Softbank to offer subsidized iPad to Japanese market in exchange for two year contract

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Date: Tuesday, November 30th, 2010, 05:37
Category: iPad, News

Japanese carrier Softbank has announced that the company will begin offering the 16GB iPad 3G for free when customers sign up for a 25 month, US$56 a month contract, a new report claims.

Per mocoNews, Softbank’s subsidy would contain no hidden costs that spread the cost of the iPad over the term of the contract. The customer will need only sign a 2 year contract for US$56 a month in order to receive a free 16GB iPad 3G, mocoNews reports.

As the sole distributor of the iPhone in Japan, Softbank has enjoyed the tremendous success of the device. In April, Tokyo’s MM Research Institute Ltd. issued a report revealing that Apple captured a massive 72% of the Japanese smartphone market for the fiscal year ending March 31.

Japan recently saw the launch of the new cloud-centric Apple TV and the iTunes Movie Store. Major international and top Japanese studios, such as Asmik Ace Entertainment Inc., Fuji TV, Kadakowa Pictures, Nikkatsu, Shochiku Company Limited and Toei Company Limited, are offering their movies on iTunes.

Apple appears to be allowing heavy iPad subsidies in regions where its iAd program is preparing to launch. The company announced earlier this month that it will expand iAds into Japan early next year with the help of Japanese advertising partner Dentsu.

iAd will also launch in Europe in December. The launch has attracted the attention of European and global brands alike, including L’Oréal, Renault, Louis Vuitton, Nespresso, Perrier, Unilever, Citi, Evian, LG Display, AB InBev, Turkish Airlines and Absolute Radio.

Shortly after Apple’s announcement that it will bring iAd to Europe, Orange UK revealed its plan to sell the iPad 3G at a discounted price with a 3G data plan.

Rumor: Second-gen iPad to feature dual cameras, 7″ touchscreen

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Date: Friday, November 26th, 2010, 11:04
Category: iPad, Rumor

The rumor mill continues to thrive with the Chinese-language Economic Daily News reporting that the new iPad 2 will go into production this month and will be on sale early next year per PC World.

The same newspaper in August reported that the device would have a 7″ touchscreen.

The August report from the Economic Daily said Chimei Innolux will supply 7-inch LCD touchscreens, which use the same IPS (in-plane switching) technology found in the original iPad, for the new device.

The companies named in the Economic Daily report declined to comment. Contract manufacturers and component makers normally do not reveal what products they’re working on because failure to maintain secrecy can cause them to lose business.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Black Friday prices appear for Apple iOS-based devices

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Date: Friday, November 26th, 2010, 05:16
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPod, iPod Touch, retail

It’s begun.

Per the mighty AppleInsider and its iOS price guide, Apple is offering savings for the shopping holiday, though the company has sold out of its US$79.99 Apple TV deal and may be running low on its US$199 8GB iPod touch inventory.

iPods:
Meanwhile, Amazon.com is offering US$29 off the 8GB iPod touch. The online big-box reseller on Thursday held the best prices on the remained of Apple’s iPod line but has since raised its prices. As such, Apple’s Black Friday sale is extending the best discounts the rest of the iPod touches (up to US$51 off), as well as the iPod nano (up to US$21 off).

iPads:
Unfortunately, supply concerns have prompted Apple not to authorized resellers to take orders for the iPad online, so the product is not yet included in the price guide. Although iPads are listed on Amazon, they are priced above MSRP and sold online through other parties. Therefore, the best deals on iPads (US$41 off) come from Apple, in addition to the MiFi bundle deals offered by Verizon.

Stay tuned for additional Black Friday details as they become available and if you’ve heard of any good deals on your end, please let us know.

SlingPlayer Mobile app comes to iPad, allows streaming TV, video content from 3G and Wi-Fi connections

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Date: Wednesday, November 24th, 2010, 09:48
Category: iPad, News, Software

slingicons.jpg

It’s been nifty on other devices, it can’t help but nifty on the iPad.

Per iLounge, Sling Media has released an iPad version of its Slingbox client for iOS devices.

The SlingPlayer Mobile app for iPad allows users to stream TV and other video content to their iPad from select Slingbox devices using a Wi-Fi or 3G connection. Users can view and control video content via the SlingPlayer app and Slingbox from sources such as cable, satellite and IPTV set-top boxes and DVRs, TiVO, Apple TV and even home security cameras.

Slingbox Pro-HD users can also stream digital over-the-air broadcasts. SlingPlayer Mobile for iPad follows the release of SlingPlayer for iPhone (available for US$29.99) earlier this year with a redesigned iPad-native interface including a revamped programming guide and a recent channels feature.

Slingbox for iPad is available from the App Store for US$29.99. The SlingPlayer applications for iOS require a Slingbox Solo or Pro-HD and are not compatible with older Slingbox devices.

The app requires iOS 4.2 or later to instal and run.

Rumor: iOS 4.3 to be released in December, include app subscription features

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Date: Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010, 15:56
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Rumor, Software

Because rumors make technology interesting.

Per MacStories, a new rumor claims that Apple is planning to release iOS 4.3 in December, with recurring app subscriptions.

Citing an anonymous source, the site reported that Apple plans to release iOS 4.3 in mid-December. The update will reportedly allow users to subscribe to content, like News Corp’s purported tablet-only newspaper The Daily.

The latest report corroborates previous rumors that Apple is planning to hold a special media event on Dec. 9 to announce its subscription plans, as well as partnerships with content providers for newspapers and magazines. It cautioned, however, that the release of iOS 4.3 could be delayed due to unexpected issues that forced the delay of iOS 4.2.

The report said Apple hopes to release iOS 4.3 on Dec. 13, after its planned event. In addition to app subscriptions, the software update may also address initial issues with AirPlay.

The report also suggested that Apple’s massive data center in North Carolina, the purpose of which remains unknown, could play a part in the release of iOS 4.3. It noted that Monday’s release of iOS 4.2 strained Apple’s systems, and the company could flip the switch on the server farm to help services like iTunes, MobileMe, activations and more.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases long-awaited iOS 4.2.1 update for iPod touch, iPhone, iPad devices

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Date: Monday, November 22nd, 2010, 11:40
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

At long last, Apple has finally released its iOS 4.2.1 update for the following devices:

– iPad

– iPod touch (second generation and up)

– iPhone 3G, 3GS and 4

The update, which tops out at several hundred megabytes and is available via iTunes (as usual, just plug the device in, click the device window in iTunes, then click “Update”), adds the following fixes and changes:

– AirPrint

– AirPlay

– FaceTime Improvements

– Find text on the Web page in Safari

– New fonts settings available for Notes

– New SMS/MMS text tones and the ability to set custom tones per contact

– Additional restrictions (parental controls)

– Import .ics files to Calendar

– Bug fixes

– Multitasking on iPad: iOS 4.2 brings multitasking from iPhone and iPod touch to iPad. So you can be more productive as you work, have more fun as you play, or do a little of both. Everything happens smoothly and efficiently — without slowing down the performance of the foreground app or draining the battery unnecessarily.

– Folders on iPad: Now your iPad has more room for more apps. Move apps into folders with drag-and-drop simplicity to declutter your Home screens and keep your apps organized for fast access to your favorites.

– Find My iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch: Find My iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch — the MobileMe feature that helps you locate your missing device and protect its data — is now free on any iPhone 4, iPad, or fourth-generation iPod touch running iOS 4.2.3 Once you set it up, you can find your lost device on a map, display a message on its screen, remotely set a passcode lock, and initiate a remote wipe to delete your data. And if you eventually find your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you can restore everything from your last backup.

Not all features are compatible with all devices. For example, multitasking is available only with iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS.

Honestly, this was a long time coming and after two golden master development releases, it’s time to see how it pans out. Please let us know how the updates worked for you and, positive or negative, feel free to comment on it!

Apple to launch iPad to several European countries in near-term, iOS 4.2 beta error messages hint at free MobileMe accounts

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Date: Monday, November 22nd, 2010, 06:18
Category: iPad, News, Software

This is going to be an interesting week as Apple plans to release the iPad in several northern European countries soon while a slew of error messages in the most recent iOS 4.2 golden master suggest the possibility of free MobileMe accounts for iOS users.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Apple is set to continue the global rollout of its highly successful tablet device in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. Alongside the launch, several Nordic telecom operators will soon offer 3G data packages for the iPad, the Journal reports. European carriers Tre, TeliaSonera AB and Tele2 AB all announced Friday that they will provide data subscriptions for iPad users, though they declined to give details on when exactly the plans will launch and prices for the subscriptions.

TeliaSonera did confirm, however, that it will not sell the iPad. “As things look right now, we will only offer subscription packages for the iPad,” said Bengt Olsson, TeliaSonera’s head of communications. “The iPad launch is imminent and we plan to release our subscription offer in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Demark simultaneously,” he said.

Early demand for the iPad after its initial U.S. release in April surprised Apple, forcing the company to delay the international launch of the tablet until May.

During Apple’s second fiscal quarter 2010 conference call, Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said that sales “far exceeded” Apple’s expectations. “It has shocked us, the level of demand, at least initially,” Cook said.

Earlier in November, Apple released a golden master of iOS 4.2. Within the beta, it was discovered that the MobileMe settings now asked for Apple ID account info, rather than MobileMe account info. Apple has since released two more golden masters of iOS 4.2, including one build labeled iOS 4.2.1.

On Friday, MacRumors uncovered in the latest iOS 4.2 betas a “new private framework” with error messages referencing free MobileMe accounts. The errors include: “The maximum number of free accounts have been activated on this iPhone” and “This iPad is not qualified for free MobileMe service.” Though Apple currently offers a 60-day free trial of its US$99 a year MobileMe service, it remains unclear how an iOS device would “qualify” for the rumored free service.

Analysts have speculated that MobileMe will play a pivotal role in Apple’s continued expansion into cloud-based services, pointing to the company’s US$1 billion data center in Maiden, N. C. as potential evidence. MobileMe currently offers calendar, email and contact syncing, as well as file sharing and a “Find My iPhone” remote tracking feature.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments.

Apple releases iOS 4.2.1 golden master to developer community

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Date: Thursday, November 18th, 2010, 15:10
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

Um, good things are worth waiting a fairly long time for?

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Thursday issued yet another iOS golden master to developers, this time dubbed iOS 4.2.1 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Sources familiar with the latest software update said it is known as Build 8C148. Software that has reached the golden master status is typically final code that will be released to the public.

However, two golden masters of iOS 4.2 were issued to developers: the first one for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch on November 1st, and a second specifically for the iPad less than two weeks later.

Previous reports indicated that the release of iOS 4.2 was held up by issues with Wi-Fi connectivity in the first golden master. The release of numerous golden masters to developers would suggest that an issue with the software was spotted before it could be released to the public.

Some users who connected their iPhone or iPad to iTunes on Thursday were given error messages that the software update server could not be contacted. That led to some anticipation that iOS 4.2 might finally be released, though it never came to be.

The update will mark the debut of iOS 4 on the iPad and is expected bring features like folders and multitasking.

Comcast releases Xfinity TV app, offers basic remote control features through iOS devices

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Date: Tuesday, November 16th, 2010, 05:21
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

This could be nifty.

Back in May, Comcast teased its subscribers with an iOS app that would turn the iPhone and iPad into a remote and possibly a one-stop entertainment center. Comcast has finally released the Xfinity TV app for iOS devices—right now, though, it’s largely a remote that lets you search for content, change channels, and program your DVR.

Per Macworld, the browsing and search functions allow you to scroll through listings, tap on a show, and watch it on your TV; you can also sort content by genre or search by keyword. In addition, the app lets you browse Comcast’s On Demand programming and bring it up on your TV.

At this point, the app seems to be a glorified TV guide, though Comcast is promising additional features. The company says it will release a series of app updates so that you’ll soon be able to stream video content to your iOS device. Other promised features include a personalized watch-list and integration with social networking sites. Comcast also plans to release apps for other platforms like Android and Blackberry.

The Xfinity TV app is available now for free in the App Store, but it won’t do much if you’re not a Comcast cable subscriber or don’t have one of the compatible set-top boxes. You’ll need an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch running iOS 3.2 or later.

If you’ve tried the app and have any feedback to offer about it, please let us know.

Apple releases second iOS 4.2 gold master to developer community

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Date: Monday, November 15th, 2010, 05:27
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

Late Friday, Apple released a second gold master of iOS 4.2, its forthcoming software update, which may address Wi-Fi connectivity issues some have reported with the iPad.

Per AppleInsider, the new build, dubbed 8C134b, has replaced the previous gold master released to developers on November 1st. Typically a gold master issued to developers is identical to the version that eventually becomes the final release.

It is unknown what changes have been made in the second gold master, though it’s possible the latest version could be to address Wi-Fi issues that some users experienced with the pre-release build. Recent reports have claimed that Apple hoped to release iOS 4.2 sooner, but was forced to push back the launch to address issues with the software.

Regardless of whether the software has actually been “delayed” from Apple’s own internal launch goals, it has become increasingly apparent that there are issues with iOS 4.2. In addition to the Wi-Fi problems reported by testers of the first golden master, Apple has also cut features from AirPrint — specifically, the ability to print to a shared printer through a Mac or Windows machine.

Printer sharing was supposed to be a part of Mac OS X 10.6.5, but the software was released Wednesday without any official support for sharing a printer with iOS devices. The recently released iTunes 10.1 update was supposed to allow shared printers for Windows users, but the update arrived Friday also without mention of AirPrint.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.