A recent report from ModMyI suggests that retailer Toys R Us may begin selling the iPad 2 in its stores as early as next month, revealing a photo of an iPad 2 product knowledge sheet from an internal training session intended to familiarize employees with new products. Toys R Us began selling select iPod models in late 2008, however the retailer has not previously offered the iPad. It is unclear at this time whether the iPad 2 would be sold internationally or only in the company’s U.S. stores. The iPad 2 is already being sold in the U.S. at other third-party retailers such as Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target and Radio Shack. [via Mac Rumors]
Atari has released a huge collection of its classic games in a single universal iOS app. Atari’s Greatest Hits provides access to over 100 classic Atari titles including 18 classic arcade games and 92 games from the Atari 2600. The free app includes the classic arcade version of PONG with the remainder of the games available via in-app purchase as a series of 25 different game packs selling for $1 each; users can purchase the entire collection in-app for $15. Most packs also include at least one version of each game with multiplayer head-head play via Bluetooth, and titles include original cabinet and box art to help users relive the classic Atari experience. Atari’s Greatest Hits requires an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad running iOS 3.0 or later and can be obtained from the App Store as a free download.
Nearly two out of every ten U.S. teens now owns an iPhone, according to the results of the latest Piper Jaffray bi-annual teen survey. Fortune reports that 17 percent of teens said they own an iPhone, up from 14 percent in the October 2010 survey. Perhaps more importantly, 37 percent said they plan on purchasing—or having their parents purchase for them—an iPhone in the next sixth months, up from 33 percent in the prior survey. 22 percent said they either owned a tablet or had one in their household, 20 percent expect said they expected to purchase one in the next sixth months, and 86 percent said they owned an iPod, up from 78 percent in the October survey. The survey was based on responses from 4,500 U.S. teenagers.
Apple has started to air its first TV advertisement devoted to the iPad 2. Entitled “We Believe,” the commercial shows the iPad 2 being used for a variety of apps in front of a black background, while a narrator states, “This is what we believe. Technology alone is not enough. Faster, thinner, lighter: those are all good things. But when technology gets out of the way, everything becomes more delightful. Even magical. That’s when you leap forward. That’s when you end up with something… like this.” The ad is available for viewing now on Apple’s website.
A quick check of Apple’s online store suggests the company is quickly selling through its remaining stock of clearance and refurbished first-generation iPad units. Among the new, clearance-priced stock, the company is completely out of Wi-Fi only units, although it does show stock of all three capacities of Wi-Fi + 3G models. Apple also appears to be out of refurbished 16GB Wi-Fi units; Boy Genius Report suggests that the company’s stock of all remaining units is believed to be “extremely low.” Apple’s refurbished first-generation iPads are priced from $429 and up, while its clearance stock of 3G units starts at $529.
Nearly 12,000 iPad 2s were sold on eBay in the two weeks between the device’s U.S. launch and its initial international rollout. Cnet reports that somewhat surprisingly, two-thirds of those—8,000 units—were sold inside of the United States, compared to just 35 percent for the first-generation iPad. The two largest export locations were Russia and Canada, followed by Hong Kong, Japan, and the U.K. The 16GB Wi-Fi model was the most popular, selling for an average price of $697, followed by the 64GB 3G model, which brought in $1,235 on average, a $406 premium over the retail price.
RadioShack is requiring customers wishing to purchase iPad 2 units to purchase AppleCare as well, and possibly an accessory as well, iLounge has learned. According to multiple reader reports, the stores are very limited on the stock they are receiving, with one sales associate saying that AppleCare was required with an iPad 2 purchase as it was the only way Apple would allow the company to sell the device. It appears some stores are also requiring the purchase of an accessory, although it is less clear as to whether this is a company-wide policy or something that’s being implemented on a store-by-store basis. RadioShack began selling the iPad 2 at 500 of its stores earlier today. [Thanks, Rob]
RadioShack will begin to offer the iPad 2 at 500 locations around the United States tomorrow, March 29, according to a new report. Citing an internal RadioShack notice, Mac Rumors reports that stores that will offer the device have been sent details about the launch; the report notes that representatives at multiple stores have confirmed that they are scheduled to launch the device tomorrow, but stock levels are unknown. iLounge has contacted RadioShack for comment on the story and will update this post if/when we receive a reply.
Update: RadioShack has since confirmed its iPad 2 rollout, and is now offering an online tool to help customers find stores carrying the device.
In reply to a customer email, Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller has suggested that Apple won’t be making a Keyboard Dock for the iPad 2. 9to5Mac reports that the customer’s email read, “From what I’ve heard, the Apple keyboard dock is not made for the iPad 2. Is there an iPad 2 version that I can’t find on your online store – or is it coming soon?” While Schiller did not directly answer the question, he did suggest that most users prefer to use the device’s soft keyboard. “People prefer to use the iPad’s built in soft keyboard most all of the time, it works very well,” Schiller said in his response. “Those that do choose to use an external keyboard most often choose to use Apple’s bluetooth wireless keyboard for the convenience it provides.”
As noted in our comprehensive review of the iPad 2, Apple’s iPad Keyboard Dock works properly with the iPad 2, as does the original iPad Dock.
Apple has released iOS 4.3.1 for the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad, iPad 2, third-, and fourth-generation iPod touch. According to Apple’s release notes, the update fixes an occasional graphics glitch on the fourth-generation iPod touch, resolves bugs related to activating and connecting to some cellular networks, fixes an image flicker issue when using the Apple Digital AV Adapter with some TVs, and resolves an issue authenticating with some enterprise web services, among other big fixes and improvements. iOS 4.3.1 is available now via the Update feature in iTunes.
Verizon Wireless retail stores are currently offering deep discounts on first-generation iPad models. According to The Appera, the company is selling 16GB units for $299, 32GB models for $399 and 64GB units for $499. The 64GB price, in particular, represents a $100 savings over Apple’s clearance pricing; according to the report, no contract is required for purchase. Verizon started selling the first-generation Wi-Fi-only iPad on October 28, 2010, bundled with a Verizon MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot, with pricing matching the GSM Wi-Fi + 3G model. [via Mac Rumors]
To celebrate the start of the Formula 1 racing season, Firemint has announced that an upcoming update for its Real Racing 2 HD game will enable full HD, 1080p output via the Apple Digital AV Adapter. According to the company, the feature will be a first for iOS, and will offer 30 frames per second performance, real-time telemetry, and a “console-like” experience. Real Racing 2 HD is available now from the App Store for $10; the 1080p HD output will require an iPad 2.
Lines for the launch of the iPad 2 have begun to form in many of the 25 countries where the device will go on sale tomorrow. iFun.de (Translated Link) reports that two men in folding armchairs were camped out the Apple Store in Munich, Germany more than 24 hours before the launch; when asked about the cold night ahead of them, they said they were well equipped. According to iTWire, the line outside the Apple Store in Sydney, Australia has now wrapped around the corner and is expected to grow throughout the night, while the first person in line outside Apples Regent Street store in London got there at 7:30 this morning, local time, saying, “I was fourth in the queue for the first iPad, and it was such an amazing atmosphere, I really wanted to be first this time.” The iPad 2 will launch in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK tomorrow at 5 p.m. local time. [via Fortune]
Apple is in the process of launching its online sales across the 25 countries slated to receive the iPad 2 tomorrow. As noted by iLounge reader Michael W, online ordering is now open in in Australia and New Zealand—orders are slated to open at 1:00 a.m. local time in each country where the product is launching—and new orders are showing a 2-3 week estimated ship time. Mac Rumors adds that Apple typically maintains separate distribution channels for its North American, European, and Asian markets, thus shipment estimates in the countries where online orders have yet to begin could be different. Meanwhile, Apple has dropped its estimated shipping wait time for new iPad 2 orders placed on the U.S. online store from 4-5 weeks down to 3-4 weeks, suggesting that the supply shortages seen for the device in its first two weeks of availability may be starting to subside.
Taptalk has released an update to its iOS forum app adding native iPad support and the ability to perform basic forum moderation tasks. Tapatalk provides a native iOS user interface for quickly accessing any of thousands of discussion forums that have activated the Taptalk plugin including our own iLounge Discussion Forums. Supported forums include phpBB3, vBulletin, Invision Power Board, Simple Machine Forum and XenForo, iOS device users can browse and search through forums, create, edit and reply to topics and access private messages. Advanced features include Facebook integration, direct image uploading, quick access to unread and participated topics and optional geo-tagging of posts. Tapatalk 1.11 adds the ability for vBulletin, phpBB and XenForo forum moderators to delete/undelete, stick/unstick and lock/unlock forum threads and posts and provides a new tab for quick access to moderator-related features. The update also adds general UI and performance improvements, bug fixes and improved French and Arabic language support. Tapatalk is now a universal app and is available from the App Store for $3. Forum administrators will need to update the Tapatalk forum plug-in to provide access to the new moderation features.
Apple has met with Taiwan-based touch panel manufacturers, discussing the possibility of price hikes in order to secure sufficient supply of the sought after components, according to a new report. Citing the panel manufacturers themselves, DigiTimes reports that should Apple agree to the price hikes, it would greatly help the overall supply chain, even if for the short term, and would also put increased pressure on other tablet and smartphone manufacturers. In addition, the report claims that in order to hit its internal shipment goal of 40 million iPads in 2011, Apple has booked over 60 percent of global touch panel capacity, and that despite the supply concerns caused by the devastating earthquake in Japan, Apple’s should have an easier time garnering supply than its rivals.
In preparation for its 25-country international rollout of the iPad 2 tomorrow, Apple has started to reveal its pricing for many of the countries in which the device will be available. According to SetteB.IT, most countries in the eurozone will see the same pricing across the board, with Wi-Fi models priced at €479 for 16GB, €579 for 32GB, and €679 for 64GB; Wi-Fi + 3G units are €120 more than their Wi-Fi-only counterparts. Notably, these prices are slightly higher in France due to government fees. In the UK, iPad 2 Wi-Fi pricing ranges £399 for a 16GB unit to £559 for a 64GB model; Wi-Fi + 3G units are £100 more expensive when not purchased on a contract. Overall, Australia and New Zealand have the cheapest pricing among the 25 new countries, while Denmark, Norway, and Sweden offer the highest prices.
IMDb has released an update to its universal app for iOS devices adding several new features including a watchlist, online movie ticket purchasing, and AirPlay support. With IMDb 2.1 users can now create and maintain a watchlist to track movies and TV shows that interest them, view all of the movies and TV shows that they have rated on IMDb and get live search results as they type. The update also adds improved showtime listings for movie theatres based on distance from the user’s current location and allows users in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Spain to purchase movie tickets directly within the app. iOS 4.3 users can also now stream movie trailers to their Apple TV with the addition of AirPlay video support. The update also adds an Entertainment News section to provide more news and updates about movies, TV shows and celebrities. IMDb Movies & TV 2.1 is a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Amid widespread shortages of the device in the U.S., Apple has confirmed that it plans to launch the iPad 2 in 25 additional countries this Friday, March 25. According to the company, the iPad 2 will be available at Apple retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers at 5 p.m. local time, and through the online Apple Store beginning at 1 a.m, in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK. Pricing is listed in the release in US dollars. In addition to announcing the first international rollout details, Apple also announced that the iPad 2 will be available in Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, and additional countries in April, and in “many more” countries in the coming months.
“While competitors are still struggling to catch up with our first iPad, we’ve changed the game again with iPad 2,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’re experiencing amazing demand for iPad 2 in the US, and customers around the world have told us they can’t wait to get their hands on it. We appreciate everyone’s patience and we are working hard to build enough iPads for everyone.”
Based on multiple reader and third-party reports, Apple retail stores across the country are continuing to see daily lineups in the morning of customers looking to purchase an iPad 2, despite no promises of availability and reports of limited stock when shipments do arrive. Mark Hosbein, a potential iPad 2 customer, wrote on Cult of Mac that “There are several people who have waited in line multiple days and still do not get product. I was with 70 angry customers this morning. Only ten people got iPads – there were twenty available and the first ten people – many of whom looked like resellers for eBay or were shipping them overseas – all bought two.” Indeed, the problems with customers purchasing extra units to resell seems to be a widespread problem, as iLounge reader Ben points out: “I don’t know if its like this in other cities, but NYC is plagued by scalpers. At this point Apple really needs to reduce the purchase limit to 1, at least in the cities that are being run by these guys. Its ridiculous.”
iPad 2 launch day line at the Walden Galleria Apple Store in Buffalo, NY.
Aside from the issue of potential scalpers, Apple has thus far opted not to offer an online availability checker. The company offered this service for both the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS, letting customers check stock levels at any of the company’s U.S.-based retail stores without the need for phone calls or physical visits; Mac Rumors notes that some readers are instead using Target’s inventory tracking service to find units. A report last week indicated that some Apple retail stores were holding new shipments of iPad 2 units for sale until the following morning, in some cases opening early in order to serve as many iPad 2 customers as possible before the start of normal business hours. While it may seem counter-intuitive, readers looking to purchase an iPad 2 may at this point be better off placing an order online—despite the quoted 4-5 week wait time—to guard against the wasted time and frustration that could come with lining up at an Apple retail store on a daily basis only to come away empty-handed.