Apple, magazine publishers in long-standing stalemate over iPad-based subscriptions

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Date: Monday, December 6th, 2010, 06:06
Category: iPad, News

In as much as the iPad has been seen as the device to help bring magazines back into a better range of profitability, the devil may be in the details. Per MediaMemo, Apple and magazine publishers have still not been able to reach a deal for selling subscriptions on the iPad, as publications reportedly want extensive subscriber data, but Apple is unwilling to give it.

The report stated Friday that Apple and publishers are “still miles apart” on the prospect of subscriptions for iPad content in the App Store. The two sides remain at odds over the same issue they’ve allegedly been debating since early this year: Publishers want personal data about subscribers to provide to advertisers, and Apple doesn’t want to allow it.

Apple is reportedly offering publishers the option of an opt-in form, which would allow subscribers to grant publications the ability to access a “limited amount of information” about them, such as their name, physical mailing address, and e-mail address.

They’ve also proposed the same revenue sharing plans used to great success on the App Store, where Apple keeps a 30% cut of all transactions.

“The offer has been on the table for a ‘couple months,’ I’m told, and so far none of the big publishers have gone for it,” Kafka wrote. “They don’t like the 30% cut Apple wants to take, but their real hang-up is the lack of access to credit card data: It’s valuable to them for marketing, and without it they can’t offer print/digital bundles, either.”

As a result, he said publishers are now looking toward Google and tablets running the Android mobile operating system, in hopes of finding some success on that platform instead.

However, the anticipated tablet-only daily publication from News Corp, called The Daily, doesn’t have many of the same issues, because it’s a new product that’s doesn’t have existing customers on the print side of the business. One rumor has suggested that The Daily will be formally announced, along with Apple’s subscription plans, at an event on Dec. 9 or soon after.

For months, reports have claimed that Apple is unwilling to share consumer data beyond sales volume to publishers who are interested in putting their publications on the App Store. It has been said that Apple has pitched an opt-in function that would allow consumers to willingly share some information, but according to Kafka’s sources, Apple still refuses to give more detailed demographic information.

Print publishers view demographic data from readers as their most valuable asset, as they rely on that information to sell advertisements.

BBC planning subscription-only iPlayer app for iPad in 2011

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Date: Thursday, December 2nd, 2010, 10:05
Category: iPad, News, Software

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You love the BBC.

And the BBC loves your iPad.

Per paidContent:UKthe BBC has announced that it plans to begin the international launch of its lauded iPlayer catch-up service by first rolling out a paid subscription service for iPad users.

While iPlayer itself is free, it’s included as part of the annual license fee that U.K. residents pay to support the ad-free, non-profit BBC (the fee currently works out to around US$20 per month). Because of that, the service is not currently available to users outside the U.K.

BBC.com’s managing director Luke Bradley-Jones says that iPlayer’s global rollout will only be available via a paid subscription at launch, though the organization is talking with advertisers about supporting free areas of the service, as well as examining additional models such as pay-per-view and download-to-own. Prices for the service have not yet been revealed.

The iPlayer application is currently available in the U.K. only via Web browser; while an iPlayer iOS app has been developed, it has yet to be released. Still, the service proven popular, registering 139 million requests in the month of October, compared to Hulu’s 260 million.

The app, in turn, could bring UK-only shows (including the mighty “Dr. Who”) to international viewers, the BBC taking a chance in the pay-for-streaming-video marketplace.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have any thoughts on this, please let us know.

Apple patents describe possible convertible tablet, next-gen MagSafe power/optical connector

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Date: Wednesday, December 1st, 2010, 05:46
Category: iPad, MacBook, Patents

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A pair of patents that went public on Tuesday reveal that Apple could be working on a device that converts from standard laptop form to tablet form as well as a magnetic connector that provides both power and an optical data connection.

Per freepatentsonline, a November 30 patent entitled “Application Programming Interfaces for Scrolling Operations” has surfaced, the patent depicting an Apple notebook that slides into tablet form as an example of a device that would take advantage of the patent’s scrolling operations.

The drawings first show a laptop with a traditional keyboard, body, display frame and display. Then, according to the patent, “the laptop device can be converted into a tablet device” by sliding the display across the keyboard.

Since the patent relates to scrolling operations, it would presumably not cover the convertible laptop to tablet form factor. Apple does, however, disclaim in the application that the patent contains “specific exemplary embodiments.”

“It will be evident that various modifications may be made thereto without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the disclosure as set forth in the following claims. The specification and drawings are, accordingly, to be regarded in an illustrative sense rather than a restrictive sense,” reads the patent.

In its recent revision. to the MacBook Air line, Apple took features from the iPad, such as “solid state storage, instant-on, amazing battery standby time, miniaturization and lightweight construction.”

Apple CEO Steve Jobs said during the ultra-thin laptop’s unveiling that he and his company had asked themselves, “What would happen if a MacBook and an iPad hooked up?” With both a touchscreen and a keyboard, laptop and tablet configurations, these figures from the scrolling operations patent reveal the possibility of an even closer integration between the two products.

In another patent awarded Tuesday, Apple seeks to reduce the number of cables connected to a laptop device to a single connector that would provide both a power and data connection.

One drawing of the invention depicts what appears to be a MagSafe-like connector attached to a “power and data adapter” with optical, USB, Ethernet, and DVI ports. The adapter would function as both a power brick and a port hub.

Another drawing features a MagSafe connector that splits off into a fiber optic cable with a data adapter and a DC power cable with a power transformer.

The patent could be a first look at Apple’s planned implementation of Intel’s Light Peak optical cable technology. Intel is reportedly readying Light Peak for an early 2011 release, and Apple is expected to quickly incorporate the technology into its Mac line of computers.

Intel claims Light Peak has a bandwidth of 10Gbps and will scale up to 100Gbps over the next decade. “Optical technology also allows for smaller connectors and longer, thinner, and more flexible cables than currently possible,” states Intel on its website.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have any thoughts on the patents, please let us know.

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

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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.