iNews Review

iPad vs. Anything Else, iPad 3G Teardown, Beat the Traffic App, Slim Bluetooth Keyboard, and More

This Week's iPad, iPhone, iPod, and Apple TV News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2010.05.10

Mac notebook and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review, and general Mac news is in Mac News Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News, Reviews, & Opinion

Apps & Services

Accessories

Protection

iPod Deals

These price trackers are updated every month.

News, Reviews, & Opinion

The iPad vs. Everything Else

Technologizer's Harry McCracken poses the rhetorical question: "Can Apple's much-hyped tablet replace your notebook, e-reader, smartphone, audio player, magazines, or gaming device?"

McCracken observes that it's a challenge to nail down precisely what the iPad is, noting that when compared with netbooks and full-featured notebooks, it doesn't run all Web apps, or print, or have a file system that lets you get to your documents in any app - shortcomings that would make the very concept of competing with PCs laughable were it not for the way its small size, touch interface, and impressive battery life make it one of the best devices ever built for consuming content of all kinds, from Web pages to books to feature films - ergo: a proverbial jack of all trades but master of none.

McCracken goes on to juxtapose:

  • The iPad vs. the PC
  • The iPad vs. the Kindle
  • The iPad vs. Magazines and Newspapers
  • The iPad vs. the BlackBerry
  • The iPad vs. the iPod
  • The iPad vs. Everything Else

iFixit iPad 3G Teardown

iPad 3G take apart by iFixitPR: We leisurely got into line around 4:40 today and were one of the first of 30 people to get an iPad 3G at our local Apple store! It's great not to have to fly across the world and wait overnight in line.

The iPad 3G definitely shows some interesting differences when compared to its WiFi-only sibling, mostly due to its additional 3G/GPS functionality. Check out the highlights below.

Highlights:

  • The immediate visible difference is the inclusion of a black plastic RF window on top of the iPad for better antenna reception.
  • The black RF window significantly changes the opening procedure. You cannot start separating the display using the notches on the top (a la WiFi version), since that will undoubtedly break the RF window. You have to start from the right side and gingerly proceed to the top and bottom of the iPad.
  • There are actually five antennas in this iPad:
    • Two antennas handle the cell reception - one is in the RF window on top, the other attaches to the LCD frame.
    • A single GPS antenna is also housed in the RF window on top.
    • Just like the iPad WiFi, there are two antennas that handle WiFi/Bluetooth connectivity, one in the Apple logo and another to the left of the dock connector.
    • You heard that right, folks: Apple looks to be using the entire LCD frame as an antenna!
  • Who would've thought: Apple uses the same 3G baseband processor in both the iPhone 3GS and the iPad 3G.
  • The baseband processor in question is the Infineon 337S3754 PMB 8878 X-Gold IC. It was actually white-labeled on the production unit, but with enough sleuthing we were able to confirm its true identity.
  • The iPad 3G has a Broadcom BCM4750UBG Single-Chip AGPS Solution, whereas the iPhone 3GS uses an Infineon Hammerhead II package. Big win for Broadcom!
  • Apple did not change any major suppliers between manufacturing the pre-production unit they provided the FCC and their final production run.

Kyle Wiens
iFixit CEO

AT&T Requires Home Address for iPad 3G Service

It seems that in order to register your iPad 3G with AT&T, you need a geographical home address, and neither P.O. boxes nor business addresses will be accepted as credit card billing addresses.

According to AT&T's Website

"Unfortunately, we cannot accept a post office box in place of your street address. A street address is required by Federal law to provide a geographic location for each wireless device that can be associated with the state, county, or city for tax purposes. In order to comply with the Mobile Telecommunications Sourcing Act (MTSA) of 2002, AT&T is required to capture and maintain a Place of Primary Use (PPU) address for all of its customers. PPU is defined as a valid street (physical) address within the defined licensed service area for the customer's home market. This address is used only for taxation purposes, not to determine if a customer can have an out of market secondary/additional line. In addition, we use your street address to reduce the risk of identity theft and fraud against you. Our Credit and Activations policy is to run credit only on a physical address. Customers can provide a post office box for their mailing address, but not for billing or place of primary use. A post office box may be entered after the activation process has been approved. The billing zip code you provide us needs to match the zip code on your credit card. Our Credit and Activations policy matches the billing zip with the zip on your credit card as a way to reduce the risk of identity theft and fraud."

16 GB Most Popular 3G iPad

AppleInsider's Katie Marsal reports:

"A survey of customers in line to buy a 3G iPad in New York on Friday found that more than half planned to purchase the least expensive 16 GB model, starting at $629, and almost none planned to have the iPad replace their traditional computer...."

One Month with the iPad: It's Here to Stay

PC Mag's Michael J. Miller says:

"It's now been a month since the iPad came out, and Apple says it has sold over 1 million of the devices....

"But the biggest question for me remains: Does the tablet form factor really have staying power for a large audience? Even though I don't see it as a replacement for a notebook computer, the more I use the iPad, the more I'm convinced that the tablet is here to stay."

However, he concedes that life with the iPad isn't entirely sweetness and light.

Why the iPad Won't Change Anything

Seeking Alpha's Dean Bubley says:

"...I believe that the iPad is a side-show, albeit a glamorous one. I also have extremely grave doubts about the mass market viability of next-generation tablets....

"....[Steve] Jobs clearly believes that people will want a fully-open computer as well as at least one locked-down device. How many Macs would he sell, if he prohibited them from running Flash? Or only allowed apps or content that had been vetted by his censorship team? Or restricted the use of external media like SD cards?

"....to claim (as some people do) that it either:

  1. renders netbooks and laptops obsolete, or
  2. heralds a mass switch-over from print media

sounds ridiculous to me.

"I definitely want a full suite of native applications as well, which I choose and install myself, not subject to the vagaries of Apple's appstore. I cannot imagine myself with an iPad writing this - with my email, streaming music, Skype and Yahoo Messenger running in the background, working on a number of office files as well....

"There are some fascinating niches . . . But I cannot see them replacing PCs (or Macs or netbooks), nor making a meaningful dent in the consumption of newspapers or magazines."

Lack of Flash Cripples iPad as Travel Device

The Mac Observer's Dave Hamilton says:

"Based on Steve Jobs' open letter today, I can say with near-certainty that neither the iPhone nor the iPad will ever support Adobe Flash in any way, shape or form. I now know that, and it's good to hear it clearly and directly from Apple.

"But it doesn't mean I agree with it - at least not yet. I've been an iPhone user for two years, and never once did I miss having Flash on that device. However, it took just two weeks with the iPad for me to miss it there. To read Steve Jobs lump both together as 'mobile devices' is lazy and inaccurate (or more probably just marketing speak). The iPhone, definitely, but the iPad is more than that: it has the potential to be an über-portable computer and, in many ways, it already is."

Jon Stewart Sticks Up for Gizmodo, Calls Apple 'Appholes'

On Wednesday's The Daily Show, self-avowed Apple fan Jon Stewart weighed regarding Gizmodo's iPhone exclusive and the subsequent police raid on Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home. Speaking directly to Apple and Steve Jobs, Stewart held forth in the vein of "Microsoft was supposed to be the evil one, but now Apple is busting down doors in Palo Alto while Bill Gates rids the world of mosquitoes.

Printing from Your iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad

"To get files, photos, and other content off your device, turn to a third-party app.," says Macworld's Jeff Merron, observing that:

"Printing from your iPhone, iPod touch, and now your iPad shouldn't be difficult, but it is. Think about it: all three mobile devices have built-in WiFi connectivity, meaning that from the start its designers saw the device being part of a network, whether it was a home wireless setup or one that you connect to while visiting a café. The iPhone and iPod touch also come with a set of built-in apps - Mail, Photos, Notes, and Safari - that would, on a desktop, feature a Print option as a matter of course. Yet these apps, considered so crucial to the iPhone OS experience that you cannot delete them, do not allow you to print."

So if the inelegant workaround of emailing the document or image you want to print to your real computer doesn't cut it for you, Merron suggests checking out some third-party apps designed specifically for printing from your iPhone.

Opera Acquires FastMail.fm

PR: Opera Software announced that it has acquired Web-based email provider FastMail.fm. The acquisition will enable Opera to expand its current messaging product portfolio and deliver cross-platform messaging to a wide range of devices, including computers, mobile phones, TVs and gaming consoles.

Headquartered in Australia, FastMail.fm has forged a reputation for responsiveness and reliability. The company already offers some of the most advanced Web-based email platforms for consumers and small business customers. It has been lauded for its approach to security, focus on innovation, and support for open, interoperable standards.

Since the release of Opera 4 in 2000, Opera's desktop browser has included its own email client module. Following this acquisition, Opera will be able to offer a consistent email experience across all products. Opera currently has more than 50 million users of its desktop browser and more than 55 million users of Opera Mini, a mobile Web browser that works on almost all handsets available today including the iPhone.

Opera says that the newest generation of Web users will discover the Web through a mobile device, and that having world-class messaging capability alongside a rich and compelling Web experience is essential. By combining forces, Opera and FastMail.fm can offer messaging on any device, enhancing the value Opera provides to consumers, while assisting Opera's operator partners in reducing customer churn, according to Rolf Assev, Chief Strategy Officer, Opera Software.

Link: Opera Acquires FastMail.fm

Apps & Services

Beat the Traffic iPad App Reaches Top of the Charts

PR: Beat the Traffic's brand new application for the iPad, Beat the Traffic HD, hits the App Store and rapidly reaches position number 3 of the top free applications available for the device.

Beat the Traffic HD is a Best in Class application that already earned its place as one of the Featured Apps

The number of downloads skyrocketed since the release date of April 27th, reaching over 40,000 downloads in less than 4 days.

Beat the Traffic for iPadPatented Beat the Traffic forecasting technology allows users to preview traffic conditions 20 minutes to 2 hours ahead and select the best time to leave

Beat the Traffic HD enables commuters to check up-to-the-minute live traffic maps in their area, along with detailed incidents information and accurate traffic predictions. The App leverages the device's location capabilities to center the information on the user's vicinity, yet other cities can be browsed and searched as well. The innovative software also provides access to real-time traffic camera pictures from 34 of the top US and Canada cities. Wherever available, live camera snapshot images are useful to view traffic conditions at selected points along your route.

"Our Beat the Traffic HD App is a Best in Class application that already earned its place as one of the Featured Apps," says Andre Gueziec, C.E.O. and founder of Beat the Traffic. "The number of downloads skyrocketed since the release date of April 27th, reaching over 40,000 downloads in less than 4 days. Our patented Traffic forecasting technology allows users to preview traffic conditions 20 minutes to 2 hours ahead and select the best time to leave."

With an already strong presence on the web via BeatTheTraffic.com, Beat the Traffic is making our innovative services available on the leading portable platforms. Along Beat the Traffic for BlackBerry and for iPhone, the iPad's Beat the Traffic HD App is the latest addition to the award-winning suite.

Beat the Traffic HD for iPad is available for free on the App Store. I used the same app on my iphone and I use it now on my new iPad. Great app, says Neoliteu, an iPad user.

New Catholic App: Rosary Gems for iPhone

PR: A new Catholic Rosary app, Rosary Gems, is now available in the App Store. The first of a series of Catholic apps, Rosary Gems is focused on elegance, beauty, and ease of use.

Features:

  • Beautiful, gently glowing gems that light up as you progress
  • No settings or configurations
  • One finger control allows you to keep your eyes shut
  • Hold your iPhone with one hand, and advance with a simple click
  • Find where you are in the Rosary with a simple glance if you need to
  • Easy one-button access to the Prayers that always shows the right Prayer
  • Easy one-button access to the Mysteries of the Rosary
  • Easy one-button access to the Promises of the Rosary
  • No pervasive art
  • A subtle, gently glowing interface that doesn't shine too brightly
  • Easy to go backwards, or to any place in the Rosary in one click
  • Encourages memorization of the Mysteries and Prayers

Try Rosary Gems at the App Store if you want a simple, elegant, digital Rosary to help you pray when you are on the go or at home.

Pimp Your Ride with Cars.tomizer Pro

PR: Independent iPhone's app developer, Emir F Samsuddin, has announced that Cars.tomizer Pro (pronounced as "customizer pro") is available for sale in the Apple's App Store. The app is created specifically for the iPhone and iPod touch platform, utilizing the touch interface.

Cars.tomizer Pro allows users to load a side photo of their own vehicle (either left or right side) and add parts to it. All the parts are fully customizable in the sense that users can reposition, mirror, resize and rotate them. Users can add wheels, brake systems, side skirts, rear wing, and decals to their vehicles.

In the latest version, Cars.tomizer Pro has been added with better quality parts. The most recent major addition to Cars.tomizer Pro is the In-App Vehicles library where users can choose vehicles from inside the app itself to customize. So, practically anyone can customize a vehicle with Cars.tomizer Pro!

The best feature is the ability to paint the parts such as the side skirts, rear wing and brake calipers so that they match to your vehicle color. For In-App Vehicles, you can paint the vehicles from whole range of colors. Cars.tomizer Pro will be continuously added with more parts and more vehicles in the future updates.

Device Requirements:

  • iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
  • Requires iPhone OS 2.2.1 or later
  • 7.4 MB

Cars.tomizer Pro 1.2 is priced at $1.99. It is available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Utilities/Entertainment category. For those who would like to try the app's capability first, there is also a free version of this app called Cars.tomizer Lite, but with very few parts and vehicles and some functions are not included.

Engine Sound Off! for iPhone: A Fun World-First Driving Simulator

PR: AppKitchen, a collective of developers and car fans based in New Zealand and the UK, announces the launch of Engine Sound Off! 1.0 for iPhone and iPod touch. Engine Sound Off! pioneers a new generation of driving simulator games. The players' individual car engine sound is uploaded seamlessly into the driving simulator, giving them a more user-generated experience than ever before available. Engine Sound Off! also scores the uploaded engine sounds that the car fan can share and also compete online for prizes.

For car enthusiasts, the sound of an engine can literally make the hairs on the back of their necks stand up. All major car brands recognise this by tasking their engineers to fine-tune an engines tone and volume (most recently seen with the Ferrari 599 GTB). This passionate car enthusiast community is not small - a web search for 'sports car clubs' currently brings 55.3 million unique results. Engine Sound Off! is for car fans looking for a fun, neutral method to rate engine sounds, and simulate driving their actual car without turning the ignition. An absolute must-have for all car enthusiasts:

  • World First: 'Engine Sound Off!' instantly rates the Sound of any car engine. Sound engineers were included at an early stage of development to assess the iPhone's recording capability and microphone sensitivity. "Each car engine sings its own song based on its type and capacity. We found that we could assess any engine against the expectations for that specific engine type, make and fuel type" Chris Young, Sound Engineer Consultant for Engine Sound Off!
  • World First: 'Engine Sound Off!' simulates driving any car engine. Chris Baxter, Engine Sound Off Developer, "In the real world the acceleration, rpm range and power delivery characteristics are quite different from car to car and if you look closely in the simulator you'll find that too. So the way the simulator drives, as well as sounds, should be familiar". The simulator is just as fun when you upload a dog barking, or a child's laughter or just about anything else! It turns out that the waveform manipulation used to simulate realistic engine sounds can create very strange manipulations of non-engine sounds!
  • Realistic and Fun! Engine Sound Off! is the only accelerometer based driving simulator that lets you accelerate, change gears and brake! The simulator has a lot of hidden touches, including using the gear shift sound from a Dodge Viper, and the menu button 'click' is actually the seat belt clicking sound from an Aston Martin Vantage.
  • $500 Cash Prize! Drawn June 6. A competition is being run to celebrate the launch of Engine Sound Off! to be drawn 6 June.

Features Highlights:

  • World's First app to record your engine sound and turn it into a driving simulator
  • Calibrated for 50 car brands, including Ferrari, BMW and Chevrolet
  • 29 engine types from V8 to 4 cylinder turbo diesel
  • Simulator features manual gear changing, braking, speedometer and tachometer display, and realistic rpm limits for your engine type
  • In the simulator, tilt your iPhone forward to accelerate
  • Highly sophisticated engineering techniques to rate the sound quality of any engine
  • Includes a Decibel Meter with a display range of 0 dB to 120 dB
  • Your recordings and ratings can be shared with your friends
  • Free entry to the Global Grid online to compete against other players

Device Requirements:

  • iPhone, iPod touch (2nd generation), and iPad
  • Requires iPhone OS 3.1 or later
  • 7.2 MB

Engine Sound Off! 1.0 is $1.99 (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Entertainment category. Promo codes are available upon request. Let us know who you represent, and your deadline when making your request and we'll be in touch ASAP. Feature walkthrough video to be available 5 May.

Accessories

Marware SportGrip Pro for iPad Shipping

PR: Marware Inc. announces that the SportGrip Pro for iPad is now shipping. The SportGrip Pro for iPad is a dual-layered silicone skin that not only provides soft protection for the iPad, but also a convenient grip solution as well. The inner layer of silicone provides thin rear and side protection, while the outer layer of silicone offers design appeal, additional protection for the back and corners of the iPad, and a convenient hand pocket.

Marware SportGrip Pro for iPadSimply slide your hand between both layers of silicone, and you can keep a firm, stable grip on your iPad while using the touchscreen. With its dual layered design, the SportGrip Pro helps you minimize the chance of dropping your iPad. The SportGrip Pro also comes with Marware's Lifetime Warranty.

Features:

  • Snug, dual-layered silicone with innovative grip solution
  • Inner layer of silicone offers thin profile protection
  • Outer layer of silicone offers additional back and corner protection
  • Hand slides between layers for improved grip and handling
  • Includes: Silicone skin

The SportGrip Pro is available in black, white, blue, and pink. The SportGrip Pro retails for $39.99. For more information about the SportGrip Pro, please visit Marware online. Marware is a leading provider of software and eco-conscious accessory solutions for Apple iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Notebooks.

Brando Slim Bluetooth Keyboard

Brando Slim Bluetooth Keyboard with iPhonePR: This slim keyboard is a Bluetooth enabled keyboard. Its portable and slim design can be used for travel, school, or any other working environment with a Bluetooth enabled laptop, PC, Windows Mobile, and iPad.

Features:

  • 52 keys
  • Slim body that save working place
  • On/Off button
  • Built-in rechargeable battery
  • Wireless Bluetooth transfer
  • Works in iPad
  • Compatible with Symbian S60, Mac OS, Windows Mobile, Window 7/Vista/XP/2000
  • Dimensions: 112 x 61 x 13 (approx.)
  • Weight: 70g

Price: $37

Elemente's Hohrizontal 51 Wooden iPhone/iPod touch Shelf/Dock

PR: This Spartan shelf contains all your traditional essentials and little else. Speakers, dock, auxiliary out - that's about it, with the caveat being it's also a wood shelf capable of supporting about 55 pounds.

Hohrizontal 51 iPhone/iPod shelf/dock/speaker systemFinite Elemente's Hohrizontal 51 (correct spelling) is a wooden iPhone/iPod touch shelf/dock that lets you enjoy music, images, and videos from an iPod or iPhone in an elegant manner, albeit at a price of entry pegged at $660. It's claimed to offer powerful bass and room-filling sound from the integrated sound system with full connectivity, plus you can connect your Hohrizontal 51 to your TV or plug your computer in.

Then with the supplied remote control you can cool out with your favourite movies, videos, and TV shows all with first class Hi-Fi quality.

iPad, iPhone, iPod Dock Extender Cable Clearance Sale on Whites - $10 Off

PR: We've gotten overloaded with white Dock Extender Cable inventory and need to free up some space. At $10 off, the white 2-foot is now $15.95, the white 6-foot is now $21.95. Same great cables, really awesome prices.

Dock Extender CableDock your iPad, iPhone, or iPod from a distance. This male to female cable with 30-pin connectors is compatible with all iPad, iPhone, and iPod models. Choose black or white, in 2 or 6-foot lengths.

The Dock Extender Cable provides a connection for everything except S-video output, component video, and audio in for recording. It is constructed from high quality wire for for superior audio quality and speedy data transfer.

Need another length? Check out the Custom Length Dock Extender Cable.

Price: $15.95

Protection

Caze Announces Zero 5 UltraThin Matte Case for iPhone 3G/3GS

PR: iPhone Caze has released Zero 5 UltraThin Matte case today, a new addition to its World's Thinnest transparent case for iPhone 3GS/3G. Zero 5 is currently the thinnest case for iPhone with wall thickness of 0.5mm. Clear and Black (Smoke) was available when it was released in 2008. Matte Black is a new member of its Zero 5 family and it comes with an iPhone stand and two screen protectors.

Zero 5 is currently the World's Thinnest protective case for iPhone 3GS/3G, featuring a maximum thickness of 0.5mm. It's so thin and light weight, it's almost unnoticeable when installed. This ultra-thin case is especially suitable for users who wish to show the original iPhone outlook and shape while receiving the best protection. Zero 5 is purposely designed to increase the protection by extending the shell to wrap around the chrome edges and corners of an iPhone.

Customers who buy this product will get a Wallet size iPhone stand, a Mirror Screen Protector and an Anti-FingerPrint Screen Protector for free.

iPhone Caze designs and manufactures high quality, fashionable and unique iPhone cases for iPhone 3G/3GS in a wide assortment of styles and colors. iPhone Caze offers a variety of cases of different materials from leather, metallic, fabric, silicone to Swarovski crystal. Products will be shipped within 24 hours during weekday and 30 Days Money Back Guarantee is provided.

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