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AT&T keeps iPhone tethering on hold due to traffic concerns

In a response to an Engadget inquiry on the subject, AT&T has said that it “cannot provide any details at this time” as to when, or if, U.S. iPhone users will receive the option to use the phone’s built-in tethering feature. “We know that iPhone users love their devices and mobile broadband, and that they’re likely to embrace tethering just as they have other features and apps – by using it a lot,” the company said in its response. “iPhone tethering has the potential to exponentially increase traffic, and we need to ensure that we’re able to deliver excellent performance for the feature – over and above the increases in data traffic we’re already seeing – before we will offer the feature.” AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega said in November 2008 that tethering support would be coming “soon;” built-in support for the feature was added to the iPhone OS in June 2009, but AT&T said in October that more “fine tuning” would be required before it launched the feature.

Apple to charge $1 million for iAd deals?

Apple plans to charge close to $1 million for ads on its new iAd network, according to a new report. Citing an unnamed source familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reports that Apple has indicated it may charge as much as $10 million to be part of the initial group of advertisers on the service. Ad executives told the paper they are used to paying between $100,000 and $200,000 for similar mobile deals. Along with the lofty price tag, Apple is also making demands for greater control over advertisers’ marketing campaigns, at least initially. “It’s a hefty sum,” said Phuc Truong, managing director at Mobext, a mobile marketing business whose clients include Sears, Choice Hotels, Amtrak and Volvo. “What Apple is trying to do is certainly above and beyond what’s been done in the past.”

Despite the pricing, ad executives at agencies across the U.S. have met with Apple in recent weeks to listen to the company’s pitch for iAd. Discussions over possible deals are said to be ongoing, but several ad executives said they are beginning to look at potential creative ideas for iAd campaigns. “It was very easy to think about the several minutes of interaction time consumers can spend with the ad. It’s incredibly attractive,” said Baba Shetty, chief media officer at Boston-based ad agency Hill Holiday. Apple’s demands for creative approval, and that it build the ads itself during the first few months, are giving some agencies pause, however. “As a creative director, I can completely understand that they created this new baby and they want to make sure it gets born looking gorgeous,” said Lars Bastholm, chief digital creative officer at WPP’s Ogilvy. “But as a creative director, I don’t feel completely comfortable letting Apple do the creative.” According to the report, marketers will be able to target ads to users based on past download preferences from the iTunes Store, and by location; Apple is planning to charge one cent each time a consumer sees a banner ad, with a $2 charge if the user taps on the banner.

HP acquires Palm for $1.2 billion

HP and Palm have announced that they have reached an agreement for HP to purchase Palm at a price of $5.70 per share, or a total price of roughly $1.2 billion. The deal has been approved by both respective companies’ boards of directors. The announcement states that the “combination of HP’s global scale and financial strength with Palm’s unparalleled webOS platform will enhance HP’s ability to participate more aggressively in the fast-growing, highly profitable smartphone and connected mobile device markets. Palm’s unique webOS will allow HP to take advantage of features such as true multitasking and always up-to-date information sharing across applications.” Former Apple senior vice president and current Palm CEO and chairman Jon Rubinstein is expected to stay with the company; the move will put HP into direct competition with Apple in the smartphone category, where Palm’s Pre and Pixi smartphones compete with the iPhone.

“Palm’s innovative operating system provides an ideal platform to expand HP’s mobility strategy and create a unique HP experience spanning multiple mobile connected devices,” said Todd Bradley, executive vice president, Personal Systems Group, HP. “And, Palm possesses significant IP assets and has a highly skilled team. The smartphone market is large, profitable and rapidly growing, and companies that can provide an integrated device and experience command a higher share. Advances in mobility are offering significant opportunities, and HP intends to be a leader in this market.”

“We’re thrilled by HP’s vote of confidence in Palm’s technological leadership, which delivered Palm webOS and iconic products such as the Palm Pre. HP’s longstanding culture of innovation, scale and global operating resources make it the perfect partner to rapidly accelerate the growth of webOS,” said Jon Rubinstein, chairman and chief executive officer, Palm. ”We look forward to working with HP to continue to deliver industry-leading mobile experiences to our customers and business partners.”

Apple purchases voice-based service Siri

Apple has acquired the voice-based personal assistance and search service Siri, according to a newly-published FTC document (PDF Link). Business Insider reports that a Siri representative has confirmed the purchase, but would not comment on the financial aspects of the deal. Siri describes itself as a voice-based personal assistant, that can “help you find and plan things to do,” such as finding a dinner spot, telling you what’s playing at a local music venue, or getting tickets to a movie. The company describes the service as “young” and says it “may be awkward at times,” but also says it “will improve quickly by getting to know you better and understanding a broader set of tasks.” The current version service, which is currently only available in the U.S., is built to run on the iPhone 3GS and iPod touch. The Siri Assistant app is available now as a free download from the App Store.

Steve Jobs interview to open All Things Digital conference

Apple CEO Steve Jobs will give an on-stage, opening night interview to kick off this year’s D: All Things Digital Conference. In its eighth year, the Wall Street Journal executive conference will be held near Los Angeles, CA from June 1-3. Jobs has appeared at the conference before, most notably in 2007 when he took the stage with Microsoft Co-founder Bill Gates, as well as interviewers Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, to discuss their long history in, and the future of, the technology industry. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Oscar-winning director James Cameron, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, among others, are also scheduled to appear.

AT&T posts details of iPad Wi-Fi + 3G data plans

AT&T has posted a document online (PDF Link) with details of the company’s wireless data offerings for the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G. Notably, the data plans renew automatically, so users will have to manually cancel if they choose to use the data option on a non-recurring basis, and the charges will appear on users’ credit card bills. If a user goes over the amount of data in his or her selected plan before the 30 day period is up, they can choose to purchase another 250MB of data, or move to an unlimited plan, either of which will be good for 30 days from the date and time they activate the new plan. In addition to including either 250MB or unlimited data, both plans include unlimited access to AT&T’s network of over 20,000 Wi-Fi Hot Spots across the U.S.

iBrite turns your iPad into a Lite-Brite

aCleverTwist.com has released a new iPad app, iBrite, that allows users to relive the experience of creating artwork with a Lite-Brite without having to deal with little colored pegs. iBrite allows users to create Lite-Brite style mosaics by tapping and dragging on the screen to draw. A color palette allows users to choose from a virtually unlimited number of colors and shades and images can be saved, e-mailed or shared on Facebook. Images can also be posted on the iBrite Facebook page and entered into contests. iBrite is available from the App Store for $2.

iTeleport releases Universal update

iTeleport has released a Universal update to its popular Jaadu VNC app for accessing remote computers using the VNC protocol. iTeleport originally release a separate, iPad-only version on the day of iPad launch, but had also announced that a free Universal update would be coming for users of the existing iPhone version. The company explained that it originally released the iPad version separately due to a number of improvements to it that weren’t ready for the iPhone version and that it wanted to ensure that a native iPad version was available as early as possible. In addition to native iPad support, iTeleport 4.0 also adds a redesigned remote that allows simultaneous screen access and support for the new iTeleport Connect desktop app for simplifying remote access configuration. iTeleport: Jaadu VNC is available from the App Store for $25 and is a free update for existing users.

PayPal opens mobile payments library to developers

PayPal has announced that it has released its Mobile Payments Library for the iPhone and iPad into open beta. Originally released as a closed beta to select developers at Macworld 2010, the PayPal Mobile Payments Library allows developers to quickly and easily add checkout functionality to their iPhone apps to allow users to purchase physical goods and services directly from within the app. Several apps are already available on the App Store that use the new Mobile Payment Library, such as Baublet, an app that allows users to purchase customized charms using their PayPal accounts. The new Mobile Payments Library can be downloaded from the PayPal X Developer Network.

Urbanspoon releases native iPad app

Urbanspoon has released a native iPad version of its popular restaurant search and review application. Like its iPhone counterpart, Urbanspoon for iPad allows users to explore thousands of restaurants in their local neighbourhood or anywhere in the world. Users can filter restaurants based on neighbourhood, cuisine or price and even spin to find a random choice in their area that meets the selected criteria. Urbanspoon for iPad stores all restaurant data within the app itself so that it can be used without requiring an Internet connection; online access is required to view ratings and reviews. Urbanspoon for iPad has been released as a separate app from the iPhone version, it is available from the App Store as a free download.

Marware outs new cases for iPad

Marware has introduced a number of new cases for the Apple iPad. The Eco-Envi for iPad is an envelope sleeve-style case made from RoHS-compliant leather, featuring contrast stitching, a secure Velcro closure flap, and an environmentally-friendly fleece interior. It sells for $50. The MicroShell for iPad is a thin polycarbonate case with a flexible design to minimize stress when inserting and removing the iPad, open access to ports and controls, and either a translucent or smooth metallic finish. It sells for $40. The Eco-Envi and MicroShell are also available in a combo pack, called the Eco-Envi +, for $70.

The SportShell Convertible is a 4-in-1 modular hard shell case, offering a removable hand strap, four hinged supports that swivel out to provide either a typing or display/viewing stand, interchangeable black and clear back covers that either cover the rear of the case or allow a viewing window for 5x7 photos, graphics, or artwork, and open access to all ports and controls. It sells for $60. Finally, the SportGrip Pro for iPad is a dual-layered silicone case featuring push-through button covers, open access to other ports and controls, a thin inner layer of silicone for low-profile protection, an outer layer of silicone offering additional back and corner protection, and the ability to slide a hand in between the two layers for a more confident grip. It is available in a variety of colors and sells for $40. All of Marware’s new cases for the iPad are available for order now.

Apple sets WWDC 2010 dates for June 7-11

Apple has announced the dates for its 2010 Worldwide Developers Conference. This year’s event will be held June 7-11, in its traditional venue of Moscone West in San Francisco, CA. As with last year’s event, Apple will be providing sessions focusing on both Mac OS X and iPhone OS X, as well as web app development; although this year’s sessions appear to be more heavily focused on iPhone OS development than in previous years. For the past three years, the company has also used the event’s keynote address as a venue for iPhone-related announcements, revealing the launch date for the original iPhone in 2007, introducing the iPhone 3G at the 2008 event, and unveiling the iPhone 3GS in 2009.

“This year’s WWDC offers developers in-depth sessions and hands-on working labs to learn more about iPhone OS 4, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system,” said Scott Forstall, Apple’s senior vice president of iPhone Software. “WWDC provides a unique opportunity for developers to work side-by-side with Apple engineers and interface designers to make their iPhone and iPad apps even better.”

Apple purchase of Intrinsity confirmed

Following reports from earlier this month suggesting Apple had acquired ARM processor development company Intrinsity, the New York Times has been able to confirm the deal, which according to the report may have been worth as much as $121 million, with Apple. “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we do not comment on our purpose or plans,” said Apple spokesperson Steve Dowling. Austin, TX-based Intrinsity gained publicity for its efforts to speed up ARM CPU designs, including working with Samsung to introduce the 1GHz Hummingbird processor last July. According to the report, “many experts” in the chip industry believe that Apple relied upon Intrinsity’s Hummingbird chip as the basis for the iPad’s A4 processor.

Photo of the Week: iPad in Thailand

This week’s featured photo is from our new iPads Around the World gallery, and shows an iPad reflecting the image of a temple near Pattaya, Thailand. 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.

In celebration of the iPads Around the World Gallery launch we are giving away a $150 iTunes Gift Card. All you have to do is retweet our message and submit one or more photos of your iPad in front of a landmark and be entered for a chance to win the $150 iTunes Gift Card. The winner will be picked in a random drawing on May 1, 2010.

Apple releases iTunes 9.1.1

Apple has released iTunes 9.1.1, the latest update to its digital media management software. According to Apple’s release notes, version 9.1.1 addresses several stability issues with VoiceOver, a usability issue with VoiceOver and Genius Mixes, issues with converting songs to 128 kbps while syncing, and “other issues that improve stability and performance.” iTunes 9.1.1 is available now via Apple’s Software Update utility, and will be available as a direct download from apple.com/itunes shortly.

Game devs show iPad-to-TV with iPhone control concept

iPhone game developers Majic Jungle Software have posted a proof of concept video to YouTube showing their upcoming title Chopper 2 being run on and output from an iPad to an HDTV while a separate iPhone is used as a controller. According to the post, the setup—which uses a standard Apple Component AV Cable to connect the iPad to a 42-inch HDTV, while the iPhone is connected over Bluetooth—uses only publicly available API calls, and could conceivably be released in its current form. The post notes, however, that the initial release may not support the TV-out functionality. Continue reading to watch the video in embedded form. [via TUAW]

South Korea opens gates for iPad imports

South Korea’s communications regulator has lifted a ban on imports of the iPad, after the country’s culture minister Yu In-chon used one at a recent public press appearance. The Wall Street Journal reports that Yu In-chon used an iPad as a prop, remarking about how nicely it displays books, at a photo op to announce a new $50 million program to help develop the country’s electronic books industry. The following day, the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) said it wouldn’t stop people from importing the iPad for personal or development purposes, reversing a brief ban on imports of the device put in place due to a lack of certification of the iPad’s wireless networking features. The KCC noted that customs rules still apply; the country’s Customs Service is holding shipments that contain more than five of the tablet computers, to help prevent the importation and resale of large numbers of the devices.

ARM CEO East ‘very excited’ about iPad

Discussing the company’s record first quarter fiscal earnings, ARM Holdings CEO Warren East made several comments about the smartphone industry and Apple’s products in particular. The trend towards smartphones has continued, and continued throughout the downturn,” East said. “The smarter they get the more ARM technology they require.” According to the Telegraph, East also said the average smartphone contains three or more ARM-based processors, and generates about six times the royalties as the average standard mobile. Regarding Apple, East said he was “very excited” about the iPad, because of its potential to revolutionize the personal computing market, and dismissed rumors that Apple may be planning to purchase the company. “The iPhone acted as a great stimulus to encourage competitors to develop products to beat the iPhone,” he said. “The iPad looks like it has set the competitive bar again, and will stimulate people to do a lot of other creative things.”

Gameloft debuts Avatar HD, Ludigames re-releases

Gameloft has released new iPad “HD” versions of four more of its iPhone game titles, including James Cameron’s Avatar for iPad ($10), Secrets of the Vatican HD ($5), Hollywood The Director’s Cut HD ($5) and Frankenstein - The Dismembered Bride HD ($5). As with Gameloft’s earlier “HD” releases, the new games must be purchased separately and provide iPad-optimized versions of the corresponding iPhone games with higher resolution graphics and optimized controls suitable for the iPad screen, but do not otherwise expand on the core gameplay from their earlier iPhone releases. Gameloft’s newest games can be found on Gameloft’s App Store page.

AdMob: iPhone 3GS, iPod touch 2G dominate iPhone OS usage

According to AdMob’s March 2010 Mobile Metrics Report (PDF Link), the iPhone 3GS and second-generation iPod touch combine to generate more than 60% of worldwide iPhone OS traffic on the AdMob network. The iPhone 3GS is the most popular iPhone OS device worldwide, representing 39% of iPhone OS traffic, followed by the second-generation iPod touch with 25%, the iPhone 3G with 20%, and the third-generation iPod touch with 12%. Notably, the first-generation iPhone and iPod touch represent only 4% of worldwide iPhone OS traffic share combined, or 2% each. In terms of iPhone OS version distribution, the two most recent versions of the software dominate, with iPhone OS 3.1.3 accounting for 44% of worldwide iPhone traffic, and iPhone OS 3.1.2 following closely behind with 42%. AdMob’s metrics are based on its advertising network of more than 18,000 mobile websites and applications around the world; in March 2010, AdMob received 6.1 billion requests from iPhone OS devices.

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