On Wednesday Apple announced the next generation iPad. No, it is not called the iPad 3 or the iPad HD; it’s simply the new iPad. In addition to updating what Apple CEO Tim Cook calls “the poster child of the post-PC world,” the March 7 keynote also introduced enhancements to iOS, iCloud, Apple TV, and the mobile versions of iWork and iLife. First let’s focus on the most talked about news at hand, the new iPad; then jump after the break to read about everything else.
First and foremost, the new iPad features Apple’s Retina Display technology. They’ve managed to pack four times more pixels into the new iPad’s 9.7 inch multitouch screen than the tablet’s predecessor. The new iPad sports an impressive 2048 x 1536 resolution with a 3.1 million total pixel count (264 pixels per inch) and 44% greater color saturation over the iPad 2. This means that the new iPad contains more pixels than your average HDTV (1920 x 1080)! Packing all of these pixels in a relatively small space means: razor-sharp text, richer colors, and when viewed at a normal distance iPad owners will not be able to discern individual pixels and this makes for a better overall user experience.
Powering the new iPad is the Apple A5X high-performance low-power system-on-a-chip. It serves as a dual-core processor with quad-core graphics. The new chip will help the iPad run faster and support the millions of pixels glaring out of the Retina Display. It will also manage the tablet’s equally impressive battery life. The new iPad boasts the same longevity as the iPad 2: 10 hours of use on WiFi and 9 hours on a cellular network.
The camera on the backside of the iPad has been upgraded to iSight Camera status. It’s a five-megapixel shooter and full HD 1080p video recorder. The camera features backside illumination, f/2.4 aperture, a 5-element lens, a hybrid IR filter, an Apple-designed ISP (Image Signal Processor) that allows for auto exposure, auto-focus, auto face detection, auto exposure lock and auto focus lock, and auto white balance. In video recording mode, you’ll notice video stabilization and temporal noise reduction. On the front you’ll still find a FaceTime camera that takes VGA-quality stills and also shoots video at up to 30 frames per second.
Although Siri has yet to make her way to the iPad, Apple has included a piece of the personal assistant in the new slate. The virtual keyboard now features a new Voice Dictation key (it’s a microphone icon) that translates what you say into the text you want to type. Dictation supports English and other languages like British, French, German, Japanese, and Australian. It’s also compatible with third-party apps meaning you can dictate your Tweets or Facebook status updates if you like.
With the new iPad, Apple has embraced 4G LTE data speeds. Again they are working with AT&T and Verizon to bring these ultrafast speeds to consumers in the US. The new iPad features the most wireless bands ever shipped in a device; check them out: the AT&T model includes 4G LTE (700, 2100 MHz), UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz), GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz); and the Verizon model includes 4G LTE (700 MHz), CDMA EV-DO Rev. A (800, 1900 MHz), UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz), GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz). Rate plans can be viewed here. Elsewhere Apple is collaborating with Bell, Rogers, and Telus to bring these speeds to other countries around the world. Additionally, the new iPad can act as a personal hotspot to share its data speeds with up to five devices over WiFi, Bluetooth, or USB. And speaking of which, the new iPad also packs Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth 4.0 technology.
At 9.4mm thin and 1.4 pounds, the new iPad will come in black and white variants and maintain the same capacity and pricing scheme as its predecessor. It’ll start at $499 for the 16GB WiFi-only model and will reach up to $829 for the 32GB WiFi + 4G model. The iPad 2 will remain on the market at one Benjamin cheaper; it will only sell in the 16GB capacity at $399 for the WiFi-only model and $529 for the WiFi + 3G model. The new iPad will release on March 16 in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia. One week later it will come out in 25 more countries making the new iPad the fastest product rollout for Apple. It’s available for preorder today at Apple’s website.
Jump after the break for more on iOS, iCloud, Apple TV, and updates to the mobile versions of iWork and iLife. (Click here for more…)
Today Nintendo boosted its 3DS handheld with some fresh functionality. Nintendo said this feature was coming and now it’s finally here: after downloading the free software update, 3DS owners can now have fun with 3D video recording. You can record up to 10 minutes of glasses-free 3D video in continuous or stop-motion style. Another cool new feature is system transfer; if you’ve got a 3DS you can transfer photos, audio recordings and games, including save data, to other 3DS systems. Street Pass Mii Plaza and the Nintendo eShop have been updated as well. Buying and downloading content in the shop has been made easier; you can use your credit card to purchase content by adding only the needed funds, you can choose to Download Now or Download Later, and now there’s the ability to cue up downloadable content and let it install to your system in Sleep Mode. The update also includes something special for Mario Kart 7 players; any time you play online against another Nintendo 3DS owner in MK7, you can now automatically add them to your Friend List without a friend code. And last there’s Nintendo Zone. If you find yourself standing in one of Ninty’s 29,000 3DS hotspot locations you’ll be offered free and automatic access to game previews, 3D videos, trivia challenges, retailer promotions, coupons and more. Dig into the 3DS’ system settings to perform the software update right now.
Kindle Fire, meet your head-to-head competition. Today Barnes & Noble announced their latest e-reader, the Nook Tablet. On the outside, the Nook Tablet looks nearly identical to its predecessor the Nook Color. This time around, it’s almost entirely what’s on the inside that really counts. The Tablet is fast, packing a 1GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM. The 7-inch multitouch screen (1024 x 600) displays 16 million colors ultra-bright and features full IPS lamination to reduce reflection and glare and offer extra-wide viewing angles and clarity. The display can play full HD 1080p content. Battery life is quite impressive, too. The Tablet offers up 11.5 hours of reading time or 9 hours of video viewing. There’s 16GB of onboard storage, and this can be expanded with an SD card. Built-in WiFi allows for web surfing and downloading books, magazines, newspapers, comic books, apps and other content. (Note that though the Tablet runs Android Gingerbread, users will not have access to the Android Marketplace.) It’s thinner than the Color weighing in at 14.1 ounces and it features a soft touch back design. A built-in microphone allows users to take advantage of the new Read and Record feature which allows parents to record narration and let their kids play it back when they’re reading their favorite stories. The newest Nook also sees an upgrade in entertainment selection. It comes preloaded with Netflix and Hulu Plus apps for movie and TV show selections (Flixster with UltraViolet is coming soon) and Pandora, Rhapsody, Grooveshark, and MOG are available for streaming music.
During their press event, B&N highlighted their Tablet’s advantages over Kindle’s Fire. In addition to featuring a better display with superior viewing angle, more than 2X the memory, a lighter design, more RAM, and better content rendering, Nook Tablet owners will also have the assurance that if they ever need product support they can visit a local Barnes & Noble store to resolve their issue. That is something Amazon sadly can never offer as it is strictly an e-tailer. The Nook Tablet is now up for preorder at $249 and it releases next week on November 18. That is a fat $50 more than the direct competition coming from Amazon, so be careful when you’re shopping this holiday season.
Besides announcing the Nook Tablet, B&N also took time to refresh and make cheaper their other e-readers. The new and improved Nook Color will ship with B&N’s “largest software update ever” that will bring Netflix, Hulu Plus, and music streaming apps to the device, as well as a refreshed library and enhanced shopping experience. The new Color ships this December at $199. Existing owners of the Color will automatically receive the update at no cost over WiFi next month. And finally there’s the tried and true Nook, now renamed the Nook Simple Touch. It will also come preloaded with a software update that will enable better battery life (users can read for up to 2 months for one hour a day). The update, which is now available for existing Nook owners to download, also makes the screen crisper and the page turn rate faster. The rebranded Nook Simple Touch is available to buy today at a low $99 with “no annoying ads.” Stings a bit, doesn’t it Amazon? Game on.
Google admits that their initial attempt at meshing television and the Internet “wasn’t perfect.” On Friday the company laid out their plans for Google TV 2.0 and their hope is that with the new software additions and refinements, customers will be more enticed to purchase a GTV box or compatible TV set if they haven’t already done so. At the official Google TV blog, the development team divided the changes into four categories. First, the user interface has undergone a cosmetic facelift and is now “much simpler” to navigate. The new customizable home screen displays favorite apps across the bottom of the screen and an “all apps” folder allows users to quickly browse every pre-installed and added app. Next up is refined search. There’s a new app called “TV & Movies” that allows users to “easily browse through 80,000 movies and TV episodes across cable or satellite, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, and many other sites.” Before, the search box allowed users to type a query to make it easier to find a specific TV show. While that search box remains present, the TV & Movies app–which aggregates content from all kinds of services including live TV and Internet-based locations–makes exploring and discovering content in one place a reality. Third is an enhanced YouTube experience. YouTube videos are now available to watch in HD and the video service is more closely integrated with Google TV search. For example, when users search “hysterical baby” they will be able to save the search results as a “channel” to access any time. And last but certainly not least is the addition of Android Market. Google says that “Android developers can now bring existing mobile apps or entirely new ones to TV.” Obviously apps requiring a touch screen, GPS, or telephony will not be made available for download on Google TV devices, but Google claims that “50 developers have seeded the Market with cool and useful apps” made specifically for use on a TV. As in all app markets, the selection will grow over time. Another update to GTV includes the ability to view online pictures in a new Photos app.
According to Google the update to Google TV will rollout to compatible devices made by Sony first starting this week and then it’ll make its way to Logitech’s Revue sometime after. Google promises that more software updates are on the way, “as well as new devices on new chipsets from multiple hardware partners.” With Google’s TV efforts evolving and speculation that Apple is about to enter the fray, the Internet on the TV initiative is just heating up. See what the new Google TV interface looks like in the gallery below. Video after the break.
On Tuesday newly appointed Apple CEO Tim Cook hosted a press event to launch the next iPhone and detail the new version of iOS and the upcoming iCloud service. Breakdown, commence.
The successor to the iPhone 4 is not the iPhone 5; it’s the iPhone 4S. It serves as an incremental upgrade to its predecessor much like the iPhone 3GS was to the iPhone 3G. The exterior design of the handset remains the same; the changes can be found on the inside. The 4S packs the same processor originally designed for the iPad 2: Apple’s dual-core A5 chip. The company says that users can expect speeds up to 2X faster than the previous iPhone. In addition, the 4S also contains a new dual-core GPU that renders graphics up to 7X faster than the iPhone 4. At the keynote games developer Epic previewed Infinity Blade 2 (out December 1) and it looks magnificent.
After speed, Apple went on to upgrade the device’s camera. The 4S sports a new 8 megapixel camera. The sensor has 60 percent more pixels allowing users to shoot 3264 x 2448 photos with crisp detail. CMOS backside illuminated allows for 73 percent more light, a hybrid IR filter allows for better color accuracy and uniformity, a five element lens setup allows for 30 percent more sharpness, auto white balance has been improved by 26 percent, and a larger f/2.4 aperture is now featured. Also, the Camera app launches much faster and the shot to shot capability is twice as fast as before; it now takes 1.1 seconds to shoot your first photo and then 0.5 seconds for each additional shot. According to Apple’s research, these speeds blaze past the Android competition. And there’s this: the backside camera shoots video in full 1080p HD resolution and features real-time video image stabilization and temporal noise reduction helps in low light conditions.
The phone’s antenna system has also been tweaked. The dual-antenna design of iPhone 4 remains, but now it can intelligently switch between both antennas to transmit and receive data more efficiently. This results in the device’s ability to download data up to twice as fast as before (HSDPA performance: 14.4 Mbps down, 5.8 Mbps up) and you can expect better call quality. The 4S is a world phone, meaning GSM and CDMA technologies are built in and users can roam internationally on both networks.
And then there was the “one more thing…” Apple announced Siri, the device’s “intelligent assistant that helps you get things done just by asking.” With the iPhone 4, holding down the home button will prompt the phone to initiate the rather crude voice-activated menu where you can say things like “Call Home” or “Play Kanye West.” Siri takes this to an entirely new level of awesome. Apple designed Siri to “understand context allowing you to speak naturally when you ask it questions.” Here are some examples to help illustrate. You can ask Siri “What is the weather like today?” and it will display the current temperature with visual aid. Then you can ask for an “hourly forcast” and it will provide that information, too. You can also say things like “Wake me up at 6AM”, “Find me a great Greek restaurant in Palo Alto”, “Give me directions to Hoover Tower”, and “Schedule lunch at Friday on noon with John Smith” and Siri will answer you intelligently. It will access the clock app to set an alarm; it will search the ‘Net for Greek restaurants and sort them by Yelp customer ratings; it will launch Maps and provide directions; and it will look into your calendar and create events for you (if there’s an event that clashes with the new one you’re attempting to make, Siri will inform you about this and ask if you want to reschedule one of them). And the hands-free interaction doesn’t end there. Siri has access to many of the apps preloaded on the 4S. You can make Siri read aloud your text messages and emails and it’s also integrated with Reminders, Safari (“Search Wikipedia for Neil Armstrong”) and Wolfram Alpha’s database (“Define mytosis”). An information pane inside the Siri interface will provide users with a list of prompts they can use. And when you ask Siri “Who are you?” it’ll answer “I am a humble personal assistant.” Ha, try it! It also does dictation; a new mic icon is now part of the virtual keyboard. Siri is an iPhone 4S exclusive, and it works over WiFi and 3G. At launch it’ll remain in beta and support English, French, and German; Apple promises over time additional languages and services will be added.
The iPhone 4S, which will ship with iOS 5 and iCloud services, releases October 14 and is now available for preorder. It’ll sell in black and white flavors at the following price points: 16GB: $199, 32GB: $299, 64GB: $399, all with new two-year contracts of course. Additionally, Sprint joins AT&T and Verizon Wireless to become a carrier of the iPhone. (Note that the iPhone 4 will continue to sell at a new low price point of $99 (8GB) and the iPhone 3GS (8GB) can be picked up at no cost. When the 4S ships on the 14th it’ll release in the US, Canada, Austrailia, the UK, France, Germany, and Japan; on the 28th it’ll make it’s way to 22 more countries and by December 2011 it’ll sell in over 70 countries and with over 100 carriers. Apple claims this’ll be the fastest rollout ever for an iPhone.
iOS 5, iCloud, and iPods after the break. (Click here for more…)
In May Microsoft previewed the first major upgrade to its rejuvenated mobile OS. Mango will bring multitasking, IE9, and deeper social network integration, among other things, to Windows Phone 7 devices. This fall, AT&T intends to upgrade their entire WP7 portfolio to Mango. Nice! But there’s more. In a press release (in full after the break), Ma Bell also announced three brand new handsets that will ship with Mango on board in Q4. The new and improved Samsung Focus S features a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display, 1.4GHz processor, a rear facing 8 megapixel camera and a front facing 1.3 megapixel, ”4G”-capable speeds, and a thin profile at 8.55 millimeters. The Focus Flash downgrades things a bit and packs a smaller 3.7-inch Super AMOLED screen, a 5 megapixel camera with front facing camera, but it keeps the speedy 1.4 GHz processor. And finally the large-and-in-charge HTC Titan features a 4.7-inch display, 1.5 GHz processor, and 8 megapixel camera with dual LED flash. Pricing and exact available will have to wait.
Update: Microsoft shows off a bunch of Mango’s new features in dramatic video fashion after the break.
Today Microsoft previewed the next major release of Windows Phone. Codenamed Mango, the update will bring more than 500 new features to the growing platform. It aims to make the mobile operating system “smarter and easier” by injecting new life into the communications, apps and Internet experiences. In order, shall we?
Communications: (1) Deeper social network integration: In addition to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds are now integrated into contact cards. (2) Threads: Now you can easily switch between SMS, Facebook chat and Windows Live Messenger within the same conversation. In other words, conversations can be had across various messaging platforms. For example, if you begin a conversation with friend at home over Facebook chat you can continue this conversation when you’re on the go via SMS and the back-and-forth banter will be streamlined in the same conversation window. (3) Groups: You can group contacts into personalized Live Tiles to see your friends’ latest status updates from the home screen and quickly send a text, email or IM to a whole group. For example, you can create a “family” group and store your parents and siblings inside a Live Tile. From there you can easily converse with them under one roof or check their social status updates. (4) Linked inbox: Now you can see multiple email accounts in one linked inbox. Also, email now supports threading and calendar Facebook events. (5) Hands-free messaging: Built-in voice-to-text and text-to-voice support enables hands-free texting or chatting. If you’re listening to music and receive a text the phone will read the incoming message aloud to you. Then you can speak a reply and the phone will convert your speech into text and send it off.
Apps: (1) Multitasking: It’s been a long time coming–with Mango you can quickly switch between apps in use and allow apps to run in the background. (2) Improved Live Tiles: Live Tiles pinned to the home screen can hold more information and allow you to get real-time information from apps without having to open them. For example, if there’s an HDTV you’ve been saving up for you pin a Best Buy product page to your home screen and it will live there as a dynamic Live Tile. Instead of just sitting there as a simple bookmark, the Live Tile will animate and inform you when the TV is in stock and how far away it is for pickup. (3) App Connect: Apps can be tied tightly together to search results and Hubs to make for a smarter and more intuitive experience. For example with Bing Vision (more on this below) you can scan a book, see information about it, and with a single tap jump into the Amazon Kindle Store and purchase the book there and start reading.
Internet: (1) Internet Explorer 9: The updated browser supports HTML5 and full hardware acceleration. Unfortunately Flash and Silverlight support still isn’t here yet. (2) Local Scout: This new integrated service provides “hyperlocal search results” and recommends nearby restaurants, shopping and activities in an easy-to-use guide. When you enter Bing search, you can click the new Scout icon, the phone will automatically determine your location, and then it will provide you with information directly related to where you are instantly. Data is separated into the following categories: eat+drink, see+do, shop, favorites, and highlights. (3) Bing Vision: Also in Bing search you will find the icon for Bing Vision, another new integrated experience that allows you to capture a tangible product and get more information about it. It’s like Google Goggles, but it’s limited to barcodes, QR codes, book, DVD, and music covers. What’s neat is that the decoding process is nearly instant. Once you’re inside Bing Vision, the phone’s camera is turned on and all you have to do is point it at a product and results are revealed (pricing, availability, and relevant apps to learn more about the product at hand). (4) Quick Cards: When searching for a product, movie, event or place in the browser, you will see a quick summary of relevant information, including related apps, presented to you. For example, if you search “Pirates of the Caribbean” you will be presented with movie times at local theatres, plot synopsis, a means to purchase tickets, etc.
With Mango Microsoft plans to expand the Windows Phone ecosystem through new partnerships with Acer, Fujitsu, and ZTE and support for additional languages. The following handset manufacturers are confirmed to deploy Mango devices: in addition to the aforementioned new partnerships, Samsung, LG, HTC, and Nokia. That’s right, the first batch of Nokia phones following Microsoft’s strategic alliance with the Finnish company will run the Mango update. Developers will soon be able to get their inventive hands on the free Windows Phone Developer tools featuring Mango (within the next 24 hours, Microsoft promises). And when can consumers expect to see the update hit their Windows Phones? It pains me to say that Microsoft plans to unleash Mango as an over-the-air update this fall. Why the dreadful wait? Beats me. At least fragmentation is being avoided. Microsoft says that all existing Windows Phone 7 devices will receive the update in due time, and all future handsets will come loaded with the latest version on board.
Jump after the break to watch Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore demonstrate a bunch of the new features described here. As exciting and forward-looking as they may be, the wait until autumn is a wrench in the system. By the time Mango is released who knows what kind of magical dust will be spewing from Apple’s latest creation that will be iOS5.
Update: A curious commenter asked about copy and paste functionality. This long-awaited feature was added to Windows Phone 7 back in late March under the update codenamed NoDo. It goes without saying that it will carry over to all devices that receive the Mango upgrade.
Yesterday and today Google hosted its renowned developer’s conference dubbed Google I/O 2011. Literally thousands of developers flocked to San Fransisco’s Moscone Center to find out what Google’s been cooking up on their end. This year’s event proved to be leaps and bounds more exciting than last year’s conference. Google introduced their new cloud-based music service called Music Beta; they unveiled Ice Cream Sandwich, the next version of Android that promises to bridge the gap between Gingerbread and Honeycomb; Android is going into the home automation business with Google’s impressive initiative Android@Home; Chrome OS is finally ready for the big leagues–Samsung and Acer are prepping Chromebooks for mass consumption; and Angry Birds has landed in the browser!
So much to discuss–it’s all a hop, skip and a jump after the break. (Click here for more…)
The next time you load up Netflix on your Xbox 360 you’ll be required to download and install a free update for the video streaming application. This latest update brings Kinect support to Netflix; you can use hand gestures and voice commands to browse a library of TV shows and movies and control video playback. But there’s a catch, unfortunately. The Kinect-enhanced Netflix menu only allows you to browse the “Suggestions for You” section that shows you content based on your viewing habits and instant queue. You cannot use Kinect to access the other Netflix sections; if the software does not produce worthy suggestions it advises: “For more choices and search, use your controller.” You can’t even say “Xbox, search Arrested Development.” Bummer, I know. In time hopefully Microsoft will let loose another update that brings more functionality to this new Netflix/Kinect partnership. Full PR after the break.
Today Apple released the latest version of their mobile operating system–that is, iOS 4.3–one day earlier than expected. Just about coinciding with the launch of iPad 2, iOS 4.3 brings with it all kinds of goodies including significantly increased Safari performance, iTunes Home Sharing, AirPlay improvements, iPad side switch behaviors, and personal hotspot functionality for iPhone 4; it’s all detailed right here. Bug fixes and the like are bundled in too; hop after the break to find a rundown of what’s included. iOS 4.3 is a free download for all GSM iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and third and fourth-gen iPod touch owners. Connect your iOS device to a computer, fire up iTunes, and you’ll be notified to download and install the update.
In related Apple news, their hobby puck has also received a welcome system update. ATV owners will now be able to stream baseball and basketball games through the ether straight to their TVs thanks to MLB.tv and a NBA League Pass Broadband support. These services require pay subscriptions. In addition, Netflix has received 5.1 audio support. Cheers to that!
Today Skype updated its official iPhone app and version 3.0 brings with it video calling over WiFi and 3G. Two-way Skype-to-Skype video calling can take place between two phones and between phones and computers (Windows, Mac, or Linux) at no charge. In addition to the iPhone 4, the app is also compatible with the iPhone 3GS, the newest iPod touch, the third gen iPod touch, and the iPad all running iOS 4.0 or higher. Since the latter two devices do not feature back and front-facing cameras they are restricted to only receiving video. And note that since the 3GS does not pack a front-facing camera it will only broadcast video from the back-facing camera.
I gave the app a test drive and it worked flawlessly…over WiFi, that is. With that stable connection I was able to successfully connect to a desktop Skype client and video chatting worked as advertised. With the iPhone 4 you have the option to broadcast video from the front-facing camera and switch it to the back one on the fly, as well as options to mute the conversation and switch between portrait and landscape modes. When I disabled WiFi and attempted an iPhone 4-to-desktop video chat the video appeared noticeably more pixelated and laggy until it decided to cut out completely and drop the call. But that’s 3G for you; heck, at least it works.
The free Skype update is available to download now at the App Store. Apple might have had a leg up on the video conferencing competition with FaceTime since iPhone 4′s introduction, but with Mac and Windows support–plus 3G support–plus a giant user base in the millions–Skype is enabling the futuristic functionality for a significantly larger community of iOS users. Press release and (creepy) introductory demonstration video after the break.
If you are a proud owner of an iOS device today is your lucky day. Apple has finally unleashed iOS 4.2, and it brings oh-so-much to the aging iPad and a handful of sweet features to the iPhone and iPod touch. Here’s the laundry list of new features coming to the iPad: multitasking, folders (you can store up to 20 apps inside a folder), Game Center, and updates to Mail (Unified Inbox, fast inbox switching, a threaded message view). In other words, it’s playing catch up with the iPhone and touch. Also bear in mind that the physical toggle switch on the iPad’s side no longer acts as an orientation lock; now it’s a mute switch, just like it is on the iPhone. The lock has been moved to the dock tray that also houses the iPod controls. With the new update, all iOS devices will gain the ability to find and highlight specific words and phrases on web pages in Safari, select new fonts in Notes, beam video and audio with AirPlay, and print wirelessly with AirPrint. Let’s talk about the latter two new features because they are exciting additions. With AirPlay you can stream music, video, and photos wirelessly from your iOS device to Apple TV and AirPlay-enabled speakers. On the video front, you can only stream files you’ve purchased from iTunes (or managed to convert to make playable in iTunes) and from YouTube. If you try to beam video content from Netflix or the ABC app, for example, only the audio will cross over. Bummer, I know. If you want to print wirelessly with AirPrint, you must own a compatible printer; Apple says HP Photosmart, HP LaserJet Pro, and HP Officejet will be the first to support it. iOS 4.2 is compatible with iPad, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, second and third generation iPod touch, and the latest iPod touch. You’ll be prompted to update the next time you open iTunes.
Right on cue Apple TV owners received the 4.1 firmware update today, granting them the ability to harness the power of AirPlay. That is, of course, if they also own a compatible iOS device.
Last, the MobileMe Find My iPhone feature no longer requires a MobileMe subscription to access and use. Apple has turned it into an app, and it’s available in the App Store today. In case you forgot, Find My iPhone helps you locate your missing device on a detailed map. You can also have it display a message or play a sound to make finding your missing device easier. And if you are forced to give up the search, you can remotely lock or wipe data from the lost device. The free Find My iPhone feature is available for iPhone 4, iPad or new iPod touch (4th generation).
Look after the break for Apple’s PR.
Today Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage to announce a new lineup of iPods, the next version of iTunes, and a refreshed Apple TV. He also talked about the next two iOS4 software updates. Let’s dive right into it, shall we?
iPod shuffle: The redesigned fourth generation iPod shuffle brings back the clickable front-facing ring buttons (play/pause, previous, next, volume up, volume down) and keeps VoiceOver control (it speaks artist and song name, multiple playlists, and battery status in 25 different languages) and the back clip. It now supports playlists and Genius Mixes. The tiny sqaure casing includes the on/off/play in order/shuffle switch, a VoiceOver button, and a 3.5mm headphone jack for audio and USB charging. The battery holds up to 15 hours of audio playback. The shuffle will be available in 5 different colors (grey, blue, green, orange, and pink). A 2GB model will start shipping in one week for $49.
iPod nano: The redesigned sixth generation iPod nano does away with the click wheel and adds a 1.54 inch (240×240) multitouch display. It adopts the tiny iPod shuffle aesthetic; it’s even got the built-in back clip. It is 46 percent smaller and 42 percent lighter than the previous nano model. To navigate around the iOS-like touch interface, swipe left and right to access different pages of icons, up and down to scroll through lists, double tap to zoom in on photos (there is no pinch-to-zoom), and tap to access other areas. Any time you want to go back to the home screen simply tap and hold anywhere on the screen (there is no home button). You can even rotate the screen using two fingers. You can customize the pages of icons by touching and holding an icon down until it jiggles then dragging it to the desired position. Everything here should be very familiar to iPhone and iPod touch users; it’s all just miniturized. The home screen gives you access to playlists, now playing, artists, and Genius Mixes. Also available is an FM radio, Nike+, a clock, Voice Memo, and access to Photos, Podcasts, Settings, and music categorized by song, album, genre, and composer. The small enclosure includes a sleep/wake switch and volume up and down buttons on top and the 30-pin dock connector and 3.5mm headphone jack on bottom. It also has a built-in accelerometer and supports VoiceOver in 29 different languages. The battery holds up to 24 hours of audio playback. The nano will be available in 7 different colors (grey, blue, green, orange, pink, charcoal, and Product (RED)). 8GB ($149) and 16GB ($179) models will start shipping in one week.
iPod touch: The fourth generation iPod touch gets even closer in design and functionality to its iPhone cousin. The new touch features the same 3.5 inch (960×640) Retina Display, Apple A4 processor, back camera, and front-facing camera, and three-axis gyro sensor as the iPhone 4. The back camera shoots HD (720p, up to 30fps) video that can be edited on the device with simple trimming (included) or with more advanced editing (the $4.99 iMovie app now supports the iPod touch); it can also shoot stills. The front-facing camera can shoot stills and supports FaceTime chats over WiFi with other iPod touches and iPhone 4s. The external buttons and input/output holes remain the same: sleep/wake switch, volume up and volume down, the home button, 30-pin dock connector, 3.5mm headphone jack, build-in speaker and microphone. 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth 2.1, Nike+, accelerometer, ambient light sensor are still there as well. The battery holds up to 40 hours of audio and 7 hours of video playback. The touch will be available in polished aluminium on black only. 8GB ($229), 32GB ($299), and 64GB ($399) will start shipping in one week.
iTunes 10, Apple TV, iOS4 after the break :: (Click here for more…)