Best Buy has announced that it will offer the iPad in its stand-alone Best Buy Mobile stores starting November 7. Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that Best Buy, which began selling the iPad in its regular stores in April, is expanding distribution in hopes of capitalizing on the iPad’s popularity this holiday season. The report also states that Best Buy plans to open 23 additional stand-alone Best Buy Mobile stores before Thanksgiving, giving it a total of 158. Best Buy Mobile stores are smaller, specialty stores focused on selling mobile devices and accessories.
According to results from the latest ChangeWave consumer survey, netbook demand is declining year-over-year while planned purchases of tablet computers - led by the iPad - are on the rise. The October survey of 3,108 consumers found that 14 percent of consumers planning to purchase a laptop over the next 90 days plan to buy a netbook, down from 20 percent in October 2009 and from a high of 24 percent in June 2009. Meanwhile, 26 percent of consumers said they are at least somewhat likely to purchase a tablet in the future, with eight percent saying a purchase was very likely, and 18 percent saying it was somewhat likely. Among those respondents, 80 percent said they were most likely to purchase an iPad, followed by eight percent who said they were most likely to purchase a RIM Playbook, and three percent who said they were most likely to purchase a Samsung Galaxy Tab. Finally, satisfaction ratings for the iPad were quite high, with 72 percent of current iPad owners saying they were very satisfied with the device, followed by 23 percent who said they were somewhat satisfied. Only one percent said they were somewhat unsatisfied with their iPads, while zero percent labeled themselves as very unsatisfied, and three percent said they didn’t know.
Apple has posted its new “iPad is Electric” TV advertisement, its latest for the tablet computer. Like its prior “iPad is Delicious” and “iPad is Musical” commercials, the new spot shows the iPad being used mostly in front of a white background, utilizing a variety of different apps. The spot starts with the words “iPad is” on the screen, and is followed by a different descriptor—including “cinematic,” “elementary,” “academic,” “full-size,” “presenting,” “bought,” “sold,” “fantasy,” and “electric”—after each app is shown. As with the prior “iPad is” ads, it features the song “Never Stop” by Gonzales in the background, but in this spot, the song is interrupted by a person playing the last few notes on an electric guitar that is attached to the iPad and is being used in concert with IK Multimedia’s AmpliTube software. Apple’s new “iPad is Electric” ad is available for viewing on the company’s website.
Apple has sent out an email to registered iOS developers letting them know that it is now accepting submissions for iOS 4.2 apps. According to the email, which was submitted to iLounge by a reader, the apps need to be built, tested, and compiled using the iOS 4.2 SDK GM seed and iOS 4.2 GM seed released yesterday before being submitted for review “so they can be ready when iOS 4.2 is available to iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch users.” In addition, a few small new changes have been discovered in the iOS 4.2 GM seed, including a change to the Multitasking bar that allows fast access to both Brightness and Volume controls, along with a new AirPlay button, which has changed from a dot with radiating waves to a box with a triangle pointing into it. In addition, the new MobileMe account setup in iOS 4.2 GM lets users log into MobileMe settings using an Apple ID, although the Apple ID logins don’t seem to work yet, according to Mac Rumors.
Our reader added that the overall speed of iOS 4.2 on iPad is much improved, and that audio streaming over AirPlay from iOS devices to Apple TV appears to still be unstable, with drop-outs surprisingly common - the issue appears to be network-related. Updates to the Apple TV and Remote applications appear to be necessary to enable AirPlay video and photo streaming, as iOS 4.2 devices currently do not have any obvious way to share videos or photos, and iPad users will also receive a number of new wallpaper options relative to iOS 3.2. Also noticeable is a color bug in PDF rendering. Finally, the iPad’s side switch continues to be a “mute” button under iOS 4.2 GM, but only mutes alert and keyboard sounds, not other audio, which is odd considering that the iPad has so few alerts.
Apple has released a pre-release version of the Gold Master of iOS 4.2 for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad to members of the iOS developer program. This likely represents the last developer-only release prior to the final public release of iOS 4.2. Although Apple has not yet announced a release date for iOS 4.2, public iOS releases have generally occurred within 1-2 weeks of the release of a Gold Master seed. It is currently unknown what specific changes have been made in this latest version, although Apple highlighted new features in iOS 4.2 during its September 1st event and some previews have been seen from prior beta releases. Apple’s iOS 4.2 GM seeds for the iPad, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, second-, third- and fourth-generation iPod touch are available now to paid iPhone developers from the iOS Dev Center.
Condé Nast has released an update to its Gourmet Live app addressing the serious iPad crashes reported earlier this week. The previous version of Gourmet Live was in some cases causing iPads to lock up completely, requiring a hard reboot to restore normal operation of the device and may have even led to more serious stability problems. Gourmet Live 1.05 addresses these crashes as well as providing fixes for Lost Rewards in the library, updates to increase accuracy of history and reward tracking and a number of other additional bug fixes and improvements. Gourmet Live is available from the App Store as a free download.
In an interview with GigaOM, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse indicated that despite not selling the iPad, his company has actually benefited from Apple’s tablet device in the form of increased demand for its Overdrive MiFi wireless hotspots. Hesse notes that most iPads being sold are Wi-Fi only models and many customers turn to MiFi devices to get online when away from traditional wireless access points. Sprint was one of the first carriers to promote the use of the iPad Wi-Fi with a portable wireless hotspot by releasing a 4G Case for iPad.
Hesse declined to comment on the iPhone or Sprint’s relationship with Apple, stating only that it is currently focusing on the BlackBerry and Android smartphone platforms and that it does not comment on any conversations it has with third parties. Hesse added that the majority of devices sold in the past quarter for use on Sprint’s CDMA network were smartphones and that 45 percent of Sprint customers now have a smartphone. Like Verizon, Sprint’s CDMA network is incompatible with current iPhone models, however a CDMA iPhone built for Verizon would technically also be compatible with Sprint’s network; although it’s almost inevitable that Verizon’s iPhone would be sold locked to the Verizon network, the creation of a CDMA-compatible iPhone by Apple would open the door to the possibility of other U.S. carriers such as Sprint eventually carrying the iPhone as well. [via AppleInsider]
According to a report in Barron’s, digital sensor developer OmniVision Technologies will be supplying CMOS image sensors for the next-generation iPad, expected to launch in the first quarter of 2011. Citing a brief research note from investment firm Detweller Fenton, the report suggests that the new iPad will ship with both a rear-facing 5 MP and front-facing VGA camera and is expected to support FaceTime video calling. Detweller indicates that it expects that Apple will build 2.5 million second-generation iPad units in the first quarter. OmniVision also currently produces the CMOS sensors for the iPhone 4, and the Detweller note expects that with the release of the second-generation iPad and Verizon iPhone, Apple will account for nearly a third of OmniVision’s overall chip demand. [via Mac Rumors]
Following a report earlier this month that membership club Costco would be ceasing sales of iPods after being denied the opportunity to sell the iPad, iLounge has now been informed that the warehouse retailer will also be ending sales of all discounted iTunes cards this coming Saturday, October 30th. It is unclear at this time whether this applies to all Costco locations worldwide, but the source suggests that it is expected to affect all North American locations. The report also confirms that current stock of iPods will continue to be sold until inventories are exhausted, however barring a future change in policy iPods will no longer be available from Costco after the current stock has been sold.
ABC has released an update to its ABC News application for the iPad adding new features for the 2010 U.S. Elections. ABC News 1.2 provides the ability to see live results for both Senate and Congressional elections displayed on a U.S. map as they come in. The update also adds a new “What if” game that allows users to interact with a map of the U.S. and tap on States and Congressional Districts to turn them red or blue and see how their guesses will impact the balance of power. A Settings section has also been added where users can choose a default launch view, turn shuffle on and off and choose whether to show the info screen. The new version also improves performance, wireless detection and adds more content to the globe view. ABC News for iPad is available from the App Store as a free download.
Apple has extended its free personal engraving and signature gift wrapping services to online iPad purchases. Exclusive to the Apple Online Store, the personal engraving service allows buyers to add a personal laser-engraved message to the back of their iPad consisting of up to two lines of approximately 30 characters each. Users are prompted to add their engraving during the checkout process and can see a preview of what their message will look like on the back of the iPad. As with the iPod service, adding a personal engraving will increase shipping times slightly and engraved iPads are not eligible for Apple’s normal return policy. Apple is also offering its signature gift wrapping service for iPad purchases as well; for an extra $5 users can have the iPad delivered in a signature gift box along with a personalized greeting card and red ribbon. Buyers can also add a free gift message to the packing slip. Personal engraving and signature gift wrapping services are available only for orders from the Apple Online Store; these services may not be available in all countries where the iPad is sold.
Mophie has introduced the workbook, a new protective case for the iPad providing a stylish, fully adjustable folio design. The light-weight form-fitting case provides iPad users with infinite adjustability and an unlimited number of viewing angles for comfortable typing and screen viewing. The case features a durable protective exterior with a soft interior fabric and is designed for easy carrying with an elastic strap to secure the cover and full access to all ports and controls allowing users to charge and sync the iPad without having to remove the case. The workbook is available in five unique color combinations of and sells for $60.
A number of iPad users are reporting serious problems with Condé Nast’s recently debuted Gourmet Live digital magazine application for the iPad. iLounge editors have discovered that the application causes iPads to lock up completely, requiring a hard reboot to restore normal operation, and what appears to be an extended rebuilding of the iPad’s database thereafter. After several rebuilds, the iPad can become non-responsive and require restoration in iTunes. The problem seems to most commonly occur when downloading “rewards,” or free additional content within the application, which happens automatically while users are reading articles. Numerous review comments on Gourmet Live’s App Store page show a number of similar issues being experienced by other users as well, suggesting that this is not an isolated problem. While it was not unheard of for unstable applications to cause the iPhone and iPod to lock up in the days of iOS 2.x, this behavior has become extremely rare with recent iOS versions, and is the first iPad application we’ve seen to cause serious problems of this nature.
The first beta version of iOS 4.2 released last month changed the behaviour of the orientation lock switch to act as a mute switch instead, similar to the function of the switch on the iPhone. When this change was first revealed, many wondered if this was intentional behaviour on Apple’s part or simply a temporary change as a result of unifying iOS 4.2 on both the iPhone and iPad devices. 9to5Mac is now reporting that this is an intentional change on Apple’s part following an e-mail exchange between a reader and Steve Jobs. Not only did Jobs allegedly confirm that the switch is going to be used to mute the sound but also indicated that the switch function would not be configurable by the user. It is worth noting that the hardware switch on the iPad was originally advertised as a mute switch, and Apple only changed the function to an orientation lock in late March shortly before the initial release of the iPad. iOS 4.2 on the iPad is expected to include an orientation lock button in the multitasking dock widget that was introduced for the iPhone and iPod touch in iOS 4.0, a function that was not otherwise available on the iPad with iOS 3.2.
A recent Nielsen survey suggests that iPad owners are more aggressive consumers of media, and more receptive to advertising than owners of other devices. Nielsen surveyed over 5,000 consumers who already own connected media devices such as tablet computers, eReaders, netbooks and/or smartphones. In addition to noting the nascent market development of tablets, the survey indicated that tablet owners tend to own more connected devices than users of other device types. According to the company, iPad users tend to be younger and more of them are male than users of other connected devices, with 63% of iPad users being under the age of 35, as compared to 47% of Kindle users.
The survey also showed that iPad owners more regularly access traditional print and video content such as books, magazines, TV shows and movies, while news and music are still consumed slightly more by iPhone users. iPad owners also tend to spend more time on content, with the average iPad user spending from 30 minutes to 2 hours at a time depending on the type of content. In comparison, most iPhone users spend less than 15 minutes accessing any type of content, even feature-length movies. Nielsen also notes that 63% of iPad owners have purchased at least one application, with games, books, and music applications being the most common types of paid apps; 5% of respondents downloaded only free apps, and 32% of respondents indicated that they had never downloaded an app for their iPad.
Nielsen also revealed that connected device owners are generally comfortable with mobile advertising, particularly where it means that content can be accessed for free, and that iPad owners are considerably more receptive than iPhone or other connected device owners to advertising, particularly if the ads include interesting video or interactive features. The survey went on to note that iPad owners were much more likely to make a purchase, either online or at a retail store after viewing an ad on their iPad. A summary of the findings is available as a PDF from Nielsen’s site.
Zynga has released an update adding iPad support to its wildly popular online social game FarmVille. Originally released for the iPhone and iPod touch in June, the FarmVille app brings the online game to iOS devices, allowing players to tend to their same farms on the web or while on the go. FarmVille on the iPad features custom graphics designed specifically for the larger screen and takes advantage of the same touchscreen interface as on the iPhone with more accessible tools and menus designed for the iPad UI. The new version also improves loading times on all devices and provides bug fixes and stability improvements. FarmVille is a universal app for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad devices and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Electronic Arts has released Reckless Racing, its much-anticipated dirt-road racing game for iOS devices. In Reckless Racing players choose from five detailed tracks and a variety of vehicles and race against other vehicles driven by in-game characters or other players online in a no-rules race. Players can choose from a variety of driving controls as they progress through the races and move up through three difficulty levels. Three different game modes are available allowing players to race against other drivers or simply race to beat the clock and the game also includes integrated leaderboards and online multiplayer chat. Reckless Racing is available from the App Store in two separate versions: Reckless Racing ($3) for the iPhone and iPod touch and Reckless Racing HD ($5) for the iPad.
Bare Bones Software has released an iPad companion application for its popular information organizer for Mac users. Yojimbo for iPad allows users to sync their data from Yojimbo on their Mac and take it with them on the iPad, including encrypted items such as passwords. Users sync the iPad application with the Yojimbo Mac database over a local Wi-Fi connection, and once the initial pairing has been setup, sync occurs automatically whenever both versions are running on the same Wi-Fi network. The current version of the iPad app provides read-only access to the user’s Yojimbo data—items cannot be created or edited on the device—however full search capabilities are available as well as support for e-mailing entries as attachments, copying information to the clipboard or opening supported items in other applications. Yojimbo for iPad requires Yojimbo 3 for the Mac, which is a free upgrade for users of Yojimbo 2.x or $20 for users of older version of Yojimbo. Yojimbo for the iPad is available from the App Store for $10.
Readdle has released Printer Pro for the iPad, a new application allowing users to print documents wirelessly to a Wi-Fi or Mac/PC connected printer. Printer Pro integrates with the “Open In” feature on the iPad to allow users to open documents from other applications such as Mail or Safari in the Printer Pro application and then print them from there. Web pages can also be printed simply by adding a prefix to the Safari URL to redirect the web page to the Printer Pro application. A variety of Wi-Fi based printers are supported and users can also print wirelessly to a printer connected to a Mac or PC running the companion Printer Pro Desktop application. Printing support is expected to be included by Apple as a built-in feature dubbed AirPrint in the iOS 4.2 update scheduled for release in November. Although AirPrint has the potential to eliminate the need for third-party printing applications, other applications may still be able to provide a wider range of support and compatibility for Wi-Fi connected printers. Printer Pro is available from the App Store for $7.
Following yesterday’s statements by Apple CEO Steve Jobs discussing BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, the fact that Apple’s 14.1 million iPhones sold in the September quarter beat RIM’s 12 million handsets sold during the August quarter, and the shortcomings of seven-inch tablets — including RIM’s upcoming BlackBerry Playbook — RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie has released a statement responding to Jobs, which is reprinted below.
“For those of us who live outside of Apple’s distortion field, we know that 7″ tablets will actually be a big portion of the market and we know that Adobe Flash support actually matters to customers who want a real web experience. We also know that while Apple’s attempt to control the ecosystem and maintain a closed platform may be good for Apple, developers want more options and customers want to fully access the overwhelming majority of web sites that use Flash. We think many customers are getting tired of being told what to think by Apple. And by the way, RIM has achieved record shipments for five consecutive quarters and recently shared guidance of 13.8 – 14.4 million BlackBerry smartphones for the current quarter. Apple’s preference to compare its September-ending quarter with RIM’s August-ending quarter doesn’t tell the whole story because it doesn’t take into account that industry demand in September is typically stronger than summer months, nor does it explain why Apple only shipped 8.4 million devices in its prior quarter and whether Apple’s Q4 results were padded by unfulfilled Q3 customer demand and channel orders. As usual, whether the subject is antennas, Flash or shipments, there is more to the story and sooner or later, even people inside the distortion field will begin to resent being told half a story.”