Matt MacInnis, a former Apple employee, is behind a new start-up looking to bring collegiate textbooks to the iPad. The Wall Street Journal reports that MacInnis’ company, Inkling, is set to introduce four full-length interactive textbooks on the App Store. The books—McGraw-Hill’s best sellers in biology, economics, marketing, and psychology—will include features like 3-D views, video lectures, and interactive quizzes, while allowing students to highlight text and take and share notes. According to the report, Inkling has already made deals with other major publishers, including John Wiley & Sons, and Cengage Learning, to launch new titles. Prices for McGraw-Hill’s first titles are expected to start a $2.99 per chapter or $69.99 per book, with prices increasing over time to $3.99 per chapter and $84.99 per book.
A placeholder for an as-yet-unknown Apple device has appeared in the latest internal build of the iOS 4.1 beta, according to a new report. Citing people familiar with the matter, AppleInsider reports that the latest iOS 4.1 build contains code referencing both the fourth-generation iPod touch—labeled iPod4,1—and a second-generation iPad—labeled iProd2,1. Perhaps more interesting, however, is a listing for “unknownHardware,” given a productID of 20547—compared to 4765 for the second-generation iPad and 4766 for the fourth-generation iPod touch—and a productString of “Unknown- Add device descriptor info for this device.” The report speculates that the code could in fact reference a rumored iOS-based next-generation Apple TV, although it could also simply be placeholder code for some other potentially upcoming product, such as a CDMA or fifth-generation iPhone.
iPort has rolled out its new CM-IW2000 in-wall Control Mount for the iPad. The CM-IW2000 stylishly mounts the iPad in the wall in either vertical or horizontal orientation, providing constant power, allowing full access to the Home button and screen, while replicating the power button on the edge of the frame. It also provides the user with control of audio, video, lighting and climate on the mounted iPad when the control application is connected via Wi-Fi to a compatible control system. iPort’s new CM-IW2000 in-wall Control Mount for the iPad is available now and sells for $499.
Following an update to Photogene for the iPad earlier this week, the iPhone version has also received an update. Photogene 2.6 for the iPhone and iPod touch adds the new features introduced in the earlier iPad version including support for Flickr and FTP uploading, custom resizing and IPTC metadata. This update also adds support for the Retina Display, 5MP camera and rear-facing camera on the iPhone 4 and brings Fast App Switching and background saving and uploading for multitasking-capable devices. Users can also now share photos while preserving geo-tag information stored in the EXIF data. Photogene 2.6 requires an iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 4 or later and is available from the App Store for $2.
Gameloft has released an iPhone 4 update to its acclaimed Modern Combat: Sandstorm for the iPhone and iPod touch. Modern Combat: Sandstorm (iLounge Rating: A) is a first-person action-thriller where players must locate and annihilate a terrorist cell in a remote desert hotspot. Users play through 10 missions featuring detailed Middle Eastern environments and are provided with a wide range of authentic advanced weapons ranging from assault rifles to rocket-propelled grenade launchers. The game provides local and online multiplayer support, a choice of multiple control systems and polished 3D graphics with cinematic interludes and voice-overs. The latest update brings support for gyroscopic control mode on the iPhone 4 with full 3D range of motion, high-resolution graphics for the iPhone 4 Retina Display and support for Fast App Switching on multitasking-capable iOS 4 devices. Modern Combat: Sandstorm is available from the App Store for $5 and is a free update for current users.
Apple has finally enabled publishers to offer their magazines via iPad apps to current subscribers free of charge. Beginning with the update of the People Magazine app earlier today, subscribers to Time, Inc. publications including Time, Sports Illustrated, and Fortune will soon be able to be able to access the iPad versions of issues for free as part of their print subscriptions. Fortune reports that the changes should roll out to the other magazines within 30 days, and suggests that other magazine publishers will likely adopt the same policy. The report also states that publishers who were encouraged to built iPad apps say they were ready from the start to make them free to subscribers, but Apple would not provide the tools necessary, or explain what was delaying their release. Publishers remain unable to sell subscriptions directly through the App Store.
Black Enterprise, the premier business and wealth building resource for African Americans, has released a digital edition of its magazine publication exclusively for the iPad. The application, Black Enterprise Wealth for Life serves as a portal to download and read monthly issues of the magazine and will provide access to additional exclusive content not found in the printed edition including full-screen high-definition videos, slide shows, photo galleries, social networking links and extended editorial content. The application also allows users to sign-in to their custom reader accounts to share, bookmark and reference personal notes and includes the ability to search by keywords including names, tools, brands and services. An integrated browser allows users to select their desired content with color-coded categories and quick access to an itemized display of pages, photos, videos, bookmarks and ads. Black Enterprise Wealth For Life is available from the App Store as a free download. The app includes the 40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition and Best Companies for Diversity issue at no cost; subsequent issues will be priced at $2.
Apple and AT&T have removed no-contract iPhone purchasing options from their websites, signaling a further tightening of restrictions on U.S. iPhone users compared to those abroad. Previously available at prices significantly higher than those of even early upgraders—$599 for a 16GB iPhone 4 and $699 for a 32GB unit—the options allowed customers to purchase the phones without extending their existing AT&T contracts. Apple has also changed its FAQ found at the bottom of its online store’s iPhone page, noting that the iPhone is not available without a commitment and “requires a two year AT&T wireless service contract.” Curiously, Apple did not begin contract-free sales of the iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS until the devices had been on the market for roughly nine months; it is unclear what prompted the change in policy with the iPhone 4. [via MacNN]
Updated: An AT&T spokesman has issued a statement indicating that the language on Apple’s site has not been changed, and that customer should still be able to purchase a contract-free iPhone 4 by visiting an AT&T store.
Paramount Digital Entertainment, in cooperation with Freeverse, has released Top Gun 2, the sequel to its earlier first-person combat jet shooter for the iOS platform. In Top Gun 2 players engage in air-to-air and air-to-ground arcade style combat with new high-speed defensive maneuvers and offensive attacks. Players fly using the accelerometer to engage in combat with multiple enemies through seven unique environments, including outer space, in a variety of different mission types. Top Gun 2 features dynamic level design with surprise attacks and unique gameplay and an enhanced AI. Players can choose to pilot an F/A-18 Hornet, F-16 Fighting Falcon or F-14 Tomcat, each with upgradeable cannon and missile systems and unique offensive and defensive capabilities. Top Gun 2 features full-screen anti-aliasing and enhanced visual effects and a soundtrack by Brooklyn-based Daredevil Squadron as well as the classic track “Danger Zone” from the Top Gun movie. Top Gun 2 requires an iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 4 or later and is available from the App Store at a discounted price of $3 until August 23.
Sumajin has introduced its new Slim silicone case for the iPhone 4. Made form variable thickness silicone, the Slim features push-though covers for the volume and power buttons, integrated flip-open covers for the headphone and 30-pin ports, open access to the screen, Home button, camera/flash, and ring/silent switch, open back grooves on the back for added grip, and included protective film for both the front and rear. Sumajin’s new Slim silicone case for the iPhone 4 is available now in seven colors and sells for $14.
Chua Kim Guan, chairman of Singapore-based JLJ Holdings Ltd., has stepped down amid a scandal that allegedly saw kickbacks given to an Apple employee for confidential information. JLJ Holdings has been named in a lawsuit by Apple against former Apple global supply manager Paul Shin Devine, which claims Devine shared confidential information from Apple with suppliers of iPod and iPhone accessories, who used the information to negotiate favorable contracts with Apple. “In order to facilitate the impartial review of all activities relating to the Apple claim that may involve the company and its subsidiaries, the company’s executive chairman has voluntarily relinquished all executive duties…for the time being,” JLJ said in a statement. The Wall Street Journal reports that JLJ revealed Chua is the brother of Andrew Ang, a former assistant general manager of its Jin Li Mould Manufacturing unit who is also named in Apple’s suit. Both Devine and Ang were recently indicted for wire fraud, money laundering, and kickbacks. [via MDN]
The wait times for all models of the iPad have dropped from seven to ten days down to three to five days on Apple’s online store, indicating that Apple may finally be getting ahead of the overwhelming demand for the tablet computer. The wait for an iPad has stayed a week or longer since the device’s debut in April 3. In addition, GigaOm reports that Ashok Kumar, an analyst Rodman & Renshaw, said in a recent research note that Apple may be able to reduce the wait time for a new iPhone 4 significantly by the end of September; new iPhone 4 orders from Apple’s online store are currently quoted as shipping in three weeks. During the company’s Q3 2010 Conference Call, COO Tim Cook repeatedly explained that Apple was making both iPads and iPhone 4 units as fast as it can sell them, and indicated that it was working to ramp up production to meet demand as quickly as possible. [via TUAW]
Facebook has released an update to its iPhone and iPod touch application adding support for its new Places feature and improving iOS4 multitasking support. Introduced by Facebook earlier this week, Places is a new location-based social networking that allows users to register their presence at physical locations in a manner similar to services such as Foursquare and Gowalla. Facebook 3.2 provides a new section on the home screen for accessing the new Places location feature and integrates GPS location services support to allow users to view nearby places from within the app, check-in at various locations and view friends’ locations. The new version can also now continue photo and video uploads in the background on iOS 4 multitasking-capable devices and adds the ability to set the privacy of individual status updates and see all recipients of inbox messages. Facebook 3.2 is available from the App Store as a free download. The Facebook Places feature is presently only available in the U.S.
A number of Nintendo NES game titles have once again returned to the App Store, in apparent violation of Nintendo copyrights. Two titles released this month, 8-Bit Gamepak and 8-Bit Gamepack LITE from Dalian Bale Trade Co., are based upon Nintendo’s Ice Climber and Wild Gunman titles, mentioned in the app’s description as “Wild Gunman Plus” and “Ice Climber Plus.” Another title, Duck Hunt: The Game from Arsen Torosian, steals not only graphics and gameplay, but also the box art and title of Nintendo’s famous Zapper-based title Duck Hunt. Prior Nintendo titles appropriated by developers have disappeared from the App Store relatively quickly, but Duck Hunt: The Game has been on the store since June 18, according to its description.
Apple has posted a new job listing seeking a full time iTunes Pan-EU Label Relations representative. According to the posting, the job will involve “securing comprehensive and innovative promotions around key releases,” “foster[ing] the relationship with the key account managers at the record labels, making iTunes the most important partner in helping the label to drive the digital market,” and helping to “coordinate and implement European wide projects for iTunes.” The employee will report to Carl Ekdahl, head of iTunes Pan EU, and will be based in Copenhagen, Denmark.
HBO recently revealed that it plans to offer its HBO Go streaming service to iPad users within six months. Speaking in an interview, HBO Co-President Eric Kessler said the company holds cable and Internet rights to films from Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox and Universal, none of which it plans to share with emerging rival Netflix. “There is value in exclusivity,” Kessler said, adding that consumers “are willing to pay a premium for high quality, exclusive content.” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has indicated that his company would like to reach a deal with HBO to offer the company’s TV show and movie catalog via Netflix’ own online streaming service.
Lucasfilm’s online Star Wars shop is now taking pre-orders for an R2-D2 hard case for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS (pictured). According to a concept image on the case’s store listing, the case will feature R2-D2-inspired graphics, “sculpted details,” and open access to all ports and controls, possibly with pass-though button covers for the volume and power buttons. The R2-D2 Hard Case for the iPhone 3G and 3GS sells for $30 and is expected to ship in October.
Millennial Media has released its Mobile Mix report for July 2010 (PDF Link), with Apple continuing its run as the leading device manufacturer on Millennial’s network. Apple represented nearly 35% of all impressions on the network in July, with the iPhone representing 25% of all mobile phone requests. iOS was the leading OS on the network, with a 55% share of impressions, and ad requests from iPad units grew 327% month-over-month. Millennial Media’s numbers are based on impressions served on its network of mobile sites and apps, which reaches 81% of the U.S. mobile audience, according to the company.
Apple’s applications director is selling his own fart apps on the App Store. Wired reports that Phillip Shoemaker, director of applications technology at Apple, is behind a selection of seven iPhone apps from Gray Noodle, including both a fart app called Animal Farts and a urination simulator called iWiz. Shoemaker’s apps range in price from $1 ro $2, and have generally received below-average ratings from users, while also testing the limits of Apple’s App Store decency restrictions. Apple told Wired that Shoemaker was hired partly because of his background in application development. “Phillip’s apps were written, submitted and approved before he became an Apple employee,” an Apple spokeswoman said in a statement. “His experience and perspective as a developer is one of the valuable things he brings to Apple’s developer relations team. Apple’s policy allows for employees to have apps on the App Store if they’re developed and published prior to their start at Apple.” The report notes that Shoemaker said he had started working at Apple via a tweet on March 9, 2009, while three of his apps weren’t published until afterwards.
Former Apple senior iPhone software engineer Evan Doll said the company typically doesn’t allow employees to sell apps unless they receive special permission from an executive, part of a policy to avoid conflicts of interest. “Apple employees are generally prohibited [from selling apps],” Doll told Wired. “You have to get a special exception from a VP. Otherwise, big no-no. If he was doing it pre-Apple then he’d have an easier time getting an exception.” Doll left Apple last year and now runs the company behind the Flipboard application for the iPad. Following the publication of Wired’s story, Shoemaker edited or outright deleted many of his social networking profiles that linked him with Gray Noodle, and has yet to comment on the matter.
KT, the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in South Korea, saw more than 120,000 pre-orders for the iPhone 4 on the first day of sales. According to a Korea Times report, KT’s ordering system was jammed early in the day, leaving customers unable to order for roughly two hours. “I really appreciate this enormous support from our customers, and I also apologize for the discomfort caused by the ordering system. We will do our best for flawless delivery of the product,” Pyo Hyun-myong, chief of KT’s mobile business, said on his Twitter account. The 120,000 pre-orders handily broke the record for highest first-day mobile pre-orders in South Korea; the iPhone 3G also broke this record during its pre-order period, with 55,000 orders made over five days.
XtremeMac has unveiled its new line of charging accessories for the Apple iPad. The InCharge Duo is a dual charging dock/stand that can simultaneously charge an iPad and/or any combination of iPod and iPhone models. It features a removable adapter that serves as a stand for the iPad, included dock adapters for current iPod and iPhone models, and a bi-color LED status light to show when each device is fully charged. InCharge Auto is an iPad-compatible, single-device 12V automotive charger featuring a one-piece design and power status indicator, while the InCharge Home is a dual USB wall charger that can charge any two iPod, iPhone, or iPad models simultaneously, and includes a 30-pin to USB cable for charging. XtremeMac’s InCharge Duo, Auto, and Home are available now and sell for $60, $25, and $35, respectively.
Apple has released a new iPad television ad, the second for the company’s tablet device. The new app-focused spot shows the iPad being used mostly in front of a white background, while showing a variety of different apps. The spot starts with the words “iPad is” on the screen, and a different descriptor—including “delicious,” “current,” “learning,” “playful,” “literary,” “artful,” “friendly,” “productive,” “scientific,” and “magical.” In addition, it features the song “Never Stop” by Gonzales in the background. Apple’s latest iPad ad is available for viewing on the company’s website.
Booq has rolled out its new Boa Push messenger bag for the Apple iPad. The low-profile, messenger-style bag is made from Twylon and Nappa leather, and features a dedicated iPad compartment lined with non-scratch fabrics, an iPhone-sized exterior pocket, credit card slots, charging cable pockets, a backside pocket for easy access to commonly used items, a nylon shoulder strap, and a snap front closure. Booq’s Boa Push bag for the iPad is available now in sand or gray and sells for $90; for more information, see our First Looks article.