Friday Recap: “The New iPads Are Here! The New iPads Are Here!” Edition

Sky Gamblers Air Supremacy 200pxIf it seems quiet across the internet today, that’s because thousands of us are now holding the new iPad in our hot little hands, and we’re probably too busy jumping between Retina Display-enabled apps to do much else. By all accounts, today’s launch is another success for Apple, who appears to have beefed up inventory of the new iPad as many retail outlets still have stock remaining. You know what that means: Skim through today’s recap and then get to the store and buy one! Without further ado, here’s what’s making news for this Friday, March 16, 2012.

App Updates: Sky Gamblers, Mac|Life, Where’s a Retina Instapaper?

Now that the new iPad is finding happy homes in 10 countries around the world, those users are looking for apps to install on them. As luck would have it, Namco pushed out Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy on Thursday night. You’ll recall the $4.99 Retina-ready app was one of a trio of apps featured during last week’s Apple keynote introducing the new iPad, and now “the ultimate air combat game” is ready to touchdown on your tablet.

While it may not be Retina-ready quite yet, the Newsstand-enabled Mac|Life app also got an update this morning to version 1.9, offering previews of each issue before purchasing (yay!), minor performance enhancements (excellent!) and the ability to print pages via AirPrint (awesome!). Great work, guys -- now let’s get cracking on that Retina update, shall we?

Speaking of Retina Display upgrades, fans of Instapaper might be wondering why developer Marco Arment has nothing for them to download to their new iPad today. According to his blog, it turns out that the Instapaper app does indeed include the necessary 2x resolution graphics -- but they won’t appear until the app is compiled using the iOS 5.1 SDK. Given that Arment already has a nifty 4.1 update nearly finished, he decided to hold off rushing out a patch release for Retina Display support and plans to submit the new version to Apple this weekend. (And just for the record, text still looks amazing in Instapaper on our new iPad.)

Consumer Reports Says Unlimited Data Plans May Be Costing You More

We’ve always wondered if clinging to our original iPhone’s unlimited data plan through AT&T was worth the $30 each month, and now along comes Consumer Reports saying, “Not so much.” As it turns out, “close to half of AT&T customers with unlimited plans could save $10 a month by switching to a metered plan” -- and that’s not exactly chicken feed in today’s economy. According to usage data provided to CR by Validas, a full 48 percent of current AT&T unlimited data subscribers use less than 300MB a month -- and by switching to the lowest plan available, they could save $120 over the course of a year (which is $240 over a two-year contract). Granted, most of us don’t want to part with our unlimited plans, which have been grandfathered with each new iPhone, especially since there’s no going back. But given that AT&T is now slowing down your 3G speed when you hit 3GB each month, it’s not like “unlimited” means the same thing it did back in 2007 anyway...

Your New Verizon iPad Can Also Run on AT&T’s 3G Network

We’re among those who opted for a Verizon 4G LTE model with the new iPad, which is why we were quite thrilled to read this report from MacRumors claiming that this model is also capable of using AT&T -- but only at 3G speeds. “I was one of the first to obtain a Verizon iPad and can happily confirm that this is allowed,” exclaimed MacRumors forum member jsnuff1 earlier today. “I used my ATT iPhone 4S sim card and took out the Verizon sim, and data worked! You must apply the AT&T APN carrier settings before this works though.” Because AT&T’s 4G LTE uses a different radio band than Verizon, you’ll be limited to 3G -- but that includes using the carrier’s HSPA+, which they’ve rebranded as “4G” anyway. So, in a pinch you could yank the SIM card out of your iPhone 4/4S, slap it into your new iPad with Verizon 4G LTE and gobble up some of that aforementioned unlimited data we were just talking about.

This American Life Issues Retraction on Apple Factory Story

Ironic considering the new iPad just hit stores today, but This American Life has posted a retraction on a controversial story the radio show aired back in January about the factory working conditions at Foxconn, Apple’s manufacturing partner in China. The report used content from Mike Daisey’s monologue “The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” itself culled from Daisey’s own visits to Foxconn. As it turns out, a Chinese interpreter hired during that visit has disputed a great deal of Daisey’s story, and today This American Life issued a rare retraction to this particular show over what they call “significant fabrications” in Daisey’s one-man show. “Daisey lied to me and to This American Life producer Brian Reed during the fact checking we did on the story, before it was broadcast,” the TAL blog notes. “That doesn't excuse the fact that we never should've put this on the air. In the end, this was our mistake.” The embarrassing retraction comes after broadcasting what TAL calls “the single most popular podcast in This American Life’s history, with 888,000 downloads and 206,000 streams to date.” Meanwhile, in Cupertino, Apple CEO Tim Cook has another reason to smile today…

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter


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