Weekly news roundup on all things “Touch”

Apple shares are still rising, iPads are selling like hot cakes “virtually”, as well as receiving last minute design changes. Microsoft, Palm and Android are playing catch-up in the mobile space at GDC, and in sales figures. Some with more success than others…. Oh, and eBooks, or iBooks?, may be in a format you recognise and can be read aloud, but will come with DRM when bought from iTunes…

iPad selling like hot cakes!

We reported in the last few days that iPad pre-order sales are going extremely well. Various bloggers and business sites, using a variety of dark arts, are trying and gauge exactly how fast the pre-orders are going. Some are citing 20 – 25,000 units being sold per hour, based on Apple Store order numbers. Others are using more scientific methods and talking to industry analysts. But the bottom line is numbers are being limited by Apple to 2 per business or individual. Everyone who has a tech web site or blog seems to have one or two on order, and it’s clear that sales were in the order of 90,000 plus for the first day. The iPad seems to be a success before anyone even has one in their hands!

iPad last minute specification changes

Video output from the iPad has had a quick update prior to actual launch. The iPad will also support Motion JPEG in an AVI wrapper, which is still a common video format for many digital point-and-shoot cameras. More importantly Apple has altered the externals slightly on the iPad to take away the mute switch and add a universal orientation lock. An update welcomed by many who plan to lie at all sorts of angles on their sofas and in bed to read and type!

AAPL rises above $225 per share

Apple’s hoard of cash is no secret. And it’s share price circa $200 per share is a fair reflection of the cash reserves and investments it has on hand. But that doesn’t really reflect it’s continuing growth, and potential sales of the iPad, iPod and iPhone, as well as it’s growing computer market share. The city seems to agree, and shares in AAPL continue to rise. They are at $226.60 as of the writing of this article. This also to some extent seems to be driven by the encouraging iPad pre-order figure estimates. Will they continue to rise as we approach the iPad launch? What will they do after?

Android sales figures on the rise

Various tech sites are reporting that the Android will outstrip the iPhone in sales by 2012. I am not convinced, but any competition is good in the marketplace. It just seems that the figures people are citing are not that impressive yet.

According to the latest mobile subscriber report by comScore, when it comes to platform market share, the iPhone could be nervous of Android as Android market share in the United States is growing, in fact Android garnered the largest market share gains out of all 5 top smartphone OS’s reports Fortune.

Google’s Android platform, over the last 3 months has managed to grab hold of a 154 percent increase, growing from just 2.8 percent up to a nice 7.1 percent.

Blackberry maker Research In Motion still commands the top slot in the smartphone arena in the US with a whopping 43 percent of the market and looks to be growing even faster than Apple. Apple market share grew, but only by 1.2 percent.

Palm and Microsoft want in on mobile gaming

We reported earlier this week that Palm finally released a generally available Beta of it’s updated SDK which now allows developers to target OpenGL ES. Android already has a way that developers can access OpenGL ES. What this means is many of the high performance 3D titles which are already available on the iPhone and iPod platform can be quickly and easily ported to Palm’s smart phones. OpenGL ES is by far the most commonly used high-speed 3D graphics API employed on mobile devices.

Microsoft have gone another way (unsurprisingly), and are sticking with a version of their proprietary Direct3D API (also used on PCs and XBox) for mobile games. Both Microsoft and Palm announced gaming titles at GDC (Game Developers Conference in San Francisco). Palm with 20 titles almost ready and Microsoft with a couple of upcoming gaming titles being shown as work in progress versions for their Windows Phone 7 Series. So far it seems that Palm, as late as they are with this update to their SDK, have the more hopeful outlook of the two platforms.

iPad iBooks will feature DRM

Unsurprisingly eBooks downloaded from iTunes from the “iBookStore” will feature Fairplay DRM and won’t be compatible with other e-readers. Some slightly better news is that the book app in the iPad will support the ePub format, so many eBooks already out there which are DRM free can be loaded onto your iPad via iTunes. Another tidbit is that the iPad will be able to use “VoiceOver” to read the contents of any book out loud. Cool!

Another exciting week in “Touch” land.

Let us know your thoughts below. Did we miss anything?

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