iLounge has received an anonymous tip that the Personal Hotspot feature of iOS 4.3 will work on both the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 3GS. According to our source, who tested it using the first beta version of iOS 4.3, the feature works on the 3GS exactly as it works on the iPhone 4, including the ability to share the device’s 3G network connection over Wi-Fi. Notably, it is up to the individual carriers to support the feature, so while the feature may be present in the OS, it will not show up in users’ Settings app unless it has been enabled by their carrier. In addition, while the feature is present in the current 3GS build of iOS 4.3 beta, it is possible that Apple could remove the feature prior to the public release of the update.
Desk Pets has debuted its new TankBot, an interactive toy that allows users to control it via an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. The remote control toy features three modes for maze navigation, free roaming, or iOS control, built-in IR sensors for gesture control, a retractable USB charger built into the body, and “heartbeat eye” lights on the front to indicate when the robot is idle. In addition, each unit includes a dongle that works with an app to allow for accelerometer control of the toy on an iOS device. Desk Pets’ TankBot will be available in four colors and is expected to ship in June for “under $20.”
A recent series of high-profile Twitter updates suggests that Apple will be relaxing its restrictions on adult content beginning in March. Late last evening, Playboy CEO Hugh Hefner made an announcement via Twitter that “Playboy—both old & new—will be available on iPad beginning in March.” In response to questions about the content, Hefner added that “all the back issues of Playboy will be available on iPad, & current issues as well,” and said that “Playboy on iPad will be uncensored.” Playboy currently offers a $1 iPhone app, with recent monthly editions available for purchase within the app, but the app’s description states that it “does NOT contain any nude content.” The possibility remains that Playboy has simply created a web application through which it can offer its full range of content, however, Hefner’s preface of “Big News!” on the announcement seems to imply that iPad access will be made possible via an approved app. [via TechTrackr]
Update: Playboy spokesperson Theresa Hennessey, speaking with Fox News, has clarified Hefner’s comments, saying that the magazine’s archives will be coming to the iPad via a web-based subscription service. “We are releasing a web-based subscription service with Bondi Digital Publishing that will give users access to every issue of Playboy both past and present,” said Hennessey. “The service will be iPad-compatible and will utilize iPad functions.”
Starbucks will officially launch its iPhone-based mobile payment service today in all of its U.S. company-operated stores, allowing users of its Starbucks Card Mobile app to pay for their coffee and other Starbucks products directly from their iOS device. The Starbucks Card Mobile app was originally released in the fall of 2009 to allow iPhone users to manage their Starbucks Cards, tracking rewards and balances and reloading their cards. At that time a pilot program was put in place to test mobile payments at select locations in California, Seattle and New York City whereby users could pay simply by displaying a barcode on their iOS device that could be read by the scanner at the register. Starbucks today announced that it is rolling out the mobile payments platform throughout the U.S. allowing iOS devices to be used as virtual Starbucks Cards for payment and rewards. The Starbucks Card Mobile app is available from the App Store as a free download. [via Mashable]
FastIntelligence has re-released its iDOS virtual DOS application onto the App Store in the form of an update. Originally released last November, the original version of iDOS was a DOS emulator for iOS devices that allowed users to run old PC DOS based applications ranging from Doom to Windows 3.1 on an iOS device. Applications were loaded onto the device over USB using the iTunes File Sharing feature and a simple DOS prompt and virtual keyboard was provided to extract and run DOS commands and applications transferred to the device. The application was removed from the App Store after only a day, presumably for violation of Apple’s App Store policies against running external code in iOS applications.
Late last night iDOS 2.0.1 appeared as an update for owners of the previous version with the significant change that the iTunes File Sharing feature has been removed, preventing users from installing their own external code. Instead, the package includes a number of DOS freeware/shareware games from 3D Realms including Wolfenstein 3D, Major Striker, Duke Nukem I and II, SuperNova and Kingdom of Kroz II. The update also adds a simplified game launcher so users are not required to use the DOS command-line and a virtual gamepad/joystick within the app. Improvements have also been made to landscape view and Bluetooth keyboard support for text-based games has been added. iDOS 2.0.1 is available from the App Store as a free download. Users of iDOS 1.0 may wish to back up their existing version before downloading the update.
This week’s featured photo is from our iPhones Around the World gallery, and shows a White iPhone 4 in front of an empty street on the outskirts of Hong Kong. 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. So get out there, take some pictures featuring your favorite iPod, iPad, or iPhone and maybe your submission will be our next Photo of the Week!
During Apple’s first-quarter 2011 financial results conference call today, Apple COO Tim Cook made several statements that suggest the company sees display technology as a potential component investment for the future. When asked about Apple’s long-term investments on components, Cook mentioned the company’s prior $1 billion flash memory investment as something that was important across the product line, and added that the company has identified a similarly important area in recent quarters. Cook said that the company has come into pre-payment agreements in this new area for parts, equipment, and tooling in hopes of achieving a specific competitive advantage. While Cook didn’t directly mention it, separate reports from the same week in December claimed that Apple was expected to supply a portion of the investments required for a new Toshiba LCD plant and Sharp LCD production line, respectively. Both reports specifically mentioned that as a result of Apple’s investment, the new factory and new production line were expected to produce displays primarily for the Cupertino-based company. Given Apple’s reliance on touchscreen technology in its iOS devices, it seems likely that these were the agreements to which Cook was referring during the call.
Update: The investment is worth $3.9 billion dollars over two years, and involves three vendors. Apple made pre-payments of $650 million during the last quarter, and expects to make $1.05 billion in payments during the March quarter.
Reporting its first quarter financial results today, Apple said it sold 19.45 million iPods during the holiday quarter — a seven percent decrease compared to the same quarter last year. Despite the drop in unit sales, revenue from iPod sales actually increased one percent year-over-year, to $3.425 billion. Apple also sold 16.24 million iPhones in the quarter, an 86 percent increase year-over-year, and up from 14.1 million units in the prior quarter. Apple also sold 7.33 million iPads during the quarter, up from 4.19 million units in the fourth quarter of 2010. The units sales of iPhones, iPods, and iPads bring the cumulative unit sales for the three device categories to 89.9 million, 298 million, and 14.79 million, respectively. The company posted revenue of $26.74 billion and net quarterly profit of $6 billion, or $6.43 per diluted share, representing all-time revenue and profit highs, compared with revenue of $15.68 billion and net quarterly profit of $3.38 billion, or $3.67 per diluted share in Q1 2010. Sales of Other Music Related Products + Services were up 23% over the year-ago quarter, and up 15% from Q4 2010, to $1.431 billion total. That category includes iTunes Store sales, iPod services, and revenues from Apple and third-party iPod accessories. International sales accounted for 62 percent of the quarter’s revenue, up from 58 percent in the year-ago quarter.
“We had a phenomenal holiday quarter with record Mac, iPhone and iPad sales,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We are firing on all cylinders and we’ve got some exciting things in the pipeline for this year including iPhone 4 on Verizon which customers can’t wait to get their hands on.”
“We couldn’t be happier with the performance of our business, generating $9.8 billion in cash flow from operations during the December quarter,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the second fiscal quarter of 2011, we expect revenue of about $22 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share of about $4.90.”
We’ll be providing live play-by-play coverage of Apple’s first-quarter 2011 financial results conference call today, expected to feature Apple COO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer discussing gangbuster results from October through December 31, 2010. Key points from the call include the revelation that the company has signed a new, multi-year, non-exclusivity deal with AT&T (5:35PM), the fact that over 160 million iOS devices have been sold—meaning that 55 iPod touch units have been sold (5:08PM), that the ASP of the iPhone is expected to hold steady next quarter despite the recent price drop on the iPhone 3GS, suggesting that interest in the iPhone 4 far exceeds that of the 3GS (5:35PM), and that the company targeted the Chinese market as a growth opportunity, and has seen revenue from that region jump 4x from the prior quarter (5:18PM). Continue reading to see more information about these and a host of other topics.
This story will be updated in reverse chronological order as the call proceeds starting at 5:00PM ET/2:00PM PT; refresh it for regular updates.
6:01PM: End of call.
5:58PM: Q: Consumerization of enterprise technology is taking place; are there still barriers to developer training at corporate level or other issues to work through to get more penetration in enterprise? A: It’s a megatrend that’s occurring, most forward-looking CIOs are realizing that enabling creativity of employees is materially more important than everyone using the same thing. Ability to write apps easily for a phone is incredibly powerful, you can run an entire business from the iPhone. So the numbers are already incredible—iPad shipped in April and now in 80% of largest companies deploying or piloting, which is unheard of, as enterprise is generally much slower and more cautious. To everyone’s credit, they’ve seen value of this from productivity/creativity point of view and are really moving fast. In terms of inhibitors, iPad has huge advantage because as you can recall with iOS releases, we always put in a huge chunk of enterprise features, and this isn’t something we just started working on—we started with the first iPhone. So there’s a huge place here for us.
5:56PM: Q: Peter, more insight on iPad gross margins going forward? Should we assume Apple will improve feature set and hold pricing stable? A: Can’t answer that question. In terms of what we’re shipping today, we’re always looking to lower our costs and have a good track record of doing so. We feel very, very good about performance of our products and costing of our products. Q: MacBook Air - given initial success and momentum, how are you looking at it now, premium tablet or notebook? A: The Mac of the future shipping today. It was a phenomenal part of the growth of the Mac last quarter. Customers love the precision, thinness, weight, instant on. We’re really happy with how it’s doing. We’ve only been shipping it for less than 90 days, just gotten going on it.
TiVo has released a free iPad remote control app for users of its TiVo Premiere box. With the new TiVo app, iPad users can search and browse content directly from their device without interrupting whatever programming they are currently watching. The application allows users to view a 14-day program guide, schedule and manage both one-time and Season Pass recordings and see listings of new and recommended content using a gesture-based touchscreen interface. Users can also post comments about shows and movies to Twitter and Facebook from directly within the app. The application works with the TiVo service so that users can also search and browse shows when away from home and schedule recordings remotely. The TiVo application for the iPad requires a TiVo Premiere or Premiere XL box and is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download.
Endloop X, a new venture from Endloop Studios has announced a new location-based social gaming platform currently under development for iOS devices. Titled Please Stay Calm, the game promises to engage players in unique location-based exploration and co-operative game play with online friends in a theme related to preparing for the inevitable zombie apocalypse. Although details are limited at this time, Endloop X has opened applications for a Closed Alpha of the game; interested users may apply at http://pleasestaycalm.com.
Verizon’s iPhone 4 FAQ page indicates that it will offer a $200 credit to recent phone purchasers who would like to buy an iPhone instead. “Current Verizon customers who purchased and activated new smartphones, feature phones or certified pre-owned phones between 11/26/2010, and 01/10/2011, are eligible to receive up to a $200 Visa debit card when they purchase an iPhone 4 at full retail price by 02/28/2011 and return their existing phone,” reads the page. It also notes that the offer will only be available on consumer accounts with five of less lines, and to be eligible the customer must purchase the iPhone 4 through Verizon Wireless stores, telesales, or from the company’s website. Verizon Wireless will launch the iPhone 4 on February 10. [via BGR]
Gameloft has released the trailer for Sacred Odyssey: Rise of Ayden, its latest game under development for the iOS platform. While still short on details, the new game is expected to be a fantasy action RPG in which players take on the role of Ayden, a young hero chosen by the god Uryah to save the kingdom of Lasgalen from the Apocalypse. The game is slated for release next month for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Pricing has not yet been announced.
Listings for the white iPhone 4 have appeared in Vodafone Germany’s inventory system, according to a new report. Citing an anonymous source who provided screenshots of the listings, Engadget reports that listings for both the 16GB and 32GB white models were found; the source said to expect a launch “soon.” Apple has repeatedly delayed the white iPhone 4 since its unveiling last year, first from June 2010 until July, then from July until late 2010, before being slated for a Spring 2011 rollout last October.
Update: Mac Rumors reports that similar listings have now been found in Best Buy’s inventory system, with a listed release date of February 27.
U.S. prosecutors are expected to announce criminal charges relating to the alleged theft of email addresses and SIM ICC-ID numbers for over 110,000 iPad 3G users last June. Reuters reports that the charges arise from the hacking of AT&T’s servers which led to the breach; a security company known as Goatse Security discovered a script on AT&T’s website, accessible by the public, through which it obtained the data. Although the company claimed that it notified AT&T of the breach, it also admitted to sharing the PHP script it used to harvest the data with several third-parties prior to AT&T’s response. Paul Fishman, the U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey, and the FBI plan to hold a press conference later today to discuss the charges; we will update this story once more information is available.
Update: Two men, Daniel Spitler and Andrew Auernheimer, were each charged with one count of fraud and one count of conspiracy to access a computer without authorization, according to Reuters.
Apple has revealed that five million songs by The Beatles have been sold on the iTunes Store since the band’s catalog debuted in November. The Loop reports that one million albums have also been sold, with Abbey Road representing the best-selling album in the U.S., and “Here Comes the Sun” the top-selling song. Notably, these numbers suggest that sales of The Beatles’ music on iTunes slowed considerably after the first week, during which more than 450,000 albums and more than two million individual songs were sold. Apple has exclusive digital rights for The Beatles’ catalog into this year, although a precise exclusivity end date has not been announced.
A pair of new reports suggest the second-generation iPad will feature a 2048x1536 display, as well as a multi-core GPU and multi-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor. Mac Rumors reports that two iPad “x2” graphics have been discovered in the latest version of iBooks, including a bookmark icon found in August, and a new wood tile graphic, both of which are twice the resolution of their predecessors, suggesting an overall resolution of 2048x1536. The article notes that a higher-resolution display would require a more powerful graphics unit to drive it, partially explaining the appearance of a driver for the POWERVR SGX543 GPU in the first iOS 4.3 beta.
Citing a source familiar with Apple’s graphics strategy, AppleInsider reports that the company will be using a dual-core variant of the SGX543, known as the SGX543MP2, which will offer roughly four times the performance of the A4’s SGX535. The report also claims that the new GPU will be paired with a multi-core ARM Cortex-A9 for general computing processing, and notes that many of the iPad’s 2011 tablet rivals will be using a similar multi-core, A9-based processor when they hit the market later this year. Finally, the report suggests that the new graphics prowess could enable Apple to offer HDMI output on the iPad and iPhone, and could potentially lead to 1080p output for a next-generation Apple TV.
Nike has released an update to its Nike+ GPS app for the iPhone and iPod touch adding a new competitive game mode. Dubbed Nike+ Tag, the game allows users to challenge their friends to a virtual game of tag where players must avoid being “it” by running a greater distance, longer amount of time or earlier in the day than their friends. Players create a tag challenge and specify the rules based on distance, time running or time of day and then invite their friends to participate. A game of Nike+ Tag lasts three days or until all of the friends have taken part, and the runner with the lowest score becomes designated as “it” at which point the other players can post comments to their Nike+ home screen. The player designated as “it” continues to hold their designation until the next game of Nike+ Tag. Nike+ GPS is compatible with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPod touch running iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $2.
Apple has released an email sent by CEO Steve Jobs to all company employees, stating that he will be taking his second medical leave in the last two years.
At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health. I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company.
I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for all of Apple’s day to day operations. I have great confidence that Tim and the rest of the executive management team will do a terrific job executing the exciting plans we have in place for 2011.
I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can. In the meantime, my family and I would deeply appreciate respect for our privacy.
Jobs took a medical leave from the company just over two years ago today, during which he received a liver transplant. It is unclear whether the cause of the current leave is a recurrence of or side effect from his prior bout with pancreatic cancer, or some unrelated issue.
New code found within the first iOS 4.3 beta suggests Apple is planning to incorporate the POWERVR SGX543 GPU from Imagination Technologies into an upcoming product or products. Mac Rumors reports that the SGX543 is said to deliver seven million more polygons per second and double the fillrate of the older SGX535 that is found in Apple’s A4 chip. In addition, the new GPU offers support for the Apple-backed OpenCL specification, which allows applications to tap unused GPU processing power for general computing tasks, as well as support for multi-core configurations. Notably, a rumor from late 2009—the chip itself was announced that January—suggested that Sony was interested in using the chip as the graphics processor for its second-generation PSP handheld gaming console, suggesting that Apple and Sony are on a similar path when it comes to portable gaming.