Epic Games has released a walk-through demo of its upcoming RPG for iOS devices demonstrated during today’s Apple iPod event. Codenamed “Project Sword,” the game is an impressive 3D RPG with detailed real-time graphics powered by the Unreal Engine 3. In the full game, players will be able to explore a medieval town and engage in combat with other players over the Internet. The current demo, Epic Citadel, available as a free download from the App Store, provides a simple walk-through of the game environment with no combat options, allowing users to simply explore the detailed 3D realm. The full version of Project Sword is expected to be released later this year.
Apple today gave a sneak preview of iOS 4.2 for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. While the release will bring all of the features from iOS 4.0 to the iPad, it will also include several new features including wireless printing and a revamped AirTunes, which has been renamed AirPlay. AirPlay will allow users to stream audio, videos, and photos from an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad directly to the company’s next-generation Apple TV. iOS 4.2 for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch will be released in November and will be a free update for all capable devices.
Apple today introduced a revamped version of its AirTunes technology. Dubbed AirPlay, the new streaming technology allows not only audio, but also video and photos to be streamed from any iOS device to another iOS device or the new Apple TV. The new AirPlay technology, slated to be included in iOS 4.2, will allow iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users to instantly stream content from their device directly to their Apple TV, while controlling playback and storing the content on the iOS device. Apple has also also announced plans to license its AirPlay technology for inclusion in speaker docks, AV receivers and stereo systems from companies such as Bowers & Wilkins and Denon. The new AirPlay technology will not only stream music and other media content but can also transmit information about the content allowing song titles, artists, album names, elapsed time and album artwork to be displayed on AirPlay-enabled speakers with graphical displays.
Apple today gave several updates on its iOS, App Store, and retail store businesses. It said it has now shipped over 120 million iOS devices, and is handling 230,000 new activations each day. Over 6.5 billion applications have been downloaded from the App Store, resulting in an average of 200 apps every second, and the App Store now offers over 250,000 apps, 25,000 of which are made for the iPad. The company now has 300 retail stores in 10 countries—the Covent Garden store in London was the 300th opening—and has over one million customers coming through the stores on several days each month. It will soon open a store in Spain, marking the 11th country in which it has retail stores.
It also revealed that it has sold 275 million iPods, and that the iPod touch is now the best-selling portable gaming device in the world, outselling Nintendo’s and Sony’s portable devices combined. In enjoys over 50% market share in the portable gaming device category both in the U.S. and worldwide, and iPod touch users have downloaded over 1.5 billion game and entertainment apps.
China Unicom will begin offering Micro SIM-sized “USIM” cards for the iPad beginning tomorrow, September 1, according to a new report. Chinese-language Sina reports (Translated Link) that the card is primarily aimed at customers importing iPads from other markets, as the official launch date for the iPad in China has yet to be announced.
The Cedars School of Excellence in Greenock, U.K., has moved all its students away from pen and paper and onto iPads. The Daily Record reports that the move was the idea of Frasier Speirs, the school’s IT teacher, who also happens to be an accomplished Mac and iOS developer. Speirs wrote on his blog that the first day was an “unqualified success,” adding that he “got the impression that the kids were almost relieved to be working with iOS. I have no doubt that, for a lot of them, it’s already the OS they interact with most often.” [via MDN]
A quartet going by the name of “The iPad Orchestra” has been featured in an online video. The four members of the group each play a separate iPad, using the app Seline HD to simulate the sounds of the clarinet, cello, flute, and violin. The performance pf “Sweet Dream” by Ilya Plavunov captured in the video was given for a live audience on August 8th; the video is available for viewing in embedded form below.
Uzibull has introduced its new Ektopad case for the iPad (Pictured). The Ektopad is a silicone case featuring molded grips on the ends and back for gaming, an interior rib structure for added protection, openings on the corners for attaching the included woven elastic strap, openings for access to the headphone port, dock connector, power button, and orientation lock switch, push-through button covers for the volume buttons, and open access to the screen and Home button. Uzibull’s Ektopad case for the iPad is available now and sells for $40.
Apple has once again shortened its waiting period for new iPad models. The company’s online U.S. store now shows a shipping time of within 24 hours for new iPad with Wi-Fi and iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G units, down from one to three days. Apple started out the month with a wait time of seven to ten days on new iPads, a figure that dropped on the 19th to three to five days, and was lowered again one week ago to one to three days. During the company’s Q3 2010 Conference Call, COO Tim Cook repeatedly explained that Apple was making iPad units as fast as it can sell them, and indicated that it was working to ramp up production to meet demand as quickly as possible.
Virgin Mobile has announced a new $40 unlimited monthly data plan, which, when combined with a $150 Mi-Fi mobile hotspot, provides an attractive option for iPad and iPod touch users. The new offering does not require a contract, allowing customers to start and stop their service without a fee, and the $150 hotspot would allow users to connect up to five devices at a time, including iPods, iPhones, and iPads. Notably, Virgin Mobile’s devices operate on Sprint’s nationwide network, with roaming limited to 300MB per month. [via TidBits]
A newly published Apple patent application has led to reports that the company will use a new unauthorized user recognition technology to deter users from jailbreaking iPhones. The patent application, entitled “Systems and Methods for Identifying Unauthorized Users of an Electronic Device,” primarily describes methods for detecting unauthorized users—people who do not normally use the device—and taking appropriate action, such as relaying information about the unauthorized user’s identity and location to the device’s owner, restricting functions, or deleting sensitive data. The controversy stems from references in the application to jailbreaking and/or unlocking the device, both of which it describes as “activities that can indicate suspicious behavior.” In July, the U.S. Library of Congress’ Copyright Office announced a decision under which jailbreaking was deemed legal and within the user’s fair use rights, which might conceivably limit Apple’s ability to discriminate against users with jailbroken devices. However, it’s unclear as to whether Apple is patenting this invention in the hopes of actually locking out users for its own purposes, deterring certain uses of its devices, or merely empowering owners to protect their own items as they wish. As with all Apple patent applications, the filing does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area.
Apple’s U.S. online store is now quoting wait times of one to three days for all models of the iPad, down from three to five days. The reduction in shipment wait times represents the second such drop in less than a week, as the wait dropped from seven to ten days to three to five days last Thursday, August 19. While wait times for the device continue to drop, UDN reports (Translated Link) that Acer Chairman JT Wang believes Apple’s share of the tablet PC market will drop from the nearly 100% share it currently enjoys to 20% - 30% due to competition from “open camp” competitors. [via Engadget]
Matt MacInnis, a former Apple employee, is behind a new start-up looking to bring collegiate textbooks to the iPad. The Wall Street Journal reports that MacInnis’ company, Inkling, is set to introduce four full-length interactive textbooks on the App Store. The books—McGraw-Hill’s best sellers in biology, economics, marketing, and psychology—will include features like 3-D views, video lectures, and interactive quizzes, while allowing students to highlight text and take and share notes. According to the report, Inkling has already made deals with other major publishers, including John Wiley & Sons, and Cengage Learning, to launch new titles. Prices for McGraw-Hill’s first titles are expected to start a $2.99 per chapter or $69.99 per book, with prices increasing over time to $3.99 per chapter and $84.99 per book.
A placeholder for an as-yet-unknown Apple device has appeared in the latest internal build of the iOS 4.1 beta, according to a new report. Citing people familiar with the matter, AppleInsider reports that the latest iOS 4.1 build contains code referencing both the fourth-generation iPod touch—labeled iPod4,1—and a second-generation iPad—labeled iProd2,1. Perhaps more interesting, however, is a listing for “unknownHardware,” given a productID of 20547—compared to 4765 for the second-generation iPad and 4766 for the fourth-generation iPod touch—and a productString of “Unknown- Add device descriptor info for this device.” The report speculates that the code could in fact reference a rumored iOS-based next-generation Apple TV, although it could also simply be placeholder code for some other potentially upcoming product, such as a CDMA or fifth-generation iPhone.
Apple has finally enabled publishers to offer their magazines via iPad apps to current subscribers free of charge. Beginning with the update of the People Magazine app earlier today, subscribers to Time, Inc. publications including Time, Sports Illustrated, and Fortune will soon be able to be able to access the iPad versions of issues for free as part of their print subscriptions. Fortune reports that the changes should roll out to the other magazines within 30 days, and suggests that other magazine publishers will likely adopt the same policy. The report also states that publishers who were encouraged to built iPad apps say they were ready from the start to make them free to subscribers, but Apple would not provide the tools necessary, or explain what was delaying their release. Publishers remain unable to sell subscriptions directly through the App Store.
Black Enterprise, the premier business and wealth building resource for African Americans, has released a digital edition of its magazine publication exclusively for the iPad. The application, Black Enterprise Wealth for Life serves as a portal to download and read monthly issues of the magazine and will provide access to additional exclusive content not found in the printed edition including full-screen high-definition videos, slide shows, photo galleries, social networking links and extended editorial content. The application also allows users to sign-in to their custom reader accounts to share, bookmark and reference personal notes and includes the ability to search by keywords including names, tools, brands and services. An integrated browser allows users to select their desired content with color-coded categories and quick access to an itemized display of pages, photos, videos, bookmarks and ads. Black Enterprise Wealth For Life is available from the App Store as a free download. The app includes the 40th Anniversary Collector’s Edition and Best Companies for Diversity issue at no cost; subsequent issues will be priced at $2.
The wait times for all models of the iPad have dropped from seven to ten days down to three to five days on Apple’s online store, indicating that Apple may finally be getting ahead of the overwhelming demand for the tablet computer. The wait for an iPad has stayed a week or longer since the device’s debut in April 3. In addition, GigaOm reports that Ashok Kumar, an analyst Rodman & Renshaw, said in a recent research note that Apple may be able to reduce the wait time for a new iPhone 4 significantly by the end of September; new iPhone 4 orders from Apple’s online store are currently quoted as shipping in three weeks. During the company’s Q3 2010 Conference Call, COO Tim Cook repeatedly explained that Apple was making both iPads and iPhone 4 units as fast as it can sell them, and indicated that it was working to ramp up production to meet demand as quickly as possible. [via TUAW]
Apple has released a new iPad television ad, the second for the company’s tablet device. The new app-focused spot shows the iPad being used mostly in front of a white background, while showing a variety of different apps. The spot starts with the words “iPad is” on the screen, and a different descriptor—including “delicious,” “current,” “learning,” “playful,” “literary,” “artful,” “friendly,” “productive,” “scientific,” and “magical.” In addition, it features the song “Never Stop” by Gonzales in the background. Apple’s latest iPad ad is available for viewing on the company’s website.
Speaking at a recent investors conference, Asustek Computer CEO Jerry Shen said that the company’s sales of netbook computers fell short of expectations in the second quarter, mainly due to competition from the Apple iPad. DigiTimes reports that Shen also said the company has lowered its targets shipments for the third quarter—traditionally its peak sales period—to 1.4 million units due to the increased competition. Asustek plans to enter the tablet PC market later this year with a Linux-powered, 8.9-inch “Eee Note” tablet, followed by a 12-inch Windows-based “Eee Pad” tablet in late 2010/early 2011, and a 10-inch tablet running Google’s Android OS in March 2011.
Barnes & Noble has released an iPhone version of its Nook e-reader software introduced for the iPad earlier this year. The Nook e-reader apps feature access to over a million titles from Barnes & Noble’s eBookstore, multiple font types and sizes, customizable background and text colors and brightness controls. Nook also provides an integrated Merriam-Webster Pocket Dictionary, synchronization of notes, highlights and current reading position and provides a unique LendMe digital lending feature that allows users to share their purchased eBooks with friends using the Nook platform. Nook for iPhone provides the same features offered in the iPad application optimized for the iPhone’s smaller screen and iPhone 4 Retina Display and includes integrated B&N eBookstore shopping, personal B&N digital library access, digital lending features and the ability to sync notes, highlights and current reading position with other Nook apps. Barnes & Noble has also released an update to its iPad application, renaming it from BN eReader to Nook for iPad and adding the ability for users to rate their books and sort by favorites as well as a user guide and first run tutorial for new users. Nook for iPhone and Nook for iPad are available separately as free downloads from the U.S. App Store.
China Unicom has reached an agreement with Apple to sell the iPad and iPhone 4 in China, according to a new report. Citing a source within China Unicom, Caixin reports that the company has finalized a deal with Apple that will make it the sole distributor of the iPad in China, although no timetable is offered for the device’s Chinese release. In addition, the company is said to have secured rights to offer the iPhone 4 as soon as early September; the report explicitly states that the launch day will not be September 13 as had previously been rumored. Finally, the report notes that the new Wi-Fi-enabled iPhone 3GS sold out at Apple’s Beijing retail store the first day it went on sale.
A chunk of code found within Apple’s iOS 4 suggests the company is preparing to field test next-generation iPhone and iPad units. Boy Genius Report claims that the code, found by one of its Apple sources, queries the device, and automatically activates it should it be an unreleased device, bypassing the need for connection to iTunes. The report claims that the unreleased models are CDMA flavors of the iPhone and iPad, but also notes that similar code has been found every year before a major iOS device release, and has been removed before the devices’ respective launches. Finally, the report claims that the platform code of the CDMA iPhone is N92AP—John Gruber had earlier pegged it as N92—while the next-generation iPod touch’s platform code is said to be N81AP.
Square Enix has released the iPad version of Chaos Rings, its popular RPG introduced earlier this year for the iPhone and iPod touch. The story in Chaos Rings centers on a tournament where combatants must fight for their lives in the Ark Arena. Players choose a pair of characters and must then fight against other pairs as the story unfolds to reveal the truth behind the Ark Arena. The game provides a deep storyline with unique tales for each pair of characters and multiple endings. The iPad version brings the same classic game system from the iPhone app with higher-resolution graphics, detailed backgrounds, intense battle scenes and an enhanced soundtrack. Chaos Rings for iPad is available from the App Store for $16.