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.
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.
Apple has increased its monthly iPad orders to its Taiwanese manufacturing partners to over two million units in July, according to a Digitimes report. Citing Digitimes Research analyst Mingchi Kuo, the report claims that Apple is estimated to have ordered roughly 2.3 million iPads in July with a mix of 58-60% iPad with Wi-Fi +3G models despite the Wi-Fi-only model’s stronger sales in the first half of the year. The iPad is currently available in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K., and will launch in Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore in July. [via Mac Rumors]
SK Telecom is in talks with Apple about offering both the iPhone and service for the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G in South Korea. The Wall Street Journal reports that SK Telecom CEO Jung Man-won recently said that the companies were in talks, but admitted that “some noises about problems with the latest iPhone” were worrisome. “We’ve built a solid reputation for offering good after-service for handsets, and we can’t take any risks,” he added. According to the report, SK Telecom has seen significant competition from rival KT due to the latter’s sale of the iPhone; KT plans to launch the iPhone 4 in July, while no plans have yet been made concerning the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G in South Korea.
Ten One Design has posted a demonstration video showing off the company’s pressure-sensitive software for the iPad. Using the software in a demo sketch application, along with a Pogo Sketch stylus, a Ten One designer is able to vary the line width drawn on the screen by differing the amount of pressure exerted. The video also shows off advanced palm and finger rejection, allowing the application to respond solely to the stylus. While the company says it plans to release these capabilities as a free library that can be included in any application, it admits that the library currently uses a private function call to access the required information, and will require an update to the UIKit framework to allow for widespread distribution. Ten One’s pressure-sensitive drawing video is available for viewing on YouTube and can be seen in embedded form below.
According to AdMob’s May 2010 Mobile Metrics Report (PDF Link), more than half of all iOS users are outside of North America, compared to 67% of Android users and 58% of iPad users. 43% of iOS devices were in the U.S., followed by 9% that were in the U.K., 6% in France, and 5% in Canada. Notably, both iOS and Android represent much higher usage than share of handsets sold, with iOS representing 40% of mobile app and web usage compared to 15% handset marketshare; Android stood at 26% and 10%, respectively. iPhone’s worldwide share of traffic generated by smartphones stood at 39.9% in May, well above the second-place Motorola Droid with 6.8%, but down significantly from its 47.9% share in May 2009. AdMob’s Mobile Metrics Reports are based on data gleaned from the company’s network of more than 23,000 mobile Web sites and applications around the world.
Building on the success of its popular iPhone application launched last fall, the National Film Board of Canada has released a native iPad version. NFB Films for iPad allows users to enjoy over 1,000 free NFB documentaries, animated shorts and trailers streamed over either Wi-Fi or 3G. The app also includes a selection of films in 3-D and high-definition as well as a dedicated kids’ channel containing fun and educational content for children. In addition to online streaming, users can download and store films for offline viewing for up to 48 hours. The app provides the same basic features as its iPhone counterpart but has been optimized for the iPad not only for higher-resolution video support but also includes improved navigation controls and a split-screen view that allows users to browse other NFB content while viewing a film. NFB Films for iPad is available from the App Store as a free download and includes access to all of the National Film Board’s iPad-ready content at no charge.
Online video service Hulu today announced Hulu Plus, a new $10 per month, ad-supported subscription service that offers users the ability to watch Hulu content on a wide variety of devices. Notably, the new Hulu Plus service will allow subscribers to watch any TV show from a sizable catalog, streamed in 720p, on the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, third-generation iPod touch, and iPad via the new Hulu Plus app. Writing about the announcement on the company blog, Hulu CEO Jason Kilar said, “I’ve been watching Hulu on my iPad for several weeks now, and I’ve watched more TV through the iPad than any other device.” The Hulu Plus service will also offer users access to more current full-length episodes and seasons than the standard service. Hulu Plus is currently in a private, invitation only phase, and will be opened up to all customers “as soon as [it’s] ready.”
In a new report discussing Apple’s rollout of its iAd mobile advertising service, Advertising Age suggests that iOS 4 for iPad will arrive in November. According to the report, Apple is telling marketers that the iPad—which will require an iOS 4 update to run the ads, and is being looked at as the most promising device for advertisers—won’t be on the iAd platform until November. In addition, the report claims that many of the advertisers that have signed on to the iAd platform won’t have ads in the system when it launches later this week, as many are still in the concept and creation stages. Advertisers are said to be paying $1 million just to be on the platform, with some companies, such as Nissan for automobiles and Citi for banks, paying up to $10 million in order to secure some measure of exclusivity in their respective categories.
A class action lawsuit filed against AT&T and Apple earlier this month over the former’s change in data plan offerings has been amended and refiled to include more users, including those out-of-state. The New York Times reports that the suit, filed in U.S. District court in San Jose, CA, currently names three persons who claim Apple and AT&T “baited” them in an iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G with the unlimited wireless data plan, “only to have that promise reneged upon within weeks of their purchases.” The suit notes that AT&T and Apple originally claimed that iPad 3G customers would be able to easily opt-in and opt-out of the unlimited plan, but following AT&T’s data plan changes, it’s unclear whether users who decide to skip a month of data will still be eligible for the unlimited plan afterwards. The suit also claims that AT&T was abrupt in its decision, giving customers less than a week’s notice that the unlimited offering would be eliminated.
The Icon Factory has released a major update to its popular Twitter client. Twitterrific 3.0 merges the previous separate iPhone and iPad versions into a single universal app for both platforms and adds support for iOS 4 fast app switching and interface optimizations for the iPhone 4 Retina display. Other new features and improvements include VoiceOver accessibility for the visually impaired, a light appearance theme, OAuth authentication and tweet integration for media upload services, new “Relationship” information on the user profile screen and a simplified and friendlier user interface for iPhone users. The update also fixes problems with shortening very long URLs and preserving draft tweets when network problems occur. Twitterrific 3.0 is available from the App Store as a free ad-supported version—a Premium upgrade is available within the app for $5 to remove the advertising and add support for multiple Twitter accounts. Twitterrific 3.0 Premium is a free upgrade for Premium users of the iPad version; users of Twitterrific 2.0 for the iPhone will need to purchase the Premium upgrade separately or use the free, ad-supported version with single account support.
Following yesterday’s iBooks 1.1 update, users have discovered that Apple’s built-in dictionary is no longer working with some e-books, a problem traced by iLounge’s editors to a difference in the way iBooks 1.1 chooses dictionaries relative to versions 1.0 and 1.01. The new iBooks appears to be using the language identifier normally stored within ePub files to determine which dictionary to use for a given e-book. Some popular e-book conversation applications such as Calibre do not insert the correct language identifier when saving in the ePub format, which will result in iBooks not knowing which dictionary to use. The problem appears to be confined to e-books that users have converted themselves or downloaded from third-party sources outside of the iBookstore, despite the fact that dictionary lookups for these books worked fine prior to the iBooks 1.1 update. More information on this problem and how to fix it can be found in our Backstage section.
Apple today announced that it sold its three millionth iPad yesterday, just 80 days after its initial launch in the U.S. “People are loving iPad as it becomes a part of their daily lives,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’re working hard to get this magical product into the hands of even more people around the world, including those in nine more countries next month.” The announcement also notes that there are now over 11,000 iPad applications available. The iPad is currently available in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K., and will launch in Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore in July.
AT&T today removed the option for unlimited cellular data for all iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G users, but has said eligible users will once again be able to select the plan. On June 7, AT&T changed its data plan pricing structure, removing the $30/month unlimited option which had become familiar to iPhone users and replacing it with a max plan offering 2GB of data for $25 a month. The company quickly clarified that iPhone and iPad users on existing unlimited plans would be able to keep their plans indefinitely, and promised that all iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G users who ordered their device by June 7 would be able to opt in to the unlimited plan as well. Engadget reports that following today’s removal of the unlimited option, the company said that everyone who is eligible “will be able to select the unlimited plan,” and that “details will follow.”
Apple has released iBooks 1.1, the first major update to its e-Book reading and purchasing software for iOS devices. As revealed by Apple in its WWDC keynote address, iBooks 1.1 offers compatibility with the iPad as well as any iPhone or iPod touch running iOS 4, and features several noteworthy improvements, including PDF support, the ability to highlight text, add notes, and bookmark, the latter two of which are reflected in the book’s Table of Contents, wireless syncing of notes, highlights, and page position between devices, and, interestingly, support for iTunes Digital Booklet files once they’ve been marked as a Book in iTunes. iBooks 1.1 is available now as a free download from the App Store.
According to the latest data from Millennial Media (PDF Link), Apple’s share of overall U.S. mobile device ad impressions is on the decline. In May, Apple devices accounted for around 25% of all impressions, down sharply from 35% the month before. The report gives no indication as to whether Apple’s changes to the iOS developer agreement, which banned the sharing of user and device data with third party ad networks and analytics tools, had any affect on the results. Also of interest in the report is a new section on mobile developer trends. The report claims that 90% of all U.S. developers are single-platform, with 56% of those focused on iOS development, followed by 29% that are focused on Andoid. Millennial Media’s numbers are based on impressions served on its network of mobile sites and apps, which reaches 82% of the U.S. mobile audience, according to the company.
Last night Apple rolled out a number of updates to its MobileMe service. Most notably, the company brought its enhanced MobileMe webmail application out of beta, giving the web app a more iPad-like interface. Improvements include widescreen and compact views, the ability to use mail rules to automate organization, faster performance, support for sending mail from a different, non MobileMe address, and improved junk mail filtering. Also new is the navigation screen, which replaces the old row of icons at the top of the page with a single cloud icon. When clicked, or when evoked using the key combination of Shift-Esc, it brings up a Mac OS X-like application switcher that lets the user move between applications. These updates join the new Find My iPhone application, which was launched alongside the updates.
Andrew Auernheimer, a key member of the Goatse Security group that recently went public with its exploitation of an AT&T security hole that exposed the email addresses of tens of thousands iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G customers, has been arrested on a number of unrelated felony charges. Cnet reports that Auernheimer was arrested following the execution of a FBI search warrant, and is charged with four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance and one misdemeanor possession charge, with the drugs including cocaine, ecstasy, LSD, and schedule 2 and 3 pharmaceuticals. Auernheimer, writing under the first name Escher, recently penned a response to AT&T regarding the security attack, claiming that AT&T “would have never fixed” the problem if his group hadn’t gone public.