Apple’s retail store in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood is being accused of discrimination against Chinese customers resulting from an effort to reduce the number of iPads being purchased for export. Grace Meng, a representative of Queens in the New York State Assembly, has emailed Apple after receiving a number of complaints from customers claiming that Apple employees denied them iPads, demanded to see passports, or otherwise acted inappropriately. “One person was asked why they wanted one since their English was not so good,” Meng told the Daily News. “I want to get an explanation.” In one example, a Queens man was initially told that the store was out of iPads, and was only able to secure one after seeking out an Asian employee. The man claims he was later approached by a manager and asked if he was planning to resell the unit. “I’m just so upset,” the man said. “This is racial profiling.” It is unclear whether the incidents are a result of policy originating from Apple on the corporate level, or if employees have simply been told to be on guard for customers who may be purchasing iPad for resale and are being grossly overzealous in their attempts to do so.
Apple has lowered its pricing on its 16GB and 32GB iPad models in Germany following a number of complaints from customers. iPad pricing for the German market was announced on Friday, with prices running €15 higher across the board than in Italy and France, a difference that Apple CEO Steve Jobs said was due to a new copyright levy on computers in that country. “Blame your government,” Jobs reportedly said in an email response (Translated Link) to a concerned customer. “Germany just added a new copyright levy for computers.” Unfortunately, this was not the case on the 16GB and 32GB models; the levy in question only included computers with internal storage of 40GB or higher. Apple updated its German pricing for the iPad accordingly over the weekend, a fact which Jobs alluded to in a reported response to an inquiry over the price reduction. “We found out this weekend that iPad is not subject to a new German copyright tax that we previously thought it was subject to,” Jobs wrote in his response. As a result, the 16GB and 32GB iPad with Wi-Fi models are now priced at €499 and €599, respectively, in Germany, while 16GB and 32GB Wi-Fi + 3G models are priced at a €100 premium; pricing on 64GB models, which are subject to the levy, remained at €714 for Wi-Fi only models and €814 for Wi-Fi + 3G versions. [via Mac Rumors]
Apple has started accepting pre-orders for the iPad with Wi-Fi and the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK for delivery on Friday, May 28. Among the Wi-Fi + 3G units, several countries’ pre-sales differ from one another, with Australia offer no pre-installed micro SIM card, several other countries offering options to ship the device with a chosen carrier’s SIM, and in Japan, Apple isn’t accepting pre-orders for the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G at all, instead choosing to sell the device through current iPhone carrier SoftBank. Pricing in Switzerland, which had yet to be announced, is now set at CHF 649 for 16GB, CHF 779 for 32GB, and CHF 899 for 64GB iPad with Wi-Fi models, while iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G models sell for a CHF 150 premium.
Pricing for the iPad with Wi-Fi and iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G, as well as the associated data plans, have been announced for the Japanese market. iPad with Wi-Fi models sold by Apple in Japan are priced at ¥48,800 for 16GB, ¥58,800 for 32GB, and ¥68,800 for 64GB; SoftBank customers will instead have the choice of purchasing the device up front or paying a slightly more expensive two year installment plan. When paying up front on a prepaid plan, iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G models are priced at 16GB for ¥61,920, 32GB for ¥72,000, and 64GB for ¥81,840; when using the installment agreement, the total prices raise to ¥66,240, ¥76,320, and ¥86,160. If the customer chooses to sign a two-year contract for unlimited data, however, SoftBank is removing the interest from the installment agreement and offering a modest subsidy, bringing the prices down to ¥58,320 for 16GB, ¥67,920 for 32GB, and ¥77,280 for 64GB models. All iPads sold by SoftBank come with two years of free access to the company’s Wi-Fi hotspot service. Unlimited data service will cost iPad users ¥2,910 a month on contract, while prepaid customers can sign up for 1GB of data for ¥4,410. No announcement of iPad offerings has yet been made by rival carrier DoCoMo, which was rumored to also be offering service for the device. [via Mobile in Japan]
Update: Macworld UK claims Apple has confirmed that all iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G models sold in Japan are SIM-locked to SoftBank and will not be readily able to be used on DoCoMo.
Orange has announced its data plan offerings for the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G in the UK, France, and Switzerland (PDF Link). In the UK, users will be able to purchase data as they go at a rate of 5p per MB, daily at a rate of £2 for 200MB, weekly at a rate of £7.50 for 1GB, or choose from two monthly plans, both of which include unlimited browsing at Wi-Fi hotspots: £15 for 3GB/month or £25 for 10GB/month. In France, iPad users can choose between a €10 monthly plan offering 200MB of cellular data and unlimited Wi-Fi hotspot browsing, or a €39 monthly plan including 2GB of data and unlimited Wi-Fi. French customers who reach the data cap will be able to buy a 300 Mb recharge for €10, and current Orange France mobile customers will receive a 15% discount on their iPad data charges. In France, customers will also be able to order their iPad directly form the Orange store, with Apple handling delivery. In Switzerland, Orange will be charging 5 CHF per day for unlimited data use, with a charge of 10 CHF for the micro SIM card and the first three days of use free. Orange also plans to offer iPad service in Spain; pricing and plan details for Spain have yet to be announced.
Despite recent statements dismissing Apple’s impact on the company’s business, Nintendo is internally preparing to launch an assault on Apple as the latter’s iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad begin to eat away at Nintendo’s handheld gaming business. Citing sources close to Nintendo, the Times Online reports that Nintendo president recently told senior executives to treat Apple as the “enemy of the future,” after profits at the Kyoto-based company fell for the first time in six years. According to the report, sources describe a mood of concern at the company, with the hardware and software teams racing to restore the “surprise” the company considers a hallmark of its gaming experiences. The report does not describe what, exactly, Nintendo plans to do about Apple’s encroachment on its business, short of saying that it plans to “unleash the full force of its development and marketing artillery.” [via Mac Rumors]
Nokia has announced that it is suing Apple in Federal District Court in the Western District of Wisconsin, alleging that the iPhone and iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G infringe on five patents held by Nokia. MarketWatch reports that the patents relate to technologies for enhanced speech and data transmission, using location data in applications and innovations in antenna configurations that improve performance and save space. “Nokia has been the leading developer of many key technologies in mobile devices” said Paul Melin, General Manager, Patent Licensing at Nokia. “We have taken this step to protect the results of our pioneering development and to put an end to continued unlawful use of Nokia’s innovation.”
The Finnish company first filed suit against Apple in October 2009, claiming that the iPhone infringes on several Nokia patents; Apple filed a countersuit claiming patent infringement in December. The lawsuits were followed by an ITC complaint from Nokia near the end of the year, alleging that Apple infringes on the Finnish company’s patents “in virtually all of its mobile phones, portable music players, and computers.”
The ITC launched an investigation into Nokia’s claims against Apple in late January; it announced a similar investigation into Apple’s claims against Nokia in February. In March, a federal judge in Delaware signed an order halting litigation between Nokia and Apple pending resolution of the companies’ respective claims with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC); it is unclear whether this prior order will have any bearing on this newest lawsuit.
Apple will be rolling out its iBooks app and iBookstore internationally alongside the iPad’s launch on Friday, May 28. Press releases from the UK, Australia, Canada, and Japan indicate that the iBooks app for iPad, including the iBookstore, will be available as a free download from the App Store on May 28; as with pricing, Apple has yet to update the press websites of many of the other countries slated to launch the iPad on that day. We will be updating this story with further details as they become available.
Update: Apple has confirmed that both Italy and Spain will also be getting iBooks and the iBookstore on May 28.
Update x2: France has also been confirmed to receive iBooks and the iBookstore on May 28.
Update x3 Germany is now confirmed for the May 28 iBooks launch as well.
Apple has revealed its pricing for the iPad in a number of the international countries in which the device will launch on May 28. In the UK, the iPad with Wi-Fi will sell for £429 (inc. VAT) for 16GB, £499 (inc. VAT) for 32GB, and £599 (inc. VAT) for 64GB, while Wi-Fi + 3G models will be priced at £529 (inc. VAT) for 16GB, £599 (inc. VAT) for 32GB and £699 (inc. VAT) for 64GB. In Australia, iPad with Wi-Fi pricing is set at AUS$629 inc GST for 16GB, AUS$759 inc GST for 32GB, and AUS$879 inc GST for 64GB, while Wi-Fi + 3G models will sell for AUS$799 inc GST for 16GB, AUS$928 inc GST for 32GB and AUS$1049 inc GST for 64GB. The company is continuing to update various other countries’ press websites with pricing; we will post details of other countries’ iPad pricing here as they become available.
Update: In Canada, the iPad with Wi-Fi will sell for $549 (CAN) for 16GB, $649 (CAN) for 32GB, $749 (CAN) for 64GB; Wi-Fi + 3G models will sell for $679 (CAN) for 16GB, $779 (CAN) for 32GB and $879 (CAN) for 64GB.
Update x2: Apple has announced its iPad pricing for Italy and Spain. In Italy, pricing will be set at €499 for 16GB, €599 for 32GB, and €699 for 64GB Wi-Fi models, with Wi-Fi + 3G models priced at a €100 premium. In Spain, the iPad will sell for €479 for 16GB, €579 for 32GB, and €679 for 64GB Wi-Fi models, and €579, €679, and €779 for the respective Wi-Fi + 3G models.
Update x3: Pricing for the iPad in France has been announced. The same as Italy, pricing in France will be set at €499 for 16GB, €599 for 32GB, and €699 for 64GB Wi-Fi models, with Wi-Fi + 3G models priced at a €100 premium.
Update x4: German iPad pricing has now been announced. The 16GB Wi-Fi model will sell for €514, the 32GB for €614, and the 64GB model for €714, with Wi-Fi + 3G models again running €100 more.
Apple has announced that the iPad will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK on Friday, May 28. Both iPad with Wi-Fi and iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G models will be available; online pre-orders will begin on Monday, May 10. The iPad was originally set to roll out internationally at the end of April, but “surprisingly strong US demand” forced Apple to push it back. In addition to the nine countries listed above, Apple also plans to release iPad in Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore in July. It will announce availability, local pricing and pre-order plans for these nine additional countries at a later date.
New Zealand-based iPhone developer David Frampton has posted an image to his Flickr account depicting a new way for iPhone app icons to be displayed on the iPad. Instead of the current model, under which the iPhone applications’ 57x57 icons are upscaled to the higher 72x72 resolution of iPad app icons and displayed alongside, Frampton suggests Apple use black borders around the 57x57 icon to denote the application as a lower-resolution iPhone app, which also serves to remind the user that the app itself will run either in the center of the screen with black surrounds or in 2x scaled mode. Notably, Frampton is the developer behind Majic Jungle Software, the same company that recently posted a proof-of-concept video showing the upcoming game Chopper 2 being run on and output from an iPad to an HDTV while a separate iPhone is used as a controller.
A number of iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G owners are reporting an AT&T error that leaves their devices without access to cellular data. According to an Apple Support discussion thread, affected users are seeing a message that states, “AT&T is unable to process your request. We apologize for any inconvenience. Please try again later (Q5033)” during the cellular data account signup process. The issue appears to involve the data/billing information not being received by AT&T, and therefore not being attached to the account. Based on user responses from the thread, those users dealing with the issue need to contact AT&T and have their ICCID number tied to the phone number assigned to their data account in order to get service; others have had success with replacing the iPad’s Micro-SIM card entirely. Even after successful activation, a number of users report receiving the same error when attempting to view their account information on the device, but in those cases, the data connectivity is working.
ABC’s announced update to its ABC Player app for the iPad is now available. In addition to allowing video content to be streamed over a 3G data connection, the update also supports landscape orientation in all views and proper handling of the iPad’s orientation lock. Other improvements include more responsive player controls, better display of parental ratings and other bug fixes and stability enhancements. iLounge editors who have tested the update report impressive video quality over the 3G network with smooth playback and almost no pre-buffering time. The ABC Player service remains available to U.S. users only and is a free download from the U.S. App Store.
If you received an error message during the sign-up process for AT&T service on your iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G, you might want to check your credit card bill. At least one iLounge editor has seen his card double-billed for one month of unlimited service after the initial sign-up process hit a snag. It is unclear how many iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G users may have experienced a similar situation; if you’ve had trouble with your AT&T iPad billing, please share your stories in the comments below.
iFixit has posted a full teardown of the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G, finding several noticable differences between it and its Wi-Fi-only counterpart. The 3G model uses an Infineon PMB 8878 X-Gold baseband chip, the same as found in the iPhone 3GS, as well as a Broadcom A-GPS which is found on the communicaitons board, partially explaining why the Wi-Fi only model lacks GPS functionality. Unsurprisingly, the 3G model houses new antenna assemblies for cellular and GPS connectivity; these join the antennas previously found in the iPad with Wi-Fi for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi communication. Judging by the teardown photographs, it appears that Apple used a microSIM instead of a full-sized SIM card in order to fit the component between the side of the unit and the large internal battery. Overall, iFixit notes that while the inside of the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G is “not nearly as barren” as the Wi-Fi-only model, it’s still “not jam-packed.”
Apple has announced that it sold its one millionth iPad on Friday, 28 days after the device’s introduction on April 3. In addition to unit purchases, iPad users have already downloaded over 12 million apps from the App Store and over 1.5 million ebooks from the iBookstore. Notably, the announcement also reveals that there are now over 5,000 apps for the iPad in the App Store. “One million iPads in 28 days—that’s less than half of the 74 days it took to achieve this milestone with iPhone,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Demand continues to exceed supply and we’re working hard to get this magical product into the hands of even more customers.”
In our early testing, iLounge has learned that some video delivery applications act differently over the 3G network than they do on Wi-Fi. The iPad’s built-in YouTube application strips both standard and HD videos to a dramatically lower resolution over the cellular data connection, something that iTunes Store video previews notably do not do, instead staying at a higher quality and consuming a greater amount of data. Other third-party applications, such as the ABC Player, refuse to work at all over the cellular connection, producing a notification pop-up that states, “Please connect to a Wi-Fi network to use this application. Cellular networks are not supported at this time.”
iLounge has received its first iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G units for testing and has posted an unboxing gallery online. There are several small changes from the Wi-Fi-only model that are worthy of mention. The box the 3G model comes in is identical to that of the Wi-Fi-only model, save for two stickers on the back of the box that reference the fact that a 3G model is contained within; notably, the image of the iPad on the front does not depict the 3G model. The unit’s microSIM slot is found on the left side of the device, off-center, towards the bottom of the unit, and contains an AT&T-branded microSIM. This side of the device is completely bare on Wi-Fi-only models. Contents of the box are the same as the Wi-Fi-only model, save for the SIM card removal tool, and the antenna cover at the top is made from black matte plastic. Another notable item is that the device requires connection to iTunes in order to be usable; no software update is available or required, and rather than directing the user instantly to sign up for AT&T service, the iPad sits awaiting activation until you dive into the Settings menu and find the Cellular Data option yourself.
Distimo has released its latest monthly report on the U.S. App Store, revealing that there are now 4,870 iPad applications in the App Store. Of these, 3,437 are iPad-only apps while the remaining 1,433 are Universal applications that run on both the iPad and iPhone. The report goes on to note that the number of iPad applications on the App Store has grown by 32.7% over the past two weeks and that the largest category for iPad applications is Games, with 1,577 titles, followed by Entertainment and Books with 455 and 396 titles, respectively. The report points out that paid iPad applications make up a larger percentage of that category than paid iPhone applications and are slightly more expensive on average: The average price of an iPad app is $4.67 compared to $3.82 for an iPhone app. The report also lists the top 20 paid and free iPad and iPhone apps, revealing a number of more expensive $10 apps among the iPad top 20, with a higher average price of $5.69, as compared to a larger number of $0.99 apps in the iPhone top 20, with an average price of $2.04. The full report is available from Distimo’s site (free registration required).
Apple has posted a new support document detailing the process for setting up a cellular data account on the iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G. According to the document, users simply tap a “View Account” options within a new Cellular Data menu inside the Settings app to get started. Users will then be prompted to enter their information, including first and last name, telephone number, email address and a password for the new AT&T account, and billing information, select a data plan. A Terms of Service page will then be displayed, and once accepted, a payment summary screen appears for final confirmation. Once submitted, a congratulations screen appears, followed by a pop-up notification once the connection has been activated. The page notes that the process is managed by AT&T, and users should contact AT&T if they have have questions, concerns, or problems.