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Wall Street Journal app for iPad confirmed

Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corp, has confirmed that an iPad application for the Wall Street Journal is presently under development. This follows a report that Apple CEO Steve Jobs had visited the Wall Street Journal last month to provide a personal demonstration of the iPad. According to Murdoch, WSJ developers have been given access to a pre-release iPad for development purposes but that the device is “kept under padlock and key” by an Apple employee. The iPad WSJ app is expected to expand upon the publication’s existing iPhone app to take better advantage of the larger screen on the iPad.  [via TUAW]

iPad training to begin March 10, launch on 26th?

  • March 3, 2010
  • iPad

Apple will begin training its retail employees on the iPad beginning March 10, according to a new report. Citing anonymous inside sources, as well as an Apple Store manager in Southern California, The Examiner reports that commercials for the device will begin airing on March 15, with e-book capabilities as a point of emphasis, and that Friday, March 26 is a “very likely” date for the device’s launch, although the official date has yet to be set. Finally, the report states that 3G versions of the device won’t be available until April or possibly May, and that customers who “camp out” for the iPad launch will receive an unspecified “special gift.” At its iPad special event on January 27, Apple declined to give an exact launch date for the device, saying instead that the Wi-Fi version would launch in roughly “60 days,” with the 3G version launching about 30 days after its Wi-Fi-only counterpart.

AT&T CEO Stephenson talks iPhone, iPad at conference

Speaking at an investor conference this week, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson made several comments concerning the iPhone and iPad. Regarding the iPhone, Stephenson said he expects the device to be an important part of the company’s handset lineup for “quite some time.” The Wall Street Journal reports that he also said that major carriers will eventually move to a “variable pricing model” to help deal with the large amount of data consumed by smartphone users, noting that AT&T handles half of all U.S. data traffic. Regarding the iPad, Reuters reports that Stephenson said he does not expect the device to help drive new service subscriptions for the company as most users will choose a prepaid data plan. “My expectation is that there’s not going to be a lot of people out there looking for another subscription,” he said, adding that the device would be a mainly “Wi-Fi driven product.” [via Mac Rumors]

Apple job postings point to iBookstore, mobile ad expansion

A handful of new Apple job postings suggest the company is looking to expand its iBookstore into foreign markets and strengthen its mobile advertising team. A listing for an iBooks Asia Pacific & Canada manager describes the position as working with management, partners, production, and marketing to determine strategies for iBooks in “Canada, Australia, New Zealand and other countries,” coordinating launches, and securing content. Separately, a listing for an iPhone Advertising SDK Manager calls for “managing a talented team of developers working on the frameworks included in the iPhone SDK,” a job that will include “day to day management of the engineering, as well as related frameworks” and “interacting with the engineering team, program managers, other engineering teams, and executives.” Other mobile advertising-related postings for a Product UX/Design Engineer, a Senior Interactive Designer, and Senior Interactive Web Developer describe a job with Apple advertising as “an opportunity to redefine the advertising on mobile devices.” [via Silicon Alley Insider/Mac Rumors]

Condé Nast confirms Wired, GQ, others for iPad

  • March 1, 2010
  • iPad

Condé Nast has confirmed upcoming iPad versions of its Wired, GQ, Vanity Fair, Glamour, and The New Yorker magazines. According to the New York Times, GQ—which currently offers an iPhone version of its magazine—will have its iPad-formatted version ready for the April issue, while Vanity Fair and Wired—the latter of which has publicly demonstrated a tablet-formatted version of its magazine—will follow with iPad versions of their June issues. The New Yorker and Glamour will not see their iPad debuts until later in the summer, although the exact timing for those launches is still being determined. According to the article, Condé Nast plans to test different prices, ad types, and approaches over several months before “wrapping up the experiment” in the fall. “We need to know a little bit more about what kind of a product we can make, how consumers will respond to it, what the distribution system will be,” said Thomas J. Wallace, editorial director of Condé Nast. Wallace added that the company will consider digitizing other magazines based on its experience with these initial offerings; Charles H. Townsend, president and chief executive of Condé Nast, said that the company was looking to “take a leadership position” on the iPad.

iPad’s A4 chip based on ARM Cortex A8?

According to a new report, Apple’s A4 chip, announced as the processor inside the iPad, is based on a single ARM Cortex A8 processing core, instead of a multi-core ARM Cortex A9 chip as had been previously reported. Citing multiple anonymous sources, Ars Technica reports that the A4 chip houses both a single Cortex A8 core and a PowerVR SGX GPU, similar to those found in the iPhone 3GS, and speculates that the company significantly pared down the I/O connections of the A8, possibly removing the IR handler, still and video camera support, and keypad controller. Notably, however, the author of the report seems to have been unaware of the iPad’s support for external displays, correcting a statement claiming that “no external display attachment has been announced” to say that “the latest rumors from the SDK indicate that there is external display support, and at least one company has announced an adaptor,” ignoring completely that Apple itself has announced such an accessory; the report also makes no mention of Apple’s iPad Camera Connection Kit.

Associated Press plans iPad app

The Associated Press has announced that it plans to develop a native iPad application for accessing AP news content as part of an initiative to create new experiences for consuming news on various mobile devices. To facilitate this The Associated Press has created a new strategic business unit, AP Gateway that will be responsible for developing new business opportunities for multimedia news. Speaking with the Colorado Press Association, Tom Curley, president and CEO of The Associated Press indicated that their new AP Gateway unit will “allow the news industry to deliver the news directly to the consumer in a variety of exciting new ways.” The AP Gateway unit builds upon the company’s existing AP Mobile application with a goal of creating user experiences that are tailored to specific target devices such as the iPad, rather than simply displaying generic content. A release date and price for the iPad application has not yet been announced. [via Mac Rumors]

Audio posted of Apple COO Cook at Goldman Sachs Conference

Apple has posted an audio webcast of COO Tim Cook’s recent comments made at the Goldman Sachs Technology & Internet Conference 2010. During his talk, Cook made a number of interesting comments regarding the Apple TV, iPad, and iPhone. According to Cook, the reason Apple calls Apple TV a hobby is because it’s in a market that’s “very small today.” However, unit sales of the Apple TV grew 35% year-over-year in the December quarter, and the company is “continuing to invest in it” because it believes “there’s something there.” However, Cook contrasted the Apple TV’s hobby status with the iMac, which he believed was a strong product with a bright future ahead; by contrast, the current model for the Apple TV was difficult, because it would seem to lead to an Apple-branded TV, adding that the company has “no interest in being in the TV market.”

Regarding the potential market for the iPad, Cook said he “wasn’t losing any sleep” over possible cannibalization of existing Apple products, and amplified prior hints regarding its value relative to netbooks, saying that he doesn’t think people will want to continue to use inexpensive but disappointing netbooks over time. Having used the iPad for six months, as he explained, the experience was significantly better. As for distribution, Cook said the company will initially sell the iPad in its direct channels, including in Apple Stores, online, and through its education sales force, and in indirect channels where the company has “assisted sales,” including Apple’s “stores in stores” at Best Buy locations and Apple Premium Resellers, all places where the company “has sales people that can answer questions.” He suggested that the iPad could later come to locations without sales assistance, implying that customers will need to be helped through initial experiences with the unfamiliar device. He also described AT&T’s iPad data pricing as “revolutionary,” noting that he wouldn’t want to suggest what competing carriers might have to do to sell the iPad along with AT&T, and later said that he thinks there is a place for both iPhone OS and Mac OS operating systems.

Survey: iPod touch users spend more time using apps

According to a survey published in mobile advertising firm AdMob’s January Mobile Metrics Report (PDF Link), iPod touch users download more apps and spend more time using apps than iPhone or Android users. The report states that iPod touch users download an average of 12 apps per month, 37% more than iPhone and Android users, and spend an average of 100 minutes a day using apps, 25% more time than iPhone and Android users. iPod touch users are also younger on average than users of other platforms and devices, with 78% of iPod touch users surveyed below the age of 25, compared to 25% of iPhone users and 24% of Android and webOS users. According to the survey, 16% of iPhone users said they intend to purchase an iPad, compared to 11% of webOS users and only 6% of Android users; a similar percentage of Android users were instead interested in the Amazon Kindle. Finally, 91% of iPhone users and 88% of iPod touch users would recommend their device, compared to 84% of Android users and 69% of webOS users. AdMob’s January survey included 963 respondents across all of the platforms.

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Latest iPad SDK supports front facing camera, zoom, and flash

  • February 24, 2010
  • iPad

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A number of camera characteristics found in the third beta of the iPhone SDK 3.2 for iPad suggest Apple had considered adding a camera to the iPad. Mac Rumors reports that in the latest SDK, Apple’s private camera framework tests for three characteristics—“supportsZoom,” “hasFlash,” and “hasFrontCamera”—that are not present in the current iPhone-only 3.x SDK. Also discovered is an interface to accept or decline a video chat, with buttons that Mac Rumors claims seem to be meant for the iPad and not the iPhone. It’s unclear why Apple decided against adding a front-facing camera to the iPad, but it does appear that the company is considering the feature for future models.

Apple posts third update to iPhone OS 3.2 SDK for iPad

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Apple has released the third beta version of its iPhone SDK 3.2 for iPad. Originally released on January 27 following the introduction of the iPad and updated on February 10, the new SDK is tailored specifically for iPad development. It includes support for the device’s 1024x768 resolution, other iPad-specific interface functions, and an iPad simulator application so developers can pre-test their apps in an environment similar to that of the final device. It is currently unclear what, if any major changes were made in the latest version. The iPhone OS 3.2 SDK beta 3 for iPad is available now to registered iPhone developers through the iPhone Dev Center.

Apple CEO Jobs pushes WSJ to dump Flash

During a recent meeting with executives from the Wall Street Journal, Apple CEO Steve Jobs aggressively dismissed Adobe’s Flash technology, urging the publication to develop non-Flash alternatives for its video and other interactive content. Citing people familiar with the meeting, Silicon Alley Insider reports that Jobs called Flash a “CPU hog,” claiming that the iPad’s battery performance would drop from 10 hours to 1.5 hours if forced to spend CPU cycles on Flash processing. The CEO also said Flash was a source of “security holes,” and compared it with other older technologies that have either been jettisoned or are in decline, including the floppy drive, old data ports, non LED-backlit LCD screens, and the CD, which faces competition from higher-capacity physical media and downloads. In addition, Jobs suggested that the Journal should switch to H.264 for its video content, and said that it would be “trivial” to make the switch not only to H.264, but to Javascript-based slideshows and other interactive features.

Apple blocks import records ahead of iPad launch

Apple has taken steps to block its ocean freight import records from public view ahead of the launch of its new iPad tablet computer, according to trade data protection company Trade Privacy. According to a press release issued by Trade Privacy, industry competitors and media will be unable to acquire any early intelligence on Apple products arriving on U.S. shores from foreign manufacturers, preventing outlets like ImportGenius—which predicted the arrival of the iPhone 3G in 2008 by monitoring the company’s import shipments—from predicting the arrival of the iPad and other future products. Notably, Trade Privacy says that other large technology companies such as Microsoft, Google, Samsung and Sony continue to expose their import records to customers, media, and competitors. “It is alarming, critical trade secrets such as manufacturer sources, quantity of goods, product descriptions, destinations, and product arrival dates are now accessible to anyone in just a few clicks on-line,” explains Andrew Park, CEO of Trade Privacy. Without protection of their import data, companies make sensitive information accessible, which Park states, “can be detrimental to their competitive stance.” Apple is expected to launch its first Wi-Fi-only iPad models in late March. [via Fortune]

Adobe CEO blasts Apple’s ‘proprietary’ business model

Speaking in an interview at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen criticized Apple for its decision not to support Flash on its iPhone OS devices, according to a Computerworld report. Reiterating stats claiming that 85 percent of the top 100 Web sites in the world use Flash and that it delivers 75 percent of Internet videos, while hailing its “powerful ecosystem” of partners, Narayen said Apple isn’t serving its customers by blocking access to Flash content. “Considering the amount of content on the Web that uses Flash — not allowing your consumers to access that content isn’t showing off the Web in all its glory,” Narayen said. “Apple’s business model is more trying to maintain a proprietary lock.”

The CEO also mentioned Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ statement from March 2008 that the full-blown Flash Player “performs too slow to be useful” on the iPhone, calling for a third version of the software that fell in between the desktop and “Lite” versions of the software. Narayen described Jobs’ statement as “a little bit of a red herring,” before pointing out that the new 10.1 version of the software—which is expected to make its way onto some Android and other smartphones later this year—fills that gap. Earlier this year Jobs made further comments about Flash at a closed company event, calling Adobe lazy, and its Flash player buggy, while predicting that web developers would move away from the software as they focus more on HTML5 development.

Apple iBookstore prices to be lower than expected?

While publishers have cheered Apple’s decision to allow e-book pricing as high as $14.99, that number may act as more of a price ceiling than a general guideline, according to a new report. Citing at least three people with knowledge of the discussions between Apple and major book publishers, the New York Times reports that Apple inserted provisions in the agreements requiring publishers to discount prices on best sellers, possibly to as low as the $9.99 pricing seen on Amazon’s Kindle store. The report also claims that Apple wanted e-book prices to reflect the hardcover price in cases where the hardcover edition was sold for less than the standard $26. During its iBooks and iBookstore announcement, Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed the company had signed agreements with five of the six largest book publishers—Penguin, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Macmillan, and Hachette book group. According to the report, Apple will take 30 percent of each sale, with the remaining 70 percent going to the the publisher and author; notably, some books shown during the iBookstore demo were available for as little as $4.99. Apple is expected to launch its iBooks app and iBookstore alongside the iPad in late march.

Vimov adds iPad support to iSimulate

Vimov has added support for Apple’s iPad Simulator to its iSimulate developer utility. iSimulate is an iPhone app and Xcode library bundle that lets iPhone developers wirelessly control their applications and games from an actual iPhone or iPod touch unit. The new version of iSimulate allows developers to utilize the multitouch screen, accelerometer, GPS, and compass of the iPhone or iPod touch units to control iPad applications running within the iPad simulator, features that are not available via Mac-based controls. The updated version of iSimulate is available now from the App Store for $10, down from its normal price of $16; a free Lite version is also available.

Apple receives patent for multipoint touchscreen

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Apple has been awarded a patent for a multipoint touchscreen. U.S. Patent No. 7,663,607, entitled “Multipoint Touchscreen,” more specifically covers a larger, two-hand touchscreen, or as mentioned in the patent itself, a “tablet PC.” The patent’s summary descibes a transparent capacitive sensing surface that can sense multiple simultaneous touches and at distinct locations, similar to the technology seen in the recent announced iPad. This allows the computer to react to the multiple touches at once, allowing for more advanced interation than possible on a single-touch sensing surface. 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]

Periodical publishers ‘need’ customer data from Apple

A number of newspaper and magazine publishers are expressing concerns over potential deals with Apple due to fears that the company will not be as forthcoming with customer data as the publications would like. The Financial Times reports that Apple’s history of sharing little customer data beyond sales volume information could prove to be a “deal breaker,” said one senior media executive in discussions with Apple. “We have for many years relied on subscriptions to be able to communicate with our readers,” Sara Öhrvall, senior vice-president of research at Swedish publisher Bonnier, told FT. “It is absolutely crucial to keep the data. That’s something that our advertisers need. It is something that we need.” Also a concern is the ability to identify current print subscribers to offer them discounts or free access to digital versions. Customers “will be really upset if we try to charge [them] again,” Ms Öhrvall said. Regardless of the device, she added that “it’s a deal killer.”

Publishers are also said to be wary of Apple’s revenue model, which would see the publisher paid 70 percent of the selling price, with Apple keeping the rest. While the plan makes sense for books, publishers said, it makes less sense for recurring charges like subscriptions, adding that giving away close to a third of subscription sales over an indefinite period of time would be hard to accept.

Apple planning to employ FairPlay DRM for iBookstore?

  • February 15, 2010
  • iPad

Apple may be planning to use its FairPlay Digital Rights Management (DRM) software on iBookstore purchases. Citing sources in the publishing industry, the Los Angeles Times reports that Apple will use its proven DRM to protect book sales from the iBookstore, although some publishers, such as O’Reilly Media—which has spoken out against DRM on e-book sales—may choose to opt-out of FairPlay on its offerings. According to the report, O’Reilly is in negotiations with Apple offer its books on the iBookstore, which will be part of the new iBooks app expected to launch alongside the iPad. Apple originally developed FairPlay for use on the iTunes Music Store, but has since moved to selling all DRM-free music.

iPad anticipation driving app development

According to new data from application analysis service Flurry Analytics, the announcement of the iPad has led to a huge spike in iPhone development. Flurry saw over 1,600 new iPhone OS application starts in January, compared to under 600 in December. In addition, this spike in new iPhone OS applications has helped the iPhone gain in percentage of overall application project starts versus Android, which accounted for nearly 30% of new project starts in December, compared to under 20% in January. According to the company, “the recent spike in Apple iPad support has swung the pendulum back in Apple’s favor to a level not seen at Flurry in six months. The unprecedented surge in support for iPad is a positive early indicator for its commercial potential.” Flurry tracks over 20,000 live applications and over 2 billion user sessions each month, across the iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and J2ME platforms. Apple is expected to launch its first iPad models in late March.

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