ABC’s announced update to its ABC Player app for the iPad is now available. In addition to allowing video content to be streamed over a 3G data connection, the update also supports landscape orientation in all views and proper handling of the iPad’s orientation lock. Other improvements include more responsive player controls, better display of parental ratings and other bug fixes and stability enhancements. iLounge editors who have tested the update report impressive video quality over the 3G network with smooth playback and almost no pre-buffering time. The ABC Player service remains available to U.S. users only and is a free download from the U.S. App Store.
- May 3, 2010
If you received an error message during the sign-up process for AT&T service on your iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G, you might want to check your credit card bill. At least one iLounge editor has seen his card double-billed for one month of unlimited service after the initial sign-up process hit a snag. It is unclear how many iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G users may have experienced a similar situation; if you’ve had trouble with your AT&T iPad billing, please share your stories in the comments below.
- May 3, 2010
iFixit has posted a full teardown of the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G, finding several noticable differences between it and its Wi-Fi-only counterpart. The 3G model uses an Infineon PMB 8878 X-Gold baseband chip, the same as found in the iPhone 3GS, as well as a Broadcom A-GPS which is found on the communicaitons board, partially explaining why the Wi-Fi only model lacks GPS functionality. Unsurprisingly, the 3G model houses new antenna assemblies for cellular and GPS connectivity; these join the antennas previously found in the iPad with Wi-Fi for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi communication. Judging by the teardown photographs, it appears that Apple used a microSIM instead of a full-sized SIM card in order to fit the component between the side of the unit and the large internal battery. Overall, iFixit notes that while the inside of the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G is “not nearly as barren” as the Wi-Fi-only model, it’s still “not jam-packed.”
Apple has announced that it sold its one millionth iPad on Friday, 28 days after the device’s introduction on April 3. In addition to unit purchases, iPad users have already downloaded over 12 million apps from the App Store and over 1.5 million ebooks from the iBookstore. Notably, the announcement also reveals that there are now over 5,000 apps for the iPad in the App Store. “One million iPads in 28 days—that’s less than half of the 74 days it took to achieve this milestone with iPhone,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Demand continues to exceed supply and we’re working hard to get this magical product into the hands of even more customers.”
- April 30, 2010
In our early testing, iLounge has learned that some video delivery applications act differently over the 3G network than they do on Wi-Fi. The iPad’s built-in YouTube application strips both standard and HD videos to a dramatically lower resolution over the cellular data connection, something that iTunes Store video previews notably do not do, instead staying at a higher quality and consuming a greater amount of data. Other third-party applications, such as the ABC Player, refuse to work at all over the cellular connection, producing a notification pop-up that states, “Please connect to a Wi-Fi network to use this application. Cellular networks are not supported at this time.”
- April 30, 2010
iLounge has received its first iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G units for testing and has posted an unboxing gallery online. There are several small changes from the Wi-Fi-only model that are worthy of mention. The box the 3G model comes in is identical to that of the Wi-Fi-only model, save for two stickers on the back of the box that reference the fact that a 3G model is contained within; notably, the image of the iPad on the front does not depict the 3G model. The unit’s microSIM slot is found on the left side of the device, off-center, towards the bottom of the unit, and contains an AT&T-branded microSIM. This side of the device is completely bare on Wi-Fi-only models. Contents of the box are the same as the Wi-Fi-only model, save for the SIM card removal tool, and the antenna cover at the top is made from black matte plastic. Another notable item is that the device requires connection to iTunes in order to be usable; no software update is available or required, and rather than directing the user instantly to sign up for AT&T service, the iPad sits awaiting activation until you dive into the Settings menu and find the Cellular Data option yourself.
Distimo has released its latest monthly report on the U.S. App Store, revealing that there are now 4,870 iPad applications in the App Store. Of these, 3,437 are iPad-only apps while the remaining 1,433 are Universal applications that run on both the iPad and iPhone. The report goes on to note that the number of iPad applications on the App Store has grown by 32.7% over the past two weeks and that the largest category for iPad applications is Games, with 1,577 titles, followed by Entertainment and Books with 455 and 396 titles, respectively. The report points out that paid iPad applications make up a larger percentage of that category than paid iPhone applications and are slightly more expensive on average: The average price of an iPad app is $4.67 compared to $3.82 for an iPhone app. The report also lists the top 20 paid and free iPad and iPhone apps, revealing a number of more expensive $10 apps among the iPad top 20, with a higher average price of $5.69, as compared to a larger number of $0.99 apps in the iPhone top 20, with an average price of $2.04. The full report is available from Distimo’s site (free registration required).
Apple has posted a new support document detailing the process for setting up a cellular data account on the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G. According to the document, users simply tap a “View Account” options within a new Cellular Data menu inside the Settings app to get started. Users will then be prompted to enter their information, including first and last name, telephone number, email address and a password for the new AT&T account, and billing information, select a data plan. A Terms of Service page will then be displayed, and once accepted, a payment summary screen appears for final confirmation. Once submitted, a congratulations screen appears, followed by a pop-up notification once the connection has been activated. The page notes that the process is managed by AT&T, and users should contact AT&T if they have have questions, concerns, or problems.
Apple has updated its individual retail store web pages to indicate that its U.S.-based stores will be closed later today from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. local time to prepare for the launch of the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G, which will go on sale when the stores reopen at 5:00 p.m. Unlike the launch of the iPad with Wi-Fi, no advance reservations were taken for the Wi-Fi + 3G models, so purchasing will most likely be done on a first-come, first-served basis. Checks with several Apple Store locations around the country conducted by iLounge showed that stores are expecting “big” crowds for the launch.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen has responded to statements made about his company and its Flash technology by Apple CEO Steve Jobs in his “Thoughts on Flash” open letter. Calling the technology problems mentioned by Jobs a “smokescreen,” Narayen pointed out that more than 100 applications built using Adobe’s Flash technology were accepted into the App Store. “When you resort to licensing language” to restrict this kind of cross-platform development, he said, it has “nothing to do with technology.” Narayen also said Apple’s refusal to allow cross-platform apps onto its devices makes it “cumbersome” for developers who will have to have “two workflows,” and called Jobs’ claims that Flash causes undue battery drain “patently false.” To conclude the interview, Narayen said that he is for “letting customers decide,” but that he believes the multi-platform strategy will “eventually prevail.”
ALK Technologies has announced plans to bring its popular CoPilot turn-by-turn GPS navigation and trip planning app to the iPad 3G. CoPilot Live HD has just been submitted to the App Store and ALK expects that it will be available for purchase soon. CoPilot Live HD will provide the same featurs as the iPhone version, including on-device street maps and voice-guide navigation. A new split-screen driving view will combine 3D or 2D map displays with driving instructions. Some sample screenshots of CoPilot Live HD can be found on the copilot live Flickr page.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs has posted an open letter entitled “Thoughts on Flash,” in which he explains the company’s motivation for leaving Adobe’s Flash off of its iPhone, iPod, and iPad devices. Jobs divides his explanation into six key factors, including Flash’s proprietary nature, the fact that the vast majority of web video is now accessible without Flash, reliability, security, and performance issues, battery life concerns, Flash’s reliance on mouse-dependent interface elements, and the fact that Adobe wants to allow its developers to use Flash for creating cross-platform applications that will run on Apple’s platform, as well as on competitors’ devices, without exploiting any platform’s unique and innovative features. The crux of the letter is an attack on Flash as a battery-hogging middleware solution that is no longer necessary or desirable in an age of advanced mobile devices.
Jobs makes several scathing comments in the letter, claiming that Flash is the leading cause of Mac crashes, that Adobe was the slowest major third-party developer to adopt important changes to Apple’s Mac OS X operating system, and that the company has promised but repeatedly failed to deliver an optimized mobile version of Flash. The letter also sheds new light on Apple’s App Store business, including the statement that “[t]here are more games and entertainment titles available for iPhone, iPod and iPad than for any other platform in the world,” and noting that there are now more than 200,000 apps available in the App Store. In closing, Jobs says, “[n]ew open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.”
- April 28, 2010
AT&T has posted a document online (PDF Link) with details of the company’s wireless data offerings for the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G. Notably, the data plans renew automatically, so users will have to manually cancel if they choose to use the data option on a non-recurring basis, and the charges will appear on users’ credit card bills. If a user goes over the amount of data in his or her selected plan before the 30 day period is up, they can choose to purchase another 250MB of data, or move to an unlimited plan, either of which will be good for 30 days from the date and time they activate the new plan. In addition to including either 250MB or unlimited data, both plans include unlimited access to AT&T’s network of over 20,000 Wi-Fi Hot Spots across the U.S.
Following reports from earlier this month suggesting Apple had acquired ARM processor development company Intrinsity, the New York Times has been able to confirm the deal, which according to the report may have been worth as much as $121 million, with Apple. “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we do not comment on our purpose or plans,” said Apple spokesperson Steve Dowling. Austin, TX-based Intrinsity gained publicity for its efforts to speed up ARM CPU designs, including working with Samsung to introduce the 1GHz Hummingbird processor last July. According to the report, “many experts” in the chip industry believe that Apple relied upon Intrinsity’s Hummingbird chip as the basis for the iPad’s A4 processor.
iPhone game developers Majic Jungle Software have posted a proof of concept video to YouTube showing their upcoming title Chopper 2 being run on and output from an iPad to an HDTV while a separate iPhone is used as a controller. According to the post, the setup—which uses a standard Apple Component AV Cable to connect the iPad to a 42-inch HDTV, while the iPhone is connected over Bluetooth—uses only publicly available API calls, and could conceivably be released in its current form. The post notes, however, that the initial release may not support the TV-out functionality. Continue reading to watch the video in embedded form. [via TUAW]
- April 27, 2010
South Korea’s communications regulator has lifted a ban on imports of the iPad, after the country’s culture minister Yu In-chon used one at a recent public press appearance. The Wall Street Journal reports that Yu In-chon used an iPad as a prop, remarking about how nicely it displays books, at a photo op to announce a new $50 million program to help develop the country’s electronic books industry. The following day, the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) said it wouldn’t stop people from importing the iPad for personal or development purposes, reversing a brief ban on imports of the device put in place due to a lack of certification of the iPad’s wireless networking features. The KCC noted that customs rules still apply; the country’s Customs Service is holding shipments that contain more than five of the tablet computers, to help prevent the importation and resale of large numbers of the devices.
Discussing the company’s record first quarter fiscal earnings, ARM Holdings CEO Warren East made several comments about the smartphone industry and Apple’s products in particular. The trend towards smartphones has continued, and continued throughout the downturn,” East said. “The smarter they get the more ARM technology they require.” According to the Telegraph, East also said the average smartphone contains three or more ARM-based processors, and generates about six times the royalties as the average standard mobile. Regarding Apple, East said he was “very excited” about the iPad, because of its potential to revolutionize the personal computing market, and dismissed rumors that Apple may be planning to purchase the company. “The iPhone acted as a great stimulus to encourage competitors to develop products to beat the iPhone,” he said. “The iPad looks like it has set the competitive bar again, and will stimulate people to do a lot of other creative things.”
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has announced that it will be launching an investigation into a patent infringement claim against Apple filed by Taiwanese firm Elan Microelectronics late last month. The complaint alleges that Apple is violating Elan’s patents related to touch-sensitive input devices with multi-touch capabilities, specifically with the iPhone, iPod touch, MacBook laptops, the Magic Mouse, and the iPad. “We have taken the step of filing the ITC complaint as a continuation of our efforts to enforce our patent rights against Apple’s ongoing infringement,” Elan said at the time of the filing. “A proceeding in the ITC offers a quick and effective way for Elan to enforce its patent.” Elan is requesting that the ITC issue an exclusion order and a cease and desist order, which would block Apple from importing infringing products and from selling its current stock; the company filed a lawsuit against Apple in April 2009 over the same alleged infringement.
- April 26, 2010
Israel’s Communications Ministry has reversed a two-week old ban on bringing an iPad into the country, CBS News reports. The ministry instituted the ban earlier this month, claiming the device’s wireless capabilities were “not compatible with Israeli standards.” More specifically, FCC regulations allow Wi-Fi devices sold in the U.S. to broadcast at higher power levels than are permitted in Europe and Israel. “After intensive technical scrutiny,” the ministry said in a statement, it has decided “that the device which could be operated in various standards will be operated in Israel according to local standards.”
Apple has started sending out emails to a select group of current iPad owners asking them to “please complete [a] 15-minute iPad survey” to help the company understand their purchase. Business Insider reports that survey is over 50 questions long, and attempts to discover whether or not iPad owners are still using iPods, eReaders, and laptops following their purchase. Questions include where the iPad was purchased, how the user first heard about the iPad, what types of questions they had before purchasing the iPad, their satisfaction with various features of the device, where they intend to use the device, in what rooms at home do they use the iPad, and who else uses the iPad they purchased.