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Apple already considering iPad price reductions?

Apple executives, speaking in a meeting with Credit Suisse analysts, have suggested that the company is already considering price reductions for its yet-to-be-released iPad tablet should early sales of the device fail to live up to internal expectations. Citing Credit Suisse analyst Bill Shope, the Wall Street Journal reports that Apple wants the iPad to be the best device in several usage cases, including consuming media and browsing the Internet. Since other devices, including laptops and the iPhone or iPod touch, may be more appropriate to use under certain conditions, Shope indicates that cannibalization may be less of a concern than some believe. In addition, Shope said that Apple management indicated that it will remain nimble in terms of pricing, suggesting that the company could lower prices on the iPad if consumer response is lower than projected. Apple is expected to begin shipping Wi-Fi-only models of the iPad late next month.

Chinese maker of iPad clone vows to sue Apple

Shenzhen Great Long Brother Industrial Co., which produces the P88, a Windows-based, multi-touch tablet computer, is vowing to sue Apple for patent infringement as soon as the company launches the iPad in China. Claiming that the P88, which was announced last October, is “identical” to the iPad, Wu Xiaolong, president of Shenzhen Great Long Brother Industrial Co., said, “I was very angry and flabbergasted when I saw the news of the iPad presentation… It is certainly our design. They’ve stolen because we present our P88 to everyone six months ago at the IFA (International Electronics Fair in Berlin).” Wu went on to add that sales of the P88 in China would “definitely take a hit” should the iPad launch in China, and admitted that it would be difficult to take on Apple in the United States, but also said “if the iPad enters the Chinese market, we will sue them this spring.” While the P88 does share a slightly similar design, with a black front bezel surrounding a touch screen, the iP88 offers a variety of ports that the iPad does not, and overall more closely resembles the original iPhone than the iPad.

Hutchison Austria to offer iPad + 3G modem deal

Hutchison Austria has announced plans to sell the Apple iPad for a discounted amount in a bundle with an i-Mo wireless Wi-Fi router. According to TamsIJungle, Berthold Thoma, CEO of Hutchison Austria, said the iPad would be offered at a discount of €333 (roughly $455) when purchased with a two-year contract for 5GB of data at €30 a month. Thoma said that since the first iPads sold in the country wouldn’t include 3G radios, the company was instead going to offer the Wi-Fi-only version with the i-Mo, which connects to the company’s 3G network and then uses that connection to create a Wi-Fi hotspot which the iPad can join. It is unknown exactly when Apple plans to launch the iPad in Austria, or whether Hutchison plans to offer a similar subsidy for customers who purchase a 3G-enabled iPad along with a data service contract. [via Engadget]

Apple CEO Jobs meets with NYT, WSJ, Time for iPad demos

Apple CEO Steve Jobs reportedly visited New York City in recent days, stopping by both the New York Times newsroom and the Wall Street Journal for personal demonstrations of the new iPad tablet. Gawker reports that Jobs’ NYT visit was strictly off-the-record, but a person who was present indicated that Jobs is preparing to sign up magazines and newspapers for distribution on the iPad, after focusing on books prior to the device’s unveiling. Little is known about Jobs’ visit with the Wall Street Journal, beyond the fact that he was reportedly confined to the office’s third floor, and did not meet with several interested staff members.

New York Magazine claims Jobs held another meeting with New York Times Company executives in the basement of Southern Asian restaurant Pranna, to which Jobs wore a “funny” hat. The report states that Jobs was seated next to NYT publisher Arthur Sulzberger during the “intimate” event, and demonstrated the iPad and its functions while speaking about how it could shape the future of media. Finally, Fortune reports that Jobs also visited the Time & Life Building while in town to demonstrate the tablet to Time Inc. CEO Ann Moore and several select magazine editors.

FCC warns of iPad-led wireless network overload

In a blog posting on the body’s official site, the FCC’s Director of Scenario Planning Phil Bellaria, and John Leibovitz, Deputy Chief of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, warn that the iPad and other future devices like it could lead to network congestion. Comparing the current situation in which data-hungry mobile devices are becoming increasingly common to the rise of Internet access demands in the late 1990s, particularly those faced by AOL after announcing unlimited dial-up access in 1996, Bellaria and Leibovitz note that “[w]idespread use of smartphones, 3G-enabled netbooks, and now, perhaps, the iPad and its competitors demonstrate that wireless broadband will be a hugely important part of the broadband ecosystem as we move ahead.” Continuing the comparison and noting that AOL was eventually able to resolve its problems with network and backbone upgrades, the pair conclude that “[w]ith the iPad pointing to even greater demand for mobile broadband on the horizon, we must ensure that network congestion doesn’t choke off a service that consumers clearly find so appealing or frustrate mobile broadband’s ability to keep us competitive in the global broadband economy.”

iPad interface guidelines provide glimpse at future apps

Excepts from Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines for the iPad have appeared online, offering a look into the company’s expectations for user interaction with iPad-specific applications. Notably, the guidelines call for four-way orientation support, so that users may turn the device in any direction and maintain a consistent experience, and ask that developers reduce full-screen transitions within apps. One particularly direct passage concerns enhancing interactivity instead of simply adding more features, and states, “The best iPad applications give people innovative ways to interact with content while they perform a clearly defined, finite task. Resist the temptation to fill the large screen with features that are not directly related to the main task. In particular, you should not view the large iPad screen as an invitation to bring back all the functionality you pruned from your iPhone application.” Other points made in the guidelines call for developers to include ways to share information from the app both physically and virtually, heightened realism within app interfaces, higher-resolution graphics, multifinger gestures, replacing modal tasks with popovers, and more. Apple’s iPad Human Interaction Guidelines are available as a download for registered iPhone developers from the iPhone Dev Center.

Adobe CTO: Flash is ‘ready’ for iPhone, iPad

In a lengthy blog post discussing the lack of Flash support on Apple’s portable devices, particularly the iPad, Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch made several comments supporting the argument for Flash on Apple’s devices while giving examples of content iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users will be unable to access without Flash support. “Some have been surprised at the lack of inclusion of Flash Player on a recent magical device,” Lynch writes. “Flash has been incredibly successful in its adoption, with over 85% of the top web sites containing Flash content and Flash running on over 98% of computers on the Web… It is used for the majority of casual games, video, and animation on the Web and familiar brands like Nike, Hulu, BBC, Major League Baseball, and more rely on Flash to deliver the most compelling experiences to over a billion people.”

Discussing Flash on mobile devices, he continues, saying, “[t]he Flash engineering team has taken this on with a major overhaul of the mainstream Flash Player for a variety of devices. We are now on the verge of delivering Flash Player 10.1 for smartphones with all but one of the top manufacturers. This includes Google’s Android, RIM’s Blackberry, Nokia, Palm Pre and many others across form factors including not only smartphones but also tablets, netbooks, and internet-connected TVs.” Finally, Lynch claims that Adobe is “ready to enable Flash in the browser on [Apple’s] devices if and when Apple chooses to allow that for its users, but to date we have not had the required cooperation from Apple to make this happen.” The post has drawn a large number of comments from readers, many of which are critical of Flash and Adobe as a company. Lynch’s post follows comments reportedly made by Apple CEO Steve Jobs at a corporate town hall event last week, at which Jobs is said to have called Adobe lazy, claiming that Flash is buggy, and adding that no one will be using it going forward as online development shifts to HTML5.

ScrollMotion signs textbook publishers to iPad deals

ScrollMotion, a software company that specializes in translating print media to digital devices, most notably the iPhone and iPod touch, has signed deals with a number of leading educational textbook publishers to bring their textbooks, test-prep, and study guides to the iPad. The Wall Street Journal reports that publishers including McGraw-Hill’s education unit, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt K-12, Pearson Education, and Kaplan Inc. have all signed deals with ScrollMotion. “People have been talking about the impact of technology on education for 25 years. It feels like it is really going to happen in 2010,” said Rik Kranenburg, group president of higher education for the education unit of McGraw-Hill. While involved in the project, Kranenburg isn’t yet ready to crown the iPad king of the classroom, saying, “nobody knows what device will take off, or which ‘killer app’ will drive student adaptations. Today they aren’t reading e-textbooks on their laptops. But ahead we see all kinds of new instruction materials.” According to the report, features of the ScrollMotion deal include applications to let students play video, highlight text, record lectures, take notes, search the text, and take interactive quizzes.

NYT: Apple A4 chip offers modest gains, loses PA Semi staff

The Apple A4 chip powering the company’s new iPad tablet is underwhelming some chip industry experts, according to a New York Times report. “I don’t see anything that looks that compelling,” said Linley Gwennap, a chip analyst at the Linley Group. “It doesn’t seem like something all that new, and, if it is, they are not getting far with it.” The A4, its first custom effort, is said to differ only slightly from competing chips from Nvidia and Qualcomm, offering similar performance, and is likely manufactured by Samsung using common industry designs with small tweaks from Apple. The report also states that while Apple bought the 150-employee P.A. Semi in 2008 with hopes of designing its own high-efficiency, low-power chips, the company has since lost at least one key member of that team. According to records on the job networking site LinkedIn, at least “half a dozen” P.A. Semi engineers have left Apple for San Jose-based Agnilux, a start-up co-founded by former P.A. system architect Mark Hayter. The report cites two people with knowledge of both companies as saying that some of the P.A. Semi engineers left Apple only a few months after the acquisition due to the unattractive price of stock grants offered by the company.

Stephen Colbert displays iPad at Grammy Awards

Despite the lack of any actual commercials for the iPad during last night’s 2010 Grammy Awards telecast, Apple’s newest device did make an appearance, courtesy of comedian Stephen Colbert. During the early moments of the event, Colbert briefly displayed an iPad as he presented the nominees for Song of the Year. Colbert produced the device from an inner jacket pocket, and it appeared to be fully functional, as the screen was shown on the Spotlight search view at first, then on a traditional Home screen layout. Colbert also joked with the crowd while displaying the new device, asking, “Jay-Z, did you not get one of these in your gift bag?” A clip of Colbert showing off the device appears below in embedded form and is also available on YouTube via the above link.

Apple removes Flash from iPad promo video

Following reports pointing out that Apple’s product shots and promotional video for the new iPad tablet showed Adobe Flash running correctly on the device, Apple has removed all instances of Flash running on the iPad from its promotional video and images. Questions began to spread following the discovery of these Flash examples due to the fact that the popular plug-in was noticeably absent from demo models used in last week’s special media event. Adobe has publicly criticized Apple for the iPad’s lack of Flash support, claiming that the company was imposing “restrictions on their devices that limit both content publishers and consumers.”

Apple A4 iPad chip based on ARM technology

The new Apple A4 system-on-a-chip powering the company’s iPad tablet is based on ARM technology, according to a new report. Citing Warren East, CEO of ARM, Bright Side of News reports that ARM has licensed its CPU and GPU technology to Apple. Based on this information, BSN suggests that the A4 includes both a ARM Cortex-A9 multi-core CPU, as well as an ARM Mali GPU, and other functions designed into the chip by Apple. The article also suggests that Apple’s acquisition of PA Semi played heavily in the design of the chip, as PA Semi founder Dan Dobberpuhl was a lead designer of Alpha and StrongARM processors at his former employer Digital Equipment Corporation. Apple itself has not offered any specifics on the A4 chip outside of specifying its 1GHz clockspeed and describing it as “the most advanced chip” the company has done up to this point.

iPad promo video, product shots show functional Flash

New findings by 9to5Mac illustrate that both Apple’s promotional video for iPad and product shots on the company’s website show Adobe’s Flash plug-in functioning properly on the device, despite the fact that the plug-in was not functioning during Apple’s demonstration of the iPad earlier this week. As evidenced by our screenshot (below) of the New York Times article The 31 Places to Go in 2010, a large Flash-based slideshow dominates the top of the page, and is seen properly rendered on the above shot taken from Apple’s iPad Features page, as well as in Apple’s iPad promotional video. Flash content on the front page of the NYT is also shown as being properly rendered in the video and in other product shots used throughout Apple’s website, leaving the state of Flash on the iPad uncertain, as the plug-in was noticeably absent from the device during Wednesday’s Apple event, as seen in the below photo from Engadget. Adobe has publicly criticized Apple for the iPad’s lack of Flash support, claiming that the company was imposing “restrictions on their devices that limit both content publishers and consumers.” [via Mac Rumors]

Jobs: iPad offers 140 hours of music, iBooks pricing ‘same’ as Amazon

In a brief, impromptu video interview with Apple CEO Steve Jobs, captured and posted online by AllThingsD’s Kara Swisher, Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal had the chance to ask several questions about the iBookstore and the iPad in general. When asked why someone would purchase a book from the iBookstore for $14.99 instead of paying only $9.99 on the Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble Nook, Jobs replied that “won’t be the case,” adding that “the prices will be the same.” When asked about battery life, Jobs replied with the already revealed 10 hour number, but when asked about music specifically, Jobs said, “140-something hours, I think.” Finally, when Mossberg made a comparison between the Kindle and the iPad in terms of reading battery life, Jobs said that “it’s not that big a deal… 10 hours is a long time. You’re not going to read for 10 hours.”

Adobe speaks out on iPad’s lack of Flash support

Adobe has posted a new article on its Flash Platform blog discussing Apple’s iPad announcement and the device’s lack of Flash support. After calling the iPad a “pretty good new device” and discussing the various Adobe technologies that do appear on the iPad, including PDF and ePub support, Adobe employee Adrian Ludwig lambasts Apple for its choice to leave Flash support off the iPad. “It looks like Apple is continuing to impose restrictions on their devices that limit both content publishers and consumers,” Ludwig writes. “Unlike many other ebook readers using the ePub file format, consumers will not be able to access ePub content with Apple’s DRM technology on devices made by other manufacturers.  And without Flash support, iPad users will not be able to access the full range of web content, including over 70% of games and 75% of video on the web. If I want to use the iPad to connect to Disney, Hulu, Miniclip, Farmville, ESPN, Kongregate, or JibJab—not to mention the millions of other sites on the web—I’ll be out of luck.” Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen said in February 2009 that Apple and Adobe were “collaborating” in an effort to bring Flash to the iPhone, but no further statements have been made since.

Fujitsu claims iPad name ‘is ours’

Apple may be headed for a dispute with Fujitsu over the iPad trademark. Fujitsu applied for the iPad trademark in the U.S. in 2003, a year after it unveiled its own iPad, a handheld device designed to help shop clerks with inventory, sales, and price checks. “It’s our understanding that the name is ours,” Masahiro Yamane, director of Fujitsu’s public relations division, told the New York Times. Features of Fujitsu’s iPad include a 3.5-inch color touchscreen, an Intel processor, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity, and VoIP telephony. “Mobile is a keyword for Fujitsu’s iPad, too,” Mr. Yamane said. “With the iPad, workers don’t have to keep running back to a computer. They have everything right at their fingertips.”

The United States Patent and Trademark Office listed Fujitsu’s application for the mark as abandoned in early 2009, but the company revived the application in June; soon after, Apple began filing for an iPad international trademark via a proxy company, and has since filed requests with the USPTO for more time to oppose Fujitsu’s application. According to the report, Apple has until February 28 to state whether it will oppose Fujitsu’s claims to the iPad name. Notably, Apple faced a similar situation with the original iPhone, as that name was held by Cisco at the time; the two companies eventually negotiated a settlement. Fujitsu is a current component supplier to Apple, providing the company with laptop hard drives for its MacBook line of notebooks.

Quicktime video of iPad unveiling event now available


Apple has posted a streaming Quicktime video of its iPad announcement event, held earlier today at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, CA. The video is one hour and thirty-three minutes long, and contains several demonstrations including the iPad, iBooks, iTunes, App store, iWork, various applications and other features. Apple is expected to release the iPad Wi-Fi 60 days from today and the iPad Wi-Fi + 3G 90 days from today.

Complete iPad walkthrough video now online (updated x2)

iLounge has posted a complete walkthrough video of Apple’s new iPad tablet. Highlights of the 10-minute video include a complete interface walkthrough, showing each of the built-in apps as well as the iWork suite, multiple looks at the device’s external body, and more. The complete video is available in embedded form below and is also available on YouTube.

Updated: We’ve added the longer, higher-resolution Vimeo version of the video for your viewing pleasure.

Updated x2: Our complete iPad walkthrough video is now available in 720p HD on Vimeo.

Apple releases iPhone OS 3.2 SDK for iPad

Following its introduction of the new iPad tablet computer, Apple today made available a beta of the iPhone OS 3.2 SDK, which supports iPad applications. According to information provided to iLounge by an anonymous source, the SDK itself is available, including an iPad simulator, but it does not support current iPhone or iPod touch hardware. New features available via the SDK include external display support, enhanced gesture recognizers, improved text support, custom font support, file-sharing support, which will allow apps to read and write to and from a shared folder that automatically mounts to the desktop when connected to a computer, the ability to associate documents with a specific application, the ability to generate PDF files from the device, and changes to the media player framework that will give developers more control over how video is presented to the user. The iPhone OS 3.2 SDK beta is available now to registered iPhone developers through the iPhone Dev Center.

iPad, iPad 3G sport different back casings

According to photos posted to Apple’s iPad Gallery, the Wi-Fi-only and Wi-Fi + 3G models use different back casings. While the non-3G model features nothing but a black Apple logo and the normal model name, capacity, and other legal information on its back, the 3G model features a prominent black plastic strip occupying roughly two-thirds of the central top portion of the back casing, which is consistent with details provided to iLounge prior to the device’s unveiling. A photo illustrating the differences appears below.

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