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.
Apple has released the fourth 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 currently unclear what, if any, major changes were made in the updated version. The iPhone OS 3.2 SDK beta 4 for iPad is available now to registered iPhone developers through the iPhone Dev Center.
A team of Apple executives is expected to arrive in the United Kingdom this week for discussions with mobile operators about the iPad. The Sunday Times reports that Apple is expected to sign deals with more than one mobile operator, instead of going with a single provider approach. All three current UK iPhone carriers—O2, Orange, and Vodafone—are said to be anxious to make a deal, due to the positive buzz around the product and the potential data revenues it could produce. Citing anonymous sources, the report states that preliminary discussions about the iPad have already taken place between Apple and the carriers, but pricing details have yet to be worked out. Notably, the report also claims that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is not expected to take part in the discussions, which are scheduled to run into next week. Apple has announced that it will launch both the Wi-Fi and 3G models of the iPad in the UK in late April.
Apple has aired its first television commercial for the iPad, during the broadcast of the 82nd Annual Academy Awards. The 30-second spot shows the iPad in use, and highlights many of the device’s built-in applications, including Photos, Maps, iTunes, iPod, Safari, Calendar, and Mail, along with iBooks, the iBookstore, and Pages. The ad finishes by showing the device’s launch date followed by the iPad name; the spot also features the song “There Goes My Love” by The Blue Van throughout. Notably, Apple used the same event—the Academy Awards—to air its first iPhone television commercial. Apple’s new iPad commercial is now available for viewing on Apple’s website.
According to data from the latest ChangeWave survey, respondents looking to purchase an e-Reader in the next 90 days are more likely to buy an iPad than an Amazon Kindle. Specifically, 40% of those respondents said they would purchase an iPad, compared to 28% for the Amazon Kindle, 6% for the Barnes & Noble Nook, and only 1% who said they planned to purchase a Sony Reader. Among current e-Reader owners, 27% said they would have purchased an iPad instead of their current e-Reader had it been available at the time, compared to 45% who would have still purchased their current e-Reader, and 30% of respondents who didn’t know. The survey also asked likely iPad buyers about the timing of their purchase. 6% said they expected to purchase an iPad within a week of its release, 10% said they would likely purchase one 2-4 weeks after its release, 20% said they would likely buy an iPad 2-3 months after its release, and 23% said they thought they would purchase one 4-6 months after its release. Another 19% said they expected to purchase an iPad 7-12 months after its release, while only 8% said they expected to wait for more than a year before purchasing an iPad. ChangeWave’s survey consisted of 3,171 consumers, and was conducted from Feb 1-10, 2010.
- March 5, 2010
Apple has announced that the Wi-Fi-only version of its long-awaited iPad tablet will launch on Saturday, April 3 in the United States, with the 3G model launching in late April. U.S. customers will be able to pre-order both Wi-Fi-only and 3G iPads from Apple’s online store, or reserve a Wi-Fi model for pick up at an Apple retail store, beginning on March 12. Internationally, all models of iPad will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK in late April, with additional countries coming later this year.
“iPad is something completely new,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’re excited for customers to get their hands on this magical and revolutionary product and connect with their apps and content in a more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before.”
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]
- March 3, 2010
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.
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]
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]
- March 1, 2010
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.
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.