Apple has announced that it will release iOS 4.2 for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch later today. Announced during Apple’s September media event, the update will bring previously iPhone- and iPod touch-exclusive features like multitasking and a unified Mail inbox to the iPad, and will also add new features like AirPlay streaming and AirPrint wireless printing to all three devices. Apple is expected to release iOS 4.2 around 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
Doom co-creator and co-founder of iD Software John Carmack has said that the iPad is more capable graphically than the Nintendo Wii. In an interview with Kotaku following the release of iD’s Rage and Rage HD titles for iOS, Carmack said that “it is great for me to see a lot of people saying this looks better than anything on my Wii and a quarter of the games on my 360, which is about how I would rank the power levels there.” He continued, “you should be able to do something that’s better on an iPad than anything that’s done on the Wii. A 360 or PS3 does have several times integral-multiple more power but there’s certainly some games where developers don’t take much advantage of it. We’re nowhere close to maxing out what could be done on an iPad.”
Carmack also made note of the control limitations of the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, admitting that the devices’ touchscreens make for inferior first-person shooter (FPS) controls. “It does feel kind of like an inferior version when you play that,” he said, referring to playing any FPS game on an iPhone or iPad. “It’s cool that it’s on there. It’s good enough to enjoy and have fun. But clearly you’re a step down from analog sticks, which is a step down down from mouse-keyboard interface. And it just makes me think that may not be the best style of game on these platforms.” Carmack finished by lauding the fast turn-around of games on iOS, but said he doesn’t have the time he’d like to have to devote to iOS development. “There’s a half-dozen things I’d love to do on iOS right now,” he said, “but the most I can possibly manage is help with two of them a year.”
THQ Wireless has released a new Star Wars Arcade game for the iPhone and iPod touch featuring augmented reality technology. Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner puts players in the Millennium Falcon’s gun turret where they must blast their way through waves of TIE fighters and Star Destroyers across over 20 arcade-style levels based on the Star Wars movies. The game includes legendary missions such as the Death Star escape, the asteroid field pursuit over Hoth and the infamous Kessel Run. iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch users can also engage an optional augmented reality mode that allows players to use the device’s camera to overlay enemy fighters on top of real-world surroundings and control movement with 360-degree full body motion using the device’s accelerometer/compass or gyroscope. A coming free update will also allow users to take and share augmented reality photos from within the Falcon’s turret. The game is compatible with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPod touch and requires iOS 4.1 or later with an iPad version scheduled for release in December. Star Wars Arcade: Falcon Gunner is available from the App Store for $5.
Discount department store chain TJ Maxx is now selling 16GB iPad Wi-Fi units for $399 in certain stores, according to a new report. Citing a reader email and photos, Engadget reports that some TJ Maxx stores in Ohio, New York, and New Jersey are offering the tablet computers at a $100 discount; one store claimed it was holding its stock for Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving that marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season. Some stores in other parts of the U.S. reported they had no iPads in stock. A sign posted outside one store noted that quantities of the discounted devices were limited, sales are limited to one per customer, and returns will only be accepted if the package is unopened.
Update: Mac Rumors reports that TJ Maxx sister chain Marshalls is also offering the same deal at certain stores, and are reportedly receiving 100 iPads per day over a three-day period.’
Update x2: Steve Jobs has reportedly told a customer via email that TJ Maxx is not an authorized reseller of iPads.
Apple has seeded a new Gold Master version of iOS 4.2, labeled iOS 4.2.1, to developers. Unlike the secondary GM seed of iOS 4.2 released exclusively for the iPad, this new build is available for all capable devices, including the iPad, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, and the second-, third-, and fourth-generation iPod touch. While it is unclear whether Apple now plans to skip a general release of iOS 4.2 and go directly to iOS 4.2.1, an email from Toktumi, makers of the Line2 VoIP application, suggests a communications bug may have led Apple to release the new build. According to the email, reprinted by Mac Rumors, the GM version of iOS 4.2 contained a “severe” bug that caused any VoIP app running in the background to continuously ring after receiving an incoming call, even after the call is answered. The email states that Apple Developer Support is aware of the bug; it is unknown whether iOS 4.2.1 includes a fix for the issue. iOS 4.2.1 GM is available as a download for paid iOS developers from Apple’s iOS Dev Center.
Duck Duck Moose has released an iPad version of its award-winning Park Math educational game for the iOS platform. Selected as the Best Kids’ iPhone/iPod App of the Year in our 2011 Buyers’ Guide, Park Math teaches basic math concepts to young children through a charmingly illustrated collection of activities set in a park and playground theme with classical music and colorful original characters. Park Math HD brings the same engaging learning experience to the larger iPad screen with seven fun activities and an extra third level targeted at first grade children to teach counting up to 100 and addition and subtraction with numbers up to 20. Park Math HD is available from the App Store for $2.
Mobiata has released a major update to its FlightTrack application for tracking live flight status. FlightTrack 4.0 sports a completely redesigned interface with tabs to improve organization of information about each individual flight and adds a delay forecast graph and a full display of scheduled, estimated and actual times for gate departure, takeoff, landing and gate arrival. The new version also now includes SeatGuru map integration to allow users to find the best seats on their flights and adds more detailed information about flights that have been diverted from their original destination airport. FlightTrack Pro users can now also display full-screen airport terminal maps within the app. The update also provides a number of fixes regarding weather updates and keeping displayed data up to date. FlightTrack is available in both standard and Pro versions; FlightTrack ($5) includes a full set of flight tracking features including weather radar, gate and baggage claim information, flight delay forecasts and SeatGuru charts; FlightTrack Pro adds the new terminal maps feature as well as push notifications, FAA airport delay and closure information and TripIt synchronization. Both apps are universal and require an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad running iOS 3.0 or later.
Google has launched a new feature giving iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users the ability to edit Google Docs directly from their devices. According to a post on the official Google Mobile blog, users simply need to visit docs.google.com in their browser, select the document they’d like to edit, and press the “Edit” button to begin editing. The post notes that the features will be rolled out to English-language users around the world in the next few days, and are compatible with all iOS devices running software version 3.0 or later.
id Software has released Rage, its highly-anticipated first-person rail shooter for the iOS platform. Announced earlier this month, Rage for iOS is built on the same Tech 5 game engine that is being used for the upcoming PC/console game. The iOS version provides a subset of the full game built around the Mutant Bash TV combat game show from the Rage world. Rage HD for iOS is an on-rails shooter that takes the player through a wasteland stalked by mutants where they must collect weapons, ammo and power-ups to survive. The game provides three different levels and four degrees of difficulty plus specific Mutant Bash TV challenges throughout each level.
Rage for iOS is available in two versions: Rage and Rage HD, however unlike most other “HD” games, Rage HD is not the iPad version; both are in fact universal applications that simply provide different quality graphics. iPad, iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch users will be able to take advantage of higher-resolution textures in Rage HD, although this version is also compatible with the iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod touch. The standard version of Rage is compatible with any iOS device running iOS 3.1 or later. Both applications are available on the App Store and are large compared to most iOS games: Rage ($1) is a 540MB download while Rage HD ($2) weighs in at just under 750MB.
iPads sold in China come with a two-year AppleCare warranty as a standard option, according to a new report. Citing a South China Morning Post article, Bloomberg reports that because the Chinese government has categorized the iPad as a laptop computer, Apple by law must offer a two-year warranty for key components. iPads sold in other parts of the world come with a one-year limited warranty by default; the company sells an extra year of AppleCare coverage for $99.
Sam’s Club, the warehouse club arm of retail giant Wal-Mart, is beginning to roll out iPads to its stores with mild discounts on Apple’s standard pricing. 9 to 5 Mac reports that Sam’s is offering an $11 discount on iPad Wi-Fi units, bringing the prices for 16, 32, and 64GB Wi-Fi models to $488, $588, and $688, respectively. iPad 3G units see an even larger discount of $20, bringing the prices of the three models to $609, $709, and $809. Based on an image of a Sam’s Club iPad display posted in the same article, it appears the warehouse club will also be offering the iPad Camera Connection Kit for $27.86, down from Apple’s standard price of $29.
Appremix has released a major update to its Boxcar notification management app for iOS devices. The new version represents a significant overhaul, sporting a completely new UI design and several new features. Boxcar 4.0 adds Retina Display support for the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch, a and now provides a centralized inbox with more alert options. Several additional services are now available as well including Google Buzz, Google Voice and more and users can now reply to and retweet Twitter messages directly in Boxcar without having to open an external Twitter client. Boxcar is a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download. The free version is ad-supported; users can pay $5 via in-app purchasing to disable the advertising.
Urban Apps has released an update to Ambiance adding iPad and AirPlay support. Ambiance is an “environment enhancer” application that allows the user to play back a wide variety of ambient noises that can be downloaded from a very large catalog of sounds ranging from nature sounds to sounds from busy train stations. Ambiance 3.1 is now a universal application adding native support for the iPad as well as introducing AirPlay support for full audio streaming to an Apple TV, Airport Express or other AirPlay compatible output device. The new version also fixes a number of issues related to push notifications, caching of pages and general user interface problems. Ambiance is available from the App Store for $3 and is a free update for current users.
Apple has added the ability for iPad users to access their Ping accounts via the iTunes app. The Ping tab allows users to view their activity feed, followers, profile, and a separate section dedicated to concerts, including local shows, artists on tour, and links to purchase tickets through Ticketmaster.com. Ping went live on Apple’s other iOS 4 devices in early September. [via 9 to 5 Mac]
Apple has released a revised version of its iOS 4.2 Gold Master for iPad, amid reports that the software’s launch was pushed back due to a bug. Citing a number of different recent articles, Mac Rumors reports that Apple has posted Build 8C134b of the software on the iOS Dev Center, a newer version than Build 8C134 which was seeded to developers on November 1. According to the report, rumors had indicated that there were Wi-Fi connectivity issues in the initial GM build of iOS 4.2 for iPad, forcing Apple to push back its internal schedule for the software’s release from this week to at least next week, and possibly as late as November 24, as reported by The Telegraph. Apple has said only that iOS 4.2 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch would be released in November.
Marco Arment has released a major update to his Instapaper offline reader application for iOS devices, making several UI and performance improvements and adding new sharing options. Instapaper 2.3 adds article preview text to the list view on the iPhone and iPod touch similar to that found in the iPad version, while also adding slightly longer preview text for the iPad. New indicators in the article listing now display the approximate length of each article as well as the relative progress using a row of dots. The iPhone version also adds support for toggling Dark Mode from within an article, and a new option is now available on both platforms to automatically switch the display to Dark mode at night based on the sunset times in the user’s area as determined by the device’s location. The update also adds several new sharing options including the ability to send links to OmniFocus and QuickReader as well as copy links or article text to the iOS clipboard. Other new features include performance improvements in the iPad version, simplified bookmarklet installation and the addition of an “ihttp” URL scheme for sending web pages to Instapaper without requiring the bookmarklet. Instapaper 2.3 is available from the App Store for $5.
Evernote has released an update to its universal cloud note storage app for iOS devices. Evernote 3.4 now provides users with the ability to select multiple images from their device’s photo library for adding to a single note or creating multiple snapshot notes rather than needing to add images one at a time. The update also offers several improvements to audio note recordings, increasing the maximum recording time for a single note to 90 minutes and adding playback, pause and replay controls both within the app and via background iOS 4 audio controls. Additional new features include iOS 4 “Open In” support allowing users to send PDFs and text files from Safari, Mail and other compatible third-party apps directly into Evernote and AirPrint support for printing notes directly from Evernote to a network printer. Evernote is a universal app for both iPhone/iPod touch and iPad and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Apple has announced a partnership with marketing firm The Dentsu Group to expand Apple’s iAd mobile advertising platform to Japan early next year. According to the announcement, Dentsu will handle the selling and creative execution of iAds in Japan, while Apple will host, target and deliver the iAds to its iOS users. In addition, Dentsu subsidiary cyber communications, inc. (cci) will provide one-stop services for iAd in Japan including creative production and media planning.
“After an incredibly successful launch in the US where we’ve already doubled the number of brands on the network, we’re excited to bring iAd to Japan,” said Andy Miller, Apple’s vice president of iAd. “Dentsu is one of the world’s most prestigious advertising agencies, making them an ideal partner for iAds in Japan.”
“We’re thrilled to be joining with Apple to introduce such a powerful new ad platform in Japan,” said Ryuichi Mori, Senior Executive Vice President, Dentsu Inc. “Mobile advertising is Japan’s fastest-growing platform and iAd’s rich media experience and engaged audience of iPhone and iPod touch users make it uniquely positioned to capture mobile’s full potential for advertisers and developers.”
Apple officially launched the iPad in Russia. According to a report from Tatar-inform, Apple’s tablet computer will be available from retailers M.Video, Bely Veter and re:Store, with prices ranging from 19,990 roubles for the 16GB Wi-Fi model to 32,990 roubles for the 64GB iPad 3G. The report claims that the iPad will initially be available in only four cities — Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Volgograd and Rostov-on-Don, with the first batch expected to be limited to 3 to 4 thousand devices. Apple is expected to supply Russian retailers with 40 to 50 thousand units before the end of the year. [via TUAW]
Verizon Wireless has started airing a new commercial promoting its iPad + Mi-Fi bundle. The spot, entitled “Breakaway,” shows a man sitting in a chair holding the iPad and turning on the Mi-Fi wireless hotspot before proceeding to open Safari on the iPad. As he browses, the ceiling, walls, and floor of the room break apart and fly away to show the man in the same chair sitting on a point overlooking the ocean. Notably, this is the first carrier-created advertisement for one of Apple’s iOS products to air in the U.S., as Apple has aired all prior iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad commercials itself. The new commercial is available for viewing from the above link or in embedded form below.