Building on the success of its popular iPhone application launched last fall, the National Film Board of Canada has released a native iPad version. NFB Films for iPad allows users to enjoy over 1,000 free NFB documentaries, animated shorts and trailers streamed over either Wi-Fi or 3G. The app also includes a selection of films in 3-D and high-definition as well as a dedicated kids’ channel containing fun and educational content for children. In addition to online streaming, users can download and store films for offline viewing for up to 48 hours. The app provides the same basic features as its iPhone counterpart but has been optimized for the iPad not only for higher-resolution video support but also includes improved navigation controls and a split-screen view that allows users to browse other NFB content while viewing a film. NFB Films for iPad is available from the App Store as a free download and includes access to all of the National Film Board’s iPad-ready content at no charge.
Online video service Hulu today announced Hulu Plus, a new $10 per month, ad-supported subscription service that offers users the ability to watch Hulu content on a wide variety of devices. Notably, the new Hulu Plus service will allow subscribers to watch any TV show from a sizable catalog, streamed in 720p, on the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, third-generation iPod touch, and iPad via the new Hulu Plus app. Writing about the announcement on the company blog, Hulu CEO Jason Kilar said, “I’ve been watching Hulu on my iPad for several weeks now, and I’ve watched more TV through the iPad than any other device.” The Hulu Plus service will also offer users access to more current full-length episodes and seasons than the standard service. Hulu Plus is currently in a private, invitation only phase, and will be opened up to all customers “as soon as [it’s] ready.”
- June 29, 2010
In a new report discussing Apple’s rollout of its iAd mobile advertising service, Advertising Age suggests that iOS 4 for iPad will arrive in November. According to the report, Apple is telling marketers that the iPad—which will require an iOS 4 update to run the ads, and is being looked at as the most promising device for advertisers—won’t be on the iAd platform until November. In addition, the report claims that many of the advertisers that have signed on to the iAd platform won’t have ads in the system when it launches later this week, as many are still in the concept and creation stages. Advertisers are said to be paying $1 million just to be on the platform, with some companies, such as Nissan for automobiles and Citi for banks, paying up to $10 million in order to secure some measure of exclusivity in their respective categories.
A class action lawsuit filed against AT&T and Apple earlier this month over the former’s change in data plan offerings has been amended and refiled to include more users, including those out-of-state. The New York Times reports that the suit, filed in U.S. District court in San Jose, CA, currently names three persons who claim Apple and AT&T “baited” them in an iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G with the unlimited wireless data plan, “only to have that promise reneged upon within weeks of their purchases.” The suit notes that AT&T and Apple originally claimed that iPad 3G customers would be able to easily opt-in and opt-out of the unlimited plan, but following AT&T’s data plan changes, it’s unclear whether users who decide to skip a month of data will still be eligible for the unlimited plan afterwards. The suit also claims that AT&T was abrupt in its decision, giving customers less than a week’s notice that the unlimited offering would be eliminated.
The Icon Factory has released a major update to its popular Twitter client. Twitterrific 3.0 merges the previous separate iPhone and iPad versions into a single universal app for both platforms and adds support for iOS 4 fast app switching and interface optimizations for the iPhone 4 Retina display. Other new features and improvements include VoiceOver accessibility for the visually impaired, a light appearance theme, OAuth authentication and tweet integration for media upload services, new “Relationship” information on the user profile screen and a simplified and friendlier user interface for iPhone users. The update also fixes problems with shortening very long URLs and preserving draft tweets when network problems occur. Twitterrific 3.0 is available from the App Store as a free ad-supported version—a Premium upgrade is available within the app for $5 to remove the advertising and add support for multiple Twitter accounts. Twitterrific 3.0 Premium is a free upgrade for Premium users of the iPad version; users of Twitterrific 2.0 for the iPhone will need to purchase the Premium upgrade separately or use the free, ad-supported version with single account support.
Following yesterday’s iBooks 1.1 update, users have discovered that Apple’s built-in dictionary is no longer working with some e-books, a problem traced by iLounge’s editors to a difference in the way iBooks 1.1 chooses dictionaries relative to versions 1.0 and 1.01. The new iBooks appears to be using the language identifier normally stored within ePub files to determine which dictionary to use for a given e-book. Some popular e-book conversation applications such as Calibre do not insert the correct language identifier when saving in the ePub format, which will result in iBooks not knowing which dictionary to use. The problem appears to be confined to e-books that users have converted themselves or downloaded from third-party sources outside of the iBookstore, despite the fact that dictionary lookups for these books worked fine prior to the iBooks 1.1 update. More information on this problem and how to fix it can be found in our Backstage section.
Apple today announced that it sold its three millionth iPad yesterday, just 80 days after its initial launch in the U.S. “People are loving iPad as it becomes a part of their daily lives,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’re working hard to get this magical product into the hands of even more people around the world, including those in nine more countries next month.” The announcement also notes that there are now over 11,000 iPad applications available. The iPad is currently available in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K., and will launch in Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore in July.
- June 21, 2010
AT&T today removed the option for unlimited cellular data for all iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G users, but has said eligible users will once again be able to select the plan. On June 7, AT&T changed its data plan pricing structure, removing the $30/month unlimited option which had become familiar to iPhone users and replacing it with a max plan offering 2GB of data for $25 a month. The company quickly clarified that iPhone and iPad users on existing unlimited plans would be able to keep their plans indefinitely, and promised that all iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G users who ordered their device by June 7 would be able to opt in to the unlimited plan as well. Engadget reports that following today’s removal of the unlimited option, the company said that everyone who is eligible “will be able to select the unlimited plan,” and that “details will follow.”
Apple has released iBooks 1.1, the first major update to its e-Book reading and purchasing software for iOS devices. As revealed by Apple in its WWDC keynote address, iBooks 1.1 offers compatibility with the iPad as well as any iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 4, and features several noteworthy improvements, including PDF support, the ability to highlight text, add notes, and bookmark, the latter two of which are reflected in the book’s Table of Contents, wireless syncing of notes, highlights, and page position between devices, and, interestingly, support for iTunes Digital Booklet files once they’ve been marked as a Book in iTunes. iBooks 1.1 is available now as a free download from the App Store.
According to the latest data from Millennial Media (PDF Link), Apple’s share of overall U.S. mobile device ad impressions is on the decline. In May, Apple devices accounted for around 25% of all impressions, down sharply from 35% the month before. The report gives no indication as to whether Apple’s changes to the iOS developer agreement, which banned the sharing of user and device data with third party ad networks and analytics tools, had any affect on the results. Also of interest in the report is a new section on mobile developer trends. The report claims that 90% of all U.S. developers are single-platform, with 56% of those focused on iOS development, followed by 29% that are focused on Andoid. Millennial Media’s numbers are based on impressions served on its network of mobile sites and apps, which reaches 82% of the U.S. mobile audience, according to the company.
Last night Apple rolled out a number of updates to its MobileMe service. Most notably, the company brought its enhanced MobileMe webmail application out of beta, giving the web app a more iPad-like interface. Improvements include widescreen and compact views, the ability to use mail rules to automate organization, faster performance, support for sending mail from a different, non MobileMe address, and improved junk mail filtering. Also new is the navigation screen, which replaces the old row of icons at the top of the page with a single cloud icon. When clicked, or when evoked using the key combination of Shift-Esc, it brings up a Mac OS X-like application switcher that lets the user move between applications. These updates join the new Find My iPhone application, which was launched alongside the updates.
- June 17, 2010
Andrew Auernheimer, a key member of the Goatse Security group that recently went public with its exploitation of an AT&T security hole that exposed the email addresses of tens of thousands iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G customers, has been arrested on a number of unrelated felony charges. Cnet reports that Auernheimer was arrested following the execution of a FBI search warrant, and is charged with four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance and one misdemeanor possession charge, with the drugs including cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, and schedule 2 and 3 pharmaceuticals. Auernheimer, writing under the first name Escher, recently penned a response to AT&T regarding the security attack, claiming that AT&T “would have never fixed” the problem if his group hadn’t gone public.
In an interview with CNBC, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson made several comments relating to the iPad and iPhone. When asked about the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G and its potential in the enterprise market, Stephenson said, “I think this is going to be really a significant product for enterprise. You think about, you know, our objective is just to mobilize everything. Whether it’s in the home or the workplace, this is a device that really lets you think differently about mobilizing all of the applications that you see in business. And we’re getting a strong interest from our large business customers on bringing this device into their environments, and whether it’s working with the salesforce, whether it’s order takers, any number of areas, are really excited about bringing this device in.”
When asked about the iPad users’ data usage, he explained that “it obviously generates a lot of data usage, which is a good thing from our view point, but the beautiful thing about this device is[..] when you’re in a Wi-Fi hotspot, it’s running on the Wi-Fi network, when you’re out roaming, you’re on the AT&T 3G network.” Stephenson was also asked about the company’s relationship with Apple, describing it as “terrific” and said of the iPhone that “we feel like together we’ve kinda changed the telecom industry,” before adding that in the last three years data usage is up 5,000%.
Finally, he addressed the question of voice quality, describing the uptake and demand for mobile broadband “dramatic,” and admitting that it had an effect on voice quality. “We have been going hard at the voice quality issue in New York, and made tremendous progress,” he added. “And so, we’re getting to a point where voice quality is getting to where it should be, and mobile broadband is the fastest in the nation. as measured by any number of independent people.” The video of Stephenson’s interview is available from the above link or in embedded form below. [via Mac Rumors]
- June 15, 2010
Escher Auernheimer, a member of the security group Goatse Security, has posted a public response to AT&T’s customer email regarding the recent exposure of over 100,000 customer emails and SIM ICC-ID numbers. He claims that if the group and the third parties had not exposed the security hole, AT&T “would have never fixed” the problem, and that the company “had plenty of time to inform the public” about the problem before Goatse went public, but it did not, and also pointed out that the potential for exploitation of other vulnerabilities still exists. “AT&T is not highlighting the potential for a skilled attacker to use a Safari exploit, or other iPad application exploit based on this dataset to takeover the iPad,” Auernheimer said. “A complete list of iPad 3G customers (which could have been generated from this vulnerability) would have the ideal bit of data for those in the RBN with zero-day Safari exploits to acquire.”
Editor’s Note: Although it’s not prevalent, there is a small amount of foul language towards the end of Auernheimer’s post, making it possibly NSFW.
Good.iWare has released another update to its highly popular PDF reading application for the iPad, adding a number of enhancements to PDF reading. GoodReader for iPad 2.8 introduces horizontal page turning for PDF files for a more book-like reading experience. The new version also provides the ability to rotate PDF files, automatically crop margins for a full-screen view of text and display two-page spreads in landscape view. GoodReader also now pre-caches PDF files for better performance when turning pages and adds support for Apple’s iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter, allowing documents to be displayed on a secondary monitor, TV or digital projector. GoodReader for iPad is available from the App Store for $1 and is a free update for existing users.
Silvio Rizzi has released an iPad version of his popular Reeder RSS client for iOS. Reeder for iPad brings over all of the features from the iPhone and iPod touch version, including Google Reader sync, browsing by feed or folder, starring and sharing items, image caching, and integration with third-party services such as Instapaper, Twitter, Delicioius and Pinboard. The iPad version introduces a redesigned interface for the iPad with a split-screen reading view and feeds and folders shown as thumbnails. Users can open folders using a pinch gesture—individual feeds appear as thumbnails and expand outward with the same effect as opening albums within the iPad Photos application. Reeder for iPad is available from the App Store for $5.
- June 14, 2010
AT&T has sent out an email to its iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G customers explaining the situation surrounding the recent exposure of over 100,000 customer emails and SIM ICC-ID numbers. Titled “Important Information About Your iPad 3G,” the email from AT&T Senior Vice President Dorothy Attwood states that a group of “unauthorized computer ‘hackers’” used a web address that’s part of the iPad log-in process to determine users’ iCC-ID numbers and get their email addresses. It also states that AT&T took “swift action to prevent any further unauthorized exposure of customer email addresses,” and that [w]ithin hours, AT&T disabled the mechanism that automatically populated the email address.” “I want to assure you that the email address and ICC-ID were the only information that was accessible,” Attwood writes. “Your password, account information, the contents of your email, and any other personal information were never at risk. The hackers never had access to AT&T communications or data networks, or your iPad.” The publication of details relating to the matter recently led the FBI to launch an investigation into the matter.
- June 11, 2010
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has launched an inquiry into the recent security breach on AT&T’s website that led to the exposure of more than 100,000 iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G customers’ email addresses and SIM IDs. “The FBI is aware of these possible computer intrusions and has opened an investigation to address the potential cyber threat,” FBI spokesman Jason Pack told Reuters. The security hole, which was found and exploited by a group called Goatse Security, has since been closed, claims AT&T. The investigation isn’t surprising, the report claims, quoting an unnamed telecommunications executive as saying ““if there’s a high profile data compromise it’s not unusual to get a phone call from government officials.”
- June 9, 2010
A security hole on AT&T’s website has led to the exposure of email addresses and SIM ICC-ID numbers for 114,000 iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G users. Gawker reports that 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. While the security group did notify AT&T of the breach, and the company subsequently closed the security hole, the group admits it shared the PHP script it used to harvest the data with several third-parties prior to AT&T’s action, meaning that the accounts of all 114,000 known users, and possibly more, have potentially been compromised. Included in the breach were the email addresses and ICC-ID numbers of a number of high-ups in the media, tech, and financial industries, as well as a number of senior government officials, allegedly including White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Despite the leak, a notable security expert at the University of Virginia told Gawker the exposure of ICC-ID information “has no direct security consequences.” AT&T and Apple have yet to comment on the matter.