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iOS Update: 250 million devices sold, 500,000 apps

During today’s “Let’s talk iPhone” event, Apple executives Tim Cook and Scott Forstall offered several updates on the company’s iOS platform. Most notably, the company has now sold over 250 million iOS devices, and offers more than 500,000 apps in the App Store, with over 140,000 of those made specifically for the iPad. Overall, more than 18 billion apps have been downloaded from the store, with the rate accelerating to over 1 billion downloads per month. Over 100,000 developers have been seeded with the iOS 5 beta, and over $3 billion has been paid out to app developers. When all iOS devices are counted, the platform is the top mobile operating system with 43 percent of the market.

Apple announces Cards for iOS

During today’s iPhone event Apple debuted Cards, a new iOS application designed to allow users to create professional quality greeting cards on their iPhone to be printed and mailed out directly by Apple. Users will be able to choose between 21 different designs and add their own text and photos and Apple will print out a 4” x 6” letterpress card and mail it to the recipient. Cards mailed to U.S. recipients will be tracked via the U.S. Postal Service barcode and the sender will be notified of delivery status via Push Notification. Cards will be available from the App Store on October 12th. The app will be a free download with in-app purchases used to buy individual cards: $3 for U.S. destinations or $5 for international destinations, includes the card, the envelope and the mailing costs.

iPad ‘undisputed’ #1 tablet, 74% market share

Apple CEO Tim Cook made several comments regarding the iPad and its success. According to Cook, the iPad has a 74 percent share of the tablet market, making it the “undisputed” number one tablet in the world. He went on to reveal that over 80 percent of US hospitals are now piloting or testing the device, 92 percent of Fortune 500 companies are testing or deploying iPad, and that every state in the U.S. has a school with an iPad deployment program either in place or in pilot, with over 1,000 schools offering a 1:1 program.

Apple: Over 300 million iPods sold, 16 billion songs downloaded

In his opening remarks at Apple’s “Let’s talk iPhone” media event today, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed that the company has now sold over 300 million iPods. Cook stated that the iPod holds a 78 percent share of the MP3 market, that the company sold 45 million iPods from July 2010 to June 2011, that nearly half of iPod customers are purchasing their first iPod, and that the iPod still represents a “large and important” market for Apple. He also revealed that the company has now seen over 16 billion song downloads from iTunes, calling the Store’s success “mind boggling.”

Let’s Talk iPhone Event: The Big Picture

Apple’s “Let’s talk iPhone” media event is being held today at the company’s campus Town Hall auditorium. As there are plenty of announcements expected to come from the event, we’re providing this story as a starting point—we’ll be linking to all the major news from the event right here, so check back periodically throughout the afternoon for more updates.

So far:

iPhone 4S to launch October 14, iPod nano to see update

Apple introduces Cards, a new free app that lets you create and send cards directly from your iPhone. It will mail printed cards through the mail after you design them, then provide tracking notifications to your iPhone. Cards will be $3 each when mailed within the U.S. Available October 12.

iOS 5 is coming October 12. As is iCloud.

Apple announces Find My Friends application for iCloud, enabling you to locate your friends and family if they’re using Apple’s devices.

“New” iPod nano announced - new user interface, 16 new clock faces, Nike+ without the need for shoe-based sensors. $129/$149, available today. Seven colors like the previous ones. Updated! Originally claimed to be a “new” iPod nano, this appears to be little more than a price change with a minor software update. Following the event, it was discovered that the software will be released for the 2010 iPod nano as well.

Updated iPod touch: black and white, $199 8GB, $299 32GB, $399 64GB. Available October 12. Nothing mentioned about under-the-hood changes of any sort. Updated! Apart from the color addition, there does not appear to be any change to the iPod touch hardware at all this year.

iPhone 4S officially announced with A5 processor, dual-core graphics chip that’s up to 7x faster than prior iPhone (down from 9x in prior iPad). Yet now gets eight hours of talk time, six hours of 3G browsing, 9 of Wi-Fi browsing. Now can switch between two antennas for improved call quality. Data speeds now doubled for downloading—now up to nearly 14.4Mbps downloading speed. Apple is not calling this 4G, but saying that the performance is 4G-caliber. It’s a dual-band world phone with both GSM + CDMA. Improved camera sports an 8-Megapixel sensor with backside illumination, gathering 73% more light than before, with a hybrid IR filter and 1/3 faster performance. The lens now has 5 elements and is f/2.4—really wide angle with 30% greater sharpness, macro photo feature, plus 1080p video recording.

iPhone 4S also gets AirPlay mirroring. And expanded voice controls thanks to an integrated Siri assistant. “What’s the weather like today?” can be answered by the iPhone 4S with a forecast. “Find me a great Greek restaurant in Palo Alto,” and it returns a bunch of results sorted by rating. The interface is a mix of prior Siri and the linen backdrop of OS X and iOS, tying into iOS applications to look up calendar information, messages, and other things stored on the device. It can read to you, and understand what you’re saying. It will initially be available in English, German, and French support, with other languages to follow. 16GB, 32GB, 64GB $199/$299/$399. 3GS and 4 will still be sold, 3GS free on contract, iPhone 4 is $99 for 8GB. Preorder on 7th, available October 14, Verizon AT+T and Sprint. First countries: U.S., Canada, Australia, U.K., France, Germany, and Japan, with more to follow on the 28th, then more through end of the year.

A summary of the presentation thus far is available after the break.

Adobe plans to bring Photoshop Touch Apps to iOS

Adobe has announced “Adobe Touch Apps,” a new line of creative apps for tablet devices. The new apps include Photoshop Touch, Collage, Debut, Kuller and Proto alongside Adobe Ideas which was already released for iOS last year. The apps are expected to integrate with Adobe’s Creative Cloud service for sharing files and transferring projects between the tablet apps and Adobe’s Creative Suite apps on the desktop. Photoshop Touch is designed to be a tablet optimized version of the venerable desktop application, allowing users to combine images into separate layers, select parts of images using touch gestures, apply filters, paint with various brushes and share photos via Facebook. Collage allows users do combine images, text and other drawings for sharing on the Creative Cloud, Debut provides a viewer for images created with Adobe’s desktop apps, Kuler allows users to select and share color pallets and themes; Proto provides tools for creating interactive mockups of web sites for mobile devices. Adobe’s Touch Apps will initially be released on Android, but are planned to come to iOS devices in 2012.

iPhone 4S to launch October 14, iPod nano to see update

Apple will launch the iPhone 4S on October 14, according to a premature posting on its Japanese retail store sites. Mac Rumors reports that the site lists the iPhone 4S launch as taking place in Japan at 8:00 am on October 14; it seems likely that the handset will launch in other countries, including the U.S., on the same day. In addition, the page also makes mention of an updated iPod nano, with pricing for the new model to begin at 10,800 yen—roughly $140—down from the current 13,800 yen; it is unclear whether the change is related to a price drop or a change in currency exchange rates.

In addition, images for the iPhone 4S in black and white have been posted to Apple’s site, and appear to be identical to those of the CDMA iPhone 4, save for what appears to be a change in the black model’s proximity sensor. Apple is expected to announce both devices at its special media event, which begins shortly.

WSJ: No 4G support for new iPhone

Any new iPhone models announced by Apple this afternoon will not feature true fourth-generation cellular data support, according to a new report. Citing people familiar with Apple’s plans, the Wall Street Journal reports that the newest iPhone will feature neither LTE nor WiMax support, and will instead focus on 3G network support, including HSPA+, which has been touted by some carriers as “4G” technology. Notably, a report appeared yesterday claiming that Apple’s deal with Sprint would include a brief exclusive on a WiMax-enabled iPhone 5, which would appear on AT&T and Verizon in 2012 boasting LTE support.

Instagram update improves location features, filters

Instagram has released an update to its social photo sharing app adding better location support for photos, making some filter adjustments and improving the tilt-shift quality. Last month the company released a major update with completely rewritten and redesigned filters. Shortly following that release Instagram acknowledged in a blog post that changes to the Earlybird filter were unintentional and that the tilt-shift feature was more intense than it should have been, indicating that these would be fixed in a new version submitted to the App Store.

Version 2.0.1 revamps both the Earlybird and Brannan filters to act more like the original versions from before the 2.0 release. The update also provides a softer cutoff in the tilt-shift feature, making the preview consistent between screens and less intense. Additionaly, the new version makes several improvements to location support, allowing users to tag imported photos with the location where they were originally taken rather than the location the photo is imported from the camera roll. Photos taken within Instagram will also now include the geo-location data in both the original and filtered versions saved into the iOS photo library, although this information will not be included in the uploaded version of the photo. Instagram 2.0.1 is available from the App Store as a free download.

Evernote improves Shared Notebook support, Editing features

Evernote has released an update to its iOS app adding the ability to create and edit notes in shared notebooks and improving on the rich-text editing capabilities introduced in the last update. Although the last version introduced access to Evernote’s Shared Notebooks feature, users were limited to viewing notes contained in those notebooks shared by others; this latest update now allows the ability to create and edit notes as in any other notebook.

Text editing features have also been improved in the latest update, including better copy and paste support, handling of simplified text and new-lines and the ability to edit notes that contain encrypted text. The new version also now allows users to create and edit checkboxes for lists and to-dos—a feature previously only available for notes that were created in the web or desktop versions. Images, files and encryption are now also display in-line when viewing simplified notes. Evernote 4.1.2 is a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Apple rejects Samsung settlement offer in Australia

Apple has rejected an offer from Samsung that would see the patent dispute between the two companies in Australia come to an end. Reuters reports that the offer, made by Samsung last week, would have seen the South Korean company help ensure an expedited court hearing in return for the ability to immediately launch the Galaxy Tab 10.1—currently barred from sale thanks to a preliminary injunction—in the country. Both companies have since made it clear that no such bargain will be reached. “It is one we don’t accept and there is no surprise. The main reason we are here is to prevent the launch (of the Galaxy 10.1) and maintain the status quo,” Apple lawyer Steven Burley told the court. Samsung agreed to withdraw two allegedly infringing features of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, reducing the dispute to a single patent covering touchscreen technology.

Apple iPhone event begins at 10am PT/1pm ET

Apple’s special “Let’s talk iPhone” media event will begin later today at 1:00 pm Eastern Time/10:00 am Pacific Time. At the event, Apple is widely expected to introduce at least one new iPhone model, announce Sprint as a carrier partner in the U.S., provide an update on iOS 5 as well as a release date, and potentially offer an update on its iPod lineup, specifically the iPod touch and iPod shuffle. We will be posting regular updates throughout the course of the event; check back later to catch all the latest news as it happens.

Sprint enters into $20 billion, multi-year iPhone pact

Sprint Nextel has entered into a multi-year deal with Apple as part of its agreement to carry the iPhone that will see the number three U.S. carrier purchase a guaranteed number of iPhones over the next four years. Citing people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reports that Sprint has agreed to purchase 30.5 million iPhones—$20 billion worth, at current rates—over the next four years whether or not it is able to sell them all. “This is a bet-the-company kind of thing,’’ said a person familiar with the company’s decision making, adding that the projected hit to the company’s operating income is “staggering.” According to the report, Apple also requires other carriers to make long-term volume commitments for the iPhone, which in turn helps them in component purchasing decisions. The report notes that Sprint is expected to offer unlimited data plans for the iPhone, distinguishing it from rival carriers Verizon and AT&T, and that the deal isn’t expected to become profitable until 2014. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse recently said that the lack of the iPhone is “the No. 1 reason customers leave or switch.”

Trailhead provides a Basecamp Client for the iPad

Faqden Labs has released Trailhead, a native iPad client for 37Signals’ popular Basecamp project management web app. Designed to provide an attractive and accessible interface to Basecamp, Trailhead allows users to browse through all of their projects on Basecamp and view, edit and add comments to messages and manage to-do lists. Users can create new to-do lists or add items to existing lists directly within the app as well as posting comments on to-do items and reordering action items via a simple drag-and-drop interface. The application also provides access to the people and company lists for each project so that users can easily link messages and other items as appropriate. The initial version does not yet provide support for calendars and milestones, however this is noted as coming soon in a future release along with customizable views. Trailhead is available from the App Store for $2.

Photosmith expands format support, export options

C2 Enterprises has released an update to Photosmith, its iPad companion app for Adobe Lightroom users, adding several new features and improvements. Photosmith provides users with the ability to organize photos on the go, share content on social media services, and rate, tag and label photos for export to Lightroom. Photosmith 1.1 adds support for RAF and NRW raw files along with the ability to export XMP information to Dropbox, providing rudimentary support for non-Lightroom users. Photos from iTunes-synced albums can also now be selected in Photosmith and users can import photos on demand and skip pre-generation of preview images. The new version also adds a baseline sync engine in preparation for upcoming two-way sync functionality and automatic backups of the database for improved stability. A number of bug fixes and other smaller improvements have also been rolled into the latest version. Photosmith requires iOS 4.2 and is available from the App Store for $18.

OpenTable adds Calendar Integration

OpenTable has released an update to its online reservation application adding integration with the iOS calendar. OpenTable allows users to search for and make reservations at over 11,000 participating restaurants across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the U.K. Users can search by restaurant name, current location, cuisine, price, reservation time or points awarded and view menus, ratings and reviews and table availability in real-time. The latest update adds the ability to add reservation details to the iOS calendar simply by tapping the calendar icon in the upcoming reservation. The update also includes sponsorship features and bug fixes. OpenTable for the iPhone and iPod touch and OpenTable for iPad are both available from the App Store as free downloads.

iPhone 4S placeholder found in latest iTunes beta

Code referring to an iPhone 4S has been found in the latest beta version of iTunes 10.5. 9to5Mac reports that separate listing for black and white iPhone 4S models have been found in the beta software, along with pointers to the icons for the CDMA versions of the iPhone 4. The report suggests that while these image files may just be placeholders, it appears more likely that the iPhone 4S will sport the same external design as the CDMA iPhone 4, save for the SIM slot. Also noted in the report is the fact that only two iPhone 4S listings appear, unlike the four listings—black/white for both CDMA and GSM—for the iPhone 4, suggesting that the iPhone 4S will be a dual-mode CDMA + GSM device. Apple is expected to announce its new iPhones at a special event to be held tomorrow.

‘N90A’ iPhone production underway in Brazil

New photographs taken purportedly taken inside a Foxconn factory in Brazil suggest that Apple is building at least some iPhone 4 models in the South American country. The photos, posted online by Gizmodo.com.br, show the front plate that appears to be identical to that of the iPhone 4, as well as a Foxconn quality control form, which lists the device as model “N90A”—the current iPhone 4 is model N90—and notes that this particular unit was “disqualified” due to a lens problem. The N90A model number reportedly appeared in Apple’s internal inventory system last week, and could represent the rumored 8GB iPhone 4 variant.

8GB iPhone 4, 64GB iPhone 4S listings appear online

Listings for both black and white 8GB iPhone 4 models as well as a variety of iPhone 4S models have appeared online. iFun.de reports (Translated link) that the website of Vodafone Germany currently lists the 8GB iPhone 4 models, as well as 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB versions of the “iPhone 4S” in black and white as compatible with the Elgato Tivizen DVB-T receiver. Previous reports, as well as Apple’s past track record, have suggested that the company would introduce an 8GB iPhone 4 model to replace the iPhone 3GS as its “low end” offering; Apple is expected to announce its 2011 iPhone lineup at tomorrow’s media event.

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