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]
Apple has released its GM, or Gold Master, version of the iPhone SDK 3.2 for iPad. According to an email sent out to registered iPhone developers, all iPad apps submitted going forward must be built and tested using this release. The email reads, “[a]ll members of the iPhone Developer Program can submit their iPad apps to iTunes Connect for review and approval. If you did not submit your app during the initial review period, but upload it by March 31, it will be reviewed but may not make the grand opening of the iPad App Store.” Apple’s “initial review period” began on March 19 and ended March 27; applications submitted during that timeframe are eligible for the grand opening, but must be re-submitted using this latest SDK release for final approval. The iPhone OS SDK 3.2 GM for iPad is available now to registered iPhone developers through the iPhone Dev Center.
According to the iPad end-user software licensing agreement posted online, iPad users will receive free software updates from Apple, up to and including the first major release, and then have to pay for upgrades afterwards. This particular portion of the agreement, published online by Mac Rumors, states: “Apple will provide you any iPad OS software updates that it may release from time to time, up to and including the next major iPad OS software release following the version of iPad OS software that originally shipped from Apple on your iPad, for free. For example, if your iPad originally shipped with iPad 3.x software, Apple would provide you with any iPad OS software updates it might release up to and including the iPad 4.x software release. Such updates and releases may not necessarily include all of the new software features that Apple releases for newer iPad models.” Currently, iPhone owners are provided free software updates for at least the first two years of the device’s life, while iPod touch owners are normally charged for major updates. New iPhones and iPod touch units, however, have typically debuted with either a new or very recent version of iPhone OS installed, whereas the iPad will ship with the nine-month old iPhone OS 3.x software, with the possibility of iPhone OS 4.0 being released later this year.
MobileAge has released a preview of the iPad version of its popular Shanghai Mahjong for the iPhone and iPod touch. Shanghai Mahjong for iPad will provide new iPad-optimized artwork and 200 new layouts for expanded game play. Users will also be able to download additional custom-designed tileset art and background images from within the app or choose a background from the iPad photo album. The company plans to release the iPad version as a universal app that will run on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. The iPad version will be available as a free update for existing Shanghai Mahjong users. More information and screenshots can be found at the developer’s web site.
Apple has posted a number of iPad Guided Tour videos on its website. Each one is several minutes long, and explains how to use one of the device’s applications. Individual tours are available for Safari, Mail, Photos, Videos, YouTube, iPod, iTunes, iBooks, Keynote, Pages, and Numbers. Apple’s iPad Guided Tour videos are available for viewing now on the company’s website.
iTunes 9.1 will arrive alongside the iPad on Saturday, bringing with it a number of changes, many related to the new features of the latest iTunes-connecting device, Mac Rumors reports. Most notably, iTunes 9.1 will offer support for ebook files, and will see the “Audiobooks” listing on the iTunes Store and in the content management interface for connected devices changed to a broader “Books” section that will display all book content compatible with the currently connected device. Other changes will include greater control over Genius Mixes, including the ability to rename, rearrange, and delete Mixes, slight changes to device support, including small interface tweaks to the summary panes, and expansion of the ability to automatically convert songs to 128 kbps AAC format when syncing to devices.
Apple today announced that it will be opening all 221 of its U.S. retail stores at 9 a.m. local time on Saturday for the iPad launch. In addition to Apple retail stores, the company notes that the device will also be available at “most” Best Buy stores on launch day. Apple’s retail stores will offer a free Personal Setup service to every iPad customer, and will also be hosting special iPad workshops to help customers learn more about the device. While the iPad will initially only be available from Apple—both online and retail—and retail Best Buy stores, the device will eventually be sold at select Apple Authorized Resellers and campus bookstores, as well. “iPad connects users with their apps and content in a far more intimate and fun way than ever before,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We can’t wait for users to get their hands and fingers on it this weekend.”
Fujitsu has transferred the rights to the iPad trademark in the U.S. to Apple ahead of the device’s launch later this week. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Fujitsu agreed last week to assign all rights to the iPad name to Apple beginning on March 17. Fujitsu had originally registered the iPad name in 2003 in connection to a handheld scanner launched by its U.S. subsidiary the year before that was used by retail store clerks for inventory management and other business activities. Details of the agreement between the two companies are not known, however, Fujitsu appears to have changed its stance on the matter since the iPad unveiling; a company representative said the day after Apple’s iPad event that “It’s our understanding that the name is ours,” adding that “mobile is a keyword for Fujitsu’s iPad, too.”
Filemaker has announced that it will be launching a version of its popular consumer database application, Bento, for the iPad. Similar in concept to the Bento for iPhone app released last spring, the iPad version of Bento can be used as a standalone app or sync via Wi-Fi with the Mac version of Bento. The new version has been redesigned to take advantage of the larger screen size and UI features offered by the iPad to provide smoother database navigation and a visually appealing presentation of data. The app will ship with a number of database templates to allow users to quickly get started and is expected to be sold as a separate app for the same $5 price tag as the iPhone version. [via Mac Rumors]