Apple releases updated MacBook Pro lineup with slight speed boosts, lower prices on some models

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Date: Tuesday, July 29th, 2014, 10:01
Category: MacBook Pro, News, retail

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You can’t argue with a speed bump and a lower price on the notebook you want.

Per Macworld, Apple on Tuesday released it’s upgraded line of professional MacBook Pro notebooks, the intro-level and mid-range 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros going from a 2.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 with a Turbo Boost of up to 2.9GHz to a 2.6GHz dual-core i5 with a Turbo Boost of up to 3.1GHz; the high-end 13-inch meanwhile goes from a 2.6GHz dual-core i5 to a 2.8GHz dual-core i5 (its Turbo Boost, which previously reached 3.1GHz, now gets up to 3.3GHz). The entry-level 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro also now starts with 8GB of RAM, like the mid-range and high-range models, instead of 4GB. Storage remains the same for all three models at 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB of flash storage, respectively.

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Apple expands iPad, iPhone trade-in program to Australian market

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Date: Tuesday, July 15th, 2014, 06:31
Category: iPad, iPhone, News, retail

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Apple’s iPhone and iPad trade-in program is coming to the land down under.

Per MacRumors, Apple today expanded its iPhone and iPad trade-in program to Australia, giving customers who trade in an older device credit towards the purchase of a new device. Users who trade in an iPhone can earn up to A$250, while users who trade in an iPad can get up to A$215.

Apple’s current press release states that the iPhone 5s, 5c, and iPad Air are not eligible for the credit, nor are first-generation devices like the iPhone 3GS or the original iPad. All other devices are eligible, however, and Apple will still recycle original models for free.

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Apple falls to third place behind Google, Roku in U.S. streaming device market

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Date: Friday, July 11th, 2014, 06:30
Category: Apple TV, News, retail

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As much as you may love and adore your Apple TV, it’s fallen to third place in sales next to its competitors.

Per Gigaom, Google sold 3.8 of its Chromecast streaming devices in 2013, making the device about as popular as Roku’s streaming devices.

Roku and Chromecast were the two most successful streaming devices sold in the U.S. in 2013, according to new data from Parks Associates, which puts Apple TV on third place.

Google sold an estimated 3.8 million Chromecast streaming sticks after introducing the product in mid-2013, according to Parks, which also estimates that this about equals Roku’s sales throughout 2013. Apple, on the other hand is trailing, having sold just a bit more than two million devices in the U.S. last year, according to data shared by Parks.

Still, the global picture might prove a little rosier for Apple, which has sold more than 20 million Apple TV units since its introduction in 2007, whereas Roku’s total sales since its launch were 8 million by the end of 2013.

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Walmart now offering iPhone 5s for $49, iPhone 5c for $29 with two-year contract

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Date: Friday, June 27th, 2014, 12:17
Category: iPhone, News, retail

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You may not love Walmart, but you can get a cheap iPhone 5s and 5c there if you sign a two-year contract…

Per Engadget, in an announcement on Thursday, Walmart announced it will be slashing prices on Apple’s latest iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c models on Friday ahead of an impending refresh cycle expected this fall.

Apple’s 16GB iPhone 5s will be available in stores for US$99 with two-year contract, down from US$149, while the 16GB iPhone 5c will be reduced to US$29, down from US$49.

The price changes were scheduled to take effect Thursday at 9 a.m. local time and are only available through brick-and-mortar stores. Further deals for higher capacity models like the 32GB iPhone 5s and 5c are also expected, though specific details have yet to be released.

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Apple releases updated 16GB iPod touch, includes rear camera, lowers price

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Date: Thursday, June 26th, 2014, 16:32
Category: iPod Touch, retail

The new iPod touch has arrived.

And it’s available at a pretty decent price.

Per TechHive, Apple on Thursday announced a new version of its 16GB iPod touch, available for just US$199, as well as dropping prices on the 32GB and 64GB models by US$50 and US$100, respectively.

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PayPal is eager to integrate Touch ID

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Date: Friday, June 6th, 2014, 08:07
Category: Apple, Finance, Hardware, iOS, iPhone, retail, security, Services, Software

touch-id_PaypalLittle was said about Touch ID in the WWDC keynote except that the API would be opened to third-party developers for use in iOS 8. Craig Federighi did show a nice pie chart claiming that since the introduction of Touch ID on the iPhone 5s, 83% of users now use passcodes, up from the 49% that used their iPhone’s security previously. Just days after this announcement, PayPal is reportedly dipping their toes into the Touch ID API with hopes of incorporating fingerprint recognition into their iOS app’s authentication system. This isn’t really surprising as it has already done this on Android with the Samsung Galaxy S5. Hopefully the process will be more hacker-proof on iOS.

PayPal may just be the first of several companies including other mobile payment services, banks, and even large retail chains, to take advantage of access to Apple’s fingerprint scanner. Getting users familiar with using Touch ID for purchases may be just the first step in Apple’s own long rumored plans to get into the mobile payments game, using it in tandem with their Passbook software. Apple is expected to start building Touch ID sensors into all of its mobile hardware soon. Here’s hoping the technology becomes more reliable than many users’ past experiences or people may get frustrated with the process and just not use it.

 

 

Does Clinkle have a shot at competing in the mobile payments game?

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 6th, 2014, 08:37
Category: Business, Finance, Mobile, retail, Services

clinkle_iconSo, you may be asking, “What is Clinkle?”. It would be a good question too since there hasn’t been a lot said about it given Clinkle’s “cloak of secrecy” about its development. In fact, during its beta period (still ongoing), employees were allowed to offer the service to friends and family with the specification that none of them could be journalists. Clinkle purports to be the next big thing in mobile payments, but frankly there is not much known about it other than some of the drama surrounding it. More on that in a moment.

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Amazon raises Prime pricetag to $99

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Date: Thursday, March 20th, 2014, 09:50
Category: Amazon, Business, News, retail

amazon-money1Back in February, we wrote about rumors that Amazon might be raising the cost of its Prime service as much as $40. Amazon decided to split the difference rather than alienate all its customers by only raising the price by $20, but it seems that was enough to rile up a lot of Amazon Prime customers into threatening to stop paying for the service. An email was recently sent to current subscribers to notify them of the change which included an explanation for the price increase;

“Even as fuel and transportation costs have increased, the price of Prime has remained the same for nine years. Since 2005, the number of items eligible for unlimited free Two-Day Shipping has grown from one million to over 20 million. We also added unlimited access to over 40,000 movies and TV episodes with Prime Instant Video and a selection of over 500,000 books to borrow from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.”

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Shipping estimates for the Mac Pro get push back again

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Date: Tuesday, February 11th, 2014, 12:25
Category: Apple, Desktop Mac, Mac Pro, News, retail

Mac Pro assembly lineIt appears that the shipping dates for the new Mac Pro have been knocked back to April as Apple struggles to meet the demand for the new trash can cylindrical tech wonder. Apple’s only response?

“Demand for the all new Mac Pro is great and it will take time before supply catches up with demand.”

I think we knew that. Looks like everyone will have to struggle with their aging, silver behemoth for a few more months.

 

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Amazon has a plan to get into the mobile payments game

Posted by:
Date: Friday, February 7th, 2014, 09:32
Category: Amazon, Finance, Mobile, retail, Services

amazon-logo-150x150It looks like Amazon is determined to expand out of the “virtual” retail space to get its foot in the door of brick-and-mortar stores. The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, has plans to0 equip retailers with Kindle tablets with credit card readers for accepting payments, possibly in exchange for web site development and data analysis. Trying to push its way into traditional retail spaces means Amazon will be pitting itself against much larger companies that provide checkout and POS (Point Of Sale) systems to large retailers, which may require Amazon to turn to smaller businesses. Even there, they are competing with companies like Square Inc., who have a big head start in that space. Amazon does have the benefit of allowing retailers that partner with them to offer promotions or discounts through Amazon.com or its Amazon Local daily deals offers. Amazon has a steep hill to climb, but Richard Crone who is chief executive of Crone Consulting, a payments advisory firm, makes a good point;

“At the end of the day, a merchant wants to make a sale, to drive up business. And if Amazon or anyone else can help them do that, that’s tough to turn away,”

Amazon will also be in a race with Apple, who is reportedly preparing its own blitz into the mobile payments game, offering the convenience of millions of customers with iPhones with the advantages of the iBeacon system. Even Amazon knows it’s not a sure thing. The WSJ mentions that, “Amazon’s plans remain fluid and the project might be delayed, altered or canceled, they said.”.