HTC announced today that it has filed a formal complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), outlining five HTC patents it believes Apple infringes upon with its iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. “As the innovator of the original Windows Mobile PocketPC Phone Edition in 2002 and the first Android smartphone in 2008, HTC believes the industry should be driven by healthy competition and innovation that offer consumers the best, most accessible mobile experiences possible,” said Jason Mackenzie, vice president of North America, HTC Corporation. “We are taking this action against Apple to protect our intellectual property, our industry partners, and most importantly our customers that use HTC phones.” HTC is requesting that the ITC “halt the importation and sale of the iPhone, iPad and iPod in the United States.”
Update: According to a copy of HTC’s complaint to the ITC obtained by iLounge, the five patents cited by HTC “relate generally to hardware and software used to implement telephone directories within mobile telephone systems,” as well as “power management methods implemented in portable electronic devices.”
Verizon Wireless is working with Google to develop a tablet computer that would compete directly with the iPad. The Wall Street Journal reports that the development was confirmed by Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam, who declined to discuss details on the timing or manufacturer of such a device. “What do we think the next big wave of opportunities are?” Mr. McAdam said in an interview. “We’re working on tablets together, for example. We’re looking at all the things Google has in its archives that we could put on a tablet to make it a great experience.” Google declined to comment on the WSJ article, apart from saying that anyone can use its mobile software to create phones and other devices.
Movistar in Spain has announced its data plan rates and pricing (Translated Link) for the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G, along with a unique deal for iPhone customers. The carrier will be offering 30MB-at-a-time access for €3, as well as monthly plans of 200MB for €15, 1GB for €25, and 5GB for €39. Notably, current iPhone users on the €25 or €39 monthly plans may apply for a free microSIM card, which will enable them to share their data plan with the iPad; iPhone users currently on the €15 month plan may migrate to one of the higher plans to become eligible for the sharing option. [Thanks, Carlos]
Apple has updated its support document “iPad: Issues connecting to Wi-Fi networks,” adding to the page’s list of possible solutions. The document now mentions both trying to update router firmware and using WPA or WPA2 wireless security; strangely, it also suggests adjusting the screen brightness if its set at the lowest level. Other suggestions include renewing the IP address, and turning Wi-Fi off and then back on. Notably, the document now states that “Apple will also address remaining Wi-Fi connectivity issues with a future iPad software update,” although no timetable is given for the update’s release. [via Mac Rumors]
A number of international carriers have begun disclosing details of their data plans and pricing for the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G. In Canada, Rogers Wireless will offer 250MB of data for CAD$15.00 per month or 5GB of data for CAD$35.00 per month, while Telstra in Australia is offering tiered monthly pricing of 1GB for A$20, 3GB for A$30, or 6GB for A$60. In the UK, O2 will offer 500MB for £2 per day, 1GB for £10 a month, and 3GB for £15 a month; all three plans will include unlimited Wi-Fi hotspot use. Rival carrier Vodafone will offer UK residents 1GB for £10 per month or 5GB for £25 per month.
In Spain, Orange will offer daily “unlimited” use for €3.50 or monthly “unlimited” use for €35; in each case, the download speed is reduced once a usage cap is reached (250MB for daily plans or 2GB for monthly plans). Vodafone in Spain is offering a similar deal, with an “Express” plan that has a high-speed download cap of 2GB and low speed downloads afterwards for €32 a month, and a “Basic” plan with a 250MB high-speed cap for €15 a month. In France, SFR is offering data with a 75MB cap for €6 per day or €9.90 for three days, a 150MB monthly plan for €14.90, and an “unlimited” plan starting at €29.90 for 1GB. In Switzerland, Swisscom is offering a 100MB daily plan for CHF 5, a 300MB monthly plan for CHF 19, and a 2GB monthly plan for CHF 39. In Germany, O2 is offering monthly data plans with a high-speed cap of 200MB for €10, 1GB for €15, and 5GB for €25, while Vodafone has similarly-capped plans available for €19.95 for 200MB and €29.95 for 3GB.
Apple’s retail store in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood is being accused of discrimination against Chinese customers resulting from an effort to reduce the number of iPads being purchased for export. Grace Meng, a representative of Queens in the New York State Assembly, has emailed Apple after receiving a number of complaints from customers claiming that Apple employees denied them iPads, demanded to see passports, or otherwise acted inappropriately. “One person was asked why they wanted one since their English was not so good,” Meng told the Daily News. “I want to get an explanation.” In one example, a Queens man was initially told that the store was out of iPads, and was only able to secure one after seeking out an Asian employee. The man claims he was later approached by a manager and asked if he was planning to resell the unit. “I’m just so upset,” the man said. “This is racial profiling.” It is unclear whether the incidents are a result of policy originating from Apple on the corporate level, or if employees have simply been told to be on guard for customers who may be purchasing iPad for resale and are being grossly overzealous in their attempts to do so.
Apple has lowered its pricing on its 16GB and 32GB iPad models in Germany following a number of complaints from customers. iPad pricing for the German market was announced on Friday, with prices running €15 higher across the board than in Italy and France, a difference that Apple CEO Steve Jobs said was due to a new copyright levy on computers in that country. “Blame your government,” Jobs reportedly said in an email response (Translated Link) to a concerned customer. “Germany just added a new copyright levy for computers.” Unfortunately, this was not the case on the 16GB and 32GB models; the levy in question only included computers with internal storage of 40GB or higher. Apple updated its German pricing for the iPad accordingly over the weekend, a fact which Jobs alluded to in a reported response to an inquiry over the price reduction. “We found out this weekend that iPad is not subject to a new German copyright tax that we previously thought it was subject to,” Jobs wrote in his response. As a result, the 16GB and 32GB iPad with Wi-Fi models are now priced at €499 and €599, respectively, in Germany, while 16GB and 32GB Wi-Fi + 3G models are priced at a €100 premium; pricing on 64GB models, which are subject to the levy, remained at €714 for Wi-Fi only models and €814 for Wi-Fi + 3G versions. [via Mac Rumors]
Apple has started accepting pre-orders for the iPad with Wi-Fi and the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK for delivery on Friday, May 28. Among the Wi-Fi + 3G units, several countries’ pre-sales differ from one another, with Australia offer no pre-installed micro SIM card, several other countries offering options to ship the device with a chosen carrier’s SIM, and in Japan, Apple isn’t accepting pre-orders for the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G at all, instead choosing to sell the device through current iPhone carrier SoftBank. Pricing in Switzerland, which had yet to be announced, is now set at CHF 649 for 16GB, CHF 779 for 32GB, and CHF 899 for 64GB iPad with Wi-Fi models, while iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G models sell for a CHF 150 premium.
Pricing for the iPad with Wi-Fi and iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G, as well as the associated data plans, have been announced for the Japanese market. iPad with Wi-Fi models sold by Apple in Japan are priced at ¥48,800 for 16GB, ¥58,800 for 32GB, and ¥68,800 for 64GB; SoftBank customers will instead have the choice of purchasing the device up front or paying a slightly more expensive two year installment plan. When paying up front on a prepaid plan, iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G models are priced at 16GB for ¥61,920, 32GB for ¥72,000, and 64GB for ¥81,840; when using the installment agreement, the total prices raise to ¥66,240, ¥76,320, and ¥86,160. If the customer chooses to sign a two-year contract for unlimited data, however, SoftBank is removing the interest from the installment agreement and offering a modest subsidy, bringing the prices down to ¥58,320 for 16GB, ¥67,920 for 32GB, and ¥77,280 for 64GB models. All iPads sold by SoftBank come with two years of free access to the company’s Wi-Fi hotspot service. Unlimited data service will cost iPad users ¥2,910 a month on contract, while prepaid customers can sign up for 1GB of data for ¥4,410. No announcement of iPad offerings has yet been made by rival carrier DoCoMo, which was rumored to also be offering service for the device. [via Mobile in Japan]
Update: Macworld UK claims Apple has confirmed that all iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G models sold in Japan are SIM-locked to SoftBank and will not be readily able to be used on DoCoMo.
Orange has announced its data plan offerings for the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G in the UK, France, and Switzerland (PDF Link). In the UK, users will be able to purchase data as they go at a rate of 5p per MB, daily at a rate of £2 for 200MB, weekly at a rate of £7.50 for 1GB, or choose from two monthly plans, both of which include unlimited browsing at Wi-Fi hotspots: £15 for 3GB/month or £25 for 10GB/month. In France, iPad users can choose between a €10 monthly plan offering 200MB of cellular data and unlimited Wi-Fi hotspot browsing, or a €39 monthly plan including 2GB of data and unlimited Wi-Fi. French customers who reach the data cap will be able to buy a 300 Mb recharge for €10, and current Orange France mobile customers will receive a 15% discount on their iPad data charges. In France, customers will also be able to order their iPad directly form the Orange store, with Apple handling delivery. In Switzerland, Orange will be charging 5 CHF per day for unlimited data use, with a charge of 10 CHF for the micro SIM card and the first three days of use free. Orange also plans to offer iPad service in Spain; pricing and plan details for Spain have yet to be announced.
Despite recent statements dismissing Apple’s impact on the company’s business, Nintendo is internally preparing to launch an assault on Apple as the latter’s iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad begin to eat away at Nintendo’s handheld gaming business. Citing sources close to Nintendo, the Times Online reports that Nintendo president recently told senior executives to treat Apple as the “enemy of the future,” after profits at the Kyoto-based company fell for the first time in six years. According to the report, sources describe a mood of concern at the company, with the hardware and software teams racing to restore the “surprise” the company considers a hallmark of its gaming experiences. The report does not describe what, exactly, Nintendo plans to do about Apple’s encroachment on its business, short of saying that it plans to “unleash the full force of its development and marketing artillery.” [via Mac Rumors]
Nokia has announced that it is suing Apple in Federal District Court in the Western District of Wisconsin, alleging that the iPhone and iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G infringe on five patents held by Nokia. MarketWatch reports that the patents relate to technologies for enhanced speech and data transmission, using location data in applications and innovations in antenna configurations that improve performance and save space. “Nokia has been the leading developer of many key technologies in mobile devices” said Paul Melin, General Manager, Patent Licensing at Nokia. “We have taken this step to protect the results of our pioneering development and to put an end to continued unlawful use of Nokia’s innovation.”
The Finnish company first filed suit against Apple in October 2009, claiming that the iPhone infringes on several Nokia patents; Apple filed a countersuit claiming patent infringement in December. The lawsuits were followed by an ITC complaint from Nokia near the end of the year, alleging that Apple infringes on the Finnish company’s patents “in virtually all of its mobile phones, portable music players, and computers.”
The ITC launched an investigation into Nokia’s claims against Apple in late January; it announced a similar investigation into Apple’s claims against Nokia in February. In March, a federal judge in Delaware signed an order halting litigation between Nokia and Apple pending resolution of the companies’ respective claims with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC); it is unclear whether this prior order will have any bearing on this newest lawsuit.
Apple will be rolling out its iBooks app and iBookstore internationally alongside the iPad’s launch on Friday, May 28. Press releases from the UK, Australia, Canada, and Japan indicate that the iBooks app for iPad, including the iBookstore, will be available as a free download from the App Store on May 28; as with pricing, Apple has yet to update the press websites of many of the other countries slated to launch the iPad on that day. We will be updating this story with further details as they become available.
Update: Apple has confirmed that both Italy and Spain will also be getting iBooks and the iBookstore on May 28.
Update x2: France has also been confirmed to receive iBooks and the iBookstore on May 28.
Update x3 Germany is now confirmed for the May 28 iBooks launch as well.
Apple has revealed its pricing for the iPad in a number of the international countries in which the device will launch on May 28. In the UK, the iPad with Wi-Fi will sell for £429 (inc. VAT) for 16GB, £499 (inc. VAT) for 32GB, and £599 (inc. VAT) for 64GB, while Wi-Fi + 3G models will be priced at £529 (inc. VAT) for 16GB, £599 (inc. VAT) for 32GB and £699 (inc. VAT) for 64GB. In Australia, iPad with Wi-Fi pricing is set at AUS$629 inc GST for 16GB, AUS$759 inc GST for 32GB, and AUS$879 inc GST for 64GB, while Wi-Fi + 3G models will sell for AUS$799 inc GST for 16GB, AUS$928 inc GST for 32GB and AUS$1049 inc GST for 64GB. The company is continuing to update various other countries’ press websites with pricing; we will post details of other countries’ iPad pricing here as they become available.
Update: In Canada, the iPad with Wi-Fi will sell for $549 (CAN) for 16GB, $649 (CAN) for 32GB, $749 (CAN) for 64GB; Wi-Fi + 3G models will sell for $679 (CAN) for 16GB, $779 (CAN) for 32GB and $879 (CAN) for 64GB.
Update x2: Apple has announced its iPad pricing for Italy and Spain. In Italy, pricing will be set at €499 for 16GB, €599 for 32GB, and €699 for 64GB Wi-Fi models, with Wi-Fi + 3G models priced at a €100 premium. In Spain, the iPad will sell for €479 for 16GB, €579 for 32GB, and €679 for 64GB Wi-Fi models, and €579, €679, and €779 for the respective Wi-Fi + 3G models.
Update x3: Pricing for the iPad in France has been announced. The same as Italy, pricing in France will be set at €499 for 16GB, €599 for 32GB, and €699 for 64GB Wi-Fi models, with Wi-Fi + 3G models priced at a €100 premium.
Update x4: German iPad pricing has now been announced. The 16GB Wi-Fi model will sell for €514, the 32GB for €614, and the 64GB model for €714, with Wi-Fi + 3G models again running €100 more.
Apple has announced that the iPad will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK on Friday, May 28. Both iPad with Wi-Fi and iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G models will be available; online pre-orders will begin on Monday, May 10. The iPad was originally set to roll out internationally at the end of April, but “surprisingly strong US demand” forced Apple to push it back. In addition to the nine countries listed above, Apple also plans to release iPad in Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore in July. It will announce availability, local pricing and pre-order plans for these nine additional countries at a later date.
New Zealand-based iPhone developer David Frampton has posted an image to his Flickr account depicting a new way for iPhone app icons to be displayed on the iPad. Instead of the current model, under which the iPhone applications’ 57x57 icons are upscaled to the higher 72x72 resolution of iPad app icons and displayed alongside, Frampton suggests Apple use black borders around the 57x57 icon to denote the application as a lower-resolution iPhone app, which also serves to remind the user that the app itself will run either in the center of the screen with black surrounds or in 2x scaled mode. Notably, Frampton is the developer behind Majic Jungle Software, the same company that recently posted a proof-of-concept video showing the upcoming game Chopper 2 being run on and output from an iPad to an HDTV while a separate iPhone is used as a controller.
A number of iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G owners are reporting an AT&T error that leaves their devices without access to cellular data. According to an Apple Support discussion thread, affected users are seeing a message that states, “AT&T is unable to process your request. We apologize for any inconvenience. Please try again later (Q5033)” during the cellular data account signup process. The issue appears to involve the data/billing information not being received by AT&T, and therefore not being attached to the account. Based on user responses from the thread, those users dealing with the issue need to contact AT&T and have their ICCID number tied to the phone number assigned to their data account in order to get service; others have had success with replacing the iPad’s Micro-SIM card entirely. Even after successful activation, a number of users report receiving the same error when attempting to view their account information on the device, but in those cases, the data connectivity is working.
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.
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.
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.”