The iPad is emerging as an effective tool for teaching autistic children communication and social skills. SF Weekly has posted lengthy profile of Leo, an autistic child whose mother won an iPad in a raffle and subsequently found herself amazed by her son’s progress with the device. “Before the iPad, Leo’s autism made him dependent on others for entertainment, play, learning, and communication,” Shannon Rosa wrote for BlogHer. “With the iPad, Leo electrifies the air around him with independence and daily new skills.” Leo is using the device for video watching, drawing—something that had been very difficult before—and for using spelling apps like FirstWords and more specialized apps like Stories2Learn and First Then Visual Schedule.
While only one study is currently looking at the iPad for use with autistic children, early results are positive. Rhonda McEwen, an assistant professor at the iSchool at the University of Toronto who is running the study “Touch Technologies in the Classroom,” said that teachers have reported lengthening attention spans, children sitting next to each other to use the device together—atypical for autistic students—and in one case, allowed a breakthrough for a teacher who had been working with a boy for two years and was unsure of whether he understood language. “With the iPod, for the first time, he was able to demonstrate that he did understand,” McEwen said. While the Rosas want to be careful not to overhype the iPad before science proves its worth, for the time being, they are thrilled with the results. “I don’t usually dabble in miracle-speak,” said Shannon Rosa, “but I may erect a tiny altar to Steve Jobs in the corner of our living room.” [via Daring Fireball]
According to the results of a survey done by copywriting agency Cooper Murphy Webb, the iPad is the preferred reading device of people who already own one. 31% of respondents said the iPad was their preferred method of reading newspapers and magazines, compared to 26% who said they preferred to read magazines and newspapers on their laptop or other computer, and 24% who said they preferred print. 41% said the device was their preferred method of reading books, again ahead of print, which represented 36% of respondents. Somewhat surprisingly, the iPad also edged out gaming consoles in the “preferred device for gaming” category, with the iPad receiving 37% of the vote, compared to 35% for gaming consoles. Cooper Murphy Webb’s numbers are based on the answers of 1034 U.K.-based iPad owners who were questioned via a research-administered telephone poll between July 28 and August 10. [via MDN]
Adobe Systems has released an update to its free Photoshop Mobile application for the iPhone and iPod touch, adding native iPad support and renaming the app Adobe Photoshop Express. The latest update provides initial support for the iPad with specific features such as landscape and portrait orientations, redesigned Online, Edit and Upload workflows and the ability to work on multiple photos in sequence from within a single workflow. The new version also sports a redesigned Organizer view with simplified album sharing and updates icons and visuals for easier navigation and use of the Editor. Users can also now upload to both Photoshop.com and Facebook simultaneously. Adobe Photoshop Express is available from the App Store as a free download and should appear as an automatic update for users of Photoshop Mobile.
Apple has released iOS 4.0.2 for the iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, second-, and third-generation iPod touch, as well as iOS 3.2.2 for the iPad. According to Apple’s release notes, both releases patch a “security vulnerability associated with viewing malicious PDF files.” Apple recently came under fire for the security hole, which could result in a hacker gaining administrator access to the device. iOS 4.0.2 and 3.2.2 are available now through the Update function in iTunes.
Updated: One iLounge editor has noticed an uptick in reported iPhone 4 signal strength since installing iOS 4.0.2 software. Under 4.0.0, the iPhone reported 4-5 bars of strength, falling to 2-3 bars when 4.0.1 was installed. The same iPhone 4 now shows 3-4 bars of strength, suggesting that something may have changed again in Apple’s bar-displaying algorithm. If you’ve noticed a change, or no change, please let us know in the comments to this article.
Sauce Digital has released its latest game, Space Balls, an atmospheric physics puzzler for the iPhone and iPod touch. In Space Balls, players must skillfully fire unique space balls at various objects to either activate, move, alter or destroy them in order to capture enemies. Players progress through a variety of levels that present different challenges with each level requiring specific tactics. The game features 90 levels, 35 unique obstacles and enemies, 16 different Space Ball characters, and a progressively disclosed storyline presented in comic strip format. High-resolution iPhone 4 Retina Display graphics are included along with atmospheric sound effects and an exclusive music soundtrack by Tokyo Pushers. Space Balls is available from the App Store for $1. The company has also announced that it has begun development of higher-resolution iPad releases of Space Balls and its five other iOS games: Killer Pool, Nano Rally, Amoebas, Touch Soccer 3D and Monkey Tennis. The iPad versions of the games are expected to begin appearing within a month and are expected to be priced at $1.
Cloud storage service Box.net has released an update to its universal app for iOS devices adding iOS 4 support and the ability to access files offline. The new version allows users to designate specific files to be saved locally on the device for offline access and later sync those saved files with updated versions when others make changes. The update also adds file caching to allow for faster previewing of files, makes several user interface tweaks to both the iPad and iPhone UIs with regard to sharing and viewing content and provides iOS 4 support with fast app switching and high-resolution graphics for the iPhone 4 Retina Display. Box.net is available from the App Store as a free download. A Box.net subscription is required in order to use the app; a free subscription is available which includes 1GB of storage and a 25MB file size limit, with paid subscriptions ranging from $10-15 per user per month for up to 15 GB of storage. Enterprise subscription plans are also available for larger organizations.
Developer Kevin Ng has updated his Kick Flick Soccer 2010 game to add support for the iPad and the iPhone 4 Retina Display. In Kick Flick Soccer 2010 players attempt to score goals from free kick positions by flicking shots using the touchscreen. Extra points are earned by making more skillful shots and scoring multiple goals in succession. The game provides a realistic physics simulation based on the Bullet Physics library to model real-world aerodynamic effects on the ball. Kick Flick Soccer 2010 version 1.1 is now a universal app supporting both the iPhone and iPad and provides higher-resolution graphics to support the iPhone 4 Retina Display. The update also adds a new “10 Kicks” game mode, six new achievements to be earned and provides several performance and graphics improvements. Kick Flick Soccer 2010 is available from the App Store for $1 and is a free update for current users.
NXP Software has released CineXPlayer, a new app that allows users to view Xvid movies on the iPad, a format not directly supported by the built-in video codecs on iOS devices. Using CinexPlayer, users can transfer movies in the Xvid format directly onto their iPad without the requirement to convert them an iPad-specific video format. Movies are transferred to the application over USB via iTunes’ File Sharing options and the app provides a listing of movies stored on the device with standard playback controls, automatic bookmarking of playback positions and the ability to delete movies directly from within the app. At this time, CineXPlayer only supports standard Xvid format movies and does not yet have the ability to handle additional codecs such as MKV and AC3 audio. CineXPlayer is available from the App Store as a free download. [via Engadget]
According to a new report, Apple has placed orders for “millions” of Qualcomm CDMA chipsets for a new iPhone production run in December. Citing sources with knowledge of the situation, TechCrunch reports that the production run would likely be for a January launch, with both Verizon and Sprint possible carrier partners. Digitimes adds that Pegatron Technology is expected to manufacture the phone, and that it could end up on China Telecom as well as Verizon. It also expects Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg to announce the device at CES 2011, with units shipping in January.
In the same report, Digitimes claims that Apple will launch an updated 9.7-inch iPad with a new ARM Cortex-A9-based processor and 512MB RAM in the first quarter of 2011, alongside a new 7-inch model sporting the same processor and a 1024x768 IPS display; this matches up with information reported by iLounge last week. Finally, the report claims that a new Apple TV will begin production in December, and will use AMD’s Fusion technology, will lack a hard drive, and will offer an iPhone-like interface with App Store support.
iOS 4.1 Beta 3, the latest beta version of Apple’s upcoming software update, has a new feature that allows for FaceTime calls to be associated with an email address instead of a phone number. Mac Rumors reports that in the beta’s version of the Contacts application, the software gives you the option of connecting the call via a cell phone number or an email address. Notably, this addition suggests that iOS 4.1 will be expected to support some non-iPhone FaceTime-capable devices, such as the iPod touch or iPad. A supposed fourth-generation iPod touch front panel with a hole for a front-facing camera appeared online earlier this week.
Apple has updated the iPad App Store to add its Genius Recommendations feature for iPad apps. Introduced to the iPhone and iPod touch App Store last year in iOS 3.1, the Genius for Apps feature for the iPad provides personalized recommendations on additional apps that users may be interested in based on their existing purchases, installed apps and how often and how long existing apps are used for. As with the Genius feature in iTunes and on the other iOS devices, users must specifically opt-in within the iPad App Store application to enable Genius for Apps on their device and agree to additional Terms of Service. Notably, the Terms of Service indicate that Apple will anonymously collect information related to the applications installed on a users’ device, including time spent with each application and the number of times each application is launched, as well as users’ application download histories. This information is aggregated with similar information from other users who opt-in to the Genius feature along with customer ratings of applications on the App Store to provide personalized recommendations through the service. Users who have enabled the Genius feature may also later opt-out from the App Store Account settings page on their device.
Shacked Software has released an update to Flickpad, its online photo viewing app. Flickpad is designed to allow users to easily browse through their friends’ online photo albums in a unique interface where photos are stacked on a desktop area. In addition to the original Facebook support, Flickpad 2.0 adds the ability to browse Flickr photosets as well as posting comments on photos from either service. The update also adds a new fast user switching feature for shared iPads that allows users to quickly switch between Flickr/Facebook user accounts. Users can navigate through all available photos by date, search for photos from individual friends or hide all photos from friends they don’t want to see. Photos can be saved to the iPad Photo Library, marked as favorites or shared via e-mail. The new version also adds a slideshow feature that allows users to turn the iPad into a digital picture frame. Flickpad 2.0 is available from the App Store for $10 and is a free update for current users.
Apple has already completed a patch that fixes the PDF-related iOS security hole discovered earlier this week. “We’re aware of this reported issue, we have already developed a fix and it will be available to customers in an upcoming software update,” an Apple spokeswoman told Cnet. It is unknown when Apple plans on releasing the update, or if the same update will also alleviate proximity sensor issues for some iPhone 4 users.
The iPad has received its safety certification from Chinese regulators, putting it one step closer to seeing a release in China. The China Quality Certification Center gave the iPad China Compulsory Certification earlier this week, reports Network World, but the device will likely need to get the approval of China’s Telecommunications Equipment and Certification Center. “This has been just the first step to get it into the Chinese market,” said Liu Liang, and analyst with iResearch.
iDigital, the Israeli importer of Apple products, has said in a statement that the iPad will be available for sale in Israel in the next few weeks. Reuters reports that iDigital did not give an exact date, but is claiming that any iPads purchased from other electronics chains will be without warranties and full Hebrew language support. “Apple proposes that all those who are interested in buying an iPad should be patient for another few weeks and buy the products through the official Apple representative in Israel,” iDigital said.
The BBC is trialling the iPad at multiple levels of the organization to gauge its ability to reduce paper use and increase efficiency. “We’re seeding the organisation [with the devices]. We put some iPads into production and some into management and other roles to see if people would be able to give up their desktops,” John Linwood CIO with the BBC, told Computing. “On the west coast of the US, paperless meetings are the norm,” Linwood continued. “If you brought paper to a meeting, they’d look at you strangely. If you actually handed out paper they’d get upset.” [via ITP]
Dish Network is planning to launch an update to its iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad app next month that will allow users to watch live TV on their mobile devices. The service will require either a SlingBox or a Dish HD DVR with SlingBox features, but once set up, users will be able to switch channels, and even watch something different than the people watching the connected TVs at home, assuming their boxes have second tuners.
Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security has issued an official warning related to a newly-discovered security hole in iOS that was recently used to enable web-based jailbreaking of the iPhone 4. The agency said that iOS has “two critical weak points for which no patch exists,” specifically one through which opening a malicious website or PDF could give hackers “access to the complete system, including administrator rights.” It is urging users not to open PDF files and only use trustworthy websites until Apple issues a software update; Georg Albrecht, a spokesman for Apple, told the Associated Press that Apple is aware of the reports and are “investigating them.” The warning covers iOS 3.1.2 and later.
Avici Software has released Whiteboard HD, a new multi-functional interactive whiteboard application for the iPad. Designed for use in boardroom, work group and classroom environments, Whiteboard HD allows users to visualize ideas by writing notes, sketching diagrams and recording brainstorming sessions. Users can make freeform drawings or manipulate pre-drawn shapes and lines using standard multi-touch gestures, dynamically place and orient labels and text boxes and select from grid or lined template backgrounds. Images and diagrams can be imported from the iPad photo library and the whiteboard content can be saved to the app’s project manager or shared via e-mail. The application also supports video output through Apple’s iPad VGA Adapter in multiple aspect ratios to external monitors or projectors. Whiteboard HD is available from the App Store for an introductory price of $6 until August 18th, after which the price will increase to $10.
Art in Games has released an iPad version of Air Attack, its top-down air combat shooter. Air Attack HD (iLounge rating: A) provides the same features as its iPhone counterpart with higher-resolution graphics optimized for the iPhone display. AirAttack is an arcade-style top down air combat shooter where the player controls an aircraft flying over enemy territory and scores points by shooting down enemy aircraft, ships, ground vehicles and turrets. The game provides eight missions, 58 different enemy types, numerous upgrades and special weapons and three difficulty modes. Players can choose to control the game using direct touchscreen control, an on-screen joypad or accelerometer-based tilt controls. The game features detailed 3D graphics within lighting and special effects, an orchestral music score and realtime physics. Air Attack HD is available from the App Store for $1. The iPhone and iPod touch version is also available separately from the App Store for $1. A free Lite version is also available.
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.