Urban Apps has released an update to Ambiance adding iPad and AirPlay support. Ambiance is an “environment enhancer” application that allows the user to play back a wide variety of ambient noises that can be downloaded from a very large catalog of sounds ranging from nature sounds to sounds from busy train stations. Ambiance 3.1 is now a universal application adding native support for the iPad as well as introducing AirPlay support for full audio streaming to an Apple TV, Airport Express or other AirPlay compatible output device. The new version also fixes a number of issues related to push notifications, caching of pages and general user interface problems. Ambiance is available from the App Store for $3 and is a free update for current users.
Apple has added the ability for iPad users to access their Ping accounts via the iTunes app. The Ping tab allows users to view their activity feed, followers, profile, and a separate section dedicated to concerts, including local shows, artists on tour, and links to purchase tickets through Ticketmaster.com. Ping went live on Apple’s other iOS 4 devices in early September. [via 9 to 5 Mac]
Apple has released a revised version of its iOS 4.2 Gold Master for iPad, amid reports that the software’s launch was pushed back due to a bug. Citing a number of different recent articles, Mac Rumors reports that Apple has posted Build 8C134b of the software on the iOS Dev Center, a newer version than Build 8C134 which was seeded to developers on November 1. According to the report, rumors had indicated that there were Wi-Fi connectivity issues in the initial GM build of iOS 4.2 for iPad, forcing Apple to push back its internal schedule for the software’s release from this week to at least next week, and possibly as late as November 24, as reported by The Telegraph. Apple has said only that iOS 4.2 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch would be released in November.
Marco Arment has released a major update to his Instapaper offline reader application for iOS devices, making several UI and performance improvements and adding new sharing options. Instapaper 2.3 adds article preview text to the list view on the iPhone and iPod touch similar to that found in the iPad version, while also adding slightly longer preview text for the iPad. New indicators in the article listing now display the approximate length of each article as well as the relative progress using a row of dots. The iPhone version also adds support for toggling Dark Mode from within an article, and a new option is now available on both platforms to automatically switch the display to Dark mode at night based on the sunset times in the user’s area as determined by the device’s location. The update also adds several new sharing options including the ability to send links to OmniFocus and QuickReader as well as copy links or article text to the iOS clipboard. Other new features include performance improvements in the iPad version, simplified bookmarklet installation and the addition of an “ihttp” URL scheme for sending web pages to Instapaper without requiring the bookmarklet. Instapaper 2.3 is available from the App Store for $5.
Evernote has released an update to its universal cloud note storage app for iOS devices. Evernote 3.4 now provides users with the ability to select multiple images from their device’s photo library for adding to a single note or creating multiple snapshot notes rather than needing to add images one at a time. The update also offers several improvements to audio note recordings, increasing the maximum recording time for a single note to 90 minutes and adding playback, pause and replay controls both within the app and via background iOS 4 audio controls. Additional new features include iOS 4 “Open In” support allowing users to send PDFs and text files from Safari, Mail and other compatible third-party apps directly into Evernote and AirPrint support for printing notes directly from Evernote to a network printer. Evernote is a universal app for both iPhone/iPod touch and iPad and is available from the App Store as a free download.
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.