iPad Launch Day Roundup

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Date: Saturday, April 3rd, 2010, 06:11
Category: iPad, News, Pictures

Ok, just got back from the iPad launch at the Apple Store in Arlington, Virginia, so bear with me here:

Coming up on the line, you heard cheering from about half a block away. With dozens of blue-shirted Apple employees running about, handing out coffee and water and high-fiving each other and customers, they’ve adopted something of a Wal-Mart employee rally mentality.

Not a bad thing, but a little weird…

Apple Store employees do a victory lap in advance.

Coming up on the line, there were about 75 people in a line to each side of the front door, the lines being divided into those with reservations and those without reservations who were hoping to snag a unit. Apple employees continued high-fiving customers before retreating into the store where their pep rally continued behind closed doors.

“For me it’s something new. The interface has changed enough for me not to say it’s the same thing. I love the fact that Netflix plays on it,” said an attendee at the head of the reservation line who identified himself as a former Apple employee named “Elon”. “It’s a device that lets you touch things and I like to touch things,” he joked.

Elon waiting in line for the Apple’s iPad.

“I do agree Flash does bog down my system, a lot of the naysayers it’s 95% of the web. I do fine with my videos and I don’t have to worry about Netflix. For someone who likes to play games, then yes, Flash will probably be a bummer.”

He then went on to comment that he’d arrived at the store around midnight the night before and was planning to buy the iPad, hop on the Metro, go home, sync it to iTunes and get to work on it.

Others were there for less direct reasons. Angela Lucas of Arlington, Virginia, snagged the top spot in the reserve line to buy an iPad for her husband’s birthday in two days’ time. “He wants to be the first among his friends to have it,” she said, smiling.

Tom Bridge, a local resident and owner of welovedc.com, seemed more excited about the iPad’s potential than anything else.

“I do have some hesitations, I’m not wild about the closed off development platform but I do know that there are a lot of awesome apps on day one and that people will find a way to make this work,” said Bridge, who then cited that he was looking forward to finding ways to blend the iPad with his business functions.

Upon the opening of the Apple Store’s doors, the staff eased the crowd in, limiting the number of people in the store, where almost all of the displays had been switched over to iPad demo units. Unlike the iPhone launches, customers were able to purchase their iPads quickly without any registration concerns and could either buy the iPad and leave or do an initial sync to iTunes in order to set the device up.

First out the door was Brad Gardner, a Washington, D.C. resident who was promptly swamped by interviewers and seemed more intent on getting home and setting the iPad up:

A few customers later, the ever-helpful Dominic Gohla exited the store and was happy to unpack the iPad for the cameras. Gohla had coordinated an arrival from Germany to pick up a reserved iPad and sat down in a nearby Starbucks to hop on the AT&T wireless network to offer the following demo and interview to a German web site (in German, so if any of you have a friend that knows German, yank them over to translate – I’ll be slamming my head against the desk):


Perhaps one of the coolest moments of the morning, Dominic demoed Apple’s new iBooks app with the complimentary copy of “Winnie The Pooh” that arrives with the program. The word “smooth” is applicable here and the pages not only turn easily, but can be grabbed and slowly turned from any portion of the page. Nice touch.

Prior to heading out, an attendee who identified himself as “Simon” perhaps summed up the hopes of the line the best. “This is a traveler’s dream device. I can take it on a flight and never get bored again,” he said. Simon then went on to offer that in spite of the lack of native Adobe Flash support for the device, he was reassured in that a lot of the big media companies seem to be turning around and supporting the HTML5 standard.

From a personal perspective, there’s a lot to be impressed with. The iPad is light, speedy, the screen is everything the user could ever want, the interface is responsive and the accelerometer seems to be working overtime, happily shipping between vertical and landscape views with only a slight turn of the tablet.

We’ll have a full review up in about a week’s time, but for the time being, this is definitely something cool and Apple seems to have taken its time to create a unique product that could, in fact, blow its tablet competition out of the water.

OWC releases additional Do-It-Yourself upgrade kits for Apple notebooks, Mac minis

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Date: Friday, April 2nd, 2010, 07:15
Category: Hardware, Mac mini, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News

Peripherals provider and all-around-useful company Other World Computing (OWC) has announced the release of over 50 Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Storage Upgrade Kits for Apple’s notebooks and Mac mini computers.

Per Macsimum News, suggested retail pricing starts at US$67.99 for a model that consists of a 2.5-inch SATA hard drive up to 1TB, an OWC brand FireWire and/or USB 2.0 bus powered 2.5-inch portable external enclosure, and a five piece installation tool kit.

With an OWC DIY Storage Upgrade Kit, Mac and PC notebook users and Mac mini users can upgrade their computer’s internal hard drive to a new larger capacity and/or faster speed, transfer their data to the new drive, and then continue using the “old” drive by installing it into the provided OWC enclosure for a “new” pocket-sized external drive.

ABC, CBS to have iPad-compatible content ready for iPad launch

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Date: Friday, April 2nd, 2010, 03:11
Category: News

Per a Wall Street Journal report, the ABC and CBS television networks are ready to offer iPad-compatible content prepared in time for the device’s launch on Saturday.

Both CBS and Walt Disney’s ABC have planned for episodes of their TV shows to be viewable on Apple’s forthcoming iPad in time for its Saturday launch. Streaming episodes of TV shows will be available from CBS via its Web site, while ABC will offer a downloadable iPad application from the App Store.

While the initial offerings are expected to be limited at first, both networks plan to have identical content available both for the iPad and on their Web sites.

“Putting streaming video on the iPad would sidestep Apple’s iTunes content store, where Apple has been trying to juice anemic sales of TV episodes in advance of the iPad launch,” the report said. “So far, several media companies have rejected Apple’s push to lower the price for downloading shows from iTunes to 99 cents each, according to people familiar with the talks.”

Last week, it was revealed that Apple was testing HTML5 streaming video on an iPad-specific version of its Web site. Apple’s lack of support for Adobe Flash on its iPhone OS devices has forced networks like CBS and ABC to seek alternatives for their streaming solutions.

Apple is also looking to offer TV episodes for 99 cents from major networks, though the Journal reported Thursday that it is unknown whether any network will agree to that pricing by the Saturday launch. Episodes of TV shows typically retail for US$1.99 or US$2.99.

PowerPage Podcast Episode 129

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, April 1st, 2010, 19:51
Category: News

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Episode 129 of the PowerPage Podcast is now available. You can either download it from the iTunes Store or directly (13.2 MB, MP3).

Panel: Jason O’Grady and Rob Parker

Topics: This week we discuss Mac OS 10.6.3, the first round of iPad reviews in the mainstream media and we play “What’s on your Mac.”

Here’s what’s on our Macs this week:

Jason

Rob

  • Remote Tap ($4.99) – a “Mac Style” remote desktop app for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

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Subscribe to the PowerPage Podcast in iTunes or add the Podcast RSS feed to your RSS client. Our theme music is generously provided by The Tragically Hip their new release “We Are The Same” is available on iTunes. Don’t forget to join the PowerPage Facebook group!

Apple “rejiggers” iPhone to ease load on AT&T network

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Date: Wednesday, March 31st, 2010, 05:25
Category: iPhone, News

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A new report profiling AT&T’s bandwidth troubles posed by millions of iPhone units reveals that AT&T had Apple modify the handset to ease strain on the company’s network. Per the Wall Street Journal, AT&T Chief Technology Officer John Donovan said he and other executives flew to Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., campus to give the handset maker a “crash course in wireless networking.” With regular return meetings at Apple, AT&T employees helped the iPhone designers create new technologies to limit the strain on the wireless provider.

“Apple rejiggered how its phones communicate with AT&T’s towers,” the report said. “As a result, the phones now put less of a load on the network for such simple tasks as finding the closest tower or checking for available text messages.”

Donovan told the Journal that Apple’s designers are now “in a Master’s class” on networking, having learned the basics and worked with AT&T to improve the iPhone dramatically. Exactly what changes were made, and whether they were hardware or software based, were not revealed.

The article also revealed that AT&T executives set up a 100-day play in December of 2009 to improve the company’s network in large cities where users most commonly experience dropped calls. A random performance test released in February found that AT&T’s 3G network speeds had improved by 84%.

But the Journal also noted Tuesday that AT&T is still “racing” to improve its network as Apple is rumored to be working on a CDMA capable iPhone that could be headed to the Verizon network as soon as this year.

Apple to sell iPad from all U.S. Apple Store locations, “most” Best Buy locations this Saturday

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Date: Monday, March 29th, 2010, 11:14
Category: iPad, News

Apple on Monday announced that its iPad tablet will go on sale this Saturday, April 3rd, at all of its 221 U.S. Apple retail locations, as well as “most” Best Buy stores.

“iPad connects users with their apps and content in a far more intimate and fun way than ever before,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in a press release. “We can’t wait for users to get their hands and fingers on it this weekend.”

Per AppleInsider, Apple will offer free personal setup service to all customers who purchase an iPad in-store. The service will help users to customize their iPad by setting up e-mail, loading software from the App Store and more.

All U.S. retail Apple stores will also hold special iPad workshops Saturday morning. The sessions will allow customers to learn more about the capabilities of the product.

In addition to Apple retail stores and Best Buy locations, Apple stated that the iPad will be sold through Apple authorized resellers and campus bookstores.

Best Buy’s also revealed its iPad sales information this weekend and went on to state that about 675 Best Buy locations with designated Apple departments will begin selling the device on April 3rd. The retail chain has also reportedly planned a promotion for the device on April 11th.

The April 3 launch will be for the Wi-Fi-only version of the iPad, which costs $499 for 16GB, $599 for 32GB and $699 for 64GB. The 3G-capable versions will be available in late April and carry a $130 premium.

Apple exhausts supply of U.S. iPads available for pre-order, pushes ship dates back

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Date: Monday, March 29th, 2010, 04:17
Category: iPad, News

Apple has apparently exhausted its supply of iPads for the U.S. market per the company’s online store.

According to Macworld UK, Apple’s store noted that pre-ordered iPads might not ship until April 12th, more than a week after the tablet goes on sale. People who placed orders before the March 27th cut-off will still receive their iPads for Saturday, April 3rd, an Apple sales representative said on Sunday.

Apple began taking pre-orders for the iPad on March 12th, when it also allowed customers to reserve the tablet for pickup at Apple US retail stores. At the time, it promised to ship pre-ordered iPads so that they would arrive 3 April.

US retails stores contacted by Computerworld said that they had also exhausted their supplies of iPads available for pick-up next Saturday. However, a salesperson at a Portland, Ore. store said that reserved iPads that are unclaimed by 3 p.m. local time would be put up for sale to walk-in customers.

iPad sales have been the target of substantial speculation since Apple started taking pre-orders three weeks ago. Investment blogger Daniel Tello has been using iPad order numbers submitted by volunteers at Investor Village’s AAPL Sanity message board to estimate pre-sales. Last Friday, Tello upped his estimate to 240,000 units , a number that did not account for in-store reservations or bulk orders by businesses, schools and other organizations.

Apple will release the WiFi-only models on April 3rd in the US. The more expensive tablets that support both WiFi and 3G connectivity can be pre-ordered, but are not scheduled to ship until later, according to Apple’s online store.

If there have been any changes in your iPad order, please let us know.

“Geohot” reveals untethered hack for iPhone, cites method will “probably” work for iPad

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Date: Friday, March 26th, 2010, 07:46
Category: News

Over in the hacking domain, George Hotzhas demonstrated a new method to permanently “jailbreak” the iPhone 3GS, and he said the hack will “probably” work on the iPad, which goes on sale next week.

Per AppleInsider, Hotz, known online as “Geohot,” posted a recent blog entry including video which demoed a jailbroken iPhone 3GS being rebooted. The handset had been hacked via the first untethered method to date.

“The jailbreak is all software based, and is as simple to use as blackra1in,” Hotz said, referencing his previous iPhone 3GS crack that employed a method known as a tethered jailbreak. “It is completely untethered, works on all current tethered models (ipt2, 3gs, ipt3), and will probably work on iPad too.”

Late last year, Apple quietly updated the BootROM in the iPhone 3GS to thwart potential hackers. The change marked the first time ever that the handset maker had modified its hardware in the middle of a product line, without a new model released.

The new BootROM, known as iBoot-359.32, has proven challenging for hackers, who have only been able to implement the tethered jailbreak, which requires users to connect their iPhone to a computer via USB every time they reboot the device. Hotz claims his latest hack will not require a USB connection.

While iPhone users can rely on jailbreaking to unlock their handset for use with unauthorized carriers, the 3G-capable version of the iPad, scheduled to arrive in late April, ships unlocked by default. However, its 3G frequencies are only compatible with AT&T in the U.S.

Apple and the jailbreaking community, led by Hotz and a separate group of hackers known as the iPhone Dev Team, have gone back and forth for some time, as the Cupertino, Calif., company has looked to close avenues used by hackers. One of the main concerns about jailbreaking is piracy, as the procedure can allow users to steal software from the App Store.

Apple iBookstore to provide access to 30,000 free titles via Gutenberg Project

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Date: Friday, March 26th, 2010, 07:25
Category: iPad, News

As assorted publishers get their offerings ready for the launch of Apple’s long-awaited iPad tablet next week, approximately 30,000 books will be available for free via the Gutenberg Project upon the device’s release.

Per AppAdvice, reports have emerged that upon checking Apple’s iBookstore, the entire 30,000 Gutenberg Project catalog appears to be available to iPad users.

The Gutenberg Project is billed as the first and largest single collection of free electronic books, or eBooks. Michael Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg, invented eBooks in 1971 and the project is now assisted by thousands of volunteers who help digitize the books.

The catalog currently includes titles such as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana by Vatsyayana.

Earlier this week Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs confirmed in a brief email the iBookstore would offer a selection of free eBooks without elaborating on details.

The Gutenberg Project notes: “Our books are free in the United States because their copyright has expired. They may not be free in other countries. Readers outside of the United States must check the copyright laws of their countries before downloading or redistributing our ebooks.”

So, yeah, the iPad will arrive new, shiny and with something to read on it…

AT&T to begin national rollout of 3G MicroCell device in April

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Date: Thursday, March 25th, 2010, 05:05
Category: iPhone, News

attlogo

After months of promotion, AT&T announced that the company will begin the formal national rollout of its 3G MicroCell service next month.

Per AppleInsider, the company announced that there would be no additional costs, other than the purchase of the 3G MicroCell device, for using the 3G MicroCell service, as minutes used through the hardware affect the account of the phone making the call. Individual or Family talk subscribers can pay US$19.99 per month to make unlimited calls through the special femtocell hardware device.

The 3G MicroCell hardware itself will retail for US$149.99, but comes with a US$100 mail in rebate for customers who select a MicroCell calling plan. In addition, customers who purchase a new line of broadband service with AT&T are also eligible for a US$50 mail-in rebate. Those who select both could receive the hardware for free.

The hardware blankets a 5,000 square foot area, about a 40 foot radius from the device, to provide voice, data and text service coverage in areas that might otherwise be a “dead zone” for cell phone reception. The hardware supports up to four users making simultaneous calls, and up to 10 on 3G standby available for incoming calls and messages.

Last September, Charlotte, North Carolina served as the first test market for the femtocell device, which provides 3.2Mbit/sec 3G service from the home. In order to support that bandwidth, the device must be connected to an appropriately fast broadband connection.

AT&T was expected to expand its 3G MicroCell service to other markets in 2009, but until this week availability was limited to Charlotte. In that test, the device was said to cost US $150 and carried no monthly fees.

In February, AT&T expanded its trial of the 3G MicroCell service to five markets, adding select counties in Georgia, South Carolina, San Diego and Las Vegas.