iPad 2 launch: Hundreds of people line up at Apple Stores

As announced, Apple started the international release of the iPad today. Long lines formed in front os Apple Stores around the world, as Apple seems to have scheduled the start of sales at 5PM in the same way it was done in the US. Hundreds of people lined up in many stores in Australia where a lot of excitement has been building up over this launch. TUAW has gathered up some pictures of lines forming at Australian locations. It seems like the iPad 2’s international sales are off to a good start. Later today we’ll update with more information from around the...
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WordPress replaces Flash with HTML

WordPress replaces Flash with HTML
WordPress recently released a new version of its Stats plugin which helps bloggers track how many people have read which posts in their blogs.  A significant change in the new version is that the charts that it displays are rendered in HTML instead of using Flash. The removal of Flash from the stats plugin allows iPad users to now have access to all information directly on their devices.  Previously anyone using an iPad was left with a blank area on the page, in place which should have been filled by the access chart. While I have no information that the folks at Automatic that write the plugin and guide the WordPress development were motivated by the desire to get this page working properly on the iPad, that was the result.  This change coupled with some other small improvement in how the WordPress administration section works on mobile Safari have resulted in a much better experience for the iPad...
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iPad 2 is going to lead the pack for a long time

It’s now been a couple of days since the iPad 2 started selling and it has essentially sold out.  In fact it sold out in about 72 hours from the initial launch.  While Apple has not published any hard numbers on initial sales I guess we can safely say that the iPad 2 is a huge hit. A number of reviews by major tech sites have point in the same direction: the iPad 2 raises the standard that has to be met by other tablets.  While most people who’ve reviewed the iPad 2 have not found  it to be in any way revolutionary, it is a substantial improvement over the initial model in weight, thickness and performance.  When you add these improved characteristics to the same price tag as those of the previous models, you’ve got the makings of a winer. If competitors were already having trouble being competitive agains the first generation iPad, it just got a lot worse.  At this point in the game, with several companies just short of releasing competing products it seems unlikely that most of them will be able to deliver products that can compete both in usability and price. The one company that seems better positioned to fire its first real shot in the war for a piece of the tablet market is HP.  In following Apple’s path of providing an integrated solution by making their own mobile OS tailored to their hardware, HP seems to stand a better chance of delivering the ease of use and reliability that users have come to expect from Apple’s iOS devices. Even if HP does everything right and manages to release an amazing product, it will face a steep uphill battle against the power of Apple’s App Store with its 65.000 iPad specific applications.  The number of iPad applications is growing fast and the incredible success of the second generation of the device it tends to grow even faster. All things considered, it seems that Apple’s iPad 2 is going to be leading the pack for quite a long...
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Apple launches iPad 2, meets with heavy demand

As most people seemed to already be expecting the iPad 2 met with strong demand todays as Apple made it available to the general public.  During the day the lines in front of the company’s flagship stores all over the US grew into impressive crowds. It seems that as lines grew in front of the stores the analysts started to review their initial positions with initial weekend sales predictions moving from 600.000 to over 1 million...
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Apple has released iOS 4.3

Apple has released iOS 4.3
Apple has released the iOS 4.3 update this morning.  The new iOS version arrives a couple of days ahead of the new iPad 2 which is expected to ship with this version of the OS. The update is over 590MBs in size and may take a while to download, if you are planning on being one of the first to update your device.  On my 10 Mbit cable connection the estimated time for the download to complete is almost up to an hour and a half. The documentation displayed by iTunes when offering to download the update confirms that the iPhone 4 will get a wireless hotspot feature with support for up to 5 simultaneous connections.  This might prove to be an interesting feature for iPhone users who are planning on getting an iPad 2 as it opens the possibility of using a wi-fi only iPad to access the Internet even where no hotspots are available. UPDATE: The download just keeps getting slower and slower. Could Apple be overwhelmed by growing number of iOS devices in the wild?  The last quarter of 2010 saw over 20 million new iOS devices sold and if the pace has kept at least another 10 million may have been sold in 2011...
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Zite: Flipboard’s new competitor

It seems that Flipboard has a new competitor. The social magazine which got the awarded the App of the Year title by Apple has a direct challenger in an app called Zite. The interesting thing is that Zite seems to be having exactly the same kind of capacity problems that plagued Flipboard in it’s first weeks. After watching the demo video on Mashable I downloaded the App to check it out but was unable to create my personalized magazine as it kept giving me connection error messages. In the end, I could not get past the welcome screens and just got a screenshot of it. 🙂 I’ll continue to try to use the App to see how it compares to Flipboard which has become one of the Apps I use just about everyday, once they got over their initial capacity problems. – Posted using my...
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The great Android misconception

The great Android misconception
Lately I have read a growing number of articles on how Android has been growing its market share very rapidly and how it has beaten Apple’s iOS in the US. When I read this for the first time it seemed a bit odd as it considers all phones from all manufacturers summed up as one competitor to Apple’s iPhone. Now that isn’t just silly, it’s dumb. Apple manufactures pretty much a single model of smartphone, storage capacity differences notwithstanding. They do continue to sell at a low price the previous year’s model as an entry-level unit but, all focus is on the latest model. This one phone, has sold over 14 million units just in the last quarter alone. This one phone, has sold over 14 million units just in the last quarter alone. Is there any other phone in the market that comes close to that? Sales of the iPhone have accelerated dramatically since the introduction of the iPhone 4 and show no sign of slowing down. Last year, I wrote a post which touches on the reasons for the current Android growth spurt. It is quite simple in fact. Android is the only alternative for those that have no alternative. This is true in many levels.   The Phone Manufacturer’s Perspective Let’s start by looking at phone manufacturers. There you are, merrily going along, producing myriad designs every year and pitching them against competitors that are doing pretty much the same as you.  Then, comes along Apple with a revolutionary phone which is totally different from what you do and has the audacity of only producing a single model a year.  What’s worse, people love it! What do you do now? Well, you copy it. What else?! You’ve been copying one another in the phone industry right from the start, so this should be business as usual. Damn! That didn’t work. People didn’t want to buy your phones just because they had a touch screen and icons. The problem is the software. You never really thought you would have turn your phones into computers. The comes along Google and offers to provide the software for free as long as you follow its licensing guidelines. Without another viable choice but to write an OS from scratch, you take the deal.   The Mobile Carrier’s Perspective Now let’s look at it from the point of view of carriers. Apple has an exclusive agreement with another carrier to sell that accursed iPhone. What will we do? They are sucking up smartphone users left, right and center. Hey these other manufacturers are introducing some phones that look like an iPhone. Let’s get behind and push to see if we can get some Android smartphone sales too. Better yet, let’s on these new smartphones and forget about old style phones al together or we will look bad compared to the carrier that sells the iPhone.   The User’s Perspecitve Last, but certainly not least, we can look it from the user’s point of view. My carrier doesn’t carry the iPhone and I don’t want to change carriers. What can I do to get email and browsing on my phone? Oh, the carrier is offering a two for one promotion on this phone which looks just like the iPhone. Maybe I’ll get those. Oh, the carrier is offering a two for one promotion on this phone which looks just like the iPhone. Maybe I’ll get those. Android is and has always been the choice for people and companies that don’t have the option of getting an iPhone. A good example of just how little choice was left to phone manufacturers is Nokia’s recent...
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iPad Competitors, time for another reality check!

The iPad 2 has been announced, demoed and spoken off by just about anyone with access to an Internet connection over the past few days. Now that we generally know what the new version of the iPad looks like and what are its features it will be easier to consider Apple’s competitors’ strengths and weaknesses Motorola has recently introduced the Xoom, a competing product which has a configuration which matches most closely the second generation 32 GB iPad 3G, however it is significantly more expensive than most iPad versions.  In fact, as Steve jobs pointed out during his introduction of the iPad 2, only the 64 GB iPad 3G is a bit more expensive than the Motorola Xoom.   That might not be a problem as the tablet has a slightly bigger screen and higher resolution cameras,  weren’t it for the terrible software. What?!  Terrible software?  But isn’t this tablet supposed to be the first to come out with Google’s Honeycomb Android 3.0 OS?  The one that is optimized for tablets!?!  Yes it is, and according to comments such as you can watch on TechCrunch TV, it crashes all around.  The folks from TechCrunch weren’t the only ones to have a bad experience with the Xoom.  Another person to report crashes was James Kendrick of ZDNet Mobile News who tweeted about his experience with the Xoom today. “The inconsistency of Honeycomb on the XOOM is disturbing. Wildly varying owner experiences re: FCs, reboots, lockups.” – James Kendrick on Tweeter, March 6th 2011. Isn’t it amazing that Motorola has considered that it okay not only to launch its tablet with a non-working SD-card reader but with an OS that is still full bugs?  I can understand Motorola wanting to get its product to market before the iPad 2 was announced, but they’ll only give a lot of people a bad impression of their product, for not having waited until Google had stabilized the OS.  While their brand is getting associated with tablets, it is being so in a bad context, but maybe they consider that is better that people talk about Motorola, even if it is to say bad things about its products. Another interesting competitor is Samsung.  Right after the iPad 2 was announced by Apple, one of the company’s VPs was caught on record saying that “Apple had made it very thin” and that they (Samsung) would have to review the “inadequate components and price”.   Most people understood this to mean that Samsung would be going back to the drawing board like HP did last year, in order to release a competitive product.  It turns out, though, that they are not.  They are going to release their “inadequate”product on schedule. HP is the only company to have gotten the message back in 2010, that this game isn’t about who has the camera with the highest number of megapixels. Its about the experience!  HP seems to have gotten the memo last year when they decided that their Slate product would not be competitive against the iPad and decided to acquire Palm with its webOS operating system and go back to the drawing board.  While I have not yet personally seen an HP TouchPad, it certainly seemed a lot closer to the iPad than Android is. Hopefully, at least the TouchPad will turn out to be a worthy competitor to the iPad in 2011. I hope that the other companies that are planning iPad competitors finally get the memo this year.  Those that don’t get it are going to continue to talk about meaningless products which will get little if any attention from those that have had the chance to...
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iPad 2 is here and it looks great

iPad 2 is here and it looks great
Today Steve Jobs introduced the iPad 2 personally during Apple’s special media event in San Francisco. There were few surprises in the device itself, but some very interesting twists in the accessory and software arenas. The iPad 2 will be available in the US on march 11th and it will come in two colors: black and white.  In a reference to the troubles Apple seems to have thad to ship the white iPhone, Jobs emphasized that the white iPad will be shipping from day one.  The new iPad will have a faster processor (up to 2x) and much a faster graphics processor (up to 9x the current model) in addition to being thinner and lighter. Both front and rear facing cameras are present on the device and both can be used with the new built-in Face Time application.  Face Time, introduced with the iPhone 4 and also included in the 4th generation iPod Touch, allows users make visual calls. Apple is making the Face Time applications available on the Mac, increasing the number of potential users with which to connect. Among the truly impressive things in the iPad 2’s presentation was the cover that Apple introduced in order to replace the current iPad case.  The cover has magnetic hinges which not only attract the  iPad but already aligns the cover to the device ensuring the proper placement.  The cover is available in ten different colors which can be seen in the picture bellow. Just about all covers look great and the magnetic hinges are a fantastic touch as they allow the design of the device to be noticeable.  The current case does a very good job in what it’s actual goal is: to protect the device and prop it up. In the process it totally hides away all design effort that went into making the first generation iPad  a great product. While Apple did not make the new model iPad any cheaper than the previous one, it did drop the price for the existing iPad models by $100 in the US. This drop for the older generation device is probably targeting the current retail inventory. Now that would be competitors are entering the market at a higher price point than most iPad models, maintaining the price while reducing the equipment’s size and weight and adding features is again an aggressive move.  In an reference to Motorola’s Xoom tablet, Steve Jobs mentioned that currently only the most high-end of the six iPad models, has a higher price point than the competition. The release of the iPad 2 will coincide with the release with the next version of iOS: 4.3.  Apple plans to have the iPad 2, already running iOS 4.3, available in 26 countries by March 25th. With a fully refreshed iPad,  great applications,  a huge pool  of them to choose from, available at a low cost, Apple is poised to dominate the tablet market in 2011, just as it did in 2010.  ...
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The iPad 2 is almost here. Could it be cheaper?

In just a few more hours Apple will be introducing the next generation of the iPad at a media event in San Francisco. A lot of speculation has been going on about what changes to expect in this new device, as was to be expected considering how fast and widely the iPad has spread. I don’t expect to see earthshaking features appearing on the iPad 2. Apple will probably consolidate it’s position as the absolute leader in the market the iPad created by improving both the CPU and GPU and providing additional memory along with a pair of cameras. These changes will put the iPad 2 in the same general hardware feature level as the most sophisticated competitors. The iPad enjoys, however, a huge advantage over all competitors in the software arena, regardless of the introduction of a new model. The new iPad is also expected to be a bit thiner and lighter than the current model. One area in which Apple could surprise everyone is pricing. When the current generation iPad went on sale Apple executives suggested that they could price it more aggressively than it’s current price point in order to stimulate larger sales. This proved to be unnecessary with the iPad flying off the shelves just as fast as Apple could manufacture it. Apple’s would be competitors are having a tough time getting their products to market at competitive price points. While myriad reasons have been speculated on for this, whatever the cause this is hurting their chances of winning market share against the iPad. If Apple were to lower the price of the entry level model of the iPad by as little as $50, they could effectively lock out the market for another whole year. – Posted using my...
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Apple has sent out invitations: iPad 2 is coming…

Apple has sent out invitations: iPad 2 is coming…
Apple has sent out invitations for a media event to be held on March 2nd, at 10 AM Pacific time.  The image included in the invitation could not have made it any more clear what the event is about as you can see in the image bellow. (As if anyone was expecting something different…) The event will be held at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the same venue that was used for the introduction of the original iPad and several other products. For the past three months everyone has speculated on what will be the feature set of the next generation of the iPad.  With a large number of tablets coming to the market to try to get a piece of the action, speculation has always tended towards adding to the iPad some of the features that these tablets have and the iPad doesn’t.   Apple, however, is know known for producing “me too” products so while it is probable that we can all rest assured that the iPad will at least have a front facing camera for use with FaceTime, everything else is pretty much in the air. Next week the wait will be over and we will finally know what the iPad 2 will be like, but in the mean time you better prepare to hear  and read even more rumors about...
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Rumor: iPad 2 annoumcement on March 2nd!?

The latest rumor floating around about the iPad 2 is that it will be announced on March 2nd. This rumor comes right on the heels of another about the general refresh of the MacBook line which is expected for tomorrow, February 24th. According to this rumor all MacBooks will have at least some SSD storage for fast startup and sleep, much like the iPad.
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UK carriers offering large discounts on current iPad models

Two UK carriers are offering the current generation iPad with large discounts over their regular selling prices.  Techradar reported that both Orange and T-Mobile are offering discounts in what can only be interpreted as a move to clear stocks of the current model before the release of the iPad 2. Whether the carriers have already been warned to expect the new release of the iPad or they are acting on the general expectation of a March release, it’s impossible to tell.  Both carriers now have offers of basic wifi+3G models at £99 when associated with 24 month contracts, down from £199 which is their regular prices. Source: Techradar (via...
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Apple’s in-app subscriptions could be better

Apple has finally introduced the in-app subscription service that has been long rumored. Subscriptions created through this service will incur the same 30% fee that Apple charges for other in-app purchases or sales of apps in the App Store. While the 30% fee makes a lot of sense for the app sales made through the App Store as Apple is effectively acting as both distributor and reseller, such a charge just for handling the order processing for content providers seems a bit too steep.  When Apple makes a sale through the App Store, it handles the hosting and bandwidth for the downloads in addition to providing the storefront. When users purchase content through an in-app purchase they don’t really download the content from Apple, but from the content provider.  This being the case it would probably be reasonable to expect that Apple would charge a smaller fee since it doesn’t have to handle the hosting and bandwidth costs and is only involved in handling the financial transaction. As Apple does provide what we might consider the services which allow the creation of what are essentially in-app storefronts it is also reasonable to expect that they would charge more than credit card processing fees as well. A more reasonable compromise for handing content sales might be a 10% charge, for example.  Such a charge would allow Apple to turn a profit from these services, without making iOS devices nonviable for content resellers such as Amazon.  You have to wonder if Apple really expects Amazon to turn over all or almost all its margin for sales to iOS device users or if they want to force such companies out of the Apple ecosystem. Personally I haven’t purchased any eBooks for Amazon in the months I’ve had my iPad.  All the eBooks I have on the device were purchased from the publisher or through an independent reseller.  Still, I would not like to see Amazon go away.  Diversity is very important and only makes the whole ecosystem that much more...
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The iRumor mill: anything is possible

Over the past couple of weeks lots of baseless and sometimes conflicting rumors seem to have floated around regarding Apple’s plans for the iPad and the iPhone.  A lot of this is probably related to the total lack of official information about the next iPad generation in a moment in time in which everyone is expecting it to come next week. Everyone expects Apple to announce a second generation iPad either in February or in March and the large number of announcements from all the companies trying to get a piece of the pie is just making everyone everyone even more anxious for some information.  Any information will do! Not long ago John Gruber, of Daring Fireball, wrote that he thought that Apple might release two iPad models in 2011. One model would be released next month and another one would be released around September.  That comment sparked a wave of posts stating that Apple would release the iPad 3 still in 2011, that lasted for days. Even more recently another wave started that stated that Apple was testing an iPhone with a physical keyboard.  Come on!  I can accept a lot of the crazier rumors floating around but I seriously doubt that such a rumor would have even started if HP hadn’t just announced the Pre 3 phone which has a sliding keyboard and doesn’t use a virtual one. The rumor that Apple is going to review its notification system at least came in the wake of a demo of a feature of HP’s webOS which looks like an improvement over what you have in iOS.  If people are going to make up a rumor that Apple is going to copy a feature of one of HP’s products, at least pick a good...
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