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iPad Launch Day Roundup

Posted by:
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.

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

Posted by:
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.

Apple releases iTunes 9.1 Update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, March 31st, 2010, 04:27
Category: Software

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Late Tuesday, Apple released iTunes 9.1, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, an 93.6 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– Sync with iPad to enjoy your favorite music, movies, TV shows, books and more on the go.
– Organize and sync books you’ve downloaded from iBooks on iPad or added to your iTunes library.
– Rename, rearrange, or remove Genius Mixes.

iTunes 9.1 is available via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Syncing Issues Cited Between iPhone OS 3.x and iTunes 9.x

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010, 05:59
Category: iPhone, News, Software

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As useful and convenient as iPhones and iTunes tend to be, there may be some serious issues left to resolve.

Per reader Martin Joyce, a number of users have been experiencing syncing issues between their iPod and iPhone handsets running iPhone OS 3.x and iTunes 9.x. The issue, which is being discussed at length over at the Apple Discussion Boards, cites that the most common issue is that of there being no content on the iPhone or iPod handset after a sync. The discussion has yet to conclude with Apple publicly acknowledging the issue in any way, shape or form.

If anyone has seen this on their end or has heard of a possible forthcoming fix from Apple, please let us know.

Apple Improves 27″ iMac Ship Time, Raises Cap on 3G Downloads

Posted by:
Date: Friday, February 19th, 2010, 05:33
Category: iMac, iPhone, News

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Following Apple’s recent troubles with its 27″ iMac and a wait time of up to three weeks, AppleInsider is reporting that the company has dropped the ship time to five to seven days, suggesting that the company has managed to address the video issues that haunted the desktops. The change applies to both the Core 2 Duo and Core i5 powered versions of the computer.

Early adopters of the big-screen iMac have seen a number of hardware issues pertaining to the screen, with reports of flickering and yellow discoloration. The company released two software updates to fix the issues, and also reportedly offered some customers a 15 percent refund for their troubles.

Supplies of the 27-inch iMac have been constrained for months, with Apple in December even apologizing for delays, citing considerable demand form consumers. When it first launched in October, the new iMac was the best-selling desktop machine for the month. The 21.5″ iMac came in first place, while the 27-inch iMac took third in overall sales.

In other news, Apple quietly doubled the download limit for files from the iPhone App Store and iTunes via 3G. Users can now download files up to 20MB in size from a wireless carrier’s data network. The previous cap was 10MB for “over the air” downloads.

In addition to applications, the new limit also applies to multimedia files, such as podcasts available through iTunes. The update expands beyond AT&T in the U.S., with international reports stating the 10MB cap has also been lifted.

If you’ve played around with the new limit, let us know.

Apple Set to Offer Fairplay DRM Access to Book Publishers

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 16th, 2010, 04:19
Category: iPad, News

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Digital Rights Management software has never been universally popular, though Apple is offering publishers a crack at it.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Apple will use the DRM to prevent piracy of titles sold on the multimedia device. Apple abandoned restrictive DRM for music titles last year when it removed FairPlay from the iTunes Music Store.

FairPlay restricted the number of devices that could have access to purchased content. Its use was the subject of great debate and criticism until Apple removed it in 2009.

While the content of the iTunes Music Store is currently DRM-free, Apple still uses the technology for movies and TV shows purchased through iTunes. Now, similar restrictions could reportedly be extended to some e-books sold for the iPad, though the article suggested publishers will have a choice.

“The majority of publishers are expected to embrace FairPlay, along with other copy protection software such as Adobe’s Content Server 4, as a means to squelch incipient book piracy as the e-book market begins to take off.”

When it introduced the iPad last month, Apple highlighted five major publishers that will offer content for the device. The iBooks application includes the iBookstore, where bestsellers are expected to be priced between US$12.99 and US$14.99.

The price range has been the subject of debate for publishers, who were previously unhappy with the standard US$9.99 price for new hardcover bestsellers sold on the Amazon Kindle e-reader. Amazon has reluctantly agreed to publisher demands and is expected to offer higher e-book prices with the release of the iPad in March.

Logitech Releases Control Center 3.2 Update

Posted by:
Date: Saturday, February 13th, 2010, 04:20
Category: Software

Late Friday, Logitech released version 3.2 of its Control Center software. The update, a 17.9 megabyte download (via VersionTracker), offers the following fixes and changes for the driver software:

– Back and Forward have been added to the list of actions that can be assigned to mouse buttons. These actions are supported in web browsers, Finder, iCal, iTunes and iPhoto.

– A warning will appear when the SteerMouse application is detected. When SteerMouse is installed, LCC will not be able to detect most Logitech mice and keyboards, as OS X does not allow devices to be controlled by more than one driver at a time.

Control Center 3.2 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Some Users Cite Erratic Battery Life, Syncing Issues Following iPhone OS 3.1.3 Update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, February 10th, 2010, 08:40
Category: iPhone, News

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Despite Apple’s best intentions, the iPhone OS 3.1.3 firmware update may not have gone as well as the company would have liked.

Per iPodNN, a number of users over on the Apple Discussion Board have reported that issues such as erratic battery life have emerged.

In certain cases, the unit’s battery meter may potentially swing wildly, for instance going from 25 to 7 to 10 percent, then jumping back up to 24%.

Worst-case scenarios may see phones losing hours of power, and even running unusually hot. The v3.1.3 firmware was in part meant to correct battery meter trouble on the iPhone 3GS.

Another major problem involves iTunes playlists, which in some cases are failing to sync properly with the iPod touch. While files will copy over properly, playlists may be empty or simply absent. The glitch is believed to affect only smart playlists, and potentially only those with multiple criteria. Temporary workarounds may include reducing criteria to a single field, and/or deleting and remaking previous playlists.

Apple has yet to formally address or fix either of the cited errors.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end, please let us know.

Apple Releases iTunes 9.0.3 Update

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010, 05:16
Category: News

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Late Monday, Apple released iTunes 9.0.3, the latest version of its multimedia/jukebox application for Mac OS X. The new version, an 90.8 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– iTunes no longer ignores your “Remember password for purchases” setting.
– Addresses problems with syncing some Smart Playlists and Podcasts with iPod.
– Resolves a problem recognizing when iPod is connected.
– Addresses issues that affect stability and performance.

iTunes 9.0.3 is available via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Apple Media Event: Come the iPad

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, January 27th, 2010, 10:58
Category: News

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Folks, the Apple media event has begun, the cool cats at Macworld are on hand to cover it and here we go in a play by play:

– Jobs has appeared on stage, has cited that Apple is current the number one mobile device maker in the world and has stated that the “Last time there was this much excitement about a tablet, it had some commandments written on it.”

– Jobs is now citing 1991 and the first PowerBooks, is theorizing that there might be a better category between a notebook and a smartphone.

– They’ve caught a glimpse of the thing. There’s apparently a Home button, a MacBook-like aluminum bezel and a glass screen. Users are apparently able to personalize their home screen as they’d like it.

Hang tight, they’ve got an initial picture:
sjobswipad

– The name has just been revealed: It’s the iPad.

– Jobs is apparently sending an e-mail with an Apple Mail-esque client and typing on the screen as he would with a standard QWERTY keyboard. The device is on his lap.

– Jobs is looking through photos and is able to grab data from a nearby Mac or PC as well as turn the tablet to portrait or landscape mode as well as pinch, scrub and flick through pictures.

– Ok, there’s an iPod interface that looks a lot like the album view in iTunes meshed with Cover Flow on the iPhone.

– The interface apparently contains floating panes and windows.

– Jobs is now surfing through high definition YouTube videos of a surfing dog. Behold the nesting instinct!

– Right the iPad is apparently half an inch thick, weighs only 1.5 pounds and is both thinner and lighter than any netbook on the market. The device features a 9.7″ IPS display that allows for terrific angles of view. There’s a full capacitive multi-touch screen, a 1GHz Apple A4 chip and either 16, 32 or 64 gigabytes of solid state flash memory onboard.

– The chip is by PA Semi.

– Other specs: The iPad features 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1, an accelerometer and compass, speaker microphone, standard 30-pin connector and apparently 10 hours of battery life. The unit also sports a full month of standby life and the user can set it down, walk away for a month and it’ll still have a charge when they come back.

– The iPad is arsenic free, BFR-free, mercury-free, PCV-free and recyclable.

– The iPad apparently runs almost every iPhone/iPod touch app unmodified right out of the box.

– Ok, Jobs is now using Facebook and there’s an option to run apps at different resolutions.

– Video looks great on the iPad and Jobs is playing an unmodified snowboarding game.

– Apple is apparently undergoing a huge effort to get App Store apps to this device.

– Oh, cool, they’re releasing an updated iPhone SDK to offer development support for the iPad. The new SDK will be released today on Apple’s web site.

– The new SDK will feature an iPad simulator to allow iPad apps to run on your Mac as you write them.

– Right, the mighty Gameloft, which has over 60 games and 55 million downloads is now showing off its Nova shooter.

– A representative from the New York Times is demoing the paper’s web site on the iPad. It apparently looks great… and with any luck, this will save journalism as we know it.

– Because a picture’s worth a thousand words:
streetviewmap

– Ok, the reading experience looks good and users can change the number of columns, resize text easily and view embedded videos.

– A Brushes app allows users to edit images, all the while tapping to bring up palettes, brushes and tools. Pinching allows the users to zoom in up to 32x and the app will be available at product launch.

– Electronic Arts is up and showing off Need for Speed for the iPad. The company has apparently built a cool version in just a few days.

– Hmm, the iPad is being reported as speedy. Not a bad thing.

– Chad Evans from Major League Baseball is showing off the At Bat app. With this, users can navigate league scoreboards, check player profiles and receive live data from the MLB.com web site.

– Hang on, they’re bringing out an Apple app: an e-book reader.

– Right, it’s called iBook, the interface contains a bookshelf of books and a new iBook Store will be available through iTunes and allow you to purchase titles from publishers including Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon and Shuster, Macmillan and Hachette Book Group.

– Prices for the books vary between US$7.99 and US$14.99, you tap to read, tap anywhere to flip the pages forward or backward, drag a page to slowly turn said page and tap to access the Table of Contents.

– Book fonts can be changed on the fly. All right, that’s cool.

– Books will be published via the EPUB format, which is open and compatible to what’s out there.

– Phil Schiller has now emerged to describe the new version of iWork.

– A completely new version of Keynote has been designed for the iPad. The application runs in the iPad’s horizontal mode and users can tap buttons to create presentations, open templates, etc.

– Users can tap and hold an icon to slide it around the screen. Photos can be resized via pinching and other effects are applied with finger-based gestures.

– For animations in Keynote, tap the animation mode and slide your finger around to access animation techniques.

– The new version of Pages allows you to open a document via tapping. Then, tap anywhere to open a keyboard. A new Page Navigator tool allows you to hold a finger on the right of a document to bring up a loupe icon that allows you to skim through the pages. Menus and sub-menus can be accessed via tapping.

– Over in the Numbers app, a new tab interface allows a single document to hold an assortment of spreadsheets. Columns can be rearranged by tapping and dragging and data automatically updates itself.

– Ok, this is interesting. Apple is going to charge US$9.99 for each of the new iWork applications. Users can purchase them from the App Store with little hassle.

– The iPad: It connects to projectors!!!

– Steve Jobs has just returned to the stage and the iPad syns with your Mac or PC via iTunes. Users can sync photos, music, movies, TV shows, contacts, calendars, booksmarks and applications. Backups are synced back and the app creates files to restore from.

– Each iPad features Wi-Fi but additional models will have 3G access built in as well. iPad owners will be ablt to access AT&T plans, the first offering 250 megabytes of data for US$14.99 per month. An unlimited data plan will be available for US$29.99 per month. Users will be able to access AT&T’s hotspots for free around the U.S.

– Users can go to the store, activate the plan on the iPad and there’s no contract. Users will be able to to pre-pay in advance.

– Apple hopes to have international plans in place by Jule or July and all iPad 3G models are unlocked and use new GSM micro Sim units.

– You’re going to like this: The iPad starts at US$499.

– US$499 gets you the base model with 16GB onboard, US$599 gets you the 32GB model and US$699 gets you the 64GB model. The 3G models retail for US$130 extra to include the radio units and are available at US$629, US$729 and US$829.

– The iPad will be available worldwide in 60 days and the 3G units will be available in 90 days.

– There’s a docking device that includes a keyboard. Slide your iPad into it, the dock will charge it and you can type as much as you want. The third accessory seems to be a case which doubles as a typing stand.

– Ok, that seems to be about it and there’s something cool on the horizon. As always, let us know what you think in the comments.