Reporting its fourth quarter financial results, AT&T has revealed that it activated 4.1 million iPhones during the quarter. Notably, this was AT&T’s final full quarter as exclusive wireless carrier for the iPhone in the United States; its 4.1 million iPhone activations helped it towards a record net gain of 2.8 million wireless subscribers. In addition, the company announced that added 442,000 iPad and Android-based tablets to its network, with more than 90 percent of those being booked to the prepaid category. Notably, the iPad 3G receives data service from AT&T on a prepaid basis, suggesting that a large number of the tablet additions were for iPad.
In its fourth-quarter letter to shareholders and financial results release (PDF Link), Netflix has revealed that the Apple TV has surpassed the iPad in viewing hours, despite having sold far fewer units. Noting that the devices with the largest installed bases—including Windows and Mac laptops, the Sony PS3, Microsoft’s Xbox 360, and the Nintendo Wii—are the most popular devices for streaming Netflix, the release states that the “AppleTV has done very well for us, and in just four months has passed the also-growing iPad in Netflix viewing hours.” Apple sold its one-millionth Apple TV the week of December 25th, while cumulative iPads sales as of the same date were 14.79 million.
Apple has posted its latest iPad television advertisement online. Like its prior “iPad is…” commercials, the new spot—entitled “iPad is Iconic”—continues the trend of showing the iPad being used mostly in front of a white background, utilizing a variety of different apps and features. The spot starts with the words “iPad is” on the screen, followed by a different app or feature demonstration, along with a descriptor—including “fresh,” “tickets,” “news,” “stories,” a rolling counter of “60,000+ apps,” “students,” “teachers,” “hollywood,” and “iconic.” As with the prior “iPad is” ads, it features the song “Never Stop” by Gonzales in the background. Apple’s new “iPad is Iconic” TV ad is available for viewing below in embedded form or on YouTube.
Apple plans to include near field communication (NFC) technology in its next versions of the iPhone and iPad in order to support a new mobile payment system, according to a new report. Citing Richard Crone, leader of financial industry adviser Crone Consulting, and Richard Doherty, director of consulting firm Envisioneering Group who claims to have spoken with Apple engineers working on the project, Bloomberg reports that Apple’s system may be able to tap into existing user information, such as credit card numbers, iTunes account balances, and bank data. “It would make a lot of sense for Apple to include NFC functionality in its products,” Crone said. According to Doherty, Apple could launch the mobile payment service as early as mid-2011, and has already created a prototype payment terminal that would allow small businesses to accept payment from NFC-enabled iPhones and iPads. He added that Apple is considering offering heavy subsidies on the terminal, or even giving it away, in order to encourage faster adoption. Apple hired Benjamin Vigier, a veteran of NFC development, as its new product manager for mobile commerce last August.
- January 25, 2011
Apple will officially launch the iPad in India on January 28. The Telegraph reports that the iPad will be available in both Wi-Fi-only and 3G versions in the country, with the former running Rs 26,000 (roughly $570) to Rs 37,000 (~$810) depending on capacity, and the latter priced between Rs 33,000 (~$725) and Rs 44,000 (~$965). The report also notes that the iPad will available exclusively from Apple’s Premium Retailers; the Calcutta-based publication notes that there are two such retailers in the city. Apple doesn’t operate any of its own Retail Stores in India.
Google has announced that it has launched a beta version of its Google Cloud Print service for mobile documents and Gmail for mobile. The feature will allow users to print documents from Google Docs, or emails and attachments from Gmail, directly from their browser. The service will require users to connect their printers to Google Cloud Print—something which currently requires a Windows PC—and will be rolling out today and tomorrow for English speaking users in the US. According to Google, the new mobile Cloud Print feature will work on most phones that support HTML5, including devices running iOS 3.0 or later.
- January 21, 2011
New code found within the second beta version of iOS 4.3 suggests the second-generation iPad will sport a one megapixel rear-facing camera. 9 to 5 Mac reports that code describing a “Back Facing 1MP Photo” sensor has been discovered inside a folder named “K94,” which the sources have identified as the codename for the iPad 2. The report claims that the front-facing camera will be of VGA quality, matching those found in other iOS-based, FaceTime-compatible devices; it also suggests that the iPad 2’s rear-facing camera might be the same 720p-capable component found in the fourth-generation iPod touch. While prior cases, as well as the mockup iPad 2 rear shell found at CES, suggested the device would have two cameras, prior speculation has suggested that the rear-facing camera would be closer to that of the iPhone 4 than the fourth-generation iPod touch.
- January 21, 2011
A private school in Knoxville, TN is planning to require students to carry an iPad for classes. CNN reports that Webb School will is requiring all fourth through 12th grade students to carry the tablet, beginning next school year. The students will carry the device ““to be able to use that technology whenever they need it, rather than, as it is now, they have to check out a cart, a laptop cart, or schedule lab time to take a class to a lab,” according to Jim Manikas, technology director at the school. Manikas said that the school will offer a three-year leasing option for students that don’t already own an iPad. “In essence, you’re talking about 200 dollars a year, paid over a 10-month school year, you’re talking about $20 a month,” he said, adding that the school would like the iPad to replace textbooks over time. “Once I explored it, I was really excited, because there are things we can do better on this than we can on a paper text,” said Elli Shellist, an English teacher at the school. [via MDN]
Quark has announced that it is launching a new iPad Publishing service for users of QuarkXPress 8.5. According to the release, the service will include a Quark Starter iPad App, configured to the customer’s needs—including the addition of the customer’s logos and colors—and prepared for App Store submission, free XTensions software to allow for the enrichment of QuarkXPress layouts with sound, video, and interactive features, conversion of the enriched layout into “issue” files that can be published to the iPad app, and a web-based service for managing apps, publications, and issues. Costs will include a one-time $495 configuration fee for the Starter iPad App, a $495 per issue charge for the conversion of QuarkXPress layouts to iPad issue files, and a license fee of $349 for publishing a single issue; the license fee decreases depending on the number of issues purchased. No further charges, such as revenue sharing agreements, are required. Quark’s iPad Publishing Service will be available in February. [via Digital Arts]
- January 20, 2011
Chinese regulators have approved a new Apple 3G-capable device, leading to speculation that the company will soon launch the iPad 3G in China. Dow Jones Newswires reports that the device, labeled a “data terminal,” was approved by China’s State Radio Regulatory Center on December 29, and features WCDMA 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GSM cellular connectivity. Apple spokeswoman Carolyn Wu said the company plans to offer a 3G version of the iPad in the country, but gave no timeframe for a release; China Unicom, a likely iPad carrier partner and current iPhone carrier, declined to comment, despite prior statements that it would like to offer the iPad as soon as possible. [via MDN]
The second beta version of iOS 4.3 has been shown to offer further evidence of a camera-equipped iPad, as well as hints of a new cloud-based media sharing and syncing service, a new app, and Push Notifications for an existing service. Mac Rumors reports that the new beta includes an image of an iPad home screen with icons for FaceTime, Camera, and Photo Booth pictured, offering further evidence that the next iPad will include at least one camera. According to the report, the image is used to show a preview of the user’s wallpaper selection; it also suggests Apple is porting its standard Mac OS X Photo Booth app to its portable devices.
Also found in iOS 4.3 beta 2 and reported by AppleInsider is a mention of a new Photo Stream image sync feature, which appears to make MobileMe Gallery sharing automatic, which was found inside a “Media Stream” folder. “Photo Stream uploads and stores the last thirty days of your photos on MobileMe and downloads them to all of your devices,” reads the text found in the beta. Finally, 9 to 5 Mac reports that Ping has received the ability to send Push Notifications under iOS 4.3 beta 2. Apple has yet to set a public release date for iOS 4.3, and as with all betas, features are subject to changes and/or removal prior to the official release.
Apple has released the second beta version of iOS 4.3 to its paid developers. Listed as build number 8F5153d, it is unclear what has changed in the new version from the first, which brought AirPlay functionality to Safari and third-party apps, the Personal Hotspot Internet sharing feature, an option in the Settings app to choose whether the iPad’s side switch acts as a screen rotation lock or as a mute switch, and new four- and five-finger gestures for the iPad. Notably, documentation released alongside the new beta indicates that the aforementioned gestures will not be part of iOS 4.3’s public release, but are instead included in order to gain developer feedback, and the release is accompanied by a new preview build of Apple TV Software 4.3. Separate versions of iOS 4.3 beta 2 for the iPad, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, third-, and fourth-generation iPod touch are available as downloads for paid iOS developers from Apple’s iOS Dev Center.
For more information on iOS 4.3, see our Full Breakdown article.
Clément Vasseur has released an AirPlay client application for iOS device users. Although the AirPlay technology built into iOS 4.2 allows iOS users to stream content to an AirPlay client device, iOS 4.2 does not currently provide any way to view content from an AirPlay source. AirView is a free universal application for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad that allows a device to receive and display AirPlay video streams from another AirPlay-enabled source such as iTunes or another iOS device. Users can simply launch the Airview application on their iOS device which will then appears in a list of AirPlay destinations on other devices. At this time, AirView supports only video streams and not audio or photos. AirView requires iOS 4.2 and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Bart Jacobs has released Pixelsync, a new app that allows Aperture users to sync photos from their Aperture libraries to their iPad for reviewing, rating and labelling while on the go. Using a companion app on the Mac, Pixelsync can transfer and sync photos with the iPad app from one or more Aperture Libraries over a local Wi-Fi connection. Selected photos are stored locally on the iPad where they can be rated and labelled offline, later syncing this information back to the Aperture library. Formerly known as Tagalicious, the recent update has renamed the app to Pixelsync due to a naming conflict with an existing Mac application. The latest version allows users to assign color labels to photos in addition to star ratings, and adds a slideshow feature and the ability to sort the view by name, date or rating. Pixelsync requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later, Aperture 3.0 or later and iOS 4.2 and is available from the App Store for $6.
During Apple’s first-quarter 2011 financial results conference call today, Apple COO Tim Cook made several statements that suggest the company sees display technology as a potential component investment for the future. When asked about Apple’s long-term investments on components, Cook mentioned the company’s prior $1 billion flash memory investment as something that was important across the product line, and added that the company has identified a similarly important area in recent quarters. Cook said that the company has come into pre-payment agreements in this new area for parts, equipment, and tooling in hopes of achieving a specific competitive advantage. While Cook didn’t directly mention it, separate reports from the same week in December claimed that Apple was expected to supply a portion of the investments required for a new Toshiba LCD plant and Sharp LCD production line, respectively. Both reports specifically mentioned that as a result of Apple’s investment, the new factory and new production line were expected to produce displays primarily for the Cupertino-based company. Given Apple’s reliance on touchscreen technology in its iOS devices, it seems likely that these were the agreements to which Cook was referring during the call.
Update: The investment is worth $3.9 billion dollars over two years, and involves three vendors. Apple made pre-payments of $650 million during the last quarter, and expects to make $1.05 billion in payments during the March quarter.
TiVo has released a free iPad remote control app for users of its TiVo Premiere box. With the new TiVo app, iPad users can search and browse content directly from their device without interrupting whatever programming they are currently watching. The application allows users to view a 14-day program guide, schedule and manage both one-time and Season Pass recordings and see listings of new and recommended content using a gesture-based touchscreen interface. Users can also post comments about shows and movies to Twitter and Facebook from directly within the app. The application works with the TiVo service so that users can also search and browse shows when away from home and schedule recordings remotely. The TiVo application for the iPad requires a TiVo Premiere or Premiere XL box and is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download.
- January 18, 2011
U.S. prosecutors are expected to announce criminal charges relating to the alleged theft of email addresses and SIM ICC-ID numbers for over 110,000 iPad 3G users last June. Reuters reports that the charges arise from the hacking of AT&T’s servers which led to the breach; a security company known as Goatse Security discovered a script on AT&T’s website, accessible by the public, through which it obtained the data. Although the company claimed that it notified AT&T of the breach, it also admitted to sharing the PHP script it used to harvest the data with several third-parties prior to AT&T’s response. Paul Fishman, the U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey, and the FBI plan to hold a press conference later today to discuss the charges; we will update this story once more information is available.
Update: Two men, Daniel Spitler and Andrew Auernheimer, were each charged with one count of fraud and one count of conspiracy to access a computer without authorization, according to Reuters.
- January 17, 2011
A pair of new reports suggest the second-generation iPad will feature a 2048x1536 display, as well as a multi-core GPU and multi-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor. Mac Rumors reports that two iPad “x2” graphics have been discovered in the latest version of iBooks, including a bookmark icon found in August, and a new wood tile graphic, both of which are twice the resolution of their predecessors, suggesting an overall resolution of 2048x1536. The article notes that a higher-resolution display would require a more powerful graphics unit to drive it, partially explaining the appearance of a driver for the POWERVR SGX543 GPU in the first iOS 4.3 beta.
Citing a source familiar with Apple’s graphics strategy, AppleInsider reports that the company will be using a dual-core variant of the SGX543, known as the SGX543MP2, which will offer roughly four times the performance of the A4’s SGX535. The report also claims that the new GPU will be paired with a multi-core ARM Cortex-A9 for general computing processing, and notes that many of the iPad’s 2011 tablet rivals will be using a similar multi-core, A9-based processor when they hit the market later this year. Finally, the report suggests that the new graphics prowess could enable Apple to offer HDMI output on the iPad and iPhone, and could potentially lead to 1080p output for a next-generation Apple TV.
New code found within the first iOS 4.3 beta suggests Apple is planning to incorporate the POWERVR SGX543 GPU from Imagination Technologies into an upcoming product or products. Mac Rumors reports that the SGX543 is said to deliver seven million more polygons per second and double the fillrate of the older SGX535 that is found in Apple’s A4 chip. In addition, the new GPU offers support for the Apple-backed OpenCL specification, which allows applications to tap unused GPU processing power for general computing tasks, as well as support for multi-core configurations. Notably, a rumor from late 2009—the chip itself was announced that January—suggested that Sony was interested in using the chip as the graphics processor for its second-generation PSP handheld gaming console, suggesting that Apple and Sony are on a similar path when it comes to portable gaming.
PopCap Games, developer of highly-acclaimed games including Plants vs. Zombies and Bejeweled 2, has revealed in an e-mail that it “soon” plans to release an iPad-native version of its award-winning Peggle. Following its release on PC and Mac platforms, Peggle was released as a Click Wheel iPod Game where it truly took off, receiving our iPod Game of the Year Award before making its way to the iOS platform as an iPhone and iPod touch version, then adding the semi-sequel Peggle Nights as additional downloadable content. The iPad version would likely follow Plants vs. Zombies in being a standalone “HD” version, using touch-optimized content from the Mac game that was released years ago.