Apple has announced a partnership with marketing firm The Dentsu Group to expand Apple’s iAd mobile advertising platform to Japan early next year. According to the announcement, Dentsu will handle the selling and creative execution of iAds in Japan, while Apple will host, target and deliver the iAds to its iOS users. In addition, Dentsu subsidiary cyber communications, inc. (cci) will provide one-stop services for iAd in Japan including creative production and media planning.
“After an incredibly successful launch in the US where we’ve already doubled the number of brands on the network, we’re excited to bring iAd to Japan,” said Andy Miller, Apple’s vice president of iAd. “Dentsu is one of the world’s most prestigious advertising agencies, making them an ideal partner for iAds in Japan.”
“We’re thrilled to be joining with Apple to introduce such a powerful new ad platform in Japan,” said Ryuichi Mori, Senior Executive Vice President, Dentsu Inc. “Mobile advertising is Japan’s fastest-growing platform and iAd’s rich media experience and engaged audience of iPhone and iPod touch users make it uniquely positioned to capture mobile’s full potential for advertisers and developers.”
Apple officially launched the iPad in Russia. According to a report from Tatar-inform, Apple’s tablet computer will be available from retailers M.Video, Bely Veter and re:Store, with prices ranging from 19,990 roubles for the 16GB Wi-Fi model to 32,990 roubles for the 64GB iPad 3G. The report claims that the iPad will initially be available in only four cities — Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Volgograd and Rostov-on-Don, with the first batch expected to be limited to 3 to 4 thousand devices. Apple is expected to supply Russian retailers with 40 to 50 thousand units before the end of the year. [via TUAW]
Verizon Wireless has started airing a new commercial promoting its iPad + Mi-Fi bundle. The spot, entitled “Breakaway,” shows a man sitting in a chair holding the iPad and turning on the Mi-Fi wireless hotspot before proceeding to open Safari on the iPad. As he browses, the ceiling, walls, and floor of the room break apart and fly away to show the man in the same chair sitting on a point overlooking the ocean. Notably, this is the first carrier-created advertisement for one of Apple’s iOS products to air in the U.S., as Apple has aired all prior iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad commercials itself. The new commercial is available for viewing from the above link or in embedded form below.
The Omni Group has released a major update to OmniGraffle, adding support for iOS 4.2 as well as several other new features. OmniGraffle 1.4 adds AirPrint and multitasking capabilities that will allow iOS 4.2 users to print documents directly from within the app and maintain application state and perform tasks in the background. Support has also been added for storing and retrieving files on MobileMe iDisk and other WebDAV services as well as exporting and e-mailing documents natively as PDFs and PNGs to online services or iTunes File Sharing. The new version also adds the ability to selectively view documents based on file type and change the sorting order and scrub through documents in the Document Browser view. Users can now create their own custom stencils from scratch and selectively show and hide stencils in the popover view. Stencils from Graffletopia that perform poorly or not at all on the iPad version of OmniGraffle are now filtered out and will not be displayed in search results. OmniGraffle 1.4 is available from the App Store for $50 and is a free update for current OmniGraffle for iPad users.
Beejive has released an update to its BeejiveIM for iPad multi-platform instant messaging application adding some new features while also removing ICQ support. BeejiveIM version 3.5.2 adds message status indicators for sending messages, updates VoiceNotes support for Bluetooth and now uses WAV files to improve compatibility with other platforms. The update also removes support for the ICQ IM network due to contractual issues; Beejive indicated to iLounge that with the recent sale of the ICQ service to Russian Internet company Digital Sky Technologies it was informed that a formal agreement must be worked out with the new owner to continue supporting ICQ. The company is working on this and it hopes to return ICQ support to BeejiveIM as soon as possible; in the meantime users who rely on BeejiveIM for ICQ support may want to avoid updating to the latest version.
U.K. startup Darling Dash has released Pitch ‘n’ Toss, a new game for the iPad that recreates the classic coin toss game with a twist. In Pitch ‘n’ Toss players attempt to get their three coins as close as possible to the far wall of the playing field by adjusting sliders and using swipe gestures to control the angle, speed and direction of the coin. The game begins with a simple open playing field and progresses through 40 unique levels, introducing additional objects such as bounce pads, cannons, flippers and laser force fields. By using these objects creatively with their coin tosses, players earn additional style points using a combination of skill and puzzle-solving to work out the best way to get their coin closest to the wall. Gold, Silver and Bronze medals are awarded for higher scores and users can share their scores and achievements via Twitter and Facebook. The game also provides a VS mode which allows up to four players to go head-to-head playing specifically designed challenge levels.
Notably, Pitch ‘n’ Toss was developed as a result of the iPad development fund started last February as a partnership between U.K. investment and digital business development firms Northern Film & Media and NoTosh to encourage and fund local iPad developers in northeastern England. Pitch ‘n’ Toss is available from the App Store for $5; a free Lite version is also available.
South Korea’s KT Corp has revealed that it will begin to offer the iPad in South Korea starting later this month. According to the Yonhap News Agency, the company will open pre-orders for the device this week, perhaps in a bid to distract attention from the Samsung Galaxy Tab’s launch on rival carrier SK Telecom. Apple has reportedly been in talks with SK Telecom to offer the iPhone and iPad on its network, but no official announcement has been made regarding an agreement between the two companies; KT has saw strong pre-order sales for the iPhone 4 in August, the same month it reached the one million iPhone sold milestone. [via MDN]
Safari Books Online has launched a free iPad application, Safari to Go that allows subscribers to access and read books from its online library. Safari Books Online is a subscription-based on-demand digital library that delivers expert content from leading publishers in technology and business such as O’Reilly Media, Peachpit Press, John Wiley & Sons and many others. The Safari to Go application allows users to access books from the company’s on-demand catalog for both online and offline reading. The app also provides a search feature that allows users to search the entire collection of books and articles available or search within the content of a specific book. Non-subscribers can access sample content for any books and sign up for trials and subscriptions from directly within the app. The application also provides access to folders and notes with tagging and bookmarking features that synchronize between the application and the online website. Safari To Go is available from the App Store as a free download. A subscription is required to access any content other than samples, with individual subscriptions starting at $23/month for ten books per month or $43/month for unlimited access; a free trial subscription is available.
CBC Radio has released a major update to its free streaming radio application for iOS devices, adding background audio and native iPad support. The CBC Radio application provides both live and on-demand streaming audio from CBC Radio One, Radio 2 and Radio 3 and on-demand audio from CBC TV programs including The Hour, CBC News At Issue Panel and Mansbridge One on One. Version 2.0 adds supports for background audio and fast app switching on multitasking-capable iOS 4 devices, including support for remote audio controls and the ability to resume playback automatically following interruptions such as phone calls. An updated player screen provides artist bios when available for the current track. Users can also browse and search through over 100,000 tracks from over 20,000 Canadian Indie artists in the embedded CBC Radio 3 website, and share audio links via e-mail, Twitter and Facebook from right within the app. Additional new features include automatic switching between high- and low-quality streams for Wi-Fi and 3G network use, an option to automatically play on startup and an alarm timer. CBC Radio 2.0 is now a universal app and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Taito Corporation has released a universal update to Space Invaders Infinity Gene adding Game Center integration and a new Survival game mode. An evolution of the classic Space Invaders arcade game, Space Invaders Infinity Gene 4.0 adds native iPad support and support for the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch Retina Display with an improved frame rate that provides better performance. The update also adds a new Survival mode that allows multiple Extra and Chimera stages to be played in sequences with branching stages and multiple endings. Version 4.0 also adds integration with Apple’s Game Center and OpenFeint allowing users to share top scores on leaderboards from either service as well as unlocking achievements. Space Invaders Infinity gene is available from the App Store for $5.
A supposed Apple internal document outlining the company’s procedures for replacement of devices with dead or abnormal pixels has appeared online. According to the document, a screenshot of which was posted by the Boy Genius Report, it is Apple’s policy to replace any iPod or iPhone with one or more bad pixels—referred to in the document as “pixel anomalies”—and any iPad with three or more problematic pixels. The document also lists procedures for other screen sizes ranging from 11.6 inches to 30 inches, and notes that while employees may offer a replacement unit to customers whose devices have what is considered to be an “acceptable” number of anomalies, the replacement product may have just as many if not more while still remaining within Apple’s acceptable range; the customer will not receive a second replacement device under those circumstances.
During a Q&A session following today’s Facebook event, CEO Mark Zuckerberg was asked whether the company had any plans for a Facebook application for the iPad. Zuckerberg’s response was simply “iPad is not mobile.” Eric Tseng, the head of Facebook’s mobile platform, clarified this statement indicating that Facebook considers the iPad to be part of a whole new class of devices, and not a mobile platform in the same way that a phone is. Tseng went on to state that Facebook is currently looking for a way to address tablet devices in general in terms of how to scale for it. Zuckerberg went on to state that “We all love Apple products” but that he considers the iPad to be a computer and not a mobile device, emphasizing that today’s event is focusing on Facebook in the mobile device space. While Zuckerberg did not rule out the eventual release of an iPad application, he did not indicate that Facebook has anything specific in the works at this point beyond simply looking at how to approach the iPad as a new computing platform; this runs contrary to recent reports from an unofficial Facebook application developer that an official Facebook app for the iPad was imminent.
Best Buy has announced that it will offer the iPad in its stand-alone Best Buy Mobile stores starting November 7. Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that Best Buy, which began selling the iPad in its regular stores in April, is expanding distribution in hopes of capitalizing on the iPad’s popularity this holiday season. The report also states that Best Buy plans to open 23 additional stand-alone Best Buy Mobile stores before Thanksgiving, giving it a total of 158. Best Buy Mobile stores are smaller, specialty stores focused on selling mobile devices and accessories.
According to results from the latest ChangeWave consumer survey, netbook demand is declining year-over-year while planned purchases of tablet computers - led by the iPad - are on the rise. The October survey of 3,108 consumers found that 14 percent of consumers planning to purchase a laptop over the next 90 days plan to buy a netbook, down from 20 percent in October 2009 and from a high of 24 percent in June 2009. Meanwhile, 26 percent of consumers said they are at least somewhat likely to purchase a tablet in the future, with eight percent saying a purchase was very likely, and 18 percent saying it was somewhat likely. Among those respondents, 80 percent said they were most likely to purchase an iPad, followed by eight percent who said they were most likely to purchase a RIM Playbook, and three percent who said they were most likely to purchase a Samsung Galaxy Tab. Finally, satisfaction ratings for the iPad were quite high, with 72 percent of current iPad owners saying they were very satisfied with the device, followed by 23 percent who said they were somewhat satisfied. Only one percent said they were somewhat unsatisfied with their iPads, while zero percent labeled themselves as very unsatisfied, and three percent said they didn’t know.
Apple has posted its new “iPad is Electric” TV advertisement, its latest for the tablet computer. Like its prior “iPad is Delicious” and “iPad is Musical” commercials, the new spot shows the iPad being used mostly in front of a white background, utilizing a variety of different apps. The spot starts with the words “iPad is” on the screen, and is followed by a different descriptor—including “cinematic,” “elementary,” “academic,” “full-size,” “presenting,” “bought,” “sold,” “fantasy,” and “electric”—after each app is shown. As with the prior “iPad is” ads, it features the song “Never Stop” by Gonzales in the background, but in this spot, the song is interrupted by a person playing the last few notes on an electric guitar that is attached to the iPad and is being used in concert with IK Multimedia’s AmpliTube software. Apple’s new “iPad is Electric” ad is available for viewing on the company’s website.
Apple has sent out an email to registered iOS developers letting them know that it is now accepting submissions for iOS 4.2 apps. According to the email, which was submitted to iLounge by a reader, the apps need to be built, tested, and compiled using the iOS 4.2 SDK GM seed and iOS 4.2 GM seed released yesterday before being submitted for review “so they can be ready when iOS 4.2 is available to iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch users.” In addition, a few small new changes have been discovered in the iOS 4.2 GM seed, including a change to the Multitasking bar that allows fast access to both Brightness and Volume controls, along with a new AirPlay button, which has changed from a dot with radiating waves to a box with a triangle pointing into it. In addition, the new MobileMe account setup in iOS 4.2 GM lets users log into MobileMe settings using an Apple ID, although the Apple ID logins don’t seem to work yet, according to Mac Rumors.
Our reader added that the overall speed of iOS 4.2 on iPad is much improved, and that audio streaming over AirPlay from iOS devices to Apple TV appears to still be unstable, with drop-outs surprisingly common - the issue appears to be network-related. Updates to the Apple TV and Remote applications appear to be necessary to enable AirPlay video and photo streaming, as iOS 4.2 devices currently do not have any obvious way to share videos or photos, and iPad users will also receive a number of new wallpaper options relative to iOS 3.2. Also noticeable is a color bug in PDF rendering. Finally, the iPad’s side switch continues to be a “mute” button under iOS 4.2 GM, but only mutes alert and keyboard sounds, not other audio, which is odd considering that the iPad has so few alerts.
Apple has released a pre-release version of the Gold Master of iOS 4.2 for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad to members of the iOS developer program. This likely represents the last developer-only release prior to the final public release of iOS 4.2. Although Apple has not yet announced a release date for iOS 4.2, public iOS releases have generally occurred within 1-2 weeks of the release of a Gold Master seed. It is currently unknown what specific changes have been made in this latest version, although Apple highlighted new features in iOS 4.2 during its September 1st event and some previews have been seen from prior beta releases. Apple’s iOS 4.2 GM seeds for the iPad, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, second-, third- and fourth-generation iPod touch are available now to paid iPhone developers from the iOS Dev Center.
Condé Nast has released an update to its Gourmet Live app addressing the serious iPad crashes reported earlier this week. The previous version of Gourmet Live was in some cases causing iPads to lock up completely, requiring a hard reboot to restore normal operation of the device and may have even led to more serious stability problems. Gourmet Live 1.05 addresses these crashes as well as providing fixes for Lost Rewards in the library, updates to increase accuracy of history and reward tracking and a number of other additional bug fixes and improvements. Gourmet Live is available from the App Store as a free download.
In an interview with GigaOM, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse indicated that despite not selling the iPad, his company has actually benefited from Apple’s tablet device in the form of increased demand for its Overdrive MiFi wireless hotspots. Hesse notes that most iPads being sold are Wi-Fi only models and many customers turn to MiFi devices to get online when away from traditional wireless access points. Sprint was one of the first carriers to promote the use of the iPad Wi-Fi with a portable wireless hotspot by releasing a 4G Case for iPad.
Hesse declined to comment on the iPhone or Sprint’s relationship with Apple, stating only that it is currently focusing on the BlackBerry and Android smartphone platforms and that it does not comment on any conversations it has with third parties. Hesse added that the majority of devices sold in the past quarter for use on Sprint’s CDMA network were smartphones and that 45 percent of Sprint customers now have a smartphone. Like Verizon, Sprint’s CDMA network is incompatible with current iPhone models, however a CDMA iPhone built for Verizon would technically also be compatible with Sprint’s network; although it’s almost inevitable that Verizon’s iPhone would be sold locked to the Verizon network, the creation of a CDMA-compatible iPhone by Apple would open the door to the possibility of other U.S. carriers such as Sprint eventually carrying the iPhone as well. [via AppleInsider]
According to a report in Barron’s, digital sensor developer OmniVision Technologies will be supplying CMOS image sensors for the next-generation iPad, expected to launch in the first quarter of 2011. Citing a brief research note from investment firm Detweller Fenton, the report suggests that the new iPad will ship with both a rear-facing 5 MP and front-facing VGA camera and is expected to support FaceTime video calling. Detweller indicates that it expects that Apple will build 2.5 million second-generation iPad units in the first quarter. OmniVision also currently produces the CMOS sensors for the iPhone 4, and the Detweller note expects that with the release of the second-generation iPad and Verizon iPhone, Apple will account for nearly a third of OmniVision’s overall chip demand. [via Mac Rumors]