Wow! What a weekend for the new iPad, which Apple announced today moved three million units in 10 countries around the world. But new iPad owners aren’t the only ones happy today — investors liked the sound of Cupertino’s new dividend and share repurchase plan announced early this morning, which is pushing the company ever higher. How high can they go? Is it possible for what goes up to actually stay up? These are questions we may never have the answers to — but have a look at the news for Monday, March 19 and you be the judge.
AAPL Closes Above 0 Per Share
Have a look at that screenshot above from Apple’s own Stocks app — investors must have liked the sound of what they heard during this morning’s conference call to discuss Cupertino’s cash hoard, because they sent AAPL shares flying to heights they’ve never been before, closing at 1.10 per share for the first time in history (and shortly after cracking the 0 barrier earlier this month). Even more remarkable, today’s high comes less than five weeks after the company’s climb to 0 per share on February 13. Which brings us to Apple’s other good news today…
Apple Announces 3 Million New iPads for Launch Weekend
The media was scratching its collective head this morning expecting Apple to announce how many new iPads found a home over the weekend — but none came. Thankfully, Cupertino isn’t keeping us in suspense any longer, announcing Monday afternoon that the new iPad sold three million units since launching on Friday, March 16 in the United States and nine other countries around the world. For those keeping score, the original iPad took 80 days to sell three million units — a feat the new iPad accomplished in less than four days. “The new iPad is a blockbuster with three million sold — the strongest iPad launch yet,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Customers are loving the incredible new features of iPad, including the stunning Retina display, and we can’t wait to get it into the hands of even more customers around the world this Friday.” That’s right: Apple will roll the new iPad out to 24 more countries come this Friday, March 23, including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.
Dropbox Announces Sharing to Facebook Friends — On Twitter
Sometimes, the irony is so obvious, you have to wonder how it’s possible for these companies not to see it. The fine folks at Dropbox took to Twitter today to announce that invitations to shared folders can now be sent to… Facebook friends? You’d think that Dropbox would want to get the word out to Facebook users, but they must be covering all their bases by hitting their Twitter feed with the news as well. #LOL
Notes from Apple’s Cash Balance Conference Call
This morning, Apple held an early morning conference call to announce plans for a dividend and share repurchase program that kicks off later this year, much to the glee of investors. While the press release covered most of the basics, MacRumors has gathered notes from the call itself, which included a recap of the company’s current activity. However, the main impetus of the call was on the company’s nearly 0 billion pile of cash, billion of which resides outside the United States. Noting that the company has “been very disciplined with the use of our cash,” CFO Peter Oppenheimer laid out the three prongs of the company’s investment opportunities: “Current income for our longterm shareholders, increase attractiveness to a broader investment base and preserve value from employee equity dilution.” Analysts who dialed into the call were hoping for more details on the company’s future product pipeline, to which CEO Tim Cook noted, “We actually do love to announce new products, we just don’t do it in conference calls.”
AT&T Reports Record “Sales and Activations” for New iPad on Friday
While Apple made it clear that this morning’s conference call would be focused strictly on the company’s dividend and share repurchase program, analysts couldn’t stop themselves from asking about the new iPad’s debut weekend. Despite Apple’s claims during the call that the third-generation tablet had a “record weekend” and remarking that they were “thrilled with it,” Cupertino was curiously quiet this morning, with no press release shouting the initial numbers from the rooftops. Carrier partner AT&T, on the other hand, was quite happy to do it for them, announcing that Friday’s launch day set “a new single-day record for its iPad sales and activations, demonstrating robust demand for the new iPad on the nation’s largest 4G network.”
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If it seems quiet across the internet today, that’s because thousands of us are now holding the new iPad in our hot little hands, and we’re probably too busy jumping between Retina Display-enabled apps to do much else. By all accounts, today’s launch is another success for Apple, who appears to have beefed up inventory of the new iPad as many retail outlets still have stock remaining. You know what that means: Skim through today’s recap and then get to the store and buy one! Without further ado, here’s what’s making news for this Friday, March 16, 2012.
App Updates: Sky Gamblers, Mac|Life, Where’s a Retina Instapaper?
Now that the new iPad is finding happy homes in 10 countries around the world, those users are looking for apps to install on them. As luck would have it, Namco pushed out Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy on Thursday night. You’ll recall the .99 Retina-ready app was one of a trio of apps featured during last week’s Apple keynote introducing the new iPad, and now “the ultimate air combat game” is ready to touchdown on your tablet.
While it may not be Retina-ready quite yet, the Newsstand-enabled Mac|Life app also got an update this morning to version 1.9, offering previews of each issue before purchasing (yay!), minor performance enhancements (excellent!) and the ability to print pages via AirPrint (awesome!). Great work, guys — now let’s get cracking on that Retina update, shall we?
Speaking of Retina Display upgrades, fans of Instapaper might be wondering why developer Marco Arment has nothing for them to download to their new iPad today. According to his blog, it turns out that the Instapaper app does indeed include the necessary 2x resolution graphics — but they won’t appear until the app is compiled using the iOS 5.1 SDK. Given that Arment already has a nifty 4.1 update nearly finished, he decided to hold off rushing out a patch release for Retina Display support and plans to submit the new version to Apple this weekend. (And just for the record, text still looks amazing in Instapaper on our new iPad.)
Consumer Reports Says Unlimited Data Plans May Be Costing You More
We’ve always wondered if clinging to our original iPhone’s unlimited data plan through AT&T was worth the each month, and now along comes Consumer Reports saying, “Not so much.” As it turns out, “close to half of AT&T customers with unlimited plans could save a month by switching to a metered plan” — and that’s not exactly chicken feed in today’s economy. According to usage data provided to CR by Validas, a full 48 percent of current AT&T unlimited data subscribers use less than 300MB a month — and by switching to the lowest plan available, they could save 0 over the course of a year (which is 0 over a two-year contract). Granted, most of us don’t want to part with our unlimited plans, which have been grandfathered with each new iPhone, especially since there’s no going back. But given that AT&T is now slowing down your 3G speed when you hit 3GB each month, it’s not like “unlimited” means the same thing it did back in 2007 anyway…
Your New Verizon iPad Can Also Run on AT&T’s 3G Network
We’re among those who opted for a Verizon 4G LTE model with the new iPad, which is why we were quite thrilled to read this report from MacRumors claiming that this model is also capable of using AT&T — but only at 3G speeds. “I was one of the first to obtain a Verizon iPad and can happily confirm that this is allowed,” exclaimed MacRumors forum member jsnuff1 earlier today. “I used my ATT iPhone 4S sim card and took out the Verizon sim, and data worked! You must apply the AT&T APN carrier settings before this works though.” Because AT&T’s 4G LTE uses a different radio band than Verizon, you’ll be limited to 3G — but that includes using the carrier’s HSPA+, which they’ve rebranded as “4G” anyway. So, in a pinch you could yank the SIM card out of your iPhone 4/4S, slap it into your new iPad with Verizon 4G LTE and gobble up some of that aforementioned unlimited data we were just talking about.
This American Life Issues Retraction on Apple Factory Story
Ironic considering the new iPad just hit stores today, but This American Life has posted a retraction on a controversial story the radio show aired back in January about the factory working conditions at Foxconn, Apple’s manufacturing partner in China. The report used content from Mike Daisey’s monologue “The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” itself culled from Daisey’s own visits to Foxconn. As it turns out, a Chinese interpreter hired during that visit has disputed a great deal of Daisey’s story, and today This American Life issued a rare retraction to this particular show over what they call “significant fabrications” in Daisey’s one-man show. “Daisey lied to me and to This American Life producer Brian Reed during the fact checking we did on the story, before it was broadcast,” the TAL blog notes. “That doesn’t excuse the fact that we never should’ve put this on the air. In the end, this was our mistake.” The embarrassing retraction comes after broadcasting what TAL calls “the single most popular podcast in This American Life’s history, with 888,000 downloads and 206,000 streams to date.” Meanwhile, in Cupertino, Apple CEO Tim Cook has another reason to smile today…
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There’s something in the air that we can’t quite put our finger on. Could it be the reports of new Apple TV buyers receiving their preorders a day early? Or the new iPad launch kicking off in other parts of the world where it’s already Friday? Perhaps the tingle we’re feeling at every truck that drives past our door, hoping maybe, by some miracle, the new iPad will arrive early as well? It’s probably all of the above, because it’s one of those kind of days… as in, Thursday, March 15, 2012.
iFixit Heads to Australia for Live New iPad Teardown
It must be Friday 8am somewhere, right? That means it’s time for an iFixit teardown of Apple’s new iPad, which commenced virtually in real time today. Wait a second: How did they already get an iPad, you may ask? Well, the day has already passed in the land down under (i.e., Australia), which is where the iFixit team flew to be among the first to grab the new Retina Display-equipped iPad and put it under the knife. There hasn’t been too many shockers: The display is supplied by Samsung, and most of the leaked parts we’ve seen over the last several weeks match what’s actually inside this sucker. Last we checked, the team was still examining the new iPad, so be sure to check back for the full teardown, and follow iFixit on Twitter to be prepared for the next teardown.
PayPal Here Aims to Make Small Business Mobile
It can’t all be about the new iPad today, and sure enough, The PayPal Blog has announced the company’s new mobile payment initiative, PayPal Here. Billed as “the world’s first global mobile payment solution that allows small businesses to accept almost any form of payment,” PayPal Here features a triangular dongle (opposed to competitor Square’s square one… get it?), but also provides a number of other payment options as well. “[Merchants] can accept payments by swiping cards with a fully encrypted thumb-sized card reader, or use a phone camera to scan and process cards and checks,” the blog notes. “It also allows them to invoice directly from the mobile app and, of course, accept PayPal in a brand new way.” Transactions have a simple flat rate of 2.7 percent for card swipes and PayPal payments, and businesses will have a debit card available for quick access to funds which nets one percent cash back on eligible purchases. PayPal Here is rolling out today for select merchants in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Hong Kong, opening its doors to all takers next month, with more to come. Interested merchants can sign up to be notified when the service goes wide on the PayPal website.
iStopMotion for iPad Updated for New iPad Support
Boinx Software announced a major new update to iStopMotion for iPad, its award-winning iOS app for creating stop-motion and time lapse videos. As you can well imagine, the new five megapixel rear camera on the new iPad — capable of 1080p video recording — will make an ideal companion to iStopMotion 1.2. And hey, those new videos will look fantastic on that Retina Display now that the app has been optimized especially for it with this version! “The new iPad is the dream machine for running iStopMotion for iPad 1.2,” said Oliver Breidenbach, CEO, Boinx Software. “The much improved optics of the built-in camera make for much nicer image quality, the improved performance of the new iPad allows us to support full 1080 HD formats, and the app just looks gorgeous on the Retina display.” If you haven’t grabbed iStopMotion for iPad, version 1.2 is now in the App Store at a special introductory price of only .99 through Saturday, March 17 (the price goes back to .99 on Sunday, March 18).
Hulu Super-Sizes Web-Based Video Player
Streaming service Hulu hasn’t updated their Hulu Plus iOS app for Retina Display quite yet, but the company’s blog did have a little announcement today that’s bound to please those who still watch video at their computer. “I’m pleased to present to you our beautiful, new Hulu video player. Your favorite shows just got bigger,” Hulu product director Varun Narang writes on the Hulu Blog. “Today, we replaced our old video player with an update that’s 55 percent larger. It has a new frame and a drop shadow and sits on top of a large, dark gray video matte for easy viewing. We moved all of the video details below the player and cleaned up the pattern and style for a cleaner, crisper look.” We checked it out and it’s definitely welcome on our 30-inch monitor here at the MacLife.com Newsdesk, and just in time for Community to return to the airwaves tonight, too! Thanks, Hulu!
Retinal Armageddon: Evernote, Skitch, Amazon Kindle Apps Updated
While you’re waiting for that shiny new iPad to show up tomorrow, you might want to hit the App Store, which is quickly filling up with a whole lot of Retina Display-enabled app updates. Among them are two favorites from Evernote, including version 4.1.9 of the company’s flagship app as well a new build of Skitch for iPad. Aside from Retina optimization on both, Evernote adds better checkboxes and text editing for the iPad, suggested note titles for all devices and a lot of bug fixes, while Skitch for iPad 1.0.4 brings smoother transitions for screen changes and device rotation as well as an improved screenshot mode. Meanwhile, Amazon’s Kindle app for iOS has just been bumped to version 3.0, just in the nick of time for the new iPad. Along with optimizations for the new iPad’s Retina Display, the app introduces a slick new library design, plus a cloud view reminiscent of the e-tailer’s Kindle Fire UI, which displays all of your available ebooks for download. You know where to find ‘em, so hit the links and get downloading!
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As new iPad owners anxiously await the calendar turning over to Friday, March 16, this “hump day” is looking more agonizing than most. After all, who likes waiting, especially in this era of digital instant gratification? Unfortunately, we can’t help bend space and time or whisk you into the future, but we can try to distract you with some tech news to take your mind off that impatient waiting, courtesy of today’s recap for Wednesday, March 14, 2012.
Ars Technica Pits iTunes 1080p Against Blu-ray
Apple launched 1080p movie and TV show content last week, managing to efficiently compress these files into a size not much larger than their 720p predecessors. But how do they stack up against Blu-ray discs? That’s what Ars Technica decided to find out in their “video smackdown,” using the feature film 30 Days of Night as a reference. While the iTunes 1080p version is a bit softer in spots, color reproduction was nearly identical. The real Achille’s heel for iTunes comes with highlights and dark gradients — but for many users, the difference may be negligible. “I was surprised to see how close the iTunes 1080p download comes to Blu-ray, considering that it’s only a fraction of the file size,” writes Ars scribe Iljitsch van Beijnum. “And let’s be honest: there are lots of Blu-ray titles that look much worse than this iTunes download.” Now that movies are part of iTunes in the Cloud, movie lovers might be willing to trade convenience for slightly higher quality — especially if Apple can manage to bring the price down a bit.
DisplayMate Previews Its New iPad Display Technology Shootout
Speaking of shootouts, Dr. Raymond M. Soneira of DisplayMate Technologies Corporation has published a preview of his Display Technology comparison, which will pit the new iPad against last year’s iPad 2 and the one that started all this Retina Display madness, the iPhone 4. While the full article with lab measurements and viewing tests for the new iPad won’t be posted until Monday, March 19 (we know what Dr. Ray will be doing this weekend!), the current preview offers some extensive insight into the world of Retina Display “based on detailed laboratory measurements and extensive viewing tests with both test patterns and test images.” Dr. Ray takes on the Retina rumor mills while explaining why the new iPad is a true Retina Display but not an actual Retina Display — something Apple’s Phil Schiller also acknowledged at the media event last Wednesday when he disclosed that the new iPad packs 264 pixels per inch (only four ppi more than necessary). The preview shootout makes for some fascinating reading, especially if you find yourself camped outside a local retailer waiting for Friday 8m, or wondering when the UPS or FedEx truck will come down the street with that preorder.
Devolver Digital Announces Serious Sam 3: BFE for April 23
Billed as “the wildest PC shooter series ever,” Devolver Digital’s Serious Sam is going somewhere it’s never been before: The Mac platform. The high-energy shooter Serious Sam 3: BFE is finally making the leap to the Mac on April 23, which the company announced today in a playfully Apple-esque commercial embedded here. Devolver’s latest chapter of the Serious Sam saga “is a glorious throwback to the golden age of first-person shooters where men were men, cover was for amateurs and pulling the trigger made things go boom.” Serious Sam 3: BFE will be available for both Steam and Get Games on April 23, and players are encouraging to visit the developer’s Facebook page for more details — including system requirements, which are coming soon.
Readdle Updates Remarks, Teases PDF Expert 4 with iPad Retina Support
Things have been a bit quiet from developer Readdle lately, but the Ukrainian company looks to have a busy month, starting with today’s update of Remarks. Version 1.1 of the innovative iPad note-taking app has gained improved handwriting and wrist protection as well as sync for Dropbox, Google Docs and WebDAV. The .99 Remarks Version 1.1 is now available on the App Store as a free update for existing users. Meanwhile, PDF Expert 4.0 has been submitted to the App Store with full support for the new iPad’s Retina Display as well as the ability to watch embedded video or listen to audio in PDF files, iCloud support and thumbnails for previewing files. Also on deck for the near future is ReaddleDocs 3, a major update to the classic iPhone app which brings a new UI, iCloud support and much more. No word on when the pending updates will arrive, but we’re looking forward to seeing PDF Expert 4.0 on that new Retina Display iPad when it lands in our hot little hands…
Pocket God Comics Ends Current Story Arc with Issue 14
Ape Entertainment and Bolt Creative have announced the release of Pocket God Comics issue 14, which wraps up the current story arc with a final chapter entitled “Para-Abormal Activity” based on one of the best-selling iPhone games of all time. “Straight from the spooky aisles of ghostliness and with the girls unable to regenerate, this may not be the best time to hang out on a haunted island,” the press release teases. “Yep… ghosts, a mystery, and a dubious murder make this an ooky-spooky, extra-kooky issue of Pocket God.” The app is frequently updated with free extras including The Pygmy Peril newsletter, an exclusive remastered version of the first Pocket God animated short and more. Pocket God Comics is available for only 99 cents from the App Store in partnership with iVerse Media, LLC.
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Developers are starting to update their apps for the new iPad’s Retina Display, which both AT&T and Verizon have now announced will be available in their own retail stores this Friday. Can you feel the excitement? If not, chances are you decided to sit out the new iPad — or maybe you just don’t get that excited over objects made of glass and metal. In that case, sit back and read up on what else might be happening this Tuesday, March 13, 2012.
Report: Apple Subpoenaed in Google Federal Antitrust Probe
According to Bloomberg, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is beefing up its antitrust case against search giant Google, reportedly issuing subpoenas to onetime friend, current frenemy Apple Inc. “seeking information on how the computer maker uses the search engine on the iPhone and iPad.” Among the request are documents showing how Google was made “the preferred search engine on Apple’s mobile devices,” according to two people familiar with the matter who were not authorized to speak publicly or even be identified. “The subpoena indicates the FTC is intensifying its scrutiny of Google’s business practices,” the report reveals. “Details of the Apple-Google relationship may show whether Google is abusing its dominance of Internet search to boost revenue in the mobile phone advertising market.” Curiously, the move comes at a time when Apple seems to be shifting away from Google’s services, recently swapping their Maps service for an open-source service in the new iPhoto app, for example.
Tweetbot for iPad Goes Retina, Adds Streaming
If you’re waiting impatiently for that new Retina Display iPad to be delivered on Friday, you might want to kill some time in the App Store, where developers are already pushing out updates to your favorite apps to take advantage of the higher-resolution screen. Tweetbot is among them, with a new version 2.1 update for the iPad that beefs up the graphics as well as adding streaming, which will continually update your timeline while the app is open (but only via Wi-Fi, and it can be disabled in settings). That “new tweets” sound is likewise limited to mentions, direct messages and new tweets, but only when you pull-to-refresh. Tweetbot 2.1 also brings version number parity to the iPad edition along with TweetMarker improvements and the ability to double-tap on the timeline tab to view the last read tweet before jumping to the top of the screen. Tweetbot for iPad 2.1 is a 25MB download from the App Store, free for existing users but only .99 for everyone else. (The iPhone 2.1 version will be following soon.)
AT&T, Verizon Confirm Sales of New iPad Starting March 16
MacRumors is reporting that both AT&T and Verizon Wireless have been busy thumping their chests today, making sure everyone knows they’ll have their respective 4G LTE-equipped new iPads in stock on Friday, March 16 in case you want to skip the mobs at Apple’s retail stores and go directly to the carriers. While AT&T offers a much more limited range of 4G LTE coverage, the carrier does offer a cheaper .99 per month plan for 250MB of data, which also nets you free AT&T Wi-Fi Hotspot access at over 29,000 locations. For their part, Verizon is busy making sure you know that they’re the only iPad carrier currently offering Personal Hotspot, which is bundled free with any of their 4G LTE month-to-month plans and allows up to five other devices to share the high-speed goodness. Verizon is also the only one offering a 10GB plan for per month, which you might want to consider before you go sharing the LTE love with those around you.
Rdio Challenges Spotify with Desktop App, Social Updates
Spotify, you have been challenged. The Rdio Blog today announced “a new Rdio” service, touted as “faster, simpler and more social.” The new design is now available on both the Rdio.com website as well as the company’s desktop apps for all Web and Unlimited subscribers. A new look and feel cuts down on the navigation, keeping your music, playlists and network in one view, while entire albums can now be added to playlists, something the company claims is one of their most-requested features. If your friends have the same good taste you do, you can listen along to what they’re playing in real-time with just a click, or share your own tastes with friends on Facebook, Twitter or via email. About the only bad news is that the redesign isn’t yet available to moochers — er, free users — but the company says it “will be available in the near future.” In the meantime, you’re encouraging to cough up some dough and jump on the Web or Unlimited plans, should your curiosity be too much to bear…
Apple Moves to Deter iPad Scalpers in Hong Kong
As much as we love our Apple gadgets here in America, it seems the obsession runs far deeper in Asian countries. The Next Web is reporting that Apple has taken steps to ward off new iPad scalpers in Hong Kong come this Friday, posting notices around their flagship store at the IFC Mall that the tablet will not be available on a first-come, first-served basis the way it is here. “No staying or queueing up here,” the note reads in both Chinese and English, as first noted by Engadget China (and shown above). “Apple will not serve on a first come first serve basis for new iPad. Please refer to Apple’s official website for the detailed arrangement.” This “detailed arrangement” is simply the company’s Reserve and Pickup program, requiring a visit to the Apple website to first reserve the iPad prior to heading to the store to pick it up, a service that begins in Hong Kong on Thursday morning. No doubt the company hopes to avoid the chaos that erupted during the recent iPhone 4S launch in China, although the scalpers appear to be changing tactics by queuing up outside to offer cash for those iPads as they’re picked up. Good luck with that one, guys…
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(Image courtesy of The Next Web and Engadget China)
The new iPad preorders are shipping, while procrastinators are starting the week plotting how they can best get their hands on one come this Friday, March 16 now that Apple’s online store sold through their supply in record time. By all accounts it should be an interesting week, which is already kicking off with a minor Safari update, a Jony Ive interview and Siri facing her first lawsuit. Check out the rest of the day’s news for this manic Monday, March 12, 2012.
Apple’s “iMan” Interviewed: Sir Jonathan Ive
With Steve Jobs no longer steering the ship creatively at Apple, all eyes have started to turn to Sir Jonathan Ive, the man responsible for the industrial design of Apple’s greatest hits since Jobs returned to breathe new life into the Mac maker. Sir Jonny recently granted a rare interview with The London Evening Standard which is now online, discussing the designer’s Knighthood, his life in London and Silicon Valley, Ive’s “obsession with detail” and how he keeps coming up with all those amazing products. It’s not the most detailed or comprehensive of interviews, but it does offer further insight into how the process works and why Apple is likely still in good hands, even without the late co-founder who frequently takes most of the credit.
Missing Fox and Universal Movies on iCloud? They May Be Coming Soon
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Hollywood may be warming to Apple’s iCloud initiative, which got a boost last Wednesday with the announcement that movies are now part of iTunes in the Cloud, allowing iTunes customers to purchase and later re-download to their devices. Unfortunately, the news was tempered with the reality that Twentieth Century Fox and Universal titles aren’t currently part of the iCloud offering due to a contractual obligation with HBO. But that may soon change, with word that HBO is working to loosen this stranglehold for those studios, much in the same way it did already has with Warner Bros. “Fox expects to resolve the issue as soon as within weeks,” the report claims, citing a person familiar with the situation. “Another person familiar with the matter said Universal is near a resolution.” The news will be particularly welcome to owners of DVD or Blu-ray discs with Digital Copy, which happen to be quietly included in the same iTunes in the Cloud package.
AT&T Announces 12 New 4G LTE Cities, Says Don’t Buy a Verizon iPad Yet
If you live in Ohio, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Texas or New York, AT&T has a message for: Skip that Verizon iPad and buy theirs instead. The company issued a press release today touting 12 new cities that will soon get lit up with AT&T 4G LTE — among them, Cleveland and this news writer’s own home turf of Akron and Canton, Ohio. “AT&T customers in Cleveland can look forward to even faster mobile Internet speeds very soon, on our leading lineup of smartphones and devices,” said Larry Evans, vice president and general manager, AT&T Ohio and western Pennsylvania. “We’re excited to bring Cleveland all that 4G LTE has to offer. Our teams will be working hard across the city toward our upcoming launch.” The full list of cities includes Akron, Canton and Cleveland, Ohio; Naples, Florida; Bloomington, Lafayette and Muncie, Indiana; Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana; St. Louis, Missouri; Bryan-College Station, Texas and Staten Island, New York. The rollout begins in April and continues throughout the sunny summer — presumably timed with the launch of a new iPhone this fall, we’d say.
Why So Siri-ous? Apple’s Voice Assistant Targeted for Legal Action
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, not everyone is quite so enamored with Siri as Apple appears to be. The virtual assistant service, launched along with the iPhone 4S back in October, is now the target of a class action lawsuit from New Yorker Frank M. Fazio of Brooklyn, who claims that Siri is far from the perfect assistant shown in Apple’s TV commercials — so he’s suing to put a stop to Apple’s “misleading and deceptive message” about its potential. Apparently Fazio missed that whole “beta” tag when the service was announced, claiming in his lawsuit: “Siri either did not understand what Plaintiff was asking, or, after a very long wait time, responded with the wrong answer.” Calling Siri “at best, a work-in-progress,” Fazio’s attorneys at Robbins Geller are asking for “unspecified damages” as part of a class action lawsuit filed Monday in Federal court in California.
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We’re now at T-minus seven days and counting before the first wave of new iPads come flying into the hearts and minds of their early adopter owners, and already Apple’s online store is feeling the squeeze, with orders now shipping by March 19. But don’t get too bummed out — there’s likely to be an ample supply at stores nationwide next Friday, assuming you don’t mind duking it out with all of the other procrastinators. Let’s find out what else is making news for this fine Friday, March 9, 2012, shall we?
Procrastinators: No Launch Day New iPad for You!
Still on the fence about grabbing one of those swanky new iPads in time for launch day delivery next Friday? Turns out the choice is no longer yours — Apple’s online store is now showing shipment dates of Monday, March 19 for all models and colors. Keep in mind that’s a ship-by date, which means you probably won’t be actually fondling your Retina Display-enabled buddy until sometime later the same week, most likely. Worse yet, the ship-by dates are likely to slip even further in the next seven days, so buying sooner than later is advised. Otherwise, Godspeed as you brave the throngs of unwashed masses who will surely amass at Apple retailers across the nation this time next week.
Apple Shutters iWork.com Beta (Not That You Ever Used It)
Remember iWork.com, which was launched as a beta way back in January, 2009? Yeah, we never used it either, but apparently some of you must have, because Apple has sent out a “very important service message” email to iWork.com users today announcing the end of the beta period. “As of July 31, 2012, you will no longer be able to access your documents on the iWork.com site or view them on the web,” the email reads. “We recommend that you sign in to iWork.com before July 31, 2012, and download all your documents to your computer.” The email provides a link to a support article on Apple’s website detailing the procedure for saving your iWork.com documents to your computer so you can port them into iCloud, should you so desire. RIP iWork.com, we hardly knew ya…
Apple: New iPads Purchased Abroad Will Work with AT&T LTE
Foreigners, we feel your pain — Apple is going to sell you a new iPad that won’t utilize 4G LTE on your home turf (unless that home turf happens to be Canada, where Telus, Rogers and Bell will be happy to snap up your cash). But the news isn’t all bad — according to The Verge, Apple has confirmed that foreigners bringing their new iPads onto American shores will be able to take advantage of AT&T’s 4G LTE while here in the Colonies. Of course, you’ll need “the appropriate SIM and plan” and there’s no word yet on how to nab one of those. Foreigners, you’ll want to make an AT&T retail store one of your first stops after arriving here with your new iPad…
Apple’s Own Terms and Conditions Hint at Free Trials for Apps
Unlike most of us, the eagle eyes over at Cult of Mac spied an interesting new bit of verbiage in the new iTunes terms and conditions that we all had to accept after installing iTunes 10.6 on Wednesday. In the section regarding In-App Subscriptions, one sentence explains how “certain paid In App Subscriptions may offer a free trial period prior to charging your Account.” Free trial period? That’s certainly news to us, and it’s been something developers have been chomping at the bit for Cupertino to offer practically since the first day the App Store opened back in 2008. Seems like an Apple attorney might have spilled the beans on this one, but we’ll all have to wait until this year’s WWDC to find out what the company might have in store for developers — and end users — with regards to free trials.
Thinking of Buying a New 16GB iPad? You Might Want to Think Twice
Macworld today posted a great opinion piece on a subject we’ve been thinking about since Wednesday’s unveiling of the new iPad: All those swanky Retina Display graphics are going to start inflating the size of our favorite apps (particularly games!), which could cause problems for many owners. The crunch will particularly affect budget-minded buyers who chose a 16GB model, but even 32GB and 64GB models could feel the walls closing in on them in the months ahead, especially if you tend to store a lot of space-gobbling media such as HD movies. “Let’s look at some of Apple’s own iPad apps to see whether fretting about how Retina iPad graphics affect file size is a waste of energy,” writes Macworld’s Lex Friedman. “Keynote went from 115MB to 327MB; Numbers increased from 109MB to 283MB, and Pages went from 95MB to 269MB. With the exception of iMovie (which also added in new support for iMovie Trailers as it ballooned from 70MB to 404MB), these apps increased their file sizes by a factor between 2.5 and 3. (iMovie is nearly six times larger than before.)” And those are just Apple’s own apps — there’s likely to be a veritable flood of Retina-ready apps hitting the App Store in the weeks ahead, which could start making a 32GB or 64GB model even more enticing…
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Still feeling that post-Apple event hangover? We feel your pain, but look at the bright side: In just over one week, you’ll have a shiny new iPad to play with, and if you happened to invest in a 4G LTE model running on Verizon, you’ll even get to use that cool Personal Hotspot feature! Didn’t hear the news about that yet? Sounds like you need to keep reading for these and other updates from around the tech world for this Thursday, March 8, 2012.
Need Personal Hotspot on iPad? Better Go with Verizon Model
The moment we heard the new iPad would come packing the Personal Hotspot feature, our spider-sense began tingling — but not in a good way. Apple’s Wi-Fi + 4G page claims the Personal Hotspot can only be used “if your carrier supports it,” and something told us neither AT&T or Verizon would. So imagine our (pleasant) surprise today as Cnet is reporting that Verizon’s iPad data plans will not only work with Personal Hotspot, but there’s no additional fee to do so (beyond the four data buckets, which range from 1GB for all the way up to 10GB for per month). Chose an AT&T-enabled iPad Wi-Fi + 4G instead? Sorry, you’re out of luck — at least for now. “We are working with Apple to enable this feature in the future, but we currently do not offer it,” AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel explained to Cnet. Cue the happy dance: We ordered a Verizon model, since there’s no AT&T 4G LTE in our area.
OnLive Desktop Running Afoul of Microsoft Licensing Terms?
We’ve spent a fair amount of time here at MacLife.com with the new cloud-based OnLive Desktop, which brings iPad users a Windows 7 experience complete with Microsoft Office. We like it overall, which is why it makes us sad to hear that Microsoft may be looking to stomp on our lovefest over a fistful of licensing issues. According to The Verge, Microsoft’s Windows virtualization terms might not permit OnLive Desktop to perform its magic act, calling it an “issue” that needs to be resolved. The good news is that Microsoft Corporate VP of Licensing Joe Matz claims to be “actively engaged with OnLive with the hope of bringing them into a properly licensed scenario” — so all hope is not lost, although if we were the betting type, we’d say OnLive’s free offering might go the way of the dodo soon after it’s resolved.
ABC Family Debuts Free, Universal iOS App
iLounge is reporting that Disney-owned ABC Family has released a new universal iOS app “providing full, on-demand access to ABC Family television content on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.” Much like the company’s iPad-only ABC Player app (which was developed by the same team), the ABC Family app offers free, ad-supported episodes from the network’s shows, which include Jane By Design, Make It or Break It, Switched at Birth and The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Episodes are generally posted the day after they’ve aired on the network, but ABC is traditionally a bit stingy with their content, only offering the five most recent episodes. So, better watch ‘em while you can! The free 8.6MB ABC Player app is ready and waiting for you in the App Store and requires iOS 5.0 or later.
Pogoplug Introduces New PC and Backup Software
The original cloud storage experts at Pogoplug are mixing things up yet again, today announcing new Pogoplug PC and Pogoplug Backup software available for download. “Pogoplug Backup features a new UI that makes it easier than ever to use Pogoplug to back up your important files, photos, videos and music,” The Official Pogoplug Blog notes. “Pogoplug Backup also includes our popular drive app, which allows you to access your Pogoplug like a local drive on your computer.” Meanwhile, Pogoplug PC splinters off the remote access feature previously built into the Pogoplug software, which will now require users to fork over a one-time .95 fee for that privilege — but previous users who purchased a Premium license will be upgraded to a full license free of charge simply by logging in with that account. (A free 30-day trial version of Pogoplug PC is also available.)
Skype for Mac 5.6 Arrives with Automatic Updates, Lion Full Screen
The folks at Skype have been busy this week pushing out a new Mac client update, bringing the desktop software to version 5.6. Among the improvements are a new automatic update feature (hooray!), an improved UI for group video calling, full screen mode in OS X Lion, the ability to delete conversations and disabling the Audio Gain Control — not to mention the usual cadre of bug fixes. Wondering how to grab all this Skypey goodness? Why, head over to the Skype website and get your download on — thanks to automatic updates, it may be the last time you’ll ever need to do so.
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Happy “new iPad” Day! It’s been a long day for those of us here at MacLife.com, pecking away at our keyboards until our fingers are mere nubs, all in the name of getting you, the dear readers, the latest and greatest Apple news as quickly as (in)humanly possible. But the new iPad and a new Apple TV aren’t the only surprises from Cupertino today — you’ll be busy this evening downloading lots and lots of updates, so here are the ones you’ll be looking for this fine Wednesday, March 7, 2012.
Apple Releases iTunes 10.6 with 1080p HD, iTunes Match Improvements
As usual for a day filled with so many Apple product announcements, the Mac and Windows software at the heart of it all — that would be iTunes — has also received some attention today. Shortly after today’s festivities in San Francisco wrapped up, Apple pushed a button (or maybe pulled a lever) in Cupertino to unleash the hounds and bring you iTunes 10.6. The marquee feature of today’s update is “the ability to play 1080p HD movies and TV shows from the iTunes Store,” but those of you ponying up .99 per year for iTunes Match may be more excited by a trio of other improvements. “This release also includes many improvements for iTunes Match, including improved song matching, improved album artwork handling, downloading and display and addresses an issue where songs may skip when playing from iCloud.” Those all sound like good reasons to head to Software Update — or the Apple website — and get your download on.
Apple TV Version 5.0 Brings Updated Interface to Second-Gen Model
MacRumors is reporting that Apple has begun pushing its new Apple TV Version 5.0 update to current users of the second-generation media box. The announcement of a new Apple TV today created some question as to whether or not the older model would see a software update with the new user interface, and Apple hasn’t wasted any time doing so. Owners of the older model won’t benefit from 1080p HD playback since the A4 processor can’t handle it, but you will receive the new icon-based UI as well as “other enhancements such as support for direct Netflix billing” to your iTunes account. If you’re currently enjoying a jailbroken Apple TV, the makers of aTV Flash are warning users to hold off upgrading until they’re able to tackle the latest update.
App Update Armageddon: Apple Coughs Up New Versions
Hey, we love our app updates — it gives us a giddy little boost to see that a new version of an app is available, even if we’ll just open it once to see what’s new and then never touch it again until the next update. But Apple is going hog wild with the updates today — and we’re not just talking about the new iPhoto or the previously reported Retina Display-friendly versions of iMovie, GarageBand, Pages, Numbers or Keynote. If you don’t believe us, just do an update check in iTunes right now — seriously, we’ll wait. While not all of Apple’s apps received an update today, you’ll definitely find new versions available for Find My Friends, Find My iPhone, iBooks, Remote and iTunes U, which is a pretty good chunk of the company’s iOS offerings. Most of the updates enable Retina Display support for the new iPad, but Remote also adds support for iTunes Match on the Apple TV, as well as the expected bug fixes and stability improvements, which are always welcome. The Mac also got a little love today, with new Xcode 4.3.1, iBooks Author 1.1 and iPhoto 9.2.2 updates — the latter adds the ability to delete photos from iCloud’s Photo Stream, so we’d stand by for a similar update to Aperture soon as well. They’re all free updates, and you know where to find them.
Apple Release iOS 5.1 Software Update
iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users: To the software update cave! Apple made only the briefest mention of it at today’s media event, but iOS 5.1 is now available to make your existing device feel all fresh and new again. There’s a long list of changes, but the big ones include Japanese support for Siri, the ability to delete photos from Photo Stream (yay!), camera face detection now highlighting all detected faces, a redesigned Camera app for the iPad, Genius Mixes and playlists for iTunes Match subscribers and optimized audio for TV shows and movies on the iPad “to sound clearer and louder.” iOS 5.1 also promises to squash a few more battery life-related bugs, and read on to find out why AT&T users are suddenly upgraded to 4G. (Trust us, it’s worth the read!)
iOS 5.1 Brings 4G Status to AT&T iPhone 4S Users (Say What?!)
First noted by the folks over at Cult of Mac, iPhone 4S users might get a little surprise after installing today’s iOS 5.1 update — assuming you’re not on Wi-Fi all the time. That little “3G” icon in the upper left corner might just be replaced with a “4G,” depending on where you are in the country. Before you get excited, no, your device didn’t just magically gain the powers of 4G LTE through a simple software update — rather, the change reflects a connection to AT&T’s HSPA+ network. You’ll still get the same data rates that you did yesterday, but now you might feel a bit better about them from seeing that 4G icon. Of course, now that the new iPad has true 4G LTE — a likely sign that the next iPhone may gain the same superpowers — we won’t blame you for being super-confused in the meantime.
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’Twas the night before Apple’s March 7 media event and not a creature was stirring — but the same cannot be said for our daily recap! Yes, we’ve got those last-minute iPad 3/iPad HD rumors everyone wants to read, but also a few patent-related updates and some news on how Google is reworking its Android Market to be more like iTunes. Okay, you can at least feign surprise, can’t you? Without further ado, here’s what’s making news for this Tuesday, March 6, 2012.
Report: No A6 Chip for iPad 3, But 4G LTE and Apple TV A-OK?
Our Tuesday recap wouldn’t be complete without a few final rumors leading up to tomorrow’s Apple media event, right? Sources are telling The Verge that a new iPad 3/HD is a lock with 4G LTE for both Verizon and AT&T, but the third tablet will not come sporting a quad-core A6 processor as previously rumored. Instead, we’ll apparently be getting the “A5X, a dual-core SoC said to have a more powerful GPU.” According to their sources, the A6 is being held back for this year’s launch of the iPhone 5, but the next iPad will beef up the RAM to make up for it. Verizon and AT&T will have separate models available — sorry, no dual-mode iPad 3, folks — and “a third international model” will also tackle only CDMA and GSM 3G data, similar to what the iPhone 4S already does. Last but not least, that new Apple TV we reported about this morning appears to be a lock, but still no word on what the device might bring to the table beyond 1080p.
Apple Awarded Patent for iWallet
For Apple fans who think the folks in Cupertino are just sitting on the near-field communication sidelines letting Google have all the fun, read on! Patently Apple is reporting “Apple has received a major Granted Patent that generally relates to establishing financial transaction rules for controlling a subsidiary financial account and, more particularly, to various systems, methods, and electronic devices configured to provide for the establishment of such rules.” That would be a major iWallet patent which “reviews credit card transaction rules and show us that the credit card companies will be sending statements directly to your iTunes account.” Sound exciting? It is, but remember: iWallet patents have been floating around since May, 2010 and Apple has yet to unleash anything which could even remotely fit the bill. Given the company’s annual refresh of the iPhone, we’d say 2012 has a good chance of being the year we’ll see an NFC chip inside the handset, but no need to go stuffing your iTunes account with cold, hard cash quite yet.
Court Orders Google, Motorola to Pony Up Android Data to Apple
Bloomberg is reporting that Apple may soon be granted a peek into the development of Google’s Android operating system. According to U.S. Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner, “the Android/Motorola acquisition discovery is highly relevant to Apple’s claims and defenses,” despite the objections of Google attorneys. The discovery information from Google and Motorola outlines the pending .5 billion acquisition of the hardware maker, which is a more recent development in Apple’s patent lawsuit against Motorola Mobility filed in 2010. Judge Posner has “scheduled back-to-back trials before separate juries starting June 11,” with the first of these addressing “six Apple patents, and the second will cover three Motorola patents.” For their part, Google’s lawyers claim “Google’s employees and documents are not within the ‘possession, custody, or control’ of Motorola, and Motorola cannot force Google to produce documents or witnesses over Google’s objections.” Of course, it could just be a matter of time before Apple goes after Google directly…
Android Market Converted Into iTunes-Style Google Play
The Google Official Blog announced today that the Android Market you know and love is getting a bit of a facelift — not to mention a whole new name. Google Play is being rolled out this week in an effort to streamline the search giant’s mobile marketplace as “a digital entertainment destination where you can find, enjoy and share your favorite music, movies, books and apps on the web and on your Android phone or tablet.” Translation: Android Market is a bit more like iTunes now. But hey, that’s okay — Google Play continues to offer free storage for up to 20,000 songs, the ability to download more than 450,000 Android apps, what’s touted as “the world’s largest selection” of ebooks and thousands of movies. To celebrate the rollout, Google Play is offering a “Seven Days to Play” sale with 25-cent music, 49-cent apps and 99-cent movies. Google Play will ultimately replace Android Market on devices in the coming weeks as well.
Apple May Be Willing to Settle Over Android Patents for -15 Per Device
MacRumors is reporting that Apple may be seeking settlements in its long-running patent battles with Samsung, Motorola and others. According to Dow Jones Newswires, Apple “has put forth proposals to Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. (MMI) and Samsung Electronics Co. (005930.SE, SSNHY) to settle some pending litigation in exchange for royalty payments to license its patents, among other terms.” Statements made in court in at least one of these suits indicate “Apple had some discussions with companies such as Samsung before initiating litigation” — which means the move by Cupertino is nothing new. So how much is Apple willing to settle for? “Between and per handsets for some of its patents,” which amounts to anywhere between one and 2.5 percent of net sales — ironically, the same amount Motorola attempted to bilk out of Apple for the use of its own patents.
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