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U.S. iPad 2 sales start March 11, 5:00 pm, no pre-orders

Apple has released information on its web site indicating that the iPad 2 will go on sale in the U.S. on March 11th at 5:00 pm. Notably, unlike previous Apple product releases it does not appear that customers will be able to pre-order the device online or pre-reserve a device for pickup at a local Apple Retail Store. The Apple Store indicates that customers will be able to place an order “starting March 11.”

The iPad 2 will be selling at the same price points as the original iPad, with the Wi-Fi models selling for $499, $599 and $699 for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions, respectively, and the Wi-Fi + 3G versions selling for $130 more at $629, $729 and $829. Separate Wi-Fi + 3G models will be available for both AT&T and Verizon.

iLounge posts first iPad 2 hands-on pictures, details

Straight from Apple’s special event in San Francisco, California, iLounge has posted the world’s first hands-on photos of the second-generation iPad, officially named iPad 2. See our flickr feed at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ipodlounger/ for all the details!

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Apple announces iPad HDMI cable, Smart Covers for iPad 2 (Updated)

Apple today also announced two new accessories that will be available for the iPad 2. A new $39 HDMI video output cable will allow iPad users to connect their devices to an HDTV, providing not only support for displaying HD video content but also mirroring the iPad screen onto a TV, allowing any iPad application to be viewed on the larger screen, including support for both landscape and portrait orientation with no setup or configuration required.

A new Smart Covers accessory was also unveiled for the iPad 2, designed in tandem with the new model. The Smart Cover attaches to the glass screen using magnets built into the iPad 2 which can also detect when the cover is closed. The iPad 2 will be able to automatically sleep when closed, and wake when opened, and magnets will grab and auto-align the cover for easy attachment and removal. The cover also folds into a triangle to be used as a typing stand or video stand and includes a microfiber lining to clean the screen. The cover will be sold in five colours in either polyurethane or leather for $39 and $69 for each version, respectively.

Update: The new HDMI adapter, dubbed the “Apple Digital AV Adapter” has appeared on the Apple Store with a ship date of “Coming Soon.” The cable includes an HDMI port and a 30-pin Dock Connector port for charging the iPad while connected to a TV. The cable is compatible with the iPad, iPhone 4, fourth-generation iPod touch and iPad 2. The product page notes that display mirroring will only be available on the IPad 2.

Apple announces iMovie, Garageband for iPad

Today Apple also announced the upcoming release of two new Apple applications for the iPad: iMovie and GarageBand. iMovie will be released as a universal app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch and provides new features such as multi-track audio editing, a precision editor, and the ability to output video via AirPlay and share videos in HD with popular sites. The app will include an improved UI evolved from the original iMovie app for iOS released last summer, resembling more of a beginners’ version of iMovie for the Mac with more powerful editing features. The new version will include a new voiceover recording system, three new themes, sound effects, transitions and new visual effects. Users will be able to share videos from iMovie to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and CNN iReport.

GarageBand for the iPad will include built-in touch instruments, guitar amps and effects with eight-track mixing and 250 loops built-in. Files created in the iPad version of GarageBand can be used with the Mac version and vice-versa, and GarageBand on the iPad will be able to output directly into AAC format for sending content via e-mail. Users can transform the iPad screen into a variety of touch instruments such as a piano, synthesizer, drum kit or virtual Smart Guitar all with photorealistic interfaces. The app will also take advantage of the accelerometer for velocity-sensitivity on piano keys and drum sets. The app will also provide a series of Smart Instruments designed to be easily played by novices and experienced musicians alike. Users will be able to record from any instrument screen and e-mail their mixes or send them to iTunes.

Both applications are scheduled to be released on March 11th and will sell for $5 each.

Apple previews iOS 4.3, announces March 11th release

During today’s Media Event, Apple’s Scott Forstall provided a preview of iOS 4.3 for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. The new iOS update is expected to improve Safari performance using the Nitro engine for twice the speed and as expected will include improved support for AirPlay video and audio from third-party apps, the ability to customize the iPad switch for mute or orientation lock and support for the new Personal Hotspot feature first debuted on the Verizon iPhone 4. iOS 4.3 will also include support for iTunes Home Sharing, allowing users to wirelessly stream content to an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch from their iTunes library. The iPad 2 will ship with iOS 4.3 which also provides support for FaceTime on the iPad and new software for the iPad 2 cameras. iOS 4.3 is scheduled to be released on March 11 and will support the iPhone 3GS and GSM iPhone 4, first-generation iPad and third- and fourth-generation iPod touch. Notably, support for the Verizon iPhone will not be included in the initial iOS 4.3 release; it is unclear whether a later update will be released separately for the Verizon iPhone 4.

Apple demonstrates FaceTime, Photo Booth for iPad 2

At today’s iPad 2 Media Event, Apple’s Scott Forstall provided a demonstration of the new camera features that will be included on the iPad 2. As expected, the iPad 2 will provide built-in support for FaceTime in a manner similar to the FaceTime application included on the fourth-generation iPod touch. FaceTime on the iPad will be shown full-screen and as with other FaceTime-capable devices users will be able to see a preview window in the corner of the screen and switch between cameras to show people what they are looking at.

Apple also unveiled Photo Booth for iOS, which will be included on the iPad 2 as part of iOS 4.3. Similar to the Mac application of the same name, Photo Booth on the iPad 2 will allow users to take pictures with either the front or rear cameras and apply a collection of special effects chosen from windows at the bottom of the screen. Photos can be shared with friends and Forstall noted that the iPad 2 is so fast that 9 live video feeds for the special effects can be previewed on the screen simultaneously.

Apple unveils iPad 2, coming March 11th

During its Media Event today Apple unveiled the latest-generation iPad. Dubbed the iPad 2, Steve Jobs described the new model as an entirely new design. Building on last year’s A4 chip, the iPad 2 features a dual-core A5 chip which provides essentially two processors for twice the performance. Graphics performance in the new model has been enhanced even further with nine times the performance of the first-generation model. Despite the performance improvements, the A5 chip provides the same lower power consumption as last year’s A4 chip, providing the same legendary 10-hour battery life as the first-generation iPad.

As anticipated, the iPad 2 will also include two video cameras—one rear and one front camera for FaceTime, video and photo capture similar to the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch. The new model also adds the gyroscope sensor first introduced on the iPhone 4 last summer. Despite the extra hardware, the iPad 2 comes in at 66% of the thickness of the original iPad at 8.8mm—thinner than the iPhone 4, and reducing the weight to 1.3 pounds.

The iPad 2 will be available in two colours—black and white, both available from launch day, as well as 3G versions for both AT&T and Verizon at launch. The iPad 2 is expected to retail at the same prices as last year’s original iPad, with the 16GB model selling for $499 in the U.S. Expected release date is March 11th in the United States, followed by a simultaneous release in 26 other countries on March 25th.

Apple: 100 million iBooks, 15 million iPads, 100 million iPhones sold

Steve Jobs opened Apple’s iPad 2 Media Event today by reporting sales of 100 million iBooks since the launch of the iBookstore last year, with over 2,500 publishers now in the iBookstore, including the recent addition of Random House. The iTunes Store, App Store and iBookstores now include over 200 million registered user accounts. Jobs went on to note that iOS developers have made over $2 billion from selling Apps in the App Store and Apple has now to date shipped 100 million iPhones worldwide.

Continuing his opening remarks, Jobs referred to 2010 as the “Year of the iPad” emphasizing that the iPad was marketed last year as magical and revolutionary technology and has sent competitors back to the drawing board with their designs; their prices and application availability unable to match that of the iPad. Jobs indicated that Apple sold 15 million units in just nine months last year, noting that the iPad has generated $9.5 billion in revenue over that same time period, making it Apple’s most successful single product launch ever. Jobs noted that the App Store now has over 350,000 apps, 65,000 of which are fully iPad-ready.

Random House brings entire U.S. catalog to iBookstore

Following yesterday’s announcement by Random House that it was adopting an agency pricing model for e-book sales, Apple announced today that the publisher has made its entire catalog of 17,000 e-books available for sale on the iBookstore. The catalog includes bestsellers by such authors as Stieg Larson, John Grisham, Dan Brown, Danielle Steel, and Lauren Hillenbrand and customers will also be able to pre-order upcoming releases from Random House directly through the iBookstore. Random House is the last of the six major trade publishers to offer its catalog on the iBookstore.

Another iPad 2 mockup shows before Apple event

Hours ahead of the official announcement of the second-generation iPad, Chinese site DGtle has posted a series of photos purporting to represent the new device. Though the images appear to be a very close approximation of the iPad rear casing first spotted by iLounge in January, notably including a different speaker grille design and a 3G antenna panel, the images also show seams, edges and a model number on the back that call into question their legitimacy as photos of a production iPad model as opposed to a mockup. Until the actual iPad design is unveiled later today, images of this sort should be taken for what they are: approximations that can be used to understand general changes likely to appear in an upcoming iPad model.

iLounge’s live coverage of Apple’s iPad 2 event: 10AM PT/1PM ET (updated!)

iLounge will provide live coverage of Apple’s special event in San Francisco tomorrow, starting a little bit before 10:00 AM Pacific Time/1:00PM Eastern Time. We look forward to having you join us here for the event, which is expected to include announcements of the second-generation iPad, iOS 4.3, and updated iTunes/MobileMe services, but could possibly go further.

Bookmark Live.iLounge.com today. Right before the event begins, we’ll be switching over to that special page for updates so that we can optimize performance for all of our readers. A separate chat room will host reader discussions of the announcements as they happen. See you then!

Update: We’re updating the Live.iLounge.com page now with photo links and text. Check it out!

Apple responds in ‘App Store’ trademark dispute

Following Microsoft’s request that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office reject Apple’s trademark application for the phrase “App Store,” TechFlash reports that Apple has filed a defense. The company has asked to dismiss Microsoft’s objection to the App Store trademark, pointing to Microsoft’s own long-time defense of its Windows trademark, and stating that Microsoft should be “well aware” that a mark’s genericness depends on the “primary significance of the term to a substantial majority of the relevant public.” 

Apple’s filing goes on to cite testimony from linguistics expert Robert Leonard, who contends that “the predominant usage of the term APP STORE is as a proper noun to refer to Apple’s online application marketplace,” and that mobile application developers and platforms have reasonable alternative names available to them, such as Microsoft’s use of the term Marketplace to refer to its own Windows Mobile applications store. In its previous filing, Microsoft argued that Apple itself has used the term generically, and that Apple’s use of the term for its online iOS and Mac applications store is a “de facto secondary meaning” of a generic term. The case is now under review by the USPTO Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, which may choose to deny Apple’s application based on Microsoft’s assertions, or allow the application process to proceed.

Verizon to discontinue unlimited iPhone data plans

A report from Bloomberg earlier today cites comments from Verizon Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo confirming the company’s intentions to discontinue its unlimited data plans for the iPhone. When Verizon announced its $30 unlimited plan for the iPhone 4 in late January, Chief Operating Officer Lowell McAdam indicated that the plan would be a temporary offering and that Verizon would eventually be moving to tiered data pricing for the iPhone, however no specific time frame was given beyond in the “not too distance future.” However, during a conference call at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference today, Shammo indicated that such plans are “not a long-term solution” and indicated that a move to tiered data pricing could come as soon as this summer. The company has not provided any further details on plans that would replace the current unlimited plan or how this change would affect existing subscribers.

Loopt adds user-generated places

Loopt has released an update to its location-based social search app adding support for user-generated places. Loopt is an app designed for iOS users to see what’s happening around them among their friends and local venues similar to services such as Foursquare and Gowalla. Loopt however adds integrated features such as location-aware text messaging to connect with friends and find places to go when users are out and about and includes integration with Facebook Places so that Loopt users can check in to their Facebook profile and see what their Facebook friends are up to right from within the Loopt app. Version 4.2 now allows users to add public places or events directly from the app with an option to make the place visible to other Loopt users so that they can search for and check-in at that location. Loopt is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download.

Evernote 4.0 sports a new UI for iPhone, iPod touch users

Evernote has released a major update to its iOS application adding a significantly redesigned interface for the iPhone and iPod touch. Although a universal app, Evernote 4.0 focuses primarily on enhancements for iPhone and iPod touch users with a new intelligent “Snippet view” that allows users to see more useful content in their note listings as well as new views to easily browse through all of the images and attachments contained in notes. The new version also allows multiple images and recordings to be attached to a single note, increases the maximum recording time for audio notes to 90 minutes and allows users to add text and snapshots to an audio note while recording. Location data attached to notes can now be viewed and modified from within the iOS app and the update also improves the search feature for viewing notes in specific notebooks, finding notes by tag and faster access to saved searches. The release notes also indicate coming support for stacks, shared notebooks and a major update for iPad users. Evernote 4.0 is available from the App Store as a free download.

Former Apple manager pleads guilty in kickback scheme

Paul Devine, a former global supply manager with Apple, has pleaded guilty to multiple charges stemming from a scheme that involved Devine receiving kickbacks from Asian suppliers in exchange for confidential information. Reuters reports that Devine pleaded guilty to wire fraud, conspiracy and money laundering in a San Jose federal court, and also agreed to give up around $2.28 million in money and property. “Mr. Devine is a good man who made a mistake, and now he’s trying to make amends,” said his attorney Raphael Goldman. Devine faces a maximum prison term of 20 years on the wire fraud and money laundering counts, but could receive far less time; sentencing is scheduled for June 6.

FAA approves iPad for flight chart duty

The Federal Aviation Administration has approved the iPad for use as an alternative to paper flight charts. CNN reports that the approval, which applies only to charter company Executive Jet Management and the app Mobile TC, took three months of rigorous testing across 250 flights, and included rapid decompression testing. In addition, the airline will be required to carry a second approved electronic device—most likely a second iPad—in case of a system or software crash, although neither the device nor the app crashed during testing. Jeff Buhl, product manager for the Mobile TC app at developer Jeppesen, said the iOS operating system and app proved “extremely stable” during testing, adding that in the “unlikely” event of a crash, the app is ready to go again in “in 4-6 seconds from re-launch to previous state.”

Despite the approval’s limited conditions, the report notes that it opens the door for other operators, including major airlines, to move to iPad-based charts, though any airline wishing to use the device will have to go through equally rigorous testing. “As far as the iPad is concerned, we do that on a case-by-case basis when an airline applies to be able to use it,” said FAA spokesman Les Dorr. According to Jeppesen, several carriers are looking into using the iPad and Mobile TC; Alaska Airlines began testing the iPad in November and there are now roughly 100 pilots currently evaluating the device.

Random House to adopt agency model, join iBookstore?

Random House has announced that it is switching to the agency pricing model for e-book sales beginning today, opening the door for an arrival on Apple’s iBookstore. “The agency model guarantees a higher margin for retailers than did our previous sales terms. We are making this change both as an investment in the successful digital transition of our existing partners and in order to give us the opportunity to forge new retail relationships,” a Random House spokesperson told Publishers Weekly. “We are looking forward to continuing to work with all our retail partners—both digital and physical—on our joint mission to connect our authors with as many readers as possible, in whatever format they prefer.” Under the agency model, which Apple has used since launching the store last year, publishers set the price and designate an agent—in this case the bookseller—who will sell the book and receive a commission. “We have believed from the beginning that the agency model is in the best interest of not only the book industry, but the consuming public as well,” said Oren Teicher, CEO of the American Booksellers Association. “We appreciate the careful and thoughtful deliberation Random House has brought to this issue, and applaud their decision to adopt agency pricing.” [via LA Times]

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