Posts Tagged ‘iPad

05
Aug
10

Rupert Murdoch says Apple’s iPad is a ‘game-changer’ for news media

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Rupert Murdoch says Apple’s iPad is a ‘game-changer’ for news media

Thursday, August 05, 2010

••• Global media chief Rupert Murdoch says Apple’s iPad will be a ‘game changer’ for newspapers.

The chairman and chief executive of News Corporation said the iPad would allow publishers to attract new readers to their mastheads.

‘It’s a real game changer in the presentation of news,’ Mr. Murdoch said on Thursday during a conference call for the company’s full year profit results.

‘We will have young people reading newspapers. We will have different looking types of newspapers.’

News Corp owns newspapers in the U.S., U.K., Australia and elsewhere.

Mr. Murdoch said he expected to see hundreds of millions of these devices around the world.

‘There will be all sorts of things we can do with them,’ Mr. Murdoch said.

‘As they develop technologically, we have got to to develop our methods of presentation of news.’

News Corp chief operating officer Chase Carey said the iPad ‘really starts to deliver on the promise of multimedia’ for the first time.

In terms of charging for online content, The Times and Sunday Times newspapers in the U.K. started slugging users $1.59 (£1) a day, or $3.18 (£2) a week, to access their content online from the start of July.

Mr. Murdoch said there had been a positive response, but declined to say how many people had paid for subscriptions.

‘We have had a very encouraging number of people subscribing at a good price,’ he said.

‘But we think we are on the right strategy there and we think it’s going well.’

Mr. Murdoch also flagged changes to News Corp’s social networking portal MySpace, which he said was going through a major overhaul under a new management team.

‘It will look very, very different in a few months to what it’s looked for the last few years,’ Mr Murdoch said.

‘We are going to see it out for some time yet.’
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• Source(s): News Corporation
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04
Aug
10

News Corp. Posts $875 Million Profit as Ad Sales Rise

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News Corp. Posts $875 Million Profit as Ad Sales Rise

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

••• Media and entertainment giant News Corp. reported, Wednesday, that it has swung to profit in the fiscal fourth quarter on the back of strong performance from its television networks division which posted impressive ad sales.

News Corp. said its net profit in June quarter was $875 million or $0.33 per share as against loss of $203 million or $0.08 per share in the year ago period.

The company said its revenue moved up 5.7 percent to $8.11 billion.

Analysts, on average, had expected News Corp. to report profit of $0.20 per share on revenue on $7.87 billion.

However, operating profit, or sales minus the cost of goods sold and administrative expenses, slipped 1.7 percent year-on-year in June quarter to $932 million from $948 million.

The media conglomerate said its earnings were driven by strong performance put up by its television networks division, which accounted for more than half of its operating income.

Profits at domestic channels surged by 30 percent while international channels improved 40 percent. Overall, operating profit at cable television networks division, which include channels such as Fox News Channel and FX, surged 31 percent to $563 million on the back of advertising revenue which jumped 11 percent. The division also saw double-digit growth in revenue from fees paid by cable, satellite and fiber video providers.

Operating profit at News Corp.’s broadcast television division also surged 13 percent to $113 million on improved ad sales offsetting higher programming expenses at the company’s national broadcast network – Fox Broadcasting.

The group’s filmed entertainment division also did well but could not beat third quarter performance. Operating income in June quarter dropped 32 percent year-on-year to $137 million. In March quarter, profit stood at $497 million. At the time of announcing third quarter earnings, News Corp. had warned that one should not expect stellar performance from this division in the fourth quarter, largely due to an expected year-over-year decline in the film business due to the timing of releases.

The newspapers and information services division, which include the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, MarketWatch and Dow Jones, also reported 20 percent surge in profit to $115 million on higher ad revenue, though it was below Street estimates.

The company’s digital media division, which include social networking site MySpace, however, disappointed, reporting an operating loss of $174 million in the June quarter on lower search and advertising revenue. News Corp. said MySpace is set for a “major overhaul.”

News Corp.’s satellite TV division also disappointed, reporting a 37 percent slide in operating income to $97 million on the back of continued weakness at Sky Italia.

To reduce dependence on the economically sensitive advertisement-based revenue, News Corp. said it is beefing up its portfolio of subscription-based assets. In June, it said it has made a bid for the 61 percent stake of pay-TV operator British Sky Broadcasting Group Plc (BSkyB) it doesn’t already own.

“The opportunity for us to expand the scale of our franchises is significant, including through taking advantage of the continual technological advances that will broaden the reach of our core content and distribution businesses,” News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch said in a statement.

The company’s full-year results were more impressive.

News Corp. said its net profit in fiscal year 2010 was $2.5 billion, helped primarily by blockbuster movie “Avatar.” DVD sales of other films like “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” and “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” also bumped up its profits. In the prior year, News Corp. incurred a net loss of $3.4 billion, which included a one-time pre-tax impairment and other charges of $9.2 billion.

“These results underscore just how well positioned we are – fiscally, operationally and strategically – for further growth across all of our markets,” Murdoch said.

Shares of News Corp., which owns Dow Jones, Wall Street Journal, New York Post, MySpace and 20th Century Fox among other things, closed up 1.61 percent at $13.85. Following the financial results announcement, the company’s shares were up 3.25 percent in the after-market hours.
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• Source(s): News Corporation
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23
Jul
10

Tablet War Hots Up With Microsoft iPad Rival

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Tablet War Hots Up With Microsoft iPad Rival

Friday, July 23, 2010

••• Microsoft is taking on the iPad in the battle of the tablets as it announced plans to launch it own version later this year.

It is working in partnership with Hewlett-Packard whose executive vice president Todd Bradley said: ‘Slates are going to be an enormous category.

‘Our focus is working with still our largest software partner, Microsoft, to create a tablet, a slate, for the enterprise business.’

‘This is just in its infancy.’

Apple has sold more than three million iPads since it went on sale in April and Microsoft has been seeking to develop products that will tap into the lucrative market.

When the Microsoft tablet arrives on the shelves it may benefit from one key advantage over its Apple rival.

The HP tablet computer will be able to run Flash, the popular video software from Adobe which Apple has barred from the iPad.
The news comes as Microsoft revealed a record $4.52 billion profit with a fourth quarter revenue of more than $16 billion dollars.

The American tech company credited the strong sales figures to the successful launch of its latest-generation Office 2010 software and to continued strong demand for its new Windows 7 operating system.

The popularity of its Xbox 360 videogame consoles and Bing’s improving share of the Internet search market also contributed to the successful final quarter of its fiscal year.

Microsoft chief operating officer Kevin Turner said: ‘We look forward to continuing our product momentum this fall with the upcoming launches of Windows Phone 7 and Xbox Kinect.’
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11
Jun
10

AT&T hacked, iPad 3G owners email addresses harvested

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AT&T hacked, iPad 3G owners email addresses harvested

Friday, June 11, 2010

••• Hackers have obtained the email addresses of more than 114,000 owners of Apple iPads.

Valleywag, a property of Gawker Media, said on Wednesday the hackers turned over the email list and it contained the email addresses of a number of high-profile iPad users including U.S. business leaders, politicians and military officials.

Valleywag published the names of some on the list but not their full email addresses.

They included New York Times Co chief executive Janet Robinson, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

The iPad owners whose email addresses were compromised were subscribers to AT&T’s 3G plan which provides connectivity to the touchscreen tablet computer from Apple.

In a statement, AT&T acknowledged there had been a data breach and issued an apology to customers who had been affected.

‘AT&T was informed by a business customer on Monday of the potential exposure of their iPad ICC IDS,’ AT&T said.

‘This issue was escalated to the highest levels of the company and was corrected by Tuesday; and we have essentially turned off the feature that provided the email addresses.’

Valleywag said the AT&T breach revealed the email addresses of iPad owners in companies such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley and staffers in the Pentagon, Senate, House of Representatives, Department of Justice, NASA and Department of Homeland Security.
» Related: F.B.I. to investigate AT&T iPad data breach
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11
Jun
10

F.B.I. to investigate AT&T iPad data breach

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F.B.I. to investigate AT&T iPad data breach

Friday, June 11, 2010

••• The F.B.I. is investigating a security breach of AT&T’s website that allowed hackers to obtain the email addresses of iPad owners.

‘The F.B.I. is aware of these possible computer intrusions and has opened an investigation to address this potential cyberthreat,’ said Lindsay Godwin, an FBI spokeswoman.

AT&T acknowledged on Wednesday there had been a data breach at the U.S. telecom giant that allowed hackers to obtain the email addresses of owners of the 3G model of the iPad.

AT&T’s 3G plan provides the mobile connectivity for the touchscreen tablet computer from Apple.

According to Silicon Valley website Valleywag, a shadowy hacking group called Goatse Security hacked into the AT&T website and obtained the email addresses of over 114,000 iPad owners including those of business leaders, politicians and military officials.

Valleywag published the names of some on the list but not their full email addresses.

They included New York Times Co. chief executive Janet Robinson, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

Earlier Thursday, retired rear admiral Jamie Barnett, chief of the Federal Communications Commission’s public safety and homeland security bureau, expressed concern about the incident.

‘I am concerned about the report of a security breach to AT&T’s network that exposed the personal data of more than a hundred thousand iPad users,’ Barnett said in a statement.

‘This breach underscores the need for robust cyber security,’ he said. ‘The F.C.C. will continue to work with all stakeholders to prevent future security breaches that violate consumer privacy and undermine trust in America’s communications infrastructure.’

AT&T apologised for the disclosure and said it has ‘turned off the feature that provided the email addresses.’

Valleywag owner Gawker Media also runs the popular technology blog Gizmodo, which obtained a secret prototype of an Apple iPhone in April after it was lost in a California bar and published details and pictures of the device.
» Related: AT&T hacked, iPad 3G owners email addresses harvested
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09
Jun
10

Steve Jobs has Wi-Fi woes

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Steve Jobs has Wi-Fi woes

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

It was more iFail than iPhone at the launch of the latest iconic phone – with Apple’s boss walking offstage unable to pick up a wi-fi network for the sleek new device.

Launching the iPhone 4 at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, CEO Steve Jobs apparently struggled because of audience wi-fi active devices.

‘We’re having a little problem here. I don’t know what is wrong with our networks,’ Mr Jobs said, as the huge projected image of his iPhone stayed resolutely blank.

Mr. Jobs admitted that the venue was known to be a wi-fi bad spot, before pleading for audience members to switch their devices off.

‘You know you can help me out if you are on wi-fi, you could just get off, I’d appreciate it,’ Jobs said to the crowd.

Having failed to show a website on the phone’s display as it sat alongside an existing iPhone model, Jobs attempted Plan B for the new phone.

‘We going to switch over to some backups here, I have a feeling we might have the same problem,’ he said.

After starting the backup, it gave an error message, ‘Could not activate cellular data network,’ to laughs from the crowd.

Mr. Jobs clicked the error message but another then appeared, ‘Could not open page’, to more laughs.
‘Well, jeez, i don’t like this,’ Mr. Jobs said.

Attempting to revert to the ‘primary’ phone he had been using, Mr. Jobs said: ‘I’m afraid I have a problem and I’m not going to be able to show you much today.’

Mr. Jobs then showed several photos on the high definition display of the new phone before a third attempt to access a network also failed.

‘Well, I’m sorry guys, I don’t know what is going on,’ Jobs said to some jeers from the audience.

Apple’s product unveilings are usually renowned for a lack of technical glitches, however Jobs had to resort to yelling to Scott Forstall, the vice president of iPhone software, for help.

‘Scott, you got any suggestions?’ Jobs pleaded.

Someone in the crowd then yelled out ‘Verizon’ – a dig at Apple for not offering the new phone through America’s biggest mobile service provider.

‘We’re going to hope things get fixed before my next demo here. Thanks,’ Mr Jobs said as he walked offstage.

Features of the new phone include two cameras with an inbuilt flash, wi-fi video conferencing facilities, uprated battery and motion-sensing gyroscope for game usage.
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• Source(s): Apple Inc.
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07
Jun
10

Apple Unveils iPhone 4 for $199, Available June 24th

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Apple Unveils iPhone 4 for $199, Available June 24th

Monday, June 7, 2010

Apple has unveiled a next-generation iPhone that features video chat, can shoot and edit high-definition quality video, and has a crisper resolution screen.

‘We are going to take the biggest leap since the original iPhone,’ Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said as he showed off the iPhone 4 at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference here.

The iPhone 4 will go on sale on June 24 in Britain, France, Germany, Japan and the United States, and will cost $199 for the 16 gigabyte model and $299 for the 32GB version.

The touchscreen smartphone, which comes in black and white versions, will be available in 18 other countries in July and 24 more in August.

The iPhone 4 includes more than 100 new features including a front-facing video camera to allow for video-conferencing between iPhones, a better still camera, an improved battery and a screen with significantly higher resolution.

To demonstrate the video chat program, called FaceTime, Jobs, dressed in his trademark black turtleneck and blue jeans, called up Jonathan Ive, an Apple product designer, and held an iPhone-to-iPhone video conversation.

The iPhone 4 can also shoot and edit HD video. Randy Ubillos, Apple’s chief architect for video applications, displayed an iMovie for iPhone video editing program available from Apple’s App Store for $4.99.

Jobs touted the higher-resolution screen as a major leap forward. ‘There has never been a display like this on a phone,’ he said.

The 3.5-inch screen is the same size as on previous models, but features 326 pixels per square inch, four times more pixels than the earlier iPhones.

‘There is a magic number around 300 pixels per inch that is the limit of the human retina,’ Jobs said. ‘We are over that limit.

‘That’s going to set the standard for display for years to come.’

The improved battery life allows for 40 per cent more talk time, Jobs said, and the iPhone 4 – at 0.37 inch or three-eighths of an inch – is 24 percent thinner than the previous model, iPhone 3GS.

The iPhone 4, which runs on Apple’s A4 processor, features a five-megapixel camera, an improvement on the previous three-megapixel camera.

Users will also have the option to use Microsoft’s Bing as an internet search engine in addition to Google and Yahoo! Google remains the default search engine.

Jobs joked that some of the attendees at the conference may have seen the iPhone 4 previously ‘because there have been a few photos around’.

Technology blog Gizmodo obtained a prototype of the iPhone in April from a 21-year-old man who found it in a California beer garden, where it had been lost by an Apple software engineer, and published details of the device.

Apple launched the iPhone in 2007 and has sold more than 50 million as it battles Google’s Android platform, the Blackberry from Canada’s Research in Motion and others for the fast-growing market.

Before displaying the latest iPhone, Jobs said that more than five million digital books have been downloaded since Apple began selling its iPad tablet computer two months ago.

Jobs, who received a standing ovation as he walked on stage to address the more than 5200 software developers attending the conference, said the 8500 applications developed for the iPad have been downloaded more than 35 million times from Apple’s App Store.

Apple has sold more than two million iPads since it went on sale in the United States in early April and in nine other countries late last month.

Jobs said that 225,000 applications for the iPhone and the iPod Touch were currently available and that five billion applications had been downloaded from the App Store as of last week.

The new iPhone received positive reviews from analysts, although most of the features were known already because of the Gizmodo leak.

Altimeter’s Michael Gartenberg said Apple has ‘raised the bar once again by offering next year’s technology at last year’s prices’.

‘They are the first ones to make video chat easy and that will drive the sales,’ Gartenberg said.

Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said the iPhone 4 ‘keeps Apple ahead of the competition’ by ‘driving software and hardware innovation hand in hand’.
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• Source(s): Apple Inc.
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06
Jun
10

Steve Jobs to announce iPhone 4G on June 7

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Steve Jobs to announce iPhone 4G on June 7

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Apple’s secrecy about product launches is legendary but when Steve Jobs takes the stage on Monday the world may have already had a glimpse of what’s to come.

Jobs is to be the keynote speaker at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, an annual event during which the gadget maker reveals its latest must-have devices.

This year’s conference, which has attracted more than 5,000 developers of programs for Macintosh computers, the iPhone, the iPod and the iPad, carries less mystery than years past due to an Apple software engineer’s unfortunate evening in a California beer garden a little over two months ago.

The engineer, Robert ‘Gray’ Powell, lost a prototype of the next-generation iPhone while drinking at the Gourmet Haus Staudt near Apple headquarters and it ended up with a 21-year-old man who then sold it to technology blog Gizmodo.

According to Gizmodo, features of the new phone include a front-facing video camera for video conferencing and a better regular camera with a larger lens.
It reportedly has a flat back instead of curved back, is thinner than the previous model, the iPhone 3GS, and has a battery that is 16-percent larger.

Gizmodo, unsurprisingly, will not be in the audience when Jobs makes his keynote address at 10:00 am PDT on Monday. The technology blog said Apple has not responded to its requests to attend the June 7-11 WWDC.

Gartner analyst Van Baker said Gizmodo’s revelations about the next iPhone had taken some of the shine off the event.

‘I think the biggest challenge Apple’s going to face is coming up with enough exciting news to have this truly get the market’s attention,’ Baker said.

The front-facing video camera that will allow iPhone owners to have video chats with Macintosh computers or iPhone to iPhone ‘will probably be among the biggest news that we see,’ he said.

I think there’ll be some additional reveals on OS 4.0 (the latest iPhone operating system),’ Baker added.
‘We might see a new iPod Touch,’ the Gartner analyst told AFP. ‘Beyond that, I’m not sure because the iPad’s new and the MacBook line – both the MacBook and the MacBook Pro – just had a significant refresh.

‘So I’m not sure what else to expect from them other than OS4 announcements and a reveal of the new iPhone,’ he said.

Baker said he did not expect the new iPhone to be ‘exactly’ what Gizmodo displayed but there would probably not be substantive differences.

‘I’m sure they had variants of the design floating around and likely made the decision of which ones to manufacture within the last month or so,’ he said.

Kathryn Huberty of Morgan Stanley said Apple may announce a price cut for the iPhone. A $50 drop in price could result in a 40-percent increase in demand, she estimated.
U.S. wireless carrier AT&T sells the latest iPhone for $199 and a year ago Apple slashed the price for its earliest model to $99.

Independent technology analyst Carmi Levy said the Gizmodo leak ‘took some of the surprise out of the event’ but called it a ‘momentary diversion.’

In any case, Apple, which has sold more than 50 million iPhones in three years, has taken an approach of ‘evolution and not revolution’ when it comes to the touchscreen smartphone, Levy said.

‘When upgrading its iPhone hardware, Apple’s goal is never to hit it out of the park,’ he said. ‘Rather, the company’s intent is to move the bar far enough to maintain its market-dominant position.

‘To ensure it has enough new-feature gas in the tank for next year, it never gives customers everything they’ve asked for in any given year,’ he said.

‘Instead, it includes just enough new features to keep the faithful faithful for another year. It’s the ultimate form of controlled marketing, and Apple does it better than virtually any company on the planet.’
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• Source(s): Apple Inc. & Gizmodo / Gawker Media
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01
Jun
10

Apple shifts two million iPads in less than two months

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Apple shifts two million iPads in less than two months

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sales of the Apple iPad have passed two million since its launch almost two months ago.

The Cupertino, California, company began selling the iPad last Friday in Asia, Australia and Europe. The iPad was released in the United States on April 3.

The company does not publicly break out sales figures by region, according to Natalie Harrison, an Apple spokeswoman.

The company previously had said it sold one million iPads in the United States just 28 days after its launch. As a result of the strong demand at home, Apple had pushed back the start date of its international sales.
The iPad can be used to send emails, draw pictures and play games. It can also be used as an electronic reader. The basic model costs $499 in the United States, not including extras.

This past weekend, Apple began selling iPads in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Prices for the cheapest, WiFi-only version range from $499 in the United States to the equivalent of $620 in Britain for the entry-level 16 GB model. Canada ($520), Japan ($536) and Australia ($533) rounded out the price basement countries.

At the top end, an iPad 64 GB model with WiFi and 3G connectivity cost $829 in the United States against $1,010 in Britain and $980 in Germany, France and Italy.

The company said the device will be available in nine more countries in July and additional countries later this year.
• Source(s): Apple Inc.
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29
May
10

Apple’s iPad makes global debut

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Apple’s iPad makes global debut

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Thousands of die-hard Apple fans mobbed shops worldwide on Friday as the iPad, called a revolution in personal computing by some and limited and overhyped by others, began its global launch.

Long queues of customers snaked outside Apple shops in Australia and Japan hours before the opening and similar huddled masses turned out at stores in six European countries, including Britain and France.

The iPad – a flat, 9.7 inches black tablet – also went on sale in Canada as part of a global rollout that was pushed back by a month due to huge demand in the United States.

One million iPads were sold in 28 days in the United States after the product’s debut in early April despite mixed reviews from consumers.

The product is the latest from Apple, which dethroned software giant Microsoft this week as the largest U.S. technology company in terms of market value, to create a frenzy.

At Apple’s flagship store in Paris, set in the prestigious mall beneath the Louvre museum, 24-year-old engineer Audrey Sobgou beamed as she walked away with one of the prized tablets.

Sobgou travelled 127 miles from her hometown in Lille, northern France, and waited nearly two hours before stepping inside the busy Apple store.

‘I’m not a victim of hype,’ she insisted. ‘I know Apple products and it’s about the quality, the interface, how it’s designed and what it can do. With elegance and style.’

Hundreds of people queued outside the Paris Apple store hours before it opened.

In Britain, a few dozen enthusiasts waited outside the Apple store in central London at 3am to get their hands on the iPad when it opened five hours later.

Staff escorted the first group of customers one by one up to buy their iPad after they opened the doors, whooping, chanting and cheering.

‘I queued overnight for about 20 hours since midday yesterday but it was very, very worth it,’ Jake Lee, a 17-year-old student from Essex, told AFP, clutching his treasured iPad.

The iPad also went on sale in Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland and will be followed in July by a launch in Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Alejandro Barras, manager of the Apple store in downtown Madrid, said his iPad stock sold out one hour after opening.

Apple aficionados in Zurich camped out overnight in front of the store to buy the tablet and download some of the 5000 available apps – the media applications that run on the device.

In Montreal, an 82-year-old man with a long white beard and a beret stood in line with about 100 people, some of whom arrived at the Apple store at 6am.

‘I’m not a fan of gadgets,’ Jean-Maurice Demers told AFP. ‘But I’m involved in several political committees and community groups and I’m tired of dragging around several kilograms of files.’

Prices in Japan and Australia for the basic 16GB iPad are comparable to US prices, although a significant markup by Apple in Britain and continental Europe has triggered grumbling.

In France, wi-fi models sell for between 499 and 699 euros ($613 and $860), with the 3G models going for between 599 and 799 euros ($736 and $982) .

The multi-functional device is tipped by some pundits to revitalise media and publishing, with many major newspapers and broadcasters launching applications.

As well as the five other European countries, Apple plans to bring the iPad to Hong Kong, Mexico, New Zealand and Singapore in July.

Apple has declined to reveal the number of pre-orders received for the iPad internationally, but Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky put it at around 600,000.

The iPad has officially gone on sale in Australia, with hundreds of tech lovers snapping up the touchscreen tablet device within minutes of it being released in Sydney.

Over 200 Apple fans braved the chilly Sydney weather overnight to be the first to get their hands on the new technology when the George Street store opened its doors at 08:00 am (AEST) on Friday.

Rahul Koduri, who had been in the line since 02:00 am (AEST) on Thursday, succeeded in his dream of being the first in Australia to purchase the iPad.

The 22-year-old Blacktown resident, who snapped up two iPads, was delighted.

‘It’s fantastic, it was so worth the wait,’ he said, holding up his two shiny iPad boxes.

‘One of these is for me, of course, and the other is for a family member.’

• Source(s): Apple Inc. and Independent Television News (ITN)
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28
May
10

Sony to challenge Apple in Japan with e-reader

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Sony to challenge Apple in Japan with e-reader

Friday, May 28, 2010

••• A group of four companies including Sony Corp. has announced the launch of a new firm to facilitate the distribution of digital content for the emerging e-reader market, including Sony’s Reader.

The four companies – Sony, Toppan Printing Co., KDDI Corp. and Asahi Shimbun Co. – jointly announced on Thursday that they are setting up a new company to provide a common base for e-publishing by facilitating the digitization, distribution and promotion of newspaper and other publication content.

“We’d like to provide an opportunity for users to easily access e-publications whenever and wherever they’d like, while establishing a platform where publishers can provide their content with ease,” said a representative of the four companies.

The four firms will jointly form a planning company on July 1, which will be turned into a business corporation by the end of the year for the launch of the new service.

The move has already gained support from a number of major publishers, including Kodansha, Shogakukan, Shueisha and Bungei Shunju – all members of the recently established Electronic Book Publishers Association of Japan (EBPAJ). With the new partnership aiming to launch multiple online bookstores, it aspires to seek support from other publishers as well.

Each of the four founding companies will hold 25 percent shares in the new firm, which will be capitalized at 30 million yen. The location of its headquarters has yet to be decided.

Sony, which will release its e-ink-based Reader in Japan later this year, is a “returner” to the country’s e-book market. Though it had attempted to break into the e-book business as early as 1990, a lack of e-book content eventually forced the company to pull out in Japan.

“Things have evolved since then, with completely different content offerings and devices. The time is now ripe,” Sony Electronics Senior Vice President Fujio Noguchi said during a press conference on Thursday.

Regarding Apple Inc.’s release of the iPad tablet computer to the domestic market on Friday, Noguchi said, “I don’t think we got a late start.”

Meanwhile, KDDI will also develop its own e-reader device.

“The market will see a variety of e-reader devices popping up, but they cannot do without 3G cellular connections. We have an advantage in making a foray into the market,” said a KDDI representative.
• Source(s): Sony Corporation (ソニー株式会社)
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27
May
10

Apple iPad makes international debut

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Apple iPad makes international debut

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Apple’s iPad finally goes on sale outside the United States this week after heavy U.S. demand for the multi-media gadget forced a one-month delay of its international release.

The touchscreen tablet device from the maker of the Macintosh computer, the iPod and the iPhone will be available on Friday in stores in Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and Switzerland.

The Cupertino, California-based Apple plans to bring the iPad to Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore in July.

The company co-founded by Steve Jobs had planned to begin selling the iPad internationally in late April but was forced to delay the global debut of the device because of what it said was ‘surprisingly strong U.S. demand.’

Apple said earlier this month that it sold one million iPads in the first 28 days it was available in the United States, less than half the time it took for the company to sell the same number of iPhones.

More than 5000 applications have been developed for the iPad, according to an Apple spokesman, in addition to the 200,000 programs already available for the iPhone or the iPod Touch, most of which run on the iPad.

A Wi-Fi version of the iPad, which allows users to watch video, listen to music, play games, surf the web or read electronic books, went on sale in the United States on April 3 for $499.

A more expensive model featuring both Wi-Fi and 3G cellular connectivity appeared on U.S. store shelves on April 30 for $829.

Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky estimated that Apple is selling over 200,000 iPads a week — more than its estimated Macintosh sales of 110,000 a week and its estimated iPhone 3GS sales of 246,000 a week.

Apple has declined to reveal the number of pre-orders received for the iPad internationally but Abramsky put it at around 600,000.

The U.S. sales figures indicate the iPad is a hit but success did not appear guaranteed when Apple’s Jobs unveiled the device at a high-profile media event in San Francisco in January.

‘There were plenty of questions before the iPad launch and quite a mixed reaction to it when it was released,’ said Gartner analyst Charles Smulders.

Critics derided it as a ‘big iPhone’ without a phone or a camera and bemoaned its inability to play Adobe’s popular Flash video software.

But the iPad appears to have won over the public with a hip advertising campaign and curious consumers can be seen lining up daily to play with tethered models of the device on display at Apple stores around the country.

‘Aside from the design, a key to its success has been getting the product into the hands of consumers,’ Smulders said.

‘With a new category of product like this it is difficult to understand its value unless you try it.

‘Apple has done a great job seeding the market.’

Ben Reitzes of Barclays Capital said he sees potential for the iPad beyond the consumer market.

‘Even corporations are piloting the device at a pace that surprises us,’ Reitzes said. ‘At the very least we believe the device can tap into the corporate market as a ‘log in’ device that accesses the network.

‘Many of our clients are increasingly using, or intend to use, the device as a reader for research as well,’ he said.

With success comes competition and imitation.

U.S. computer giant Dell plans to begin selling its own tablet computer, the “Streak,” which has a five-inch (12.5 cm) screen compared with the iPad’s 9.7 inches (24.6 cm), in Britain in June and in the United States later in the summer.

And another U.S. computer giant, Hewlett-Packard, recently announced plans to acquire struggling U.S. mobile phone maker Palm and is expected to use its WebOS operating system to develop a tablet computer of its own.
• Source(s): Apple Inc.

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13
May
10

Adobe Blows Apple a Kiss

NEWS
Adobe Blows Apple a Kiss

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Two weeks after Apple CEO Steve Jobs published his anti-Flash manifesto, Adobe – which makes the rich media software – has hit back. But instead of just sending out an anti-Apple rant, Adobe blows a kiss at the company, before scolding companies like Apple that ‘put content and applications behind walls’ and ‘dictate what you can create, how you create it, or what you can experience on the web.

Adobe’s pro-Flash campaign appears in newspapers such as the Washington Post, and on a number of major web sites. In an open letter, Adobe founders Chuck Geschke and John Warnock attempt to debunk Jobs’ claims that Flash is a closed platform, and instead hint that other companies are doing more to undermine open web standards:

We believe that consumers should be able to freely access their favorite content and applications, regardless of what computer they have, what browser they like, or what device suits their needs. No company – no matter how big or how creative – should dictate what you can create, how you create it, or what you can experience on the web.

When markets are open, anyone with a great idea has a chance to drive innovation and find new customers. Adobe’s business philosophy is based on a premise that, in an open market, the best products will win in the end – and the best way to compete is to create the best technology and innovate faster than your competitors.

We believe that Apple, by taking the opposite approach, has taken a step that could undermine this next chapter of the web – the chapter in which mobile devices outnumber computers, any individual can be a publisher, and content is accessed anywhere and at any time.

While Adobe’s Flash format still powers 75% of video on the web, it’s not the company’s main source of revenue. Most of the company’s income comes from its Creative Suite product, which includes developer tools for Flash – but is generally better known as the home of Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere. That could insulate the company from any drop in Flash, though with 50% of all CS sales going to Mac users, Adobe can’t afford to ignore Apple. So, those hearts are likely to keep fluttering. And maybe Geschke and Warnock will trade in their starched shirts and ties for something a little more casual – though we’re just kidding about Adobe hating black turtlenecks.
• Source(s): Adobe Systems Incorporated ; The Adobe Flash Platform ; Rich Internet applications
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30
Apr
10

Microsoft sidelines ‘Courier’ tablet project

NEWS
Microsoft sidelines ‘Courier’ tablet project

Friday, April 30, 2010

Microsoft has sidelined a ‘Courier’ project said to be focused on building a twin-screen tablet computer that could be used for entertainment and work.

‘At any given time, across any of our business groups, there are new ideas being investigated, tested, and incubated,’ Microsoft spokesman Frank X. Shaw (Corporate Vice President, Corporate Communications) said in a message posted on Thursday on the U.S. software giant’s blog.

‘The Courier project is an example of this type of effort and its technologies will be evaluated for use in future Microsoft offerings.’

Microsoft has kept details of the project secret, declining to confirm or deny what it is about.

Leaked reports of the table described it as opening like a book to reveal two screens operated by touch.

Shaw said he posted his brief comments in response to ‘a tonne of speculation’ about Courier.

A Microsoft tablet computer was expected to debut in January at the Consumer Electronics Show, which features the debuts of many of the tech-world’s latest devices.

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer instead touted a Hewlett-Packard tablet computer during his on-stage presentation.

Industry insiders were expecting Courier to rival Apple’s freshly-launched iPad tablet computer.

The Wi-Fi-only model of the latest device from the maker of the Macintosh computer, the iPod and the iPhone went on sale in the United States on April 3.

The company sold over 500,000 iPads the first week.

Apple promised that its iPad models featuring 3G cellular connectivity will hit U.S. stores on Friday.

Apple has said that heavy US demand has forced it to delay the international release of the iPad by a month, until late May.

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24
Apr
10

Apple Market Cap Bigger Than Microsoft? Not Quite Yet, It Isn’t

NEWS
Apple Market Cap Bigger Than Microsoft? Not Quite Yet, It Isn’t

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Boosted by upbeat investor reaction to its strong earnings report this week, Apple on yesterday became the second largest company on the S&P 500 Index in terms of market capitalization, surpassing software giant Microsoft.
Revenge, they say, is a dish that is best served cold. And if this is true, then Apple must be pleased as punch to see itself in the second spot in the S&P 500, second only to Exxon Mobil.

While coming second is in itself notable – with the notable exception of coming first – what must be especially pleasing to Apple is the company it has replaced – Microsoft.

To understand this, you must travel back in time to 1988. In that year, Apple filed a case against Microsoft, claiming that the Windows graphical user interface (GUI) infringed upon the Mac’s “look and feel.” Of course, since Apple had itself borrowed the Mac’s look and feel by looking at products from Xerox and feeling that the GUI is a good thing, the judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that Apple cannot get patent-like protection for the idea of a GUI.

What is more humiliating than being beaten by an opponent? Running back to the same opponent for help when you are down. And Apple was forced to do this in 1997, when Steve Jobs announced that Apple would join Microsoft to release new versions of Microsoft Office for the Macintosh, and that Microsoft made a $150 million investment in non-voting Apple stock. The money made a huge difference to Apple because in 1997 Apple was in deep trouble and was facing a huge finance crunch.

Enough history. Cut to the here and now. Apple is on top and has ousted Microsoft to become the No 2 company on the S&P index. It would be wrong to say that its iPod, iPhone and iPads are selling like hot cakes – it would perhaps be better to say that hot cakes are selling like iPads.

Purists may argue that the S&P 500 represents merely float-adjusted market cap. In fact, as Marco Tabini posted on macworld.com, “Microsoft’s full market cap still outstrips Apple’s by $275 billion to $241 billion.”

True, Microsoft’s market cap is still higher, but Apple has one psychological advantage that was once enjoyed by Microsoft in the PC era – the ability to drive the direction of the market. Now, Apple decides what happens.

Want proof? The iPad now accounts for 26 per cent of all of the mobile traffic on wired.com. The site is so impressed that they are making their Flash-heavy pages iPad compatible. “We are aware of the irony that the majority of wired.com’s videos, which use an Adobe Flash-based player, don’t play on the iPad. We’re working on that, starting with our homepage,” wrote Dylan F. Tweney in an article that appeared on the site.

Many many moons ago, when Steve Jobs hired John Sculley from Pepsi, he is reputed to have asked him, “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?” Scully didn’t change the world. In fact, during his regime, Microsoft threatened to discontinue Office for the Mac if Apple did not licence parts of the Mac GUI for use with Windows. And those days, Microsoft got what it wanted. But it looks like iPad has just turned the tables.

• What is S&P 500?
The S&P 500 is a free-float capitalization-weighted index published since 1957 of the prices of 500 large-cap common stocks actively traded in the United States. After the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 is the most widely followed index of large-cap American stocks. It is considered a bellwether for the American economy.

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10
Apr
10

Apple Previews iPhone OS 4

NEWS
Apple Previews iPhone OS 4

Saturday, April 10, 2010

On April 8, in Cupertino, Calif., Apple has introduced a new version of the mobile platform iPhone OS 4.0, the beta version of which opened for testing members of the community ‘iPhone Developer Program‘. In the beta-release SDK available more than 1500 API (programming interfaces applications) that will allow developers to create applications for “iPhone” with access to the SMS, Photo Library, camera etc.
The presentation was begun by head and co-founder Steve Jobs. “IPhone OS 4 – is the fourth major release of one of the most advanced mobile operating systems. There are more than 100 new features, including multitasking, unified inbox, a version of Reader” iBooks “to” iPhone “with access to iBookstore, – told Head of “Apple”.
Multitasking – one of the most anticipated features for the new “iPhone”: now all running applications (or rather, their icons) are visible at the bottom of the screen (both on 4 icons, but when you scroll through the entire list is given). To avoid “overheating” processor, services programs in this version will work in the background, for example, against the background of any other application will be transmitted audio stream, VoIP, Geolocation. In addition, in order not to drain the battery, inactive applications will go into sleep mode.
Icons on the screen smartphone in the new iPhone OS 4.0 can organize into folders, unified mailbox denotes the ability to store incoming messages from all mail accounts in one inbox. IBooks, which works on the tablet of the company, will now also implemented for the smartphone.
Separately, the head of the company told about a new advertising platform, “iAd”, which will allow third-party application developers to earn money on advertising.
But the full use of all the new features of the platform, users can only iPhone 3GS and iPod touch the third generation. All previous models will be stripped-down version.
Recall, on Saturday, April 4, began selling tablet iPad in the U.S.. During the first day, according to the company, has sold nearly 300 thousand devices.
That’s all! Pretty crazy update, actually. We’ll be filling out coverage throughout the day with more careful examinations of the new features. You can also check out Apple’s official 4.0 page if you like, or watch the keynote. (Apple Previews iPhone OS 4)
• Source(s): Apple Inc.

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07
Apr
10

iPad has Wi-Fi problems, some users say

NEWS
iPad has Wi-Fi problems, some users say

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

While the Apple Inc. enjoyed the successful launch of iPad, its users complained about the iPad’s inability to maintain a full, steady Wi-Fi connection, according to U.S. media reports Wednesday.

On Apple’s technical support Web site, some users say they are unable to join their networks at all after their iPads come out of standby; others cannot seem to get a signal unless they stand very close to their wireless routers; some users say laying the iPad on a flat surface exacerbates the problem.

One of users complained: “I have also noticed very weak wifi signal in my 16GB iPad. Even when standing in front of the wlan router the signal fluctuates from strong to very weak. The router has very strong signals as every other computer here has full signal strength, even 20-30 meters from the router.”
On Monday, Apple announced that it sold over 700,000 iPads on Saturday, meanwhile the company pointed out the “occasional problems” that included weak Wi-Fi connections or not being able to find a signal.

Apple said that dual-band Wi-Fi routers that support both the 5GHz and 2.4GHz protocols were a particular problem. Apple recommends splitting dual-band routers in to two separate networks with different names but the same security settings.

“Under certain conditions, iPad may not automatically rejoin a known Wi-Fi network after restart or waking from sleep. This can occur with some third-party Wi-Fi routers that are dual-band capable when: Using the same network name for each network, [or] Using different security settings for each network,” Apple wrote.

Featuring a small glass multi-touch screen, iPad is a lightweight, portable computer that wirelessly surfs the Web. It can display photos and videos, run apps and play games and movies.

• Source(s): Apple Inc. and Apple support forum
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05
Apr
10

Brand new iPad getting smashed by a baseball bat

NEWS
Brand new iPad getting smashed by a baseball bat

Monday, April 5, 2010

A video of a group of teenagers destroying a brand new iPad computer with a baseball bat has gone viral on YouTube.

The video of the smashing of the $499 device outside a Best Buy store in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Saturday has attracted more than 280,000 views on the video-sharing site.

The Los Angeles Times caught up with Justin Kockott, the 19-year-old high school student who made the video titled Brand new iPad getting smashed by a baseball bat.

“I wanted to be the first one to do it before other people did it,” Kockott told the newspaper.

“It was just something to do.

“I knew some people would hate it, but I didn’t think that many people would hate it,” he said.

“A lot of people are leaving really bad comments (in the YouTube comments section).”

Kockott told the Times he did not have anything against Apple and had actually bought two other iPads.

“I do not at all hate Apple. I love Apple, actually,” he said.
Apple announced Monday morning that it had sold more than 300,000 iPads on Saturday, the first day they were commercially available. Users also downloaded more than 1 million apps for the device and a quarter of a million e-books.

“It feels great to have the iPad launched into the world – it’s going to be a game-changer,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, in a statement. “IPad users, on average, downloaded more than three apps and close to one book within hours of unpacking their new iPad.”

The sales figure was in line with some estimates over the weekend, including one from Piper Jaffrey’s Gene Munster, who guessed the company had sold between 600,000 and 700,000 units over the weekend (that is, including Sunday). The number Apple gave included pre-orders made online.

The second series of 3G-ready iPads debuts later this month.

In 2008, Apple sold one million iPhone 3G’s in the device’s first weekend. And in 2007, it took the company 74 days to sell one million of the original iPhones.

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02
Apr
10

Apple devotees countdown to iPad launch

NEWS
Apple devotees countdown to iPad launch

Friday, April 2, 2010

In 10 years of reviewing tech products for The New York Times, I’ve never seen a product as polarising as Apple’s iPad, which arrives in stores in the U.S. on Saturday.

“This device is laughably absurd,” goes a typical remark on a tech blog’s comments board. “How can they expect anyone to get serious computer work done without a mouse?”

“This truly is a magical revolution,” goes another. “I can’t imagine why anyone will want to go back to using a mouse and keyboard once they’ve experienced Apple’s visionary user interface!”

Those are some pretty confident critiques of the iPad – considering that their authors have never even tried it.

In any case, there’s a pattern to these assessments.

The haters tend to be techies; the fans tend to be regular people.

Therefore, no single write-up can serve both readerships adequately. There’s but one solution: Write separate reviews for these two audiences.

Read the first one if you’re a techie. (How do you know? Take this simple test. Do you use BitTorrent? Do you run Linux? Do you have more e-mail addresses than pants? You’re a techie.)

Read the second review if you’re anyone else.

Review for Techies

The Apple iPad is basically a gigantic iPod Touch.

It’s a half-inch-thick slab, all glass on top, aluminum on the back. Hardly any buttons at all — just a big Home button below the screen. It takes you to the Home screen full of apps, just as on an iPhone.

One model gets online only in Wi-Fi hot spots ($500 to $700, for storage capacities from 16 to 64 gigabytes). The other model can get online either using Wi-Fi or, when you’re out and about, using AT&T’s cellular network; that feature adds $130 to each price.

You operate the iPad by tapping and dragging on the glass with your fingers, just as on the iPhone. When the very glossy 9.7-inch screen is off, every fingerprint is grossly apparent.

There’s an e-book reader app, but it’s not going to rescue the newspaper and book industries (sorry, media pundits). The selection is puny (60,000 titles for now). You can’t read well in direct sunlight. At 1.5 pounds, the iPad gets heavy in your hand after awhile (the Kindle is 10 ounces). And you can’t read books from the Apple bookstore on any other machine — not even a Mac or iPhone.

When the iPad is upright, typing on the on-screen keyboard is a horrible experience; when the iPad is turned 90 degrees, the keyboard is just barely usable (because it’s bigger). A $70 keyboard dock will be available in April, but then you’re carting around two pieces.

At least Apple had the decency to give the iPad a really fast processor. Things open fast, scroll fast, load fast. Surfing the web is a heck of a lot better than on the tiny iPhone screen – first, because it’s so fast, and second, because you don’t have to do nearly as much zooming and panning.

But as any Slashdot.com reader can tell you, the iPad can’t play Flash video. Apple has this thing against Flash, the web’s most popular video format; says it’s buggy, it’s not secure and depletes the battery. Well, fine, but meanwhile, thousands of websites show up with empty white squares on the iPad – places where videos or animations are supposed to play.

YouTube, Vimeo, TED.com, CBS.com and some other sites are converting their videos to iPad/iPhone/Touch-compatible formats. But all the news sites and game sites still use Flash. It will probably be years before the rest of the web’s videos become iPad-viewable.

There’s no multitasking, either. It’s one app at a time, just like on the iPhone. Plus no U.S.B. jacks and no camera. Bye-bye, Skype video chats. You know Apple is just leaving stuff out for next year’s model.

The bottom line is that you can get a laptop for much less money – with a full keyboard, DVD drive, U.S.B. jacks, camera-card slot, camera, the works. Besides: If you’ve already got a laptop and a smartphone, who’s going to carry around a third machine?

Review for Everyone Else

The Apple iPad is basically a gigantic iPod Touch.

The simple act of making the multitouch screen bigger changes the whole experience. Maps become real maps, like the paper ones. Scrabble shows the whole board, without your having to zoom in and out. You see your email inbox and the open message simultaneously. Driving simulators fill more of your field of view, closer to a windshield than a keyhole.

The new iBooks e-reader app is filled with endearing grace notes. For example, when you turn a page, the animated page edge actually follows your finger’s position and speed as it curls, just like a paper page. Font, size and brightness controls appear when you tap. Tap a word to get a dictionary definition, bookmark your spot or look it up on Google or Wikipedia. There’s even a rotation-lock switch on the edge of the iPad so you can read in bed on your side without fear that the image will rotate.

If you have the cellular model, you can buy AT&T service so you can get online anywhere. (Cellular iPads aren’t available until next month.)

But how’s this for a rare deal from a cell company: there’s no contract. By tapping a button in Settings, you can order up a month of unlimited cellular internet service for $30. Or pay $15 for 250 megabytes of internet data; when it runs out, you can either buy another 250 megs, or just upgrade to the unlimited plan for the month. Either way, you can cancel and rejoin as often as you want – just March, July and November, for example – without penalty. The other carriers are probably cursing AT&T’s name for setting this precedent.

The iPad’s killer app, though, is killer apps. Apple says that 150,000 existing iPhone apps run on the iPad. They either appear actual size – small and dead center on the screen – or, with a tap, doubled to fill the screen, a little blurry. Still, all the greats work this way: Dragon Dictation, Skype (even voice calls, through its speaker and microphone) and those gazillion games.

But the real fun begins when you try the apps that were specially designed for the iPad’s bigger screen. (When the iPad section of the App Store opens Saturday, it will start with 1,000 of them.)

That Scrabble app shows the whole board without your zooming or panning: a free companion app for your iPhone or Touch is called Tile Rack; it lets you fiddle with your letters in private, then flick them wirelessly onto the iPad’s screen. Newspaper apps will reproduce the layout, photos and colors of a real newspaper. The Marvel comic-book app is brilliant in its vividness and panel-by-panel navigation. (Oops, maybe that app belongs in the review for techies.)

Hulu.com, the web’s headquarters for free hit TV shows, won’t confirm the rumors that it’s working on an iPad app, but wow – can you imagine? A thin, flat, cordless, bottomless source of free, great TV shows, in your bag or on the bedside table?

Speaking of video: Apple asserts that the iPad runs 10 hours on a charge of its nonremovable battery – but we all know you can’t trust the manufacturer. And sure enough, in my own test, the iPad played movies continuously from 7:30 a.m. to 7:53 p.m. – more than 12 hours. That’s four times as long as a typical laptop or portable DVD player.

The iPad is so fast and light, the multitouch screen so bright and responsive, the software so easy to navigate, that it really does qualify as a new category of gadget. Some have suggested that it might make a good goof-proof computer for technophobes, the aged and the young; they’re absolutely right.

And the techies are right about another thing: the iPad is not a laptop. It’s not nearly as good for creating stuff. On the other hand, it’s infinitely more convenient for consuming it – books, music, video, photos, Web, e-mail and so on. For most people, manipulating these digital materials directly by touching them is a completely new experience – and a deeply satisfying one.

The bottom line is that the iPad has been designed and built by a bunch of perfectionists. If you like the concept, you’ll love the machine.

The only question is: Do you like the concept?

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