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Amazon, Barnes & Noble building iPad apps

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Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble are working on iPad-formatted versions of their iPhone book-reading applications, according to a New York Times report. “We have actually developed a tablet-based interface that redesigns the core screen and the reading experience,” said Ian Freed, vice president for Kindle at Amazon. “Our team had some fun with it.” Amazon’s Kindle app for iPhone will give users a new interface for browsing their book collection, and allow them to “slowly turn pages with their fingers,” while Barnes & Noble’s app will offers customizable font colors and sizes and quick finger-swipe page turning; the company has also been in talks with publishers about adding multimedia content to their digital books. Amazon has launched a new website highlighting its new Kindle apps for tablet computers, including the iPad.

The report also reiterates some of Apple’s secrecy guidelines for early iPad testers, which include Major League Baseball, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times, while noting that some developers who haven’t yet had a chance to use an iPad are holding off until they can test their programs on the device itself. “As much as we’d love to be there on Day 1, a misstep could kill the train before it even gets out of the station,“ said Wade Slitkin, CEO of Panelfly, which makes a digital comic-book reader. Neither Amazon or Barnes & Noble plan on having their iPad apps ready for launch day, as neither was given a pre-release iPad for early testing, and both want to test their apps on an actual iPad before submitting their applications to Apple.

Apple offering schools discounted 10-pack iPad bundles

Apple is now offering discounted 10-pack iPad bundles to educational institutions. Mac Rumors reports that the new bundles are designed to offer minor discounts while also reducing packaging, as all ten iPads are shipped in a single box. Pricing on the bundles, which are currently available for Wi-Fi iPads only, starts at $4,790 for ten 16GB units with no AppleCare, and increases accordingly with AppleCare and higher capacities. Overall, the bundle pricing offers a $20 discount off of individual iPad units, and $40 off per iPad when purchased with AppleCare.

Apple now accepting iPad app submissions

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Apple has sent out an email to registered iPhone developers, informing them that the company is now accepting iPad application submissions. According to the email provided to iLounge, iPad apps submitted between now and March 27 will receive an “initial review” by the App Review Team, and developers will receive feedback on the app’s readiness for what the Apple is referring to as the “grand opening.” All submitted apps must be built and tested using iPhone SDK 3.2 beta 5, the latest version of the beta SDK; following submission, developers will receive an email with details about the readiness of their apps. Finally, developers will receive additional information about submitting their app for final review before the iPad ships, and only applications submitted for the initial review process will be considered for the grand opening of the “iPad App Store.” Apple will launch the iPad on April 3.

Apple demands secrecy from early iPad testers

Apple is offering select developers an early hands-on testing period with the iPad, but only under highly-specific secrecy terms, according to a BusinessWeek report. Citing people familiar with the 10-page agreement that must be signed by each developer wanting early access to an iPad unit, Apple is forcing developers to take extreme measures to ensure the secrecy of their pre-launch testing. According to the report, the iPad must be kept isolated in a room with blacked-out windows, and must also remain tethered to a fixed object to eliminate the possibility of it being taken out of the isolated environment. Furthermore, all developers wanting a pre-release iPad for testing must also provide photographic evidence of compliance with the above terms before Apple will send a unit out, and the developers are barred from revealing that they have been given a pre-release unit for testing. Apple will launch the iPad on April 3.

Apple scrambling to secure content deals for iPad

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.

Apple patent details ‘iGroups’ location-based service

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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 carry iPhone, iPad

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 releases iPhone SDK 3.2 Beta 5 for iPad

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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 updates iWork.com with new iPhone, iPad interface

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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.

Report: Estimated iPad pre-orders at 120,000 on day one

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.

Mobclix releases iPad advertising SDK

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]

Apple: $99 iPad Battery Replacement Service swaps iPads

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 signals post-sell-out iPad reservations, pre-orders still open 

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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.

FCC filings show iPad Wi-Fi + 3G is larger

  • March 12, 2010
  • iPad,

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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.

iPads hit FCC, revealing two Wi-Fi antennas per model

  • March 12, 2010
  • iPad,

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]

iPhone OS 3.1 to 3.2 for iPad changes detailed

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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.

iBooks to support regular ePub titles

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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 posts iPad 3G service details online

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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.”

iPad pre-orders limited to two per person

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.

iPad pre-orders: tomorrow at 5:30 a.m. PT, 8:30 a.m. ET

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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.

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