iPad News

Friday’s iPad deluge of News

I would probably break the WordPress engine if I tried to post ALL the iPad news from today, as we are one day away from the US iPad launch! So, in stead, I will summarize below the most notable ones.

iPad FCC Teardown at iFixit.com

The expert repair (and device mangler) iFixit site obtained images of the innards of an iPad and have started a ‘virtual breakdown’ of the parts in order to offer insight into which chips Apple decided to use as well as reasoning behind their choices. Always gut-wrenching, but typically, no Apple products are harmed permanently!

Google rolls out iPad Formatted Gmail

One day after their annual April Fool’s announcements, it can sometimes be difficult to take Google seriously, but this one I am quite thankful, since I’m an avid user of their Gmail service. Check out their info on Gmail formatted to best use an iPad screen on their blog page, based on Gmail for Mobile HTML5 web app.

Microsoft “No Plans for Office” on iPad

A disturbing and typically short-sighted announcement posted on MacRumors.com from the Mac group at Microsoft stated that they have no plans to release MS Office for iPad. Although they did mention that they don’t like to say “never”, but the business group which handles Mobile development has “nothing to share at this time”. Now, wait until Apple sells billions of iPads, and once again, they will have dropped the ball on this slip-up. Guess we’ll just have to plunk down $9.99 on Apple’s Pages instead, which reviewers have been touting as a truly excellent content-creation application on the iPad!

Apple rumored to have acquired Intrinsity

Numerous pundits out there have noted that Apple may have purchased Intrinsity, on the laurels of PA Semi and other ARM processor and low-power chip talent that Apple already obtained. The acquisition would give Apple the talent and intellectual patents, knowledge and copyrights behind Intrinsity’s specialization in its low power static design techniques. LinkedIn profiles to a large number of employees of Intrinsity now list Apple as their employer, and the financial markets have stated that the former company was sold and purchased. We’ll have to wait for an official announcement to get the final scoop.

AppStore in iTunes 9.1 list iPad Apps

Phew, say that six times fast. As of last night, the new iTunes 9.1 download lists iPad Apps as well as iPhone/iPod touch Apps, and the numbers listed grow logarithmically with each passing day. A slider within the iTunes app in the store section toggles from iPhone to iPad screenshots, showing the difference in detail and appeal if you already own the iPhone size. The AppStore has been redesigned and far more information is listed on the title. As was typical when iPhone 2.0 SDK was released, many of the iPad Apps are a bit pricey, with prices typically hovering around the $9 mark, but over time and as popularity and iPad numbers increase, we will undoubtedly see a price reduction. That said, Apple was correct to state that it’s a “new goldrush all over again”.

Issue Over iPad Shipments Resolved

When Apple released the iPad for sale some weeks ago, the company offered customers a fast shipment option for $12 extra. This would ensure that the customer would receive his/her iPad on release day. The issue over this wasn’t that customers were being asked to pay extra to receive their purchases on release date, it was that customers who didn’t opt in for fast shipment were actually going to receive their purchase on release date too.

A number of Apple customers took issue with the situation and decided to let Apple (and the internet) know of the problem. Apple initially couldn’t explain the origins of the problem when contacted, but almost immediately refunded customers their $12.

This appears to have been an honest mistake on Apple’s part, and another win for their customer services department. Would Dell have done the same thing?

Who knows?

iPad sold out!

Mashable.com reports that iPad preorders have sold out. Anyone who hasn’t gotten one will have to wait a little longer :( However, rumors are surfacing that iPads may be available at Best Buy on release day.

Getting Around the iPad’s Small Storage Capacity

One decision we all have to make when purchasing an iPad is the amount of disc space we need. As you know the three sizes are 16 GB, 32 GB , and 64 GB with each succession costing $100 more than the last.

At first glance, it seems that Apple is price gouging us, when you consider the storage capacity of an average priced laptop, but if you read on you’ll see why one blogger has saved $200 by opting for the 16 GB, without really sacrificing much at all.

The iPad Guru, as he calls himself, found a way to configure the iPad to stream all your music and multimedia from your “main computer”. Forget the hassles of transferring files to the iPad, the Guru uses freeware like AirVideo to stream your  multimedia so you can access your music and video collections from wherever you are. Learn how to do it here. The more you think about the iPad in this way, the more trivial the choice between 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB becomes.

For more tips on hacking your iPad check out theiPadGuru.com.

iPad to be delayed in Europe

Apple has said that the iPad may not necessarily ship to international markets at the same time it goes on release in the United States. This seems to have been corroborated by retailers in Europe who have posted notices on their websites about the possible delay.

This may be a deliberate move to increase sales of the product in foreign markets. When the ‘Edge’ iPhone was released, it was originally only sold in six countries (The U.S, United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Germany and Austria). This gave Apple a chance to test the water with the product and also to market it to the rest of the world – if a person in Italy sees queues outside an Apple store in New York [for the iPad], chances are that person will be more drawn to the product in the future.

Of course the delay could also be down to the European Union’s strict safety and competition laws. These have long added to the annoyance of European gadget lovers.

UK customers are likely to be left particularly disappointed with the wait. The UK is the only country in Europe that has an Apple Store in nearly every major town and city – they’re used to getting their Apple products at the same time as the US market.

My money is on a U.S release followed by a limited European release for the time being. It’s not unlikely that Apple may delay shipments to Asia and Australia until right before the current line of iPads are discontinued.

If one thing is for sure, it’s that within a week after the U.S release, iPads will be appearing for sale (at a premium) on a plethora of dodgy looking sites around the world.

Barnes & Nobles iPad eReader app

Book giant Barnes & Noble announced an eReader app designed specifically for the iPad, which will be available free of charge around the time of the iPad release.

Designed specifically for the iPad, our new B&N eReader will give our customers access to more than one million eBooks, magazines and newspapers in the Barnes & Noble eBookstore, as well as the existing content in their Barnes & Noble digital library. (That includes eBooks and content customers have downloaded to their nook™ eBook reader.) To be released around the time of iPad’s expected availability, the new Barnes & Noble eReader will join our growing list of free eReader software for most computing and mobile devices including PC, Mac, iPhone, iPod touch and Blackberry, many of which will be updated shortly for an enhanced on-the-go reading experience.

This is in response to strong demand from clients wanting B&N eReader support for the iPad for existing and future eBook purchases. Comments posted to their announcement have generally been very positive and state that clients would like an iPad to complement their existing eBook readers such as their Nook or iPhone.

Brisk iPad pre-orders & the little details

Initial reports coming in from the usual suspects out there seem to indicate that Apple has been fulfilling roughly 25,000 iPad pre-orders per hour as of this morning. Some sites are reporting iPad in-store pre-orders of about 100 units, and others are claiming 50,000 pre-orders through the Apple Online Store in the first two hours. Of course, this is all speculation until Apple releases its numbers to the press.

In light of all this excitement, some little details have emerged which have been over-shadowed by all the Pre-order chaos. On my iPhone 3G, through the App Store in-phone app, Yahoo’s Flickr has an update to v1.1.2 that adds “Support for OS 3.2″. We all know that the iPad SDK runs on the iPhone OS 3.2 beta, and if Apps are now starting to add 3.2 OS support, we can conclude two possible outcomes. One, the Flickr App will be supported when the iPhone 3G and 3G S get updated to iPhone OS 3.2, and, secondly, there’s a good chance said Flickr app will work on the iPad with expanded functionality. Once again, this is pure speculation, but the App update is available for free right now. Going forward, I suspect we’ll see a rash of updates surfacing, in time for the April 3rd release of the iPad.

In other news, Apple has updated their various pages to reflect that over 150,000 Apps are available. When the iPad was announced, Apple was toting the big 140 number, and since then, Apple has cleaned-house to rid itself of the majority of ‘Explicit content’ Apps and any other ‘Cookie Cutter’ style applications. So, despite the extermination of so many apps, the number has now grown to a whopping 150,000 applications for iPhone OS devices.

Last but not least, with all the pre-ordering going on, some shoppers have noticed a ’10th app icon’ on one of the many Home Screen images on Apple’s iPad product site. For the last two months, the iPad Home screen has featured nine built-in apps plus the four at the bottom in the ‘dock’, but one shot in particular has a tenth, depicting a vertical yellow rectangle on a black background. Sound familiar? Yes, it looks just like the National Geographic acclaimed symbol. Web-editing mistake, or Apple keen on the eBook/ePub scene? Time, once again, will tell.

Pre-order today!

As of 5:30 AM (PST) or 8:30 AM (EST), Apple has started to accept pre-orders for any of the six versions of the iPad on their Store page. However, as posted previously, pre-ordering is only available to US customers, and a check to the Canadian store does not have pre-order configurations listed. The WiFi+3G versions are also shown for pre-order, but have a ‘Late April’ delivery time listed, as expected.

Reports coming in from those who have pre-ordered are indicating that Apple is limiting quantities of two iPads per person. In addition to this, large-volume orders from businesses have supposedly been declined by Apple as well, indicating clearly that supplies are indeed constrained, as SayiPad reported a week ago on March 5th.

Other sites are speculating that Apple is creating artificial demand by intentionally limiting pre-orders when in fact they have great quantity sitting in warehouses, but in the case of the iPad, one would think allowing large-scale orders by corporations would help with market penetration. As such, it is my own personal belief that there are in fact an insufficient number of iPad sans-3G pre-manufactured waiting for delivery or on assembly lines.

This could be the original iPhone launch all over again, with record-number Apple Store squatters filling the streets of the world, for a chance at non pre-ordered shelf stock and door-crasher give-aways and black mystery bags, oh my!

Apple adds screen-rotation lock

Now that pre-orders for the iPad are flowing as of today, Apple updated their iPad technical specifications page to include a new ‘Screen-Rotation Lock’ feature in place of what used to be the ‘Mute’ button on the outside edge of the iPad. Although many fans of the Apple iPad were hoping that they were going to add a camera to the iPad in time for launch, the addition of the ‘Screen Lock’ was one of the top requested features.

At first I didn’t see how the “iPad has no orientation” as per Apple’s original Jony Ive iPad video dictated that we would need a Screen Lock, but on second thoughts, the feature actually makes sense. Ever lay down in bed to read a book, only to turn onto your right or left side to continue reading? The screen would have rotated to landscape, and you’d have to sit up. Well, with the Lock, you can now do this without the Accelerometer flipping it to the wrong orientation, which is in my opinion, another leverage to Apple’s vision that the iPad will be used heavily as an eBook reader.

So, now how does one ‘Mute’ the iPad when your boss walks into your office cubicle, and you’re busy playing Mousehunt in Facebook? Some have suggested that Apple will add on-screen controls to mute, but my belief is that the ‘Volume Rocker’ switch on the right side can simply be used to mute by turning the volume all the way down, or holding ‘down’ on the rocker will mute it vs. tapping it down to decrease volume. Regardless how Apple decides to mute the volume for end-users, I for one am happy that I can lock rotation – just think how useful it will be when sky-diving!

First iPad commercial aired during Oscars

As speculated in an earlier posting here on SayiPad.com, we anticipated television ads to appear sooner than later, if Apple was to meet its target dates for launching the iPad. With Apple’s disclosure to the public that the iPad will be ready for pre-ordering for the US market on March 12th, and available in stores on April the 3rd, it seemed fitting, that with its media-rich interface, we would see their first Ad air during the Oscars.

Steve Jobs was in attendance at the Oscars, wearing a gorgeous tuxedo and accessories by Louis Vuitton. Steve was kind of enough to be snapped by several other attendees and fans, and a number of pics can be found scattered on Blogs, Facebook pages, and Twitter/Twitpic accounts world-wide. Why would Mr. Jobs attend the Oscars, and dressed in a Tux and not a black turtleneck? Simply, he’s the single largest shareholder of Disney, and the animated film Up was nominated for several awards.

In an interesting divergence from past Apple iPhone and iPod touch ads, the iPad ad that aired shows a much more leisurely approach. The general perpsective is top-down and lap-borne, with rich earth-tone home backgrounds. The iPhone ads of the past had plain white backdrops, and just a hand with the device suspended or hand-held. Speaking of hands, every iPhone ad with the exception of one, had a male gender hand as well. In the iPad advertisement, both genders were used as much as the other, and all apps used were made by Apple and did not use AppStore content.

Perhaps this is just the first of many iPad ads, where future ones will be situated in a workplace or real-estate environment, and feature non-Apple AppStore applications suited to that main theme. Time will only tell, but they are certainly painting a warmer picture with the iPad.

Here’s a screen shot of one of the frames of the iPad advertisement, depicting the earth-tones and top-down lap-borne perspective. It’s certainly a fresh change to prior content!