iNews Review

Apple #1 in Mobile PCs, HP Exits Tablet Market, HP TouchPad Makes a Cheap Repair Manual, and More

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

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2011.08.29

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

The Competition

Apps & Services

Accessories

Presentation & Protection

iPod Deals

These price trackers are updated every month.

News, Reviews, & Opinion

Apple Retakes Top Mobile PC Market Share Position from HP

PR: Apple shipped over 13.5 million mobile PCs in Q211, racking up an impressive 136% year-over-year (Y/Y) shipment growth and overtaking HP for the top spot, according to preliminary results from the latest DisplaySearch Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report. Nearly 80% of Apple's mobile PC shipments were iPads, which reached over 10.7 million units, for 107% Y/Y growth. Apple's total mobile PC shipments (notebook and tablet PCs) were a substantial 3.9 million units more than HP's nearly 9.7 million units for the quarter.

From a category perspective, DisplaySearch notes that tablet PCs continue to be the engine of growth for the mobile PC industry, with shipments up nearly 70% quarter-over-quarter (Q/Q) and over 400% year-over-year with nearly 16.4 million units shipped in Q211.

Top 5 Mobile PCs

Notebook PC shipments were down 2% Q/Q but up 2% Y/Y with nearly 48 million units shipped in Q211. A consumer notebook PC adoption slowdown continues to hold back the industry following a 2% Y/Y drop in shipments in Q111. Worldwide mobile PC shipments (including notebook and tablet PCs) reached 64.4 million in Q211, up 10% Q/Q and 28% Y/Y. Among the top five players, Acer experienced the largest decline in shipment growth. Acer's shipment growth declined in Q211, falling 4% Q/Q and 12% Y/Y.

In the notebook PC category, Samsung and Dell had the fastest shipment growth, up 44% and 33% Y/Y, respectively. Dell was also up Q/Q with 27% shipment growth, as it continues to take advantage of a rebound in commercial market PC shipments. Samsung's shipments fell 16% Q/Q as it was unable to build off of strong shipment results in EMEA and China. Still Samsung was able to top Q111 shipment levels in North America and Asia Pacific.

"Preliminary results show a second consecutive quarter of Y/Y shipment growth rate decline," says Richard Shim, Senior Analyst for DisplaySearch. "While part of the Y/Y decline can be attributed to a strong first half of 2010, the rising tablet PC shipment growth rate begins to point to notebook PC shipment cannibalization."

Tablet PC shipment results show that even after removing Apple from growth rate calculations, worldwide Y/Y tablet PC shipment growth reached 25%, and shipments of non-Apple tablets reached over 5.6 million units for the quarter.

The DisplaySearch Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report covers the entire range of mobile PC products shipped worldwide and regionally. With analysis of global and regional brands, the Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report provides an objective, expert view of the market with insight into historical shipments, revenues, forecasts and more.

For more information about the report, contact Charles Camaroto at 1.888.436.7673 or 1.516.625.2452, email contact(at)displaysearch(dot)com or contact your regional DisplaySearch office in China, Japan, Korea or Taiwan or more information.

HP Exits Tablet Business, Good or Bad for Others?

The Globe and Mail's Iain Marlow observes that Hewlett-Packard Co. killing its TouchPad tablet computer less than two months after launch is one of the fastest product culls in high-tech history,* the significance of which was blurred by corporate turmoil as HP announced a reorganization that is expected to include a spinoff of the world's largest personal computer division, and that HP's swift obliteration of its tablet effort and discontinuation of its mobile operating system, webOS, is bellwether of what confronts PC makers hoping to challenge Apple Inc. and its iPad. Marlow notes that, according to Toronto-based consultants Solutions Research Group, nine out of 10 tablets sold in Canada are iPads, and observes that what with Research In Motion Ltd.'s botched launch of its 7" BlackBerry PlayBook tablet (released April 19, 2011), a new reality in the category is that companies that do best will be those that launch products with an established software system, like Apple's iOS or Google's Android.

Marlow reports that a glimmer of hope for beleaguered Apple competitors is found in RBC Dominion Securities forecast that Apple's tablet dominance will erode from nearly 90% in 2010 to roughly 35% in 2014, as more devices running Android and Microsoft's Windows Phone 7, as well as proprietary systems such as QNX, which powers RIM's PlayBook platform, gain market traction.

* Publisher's note: One product line to beat that record was the Microsoft Kin smartphone, which was only on the market for 48 days. The HP TouchPad lasted 49 days (July 1 to August 18, 2011) from first release until it was discontinued. dk

iSuppli Survey Says Consumers Like iPad Best

PR: More than 80% of Apple owners rate their tablet as an 8 out of 10 or higher, reports IHS iSuppli senior manager, tablet and monitor research Rhoda Alexander.

Apple Inc. commands the highest satisfaction rating of all tablet sellers among US consumers - along with the vast majority of sales and a high degree of loyalty among owners - according to the new IHS iSuppli US Tablet Consumer Preference study from information and analysis provider IHS.

Likelihood to recommend tablet brand

To measure consumer satisfaction, US tablet owners surveyed were asked how likely they would be to recommend their tablet to friends or family members. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 0 indicating the owner would not recommend the device, 10 indicating the owner is very likely to recommend it, and 5 being neutral, iPad owners gave an average rating of 8.8 to their Apple iPads, the highest rating of all the 11 top-ranked brands mentioned by consumers surveyed. More than 80% of Apple owners rated their tablet at 8 or higher on the recommendation scale. Less than 1% gave a rating of less than 5.

A surprise finding was that China's Shenzhen Zenithink Technologies Co. Ltd. came in a close second at 8.75, although the overall sample for that model was comparatively small, while Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., with a much larger respondent sample, was third, scoring an average of 8.5.

Apple's competitors in the tablet market already are facing major challenges in offering products that can match the iPad's combination of optimized hardware, software, operating system, applications, content and app store. Now they are facing the reality that consumers in the key US market really love their iPads, with owners expressing satisfaction with Apple's products in a variety of key measures. Owners not only said they would be more likely to recommend the iPad than a competing product, they also indicated that they will look to Apple for future tablet purchases. With the iPad dominating tablet sales in the United States and worldwide, this high level of consumer satisfaction commanded by Apple represents a major barrier to entry for new competitors.

Apple's Advantage

Among US tablet owners surveyed, 79.2% indicated they owned an Apple-branded product that was either an iPad or iPad 2. A full 61% of the US owners surveyed said they would stick to the same brand for their next tablet purchase. More than half of owners indicated that they were considering a purchase, planning a purchase or would definitely purchase another tablet during the next 12 months.

These findings indicate that current owners are likely to continue buying iPad and iPad 2 devices in the future, helping Apple to maintain its market share advantage.

Among likely purchasers of tablets, more than 50% said they probably would buy an Apple-branded product. In this regard, Apple massively outperformed all the competition, with Dell Inc. coming in a distant second at just 11%.

This validates the IHS forecast that Apple will account for the majority of tablet sales through the year 2012, and that it will remain the top-ranked seller of such devices at least through the year 2015.

Media Tablet Forecast Increased as Apple's Dominance Grows

PR: IHS iSuppli's Rhoda Alexander says that capitalizing on its shrewd strategy, as well as its competitors' stumbles, Apple Inc. is set to increase its iPad shipments at a faster rate than previously expected in 2011 and beyond, causing the global media tablet market to exceed growth expectations during the next few years, according to data from the IHS iSuppli Display Materials & Systems Service, from information and analysis provider IHS.

Global Media Tablet Shipment Forecast

Global media tablet shipments now are expected to rise to 60 million units in 2011, up 245.9% from 17.4 million in 2010. The previous forecast issued in May predicted shipments of 58.9 million for 2011. The new figures will help propel media tablet shipments to 275.3 million units in 2015, compared to the previous forecast of 262.1 million.

"All the momentum in the media tablet market is with Apple right now," says Ms. Alexander, senior manager, tablet and monitor research for IHS. "The competition can't seem to field a product with the right combination of hardware, marketing, applications and content to match up with the iPad. Furthermore, Apple's patent litigation is serving to slow or complicate competitors entry into some key regional markets. With Apple lapping its competitors, many of whom are still struggling to get out of the starting gate, this remains a one-horse race."

The Big Apple

Apple will ship 44.2 million iPads in 2011, up from the previous forecast of 43.7 million. IHS lowered its forecast earlier this year in light of Apple's initial iPad 2 production and supply challenges. With those supply issues resolved, Apple's production now is firmly on track to meet the expected strong second-half 2011 demand.

IHS has also revised its iPad forecast upward, with shipments expected to reach 120.1 million units in 2015, up from the previous outlook of 97.9 million.

Apple is expected to account for 74% of media tablet shipments in 2011 and 43.6% in 2015. This compares to the previous forecast of 64% in 2011 and 32% in 2015.

IHS now believes Apple will account for the majority of tablet shipments through the year 2013, one year longer than the previous outlook.

The HP Way Out

While Apple has deftly played its hand in the media tablet market, its continued dominance also reflects the inability of competitors to mirror the iPad's success. As a result, IHS has reduced its shipment outlook for alternative tablets at the same time that the iPad forecast was adjusted.

The latest and most dramatic example of the struggles of Apple's tablet rivals came with Hewlett-Packard Co.'s announced exit from the tablet space and instead review opportunities to license its webOS software to others. The move came just 14 months after HP acquired Palm Inc., whose operating system served as the basis of HP's tablet product.

Makers of tablets using Android and other operating systems are encountering slower-than-expected sales for their products and facing other challenges, including lagging development of content and applications for their products.

Tablet Tactics in 2011

Other savvy moves by Apple in the tablet market in 2011 include its strong marketing and retail expansion not only in China but also other developing economies, as well as the continuing innovation of its tablet platform - a move that has allowed Apple to grab the headlines with reports of strong sales, new applications and compelling content.

Furthermore, Apple is still the only tablet player truly benefiting from peripheral advertising, with content providers promoting their iPad-enabled content. The iPad also has profited from being the early favorite in the education space, a factor that will help to boost sales during the third-quarter back-to-school season.

Finally, Apple is increasing its focus on information technology (IT) support staff, in response to growing interest in its products from corporate markets.

Feliz Navi-Pad

Apple's run of success is expected to continue though the fourth quarter, with the iPad once again shaping up to be the hot gift of the holiday season. The iPad's strongest competition may actually come from in-house, with the new iPhone expected to be rolled out this fall, rather than from any of its tablet competitors.

Coming Attractions

Apple's tablet sales are expected to get another boost sometime in the first quarter of 2012, with the introduction of the iPad 3 employing the high-resolution Retina display. IHS believes Apple may take a page from the iPhone handbook and offer both the second and third generations of the iPad for a period of time. This would allow Apple to compete on price using the iPad 2 while simultaneously differentiating based on innovation with its new-generation product.

Over the longer term, Apple will benefit from its diversified market strategy that markets the iPad to the consumer, education and corporate segments. This will allow Apple to mitigate the impact of seasonal sales swings in the consumer market.

The expansion into China also will boost iPad sales in the first quarter, during the Lunar New Year holiday season. With the first quarter normally a slow sales season outside of Asia, the China sales will serve to smooth out the normal first-quarter sales dip suffered by electronics makers following the Christmas selling season in the West.

Samsung Cites 2001: A Space Odyssey as 'Prior Art' Against iPad Design Patent

astronauts viewing tablets in 2001: A Space Odyssey
2001 astronauts viewing tablets.

The Foss Patents blog reports that Samsung has filed an opposition brief to Apple's motion for a preliminary injunction in the United States, and notes that one element of Samsung's defense strategy is the assertion that there's actually prior art for the iPad's general design in certain futuristic devices shown in sci-fi movies and TV series. Samsung has attached to their brief as an exhibit a still image taken from Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey showing two astronauts eating and at the same time using personal tablet computers. You can view a clip of the scene on YouTube.

Publisher's note: Several sites have since reported that the tablets seen in 2001 are not PCs, but simply viewing screens, more akin to TV sets than iPads. dk

Editor's note: The tablets, which I had forgotten despite having watched 2001 several times over the years, are indeed iPad-like with an overall rectangular shape, a dominant display screen, narrow borders, a predominately flat front surface, a flat back surface (evident because the tablets are lying flat on the table's surface), and a thin form factor.

When I first saw Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey back in 1969, I hadn't a clue about and virtually zero interest in computers, which I considered to be, when I thought about them at all (which wasn't often) something no more relevant to my life than, say, electron microscopes.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the movie, which was being heavily hyped among my teenage friends at the time. I didn't really understand what Kubrick and screenplay author Arthur C. Clarke were trying to say, but the visuals were unbelievably cool - better than any movie I had seen before.

Ten years ago, I posted a comprehensive retrospective on the film entitled Revisiting Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey In Its Eponymous Year. cm

'Liquid' Keyboard Could Revolutionize iPad Typing with Adaptive Layout

9 to 5 Mac's Jordan Kahn notes that if you were to attempt using the iPad's keyboard like a hardware keyboard, you would inevitably experience unintended key presses, a characteristic of these virtual 'boards that greatly slows down typing speed, since users are forced to not rest their fingers on the keyboard.

However, a new software keyboard concept developed by Christian Sax and Hannes Lau of Australia's University of Technology in Sydney called LiquidKeyboard aims to fix that and hopes to provide a truly adaptive typing experience on tablets in the near future.

Note that "liquid" in this instance refers to a conceptual metaphor rather than anything literally wet.

The video posted by 9 to 5 Mac explains all.

Quad-Core A6 Chip to Boost Speed and Battery Life of Next iPad

IDG News' Agam Shah reports that Apple's next iPad will be faster and more power-efficient, thanks to its new, quad-core A6 processor, but the new tablet may not be ready to ship until next June, according to industry analyst Linley Gwennap, who is cited suggesting that the A6 will likely be made by chip foundry company Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) rather than Apple's current A5 supplier Samsung, and likely won't be in production until the second quarter of 2012, which means the next iPad might not appear until June.

Gwennap thinks the A6 should should higher performance than the current dual-core A5 but with good battery life, thanks in part to TSMC's 28-nanometer manufacturing process as opposed to to the A5's a 40-nanometer process, making the A6 smaller and faster.

In-Stat: 65% of US Population Will Own a Smartphone and/or Tablet in 2015

PR: Video entertainment in the US now allows consumers to access more content, on more devices, and in more places, than ever before. In-Stat forecasts that within five years, over 200 million people in the US will own a smartphone and/or a tablet PC. This market trend will have a huge impact on how video entertainment is acquired and consumed.

"To track the use of mobile devices for entertainment purposes, In-Stat has introduced a unique research service called the US Multiscreen Video Database," says Keith Nissen, Research Director. "The US Multiscreen Video Database quantifies consumption and interaction with video entertainment on mobile devices both outside and inside the home. This new research complements that of the US Digital Entertainment Database, which tracks the rapidly evolving online/pay-TV video market."

The US Multiscreen Video Database is updated quarterly in Excel format and it quantifies:

  • Mobile device shipments
  • Mobile broadband subscriptions
  • Mobile video content and sources
  • Frequency of use
  • Primary devices being used
  • Location of use
  • Multiscreen forecasts including the adoption of social TV, device-to-device interworking, paid mobile apps/services, and advanced multiscreen network features In addition, the US Multiscreen Video Database is an invaluable trusted resource for market statistics and analysis.

Quarterly updates track key metrics and five-year forecasts indicating that by 2015:

  • 86% of smartphone/tablet users will view video on their mobile devices.
  • Nearly 60% of smartphone/tablet owners will also be viewing OTT video at home.
  • There will be nearly two smartphone/tablet owners per OTT household.
  • The average Apple household will have four Apple devices.
  • The average Google Android household will have over two Android devices.

McAfee Threats Report Shows Significant Growth for Android Malware

Report Shows Record Growth for Malware and Rootkits; Major Hacktivist Activity

PR: Computer security specialist McAfee has released the McAfee Threats Report: Second Quarter 2011, showing that the amount of malware targeted at Android devices jumped 76% since last quarter, to become the most attacked mobile operating system. 2011 has also resulted in the busiest ever first half-year in malware history, including a first-ever appearance of Mac fake AV and a significant uptick in rootkits, suggesting that McAfee's comprehensive malware zoo collection will reach a record 75 million samples by the years end.

"This year we've seen record-breaking numbers of malware, especially on mobile devices, where the uptick is in direct correlation to popularity," says Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs. "Overall attacks are becoming more stealth and more sophisticated, suggesting that we could see attacks that remain unnoticed for longer periods of time. High-profile hacktivist groups have also changed the landscape by drawing a line between attacks for personal gain and attacks meant to send a message."

The report also details specific activity shaping the way cybercriminals operate, such as cybercrime pricebooks that determine the going rate for large email address lists, and acts of hacktivism and cyberwar.

2011 on Track to Reach Record Malware Zoo

With an approximate 12 million unique samples for the first half of 2011, a 22% increase over 2010, this has been the busiest first half-year in malware history. With the addition of Q2's numbers, the grand total of total malware samples in McAfee's database has reached approximately 65 million, and McAfee researchers estimate that this Malware Zoo will reach at least 75 million samples by the years end.

Android Nabs Top Spot for Most Mobile Malware

With the vast amount of personal and business data now found on users mobile phones, mobile malware is steadily increasing, often mimicking the same code as PC-based threats. In the second quarter of 2011, Android OS-based malware surpassed Symbian OS for the most popular target for mobile malware developers. While Symbian OS and Java ME remain the most targeted to date, the rapid rise in Android malware in Q2 indicates that the platform could become an increasing target for cybercriminals' affecting everything from calendar apps, to comedy apps' to SMS messages' to a fake Angry Birds updates.

Fake Anti-Virus for Apple, Rootkits and Stealth Malware Reach New Terrain

There are more Mac users than ever before, and as organizations increasingly adopt Macs for business use, Apple now has become more a target for malware authors. Though historically the Apple platform has been unaffected by fake anti-virus (fake AV) software, activity in Q2 indicates that it is now being affected. Although this type of fake AV is the first of its kind, McAfee Labs does expect fake AV in general will drop off over time.

Another malware category that is demonstrating recent steady growth is stealth malware. The tactic of hiding malware in a rootkit is used by cybercriminals to make malware stealthier and more persistent, and has seen this type of attack gain in prominence over the past year, with high-profile attacks such as Stuxnet. Stealth malware has increased more rapidly in the last six months than in any previous period, up almost 38% over 2010.

Acts of Hacktivism and Cyberwar Make Their Mark

Acts of hacktivism, primarily from the groups Anonymous and LulzSec, were among some of the most prominent cyber news generators for Q2. The report details hacktivist activity from Q2, with at least 20 global attacks reported in Q2 alone, and with the majority allegedly at the hands of LulzSec. The report also outlines acts of cyberwar that occurred in Q2, including attacks on United States Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and an attack on South Koreas National Agricultural Cooperative Federation.

Email Black Market for Spammers

Though spam is still at historic low levels, due in part to the Rustock takedown, McAfee Labs still expects to see a sharp rise in activity over the coming months. A common method for cybercriminals to increase their volume of spam activity is to purchase a bulk list of emails in order to flood as much spam as possible to a widespread group of people. Whether its a botnet or a rental service, prices vary for such enterprises, often by location. For instance, in the United States, the going rate for 1 million emails is $25, whereas in England 1.5 million emails are worth $100.

For more information on trends related to hacktivism, cyberwar, web threats and malware, please download a full copy of the McAfee Threats Report: Second Quarter 2011.

Intertech to Deliver Free iOS 5 Webinar on Sept. 1

PR: Intertech will deliver a free webinar that covers changes for software developers with Apple's new iOS 5 release.

On September 1, 2011, Intertech will deliver a free Oxygen Blast technical seminar. Intertech Oxygen Blast seminars are free seminars that cover the essence of a topic, along with quick tips and other unique features of a technology.

In this Oxygen Blast, Intertech will be demonstrating some of the best new iPhone 5 features available including Storyboards, iCloud Persistence, Automatic Reference Counting (ARC), and Xcode / Instruments Enhancements. Prior Knowledge of iOS, Objective-C, and Xcode is required.

Here are the event details:

Title: What's New in iOS 5 for iPhone and iPad Developers
Date: 9/1/2011
Time: 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM CST
Format: Webinar
Registration URL: http://bit.ly/p7VTt9

Apple's iPod Dilemma

CNN Money's David Goldman observes that while Apple is setting records with its iPad and iPhone, its once paradigmatic iPod is sinking fast, with the company selling just 7.5 million iPods in its most recent quarter, the lowest volume since the fall of 2005, when the iPod was just four years old, with unit sales down 20% from a year ago and revenue dropping 15% (although nevertheless still bringing in $1.3 billion in sales over the past three months).

However, Goldman notes that iPod sales have been in a free-fall for the past three years, and the glory days appear to be over for the product that once delivered more revenue than Apple's Mac line and reached more than $9 billion in sales in 2008.

The Competition

iFixit Announces World's Cheapest Repair Manual: HP TouchPad

PR: When HP announced the TouchPad, we were excited. We enjoyed ripping apart the Palm Pre, but decided to wait until webOS caught on before taking apart the new TouchPad. Now that it is at the height of its popularity, its high time to pay the little-tablet-that-could-have-been-great some attention. Because if we don't, no one ever will, and that's sad. So without further ado - and before HP takes the TouchPad out behind the barn and shoots it - we're launching a full set of repair guides and a native iFixit webOS app!

HP TouchPadThe hundreds (possibly even single-digit-thousands?) of people who've spent their hard-earned money on a TouchPad are about to be joined with at least a few thousand more users. Rumor has it HP is sitting on excess stocks of 200,000 unsold units. To clear the excess stock - and drive the last nail into their stillborn child's coffin - HP just announced that the TouchPad will be sold for $99 this weekend.

So we have decided to repurpose the TouchPad as a dedicated repair manual. For $99, you could head down to AutoZone and buy a couple outdated service manuals. Or, for the same price, you can get a brand-new Touchpad and have all of iFixit at your fingertips. Imagine: the largest online service manual, always up to date, and completely portable. Your workshop might never be the same!

But it would be unconscionable for us to recommend you buy a tablet that has already been discontinued without a plan for making it last. Yes, the TouchPad is the cheapest repair manual the world has ever seen. But its also got a built-in battery with a finite life and a fragile glass screen. HP cut this machine off at the vine before it bloomed, and it would be insane to expect them to help you service it. Buy the TouchPad, and you're on your own. But we can help.

Fixing Your TouchPad

Tablet computers are the best moneymaking compromise the tech industry has ever seen: they combine raw computing power of a full-size PC with the discard-every-year-or-two promise of the cell phone in one tidy package. This allows the manufacturer (whether HP, Apple, or another) to effectively keep selling updated, high-profit tablet PCs to consumers at a steady rate.

Tablets are tidy black boxes that scream toss me at the first sign of trouble. And although they haven't been around that long time, were seeing the same disturbing disposability with tablets that were accustomed to with cell phones.

That's why it's so crucial to have repair guides for the TouchPad. Even though at a glance the tablet is a screen with a magic cover that just works, there's tons of repairable stuff to be found inside. If something breaks, you don't need to buy a new one - heck, you won't be able to. Instead, use our repair guides to fix it yourself! Keep one more device from joining the rest of its brethren in the landfill.

Opening the TouchPad

So you took our advice, rushed down to Best Buy, and bought a soon-to-be-defunct tablet. Well done! Now you can hop onto the webOS app store and download our app, thanks to a certain Ben Tattersley! Using our open API, he single-handedly created a free webOS application to display our guides. He did a bang-up job; the app is really quite good. Which is a shame, because most of you reading this will never know it. Yet the thriftiest 1% of you that do buy the TouchPad at fire-sale prices will get always-on access to thousands of iFixit guides. (There's no web link, because HP apparently never got around to it. But trust us - buy a TouchPad, tap the HP App Catalog icon, and search for iFixit.)

Tablets are the best way to use repair manuals: you can take them almost anywhere, their long battery life ensures you can make good progress on your repairs, and touch scrolling means you can navigate easily even with dirty hands.

We open source all our mobile apps. Ben set up a Github repository for the iFixit app, just in case you're interested in contributing to the code. Or not. Decide for yourself whether you want to join us in embracing a dead platform.

P.S. If you want to buy a tablet that you can use as something other than a repair manual, get an iPad. We've got a native app for it, too.

RIM Gets Into Music Sharing with $5 per Month BBM Music

The Globe and Mail's Omar El Akkad reports that BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion Ltd. is launching a music-sharing service aimed at boosting its sagging fortunes in the consumer smart phone market and capitalizing on the runaway success of BlackBerry Messenger.

El Akkad says RIM will launch the public beta version of BBM Music on Thursday in Canada, Britain, and the United States, preceding a full launch in 15 countries before year-end. The service will be essentially a BlackBerry-based music rental service, with a heavy social component, and El Akkad reports that RIM has negotiated deals with with several major record labels that will allow BBM Music users to pay a monthly subscription fee ($5 in the US) for access to a catalogue of roughly 10 million songs from which they'll be able to pick 50 titles for a personal playlist, and swap up to 25 songs in and out of that list every month.

ThinkPad Tablet Goes on Sale

ThinkPad TabletPR: Lenovo has announced that the ThinkPad Tablet, the company's first business-class Android-based tablet, is now available for sale through Lenovo's network of US business partners and online' with models starting at $499. Additionally, Seton Hall University will be the first educational institution to deploy the ThinkPad Tablet when 350 students begin using it this fall.

Lenovo contends that unlike other tablets on the market, the 10.1" Android 3.1 ThinkPad Tablet lets business users do more right out of the box, from working productively and securely to enjoying first-class entertainment features during downtime.

"The ThinkPad Tablet gives mobile professionals the most intuitive user experience available on a tablet today, thanks to its unique pen-based handwriting recognition technology," says Dilip Bhatia, vice president and general manager, ThinkPad Business Unit, Lenovo. "We wanted to replicate the way people work naturally with pen and paper by allowing them to digitally write, draw and create content while also optimizing the ThinkPad Tablet for business with a layered security solution and full IT management."

Android Dressed for Business & Academics

ThinkPad TabletLenovo claims that this is the first true business-friendly tablet, and users can expect the same reliable and productive experience for which the ThinkPad brand is known. The ThinkPad Tablet caters to the extremely busy, mobile user with convenient features unlike competitor tablets for on the run computing, including an:

  • optional digitizer pen
  • full-size USB port
  • full-size SD card slot
  • mini-HDMI for connecting to external displays
  • keyboard folio case with optical TrackPoint

This fall, 350 students and faculty at Seton Hall University (South Orange, NJ) will put the ThinkPad Tablet to the test by using it inside and outside the classroom, taking advantage of the "true" pen experience, ActiveSync, IPS display and Gorilla Glass construction.

"As a long time partner with Lenovo as a ThinkPad University campus, were delighted to bring the ThinkPad Tablet to our students and faculty in the Sciences, Honors and the School of Business Leadership Program," says Stephen G. Landry, chief information officer, Seton Hall University. "This new technology represents the next evolution in Seton Hall University's Mobile Computing Program to use technology effectively to support teaching, learning and institutional effectiveness while keeping pace with technology that appeals to our students."

More than Apps, Supported by Business Tablet Ecosystem

The ThinkPad Tablet goes beyond delivering differentiated hardware features. It extends the business-class experience with productivity, security and manageability technologies and apps from more than a dozen partners. The ThinkPad Tablet provides access to more than 250,000 apps in the Android Market as well as the curated Lenovo App Shop, a fast track to the leading apps that are certified to work on Lenovo products and are malware free.

  • Productivity: With Documents to Go by DataViz, users can easily view and edit Microsoft Office documents while synchronizing with their desktops via USB or Bluetooth. The tablets pen and virtual desktop support via Citrix Receiver allows users to leverage their corporate tools without being in the office. Lenovo's SocialTouch app keeps track of email, calendar notices and more, and OoVoo makes video conferences easy by using the Tablets front-facing camera.
  • Security: Users and their data rest easy with the tablets layered security solutions, which include full encryption (including SD card), remote wipe and disable via Computrace to combat theft, and full VPN support.
  • Manageability: Good for Enterprise delivers secure corporate email, and IT managers can easily configure security and device settings with custom corporate preloads from Lenovo's Imaging Technology Center. The open API set allows for zero-touch deployment and management though LANDesk.

"CSC sees a rapidly growing market opportunity for an enterprise tablet device that will enrich our clients' experience with the cloud and provide the quality and highly secure standards that are required by today's dynamic businesses," says Nick Wilkinson, president, Market & Product Strategy, Managed Services Sector, CSC. "Lenovo has a proven track record of launching enterprise quality devices and we are excited to be working with the ThinkPad Tablet and expect to drive towards integration with our vertical specific services in the near future."

The ThinkPad Tablet is available starting immediately from business partners and on online. Pricing for the 16 GB model is $499 without the digitizer pen or $529 including the pen. Pricing for the 32 GB model with the digitizer pen is $599, and pricing for the 64 GB version with the pen is $699. Pricing for the optional keyboard portfolio case is $100.

ThinkPad Tablet Specifications:

  • Nvidia Tegra 2 Dual-Core 1 GHz processor
  • Android 3.1
  • 10.1 WXGA (1280 x 800) 16:10 IPS panel with Corning Gorilla Glass
  • Multitouch display with digitizer input (pen optional)
  • Starting at 1.65 lb.
  • Up to 8 hours battery life (with WiFi enabled)
  • Up to 64 GB storage
  • Bluetooth, WiFi and 3G connectivity
  • Native USB 2.0 and micro-USB ports, full-size SD card slot and mini-HDMI output

Apps & Services

4 Apps to Improve Car Service Record Keeping

Edmunds.com says:

"A growing number of iPhone apps are helping drivers keep better track of service and maintenance records for their cars, according to Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information.

"Not only do the apps keep users on top of their maintenance schedules, but they also keep tabs on operating costs, which helps car owners manage their automotive budgets more effectively.

"These new smartphone apps are offering a convenient alternative to the clutter of oil-stained paperwork that drivers packed into their gloveboxes for so many years, says Doug Newcomb, senior technology editor at Edmunds.com. Not only do the apps keep users on top of their maintenance schedules, but they also keep tabs on operating costs, which helps car owners manage their automotive budgets more effectively."

Edmunds.com tested and recommended four of these inexpensive apps, which range in price from $1.99 to $2.99:

  • Car Minder Plus ($2.99) - This app stands out by featuring all the essentials, including logging repairs, tracking fuel economy and keeping the maintenance records of multiple vehicles.
  • Car Care ($2.99) - The most impressive aspect of this app is Vehicle Stats, which gives comprehensive data including average and total fuel costs, fuel economy, service costs per mile and even the users carbon footprint
  • Car Maintenance ($1.99) - The app consists of bare-bones iPhone list menus, so there's essentially no learning curve. Enter the vehicle info: make, model, year, license, VIN and mileage and you're on your way.
  • AutoLog ($1.99) - Other apps require users to input only the basics, but this app is for the detail-oriented with inputs such as engine displacement, oil and oil filter preference, air filter preference and tire specifications.

To read Edmunds.coms full reviews of these car maintenance apps, visit iPhone Apps for Car Care.

Light It: The How-to Magazine for Studio Lighting and Off-camera Flash

PR: Light It: The How-To Magazine for Studio Lighting and Off-Camera Flash published by Scott Kelby, president and CEO of KelbyTraining.com and the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP), is now available in the App Store. To be published eight times a year as a digital magazine to be read on the iPad, Light It is written for both amateur and professional photographers.

Light It"The entire magazine is dedicated to just one topic: lighting. Were talking about off-camera flash, studio lighting, and how to use all the gear and accessories in studio and on location to help you create your best images," says Kelby, Light It editor-in-chief. Joining Scott Kelby as coeditor is Matt Kloskowski, a NAPP Photoshop Guy, Photoshop and Lightroom instructor, best-selling author, and weekly co-host with Kelby of The Grid, a podcast all about photography.

"Our goal was to create an iPad magazine that not only looks like a print magazine, but works the same way. It's clean. Simple. Intuitive. You don't need to learn how to read it. At the same time, we added the ability to go beyond print, with features like a double-tap to see any photo full size, and the ability to pinch to zoom-in to see a photo's detail. It works the way you'd think it would like a magazine. Only better," says Kelby.

KelbyTraining.com selected Aquafadas Digital Publishing System to produce Light It. Aquafadas tools let designers create fully interactive apps and content for iPad and iPhone by using the tools they are familiar with, Adobe InDesign and Quark XPress, and without requiring programming skills. The company also provides creative software for Flash, HTML5, photo and video editing, and is a leader in the digital comics market with AveComics, used by French and international publishers to publish comics to tablets and smartphones.

"We are very pleased Scott Kelby selected Aquafadas as his digital publishing partner, and very happy that the features of our AVE Publishing Tools are able to meet the exceptional demands of a magazine for creative professionals like Light It," says Claudia Zimmer, Aquafadas CEO.

Scott Kelby is the founder and president of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) the largest Photoshop training resource in the world with more than 71,000 members, and KelbyTraining.com, which offers online classes on photography, lighting and the Adobe Creative Suite. He is editor-in-chief of Photoshop User and Light It magazines and creator of KelbyTV.com where he hosts two top-rated weekly video podcasts PhotoshopUser TV and The Grid. He also serves as training director for Kelbytraining LIVE, the official Adobe Photoshop Seminar Tour, and is the technical chair of the Photoshop World Conference & Expo. In addition to being a Photoshop expert and photographer, Scott is also the worlds #1 best-selling author of all Photoshop and photography books.

For more information on Scott Kelby, visit his daily blog, The Photoshop Insider.

Camera PRO++ for iPad 2, a Powerful Camera App

PR: KenigArt has introduced Camera PRO++ for iPad 2 v1.0), their most powerful camera application for iPad 2 to date. Fully optimized for iPad 2, Camera PRO++ features a simple and easy HD interface with advanced photo optimization math algorithms and effects. Camera PRO++ includes 10 photo effects to make your photos awesome and nice looking. Make optimized photos directly from the application or load any image from the Photo Library/Album.

Camera PRO++Now taking better photos requires only 2 steps:

  1. Take photo with Camera PRO++ and its super math algorithm for photo improvements
  2. Add advanced PRO photo effects to your photos (10 photo effects included!).

Camera PRO++ Features:

  • Excellent camera application for you iPad 2
  • New photo algorithms and effects
  • Simple and easy HD interface is fully optimized for iPad 2
  • Advance photo optimization math algorithms
  • 10 photo effects to make your photos awesome and nice looking
  • Make optimized photos directly from application or load it from iPad Photo Library/Album
  • Save modified photos to iPad 2

All these incredible features you will get in our one awesome Camera PRO++ application.

Device Requirements:

  • Compatible with iPad and iPad 2
  • Requires iPhone OS 4.0 or later
  • 3.0 MB

Camera PRO++ for iPad 2 v1.0 is 99¢ (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Photography category.

VueScan Mobile Scanning App

VueScan MobilePR: Hamrick Software has announced that its VueScan Mobile App for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch is now available on the App Store. VueScan Mobile allows you to seamlessly scan documents and photos straight to your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch from any HP, Canon or Epson WiFi printer/scanner.

VueScan MobileVueScan Mobile uses the WiFi connection on your iOS device to find scanners connected to the same WiFi network. If the scanner has a document feeder, VueScan first checks to see if there is a document in the feeder, otherwise it scans from the flatbed.

In addition to sending via email and saving to the Photos App, VueScan Mobile allows you to save scanned images to your favorite iOS apps that can open PDF or JPEG files such as iBooks, Dropbox, GoodReader and Evernote.

VueScan Mobile"We are excited to bring VueScan Mobile to the App Store," says Ed Hamrick, President of Hamrick Software. The VueScan Mobile App makes scanning extremely convenient. Simply press the green Scan button and, in a few seconds, the document will appear on your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch."

System requirements:

  • Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
  • Requires iOS 4.0 or later.

The VueScan Mobile App 1.0.2 is available for $4.99 from the App Store on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. This app is designed for both iPhone and iPad.

Accessories

Logitech Unveils Fold-Up Keyboard and Joystick for iPad 2

Logitech Fold-Up Keyboard for iPad 2PR: Logitech has unveiled two new accessories that help you make the most of your tablet. The Logitech Fold-Up Keyboard for iPad 2 is the ideal tool for comfy, on-the-go typing, while the Logitech Joystick for iPad offers more accurate, immersive game play.

Logitech Fold-Up Keyboard for iPad 2Whether you're typing notes, emailing, or playing games, both devices can greatly extend flexibility when it comes to creating content or enjoying entertainment. Moving tablet use beyond the traditional touchpad strokes, both devices empower you to interact with your iPad more efficiently, extending your tablet experience into the world around you.

Logitech Fold-Up Keyboard for iPad 2"Many people are using tablets in ways that require more than fingertip scrolling, pointing and pressing on the touchpad," says Azmat Ali, Logitech vice president of mobile and tablet products. "Whether you're typing notes, emailing, or playing games, both devices greatly extend flexibility when it comes to creating content or enjoying entertainment.

Logitech Fold-Up Keyboard for iPad 2

Logitech Fold-Up Keyboard for iPad 2The Logitech Fold-Up Keyboard for iPad 2 is an ideal on-the-go solution. With a full-size, Bluetooth keyboard and stand, you simply open and type, and close and forget. Closed, the keyboard rests securely underneath your iPad 2. Open, it holds the tablet at an ideal angle for typing and taking notes. Unlike folio-style Bluetooth keyboards, the Logitech Fold-Up Keyboard for iPad 2 is full-sized for comfy typing. And it charges over USB, so you never need to worry about replacing batteries. The device wakes up and is ready to use as soon as its unfolded, and turns itself off automatically when folded to save battery power.

System Requirements: iPad 2

2-year limited hardware warranty

Logitech Joystick for iPad

Logitech Joystick for iPadThe Logitech Joystick for iPad makes a perfect gaming companion for your iPad or iPad 2. No one likes to lose a point or go down in defeat because their thumb misses the control area. The Logitech Joystick for iPad gives you a thumb-stick style game controller that you can use with just about any game with an onscreen joystick or d-pad. The device attaches to your iPad with suction cups that are easy to apply and easy to remove. And the coiled spring provides force feedback that automatically returns the joystick to the center position.

Logitech Joystick for iPadSystem Requirements: iPad or iPad 2

2-year limited hardware warranty

The Logitech Fold-Up Keyboard is expected to be available in the US and Europe beginning in September, for a suggested retail price of $129.99 . The Logitech Joystick is expected to be available in the US and Europe beginning in September, for a suggested retail price of $19.99 . Both are available for preorder at the Logitech Store and Amazon.com.

8x Telescope for iPad 2

PR: Want to turn your iPad 2 into superb stuff, a camera probably with the largest screen for instant check up, sharing? Now you have one more option.

This telescope has a superb 8x magnification that can help you to close up on any objects from afar by an 8 times factor.

It is a telescope with manual focus - just turning the ring in the front of the scope to get the clearest shot. It comes with a stand for mounting your iPad 2 to take pictures and movies.

8x Telescope with Hard Case for iPad 2Features:

  • Avoid the contortion of image
  • Detachable from the crystal case
  • Superb 8x magnification
  • Manual focus adjust (Fine Tune)
  • Comes with a stand for taking pictures and movies

Specifications:

  • 18mm objective lens diameter
  • 15° angle of view
  • Micro manual focus adjustment

8x Telescope with Hard Case for iPad 2This accessory is compatible with iPad 2

Notes:

  • to be shipped on/ before 24 September 2011
  • This is a fixed 8x optical Zoom lens, not a zoomable (0 ~ 8x) optical zoom.
  • if you purchase this item with other items, USB Fever reserves the right to ship all the items in one shipment

$39.99

Accepting pre-ordering, to be shipped on/before 24 Sept 2011.

Presentation & Protection

HexaPose UStand for iPads & 10" Tablets

HexaPose UStandPR: InnoPocket has just launched HexaPose UStand for Apple iPad 2/iPad and other 10" tablets. The HexaPose UStand is a universal stand made of solid aluminum with a chic design tailor-made for the iPad 2/ iPad original and other 10 tablets, made of solid aluminum with a chic design tailor-made for the iPad and other 10" tablets. It is a holder with supporting arms that grab various size tablets securely, and comes with a rotatable pivot which can allow you to freely rotate your iPad horizontally or vertically.

HexaPose UStandThe pivot can also be adjusted 3 ways for different viewing angles for surfing, reading, gaming, or movie viewing. It gives you more flexibility in how your tablet is displayed.

Features

  • Aesthetic, functional and secure stand for iPad 2/ iPad and other 10" tablets with or without a case or skin
  • Constructed from solid and strong aluminum
  • Extendable supporting arms with 8 rubber pads to hold iPad tight and secure
  • Hold iPad in either landscape or portrait for handsfree use
  • Multiple viewing angles for surfing, reading or movie viewing
  • Full access to iPad's dock connector for charging and syncing

$49.99

Take Your iPad 2 Everywhere with NuGuard GripStand 2/GripBase Bundle

PR: Newer Technology, Inc. (NewerTech) has announced the NuGuard GripStand 2/GripBase Bundle for iPad 2, a multi-use solution for the Apple iPad 2 to bring it everywhere you go - on the run, at your desk, or in the car.

NuGuard GripStand 2/GripBaseAvailable in black or white and affordably priced at $39.99 MSRP, the NuGuard GripStand 2/GripBase Bundle offers iPad 2 owners one of the most flexible and low-cost combinations of iPad 2 protection, portability, and viewing available on the market. The NuGuard GripStand 2/GripBase Bundle lets you comfortably use your iPad 2 while standing, walking, commuting, in school, at work, for sales calls, meetings, during lectures, in the library, at your desk, or in the car as an entertainment center.

The GripStand 2/GripBase Bundle includes:

  • Protective Hard Shell: the hard plastic shell, which fits seamlessly with Apple's Smart Cover, grips the iPad 2 snugly, enveloping it in a shock-absorbing inner rubber liner for maximum protection.
  • GripStand: the removable stand can be swiveled 360 and positioned at virtually any angle for viewing or typing wherever you want it.
  • One-Hand Grip Handle: the ergonomically designed GripStand handle lets you comfortably hold your iPad 2 while standing or walking. The grip/handle also lets you carry your iPad 2 just like a briefcase while traveling. When travel bag space is a consideration, just quickly twist the stand to remove it.
  • Hang the iPad on the Wall: the handle can be rotated to use as a hook to hang the iPad 2 on the wall in either landscape or portrait orientation for presentations or TV viewing.
  • GripBase Desktop Workstation Base: the GripBase turns your iPad 2 into a skid resistant desktop workstation with a sturdy base that is virtually impossible to knock over.
  • Car Nylon Strap: the nylon strap securely mounts your iPad 2 to a car headrest for easy viewing/listening of movies, music, or the Internet while in the car.

Bring Your iPad to School Without Fear of Damaging it

NuGuard GripStand 2With the protective qualities of the bundles case and the sturdiness of the dual purpose stand and hand grip, the NuGuard GripStand 2/GripBase Bundle is perfect for the growing use of the iPad in K-12, high school, and college educational environments where the iPad is subjected to unpredictable handling and movement. Schools have been increasing their use of the versatile iPad for a variety of classes and uses to assist education, including art, math, reading, apps, Internet research and more, said Larry O'Connor, Founder and CEO, Other World Computing (NewerTech's exclusive distributor). With the NewerTech NuGuard GripStand 2/GripBase Bundle, teachers and students alike wont have to worry about bringing their iPad into their everyday studies.

The NewerTech NuGuard GripStand 2/GripBase Bundle for iPad 2 is available immediately at $39.99 MSRP from NewerTech's exclusive distributor, Other World Computing (OWC), as well as through the retail channel. For more information on the NuGuard GripStand 2/GripBase Bundle and other NewerTech accessories for the Apple iPad, visit http://www.newertech.com/products/ipad.php

All-In-One Wallet for iPhone 4 Stores iPhone, I.D., and Credit Cards in One Place

Code WalletPR: HEX, tech accessories brand and division of seasoned fashion house August Accessories, has announced the launch of the Code, their carrying solution for iPhone 4. Each Code wallet has a custom molded phone bed for iPhone 4 with three useful card slots for credit cards, I.D. and cash, finished off with a protective flap to keep valuables disguised.

Code Wallet"The Code wallet conveys a level of sophistication with a sleek look, while offering users a convenient carrying solution for credit cards, I.D. and iPhone," says Dan Maravilla, Vice President of HEX. "We wanted to provide a slim design that would offer a unique yet high-fashion look, but still keep function and utility in mind. Instead of carrying everything separately, we've put it all in one place for quick access."

Made of genuine leather, the Code wallet comes in three brilliant color options; black, white and British tan. Each wallet stays securely fastened with an elastic closure and registers at just one-half inch thick, slimmer than a deck of playing cards.

Retailing for $49.95, the Code wallet transitions from a day-to-day wallet to a nighttime accessory that holds all the essentials needed while out.

Available now at ShopHEX.com and at Apple.com starting on Aug. 30, the Code joins HEX's debut collection of stylish bags and backpacks.

Element Case Vapor Pro 'Black Ops' Über-Cool iPhone 4 Case

Black Ops iPhone 4 CasePR: One hundred fifty bucks for an iPhone case? Element Case's Vapor Pro "Black Ops" Limited Edition Kit for all versions of iPhone 4 (CDMA and GSM) is claimed to be the most rugged, lightweight, and versatile iPhone case Element have ever made. This "field ready" case is designed take anything you can throw at it. And now it's available in an all black, limited edition kit for the Verizon and AT&T iPhone 4.

Black Ops iPhone 4 CaseFeatures

  • Rugged, lightweight, and versatile design
  • CNC machined from a solid block of aircraft grade aluminum (reminiscent of Apple's unibody laptop cases)
  • Plush black Ultrasuede backing and ear pad
  • Accepts larger after-market power and headphone cables
  • Aerospace polymer RF insert prevents "death grip" signal loss
  • Includes Vapor Transit Kit
  • Mil Spec non-glare satin finish with hard electrolytic coating to resist abrasion

This isn't your typical iPhone case.

$149.99

Case Mate Colorways iPhone 4 Case

Case Mate Colorways iPhone 4 CasePR: The Colorways iPhone 4 case lets you rediscover the magic of color. The three-piece modular case creates a prismatic pattern, mixing contemporary lines and bright colors.

Connect the pieces to create your own color theory. Bright primary shades overlap to reveal the vibrant secondary colors. The impact-resistant, translucent pieces easily interlock to protect the sides and back of the iPhone.

The iPhone 4 Colorways case sells for $30.

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