AppStar Games, the new game publisher recently founded by acclaimed game designers David Crane and Garry Kitchen has released its first game title. Released initially for the iPad platform only, The Iron Horse is a railroad-themed game where players must build trains by tapping the screen to connect cars as they line up. The game speeds up as the player progresses and higher point values are earned for more accurate timing in connecting train cars. The game includes cinematic widescreen graphics of the Americana landscape and numerous classic train designs. The Iron Horse is available from the App Store for $2 for the iPad; an iPhone and iPod touch version is coming soon.
Laminar Research has released an iPad version of its acclaimed X-Plane application. X-Plane for iPad combines many of the features of the X-Plane series of iPhone apps into a single application; the iPad version includes all 9 regions and 13 aircraft from the existing iPhone applications with 12 more regions and 27 more aircraft listed as “Coming Soon.” Users can choose to fly a wide range of different aircraft types including a Cessna 172, Boeing 747, F-22, ASK21 glider, Blackhawk Helicopter or even a Space Shuttle. Due to the larger iPad screen and more powerful CPU on the iPad, X-Plane can now display a full virtual cockpit view and more detailed, higher-resolution aircraft textures and terrain, including 3D buildings. Virtual cockpit interfaces also provide more detailed and completely interactive controls. X-Plane for iPad is available from the App Store for $10.
During Apple’s iPhone OS 4 event today, Steve Jobs announced the creation of a new mobile advertising platform which will be integrated directly into the iPhone OS. The new platform, named iAd, is designed to allow developers to easily add in-app advertising to their applications by supplying ads through a centralized advertising network without having to implement their own solution. Apple will take care of selling and hosting the ads, providing developers with the industry standard 60% of advertising revenue.
Jobs explained that Apple wants to provide incentives for developers to keep free apps as free, but that ads based on search have not been as successful on mobile devices as they have on the desktop as users spend most of their time in apps rather than searching in a web browser. He went on the explain that the average iPhone user spends 30 minutes each day using applications, and supplying even 1 ad every 3 minutes would equate to 10 ads per day. Jobs notes that with 100 million iPhone users, this presents one billion ad opportunities per day within the iPhone community. Apple is also looking to improve the quality and accessibility of in-app advertising, with more interaction than typical web ads and allowing users to view advertising without being taken out of the application that they are currently using, thereby encouraging users to click on ads without having to worry about leaving the current app.
Opening the iPhone OS 4.0 Event today, Steve Jobs reported that Apple has sold 450,000 iPads since its initial U.S. launch last Saturday. Jobs noted that on the first day of the iPad launch the company sold 250,000 iBooks and 1 million iPad apps and that as of today a total of 600,000 iBooks and 3.5 million iPad apps have been purchased. Jobs noted that there are currently over 185,000 apps in the App Store, including over 3,500 iPad apps already available and in total users have downloaded well over 4 billion apps from the App Store.
iLounge is headed to Cupertino, California to provide live coverage of Apple’s iPhone OS 4 event. The event will be held at Apple’s campus within its Town Hall presentation room, and will begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time, or 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Apple is expected to discuss details of its upcoming revisions to the operating system for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad, including a new mobile advertising platform. As we have done in the past, iLounge.com will take you to our streamlined special event page half an hour or so before the event; you can set your bookmarks ahead of time to live.ilounge.com, and we also hope to update our Flickr account with new photos.
Capcom has released the iPad version of its highly acclaimed Resident Evil 4. The iPad Edition features a new high-resolution art set specifically designed for the iPad’s larger display and an enhanced Visual Pad control system, making gameplay a more immersive and intuitive experience. In Resident Evil 4 players take on the role of Leon S. Kennedy, a U.S. agent with a mission to rescue the President’s daughter who must battle his way through numerous enemies to discover who or what is behind the plot. In developing the iPad version, Capcom leveraged App Store feedback from its Resident Evil series of iPhone apps and has implemented several platform-specific features as a result. Players can engage in running gun fights against crowds of enemies, climb ladders, equip items such as binoculars and jump out windows. Resident Evil 4: iPad Edition is available from the App Store for $13.
Headlight Software has released a new application, Camera for iPad that allows iPad users to take photos on their iPad using their iPhone camera. Users load the Camera for iPad app on both their iPhone and iPad which then established a Bluetooth connection between the two devices. Once connected, users can take photos on the iPad from the iPhone camera. A live view is shown on the iPad screen and users can zoom in and out and rotate the view using standard pinch and swipe gestures. Photos are taken at the maximum resolution of the iPhone camera and automatically transferred to the iPad over Bluetooth and stored in the iPad’s Saved Photos album. The application can also be used to take and receive photos on a second- or third-generation iPod touch or another iPhone 3G or 3GS. The original iPhone and first-generation iPod touch are not supported. Camera for iPad is a Universal app and is available from the App Store for $1.
Despite the successful launch of the iPad this weekend, Random House, the lone major publisher not signed on to offer its titles in the iBookstore, remains a holdout. The Wall Street Journal reports that Random House is unimpressed with Apple’s “agency” pricing model, which allows the publishers to set book pricing, while Apple takes 30% of the sales price. A senior Random House executive said that the company will benefit economically from sticking to its current model whereby it receives half of the hardcover price for new ebooks, regardless of the pricing set by the retailer. The same executive was also skeptical about publishers’ ability to effectively discount titles to drive sales, and said there could be possible contractual issues with authors now that the publishers are setting their own prices. Furthermore, he expressed concern over the potential for piracy, saying, “At $9.99, e-books are perceived as a bargain[.] When e-books are $15, it may affect the behavior of some. We don’t want a segment of the population growing up with stolen books.” Despite Random House’s concerns, the company and Apple are still engaged in “ongoing conversations that remain cordial,” according to Random House spokesperson Stuart Applebaum. Apple announced yesterday that iPad owners had downloaded over 250,000 ebooks from the iBookstore on launch day.
A number of reports and Apple Support forum threads indicate that some iPad users are running into both overheating and Wi-Fi problems with their new devices. Most common among the Wi-Fi complaints are reports of a weak or fluctuating signal. Many of the users also note having other PCs, Macs, and/or iPhones on the same network, none of which exhibit the same issue. One user in particular used the speedtest.net app on both the iPhone 3GS and the iPad, and found the iPad’s download speed was 1.83 megabits per second, compared to 14.77 megabits per second for the 3GS; upload speed was comparable. Apple itself has posted a support document outlining a problem where the iPad doesn’t automatically rejoin known Wi-Fi networks, although this appears unrelated to the problems reported in the forum threads.
In addition, The Atlantic has compiled a brief list of iPad users claiming their device shut down due to overheating during outdoor use. According to the reports, the iPad shuts itself off when overheated, displaying a notification image along with a message that “iPad needs to cool down before you can use it.” One user reported that a reboot and moving to a shaded area fixed the problem, while another said his unit has shut down four separate times already. It is unclear whether the problem is actually attributable to sunlight exposure, outdoor temperature, or perhaps faulty thermal sensors, although one user did report his unit’s case was well over 90 degrees when it shut off. Apple officially lists the iPad’s operating temperature as 32° to 95° F. [via cnet, AppleInsider]
Apple has updated its iPad Tech Specs page to list the battery life of the iPad when using the 3G network. According to the company, the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G will get up to nine hours of battery life when surfing the web over the 3G data network. The page notes that the testing was done using dedicated web and mail servers, browsing snapshot versions of 20 popular web pages, and receiving mail once an hour. We will run comprehensive battery tests on the iPad Wi-Fi +3G when it is released; for more information on the iPad Wi-Fi’s battery life, see our comprehensive review.
Apple has begun sending email invitations to select members of the media inviting them to a “sneak peek of the next generation of iPhone OS software.” The invitation features a large graphic with a large “4” shadow spread across a blue background, with “Get a sneak peek into the future of iPhone OS” overlaid in white text. The event will be held on Apple’s Cupertino, CA campus and will begin at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time on April 8.
Apple has announced that it sold more than 300,000 iPads on launch day, surpassing the launch weekend total of the original iPhone. These sales included deliveries of pre-ordered iPads, deliveries to channel partners, and sales at Apple retail stores. In addition, iPad users downloaded over one million apps from the App Store and over 250,000 ebooks from the iBookstore during the first day. “It feels great to have the iPad launched into the world—it’s going to be a game changer,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “iPad users, on average, downloaded more than three apps and close to one book within hours of unpacking their new iPad.”
Following the device’s release on Saturday, one iPad owner has discovered pointers to a number of upcoming iPhone OS devices within the iPad’s filesystem. The Boy Genius Report states that two references were found for new iPhones; iPhone 3,2 and iPhone 3,3 are both new, with the iPhone 3GS being identified as iPhone 3,1. A new iPod touch model, iPod 4,1—compared to the third-generation touch’s iPod 3,1—has been found, as has a reference to iProd 2,1, believed to be a next-generation iPad. While these references offer little in the way of information about these upcoming products, they have generally correctly indicated that a given product is coming, as with the iPad, which first surfaced as a prototype—iProd 0,1—in March 2009, then again in August as iProd 1,1, which is believed to be the currently shipping product.
Despite the physical and functional similarities between it and the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit, Apple’s iPod Camera Connector—originally released to allow the iPod photo to connect to and access images stored on a camera connected via USB—is incompatible with the iPad. Upon connecting the five-year-old accessory to the iPad, a simple notification dialog pops up to say that “[t]his accessory is not supported by iPad.” The new Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit includes both a Dock Connector-to-USB adapter and a Dock Connector-based SD Card reader which allow users to offload photos from the connected camera or card onto the iPad, and sells for the same $29 price as the original iPod Camera Connector.
iLounge has just posted its gallery of iPad unboxing photos online. The images include those of the iPad, pictures of Apple’s first official iPad accessories, as well as pictures of the device being tested for compatibility in the large variety of cases we’ve received. Notably, only one case—the Griffin FlexGrip Case—had any compatibility problems, those being with the microphone and headphone port hole; all of Griffin’s other cases fit without a problem. It is also possible that the Vaja Retro Slim Jacket’s magnets may rub on the iPad as it’s inserted into and removed from the case. Be sure to keep an eye on our Flickr account for more photos of the iPad.
Google has announced a new iPad-optimized version of its Gmail for Mobile HTML5 web app. Launched last year for the iPhone and Android platform, the GMail for mobile web app provides an optimized browsing experience on the iPhone and iPod touch and uses HTML5 to provide a native app-like experience in the web browser. For the iPad browser, Google has created a two-pane view to take advantage of the larger screen. In the new iPad web app, the list of messages and conversations appears on the left with detailed messages appearing on the right, similar to the iPad’s built-in Mail application. To access the new site, users merely need to visit gmail.com in their iPad web browser, and can also add a home screen icon for easier access in the same manner as on the iPhone and iPod touch. Google notes that its other web-based apps have not yet been specifically optimized for the iPad, but that it has evaluated the behaviour of each app using the iPad Simulator to serve the desktop or mobile user interfaces based on which user experience it thinks will be the best for iPad users.
Based on iLounge’s initial iPad purchases this morning, we can now confirm that the iPad arrives in its box in need of a brief unlocking via iTunes on a PC or Mac. This unlock does not appear to automatically start a sync with the copy of iTunes used to perform the task, and takes only a brief amount of time. When purchasing an iPad at an Apple retail store, customers are being offered the option of having an employee unlock the device; customers may also choose to have the employee go through an entire setup process with them before they leave the store. Notably, these early iPad units are arriving with the latest version of iPhone OS 3.2 installed, as no software update is required.
Apple has posted a number of videos showing off a handful of launch day iPad applications. Featured on the new “Apps for iPad” page are The Elements, Real Racing HD, Marvel Comics, The Wall Street Journal, Epicurious, MLB.com At Bat 2010, E*TRADE Mobile Pro, Asphalt 5, Scrabble, F1 2010, and Labyrinth 2 HD. Notably, the video for EA’s Scrabble shows off the game’s ability to use iPhone and iPod touch units as personal tile racks, with the players “flicking” the desired tiles over to the main iPad game board. The company has also changed the main graphic on its home page to a large image of the iPad with the text “iPad is here.”