Houston Retail Store Grand Opening Suggest 8:00 AM iPad Launch on Friday

Earlier this month, just before the iPad was announced, we reported that the March 16th opening of a new Houston Apple Store may signal the iPad launch. Normally store openings occur on Saturday, but this store was reported to open on Friday. This led to the speculation that the iPad launch might be on that date, and Apple did indeed announce last week that the device will be available beginning March 16th.

However, the company has yet to announce what time the launch will begin in-store sales of the iPad on Friday. Sometimes, Apple has held major product launches first thing in the morning, but that was different with the iPad 2 last year. Last year, the company held the iPad 2 launch in the late afternoon.

Now, as noted by the Houston Chronicle, Apple has now publicly announced that the new Highland Village store will be opening at 8:00 AM on Friday. The demand for Apple’s new iPad has been “off the charts“, with the company’s online stores in all launch countries now quoting shipping estimates of 2-3 weeks for new orders.

Apple: iPad Pre-orders Sell Out, Demand ‘off the Charts’

Apple’s latest generation of the iPad is selling like hot cakes! Just yesterday, we reported that Apple had sold out of launch day iPad supplies in the U.S.. A similar effect was occurring in worldwide stores too. Today, Apple has officially acknowledged that iPad stock available for pre-orders are now sold out.

“Customer response to the new iPad has been off the charts and the quantity available for pre-order has been purchased,” a company spokesperson said. “Customers can continue to order online and receive an estimated delivery date.”

In addition, the company says that the customer response to the device has been “off the charts”, reports USA Today. Just within two days of Apple announcing the new iPad, orders of the iPad had already been pushed back from this Friday’s launch day delivery to a ship date of March 19th. Due to the tremendous response the device has received, Apple is expected to set a new sales records later this week when the devices launches. Color me surprised if they don’t.

When was the last time any Android tablet manufacturers could claim the same? Oh, and so much for the people that said it wouldn’t sell.


International 4G iPad Models Will Work on AT&T

With the introduction of the new iPad, the 4G LTE data plans cost and how they would work was not made clear. Just yesterday, it was clarified that Verizon would support the mobile hotspot functionality in the iPad data plans. AT&T will not for now though.

Yesterday, SlashGear pointed out that the WiFi + 4G iPad announced by Apple on Wednesday will not be compatible with LTE networks under development in most of the launch countries. The LTE discussion during the media event focused on five carriers in the US (AT&T and Verizon) and Canada (Bell, Rogers, and Telus). It was also noted that international markets would have other options available for cellular connectivity.

An issue with the international LTE availability comes from the fact that AT&T’s version of the new iPad released in the US support LTE on the 700 MHz and 2100 MHz frequency bands. However, Apple is distributing those same models to its international markets, but LTE infrastructure in most of those countries are utilizing 800 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 2600 MHz bands that are not support by the device.

Now, Apple has confirmed to The Verge that those international 4G iPad models can be used on AT&T’s LTE network in the United States by travelers, even though they will not have LTE support at home. Apple says:

iPads sold internationally will be able to connect to AT&Ts LTE network when in the US with the appropriate SIM and plan.


Apple Shutting Down iWork.com on July 31

Yesterday, Apple sent out an email to users that are registered for its iWork.com beta. The email says that the company will be discontinuing the service as of July 31st. This discontinuation comes as Apple continues to further focus on iCloud. iCloud already offers an easy way for users to keep documents in sync among their various iOS devices.

Dear iWork.com user,

Thanks for participating in the iWork.com public beta.

Last year, we launched iCloud, a service that stores your music, photos, documents, and more and wirelessly pushes them to all your devices. Today, there are already over 40 million documents stored on iCloud by millions of iWork customers. Learn more about iCloud.

With a new way to share iWork documents between your devices using iCloud, the iWork.com public beta service will no longer be available. As of July 31, 2012, you will no longer be able to access your documents on the iWork.com site or view them on the web.

We recommend that you sign in to iWork.com before July 31, 2012, and download all your documents to your computer. For detailed instructions on how to save a copy of your documents on your computer, read this support article at Apple.com.

The iWork team

The shut down of iWork.com will occur a month after Apple officially shuts down its MobileMe services. Apple has continued to support MobileMe since the introduction of iCloud so that users are given plenty of time to move over to the new service. However, as of June 30th, MobileMe and several of its features such as Gallery, iWeb, and iDesk will no longer be available.

Apple first launched the iWork.com as a free beta in January 2009, with the company eventually hoping to offer the service with tools for collaboration on iWork documents for a fee. In the end, the service never exited beta, and due to iCloud offering similar features for moving documents, the company has decided to eliminate the program. Though iCloud does offer a variety of features, it does not offer the level of features once planned out for iWork.com yet.


Apple’s iPhone 4S Launches on China Telecom with 200,000 Pre-Orders

Late last month, we reported that Apple and China had been negotiating an iPhone deal. The deal would allow Apple to offer the iPhone on the largest mobile carrier in the world. Rumors had suggested that the iPhone would be made available on China Mobile on March 9th. Turns out, those rumors turned out to be true.

Today, China Telecom launched the iPhone 4S, which makes them the second carrier in the country to officially offer the iPhone for sale. With its 129 million mobile subscribers, this is a huge opportunity for Apple and this makes the carrier the largest carrier to offer the iPhone on a CDMA network.

M.I.C. Gadget has a nice overview of the launch events, and reports that China Telecom had announced a greater-than-expected 200,000 pre-orders for the iPhone 4S. Preorders for the iPhone 4S on China Telecom had only been available for a week, as the carrier began taking order on March 2nd.

The carrier offers many monthly plans for the iPhone 4S. The 16GB model is offered for free on plans as low as 389 yan ($62) per month for a two-year contract or 289 yuan ($46 per month for a three-year contract.

So wait, who’s “winning” again?

Apple Sells Out of iPad Launch Day Supplies in U.S. Online Store

Yesterday, we reported that shipping dates for certain iPad models had already begun to get pushed backed to March 19th. Today, Apple has sold out of its launch day iPad stock in its U.S. online store. Currently, all 18 models now are offering shipping estimates of March 19th for new orders.

iPad March 19th ship date

When shipping time is accounted for, customers placing orders now shouldn’t expect their new iPad to arrive until the middle of the week following the device’s launch next Friday. Next Friday’s iPad launch will be the largest debut yet for the company. Also, Apple is planning to launch the new iPad in 25 additional countries on March 23rd.

In addition, the Canadian store encounters a similar a situation. The stores for Australia and Singapore now quote shipping dates of March 22nd for all models. Also, Apple’s European launch countries (France, Germany, Switzerland, and the UK) and Japan are all showing shipping estimates of 2-3 weeks for new orders.


Verizon Including Mobile Hotspot in iPad Data Plans

With the introduction of the iPad, Apple also introduced the ability to use the iPad as a hotspot, but only if carriers allow it. When announced, it wasn’t clear what the data plans for the 4G + WiFi version would be like. Also, it wasn’t clear if AT&T and Verizon would support the hotspot feature.

Today, GottaBeMobile reports that Verizon has officially announced that its data plans for the new iPad Wi-Fi + 4G will include mobile hotspot functionality at no additional charge. This will allow users to share the device’s data network and broadcast it as a WiFi signal. That WiFi signal can be used to provide data connectivity for other WiFi enabled devices.

AT&T Verizon 4G LTE iPad data plans

Unfortunately, AT&T has still yet to announce specific plans for mobile hotspot functionality on the new iPad, as a statement provided to 9to5Mac. AT&T is currently “working with Apple” on the issue, but isn’t offering the capability at this moment.

It is also worth pointing out that owning an iPad 4G + WiFi version is cheaper than owning a MiFi in the US. In the US, a MiFi usually has a $50 upfront fee and then $50/month fee for 24 months. That works out to $2,000+ before tax, and if you want to terminate the contract early, there is an additional fee. However, if you just purchase an iPad 4G+LTE, you aren’t tied to contract and only have to pay for the data plan/hotspot functionality if you want.

Shipping Dates for New iPad Orders Begin to Get Pushed Back

Yesterday, Apple announced the next-generation iPad. The new iPad features a Retina Display. improved camera, and a significantly faster processor. In addition, the company has also released a new ad for its next-generation. It is a pretty cool ad so be sure to check it out here.

Following the new Apple TV’s  slip to a 1-2 week shipping estimate in Apple’s U.S. online store yesterday (pretty impressive for just a hobby), Apple’s supplies of the new iPad have already started to show. The 16GB and 64GB models of the AT&T 4G + WiFi iPad in white are now showing estimated shipping dates of March 19 in the stores. Previously, models were listed to deliver on the launch date of March 16th.

Shipping dates in other launch countries have begun to be pushed back as well. Apple’s Store for Japan now shows a delivery date by March 19th and its German store shows a date of March 22nd. In Canada, many models are showing an “available” date of March 19. Apple’s UK online store is also showing shipping estimates of 2-3 weeks for all models of the new iPad.

Seems like they are going to sell a lot of them.

Apple Releases TV Ad for the new iPad

Earlier today, Apple announced the next-generation iPad. The new iPad features a Retina Display. improved camera, and a significantly faster processor. In addition, the company has also released a new ad for its next-generation iPad. The ad’s main focus is on the iPad’s gorgeous Retina Display.

“When a screen becomes this good, colors are more vibrant. Words are pin sharp. Everything is more brilliant because when a screen becomes this good, it’s simply you and the things you care about. The stunning Retina Display on the new iPad,” said the voiceover.

In the ad, a user is shown zooming in on a photo, editing in iPhoto, reading in iBooks, watching a movie and finger painting on the new device. For now, the company is using the Retina Display as a dominant marketing tactic for the new iPad, rather than the 4G LTE capabilities or the upgraded camera and processor. Apple’s homepage promotes the “resolutionary” new iPad.

You can watch the ad below:


The beauty about Apple’s ads are that instead of selling specifications, they sell experiences. Brilliant!

iPhoto for iOS, Updates for iMovie and Garageband Now Available on App Store

With the introduction of the new iPad, Apple also introduced iPhoto for iOS, which will be available from today itself. iPhoto for iOS offers a wide choice of photo editing and comparison features, including auto-enhancements such as straightening photos and fixing contrast. Brush palettes offer a number of editing tools including red-eye removal, lighten, sharpen, soften, and darken. iPhoto can handle images up to 19 megapixels.

With iPhoto for iOS, Apple brings Multi-Touch to photography in a breakthrough way. Browse, edit, and share your photos from your iPad or iPhone, like never before – all the powerful tools you need are at your fingertips. And with iCloud, you can share your experiences as stunning photo journals.

Use simple gestures to quickly sort through photos and find your best shots. A powerful set of Multi-Touch tools helps you perfect color and exposure, crop, straighten, and retouch images. Enhance pictures by adding beautiful, Apple-designed effects with just a tap. Or use fingertip brushes to apply adjustments exactly where you want them. In addition to posting photos to Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter, you can beam photos between your iPhone and iPad, stream photos and slideshows to your Apple TV with AirPlay, and use iCloud to publish photo journals to the web to share your stories with friends and family in a whole new way.

The company has kept its promise, and now iPhoto is available for purchase.  The app costs $4.99 and is available via the App Store for purchase. [Direct Link] In addition, iMovie and GarageBand have also been updated, and are a free upgrade for current owners.