- 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.
Amazon has released an update to its Kindle app for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad adding the ability to open and import supported e-book formats. Kindle 2.5 now allows users to open e-book files from sites such as Project Gutenberg and the Internet Archive directly from the Safari browser or Mail app using the “Open in” feature in iOS 4. Supported ebook formats can also be transferred to a user’s device via USB using the File Sharing feature in iTunes. The new version also adds the ability to continue downloading books while the app is in the background, improves the image zoom feature and provides a new book indicator and miscellaneous bug fixes. Kindle for iOS is a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download.
News Corp. and Apple have delayed the debut of the former’s new iPad newspaper, The Daily, in order to polish the new subscription platform that will be used to deliver the paper. Citing people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reports that the digital newspaper was supposed to be unveiled next Wednesday by News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch and Apple CEO Steve Jobs at a special event at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the launch has been delayed by weeks, and not months, according to the report. “The app and the service work, it’s just getting them to talk to each other that needs more time,” said a person familiar with the matter. News Corp. confirmed the delay but declined to comment beyond that. Once released, Apple’s new subscription platform will allow customers to sign up for a subscription to a periodical via the App Store and get the publication delivered automatically to their iPad each time a new issue is published, instead of needing to purchase each issue individually either as a separate app or through in-app purchases.
- January 13, 2011
Four new image files found within the first iOS 4.3 beta support the idea that the iPad 2 will have at least one camera capable of both still photo and video capture, while also suggesting that the second-generation device’s screen will sport the same resolution as its predecessor’s. 9 to 5 Mac reports that two images depicting the same shutter screen as found on iPhone and iPod touch—in landscape and portrait orientation—have been found; the new images are labeled as being for the iPad, and not for any other product. Two additional images are used to indicate an empty still photo or video camera roll, and are likewise labeled for iPad. Notably, the camera shutter images are 1024x768 in size, suggesting that Apple plans to keep the same screen resolution in the second-generation iPad as it used in the first.
Further digging into the code of the newly released iOS 4.3 beta has revealed a new MobileMe feature, as well as device keys for unannounced products. Mac Rumors reports that settings for a new feature called “Find My Friends” has been found. The strings appear to be associated with the Settings app and are related to MobileMe, suggesting Apple is planning to launch a MobileMe-based competitor to location-based services like Loopt and Google Latitude. Engadget, meanwhile, has discovered device keys for two next-generation iPhones—labeled iPhone4,1 and iPhone 4,2—as well as three next-generation iPads, labeled iPad2,1, iPad2,2, and iPad2,3. The article speculates that the new iPhone keys are for CDMA and GSM variants of the fifth-generation iPhone, while the iPad keys include CDMA and GSM variants of the iPad 3G, along with a Wi-Fi-only second-generation unit.
Apple has released iOS 4.3 beta 1, the first beta version of its next major point release for iOS, to its paid developers. According to notes accompanying the release, the beta includes a pre-release version of future Apple TV Software so that developers can test AirPlay functionality with their 4.3 apps, meaning that users should be able to send video from apps or websites to the Apple TV under the new software. A prior report also indicated that the Personal Hotspot Internet sharing feature debuting on the Verizon iPhone 4 will make its way to other models under iOS 4.3, although it is unclear whether the functionality is included in this update. Separate beta versions of iOS 4.3 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.
Update: TUAW reports that the new beta also includes support for new four- and five-finger gestures on the iPad. “This beta release contains a preview of new Multi-Touch gestures for iPad,” reads Apple’s developer page for iOS 4.3. “You can use four or five fingers to pinch to the Home Screen; swipe up to reveal the multitasking bar; and swipe left or right between apps. We are providing this preview before releasing them to the public to understand how these gestures work with your apps. Test them and give us your feedback on the Apple Developer Forums.”
Update x2: Mac Rumors notes that the new beta also offers 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. The iPad originally shipped with the switch acting as a screen rotation lock, but Apple changed its behavior in iOS 4.2.
Apple is planning to produce a CDMA-compliant version of the iPad for use on Verizon Wireless, according to a new report. Citing Francis Shammo, CFO of Verizon Communications—Verizon Wireless’ parent company—Bloomberg reports that the new offering will pose a further challenge to AT&T, which lost its iPhone exclusivity with today’s announcement of a CDMA iPhone 4 for Verizon. The report states that Shammo declined to say when the product may become available, but given the fact that the current-generation iPad was revealed almost a year ago, it seems likely that any CDMA version may appear as a second-generation product. Verizon currently sells Wi-Fi-only iPad units—bundled with MiFi mobile hotspots for data access—at its stores.
News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch will appear onstage with Apple CEO Steve Jobs to announce the former’s new iPad-only newspaper, The Daily, on January 19, according to new reports. Yahoo! News reports that the event will be held in San Francisco, and that the date could change, although January 19 remains the expected launch date. Citing Ad Age’s Edmund Lee, Forbes reports that Murdoch briefed some reporters on The Daily at the 2011 International CES, although the information is under embargo. Forbes also claims that The Daily’s staffers have been engaged in full-scale dry runs for weeks, and notes that thedaily.com landing page now offers a coming soon message, as well as a new icon (pictured). Prior reports have indicated that The Daily will take advantage of a new subscription plan from Apple that will enable automatic delivery of new content to readers’ iPads.
A rear shell purportedly from the second-generation iPad has been spotted at the 2011 International CES within the iLounge Pavilion. The shell, which has been marked by developer Gopod Mobile with “iPad 2” and “128GB” logos that would not appear on the actual device, is being shown paired with an iPad 2-specific foldable rechargeable battery pack developed by the company, and depicts the revised device’s redesigned curves, ports, and cameras; it is said by Gopod to represent the actual appearance of the as-yet-unreleased thinner and slightly smaller iPad. Three full-sized photos follow; additional photos can be seen in our 2011 CES Photo Gallery.
Sales of iPad-formatted versions of print magazines dropped towards the end of 2010, according to a new report. Citing figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, WWDMedia reports that Vanity Fair sold only 8,700 digital editions in November, down from an average of 10,500 for August, September, and October; Glamour, which sold 4,301 digital issues in September, saw sales drop 20 percent in October and another 20 percent to just 2,775 in November. GQ‘s November sales were the worst since April, when the iPad was released, and Wired saw sales of 22,000 and 23,000 in October and November, respectively, after averaging 31,000 digital sales between July in September, down from sales of over 100,000 in June. While the report notes that publishers are hopeful the sales of new iPads over the holidays will increase sales, it should be mentioned that most digital editions are priced at or above the newsstand price for print editions, with no subscription model currently available. A report from earlier this month indicated that talks between Apple and magazine publishers over the terms of a potential iTunes subscription model were at a standstill, with the two sides unable to agree on revenue and subscriber information sharing issues.