Despite the official launch being a full week away, the first third-generation iPad pre-orders have started to ship from Apple’s assembly partner Foxconn. 9to5Mac’s Seth Weintraub reports that one of his pre-orders—a 16GB Wi-Fi unit with engraving—has shipped from Chengdu in Western China. As noted in the report, Chengdu was the site of an explosion at an iPad 2 production line run by Foxconn. The shipment notification, as well as the tracking information, for the package indicates that it will be delivered on March 16, suggesting that unlike some past Apple launches, pre-order customers won’t be receiving their units prior to the official launch.
RadioShack has announced that it is now taking pre-orders for the third-generation iPad. In order to facilitate the pre-orders, the retailer is requiring pre-order customers to buy a $50 RadioShack gift card, which can then be used towards the final purchase. Customers will also be able to use the company’s Trade & Save program to receive up to $350 for an iPad 2 or $175 for an original iPad in working condition. RadioShack will start selling the third-generation iPad on launch day, Friday, March 16.
There’s been a crazy quantity of news over the last day—new iPad and Apple TV hardware, new iOS and iTunes software, a new iPhoto app for iOS, and updates to virtually every major Apple-developed app in the App Store. Here’s an index to all of the major stories we’ve posted so that you can see what’s what, easily.
The Third-Generation iPad: Apple unveiled the third-generation iPad, dropping its recent numbering scheme in favor of calling it “the new iPad.” It features a Retina Display with over 3 million pixels, a new 5MP rear camera, support for some 4G LTE networks, and a body that’s slightly thicker and heavier than the iPad 2’s, but is otherwise cosmetically virtually identical. After the announcement, we discovered that the new iPad’s battery was much larger, Bluetooth 4 was added, and AirPlay was still locked at 720p from the super high-res device.
Click on the title of this article for many more links to our coverage.
Apple has revealed the data plans and pricing for the third-generation iPad with 4G. Both AT&T and Verizon offer three monthly plans each, but the plans vary in pricing and data allotment. AT&T offers 250MB of data per month for $15, 3GB for $30, and 5GB for $50, while Verizon offers 1GB of monthly data for $20, 2GB for $30, and 5GB for $50—the lone parallel between the two providers. Notably, 9to5Mac reports that Verizon’s plans include support for the mobile hotspot feature, while AT&T will not offer the feature at launch, but is “working with Apple to enable this feature in the future”.
Shortly following yesterday’s announcement of the third-generation iPad and third-generation Apple TV, the US Federal Communications Commission approved both products for sale. The listing for the third-generation Apple TV includes both exterior and interior photos, while the third-generation iPad receives three separate listings—one for Wi-Fi models, one for AT&T 4G models, and one for Verizon 4G models—all of which offer comparatively little in the way of new information. All four listings can be accessed via the links above.
Following the announcement of the third-generation iPad, Apple has dropped its pricing on refurbished iPad 2 units. Refurbished 16GB Wi-Fi units are now only $349, with 32GB and 64GB models selling for $449 and $549, respectively; Wi-Fi + 3G models sell for a $120 premium. In addition, the company also still offers refurbished first-generation iPads, with pricing set at $399 for a 32GB model or a 16GB 3G model and $499 for 64GB units.
Apple has posted its first TV advertisement for the third-generation iPad. Entitled “This Good”, the 30-second spot shows the device being used against a white background, while a narrator states, “When a screen becomes this good, colors are more vibrant, words are pin sharp, everything is more brilliant. Because when a screen becomes this good, it’s simply you and the things you care about. The stunning Retina display on the new iPad.” The ad is now available for viewing on Apple’s website.
In conjunction with today’s announcement of the third-generation iPad, Apple has introduced its new AppleCare+ protection plan for iPad. As with the same plan for the iPhone, the new AppleCare+ for iPad extends both warranty coverage and phone support for the device to two years—normally limited to one year and 90 days, respectively. In addition, the plan adds up to two incidents of accidental damage coverage for the same $49 service fee as seen on the iPhone. AppleCare+ for the iPad sells for $99 and must be purchased within 30 days of the purchase of the iPad.
As predicted by a third-party developer, Apple has raised its download limit for media acquired over a 3G connection to 50MB. The prior ceiling was 20Mb, leaving little headroom for developers looking to take full advantage of the third-generation iPad’s increased resolution. The new limit is now in place, for the iPad as well as the iPhone and iPod touch.
Apple has now posted a streaming video of its latest special media event, at which it announced the third-generation Apple TV and third-generation iPad. The video is just over 85 minutes long, and includes demonstrations of the new Apple TV interface, as well as iPhoto for iOS, and Infinity Blade: Dungeons. The video is available for viewing now from Apple’s website.
Following today’s iPad event, Apple has released iOS 5.1 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. According to the release notes, the new version adds Japanese language support for Siri and the ability to delete photos from the Photo Stream. Additionally, the Camera shortcut is now always visible on the lock screen for the iPHone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and fourth-generation iPod touch and improvements have been made to camera face detection to highlight all detected faced. The update also includes a redesigned Camera app for the iPad and adds support for Genius Mixes and Genius playlists for iTunes Match subscribers. Several other optimizations and bug fixes are noted including improvements to audio for TV shows and movies on the iPad, podcast controls for playback speed and skip back on the iPad as well as an updated AT&T network indicator and fixes for issues relating to battery life and audio dropouts on outgoing calls. iOS 5.1 is compatible with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPad, iPad 2, third-generation iPod touch, and fourth-generation iPod touch, and is available now via the update feature in iTunes or as an over-the-air update. To update your iOS device over-the-air, open Settings, tap on General, and tap on Software Update.
Apple has posted its tech specs for the third-generation iPad, revealing a number of unspoken features and limitations. The page reveals that the new iPad boasts Bluetooth 4.0 support, as well as a considerably larger 42.5-watt-hour battery. The previous limitation of 720p AirPlay Mirroring remains—even when using the new device with the upgraded third-generation Apple TV announced today—but the new iPad is capable of streaming AirPlay video at full 1080p resolution. As in the past, the Wi-Fi version of the iPad lacks GPS hardware, while the newly-named Wi-Fi + 4G does not. Finally, the new model is slightly heavier than the iPad 2, with Wi-Fi models weighing in at 1.44 lbs. and 4G units weighing 1.46 lbs., compared to 1.33 to 1.35 lbs., respectively, for the iPad 2.
Alongside the announcement of third-generation iPad and Apple TV hardware, Apple today announced that it was dropping the price of the base iPad 2 model to $399. The 16GB version will continue to be sold in black and white alongside the third-generation iPad—referred to by the company as “The new iPad”—which will assume the prior iPad 2 price points of $499-$699 for Wi-Fi-only models and $629-$829 for 4G-enabled units. Apple did not indicate that it would continue to sell Wi-Fi + 3G iPad 2 units, but will likely have some supply available at a modest discount until supplies run out.
During today’s iPad event in San Francisco, Apple also took the wraps off iPhoto for iPad, the latest iOS app in the company’s iLife suite. Described as the “reinvention” of iPhoto, the new app provides new and expanded photo browsing and editing capabilities directly on the iPad with a smarter photo browsing interface, advanced multi-touch editing features and professional quality effects. A new Photo Beaming feature also allows users to easily transfer photos directly between different devices.
During the presentation, Apple demonstrated several additional advanced features including the ability to automatically find and compare similar pictures simply by double-tapping on a photo, browsing photos via intuitive multi-touch gestures and sophisticated editing and auto-enhancement features. The app supports photo resolutions up to 19 megapixels and includes the ability to flag and collect photos and them share them easily via e-mail, Flickr, Twitter and other services. Users can also create Photo Journals to collect their favourite pictures into themed template pages that can also include related information such as calendar dates, maps and weather. iPhoto for iOS is $5 and is expected to be available on the App Store later today.
Apple today announced its third-generation iPad. As expected, the third-generation tablet features a 2048 x 1536 “Retina” display—for a total of 3.1 million pixels—and is powered by the new dual-core A5X processor with a quad-core graphics processor. According to the company, the new processor was “designed for Retina display”, and offers “four times the performance” of the Tegra 3 processor. Also new is a five-megapixel, backside-illuminated rear “iSight” camera sensor, with an IR filter, autofocus and auto white balance, face detection, 1080p video recording, and automatic video stabilization. Other new features include voice dictation, with support for US, British, and Australian English, French, German, and Japanese, 4G LTE networking, 10 hours of battery life, and a body that is slightly heavier at 1.4 lbs., and—as first reported by iLounge—slightly thicker at 9.4mm, compared to 8.8mm for the previous model.
Models equipped with wireless data now support 3.1 Mbps over EV-DO, 7.2 Mbps over HSPA, 21 Mbps on HSPA+, 42 Mbps over DC-HSDPA, and 73 Mbps over LTE networks; the latter will be supported at launch by Verizon, Rogers, Bell, Telus, and AT&T. Thanks to its faster internet connection, the iPad can now serve as a personal hotspot if the carrier supports it. The new iPad will keep the same pricing and capacities as previous models, with Wi-Fi-only units running $499 for 16GB, $599 for 32GB, and $699 for 64GB; 4G-capable units will cost $629, $729, and $829, respectively. Apple will begin taking pre-orders for the device today, with units shipping on March 16 in the United States, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia. More international rollouts will follow on March 23 in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.
Fishlabs has released the much-anticipated update to Galaxy on Fire 2 HD adding support for the Valkyrie HD expansion pack. Released last fall, Galaxy on Fire 2 HD is an enhanced version of the popular original Galaxy on Fire 2 that has been optimized to take full advantage of the improved graphic capabilities of the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 along with support for synchronizing saved games via iCloud. The latest update brings the Valkyrie expansion pack to Galaxy on Fire 2 HD adding enhanced 3D models, console-quality visuals and increased textures, resolutions and effects to the original expansion.
The expansion continues the storyline of Keith T. Maxwell’s galactic adventures as he now attempts to unravel a conspiracy orchestrated by a mysterious and cunning new enemy. The new add-on provides new spaceships, weapons and equipment along with nine new planets across four solar systems and a new black market trading system. Users can also now purchase their own space station, the Kaamo Club, in order to store additional spaceships and valuable goods. Galaxy on Fire 2 HD is available from the App Store for $10 and is compatible with the iPhone 3GS/4/4S, third- or fourth-generation iPod touch or iPad, although the enhanced graphics are only available on the iPhone 4S and iPad 2. The Valkyrie HD expansion is available as an in-app purchase for $5; users with the original Galaxy on Fire 2 standard edition installed on their device will receive the Valkyrie HD expansion for free when first opening the new version.
Apple has proposed settlements to both Motorola Mobility and Samsung in an effort to end some pending litigation, Dow Jones Newswires reports. Citing people familiar with the matter, the report claims that Apple has asked for roughly 1 percent to 2.5 percent of net sales per device, or between $5 and $15 per handset. One person said that Apple isn’t looking to offer patent licenses to all competitors, nor is it seeking to create a royalty business. The report also suggests that Apple may be using its own patents as bargaining chips to reduce any penalties it might face as a result of negative court rulings related to standards-essential patents held by the two companies.
Russia’s Federal Customs Service has dropped the 5 percent import tax previously levied upon the iPad by changing the device’s classification from a “navigator” to a personal computer, according to a new report. Citing Russian language Vedomosti (Translated Link), AppleInsider reports the change was made due to the fact that 3G-equipped iPads include GPS hardware, while Wi-Fi-only models do not. The original article did not state whether the new policy draws a distinction between iPad models with GPS and those without, although the Customs Service did say that “other” tablets with GPS would still be classified as navigation devices and will thus be subject to the tax. The iPad 2 launched in Russia in May 2011.
ABC Family has launched a universal iOS app providing full, on-demand access to ABC Family television content on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Developed by the same team responsible for the ABC Player app, the new ABC Family app is designed to provide viewers with convenient and timely on-the-go access to the network’s popular content with free, ad-supported episodes form a variety of original series including Jane By Design, Make It or Break It, Switched at Birth, and The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
New episodes will typically be available via the app the day after airing on the television network—at the same time as they are posted online at ABCFamily.com. Links are also provided within the app to allow users to purchase and download their favourite episodes directly from the iTunes Store. The universal ABC Family app also provides some additional unique features such as the ability save playback positions within an episode across multiple iOS devices; the app is also the first from the Disney/ABC Television Group to support closed captioning. ABC Family requires iOS 5.0 or later and is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download. Video streaming is available only to users physically located in the United States and its territories.
Apple will launch its next-generation iPad on March 16, according to a new report. Citing a reliable Apple Store source, 9to5Mac reports that preparations are being made for a large Apple Store event culminating on Friday, March 16, which suggests that Apple plans to make the third-generation tablet available on that date. Apple is said to be planning two notable Apple Store openings for that day, and Verizon Wireless has also started teasing an upcoming product or announcement with a “Something is Coming” message on its website. In addition, the report states that there is expected to be a “subsequent event” a week later, which could represent the launch of a revamped Apple TV, or additional international launches of the iPad.