With just over two weeks remaining before the first iPads hit store shelves, Apple is still working to secure content deals for the iPad, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Citing people familiar with the matter, the report states that Apple has had to pare back its initial ambitions for the iPad as securing content for the device has proven difficult. Reportedly, Apple has put on hold its effort to work with newspaper, magazine, and textbook publishers to bring new digital content to the iPad, in favor of focusing on other content deals, such as a price cut on TV shows from the iTunes Store. The report goes on to claim that Apple has faced difficulties signing deals with some content providers as the providers debate the advantages of working with Apple versus the possible threat it poses to current revenue streams. Apple will launch the iPad on April 3, with initial availability limited to Wi-Fi-only models; Wi-Fi + 3G versions will arrive later in the month.
A newly-published Apple patent application suggests the company is working on a location-based social networking service referred to as “iGroups.” The application describes a system through which multiple iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch users at an event, meeting, or other gathering could exchange information automatically by having their devices exchange encrypted, location-tagged “tokens,” which would then be sent to a trusted service—such as Apple’s MobileMe—and used to determine that all the users were at the same place or event. Once this has taken place, the users could then send location information and messages amongst the group as they move about and experience the event, potentially facilitating discussions on where to meet after the event is over, and also making it possible to precisely locate non-GPS devices by determining their proximity to a GPS-enabled device using a short-range communications protocol such as Bluetooth. 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. [via Patently Apple]
China Mobile hopes to reach a deal with Apple to sell the iPhone, and possibly the iPad, in the near future, according to recent comments made by China Mobile chairman Wang Jianzhou. “We’re hoping we’ll come to an agreement (with Apple) on the iPhone as soon as possible,” he told AFP reporters at a news conference in Hong Kong. “We will continue to express our interest in the iPhone. But not just the iPhone, also the iPad.” China Mobile has reportedly been in talks with Apple about the iPhone since November 2007, but the negotiations have stalled multiple times over issues such as revenue sharing and App Store control. During this period, Apple reached an agreement with rival carrier China Unicom to carry the iPhone; Unicom launched the handset in China in October 2009.
Apple has released the fifth beta version of its iPhone SDK 3.2 for iPad. First released in January following the introduction of the iPad, the SDK is tailored specifically to the device, including support for its 1024x768 resolution, other iPad-specific interface functions, and includes an iPad simulator application so developers can pre-test their apps in an environment similar to that of the final device. It is unknown what, if any, changes were made in this latest version. The iPhone OS 3.2 SDK beta 5 for iPad is available now to registered iPhone developers through the iPhone Dev Center.
Apple has launched a number of new enhancements to its iWork.com beta Web-based document sharing service, including improved access on iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad devices. Mac Rumors reports that an email sent out to iWork.com users touts a redesigned user interface, which includes “a redesigned Sign In and Shared Documents page for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch [that] makes it easy to access your documents while on the go. The new interface and improved scrolling help you find your shared documents faster.” To access the new features, users can visit iwork.com from their iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad.
Daniel Tello, a Venezuelan blogger and analyst, estimates that Apple saw as many as 120,000 iPad pre-orders on Friday. Tello, who goes by the screen name Deagol, bases his number on tracking of order numbers submitted by members of an Apple-focused board on the site InvestorVillage, compared against his estimates of Apple’s average online daily order volume. Fortune reports that Tello is expecting iPad sales to continue over the next few weeks at a rate of 30,000 per weekday and 15,000 on weekends. “With three weeks and two weekends left before they ship, I wouldn’t expect much more than half a million in pre-orders and reservations,” Tello said. Notably, Tello’s figures don’t take into account orders with more than one iPad, nor do they account for iPads that have been reserved for pick up and purchase on launch day. While these figures are by no means definitive, they do provide a general glimpse at iPad sales leading up to the device’s launch on April 3.
Mobile advertising network Mobclix has released a new iPad-specific software development kit to enable developers to integrate advertising into their iPad apps. The new SDK allows developers to integrate video and rich media ads into their apps in four different sizes: 468x60, 300x250, 120x600 and 728x90, with more options to come. The Mobclix iPad SDK is available for download from the Mobclix Developer Dashboard (free registration required). [via TechCrunch]
An Apple support document has revealed that should an iPad need service due to a failing battery, Apple will simply replace the iPad for a $99 service fee. The document states, “If your iPad requires service due to the battery’s diminished ability to hold an electrical charge, Apple will replace your iPad for a service fee,” noting that damaged iPads and/or iPads suffering from component failures will not be eligible for Battery Replacement Service. Notably, it also states that data from the iPad being “serviced” will not be preserved, saying, “you will receive a replacement iPad that will not contain any of your personal data. Before you submit your iPad for service, it is important to sync your iPad with iTunes to back up your contacts, calendars, email account settings, bookmarks, apps, etc.” Apple states that customers should receive their replacement iPads in approximately one week from the time they send out their faulty units. [via Engadget]
Apple has begun to hand out promotional iPad cards at its retail stores that suggests the company is preparing for a sell-out of launch day iPad reservations. The card offers instructions on how to reserve an iPad for pickup, telling customers to visit apple.com/ipad/reserve, select the store they wish to pick it up from, and choose their iPad model—16, 32, or 64GB. It then states that Apple will send the customer “an email with the date [their] iPad will be ready for pickup,” instead of saying the device would be ready on April 3. The card also references free shipping for iPad pre-orders, which can be made online at apple.com/ipad/pre-order.
- March 12, 2010
In addition to the disclosure in Apple’s just-published FCC filings for the iPad that there are two Wi-Fi antennas per model, a separate Apple document has disclosed a previously unknown difference in the dimensions of the Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + 3G models. According to the document, the Wi-Fi + 3G model is 0.3mm taller and 0.1mm wider than the Wi-Fi only model, in part apparently due to the 3G model’s top antenna panel. This is in addition to a previously disclosed 0.1 pound difference in weight between the models, which was announced on the date of the iPad’s introduction in January. Though this difference in dimensions is very modest, it will likely impact the compatibility of individual iPad models with some precision-molded cases and other accessories, which are commonly manufactured to fit tightly on Apple’s devices.
- March 12, 2010
Both the iPad with Wi-Fi and iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G have appeared on the Federal Communications Commission’s website. While the documents that are available — the user manual, external photos, and other materials are still being withheld at Apple’s request — provide little in the way of important new information, there are several small discoveries to be made within. Both models of the iPad sport two Wi-Fi antennas, one that is shared with Bluetooth, and one that is not; these antennas cannot transmit simultaneously, are “fed with different power levels,” and are located in different places within the casing. While the exact reason for the dual antenna configuration is not given, it appears to be for reception diversity, allowing the iPad to decide which antenna is working better and switch between them, opting for the higher power version when necessary. [via Engadget]
In the process of updating its website to include further details of the iPad, Apple has quietly provided some new information on the differences between iPhone OS 3.1.x, which currently runs on iPhone and iPod touch units, and iPhone OS 3.2, which will run on the iPad. Notably, the Maps application on the iPad will support Google Maps’ “Terrain” view, which is currently unavailable on the iPhone and iPod touch. The iPod application‘s “Now Playing” screen has also received a makeover, with a large volume slider in the top bar, alongside track information and back/forward/play/pause controls; back, Genius, and album listing/artwork buttons appear in a bar at the bottom, and a white/gray song progress bar appears directly beneath the top bar, offering repeat and shuffle buttons at either end. Thankfully, support for MobileMe’s Find My iPhone feature has been carried over to the iPad, so that users will be able to locate their misplaced/stolen units via Apple’s online me.com portal. The YouTube application will support sharing of videos via Facebook, and, according to the Tech Specs page, the Videos app will support AVI videos in MJPEG format, most likely to offer playback of videos from digital cameras. Finally, the switch on the right side of the iPad above the volume buttons, previously believed to be a ring/silent switch like that found on the iPhone, has been changed to a screen rotation lock switch, allowing users to disable the automatic screen rotation feature for using the device in troublesome positions.
According to a new page on Apple’s website devoted to the new iBooks application for the iPad, iBooks will support non-DRM ePub books not downloaded from the iBookstore. According to the text, “you can add free ePub titles to iTunes and sync them to the iBooks app on your iPad.” In addition, iBooks also supports Apple’s VoiceOver technology. “iBooks works with VoiceOver, the screen reader in iPad, so it can read you the contents of any page,” the site says. Finally, the app will offer the ability to tap and hold on any word to look it up in the iPad’s built-in dictionary, in Wikipedia, or search for it within the book or on the web. iBooks will be a free download for iPad users from the App Store.
Apple has added a new webpage to its iPad section explaining the details of the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G’s U.S. service setup and activation process. According to the page, “if you choose the 250MB plan, you’ll receive onscreen messages as you get close to your monthly data limit so you can decide whether to turn off 3G or upgrade to the unlimited plan,” later revealed to be three alerts, arriving when the user reaches 20 percent, 10 percent, and zero percent of their allotted data. The page also reiterates that users who need 3G service temporarily, such as on a business trip or vacation, can sign up for a month of service, and cancel when they return home. All account management, including activation, upgrading of plans, and cancellation can be handled directly on the iPad; Apple plans to ship the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G in “late April.”
Apple has begun to accept iPad pre-orders, and details on the process are now available. For customers ordering through the online store for home delivery, the limit on Wi-Fi-only iPad pre-orders is two per person, while those wishing to reserve a Wi-Fi-only iPad for pick up at an Apple retail store—no reservations are being taken for Wi-Fi + 3G models—are limited to one per customer. The ordering page notes that customers pre-ordering a Wi-Fi-only model for delivery on launch day must live in an area where Saturday Delivery is available; those outside such areas will receive their iPad units on Monday, April 5.
Apple has confirmed that it will begin accepting online pre-orders for the iPad at 5:30 a.m. Pacific Time/8:30 a.m. Eastern Time tomorrow, TUAW reports. According to Apple’s prior announcement, U.S. customers will be able to pre-order both the Wi-Fi-only and Wi-Fi + 3G models of the device, or reserve a Wi-Fi-only model for pick up at an Apple retail store. Apple will officially launch the Wi-Fi-only version of the iPad in the U.S. on Saturday, April 3, with Wi-Fi + 3G models expected to ship in late April.
Barnes & Noble has confirmed plans to release its own eReader application for the iPad. The application is expected to be released as a free download “around the time” of the iPad availability and will allow users to read existing books in their Barnes & Noble digital library, including eBooks and content that customers have already downloaded to their nook eBook reader, as well as providing access to the Barnes & Noble eBookstore. [via Engadget]
iPhone OS 4.0, the next major revision to the software that powers the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, will offer support for multitasking, according to a new report. Citing anonymous sources “with a proven track record” in predicting Apple’s technical advancements, AppleInsider reports that iPhone OS 4.0, expected this summer, will include a “full-on solution” for multitasking, allowing third-party applications downloaded from the App Store to run in the background. According to the same sources, the software will include a multitasking manager built on interface technology already bundled with Apple’s Mac OS X operating system. Finally, the report states that the software is under development and has quite a “way to go” before its ready for release; no further specifics were given.
A pair of files offering support for new gestures have been found in the latest beta version of the iPhone SDK 3.2 for iPad. 9to5Mac reports that the latest SDK’s “gestures” folder contains two previously unseen files, named “3Tap.plist” and “LongPress.plist,” presumably offering support for triple-tap and tap-and-hold gestures, which Apple currently uses in its implementations of VoiceOver and the iPhone OS’ cut-and-paste feature. In addition, 9to5Mac discovered that the files related to video chat features found in the previous beta SDK have been removed in the latest version.
- March 10, 2010
An internal Verizon memo posted online by Engadget suggests the company sees the launch of the iPad as “an opportunity” to push its data service plans. The memo states that the 3G version of the iPad is $130 more than the Wi-Fi only model, plus the cost of 3G service, which comes “on an overloaded network with limited coverage.” As Engadget points out, however, unlimited iPad 3G data service on AT&T costs $30 per month with no contract, while 5GB of data on Verizon with a MiFi device runs $60/month on a two-year contract. Interestingly, the memo also states that the iPad will not be sold directly by AT&T, contradicting a rumor from last month that AT&T would be selling the 3G version of the iPad in its stores via a built-in display.