Mercedes-Benz Financial has announced that the results of its limited iPad pilot program were so “overwhelmingly positive” that the company is expanding the program to all 355 dealerships in the U.S. During the pilot phase, select dealerships in the U.S. were letting potential customers fill out paperwork on the spot using iPads, instead of forcing them into a dealership office to complete the sale, with the hopes of preserving more sales lost at the last minute. “We were surprised,” Andreas Hinrichs, vice president of marketing for Mercedes-Benz Financial, said in an interview with Macworld. “The feedback was so positive we said, we need to push this out to all the dealers and take the financing process to a new level.” The company will also begin use of the 3G-enabled iPads in its leasing process, allowing customers returning vehicles to watch the post-lease inspection and sign the completed forms using their finger.
In addition, Mercedes is showing off a prototype iPad docking station at the Paris Motor Show. Similar to the one shown at the show by rival manufacturer BMW, the Mercedes mount sits horizontally behind the front seat headrest and allows back seat passengers full use of the iPad while it charges. No pricing or availability information has yet been announced.
Motorola Mobility, a subsidiary of Motorola, Inc., has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) alleging that the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and certain Mac computers infringe Motorola patents. The company has also filed patent infringement complaints against Apple in the Northern District of Illinois and the Southern District of Florida. According to Motorola’s announcement, the three complaints include 18 patents, which relate to “wireless communication technologies, such as WCDMA (3G), GPRS, 802.11 and antenna design, and key smartphone technologies including wireless email, proximity sensing, software application management, location-based services and multi-device synchronization.” Motorola Mobility has asked the ITC to start an investigation into Apple’s potential infringement and issue an Exclusion Order barring the importation, sales, marketing, advertising, and use of such products in the U.S.; in its court cases, it is seeking to force Apple to cease using its patented technology and provide compensation for any past infringement.
- October 6, 2010
Target is not doing the best job when it comes to retailing the iPad, according to a new report. IfoAppleStore reports that while the iPad is in a decent, but not great, position next to Target’s electronics point-of-sale counter—a position also occupied by Apple’s line of iPods—not a single iPad, non-working or otherwise, was available for customers to look at. No information cards or descriptions of the device’s capabilities were on display, and the iPad boxes themselves were locked behind glass doors, with no salespeople available to discuss the product or even remove one from the case. In addition, a small range of iPad accessories, including the iPad Camera Connection Kit, were on display on an end-cap adjacent to the iPad area, but once again, the products were locked down, requiring assistance for purchase. Over a half an hour span on Sunday afternoon, ifoAppleStore reports that not a single person approached iPad display; during the same hour, multiple customers approached the live display of touchable, usable iPads at a nearby Best Buy.
Canadian television network Citytv has launched an official application for watching streaming network content on the iPad. Citytv Video works over both Wi-Fi and 3G connections and provides free, ad-supported access on-demand to popular prime-time content such as Modern Family, Biggest Loser, Cougar Town, 30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother and more. Users can view both full-length programs or short clips of highlights and access both current and previous episodes. The application also provides live streaming of Breakfast Television, Citytv’s daily morning show as well as a catalog of video clips from CityLine and previous episodes of Breakfast Television Toronto. An integrated TV schedule allows users to see what’s airing on Citytv and users can also configure Push Notifications to alert them when new episodes of their favourite shows are available for streaming. The app also provides a viewing history and the ability to flag favorite episodes and share links to content via Facebook, Twitter and e-mail. Citytv Video is available from the Canadian App Store as a free download and supports both the iPad Wi-Fi and iPad 3G. Citytv is owned by Rogers Media, a sister company of Rogers Wireless which provides iPad 3G data services in Canada. Unlike some of the prior iOS apps released by Rogers Media, however, a Rogers data plan is not required to use this app.
The Omni Group has released a major update to OmniGraffle, its professional diagramming application for the iPad. OmniGraffle for the iPad is an iOS version of The Omni Group’s popular desktop application of the same name, and provides functionality similar to Microsoft’s Visio for Windows, allowing users to create diagram style drawings such as process charts, page layouts, wireframes and graphic designs, taking full advantage of the iPad multitouch interface. OmniGraffle 1.3 adds support for importing photos from the iPad photo library onto an existing canvas or into the application’s shape library. Users can set photo opacity, position, rotate, resize and crop photos. Integration with the Graffletopia online stencil repository allows users to download and install new stencils directly into the app, providing quick and easy access to new collections of images and shapes. The update also adds a new Line Tool and Text Tool to the palette of drawing tools, adds favorite and default styles for all of the existing tools and provides the ability to have multiple fonts and colors for text labels. The latest version also includes a number of interface and usability improvements to make working with OmniGraffle easier. OmniGraffle is available from the App Store for $50; version 1.3 is a free update for current users.
- October 4, 2010
Amazon.com has started selling the iPad directly. Previously available from the online retailer through third-parties, Amazon itself is now stocking and selling both 32GB and 64GB Wi-Fi models. It is unclear whether Amazon will start selling 16GB and/or Wi-Fi + 3G models at some point in the future; all but the 16GB with Wi-Fi + 3G models are available on the site from a third-party reseller. The expansion of iPad distribution comes just one day after Target began selling the iPad in its U.S. stores.
Apple has released an update to its MobileMe Gallery application adding native iPad support. MobileMe Gallery is a free app that allows iOS device users to browse through their own and their friends’ MobileMe Galleries directly on an iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. The application provides features similar to the built-in Photos app including pinch-to-zoom for photos, portrait and landscape orientation and support for playing videos from MobileMe. Previously-viewed photos are also cached for offline viewing. MobileMe Gallery version 1.2 is now a universal app offering full iPad support as well as fast app switching for iOS 4 devices and support for the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch Retina Displays. iPhone and iPad users can also now view friends’ galleries without requiring their own MobileMe subscription, a feature conspicuously omitted for iPod touch users. MobileMe Gallery is available from the App Store as a free download.
- October 1, 2010
The NPD Group has released several new pieces of information from its second in a series of surveys about the iPad. The study found that customer satisfaction was higher among early adopters of the iPad—those who purchased the device in its first two months of availability—than those who purchased their iPad more recently, with 80 percent of early adopters very satisfied with the device, compared to 65 percent of more recent purchasers. Interestingly, this wasn’t the only metric in which the early adopters differed from new owners; early adopters were 44 percent more likely to watch YouTube videos, 50 percent more likely to watch movies, 60 percent more likely to watch TV shows, and 38 percent more likely to read e-books. Early adopters were also slightly more likely to be Mac owners, with 50 percent owning Macs compared to 45 percent of later purchasers. Overall, 38 percent of iPad users also own an iPhone, only 13 percent said they purchased an iPad instead of a PC, and 24 percent said the iPad replaced a planned e-reader purchase. NPD’s online survey was conducted in August amongst more than 500 adult iPad owners.
Good.iWare has released a major update to GoodReader for iPad, its popular iPad document reader and file management app, adding full PDF annotation support and several other enhancements. GoodReader for iPad allows users to download and view and store various file formats including PDF, text, Microsoft Office, iWork and audio and video and includes advanced features for working with PDf files. Version 3.0 adds full PDF annotation support, including notes, highlights, markups and drawings in PDF documents. Annotations created and edited in GoodReader are saved into the PDF file so they can be accessed on other platforms such as a desktop computer, and PDF annotations created and properly stored by other applications can be viewed and edited in GoodReader. Users can create and edit comments and tag them with different icons, highlight text in a PDF document and add freehand drawings, lines, arrows, strikeouts, text insertion/replacement marks, and more. GoodReader also allows support for viewing, limited editing and removing several other types of annotations such as text boxes, rubber stamps, and file attachments. Files can also now be extracted from PDF file attachments and viewed or saved within GoodReader. Other new features in GoodReader for iPad 3.0 include the ability to select text directly on a page and hide PDF watermarks as well as stability improvements when loading certain types of PDF files. Users can also now choose a minimum zoom ratio for PDF pages, extract files of any size from a PDF portfolio and duplicate files for creating annotations without modifying the original. GoodReader for iPad is available from the App Store for an introductory price of $1.
- September 30, 2010
New menu options in the Settings app of the iPad’s version of iOS 4.2 beta 2 suggest that Apple may begin to allow iPad users to tether other devices to its 3G data connection, similar to the tethering feature currently offered on the iPhone. 9 to 5 Mac reports that there is now a section for Internet Tethering within the Cellular Data>APN Settings submenu of the Settings application. The section has spaces for the APN, username, and password; according to the report, this is similar to the function’s appearance on the iPhone before it received an official iOS interface. Notably, 9 to 5 Mac could not replicate the new setting on an iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G running on AT&T’s network; the iPad from which the screenshot came was running on 3’s network in Europe.
Mobiata, developer of FlightTrack Pro, has released FlightBoard, a virtual airport departure and arrivals board for iOS devices. FlightBoard features a design based on the Arrivals and Departures board at Charles de Gaulle Airport and allows users to turn their screen into a view of scheduled flights for just about any airport in the world, including flight status and gate numbers. FlightBoard works with over 4,000 airports and 1,400 airlines worldwide and users can quickly switch between departures and arrivals views and share flight information with friends and family via Twitter, Facebook or e-mail. A search interface allows users to quickly narrow results down and get real-time status for just about any flight in the world. FlightBoard is a universal app for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices and is available from the App Store for $4.
Apple has released an update to its Remote application for iOS devices, adding native iPad support and compatibility with iTunes 10 and the new Apple TV. Remote 2.0 provides a slightly redesigned user interface on the iPhone and iPod touch to reflect changes in the iOS 4 iPod and Music applications as well as adding support for the Retina Display on the iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4G. When running on the iPad, the new Remote application mirrors the design of iTunes 10 when viewed in landscape mode, even including similar playback controls, status window and search fields found at the top of the screen. The update also adds the individual AirPlay volume controls introduced in iTunes 10 and includes support for accessing and controlling Shared Libraries on iTunes and the new Apple TV and can now automatically add iTunes and 2G Apple TV libraries through the iTunes Home Sharing feature. Remote 2.0 is available from the App Store as a free download.
Quinn Genzel has released a universal update to his Packing travel applications for iOS devices. Designed to assist users with preparing for travel, Packing and Packing Pro provide an advanced digital packing list with an extensive customizable catalog, multiple sample lists that can be used as templates, and the ability to create and save standard lists for later reuse. The apps feature multi-item selection for fast building of lists, running item tallies on a per-category basis, numerous sorting and display options, weight and value totals and the ability to share lists via e-mail and import and export between Packing apps on other devices. Packing Pro adds the ability to customize the look and feel of the app, provides twice as many sample lists, a larger master catalog and an Expert packing list that can automatically build customized lists. The Pro version also provides a Smart Search tool and landscape support on the iPhone and iPod touch. With the latest updates, Packing and Packing Pro are now universal applications providing support for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad in a single app. Specific enhancements for the iPad include a redesigned full-screen layout, iPad optimized controls and native resolution graphics. Packing is currently available from the App Store at a discounted price of $1; Packing Pro is selling now for a discounted price of $3. Users of the basic version can also add individual Packing Pro features via in-app purchase.
Condé Nast Digital has launched Gourmet Live for the iPad, the first major magazine publication to be transformed into a new iPad exclusive publication. The monthly print edition of Gourmet magazine ceased publication last year citing declining advertising sales and shifting food interests among the readership, however Condé Nast continued using the Gourmet brand in other multimedia publications and the Epicurious iPad application. In a blog post, Anil Dash who led the team at Activate developing the app in collaboration with Condé Nast, the new Gourmet Live digital edition is intended to be a re-imagining of Gourmet “as a sort of massively multiplayer magazine.”
Going beyond a simple digital print publication, Gourmet Live includes not only classic stories and recipes but also adds videos, slideshows and tightly integrated social connections that allow readers to share articles and other information with their friends. Content is available at no additional charge and the application also provides a “gameplay” experience whereby readers unlock access to additional stories and content based on the articles that they actually read. Rewards show up in the form of new custom magazine issues tailored to the readers’ interests that appear on an iBooks-style rewards shelf within the app. Gourmet Live provides mostly original content however the content library also includes stories and articles from previous issues of Gourmet dating back over half a century that may be included in the reward issues. Gourmet Live is available from the App Store as a free download. [via Daring Fireball]
Condé Nast Digital has released an iPad edition of The New Yorker Magazine, allowing iPad users to purchase weekly editions of the acclaimed magazine right from within the app. The New Yorker offers a signature mix of reporting and commentary on politics, international affairs and the arts along with fiction, poetry, humor and cartoons. Each weekly iPad edition includes all of the content from the print edition of the magazine as well as additional multimedia features including video guides, animations and weekly exclusive cartoon slide shows with bonus cartoons. Users can view the table of contents for each week’s edition before purchasing and can store the current and previous issues for offline access. The New Yorker Magazine is available from the App Store as a free download. Weekly issues are provided via in-app purchase for $5 each.
Synium Software has released an update to iFinance Mobile adding native iPad support and several additional new features. iFinance Mobile is a personal finance application for iOS devices that allows users to record transactions and expenses on the go and optionally sync that data with iFinance for the Mac for expanded financial review and planning. iFinance Mobile 2.0 is now a universal app providing native support for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad and adds a new Account History chart, CSV export of transaction data via e-mail and an improved, redesigned user interface for both the iPhone and iPad. The update also provides several other smaller enhancements such as a graphical calendar view, automatic BIC and IBAN validation, transaction sorting by date and localization in Czech, Polish, French and Russian. iFinance Mobile 2.0 is available from the App Store for $2 and is a free update for users of any prior version.
- September 24, 2010
Target has announced that it will offer the iPad in its stores beginning next month, according to a MarketWatch report. Speaking at the company’s first media day, Target Executive Vice President of Merchandising Kathryn Tesija said the move was part of the company’s drive to boost holiday-season sales. According to the report, Target will sell four models of the iPad, although it is unclear which specific models will be offered. A report from earlier this month indicated that Target would offer all six models of the iPad beginning October 3rd; no indication was given by Tesija as to an exact rollout date.
Update: The Associated Press reports that Target will indeed begin offering the device in its stores October 3.
Smule has released an update to its Glee application for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Updated for Season 2 of the popular TV series, Glee Karaoke introduces a global competition mode where users sing to compete with fellow Glee fans from around the world and complete individual singing missions to gain levels and win starburst points and gleeks. Glee Karaoke also provides personal voice coaching tips to improve singing skills as well as pitch correction and three-part harmonies as fans sing along to their favorite songs from the TV series. The app includes the songs Rehab, Somebody to Love and You Keep Me Hanging On with additional songs available via in-app purchase for $1 each including such favorites as Hello, Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Can’t Fight This Feeling, Imagine, Defying Gravity, Jessie’s Girl and more. Users can also get free songs by earning Gleeks through sharing their top songs with friends on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter or Smule’s own Sonic Network. Additional new songs are added each week that an original episode airs. Glee Karaoke 2.0 is a universal app available from the App Store for $1 and is a free update for users of the previous Glee app.
Apple has released updates to its iWork suite of productivity applications for the iPad. Pages, Numbers and Keynote have each been updated to version 1.2 adding several new features and improvements over the previous versions. All three applications can now copy documents to and from MobileMe iDisk or other WebDAV services as well as adding the ability to group and ungroup objects. Numbers and Keynote have also added support for exporting documents to the respective Microsoft Office Excel and Powerpoint formats. The updates also add improvements across the board in font matching for iWork ‘09 and Microsoft Office documents, handling of tables with image background fills in cells and customized borders, text options for tables and reliability and performance improvements when sharing documents with iWork.com and importing Microsoft Office documents.
Pages 1.2 also adds an option to display the word count for documents, the ability to open TXT files from the iPad Mail app and import and export features for footnotes, endnotes, sections and tables of contents. Numbers 1.2 adds the ability to open CSV files from the iPad Mail app. Keynote 1.2 adds support for audio in builds on imported Keynote ‘09 presentations, animated build support for grouped objects, and several new build and transition animations such as Lens Flare, Spin, Wipe, Revolving Door and Swoosh. Pages 1.2, Numbers 1.2, and Keynote 1.2 are available from the App Store separately for $10 each, and are free updates for users of the corresponding previous version.
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.