Apple officially introduced the fifth-generation version of its iPad today, the iPad Air. The newly named iPad has a 43 percent thinner bezel, and is 7.5 mm thick; the Wi-Fi model weighs 1 pound, and the Wi-Fi + Cellular model weighs 1.05 pounds. iPad Air is 9.4 inches tall, and 6.6 inches wide. It comes in silver and space gray.
The iPad Air uses Apple’s A7 chip and M7 motion co-processor. It’s packed with a 5MP iSight camera, 1080p FaceTime camera, and dual microphones. It gets faster Wi-Fi using 802.11n with MIMO. Apple claims it has 10 hours of battery life.
Apple’s iPad Air starts at $499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model, with $599 for 32GB, $699 for 64GB, and $799 for 128GB as the prices for the other Wi-Fi models. The Wi-Fi + Cellular models are priced at $629 (16GB), $729 (32GB), $829 (64GB), and $929 (128GB). iPad Air is available to order on Nov. 1.
Apple is holding a special event today at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, California to unveil the fifth-generation iPad and second-generation iPad mini, alongside updated iLife and iWork software—and quite possibly some surprises. In addition to individual stories discussing the developments as they happen, we’re providing this running, updated feed of what’s taking place at the event. If you have computer or iOS device access, you can watch the proceedings for yourself at Apple’s web site, otherwise enjoy our text-based coverage as the event takes place, and afterwards.
iPad: Apple sold 170m iPads as of this month. 475,000 apps just for iPad. iPad Air introduced as the fifth-generation iPad’s name. New A7 chip is inside. iPad 2 lives on for $399, amazingly. iPad mini 1G drops to $299, and Retina iPad mini starts at $399.
Apps: Apple announces 1 million apps in the App Store, downloaded 60 billion times. All new iLife apps for iOS + Mac, including flattened and simplified iMovie, flattened iPhoto, and 64-bit support for A7-series devices. Free with iOS devices, starting today. iWork also free, available today.
Mac: Retina MacBook Pros now $200 less expensive, featuring new components, and 13” model is thinner and lighter than before. OS X Mavericks released today, free to all Mac users of Snow Leopard or newer machines.
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ABC for Little Space Explorer ($2) from Common Extract is a new alphabet and science learning app for young children: A is for astronaut, B is for black hole, C is for crater, and so forth. Conceptually, the app is a bit odd — alphabet lessons are typically for kids aged 2-5, and the science content here is more for kids 6 and up—but parents who want their kids to learn about space might find it to be worth a peek. As tested, we didn’t always find the app’s interactive activities to be intuitive; in some cases, you’ll see 3-D cosmic maps or satellites that can be zoomed in on, while in others, the screen will flip to telescope and other views that don’t completely make sense. Even the alphabet selection screen is spread over two pages, which may confuse some kids. Our feeling is that Common Extract will benefit from polishing the app up a bunch, but the raw materials here are compelling.
Google’s standalone Hangouts has updated to version 1.3.0 with a major new feature — users can now make and receive telephone calls to land lines from an iOS device. The free app also now lets users send and receive animated GIFs, and it’s now possible to see which friends are using Hangouts, and who’s currently available.
Today’s Apple event will be streamed live on Apple’s web site and on Apple TV. The event starts at 10 a.m. Pacific. This morning, the Apple Events icon popped up on the Apple TV main page, followed by the announcement on Apple.com.
It’s expected that Apple will unveil a fifth-generation iPad and second-generation iPad mini with Retina display today. Recent speculation suggests that the company could also debut iPad covers, and other accessories are also likely for the new models.
Thousands of votes have already been cast in our 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards. Belkin, Logitech, and Unu are in the lead for Accessory Maker of the Year. Google, Nosy Crow, Facebook, and Evernote are battling it out for App Developer of the Year. EA, Epic, Rovio, and Sega are leading the way to be named Game Developer of the Year. Each category has quite a few other options, as well, plus substantial numbers of write-in candidates.
In each category, there’s still time for any company to come from behind and win. Voting ends at 11:59 Pacific Time, Oct. 31. The winners will be announced in early November. Cast your vote today!
Logitech has introduced the Mobile Speakerphone P710e ($170), a USB/Bluetooth speakerphone. The speakerphone uses a DSP to improve the sound of phone call audio, and has an integrated stand to hold an iPhone or iPad while making video calls.
Designed to be portable, the Mobile Speakerphone P710e has a battery capable of 15 hours of medium volume talk time between charging. Wideband audio, a dynamic equalizer, acoustic echo cancelation and noise-canceling microphone all improve sound quality, making it easier to communicate in noisy work environments. No release date has been announced yet.
Apple is in the process of rolling out new movie and TV listing pages for the Apple TV. The new design adds extra banner graphics to the pages, and makes subtle changes to navigation within the pages. Updated pages are only available for certain listings at this time, and appear not to be identical in different countries.
For movies, moving to the “Viewers also watched” line of box covers now begins the process of scrolling the page downwards, and for TV shows, the scrolling column of episodes on the right side of the screen is now nested and shorter than before. The changes collectively fill the screen with more art than before, as the Apple TV menus were historically heavier on black space, as shown in the included comparison screenshot below.
Apple accidentally disclosed all of the icons and several new features for its upcoming iLife and iWork updates last night, while also noting that GarageBand will become a free download with in-app purchases. An updated Apple.com web page for “built-in apps” has since changed back to its previous state.
While new icons for iPhoto and GarageBand appeared briefly last week, the leak revealed an updated iMovie icon, as well as some seriously downgraded icons for Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. It appears that some changes will come to the apps, as well, including photo books in iPhoto, and a new iMovie Theater feature in iMovie. [via MacRumors]
Apple is developing a new keyboard for the full-size iPad that “mimics” Microsoft’s Surface touch cover, according to a blog post from Jamie Ryan, who formerly worked for Apple in Developer Relations. Ryan writes that it’s “not clear whether the process is far enough along” to debut tomorrow, but a number of different keyboards have been tested; he speculates the keyboard could use Bluetooth 4.0 to connect. As Ryan also claims that other “cover like” accessories have been looked at, there’s a possibility that Apple’s “We still have a lot to cover” invitation for tomorrow’s event is a reference to this. He also writes that Apple believes that “the market for the large iPad is mainly professionals looking to work on it whereas the iPad mini is mainly content consumption.”
It also appears as if new Apple TV hardware won’t be debuting at tomorrow’s event, despite prior claims from MG Siegler, who tweeted last month that new Apple TV hardware would be unveiled in October, and in August claimed that a “television product” with a possible new way of interacting with the device could be released by November. Siegler now says that “the most recent whispers I have heard is that the Apple TV project has been delayed a bit.” While leaving open the possibility that there could be an updated Apple TV unit or software at tomorrow’s event, “the device with some sort of newfangled control system” doesn’t appear to be ready to ship.
An interesting new lawsuit against Apple CEO Tim Cook has been launched by a California man over the automatic downloading of iOS 7. Mark Menacher filed a small-claims complaint specifically against Apple CEO Tim Cook on Thursday requesting that Apple provide the ability to remove the automatically downloaded iOS 7 installation package.
The over-the-air software update process introduced in iOS 5 automatically downloads any available iOS update whenever a device is automatically connected to power and on a Wi-Fi network. It notably provides no way to remove this download for users who may choose not to update to the latest iOS version, which in the case of iOS 7 is approximately 1GB of now unrecoverable storage space. Menacher’s complaint asks that Apple provide a way to get rid of the downloaded installer file as well as providing $50 in compensation. Menacher is also said to be considering escalating the issue to a higher court and exploring the possibility of class action status. [via CNET]
In response to a recent claim that Apple could access users’ iMessages if they desired, the company has reaffirmed the security and privacy of the system. Security researchers at QuarksLab claim that Apple could change the infrastructure of the system to access iMessages — perhaps if required by a government order. Apple, however, says QuarksLab’s claim is merely a theory, and the company has no desire or motivation to change iMessage. “iMessage is not architected to allow Apple to read messages,” Apple spokeswoman told AllThingsD. “The research discussed theoretical vulnerabilities that would require Apple to re-engineer the iMessage system to exploit it, and Apple has no plans or intentions to do so.”
Two Apple executives have left the company recently, as e-commerce executive RJ Pittman has been hired by eBay to be the website’s newly created chief product officer of its eBay Marketplaces business. As his LinkedIn profile notes, Pittman was in charge of the design, product management, operations and growth of Apple’s e-commerce platform. He was with the company since March 2010. AllThingsD notes Pittman’s departure is unrelated to Apple’s recent hiring of Angela Ahrendts as head of retail.
Suzanne Lindbergh, whose LinkedIn profile refers to her position as worldwide director of buzz marketing at Apple, has reportedly left the company for Jawbone. Lindbergh was in charge of product placement of Apple products in movies and TV shows, a topic the company discussed little over the years, but disclosed during a recent trial was critical to the company’s extended, high-profile visibility in Hollywood productions. Jawbone hasn’t verified Lindbergh’s hiring. [via Apple Insider]
AT&T has announced a new $5 a day plan for tablet users. The plan, announced today at GigaOM’s Mobilize conference, offers 250MB of data per day but expires quickly. Another new $25 plan offers 1GB of data for three months. A report notes AT&T will make it possible to purchase the new plans directly from an iPad. [via 9to5Mac]
StoryToys is back with another interactive pop-up book — Haunted House ($2), just in time for Halloween. Though the theme may seem scary, most kids won’t be frightened looking through this book with eight pop-up scenes. Haunted House includes full voice narration in English, French, German, and Spanish. A number of games are included within the pages, letting kids have the opportunity to seat at ghosts and mix a witch’s brew.
Microsoft’s brand new Microsoft Remote Desktop (free) app lets users connect to a remote PC to access Windows from anywhere. Users can access remote resources through the Remote Desktop Gateway. Microsoft promises a secure connection to data and applications, simple management of connections, and high quality video and sound streaming. An easy connection to external monitors and projectors helps those business types who need to make presentations.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office recently confirmed all 20 claims of Apple’s U.S. Patent 7,479,949, commonly known as the “Steve Jobs patent.” A multitouch patent for a “Touch screen device, method, and graphical user interface for determining commands by applying heuristics,” the USPTO tentatively ruled the patent invalid last December. However, that action was non-final, and the patent has now been strengthened due to the most recent finding. The confirmation of this key patent gives Apple a more secure position in the iPhone patent wars, and makes things trickier for the company’s rivals. [via FOSS Patents]
Redesigned icons for Apple’s GarageBand and iPhoto appeared briefly today in iCloud storage management, seemingly alluding to an impending redesign of the two apps. It’s possible the icons weren’t meant to be uploaded yet, as they have disappeared.
As would be expected, the new icons are flatter and more basic, matching the look of iOS 7. While Apple may solely have changed the icons, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a revamped GarageBand and iPhoto debut at next week’s iPad event, as Apple historically debuted those apps alongside iPads before adding smaller-screened iPhone support. iMovie, another of Apple’s iLife apps, could also receive a similar makeover. [via 9to5Mac]
Just released by Psyonix, ARC Squadron: Redux is a reboot of last year’s free Star Fox-style shooter, which puts you in control of a spaceship that flies through 60 levels of gun- and missile-firing action. Unreal Engine graphics optimized for Retina displays are an immediate attention-grabber, but the game has 20 different environments, and nine boss battles. Players can upgrade the ship and weapons as they shoot their way through the galaxy with tap and swipe controls. The music and voice samples are extremely impressive.
Batman: Arkham Origins (free) is a new one-on-one Batman fighting game from Warner Bros. Basically a sequel to Batman: Arkham City Lockdown, Arkham Origins offers new opponents, backgrounds and costumes. The game features swipe-and-tap gameplay, high-resolution graphics, and places an emphasis on increasing Batman’s abilities as you proceed through the game—not surprisingly, many in-app purchases are available to offset the initially free download, which uses a “stamina” bar to limit your play sessions. It’s also possible to connect the game to the console version of Batman: Arkham Origins for exclusive content.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere dropped a broad hint that the carrier will be selling Apple’s new iPads in a recent tweet. Legere tweeted, “What has two thumbs and is excited for October 22? #thisguy” with a link to a story about Apple’s Oct. 22 event. It is believed Apple will unveil its new fifth-generation iPad and second-generation iPad mini on that day, and it appears T-Mobile will carry Wi-Fi + Cellular versions of the new iPads. In August, Legere said T-Mobile was looking forward to carrying “a whole array of Apple products,” and the company is already selling the latest iPhone models.
Reported sensor issues with Apple’s iPhone 5s are being caused by a new and allegedly undercalibrated accelerometer in the device, according to a new blog post. Eagle Jones, CEO of developer RealityCap, writes, “Quite definitely, the answer is that these issues exist due to hardware design.” Jones points out that a recent Chipworks teardown identifies the 5s accelerometer as a Bosch Sensortech BMA220 — Apple previously used parts from another manufacturer, ST. The Bosch accelerometer has a different bias spec than the previous ST part, and the wider bias range makes it more likely that the sensor won’t be level. Jones writes that app developers can incorporate a calibration process within their apps to get a correct reading, or Apple could update iOS to include a proper calibration profile for the new sensor. So far, Apple has been silent on the issue.
Apple is reducing orders of its iPhone 5c for the fourth quarter, according to the Wall Street Journal. The article echoes recent analyst reports, and questions the lack of demand and pricing strategy for the 5c. Assemblers Pegatron and Hon Hai/Foxconn were both told orders would be cut — sources say Pegatron was told a 20 percent cut would be forthcoming, while Hon Hai was told orders would be slashed by a third. Another supplier was reportedly notified of a 50 percent cut in part orders for the device. Meanwhile, executives at Hon Hai said Apple has increased iPhone 5s orders for the fourth quarter, lending further credence to a recent survey that found the iPhone 5s was outselling the 5c by more than two to one.