May 20 2010

Apple Opens International iPad App Store

In preparation for the international release of the iPad at the month, Apple is in the process of bringing the iPad App Store to customers outside of the United States. Previously, users had to download iPad apps through iTunes and then transfer them by sync, but with the changes, users will be able to browse and download apps from the iPad itself.

The iBooks application is still not available outside the US, though international users allegedly can use it by making a US iTunes account. Some analysts have said that there are some international readers with iPads.

Via USA News Week, image via Apple.

Apr 14 2010

Apple Postpones International Launch of iPad

Apple has postponed the international release of the iPad due to the extreme demand in the United States for the tablet device. Apple exceeded its own internal expectations for iPad sales, selling more than 500,000 during the first week of release. That’s pretty impressive. Some companies have suggested that Apple may sell as many as 7.1 million iPads in 2010.

Though Apple will face many iPad competitors this year, I am willing to bet that most competing tablets will not enjoy the successful sales that the iPad has enjoyed so far. There is simply a huge demand for the iPad, which is probably partly due to the hype and intense speculation before its announcement and release, and the chic factor that comes with most Apple products.

Apps for the iPad have also enjoyed a huge success. According to Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, on April 8 iPad users had downloaded 3.5 million iPad apps and 600,000 iBooks.

Via eWeek, image via Apple.

Apr 4 2010

Apple’s iPad Will be a Big Hit

I know, I know: I called the iPad “disappointing” when Apple first announced it on January 27 of this year. Since then, I have changed my mind. The iPad has really grown on me.

Today was the release day for the iPad that has only WiFi capabilities (the version with 3G is expected to be released later this month). I went to my local Apple store to interact with this amazing new device firsthand. The store itself was packed (see the photo below). Many people were there picking up iPads that they had pre-ordered (the Apple store had iPads in their boxes stacked at the Genius Bar—see the above photo). Others were there hoping to buy iPads that were pre-ordered but not picked up. And of course, almost everybody in the store was clustered around the eight or so iPads put out for customers to use.

I wedged my way into the crowd and quickly found an open iPad (see the photo below). The thing that struck me the most was its size: I had been expecting it to be bigger and heavier. For iPhone and iPod Touch users, its interface is refreshingly familiar. It basically looks and feels like a large iPhone. It has a lock button at the top that functions like the iPhone’s lock button—it puts the iPad into sleep mode. There is a switch on the right side that locks the iPad into either portrait or landscape orientation (like the iPhone, it can detect in which orientation you are holding it).

The home button takes you to the home screen, which has different icons to tap and also a pretty wallpaper background that you can change in the settings. The iPad can do some very amazing things with photos, which can be synced over when you plug it into your computer. There is a feature called Picture Frame that allows an iPad in locked mode to display photos like a dynamic picture frame. The Photos app is also unique: when you are looking at different albums, you can pinch an album with two fingers to see what photos are contained in said album.

Speaking of apps, the iPad comes with apps that will be familiar to iPhone users, and some that are not. For example, Apple’s iWork suite of applications (Apple’s answer to Microsoft Office) has been revamped and is available for the iPad. You can create and edit documents on the iPad and email them through the Mail application. Another iPad-specific app is the iBooks app, which gives you access to the e-reader feature of the iPad. You can buy from the store or read already purchased book from your library. (By the way, turning the pages is completely amazing: you flick your finger to the right or left and the page turns.)

Accessing the Internet on the iPad is easy. You use the Safari browser, which is very much like the one on the iPhone. Websites display pretty decently in general, with the exception of Adobe Flash content. I went to the Russian President’s website and an entire section at the bottom did not display because the content was Flash. Rest assured that most websites do seem to display pretty decently. The one complaint I had about the iPad version of Safari was its lack of tabbed browsing. You have to open new windows instead of tabs and I feel that on a device the size of the iPad, tabbed browsing is a necessity.

All in all, the iPad is a very good tablet computer. It’s not for everyone but for users looking for a reliable, portable device with more features than the iPhone, it is a good choice. The version without 3G is handicapped by its need of a WiFi connection to have Internet access, so I would not consider buying one until the one with 3G is released. Apple may have created a revolution in technology yet again.

Mar 22 2010

Amazon Introduces Kindle App for iPad

Amazon’s Kindle e-reader and Apple’s iPad are technically going to be competitors, but this hasn’t stopped Amazon from capitalizing off of the iPad by introducing a Kindle app. The app will offer more than 450,000 Kindle books and use Amazon’s Whispersync technology to synchronize the last page read with other compatible devices, such as an iPhone or a Kindle.

The app has been customized to the size and feel of the iPad and lets users customize the background color and font size, according to Amazon. The last page isn’t the only thing synced: bookmarks, notes, highlights, and annotations are also synced.

Amazon’s Kindle app will have a competitor in the form of a Barnes & Noble e-reader app. Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble make products whose sales could decline when the iPad is released.

In its announcement about the Kindle app, Amazon implied that the app would be available for tablet computers other than the iPad as well. It’s unclear right now what other tablets will get special Kindle apps.

Via PC World, image via PC World.

Mar 15 2010

Barnes & Noble Plans to Offer iPad App

Barnes & Noble is planning to offer an iPad app, which will give customers the option of buying online books from a source other than Apple’s iBook store. Barnes & Noble already makes eReader software for Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Blackberry. The app will provide access to more than one million e-books and periodicals from the eBookstore. Books purchased for the Nook, Barnes & Noble’s answer to Amazon’s Kindle, will be accessible through the iPad app.

Since Barnes & Noble plans to target the iPad, Amazon will probably do the same, though it also offers an e-reader. The strategy is sound: even if the iPad becomes the demise of e-readers, the companies will still make money through e-book sales.

Planned iPad competitors abound, as well as planned e-readers. Samsung and Dell have both said that they are planning to release e-readers, though the Samsung e-reader could potentially help Barnes & Noble because the two companies have agreed to partner with each other, with Barnes & Noble agreeing to offer its online store to users of Samsung’s e-reader.

Via InformationWeek, image via Barnes & Noble.

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