In our early testing, iLounge has learned that some video delivery applications act differently over the 3G network than they do on Wi-Fi. The iPad’s built-in YouTube application strips both standard and HD videos to a dramatically lower resolution over the cellular data connection, something that iTunes Store video previews notably do not do, instead staying at a higher quality and consuming a greater amount of data. Other third-party applications, such as the ABC Player, refuse to work at all over the cellular connection, producing a notification pop-up that states, “Please connect to a Wi-Fi network to use this application. Cellular networks are not supported at this time.”
iLounge has received its first iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G units for testing and has posted an unboxing gallery online. There are several small changes from the Wi-Fi-only model that are worthy of mention. The box the 3G model comes in is identical to that of the Wi-Fi-only model, save for two stickers on the back of the box that reference the fact that a 3G model is contained within; notably, the image of the iPad on the front does not depict the 3G model. The unit’s microSIM slot is found on the left side of the device, off-center, towards the bottom of the unit, and contains an AT&T-branded microSIM. This side of the device is completely bare on Wi-Fi-only models. Contents of the box are the same as the Wi-Fi-only model, save for the SIM card removal tool, and the antenna cover at the top is made from black matte plastic. Another notable item is that the device requires connection to iTunes in order to be usable; no software update is available or required, and rather than directing the user instantly to sign up for AT&T service, the iPad sits awaiting activation until you dive into the Settings menu and find the Cellular Data option yourself.
Distimo has released its latest monthly report on the U.S. App Store, revealing that there are now 4,870 iPad applications in the App Store. Of these, 3,437 are iPad-only apps while the remaining 1,433 are Universal applications that run on both the iPad and iPhone. The report goes on to note that the number of iPad applications on the App Store has grown by 32.7% over the past two weeks and that the largest category for iPad applications is Games, with 1,577 titles, followed by Entertainment and Books with 455 and 396 titles, respectively. The report points out that paid iPad applications make up a larger percentage of that category than paid iPhone applications and are slightly more expensive on average: The average price of an iPad app is $4.67 compared to $3.82 for an iPhone app. The report also lists the top 20 paid and free iPad and iPhone apps, revealing a number of more expensive $10 apps among the iPad top 20, with a higher average price of $5.69, as compared to a larger number of $0.99 apps in the iPhone top 20, with an average price of $2.04. The full report is available from Distimo’s site (free registration required).
Apple has posted a new support document detailing the process for setting up a cellular data account on the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G. According to the document, users simply tap a “View Account” options within a new Cellular Data menu inside the Settings app to get started. Users will then be prompted to enter their information, including first and last name, telephone number, email address and a password for the new AT&T account, and billing information, select a data plan. A Terms of Service page will then be displayed, and once accepted, a payment summary screen appears for final confirmation. Once submitted, a congratulations screen appears, followed by a pop-up notification once the connection has been activated. The page notes that the process is managed by AT&T, and users should contact AT&T if they have have questions, concerns, or problems.
Seidio has debuted its new Innocase Rugged case for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS. The Rugged consists of a hard, yet flexible Innocase 360 skin that features a built-in screen guard and a thin profile, and a thick Rugged Skin that fits over the inner 360 skin, offering added shock protection and covering the ports and camera to keep out dust and dirt. The Rugged Skin is then covered with a snap-on hard plastic skeleton for added structural integrity. The Innocase 360 can be used on its own as a low-profile solution; a Rugged Holster is also included. Seidio’s new Innocase Rugged case for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS is available now and sells for $50.
Luxury goods maker Louis Vuitton has offered GQ a brief look at its upcoming iPad case. Sporting a simple sleeve-style design, the case offers a notch at the top for easy removal of the iPad, and leaves the top uncovered for access to the headphone port. The case will be available next year in the brand’s signature Monogram or Damier Graphite designs, and will sell for £240, or roughly $367.
Alamofire has released a native iPad version of its popular Gowalla location-based social networking application. Gowalla for the iPad allows users to share and discover locations they visit such as restaurants, coffee shops, landmarks and more. As in the iPhone version, users can check in at various locations, share their experiences on Facebook and Twitter, see places that their friends have visited and unlock bonus rewards by completing trips. Gowalla for iPad is available from the App Store as a free download.
Apple has updated its individual retail store web pages to indicate that its U.S.-based stores will be closed later today from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. local time to prepare for the launch of the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G, which will go on sale when the stores reopen at 5:00 p.m. Unlike the launch of the iPad with Wi-Fi, no advance reservations were taken for the Wi-Fi + 3G models, so purchasing will most likely be done on a first-come, first-served basis. Checks with several Apple Store locations around the country conducted by iLounge showed that stores are expecting “big” crowds for the launch.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen has responded to statements made about his company and its Flash technology by Apple CEO Steve Jobs in his “Thoughts on Flash” open letter. Calling the technology problems mentioned by Jobs a “smokescreen,” Narayen pointed out that more than 100 applications built using Adobe’s Flash technology were accepted into the App Store. “When you resort to licensing language” to restrict this kind of cross-platform development, he said, it has “nothing to do with technology.” Narayen also said Apple’s refusal to allow cross-platform apps onto its devices makes it “cumbersome” for developers who will have to have “two workflows,” and called Jobs’ claims that Flash causes undue battery drain “patently false.” To conclude the interview, Narayen said that he is for “letting customers decide,” but that he believes the multi-platform strategy will “eventually prevail.”
Apple has passed Motorola to become the largest cell phone maker in the United States by unit volume. Reporting its first quarter fiscal results, Motorola revealed that it sold 8.5 million phones in the quarter, less than the 8.75 million iPhones sold by Apple over the same period. Motorola’s numbers have fallen greatly from the 46.1 million phones it sold in the first quarter of 2006 when the company’s RAZR was still popular. The company has more recently been focusing its efforts on the smartphone market, where the company’s Droid handset, which runs Google’s Android operating system, has served as the basis for an ongoing anti-iPhone Verizon ad campaign.
Lala.com, the music streaming service Apple purchased last December, will be shutting down on May 31. Around the time of Apple’s acquisition, it was said the company wanted to use Lala’s technology and streaming expertise to offer a streaming service on iTunes in addition to the its normal purchase and download model. According to the site, Lala users will receive iTunes credit for all money spent purchasing web songs, wallet balances, and unredeemed gift cards. Lala launched in June 2006 as a CD trading service before re-focusing on digital music uploads and streaming the next year. [via Engadget]
HootSuite has released an update to its popular iPhone Twitter client, adding support for posting updates to Facebook and including geolocation information to Twitter posts. HootSuite 1.1.1 includes an updated interface with a pull-down-to-refresh option and also introduces translation of tweets between multiple languages, landscape mode for composing messages and a reply all feature. The update also adds Bump technology to allow iPhone users to follow other HootSuite users by bumping their iPhones together. HootSuite 1.1.1 is available from the App Store for $3 and is a free update for existing users.
If you haven’t yet entered our Yamaha Earphone Giveaway, today’s your last chance. In our Giveaway of the Month for April, iLounge and Yamaha are giving away 20 pairs of Yamaha EPH-30 Earphones to lucky iLounge readers. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end tonight at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!
Apple has announced that movies from 20th Century Fox, MGM, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Universal Studios, The Walt Disney Company and Warner Bros. are now available for purchase from the iTunes Store in France and Ireland. In addition to these U.S.-based studios, films from European studios including Pathé, SND and StudioCanal are available in France, while Ireland’s iTunes Store will offer films from E1 Entertainment, Lionsgate UK and Optimum Releasing. Movies are available for purchase on iTunes the same day as their DVD release, and movie rental terms are similar to those in other countries, where the customer has 30 days to start watching a film and 48 hours to finish it once it’s been started. Pricing is the same in both countries, with movie purchases starting at €7.99 for catalog titles, €9.99 for recent releases and €13.99 for new releases, and rentals running €2.99 for library title rentals and €3.99 for new releases, with high definition versions priced one euro more.
SHAPE Services has released an update to its popular cross-platform Instant Messaging application for the iPad. IM+ 4.1 is a universal app that provides access to a wide number of messaging services including AIM, MSN, Google Talk, Facebook, Twitter, Skype Chat and Jabber. In addition to better iPad support, the latest version also provides support for speech recognition, longer push notification session time, proper iPad external keyboard support and numerous bug fixes. IM+ is available from the App Store for $10 and is a free update for existing users of the iPhone version.
ALK Technologies has announced plans to bring its popular CoPilot turn-by-turn GPS navigation and trip planning app to the iPad 3G. CoPilot Live HD has just been submitted to the App Store and ALK expects that it will be available for purchase soon. CoPilot Live HD will provide the same featurs as the iPhone version, including on-device street maps and voice-guide navigation. A new split-screen driving view will combine 3D or 2D map displays with driving instructions. Some sample screenshots of CoPilot Live HD can be found on the copilot live Flickr page.
OtterBox has posted preview pages of its upcoming Defender Series and Commuter Series cases for the Apple iPad. The Defender Series uses three layers of materials to provide shock and scratch protection, and features silicone grip pads to hold the iPad in place when in use, silicone plugs for protection of all ports, a snap-off bottom piece for compatibility with Apple’s official iPad Docks, a built-in stand, and a removable back polycarbonate cover that can be snapped onto the front to protect the face when not in use. The Commuter Series uses three layer of materials for device protection, but unlike the Defender it offers a slimmer profile. Other features include a snap-off bottom piece for compatibility with Apple’s official iPad Docks, silicone plugs for coverage of all ports, push-through covers for the volume and power buttons, and an included film screen protector. OtterBox’s new Defender Series and Commuter Series cases for the Apple iPad are listed as coming soon and will sell for $90 and $65, respectively.
Pioneer has rolled out four new sound systems for the iPod and iPhone. The new Audition Series XW-NAS3/-K system features a top-mounted dock, a double isolated frame for improved bass response with less cabinet resonance, a 2.1-channel dynamic digital amplifier, component and composite video outputs, compatibility with Pioneer’s AS-BT100 Bluetooth adapter, and a down-firing subwoofer. It will be available in April in black or white and will sell for $450. The XW-NAV1K-K HTD system is designed to serve as an all-in-one home theater unit, with a built-in dock, 1080p-upscaling DVD/CD player, composite video and HDMI output, a FM tuner, USB connectivity for attaching a USB flash drive or hard drive, a digital amplifier, two full-range speakers with 2.75-inch passive radiators, and an included remote control. It will be available in June with either a black or white frame and will sell for $300.
Pioneer’s XW-NAC1-K and XW-NAC3-K Duo Series systems offer dual top-mounted docks for playback and simultaneous charging, built-in Bluetooth for wireless audio streaming, a “Double Shuffle” feature that plays music from both connected iPods or iPhones, fading the music in and out between songs, auxiliary inputs, composite video outputs and a black-and-white design. In addition, the XW-NAC3-K offers DLNA 1.5 compatibility, and the ability to play Internet radio stations via the vTuner feature. The XW-NAC1-K will be available in May while the XW-NAC3-K will be available in June; the systems will sell for $350 and $450, respectively.
MK7 Designs has introduced its new NinjaGrips accessory for the Apple iPad. Made from recycled tire rubber, NinjaGrips are decorative, removable friction grips that adhere to the back of the iPad to provide a more stable grip when in use and when being carried. In addition to the main grip itself, each NinjaGrips comes with a set of corner edge grips for added grip and protection. NinjaGrips for iPad are available in five different designs and sell for $15 each.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs has posted an open letter entitled “Thoughts on Flash,” in which he explains the company’s motivation for leaving Adobe’s Flash off of its iPhone, iPod, and iPad devices. Jobs divides his explanation into six key factors, including Flash’s proprietary nature, the fact that the vast majority of web video is now accessible without Flash, reliability, security, and performance issues, battery life concerns, Flash’s reliance on mouse-dependent interface elements, and the fact that Adobe wants to allow its developers to use Flash for creating cross-platform applications that will run on Apple’s platform, as well as on competitors’ devices, without exploiting any platform’s unique and innovative features. The crux of the letter is an attack on Flash as a battery-hogging middleware solution that is no longer necessary or desirable in an age of advanced mobile devices.
Jobs makes several scathing comments in the letter, claiming that Flash is the leading cause of Mac crashes, that Adobe was the slowest major third-party developer to adopt important changes to Apple’s Mac OS X operating system, and that the company has promised but repeatedly failed to deliver an optimized mobile version of Flash. The letter also sheds new light on Apple’s App Store business, including the statement that “[t]here are more games and entertainment titles available for iPhone, iPod and iPad than for any other platform in the world,” and noting that there are now more than 200,000 apps available in the App Store. In closing, Jobs says, “[n]ew open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.”