According to new data from IDC, the iPad saw its share of the tablet market slip in the fourth calendar quarter of 2011, despite selling over 15 million units. IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Media Tablet and eReader Tracker claims that Apple’s iPad, which saw shipments of 15.4 million units during the period, faced increased competition in the space, most specifically from Amazon, which shipped 4.7 million Kindle Fires. Based on total worldwide tablet shipments of 28.2 million units during the quarter, Apple held a 54.7 percent share of the market—down from 61.5 percent in the prior quarter—followed by Amazon with 16.8 percent, Samsung with 5.8 percent, Barnes & Noble with 3.5 percent, and budget Android tablet maker Pandigital with 2.5 percent. Overall, Android held a 44.6 percent share of the tablet market, a number which IDC expects will continue to grow at the expense of the iPad and iOS.
AT&T has announced that it will offer Wi-Fi + 4G models of the third-generation iPad starting on launch day. According to the announcement, all models of Wi-Fi + 4G will be available, across all AT&T sales channels. “The new iPad is coming to the nation’s largest 4G network and we could not be more excited,” said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO, AT&T Mobility. “Our customers will get a widespread, ultra-fast and consistent 4G experience from AT&T on day one, plus unlimited access to the nation’s largest Wi-Fi network at no extra charge. We’re offering very competitive data plans for iPad and are confident customers will agree that AT&T delivers the best experience.” Apple will launch the third-generation iPad at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, March 16.
Update: Verizon Wireless has announced that it will also offer the third-generation iPad with Wi-Fi + 4G starting Friday, March 16 at all Verizon Wireless stores, as well as online.
New images of Apple retail promotion materials have confirmed that the company will be officially launching the third-generation iPad on Friday, March 16 at 8:00 a.m. local time. 9to5Mac, which posted the image, claims it came from a “friend in retail” and will be used out front of an Apple retail store prior to the launch. As noted in the report, a prior rumor claiming that Apple’s new store in Houston would open at 8:00 a.m. on the 16th suggested that Apple would be launching the iPad at that time, but no further confirmation was available at that time.
A purported third-generation iPad unit has been unboxed and subsequently benchmarked by Thailand-based Tinhte.vn. As shown in the unboxing photos (Translated Link), the third-gen iPad box will feature a metallic iCloud stamp on the bottom, with the normal capacity and wireless network markings on the back—in this case, 16GB and 4G—and multiple markings that show it to be model number A1430. Otherwise, the device’s packaging appears to be quite similar to that of the iPad 2, including the same accessories inside the package. As for the benchmarks (Translated Link), the site found the third-gen iPad to deliver a Geekbench Score of 756, with a processor speed of 1 GHz—same as the iPad 2—but 1GB of RAM, or twice that of the prior unit. The unboxing video appears in embedded form below.
In a statement released to USA Today over the weekend, Apple confirmed that it has sold out of all third-generation iPad pre-order stock available for delivery on launch day. “Customer response to the new iPad has been off the charts and the quantity available for pre-order has been purchased,” Apple said in the statement. “Customers can continue to order online and receive an estimated delivery date.” On Friday, shipping times for new pre-orders slipped from March 16 to March 19, and Apple’s online store in the US now lists all new orders as shipping in 2-3 weeks. Apple will officially launch the third-generation iPad on March 16.
It appears as though Apple has sold through its launch day allotment of the third-generation iPad on its online store. A quick check of the Apple Store in the U.S. shows that every color and capacity of third-generation iPad is now listed as shipping “by March 19”, as compared to the prior message which indicated the device would be delivered on March 16. As reported earlier today, Apple has started to email some customers in the UK to tell them that their orders—originally quoted with the March 16 delivery date—would not arrive until March 20 or 21.
Apple has started to email some customers who ordered their third-generation iPad units on Wednesday, informing them that shipments of their devices will be delayed. Quoting multiple reader reports, MacRumors explains that at least one of these customers was initially quoted delivery on March 16, with others quoted a window of March 16-19. Apple has now pushed back delivery for these customers to March 20 or 21. “Despite our best efforts and those of our shipping partners to get your order to you on time, we want to inform you that [your iPad] will not arrive on its originally scheduled delivery date”, one of the notification emails reads. “Your new delivery date is 20/03/2012.” Apple will officially launch the third-generation iPad in the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia on March 16.
Despite the official launch being a full week away, the first third-generation iPad pre-orders have started to ship from Apple’s assembly partner Foxconn. 9to5Mac’s Seth Weintraub reports that one of his pre-orders—a 16GB Wi-Fi unit with engraving—has shipped from Chengdu in Western China. As noted in the report, Chengdu was the site of an explosion at an iPad 2 production line run by Foxconn. The shipment notification, as well as the tracking information, for the package indicates that it will be delivered on March 16, suggesting that unlike some past Apple launches, pre-order customers won’t be receiving their units prior to the official launch.
RadioShack has announced that it is now taking pre-orders for the third-generation iPad. In order to facilitate the pre-orders, the retailer is requiring pre-order customers to buy a $50 RadioShack gift card, which can then be used towards the final purchase. Customers will also be able to use the company’s Trade & Save program to receive up to $350 for an iPad 2 or $175 for an original iPad in working condition. RadioShack will start selling the third-generation iPad on launch day, Friday, March 16.
There’s been a crazy quantity of news over the last day—new iPad and Apple TV hardware, new iOS and iTunes software, a new iPhoto app for iOS, and updates to virtually every major Apple-developed app in the App Store. Here’s an index to all of the major stories we’ve posted so that you can see what’s what, easily.
The Third-Generation iPad: Apple unveiled the third-generation iPad, dropping its recent numbering scheme in favor of calling it “the new iPad.” It features a Retina Display with over 3 million pixels, a new 5MP rear camera, support for some 4G LTE networks, and a body that’s slightly thicker and heavier than the iPad 2’s, but is otherwise cosmetically virtually identical. After the announcement, we discovered that the new iPad’s battery was much larger, Bluetooth 4 was added, and AirPlay was still locked at 720p from the super high-res device.
Click on the title of this article for many more links to our coverage.
Apple has revealed the data plans and pricing for the third-generation iPad with 4G. Both AT&T and Verizon offer three monthly plans each, but the plans vary in pricing and data allotment. AT&T offers 250MB of data per month for $15, 3GB for $30, and 5GB for $50, while Verizon offers 1GB of monthly data for $20, 2GB for $30, and 5GB for $50—the lone parallel between the two providers. Notably, 9to5Mac reports that Verizon’s plans include support for the mobile hotspot feature, while AT&T will not offer the feature at launch, but is “working with Apple to enable this feature in the future”.
Shortly following yesterday’s announcement of the third-generation iPad and third-generation Apple TV, the US Federal Communications Commission approved both products for sale. The listing for the third-generation Apple TV includes both exterior and interior photos, while the third-generation iPad receives three separate listings—one for Wi-Fi models, one for AT&T 4G models, and one for Verizon 4G models—all of which offer comparatively little in the way of new information. All four listings can be accessed via the links above.
Following the announcement of the third-generation iPad, Apple has dropped its pricing on refurbished iPad 2 units. Refurbished 16GB Wi-Fi units are now only $349, with 32GB and 64GB models selling for $449 and $549, respectively; Wi-Fi + 3G models sell for a $120 premium. In addition, the company also still offers refurbished first-generation iPads, with pricing set at $399 for a 32GB model or a 16GB 3G model and $499 for 64GB units.
Apple has posted its first TV advertisement for the third-generation iPad. Entitled “This Good”, the 30-second spot shows the device being used against a white background, while a narrator states, “When a screen becomes this good, colors are more vibrant, words are pin sharp, everything is more brilliant. Because when a screen becomes this good, it’s simply you and the things you care about. The stunning Retina display on the new iPad.” The ad is now available for viewing on Apple’s website.
In conjunction with today’s announcement of the third-generation iPad, Apple has introduced its new AppleCare+ protection plan for iPad. As with the same plan for the iPhone, the new AppleCare+ for iPad extends both warranty coverage and phone support for the device to two years—normally limited to one year and 90 days, respectively. In addition, the plan adds up to two incidents of accidental damage coverage for the same $49 service fee as seen on the iPhone. AppleCare+ for the iPad sells for $99 and must be purchased within 30 days of the purchase of the iPad.
As predicted by a third-party developer, Apple has raised its download limit for media acquired over a 3G connection to 50MB. The prior ceiling was 20Mb, leaving little headroom for developers looking to take full advantage of the third-generation iPad’s increased resolution. The new limit is now in place, for the iPad as well as the iPhone and iPod touch.
Apple has now posted a streaming video of its latest special media event, at which it announced the third-generation Apple TV and third-generation iPad. The video is just over 85 minutes long, and includes demonstrations of the new Apple TV interface, as well as iPhoto for iOS, and Infinity Blade: Dungeons. The video is available for viewing now from Apple’s website.
Following today’s iPad event, Apple has released iOS 5.1 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. According to the release notes, the new version adds Japanese language support for Siri and the ability to delete photos from the Photo Stream. Additionally, the Camera shortcut is now always visible on the lock screen for the iPHone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and fourth-generation iPod touch and improvements have been made to camera face detection to highlight all detected faced. The update also includes a redesigned Camera app for the iPad and adds support for Genius Mixes and Genius playlists for iTunes Match subscribers. Several other optimizations and bug fixes are noted including improvements to audio for TV shows and movies on the iPad, podcast controls for playback speed and skip back on the iPad as well as an updated AT&T network indicator and fixes for issues relating to battery life and audio dropouts on outgoing calls. iOS 5.1 is compatible with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad, iPad 2, third-generation iPod touch, and fourth-generation iPod touch, and is available now via the update feature in iTunes or as an over-the-air update. To update your iOS device over-the-air, open Settings, tap on General, and tap on Software Update.
Apple has posted its tech specs for the third-generation iPad, revealing a number of unspoken features and limitations. The page reveals that the new iPad boasts Bluetooth 4.0 support, as well as a considerably larger 42.5-watt-hour battery. The previous limitation of 720p AirPlay Mirroring remains—even when using the new device with the upgraded third-generation Apple TV announced today—but the new iPad is capable of streaming AirPlay video at full 1080p resolution. As in the past, the Wi-Fi version of the iPad lacks GPS hardware, while the newly-named Wi-Fi + 4G does not. Finally, the new model is slightly heavier than the iPad 2, with Wi-Fi models weighing in at 1.44 lbs. and 4G units weighing 1.46 lbs., compared to 1.33 to 1.35 lbs., respectively, for the iPad 2.
Alongside the announcement of third-generation iPad and Apple TV hardware, Apple today announced that it was dropping the price of the base iPad 2 model to $399. The 16GB version will continue to be sold in black and white alongside the third-generation iPad—referred to by the company as “The new iPad”—which will assume the prior iPad 2 price points of $499-$699 for Wi-Fi-only models and $629-$829 for 4G-enabled units. Apple did not indicate that it would continue to sell Wi-Fi + 3G iPad 2 units, but will likely have some supply available at a modest discount until supplies run out.