Incase has announced its lineup of new accessories for the iPad. The Grip Protective Cover is a silicone rubber case that offers two molded rails on the back for added comfort when holding the iPad in landscape orientation, direct access to all buttons and ports, and an included stand. It is available in two colors and sells for $40. The Protective Cover is also a silicone rubber skin, offering direct access to all ports and controls and an included stand. It comes in four colors and also sells for $40. Like the company’s prior sleeves for Apple’s laptop computers, the Neoprene Sleeve Plus is a form-fitting neoprene case offering a protective interior border, perforated spine, faux fur interior lining, and a zippered closure. It sells for $40, as does the Neoprene Slip Sleeve Plus, a thinner form-fitting neoprene case with a slip opening and cushioned faux fur interior.
The Convertible Book Jacket appears to have been inspired by the covers of Moleskine notebooks, and offers direct access to all ports and controls, an elastic band closure, and the ability to serve as a stand with multiple viewing positions. It comes in black only and sells for $60, as does the Travel Kit Plus, a nylon case featuring a plush faux fur-lined dedicated iPad compartment, cable management, and padded Velcro interior pockets for the included stand, USB drives, earbuds, and the Apple wireless keyboard. Finally, the company has updated its single USB port Combo Charger and Car Charger to offer iPad compatibility; they sell for $40 and $25, respectively.
iLounge has just posted its gallery of iPad unboxing photos online. The images include those of the iPad, pictures of Apple’s first official iPad accessories, as well as pictures of the device being tested for compatibility in the large variety of cases we’ve received. Notably, only one case—the Griffin FlexGrip Case—had any compatibility problems, those being with the microphone and headphone port hole; all of Griffin’s other cases fit without a problem. It is also possible that the Vaja Retro Slim Jacket’s magnets may rub on the iPad as it’s inserted into and removed from the case. Be sure to keep an eye on our Flickr account for more photos of the iPad.
Google has announced a new iPad-optimized version of its Gmail for Mobile HTML5 web app. Launched last year for the iPhone and Android platform, the GMail for mobile web app provides an optimized browsing experience on the iPhone and iPod touch and uses HTML5 to provide a native app-like experience in the web browser. For the iPad browser, Google has created a two-pane view to take advantage of the larger screen. In the new iPad web app, the list of messages and conversations appears on the left with detailed messages appearing on the right, similar to the iPad’s built-in Mail application. To access the new site, users merely need to visit gmail.com in their iPad web browser, and can also add a home screen icon for easier access in the same manner as on the iPhone and iPod touch. Google notes that its other web-based apps have not yet been specifically optimized for the iPad, but that it has evaluated the behaviour of each app using the iPad Simulator to serve the desktop or mobile user interfaces based on which user experience it thinks will be the best for iPad users.
Based on iLounge’s initial iPad purchases this morning, we can now confirm that the iPad arrives in its box in need of a brief unlocking via iTunes on a PC or Mac. This unlock does not appear to automatically start a sync with the copy of iTunes used to perform the task, and takes only a brief amount of time. When purchasing an iPad at an Apple retail store, customers are being offered the option of having an employee unlock the device; customers may also choose to have the employee go through an entire setup process with them before they leave the store. Notably, these early iPad units are arriving with the latest version of iPhone OS 3.2 installed, as no software update is required.
Apple has posted a number of videos showing off a handful of launch day iPad applications. Featured on the new “Apps for iPad” page are The Elements, Real Racing HD, Marvel Comics, The Wall Street Journal, Epicurious, MLB.com At Bat 2010, E*TRADE Mobile Pro, Asphalt 5, Scrabble, F1 2010, and Labyrinth 2 HD. Notably, the video for EA’s Scrabble shows off the game’s ability to use iPhone and iPod touch units as personal tile racks, with the players “flicking” the desired tiles over to the main iPad game board. The company has also changed the main graphic on its home page to a large image of the iPad with the text “iPad is here.”
According to reports from iLounge editors and across the web, lines are growing outside Apple retail stores in anticipation of the iPad’s official launch at 9:00 a.m. Our editor at the Walden Galleria store in Buffalo, NY, the crowd is split up into two lines—one for customers with reservations, and one for those without—with the lines roughly equal in size. Notably, the customers in line have been told that the store has plenty of iPads on hand, so many in fact that customers who made reservations are being allowed to upgrade the capacity of their iPads to 64GB if they like, although this moves them out of the reservations line and into the general purchasing pool, and customers can even expand their single iPad reservations to two units. Unsurprisingly, several iPhone developers who are anxious to test their iPad apps on a real device are among the first people in line at the Galleria store, a situation likely similar to that of other stores across the country. A small number of accessories are also being shown, including Apple’s iPad Case, Dock, and VGA Adapter, along with cases from Belkin, Hard Candy, Incase, and Speck. We will continue to update this post as more information comes in; if you’d like to share your line photos and notes with us, please email news (at) ilounge.com and include your name and Apple Store location.
Update x1: The line at the Walden Galleria store has grown by roughly 60 people over the last 45-50 minutes, from 90 to 150 customers.
Update x2: The crowd at the Walden Galleria store was roughly 300 people by the time the store opened; we’ve added pics of the iPad window display and in-store display below.
Update x3: A crowd is beginning to gather outside the South Coast Plaza store in Costa Mesa, CA. Pictures from that location are available below.
Update x4: More photos from the South Coast Plaza store have been added.
Craig Rothwell, inventor of the iControlPad peripheral for jailbroken iPhones, has taken issue with a recently-published Apple patent application that appears to describe a device much like his own. Entitled “Accessory For Playing Games With A Portable Electronic Device,” the application describes a controller-like accessory—with standard game controller buttons—with a recess in the center into which a user can place a touchscreen gaming device. Variations on the design include one with a rotating dock connector for connection to the device, one which connects wirelessly, and one that offers wireless connectivity to other devices.
In a post titled “An extremely sinister development,” Rothwell said he and his colleagues “were very very surprised to see that Apple have [sic] allegedly filed a patent for our original iControlPad design some 6 months after we revealed it,” promising to give “More updates once we get a more clear picture of what the h—- is going on.” Development on the iControlPad dates back to May 2008, while Apple’s application was filed in September 2008. [via Pocket Gamer]
Apple may have acquired ARM processor development company Intrinsity. Citing several LinkedIn profiles of former Intrinsity employees, as well as a separate report that the company had been sold, Mac Rumors reports that 16 former Intrinsity employees are now listing Apple as their current employer, several with a job change date of April 2010. According to the report, Intrinsity was gaining attention for its efforts to speed up ARM CPU designs, including working with Samsung to introduce the 1GHz Hummingbird processor last July. It remains possible that Apple has also simply recruited some of the company’s key talent, but given prior rumors of the company’s sale, it seems unlikely; Apple uses ARM-based processors in the iPhone and iPod touch, and the company’s new A4 processor that powers the iPad is believed to be based on ARM technology, as well.
A new set of photographs (PDF Link) showing off the inside of the iPad W-Fi have been published by the FCC. The Wi-Fi iPad contains a 3.75V 24.8 Watt-Hour battery, twin antennas—one routed to the rear Apple logo, and one routed to the volume button area—and a comparatively small logic board. The vast majority of the interior space is taken up by the battery; notably, the unit also includes dual speakers, a detail mentioned briefly in some of the early reviews of the device.
Update: iFixit.com has discovered and posted two images of the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G internals from the FCC. The images show the black antenna housing on the top of the 3G model, which does not appear to have any noticeable slot for the microSIM card, as well as the GPS antenna, which is attached to the backside of the display assembly.
A number of noteworthy iPad-optimized applications have hit the App Store ahead of the device’s April 3 launch. Below is a list of some of the titles we consider to be the most interesting, important, or otherwise worth mentioning.
Pandora Media has released a new universal version of its free Pandora Radio app offering an enhanced iPad interface.
Smule has released Magic Piano, an iPad-specific virtual instrument app.
Social networking service Loopt has released Loopt Pulse, offering location-based event, restaurant, entertainment, and nightlife search.
Chillingo has released Cogs HD, an iPad version of its well-received game for the iPhone and iPod touch, along with 13 other games.
Apple has updated its iTunes Store Terms & Conditions ahead of the iPad’s launch, revealing a few minor details about the device’s functionality. Most notably, and despite reports indicating that the formats were developed with the iPad in mind, the initial iPad software will not offer support for iTunes Extras or iTunes LP content. The new terms state, “iTunes LP and iTunes Extras Products are usable only on computers with iTunes 9 or higher and Apple TV with software version 3.0 or higher,” adding that if the user purchases a album or movie that includes such content, it won’t be downloaded to the iPad, but instead will be placed in the user’s download queue for later downloading via iTunes. In addition, the terms also state that movies rented using the iPad may not be moved from the device, mirroring the behavior of movies rented on the Apple TV.
Hyundai has announced that it will be bundling an iPad with its new flagship Equus sedan. USA Today reports that the iPad will serve as the $50,000-plus luxury sedan’s “interactive” owner’s manual, but will also be available for regular use. In addition, owners will be able to use the device to schedule service appointments. “Many will respond positively to the inclusion of an iPad, not because they needed or planned to buy one, but simply because it is topical and cool,” said William Matthies of research firm Coyote Insight. Hyundai hopes to sell about 3,000 Equus sedans next year. [via MDN]
Speck has introduced its new PixelShield and PixelSleeve Plus cases for the iPad. Both cases feature a textured neoprene exterior, furry fleece interior lining, and flexible plastic reinforcement in between. the PixelShield offers a simple vertical design with a covered slat for inserting the iPad and an integrated handle, while the PixelSleeve Plus features a horizontal design, a zippered closure, and a low-profile carry handle. In addition, both cases are said to be airport security-friendly, eliminating the need to remove the iPad from the case. Both cases will be available beginning tomorrow and sell for $40 each. For more information on the Speck PixelShield for iPad, see our First Look article.
Apple has posted details of the iPad’s integration into its MobileMe service. The $99/year subscription service will offer push email, calendar, contacts, and bookmarks syncing on the iPad; the company’s current iDisk application for the iPhone and iPod touch is listed as compatible with the iPad, although no new iPad-specific version is mentioned on Apple’s dedicated webpage. In addition, the iPad will be compatible with the “Find My iPad” service, which allows users to remotely locate their iPads, play sounds and/or display messages; if the iPad is believed to be completely lost, the service also offers a Remote Wipe feature that can be used to remotely lock it with a passcode, or remove all of the users’ data.
iPadSock.net is now offering a range of iPad Socks. Inspired by Apple’s iPod Socks, these fabric sleeves resemble ribbed, square-bottomed socks, cut to iPad-friendly dimensions, and featuring a small iPad tag at the top. Available in nine different color schemes, iPad Socks are available now and sell for $15 each.
iPad updates for existing applications have begun to appear in the App Store. Rather than releasing separate iPad versions of their apps, some developers have chosen to release “Universal” updates to the existing apps, providing both iPhone and iPad support in the same application package. Universal apps are denoted on the App Store by a small Plus sign beside the purchase button in the app listings, similar to the icon that was formerly used to denote iTunes Plus music tracks. A note also appears on the App Store page for Universal apps indicating that “This app is designed for both iPhone and iPad” and Universal apps will appear in search results under both the general Apps and the new “iPad Apps” headings. The App Store page for Universal apps now includes a selection button above the screenshots where users to choose to view either iPhone or iPad screenshots for the app.
Some of the apps that have been updated with iPad support include Instapaper Pro, LogMeIn Ignition, IMDb, Evernote, WordPress, and Now Playing. Despite the packaging of content for both platforms into a single app, most of the Universal app updates do not show a significant increase in size over their previous versions. As with all previous iPhone OS app updates each of these are available free to existing users, and new users gain the benefit of paying one price for a single app that will run on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
A select group of independent Apple Specialist retailers will be offering the iPad beginning this Saturday, according to an AppleInsider report. Citing people familiar with the matter, the report states that the selected retailers were forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement before being allowed into the program, meaning they couldn’t pre-advertise the availability of the iPad or any of its accessories. Specific locations that will be offering the iPad are currently unknown; Apple in a recent announcement mentioned only its own stores and “most” Best Buy locations as launch retailers, although it did say that the iPad would be sold though “select Apple Authorized Resellers and campus bookstores” without indicating when those locations would begin sales.
iPad applications have begun to appear in the App Store in advance of Saturday’s launch of the iPad. Although no specific front-page promotions or categories are yet appearing, searches on the App Store are showing results in separate categories for “Apps” and “iPad Apps.” Titles that have already begun to appear include iPad versions of such popular games as Gameloft’s N.O.V.A. HD, Firemint’s Real Racing HD, and 2K Games’ Civlization Revolution for iPad. Popular apps include NewsGator’s NetNewsWire for iPad, Culture Code’s Things for iPad and The Iconfactory’s Twitterrific for iPad. Apple’s own iWork applications, including Keynote are also now available. iPad versions of prior games generally appear to consume between 50% and 100% more storage capacity than their predecessors, though the exact amount varies from title to title, and some have much smaller size differences. Prices for iPad apps are often higher than for their iPhone/iPod touch counterparts, with certain EA titles going for $10 to $15 each, and many other updated games now selling in the $5 to $10 range.
The U.S. International Trade Commission has announced that it is launching an investigation into whether HTC is guilty of patent infringement, as Apple claims. According to the announcement, the products being investigated “relate to hardware and software used in mobile communication devices, including but not limited to cellular phones and smartphones.” Apple filed a complaintand an accompanying lawsuit against HTC in early March, claiming infringement on “20 Apple patents related to the iPhone’s user interface, underlying architecture and hardware.” HTC later released a statement saying it disagreed with Apple actions and that it would “fully defend itself.”
Apple has posted a list of major websites which have prepared themselves for the iPad. Among the sites listed are CNN, Reuters, The New York Times, Vimeo, Time, Major League Baseball, The White House, Virgin America, Sports Illustrated, Flickr, People Magazine, and TED. Repeatedly, the small descriptions for each site mention HTML5 video players, possibly in an effort to quell fears that the device’s lack of Flash support will hinder users’ ability to fully experience websites. Also appearing on the page is a link to submit sites that are “taking advantage of the latest web standards,” as well as a link to an Apple developer technical note explaining how to prepare web content for iPad.