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March 2012 In Review

March was the month of the new iPad, an updated Apple TV and the announcement of a dividend and share repurchase program. It was most certainly a ‘big’ month. If a new iPad wasn’t enough, we also got a lot of new apps (alongside all those being updated for the Retina Display) and big app updates - everything from Angry Birds Space (world productivity took a dive that week) to both iA Writer and Byword iPhone apps launching to Camera+ 3.0 and our eyes were in heaven after Instapaper was updated to support the Retina Display with some truly beautiful new fonts. On the story front, Federico tackled the issue of what was the best aspects of our favourite iOS text editors, talked about the ‘Apple Community’, Cody reviewed the new iPad and I expressed sadness and frustration with lies of Mike Daisey.

Jump the break to get a full recap of March 2012. You can also jump back to see what happened in January and February of this year.

The New iPad

On March 7th, Apple held its iPad keynote - announcing the third generation iPad, simply calling it the ‘new iPad’. It featured a Retina Display, improved rear camera, quad-core GPU with the new A5X processor and support for 4G networks. We posted a review roundup, featuring the highlights from various reviews on the internet, as well as our own review by Cody. Apple announced that in its opening weekend it sold 3 million of the new iPads.

The (updated) Apple TV, iOS 5.1,  iPhoto for iOS and more from Apple’s iPad event

Alongside the new iPad, Apple also released an updated Apple TV with support for 1080p content as well as new UI that was also released for the existing Apple TV. Co-inciding with the release of the new iPad was the release of iOS 5.1 which included some bugfixes and new features such as an improved activation method to use the lockscreen camera. Apple also announced the iOS version of iPhoto which was made available for $4.99 a short time later.

More minor announcements included the availability for AppleCare+ for the new iPad, iTunes 10.6 and the release of the “Apple Configurator” app after the event. Apple also bumped the over-the-air download limit from 20 MB to 50 MB to reflect larger app sizes due to Universal apps that included graphics for the Retina iPad and iPhone - as well as larger download caps that exist today. Finally, you saw Apple update a whole bunch of their own apps for the new iPad and Retina Display.

We also posted a complete round-up of the event and a bunch of minor details about the event that you may have missed. You can also watch the recording of the event here.

25 billion apps downloaded

On March 3rd, Apple announced that 25 billion apps had been downloaded from the App Store. To mark the milestone it revealed a new “All-Time Top Apps” section on the App Store. A few days later, Apple revealed that the 25 billionth app downloaded was ‘Where’s My Water? Free’ by Chunli Fu who is from  Qingdao, China - she won a $10,000 iTunes gift card.

Apple announces dividend and share repurchase program

Somewhat out of the blue, Apple announced on a Sunday afternoon that it would be holding a conference call early the next day (Monday) to announce the result of discussions by Apple’s board on what it would do with Apple’s cash balance. As was widely expected, Apple announced it would begin issuing quarterly dividends of $2.65 per share. It also announced a $10 billion share repurchase program to begin in FY2013.

Fair Labor Association releases preliminary report on Foxconn conditions

The Fair Labor Association released a preliminary report on its findings from inspections at Foxconn that were conducted earlier this year. In what now seems like planned positive PR ahead of the report’s release, Tim Cook visited Foxconn a few days before the report was published and photographs were distributed to media of the visit.

Angry Birds Space

Rovio this month released Angry Birds Space, the fourth in the series (after the original, Rio and Seasons). Unsurprisingly, the game did incredibly well and managed to receive over 10 million downloads in less than 3 days. Particularly awesome was this analysis of the physics used by the game, a great follow-up to the original investigation into Angry Birds physics.

Everything Else


The Really Big Reviews

Everything Else

March Quick Reviews

Retina & Universal

iPhoto for iOS Review

The Essence of a Name

On Reviewing Apps

Getting Your iPad App Ready for the new iPad

Comparing My Favorite iOS Text Editors

Daisey’s Lies Take Us Two Steps Backwards

iPad (3) Review: You Won’t Believe It Until You See It

The Apple Community, Part II

Regarding Apple’s Edge and the new Apple TV Interface

A Series of Clicks

The (Semi)Skeuomorphism

MacStories Reading Lists

MacStories Reading List: February 26 – March 4

MacStories Reading List: New iPad Special Edition

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