme of having a different narration voice giving a testimonial-style, use-specific explanation of how the iPhone has improved their lives—in this particular case, allowing the narrator to check the family into their flight, find a place to grab a snack inside the airport, show the kids their favorite movie, and ensure the living room lights are turned off back at the house. All three of Apple’s new iPhone TV advertisements are available for viewing on Apple’s website.

Gartner: Apple gained smartphone market share in 2009

According to the latest data released by research company Gartner, Apple gained more worldwide smartphone market share in 2009 than any other company. When breaking smartphone sales down by operating system, Apple placed third with 14.4% of the market, behind only Symbian with 46.9%—down from 52.4% in 2008—and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry, with 19.9% of the market. By comparison, Apple held only 8.2% of the smartphone OS market in 2008, making its 6.2% gain the largest in the category, followed by Android, which went from a 0.5% share in 2008 to 3.9% in 2009, and RIM, which saw a 3.3% gain for its BlackBerry OS. Joining Symbian with market share losses were Microsoft’s Windows Mobile, which went from 11.8% of the market in 2008 to 8.7% in 2009, and non-Android Linux-based OSes, which saw their share decline from 7.6% in 2008 to 4.7% in 2009. Overall, smartphone sales reached 172.4 million units in 2009, a 23.8% increase from 2008.

Apple exec Schiller speaks out on “sexy” app ban

Phil Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing, has made several comments regarding the company’s recent move to ban “overtly sexual” content from the App Store. In an interview with the New York Times, Schiller said the company was simply responding to complaints from App Store users. According to Schiller, the company had received “an increasing number of apps containing very objectionable content” from a small number of developers. “It came to the point where we were getting customer complaints from women who found the content getting too degrading and objectionable, as well as parents who were upset with what their kids were able to see,” Schiller said. He added, “[w]e obviously care about developers, but in the end have to put the needs of the kids and parents first.”

Some developers, such as Fred Clarke of the company On the Go Girls, had their entire catalogs removed from the store. “I’m shocked,” said Clarke, who said the company had not had a problem with its applications since the first one went on sale last June. “We’re showing stuff that’s racier than the Disney Channel, but not by much.” Clark also said the company had been making thousands of dollars per day from App Store sales. “It’s very hard to go from making a good living to zero,” he added. “This goes farther than sexy content. For developers, how do you know you aren’t going to invest thousands into a business only to find out one day you’ve been cut off?” When asked about apps such as the Sports Illustrated annual swimsuit issue app, which remains in the store despite offering content similar to that found in many of the banned apps, Schiller said Apple takes the source and intent of the apps into consideration. He said, “[t]he difference is this is a well-known company with previously published material available broadly in a well-accepted format.”

Apple job listing points to new iPhone OS devices

A new job posting on Apple’s website suggests the company is looking to expand the range of devices running iPhone OS beyond the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The listing for a “Platform Bring-Up” Engineering Manager says the company’s Core Platform team is “looking for a talented and inspired manager to lead a team focused on bring-up of iPhone OS on new platforms.” According to the listing, the team is “responsible for low level platform architecture, firmware, core drivers and bring-up of new hardware platforms,” and consists of “engineers with experience in hardware, firmware, IOKit drivers, security and platform architecture.” Job responsibilities of the position include “[w]orking closely with the hardware and custom silicon teams to bring-up new platforms and prototype systems” and “[d]efining the software roadmap to support a range of hardware platforms, including iPhone & iPod.”

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