iPad: 2 Million Sold

Only a short time after the release of the iPad internationally, Apple says that sales of the iPad have exceeded 2 million. This comes in less than two months after the device was initially launched in the U.S.

The iPad recently went on sale in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K. By July, the iPad will be available for purchase in Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore.

Source: MarketWatch

Hobbit Sees Del Toro Departure

Guillermo Del Toro recently announced that he’s stepping down as director of the two Hobbit movies, due to delays in production caused mostly by financial troubles at co-distributor MGM. He will still co-write the screenplays and remains committed to making the Hobbit movies a success.

“In light of ongoing delays in the setting of a start date for filming The Hobbit, I am faced with the hardest decision of my life,” says Guillermo. “After nearly two years of living, breathing and designing a world as rich as Tolkien s Middle Earth, I must, with great regret, take leave from helming these wonderful pictures.I remain grateful to Peter, Fran and Philippa Boyens, New Line and Warner Brothers and to all my crew in New Zealand.”

“We feel very sad to see Guillermo leave the Hobbit, but he has kept us fully in the loop and we understand how the protracted development time on these two films, due to reasons beyond anyone s control has compromised his commitment to other long term projects,” says Executive Producer Peter Jackson. “The bottom line is that Guillermo just didn’t feel he could commit six years to living in New Zealand, exclusively making these films, when his original commitment was for three years.”

Jackson will work with his studio partners to find a replacement for the Hobbit movies, which haven’t been officially greenlit but are currently penciled in for December 2012 and December 2013. Notably, Jackson did say he would direct the $150 million project himself if necessary to ensure the movie is filmed in his native New Zealand.

Source: The One Ring

Verizon Customers Want iPhone

An iPhone that is compatible with Verizon has been rumored for a long time, and according to a recent survey, there’s demand among Verizon customers for the Apple device.

“According to our [Alphawise U.S. consumer iPhone survey], there is substantial pent up iPhone demand within the Verizon installed base as 16.8 percent of Verizon subscribers said they are very likely to purchase an iPhone if offered on the Verizon Network, said Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty to HotHardware. This 16.8 percent is higher than AT&T subscriber s 14.6 percent extreme interest in the current AT&T iPhone, and well above the overall iPhone extreme interest of 7.5 percent.”

That may be good news for Apple, since Rodman Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar says that the company is looking to increase its production rate by 25 percent to 4 million a month. Kumar says to TheStreet this is being done to prepare a Verizon iPhone for as early as November, though some think the move is simply to ramp up in production of the anticipated iPhone 4G.

Apple Planning New TV Solution – Report

According to reports, Apple is planning its next move in the sector of TV. In the works since before Google TV was announced, the device will have the same architecture as the iPhone 4G, though lacking a screen and with only a power socket and video out, continuing Apple’s traditional paucity of ports.

While external storage will be available via a Time Capsule, the main model of storage will be cloud-based, with streaming 1080p. While Apple TV currently has a variation on OS X, this one will have the iPhone OS. Intriguingly, this device is set to release at $99.

An announcement for the new device is apparently not planned for the World Wide Developers Conference. It seems Apple isn’t going to give ground on digital TV content to Google without a fight.

Source: Engadget

Virtual Good Purchases On The Rise, Says Study

Frank N. Magid Associates and PlaySpan today announced the results of their study on virtual good purchases. 13 percent of the population (ages 12 to 64) bought a virtual item in the last year, with the mean and median of digital goods purchases both up 14 and 67 percent. The iPhone saw the most digital good purchases, followed by virtual worlds.

“There’s been a substantial increase in the number of consumers buying digital goods and an upward trend of players spending more on average than in the previous year,” said Mike Vorhaus, President, Magid Advisors. “With the proliferation of smartphone users, and players becoming more comfortable paying for items within virtual worlds and social networks, Magid believes there is a huge opportunity for developers and publishers to capitalize on this growing multi-billion dollar industry, especially as virtual credits and pre-paid payment options become more widely accepted.”

21 percent of those who bought virtual goods plan to spend more on them in the next year. Males were much more enthusiastic about virtual good purchases, with 31 percent of males ages 18 to 24 saying they have purchased a virtual good in the past 12 months.

“We’re on the upward curve of a huge growth industry with younger players leading the charge,” said Eric Hartness, Chief Marketing Officer of PlaySpan. “In addition to growth in online games and virtual worlds, the data shows, and our internal metrics corroborate, tremendous virtual goods purchasing behavior in social network games.”

Kane & Lynch Loses Simon Crane As Director

The Kane & Lynch movie is set to begin filming in August, but the project apparently has no director. Sources close to Millennium say that Simon Crane has left the project.

After F. Gary Gray declined the role, the studio is reportedly in talks with Wayne Kramer to direct the film. Kramer’s previous work includes The Cooler, Running Scared and Crossing Over.

The Kyle Ward script has mercenary Adam “Kane” Marcus and schizophrenic killer James Lynch paired up to find a stolen microchip. Bruce Willis and Jamie Foxx are already confirmed for the roles of Kane and Lynch respectively, while Adrian Askarieh and Daniel Alter are producing.

Source: Latino Review {link no longer active}

Killzone 3 Raising The Bar

Killzone 2 firmly established the franchise as a showcase for the PS3 hardware, and the next game in the series will add 3D to the mix. Hermen Hulst, managing director at developer Guerrilla Games, thinks the addition will be important for the franchise.

“Killzone has always been about immersive cinematic experience,” said Hulst. “We went through a lot of hoops to make it as immersive as possible. We put a lot of work into concept design to create the world in a very believable way. We wanted the audio to be realistic. Everything needs to come together. This is one more layer, adding 3D viewing, like high-definition graphics was one more layer. 3D is sitting on top of that. You are no longer looking at the world. It feels like you are in the middle of it. It s a great tool. To us, it is a lucky combination of what we already make. The games we create are already in 3D. Things come right at you as you re being shot at. There are cool effects, and when you turn on the 3D, it’s even better.”

“While many people thought that Killzone 2 maxed out what was possible on the PS3, Guerrilla is looking to push things even further with environments described to be 10 times larger than the previous game. With Killzone 2, we thought we were scraping the bottom of the barrel in finding more processing power,” noted Hulst. “But we actually found another 30 to 40 percent more performance in the PlayStation 3 to create these bigger worlds. Raising the bar comes through variety, improving the systems we had before like adding the brutal melee system to the close combat we already had, and improving things that we thought we could have done better. We had difficulty spikes in the game that were barriers for people.”

“I think we are using every clock cycle that is available. I don t think we can get much more. I said that after Killzone 2, and I have been proven wrong,” he added.

Source: VentureBeat {link no longer active}