The fifth edition of iLounge’s famous iPod/iPhone Book has just arrived, now with a brand-new iPad Buyers’ Guide packed in! Download the free Book today!
With more than two million iPads already sold, the need for an honest, independent look at the complete world of iPad hardware, accessories, and software has never been greater. iLounge’s new iPad Buyers’ Guide + iPod/iPhone Book 5 combines a completely updated version of the iPod/iPhone Book—our make-the-most-of-iPods and iPhones tutorial edition—with two new features: a 40-page iPad guide and six new iDesign features spotlighting outstanding developers of Apple accessories and applications. Learn the philosophies behind leading add-on designers at Incase, Speck, and SwitchEasy, as well as the fan-grabbing techniques used by App Store standouts Duck Duck Moose, PopCap Games, and Tapbots!
See official download page for more information and images.
Skype Software has launched a major update to its popular Skype application for the iPhone and iPod touch, introducing the ability for users to place VoIP calls over the cellular 3G network. Although Skype-to-Skype calls over Wi-Fi will remain free, Skype has indicated plans to charge a “small monthly fee” for placing Skype-to-Skype calls over the 3G network, suggesting that 3G calling will be based on a subscription service, rather than the per-minute system currently in place for Skype-to-phone calls. These fees would be in addition to data charges already levied by the user’s carrier. Skype plans to introduce this new fee structure in 2011, and will be providing free 3G Skype-to-Skype calling until that time. The new version also implements a new codec providing “near CD-quality sound” for Skype-to-Skype calls on iPhone 3GS, iPad and second- and third-generation iPod touch devices. Other improvements include an enhanced call quality indicator, improved start-up time, and faster access to the dial pad from the iPhone home screen. Skype is available from the App Store as a free download.
Following the initial international release of the iPad this past weekend, Apple has announced that it has sold over two million iPads—a milestone reached in “less than 60 days,” according to the company. “Customers around the world are experiencing the magic of iPad, and seem to be loving it as much as we do,” read a press release quoting Apple CEO Steve Jobs. “We appreciate their patience, and are working hard to build enough iPads for everyone.”
The release comes at a time when iPad sell-outs are common throughout the United States, which saw separate launches of the iPad with Wi-Fi and iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G in April. While the iPad with Wi-Fi was widely available in Apple Stores following its debut, waiting lines developed at Apple Stores soon thereafter as demand began to exceed supply, and have continued in certain parts of the country for weeks. Apple Stores now take non-binding reservations for iPad hardware, and suggest ordering online for fastest fulfillment, which takes between one and two weeks from the date of order.
Time is running out on our Vaja $100 Gift Code Giveaway. In our Giveaway of the Month for May, iLounge and Vaja are giving away five $100 Gift Codes good towards purchases made at VajaCases.com. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end on May 31, 2010 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!
AT&T is preparing to offer insurance plans for iPhone users, with pricing set at $14 per month, according to a new report. The Boy Genius Report has posted photos showing internal AT&T documents outlining the new service, which will be called MobileProtect and will be activated by downloading an app from the App Store. According to the report, the plan will be run by Asurion, with monthly charges billed through the app to the user’s iTunes account. In addition to the monthly charge, the plan will also include deductibles ranging from $99 for an 8GB iPhone 3G to $199 for a 32GB iPhone 3GS, and must be activated within 30 days of upgrading or purchasing a new iPhone.
The rush of new iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G owners looking to activate their devices has brought down the activation server of Vodafone UK. Macworld UK reports that a Vodafone call center said “the server has now been down for a couple of hours” and that the company currently can’t activate any Micro SIM devices. Both Vodafone and Orange in the UK require iPad users to call in for activation, while O2 customers can activate their service from within the iPad itself, similar to how AT&T activation operates in the U.S. Vodafone has thus far been unable to offer an estimated time when its system might be back up and running.
The latest edition of iLounge Weekly, our weekly newsletter covering all things iLounge, is coming later today. iLounge Weekly is a summary of the week’s best news, reviews, and feature articles we’ve published, and it also features giveaways and iPod accessory discount offers from various companies. There’s still plenty of time to sign up and receive this week’s edition — just use the simple form below to submit your email address, if you haven’t done so already.
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The next Apple TV will be based on the iPhone’s operating system and will sell for $99, according to a new report. Citing an anonymous tip which was confirmed by a source “very close to Apple,” Engadget reports that the next Apple TV will share its architecture with the fourth-generation iPhone, including an A4 CPU and a limited amount of storage—16GB, according to the report—while offering full 1080p HD output. The report also claims that the device will be “quite small” and will feature only a power socket and video output for ports, having been described by some as “an iPhone without a screen.” The device is said to be focused on cloud-based storage, with an option to use a Time Capsule as on-site external storage, and while no definitive word was provided as to whether the device will utilize the App Store and its application library, Engadget speculates that such a move would make sense. Finally, the report claims that the new Apple TV won’t be unveiled at WWDC, but that development on the device is “full steam ahead.”
An AT&T executive recently claimed that four out of every 10 iPhones the company sells go to enterprise users, according to a ZDNet report. Speaking at the Barclays Capital Communications, Media and Technology conference, Ron Spears, CEO of AT&T’s Business Solutions unit made several comments regarding the iPhone, including its transition to an enterprise-ready device. “Four out of 10 sales of the iPhone are made to enterprise users,” Spears explained. “When the iPhone came out, what most people heard in the first year from ‘07 to ‘08 was oh my God, it’s not BlackBerry secure. This is not going to work on the enterprise space… by the time the 3G came out in ‘08 they had solved about 80% of the security issues.” Spears also provided a glimpse into how AT&T itself uses the iPhone for company business. “Most of our monthly reporting is all built into an app that gets updated when our systems get updated, and we do an automatic fetch,” he said. “And any time I want to look at where we sort of sit from a financial point of view in ABS, it now resides on my iPhone as an app. So it starts to change the way you think about governing your business. It changes the speed with which you can make decisions.”
Apple today officially launched the iPad in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. iPadevice has posted photos from the device’s launch in Italy, while SetteB.IT has posted a video from the Italian launch as well as photos from the Apple Store in Osaka, Japan. MacPlus has posted video from the Apple Store Louvre in Paris, France, and iFun.de has posted a picture from the device’s German launch. More information on international iPad pricing and data plans can be found in our Complete Guide to International iPad Pricing + Service Providers.
NBC and Time Warner have told Apple that they won’t be converting their online videos to the iPhone- and iPad-friendly H.264 format, according to a New York Post report. Citing unnamed sources, the report claims that Time Warner, NBC Universal, and several other large media companies have said they will not convert their video libraries over to a non-Flash format, citing expense and the fact that most other devices support Adobe’s software. The report also claims that the media companies feel they are in a better negotiating position following the announcement of Google TV, and the expected launch of Flash-compatible tablets from companies such as Dell and HP. Notably, CNN, which is owned by Time Warner, has reformatted its online videos to be iPhone- and iPad-compatible, and is listed on Apple’s page of “iPad ready” websites, alongside fellow Time Warner property Sports Illustrated.
A number of iPad customers who pre-ordered their devices have received their iPads early. TUAW reports that it has received tips from readers in Germany, Italy, and the UK that their iPads have already arrived; it is likely that some customers in other international launch countries may have already received their units, as well. Apple will officially launch the iPad in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK tomorrow, Friday, May 28.
Apple has posted an online application for authors looking to publish and sell their own works on the iBookstore. A new page on Apple’s iTunes Connect developer/media portal reveals the technical requirements for distributing content on the iBookstore, including an Intel-based Mac running OS X 10.5 or later, at least 1GB of RAM, QuickTime 7.0.3 or later, at least 10GB of available hard drive space, and a broadband Internet connection. Book content needs to have an ISBN number for each title intended for distribution, and be submitted in the EPUB format, capable of passing Epubcheck 1.0.5. Finally, publishers will need a U.S. Tax ID and a valid iTunes Store account. The page also notes that Apple does not pay partners until they have reached certain payment requirements and earnings thresholds in each territory, and suggests that certain authors may receive payments faster by working with an Apple-approved aggregator. [via Mac|Life]
Apple is now allowing Canadian iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users to purchase apps using iTunes Gift Cards. Citing reader reports, iPhone in Canada notes that prior to this week, Canadian iTunes Gift Cards could only be used to purchase movies, videos, and music from the iTunes Store; the cards are sold in $15, $25, $50, and $100 dominations. The report states that Apple has yet to update its support pages relating to the topic.
H2O Audio has introduced its new Surge Contact Waterproof Headset. Good for use up to 12 feet underwater, the Surge Contact features an in-ear design, neodymium drivers, varying sizes of included elastomer and foam earplugs for a secure fit, and an in-line microphone with single remote button to allow for use with the iPhone, iPod touch, or other compatible device. H2O Audio’s Surge Contact Waterproof Headset is available for order now and is expected to ship June 14 for $70.
Travis Boatman, EA Mobile’s vice president of worldwide studios, made several comments regarding the iPad in a recent interview with Mobile Entertainment. “We’re really pleased with the results so far,” Boatman said. “It’s been a successful launch given the track record of Apple, and we’ve invested in it appropriately. iPad isn’t quite a mobile phone, but it has a lot of the characteristics of the type of device that plays well with our gameplay: it’s a portable device with digital distribution.” Calling the iPad a “destination device,” Boatman explained that the usage patterns of iPad users are changing how the company looks at developing games for the device. “We’re deepening the scope of the games, because people really do decide to sit down with it on their laps and play for longer periods of time. That affects the kind of games we build.”
Both Vodafone and 3 in Australia have announced their data plans and rates for the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G. Vodafone is offering four monthly plans, including 250MB of data for $10 (AU), 1GB for $15 (AU), 4GB for $30 (AU), and Unlimited data for $50 (AU), as well as 6GB of data good for 180 days for $100 (AU) and 12GB of data good for one year for $150. 3 is offering four pre-paid plans, with 500MB of data + 1GB bonus data for $15 (AU) monthly, 2GG + 2GB bonus for $30 (AU) monthly, 4GB of data + 2GB bonus data for $50 (AU) monthly , and 12GB of data per year for $150 (AU). [Thanks, Albert]
Without citing any sources, the Boy Genius Report claims that AT&T has told its employees that the next-generation iPhone will launch in June, adding that “from what we’ve heard, it won’t even be late June.” Apple CEO Steve Jobs is expected to unveil the device during his 2010 WWDC keynote address on June 7.
Star Without Wars has introduced its Fantabulos Case for the iPad (Pictured). The sleeve-style case is made from 100% polyester felt, and features colorful, soft inner lining, a vertical design, and an elastic band for keeping the top flap closed. Star Without Wars’ Fantabulos Case for the iPad is available now and sells for $25.
V-Moda has announced that its Crossfade LP headphones are now available. Previewed by iLounge in January, the Crossfade LP are over-the-ear headphones featuring memory foam ear cushions, a steel frame, patent-pending 50mm dual-diaphragm drivers, two included, detachable Kevlar-reinforced fabric cables, one with a three-button remote and mic for use with the iPhone, iPad, and iPod, and an included exoskeleton carrying case. V-Moda’s Crossfade LP headphones are available now in white, chrome, and gunmetal black and sell for $250.
The number of devices in the United States running Google’s Android operating system is closing in on the number of iPhones in the country, according to AdMob’s April 2010 Mobile Metrics Report (PDF LInk). As of April, AdMob saw requests from 10.7 million unique iPhones, compared to 8.7 million Android devices. When the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch are taken together, they amount to 18.3 million devices. The situation is not the same worldwide, however. Globally, AdMob saw requests from 11.6 million unique Android devices, compared to 27.4 million iPhones. Again, when the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch are taken together, this number is much higher—40.8 million globally. Overall, only 44% of iPhone OS requests are from the U.S, compared to 75% for Android. AdMob’s metrics are based on its advertising network of more than 23,000 mobile websites and applications around the world.
Apple has said in a statement that it is “saddened and upset” by the recent suicides at manufacturing partner Foxconn. Reuters reports that Apple’s comments come as Foxconn and its parent company Hon Hai are launching a PR campaign to counter growing concerns about the company’s handling of its employees. “We are saddened and upset by the recent suicides at Foxconn,” Apple said in a statement. “We are in direct contact with Foxconn senior management and we believe they are taking this matter very seriously. A team from Apple is independently evaluating the steps they are taking to address these tragic events and we will continue our ongoing inspections of the facilities where our products are made.”
Hon Hai Chairman Terry Gou has also spoken out about his concern over the ongoing employee suicides, with nine so far this year. “I’m very concerned about this. I can’t sleep every night,” said Gou. “From a scientific point of view, I’m not confident we can stop every case. But, as a responsible employer, we have to take up the responsibility of preventing as many as we can.” Foxconn is an Apple manufacturing partner on the iPhone, iPod, iPad, and Mac product lines.
The Justice Department is looking into Apple’s business practices in the market for digital music, according to a New York Times report. Citing several people briefed on conversations between Justice Department staff, major music labels and Internet music companies, the report states that the antitrust inquiry is in its early stages, and talks thus far have broadly dealt with selling music online. In particular, investigators have asked about allegations that Apple used its dominant position in the market to keep music labels from giving Amazon early access to new release music. Billboard reported in March that Apple had begun pressuring labels to stop participating in Amazon’s MP3 Daily Deal promotions after the latter began asking for one-day exclusives prior to the featured albums’ release dates as well as digital marketing support in exchange for Daily Deal placement. Apple commands a 69 percent share of the digital music market, according to data from the NPD Group, compared to only 8 percent for second-place Amazon MP3.