Based on the experience of iLounge’s editors, users moving from original iPad 3G units to iPad 2s with AT&T 3G hardware may experience AT&T service problems. During testing of two AT&T iPad 2 units, iLounge discovered that the unit registered with a prior AT&T data service account refused to activate on AT&T’s network, despite full payment of the company’s $25 service fee using the device. The second unit, registered with a new account and e-mail address, activated almost immediately.
After contacting AT&T, iLounge learned that users who attempt to activate AT&T iPad 2 service using the original iPad’s AT&T account will experience two problems. First, the iPad 2 will not activate. Second, the user will either have to manually swap the Micro-SIM cards between the iPad and iPad 2 units, or AT&T will disable the iPad’s Micro-SIM in order to allow the iPad 2’s Micro-SIM to work. The AT&T representative claimed that a user who chooses the latter option will have to buy a replacement card should they want to restore 3G service to the older model, as the first Micro-SIM will no longer be usable.
In any case, since AT&T does not appear to be capable of registering multiple iPad and iPad 2 units on a single account, iPad and iPad 2 customers will need to have one email address and account for each iPad they own should they want to enable service on multiple iPads. Users experiencing problems with AT&T iPad service should contact 1-800-331-0500, also available as a free call to AT&T cellular customers by dialing 611.
Marco Arment has released a major update to Instapaper, his acclaimed offline reading application for iOS devices. Instapaper 3.0 adds an entirely new social recommendation system to the service, allowing users to “follow” other Instapaper users by finding friends via Facebook, Twitter or e-mail using the iOS device Contacts list. “Starred” items from the prior version has been renamed “Liked” items to make the feature more clear, and liked items are automatically shared with followers. The new version also includes native offline sharing with Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinboard and Evernote and a new in-app browser that allows users to find and save content for later reading from directly within the app. Additional enhancements include a new storage engine with perfect image quality, faster downloads, faster page-rendering and less space usage and a smart rotation lock feature that attempts to detect accidental rotations. Several new preferences and numerous other fixes and improvements are included. Instapaper is a universal app and is available from the App Store for $5.
Big Stone Phone has released an update to its Twitter client for the iPad, Twittelator, adding support for the iPad 2 camera. iPad 2 owners can now shoot both video and snapshots and upload videos to any of five different online sharing services for Twitter posting. The new version also adds the ability to co-upload a video to YouTube along with another sharing service and set the user’s Twitter avatar using the camera. Twittelator for iPad is available from the App Store for $5.
iFixit has completed its teardown of the iPad 2 and the iPad 2 Smart Cover, finding a large number of magnets in both models. The Smart Cover contains 21 magnets itself, only one of which is used to turn off the iPad 2’s screen. Another 15 of the Smart Cover’s magnets are used to attach to a hidden steel plate inside the case when assembling the triangular base; only four of those magnets actually clamp to the iPad 2 when the cover is in place. Interestingly, the row of magnets inside the iPad that work with the Smart Cover to snap the accessory onto the device had alternating polarities displayed, which matched up with the opposite alternating polarity of the magnets in the Smart Cover to ensure proper orientation.
iFixit is in the process of posting its iPad 2 teardown, and has found several small changes inside. Most notably, the iPad 2 uses a 3.8V, 25 watt-hour battery, compared to the 3.75V, 24.8 watt-hour battery in the original. Multiple Broadcom chips were found inside the device, including a Microcontroller, capacitive touchscreen controller, and a combination Wi-Fi/Bluetooth chip. Finally, the A5 processor inside iFixit’s unit had manufacture dates of late January and mid-February 2011, indicating that production was ramping up through the launch, and the processor carries the marking APL0498, compared to the APL0398 of the A4. We will update this article with more information if and when it becomes available.
iLounge has posted full unboxing photos for the iPad 2. Additional unboxing photos of the Smart Cover and Apple Digital AV Adapter are also available. Click here to view our Flickr gallery.
Update: We’ve also posted photos of the iPad 2 with 3G.
As expected, a number of people are choosing to line up at Apple’s retail stores across the U.S. in preparation for the official launch of the iPad 2 at 5:00 p.m. local time this evening. iLounge reader Peter Cruz sent in the above shot from outside the Apple Store in Pasadena, CA, where roughly 70 people were in line. Two of iLounge’s editors report that a significant line has formed at the Walden Galleria Apple Store in Buffalo, NY; a round-up of line reports from 9 to 5 Mac reveals that lines in other parts of the country range from the high teens into the hundreds. Overall, it appears that line sizes at Apple retail stores will be roughly consistent with past product launches, not counting the smaller than anticipated lines for last month’s Verizon iPhone 4 launch.
Update: Our iLounge editor at the South Coast Plaza Apple Store reports that roughly 100 people were in line for the iPad 2 as of 11:25 a.m. PT, while our editors in New York note that employees were going through the line using MacBook Airs to sign up any customers who didn’t already have an Apple ID, so that they would be ready to use FaceTime and make purchases from the iTunes and App Stores. Umbrellas have been handed out to customers waiting outside in the sun, while coffee and Smart Water have also been offered to those waiting in line—typical of Apple product launches. Finally, employees at the Walden Galleria Apple Store have set up the store’s in-window iPad 2 promo, with what appear to be higher than real resolution renderings.
Update x2: At the South Coast Plaza Apple Store, employees are going through the line asking customers what models they are purchasing and how many, with a limit of two per person. Notably, other stores were handing out numbers to customers in line; anyone who was out of the line when the numbers were passed out was potentially skipped over.
AT&T has announced that it will allow iPads to utilize the Personal Hotspot feature of iOS 4.3. According to the announcement, the Personal Hotspot feature will be available to iPad customers who choose the $25/2GB monthly plan and add the $20 tethering option, which includes an extra 2GB of data that is shared between tethering and normal usage. Previously, tethering was limited to iPhone users. In the same release, the company notes that customers who activate a new postpaid $25/2 GB plan will receive the first month free.
As promised, Apple began accepting online orders for the iPad 2 earlier this morning. At this point, all but one model—the 16GB Verizon 3G—is showing a shipment time of 2-3 weeks, meaning anyone who wants the device sooner will need to get in line at one of Apple’s stores or at one of its retail partner stores in order to secure a unit. Also available online are Apple’s iPad 2 accessories, including the $39 Apple Digital AV Adapter, which allows for HDMI output and ships in 1-2 business days, the $29 Apple iPad 2 Dock, which ships in 1-3 weeks, and both $39 Polyurethane and $69 Leather versions of the iPad Smart Cover, all of which ship in 1-2 business days, save for the (Product) RED leather cover, which is listed with a shipment estimate of 2-3 weeks.
Apple has changed its policy on In-App Purchases in iOS 4.3, requiring users to re-enter their iTunes Store password in order to complete an In-App Purchase, according to The Washington Post. Previously, there was a 15 minute window after entering an iTunes Store password when users would not be asked to re-enter it should they make another purchase. Problems with children running up massive bills via In-App Purchases were widely recognized late last year when the Associated Press ran a story highlighting the problem. The article singled out “The Smurfs’ Village” game by Capcom as one of the most egregious offenders, as it was openly aimed at children yet contained In-App Purchases priced for as much as $60. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said last month that it would review the marketing and delivery of certain applications built around In-App Purchases; it is unclear whether such a review will still be necessary given Apple’s new policy change. [via Mac Rumors]
Apple has released its new GarageBand app for the iPad, as well as an update to iMovie adding compatibility with the iPad 2. Demonstrated during last week’s iPad 2 media event, GarageBand is based on Apple’s desktop music creation software, but has been optimized for the iPad’s Multi-touch interface and offers new features exclusive to the iPad. Features include Touch Instruments, which fill the screen and resemble actual, real-life instruments, “Smart Instruments” that make it easier for novices to play and compose music, the ability to arrange, mix, and record up to eight tracks per song, over 250 professionally prerecorded loops to use as back, and the ability to email songs in AAC directly from the iPad, export the song for addition to an iTunes library, or send a project to a Mac for further refinement in the desktop version of the application. GarageBand is available now and sells for $5.
Apple has also released a free update to its existing iMovie application for the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch, offering compatibility with the iPad 2. Beyond simply adding compatibility, the new update offers iPad 2 users all-new features such as a multi-touch precision editor, audio waveforms, and a larger editing interface; other new features include multitrack audio editing, audio recording directly into the timeline, three new themes, HD sharing directly to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, and CNN iReport, AirPlay support, the ability to add titles on photos, new fade-in and fade-out options, and other enhancements. iMovie 1.2 is a Universal application that sells for $5 and is a free upgrade for existing iMovie users.
According to the latest data from IDC, Apple’s iPad accounted for 73 percent of the 10.1 million media tablets shipped in the fourth quarter of 2010. The research firm states that although this number was down from 93 percent share in the third quarter, it still expects Apple to maintain a 70-80% share of the market in 2011. “Strong holiday sales of media tablets were in line with IDC projections and strong consumer interest in the category while device vendors scrambled to offer products competitive with Apple’s iPad and now iPad 2,” said Loren Loverde, vice president, IDC Consumer Device Trackers. “Media Tablets are on pace to reach shipments of roughly 50 million units in 2011.” Overall, Apple held an 83 percent share of all tablets shipped in 2010.
As noted in our Instant Expert article, some second-generation Apple TV users are finding that their International NBA League Pass subscription does not include access to the new NBA League Pass feature of the Apple TV. According to an email from the NBA League Pass service posted on Apple’s discussion boards, “The application you are looking at on Apple TV is for the US League Pass which is a different product for the International League Pass. At this time NBA International League Pass does not have an Apple TV application.”
Apple and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC) have entered into an agreement that will see the latter make the A5 dual-core processor on a foundry basis, according to a new report. Citing anonymous sources, EETimes reports that the deal could be a blow for Samsung, which makes the A4, although it notes that it’s unclear whether Samsung will also make A5 chips for Apple. According to one source, Apple will use TSMC because Samsung competes with the iPhone and iPad, because TSMC has the highest yielding 40-nm process, and because it has the most 40-mm capacity.
In a recent interview with Tech Radar, Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson made several complimentary comments about Apple and its CEO Steve Jobs. When asked about the biggest name in technology, Branson responded “Steve Jobs,” adding, “I hope he gets through his current illness. He’s the entrepreneur in the world I most admire and I think [Apple] is the brand I most admire.” Continuing, he said, “[Jobs] is the greatest comeback artist as well. He’s twice been down and out and fought his way back and created a brilliant global company. Everything he does is real class and if he wants to rename his company Virgin Apple I’d be happy to merge! It’s a great brand and a great company and may he get well soon.”
A growing Apple Support Discussions thread suggests that yesterday’s Apple TV Software Update 4.2 is causing flickering issues for some users. Users of various Panasonic, Sony, Hitachi, Samsung, and Toshiba TV sets report that their screen now flickers once every couple of seconds, whether displaying menus, videos, or other media. A large number of the users reporting problems appear to be connecting the second-generation Apple TV to their sets using HDMI to DVI adapters, although some report the issue over standard HDMI connections. Some users also report that their HDMI output is stuck on “Auto” and is delivering a downgraded 480p signal despite their sets’ HD capabilities. Notably, many of the users report that they had no problems prior to the update, while other say they have experienced similar issues in the past. [via AppleInsider]
Apple has announced some last-minute details of the iPad 2 launch. According to the release, Apple will begin online sales at 1 a.m. PT tomorrow, with retail sales starting at 5 p.m. local time. Apart from Apple’s own retail stores, the device will also be available at AT&T, Best Buy, Target, Verizon Wireless, and Walmart, as well as select Apple Authorized Resellers. Interestingly, the release also states that iMovie and GarageBand for iPad “are available today,” although GarageBand has yet to appear in the App Store, and iMovie does not appear to have received an update since September 2010. Finally, it notes that the iPad 2 will launch in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK on March 25, with “many more” countries to receive the device in the coming months.
Apple has posted a new page dedicated to guided video tours of the iPad 2’s features. Separate videos have been posted highlighting the built-in apps and features FaceTime, Mail, Safari, iBooks, Videos, Photos, Find My iPad, iPod, iTunes, App Store, Maps, and AirPlay, as well as the new $5 apps GarageBand and iMovie. All 14 videos are available for viewing now on Apple’s website.
New code found in the official release of iOS 4.3 suggests that the iPhone 5 will sport the same A5 processor as the iPad 2. 9 to 5 Mac reports that three separate versions of the iPad 2 are listed, as iPad2,1 (K93AP), iPad2,2 (K94AP), and iPad2,3 (K95AP), representing the Wi-Fi, GSM, and CDMA versions, respectively. The A5 processor is represented in the code by the moniker “S5L8940,” which the report claims also appears in the listing for the iPhone 5, which is referred to by the codename N94AP. According to the report, the A4 processor was referred to as “S5L8930.”
Apple has released Apple TV Software Update 4.2 for the second-generation Apple TV. According to the new “What’s New” screen, the update includes support for MLB.tv and NBA League Pass streaming, AirPlay video streaming for apps and Safari, new slideshow themes, and Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound in Netflix movies and TV shows, as well as an improved on-screen keyboard. Apple TV Software Update 4.2 is available now via the device’s software update feature or as a direct download from Apple.
Update: Despite indications in the beta software that Apple would finally synchronize the Apple TV’s Software and iOS Build numbers on 4.3, the official release has the new Software listed as Version 4.2, with an iOS Build of 4.3. We have updated this and the accompanying MLB.tv/NBA League Pass articles to reflect the correct, official version numbering.
Alongside new support for MLB.tv streaming, the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Apple have added NBA League Pass support to the second-generation Apple TV. Appearing underneath Netflix and MLB.tv in the Apple TV’s Internet menu, the service allows subscribers to watch up to 40 live and archived NBA games per week, although Local and National blackout restrictions apply. Pricing for NBA.com League Pass Broadband is $65 for access to up to seven teams’ games, or $100 for access to games from all 30 NBA teams. NBA League Pass access requires Apple TV Software 4.2.
Major League Baseball (MLB) has announced that MLB.tv streaming will soon be available for the Apple TV. According to a page on MLB’s website, users will need to sign in with the username and password associated with their MLB.tv subscription to gain access to the content. Features will include select Spring Training games, a full slate of Regular Season games, HD streaming where available, both live and archived games, home and away broadcasts, and quick navigation to run-scoring plays or a particular at bat. The feature appears in the Apple TV’s Internet menu, directly below Netflix, and requires Apple TV Software 4.2. Interestingly, code found within an early Apple TV Software 4.3 beta—incorrectly linked by some to a gaming service—indicated that Apple planned to offer a sporting event streaming service on the device, although MLB.tv was not specifically mentioned. MLB.tv’s subscription packages start at $100/year or $20/month.
Apple has released iOS 4.3 for the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, third- and fourth-generation iPod touch, and iPad ahead of its scheduled date of March 11. The update includes a number of new features, such as improved Safari performance, improved support for AirPlay video and audio from third-party apps and Safari, the ability to customize the iPad switch for mute or orientation lock, Personal Hotspot cellular data sharing for the GSM iPhone 4, and iTunes Home Sharing, which allows users to wirelessly stream content from iTunes to an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch over their home network. iOS 4.3 is available now via the Update feature in iTunes.