- August 2, 2010
Tableau Software has created an interactive graphic analyzing iPad data plan pricing across the world, while claiming that U.S. consumers are overpaying for cellular data access. The United States is the fifth most expensive country, and AT&T the sixth most expensive carrier, in terms of cost per gigabyte of cellular iPad data, with a cost of $12.50/1GB. Orange in France takes the crown as the most expensive iPad carrier, charging users the equivalent of $25.47 for a single gigabyte, while SingTel in Singapore charges only $0.51 per gigabyte.
Jet Set Games has released an iPad version of its popular turn-based strategy game for the iPhone and iPod touch. Highborn HD provides the same casual strategy game experience as its iPhone counterpart with re-designed maps and enhanced high-resolution, hand-drawn artwork optimized for the iPad display. In Highborn, players are treated to two strategy games to provide an intelligent tactical experience in a more relaxed turn-based model. Players deploy forces using an overhead map view to secure spells and combat support and then engage in 3D combat to use those advantages against enemy forces. The strategic elements of the game are set against a background storyline with wacky heroes and witty dialogue. Players can choose from many different styles of play, unlocking hero characters with different abilities throughout the course of the game. The game also provides more than 20 single- and multi-player achievements that can be unlocked and includes OpenFeint integration allowing users to compete against other players online. Highborn HD is available from the App Store for $3; the iPhone and iPod touch version is sold separately on the App Store for $1.
Apple is abandoning past partners Skyhook and Google for location data in favor of its own database, signaling a further move towards in-house mapping and location services. TechCrunch reports that in a letter responding to a Congressional request for information about its data collection, Apple indicated it is now using its own location database to provide iOS 3.2 and later devices with location information. “For devices running iPhone OS versions 1.1.3 to 3.1, Apple relied on (and still relies on) databases maintained by Google and Skyhook Wireless (“Skyhook”) to provide location-based services,” Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell said in the letter. “Beginning with the iPhone OS version 3.2 released in April 2010, Apple relies on its own databases to provide location-based services and for diagnostic purposes.” Apple purchased online mapping firm Poly9 earlier this year and bought the mapping service PlaceBase in 2009; these acquisitions, along with confirmation that it is running its own location database, lend credence to the suggestion that Apple is planning to launch its own mapping service.
The Omni Group has released the much-anticipated iPad version of its OmniFocus professional task management app. Although OmniFocus has been available on the iPhone and iPod touch for some time, OmniFocus for iPad has been completely redesigned for the iPad user interface. The iPad version provides in-depth desktop-style task management capabilities, allowing users to take advantage of features previously only available in OmniFocus for the Mac. OmniFocus for iPad includes flexible viewing options, location-aware task lists and on-the-fly task entry including voice notes and image attachments. Users can use the iPad version as a standalone task management app or synchronize with the Mac or iPhone versions of OmniFocus using any WebDAV server or The Omni Group’s own free sync service. Advanced features include full search capabilities, location-based task assignment with an integrated map view, daily and weekly forecasts or due tasks and a built-in task review feature. OmniFocus for iPad is available from the App Store for $40. More information on the app, including demonstration videos can be found on the company’s OmniFocus for iPad Product Page
Reporting his company’s first fiscal quarter financial results, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son made several comments regarding the iPhone and iPad, products for which SoftBank is the exclusive carrier in Japan. Masayoshi Son said that sales of the iPhone 4 “far exceeded” his expectations, and apologized to customers for supply shortages. “We ship and we ship, and then we immediately get more new orders,” he said. He also said the company added 696,600 subscribers in the quarter, many wooed away from competitors that don’t offer Apple products. Regarding the iPad, Masayoshi Son said the tablet was selling well and drawing interest from large corporations. When discussing whether consumers should get the iPhone or iPad, he recommended they get both, noting that historical Japanese warriors often carried both a short and long sword. Despite the strong performance, SoftBank’s net profit fell 29 percent due to a tax hit.
Apple is to blame for the current lack of iPad magazine subscription options, according to a new report. AllThingsD reports that Time Inc. was planning to launch a subscription version of its Sports Illustrated iPad app with payments being handled by the publisher, until Apple rejected the application at the last minute, forcing Time to sell single copies as in-app purchases. Notably, a number of the app’s negative reviews mention the lack of a subscription option. The report states that Time executives “have been going nuts” trying to find a way to get Apple to approve a subscription plan. In addition, Apple reportedly approved the company’s subscription plans prior to the iPad’s launch, during a time when Apple was communicating with Time executives. As the report notes, no other magazine publisher has gained approval to sell its own iOS app subscriptions, either.
Apple has been sued in U.S. District Court in Northern California over claims that the iPad overheats and fails to operate properly in warm conditions. Bloomberg reports that the suit, filed in Oakland, CA, claims that the iPad “does not live up to the reasonable consumer’s expectations created by Apple” due to the fact that it “overheats so quickly under common weather conditions.” Notably, it claims that the iPad “turns off, sometimes after just a few minutes of use,” when used in direct sunlight. The suit seeks unspecified damages as well as class action status.
Apple has issued an official response to yesterday’s Library of Congress Copyright Office ruling that jailbreaking a smartphone did not constitute a copyright violation, and instead fell under fair use. “Apple’s goal has always been to insure that our customers have a great experience with their iPhone and we know that jailbreaking can severely degrade the experience,” an Apple spokesperson told Cult of Mac. “As we’ve said before, the vast majority of customers do not jailbreak their iPhones as this can violate the warranty and can cause the iPhone to become unstable and not work reliably.” Apple had in the past argued that jailbreaking was illegal—in that it constituted copyright infringement and a DMCA violation—and that it could enable “potentially catastrophic” network attacks.
Ignition Soft has released WebPad, a new iPad drawing app that allows users to share iPad drawings in-progress with other users in real-time. Users are provided with a personal WebPad URL which friends and colleagues can access to view the drawing in real-time using any modern desktop web browser. Users can draw in both landscape and portrait orientation and the online WebPad drawing will update to reflect the iPad’s current orientation. Drawings are saved by the WebPad online service automatically and other users can comment, share and review drawings on the WebPad site. WebPad is available from the App Store for $5. Free registration with the WebPad service and an active Internet connection is required to use the app.
- July 23, 2010
LG Display is struggling to keep up with demand for the iPad’s 9.7-inch, LED-backlit IPS LCD screen, according to comments made by the company’s CEO. “Demand (from Apple) keeps growing and we can’t meet it all. Apple may have to delay launches of the iPad for some countries due to tight component supplies and strong demand,” said LG Display CEO Kwon Young-soo. “We are considering increasing production lines for iPad products but overall supply is likely to remain tight until early next year.” Reuters reports that analysts expect iPad demand to accelerate in the coming months; Apple launched the iPad in Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore today, adding to current distribution in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US.
ABC Digital has released an official ABC News app for the iPad. ABC News provides an optimized version of the content from the broadcaster’s website with interactive features allowing users to explore the news in a touchscreen-friendly format. Users can choose from a traditional news content view or browse through stories with a unique globe interface by either swiping or shaking the iPad to spin the globe and touching the screen to read or watch content that appears. Users can also filter the content that appears on the globe by selecting a favorite topic or show, save stories to a Favorites section for reading offline and share links to stories via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. ABC News is available from the App Store as a free download. A promo video demonstrating the app can be found on the ABC News website.
Fictionwise has released a universal update to its venerable eReader app providing native iPad and iOS 4 support. Although primarily designed for reading e-books purchased from the Fictionwise.com and eReader.com stores, eReader also allows users to transfer their own content or download unprotected eReader-format books from many other web sites in addition to their own library of purchased titles. eReader for the iPad provides the same features as the iPhone and iPod touch version including cover flow view, dictionary support, notes, highlights and bookmarks, eight different reading fonts and customizable day/night reading themes. eReader supports the well-established eReader format but is not compatible with Kindle or iBooks e-books and does not currently provide support for transferring books via USB through iTunes. eReader is available from the App Store as a free download.
China Telecom has indicated that it would like to offer both the iPhone and iPad at some point. Citing an unnamed company official, the Wall Street Journal reports that China Telecom would like to offer the iPhone in order to attract users to its 3G services, but that it faces a hurdle in doing so due to its use of CDMA technology. “If we can have an iPhone, that would be good, but we’ll just wait and see” whether Apple comes out with a CDMA version of the phone, said the official. The report notes that people familiar with the situation have said Apple is working on a CDMA iPhone, but it has yet to announce any plans to introduce such a device.
Reporting its third quarter 2010 financial results today, Apple said it sold 9.41 million iPods during the quarter—an eight percent unit decrease compared to the 10.2 million iPods sold in Q3 2009, albeit with a four percent increase in revenue. It also sold 8.4 million iPhones in the quarter, up 61% from the year-ago quarter, and 3.27 million iPads, the latter alone contributing $2.166 billion in revenue during its first quarter of supply-constrained availability. The company posted overall revenue of $15.7 billion and a net quarterly profit of $3.25 billion, or $3.51 per diluted share, compared with revenue of $9.73 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.83 billion, or $2.01 per diluted share in Q3 2009.
“It was a phenomenal quarter that exceeded our expectations all around, including the most successful product launch in Apple’s history with iPhone 4,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “iPad is off to a terrific start, more people are buying Macs than ever before, and we have amazing new products still to come this year.”
“We’re really pleased to have generated over $4 billion of cash during the quarter,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the fourth fiscal quarter of 2010, we expect revenue of about $18 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share of about $3.44”
Apple has announced that the iPad will launch in Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore this Friday, July 23. Both iPad with Wi-Fi and iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G models will be available at yet to be determined prices. The iPad is currently available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US, and Apple claims it will roll out the device to “many more countries” later this year.
Apple has posted its iOS Software Development Kit (SDK) 4.0.1, bringing with it compatibility with the latest iOS software releases. Notably, Apple is warning developers that if they have updated their iPhones to iOS 4.0.1 or their iPads to iOS 3.2.1 they will need to download and install the new SDK to continue development. Unlike the iOS 4.1 beta and accompanying SDK released yesterday, iOS SDK 4.0.1 is available to all registered developers, and not just those who have paid Apple’s $99 annual fee to enroll in the iPhone Developer Program. Apple’s iOS SDK 4.0.1 is available now as a free download from the iPhone Dev Center.
Alongside iOS 4.0.1 for the iPhone, Apple today also released the iOS 3.2.1 Software Update for the iPad. According to Apple’s release notes, the update brings improved Wi-Fi connectivity, fixes for issues that could prevent copy and paste of single-page PDF documents in Mail and cause video playback to freeze, improved reliability of video-out when using the iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter, and adds Bing as an option for Safari’s search field. The iOS 3.2.1 Software Update for the iPad is available now for both iPad with Wi-Fi and iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G models via the Update feature in iTunes.
A newly published Apple patent application suggests the company is working on a new format Dock Connector that would allow device docking in multiple orientations. Entitled “Methods and Apparatuses For Docking a Portable Electronic Device That Has a Planar Like Configuration and That Operates in Multiple Orientations,” the patent describes a docking system that, like current Apple Docks, offers both power and data to the connected device, either via flush contacts that physically touch similar contacts on the dock itself, or via inductive coils that could be concealed within the device’s body. As AppleInsider notes, the patent also covers less progressive docking ideas including traditional electrical contact docks that can be rotated or adjusted; it notably also shows an iPad-like device being docked to an articulated arm not unlike the one found on earlier iMac models. As with all Apple patents, this filing does not necessarily represent any future product release from Apple, but offers evidence of the company’s research in this area.
- July 12, 2010
The Apple iPad poses a threat to both the e-Reader and portable gaming device markets, amongst others, according to a new study. Citing Resolve Market Research’s new iPad study, Mashable reports that when asked what products they would not buy after owning an iPad, 49% of users said an E-Reader, followed by 38% who said a portable gaming console. This was notably higher than the percentage of iPad users who said they wouldn’t purchase a netbook or laptop (32%) or an MP3 player (29%). Somewhat surprisingly, 37% of respondents who either owned or planned to buy an iPad said the device would be their first Apple product, a percentage eclipsed only by those who had owned an iPod (49%), and ahead of those who had owned an iPhone (24%) or MacBook (16%). Finally, while “early adopter” iPad owners tended to be in the 22-45 age group, the next group of adopters and those interested in buying the device were generally older than 45 years of age.
Demiforce has released an update to its acclaimed Trism puzzle game for the iPhone and iPod touch, adding native iPad support and fixing some iOS 4 related problems. First released in July 2008, Trism was the first Match-3 puzzle game to make use of the iPhone’s accelerometer feature and was a runaway success in its category. Trism 1.5 maintains the same game play and features as the original with five game modes, online scoring and 22 in-game achievements that can be collected. The update fixes stability problems that some users have experienced with iOS 4.0, adds native iPad support and provides code optimizations that should result in improved battery life. Trism 1.5 is available from the App Store for $3 and is a free update for current users.