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.”
According to reports from iLounge editors and across the web, lines are growing outside Apple retail stores in anticipation of the iPad’s official launch at 9:00 a.m. Our editor at the Walden Galleria store in Buffalo, NY, the crowd is split up into two lines—one for customers with reservations, and one for those without—with the lines roughly equal in size. Notably, the customers in line have been told that the store has plenty of iPads on hand, so many in fact that customers who made reservations are being allowed to upgrade the capacity of their iPads to 64GB if they like, although this moves them out of the reservations line and into the general purchasing pool, and customers can even expand their single iPad reservations to two units. Unsurprisingly, several iPhone developers who are anxious to test their iPad apps on a real device are among the first people in line at the Galleria store, a situation likely similar to that of other stores across the country. A small number of accessories are also being shown, including Apple’s iPad Case, Dock, and VGA Adapter, along with cases from Belkin, Hard Candy, Incase, and Speck. We will continue to update this post as more information comes in; if you’d like to share your line photos and notes with us, please email news (at) ilounge.com and include your name and Apple Store location.
Update x1: The line at the Walden Galleria store has grown by roughly 60 people over the last 45-50 minutes, from 90 to 150 customers.
Update x2: The crowd at the Walden Galleria store was roughly 300 people by the time the store opened; we’ve added pics of the iPad window display and in-store display below.
Update x3: A crowd is beginning to gather outside the South Coast Plaza store in Costa Mesa, CA. Pictures from that location are available below.
Update x4: More photos from the South Coast Plaza store have been added.
A new set of photographs (PDF Link) showing off the inside of the iPad W-Fi have been published by the FCC. The Wi-Fi iPad contains a 3.75V 24.8 Watt-Hour battery, twin antennas—one routed to the rear Apple logo, and one routed to the volume button area—and a comparatively small logic board. The vast majority of the interior space is taken up by the battery; notably, the unit also includes dual speakers, a detail mentioned briefly in some of the early reviews of the device.
Update: iFixit.com has discovered and posted two images of the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G internals from the FCC. The images show the black antenna housing on the top of the 3G model, which does not appear to have any noticeable slot for the microSIM card, as well as the GPS antenna, which is attached to the backside of the display assembly.
A number of noteworthy iPad-optimized applications have hit the App Store ahead of the device’s April 3 launch. Below is a list of some of the titles we consider to be the most interesting, important, or otherwise worth mentioning.
Pandora Media has released a new universal version of its free Pandora Radio app offering an enhanced iPad interface.
Smule has released Magic Piano, an iPad-specific virtual instrument app.
Social networking service Loopt has released Loopt Pulse, offering location-based event, restaurant, entertainment, and nightlife search.
Chillingo has released Cogs HD, an iPad version of its well-received game for the iPhone and iPod touch, along with 13 other games.
Apple has updated its iTunes Store Terms & Conditions ahead of the iPad’s launch, revealing a few minor details about the device’s functionality. Most notably, and despite reports indicating that the formats were developed with the iPad in mind, the initial iPad software will not offer support for iTunes Extras or iTunes LP content. The new terms state, “iTunes LP and iTunes Extras Products are usable only on computers with iTunes 9 or higher and Apple TV with software version 3.0 or higher,” adding that if the user purchases a album or movie that includes such content, it won’t be downloaded to the iPad, but instead will be placed in the user’s download queue for later downloading via iTunes. In addition, the terms also state that movies rented using the iPad may not be moved from the device, mirroring the behavior of movies rented on the Apple TV.
Hyundai has announced that it will be bundling an iPad with its new flagship Equus sedan. USA Today reports that the iPad will serve as the $50,000-plus luxury sedan’s “interactive” owner’s manual, but will also be available for regular use. In addition, owners will be able to use the device to schedule service appointments. “Many will respond positively to the inclusion of an iPad, not because they needed or planned to buy one, but simply because it is topical and cool,” said William Matthies of research firm Coyote Insight. Hyundai hopes to sell about 3,000 Equus sedans next year. [via MDN]
Apple has posted details of the iPad’s integration into its MobileMe service. The $99/year subscription service will offer push email, calendar, contacts, and bookmarks syncing on the iPad; the company’s current iDisk application for the iPhone and iPod touch is listed as compatible with the iPad, although no new iPad-specific version is mentioned on Apple’s dedicated webpage. In addition, the iPad will be compatible with the “Find My iPad” service, which allows users to remotely locate their iPads, play sounds and/or display messages; if the iPad is believed to be completely lost, the service also offers a Remote Wipe feature that can be used to remotely lock it with a passcode, or remove all of the users’ data.
iPad updates for existing applications have begun to appear in the App Store. Rather than releasing separate iPad versions of their apps, some developers have chosen to release “Universal” updates to the existing apps, providing both iPhone and iPad support in the same application package. Universal apps are denoted on the App Store by a small Plus sign beside the purchase button in the app listings, similar to the icon that was formerly used to denote iTunes Plus music tracks. A note also appears on the App Store page for Universal apps indicating that “This app is designed for both iPhone and iPad” and Universal apps will appear in search results under both the general Apps and the new “iPad Apps” headings. The App Store page for Universal apps now includes a selection button above the screenshots where users to choose to view either iPhone or iPad screenshots for the app.
Some of the apps that have been updated with iPad support include Instapaper Pro, LogMeIn Ignition, IMDb, Evernote, WordPress, and Now Playing. Despite the packaging of content for both platforms into a single app, most of the Universal app updates do not show a significant increase in size over their previous versions. As with all previous iPhone OS app updates each of these are available free to existing users, and new users gain the benefit of paying one price for a single app that will run on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
A select group of independent Apple Specialist retailers will be offering the iPad beginning this Saturday, according to an AppleInsider report. Citing people familiar with the matter, the report states that the selected retailers were forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement before being allowed into the program, meaning they couldn’t pre-advertise the availability of the iPad or any of its accessories. Specific locations that will be offering the iPad are currently unknown; Apple in a recent announcement mentioned only its own stores and “most” Best Buy locations as launch retailers, although it did say that the iPad would be sold though “select Apple Authorized Resellers and campus bookstores” without indicating when those locations would begin sales.
iPad applications have begun to appear in the App Store in advance of Saturday’s launch of the iPad. Although no specific front-page promotions or categories are yet appearing, searches on the App Store are showing results in separate categories for “Apps” and “iPad Apps.” Titles that have already begun to appear include iPad versions of such popular games as Gameloft’s N.O.V.A. HD, Firemint’s Real Racing HD, and 2K Games’ Civlization Revolution for iPad. Popular apps include NewsGator’s NetNewsWire for iPad, Culture Code’s Things for iPad and The Iconfactory’s Twitterrific for iPad. Apple’s own iWork applications, including Keynote are also now available. iPad versions of prior games generally appear to consume between 50% and 100% more storage capacity than their predecessors, though the exact amount varies from title to title, and some have much smaller size differences. Prices for iPad apps are often higher than for their iPhone/iPod touch counterparts, with certain EA titles going for $10 to $15 each, and many other updated games now selling in the $5 to $10 range.
Apple has posted a list of major websites which have prepared themselves for the iPad. Among the sites listed are CNN, Reuters, The New York Times, Vimeo, Time, Major League Baseball, The White House, Virgin America, Sports Illustrated, Flickr, People Magazine, and TED. Repeatedly, the small descriptions for each site mention HTML5 video players, possibly in an effort to quell fears that the device’s lack of Flash support will hinder users’ ability to fully experience websites. Also appearing on the page is a link to submit sites that are “taking advantage of the latest web standards,” as well as a link to an Apple developer technical note explaining how to prepare web content for iPad.
Appadvice reports that Netflix has developed an official application for the iPad to be available in the App Store starting April 3rd. The Netflix iPad app is expected to be a free download but will require users to have an unlimited Netflix plan to access content. The app will allow iPad users to stream TV shows and movies from the Netflix catalog and browse and manage their Netflix queue from within the app. Users can also synchronize viewing status with the Netflix service in order to continue watching a movie from where they left off on another device. It is unclear at this time whether Netflix streaming will be supported over a 3G connection or only over Wi-Fi or whether an iPhone version of the application will also be available. [via PC World]
The Wall Street Journal reports that CBS and ABC are preparing to stream selected television content to the iPad. The networks will adopt a model similar to traditional broadcast television, with the shows being free and ad-supported. CBS plans to stream their content directly to the Safari browser while ABC will use a separate ABC Player iPad application. CBS plans to have full episodes of its reality series “Survivor” available by Saturday from its web site as well as promotional clips of several other shows. [via Mac Rumors]
The first reviews of the iPad are in from Apple’s hand-picked group of technology columnists, and while they mostly skim over the device’s features in a manner that leaves plenty to be discovered, several of the reviews contain tiny nuggets of new information.
British comedian and writer Stephen Fry claims in his piece for Time that the book Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne, shown in Apple’s promotional materials for the iPad, will be “bundled with every iPad;” given that the iBooks reader application is not pre-installed on the iPad, it is unclear whether the title will actually be pre-loaded onto the device itself, accessible for free only after downloading the iBooks app from the App Store, or whether it will be included in the iBooks download package as a full sample book.
Andy Ihnatko, in his review for the Chicago Sun-Times, states that the iPad allows applications to inform the OS of what types of files they handle, such that if an email attachment is received and the user attempts to open it, an “Open In…” button appears, providing a list of apps that can work with the given file type.
Other reviews, published by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, PC Magazine, and Boing Boing offer comparatively little in the way of new information about the iPad apart from the reviewers’ own opinions and experiences, which predictably reflect tremendous exuberance with only modest caveats. The most notable new information they collectively contain is a range of runtime results suggesting that the iPad generally outperforms Apple’s 10-hour promised battery life by as much as an hour and a half, but may fall half an hour short of the claim.
Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) has announced that it is doubling its iFund to $200 million of venture capital for iPhone apps. Originally announced in March 2008, the iFund is pool of funds designed to help KPCB find and back budding iPhone developers. According to the company, the entire original $100 million iFind is now fully committed across 14 companies, accounting for more than $100 million in 2010 mobile revenue, more than 100 million aggregate mobile downloads, and 18 titles that reached the Top 10 on the App Store. In addition, iFund-supported companies have more than 20 applications in development for the iPad, 11 of which will be available on April 3: seven games from ngmoco including We Rule, GodFinger and WarpGate, Doodle Buddy and Star Smash from Pinger, textPlus from GOGII, and Shazam from Shazam Entertainment.
Apple has released iTunes 9.1, the latest update to its digital media management software. As previously reported, the update brings compatibility with the iPad, as well as the ability to “organize and sync books you’ve downloaded from iBooks on iPad or added to your iTunes library,” and the ability to “rename, rearrange, or remove Genius Mixes.” iTunes 9.1 is available now via Apple’s Software Update utility and as direct download from itunes.com.
Update: Upon installation, iLounge has confirmed that iTunes 9.1 references what appears to be an iPad-optimized version of its Remote application; it is possible, but unlikely, that this is simply to account for iPads running the current iPhone and iPod touch build of the app. The new version of iTunes is also able to import free ePub books, which now appear with Audiobooks and purchased books in a “Books” heading within the iTunes Library, which is then subdivided to count the number of titles in audio and book formats separately. Users are able to manually add cover art to ePub titles as they can with music albums, and the info window for books offers a VoiceOver pane where users can set the VoiceOver language on a per-title basis.
Taiwanese firm Elan Microelectronics has filed a patent infringement complaint against Apple with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). The AFP reports that the complaint alleges that Apple is violating Elan’s patents related to touch-sensitive input devices with multi-touch capabilities, specifically with the iPhone, iPod touch, MacBook laptops, the Magic Mouse, and the iPad. “We have taken the step of filing the ITC complaint as a continuation of our efforts to enforce our patent rights against Apple’s ongoing infringement,” Elan said in a statement. “A proceeding in the ITC offers a quick and effective way for Elan to enforce its patent.” Elan requesting that the ITC bar Apple from importing the products into the United States, and prevent it from selling any of the products in the United States that it has already imported. Elan filed a lawsuit against Apple in April of 2009 over the same alleged infringement. [via MDN]