iPad 2 mania has well and truly arrived in the UK with crowds lining the streets outside Apple stores throughout the night waiting for their doors to open at 5pm today. With Apple not offering pre-order options on its latest tablet, the only way to be one of the first people to bag an iPad 2 was to queue or stay up until 1am and order the thing online.
Unfortunately for those who decided to leave the queuing to the ultra-dedicated/crazy and buy their iPad 2 on the web when sales went live in the early hours of this morning, many were left frustrated and iPad 2-less.
From the word go, those who logged in to witness the virtual madness first hand reported that Apple had almost immediately stuck a 2 to 3 week wait time for each variant of the newly released tablet. However, they seem to be the lucky ones as many fans complained that they were constantly met with error messages when trying to place their orders with some only managing to get as far as putting an iPad 2 in their basket.
It’s no surprise then that hundreds take to the streets and queue up for the latest i-thing, especially as it’s now expected that iPad 2 shipping dates for the UK could go up to 4 to 5 weeks, just like it did after the US launch of the newest Apple pad.
Did you have problems with ordering your iPad 2 online last night or have you decided to queue up and hope for the best instead? Let us know.
Motorola has made a sly dig at iPad 2 fans in a bid to deter them away from the growing queues. In a tongue-in-cheek press release sent out ahead of today’s big Apple launch, the firm said: “Head out for a pint and pre-order the Motorola Xoom online instead!”
As expected, the iPad 2 has attracted crowds of people for its UK release with the highly-anticipated tablet due to go on sale in stores across the country at 5pm tonight. People have been queuing outside Apple’s flagship store in London’s Regents Street since yesterday morning to secure their iGadget and while Motorola probably knows that its dual-core Honeycomb-toting tab won’t have quite the same effect on tech fans as Apple’s offering has, you have to admire their light-hearted approach towards the hype.
“Not keen to waste the finest weather we’ve had in ages waiting in a queue? Idea of surviving overnight on mundane take-away with some frankly questionable queue buddies leave you cold?” Moto asks.
“Fear not friends, ditch the winter coat, head out for a pint and pre-order the Motorola Xoom online instead!”
Even if the Motorola Xoom’s UK release will be more low-key than Apple’s, it has been tipped as a serious iPad 2 rival and was awarded ‘Best in Show’ at this year’s CES event. It’s due to land over here next month and we’ll be keeping a close watch to see how it shakes up the tablet market.
Google has reportedly stopped manufacturers from putting their own custom skins on top of its latest version of Android 3.0 Honeycomb. The revelation comes from an LG spokesperson who explained at the Droidcon conference in Berlin that the Korean firm has been given the red light by Google to make adjustments to the Android 3.0 interface for the time being.
The news provides a reasonable explanation as to why HTC’s Flyer tablet (apparently due out next month), has Android 2.3 Gingerbread rather than the tablet-optimised version of Google’s hugely popular OS. The same could also be said for the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 which has been slimmed down from the original version announced at Mobile World Congress. While its thicker counterpart is pure Honeycomb, the 8.6mm model of the upcoming tablet will come with Samsung’s own TouchWiz UI.
While the pieces of this particular puzzle seem to fit together nicely, Google is apparently readying a version of Honeycomb that will allow custom UI’s, however, there’s no word on a release date at the moment. Funny that, because Samsung has kept quiet on when exactly the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and the newly-revised Galaxy Tab 10.1 will be coming out too.
Apple is bound to be pleased about Google holding back the release of several big name tablets, especially now the iPad 2 is out of the door. Up until now, Android has been renowned as being the easy going platform but with Google tightening the reins on what manufacturers can and can’t do to the UI, will it end up being a costly mistake for Apple’s biggest operating system rival?
Enjoy our roundup of ten mobile phone related news stories you may have missed this week, including leaked Amazon App Store pricing, BAFTA’s for iPhone games, some interesting Nokia Beta Labs apps and another Xperia Play advert! Or if you’re eyes aren’t up to reading all this text click the video above for our bitesized version.
1. Amazon App Store Pricing Spotted
Amazon are preparing to launch their own Android app store, and a preview accidentally went live yesterday, giving us a sneak peak at the pricing and apps on offer. There were several apps priced a little cheaper than their equivalents in the Android Market, but the savings were minimal due to the low pricing of apps anyway. T he store is expected to go live very soon.
2. Google Planning NFC Tests in US
Google are said to be planning a series of NFC mobile payments tests in key US locations in the near future. They’ll supply and pay for the installation of the contact-less payment registers, ready for Android users to pay for goods and services without using cash or card.
3. Cut the Rope Wins BAFTA
iPhone puzzle game Cut the Rope becomes the first iOS game to win a BAFTA award after it scooped Best Handheld Game! Having sold around six million copies, Cut the Rope was hugely successful on the iPhone, and it beat several Sony PSP and Nintendo DS games also in the running for the award.
4. iPhone 5 could get NFC after all
At the start of this week, The Independent threw a spanner into the iPhone 5 rumour mill by reporting that Apple won’t be including NFC technology on its devices until the iPhone 6. Now, we’re back to square one after Forbes reporter Elizabeth Woyke tweeted: “Just met with an entrepreneur who says the iPhone 5 *will* have NFC…according to his friend, who works at Apple.” Guess that solves it.
5. Trio of HTC smartphones leaked
HTC has been subject to some leak-action this week as three handsets made it out into the open. First up is the HTC Pyramid, the firm’s first dual-core smartphone which will apparently run Honeycomb. The HTC Ignite and Prime also showed up and will be joining the Windows Phone clan.
6. Nokia Shoot and Tag Lets You Skip to the Best Part
We’ve got another Nokia Beta Labs project for you, and it’s perfect for the brilliant N8 video camera fan. Shoot and Tag automatically adds tags to your freshly shot video, a little like chapters on a DVD, to any point where it sees a change in the onscreen action. You can add your own tags to a finished video too. See it in action in the video below:
7. HD Horizons Will Demo Nokia N8′s Camera Ability
Jason Hawkes, a respected aerial photographer, will be using the Nokia N8 to shoot stills of some of the UK’s incredible landscapes, all from a helicopter. The photos will appear on Nokia’s Facebook page on the 21 March, and you can see the teaser video below.
8. Another Stolen Body Parts Video from Sony Ericsson!
Remember the Xperia Play ad where we saw a pair of human thumbs being grafted onto an Android? Here’s the prequel, explaining where the thumbs came from! Nice, Sony Ericsson, really nice.
9. +YvesBehar Phone Costs Lots, Does Nothing
The +YvesBehar phone is another entry into the designer device canon, where function takes on that of a very basic feature phone, but the design is catwalk cool. Designed by Yves Behar (who’d have guessed!), who also did the UI, the phone costs $10,000/£6,200.
10. Music Video Shot on an iPad 2
Unsure of whether the iPad 2′s 720p video performance is up to much? The music video below should silence the doubters, as it looks really great! The fast movements and low lighting conditions are difficult for any consumer-grade video camera, but the final result, shot and partially edited on the iPad 2, shows this probably won’t be the last time Apple’s new camera-equipped tablet will be used in this way.
Everybody wishes the iPad 2 had a higher-resolution display like the iPhone 4, but Apple didn’t even have to go there yet.
All Apple did was put the iPad on a treadmill. The tablet shed some weight and gained some speed to become the iPad 2, and it’s incredible what a difference that makes. It feels like a brand-new product.
Most important of all is the iPad 2’s thinness. The iPad 2 is 0.34 inches thick, about 33 percent thinner than its predecessor. Now, reaching your fingers across the screen to swipe and tap is far easier than it was on the chunkier iPad 1.
People who enjoy reading will love the thinner body: Cradling an iPad 2 in your hands for an hour doesn’t feel that cumbersome. You’ll also be surprised how often you’ll be using the tablet with one hand. Even though it’s only a few ounces lighter than the older iPad (1.3 pounds versus 1.5 pounds), the changes to the tablet’s weight and ergonomics feel substantial.
The iPad 2 is only slightly thicker than a pencil.
Imagine how significant thinness and weight are for people who are considering tablets for use in a professional field that requires a lot of moving around, such as doctors who could use the iPad to replace a stack of X-rays, architects relying on an iPad as an interactive display for blueprints, or students using the iPad as an all-in-one textbook, note-taker and daily planner. The thinner and lighter a tablet gets, the more useful it becomes for various types of customers.
As a standalone device, the iPad 2’s soft keys still aren’t ideal for typing compared to a physical keyboard. However, this problem seems to be eroding over time, as the skinnier profile already makes it easier to hold the device with one hand while pecking away on keys with the other.
Also, Apple’s Smart Cover protective accessory (sold separately for $40 to $70) is a cover that folds to create an angle to prop up the device so you can type on it more comfortably. The built-in magnets, which cling to the side of the iPad, are very cool and make the cover extremely easy to take off or put on. Personally, I prefer using most gadgets bareback, but the Smart Cover is the only cover I’d consider keeping with the iPad 2 since it’s so easy to take off.
The other most important change is speed. Apple claims the new A5 processor in the iPad 2 offers double the performance of the original iPad. Indeed, apps and websites load more quickly, and 3-D games look more detailed; the entire iOS experience is just buttery smooth.
Surprisingly, despite the major speed boost, the iPad 2 retains a 10-hour battery life, the same as the slower, first-gen iPad.
Several months of anticipation and speculation came to an end on Wednesday, when Apple unveiled the successor to the iPad at a special event held in San Francisco. Although there were concerns he wouldn’t be appearing, it was Steve Jobs who took to the stage to introduce Apple’s second tablet, receiving rapturous applause when he entered.
If you’ve been keeping up with the rumours, then the iPad 2′s features probably won’t come as much of a surprise, but that doesn’t make the official product any less exciting. The first major change is in the design, as the iPad 2 is noticeably thinner and lighter than the original, measuring an amazing 8.8mm thick — compared to 13mm for the iPad — and weighing 601 grams; that’s 80 less than the equivalent original iPad. This new slim chassis means the edges are even more tapered than before, with the side-mounted buttons disappearing almost on to the rear panel.
Inside the tablet, a new dual-core A5 1Ghz processor now runs the show along with 512MB RAM, and Apple promise it will make the whole user experience much smoother and faster whilst also improving the graphics ability to nine-times the speed of the first iPad. A gyroscope has also been added, just like the one found in the iPhone 4.
The iPad 2 has been given two camera lenses, primarily for FaceTime use, enabling users to video-chat with other iPad 2 owners, iPhone 4s or Mac owners who have FaceTime on their computers. The front-facing lens provides VGA quality video, while the rear lens will shoot at 720p and 30fps and has a 5x digital zoom. Both will take still images too, but Apple hasn’t provided their megapixel count as of yet.
That’s about it for the new features, as the iPad 2 has retained much of the iPad’s spec elsewhere. For example, the screen is still 9.7″ with a resolution of 1024 x 768, it’ll be available with either 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of storage, and in Wi-Fi or 3G form. Despite the addition of the processor and cameras, the battery life has been tweaked to still offer 10 hours use or around a month’s worth of standby.
The price hasn’t changed either, with the entry-level 16GB Wi-Fi model yours for £429. Oh, and it’s going to be available in black or white at launch too! The iPad 2 will be released on the 11 March in the USA, with the UK only having to wait until the 25 March before it’s launched.
All eyes may be on the iPad 2 right now but an industry analyst reckons that Android doesn’t have a lot to worry about despite all the hype. A research note from Mike Abramsky at RBC Capital Markets states that the tablet market is going to explode in the next few years and Android will eventually take the lead from Apple.
Abramsky reckons that this side of the industry will rack up a global revenue of $42 billion in 2014 and predicts that Android tablets will own 40% of the market by then. He noted: “While Apple may continue to set the bar high for experience, we expect Android to dominate.”
The iPad 2 was announced by Steve Jobs on Wednesday and revealed to have a 1GHz dual-core processor, two cameras and an 8.8mm-thick body. Despite having similar specs to the likes of the Motorola Xoom and BlackBerry PlayBook, it’s believed that Android will eventually head up the tablet pack because of the larger amount of OEMs and low-cost vendors from Asia keeping prices down.
It’s a similar story currently being reflected in the smartphone market, with Apple managing to take a strong hold despite it only having a handful of handsets in its portfolio. However, the amount of Android smartphones coming to the shelves is constantly growing and the Google OS has reportedly overtaken iOS and BlackBerry in the American smartphone market, albeit by a whisker with 29% of the total market share.
Three years may seem like a long time, but it just goes to show that the tablet wars will be a drawn-out battle.
Even though the big day is finally here, the rumour mill has gone into overdrive by throwing out a pile of last minute speculation. Later on today, Apple is due to take to the stage on both sides of the Atlantic to finally reveal all on the iPad 2 following a very long string of speculation.
American journalists are joining the company in San Francisco at 10am local time for the big announcement whereas a select few of Blighty’s tech media will be finding out all there is to know about the new tablet at 6pm this evening at the BBC Television Centre. Word on the street is that Steve Jobs will be showing up to the Stateside event, despite being on medical leave from the company, but an anonymous Apple employee has created a bigger buzz by claiming that we shouldn’t “get our hopes up” about the iPad 2.
He told Cult of Mac that the iPad 3 is the Apple tablet that we need to watch out for, revealing that it will be released later on this year. In the meantime, he says that today’s proceedings will be focused on the highly-anticipated update for Apple’s cloud service MobileMe. He said that users will now be able to keep media bought from the iTunes store on it, backing up earlier claims that Apple plans to expand the service.
In other iPad 2 related news, it seems that Apple might be canning production of the original iPad altogether, after MacRumours discovered that a BestBuy inventory listed the tablet as being ‘deleted.’ As a result, it implies that Apple could be releasing the iPad 2 almost immediately after today’s announcement if reports that supplies of its predecessor are drying up turn out to be true.
It seems that it’s never too late for some last-minute leaked photos either, as shots of what is claimed to be of the mooted tablet, fresh from China, have appeared on the web. We get a look at all the features already rumoured to be on board the iPad 2 including a flat back, two cameras and bigger speakers.
Come 6pm tonight, all the rumour mill’s hard work will be done…until it finds something else to say on the iPad 3.
All has been quiet on the iPad 2 front lately but with an official announcement thought to be just around the corner, we kind of expected to see it appear ahead of schedule again.
This time, 9to5Mac have got hold of the latest offering from the rumour mill in the form of an iPad 2 screen protector. It doesn’t give away much that we didn’t already know in terms of size however, a snapper-sized hole at the top of the screen does confirm age old suspicions that the new tablet will come with two cameras.
Seeing as both the iPhone 4 and iPod Touch have Apple’s Facetime video-calling service, it only seems logical that the firm would bless its latest iDevice with the same thing, especially since video calling is becoming a staple feature on most tablet devices now.
The iPad 2 is thought to be being lined up for an announcement at the end of February so Apple will have to pull its finger out if it plans to finally put speculation to rest by then.