As much a fashion statement as practical
iPad cases are built not only to suit a wide range of uses but a wide range of incomes, and both of those factors come into play with one of WaterField's first products for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, the Outback Slip Case. On a functional level it's relatively straightforward: it's a cushioned sleeve that you slide an iPad into. WaterField makes four variants, split between the Air and the Mini, and whether you want one sized to accommodate a Smart Cover as well. We tested the Air 2/Smart Cover edition.
128GB Air 2 still unavailable
Following up on earlier promises, the US branch of T-Mobile has officially launched the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 at its online and retail stores. People shopping online, at least, are being told that the 128GB Air 2 is currently unavailable, despite it being ready at Apple and other third-party vendors. Apple does typically produce fewer quantities of its highest-end models.
Sprint, T-Mobile leave devices open
The new Apple SIM in the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 is being locked to AT&T if data subscribers choose that carrier, according to complaints. The problem is confirmed by a new Apple support document, which says that when buyers "choose AT&T on iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, AT&T dedicates Apple SIM to [that] network only."
Option temporarily restricted to Wi-Fi models
Shoppers at Apple's online store now have the option of selecting Personal Pickup as a delivery option for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. When preorders opened last Friday, the company required all orders to be shipped. Notably, some stores are listed as having iPads ready for pickup today, even though Apple Store workers are saying they won't have tablets on sale until later this week, or even next week. Shipped orders are beginning to arrive on doorsteps however.
Mini 3 criticized for not having enough value
Early reviews of the iPad Air 2 and Mini 3 are beginning to arrive, and are typically touting the tablets as Apple's best ever, but with some caveats. Re/code's Walt Mossberg for instance says they represent a "modest evolutionary improvement over last year's models, not the kind of big change that the first iPad Air or the Retina display iPad mini did last year." He suggests that the Air 2 may be worth buying for people owning an iPad older than last year's model.
Some units could ship as soon as October 23rd
Apple is beginning to ship the earliest preorders of the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 bought at its online store, accounts say. Notifications are being sent out today. Some orders are scheduled to ship on October 23 specifically, while other people have been given a broader 23rd-27th timeframe.
Ordering through carrier will allow financing options
T-Mobile's US branch has announced that it will start offering preorders for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 on Wednesday. While the hardware available to preorder since last Friday already supports T-Mobile, ordering directly from the carrier opens up financing options. The 16GB LTE models can be had for no down payment on a two-year contract, with monthly fees being approximately $26 for the Air 2 and $22 for the Mini 3. That's on top of a mandatory Simple Choice data plan.
In-store pickup options only listed as 'coming soon'
Apple has officially opened up preorders for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 at its online store. In the US, Apple is currently promising delivery sometime between October 23rd and the 27th. Delivery in fact appears to be the only option, as in-store pickup is quoted as "coming soon."
Event featured expected news for news iPad, surprises for 5K iMac and Mac Mini
Chatter between the staff of MacNN and Electronista is always occurring behind the scenes, but it ramps up when special events or live reveals happen in the tech world. Excitement was amplified this week as Apple took to the stage barely a month after its last event, the September showcase that launched the iPhone 6. Editors Mike and Charles, along with writer Jordan, debate some of the new device information that trickled out of the Wednesday event, while digging a little deeper on the impact the devices could have on Apple.
New SIM tech lets users switch between carriers
The iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, both announced today, will also come with a new SIM card dubbed the Apple SIM. Previously, people ordering a cellular iPad had to choose their carrier in advance. The Apple SIM will let buyers pick a single iPad and quickly switch between AT&T, Sprint, or T-Mobile plans in the US, and even EE in the UK. Verizon is not participating, and the service will require activating through a store.
Older Mini models still on sale
In addition to the iPad Air 2, Apple has announced the iPad mini 3. The tablet has fewer improvements, mainly gaining Touch ID and a gold color option. It sports a smaller five-megapixel iSight camera, nevertheless capable of 1080p video recording. Wi-Fi is limited to 802.11n speeds, as opposed to the Air 2's 802.11ac. The tablet, in fact, continues to use an A7 processor, despite the A8 being in the iPhone 6/6 Plus and the A8X finding its way into the Air 2.
Leak coincides with Google Nexus 9 announcement
New screenshots for Apple's iOS 8 User Guide have revealed details of the new iPads the company is expected to reveal tomorrow. The tablets are identified as the "iPad Air 2" and "iPad mini 3." Both appear similar to their predecessors design-wise, but are equipped with Touch ID sensors. The screenshots also indicate that the Air 2's camera will support burst photography, as on the iPhone 5s, 6, and 6 Plus.
'Mass quantities' of new product already en route to US
Apple is already shipping "mass quantities" of a new product to the US, apparently with the aim an October 24 launch, a source says. The product in question is unspecified, but given the timing it's anticipated to be the second-generation iPad Air, third-gen iPad mini, or both. Apple has an iPad-centric press event scheduled for this Thursday, and typically likes to ship new iOS devices a little over a week after their introduction.
Yosemite, new iMacs also anticipated
Apple may be planning to hold its expected iPad event on Thursday, October 16, sources indicate. The emphasis will reportedly be on a second-generation iPad Air and a third-generation iPad mini. The sources add, however, that the event could also feature refreshed, possibly Retina-equipped iMacs, as well as OS X Yosemite. Apple has yet to confirm a release date for Yosemite, and the event could give the company an excuse to demonstrate previously-unseen (or little-seen) features. New iMacs would presumably ship with the OS pre-installed.
Lineup will match iPhone 6 family, but major feature will be Touch ID
As previously reported, Apple will launch the second-generation iPad Air, and possibly the iPad mini with Retina display, with an option for a gold color -- to match the options available for the iPhone 5s and new iPhone 6 family. The gold color, first introduced last year, is said to be the most popular color for the iPhone 5s and caused severe shortages for the gold model during its debut. The next iPad models are also expected to gain the latest A8 processor, improved graphics and Touch ID.
iPad mini for $200
Right now at BestBuy.com, get the 16GB iPad mini in Space Gray on sale for $200. That is $100 off the list price of $300, and about $50 less than the lowest price offered anywhere else. Free US shipping is included, but sales tax applies for residents of most states. This iPad features a Retina display, 1GHz A5 dual-core processor, 16GB of storage, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, iSight camera and a FaceTime front-facing camera. Included is a one-year warranty on parts and labor from Apple.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
All models are 16GB only, limited choice on selection and carriers
Nearly four years after Costco and Apple had a falling out that resulted in the discount chain pulling all Apple products from its warehouse outlets, the discounter is now again selling iPhones and iPads, albeit in a limited fashion for the time being in its US stores. After first bringing back iTunes gift cards to the stores, the Costco Mobile online store is now carrying 16GB models of the iPhone 5s and 5c, as well as the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display, with discounts as high as $121 off retail.
TSMC bulking up production
TSMC will start shipping a new generation of Touch ID sensors for Apple products in July, claims the China Times. Production is expected to jump a colossal 233 percent to 120 million units, presumably because the sensors will also be used in iPads for the first time. On top of this, though, the parts have allegedly been designed for better durability, and will be built at an expanded 8-inch fabrication facility.
Builds in shortcut buttons, palm rejection, pressure sensitivity
Adonit has unveiled the Jot Touch with Pixelpoint, an iPad stylus based on Adobe's new SDK. Its name refers to the Pixelpoint tip, which is extremely precise and has 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity. Supporting apps also make use of the stylus' two shortcut buttons, and turn on palm rejection to prevent accidental input.
Plans for Android, Windows 8 may have been scrapped
Wikipad has officially debuted the Gamevice, an MFI-certified controller for the iPad mini. The accessory comes in two halves that attach along the top and bottom edges of the tablet. In action it features a complete set of iOS 7-compatible controls, including twin analog sticks, a d-pad, four face buttons, and two triggers.
Only 16GB Wi-Fi model qualifies
Target has dropped the price of the non-Retina iPad mini as part of a Father's Day sale. The Wi-Fi model is now currently available for $199, $100 less than usual. Shoppers must get their Mini at a Target retail store, but online orders qualify so long as a person selects in-store pickup. The cost of cellular Minis is unchanged.
iPad mini falls as low as $219
Apple is briefly lowering the prices for several refurbished iPad models. The cheapest offering is the non-Retina version of the iPad mini, which starts at just $219. iPad 2s have been reduced to as low as $249, while third- and fourth-generation iPads begin at $269 and $299, respectively.
Pegatron rumored to have 15 percent of iPhone 6 orders
Taiwanese supplier TSMC has delivered the first batch of Touch ID fingerprint sensors for several Apple products, including the iPhone 6, second-generation iPad Air, and third-generation iPad mini, supply chain sources claim. The sensors are reportedly being assembled by TSMC subsidiaries Xintec and Suzhou Crystal Semiconductor. While the rumor is hard to verify, Apple is likely receiving parts in preparation for mass production, since its flagship products -- iPhones and iPads -- are due to refresh in the fall. Reports have also indicated that Apple intends to expand use of Touch ID beyond the iPhone.
Ultrathin gets lighter, more angles
Logitech today officially launched three new cases for the iPad Air and the iPad mini. Leading these is the Big Bang, which merges a compact folio design with shock-absorbing material; Logitech claims the case can survive drops from as high as 1.4m, or about 4.6 feet. The front and back are also covered with liquid-resistant materials. The Air version of the case costs $100, while the Mini edition is $80.
Prices start at $339
For the first time, Apple's online store has begun selling refurbished versions of the Retina iPad mini. The option drops the price of a 16GB Wi-Fi model to $339, $60 less than its usual cost. 32GB has been reduced $80 to $419, and 64GB models have been cut $90 to $509. Cellular-equipped Minis aren't yet available in refurb form.
First time iPad buyers will have access to China's limited LTE network
Apple has revealed that China Mobile and its other Chinese telecom partners -- along with its own stores and resellers -- are carrying a special model of the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display that is specific to the Chinese market, and compatible with the country's proprietary TD-SCDMA wireless standard, meaning new iPad buyers can now use the tablets on China's limited TD-LTE cellular network, which is mostly limited to the biggest cities. The Chinese iPads are separate models from the ones sold outside China.
Will allegedly assume some of Sharp's orders
Samsung is set to become a display supplier for the iPad mini in the second half of 2014, says Korea's ETnews. Apple currently relies on three companies: LG and Sharp for Retina displays, and AU Optronics for non-Retina panels. AU Optronics is expected to be dropped from the supply chain entirely, while Sharp will allegedly see its orders cut back, the lost share being handed over to Samsung.
Units may just be subtle revisions
Separate builds of iOS 7.1, available from Apple's website, appear to reveal the existence of two unreleased iPads. The files are for devices identified as "iPad4,3" (link) and "iPad4,6" (link) respectively. iPad4,1 and 4,2 are known to be variants of the iPad Air, while iPad4,4 and 4,5 are Retina iPad minis.
Secure a new Mac Pro with the $49 Switchd MacPro Lock
A new security solution for the latest Mac Pro has been announced from a company called Identified Media, which is taking pre-orders now for a new locking alteration referred to as the Switchd Mac Pro Lock. The lock is expected to ship next month, using a replacement part for the existing case lock switch on the 2013 Mac Pro that creates an opening for a standard cable lock. The pre-order price is $49, and emails are being accepted for notification about when the product debuts.
Retina, non-Retina iPad minis close in shipments
Apple appears to have ordered somewhere over 30 million iPad display panels during the holiday quarter that ended in December, according to new research data by WitsView. The company only sold 27 million iPads to the public, suggesting that remaining quantities -- actually closer to 4 million -- went into channel inventory. The bulk of the panels, 17 million, are believed to have gone towards building 9.7-inch iPads. WitsView doesn't distinguish between iPad Air and iPad 2 panels, but the latter are likely marginal.
Regional store now offering in-store pickup, celebrates with sale
Buyers who live on the east coast or midwestern parts of the US may be able to score themselves a discounted iPad with savings up to $60 on brand-new models. Regional retail H. H. Gregg is offering the savings at all of its 228 retail locations thanks to the arrival of the iPad for in-store pickup, an expansion of its existing relationship with Apple. Until February 1, customer can save $60 on a 64GB iPad Air, and $40 on the 16GB and 32GB versions. The iPad mini models are offered with a $20 discount over normal retail price.
Second case still ongoing
VirnetX is seeking to add Apple's most recent slate of products to a lawsuit against FaceTime devices, according to an announcement. The patent holding firm says it has submitted a petition to the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, one which would add the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPad Air, Retina iPad mini, fifth-generation iPod touch, and the latest Mac notebooks and desktops to the list. VirnetX has accused Apple's FaceTime of violating a patent for peer-to-peer VPN technology.
iPhone discounts extremely rare
Apple's planned Lunar New Year sale has already begun in east Asia, carrying with it some rare discounts. Above all are price drops on the iPhone, something the company almost never does. In Hong Kong, the iPhone 5s, 5c, and 4S have all been marked down by HK$ 390, for example bringing the price of a 16GB 5s down to HK$ 5,198 ($670 US).
New folio cases for iPad mini with Retina display, holiday case for iPhone 5/5s/5c
Tech accessories designer SwitchEasy has released its latest protective cases for mobile Apple devices. Available for the iPad mini with Retina display are Canvas and Pelle folios. Also available for the iPhone 5 family is a holiday version of the Melt case, Melt Snow.
Apple's new iPads topping all in tablet sales
The tablet market is performing strongly this holiday season, and Apple's iPad Air and iPad mini are leading the pack among all contenders. This according to a new report from market analysis firm Canaccord Genuity, which saw the two newest iPads outpacing entries from Samsung, Amazon, and Google throughout November and the first half of December. The findings are in keeping with previous analyses of the tablet market, which showed Apple in the lead but Samsung and others increasing share.
iPad Air, Retina mini hit Indian market
Apple has launched the iPad mini with Retina display and the iPad Air in the Indian market. The new iOS tablets went on sale in the world's second-most populous country late last week, and they remain at a premium price point in a country with only gradually increasing purchasing power. The premium tablets -- part of a line that has consistently proved the world's best-selling slates -- are a continuation of Apple's efforts to carve out a space for itself in the Indian market, where its products are often much desired but typically out of the reach of many consumers.
First-gen iPad mini, iPhone 5c also see surges
iPad Air activations grew some 51 percent over the previous weekend during the course of Black Friday and the rest of the Thanksgiving weekend, according to new Localytics data. The figure is based on the number of new devices that appeared in Localytics tracking for some 20,000 apps. The iPhone 5c and first-generation iPad mini also did well, each growing by 26 percent.
iPod touch available at lowest price from Target
Apple's fifth-generation iPod touch is available at a reduced price for Black Friday this year, with many online retailers competing for the lowest sale price. MacNN has found the best deal currently available is from Target, which sells the device at normal retail price but with a $50 gift card upon purchase, making the unit's net price $180 for the 16GB harddrive capacity, available in black or silver.
Apple orders up to almost 4 million units for November
Production bottlenecks for the Retina iPad mini have been largely removed, leading to Apple increasing its orders up to almost 4 million units for the month of November, Taiwanese supply chain sources claim. Retina Mini orders are said to have already surpassed those for 2012's first-generation tablet. Prior to its launch, rumors and even Apple itself suggested that the Retina Mini would be in short supply until 2014. The primary obstacle was thought to have been burn-in problems with Sharp LCDs, something that may have affected some shipping units. DigiTimes' sources simply state that a 7.9-inch Retina display is harder to produce than a 9.7-inch one.
Retina iPad mini packs power, substance into a beautiful compact design
Apple's long-awaited iPad mini with Retina display has finally landed, although it is possible that stunning iPad Air may have stolen some of its thunder. There is often a lot of hype when it comes to Apple's latest product launch and more often than not, Apple manages to deliver on the promise. Although many users loved the portability of the original iPad mini and bought one even though it used a relatively low resolution display, some people were prepared to hold out for the inevitable launch of a Retina display-equipped model. So was the wait worth it? Read on in our full review of the iPad mini with Retina display .
All Retina iPad minis now shipping in 5-10 days
The 16GB and 32GB versions of Apple's new iPad mini with Retina display are now shipping in 5-10 days, further demonstrating the tight supply of the smaller tablet. 9to5Mac noted the change in Apple's online store listings on Friday, pointing out that the 16GB and 32GB units had joined the other configurations in the longer ship time. Previously, the units had been shipping in 1-3 business days.
Apple Stores now selling Mini to walk-in shoppers
Apple's US online storefront has begun selling SIM-free unlocked models of the iPhone 5s. Units are currently shipping in 1 to 2 weeks. T-Mobile models are also unlocked, and shipping in just 3 to 5 days, but going with the SIM-free option may save some hassle for people choosing AT&T or a pre-paid GSM carrier.
refurbished iPad and iPad mini from $339
Currently, Apple's online store has an array of refurbished original iPad mini models priced as low as $339. The refurbished 32GB iPad mini with Wi-Fi in black and slate is $339 after a $90 discount. A $100 discount is offered on the refurbished 16GB iPad mini with Wi-Fi + Cellular, now only $359. For $419, after a 20 percent discount, is the 64GB iPad mini with Wi-Fi in black and slate or white and silver.
Apple iPad mini delivers high-resolution display, high performance
In many ways, the iPad mini with Retina display is a smaller version of everything that is great about the iPad Air. It runs the same tablet-optimized version of iOS 7, has access to hundreds of thousands of iPad-tailored apps, it shares a Retina display and is powered by a 64-bit Apple A7 chip. However, on closer examination, there are some subtle differences between the two iPads that may have discerning Apple customers judging one as being preferable to the other.
Unlikely to bother most Mini buyers
The Retina iPad mini has a narrower color gamut next to tablets like the Nexus 7, and even the iPad Air, a number of reviewers are observing. Gamut refers to the range of colors a display can handle. In tests the Retina Mini appears to have the same gamut as its non-Retina predecessor -- about 62-63 percent -- versus the 100 percent color accuracy on full-sized Retina iPads. Even less expensive tablets such as the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HDX 7 are capable of broader colors than the Mini, DisplayMate points out.