News Corporation has announced a live video feed for its launch of The Daily, an iPad-specific publication that will be introduced by company chairman/CEO Rupert Murdoch and Apple iTunes executive Eddy Cue. In-app subscription billing through iTunes is expected to be introduced during the event, enabling News Corp. to charge a recurring 99-cent fee to continue use of its publication. We will be updating this story with additional information regarding the event, which kicks off at 11:00AM Eastern Time today.
Updated: A full play-by-play of the event can be found in chronological order by clicking on the title of this news story. In sum, News Corp. and Apple announced a 99-cent weekly recurring subscription package with an annual $39.99 subscription option—numbers designed to make the $30 million dollar initial setup cost and $500,000 per week expense of operating the publication become profitable over time. Advertising is initially expected to be a smaller contributor than subscriptions to the publication’s bottom line. News Corp. did not commit to the publication’s editorial tone, deflecting questions from the audience as to whether it would shift from the company’s traditionally conservative or “downmarket” perspectives, but claimed that it was being designed to appeal to “everybody.”
Editor’s Note: Comments to this article have been closed as they were largely impertinent to the announcements made today. We’re not interested in hosting a debate on News Corp.‘s well-established political agenda, or discussing whether the company’s products are actually “fair and balanced.”
Apple has revealed that it will begin taking online orders for the Verizon iPhone February 9. In a press release reminding current Verizon Wireless customers that they can pre-order the iPhone 4 beginning tomorrow from either Verizon’s or Apple’s websites, Apple also said that “all qualified customers will be able to order an iPhone 4 on Verizon through the Apple Store for delivery or reserve for in-store pick up beginning February 10.” In addition, Apple’s retail stores will be opening at 7:00 a.m. local time on February 10 for sales of the CDMA device. Apple notes that due to high demand, orders will be fulfilled on a first come, first served basis.
iTunes is set to release a digital exclusive of The Beatles’ Grammy-winning LOVE album with two iTunes-exclusive tracks, as well as the All Together Now documentary. According to a post on The Beatles’ Facebook page, LOVE will be released on iTunes on February 8, with pre-orders already underway; the iTunes release of All Together Now will follow on February 15. The LOVE album serves as the soundtrack to The Beatles’ Cirque du Soleil show of the same name, and features remixed versions of some of the band’s best-known songs. All Together Now is a documentary film that chronicles the creation of the show, including the collaboration between Cirque du Soleil and the band’s remaining members, plus the wives of late members John Lennon and George Harrison. The iTunes LP version of LOVE is priced at $12.99, while All Together Now is priced at $12.99 in HD or $9.99 in standard definition.
Apple has been sued yet again over the alleged sharing of Unique Device Identifiers (UDIDs) and user information, according to an InformationWeek report. The suit, filed in San Jose, CA by Alameda resident Anthony Chiu, claims that Apple knowingly transmits to third parties, without user knowledge or consent, data which could be used to identify individual users. In addition to Apple, the suit also names 50 “John Doe” defendants, leaving open the possibility that some third-party developers could also be added to the suit. “Consequently, anyone who has used a mobile device to browse the Internet to obtain advice about hemorrhoids, sexually transmitted disease, abortion, drug rehabilitation, or care for the elderly; to search for jobs, seek out new romantic partners, engage in political activity; in fact, to do more or less anything; can be reasonably sure that the browsing history created by such investigation has been incorporated into a detailed dossier for sale to marketers,” reads the complaint. Apple was targeted in a pair of similar complaints filed in December following the publication of a Wall Street Journal article which claimed that some apps shared personal information without consent.
Apple has released the third beta version of iOS 4.3 to its paid developers. Listed as build number 8F5166b, it is unclear what has changed in the new version from prior betas, which included the new Personal Hotspot Wi-Fi sharing feature and enhanced AirPlay support for Safari and third-party apps. In addition, the release is once again 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.
Samsung’s Android-powered iPad competitor, the Galaxy Tab, is facing both slow sales and a high return rate, according to a new report. Citing data from ITG, the New York Post reports that the Tab saw a 15 percent return rate from its debut in November through January 16. The same data states that the iPad saw a return rate of only two percent over the same period. “Consumers aren’t in love with the [Galaxy Tab],” said Tony Berkman, a consumer tech analyst with ITG. Samsung recently announced it had sold two million Galaxy Tab units, but later clarified that statement, saying that was actually the number of devices it shipped to wireless companies and retailers, and adding that sales to consumers were “quite small.” Apple had sold 14.79 million iPads as of December 25, based on figures provided in its latest quarterly earnings release.
Update: Samsung has since issued a statement refuting ITG’s figures, and stating that the return rate for the Galaxy Tab is “below two percent.”
Apple officially launched the iPad in South Africa over the weekend. According to a MyBroadband report, Core Group, an official distributor of Apple products, launched the iPad in various iStore, Incredible Connection, and Dion Wired stores. Pricing for the iPad with Wi-Fi starts at R4,399 (roughly $615) for the 16GB model and goes to R6,399 (~$895) for the 64GB version, while iPad 3G units run from R5,599 (~$784) for the 16GB model to R7,599 (~$1,063) for the 64GB version. Notably, these prices represent substantial discounts over the prices being charged by importers, who were charging R6,500 and up for 16GB Wi-Fi models all the way to R9,500 and up for 64GB iPad 3G units.
Apple has posted iOS 4.2.6 for the CDMA iPhone in preparation for Verizon’s launch on February 10. According to Mac Rumors, the version is listed as Build 8E200, as compared the 8E128 build of iOS 4.2.5 seen on demonstration iPhones at the Verizon announcement last month, meaning Apple has likely made some additional modifications and improvements in the weeks since. iOS 4.2.6 for the CDMA iPhone is available now as a direct download from Apple; no other iOS devices have received new updates.
Apple has rejected an iOS application that would have allowed users to buy and read e-books bought from the Sony Reader Store, according to a new report. Citing Steve Haber, president of Sony’s digital reading division, the New York Times reports that Apple told Sony that from now on, all in-app purchases would have to go through Apple. The report specifically states that not only can companies not sell content from other stores within their apps—a policy that has long been in place—but that users could not be allowed to access purchases made outside the App Store, a change that could result in the removal of Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook apps, among others. “It’s the opposite of what we wanted to bring to the market,” Haber said. “We always wanted to bring the content to as many devices as possible, not one device to one store.”
Update: Apple has provided clarification of its policy change to AllThingsD. “We have not changed our developer terms or guidelines,” Apple spokesperson Trudy Miller told the publication. “We are now requiring that if an app offers customers the ability to purchase books outside of the app, that the same option is also available to customers from within the app with in-app purchase.” It is currently unknown whether Sony, Amazon, and other reader app developers will indeed update their applications to comply with the new requirement.