As expected, Apple’s 10 Billion App Countdown ended early in the morning of Saturday, January 22, 2011 with the download of the 10 billionth application from the App Store. One winner is being selected to receive a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card as the sole prize for reaching the milestone, and Apple is expected to name the individual and app in the near future.
Update: The winning app was Paper Glider, downloaded by Gail Davis of Orpington, Kent, United Kingdom. Congratulations, Gail!
Don’t forget to get your entry in for our Tekkeon myPower Giveaway. In our giveaway of the month for January, iLounge and Tekkeon are giving away 10 myPower Charging Cases for iPhone 4. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end on January 31, 2011 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!
According to the counter graphics on Apple’s 10 Billion App Countdown webpage and the App Store, the promotion is nearing its end. Launched on January 14, the promotion is offering a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card to the person who downloads the ten billionth app from the App Store, or submits a free entry form at the right time. Currently, the counter sits at roughly 9,984,000, up from 9,975,000 earlier today. While estimates using the average number of downloads per minute during the promotion have indicated that the 10 billionth download should occur sometime tomorrow afternoon, the pace of downloads in past promotions has typically accelerated as the total approached the relevant amount, making it possible that the download could occur late tonight or early tomorrow morning. For more information on Apple’s 10 billion App Countdown, see Apple’s official rules.
New code found within the second beta version of iOS 4.3 suggests the second-generation iPad will sport a one megapixel rear-facing camera. 9 to 5 Mac reports that code describing a “Back Facing 1MP Photo” sensor has been discovered inside a folder named “K94,” which the sources have identified as the codename for the iPad 2. The report claims that the front-facing camera will be of VGA quality, matching those found in other iOS-based, FaceTime-compatible devices; it also suggests that the iPad 2’s rear-facing camera might be the same 720p-capable component found in the fourth-generation iPod touch. While prior cases, as well as the mockup iPad 2 rear shell found at CES, suggested the device would have two cameras, prior speculation has suggested that the rear-facing camera would be closer to that of the iPhone 4 than the fourth-generation iPod touch.
SuperSync, a iTunes library synchronization and management tool, has been updated to version 4.0. SuperSync allows users to view, merge, and synchronize iTunes libraries over local networks or over the Internet, among other features. Version 4.0 offers users a brand new interface that allows for easier navigation of multiple libraries, improved networking speeds, a duplicate inspector that lets users compare tracks that are or may be duplicates, an iTunes import feature for importing music from another library or from a backup, Smart Playlist export, and built-in Internet search. SuperSync 4.0 is a free upgrade for all current users while new licenses range from $29 for a two-license pack to $49 for a ten-license pack; it is available now for Mac OS X and Windows.
A private school in Knoxville, TN is planning to require students to carry an iPad for classes. CNN reports that Webb School will is requiring all fourth through 12th grade students to carry the tablet, beginning next school year. The students will carry the device ““to be able to use that technology whenever they need it, rather than, as it is now, they have to check out a cart, a laptop cart, or schedule lab time to take a class to a lab,” according to Jim Manikas, technology director at the school. Manikas said that the school will offer a three-year leasing option for students that don’t already own an iPad. “In essence, you’re talking about 200 dollars a year, paid over a 10-month school year, you’re talking about $20 a month,” he said, adding that the school would like the iPad to replace textbooks over time. “Once I explored it, I was really excited, because there are things we can do better on this than we can on a paper text,” said Elli Shellist, an English teacher at the school. [via MDN]
Apple is now selling updated Bumper cases, offering compatibility with both the GSM and CDMA variants of the iPhone 4, according to a new YouTube video. The video, posted by YouTube user Alerio, shows that Apple has reversed the colors on the packaging—going from predominantly grey to predominantly white for the white model—and has subsequently removed the foil from the Apple logo and iPhone 4 print on the paper backing. As for the case itself, it appears that the volume buttons have stayed in nearly the same position, while the hole for the ring/silent switch has been tweaked and elongated to accomodate for the lower position of the switch on the CDMA model. While it is of little consequence to GSM iPhone 4 owners, users looking to purchase a case compatible with the CDMA model will want to double-check to make sure their Bumper has the new packaging, and thus the larger side opening. [via 9 to 5 Mac]
Verizon Wireless has posted to YouTube its first television commercial for the iPhone 4. The commercial, which is devoid of Apple products save for a brief glimpse of a Magic Mouse and Apple keyboard, shows a variety of clocks ticking, some with people watching them count down. As they slowly approach 12:00, a voiceover says, “To our millions of customers who never stopped believing this day would come, thank you.” The commercial ends with Apple’s logo and iPhone 4 type on a white background, followed by the Verizon logo, the “It Begins” slogan, the 2.10.11 launch date, and Verizon’s “Rule the Air” logo. Notably, the spot represents the first such iPhone commercial to air in the U.S. that was seemingly created by the phone’s carrier and not by Apple itself.
In a surprise move, Google today announced that its CEO Eric Schmidt will step down from his post April 4th, and will be replaced in the role by company co-founder Larry Page. Schmidt will assume the role of Executive Chairman for the company, focusing on “deals, partnerships, customers and broader business relationships, government outreach and technology thought leadership.” Google is a strategic partner of Apple’s on several fronts, providing the backends for Apple’s iOS Maps and YouTube applications, as well as serving as the default search engine for its Safari browser. The two companies have become fierce competitors in recent years, however, due to Google’s Android smartphone OS, which is locked in a battle with Apple’s iPhone for control of the global smartphone market, and Apple has taken steps to distance itself from dependence on Google’s services.
Notably, a report from last year indicated that Google co-founders Page and Sergey Brin were disappointed with the way the company’s relationship had soured under Schmidt’s leadership, and considered Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs a “role model” as they grew into technology executives. An anecdote from an episode of Bloomberg’s “Game Changers” went so far as to say that the pair wanted to hire Jobs as Google’s CEO during the company’s early years. Schmidt served on Apple’s board of directors from 2006 to 2009, when he resigned from the board due to “potential conflicts of interest,” explained to be iOS- and iPhone-related.
Update: Eric Schmidt has posted an open letter explaining the management changes.
Quark has announced that it is launching a new iPad Publishing service for users of QuarkXPress 8.5. According to the release, the service will include a Quark Starter iPad App, configured to the customer’s needs—including the addition of the customer’s logos and colors—and prepared for App Store submission, free XTensions software to allow for the enrichment of QuarkXPress layouts with sound, video, and interactive features, conversion of the enriched layout into “issue” files that can be published to the iPad app, and a web-based service for managing apps, publications, and issues. Costs will include a one-time $495 configuration fee for the Starter iPad App, a $495 per issue charge for the conversion of QuarkXPress layouts to iPad issue files, and a license fee of $349 for publishing a single issue; the license fee decreases depending on the number of issues purchased. No further charges, such as revenue sharing agreements, are required. Quark’s iPad Publishing Service will be available in February. [via Digital Arts]
Apple is beginning to use specialized screws to seal the outside case of the iPhone 4, according to a new report. Arguing that the move represents an effort by Apple to keep users from being able to repair their own phones, iFixIt reports that Apple is using a new five-point “Pentalobe” screw, for which there are no readily available screwdrivers. According to the report, Apple has used three different sizes of the screw, first using it to secure the battery of the mid-2009 MacBook Pro, then using an extremely small variant on some iPhone 4 units, and employing yet another size to lock users out of the new MacBook Air. In addition, the report claims that should a user bring in for repair an iPhone 4 with standard Phillips screws on the exterior, Apple will replace them with the new, tamper-resistant Pentalobe screws without notifying the customer of the change. As a remedy, iFixIt is offering a $10 “iPhone 4 Liberation Kit,” which includes a five-point screwdriver—good for removing the Pentalobe screws but not recommended for repeated use—along with two Phillips replacement screws and a #00 Phillips screwdriver for future servicing.
Chinese regulators have approved a new Apple 3G-capable device, leading to speculation that the company will soon launch the iPad 3G in China. Dow Jones Newswires reports that the device, labeled a “data terminal,” was approved by China’s State Radio Regulatory Center on December 29, and features WCDMA 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GSM cellular connectivity. Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu said the company plans to offer a 3G version of the iPad in the country, but gave no timeframe for a release; China Unicom, a likely iPad carrier partner and current iPhone carrier, declined to comment, despite prior statements that it would like to offer the iPad as soon as possible. [via MDN]
Jawbone has introduced its new Jawbone Era Bluetooth headset. The Era is touted by the company as “the first and only headset with a built-in accelerometer,” allowing users to shake the headset to put it in pairing mode, and tap it to answer or end phone calls. Other features include a 25% larger wideband speaker for better audio quality, NoiseAssassin 3.0 technology, and a built-in processor with serial flash storage to allow for apps, including a new Caller ID app that identifies callers by name in what is described as a “friendly, non-robotic voice.” The Jawbone Era comes in four unique designs and is available now for $129.
The second beta version of iOS 4.3 has been shown to offer further evidence of a camera-equipped iPad, as well as hints of a new cloud-based media sharing and syncing service, a new app, and Push Notifications for an existing service. Mac Rumors reports that the new beta includes an image of an iPad home screen with icons for FaceTime, Camera, and Photo Booth pictured, offering further evidence that the next iPad will include at least one camera. According to the report, the image is used to show a preview of the user’s wallpaper selection; it also suggests Apple is porting its standard Mac OS X Photo Booth app to its portable devices.
Also found in iOS 4.3 beta 2 and reported by AppleInsider is a mention of a new Photo Stream image sync feature, which appears to make MobileMe Gallery sharing automatic, which was found inside a “Media Stream” folder. “Photo Stream uploads and stores the last thirty days of your photos on MobileMe and downloads them to all of your devices,” reads the text found in the beta. Finally, 9 to 5 Mac reports that Ping has received the ability to send Push Notifications under iOS 4.3 beta 2. Apple has yet to set a public release date for iOS 4.3, and as with all betas, features are subject to changes and/or removal prior to the official release.
Apple has released the second beta version of iOS 4.3 to its paid developers. Listed as build number 8F5153d, it is unclear what has changed in the new version from the first, which brought AirPlay functionality to Safari and third-party apps, the Personal Hotspot Internet sharing feature, an option in the Settings app to choose whether the iPad’s side switch acts as a screen rotation lock or as a mute switch, and new four- and five-finger gestures for the iPad. Notably, documentation released alongside the new beta indicates that the aforementioned gestures will not be part of iOS 4.3’s public release, but are instead included in order to gain developer feedback, and the release is accompanied by a new preview build of Apple TV Software 4.3. Separate versions of iOS 4.3 beta 2 for the iPad, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, third-, and fourth-generation iPod touch are available as downloads for paid iOS developers from Apple’s iOS Dev Center.
For more information on iOS 4.3, see our Full Breakdown article.
A new string has been found in the iOS 4.3 beta that suggests the iPad may be getting a proximity sensor in a future version. MacStories reports that the new string is tied to a property called “pad_case_lock,” and is described as a way to “Automatically lock and unlock your iPad when you close and open the iPad cover.” Such a feature would most likely require a proximity sensor, and could be of help to those who carry their iPads in folio-style or other covered cases. [Thanks, Mike]
Citing new text on Apple’s online stores, M.I.C. Gadget reports that Apple is now imposing a one per customer limit on iPhone 4 orders in both Hong Kong and China. The report speculates that the limitation is due to a combination of high demand and the prevalence of scalpers in the two markets.
Following an earlier report citing internal Best Buy information that AT&T is planning changes to its text messaging plans, GearLive is now citing similar documents which show that the big box retailer plans to steer customers away from the Verizon iPhone. According to the document, Verizon’s recent focus at CES was on 4G, LTE-enabled devices—devices which Best Buy apparently plans to push on customers—while the iPhone 4 will “still be puttering at EVDO speeds.”
Mobile analytics company Zokem has posted the results of its 2010 Mobile Life panel in the U.S. According to the study of over 1,500 smartphone users, the iPhone had the highest loyalty ranking of any smartphone platform—more than 80 percent higher than Google’s Android—and among non-iPhone users, the number one preference for the next smartphone is iPhone, although users of Blackberries and Android devices are still more likely to choose a similar device than switch from their current platform with their next smartphone purchase.
AT&T is preparing to launch a new text messaging plan while removing two prior options, according to a new report. Citing a leaked image of an internal Best Buy notice, GearLive reports that AT&T is doing away with its prior $5/200 message and $15/1500 message plans, and is launching a new $10 monthly plan that will include 1000 messages, with each additional message costing $0.10. Notably unchanged are the company’s $20 individual unlimited and $30 family unlimited plans. While current customers will be grandfathered in and allowed to keep their current plans, all new customers will have to choose from the new offerings beginning January 23.
Apple has filed yet another lawsuit against Espoo, Finland-based Nokia, according to Bloomberg. The new suit, filed in the High Court in London, alleges that one of Nokia’s European patents for scrolling technology on a touchscreen device is invalid. Nokia has filed multiple suits against Apple in Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States, claiming infringement on some 37 patents. “Nokia is confident that all of the 37 patents it has asserted against Apple” are valid, Nokia spokesman Mark Durrant told Bloomberg. “We are examining the filing and will take whatever actions are needed to protect our rights.” The legal battle between the two companies dates back to October 2009, and also includes a countersuit against Nokia filed by Apple in the U.S., as well as opposing complaints filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission.
Clément Vasseur has released an AirPlay client application for iOS device users. Although the AirPlay technology built into iOS 4.2 allows iOS users to stream content to an AirPlay client device, iOS 4.2 does not currently provide any way to view content from an AirPlay source. AirView is a free universal application for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad that allows a device to receive and display AirPlay video streams from another AirPlay-enabled source such as iTunes or another iOS device. Users can simply launch the Airview application on their iOS device which will then appears in a list of AirPlay destinations on other devices. At this time, AirView supports only video streams and not audio or photos. AirView requires iOS 4.2 and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Bart Jacobs has released Pixelsync, a new app that allows Aperture users to sync photos from their Aperture libraries to their iPad for reviewing, rating and labelling while on the go. Using a companion app on the Mac, Pixelsync can transfer and sync photos with the iPad app from one or more Aperture Libraries over a local Wi-Fi connection. Selected photos are stored locally on the iPad where they can be rated and labelled offline, later syncing this information back to the Aperture library. Formerly known as Tagalicious, the recent update has renamed the app to Pixelsync due to a naming conflict with an existing Mac application. The latest version allows users to assign color labels to photos in addition to star ratings, and adds a slideshow feature and the ability to sort the view by name, date or rating. Pixelsync requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later, Aperture 3.0 or later and iOS 4.2 and is available from the App Store for $6.