The first European iPad has been unboxed, and Italian site iPadItalia has posted photos of the unit’s unboxing. As noted in the article (Translated Link), the packaging is largely identical to that seen in the U.S., apart from Italian language inserts and the power supply; the included USB to 30-pin cable was strangely missing from the shots. It is unclear from where the device was obtained, however, a commenter claimed that the site “can not disclose anything.” Apple will launch the iPad in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK on Friday, May 28.
Apple has reversed its policy of not accepting cash for iPad purchases following a customer complaint that garnered regional attention. Diane Campbell, a disabled San Francisco-area woman, had saved up $600 to purchase an iPad only to be told at the company’s Palo Alto retail store that it was company policy to only accept credit/debit cards for iPad purchases. The policy was intended to help enforce Apple’s two-per-person iPad purchase policy.
Following her experience, Campbell took her story to ABC 7 in San Francisco, where it was picked up by a consumer advocate reporter. After the TV segment aired, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail Ron Johnson contacted the reporter to let him know that the company had “made a decision today to change” its purchase policy and will now accept cash for iPad purchases. Johnson said that cash purchasers would be required to register their iPad before they leave the store. As for Campbell, Johnson said, “We all would love people like Diane to get an iPad, so I called her up and she was very excited, and we’re actually on our way to deliver an iPad to her house”—for free. After a pair of Apple employees arrived at her home to present her with the iPad, Campbell said, “What I would like to say to Steve is thank you.”
In an atypically lengthy email exchange with Valleywag editor Ryan Tate, Apple CEO Steve Jobs made several comments explaining and defending his company’s stance relating to third-party iPhone OS development. Tate, incensed by Apple’s latest iPad commercial, wrote Jobs asking whether a 20-year-old Bob Dylan—often cited as an inspiration for Jobs—would think the iPad had anything to do with a “revolution,” stating that “[r]evolutions are about freedom.” Jobs responded positively, saying it represents freedom from “programs that steal your private data” and “trash your battery” and “[f]reedom from porn.” Quoting Dylan, Jobs added, “The times they are a changin’, and some traditional PC folks feel like their world is slipping away. It is.”
When Tate commented that he’d “rather have a Wired magazine app that offers interactivity [referencing the mag’s demo app built on Adobe Air] than one that is a glorified PDF,” Jobs responded that “Wired is doing a native Cocoa app,” as is “almost every publisher.” Tate then argued that they were only making native Cocoa apps because they have to, to which Jobs replied that “they don’t have to. They don’t need to publish on the iPad if they don’t want to. No one is forcing them. But it appears they DO want to.” He continued, “The magazine apps will be far better in the end because they are written native. We’ve seen this movie before.” After another round of replies from Tate, Jobs summed up in his final email, “we’re just doing what we can to try and make (and preserve) the user experience we envision. You can disagree with us, but our motives are pure.”
Apple has offered some clarification on the situation regarding the SIM lock on iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G units sold in Japan. It was originally reported that all iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G models sold in Japan would be SIM-locked to SoftBank. Only a few days later, according to a Mobile in Japan article, Apple CEO Steve Jobs responded to a customer email by saying that “[a]ctually, the version of iPad sold in Japan does accept international SIMs.” This was contradicted by information on Apple’s own website, which stated that users could not use a micro SIM from another country in iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G units purchased in Japan. Apple has since told the Wall Street Journal that Japanese iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G models will only work with SoftBank in Japan but are unlocked for use with other carriers abroad; whether or not iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G units purchased outside of Japan will work in Japan will depend on the roaming agreement of the user’s carrier.
Wireless roaming service provider Maxroam has debuted its new Euro iPad Pack micro SIM card for travelling iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G users. The pack includes a micro SIM preloaded with 50MB of data good for use anywhere in Europe. Once the 50MB cap is reached, users can recharge the card with 10MB of data for €25 or 50MB for €75. Maxroam’s Euro iPad Pack micro SIM is available for pre-order now and will ship June 1 for €75.
Luxury goods maker Stuart Hughes has introduced its new solid gold iPad “Supreme Edition.” This modified 64GB iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G features a rear plate and screen surround made from a solid piece of 22ct gold, weighing over 4.6 lbs. In addition, the device’s Apple logo is encrusted with a total of total of 53 Flawless diamonds comprising a total weight of 25.5 crts. Limited to just ten units worldwide, Stuart Hughes’ solid gold iPad “Supreme Edition” is available now and sells for £129,995, or roughly $190,000.
Editor’s Advisory: Though Stuart Hughes’ offerings are of only the most modest interest to our readers, we need to strongly warn you against signing up for any email newsletters or similar offerings from this company; iLounge has had trouble for literally years attempting to opt-out of this company’s mailings, and now receives multiple copies of the same emails over and over again, despite repeated requests for removal. Beware.
Apple has released updates to its iWork suite of applications for the iPad. The updates generally improve performance and reliability across all three applications and improve compatibility with importing and exporting Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents in their respective applications. The updates also add support for French, German, Japanese, Dutch, Italian, Russian, Simplified Chinese and Spanish. Pages 1.1 now displays the toolbar and ruler and automatically fits documents to the page width when working in landscape orientation. Numbers 1.1 improves reliability when importing Numbers ‘09 spreadsheets and improves compatibility with pasting information in from Keynote and Pages. Keynote 1.1 now provides an option to show additional alignment guides at smaller intervals when moving items and improves reliability with Keynote ‘09 and Microsoft Powerpoint presentations. All three iWork applications remain available on the U.S. App Store only at this time, are priced at $10 each and are a free update for existing users.
Wal-Mart may begin offering the iPad in its stores before the end of the year, according to statements made by a company executive. “We anticipate being able to have the iPad later this year,” Gary Severson, senior vice president of entertainment for Wal-Mart’s U.S. stores, said in a telephone interview with Bloomberg. Severson declined to offer any timing or pricing details. His statement comes as the retailer plans a move to add more consumer electronics offerings—including Internet-connected TVs, Blu-ray players, mobile phones, and routers—to its stores in an effort to attract more tech-savvy customers. Apple has yet to announce any distribution expansion plans for the iPad past its own retail stores, some Best Buy stores, and select Apple Authorized Resellers and campus bookstores.
Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn recently needed to defend itself against allegations of employee mistreatment following a rash of employee suicides. The Daily News reports that a 24-year-old Foxconn worker named Chu recently threw herself from her rented apartment in Shenzhen, marking the eighth Foxconn employee suicide this year. “We regret to see the recurrence of such incidents,” Foxconn said in statement. According to the article, Foxconn employs roughly 300,000 workers at its Shenzhen complex, where a 24-year-old male worker leaped to his death less than two weeks ago. The company came under fire last year for its employee treatment following the suicide of 25-year-old Sun Danyong, who reportedly lost a prototype iPhone prior to his death. Foxconn is an Apple manufacturing partner on the iPhone, iPod, iPad, and Mac product lines.
Apple has posted its latest iPad television ad online. Beginning with the question “What is iPad?,” the 30-second spot goes on to call the device “thin” and “beautiful,” saying it “goes anywhere and lasts all day.” While showing the device’s automatic screen reorientation, the ad says “there’s no right way or wrong way,” before exclaiming that the iPad is “crazy powerful” and “magical.” The ad claims that “you already know how to use it,” describing it as “200,000 apps and counting,” “all the world’s websites in your hands,” “video,” “photos,” and “more books than you could read in a lifetime.” The claim that “it’s already a revolution, and it’s only just begun” closes the advertisement, which features a male narrator and “Gold Lion” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in the background. As noted by Mac Rumors, the ad also pays homage to a prior Apple advertisement for the Newton PDA. The “What is iPad” ad is available for viewing now on Apple’s website.
3 (Translated Link) and Vodafone have announced their data plans and pricing for the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G in Italy. 3 customers will be able to purchase a micro SIM for €3, which will include 3GB of data good for 30 days at no extra charge; after the first 30 days, 3GB of data will run €5 monthly, with overages charges at the rate €2 per 100MB. Vodafone is offering a pair of plans, one offering 500MB of data per day for €2, and one offering “unlimited” access for €30 per month; it appears the latter plan will be capped at 500MB per day, with both plans falling back to 64kbps once the cap is reached. [via setteB.IT]
Optus has announced its iPad data plan pricing and details for the Australian market. For pre-paid users, Optus is offering a wide range of options, starting with a $30(AUS) SIM Starter Kit that includes 2GB of data, plus an extra 1GB of bonus data—included with every pre-paid plan—for a total of 3GB of data use over 30 days. After picking up the SIM pack, users can choose from plans that run for 15 days—one for $15(AUS) plan that includes 500MB of data or a $20(AUS) plan that includes 1GB of data—or plans that run for 30 days—including a $30(AUS) plan that offers 3GB of data, a $40(AUS) plan with 4GB of data, and a $50(AUS) plan with 5GB of data. 60 plans will also be offered, including 9GB of data for $70(AUS), 12GB of data for $100(AUS), or 14GB of data for $130(AUS); a lone 186 day plan, including 8GB of data for $80(AUS), rounds out the pre-paid options. Post-paid customers, who will be able to cancel anytime with no cancellation fee, can choose between monthly plans of 2GB of data for $20(AUS), 3GB for $30(AUS), or 8GB for $60(AUS). [Thanks, Albert | via IT Wire]
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.