Friday, November 19, 2010, 11:40 pm PT (02:40 am ET)
iPad coming to northern Europe, iOS 4.2 hints at free MobileMe accountsApple plans to release the iPad in several northern European countries soon, while error messages in the most recent iOS 4.2 golden master suggest the possibility of free MobileMe accounts for iOS users.
Continuing the global rollout of its highly successful tablet device, Apple will launch the iPad in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark, according to the Wall Street Journal. Alongside the launch, several Nordic telecom operators will soon offer 3G data packages for the iPad, the Journal reports. European carriers Tre, TeliaSonera AB and Tele2 AB all announced Friday that they will provide data subscriptions for iPad users, though they declined to give details on when exactly the plans will launch and prices for the subscriptions.
TeliaSonera did confirm, however, that it will not sell the iPad. "As things look right now, we will only offer subscription packages for the iPad," said Bengt Olsson, TeliaSonera's head of communications. "The iPad launch is imminent and we plan to release our subscription offer in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Demark simultaneously," he said.
Early demand for the iPad after its initial U.S. release in April surprised Apple, forcing the company to delay the international launch of the tablet until May.
During Apple's second fiscal quarter 2010 conference call, Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said that sales "far exceeded" Apple's expectations. "It has shocked us, the level of demand, at least initially," Cook said.
Earlier in November, Apple released a golden master of iOS 4.2. Within the beta, it was discovered that the MobileMe settings now asked for Apple ID account info, rather than MobileMe account info. Apple has since released two more golden masters of iOS 4.2, including one build labeled iOS 4.2.1.
On Friday, MacRumors uncovered in the latest iOS 4.2 betas a "new private framework" with error messages referencing free MobileMe accounts. The errors include: "The maximum number of free accounts have been activated on this iPhone" and "This iPad is not qualified for free MobileMe service." Though Apple currently offers a 60-day free trial of its $99 a year MobileMe service, it remains unclear how an iOS device would "qualify" for the rumored free service.
Analysts have speculated that MobileMe will play a pivotal role in Apple's continued expansion into cloud-based services, pointing to the company's $1 billion data center in Maiden, N. C. as potential evidence. MobileMe currently offers calendar, email and contact syncing, as well as file sharing and a "Find My iPhone" remote tracking feature.
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