Apple to Release Wi-Fi iPad on April 3rd, 3G-Capable Models to Arrive in Late April

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Date: Friday, March 5th, 2010, 08:46
Category: iPad, News

Apple finally announced that it will release the Wi-Fi version of its long-awaited iPad on Saturday, April 3rd (full press release available here) in the U.S. with 3G-capable units arriving in late April. All models of the device will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK come late April.

Users will be able to pre-order both the Wi-Fi and the 3G-capable units from Apple’s online store come March 12th or reserve a Wi-Fi model to pick up on Saturday, April 3, at an Apple retail store.

Prices are slotted at US$499 for the 16GB unit, US$599 for the 32GB unit US$699 for 64GB unit. The Wi-Fi + 3G models will be available in late April for a suggested retail price of US$629 for 16GB, US$729 for 32GB and US$829 for 64GB.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know if you plan to snag an iPad at launch or wait a bit…

New Potato Introduces FLPR Universal Remote Dongle for iPhone, iPod Touch

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Date: Friday, March 5th, 2010, 05:45
Category: Accessory, iPhone, News

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With the right software, your iPhone can do just about anything.

On Thursday, accessory developer New Potato Technologies released the FLPR, a hardware dongle for the iPhone and iPod touch that allows the handset to function as a universal remote control capable of controlling a variety of device such as televisions, cable and satellite boxes, stereo systems, lights, ceiling fans and almost anything that requires an infrared remote control.

Per iPhone Alley, the dongle corresponds with the free FLPR app from the App Store. Once the FLPR application has been launched, users can navigate through a device’s type, brand and name before tapping “use it” to search through the remote control codes in the 14,000+ item database, which includes all major electronic brands.

The FLPR has a range of about 30 feet, is available from the New Potato Technologies web site and will appear in-store nationwide at Best Buy starting March 28th, 2010 for US$79.99.

The FLPR app requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later to install and run.

Apple Dramatically Lowers Pricing for Mac OS X Developer Program

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Date: Friday, March 5th, 2010, 05:19
Category: News

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Following a brief outage on Thursday, Apple’s developer site came back online offering a restructured developer program for the Mac modeled after the US$99/year iPhone development program according to MacRumors:

“Modeled after the highly successful iPhone Developer Program, we’ve relaunched the Mac Developer Program to offer members technical resources, support, access to pre-release software, developer forums and more, all for just $99 per year. As our developer base continues to grow in leaps and bounds, we’re working hard to ensure we provide our developers with everything they need to create innovative applications for both the iPhone OS and Mac OS X.”

Apple had previously offered assorted tiers at much higher prices (Select and Premier for US$499 and US$3,499 a year, respectively), but also offered hardware discounts and assorted membership perks. The company may be looking to tempt the large number of iPhone developers to easily jump to Mac development. Existing ADC members accounts will continue as is until they expire, at which time members can then join the new $99/year program. Prospective Mac developers can still download the Xcode tools for free, but without access to the pre-release software and technical support.

Wall Street Journal Developing iPad Content, Keeping Prototype Under Lock and Key

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Date: Thursday, March 4th, 2010, 06:11
Category: iPad, News

Apple’s legendary secrecy around its products continues as Rupert Murdoch revealed that the Wall Street Journal, in developing its iPad edition, has a pre-release model that is checked in on nightly by Apple.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Murdoch confirmed during a speech in New York on Tuesday that his News Corp. publication will be offered on Apple’s forthcoming iPad. According to a report in the Journal, the executive also gave insight into Apple’s secretive practices as the paper has had access to a pre-release iPad.

“In fact, we’ve been allowed to work on one, and it’s under padlock and key. The key is turned by Apple every night,” Murdoch was quoted as saying. “But we will be on that with The Wall Street Journal.”

The Journal and Apple had an iPad-related altercation last month when editor Alan Murray posted to Twitter from the device when Apple co-founder Steve Jobs visited the paper to pitch its e-reader capabilities. That incident reportedly upset Jobs, who was said to be “furious” and allegedly had the editor delete the post. In a subsequent e-mail, Murray would not confirm the incident, but merely said that “Apple’s general paranoia about news coverage is truly extraordinary.”

The Journal stands as one of the high-profile publications developing content for the iPad and last week, the Associated Press revealed that it is also creating an app for the iPad centered around a subscription model.

How much to charge for content on the iPad and other devices remains a point of contention. While reports have suggested that Times executives cannot agree whether to charge $10 per month or closer to $30 per month, the Journal began charging users of its iPhone application late last year. Murdoch has previously said that News Corp. intends to charge for all of its online news sites, noting that “quality journalism is not cheap.”

Murdoch added that he believes the iPad is just the first in a number of devices that many will use to read newspapers on a daily basis. He reportedly said there will be a “half dozen or more” introduced in the next year.

As always, feel free to hurl your two cents in…

AT&T CEO Confirms Tiered Plan Pricing to Be Inevitable, Company Will Retain 3G Network for Time Being

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Date: Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010, 05:25
Category: News

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AT&T executives stated recently that the wireless industry will likely eventually charge bandwidth-heavy users more for their data plans than those customers who use networks more sparingly, but added that the company in no rush to roll out its next-generation technology.

Per MarketWatch, the comments came as part of a broad presentation by AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson to investors attending a Morgan Stanley conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, in which he stated his belief that most early adopters of Apple’s soon-to-ship iPad device will largely rely on WiFi instead of purchasing another 3G wireless plan.

It’s going to be “interesting to see the customer reaction to the iPad,” he said, answering investors’ concerns that yet another popular Apple device could further strain its 3G network in congested major metropolitan cities like New York. “We think it’s going to be a largely WiFi-driven product.”

Stephenson reemphasized AT&T’s commitment to continue strengthening its 3G network by pouring millions into backend technology in regions where customers have experienced the most problems. He added, however, that another safeguard against over-saturation could see the carrier eventually adopt a new metered pricing model that will charge its bandwidth-guzzling customers more than those who make more modest use of its network.

In an update on AppleInsider, AT&T spokesman James Carracher clarified Stephenson’s comments, which were meant to portray where the CEO thinks the wireless industry as a whole is headed and offered the following:

“For the industry, we will progressively move towards more of what I call variable pricing. The heavy consumers will pay different than the lower consumers.”

The remarks could rekindle speculation that tiered iPhone 3G data plans may be on the horizon. Rumors to that end first surfaced in an research report from Kaufman Bros last February but only gained widespread attention when AT&T consumer services chief Ralph de la Vega later seconded the notion during a UBS investment conference in December.

More specifically, he cited statistics as revealing that 40% of AT&T’s network capacity is used by just 3% of smartphone users, adding that it’s inevitable that those high-bandwidth users will be charged for what they use. Following public outcry over the matter, AT&T spent the next week attempting to cool rumors of tiered iPhone data pricing, with de la Vega clarify his comments to suggest the carrier would instead begin offering incentives to users to “reduce or modify their usage.”

In other revelations Tuesday, Stephenson confirmed that the iPhone will remain a staple of AT&T’s business for “quite some time,” but stopped short ruling out the possibility that rival carriers could also begin carrying the device stateside. He also said AT&T is in no hurry to push out its 4G network, which is based on technology referred to as LTE or Long Term Evolution.

Although its LTE network will greatly broaden its wireless pipelines and provide customers with much faster download and upload speeds, the carrier reportedly believes its existing 3G network is ‘sufficient to handle data traffic for the next few years.’

“We’re not in a tremendous hurry on LTE,” he said. Instead, the carrier doesn’t plan to begin rolling out the next-gen technology until 2011, before taking it mainstream in 2012.

Publishers Looking to Raise Prices to $13 – $15 Per Book for iPad Content

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Date: Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010, 05:55
Category: iPad, News

With the iPad only days away from launch, a new report states that consumers have “unrealistic expectations” about how low e-book prices should be.

Recently, the New York Times provided a breakdown on the economics of producing a book from the publisher’s perspective. The report noted that while printing costs go away when a book is reproduced in an electronic format, a number of expenses remain, including royalties and marketing.

The report said that while the average hardcover bestseller is IS$26, the cost to print, store and ship the book is just US$3.25. That cost also includes unsold copies returned to the publisher by booksellers.

Publishers get roughly US$13 of the selling price of a book. But after factoring in payments to the author and the cost of cover design and copy editing, only about US$4.05 is left. The report also noted that this figure doesn’t include overhead such as office space and electricity.

Under Apple’s agreement with publishers for the iBookstore, the hardware maker will keep 30% of each book sale, leaving US$9.09 for the publisher on a typical US$12.99 e-book.

“Out of that gross revenue, the publisher pays about 50 cents to convert the text to a digital file, typeset it in digital form and copy-edit it,” the report said. “Marketing is about 78 cents.”

Click the jump for the full story…

Child Labor Discovered in Apple Supplier Companies

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Date: Monday, March 1st, 2010, 05:10
Category: News

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At least eleven 15-year-old workers were discovered in the factories of three factories which supply Apple. Although Apple has yet to name the offending factories, or say where they were based, the majority of its goods are assembled in China.

Apple also has factories working for it in Taiwan, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, the Czech Republic and the United States.

According to telegraph.co.uk, Apple said the child workers are now no longer being used, or are no longer underage. “In each of the three facilities, we required a review of all employment records for the year as well as a complete analysis of the hiring process to clarify how underage people had been able to gain employment,” Apple said, in an annual report on its suppliers.

Apple has been repeatedly criticized for using factories that abuse workers and where conditions are poor. Last week, it emerged that 62 workers at a factory that manufactures products for Apple and Nokia had been poisoned by n-hexane, a toxic chemical that can cause muscular degeneration and blur eyesight. Apple has not commented on the problems at the plant, which is run by Wintek, in the Chinese city of Suzhou.

A spokesman for Wintek said that “almost all” of the affected workers were back at work, but that some remained in hospital. Wintek said n-hexane was commonly used in the technology industry, and that problems had arisen because some areas of the factory were not ventilated properly.

Click the jump for the full story…

Mac OS X Market Share Up 29% According to Recent Report

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Date: Monday, March 1st, 2010, 05:07
Category: News

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If you’re still being told that the Mac is on its way out (a la the mantra of the 90′s), a new set of statistics released today show that the market share of Mac OS X in Web use has grown by 29.4% in the last year, while Windows has decreased 3.8%.

According to AppleInsider, web statistics company Quantcast found that Mac OS X represented 10.9% of total Web consumption in North America in January. Despite its losses over a year prior, Windows remains the dominant format with 86.8% of all Web use.

The analytics company noted that Windows share held steady for the last three months, following the introduction of Windows 7. But January repented a decline once again following a strong holiday season during which Apple sold 3.36 million Macs.

Mac OS X share also grew 7% between December and January, and also saw 5.2% quarterly growth. Windows saw a 0.9 percent increase in both monthly and quarterly share.

The report cited that the greatest growth in Web use has been on mobile devices wherein mobile operating systems increased their presence by 123.8% year-over-year in January. Even with that tremendous growth, mobile devices still represent just 1.3% of total Web use.

Quantcast also revealed that Mac OS X 10.5 remains the dominant version of Apple’s operating system. In January, Leopard represented 52.1% of all Mac users.

Adoption of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard remained rapid, with 27.3% of Mac users running Apple’s latest operating system, which was released in August and got off to a strong sales start twice as high as the debut of Leopard and four times better than Tiger.

In January, 17.2% of Mac users were running Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, while 3.4% were on an earlier version.

For Microsoft, Windows XP remains the dominant platform, with 51.8% of users running the operating system. In fact, Quantast found that Windows XP actually gained share in January, due to strong sales of netbooks.

Windows Vista commands 37.4% of PC users, while Windows 7 has been adopted by 10.2%.

Associated Press Developing Subscription Service for iPad

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Date: Monday, March 1st, 2010, 04:52
Category: iPad, News

The Associated Press, one of the world’s largest news wire services, will be building an iPad app in a move that counters the primarily ad-only model for news on the Web.

According to the Financial Times, AP’s iPad plans were unveiled along with the creation of a new business unit called AP Gateway, which will be devoted to helping the wire service’s member newspapers keep abreast of new technologies ranging from e-readers to mobile phones.

The AP hopes to assist its member newspapers with rolling out electronic editions of their publications without each paper having to develop its own digital strategy in Web access and mobile apps, something that many papers lack the resources and expertise to do on their own.

The move to create paid subscription access to wire service news follows a business model pioneered by specialized newspapers such as the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal, which both provide premium access to news to their paying subscribers both on the web and via native iPhone apps.

Reuters and the New York Times are also both planning to roll out paid access to their Web properties over the next year.

Speaking at the Colorado Press Association’s annual meeting, AP’s chief executive Tom Curley said that, “For publishers, [2010] likely is the defining moment. We must seize this opportunity to reinvigorate our business models as well as our journalism.”

Curley said the AP was convinced by three years of anthropological research that its publishers must differentiate their content, and not add to “information overload.”

Adobe Runs Flash Demo, Argues That Flash Doesn’t Hinder Mobile Device Battery Life

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Date: Thursday, February 25th, 2010, 06:23
Category: iPhone, News, Software

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Following a video preview of Flash running on a Nexus One, Adobe rebuffed claims that the software slashes battery life. Per Electronista, several bloggers observed that the battery charge indicator dropped from the 50% level down to 25% during the eight minute video. The preview was edited, however, making it unclear how long the team actually used the phone during filming.

In order to refute the battery claims, Adobe has created another video showing a 17-minute YouTube movie which does not appear to significantly drain the battery. The battery usage chart suggests the browser only accounted for 6% of the drain while the movie was playing.

Adobe claims Flash Player 10.1 enabled video playback for “well over” three hours on a fully-charged battery.

Whether this will make its way into current or future versions of the iPhone has yet to be seen.