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.
Activision has released its top-rated action sports game, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 for the iPhone and iPod touch. In Pro Skater 2 players ride as Tony Hawk or choose from one of 12 other featured pros to skate in any of 13 different tracks. Players must master signature pro moves and tricks to win competitions and advance in the game by earning virtual cash which to purchase additional in-game moves and alternate boards. Users can choose to play with either traditional controls or use an enhanced control set that takes advantage of the iPhone and iPod touch accelerometer. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 is available from the App Store for $10.
Appadvice reports that Netflix has developed an official application for the iPad to be available in the App Store starting April 3rd. The Netflix iPad app is expected to be a free download but will require users to have an unlimited Netflix plan to access content. The app will allow iPad users to stream TV shows and movies from the Netflix catalog and browse and manage their Netflix queue from within the app. Users can also synchronize viewing status with the Netflix service in order to continue watching a movie from where they left off on another device. It is unclear at this time whether Netflix streaming will be supported over a 3G connection or only over Wi-Fi or whether an iPhone version of the application will also be available. [via PC World]
The Wall Street Journal reports that CBS and ABC are preparing to stream selected television content to the iPad. The networks will adopt a model similar to traditional broadcast television, with the shows being free and ad-supported. CBS plans to stream their content directly to the Safari browser while ABC will use a separate ABC Player iPad application. CBS plans to have full episodes of its reality series “Survivor” available by Saturday from its web site as well as promotional clips of several other shows. [via Mac Rumors]
Apple has posted its latest iPhone 3GS television commercial online. Entitled “Commute,” the ad continues Apple’s recent trend of iPhone advertisements that are more testimonial in nature, and features a male narrator explaining how he missed his train, was able to check on the next one from the phone, received a phone call asking about a document that he was able to retrieve and email while on the call, and spent the rest of his commute watching streaming video. The new TV ad is available for viewing now on Apple’s website.
The first reviews of the iPad are in from Apple’s hand-picked group of technology columnists, and while they mostly skim over the device’s features in a manner that leaves plenty to be discovered, several of the reviews contain tiny nuggets of new information.
British comedian and writer Stephen Fry claims in his piece for Time that the book Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne, shown in Apple’s promotional materials for the iPad, will be “bundled with every iPad;” given that the iBooks reader application is not pre-installed on the iPad, it is unclear whether the title will actually be pre-loaded onto the device itself, accessible for free only after downloading the iBooks app from the App Store, or whether it will be included in the iBooks download package as a full sample book.
Andy Ihnatko, in his review for the Chicago Sun-Times, states that the iPad allows applications to inform the OS of what types of files they handle, such that if an email attachment is received and the user attempts to open it, an “Open In…” button appears, providing a list of apps that can work with the given file type.
Other reviews, published by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, PC Magazine, and Boing Boing offer comparatively little in the way of new information about the iPad apart from the reviewers’ own opinions and experiences, which predictably reflect tremendous exuberance with only modest caveats. The most notable new information they collectively contain is a range of runtime results suggesting that the iPad generally outperforms Apple’s 10-hour promised battery life by as much as an hour and a half, but may fall half an hour short of the claim.
iLounge is pleased to announce the Yamaha Earphone Giveaway. In our Giveaway of the Month for April, iLounge and Yamaha are giving away 20 pairs of Yamaha EPH-30 Earphones. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end on April 30, 2010 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!
JaDu Industries has unveiled its upcoming Skadoosh stand for the Apple iPad. Made from aluminum, the Skadoosh uses an adjustable, lockable “rocker” to hold the iPad at the desired angle in either horizontal or vertical orientation; when placed horizontally, the Dock Connector is accessible for charging purposes. Other features include a flip-out rear support and an included carrying pouch. JaDu’s Skadoosh stand for iPad will be available in early May and will sell for around $60.