Apple now offering free laser engraving on iPads sold through apple.com for the holidays

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Date: Tuesday, October 26th, 2010, 04:28
Category: iPad, News

With the holiday shopping season coming up, Apple is now offering free iPad engraving for its online store orders.

Per AppleInsider, the company will allow up to 2 lines of free engraved text on the back of an iPad purchased from Apple.com as an “Apple Online Store exclusive,” confirming a July rumor that Apple would extend its free laser-engraving option from the iPod to the iPad this fall. Custom engraved iPods have been available from the Apple online store for several years.

Customers are given the option to engrave their iPad after selecting an iPad model and any desired accessories from the online store. Engraved iPads are non-returnable, so prospective buyers are cautioned to double-check their spelling.

Also, customers should take note that adding the engraving option currently lengthens the shipping time from “Within 24hrs” to “1-3 business days.”

In preparation for the holiday season, Apple has greatly broadened the retail availability of the iPad. The device will be available for sale at Walmart, Target, AT&T and Verizon stores.

Jobs crushes 7″ iPad rumor at Q4 financial announcement

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Date: Tuesday, October 19th, 2010, 06:35
Category: iPad, News

It’s the in-between things during Apple’s financial announcements that make things interesting.

During yesterday’s Q4 earnings conference, Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Monday took a moment to extinguish rumors that the company is working on a smaller iPad based around a 7″ screen according to AppleInsider.

“The reason we [won't] make a 7-inch tablet isn’t because we don’t want to hit that price point, it’s because we think the screen is too small to express the software,” Jobs said on Monday’s quarterly earnings conference call. “As a software driven company we think about the software strategies first.”

“We know developers aren’t going to deal well with these different sizes and they have to change their software every time the screen size changes,” he added. “When we make decisions on 7″ tablets it’s not about cost, it’s about the value of the product when you factor in the software.”

You see what I’m getting at?,” Jobs continued. “So we’re all about making the best products at aggressive prices and that’s what we do, and that’s what we will do with the iPad and iPod.”

Asked by an analyst how he would respond and whether Apple would lose share if the market suddenly moves to a lower price point with fewer features, Jobs said “You’re looking at it wrong, […] looking at it as a hardware manufacturer who doesn’t know much about software who assumes the software will take care of itself.”

“Hm, how can we make this cheaper? Well let’s put a smaller screen, slower processor, less memory, and you just assume the software will somehow come alive on this product but it won’t,” Jobs quipped. “Developers have taken advantage of faster processors and bigger screens to make better apps for customers.”

“It’s a hard one,” the Apple co-found said of such a strategy, “because it throws you in the chicken-and-egg question to change assumptions on developers.” Most developers won’t follow that lead, he suggest. Instead, they’re more likely to say, “Sorry, I’m not going to write a watered down version of my app just because you can sell this version of your phone for US$50 less.”

Rumors of a 7-inch iPad have come from numerous sources, several alleging that Apple is working on a smaller version of the iPad.

Those reports suggested that the current iPad is too heavy for users, and that a smaller form factor and lighter weight would be more ideal for reading.

Jobs’ comments on Monday come as a number of competitors are embracing the 7″ form factor with their own touchscreen tablets. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab is set to launch this year with all four major U.S. wireless carriers, while BlackBerry plans to release its own PlayBook in early 2011.

Earlier this month, it was suggested that Apple developed a 7″ iPad alongside the current model, but eventually opted just to release the current 9.7″ model. Jobs’ comments Monday would support that rumor, as the CEO noted that his company has done extensive research on touchscreen interfaces and what works best for users.

“We really understand this stuff,” Jobs said.

As always, we’d love to hear what you have to say about this.

iPad to hit Verizon retail outlets on October 28th

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Date: Friday, October 15th, 2010, 05:11
Category: iPad, News, retail

verizonlogo.jpg

A few major changes may be coming to fruition as wireless carriers AT&T and Verizon announced Thursday that they will begin selling Apple’s iPad in their brick-and-mortar retail stores on Thursday, October 28th, with the latter offering the device in conjunction with its MiFi mobile hot spots.

Per AppleInsider, AT&T said all three iPad Wi-Fi + 3G models will be available at more than 2,200 AT&T Stores starting October 28th. The wireless operator said it will be pitching the tablets alongside its 3G pre-paid data plans complete with Apple’s easy on-device activation and management.

Plans start at US$14.99 per month for 250MB and US$25 per month for 2GB with no term contract. Both plans include unlimited access to AT&T’s 23,000+ domestic Wi-Fi Hot Spots. The iPads themselves will sell for Apple’s suggested retail price of US$629 for the 16GB model, US$729 for the 32GB and US$829 for the 64GB.

For its part, Verizon will offer only the WiFi versions of the iPad, bundling them with its Verizon MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot routers for a suggested retail price of US$629.99 for iPad Wi-Fi 16GB + MiFi, US$729.99 for iPad Wi-Fi 32GB + MiFi and US$829.99 for iPad Wi-Fi 64GB + MiFi.

Verizon is offering a monthly access plan to iPad customers of up to 1GB of data for US$20 a month. In addition, the carrier will also offer all three iPad Wi-Fi models on a stand-alone basis.

Verizon’s MiFi 2200 unit allows users to create a personal Wi-Fi cloud capable of sharing the high-speed Internet connectivity of the Verizon Wireless 3G Mobile Broadband network with up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices. The MiFi 2200’s rechargeable battery provides up to four hours of active use and 40 hours of standby time on a single charge.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPad to hit Walmart shelves Friday, October 15th

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Date: Tuesday, October 12th, 2010, 04:00
Category: iPad, News, retail

Retail giant Walmart has announced that hundreds of its stores will begin selling the iPad on Friday, October 15th. This number will eventually expand to 2,300 stores throughout November.

Per Electronista, Walmart revealed the news Monday evening, confirming last week’s rumor that the Bentonville, Arkansas mega-retailer would start carrying Apple’s iPad this week. The chain’s stores will offer all six models of the tablet device.

The iPad can be ordered online from the Walmart web site but must be picked up in store. Retail stores will feature the device as part of a “separate showcase of Apple hardware,” the report noted.

According to sources, some Walmart stores have already placed the iPad on the shelves alongside Apple’s iPods in advance of Friday’s official launch.

If you’ve seen the iPad at your local Walmart prior to the Friday launch, let us know.

Rumor: Second-gen iPad could feature 128GB of memory, Retina Display, USB port

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Date: Friday, October 8th, 2010, 04:40
Category: iPad, News

Coming this holiday season, round two of the iPad.

Per AppleInsider, Taiwanese component suppliers have indicated that Apple’s next-generation iPad will sport a 7-inch high-resolution Retina Display, a camera, and 128GB of capacity as well as the guesstimate that it could sell 45 million in 2011.

Brian White of Ticonderoga Securities said this week that suppliers contacted during a trip to Taipei indicated that Apple plans to launch a new iPad in the first quarter of the 2011 calendar year. In addition to having a smaller 7″ size, he also said the device will have a “micro or mini USB” port.

The information is similar to what Goldman Sachs said in late September, including the addition of a USB port. If true, the addition of a new port could be a result of the European Union making MicroUSB the default charging method for mobile devices.

White said the next-generation iPad will replace the first-generation iPad when it is released next year. He made no mention of Apple maintaining its 9.7″ model, though Goldman Sachs said the new 7″ variety would be in addition to the current screen size.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPad now directly available through Amazon.com, Target

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Date: Tuesday, October 5th, 2010, 04:23
Category: iPad, News

Just as the iPad went on sale at U.S. retailer Target, Apple’s tablet is also now available at the standard price for purchase direct through online storefront Amazon.com.

Per Amazon, customers can now buy the iPad through Amazon, though only the 32GB and 64GB Wi-Fi models are available. Both are offered at the same price as they are through Apple: US$599 for 32GB, and US$699 for 64GB.

The other four models are not yet sold by Amazon, but as before, third-party resellers have made Apple’s touchscreen tablet available with a premium markup. For example, the 16GB Wi-Fi-only model sells for a lowest new price of US$556.72 with another US$8.18 for shipping, an increase from the regular entry-level US$499 asking price.

iPad models now sold through Amazon are available without local tax for many customers. In addition, those who have Amazon Prime are eligible for free shipping.

The expansion of the iPad to Amazon’s warehouses is yet another step in the retail growth of the device. On Sunday, U.S. retailer Target began selling the iPad right on schedule, as the company announced it would in September.

Recentlye, the iPad became available for sale at all Best Buy stores in the U.S., expanding to 1,093 retail locations. Previously, the iPad was limited to 673 Best Buy Stores with Apple retail store locations.

Apple releases Remote 2.0 app for controlling iTunes, Apple TV

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Date: Tuesday, September 28th, 2010, 15:40
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

In the midst of shipping the Apple TV, Apple has released Remote 2.0, the newest version of its iOS app for controlling iTunes and Apple TV.

Per Macworld, Remote 2.0 introduces several new features, not the least of which is a long-awaited interface designed for the iPad. The new software also features a gestures tab for controlling an Apple TV with iOS-like flick and drag motions.

The new app also supports Home Sharing, an easier method for sharing and streaming your media that Apple introduced in iTunes 9. If you enable Home Sharing in Remote 2.0 on your iPhone or iPad, it will automatically discover and let you control shared libraries on your network from a Mac or PC running iTunes, or a new Apple TV.

Remote 2.0 also boasts high-res graphics for the iPhone 4’s Retina display, multitasking support under iOS 4, support for iTunes 10 (including a new icon similar to iTunes 10’s), and a round of bug fixes.

The app is available for free in the App Store and requires an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad running iOS 3.1.2 or later to install and run.

Apple begins selling refurbish Wi-Fi iPad units at $50 discount

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Date: Monday, September 20th, 2010, 05:11
Category: iPad, News

For the first time since the iPad went on sale, Apple is now offering the hardware refurbished with a US$50 discount from its online store as availability of the product continues to improve.

Currently, just refurbished Wi-Fi-only iPad models are available, though all capacities can be purchased, with a shipping time of between one and three days. The 16GB model sells for US$449, the 32GB model is US$549, and the highest capacity 64GB model is US$649.

Like other refurbished sales, the iPads come with Apple’s one-year limited warranty, and the AppleCare Protection Plan is also available for purchase. The site also notes that supplies are limited.

The popular 3G-capable refurbished iPads are not yet available for purchase via Apple’s online store. All three models are listed as out of stock, and will also sell for US$50 off, starting at US$579 for the 16GB model.

Rumor: Apple digital newsstand app in planning phases, talks being held with content providers

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Date: Monday, September 20th, 2010, 04:43
Category: iPad, Rumor

While it’s hard to say if Apple can help save the overall publishing industry, it appears to be doing its part to try. Per Bloomberg, the company is rumored to be creating a new digital storefront for newspapers and magazines that, like iBooks does for print books, will serve as a standalone iPad app for purchasing repurposed print content.

The new store has been described as standing apart from the established App Store and iBooks applications. The product is said to be in the early planning stages, as negotiations with major content providers are reportedly ongoing.

“Apple’s effort is aimed at luring more consumers to the iPad and helping publishers sell subscriptions, rather than single issues,” the report said. “The main hang-ups between Apple and publishers including Time Warner Inc., Conde Nast, Hearst Corp. and News Corp. are who controls data about users and how to split subscription revenue, the people said. Pricing for subscriptions also hasn’t been worked out.”

People involved in the discussions reportedly said the digital newsstand could open as soon as in a few months, or the talks could fall apart altogether. It was also suggested that Apple could wait until it launches its next-generation iPad in early 2011 before unveiling the new store.

The plans are said to be part of Apple’s ongoing talks with print publishers who want to offer subscription plans for customers to access content from the iPad. This week, it was reported that Apple has agreed to allow an opt-in function which would let subscribers share their personal information with publications. The print business relies on demographic information to share data with advertisers.

The new application will reportedly “make it easier and cheaper to create digital versions of magazines and newspapers, with extras such as high-resolution videos integrated with stories.” The storefront will aim to simplify the process, in order to attract publishers.

Before the iPad was released earlier this year, publishers and Apple were said to have struggled to reach a deal, as Apple was reluctant to share consumer data beyond sales volume. But advertisers and publishers consider demographic data to be the “most valuable asset.”

Apple’s suppliers prepping materials for second-gen iPad due in first quarter 2011

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Date: Friday, September 17th, 2010, 05:15
Category: iPad, News

Apple’s component suppliers are said to be preparing for the launch of Apple’s second-generation iPad in the first quarter of 2011.

Per DigiTimes, the suppliers are completing validation for the second-generation iPad, which will maintain the same 9.7″ screen when it debuts in the first quarter of 2011.

“Component suppliers of iPad are expected to start shipments for the second-generation iPad at the beginning of 2011,” the report said.

Specifically cited suppliers were TPK Touch Solutions, WinTek, Cando, Cimei Innolux. Together, they are said to be validating “ultra-thin glass-based touch panels with Apple.”

As reported last week, Apple plans to move aggressively on adding FaceTime functionality to its entire line of iOS devices, leaving the iPad as the last device to receive the upgrade. A source close to the story indicated that an iPad equipped with a forward facing camera is already in the advanced testing stages at Apple.

Though Apple typically follows an annual upgrade pattern for its devices, it was said that Apple could refresh the iPad line ahead of this year’s holiday season. That person indicated that the FaceTime-equipped iPad was tracking for an introduction no later than the first quarter of 2011.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.