iPads, iMacs and curved HDTVs
Staples.com is currently offering a $30 price cut on the 32GB iPad Air in Space Gray, which drops the cost from $599 down to $569. Use coupon code '11605' at checkout to drop the price down to $469, beating the next lowest price by more than $65. This iPad features 32GB of storage space, a 9.7-inch Retina display, A7 chip with M7 motion coprocessor, built-in Wi-Fi, 5MP iSight camera, FaceTime HD camera and a battery that lasts for up to 10 hours. It is backed by a one-year warranty on parts and labor from Apple.
Extended warranty available for both iPhones and iPads
A leaked internal memo seems to reveal that Costco's in-store wireless kiosks may begin offering AppleCare+ on iPhones and iPads beginning on Thursday, August 28. The offer applies only to devices activated at the kiosk rather than iPhones or iPads that may be offered on the main sales floor. Costco resumed selling iTunes gift cards after a nearly four-year dispute with Apple ended in early June; iPhone and iPad sales were resumed just before the end of that month.
Original deal tainted with cost overruns, conflicts of interest, other issues
The Wall Street Journal has confirmed that both Apple and educational curriculum and textbook publisher Pearson will re-bid on a new contract to supply the LA United School District (LAUSD) with computer and tablet options as part of a program that could eventually grow to $500 million. Both companies were the core of the previous contract that would have seen all students receiving iPads, but questions of cost overruns, problems and lack of transparency combined to force the district to cancel that arrangement.
PayPal offering discounted UK iTunes cards at 25 percent off
PayPal is currently offering digital iTunes cards at 25 percent off for UK customers. Users can purchase iTunes codes to redeem for music, films, TV programs, games, apps and more from the iTunes Store, iBooks Store and the App Store. Content purchased can be accessed on iOS devices and Mac or PC computers. The discount offer is available until tonight at 11:59 BST.
Program will also include 1,000 MacBook models, rise to $8 million per year
Even as questions arise about the LA Unified School District's handling of its botched and now-abandoned iPad program, Apple continues to win school districts over to the tablet. The St. Paul School District in Minnesota is launching a program that will offer tens of thousands of iPads to students in a total of 61 schools over time, with an initial rollout to 37 schools in the city. The district is leasing the equipment from Apple, which includes up to 1,000 unspecified MacBook models.
Apple makes changes to iAd, opens platform to Russia, Switzerland
Apple continues to tweak its iAd mobile advertising platform, now offering new formats, including full-screen interstitial ads (as often seen on iTunes Radio in iTunes) as well as Facebook-style "pre-roll" videos where video clips begin playing silently until clicked on by users, which opens the full video with sound. A new implementation guide has also been issued with the updated offerings. Additionally, the company says that the iAd network is now available in Russia and Switzerland beginning today. Ad creators can choose to update their ads to target either or both countries using iAd workbench, notes 9to5Mac.
Every category being hit, CEO says
Flattening iPad sales during the last two quarters are nothing to worry about, says Apple CEO Tim Cook in a new interview. "We couldn't be happier with how we've done with the first four years of the iPad," he tells Re/Code's Walt Mossberg. "I'd call what's going on recently a speed bump, and I've seen that in every category."
Next-gen iPad Air, iPad mini models already entering assembly
Apple suppliers are preparing to build a long-rumored 12.9-inch iPad, with production scheduled to start by the first quarter of 2015, sources tell Bloomberg. The unnamed sources don't have any further details on the tablet, except that Apple has been working with suppliers for a year or more to develop larger touchscreen devices. As for the iPad Air and iPad mini, a new Air is said to be in production now, while a new Mini is on the cusp. Both should ship later this year.
Superintendent, deputy had close links to Apple, Pearson
The superintendent of Los Angeles' Unified School District, John Deasy, has formally suspended future implementation of an iPad contract with Apple. "Moving forward, we will no longer utilize our current contract with Apple," he writes in a memo issued to the Board of Education. "Not only will this decision enable us to take advantage of an ever-changing marketplace and technology advances, it will also give us time to take into account concerns raised surrounding the [project]."
Fills out iOS productivity suite
Google is today launching a new iOS app, Slides. Much like Microsoft PowerPoint, Slides lets people create and edit presentations. Because these files are stored in the cloud, users can start work on one device and continue on another, including via the Slides web app. Collaboration features let several people work on a presentation simultaneously; any changes to a file are saved automatically, and the app can work both on and offline. Offline changes are uploaded after reconnection.
Magnus iPad stand uses magnets to hold tablet in place
Ten One Design has announced the release of its new iPad stand, Magnus, which uses magnets to hold the tablet in place. Designed to work with iPad Air, the low-profile stand features aluminum finishing and is minimally visible from the front of the tablet. Its rubberized magnetic grip protects the refined aluminum enclosure of the iPad from unwanted scratches, additionally providing surface traction. Weighing less than two ounces, its 22-degree viewing angle offers a suitable positioning for viewing in landscape mode. The Magnus Air is priced at $40.
Tablet has been popular with medical sector, gov't calls hospital a 'model' for others
One day after US Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald called the Palo Alto Veterans Administration hospital one of the "crown jewels" of the VA healthcare system," the facility received a visit from Apple CEO Tim Cook, who tweeted that he was "honored" to meet doctors alongside California legislator Anna Eshoo, noting that the facility is "now using iPads to help treat vets and families." The message was accompanied by a photo of Cook with an iPad-using staffer.
Releases $2.6M Apple bond covering never-enacted Galaxy Tab 10.1 sales ban
On Wednesday, US Federal District Court Judge Lucy Koh ruled on two motions in the ongoing leftover matters related to the first Apple vs. Samsung patent trial from 2012. The first ruling denied Apple the opportunity to recover attorney's fees from Samsung related to its guilty verdict on trade dress claims, and the second returned a $2.6 million Apple bond the company had put up to enforce a sales injunction against the Galaxy Tab 10.1, which was found to have copied Apple's iPad technology. No action was ever taken on the ban due to the appeals process, and both companies have since agreed to drop the injunction.
Retailers looking to clear out old stock
Best Buy is conducting a one-day sale on all its iPad Air models, cutting their costs by $75 each. That makes a 16GB Wi-Fi Air $425, and a 16GB 4G Air $555. The most expensive iPads -- 128GB 4G models -- have been lowered to $855. A further $50 discount on any of the models is available to educational buyers.
iWatch may have 512MB of RAM, 8GB of storage
The second-generation iPad Air should see a switch from 1GB to 2GB of RAM, according to a Taiwanese site, TechNews. The third-gen iPad mini, however, will allegedly retain 1GB, according to the publication. That would be a reversal of last year, when the Mini was made equivalent to full-sized iPads in everything but size.
Organization debuts new Tablets/Slates category, required for gov't purchasing
The Apple iPad is overwhelmingly dominant in a new EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) category covering tablets and slates. Out of 135 devices currently registered, 134 are simply different configurations of the iPad Air, iPad mini, and fourth-generation iPad. The one non-Apple entry is the Dell Venue 11 Pro.
Compelling endorsement from Morgan Stanley may encourage buyers
Apple's stock closed on Tuesday with a new 52-week high, and at one point in the day threatened to top its all-time highest stock price (based on straight split-adjustment). It officially closed at $100.53, not far from its all-time split-adjusted high of $100.72, though it hit $100.68 in intra-day trading. The company's valuation also rose to a market cap of $602 billion.
First-gen iPad minis on clearance in anticipation of new models
Target stores in the US and its online store are now offering first-generation iPad minis at clearance prices, selling the entry-level 16GB Wi-Fi only model for $199 -- a price that is lower or equal to most competing (but smaller) seven-inch tablets, such as the Kindle HDX or Google's Nexus 7. The price is $100 lower than the normal retail price in all configurations, and $20 below Apple's own price for its refurbished model. The sale also offers $50 off the price of the iPad Air in all configurations. The promotion is good for "this week only," and is based on limited amounts of stock, according to the Target website.
Slight change could make cables more convenient
A new photo (below) from well-known leak source Sonny Dickson shows what's said to be an Apple Lightning cable with a reversible USB connector. While current official cables are reversible on the Lightning end, the USB connector can only be facing a single direction when it's plugged into a computer. Dickson isn't the first person to show images of updated Lightning cables, but a leak from last week came from a more questionable source, especially since third parties manufacture Lightning cables with and without Apple's permission.
Gameplay appears to follow decade-old collectible card game
Nintendo property The Pokemon Trading Card Game is coming to the iPad. Following a tease of the game during the Pokemon World Championships currently underway in Washington DC, official representatives have confirmed the title, and that it is coming out on the iPad "later this year." The Pokemon Company has several properties on iOS, but this will be the first game to appear on the platform.
TweetDeck updated for OS X, adds Regional + City level Trends
TweetDeck by Twitter has received an update for OS X. The app is designed for publishers, marketers and power users of Twitter, and features a customizable layout for the social networking platform. Tweetdeck v3.8.4 offers the ability to find locally trending topics for Regions and Cities, adding a column based on the trend.
iMacs, iPads, printers and more
At BestBuy.com this week, get the 21.5-inch iMac for $990. That's $110 off the list price of $1,100, and the lowest price we have seen by $10. Free US shipping is included, but sales tax applies for residents of most states. This iMac features a 1.4GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive. It is backed by a one-year warranty on parts and labor from Apple. This configuration is also available in open-box condition for $921.
Manchester United bans electronic devices later than 150mm x 100mm from home game grounds
UK football (soccer) team Manchester United has announced a new ban on iPads and other tablet devices being brought into Old Trafford by its fans. The restriction was instigated by concerns that fans can record large portions of live matches on their tablets, and so the devices now join large bags, large cameras and liquids on the list of prohibited items.
Investigation showed no danger to Apple workers, but risks too great
Thanks to the work of activists in raising awareness of the potential risks of some chemicals used in the production process of its products, Apple has announced that it is now restricting suppliers from using n-hexane and benzene in the final assembly process, even though the company's own investigation showed there was no direct danger of contamination for Apple workers. Because of the potential effects, the chemicals (used mostly for cleaning) are no longer permitted.
Boxcryptor beta now available for Mac, supports Yosemite, iCloud Drive
Cloud storage encryption software, Boxcryptor, has released two new OS X beta versions. Boxcryptor protects users' files that are in the cloud, applicable to Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, and more. The newest version offers added support for OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) and iCloud Drive, as well as support for Spotlight and Trash enabled in the Advanced Preferences. Saving and loading of preferences and offline support are improved. Boxcryptor can now better handle sync conflicts, with auto-fixing for modified encrypted filenames now available. For both Boxcryptor and Boxcryptor Classic for OS X, OSXFUSE is no longer required to run the software. Boxcryptor is available in three pricing options, ranging from free to an unlimited business version for $95 per year.
Carrier likely clearing out stock ahead of next-gen hardware
AT&T has begun a new promotion aimed at people on Next upgrade plans. If a subscriber buys an iPhone 5s or 5c, the carrier is offering $200 off a cellular-equipped iPad. That brings the price of a 16GB cellular Retina Mini down to $329, and an equivalent Air to $429. There are other stipulations as well however, namely that an iPad has to be activated under a two-year wireless agreement on a Mobile Share Value plan or a standalone data plan.
Apple's iOS very slowly losing ground, but still overwhelmingly dominant in enterprise
A new report from Good Technology on enterprise mobile use has shown that Apple's iOS continues to be the overwhelmingly dominant choice of systems for corporate mobility, with some 88 percent of all business app activations and 90 percent of tablet activations on the platform. However, Android apps climbed to 12 percent of app activations, a gain of four percentage points from the previous quarter, while Android devices climbed to 32 percent of activations versus iOS' 67 percent.
iPad Air with Retina display cut to $399
At Staples.com right now, get the 16GB iPad Air in Space Gray for $499. Use coupon code 79449 to drop the price down to $399. That discount makes this the best price we have seen on this model by about $50. This iPad model features a Retina display, Apple A7 processor, built-in Wi-Fi, 5MP iSight camera, FaceTime HD camera, and comes with iOS 7 and iCloud.
Title appears as official Apple app
People setting up an iOS 7 device for the first time are now seeing Beats Music among the list of recommended Apple apps, according to anecdotes. The App Store splash page is otherwise full of titles like iBooks, Podcasts, Find My iPhone, and the iWork suite. Notably Beats Music is the only one to require payments, since it's based on monthly subscription plans.
No change in sizes, but anti-reflective coating may be included
According to Bloomberg and unnamed sources, Apple has begun production of the next iteration of the iPad and iPad mini, which is expected to be announced sometime either near the end of the current quarter or the beginning of the next quarter in time for holiday-season sales. The article reveals that the screen sizes on the two devices are likely to stay the same, but may now include an anti-reflective coating that is said to help make the device easier to see outdoors.
Seen as pushback against Microsoft's Surface ads, yet features Microsoft apps
Following on the heels of two new "Your Verse" iPad ads, Apple has begun emailing prospective buyers touting the iPad's "office" apps, including both its own "iWork" apps as well as Microsoft Office for iPad -- even though the campaign is seen as a pushback to Microsoft's recent ads for its failed Surface tablet in which it points out that the Surface's accompanying keypad cover and laptop-like OS as productivity selling points.
Microsites focus on practical uses of apps
Apple has added two new microsites for its "Your Verse" iPad marketing campaign. The first highlights Chinese electropop band Yaoband, which uses iPads for sampling, recording, and performance. Apple mentions the use of apps like iMaschine and Logic Remote.
iPods, iPads, and Mac accessories
Right now at Apple's online store, chose from a selection of refurbished iPod touch models -- starting as low as $129 for the fourth-generation Touch with 8GB of storage. A $100 discount drops the cost on the refurbished fifth-generation iPod touch with 32GB of storage in black and slate down to $199.
Clear, Notability, Fantastical 2 among notable entries
On the iOS App Store, Apple is now running a "limited-time" sale on 20 productivity apps. Most of the titles are well-established, such as Realmac's Clear, Ginger Labs' Notability, and Flexibits' Fantastical 2. Some lesser-known examples include Andreas Karlsson's Tydlig and Ten Touch's Grafio.
Full access limited to monthly subscribers
As anticipated, NFL Now apps have been launched for the iPhone and iPad and the Apple TV. The titles promise "hundreds of new videos daily" connected to teams and players; users also can get a non-stop stream based on preferences learned over time.
Apple's iPad still seen as ideal for younger students, but keyboards, notebooks making comeback
A number of schools that had instituted large-scale programs to supply students with iPads or other tablets are now reconsidering the idea, particularly for post-elementary students, a new article from The Atlantic notes, in an investigation that could have some consequences for Apple's renewed push into education. While administrators, teachers and students alike appreciate the iPad, the shortcoming of no built-in physical keyboard is becoming an issue for Common Core and secondary-school students.
Many changes simply UI refinements
Users are beginning to discover some of the changes in iOS 8 beta 5, which was released earlier today. Many of these appear to affect the Health app. On top of supporting spirometry data, there are for example several new icons, and users can now export the app's information. Privacy settings for the app have appeared within Settings.
Apple TV, OS X Server, Configurator get matching updates
Apple is now seeding its fifth betas of iOS 8, OS X Yosemite, and Xcode to developers, as well as a preview of OS X Server 4.0, and fourth betas of new Apple TV firmware and Configurator 1.7. Relatively little is known about their content so far, although notes for the iOS 8 beta add that "spirometry data types are now available in HealthKit;" spirometry is the measurement of lung capacity. Xcode has received Swift-related improvements involving ranges and easier scripting.
Usage begins mirroring device ownership
For the first time, global usage of Android devices has surpassed that of iOS, according to Net Applications tracking data. iOS slipped from 45.61 percent in June to 44.19 percent in July, while Android advanced from 43.75 percent to 44.62. Windows Phone has made some more marginal progress, growing from below the 1 percent mark in April to 2.49 percent.
Includes bigger speaker grilles, shifted rear mic
A Taiwanese accessory maker, Yi Lin Enterprises, has posted photos online showing what's claimed to be a rear shell for the second-generation iPad Air. While mostly similar to the current Air, the shell's speaker grilles have been modified to use a single row of larger holes, and the rear microphone port has been placed next to the iSight camera. The part appears to be for a space gray model.
iOS 8 questions and discussion
With the Beta release of Yosemite in the hands of a million Mac owners, and questions about that subsiding, the next big question in the MacNN forums is about the future of iOS 8. Forum-goers discuss the future of the Mac desktop in two different threads, one asking if a consumer Mac Pro might surface, and the other questioning the possibility of a Retina iMac.
Excel, PowerPoint get custom improvements
Microsoft has updated its trio of Office apps for the iPad -- Word, Excel, and PowerPoint -- adding a number of significant features. Perhaps the biggest addition is support for PDF export, but new third-party fonts have also been added, as have new Picture tools that let people crop an image or reset it to an unaltered state. Other changes are specific to Excel and PowerPoint.
Beginning of greater tablet support
Free voice, texting, and data service provider FreedomPop is extending its plans to tablets, starting with the Apple iPad mini and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, according to an announcement. In the case of Minis, subscribers will be given mic-equipped Apple headphones and a special app, allowing them to make calls through FreedomPop's VoIP platform. Each person will have a unique phone number, and associated features such as voicemail and the ability to port that number to a different device or carrier.
iPad Air is a more capable productivity tool than some might expect
The question of how much productivity you can get done on the Apple iPad is one that has persisted since its introduction. Even if the question is not an easy one to answer, it seems almost irrelevant to even ask when one looks at how massively successful the iPad has been since its introduction. The question also depends on what one defines as being 'productivity,' when it has been clear for some time that plenty of people can and do use iPads for getting work done, particularly in creative endeavors. The recently announced partnership between Apple and IBM in enterprise, coupled with the arrival of Microsoft Office for iPad suggests that the iPad's capability in the workplace will be properly tested given that IBM also becomes an official Apple reseller and will help to shift many more units into the workplace.
Yosemite Beta pros and cons
This week in the MacNN forums, members discuss the things they like and dislike about Yosemite now that the beta version has been released to the public in a thread started last week by one Mac Elite who wondered why no one seemed excited about this update to the OS. "Does anyone know how much amperage the iPhone 6 will require?" asks one Fresh-Faced Recruit to the forums.
Expansion campaign continues
In keeping with expansion efforts made during the past year, Apple has brought its AppleCare+ plans for the iPhone and iPad to Mexico and Sweden. Mexican plans cost 1,599 pesos, or about $123. Swedish plans are 799 kronor, or $117. In the US AppleCare+ coverage is $99.
Part of sea change in Apple policies
A Bitcoin trading app, Blockchain, has been allowed to return to the iOS App Store, reports note. The title was one of several removed from the App Store early this year during an Apple crackdown. The company's policy is normally to prohibit apps allowing activities which may be illegal in some countries. Although Bitcoin has become increasingly accepted, it still sits in a legal limbo in many regions.
'Network optimization' should only hurt 5 percent of LTE userbase
Starting October 1, Verizon will begin throttling some of its "unlimited" LTE users, according to an official announcement. The carrier promises that only five percent of that group -- those using 4.7GB or more per month -- will be affected, and "only in places and at times when the network is experiencing high demand." Unlimited 3G access has been throttled in a similar manner for some time.
App to be discontinued
Beginning with iOS 8 beta 4, Apple is warning owners of iPhoto for iOS that some features may not make the transition to its replacement, at least at first. Much as with iPhoto on the Mac, users will eventually be migrated over to an all-new, native Photos app, a huge overhaul of the existing iOS Photos app. When trying to run iPhoto in the current beta of iOS 8, an error message now appears stating that iPhoto isn't supported; instead, people are offered the choice to migrate data to Photos, with the exception of "layouts and text added to Books, Journals and Slideshows."
4.7-inch iPhone 6 already underway
Although mass production of a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 is underway, other Apple products due this fall -- including new versions of the iPad Air and iPad mini, and the 5.5-inch iPhone -- have yet to begin assembly, according to Chinese-language publication UDN. The new iPads are expected to enter production in September, but there is no reported timeframe for the 5.5-inch iPhone. UDN makes no mention of the iWatch, something generally anticipated in the fall.