The Wall Street Journal reports that the free ABC Player app for the iPad has been downloaded 205,000 times and used to watch 650,000 television episodes in the 10 days since the iPad’s release. According to ABC this has in turn generated “several million” ad impressions, and Disney-ABC television President Anne Sweeney indicates the network is pleased with the initial results. The ABC Player application allows iPad users to watch free, ad-supported television content on the iPad with five 30-second ads presented within each hour of programming in a manner similar to broadcast television. A direct link is also provided for each episode to allow iPad users to purchase the ad-free version from the iTunes Store. This coming fall ABC expects to begin providing more interactive advertising similar to that already found on its web player and eventually expects to allow affiliates the ability to sell specific advertising that would only be seen by users in their specific local markets. The ABC Player app is available from the App Store as a free download.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that the Communications Ministry in Israel has blocked the import of iPads to that country, directing customs officers to confiscate any iPads that are brought in from the U.S. According to ministry officials the iPad has not received the approval required for wireless devices to operate in Israel, the problem being that its wireless technology is “not compatible with Israeli standards.” Specifically, FCC regulations allow Wi-Fi devices sold in the U.S. to broadcast at higher power levels than are permitted in Europe and Israel, potentially preventing U.S. iPads from being approved for use in Israel. The ministry has requested information from Apple’s Israeli distributor, iDigital, to determine whether it will be able to approve importing iPads under Israeli communications regulations. [via Daring Fireball]
Apple announced this morning that it will be posponing the international launch of the iPad until the end of May. Citing “surprisingly strong US demand,” in a statement released today Apple indicated that it expects demand for the device to exceed its available supply “over the next several weeks” and that they have already taken a large number of U.S. pre-orders for iPad 3G models which remain on track for delivery by the end of April. The iPad was originally scheduled to also launch outside of the U.S. at the end of April, however Apple now plans to announce international pricing and begin taking online pre-orders in other countries on Monday, May 10th for delivery by the end of May.
Piel Frama has introduced its new Magnetic and Snap Closure cases for the Apple iPad. Aside from the differences in the closure mechanism, the handmade cases offer identical features, including leather or crocodile exteriors, a soft leather inner lining, openings for all ports and controls, a horizontal, flip-open design, ABS inserts for added protection, and a single document compartment. Available in a variety of colors, Piel Frama’s Magnetic and Snap Closure cases for the iPad are available now and sell for €110, or roughly $150.
Apple has begun banning App Store applications that contain the term ‘pad’ in the app name. Previously, the company contacted Jesse Waites, maker of ContactPad, to inform him that an update to his application would be rejected because “it [was] inappropriately using ‘Pad’ in the application name.” The company also included its product work mark guidelines, which states that the developer can use the mark “in a referential phrase such as ‘runs on,’ ‘for use with,’ ‘for,’ or ‘compatible with.’” Following Waites’ rejection, Chris Ostmo, developer of journalPad and journalPad Bible edition, received a similar notice from Apple regarding his apps’ names, and emailed Apple CEO Steve Jobs explaining his position on the matter. 9 to 5 Mac reports that Ostmo claimed to have “spent tens of thousands of dollars” on marketing and media exposure for the two apps, both of which will need to be renamed.
Jobs, in a typically brief response, wrote simply, “Its [sic] just common sense to not use another company’s trademarks in your app name.” Curiously, Apple’s Copyright and Trademark Guidelines page, linked to in the initial email to Waites, makes no mention of a “Pad” trademark, and neither does the company’s official Trademark listing. Judging by the language in both App Store correspondence emails and in Jobs’ response, however, it appears that Apple considers the “Pad” trademark to be under its ownership, and intends to defend it.
Skooba Design has introduced its new Messenger and Sleeve cases for the Apple iPad. The Messenger is a courier-style bag offering a two-tone design, a dedicated padded iPad compartment with a fast access zipper opening on top, over a dozen other pockets and organizers, a water bottle holder, an adjustable strap, and a water-repellent nylon twill exterior. It is available in four color combinations and sells for $50. The Sleeve is an airport security-friendly neoprene sleeve-style case with a zippered front accessory compartment, a two-tone design, a removable shoulder strap, and a zippered main compartment. It also comes in four color combinations and sells for $20.
Adobe may be preparing to file a lawsuit against Apple over its refusal to allow Flash to run on its iPhone OS devices, and its recent decision to ban apps from the App Store created using cross-compilers such as Adobe’s Packager for iPhone OS, which debuted with Flash CS5. Citing source close to Adobe, IT World reports that the App Store policy change was the “last straw” for Adobe, despite the company’s refusal to talk about possible legal action. “We are aware of the new SDK language and are looking into it,” said Adobe spokesperson Wiebke Lips. “We continue to develop our Packager for iPhone OS technology, which we plan to debut in Flash CS5.” Adobe released Flash CS5 on April 12.
A new video posted online has revealed the new “iPod Out” functionality of iPhone OS 4.0. Shown briefly during last week’s iPhone OS 4.0 event, on a slide naming some of the software’s new features, the “iPod Out” feature wasn’t described in any detail, nor is it mentioned on Apple’s iPhone OS 4 preview page. TUAW reports that the “new application” displays a simplified, Click Wheel iPod-like interface for controlling music playback, with the entire menu system fed out to an external monitor. The report also states that the app contains iPod Accessory Protocol strings, suggesting the app might be meant for in-car use. Continue reading to watch the video in embedded form.
Google has released an update adding native iPad support to its Google Mobile App. Google Mobile version 0.5.0.3644 scales the user interface for the iPad’s larger screen and continues to support features from the iPhone and iPod touch version including Search by voice, My Location, Google Suggest, Contact searching and direct links to Google’s other applications and services. Google Mobile App is available from the App Store as a free download.
Tom Bihn has introduced its new Ristretto and Cache cases for the iPad. The Ristretto is a vertical messenger-style bag featuring a padded interior compartment for the iPad or other netbook-sized device, a brushed nylon interior, a main open-top compartment, a front zippered pocket, interior o-rings for attaching keys and other small items, a slanted open-top rear pocket for papers or magazines, a removable waist strap, and one of three available shoulder straps. It is available in five different colors and sells for $110. The Cache is a simple padded sleeve, offering 6mm thick foam padding, brushed tricot interior lining, a four-ply Taslan exterior, and a flap that folds and tucks into the top opening for closure. The Cache is available with a horizontal or vertical design and sells for $30.
Opera reports that its alternative mobile browser for the iPhone, Opera Mini, has been approved by Apple. First previewed at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, Opera Mini for the iPhone is intended to provide an alternative to the iPhone’s native Safari browser, promising significantly faster browsing speeds due to data compression on Opera’s servers. Opera Mini was submitted to Apple in March amidst much speculation as to whether it would be approved by Apple due to past restrictions placed on third-party browsers and other applications which duplicated existing iPhone functionality or executed third-party code on the device. While Apple has been approving other mobile browsers for the iPhone for over a year, Opera Mini is the first iPhone browser that does not use Apple’s WebKit engine. Opera Mini will be a free download and is expected to be available on the App Store within the next 24 hours.
Update: Opera Mini is now available from the App Store as a free download.
In a reply to a customer email, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has said that the original iPhone won’t be supported by future software updates. Twitter user Ven000m asked Jobs in an email if Apple would be “supporting/updating” the original iPhone in the future, to which the regularly terse Jobs replied, “sorry, no.” Apple made no mention of the original iPhone or the first-generation iPod touch during its iPhone OS 4 special event last week, where it announced that the new multitasking features would be limited to the iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod touch, with the iPhone 3G receiving a stripped down upgrade; later comments from Jobs during a Q & A session suggested the company was ceasing support for its oldest iPhone OS devices. [via Engadget]
We’ve just finished updating our iPhone OS 4 app breakdown article with tons of new screenshots showing off the major accessibility changes in the new software. Notably, iPhone OS 4 offers a new feature called Large Text, which lets users radically increase the size of text in alerts, Calendar, Contacts, Mail, Messages, and Notes, as well as support for Braille device connection, found in the VoiceOver menu. Also found in the VoiceOver settings is support for VoiceOver Phonetics and Pitch Change, which are new to the iPhone and iPod touch but were previously found on the iPad. For more on these and other changes coming in iPhone OS 4, see our full article.
According to a Twitter update from jailbreaker Will Strafach, multitasking can be enabled on the iPhone 3G by making a simple edit to a plist document. Strafach writes that all that is needed to enable the feature is to set “multitasking=TRUE” on the capabilities plist in the file “N82AP.plist;” notably, this requires root access to the device. Apple has said that it was leaving multitasking off the iPhone 3G and second-generation iPod touch due to hardware limitations. [via MacStories]
In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Adobe has admitted that Flash’s exclusion from the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad could hurt the company. “To the extent new releases of operating systems or other third-party products, platforms or devices, such as the Apple iPhone or iPad, make it more difficult for our products to perform, and our customers are persuaded to use alternative technologies, our business could be harmed,” Adobe said in the filing under a “risk factors” heading.
Apple competitor Palm Inc. is seeking potential buyers, according to a Bloomberg report. Citing three people familiar with the situation, the report states that the company, which employs many former Apple employees, including former Apple senior vice president Jon Rubinstein, is working with Goldman Sachs and Qatalyst Partners to find a buyer. HTC, Lenovo, Nokia, and China’s Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp are said to be potential purchasers.
In an interview with Reuters, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said that Apple’s introduction of its iAd mobile advertising service will help his company in its bid to complete its acquisition of mobile advertising firm AdMob. Calling the move “evidence of a highly competitive market,” Schmidt said “It just seems obvious to me. I hope it (Google’s purchase of AdMob) gets approved.” Google has been waiting for FTC regulators to approve its purchase of AdMob; a developer who talked to Reuters said the regulatory group had been contacting various application developers trying to garner support for blocking the deal. “It’s been really interesting talking to them because they are so dead set against this,” said the developer. “They have been clearly positioning to try to stop this.”
Colorware is now offering its custom coloring service for the Apple iPad. Customers can choose from a variety of solid, metallic, and pearlescent colors for the device’s back plate, logo, and home button. New 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB Wi-Fi models are available for customization; the company is offering a mail-in service for current iPad owners, as well. Colorware’s new custom colored iPads are shipping in about three weeks from the time of the order and sell for $910-$1110; the send-in service costs $410, and takes roughly three weeks once the iPad is received by the company.
Cocoon Innovations has debuted its new Harlem bag for the Apple iPad. The Harlem is a sling-style bag featuring an adjustable cross-body strap, a dedicated phone/media player pocket, a GRID-IT organizer, and zippered closure. It sells for $55 and is available now in red, gray, or black.
AppStar Games, the new game publisher recently founded by acclaimed game designers David Crane and Garry Kitchen has released its first game title. Released initially for the iPad platform only, The Iron Horse is a railroad-themed game where players must build trains by tapping the screen to connect cars as they line up. The game speeds up as the player progresses and higher point values are earned for more accurate timing in connecting train cars. The game includes cinematic widescreen graphics of the Americana landscape and numerous classic train designs. The Iron Horse is available from the App Store for $2 for the iPad; an iPhone and iPod touch version is coming soon.
LaCie has introduced a pair of new cases for the Apple iPad and other netbook-sized devices. The Coat Laptop is a vertical sleeve-style case made from neoprene and offering a soft inner lining, a zippered interior accessory pocket, and a “bubble” protective design. It comes in five different colors and sells for $15. Also available in five colors is the ForMoa, a briefcase-style accessory offering a neoprene exterior, sueded lining, three pockets, and an optional handle. It sells for $25. Both of LaCie’s new cases for the iPad are available now.
A change in the iPhone developer SDK terms has caused an uproar among some developers, including one who received a response on the matter from Apple CEO Steve Jobs. At issue is section 3.3.1, which includes a statement that “[a]pplications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited.” Although there are several products that offer such a solution, this new language most notably blocks apps developed using Adobe’s Packager for iPhone, which allows developers to create cross-platform applications using Flash Professional CS5.
After explaining his disagreement to the change, developer Greg Slepak emailed Jobs, stating that there had yet to be “a single positive reaction [to the change], even from John Gruber, your biggest fan,” and adding that the iPhone’s “SDK TOS are growing on it like an invisible cancer.” Jobs responded, pointing Slepak to a post by Gruber that Jobs said “is very insightful and not negative.” Following a second email from Slepak that claimed Gruber was wrong and that Apple is in effect “limiting creativity itself,” Jobs again responded, stating simply, “[w]e’ve been there before, and intermediate layers between the platform and the developer ultimately produces sub-standard apps and hinders the progress of the platform.”
Twitter CEO Evan Williams announced earlier tonight that Twitter has “entered into an agreement with Atebits (aka Loren Brichter) to acquire Tweetie.” Williams noted that the decision was made to enable people to easily access Twitter from their iPhone and that “careful analysis of the Twitter user experience in the iTunes App Store revealed massive room for improvement.” Twitter plans to rename the app “Twitter for iPhone” and offer it for free as the official Twitter application for the iPhone platform. Loren Brichter, developer of Tweetie, will join Twitter’s mobile team to support the continuing development of Twitter for iPhone and a future Twitter for iPad application. In his own blog, Brichter describes his work on Tweetie as having been “an amazing ride” and mentions that he is really looking forward to working with Twitter to simplify the Twitter experience and create the next generation of mobile clients. [via TUAW]