Dropbox has released an update to its cloud file sharing app for iOS devices with a new UI design, Retina Display support and support for background file transfers on multitasking-capable iOS 4 devices. Dropbox 1.3 also adds the ability to view files in a full-screen view while using the app in landscape mode on the iPad, file caching to allow users to re-open files they have recently viewed and the ability to create folders from directly within the app. Dropbox is a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download. A free Dropbox account is required to use the app.
Netflix has officially launched its online streaming rental service and application for iOS devices in Canada, providing Canadian users with instant, on-demand access to a variety of movie and TV show content from the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. Originally released for the iPad earlier this year, the Netflix app added iPhone and iPod touch support in August but remained available only in the U.S. With the launch of Netflix in Canada the same universal Netflix application is now available to Canadian App Store customers. The app allows Netflix members to stream TV shows and movies over either Wi-Fi or 3G from the Netflix catalog and browse and manage their Netflix queue from within the app. Viewing status is automatically synchronized with the Netflix service to allow users to continue watching a movie or TV show on another device from where they left off. The second-generation Apple TV scheduled to ship later this month is also expected to include Netflix support. Netflix 1.1 is available from the U.S. and Canadian App Stores as a free download. An Netflix unlimited subscription is required to use the app; an introductory one-month trial is available for Canadian users at http://www.netflix.ca.
FileMaker has released a major update to its FileMaker Go for iPhone and FileMaker Go for iPad applications that allow users to work with FileMaker Pro databases on their iOS devices. The version 1.1 updates, available separately for the iPhone and iPad platforms add the ability to create PDFs from within the app, share complete database files with other users and improves photo and media support. Users can now convert a database record directly to a PDF file that can be saved on the device or shared via e-mail, allowing reports and other information to be easily saved and distributed while on the go. The new update also provides the ability to save a copy of a complete database and e-mail it directly from FileMaker Go to exchange information with other users without requiring an intermediate desktop or laptop computer.
Improved photo and media support has also been added enabling users to capture photos on an iPhone or import photos that are already in their iOS device’s photo library and insert them directly into a database. Photos and other file types such as spreadsheets stored in a database can also be e-mailed out directly from FileMaker Go. Additional improvements include the ability to import records from local or hosted FileMaker databases using scripts and a new URL protocol that allows other iOS developers to open FileMaker Go and trigger scripts to perform actions such as importing data from other applications and generating reports. FileMaker Go is available separately for the iPhone and iPad, with FileMaker Go for the iPhone and iPod touch available from the App Store for $20, FileMaker Go for iPad for $40. Both are free updates for users of the same previous version.
- September 21, 2010
Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia XIX Conference, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said about half a million iPad owners use AT&T’s data service to connect to the internet, according to a Reuters report. AT&T is the only U.S. carrier currently offering cellular data service for the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G; Apple said it sold 3.27 million iPads—a number that includes both 3G and Wi-Fi only models—in the second quarter alone. “Half a million at this point would seem low,” said Pacific Crest analyst Steve Clement, while suggesting that many iPad purchasers aren’t bothering to connect their devices to AT&T’s network, relying on Wi-Fi instead. Stephenson also said he was excited for the company’s Q3 sales of smartphones such as the iPhone. “In the third quarter we’re on pace to set a record for integrated devices,” Stephenson said.
Avici Software has released an update to Whiteboard HD, its brainstorming and productivity app for the iPad. Whiteboard HD provides a freeform drawing environment designed to allow users to visualize ideas, write notes, and sketch charts and diagrams on the iPad using standard multi-touch gesture controls. Version 1.1 adds a new shareable and fully-editable file format that can be used to share files and collaborate with other Whiteboard users as well as full support for Dropbox and Box.net for saving/exporting Whiteboard documents and importing images. The new version also adds a laser pointer mode for presenting Whiteboard documents on a projector or external display, the ability to interact with multiple objects on a board and copy and paste objects between multiple boards. Several interface tweaks have also been made to improve touchscreen handling and interacting with objects and external displays. Whiteboard HD 1.1 is available from the App Store for $7 and is a free update for current users.
Applidium has released its iPad port of the very popular open-source VLC media player application for desktop operating systems. The iPad version of VLC includes all of the same built-in codecs present on other platforms, supporting playback of almost any video format that can be found on the Internet, including support for a variety of streaming video formats. The iPad version continues to be part of the VLC OpenSource project with the iPad-specific patches and extensions forming part of the main VLC development tree. Applidium also indicates that a version of VLC for the iPhone and iPod touch is in the works but has not yet announced an expected release date. VLC Media Player is available from the App Store as a free download.
Though Apple has not officially enabled Retina Display emulation on the iPad, certain recent iPhone and iPod touch applications have started to display artwork in higher resolutions on the iPad screen, iLounge has discovered. Normally, iPhone and iPod touch applications run on the iPad in an emulation mode limited to the native 320x480 resolutions of Apple’s prior-generation screens. Users can optionally hit a “2X” button that merely increases the size of each dot from 1x1 to 2x2, resulting in pixellated images. Applications designed for the Retina Display on the iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4G have fared no better, still presenting the lower-resolution graphics designed for the older models.
Recently, however, some new applications are displaying higher-resolution assets when rendered in the iPad 2X mode. The most notable example is Napster, an iPod touch- and iPhone-formatted application without a native iPad mode. Although most of the user interface elements in the Napster app are clearly being scaled up when seen in 2X mode on the iPad, the album artwork is clearly being displayed at a higher iPad-native resolution. iLounge editors have observed several other recent iPhone and iPod touch apps showing similar behaviors, whereby some—not all—assets are being rendered in higher resolution when displayed on the iPad in 2X mode. It is unclear at this time whether developers have found some way to provide this capability or whether it is a function of compiling applications with the recently released iOS 4.1 SDK, but it is a positive sign that the iPad’s seemingly limited iPhone and iPod touch emulator is capable of more than it previously demonstrated.
Resolution Interactive has released an update to Aqua Moto Racing 2 adding support for the iPad and Retina Display graphics for the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch. Released earlier this summer Aqua Moto Racing 2 (iLounge rating: B+) is a first-person water racing game that allows players to race one of 12 unique JetSkis in a variety of exotic locations across 48 different courses. Players can perform insane stunts and earn cash by participating in races and winning Championships and can then use that cash to upgrade their JetSkis. OpenFeint integration provides leaderboards, challenges and tracking of achievements. The new version also provides improved opponent difficulty, the ability to disable OpenFeint popups and minor bug fixes. Aqua Moto Racing 2 is currently available from the App Store as a universal app for $1.
Apple is currently developing a digital newsstand for the iPad that would offer digital magazines and newspapers, according to a new report. Citing two people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reports that the newsstand would be similar to the iBookstore, and would be separate from the App Store. The report says that the effort is aimed at helping publishers sell subscriptions, as opposed to single issues, and may also draw new customers to the iPad. Talks between Apple and publishers including Time Warner, Conde Nast, Hearst Corp., and News Corp. are said to be ongoing, with control over subscriber data, revenue splits, and pricing issues yet to be decided.
As part of the larger effort, Apple is said to be developing new software to make it easier for publishers to create digital versions of magazines and newspapers, with special emphasis placed on adding interactive content such as high-definition video, and is also working on server technology that would allow the publications to be updated in the background. Curiously, Apple in February forced iOS developer omz:software to change the name of its Newsstand RSS reader application due to what it said was a trademark complaint and later added a “Newsstand” section to the App Store highlighting a variety of publications and reading applications.
- September 17, 2010
Apple is now offering a number of refurbished iPad units via its online store. Currently, refurbished units are limited to Wi-Fi-only models, and offer a $50 discount over the retail price of the respective new-in-box units. This marks the first time that Apple has offered refurbished models of its tablet computer since the iPad’s launch in April; it is unclear whether it plans to offer refurbished iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G units at a later date.
AirPlay, Apple’s revamped version of AirTunes meant for streaming audio, video, and photos to compatible devices, may also allow for streaming of content from third-party applications, according to a new report. Citing testing done by a reader using the first iOS 4.2 beta, Mac Rumors reports that every application that uses the standard iOS audio/video playback interface now shows an AirPlay button for streaming. While the second-generation Apple TV, the only AirPlay device announced so far to accept video and photo streams in addition to audio, has yet to be released, a reader was successfully able to stream audio to an Airport Express from the following applications: Safari, YouTube, Netflix, Videos, iPod, BBC News, and MLB At Bat, suggesting that third-party apps may be able to stream video as well as audio to compatible devices. Notably, the software is still in beta, and as such the feature could be removed and/or tweaked prior to iOS 4.2’s public release.
- September 17, 2010
Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn has said that the iPad is eating into sales of traditional laptop PCs. Speaking with the Wall Street Journal, Dunn said that internal estimates showed the iPad had cannibalized sales of laptop PCs by as much as 50%. “It’s a very different environment now,” said Stephen Baker, chief electronics analyst for the NPD Group. “The real cool stuff now will be the tablets, e-readers and probably the higher-end digital cameras.” A separate analyst said the iPad may also be contributing to declining TV sales, which fell by “low-double digit[s]” year-over-year, according to Dunn. “It has become largely a replacement market,” said Riddhi Patel of iSuppli. “New features are not driving sales in a significant way. People are saying, ‘I could buy a television or something totally new like an iPad that I don’t already own.’” Best Buy announced earlier this week that it would expand sales of the iPad to include all 1,093 stores by September 26.
A number of new features and improvements have been discovered in the first beta version of iOS 4.2. AppleInsider reports that the software features an updated YouTube application with like and dislike buttons, as well as support for the CoreMIDI framework, which could enable iOS devices to interface with MIDI instruments via an adapter. Also new in 4.2 are restrictions allowing users to prevent the deletion of App Store applications and prevent changes to accounts in the Mail application, iTunes links in the iPad’s Videos app, and a dedicated FaceTime button at the top of all messaging sessions. Apple is expected to release iOS 4.2 in November.
In addition to China, Apple has announced (Translated Link) that it will launch the iPad in five Latin American countries — Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru — on Friday, September 17. According to the company’s press release, both the iPad Wi-Fi and iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G will be available from select Apple Authorized Resellers; users in those regions are encouraged to visit http://latam.apple.com/la/buy/ to find a nearby iPad reseller. [via MDN]
- September 15, 2010
Apple has made a change in the behavior of the iPad’s hardware under iOS 4.2, repurposing the device’s right-side orientation lock switch as a mute/unmute switch. Users of the updated software can now lock the device’s screen orientation via a software button in the far left pane of the Multitasking drawer, where it sits alongside audio playback controls and a brightness adjustment slider, similar to the layout of options in iOS 4.0 and 4.1 for the iPhone and iPod touch. Notably, the feature change is present in the first beta version of iOS 4.2, but could be reversed by the time of the update’s public release. Apple originally touted the iPad’s right side switch as a mute/unmute toggle, but changed its functionality to a screen orientation lock prior to the device’s release.
Apple today announced that it is releasing a beta version of AirPrint wireless printing for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch to members of its iOS Developer Program, and that the new feature will be part of iOS 4.2 when it is released publicly in November. AirPrint automatically finds printers on local networks that can print text, photos, and graphics wirelessly over Wi-Fi without the need for additional drivers or software. Supported printers include HP Photosmart, Officejet, Officejet Pro and LaserJet Pro series ePrint models, as well as printers shared through a Mac or a PC. Notably, Apple claims that printing will only be supported on iOS devices that support multitasking, yet lists the second-generation iPod touch as compatible, while omitting the iPhone 3G.
“AirPrint is Apple’s powerful new printing architecture that matches the simplicity of iOS—no set up, no configuration, no printer drivers and no software to download,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users can simply tap to print their documents or photos wirelessly to an HP ePrint printer or to a printer shared on a Mac or PC.”
“We’re pleased to work with Apple to bring Apple’s AirPrint to our fall lineup of ePrint printers in time for the holiday shopping season,” said Vyomesh Joshi, HP executive vice president, Imaging and Printing Group. “Making it easy for our customers to print anytime, anywhere, is a key priority for HP. iPad, iPhone and iPod touch customers are going to love how easy it is to print using our new range of ePrint printers, creating high-quality printed pages in an instant.”
Apple has released its first beta version of iOS 4.2 for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Announced by Apple earlier this month and slated for a November release, iOS 4.2 will bring several new features to Apple’s mobile device OS, including AirPlay streaming, AirPrint wireless printing, and the ability to import .ics files directly into Calendar as new events, and will bring the iPad’s software feature set into parity with the iPhone and iPod touch. Apple’s iOS 4.2 Beta for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch is available now as a free download for paid iOS developers from the iOS Dev Center.
Apple is preparing to announce a new subscription plan for newspapers, according to a new report. Citing unnamed industry sources, the San Jose Mercury News reports that Apple has agreed to provide an opt-in for subscribers that will allow Apple to share their information with the newspaper’s publishers, providing the publishers with data essential to attracting advertisers. Publishers “want the data of their customers so they can integrate it into their circulation database so they know who their customers are,” said Roger Fidler, head of digital publishing at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute. Fidler also suggested that Apple will take a 30 percent cut of subscriptions sold through the App Store, and as much a 40 percent of advertising revenue from within the apps. Fidler also said that publishers wanted to pay Apple a straight fee instead of sharing revenue, and are less than happy with Apple’s terms. Apple recently enabled magazine publishers to offer iPad versions of their publications to print subscribers free of charge; if accurate, the report suggests the company is taking a different approach when it comes to newspapers.
iOS developer Kevin Ng has released results from an experiment he conducted with his app Kick Flick 2010. Early last month, Ng released a free update to the iPhone and iPod touch version of his app adding support for both the iPad and the iPhone 4 Retina Display, bundling this into a single $1 application rather than following the approach of other game developers in releasing a separate premium “HD” version of the game. In reviewing the past month of sales results, Ng believes that the figures make a “compelling argument” for iPhone developers to include iPad support for free in existing apps rather than charging customers twice for the same product.
Ng constructed a graph of sales starting with its initial release in July, noting that additional purchases following the update almost matched the launch spike. Two weeks after its initial launch, Apple chose to feature the game in the iPad section of the App Store, leading to an even larger surge. Ng believes that providing support for both iPhone and iPad in the same, inexpensive app resulted in the application getting better exposure by being noticed and featured by Apple and by hitting top application charts in both the iPhone and iPad sections of the App Store. Ng notes that since the iPad and iPhone versions are the same product in the App Store, sales on either platform contribute toward the sales rankings in both sections. From this experience, Ng concludes that it makes sense for developers to add iPad support to their existing apps rather than charging extra and feels that this situation is “Win-win for the developer and the customer.”
- September 14, 2010
Best Buy has announced that as of September 26, it will offer the iPad in all of its 1,000+ stores in the U.S. The announcement represents a significant jump in distribution from the roughly 673 Best Buy stores that have carried the device since its launch in April. In total, 1,093 Best Buy stores will be offering both the iPad Wi-Fi and the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G both in store and online (for in-store pick-up). A recent report suggested that Target may begin carrying the device on October 3, perhaps signaling a move by Apple to expand distribution of the device heading into the holiday shopping season.