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.”
Qantas Airways has announced plans to offer Apple iPads to passengers on its Jetstar flights, MarketWatch reports. “We’re in the final stages of putting in place what would be a broader roll out across the network,” a Jetstar spokesman said in an interview Monday. “We’re in ongoing discussion with the manufacturer around a more integrated network proposition.” According to the spokesman, the iPad will be made available to passengers on domestic and long-haul Jetstar flights after a successful trial of the service. No information on what apps or other entertainment options might be pre-loaded on the devices was given. [via MDN]
During Apple’s Third Quarter 2010 Financial Results Conference Call, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer, Apple COO Tim Cook, and, surprisingly, Apple CEO Steve Jobs made several noteworthy comments concerning the company’s digital media products, including the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. During his opening remarks, Oppenheimer noted that Apple passed 125 million iOS devices—including the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch—last month, with over 200,000 registered iOS developers, 65,000 game and entertainment apps, and over 30,000 apps made specifically for iPad. Oppenheimer also noted that iAd launched in July, and that the company is very happy with its results so far.
In regards to the iPod, Oppenheimer said it remains the worldwide MP3 player leader with over 70% market share, and is gaining share in most of tracked countries, while iTunes revenue for the quarter was over $1 billion. Turning to the iPhone, he pointed out that Apple sold over 40 million iPhones in fiscal year 2010, and that the iPhone accounted for more than $8.82 billion in revenue in the fourth-quarter, with an Average Selling Price (ASP) of around $610. iPhone sales grew in Asia, Europe, and Japan during the quarter, with sales more than doubling year-over-year in Japan. He added that the percentage of Fortune 500 companies piloting or deploying the iPhone jumped from 60% to 80% following the launch of the iPhone 4, and said Apple believes it could have sold even more iPhones if it could have kept up with demand.
Making a rare appearance on the company’s Q4 2010 earnings conference call, Apple CEO Steve Jobs made several comments regarding tablet competitors to the iPad that have been announced but have yet to ship. Jobs said that there were only a handful of credible entrants out of the many tablets that have been announced, and keyed on the fact that most of them use 7-inch screens. According to Jobs, these screens offer only 45% of the touchable surface area of the iPad’s 9.7-inch screen — he said to hold the iPad in portrait orientation, draw a line across the middle, and the screen of one of the new tablets would be a little smaller than the bottom half of the iPad’s display. Jobs then half-jokingly suggested that competitors could include sandpaper with the tablets so that users could sand their fingers down to 45% of their current size.
Jobs went on to call 7-inch tablets “tweeners,” saying they were too big to compete against smartphones—something Jobs said every tablet user would likely own—but too small to compete against the iPad. Furthermore, he pointed out that while most of the new tablets are based on Android, Google is telling the companies not to use the current version of the Android software, and to instead wait on a new, tablet-friendly version of the OS set to arrive next year. Jobs also said that their competitors were having trouble matching the iPad’s price point despite using smaller screens, and noted that while there are over 30,000 iPad apps available, most of the new tablets would launch with close to zero. Finally, he declared the new entrants “dead on arrival,” adding that competitors will increase their tablets’ screen size next year after they realize the 7-inch screens are too small, and that the process “sounds like lots of fun.”
Reporting its fourth-quarter financial results today, Apple said it sold 14.1 million iPhones during the period, representing 91% growth from the year-ago quarter, and up from 8.4 million in the third-quarter. The company also sold 9.05 million iPods during the quarter, an 11% decline year-over-year, and also down slightly from the 9.41 million iPods sold during the third quarter. Apple also sold 4.19 million iPads during the quarter, up from 3.27 million units in the third quarter. The units sales of iPhones, iPods, and iPads bring the cumulative unit sales for the three device categories to 73.7 million, 278.5 million, and 7.46 million, respectively. Overall, the company posted revenue of $20.34 billion and net quarterly profit of $4.31 billion, or $4.64 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter, compared to revenue of $12.21 billion and net quarterly profit of $2.53 billion, or $2.77 per diluted share, in Q4 2009.
“We are blown away to report over $20 billion in revenue and over $4 billion in after-tax earnings—both all-time records for Apple,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “iPhone sales of 14.1 million were up 91 percent year-over-year, handily beating the 12.1 million phones RIM sold in their most recent quarter. We still have a few surprises left for the remainder of this calendar year.”
“We’re thrilled with the performance and strength of our business, generating almost $5.7 billion in cash flow from operations during the quarter,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the first fiscal quarter of 2011, we expect revenue of about $23 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share of about $4.80.”
Membership club Costco, the third-largest retailer in the U.S., is preparing to cease carrying iPods, according to an iLounge source who asked not to be identified. Based on the report, which notes that iPods have already disappeared from the company’s web site, Costco will stop carrying the iPod after being unable to stock the iPad, which has just been offered to or become available at competing retailers including Target, Walmart, and, soon, Sam’s Club. In checks with several Costco stores, iLounge found ample supplies of recently-released fourth-generation iPod touch units; our source suggests the company is simply getting rid of left-over stock. Costco has been known to drop popular products over past disagreements; in 2009, it stopped carrying Coca-Cola products over a wholesale pricing disagreement with the Atlanta, GA-based soft drink maker.
AT&T has announced that it will sell all three iPad Wi-Fi + 3G models directly to business customers. Without providing specifics, the company also said that it will offer “attractive” post-paid mobile broadband plans which will be available through AT&T business representatives beginning Thursday, October 28, the same day both it and Verizon Wireless launch retail sales of the device. “iPad is a great fit for our enterprise customers across a wide range of industries who are looking for ways to increase business productivity and offer greater flexibility,” said Michael Antieri, President of Advanced Enterprise Mobility Solutions with AT&T Business Solutions. “This new offer further strengthens AT&T’s commitment to provide businesses with the tools they need to accelerate mobility-led productivity.” In addition, AT&T will offer the iPad for corporate purchase with a corporate service subscription.
During a recent conference call, Dirk Meyer, CEO of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), offered up his opinion of the effect the iPad was having on the portable computer market. “Clearly, in the last quarter or two, the tablet has represented a disruption in the notebook market. If you ask five people in the industry, you’ll get five different answers as to what degree there’s been cannibalization by tablets of either netbooks or notebooks,” Meyer said. “I personally think the answer is both, and given the pretty high price points of the iPad, there’s probably some cannibalization even of mainstream notebooks.” Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn recently said the iPad was eating into sales of traditional laptop PCs by as much as 50%, but soon backtracked on his statement.
The New York Post has launched its new iPad application, a digital edition of the daily newspaper. It offers all the key sections of the paper—news, Page Six, opinion, Pulse, business and sports—and also lets users design their own front page to share with friends, save issues for later reading, view photo galleries and videos, and share stories via e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter. Notably, the app is also the first digital iPad publication to offer in-app subscription purchases. The $1.99 price of the app itself includes 30 days of introductory access, after which users may buy monthly access for $6.99 per, or purchase a year’s subscription for $74.99. Previously, iPad periodical readers either had to purchase individual digital issues one at a time, or be either an online or print subscriber and enter their information for access. A report from last month indicated that Apple is developing a digital newsstand for the iPad aimed at helping publishers sell subscriptions, and new software to make it easier for publishers to create digital versions of magazines and newspapers. The New York Post app for the iPad is available now from the App Store. [via Forbes]
Verizon Wireless has posted a Frequently Asked Questions document offering further details of its new iPad Wi-Fi + MiFi 2200 bundles and the associated data plans. According to the FAQ, the bundle will be available at Verizon’s stores, verizonwireless.com, via telesales, and through business-to-business sales representatives, but will not be available from Apple. In addition to the $20 for 1GB monthly plan, Verizon is also offering a $35 for 3GB plan, and a $50 for 5GB option; overages will be charged in 1GB increments and will cost $20, $10, or $10, respectively, depending on the plan. Notably, customers will need to sign a service agreement for the 3G plans, but the plans are available on a month-to-month basis without any termination fee. The document also notes that the MiFi 220 is a 3G-only device, and neither it nor the iPad can be upgraded to support 4G networks.
Apple has been granted three noteworthy patents relating to the multi-touch technology found in the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. The first patent, entitled “Portable Electronic Device with Multi-Touch Input,” describes a method of input that includes “displaying an object on a display surface of a portable electronic device; detecting multi-touch input associated with the object; determining, based on the multi-touch input, an operation to be performed on the object; and performing the operation on the object,” and also mentions gesture recognition and Web page rendering in a multi-touch environment.
The second patent, “Ellipse fitting for multi-touch surfaces,” covers the tracking of multiple fingers and palm contacts as approach, touch and move across a proximity-sensing, multi-touch surface, and the integration of different types of manual input including typing, direct manipulation, and handwriting. The final patent, “Simultaneous Sensing Arrangement,” discusses multi-touch touch-sensor devices and the methods they use to detect and understand touch placement and movement. [via Patently Apple]
G5 Entertainment has released the iPad version of its popular Virtual City simulation game. Released last month for the iPhone and iPod touch, Virtual City is a city-building simulation where players develop their cities to meet specific goals by addressing transportation, entertainment, industrial and environmental needs while also building housing and providing city services such as health care, public safety, waste collection and mass transit. Virtual City HD brings the iPhone and iPod touch gaming experience to the iPad with graphics and controls optimized for the larger screen and includes a new Sandbox Mode allowing players to build their own cities from the ground up in addition to playing through the dozens of in-game scenarios. Virtual City HD is available from the App Store for $10; a free lite version is also available.
AT&T and Verizon Wireless have each announced that they will begin offering the iPad in their stores beginning on October 28. AT&T will offer all three models of the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G at its more than 2,200 stores, while Verizon Wireless will offer the three iPad Wi-Fi models bundled with a Verizon MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot for the same prices as the equivalent iPad Wi-Fi + 3G models: $629 for 16GB units, $729 for 32GB models, and $829 for 64GB devices, making the relative price of the MiFi $130. The MiFi 2200 is a portable, battery-powered hotspot that uses Verizon’s 3G cellular network to broadcast a Wi-Fi signal to up to five devices, including the Wi-Fi-only iPad, as well as the iPod touch and computers, eliminating the need for devices to have built-in cellular data hardware.
Verizon’s pricing for the bundle compares favorably with its listed retail MiFi price of $270, though the MiFi costs more than it would with a two-year Verizon contract; it is being offered for free after a $100 online discount. However, Verizon will offer a monthly access plan for iPad customers of up to 1GB of data for $20 a month—half the price and quadruple the data of the company’s traditional 250MB for $40/month MiFi offering—yet will provide iPad service on a month-to-month, no contract basis, a sign that a major deal was struck with Apple to improve upon its expensive current data plans to attract iPad customers, and possibly future iPhone customers, as well. Verizon will also offer the iPad in its stores on a standalone, un-bundled basis. “This is the perfect pairing for holiday travels,” said John Stratton, chief operating officer for Verizon Wireless. “iPad together with the nation’s largest and most reliable 3G data network allows customers to easily connect on the go wherever they are.”
Sam’s Club, the warehouse club owned and operated by Walmart, has announced plans to offer the iPhone and iPad in its membership warehouse stores. The Street reports that the announcement was made during Walmart’s annual meeting this morning; no timeframe was given for when the devices would hit store shelves. Additionally, the company said it was attempting to increase the quality in its consumer electronic categories, and that it will offer non-food in-store demos to help facilitate growth in other categories. The announcement comes at a time when a number of retailers, including Walmart, Target, and Best Buy, have been adding the iPad to their Apple device offerings ahead of the holiday season.