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.
May have been reason for initial delay of tablet's launch
Some Retina iPad minis are suffering trouble with image burn-in, note Instapaper founder Marco Arment and some of his followers on Twitter. Arment has devised a test for the problem, based on a similar one he created for the MacBook Pro, that involves switching from a black-and-white checkerboard image to an all-gray one. In the second image, some people are seeing faint but noticeable traces of the checkerboard.
'Weakens the view that the world has for Apple'
Samsung infringement of Apple patents made it harder to sell the iPhone and iPad, Apple's head of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, claimed earlier today in a second day of testimony at the Apple v. Samsung damages retrial. Asked by an Apple attorney what he thought when he first saw the Samsung Galaxy S, Schiller said: "I was quite shocked. They went and copied the iPhone." He went on to suggest that Samsung's past copying "weakens the view that the world has for Apple," and has caused people to "question our innovation and design skills in a way that people never used to."
Minor improvements in repairability, but still rates a 2 out of 10
Repair firm iFixit has already gotten its hands on a new Retina iPad mini and deconstructed it, revealing many technical details of the construction, bemoaning Apple's continued trend of minimal repairability, and noting that the unit has a much bigger battery capacity than the previous iPad mini. While praising the reduced use of glue to secure components in the Retina Mini, iFixit still rates the new Retina Mini as a 2 out of 10 for repairability.
Pickups already taking place at some stores
Some delivery orders of the Retina iPad mini are already en route, buyers say. In the UK, Apple notifications mention some deliveries shipping as soon as Friday, November 15. Day-one US orders are meanwhile shipping anywhere between November 18th and the 21st.
Performance under iPad Air despite A7 chip
Early benchmarks of the Retina iPad mini are placing the tablet at about the speed of the iPhone 5s. GeekBench data rates the Mini at 1.29GHz, just shy of the 1.3GHz of the 5s. Both devices are slower than the iPad Air, which has previously been clocked at 1.39GHz.
Suggests stocks may be extremely minimal
(Updated with news on better Pickup availability) The Retina iPad mini -- which launched earlier today -- is only available through Personal Pickup at US retail stores if it isn't a delivery order, according to an Apple press release. That indicates that US Apple Stores have no walk-in stock, and indeed Personal Pickup orders can't be claimed today. Some shops in other countries, like Italy, do reportedly have Pickup units on shelves.
iPad mini with Retina display now on sale
The highly anticipated Apple iPad mini with Retina Display is now on sale through Apple's online stores in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and China. At the time of writing the shipping times were listed as in 1-3 business days for the 16GB and 32GB Wi-Fi-only models. The Wi-Fi + Cellular models were listed as shipping in 5-10 business days for all models, along with the 64GB and 128GB Wi-Fi-only models. Up until now, Apple had provided a nebulous launch window of 'later in November.'
Apple allegedly turning to Samsung for help
Anticipated shortages of the Retina iPad Mini are linked to burn-in problems Sharp is having with its IGZO LCD panels, an industry source claims. The burn-in is thought to be caused by malfunctions in thin-film transistors. The source notes that while the burn-in is invisible to the eye, it still doesn't meet Apple's quality standards.
BlackBerry, HTC, iPhone 5s also eligible; sold gold iPhone available
As has been offered with previous popular electronics devices from Apple and other vendors, a company called Goldgenie is offering wealthy buyers of the latest iPad models the opportunity to purchase a device (or send an existing one in) and have the exterior surface plated in 24-carat gold or platinum. The company offers both traditional gold and "rose gold" (actually a mixture of gold and copper). Prices for the service start at $1,858 for a 16GB Retina iPad mini, and $1,871 for a 16GB iPad Air.
Foxconn, Apple said to be at loggerheads
Apple is planning to add two Taiwanese firms, Wistron and Compal, to its list of manufacturing partners, says the Wall Street Journal. The company currently depends mostly on Foxconn and Pegatron. Wistron is expected to take on iPhone 5c production, whereas Compal will help build the iPad mini. Foxconn will reportedly continue to focus on the iPhone 5s, though it's known to handle a range of Apple products.
Apple holding back on announcing figures for launch weekend
Launch weekend analytics indicate that iPad Air adoption is proving much faster than what was achieved with the fourth-generation iPad, according to Fiksu. The Air is already up to 0.74 percent of active iPads, whereas its predecessor managed just 0.15 percent in the same timeframe after its 2012 release. The fourth-gen model was generally considered an "interim" upgrade, though, simply adding a faster processor, a Lightning connector, and wider cellular compatibility. The Air is redesigned to be lighter, thinner, and narrower.
UK carriers only beginning to make announcements day ahead of launch
The UK branch of Three has announced plans to carry both the iPad Air, launching tomorrow, and the Retina iPad mini, due sometime in November. Data plans will start at £7.50 per month for 1GB of data, and scale up to £25 per month for 15GB. Costs for the iPad Air will be in line with Apple's own, beginning at £499 for a 16GB 3G/4G model. Three's LTE network will only begin rolling out in December.
Supplies likely to be highly constrained on launch for prized sequel
While the full-size and newly-rechristened iPad Air garners many of the reviews and accolades at the moment, the sequel to the very successful iPad mini -- the new 64-bit Retina display version -- is also coming "later in November," according to Apple. A leak or placeholder date posted on retailer Target's website, however, suggests that the Retina iPad mini will go on sale on Thursday, November 21, a week before Thanksgiving.
iPad, iPad mini take 30 percent of tablets sold
Apple remains far and away the leader in overall tablet sales, according to new figures from industry analyst firm IHS. The company's iPad and iPad mini accounted for nearly 30 percent of the total worldwide tablet market, even though total iPad sales were down from the previous quarter. Apple's nearest competitor, as with the rest of the mobile segment, was Samsung, which held about 22 percent of the market.
iPad Air thought to be unaffected
Low display yields at Sharp are behind predicted iPad mini shortages, Taiwanese supply chain sources claim. The company is said to be responsible for about 40 percent of the Retina displays for the new Mini, while LG Display handles the majority. LG is using an a-Si manufacturing process; Sharp is using oxide TFT.
Apple ramping up iPhone 5s production
Apple is steadily increasing its supply of iPhone 5s units in order to meet demand, but the company will make no promises with regard to availability of the Retina iPad mini. This according to CEO Tim Cook, who made the two revelations today during the conference call for the iPad maker's fourth fiscal quarter conference call. Consumers can expect to see iPhone 5s supply strains softening even as Apple prepares to launch the device in even more countries.
Shade likely easier for Apple suppliers to produce
Apple Stores are beginning to receive "space gray" models of the first-generation iPad mini, according to AppleInsider. Although Apple is preparing to launch a second-gen Mini next month, the first-gen tablet is being kept on sale at a lower price. Like some other Apple products, though, the company has chosen to swap out black options with space gray.
Could make tablet extremely difficult to find during holidays
Supply for the Retina iPad mini is "severely constrained," and people shouldn't expect to see "meaningful volume" until the first quarter of 2014, claims research firm IHS iSuppli. At least part of the problem is said to be the Mini's display, which has the same resolution as the iPad Air, but compressed into a smaller space. Maintaining quality may be limiting the number of panels suppliers can produce.
Payment plans on T-Mobile for new iPads, Nexus 7 revealed
T-Mobile has clarified its free 200MB LTE Internet access offer, advising that it is for all tablets that work with the carrier's network, not just the new iPads. The carrier also revealed that it will be expanding its existing smartphone trade-in program to include tablets, as well as offering tablets under its Uncarrier initiative.
Plans scale up to 4.5GB for $40
T-Mobile is now available as default carrier on LTE models of the new iPad Air and iPad mini, according to Apple's website. In an unexpected move, the carrier is offering 200MB of monthly data for free; the next cheapest plan is Sprint's $15 tier, which includes 1GB. AT&T only offers 250MB for $15, and Verizon charges $20 for 1GB.
Case provides same functions as Smart Cover
Apple has introduced several new accessories for its new iPad Air and Retina iPad mini. The new Smart Case offers the same articulated screen protector as the existing Smart Cover, folding into a triangular shape for use as a tilted stand, however it also brings additional wraparound protection for the back of the tablet.