U.S. Apple Store iPad 2 order times improve to 3-4 weeks

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Date: Friday, March 25th, 2011, 03:02
Category: iPad, News

If you’ve been hankering for a new iPad 2, there’s good news for you.

Availability of the iPad 2 has begun to improve, as Apple has eased the estimated ship time to between three and four weeks for new orders through its online store in the U.S.

Per AppleInsider, the new estimated shipping times for U.S. customers are an improvement from the previous estimate of between four and five weeks. But the wait is a little longer than some international orders, which are estimated to ship in two to three weeks.

The shipping improvement is only a week, but it’s a sign that Apple is beginning to catch up with strong demand it has faced since the iPad 2 first launched in the U.S. earlier this month. It’s also a good sign for the international launch, as there had been some concern that sales in 25 new countries would only exacerbate the problem.

The iPad 2 completely sold out at all retail outlets in the U.S. in its first weekend of availability, and stock has continued to trickle in over the following weeks. But there has also been concern about Apple’s stock going forward, following the earthquake disaster in Japan and its potential effect on iPad components.

Last week, a report from the Far East indicated that Apple’s manufacturing partner Foxconn had stockpiled enough components to continue to assemble iPad 2 units for at least another two to three weeks. It was said that if the situation in Japan did not improve, Apple could face a stockout of the iPad 2.

For now those concerns appear to be unfounded, as availability appears to be improving with quicker shipping estimates.

Stay tuned for additional details and if your iPad 2′s ship time appears to have improved, please let us know.

Some users report freezes while using FaceTime on iPad 2

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Date: Thursday, March 24th, 2011, 04:14
Category: iPad, News

There’ll always be a few bugs to sort out, no matter how popular a new device is.

Per AppleInsider, some users have reported freezing issues with the FaceTime video chat feature, requiring a restart of the device.

A handful of users on Apple’s support forums have posted to a growing thread where they have described a problem where the image displayed by the forward-facing camera on the iPad 2 crashes in the FaceTime application. The same issue is also detailed in two other, smaller threads (1, 2).

“When I opened up FaceTime the first time, the camera was working fine, but now whenever I open it up, it just shows a still image from when I left,” user “CRK The Man” wrote. “How can I fix it?”

Most users seem to have found success in repairing FaceTime by simply restarting their iPad 2. Others have gone as far as completing a full software restore of the iPad 2 to address the problem.

One user, “dels7080,” claimed that the manager of a Verizon store in New York City revealed that the FaceTime glitch has occurred to “a lot” of demo units available for customers on the sales floor to try. They too said the problem is solved by restarting the iPad 2.

“It happens quite frequently,” user “leov36″ wrote of the issue. “Restarting the ipad fixes the problem, BUT, it happens again with in the next two to three times I go to use it.”

FaceTime is only available on iOS devices with a forward-facing camera, including the newly released iPad 2. To take advantage of the forward and rear cameras on the second-generation iPad, Apple also added devoted applications for picture and movie taking, as well as Photo Booth for taking and editing photos.

If you’ve seen this with your new iPad 2, please let us know in the comments.

iPad 2 set for international launch on March 25th

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Date: Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011, 04:10
Category: iPad, News

You can’t find it in the United States, so that’s no reason not to introduce it to the rest of the world.

Per TechRadar.com, despite continued sellouts of the iPad 2 in the U.S., an Apple spokesperson has confirmed that the international launch of the touchscreen tablet will proceed as planned on Friday, March 25.

“Everything that is on [Apple's U.K.] website still holds true; the website says 25 March and that’s when it’ll be,” an Apple spokesperson told TechRadar.com earlier this week.

Rumors that Apple would delay the international launch of the iPad 2 were fueled last week by immediate sellouts of new shipments of the device and long lines that continued in the week after launch. Last week, analyst Brian White of Ticonderoga Securities questioned whether Apple would be able to produce enough iPad 2 units to launch in more than two dozen countries this Friday after checks to several key Apple Stores.

Also stoking speculation of iPad 2 delays were reports of supply chain disruption caused by a massive earthquake in Japan that took place earlier this month. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster told investors last week that the production status from Apple’s Japanese-based component suppliers remained unclear, with many partners unable to accurately quantify the extent of their damage.

Late last week, a report from iSuppli identified five components in the Pad 2 that are likely sourced from Japan: NAND flash from Toshiba Corp., DRAM made by Elphida Memory Inc., an electronic compass from AKM Semiconductor, a touchscreen overlay glass likely from Asahi Glass Co. and a system battery from Apple Japan. The report noted that while some of the suppliers’ facilities were undamaged, “delivery of components from all of these companies is likely to be impacted at least to some degree by logistical issues now plaguing most Japanese industries in the quake zone.”

Apple announced last week that it is delaying the launch of the iPad 2 in Japan “while the country and [Apple's] teams focus on recovering from the recent disaster.”

The iPad 2 is scheduled to go on sale March 25 in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K. According to Apple, launch dates and pricing for further international launches will be announced at a later date.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

How-To: View an AVI file on your iOS device

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Date: Friday, March 18th, 2011, 04:35
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News

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As nifty as Apple’s iOS devices are, there are some limitations. One of these hurdles is the ability to play videos in an AVI format, which isn’t supported by iTunes or the native video player in the iPhone and iPad.

The cool cats at Mac|Life have thrown together a quick guide as to how to solve this problem, the author recommending that the HandBrake program can be used to convert an AVI movie into an MP4 file that will play perfectly on our iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

Users can also download an iPhone or iPad app that does play these files, such as CineXPlayer for iPad (US$2.99) or the universal GoodPlayer (US$2.99), and use that to watch your videos without needing to convert them.

If you’ve played with any of these programs or have conversion tips of your own, please let us know in the comments.

Retail locations sold out of iPad 2 units, Apple raises online shipping estimate for 4-5 weeks

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Date: Wednesday, March 16th, 2011, 04:02
Category: iPad, News

You want an iPad 2.

And so does everyone else on the planet.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Tuesday was forced again to delay estimated shipping times for new iPad 2 orders, as those who buy must now wait four to five weeks for their order to be sent.

Yet another delay comes as stock of the iPad 2 around the U.S. is believed to be entirely sold out at all locations, including Apple’s retail stores and partners. Some select Apple stores with new shipments of the iPad 2 are set to open early today, while many other stores await more stock in the face of crushing demand.

The latest delay applies to all models of the iPad 2, including Wi-Fi and both 3G models from AT&T and Verizon. It also includes all capacities: 16GB, 32GB and 64GB.

“Demand for the next generation iPad 2 has been amazing,” Apple said in a statement to the press this week. “We are working hard to get iPad 2 into the hands of every customer who wants one as quickly as possible.”

Tuesday’s need to push back estimated shipping times is the latest in a string of delays since the iPad 2 first went on sale in the U.S. last Friday. Initial orders were scheduled to ship in a matter of days, but the wait was quickly pushed back to between two and three weeks.

On Saturday, Apple was forced to extend estimates to three to four weeks. Now, customers who hesitated to buy could be waiting over a month to receive their iPad 2.

Wall Street analysts generally expect that Apple sold at least a half million of the iPad 2 in its first weekend of availability. More bullish estimates have forecast Apple to have sold as many as 1 million at launch.

So, yeah, if you did the geeky thing and waited in hours-long lines to snag one on launch day, now is the time to spend the next four to five weeks high fiving yourself…

iFixit completes iPad 2 teardown, finds 512 MB of RAM, larger battery, new controller chips and gyroscope

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Date: Monday, March 14th, 2011, 03:26
Category: iPad, News

The iPad 2 is out.

And so is the iFixit teardown in all its goodness, the cool cats over there having discovered some nifty components inside Apple’s new tablet.

Immediately after Apple’s release of the iPad 2 on Friday, iFixit began a teardown of Apple’s iPad 2, discovering a slight increase in battery capacity compared to the original iPad and confirming that the tablet has 512MB of RAM.

The company gave the tablet a repairability score of 4 out of 10 after completing its teardown on Friday. According to the report, the touchscreen tablet contains only standard Phillips screws, while the battery is “very securely” stuck down to the rear case.

The Wi-Fi version of the iPad 2 sports a new model number: A1395, compared to a model number of A1219 for the original Wi-Fi iPad and A1337 for the original iPad 3G. iFixit confirmed via software that the tablet has 512MB of RAM.

Unlike the original iPad, which iFixit described as having “gorgeous symmetry,” the iPad 2 requires a heat gun in order to remove the front panel, as Apple has opted to glue the panel in place this time around instead of using clips.

The iPad 2′s Li-Ion Polymer battery, which is made up of three cells, is rated at 3.8 volts, 25 watt-hours, slightly more than the original iPad’s rating of 3.75 volts, 24.8 watt-hours. As with the original iPad, Apple claims “up to 10 hours” of battery life on the iPad 2.

According to the teardown, the logic board of the tablet contains the Apple 1GHz A5 Processor (APL0498), Toshiba NAND Flash, and additional chips from Apple and Texas Instruments.

“The A5 processor has manufacture dates of late January and mid-February 2011,” the report noted. “Production was clearly ramping up through the last minute.”

iFixit discovered that Apple has again tapped Broadcom for several of the iPad 2′s touch controller chips, as well as a “Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/FM tuner combo chip” that powers the Wi-Fi board. Also, the tablet’s new gyroscope is labeled AGD8 2103.

The report also discovered that the iPad 2 LCD component is 2.4 mm thick, while the glass panel is 62 mm thick. By comparison, the original iPad employed a 3.2 mm thick LCD and .85 mm thick glass panel.

If you’ve snagged the new iPad 2, let us know what you make of it in the comments.

Apple releases iOS 4.3 for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices

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Date: Thursday, March 10th, 2011, 04:02
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

If you missed it yesterday, Apple released its latest version iOS on Wednesday, the long-awaited iOS 4.3 update becoming available through iTunes and introducing the following new fixes and features:

- Personal Hotspot – Share iPhone 4 cellular data connection with up to 5 devices (combination of up to 3 Wi-Fi, 3 Bluetooth, and 1 USB).

- iTunes Home Sharing – Play music, movies and TV shows from a shared iTunes library on a Mac or PC (requires iTunes 10.2).

- New Airplay features – Play videos from the Photos app including the Camera Roll album, iTunes previews, enabled third-party appsand websites on Apple TV – Play slideshows from Photos on Apple TV using transitions available on Apple TV.

- Faster Safari performance with Apple Nitro JavaScript engine.

- HD video out using the Apple Digital AV Adapter – View 720p HD videos from Videos app, iPod app, Photos, YouTube, Safari, Keynote, and enabled third-party apps on an HDMI display
Ping features.

- Push notifications for comments and follow requests.

- Post and Like songs directly from the Now Playing screen.

- Parental controls.

- New Settings.

- Messages setting for number of times to repeat an alert.

- iPad side switch setting to lock screen rotation or mute audio notifications and sound effects.

- Single tap conference call dialing with a pause to send a passcode.

- Bug fixes.

Amongst the biggest inclusions are Home Sharing (the ability to stream audio and video from iTunes on a local network to the iOS device); AirPlay (the ability to stream audio and video from the iOS device to an Apple TV or computer) for third-party developers; and the ability to create a personal WiFi hotspot from an iPhone or iPad with 3G support.

Per Macworld UK, users may need a qualifying data plan from your carrier and any necessary hotspot or tethering options to enable the much-anticipated Personal Hotspot feature. Users with an unlocked iPhone can use the feature without restriction. However, we advise users of this feature to keep a close eye on data charges as some mobile phone companies are now restricting data usage.

A couple of minor features snuck into iOS 4.3. Users can now enable Push Notifications for Ping activity, and the iPod app’s Now Playing screen offers the options to post about songs and like them on your Ping profile. Also new is a preference to specify how many times an SMS alert is repeated, as well as a conference dialing option to add a pause for entering a passcode.

Missing from iOS 4.3, however, are the new multitouch gestures that Apple asked developers to test on the iPad during the beta period. Gestures like four- and five-finger swipes could switch between apps and reveal the multitasking bar, and a pinch could exit an app and return you to the Home Screen. With the second iOS 4.3 beta, however, Apple clarified that these features were only for testing and would not ship to consumers in the final version. Obviously, they could return in a future iOS update or upgrade, but Apple hasn’t stated any plans.

iOS 4.3 is available now as a free update in iTunes for the iPad, iPhone 3GS, the GSM iPhone 4, and third- and fourth-generation iPod touch. As for the Verizon iPhone 4, it runs a custom version of iOS 4.2.6 that includes some features like hotspot support. Comments from an Apple representative at the iPad 2 event suggest that it might take a little while for Verizon’s iPhone 4 to converge with the same iOS version as Apple’s other mobile devices.

If you’ve snagged the iOS 4.3 update, please let us know how it’s working on your devices, for better or for worse.

Apple releases iOS 4.3 Golden Master build to developer community

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Date: Friday, March 4th, 2011, 05:08
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Software

Late Thursday, Apple released the gold master build of its iOS 4.3, its forthcoming operating system update for its iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices, just over a week ahead of its scheduled March 11 release.

Per AppleInsider, the download is available to developers through Apple’s official iOS developer portal. People familiar with the software say it is known as build 8F190.

Typically a gold master issued to developers is identical to the version that eventually becomes the final release, though two Golden Masters of iOS 4.2 were released after the first was found to have issues.

Apple announced the mobile operating system software update’s March 11 released date on Wednesday, and also showed off new, previously unannounced features. Among them is improved JavaScript performance, which is now said to be two times faster thanks to the Nitro engine taken from Mac OS X.

Improved iTunes Home Sharing will also allow users to access all of their content directly over Wi-Fi. And enhancements to AirPlay will allow applications and websites to stream over Wi-Fi to the Apple TV set top box. Sharing of photos over AirPlay can also use the built-in slide show options of iOS.

The new Personal Hotspot feature in iOS 4.3 lets users share their 3G data connection over Wi-Fi. Personal Hotspot will work with supporting carriers and monthly data plans on the iPhone 4.

iOS 4.3 also adds the ability to change the purpose of the hardware switch on the right side of the iPad and iPad 2. Users can choose to have the switch mute audio from the device, or have it serve as an orientation lock, as it originally did when the iPad first shipped last year.

The iOS 4.3 update is compatible with the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, first-generation iPad, iPad 2, and the third- and fourth-generation iPod touch. iTunes 10.2 has already been publicly released, adding compatibility with devices that are running iOS 4.3

If you’ve gotten your hands on the GM and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Random House may soon bring catalog to iBookstore

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Date: Tuesday, March 1st, 2011, 05:16
Category: iPad, News

If you can get the big fish, the others will follow.

Per AppleInsider, Random House, the world’s largest book publisher and most high profile holdout from Apple’s eBook digital download, could soon bring its catalog of top selling novels to the electronics maker’s iOS ecosystem.

In a brief statement to the media Monday, Random House said that it has agreed to “the agency model for e‐book sales” in the U.S. effective Tuesday. That means that going forward, “Random House will set consumer prices for the e‐ books we publish, and […] will provide retailers with a commission for each sale,” the publisher said.

The concession could bring to an end a near year-long standoff between Random House and Apple’s iTunes-based iBookstore, which operates on the so called ‘agency model’ that allows the company serving the content to take a cut of sales. For its iBookstore, Apple employs the same 70-30 split that has seen renowned success on its App Store for software on the iPhone and iPod touch.

“The agency model guarantees a higher margin for retailers than did our previous sales terms,” Random House said. “We are making this change both as an investment in the successful digital transition of our existing partners and in order to give us the opportunity to forge new retail relationships.”

The statement appears to imply that the publisher could be on the verge of announcing plans to bring its catalog to Apple’s iOS devices though the iPhone and iPad maker’s iBookstore. Currently, iOS device users can only purchase and download from Random House’s digital catalog through Amazon’s Kindle app for those devices.

In the lead up to the launch of Apple’s iPad last April, Random House executives were said to be exploring the adoption of the agency model with their authors and agents before agreeing to Apple’s terms, which dictate that Apple receives a 30% cut of all sales on the iBookstore. At the time, chief executive Markus Dohle said his company hadn’t ruled out reaching a deal before the April 3rd, 2010 launch of the tablet device, but added that he was proceeding with caution.

Under the traditional business model, resellers have bought books from publishers at discount prices and then marked them up to make a profit through sales. But Apple’s agency approach has the publishers set the prices paid by consumers — something Random House executives were concerned could lead to considerably lower prices, and thus lower profits.

Word that Random House could join on the iBookstore five of its biggest competitors — HarperCollins, Hachette, Penguin, Macmillan and Simon & Shuster — comes just two days before Apple is expected to take the wraps off its second-generation iPad in San Francisco, a device that is rapidly altering the landscape of the publishing industry.

Cool stuff if it happens and stay tuned for additional details as we get them.

Rumor: iPad 2 to lack Retina Display, SD card slot

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Date: Friday, February 25th, 2011, 06:18
Category: iPad, Rumor

Although Apple is likely to show off a new iPad in San Francisco on March 2nd, the unit will reportedly arrive without a Retina Display or built-in SD card slot, contrary to previous reports that both would be included.

Per Engadget, sources have stated that “engineering issues” led Apple to make last-minute design changes on the device. That’s a change from what the site reported in January.

“It’s worth noting once again that these sources have been dead right on specific Apple plans and specifications for unannounced products in the past, and we have no reason to believe these changes are due to anything more than legitimate engineering decisions made close to launch,” editor Joshua Topolsky wrote.

The report claims that Apple will introduce a thinner iPad next week, with a screen size and resolution identical to the first-generation device. The new model will reportedly include 512MB of RAM, doubling last year’s model and matching the iPhone 4, inside of a new, faster A5 processor.

The new iPad is also widely expected to include at least one forward facing camera camera for FaceTime video chat. Some third-party cases have also shown that the iPad 2 could have a rear-facing camera as well.

Topolsky also predicted that Apple will show off a preview of iOS 5 next week and issue a software development kit for developers. And he believes the company could possibly show off an expansion of its plans to expand services in the cloud.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.