Speaking at a recent investors conference, Asustek Computer CEO Jerry Shen said that the company’s sales of netbook computers fell short of expectations in the second quarter, mainly due to competition from the Apple iPad. DigiTimes reports that Shen also said the company has lowered its targets shipments for the third quarter—traditionally its peak sales period—to 1.4 million units due to the increased competition. Asustek plans to enter the tablet PC market later this year with a Linux-powered, 8.9-inch “Eee Note” tablet, followed by a 12-inch Windows-based “Eee Pad” tablet in late 2010/early 2011, and a 10-inch tablet running Google’s Android OS in March 2011.
Barnes & Noble has released an iPhone version of its Nook e-reader software introduced for the iPad earlier this year. The Nook e-reader apps feature access to over a million titles from Barnes & Noble’s eBookstore, multiple font types and sizes, customizable background and text colors and brightness controls. Nook also provides an integrated Merriam-Webster Pocket Dictionary, synchronization of notes, highlights and current reading position and provides a unique LendMe digital lending feature that allows users to share their purchased eBooks with friends using the Nook platform. Nook for iPhone provides the same features offered in the iPad application optimized for the iPhone’s smaller screen and iPhone 4 Retina Display and includes integrated B&N eBookstore shopping, personal B&N digital library access, digital lending features and the ability to sync notes, highlights and current reading position with other Nook apps. Barnes & Noble has also released an update to its iPad application, renaming it from BN eReader to Nook for iPad and adding the ability for users to rate their books and sort by favorites as well as a user guide and first run tutorial for new users. Nook for iPhone and Nook for iPad are available separately as free downloads from the U.S. App Store.
China Unicom has reached an agreement with Apple to sell the iPad and iPhone 4 in China, according to a new report. Citing a source within China Unicom, Caixin reports that the company has finalized a deal with Apple that will make it the sole distributor of the iPad in China, although no timetable is offered for the device’s Chinese release. In addition, the company is said to have secured rights to offer the iPhone 4 as soon as early September; the report explicitly states that the launch day will not be September 13 as had previously been rumored. Finally, the report notes that the new Wi-Fi-enabled iPhone 3GS sold out at Apple’s Beijing retail store the first day it went on sale.
A chunk of code found within Apple’s iOS 4 suggests the company is preparing to field test next-generation iPhone and iPad units. Boy Genius Report claims that the code, found by one of its Apple sources, queries the device, and automatically activates it should it be an unreleased device, bypassing the need for connection to iTunes. The report claims that the unreleased models are CDMA flavors of the iPhone and iPad, but also notes that similar code has been found every year before a major iOS device release, and has been removed before the devices’ respective launches. Finally, the report claims that the platform code of the CDMA iPhone is N92AP—John Gruber had earlier pegged it as N92—while the next-generation iPod touch’s platform code is said to be N81AP.
Square Enix has released the iPad version of Chaos Rings, its popular RPG introduced earlier this year for the iPhone and iPod touch. The story in Chaos Rings centers on a tournament where combatants must fight for their lives in the Ark Arena. Players choose a pair of characters and must then fight against other pairs as the story unfolds to reveal the truth behind the Ark Arena. The game provides a deep storyline with unique tales for each pair of characters and multiple endings. The iPad version brings the same classic game system from the iPhone app with higher-resolution graphics, detailed backgrounds, intense battle scenes and an enhanced soundtrack. Chaos Rings for iPad is available from the App Store for $16.
Apple is facing some early challenges in getting its iAd mobile advertising network up and running, according to a new report. Citing unnamed ad executives, the Wall Street Journal reports that some ad campaigns are experiencing delays due to Apple’s tight control over the creative process and the agencies’ learning curves. The report claims that the creation of iAds is taking from eight to ten weeks, or longer than normal for typical mobile ads, and the building of the actual ads, which is currently being handled by Apple, is sometimes taking two weeks longer than expected. Of the 17 iAd launch partners named by Apple, only ads from Unilever and Nissan were running for much of July; Citigroup, Disney, and J.C. Penney have since launched iAd campaigns with more companies to follow. Notably, one named launch partner—Chanel SA—is now saying it has no iAd campaigns planned at this time. A recent report claimed that early advertisers and developers are nonetheless pleased with iAd’s early performance; Apple recently added new functionality to iAd allowing developers to sell apps directly from within iAds, helping the company to fill iAd slots.
The iPad is emerging as an effective tool for teaching autistic children communication and social skills. SF Weekly has posted lengthy profile of Leo, an autistic child whose mother won an iPad in a raffle and subsequently found herself amazed by her son’s progress with the device. “Before the iPad, Leo’s autism made him dependent on others for entertainment, play, learning, and communication,” Shannon Rosa wrote for BlogHer. “With the iPad, Leo electrifies the air around him with independence and daily new skills.” Leo is using the device for video watching, drawing—something that had been very difficult before—and for using spelling apps like FirstWords and more specialized apps like Stories2Learn and First Then Visual Schedule.
While only one study is currently looking at the iPad for use with autistic children, early results are positive. Rhonda McEwen, an assistant professor at the iSchool at the University of Toronto who is running the study “Touch Technologies in the Classroom,” said that teachers have reported lengthening attention spans, children sitting next to each other to use the device together—atypical for autistic students—and in one case, allowed a breakthrough for a teacher who had been working with a boy for two years and was unsure of whether he understood language. “With the iPod, for the first time, he was able to demonstrate that he did understand,” McEwen said. While the Rosas want to be careful not to overhype the iPad before science proves its worth, for the time being, they are thrilled with the results. “I don’t usually dabble in miracle-speak,” said Shannon Rosa, “but I may erect a tiny altar to Steve Jobs in the corner of our living room.” [via Daring Fireball]
According to the results of a survey done by copywriting agency Cooper Murphy Webb, the iPad is the preferred reading device of people who already own one. 31% of respondents said the iPad was their preferred method of reading newspapers and magazines, compared to 26% who said they preferred to read magazines and newspapers on their laptop or other computer, and 24% who said they preferred print. 41% said the device was their preferred method of reading books, again ahead of print, which represented 36% of respondents. Somewhat surprisingly, the iPad also edged out gaming consoles in the “preferred device for gaming” category, with the iPad receiving 37% of the vote, compared to 35% for gaming consoles. Cooper Murphy Webb’s numbers are based on the answers of 1034 U.K.-based iPad owners who were questioned via a research-administered telephone poll between July 28 and August 10. [via MDN]
Adobe Systems has released an update to its free Photoshop Mobile application for the iPhone and iPod touch, adding native iPad support and renaming the app Adobe Photoshop Express. The latest update provides initial support for the iPad with specific features such as landscape and portrait orientations, redesigned Online, Edit and Upload workflows and the ability to work on multiple photos in sequence from within a single workflow. The new version also sports a redesigned Organizer view with simplified album sharing and updates icons and visuals for easier navigation and use of the Editor. Users can also now upload to both Photoshop.com and Facebook simultaneously. Adobe Photoshop Express is available from the App Store as a free download and should appear as an automatic update for users of Photoshop Mobile.
Apple has released iOS 4.0.2 for the iPhone 3G, 3GS, 4, second-, and third-generation iPod touch, as well as iOS 3.2.2 for the iPad. According to Apple’s release notes, both releases patch a “security vulnerability associated with viewing malicious PDF files.” Apple recently came under fire for the security hole, which could result in a hacker gaining administrator access to the device. iOS 4.0.2 and 3.2.2 are available now through the Update function in iTunes.
Updated: One iLounge editor has noticed an uptick in reported iPhone 4 signal strength since installing iOS 4.0.2 software. Under 4.0.0, the iPhone reported 4-5 bars of strength, falling to 2-3 bars when 4.0.1 was installed. The same iPhone 4 now shows 3-4 bars of strength, suggesting that something may have changed again in Apple’s bar-displaying algorithm. If you’ve noticed a change, or no change, please let us know in the comments to this article.
Sauce Digital has released its latest game, Space Balls, an atmospheric physics puzzler for the iPhone and iPod touch. In Space Balls, players must skillfully fire unique space balls at various objects to either activate, move, alter or destroy them in order to capture enemies. Players progress through a variety of levels that present different challenges with each level requiring specific tactics. The game features 90 levels, 35 unique obstacles and enemies, 16 different Space Ball characters, and a progressively disclosed storyline presented in comic strip format. High-resolution iPhone 4 Retina Display graphics are included along with atmospheric sound effects and an exclusive music soundtrack by Tokyo Pushers. Space Balls is available from the App Store for $1. The company has also announced that it has begun development of higher-resolution iPad releases of Space Balls and its five other iOS games: Killer Pool, Nano Rally, Amoebas, Touch Soccer 3D and Monkey Tennis. The iPad versions of the games are expected to begin appearing within a month and are expected to be priced at $1.
Cloud storage service Box.net has released an update to its universal app for iOS devices adding iOS 4 support and the ability to access files offline. The new version allows users to designate specific files to be saved locally on the device for offline access and later sync those saved files with updated versions when others make changes. The update also adds file caching to allow for faster previewing of files, makes several user interface tweaks to both the iPad and iPhone UIs with regard to sharing and viewing content and provides iOS 4 support with fast app switching and high-resolution graphics for the iPhone 4 Retina Display. Box.net is available from the App Store as a free download. A Box.net subscription is required in order to use the app; a free subscription is available which includes 1GB of storage and a 25MB file size limit, with paid subscriptions ranging from $10-15 per user per month for up to 15 GB of storage. Enterprise subscription plans are also available for larger organizations.
Developer Kevin Ng has updated his Kick Flick Soccer 2010 game to add support for the iPad and the iPhone 4 Retina Display. In Kick Flick Soccer 2010 players attempt to score goals from free kick positions by flicking shots using the touchscreen. Extra points are earned by making more skillful shots and scoring multiple goals in succession. The game provides a realistic physics simulation based on the Bullet Physics library to model real-world aerodynamic effects on the ball. Kick Flick Soccer 2010 version 1.1 is now a universal app supporting both the iPhone and iPad and provides higher-resolution graphics to support the iPhone 4 Retina Display. The update also adds a new “10 Kicks” game mode, six new achievements to be earned and provides several performance and graphics improvements. Kick Flick Soccer 2010 is available from the App Store for $1 and is a free update for current users.
NXP Software has released CineXPlayer, a new app that allows users to view Xvid movies on the iPad, a format not directly supported by the built-in video codecs on iOS devices. Using CinexPlayer, users can transfer movies in the Xvid format directly onto their iPad without the requirement to convert them an iPad-specific video format. Movies are transferred to the application over USB via iTunes’ File Sharing options and the app provides a listing of movies stored on the device with standard playback controls, automatic bookmarking of playback positions and the ability to delete movies directly from within the app. At this time, CineXPlayer only supports standard Xvid format movies and does not yet have the ability to handle additional codecs such as MKV and AC3 audio. CineXPlayer is available from the App Store as a free download. [via Engadget]
According to a new report, Apple has placed orders for “millions” of Qualcomm CDMA chipsets for a new iPhone production run in December. Citing sources with knowledge of the situation, TechCrunch reports that the production run would likely be for a January launch, with both Verizon and Sprint possible carrier partners. Digitimes adds that Pegatron Technology is expected to manufacture the phone, and that it could end up on China Telecom as well as Verizon. It also expects Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg to announce the device at CES 2011, with units shipping in January.
In the same report, Digitimes claims that Apple will launch an updated 9.7-inch iPad with a new ARM Cortex-A9-based processor and 512MB RAM in the first quarter of 2011, alongside a new 7-inch model sporting the same processor and a 1024x768 IPS display; this matches up with information reported by iLounge last week. Finally, the report claims that a new Apple TV will begin production in December, and will use AMD’s Fusion technology, will lack a hard drive, and will offer an iPhone-like interface with App Store support.
iOS 4.1 Beta 3, the latest beta version of Apple’s upcoming software update, has a new feature that allows for FaceTime calls to be associated with an email address instead of a phone number. Mac Rumors reports that in the beta’s version of the Contacts application, the software gives you the option of connecting the call via a cell phone number or an email address. Notably, this addition suggests that iOS 4.1 will be expected to support some non-iPhone FaceTime-capable devices, such as the iPod touch or iPad. A supposed fourth-generation iPod touch front panel with a hole for a front-facing camera appeared online earlier this week.
Apple has updated the iPad App Store to add its Genius Recommendations feature for iPad apps. Introduced to the iPhone and iPod touch App Store last year in iOS 3.1, the Genius for Apps feature for the iPad provides personalized recommendations on additional apps that users may be interested in based on their existing purchases, installed apps and how often and how long existing apps are used for. As with the Genius feature in iTunes and on the other iOS devices, users must specifically opt-in within the iPad App Store application to enable Genius for Apps on their device and agree to additional Terms of Service. Notably, the Terms of Service indicate that Apple will anonymously collect information related to the applications installed on a users’ device, including time spent with each application and the number of times each application is launched, as well as users’ application download histories. This information is aggregated with similar information from other users who opt-in to the Genius feature along with customer ratings of applications on the App Store to provide personalized recommendations through the service. Users who have enabled the Genius feature may also later opt-out from the App Store Account settings page on their device.
Shacked Software has released an update to Flickpad, its online photo viewing app. Flickpad is designed to allow users to easily browse through their friends’ online photo albums in a unique interface where photos are stacked on a desktop area. In addition to the original Facebook support, Flickpad 2.0 adds the ability to browse Flickr photosets as well as posting comments on photos from either service. The update also adds a new fast user switching feature for shared iPads that allows users to quickly switch between Flickr/Facebook user accounts. Users can navigate through all available photos by date, search for photos from individual friends or hide all photos from friends they don’t want to see. Photos can be saved to the iPad Photo Library, marked as favorites or shared via e-mail. The new version also adds a slideshow feature that allows users to turn the iPad into a digital picture frame. Flickpad 2.0 is available from the App Store for $10 and is a free update for current users.
Apple has already completed a patch that fixes the PDF-related iOS security hole discovered earlier this week. “We’re aware of this reported issue, we have already developed a fix and it will be available to customers in an upcoming software update,” an Apple spokeswoman told Cnet. It is unknown when Apple plans on releasing the update, or if the same update will also alleviate proximity sensor issues for some iPhone 4 users.
The iPad has received its safety certification from Chinese regulators, putting it one step closer to seeing a release in China. The China Quality Certification Center gave the iPad China Compulsory Certification earlier this week, reports Network World, but the device will likely need to get the approval of China’s Telecommunications Equipment and Certification Center. “This has been just the first step to get it into the Chinese market,” said Liu Liang, and analyst with iResearch.
iDigital, the Israeli importer of Apple products, has said in a statement that the iPad will be available for sale in Israel in the next few weeks. Reuters reports that iDigital did not give an exact date, but is claiming that any iPads purchased from other electronics chains will be without warranties and full Hebrew language support. “Apple proposes that all those who are interested in buying an iPad should be patient for another few weeks and buy the products through the official Apple representative in Israel,” iDigital said.
The BBC is trialling the iPad at multiple levels of the organization to gauge its ability to reduce paper use and increase efficiency. “We’re seeding the organisation [with the devices]. We put some iPads into production and some into management and other roles to see if people would be able to give up their desktops,” John Linwood CIO with the BBC, told Computing. “On the west coast of the US, paperless meetings are the norm,” Linwood continued. “If you brought paper to a meeting, they’d look at you strangely. If you actually handed out paper they’d get upset.” [via ITP]
Dish Network is planning to launch an update to its iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad app next month that will allow users to watch live TV on their mobile devices. The service will require either a SlingBox or a Dish HD DVR with SlingBox features, but once set up, users will be able to switch channels, and even watch something different than the people watching the connected TVs at home, assuming their boxes have second tuners.