Samsung’s Android-powered iPad competitor, the Galaxy Tab, is facing both slow sales and a high return rate, according to a new report. Citing data from ITG, the New York Post reports that the Tab saw a 15 percent return rate from its debut in November through January 16. The same data states that the iPad saw a return rate of only two percent over the same period. “Consumers aren’t in love with the [Galaxy Tab],” said Tony Berkman, a consumer tech analyst with ITG. Samsung recently announced it had sold two million Galaxy Tab units, but later clarified that statement, saying that was actually the number of devices it shipped to wireless companies and retailers, and adding that sales to consumers were “quite small.” Apple had sold 14.79 million iPads as of December 25, based on figures provided in its latest quarterly earnings release.
Update: Samsung has since issued a statement refuting ITG’s figures, and stating that the return rate for the Galaxy Tab is “below two percent.”
Apple officially launched the iPad in South Africa over the weekend. According to a MyBroadband report, Core Group, an official distributor of Apple products, launched the iPad in various iStore, Incredible Connection, and Dion Wired stores. Pricing for the iPad with Wi-Fi starts at R4,399 (roughly $615) for the 16GB model and goes to R6,399 (~$895) for the 64GB version, while iPad 3G units run from R5,599 (~$784) for the 16GB model to R7,599 (~$1,063) for the 64GB version. Notably, these prices represent substantial discounts over the prices being charged by importers, who were charging R6,500 and up for 16GB Wi-Fi models all the way to R9,500 and up for 64GB iPad 3G units.
Antecea has released Cloud Connect Pro, a new app for the iPad designed to provide a complete set of file management and remote desktop features. Cloud Connect Pro allows users to access and manage their files on cloud-based services such as Dropbox, MobileMe iDisk and Box.net as well as remote Windows, Mac and Linux PCs. Users can also remotely control desktop computers via either the VNC or RDP protocols; an optional Easy Connect app allows users to connect to their remote computers using Google authentication or the iOS VPN feature can be used to access computers behind a corporate firewall. Supported protocols for remote file access include SMB, AFP, FTP, SFTP and WebDAV (HTTP/HTTPS); an SMB server mode also allows the iPad to act as a network drive to be accessed from computers on the same local network. Users can copy, rename, delete and move files, edit text files, zip and unzip files and folders, open files in other third-party apps and send any file as an e-mail attachment using the iPad Mail app. Audio recordings can also be created from directly within the app and any supported file can be printed via AirPrint. Other features include simultaneous transfer of multiple files and folders, streaming of video and audio content, Wake on LAN for remote computers, iTunes File Sharing over USB and SSH Public Key authentication for SFTP. Cloud Connect Pro requires an iPad running iOS 3.2 or later and is available from the App Store for $20.
A new class action lawsuit has been filed against AT&T, claiming that the company over bills for data usage, Courthouse News reports. According to the suit, which was filed in federal court by Patrick Hendricks, “AT&T’s bills systematically overstate the amount of data used on each data transaction involving an iPhone or iPad account,” going on to describe it as being “like a rigged gas tank that charges pump that charges for a full gallon when it pumps only nine-tenths of a gallon into your car’s tank.” Hendricks claims that the over billing and “phantom” data usage were discovered and confirmed by an “independent consulting firm retained by plaintiff’s counsel, which conducted a two-month study of AT&T’s billion practices for data usage.” The firm “found that AT&T systematically overstate web server traffic by 7 percent to 14 percent, and in some instances by over 300 percent.” While the complaint admits that the overcharges “have a modest effect on an individual customer’s bill, they have a huge effect on AT&T’s bottom line,” citing fourth quarter 2010 wireless data revenue of $4.9 billion. Hendricks is seeking restitution and class damages for money received, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, unfair and fraudulent business practices, unfair competition, and violations of the federal Communications Act.
Apple’s iPad accounted for 75 percent of the global tablet market in the fourth quarter of 2010, down from 96 percent in the prior quarter, according to a new report. Citing market researcher Strategy Analytics, Bloomberg reports that while iPad shipments jumped 74 percent compared to the previous quarter, to 7.3 million, shipments of Android-based tablets—driven by sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab devices—went from 100,000 in the third quarter to 2.1 million units in the fourth, good for a 22 percent share of the market. “The Samsung Galaxy Tab was the main driver of Android success,” Neil Mawston, director at Strategy Analytics, wrote in the report. “Tablet makers like Android because of its perceived low cost and an accompanying range of compelling media services such as YouTube and Google Maps.” Apple is expected to face increasing competition in the tablet market this year, as rivals such as Motorola, HP, RIM, Samsung, and Acer are all expected to launch tablet devices in the first half of 2011.
Update: Samsung has clarified its sales numbers for the Galaxy Tab, saying that the two million unit figure it reported last week was actually the number of devices it shipped to wireless companies and retailers. According to the Wall Street journal, Samsung executive Lee Young-hee went as far as to say that actual sales to consumers were “quite small,” which would obviously have an effect on the figures provided by Strategy Analytics.
Apple has officially launched the iPad in the United Arab Emirates. According to the Twitter account of Apple Premium Reseller iStyle, Wi-Fi only iPads will be priced from AED2,199 (roughly $599) for the 16GB model to AED3,099 (~$844) for 64GB units, while 3G models will run from AED2,799 (~$762) for the 16GB version to AED3,699 (~$1,007) for the 64GB model. iStyle also notes that it will only be offering 3G units, and it is up to customers to choose a carrier and data plan. This marks the second iPad rollout of the day; it was previously revealed that Apple would also be launching the iPad in India today.
Chillingo has released Infinity Field, a new dual-stick shooter game for the iPad. Infinity Field puts players in a spaceship that they must navigate through a field of enemies, guiding their craft with with one analogue stick while blasting enemies out of their way. Players collect power-ups as they move around the playing field that improve their simple cannon into more powerful weapons such as omnidirectional bullets, lasers and bombs. The game provides six simple survival modes plus a full campaign mode with challenging bosses and a competitive multiplayer option. Crystal and Game Center support is included for rankings and achievements. Infinity Field is available from the App Store for $2.
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.
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.
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.
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]
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.