Apple has signed an agreement with DSGi to sell the iPad in the U.K. at 139 Currys, PC World, and Dixons Travel outlet shops from launch, 60 days before rivals Comet, Tesco, John Lewis, and the Carphone Warehouse. The Times Online, citing an internal DSGi staff memo, reports that the iPad will go on sale at 9 a.m. local time Friday in 70 PC World stores, 28 Curry shops, 22 Dixons Travel outlets, and 19 combined PC World/Currys stores. The memo also said that “[d]emand is expected to be high, mirroring what happened in the US,” and added that a detailed list of which stores will be offering the tablet will be posted online this week. Apple began taking online iPad pre-orders, the initial allotment of which quickly sold out, on May 10 in the U.K., but otherwise only operates 27 of its own stores in the region, hence the need for a third-party retail launch partner in addition to the country’s Apple Premium Resellers.
Microsoft has announced that Robbie Bach, president of the company’s Entertainment and Devices (E&D) Division, and J Allard, senior vice president of Design and Development for E&D, are leaving the company. Bach will remain with the company through the fall to oversee the transition, while Allard will take an official advisory role at the company. Both Bach and Allard were instrumental in the creation and continued development of the Xbox and Zune brands, and through the E&D division also oversaw the company’s mobile phone efforts, including Windows Phone and the KIN project. A recent report claimed that Allard made the decision to leave the company after it decided not to move forward with its Courier dual-screen tablet concept, which Allard had championed.
Apple has launched its annual Back to School promotion, through which it offers college students and faculty or staff members at any grade level a free iPod with the purchase of select Macs at education pricing. This year, the company is offering a free 8GB iPod touch—or a maximum rebate of $199 should the purchaser select another iPod model—with the purchase of a new MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac, or Mac Pro computer. The promotion runs from May 25 through September 7; for more information, see the official Terms and Conditions page.
Apple has tapped Academy Award-winner Sam Mendes to direct its TV advertisements for the next-generation iPhone. Citing a trusted source as well as a pair of Twitter updates, Engadget reports that Mendes, who won the Oscar for Best Director in 2000 for American Beauty, will direct the new commercials, at least one of which will feature a mother and daughter having a video chat conversation using the new front-facing camera. Auditions for the commercials are being held in New York and California, according to the report; Apple CEO Steve Jobs is expected to announce the next-generation iPhone on June 7 during his keynote address at the company’s WWDC event.
AT&T will bring its first-ever free outdoor Wi-Fi hot spot online today in New York City’s Times Square, in an effort to battle the network traffic congestion caused by smartphone, and most prominently iPhone, users. The Wall Street Journal reports that pedestrians using AT&T smartphones will be able to connect over Wi-Fi at no charge when in range of the hot spot, which is located new 7th Ave. between 45th and 47th Streets. “It’s a very large data off-load in a venue where traditionally data would go over our old voice and data network,” Mike Maus, who oversees AT&T’s New York network, told the WSJ. AT&T also said it may expand the trial to up to three other U.S. cities; although it declined to say where, San Francisco would be a likely choice, given the company’s past congestion problems in the area.
Walmart has announced that it is now offering the 16GB iPhone 3GS for $97. Like all past iPhones, these discounted iPhone 3GS units are new and require a two-year contract with AT&T. With Apple CEO Steve Jobs expected to unveil the next-generation iPhone during his June 7 WWDC keynote address, it is possible that the price drops are a precursor to Apple discontinuing the 8GB iPhone 3G, which is currently sold for roughly $100, and replacing it with the 16GB iPhone 3GS, while the new models fill in the traditional $199 and $299 price points. Notably, neither Apple nor AT&T has yet to drop their prices on 16GB iPhone 3GS models.
Sound ID has debuted its new, app-compatible 510 Bluetooth Headset. The 510 uses three microphones and sound processing to help eliminate background noise, and features an in-ear design, touch sensor volume controls, a dedicated on/off switch, multi-point technology to allow for connection of multiple devices at once, and an environmental mode to allow the user to hear the surrounding environment while wearing the headset. In addition, the 510 is compatible with Sound ID’s free EarPrint app for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, which allows users to tune the audio to match their preferences, and offers a visual battery meter indicator and a find my headset feature. Sound ID’s 510 Bluetooth Headset will be available from AT&T and Sound ID’s website beginning June 6 and is priced at $130.
Modgrain has introduced its Modern Wood Stand for the iPad (Pictured). Made from birch wood, the stand features large wooden corners to hold the iPad securely, works in horizontal or vertical orientation, and is supported at a 35 or 50 degree angle by an aluminum bracket that can optionally be mounted to a wall. Modgrain’s Modern Wood Stand for the iPad is available now and sells for $59.
WedgePad has released the WedgePad R1, a new soft iPad stand featuring a bean bag design. It can be used at a 30 or 45 degree angle, and features bands in all four corners for holding the iPad securely, as well as a soft fabric surface. The WedgePad R1 is available now and is priced at $27.
iGear USA is now offering its Metallic Adjustable Stand for the iPad. This stand features a folding design, adjustable legs that allow for six viewing positions from 11 to 60 degrees, the ability to support the iPad in horizontal or vertical orientation, and an included carrying pouch. iGear USA’s Metallic Adjustable Stand for the iPad is available now and sells for $60.
ClayWare Games has debuted its Pad Bracket, a simple wall mounting system for the iPad. Made from anodized aluminum, the Pad Bracket screws into the wall and can hold the iPad securely in horizontal or vertical position. The Pad Bracket is available for pre-order now and is expected to ship in June for $25.
Coregeek is now accepting pre-orders for its EasyStand for iPad (Pictured). Made from MDF, the EasyStand is a four-inch square, 1.5-inch tall stand for the iPad with two felt-lined slots at 20 and 35 degrees, a metallic black or metallic silver enameled finish, and non-slip rubber feet. Coregeek’s EasyStand for iPad is expected to ship in two weeks and sells for $15.
Elgato has unveiled its new EyeTV HD digital video recorder solution for Mac. Interfacing with the computer via USB, the EyeTV HD features component video and stereo audio inputs, with a break-out cable for standard definition composite and S-Video input. The box is designed to connect to an existing satellite or cable set-top box, with an IR blaster for control via the EyeTV 3 software. It records in H.264-formatted video, and has a unique dual-format capture mode that can record iPad- and iPhone-formatted video simultaneously. Other features include the ability to stream live TV to an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch over Wi-Fi or 3G using the $5 EyeTV app, and one year of free program guide data from TV Guide; renewals cost $20 per year. Elgato’s EyeTV HD DVR for Mac requires a computer with a 2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor or better, 2GB of RAM, and Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later, and sells for $200.
Another next-generation iPhone prototype has appeared online, this time sporting a white faceplate. Engadget, citing Chinese site Apple.pro, reports that the faceplate of the prototype does not appear to have been snapped in all the way, hovering some distance above the white Home button and metal sides, but otherwise appears to be legitimate, appearing the photo next to a black prototype similar to the one obtained and photographed by Gizmodo. Several supposed white next-generation iPhone faceplates had previously appeared online, but this is the first time one has been pictured attached to a full prototype unit, lending credence to the idea that Apple may be planning to announce both white and black models of its next-generation iPhone, with the white model becoming the first iPhone OS device to feature a non-black front.
Over 700,000 iPhones have been sold in South Korea since the device went on sale last November, according to a Korea Herald report. An average of 4,000 per day have been sold since the launch, notes KT, the iPhone’s exclusive carrier in South Korea. It took the handset 27 days to go from 500,000 to 600,000 subscribers but only 25 days to add another 100,000, indicating that sales of the iPhone in Korea are accelerating despite delayed purchases from some consumers waiting for the arrival of a new model this summer. Finally, the report states that the number of Korea-developed iPhone apps is approaching 6,000, from roughly 600 registered developers.
Apple has announced that CEO Steve Jobs will open the 2010 Worldwide Developers Conference with a keynote address on Monday, June 7 at 10:00 a.m. Held at Moscone West in San Francisco, CA, the event offers developers sessions focusing on both Mac OS X and iPhone OS, as well as web app development; this year’s sessions are skewed heavily toward iPhone OS development, and the event sold out in a record eight days, with more than 5,000 developers registered. In past years, Apple has used the keynote address at WWDC 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. Notably, a Mac Rumors reader emailed Jobs late last week following a number of announcements from Google relating to its iPhone-rival Android OS, saying that he hoped Apple has “some good WWDC announcements to blow them out of the water,” to which Jobs replied, “[y]ou won’t be disappointed.”
iLounge is pleased to announce the launch of its new iPads Around the World Gallery. Joining our current iPod and iPhone galleries, which are the largest single collection of people and their iDevices, the new iPad gallery aims to expand the collection with images of Apple’s newest device at both well- and not-so-well-known locations around the world. So get out there with your new iPad and let us see where you’ve been travelling!
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 June 1, 2010.
If you haven’t yet entered our Vaja $100 Gift Code Giveaway, there’s still time to do so. 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 planning to raise its early termination fees for smartphones and netbooks from $175 to $325, Dow Jones reports, noting that the move comes amid rumors that AT&T may lose its iPhone exclusivity over the next year. Thankfully for current AT&T iPhone customers, the rate changes will not affect current contracts; instead, they will apply to all new and renewing customers beginning June 1. Notably, the higher cancellation fees will apply to any new iPhone customers who purchase the next-generation model expected to be announced at Apple’s 2010 WWDC conference in early June. While the termination fees for smartphones will rise, the same fees will actually drop by $25 for feature or messaging phone contracts. Earlier this week, AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega made several comments relating to the possibility of AT&T customers leaving when the company’s iPhone exclusivity ends, noting that 70% of customers are on family plans, which can be a pain to move over to a new carrier, and 40% are on corporate discount plans.
According to a report from Italian language iPadevice (Translated Link), Apple has begun populating the iBookstores of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK ahead of next week’s iPad launch. According to the report, all of the currently listed books in Italy are from the free Project Gutenberg library, and while only one book—The Devine Comedy: Inferno—is available thus far in Italian, the total number of books on the store already tops 10,000, with placeholder pages set up for poetry, biographies and memoirs, philosophy, fiction and literature, and more. Apple will launch the iPad in the nine countries listed above on Friday, May 28.
The Federal Trade Commission announced today that it has closed its investigation into Google’s proposed acquisition of mobile advertising company AdMob. According to announcement, the Commission found the deal “unlikely to harm competition in the emerging market for mobile advertising networks,” and that “although the combination of the two leading mobile advertising networks raised serious antitrust issues, the agency’s concerns ultimately were overshadowed by recent developments in the market.” Most notable among these recent developments was Apple’s announcement of its iAd service, through which, the statement notes, “Apple can leverage its close relationships with application developers and users, its access to a large amount of proprietary user data, and its ownership of iPhone software development tools and control over the iPhone developers’ license agreement.” Google signed an agreement to purchase AdMob last November in a deal worth $750 million; Apple CEO Steve Jobs said earlier this year that Google “snatched” the company away from Apple because Google didn’t want Apple to have them.
With more than 3,300 votes from iLounge readers, our latest poll—“What do you think of the iPhone 4G prototype’s design?”—has ended. Readers were given choices ranging from great to okay, bad, or awful, with a separate option for those without an opinion on the design.
Based on the results, the new design appears to be quite popular. Nearly half of everyone that voted—49%—described the design as “great,” followed by another 34% who said it was “okay,” but hoped Apple would spend a little more time on it. Only 6% said the design looked bad, and that they should stick with the current design, while even fewer—5%—said it was “awful,” and that Apple needed to go back to the drawing board. Another 6% said they didn’t have an opinion. Thanks for all your votes!
Our latest poll deals with iPhone OS 4. We’d like to know whether you plan on upgrading your device, even if there’s a charge for the new software—whether it be monetary or via the loss of jailbreak capabilities. It doesn’t matter whether you have a second- or third-generation iPod touch, an iPhone 3G or 3GS, or an iPad, we want to know your stance on the issue. Our new poll, “Will you upgrade your current iPhone OS device to OS 4 if there’s a charge?” lets you answer that question. You can find the iLounge Poll in the left-hand column of the main iLounge.com home page—cast your vote today!
Scosche has announced that it is now shipping its flipSync charge and sync cable for the iPod and iPhone. Recipient of an iLounge 2010 CES Best of Show Finalist award, the flipSync is a keychain USB charge and sync cable, sporting retractable 30-pin and USB connectors that snap into the main, car remote-sized body when not in use. Scosche’s flipSync charge and sync cable for the iPod and iPhone is available now and sells for $20.
Both models of the iPad remain sold out or in short supply across the U.S. heading into the device’s launch in nine countries next week. Citing a note from Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, AppleInsider reports that out 50 Apple retail stores contacted, 74% were sold out of all models of iPad, with the iPad with Wi-Fi available at 24%, and no iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G units available at any of the stores. The report notes that the shortages have been ongoing since the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G’s launch on April 30. In response, Apple retail stores have begun placing interested customers’ names on a waiting list, which then sees the store hold an iPad for up to 24 hours when their name comes up. According to the report, the wait for an iPad after being placed on one of these lists is typically 4-7 days, besting the 7-10 days quoted on Apple’s online store. Apple will launch the iPad in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK on Friday, May 28.