Apple has released iOS 4.3 beta 1, the first beta version of its next major point release for iOS, to its paid developers. According to notes accompanying the release, the beta includes a pre-release version of future Apple TV Software so that developers can test AirPlay functionality with their 4.3 apps, meaning that users should be able to send video from apps or websites to the Apple TV under the new software. A prior report also indicated that the Personal Hotspot Internet sharing feature debuting on the Verizon iPhone 4 will make its way to other models under iOS 4.3, although it is unclear whether the functionality is included in this update. Separate beta versions of iOS 4.3 for the iPad, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, third-, and fourth-generation iPod touch are available as downloads for paid iOS developers from Apple’s iOS Dev Center.
Update: TUAW reports that the new beta also includes support for new four- and five-finger gestures on the iPad. “This beta release contains a preview of new Multi-Touch gestures for iPad,” reads Apple’s developer page for iOS 4.3. “You can use four or five fingers to pinch to the Home Screen; swipe up to reveal the multitasking bar; and swipe left or right between apps. We are providing this preview before releasing them to the public to understand how these gestures work with your apps. Test them and give us your feedback on the Apple Developer Forums.”
Update x2: Mac Rumors notes that the new beta also offers an option in the Settings app to choose whether the iPad’s side switch acts as a screen rotation lock or as a mute switch. The iPad originally shipped with the switch acting as a screen rotation lock, but Apple changed its behavior in iOS 4.2.
Apple is planning to produce a CDMA-compliant version of the iPad for use on Verizon Wireless, according to a new report. Citing Francis Shammo, CFO of Verizon Communications—Verizon Wireless’ parent company—Bloomberg reports that the new offering will pose a further challenge to AT&T, which lost its iPhone exclusivity with today’s announcement of a CDMA iPhone 4 for Verizon. The report states that Shammo declined to say when the product may become available, but given the fact that the current-generation iPad was revealed almost a year ago, it seems likely that any CDMA version may appear as a second-generation product. Verizon currently sells Wi-Fi-only iPad units—bundled with MiFi mobile hotspots for data access—at its stores.
News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch will appear onstage with Apple CEO Steve Jobs to announce the former’s new iPad-only newspaper, The Daily, on January 19, according to new reports. Yahoo! News reports that the event will be held in San Francisco, and that the date could change, although January 19 remains the expected launch date. Citing Ad Age’s Edmund Lee, Forbes reports that Murdoch briefed some reporters on The Daily at the 2011 International CES, although the information is under embargo. Forbes also claims that The Daily’s staffers have been engaged in full-scale dry runs for weeks, and notes that thedaily.com landing page now offers a coming soon message, as well as a new icon (pictured). Prior reports have indicated that The Daily will take advantage of a new subscription plan from Apple that will enable automatic delivery of new content to readers’ iPads.
A rear shell purportedly from the second-generation iPad has been spotted at the 2011 International CES within the iLounge Pavilion. The shell, which has been marked by developer Gopod Mobile with “iPad 2” and “128GB” logos that would not appear on the actual device, is being shown paired with an iPad 2-specific foldable rechargeable battery pack developed by the company, and depicts the revised device’s redesigned curves, ports, and cameras; it is said by Gopod to represent the actual appearance of the as-yet-unreleased thinner and slightly smaller iPad. Three full-sized photos follow; additional photos can be seen in our 2011 CES Photo Gallery.
Sales of iPad-formatted versions of print magazines dropped towards the end of 2010, according to a new report. Citing figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, WWDMedia reports that Vanity Fair sold only 8,700 digital editions in November, down from an average of 10,500 for August, September, and October; Glamour, which sold 4,301 digital issues in September, saw sales drop 20 percent in October and another 20 percent to just 2,775 in November. GQ‘s November sales were the worst since April, when the iPad was released, and Wired saw sales of 22,000 and 23,000 in October and November, respectively, after averaging 31,000 digital sales between July in September, down from sales of over 100,000 in June. While the report notes that publishers are hopeful the sales of new iPads over the holidays will increase sales, it should be mentioned that most digital editions are priced at or above the newsstand price for print editions, with no subscription model currently available. A report from earlier this month indicated that talks between Apple and magazine publishers over the terms of a potential iTunes subscription model were at a standstill, with the two sides unable to agree on revenue and subscriber information sharing issues.
Virtual band Gorillaz has released its new album, The Fall, which was written and performed primarily on the iPad. Over the course of composing and recording the fifteen track album, the band used a variety of applications, including Speak It!, SoundyThingie, Mugician, Solo Synth, Synth, Funk Box, Gliss, AmpliTube, Xenon, iElectribe, BS-16i, M3000 HD, Cleartune, iOrgel HD, Olsynth, StudioMiniXI, BassLine, Harmonizer, Dub Siren Pro, and Moog Filatron. Described by CNN as having a “more basic vibe” than the band’s studio-based efforts, the album was recorded over 32 days on the band’s 2010 North American tour, and was mastered at Abbey Road Studios. Those interested in hearing the album can listen to it for free online by signing up for the band’s mailing list; it is currently available as a free download for members of the band’s fan club, and is expected to see a wider release next year.
Multimedia Patent Trust (MPT), a subsidiary of telecom firm Alcatel-Lucent, has filed suit against Apple, Canon, LG, and TiVo, claiming patent infringement. Paid Content reports that MPT is claiming the companies violate four of its patents relating to digital video compression technologies, including MPEG-2 and two different varieties of MPEG-4. The company is seeking royalty payments on all “video-capable” Apple products, including iPods, iPhones, iPads, and Macs. As the report notes, the MPEG-LA was set up to collect royalties on all relevant digital video patents, but that doesn’t stop companies such as Alcatel-Lucent from suing for royalties years after negotiations are completed.
A new report claims to shed light on a number of design changes to the second-generation iPad, which is expected to be announced by Apple in early 2011. In addition to slimming changes that will see the iPad shrink from its current 242.8mm height by 189.7mm width by 13.4mm depth down to approximately 239mm tall by 186mm wide by 10.4mm deep—roughly 3mm smaller in every dimension—the new iPad will feature an improved speaker, twin cameras, and no SD card slot, according to Macotakara. Explaining an unusually large lower rear hole seen in earlier leaks of new iPad cases, the redesigned model will feature larger speaker grilles to accommodate better-sounding audio, rather than the SD card that some speculated would be nestled behind grilles similar in size to the first-generation iPad’s; the image here is a rendering by Taiyo Fujii, not a photo. The display on this model will remain at 9.7” as on the original iPad’s, says the report.
The report also states that the new iPad’s rear shell will be flatter and similar to that of the fourth-generation iPod touch, that the ambient light sensor has been moved and reshaped, and that the two cameras—one in front, one in back—will be similar in quality to those found on the iPhone 4, including video recording capabilities. A 3G model is said to have the same antenna locations as the original iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G. Finally, the report states that production has begun on the new iPads, with a current shipping date of mid to late January, though whether that date represents an actual availability timeframe or merely Apple taking possession of the devices from its contract manufacturers remains unclear.
Omer Shoor has released a major update to Photogene for iPad, his popular photo editing software for iOS devices. Photogene for iPad 2.0 adds a new photo browser that allows users to view photos as large thumbnails, easily switch between the browsing screen and the editing screen and add captions to photos directly from the browser. The new version also adds support for batch uploading of several photos at a time and the ability to export photos in resolutions up to 8 megapixels. Users can also now view EXIF metadata for photos, including geotag information, and print photos via AirPrint. Several new editor tools have also been added including de-noise filter, improved sharpening, a heal/clone tool and a selective blur tool. The update also fixes problems in the previous version with opening RAW files. Photogene for iPad is available from the App Store for $4.
Navigon has released an update to its turn-by-turn GPS navigation apps adding native iPad support, optional Zagat guide integration and a new Active Lane Assistant feature. MobileNavigator 1.7 is now a universal app supporting the iPhone and iPad 3G natively, the first major GPS navigation app to provide universal support in a single app. iPod touch and iPad Wi-Fi users can also use MobileNavigator with an external GPS accessory. Users can also now take advantage of additional travel and restaurant guides through Zagat via an in-app purchase, providing ratings, reviews and directions to restaurants, hotels and other attractions from the Zagat Guide, integrated directly into the POI database.
The update also introduces a new optional Active Lane Assistant feature that provides a live lane animation in the lower-right corner of the map view, displaying the current lane configuration and indicating which lane the driver should follow. Additional new features include e-mail sharing of favourites between multiple iOS devices and a new MyReport feature that allows users to report road changes such as names, new speed limits and one-way streets directly from within the app such as names. Navigon MobileNavigator is available from the App Store in several versions for different geographic areas: MobileNavigator North America is currently available for $45, with U.S. and Canada versions available separately for $35 each. Region-specific U.S. versions are $25 and MobileNavigator Europe is $75. Prices for other areas around the world range from $40 to $65. Zagat content is available via in-app purchase for $6; Active Lane Assistant and Zagat content are not available in all areas.
AT&T is now selling the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G online. The lone iPad 3G service provider in the U.S. is offering the same prices as Apple’s retail and online stores—$629 for the 16GB model, $729 for the 32GB, and $829 for 64GB units. Other links on the page lead to iPad accessory offerings, a page to order replacement Micro-SIM cards, and an AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spot finder. Despite being the only U.S. service provider for the device, AT&T didn’t begin in-store sales of the iPad until October, the same month that the iPad debuted at Walmart, Target, and rival carrier Verizon. Notably, AT&T does not specify whether iPad 3G units ordered today will arrive in time for the holidays.
Motorola has posted a new video online that teases a tablet introduction at CES 2011 while taking shots at the iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab. The video, entitled “Tablet Evolution” and reposted by Laptop Magazine, is a CG walk through a corridor of tablets, ranging from an Egyptian Hieroglyphic tablet to the Rosetta Stone, with a somewhat tongue-in-cheek description for each. When the video swings to the iPad, the description says “It’s like a giant iPhone, but… it’s like a giant iPhone,” before swinging to show the Samsung Galaxy tab, which it describes as “Android OS, but Android OS… for a phone.” The video ends with a shot of an upcoming tablet from Motorola shrouded atop a pedestal, and then a brief segment of a bee flying around the Motorola logo — a likely indication that the tablet will run “Honeycomb,” Google’s upcoming, tablet-optimized version of Android.
Apple is now offering the iPad in the Philippines. The company is selling all six models of iPad on its online store, with prices ranging from PHP 23,990 (roughly $541) for the 16GB Wi-Fi model to PHP 40,990 (~$924) for the 64GB 3G model. As TUAW notes, the iPad’s Filipino rollout was delayed quite a bit longer from the device’s U.S. launch than was the iPhone 4’s, which launched in the country just three months after its initial introduction.
Electronic Arts has released the iPad version of SimCity Deluxe, the latest mobile edition in its city-building game franchise. SimCity Deluxe for iPad provides all of the same game play features as its iPhone and iPod touch counterpart with higher-resolution graphics and a user interface redesigned to take advantage of the larger iPad screen. In addition to optimized controls and overlay windows, the iPad version also provides dockable information pop-ups to provide players with quick access to important SimCity statistics. SimCity Deluxe for iPad provides the same scenarios, starter cities, buildings and landmarks as the iPhone version, all rendered for the higher-resolution iPad screen. SimCity Deluxe for iPad is currently available from the App Store for a special limited-time sale price of $1.
An executive at Flextronics, a parts supplier to Apple, passed on secret information about the iPad and iPhone 4 before their announcements, according to a new report. Citing a 39-page legal complaint lobbied against Walter Shimoon, a senior director of business development at Flextronics, and three other men, the Wall Street Journal reports that Shimoon shared information about Apple’s iPad, iPhone, and iPod with an unnamed government informant. “They [Apple] have a code name for something new…It’s, it’s totally…it’s a new category altogether. And, uh, I speculate, it doesn’t have a camera in it, what I figured out. So I speculated that it’s probably a reader…Something like that…I believe it’s called…K48,” Shimoon told the informant in October 2009, nearly four months before the iPad’s introduction. During the same call, Shimoon said that Apple was working on a new version of the iPhone that would include two cameras; the iPhone 4 was launched eight months later. Shimoon is also said to have provided information about Apple sales figures for the iPhone for the third quarter of 2009, and sales forecasts for the iPhone and iPod for the fourth quarter of 2009.
Vito Technology has released an updated Christmas Edition of its interactive astronomy guide apps for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. In keeping with the holiday season, the update adds the ability to track Santa Claus’ journey on Christmas Eve, including the ability to fast-forward to December 24th using the application’s Time Machine feature to find out where Santa will be in advance of the big day. The new version also adds AirPrint support for printing sky maps with stars and constellations, new star catalogues including more information on spectral class and distance from the Earth and expanded details on interesting satellites including launch dates and stories. Star Walk is available in two versions: Star Walk for the iPhone and iPod touch sells for $3 while Star Walk for iPad is sold separately for $5.
Nokia has filed a total of 13 new patent complaints against Apple in Europe, representing the latest chapter in a legal battle that started over one year ago. According to a Reuters report, the new complaints were filed in Great Britain, Germany and the Netherlands, and accuse Apple of infringing on Nokia patents related to several technologies, including touch user interfaces, on-device app stores, signal noise compression, and modular structure. “The Nokia inventions protected by these patents include…a wiping gesture on a touch screen to navigate content, or enabling access to constantly changing services with an on-device app store, both filed more than ten years before the launch of the iPhone,” Paul Melin, vice president of Intellectual Property at Nokia, said in a statement. “These actions add 13 further Nokia patents to the 24 already asserted against Apple in the U.S. International Trade Commission and the Delaware and Wisconsin Federal courts.”
Nokia first filed suit against Apple in October 2009, claiming that the iPhone infringes on several Nokia patents; Apple filed a countersuit claiming patent infringement in December. The lawsuits were followed by a U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) complaint from Nokia near the end of the year, alleging that Apple infringes on the Finnish company’s patents “in virtually all of its mobile phones, portable music players, and computers.”
The ITC launched an investigation into Nokia’s claims against Apple in late January; it announced a similar investigation into Apple’s claims against Nokia in February. In March, a federal judge in Delaware signed an order halting litigation between Nokia and Apple pending resolution of the companies’ respective claims with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC); Nokia then sued Apple again in May, alleging that the iPhone and iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G infringe on five of its patents. The ITC case between the two companies is ongoing, but ITC staff issued a pre-trial memo stating that Nokia shouldn’t be found liable of infringing upon Apple’s patents. A recent report indicated that Apple has been bolstering its legal team ahead of key battles with Nokia, as well as HTC and Motorola.
Apple has extended its iAd mobile advertising network to the iPad. Citing an Apple spokesperson, AdAge reports that a spot for Disney’s upcoming film Tron Legacy will be the first iAd to appear on the iPad, and will remain the sole iPad-formatted iAd through the end of the year. According to the report, the iAd includes nearly 10 minutes of video content, images from the movie, a theater locator with showtimes, a preview of the film’s Daft Punk-scored soundtrack with the ability to purchase the album from iTunes without leaving the ad, and the ability to send an email promoting the movie from within the ad. “Disney and Apple are excited to debut the ‘Tron Legacy’ iAd today as a special preview of iAd for iPad, which launches next year,” said the companies in a statement for Ad Age. “iAd brings ‘Tron’s’ pulsing energy and vivid graphic style to iPad’s stunning display, creating a truly immersive ad experience.” In addition, Apple also told AdAge that many of the early challenges that led to lengthy ad creation processes have been overcome.
Google has released an update to its official Google Voice app adding compatibility with the iPod touch and iPad. Originally released with iPhone support only, the new version can now be used on other iOS devices to send and receive text messages, receive Push Notifications and listen to voicemail. Users can also now place calls using Google’s Click2Call feature to connect the call via a nearby phone. Although not a universal or native iPad app, Google Voice can also run in iPhone compatibility mode on the iPad. The update also adds several other improvements including access to the Do Not Disturb setting, disabling of text forwarding when Push Notifications are enabled and improvements in Address Book and SMS integration. Google Voice is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download. A free Google Voice account is required to use the service.