Apple: New iPad to go on sale at 8am in 10 countries on Friday

Apple has confirmed earlier this morning that the new iPad will go on sale in Apple retail stores at 8am local time on Friday, March 16. The initial wave of launch countries include the US, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and the UK. Yesterday, a leaked photograph of an upcoming App Store display revealed this very info, though it wasn’t clear at the time whether it would apply to the other countries as well. As for those in the US, the new iPad will also be available at Best Buy, Radio Shack, Sam’s Club, Target and Walmart. If you’re planning on lining up for one (or two) in the wee hours of Friday morning, your best bet is still an Apple Store, where there’ll be plenty more iPads in stock compared to the other brick-and-mortar chains.

The complete press release can be found after the break.

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iPad 3 release date set for March 16? And will it be called iPad HD?

9to5mac is reporting that the iPad 3′s release date is set for March 16th, 9 days after the official unveiling planned for tomorrow at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco. This comes from a reliable Apple Store source’s info that ”preparations are being made for a big Apple Store event which will culminate on Friday, March 16th”. If you’ll recall, the iPad 2 was first announced last year on March 2nd, and 9 days later, was released on March 11th. So time frame wise, a March 16th launch date is certainly possible, and perhaps even highly probable.

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8GB iPad 2 to be announced next week with 16/32 GB models for iPad 3?

Digitimes is reporting that during next week’s March 7th event, Apple will be announcing an 8GB iPad 2 alongside the iPad 3, which supposedly will only come in 2 models – 16 and 32 GB.

As Apple has scheduled an event on March 7, sources from its upstream supply chain pointed out that the company is expected to launch two iPad 3 models – a 16GB version and 32GB version.

In addition to iPad 3, Apple is also expected to unveil an 8GB iPad 2, allowing the tablet PC series to cover different segments and to defend against Windows 8-based tablet PCs, the sources noted.

An 8GB iPad 2 is entirely possible – even likely – as it falls in line with a capacity (and price) drop found in that of the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 after nearly a year of being released. An iPad 3 launching without a 64GB model however, seems a bit strange, especially given how the iPad 2 does come in 64GB versions. And with the expected hi-res display in the third gen iPad, you’d expect that users would want even more space to store their HD videos and whatnot. Well, we’re only less than a week from the unveiling, so we’ll soon find out if this info is completely accurate.

[via iMore]

ABC releases teaser for Dateline’s upcoming “iFactories: Inside Apple” documentary

Much has been made about the secrecy and working conditions at Foxconn, where tens of millions iPhones and iPads are produced each year. New Year Time’s excellent article “In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad” recently highlighted the long hours, and often harsh conditions workers have to endure. What the public has never seen though, is a true inside look at the factories that churn out your favorite iDevices 24/7 – until now that is. In a special Dateline episode airing tomorrow, co-anchor Bill Weir will offer a glimpse of the manufacturer’s inner workings — from how Apple products are made to interviews with factory workers — after being given an unprecedented tour of a Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, China.

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Here’s your chance to win a $10,000 Gift Card as App Store approaches 25 billion downloads

And just like that, the iOS App Store’s rapidly approaching a staggeringly impressive milestone – 25 billion downloads. To mark the occasion and as their way of saying thanks (just like they did with the 10 billionth download), Apple will be giving away a $10,000 gift card to one lucky winner.

As of today, nearly 25 billion apps have been downloaded worldwide. Which is almost as amazing as the apps themselves. So we want to say thanks. Download the 25 billionth app, and you could win a US$10,000 App Store Gift Card.* Just visit the App Store and download your best app yet.

Aside from having to actually download any apps, you can also enter the contest by submitting your Countdown entry form, up to 25 times per day. Read up on the offical rules here, and start downloading some apps from the Top 25 All-time Paid/Free apps list while you’re at it. Good luck!

iTunes App Store gets Quick App Preview feature

Browsing for apps to add to your collection via iTunes has gotten easier thanks to the new quick app preview feature. Previously, users would have no choice but to navigate to each individual app page to find out more about the app. But with the newly implemented quick preview popup box, iOS users can now view the Description, What’s New and Screens shots without leaving the current page. Whenever you hover above any app icon throughout the App Store with a mouse/touchpad, an “i” info icon will appear on its bottom right corner. Click on that and you can easily glance at the app details, and even make the purchase right from within. Give it a try yourself. After a short while, you’ll probably be making extensive use of this neat little feature and not have to rely so much on that back button.

[iSpazio via MacStories]

iBooks updates to 1.5, adds night mode, new fonts and more

Apple’s iBooks app has just been updated to version 1.5 and one of the most requested features is finally here – night reading mode. With it, bookworms can now comfortably use iBooks in the dark thanks to the black background and white text. Here’s the complete list of what’s new:

  • Nighttime reading theme makes reading books in the dark easier on the eyes.
  • Full-screen layout lets you focus on the words without distraction.
  • iBooks now features an improved selection of fonts, including Athelas, Charter, Iowan, and Seravek.
  • Beautiful new classic covers for public domain books.
  • A redesigned annotation palette makes it easier to choose a color for your highlighted text.

If iBooks is your go-to e-reader on the iDevice, be sure to grab this free update and check out the new goodies. And if you missed it earlier, see how you can use Dropbox to store and transfer your ebooks to apps like iBooks and Stanza in our recent tutorial.

iBooks Apple, iBooks, – Free

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Black Friday Online Sales Roundup

Apple’s One-day shopping event is finally here. Discounts are dead on from the leak revealed several days ago, with the MacBook and iMac lines being discounted by $101. iPad 2s now start at $458 (16GB wifi model), while the 64GB model has dropped by $61. Accessories are also on sale – the Apple Wireless keyboard, Trackpad and Magic mouse are discounted by $11 each. We’ve also included links below to other online Black Friday deals, including Amazon and Griffin. And if you missed it earlier, don’t forget to check out our Black Friday App Sales and Freebies Roundups. Happy Shopping!

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Apple Store app updated to 2.0, now supports EasyPay

Apple’s Apple Store app has been updated and now adds some nifty features for iOS users in the US, namely Personal Pickup and EasyPay:

- Personal Pickup: Buy in the app and choose to pick up your order at any Apple Retail Store. Most in-stock orders are available for pickup within an hour. (U.S. only)
- EasyPay: Purchase select accessories in store quickly by scanning the barcode and completing your transaction right in the app. (U.S. only, requires iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S)
- Track your stuff: View the status of current and previous orders from the order status section in the More tab.
- Additional international support (Canada, China).
- Requires iOS 4.2 or higher

With EasyPay (good for only accessories at the moment), it’s a matter of simply choosing your item, scanning its barcode within the app, and paying with the credit card that’s stored on your Apple ID. This process certainly makes it easier for small item purchases and no longer will you have to wait in line to check out during a busy day at the store. You can see just how simple it is to use EasyPay with an actual purchase made by Engadget below.

Apple Store Apple, Apple Store, – Free

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All Proceeds from Sonic Hedgehog and Super Street Fighter IV sales go to relief effort in Japan

Fight for a good cause

Capcom and SEGA, two of the most well known games publishers in the world, have temporarily dropped prices on their marquee titles and will be donating 100% of the proceeds to the disaster relief efforts in Japan. Capcom’s STREET FIGHTER IV is now $0.99 (down from $4.99) and SEGA’s own Sonic the Hedgehog games (Sonic 4Sonic Spinball etc) are also on sale for this good cause. If you have yet to buy these iOS games, now is certainly as a good a time as any. Of course, you can also donate money to American Red Cross through your iTunes account, in denominations of $5, $10, $25 and up. This can be done here.

STREET FIGHTER IV CAPCOM, STREET FIGHTER IV (TMA Review), – $0.99
Sonic The Hedgehog 4™ Episode I SEGA, Sonic The Hedgehog 4 Ep I (TMA Review), – $3.99
Sonic the Hedgehog SEGA, Sonic the Hedgehog, 4.0 MB - $1.99
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 SEGA, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, 5.2 MB – $2.99
Sonic Spinball SEGA, Sonic Spinball, 4.0 MB – $0.99