Rumors of the next iPad have been running rampant for a couple months now, and it looks like they'll all be put to rest next week. AllThingsD is reporting that Apple will be announcing the iPad 2 next week on March 2 in San Francisco, most likely at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Expect a thinner bezel, improved display, better sound, and cameras for FaceTime. In addition, we expect that the Qualcomm MDM6600 chip will find its way into the device, allowing it to operate on both AT&T and Verizon 3G networks. We also hope to hear about iOS 5.
The other big question is, will Steve Jobs be the one to take the lead at the announcement? As we know, he has been on medical leave since January, but he's been seen on campus and around Silicon Valley during that time, and also appeared at a dinner with President Barack Obama and other industry powerhouses last week.
On Tuesday, Apple announced a subscription billing platform for the App Store, overcoming perhaps the biggest hurdle for the success of iPad periodicals.
The plan lets customers purchase subscriptions to iOS-supported newspapers, magazines, music, and other content in one click. Previously, customers had to manually purchase and download issues on an individual basis.
Publishers set their own price and lengths of subscriptions. Then, customers can click on the length of their desired subscriptions and automatically receive a charge to their iTunes accounts.
"We believe that this innovative subscription service will provide publishers with a brand new opportunity to expand digital access to their content onto the iPad, iPod touch and iPhone, delighting both new and existing subscribers," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who is currently on medical leave, in a statement.
Motorola seems to be readying its forthcoming Xoom tablet to take on the dominant device on the market, Apple's iPad. But on Sunday, a pre-order page on Best Buy's Web site showed a staggering $1,199.99 price tag for the Xoom.
That's about $400-$500 more than the rumored price for the 32 GB tablet, and much more than a $729 iPad with similar specs.
Unveiled early last month at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the Xoom is the first tablet to run on Google's tablet-optimized platform, Android 3.0 "Honeycomb." PCMag analyst Tim Gideon said the Motorola Xoom is "perhaps, the first tablet truly armed to take on the mighty iPad."
It's not a comparison that has happened by accident. Motorola has pitted itself against Apple in ads for the Xoom. In Motorola's one minute Super Bowl ad titled "Empower the People," a young guy commutes to work surrounded by fellow travelers who are all dressed in white jumpsuits, plugged in via Apple's familiar white earbuds. The man uses his Xoom to create an animation for his office crush, who is inspired to remove her earbuds and presumbly join the real world.
The iPad 2 rumors have been going ever since the current iPad hit stores. If you've been looking for something solid though, the Wall Street Journal is now reporting that the next iPad is currently in production. They say the new iPad will be thinner and lighter than the first model, and will support Facetime with a camera on the front of the device. Those hoping for a Retina display will be disappointed though, as WSJ is reporting that the resolution of the display won't be changed. It will also have more memory and a more powerful graphics processor, according to insider sources.
Read More | WSJ
Our friends at iLounge got a few new tidbits relating to the iPad 2, which are interesting to say the least, but should be taken with a grain of salt. First, Apple has been toying with the idea of using carbon fiber for the casing of the next iPad. Carbon fiber is strong, but also very lightweight, and this would be a move to make the iPad much lighter than the original (which was a complaint from many.) Second, Apple is considering throwing NFC technology into the iPad 2. We think this one is pretty much a lock, as it will allow Apple to tap into a huge revenue stream. Last, Apple is reportedly still tossing around the idea of a 7-inch version of the iPad. Steve Jobs recently trashed this idea, saying that all the 7-inch tablets out there were pretty much dead on arrival because they were too small. We don't buy that, because, well, look at the iPod touch. It's pretty much a 3.5-inch tablet. Still, we aren't gonna hold out hope for a 7-inch iPad to roll around this April.
Read More | iLounge
News Corp. mogul Rupert Murdoch unveiled his iPad-only newspaper, The Daily, today at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.
"In the tablet era, there's room for a fresh and new voice," Murdoch said.
The Daily will feature nearly 100 pages of original content produced each day. Among the bells and whistles included are HD video and 360 degree photos. Readers can subscribe to the publication which will be delivered to the iPad automatically each morning and can opt to be billed each week for $0.99 or each year for $39.99. Murdoch said that comes down to $0.14 a day.
On hand were Apple's head of Internet Services, Eddie Cue; The Daily Editor Jesse Angelo; and News Corp.'s head of digital Jon Miller.
"It's the first national daily news publication built from the ground up for the iPad," Cue said.
iOS devs, time to get to downloading, as Apple has just released iOS 4.3 beta 3 alongside the iOS SDK 4.3. Downloads are available for the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and even the 2nd generation Apple TV. The SDK build is 10M2514, while the software for the devices is build 8F5166b. From the looks of things, this beta is all about checking and testing AirPlay video with the iOS devices and Apple TV. We will keep our eye out for any other new hotness in this build.
Motorola has released a teaser for the forthcoming Xoom tablet.
"2011 Looks a lot like 1984. One Authority. One design. One way to work. It's time for more choices," says the clip.
It seems to be a shot at Apple, with the text of the video appearing over an image of a globe sporting the iPad maker's signature white ear buds.
The preview advertises the Xoom's speed, boasting its dual-core 1GHz processor, 1080p HD video playback, and 3G upgradable to 4G. It also emphasizes the tablet's flexibility. It will run on Android 3.0 Honeycomb and use Adobe Flash Player. The Xoom will also have a five-megapixel rear-facing camera and a two-megapixel front-facing camera. Apple's next-generation iPad is also rumored to include dual-facing cameras.
There is no question that mobile phone payments are very popular, and that many of us can operate our entire financial lives from our mobile phones. Apps from PayPal, and Square can turn our iPhones into portable financial centers, allowing us to exchange money quickly and easily. These new applications are creating opportunities and benefits that will shape the future of mobile payments.
Predictions about the iPhone 5 and the iPad 2 are beginning to heat up, and much of the talk has been about the implementation of NFC (near field communication) technology. What we haven't heard about so far, is anything about native intergration of mobile payment solutions from Apple and Google.