Verizon launches ad showcasing iPad, Verizon MiFi unit

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Date: Tuesday, November 9th, 2010, 06:00
Category: iPad, News

In a fairly uncharacteristic move, Apple has allowed its new carrier partner, Verizon, to create its own commercial for the iPad, advertising that the touchscreen tablet can now be bought with a MiFi for on-the-go connectivity.

The new commercial, entitled “Breakaway,” debuted on national TV this week. The largest wireless carrier in the U.S. began selling the Wi-Fi-only iPad, bundled with a 3G MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot, late last month.

Since a picture’s worth a thousand words, take a gander:



According to AppleInsider, the commercial could be a sign of things to come: Verizon is widely expected to begin carrying a CDMA version of Apple’s iPhone starting in January of 2011. That information has been independently confirmed by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Fortune.

It has been reported that control over the iPhone, including its advertising, was a major point of contention between Verizon and Apple in 2005. The carrier and Apple could not come to a deal, and the device debuted on AT&T’s network in 2007.

But in order to bring the iPhone to Verizon, Apple may be compromising — as evidenced by the iPad commercial. Fortune also reported in October that Verizon’s iPhone is expected to offer special features, like live TV for customers of Verizon’s FiOS cable service.

If you have two cents to throw in on this, let us know what you think in the comments.

Apple internal memo surfaces, cites dead pixel/replacement policies for hardware

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Date: Monday, November 8th, 2010, 05:14
Category: iPad, iPhone, News, retail

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A leaked memo dictating Apple’s internal policy on replacing devices with dead LCD pixels surfaced last week, revealing that the company will replace an iPhone if it has just one dead pixel, while an iPad must have at least three to qualify.

Per Boy Genius Report, the loose guidelines employees must follow when a customer attempts to return a device with bad pixels on its display state that one dead pixel is good enough for a replacement on a device with a screen size of between 1″ and 3.5″.

Apple’s 9.7″ iPad display must have three or more dead pixels for the unit to qualify for a replacement. Things get a bit more complicated with larger screens and devices such as notebooks, iMacs and the company’s Cinema Display demand that a distinction is made between “bright” and “dark” faulty pixels.

Apple Store Geniuses are, however, given some leeway. The internal document states that authorized service providers must explain to the customer that they can replace the product, but that replacement may have even more dead pixels or other issues. Apple will not replace the product again if the replacement product is within the written guidelines.

Members of Apple’s retail team also contacted The Unofficial Apple Weblog to clarify the company’s policy even further:

“If you ask for a first replacement product due to bad pixels, you should always get it, with no arguments and no restock charges (if this isn’t your first experience, ask to discuss it with a supervisor),” the report said. “However, if the replacement unit is still within spec — which for anything other than an iPhone or iPod touch, may mean more pixels depending on how bad the first unit was — a second replacement is ruled out.”

If you’ve seen this on your end or had a similar Apple retail experience, let us know.

New tests yield additional battery life in absence of Adobe Flash

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Date: Friday, November 5th, 2010, 04:40
Category: MacBook Air, News, Software

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It’s had a good run.

Hell, it’s had a great run.

Still, Apple has ceased bundling Adobe Flash on its new Macs, ostensibly so users could obtain the latest, secure version themselves with vastly increased battery life seems to be another leading reason for this change.

According to the mighty Ars Technica, the new MacBook Air can last for a full six hours after loading a series of webpages in Safari, but its battery performance drops down to four hours once Adobe Flash is installed and the same sites are loaded.

“Flash-based ads kept the CPU running far more than seemed necessary,” stated the article. Without the Flash plugin installed, websites typically display static ads in place of Flash content, erasing the need for constant processing power demanded by the Flash plugin’s rendering engine.

With Flash ads consuming as much as 33% of the MacBook Air’s battery potential, it’s no wonder why Apple has demonstrated no interest in getting a version of Flash installed on its iPad, iPod touch and iPhone, all of which have much smaller batteries.

This summer, Adobe launched a public relations attack on Apple for failing to support Flash on its iOS devices, nor allowing Adobe to deliver a version of Flash for the iOS platform, nor approving apps for the iOS that were created in Adobe’s Flash Professional application. Apple has backed away from refusing to approve apps created with third party tools, but has shown no interest in getting Flash content to run on its iOS.

When asked for “any updates” on the company’s stance on Flash during its quarterly earnings report, chief executive Steve Jobs quipped, “flash memory? We love flash memory,” before taking the next question.

Apple’s removal of Adobe’s Flash plugin from a default install on the new MacBook Air coincided with the company’s debut of a more conservative new “wireless productivity test” it said was more in line with actual use, and better standardized for accurate comparisons between models. Being able to test the new machine without its battery being taxed by Flash ads certainly helps the company achieve better results.

Microsoft stopped bundling Adobe Flash with the release of Windows Vista in 2007, although its motivation was likely due to the company’s efforts to push its rival Silverlight plugin. However, Windows implements Flash as an ActiveX control, which means users can click on Flash placeholders within a webpage and the Flash plugin will install itself. New Mac users will have to manually download and install Flash from Adobe in order to make it available.

Apple sells far more iOS-based devices (such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch) than Macs, and no iOS devices support runtimes for Flash content. That has had a major effect upon advertisers, publishers, website design, and online video broadcasters, who have collectively made monumental shifts away from Flash. This in turn has made Flash playback far less important on the desktop than it was just a year or two ago, although there is still important content tied to Flash.

Apple has removed Flash content from its own website, although it also has supported Adobe’s efforts to add hardware acceleration to the Mac OS X version of Flash, and has approved the Skyfire plugin for iOS’ Mobile Safari, which uses a gateway service to translate Flash videos into HTML5 videos that can play on Apple’s devices.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 4.2 golden master build to developer community

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Date: Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010, 04:28
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

Late Monday, Apple released its golden master build of iOS 4.2 for its entire line of iOS-based devices including the iPad, the iPhone and the iPod touch.

Per AppleInsider, the new OS will sport features such as as AirPlay wireless streaming of audio, video and photos to the new Apple TV or other AirPlay-compliant devices and its AirPrint wireless printing architecture, designed to enable users to create hard copies of web pages, emails and photos managed through a new Print Center app.

The new update will also finally bring multitasking features and iOS Folders to the iPad, along with a variety of other features currently only available on the iPhone and iPod touch, such as support for multiple email aliases, a unified inbox, and messages organized by threads in Mail, and the ability to open attachments in third party apps.

New multitasking features will also incorporate the software orientation lock and music playback controls available on the iPhone running iOS 4, which are accessed via swiping to the left from the list of currently running apps. The iPad also presents a brightness control in this section (as depicted below).

The iPad will also lose its hardware toggle assigned to locking the screen orientation; the button will instead work to mute audio, just like the iPhone. This move has generated some controversy because Apple not only refuses to offer customers a choice of how their hardware buttons work, but has also duplicated mute functionality, as the audio down button already works as to rapidly mute audio playback.

The update will also bring Game Center to the iPad, allowing players to invite friends or find new opponents online to play against, as well as track their own achievements and high scores.

Apple has also outlined enhanced enterprise support features in iOS 4.2, including new device management capabilities, the ability to lock down email account settings, and stronger security enhancements.

iOS 4.2 will also include support for more than 30 new languages in keyboards and dictionaries, including Arabic, Greek and Hebrew.

It also strengthens accessibility features including support for navigating VoiceOver using a wireless keyboard and a wide range of refreshable braille output displays in more than 25 languages. On the iPad, larger text options up to 56 point fonts can also be specified for use in Contacts, Mail, Messages and Notes.

Other major changes include support for Google’s revised YouTube voting, a direct link to launching a FaceTime video call from within the SMS messages interface, and new CoreMIDI music APIs for music-related apps.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Second-gen iPad to include front, rear cameras

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Date: Monday, November 1st, 2010, 04:32
Category: iPad, Rumor

Apple’s second-generation iPad, set to appear in the first quarter of 2011, will include a forward-facing camera for FaceTime video chat as well as a second rear camera, according to an unconfirmed rumor from an investment firm.

Per Barrons, a note issued from Detwiler Fenton & Co. claims that OmniVision will supply CMOS image sensors for the second-generation iPad. The report alleges that the next iPad will have a forward-facing VGA camera for FaceTime video chat, like the iPhone 4 and latest iPod touch.

The firm also claims that OmniVision will supply a second, 5 megapixel camera, presumably to be placed on the rear of the new iPad. One competing touchscreen tablet, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, sports two cameras, with the rear lens highlighted for use in augmented reality applications.

Detwiler said that Apple is expected to build 2.5 million units of the next-generation iPad in the first quarter of 2011. OmniVision also supplies sensors for Apple’s iPhone.

Sources familiar with Apple’s plans have stated that a version of Apple’s iPad with a built-in video camera and FaceTime support had already progressed to advanced testing stages by September. It was indicated that a FaceTime-equipped iPad would be introduced no later than the first quarter of 2011.

Apple now offering free laser engraving on iPads sold through apple.com for the holidays

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Date: Tuesday, October 26th, 2010, 04:28
Category: iPad, News

With the holiday shopping season coming up, Apple is now offering free iPad engraving for its online store orders.

Per AppleInsider, the company will allow up to 2 lines of free engraved text on the back of an iPad purchased from Apple.com as an “Apple Online Store exclusive,” confirming a July rumor that Apple would extend its free laser-engraving option from the iPod to the iPad this fall. Custom engraved iPods have been available from the Apple online store for several years.

Customers are given the option to engrave their iPad after selecting an iPad model and any desired accessories from the online store. Engraved iPads are non-returnable, so prospective buyers are cautioned to double-check their spelling.

Also, customers should take note that adding the engraving option currently lengthens the shipping time from “Within 24hrs” to “1-3 business days.”

In preparation for the holiday season, Apple has greatly broadened the retail availability of the iPad. The device will be available for sale at Walmart, Target, AT&T and Verizon stores.

Jobs crushes 7″ iPad rumor at Q4 financial announcement

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Date: Tuesday, October 19th, 2010, 06:35
Category: iPad, News

It’s the in-between things during Apple’s financial announcements that make things interesting.

During yesterday’s Q4 earnings conference, Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Monday took a moment to extinguish rumors that the company is working on a smaller iPad based around a 7″ screen according to AppleInsider.

“The reason we [won't] make a 7-inch tablet isn’t because we don’t want to hit that price point, it’s because we think the screen is too small to express the software,” Jobs said on Monday’s quarterly earnings conference call. “As a software driven company we think about the software strategies first.”

“We know developers aren’t going to deal well with these different sizes and they have to change their software every time the screen size changes,” he added. “When we make decisions on 7″ tablets it’s not about cost, it’s about the value of the product when you factor in the software.”

You see what I’m getting at?,” Jobs continued. “So we’re all about making the best products at aggressive prices and that’s what we do, and that’s what we will do with the iPad and iPod.”

Asked by an analyst how he would respond and whether Apple would lose share if the market suddenly moves to a lower price point with fewer features, Jobs said “You’re looking at it wrong, […] looking at it as a hardware manufacturer who doesn’t know much about software who assumes the software will take care of itself.”

“Hm, how can we make this cheaper? Well let’s put a smaller screen, slower processor, less memory, and you just assume the software will somehow come alive on this product but it won’t,” Jobs quipped. “Developers have taken advantage of faster processors and bigger screens to make better apps for customers.”

“It’s a hard one,” the Apple co-found said of such a strategy, “because it throws you in the chicken-and-egg question to change assumptions on developers.” Most developers won’t follow that lead, he suggest. Instead, they’re more likely to say, “Sorry, I’m not going to write a watered down version of my app just because you can sell this version of your phone for US$50 less.”

Rumors of a 7-inch iPad have come from numerous sources, several alleging that Apple is working on a smaller version of the iPad.

Those reports suggested that the current iPad is too heavy for users, and that a smaller form factor and lighter weight would be more ideal for reading.

Jobs’ comments on Monday come as a number of competitors are embracing the 7″ form factor with their own touchscreen tablets. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab is set to launch this year with all four major U.S. wireless carriers, while BlackBerry plans to release its own PlayBook in early 2011.

Earlier this month, it was suggested that Apple developed a 7″ iPad alongside the current model, but eventually opted just to release the current 9.7″ model. Jobs’ comments Monday would support that rumor, as the CEO noted that his company has done extensive research on touchscreen interfaces and what works best for users.

“We really understand this stuff,” Jobs said.

As always, we’d love to hear what you have to say about this.

Apple posts over $20 billion in sales, $4.31 billion profit for fourth quarter

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Date: Tuesday, October 19th, 2010, 06:56
Category: Finance, News

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Apple on Monday reported a “great fiscal quarter,” citing a quarterly profit of US$4.31 billion, compared to US$2.53 billion for the same period last year. Over the quarter, Apple recored US$20.34 billion in revenue, an increase of nearly 67 percent from the year-ago quarter’s sales figure of US$12.21 billion.

Apple’s earnings of US$4.64 per diluted share handily beat estimates by Wall Street analysts who were expecting the company to report earnings of US$4.06 a share on $18.86 billion in revenue for September quarter.

“We still have a few surprises left for the remainder of the calendar year,” said CEO Steve Jobs in a statement accompanying the earnings. Apple has scheduled a press event for this Wednesday where the company is expected to focus on the Mac.

Per Macworld, Apple executive Peter Oppenheimer credited record iPhone sales, enthusiasm for the iPad, and a new quarterly sales record for Mac sales as the drivers behind Apple’s strong quarterly performance. In particular, Apple sold 4.19 million iPads during the first full quarter of sales for the tablet; all told, the company sold 7.5 million iPads during its 2010 fiscal year.

For the fiscal fourth quarter, Apple recorded US$2.8 billion in sales of iPads and related accessories, with the iPad accounting for US$2.7 billion of that figure. That translates to an average selling price of around US$645 for the tablet, Oppenheimer said.

iPad sales may disappoint some analysts, who were expecting Apple to sell close to 5 million tablets. One of the issues may be with inventory—Apple says it has three-to-four weeks worth of channel inventory, which is below its target range of four-to-six weeks. The company plans to expand its iPad distribution efforts, adding retailers like Verizon, Walmart, Target, and AT&T into the mix as well as launching in additional countries.

As for the iPhone, Apple managed to sell 14.1 million units during the quarter. This marks a 91% increase over the 7.4 million phones sold during the year-ago quarter and a new quarterly record for smartphone sales for the company.

For the 2010 fiscal year, Apple sold 40 million phones, a 93 percent jump over 2009. During September, the company says it passed the 125 million mark for cumulative iOS sales of its iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch offerings.

Apple also saw a record quarter for its Mac business. The company sold 3.89 million computers, up 27% from its year-ago sales. Fourth-quarter Mac sales topped the previous high-water mark of 3.47 million mark set during the June quarter. Year-over-year sales growth was more than double the growth rate projected for the overall PC market by research firm IDC, according to Oppenheimer.

Notebooks continue to drive Mac sales, with portable products, accounting for 71% of the Macs sold during the September quarter. However, sales of desktops rose nearly 28% to a little more than 1 million units, on the strength of the company’s iMac and Mac Pro updates over the summer.

Despite the largely positive news, the iPod segment continues to shrink, with Apple selling 9.05 million music players during the quarter (an 11% drop from last year’s figures). Apple updated its iPod line in September, though the company usually sees the fruits of those efforts during the holiday quarter.

While iPod sales growth stalled throughout 2010, Apple opted to focus on the positive Monday. It noted that the iPod’s share of the MP3 player market in the U.S. continues to top 70% according to research firm NPD’s figures. And Apple says its music player gained market share internationally from the year-ago quarter. The company also reported that its iTune Store brought in more than US$1 billion in revenue for the September quarter.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs took a minute during the conference call to comment on the company’s “hobby” product, the Apple TV, announcing that it had moved more than 250,000 units since the device went on sale. That’s the first time the company has ever revealed sales information for the device, which has gone through a number of iterations since its original introduction in 2007. Jobs confirmed that Apple had moved to an all-streaming model for content for the device, which will allow streaming of media from iOS devices in November when Apple ships iOS 4.2.

Apple’s retail segment had what Oppenheimer called a “record-breaking quarter,” with revenue rising 75% to US$3.57 billion. Apple sold 874,000 Macs through its retail arm, an increase of 30% from the year-ago quarter. The company sales that half of the Macs sold through its brick-and-mortar outlets continue to be to customers who are new to the platform.

Apple ended the fourth quarter with 317 stores, 84 of which were outside the U.S. The company opened 24 new stores during the quarter, with 16 of those opening outside of U.S. borders. In fact, with new store openings in Spain, Apple now has retail outlets in 11 countries.

The company also stated that it plans to open 40 to 50 stores during the coming fiscal year, with half of those slated for outside the U.S. The company also plans to start renovating several of its U.S. stores during 2011.

Monday’s earnings report closes the book on Apple’s 2010 fiscal year, which saw the company record US$65.2 billion in sales, a 52% increase from the US$42.9 billion in revenue recorded in 2009. Apple turned a US$14 billion profit in 2010, an increase of 72% from the previous year.

“The September quarter was the culmination of a monumental year for Apple,” Oppenheimer said.

Apple launches updated MobileMe calendar, removes membership requirements

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Date: Friday, October 15th, 2010, 05:14
Category: News, Software

Apple announced Thursday that its new web-based calendar application for MobileMe subscribers has officially exited the beta stages and is now available to all members.

Users looking to become new calendar members simply need to sign in to me.com/calendar, click “Upgrade now” in the lower left corner of the Calendar web application, and follow the instructions. Current members who’ve been using the Calendar since it was a beta product don’t need to do anything.

Per AppleInsider, Apple has stated the new MobileMe Calendar was designed to integrate more fluently with the built-in calendar app on iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches by always keeping it in sync with a Mac or PC. New events or changes are automatically pushed to iOS 4 devices so the calendar stays up to date. Users who schedule a meeting on their iOS devices will also see that meeting pushed everywhere too.

The new version also makes it easier for users to share calendars with one or more MobileMe members to keep everyone on the same page. For example, users can create a shared calendar called “Family” for weekend activities, then allow family members to edit events, and then receive email notifications informing them of those changes.


Another new features lets users share a read-only public calendar, which Apple says is ideal for publishing an events calendar such as a child’s sports team schedule. Once set up, a link to view the calendar can be sent to other team members for viewing on their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or PC.


Users can also invite guests to an event by adding their email address to the event (they don’t have to be a MobileMe member) and guests will get an invitation email they can respond to directly by clicking a link. The event then automatically updates, making it easy to track RSVPs right in the calendar.

These features tie into new web application at me.com with redesigned day, week, and month views, as well as a new list view to make scanning events easier.

Apple says the new web application works best with the Safari 5, Firefox 3.6, and Internet Explorer 8 web browsers. Compatibility with iPhone or iPod touch requires iOS 4.1, while iPad users must be running either version 3.2 or 4.2 (due this November). Mac users must have Mac OS X 10.6.4 or later installed and PC users will need MobileMe Control Panel version 1.6.3 and Outlook 2007 or 2010.

If you’ve tried the new calendar and have any feedback to offer, let us know.

iPad to hit Verizon retail outlets on October 28th

Posted by:
Date: Friday, October 15th, 2010, 05:11
Category: iPad, News, retail

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A few major changes may be coming to fruition as wireless carriers AT&T and Verizon announced Thursday that they will begin selling Apple’s iPad in their brick-and-mortar retail stores on Thursday, October 28th, with the latter offering the device in conjunction with its MiFi mobile hot spots.

Per AppleInsider, AT&T said all three iPad Wi-Fi + 3G models will be available at more than 2,200 AT&T Stores starting October 28th. The wireless operator said it will be pitching the tablets alongside its 3G pre-paid data plans complete with Apple’s easy on-device activation and management.

Plans start at US$14.99 per month for 250MB and US$25 per month for 2GB with no term contract. Both plans include unlimited access to AT&T’s 23,000+ domestic Wi-Fi Hot Spots. The iPads themselves will sell for Apple’s suggested retail price of US$629 for the 16GB model, US$729 for the 32GB and US$829 for the 64GB.

For its part, Verizon will offer only the WiFi versions of the iPad, bundling them with its Verizon MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot routers for a suggested retail price of US$629.99 for iPad Wi-Fi 16GB + MiFi, US$729.99 for iPad Wi-Fi 32GB + MiFi and US$829.99 for iPad Wi-Fi 64GB + MiFi.

Verizon is offering a monthly access plan to iPad customers of up to 1GB of data for US$20 a month. In addition, the carrier will also offer all three iPad Wi-Fi models on a stand-alone basis.

Verizon’s MiFi 2200 unit allows users to create a personal Wi-Fi cloud capable of sharing the high-speed Internet connectivity of the Verizon Wireless 3G Mobile Broadband network with up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices. The MiFi 2200’s rechargeable battery provides up to four hours of active use and 40 hours of standby time on a single charge.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.