iPad Weekend Rumor Roundup: Apps, Books and Accessories

This is it, we’re in the final stretch. In a mere five days the iPad arrives. Now that we’re counting down the remaining days in single digits, all manner of ‘leaked’ information is pouring out of the tech blog rumor mill.

This weekend, a flood of iPad application sneak-peeks and previews choked my RSS reader. There’s also a curious update on e-book pricing in the iBookstore, and finally some news on the iPad’s Camera Connection accessory. So let’s get started!

Sneak Peaks

I can’t do this from here in the UK, but if you’re across the pond you might want to spend some time exploring iTunes Preview. Some applications have started to appear multiple times with the suffix HD or XL in their titles. According to iPhone Alley, these iPad-optimised versions do not appear in the iTunes app store… yet. But since it is thought developers are using the initials to denote iPad-versions of their software, it’s a great indicator of what’s in store this weekend.

App store analytics website AppAnnie reported on Saturday that it had discovered the iPad feed for the app store. A series of shared screenshots suggest we can expect iPad launch day availability of popular apps such as Awesome Note, Flight Control, Cro-Mag Rally and the much-anticipated versions of OmniGraffle and OmniGraphSketcher from Mac stalwarts The Omni Group.

Also on Saturday, MacRumors.com reported that FileMaker’s personal database software Bento will be appearing in an iPad friendly form. Mac rumours Arnold Kim writes;

Bento for iPad can be used as a standalone app or will wirelessly synchronize with Bento 3 for the Mac. The App comes with dozens of ready to use database templates that can be customized for your own usage. The iPad version of Bento is priced at $4.99, the same as the current price for the iPhone version.

Oh, while we’re on the subject of sneak peeks, Gizmodo shared screenshots over the weekend of what they claim to be Yahoo’s upcoming iPad-centric website redesign. Okay, so that’s not exactly an app sneak peek, but the design is compelling, and, as Gizmodo’s Jack Loftus writes, is “…much sexier than anything Yahoo’s ever managed on their homepage over the last decade or so.”

One final sneak peek for you; Vimeo user Federico Viticci posted a video of the iPad app store itself… running in the iPad simulator. At the time of writing, the video has been viewed more than 73,000 times, and is taking a while to load, so if you do head on over there, be patient! Here’s a clue as to what to expect; cover flow, large, finger-friendly icons, horizontally scrolling preview screenshots and, overall, very much the same experience you have come to expect from the app store application on the iPhone.

Book Prices

Just how much will books cost on the iBookstore? Nobody really knows for sure. There has been talk of an upcoming e-book price war; publishers Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, McMillan and Hachette Book Group have all put pressure on Amazon (s amzn) to change its pricing policies in the wake of Apple’s iPad announcement. The standard price for a new Kindle e-book is $9.99 —  and that’s too low as far as these publishers are concerned; they want to charge up to $15 for bestsellers.

Back in February the New York Times reported that, while publishers would be able to set higher prices for new titles on the iBookstore, Apple had;

…inserted provisions requiring publishers to discount e-book prices on best sellers — so that $12.99-to-$14.99 range was merely a ceiling; prices for some titles could be lower, even as low as Amazon’s $9.99.

Apple wants the flexibility to offer lower prices for the hottest books, those on one of the New York Times best-seller lists.

Last week the website App Advice published what it claims to be screenshots of the iBookstore; they revealed that most bestsellers in the iBookstore were listed at $9.99. It made perfect sense, given the New York Times quote above.

So it’s interesting that the latest leak indicates that prices are slowly climbing from $9.99 to $12.99. Make of it what you will, Gizmodo offers several possible explanations.

Camera Connection Kit

The Mac Observer reports that the iPad Camera Connection Kit finally appeared on Apple’s online store on Saturday.

Essentially a couple of little plastic dongles, the camera connection Kit allows iPad users to directly connect an SD card or camera (via USB cable) directly to the iPad and import photos into the iPad’s Photo app. The Camera Connection Kit costs $29 and can be pre-ordered from Apple’s online store here.

So that’s the weekend’s juiciest iPad rumors. If you’re expecting an iPad to arrive with you on the weekend, I envy you more than you can know. We still can’t pre-order iPads in the UK, so I shall have to enjoy these final days to ‘first launch’ vicariously, through you. So hit the comments with detailed descriptions of your excitement and anticipation — leave nothing out. Oh, and be sure to mention how you also think $30 is way too much for a couple of plastic dongles.