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Hulu Streaming TV Finally Arrives On iOS Devices, Introduces Hulu Plus Subscription Service

Posted by Ben Harvell on June 29th, 2010

The Hulu Blog today confirmed what many have been murmuring about online for some time. Hulu is bringing its streaming TV service to the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. The aforementioned murmurs also questioned how this delivery of most of America’s top TV shows would be paid for, they too were given an answer with the introduction of the Hulu Plus subscription.

Formerly only available via a PC or Mac, the Hulu Plus app and subscription service will combine to deliver episodes from current and classic TV shows on iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 as well as the iPad and third gen iPod touch.

At present the service is working on an invite-only basis (apply for one here) and will cost users $9.99 per month but, for this fee you do get a good deal of benefits. Full seasons of TV shows will be available including big hitters such as Family Guy, 30 Rock and The Office with up to 720p HD resolution available. Through the Hulu Plus app, users will be able to browse, search and resume playback at the same point on different devices. For iPhone and iPad users, you will even be able to stream over 3G!

While we’ve not had the chance to fully test Hulu Plus yet, this sounds like the service Apple’s portable devices have been crying out for and one that will likely bring about a few discussions inside Apple HQ. With the recent acquisition of media streaming startup Lala, it is rumored the company is gearing up to introduce a cloud-based iTunes service that could include streaming TV shows to iPhones and iPads.

The Hulu Plus app is available for free on the App Store and includes a bunch of freebies that don’t need a subscription in order to try out. The movie Super Size Me is included as well as clips and episodes from a number of TV shows as well, so it’s worth sampling the app for these bonuses alone.

Check it out on the App Store here

CoPilot Live HD, turn-by-turn navigation available for iPad

Posted by Ben Harvell on May 11th, 2010
iPad App - Designed for iPad

The team at ALK Technologies has launched its GPS navigation app, CoPilot Live HD, for the iPad on the App Store. The app has been designed specifically for the iPad 3G's GPS receiver and large screen to provide turn-by-turn, voice-guided navigation.

With recent news of iPad's being fitted into car dashboards, this is particularly exciting news for those shopping for a new SatNav device for their vehicle.

Street maps are stored on the device and the app can display both 2D and 3D map views with turn instructions for the driver. The app automatically switches between portrait and landscape view and provides iPod controls from within the application, another bonus for those planning to dashboard-mount their new Apple tablet or connect it to their in-car sound system.

CoPilot Live HD offers a feature for users to plan trips offline and preview routes to find the most efficient journey before setting out.

“CoPilot Live HD provides an absolutely sensational GPS navigation and planning experience on iPad 3G,” said Michael Kornhauser, Managing Director at ALK Technologies. “Developing for iPad was a natural step following the tremendous popularity of our CoPilot Live iPhone app. It’s a really fantastic platform for navigation that allows us to fully exploit the many years of expertise we have gained from supporting tablet computers with our CoPilot Live Laptop products.”

CoPilot Live HD is priced at $29.99 for unlimited use with free quarterly map updates through 2010.

Find out more here

iPad 3G Review: Three Days in Paris With the iPad

Posted by Jeff Scott on May 11th, 2010
iPad App - Designed for iPad
Our rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar :: :: Read Review »

Here's the plan - I have a quick business trip planned to Paris for just 3 days and 2 nights - can I get by, me, a HEAVY computer user, for that time with just an iPad? What equipment do I need to do so? What things won't I be able to do? Sounds like a pretty good test of the functionality of the device and a great way to review the 3G iPad for travel use on a business trip.


Let's set up the testing process. The equipment I have with is the iPad 3G, an external battery to make sure I'm covered for the long flights, the Apple Bluetooth keyboard, a case and a bag. For back up, I have my Macbook, and my iPhone. Thats a lot of Apple devices in one bag. I hope I don't have problems with security.

iPad 3G
The iPad 3G gives me the most flexibility for all legs of the trip. The WiFi will give me the fastest connection in most locations. If needed, I can use the 3G when there's no WiFi available. I opted to purchase the international data package ahead of time from AT&T for this trip.

External Battery
I chose the HyperMac Mini battery to accompany me for this trip. It's a pretty high power battery 7200mAh but not too physically large. Its slightly larger than an iPhone and about the same shape. It has unfortunately not been updated for the iPad yet, but it does still charge the iPad, even though the iPad warns that its not charging. The battery can keep the device battery even when in use, or can recharge it if the screen is turned off.

Apple Bluetooth Keyboard
This keyboard has some obvious advantages over the on-screen keyboard. For one, it's a complete standard layout. The other reason is that things like arrow keys work, copy and paste, option option-arrow, etc. Many of those quick keyboard commands that are standard on OSX work. Those shortcuts alone increase typing efficiency greatly over the on-screen keyboard.

Case and Bag
I chose the Apple iPad case - because it's not too bulky and provides dust and scratch protection and covers the front screen. There are lots of things I don't like about the case, but at least its not bulky.

I also have a nice small Timbuk 2 bag/man purse that just fits the iPad so I don't have to carry it around in my hand like some Euro-tech-hipster. And since I don't have those jeans with the giant iPad pocket in the back, I needed something.

International Data Plan from AT&T
If you want to use the 3G data while overseas, you need to purchase the AT&T International Data Plan ahead of time. It will then go live on the date you set with the earliest possible date being midnight Eastern Standard Time in the US the next day.

You purchase the plan pretty much the same way you purchase the regular data plan, through the Cellular Data item in the Settings App. Click on View Account, sign in, then select Add International Plan. The differences are that you have to decide how much data you want to buy, and the International plan, unlike the regular data plan, doesn't automatically renew. AT&T offers the following International data plans:

20 MB for $24.99 ($1.25/MB)
50 MB for $59.99 ($1.20/MB)
100 MB for $119.99 ($1.20/MB)
200 MB for $199.99 ($1.00/MB)

All of the data plans are valid for 30 days and there are dozens of countries where you can use it (see the list on the ordering page).

I purchased the 50 MB International Data Plan and had it set to go live just a couple of hours before I landed in Paris. We'll see how far that takes me.

For this business trip, I need to stay in touch. So I'll need to be able to read and send emails, surf the web, write and post blog posts, and the occasional IM conversation. All of these can easily be done on the iPad. I'll do my very best to resist using the Macbook and iPhone. I plan to rely solely on the iPad, as long as it doesn't stop me from doing the simple things I need to be able to do. But I'm not sure I it can do it. Let's see.

International iPad Release Dates And UK Prices Announced [UPDATED]

Posted by Ben Harvell on May 10th, 2010

UPDATE: Pre-orders are now available for international iPad models and accessories via Apple's online stores.

After a long wait, Apple has announced details of the launch and pricing for iPads outside of the US. On Friday, May 28, iPads will go on sale in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK. Pre-orders will open on Monday, May 10.

Although the press release is ambiguous, it appears that both the Wi-Fi and 3G models will be available on this date and not staggered as with the US launch.

Only the UK prices have been unveiled so far and, as expected, they are not mere conversions of the US dollar price. Prices start at £429 (inc. VAT) for the 16GB Wi-Fi iPad, £499 for the 32GB model and £599 for the 64GB iPad. Wi-Fi and 3G iPads will be priced at £529, £599 and £699 respectively for the 16, 32 and 64GB models. Prices for iPad accessories are expected to be announced at launch. iPad accessories are also available for pre-order via Apple's online stores.

At £429 for the cheapest iPad compared to $499 in the US, there is a significant markup for the European market which could have expected a price of around £338 for a straight USD to GBP conversion. Apple claims that the higher cost abroad is due to higher taxes and shipping costs with all UK prices including VAT.

Apple has also announced that it plans to sell the iPad in Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore in July with prices to follow.

The original international iPad launch was pushed back last month after Apple experienced a "surprisingly strong US demand" that saw the company sell over one million units in just 28 days. This lead many in the UK and other countries to purchase the device via eBay and other services providing a way to ship iPads from the US. While a dedicated iPad App Store doesn't yet exist in the UK, a number of iPad apps are available if searched for.

Should both Wi-Fi and 3G models go on sale at the same time in the UK and other countries it will be interesting to see the demand for each type device with as many as three networks providing data plans for the 3G model in the UK.

Are cheaper iPad 3G data rates the reason we’re still stuck with AT&T?

Posted by Ben Harvell on May 7th, 2010

It seems that AT&T may have made one last Hail Mary play in order to remain the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in the US. According to Wall Street analyst Brian Marshall, quoted by Computerworld, AT&T may have been allowed to hang on to the deal until the end of 2010 by offering significantly discounted data plans for Apple’s iPad 3G.

In the run up to the iPad launch, many touted Verizon as a shoe-in to become the next iPhone carrier alongside AT&T as well as to provide data services for the iPad. This never happened.

Although his claims appear unsubstantiated, Marshall, who currently works for BroadPoint AMTech, believes that AT&T, in a desperate bid to hold on to the lucrative iPhone carrier rights, made some serious sacrifices in providing a hugely discounted data contract for iPad owners.

Consumers questioned the need for another 3G contract alongside their iPhone when the iPad was announced with many pundits claiming that the price of the service would be key to Apple’s strategy. By granting an additional six months to AT&T’s exclusivity, it appears Apple was able to meet this target.

AT&T currently offers two data plans for the iPad 3G, one for $14.99 per month for up to 250MB and another at $29.99 for unlimited data. Neither package requires the user to sign a contract and both include free access to AT& Wi-Fi hotspots. By comparison to the competition, this is a very reasonable deal for iPad users and one that will surely have come at a cost to AT&T, which has struggled with wireless data loads since the iPhone was launched.

By contrast to the US, Europe has multiple carriers for the iPhone that are currently fighting to offer data plans for the iPad when it is released this summer.

AT&T’s network has long been criticized for a number of failings including dropped calls and poor coverage, notably so during a very public spat between the company and Verizon. Verizon launched a stinging ad campaign comparing its 3G coverage to AT&T’s while also aping Apple’s iPhone ads with the slogan “There’s a map for that” resulting in a legal back and forth between both companies. In response to AT&T’s suit that claimed the ads mislead the public, Verizon simply commented “the truth hurts”.

Verizon has reportedly conveyed to Apple its desire to carry the iPhone but, at present, it seems they can’t offer the right goods to seal the deal. Not even, it appears, the offer of a better network.

via Computerworld

iPhone OS SDK 3.2 Beta Lifts VoIP Over 3G Restriction. AT&T and O2 Say "Wahh?!"

Posted by Arron Hirst on February 1st, 2010

As you probably already know by now, last Wednesday Apple unveiled to the world its new "tablet computer" - the Apple iPad. Shortly after the event came to a close, like always, Apple issued registered developers of it's ADC network the next beta of the iPhone OS SDK. Version 3.2. Now among trivial changes, like this version of OS only being compatible with the iPad, one change has been uncovered which is slightly confusing.

If you're not familiar with VoIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol, the technology allows for telecommunication using the internet. Take a service like Skype, for example. It uses VoIP to connect its millions of users to other users around the world at very little, or no cost at all. Ever since the introduction of the iPhone SDK, Apple has stood by the fact that its partnering mobile networks, AT&T in the US and O2 in the UK, weren't so keen on the fact that developers could (if they wanted) use VoIP to circumvent monthly call plans. So, Apple being Apple and wanting to keep relations sweet put a restriction on the iPhone SDK stating that use of VoIP over a 3G data connection was prohibited.

Late Wednesday night though this all took a turn around - for the better, with the introduction of the iPhone OS 3.2 SDK Beta - as now, this SDK does support VoIP over the iPhone's 3G network. In fact, a few applications, such as iCall and Fring, are already supporting this new rule, ultimately saving you money on phone calling through local and international ad-supported calling. This all leaves me to ask myself one question .. What must AT&T, O2 and the other mobile networks selling iPhone call plans around the world, think of this move? Did they sanction it? Maybe they believe they're going to make so much of a killing off 3G pre-pay plans with the iPad this Spring, that they don't care about loss of revenue in regards to call plans on the iPhone?

Ustream Finally Starts Streaming Video From Your iPhone

Posted by Jeff Scott on December 10th, 2009

Ustream has wanted to stream from the iPhone for a long while now. They started out with a jailbroken iPhone version. But that didn't reach that many people. They also released a viewing application for the iPhone. A good start. Next came the iPhone 3GS app that allowed you to record videos with your iPhone 3GS then upload them to Ustream. Getting closer.

Then, last week, Apple decided to let streaming video application loose on the App Store. And now we have the Ustream Live Broadcaster.

The app allows you to stream video to the Ustream site and to the Ustream viewing application at a 320x240 resolution. Here's the cool part -- it works on Wifi or 3G on both the iPhone 3G and 3GS. You can also record the videos locally and upload them later if you choose.

And as you would expect these days there are options to share the videos on Facebook and Twitter. And you can also include your location information with the videos.

I imagine we will see the sending and the viewing applications combined at some point in the future. But for now, you need both.

Overall a pretty good experience for sharing video to multiple people. Have you tried the Ustream broadcaster? How was it?