Opera reports that its alternative mobile browser for the iPhone, Opera Mini, has been approved by Apple. First previewed at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, Opera Mini for the iPhone is intended to provide an alternative to the iPhone’s native Safari browser, promising significantly faster browsing speeds due to data compression on Opera’s servers. Opera Mini was submitted to Apple in March amidst much speculation as to whether it would be approved by Apple due to past restrictions placed on third-party browsers and other applications which duplicated existing iPhone functionality or executed third-party code on the device. While Apple has been approving other mobile browsers for the iPhone for over a year, Opera Mini is the first iPhone browser that does not use Apple’s WebKit engine. Opera Mini will be a free download and is expected to be available on the App Store within the next 24 hours.
Update: Opera Mini is now available from the App Store as a free download.
In a reply to a customer email, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has said that the original iPhone won’t be supported by future software updates. Twitter user Ven000m asked Jobs in an email if Apple would be “supporting/updating” the original iPhone in the future, to which the regularly terse Jobs replied, “sorry, no.” Apple made no mention of the original iPhone or the first-generation iPod touch during its iPhone OS 4 special event last week, where it announced that the new multitasking features would be limited to the iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod touch, with the iPhone 3G receiving a stripped down upgrade; later comments from Jobs during a Q & A session suggested the company was ceasing support for its oldest iPhone OS devices. [via Engadget]
Apple has posted a streaming QuickTime video of its iPhone OS 4 Event held yesterday in the Town Hall presentation room at Apple’s campus in Cupertino, California. The video is one hour long and discusses and demonstrates some of the major new features that are expected to be released in iPhone OS 4 this summer. The video can also be downloaded in iTunes from the Apple Keynotes Podcast for viewing on an iPod, iPhone, iPad or Apple TV.
Apple has posted the preliminary version of the iPhone OS 4 Software Development Kit, also known as the iPhone SDK 4 beta, to its Developer Web Site. The SDK download is 2.9GB in size, with separate iPhone OS 4.0 operating system betas at roughly 300MB-400MB a piece. Apple’s OS betas are for 2008 and 2009 iPhone and iPod touch models only. They notably exclude the iPad, which is explicitly disclaimed as not compatible with “iPhone OS 4.0”, and 2007 iPhone and iPod touch models, which are not and apparently will not be supported by iPhone OS 4.
During Apple’s iPhone OS 4 event today, Steve Jobs announced the creation of a new mobile advertising platform which will be integrated directly into the iPhone OS. The new platform, named iAd, is designed to allow developers to easily add in-app advertising to their applications by supplying ads through a centralized advertising network without having to implement their own solution. Apple will take care of selling and hosting the ads, providing developers with the industry standard 60% of advertising revenue.
Jobs explained that Apple wants to provide incentives for developers to keep free apps as free, but that ads based on search have not been as successful on mobile devices as they have on the desktop as users spend most of their time in apps rather than searching in a web browser. He went on the explain that the average iPhone user spends 30 minutes each day using applications, and supplying even 1 ad every 3 minutes would equate to 10 ads per day. Jobs notes that with 100 million iPhone users, this presents one billion ad opportunities per day within the iPhone community. Apple is also looking to improve the quality and accessibility of in-app advertising, with more interaction than typical web ads and allowing users to view advertising without being taken out of the application that they are currently using, thereby encouraging users to click on ads without having to worry about leaving the current app.
During the course of its iPhone OS 4.0 Sneak Peek event today, Apple noted that the operating system software will be available in at least three different versions: one that is fully feature-enabled with multitasking for the iPhone 3GS and 2009 “third-generation” iPod touch, one that is limited by the less advanced hardware in the iPhone 3G and 2008 “second-generation” iPod touch to not support multitasking, and finally, a third version for the iPad, which will come later than the other Summer versions, in Fall. No mention was made during the presentation of the original iPhone and iPod touch, released in June and September, 2007, respectively.
Two separate questions were asked during a Q+A session, however, attempting to pin Apple down on whether iPhone OS 4 would be available for the earlier devices; responses from Apple, including Steve Jobs, appeared to suggest otherwise. He stated that earlier hardware wasn’t capable of supporting iPhone OS 4.0 features, differing based on model, and suggested that it wasn’t Apple’s choice, but rather just limitations of the devices. Additionally, Jobs suggested that sales of the iPod touch and iPhone 3GS had really taken off in the past year, so that more devices were being supported than not, and said that while users of the older products may miss features like multitasking, “if that’s an incentive for them to upgrade to a new phone, that’s terrific.”
Updated: Apple’s iPhone OS 4 Preview page explicitly leaves out the original 2007 iPhone and iPod touch from its list of compatible devices.
Although no specific dates for iPhone OS 4.0 availability were announced at today’s iPhone OS 4 event, Apple did provide general information on when the iPhone OS will become available for different users.
April 8, 2010: Apple releases iPhone OS 4 Beta (Developer Preview) to iPhone developers.
End of April 2010: Apple re-confirms that iPad 3G to be released, with iPad Wi-Fi released internationally; no additional dates are available.
Summer 2010: iPhone OS 4 to be released for iPhone 3G/3GS and second- and third-generation iPod touch, not prior-generation devices.
Fall 2010: iPhone OS 4 to be released for iPad. Possibly not version 4.0, but rather a follow-up.
Late 2010: Apple Social Gaming Network (“GameCenter”) to open.
Presented in reverse chronological order, iLounge’s complete coverage transcript from the iPhone OS 4.0 Sneak Peek Event is included below for your reference. The transcript includes the full event, which will likely be available in QuickTime video format later today from Apple, as well as a journalists’ question and answer session that followed the event, which is typically not included in Apple’s videos. Click on the title of this article for all of the details.
Apple today announced the release of iPhone OS 4.0, the next generation operating system for its line of mobile devices. Scheduled to ship this summer, with a developer preview available today, OS 4.0 adds 1,500 new developer APIs and 100 new user features to the existing iPhone OS platform. The OS 4.0 update will be fully supported on the iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod touch models, while the second-generation iPod touch and iPhone 3G will support “many” but not all of the new features. Prior-generation devices, including the original iPhone and iPod touch, will apparently not support iPhone OS 4.0 at all. The initial release of OS 4.0 will be for the iPhone and iPod touch platforms only; an iPad release is expected later this fall.
During the announcement, Apple specifically discussed and demonstrated seven major new features that will be introduced in OS 4.0: Multitasking, Folders, Enhanced E-mail, iBooks for iPhone/iPod touch, Enterprise Features, Social Gaming, and iAds. In short, the features enable background music from applications such as Pandora and background turn-by-turn GPS directions from apps such as Tomtom, folder organization of apps, unified e-mail inboxes and threaded discussions, a customizable Home screen background, greater device security, online matchmaking for games, and “emotional” advertising. The features will depend in some cases on iTunes 9.2, which will presumably be released alongside the new OS in Summer. Click on the title of this article for detailed discussion of all of these features, and more. Apple’s official press release announcing iPhone OS 4 can be seen here.
Opening the iPhone OS 4.0 Event today, Steve Jobs reported that Apple has sold 450,000 iPads since its initial U.S. launch last Saturday. Jobs noted that on the first day of the iPad launch the company sold 250,000 iBooks and 1 million iPad apps and that as of today a total of 600,000 iBooks and 3.5 million iPad apps have been purchased. Jobs noted that there are currently over 185,000 apps in the App Store, including over 3,500 iPad apps already available and in total users have downloaded well over 4 billion apps from the App Store.
Engadget reports that settlement checks have begun arriving from the iPod nano class action lawsuit initiated in October 2005. The lawsuit alleged that iPod nano screens “scratch excessively during normal usage, rendering the screen on the nanos unreadable.” The suit was later expanded to include iPod nano users in the UK and Mexico, and in early 2009 Apple agreed to a $22 million settlement. The settlement was to provide remedies of between $15 and $25 for iPod nano owners based on when their device was purchased and whether or not it came with a protective slip case, however Engadget’s report shows an unidentified reader receiving a check for $37.50, possibly due to fewer claimants in the class action lawsuit. [via TUAW].
The first photos are up in our photo gallery and early details are in our live iPhone OS 4.0 Sneak Peek Event page. Stay tuned to iLounge for up-to-the-minute news from Apple’s event, which will impact iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad users alike!
Patently Apple reports that Apple has been granted a patent for its Cover Flow interface design. Patent D613,300 (PDF) references an “animated graphical user interface for a display screen or portion thereof” and shows illustrations of Cover Flow being used on an iPhone screen as an example. The design patent covers the appearance of Cover Flow rather than its functionality, and would allow Apple to make an infringement claim against anyone using a UI design that looks “substantially similar” to Cover Flow. [via Engadget]
iLounge is headed to Cupertino, California to provide live coverage of Apple’s iPhone OS 4 event. The event will be held at Apple’s campus within its Town Hall presentation room, and will begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, or 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Apple is expected to discuss details of its upcoming revisions to the operating system for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, including a new mobile advertising platform. As we have done in the past, iLounge.com will take you to our streamlined special event page half an hour or so before the event; you can set your bookmarks ahead of time to live.ilounge.com, and we also hope to update our Flickr account with new photos.
Apple has posted its latest iPhone 3GS television advertisement online. Entitled “Concert,” the new spot sticks to Apple’s recent trend of iPhone advertisements that are more testimonial in nature, and features a female narrator explaining how she heard a song she liked, used Shazam to find out the title and band, purchased the album from the iTunes Store, and then used the iPhone to find an upcoming concert and buy tickets. The new TV ad is available for viewing now on Apple’s website.
Despite the successful launch of the iPad this weekend, Random House, the lone major publisher not signed on to offer its titles in the iBookstore, remains a holdout. The Wall Street Journal reports that Random House is unimpressed with Apple’s “agency” pricing model, which allows the publishers to set book pricing, while Apple takes 30% of the sales price. A senior Random House executive said that the company will benefit economically from sticking to its current model whereby it receives half of the hardcover price for new ebooks, regardless of the pricing set by the retailer. The same executive was also skeptical about publishers’ ability to effectively discount titles to drive sales, and said there could be possible contractual issues with authors now that the publishers are setting their own prices. Furthermore, he expressed concern over the potential for piracy, saying, “At $9.99, e-books are perceived as a bargain[.] When e-books are $15, it may affect the behavior of some. We don’t want a segment of the population growing up with stolen books.” Despite Random House’s concerns, the company and Apple are still engaged in “ongoing conversations that remain cordial,” according to Random House spokesperson Stuart Applebaum. Apple announced yesterday that iPad owners had downloaded over 250,000 ebooks from the iBookstore on launch day.
Apple has updated its iPad Tech Specs page to list the battery life of the iPad when using the 3G network. According to the company, the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G will get up to nine hours of battery life when surfing the web over the 3G data network. The page notes that the testing was done using dedicated web and mail servers, browsing snapshot versions of 20 popular web pages, and receiving mail once an hour. We will run comprehensive battery tests on the iPad Wi-Fi +3G when it is released; for more information on the iPad Wi-Fi’s battery life, see our comprehensive review.
Apple has begun sending email invitations to select members of the media inviting them to a “sneak peek of the next generation of iPhone OS software.” The invitation features a large graphic with a large “4” shadow spread across a blue background, with “Get a sneak peek into the future of iPhone OS” overlaid in white text. The event will be held on Apple’s Cupertino, CA campus and will begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time on April 8.
Apple has announced that it sold more than 300,000 iPads on launch day, surpassing the launch weekend total of the original iPhone. These sales included deliveries of pre-ordered iPads, deliveries to channel partners, and sales at Apple retail stores. In addition, iPad users downloaded over one million apps from the App Store and over 250,000 ebooks from the iBookstore during the first day. “It feels great to have the iPad launched into the world—it’s going to be a game changer,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “iPad users, on average, downloaded more than three apps and close to one book within hours of unpacking their new iPad.”
iLounge has just posted its gallery of iPad unboxing photos online. The images include those of the iPad, pictures of Apple’s first official iPad accessories, as well as pictures of the device being tested for compatibility in the large variety of cases we’ve received. Notably, only one case—the Griffin FlexGrip Case—had any compatibility problems, those being with the microphone and headphone port hole; all of Griffin’s other cases fit without a problem. It is also possible that the Vaja Retro Slim Jacket’s magnets may rub on the iPad as it’s inserted into and removed from the case. Be sure to keep an eye on our Flickr account for more photos of the iPad.