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Apple confirms iPhone trade-in program at retail locations, certain Best Buy locations

Posted by:
Date: Friday, August 30th, 2013, 08:52
Category: iPhone, News, retail

The rumors of an iPhone trade-in program are true.

Per AppleInsider, Apple has confirmed rumors that it has been developing an iPhone trade-in program to be based out of its retail locations, saying that that program will begin rolling out nationwide today.

Rumors of the program surfaced in June of this year when it was reported that Apple had confirmed the program’s existence, as well as its Friday launch. The program will see Apple Store customers able to trade-in an older model iPhone for store credit toward the purchase of a new model.

Notably, the program appears designed to keep current iPhone owners within the iPhone ecosystem. Reports stated that “customer[s] must leave [the] store with [a] new contract” in order to take part in the program.

Shortly after news of Apple’s confirmation broke, the Wall Street Journal reported that the highest value a customer can receive for a trade-in will be US$280.

The confirmation aligns with previous claims as to the program’s nature. Those claims had customers being given a gift card for the value of their trade-in with the requirement that that gift card be used toward the purchase of a new iPhone model.

Further, the gift card is only usable is the purchaser is eligible for a phone upgrade from their selected carrier. Any leftover value can be used for other retail store purchases.

Apple is launching the trade-in program only about a week and a half before it is expected to unveil the next iteration of its bestselling smartphone. A rumored September 10 media event may well see the introduction of both a high-end and low-end model of the new iPhone, and having a trade-in program up and running would likely help draw current iPhone owners back into Apple’s retail stores to grab the newest generation.

Prior reports had the trade-in company being run by Brightstar Corp., the same company that handles trade-ins for AT&T and T-Mobile. Previously, it was expected that Brightstar would resell the units in emerging markets, though some have since disputed such claims.

Apple is not the only firm offering discounts for iPhone trade-ins. Best Buy has its own program going on for Labor Day weekend. That program will see the electronics retailer offering 50 percent off of the on-contract price of an iPhone 5 in exchange for working iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S models.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: AT&T to black out employee holidays around September 20th for next-gen iPhone launch

Posted by:
Date: Friday, August 30th, 2013, 07:19
Category: iPhone, retail, Rumor

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When companies begin penning in blackout dates for their employees, a product launch tends to be imminent.

Per Boy Genius Report, citing sources close to the story, the web site claims that AT&T has blacked out vacation dates for the second half of September, a move supposedly meant to handle an expected deluge of customers looking to get their hands on Apple’s next-gen iPhone. The telecom did the same last year ahead of the iPhone 5 launch.

The publication also notes that the nation’s second largest mobile carrier will not be releasing any other major handsets during the period, suggesting the no-vacation days are being set for the

While somewhat vague, the report comes just one day after T-Mobile purportedly issued its own employee blackout dates set to start on Sept. 20.

Apple is expected to announce the next-generation “iPhone 5S” at a special event on Sept. 10, possibly alongside a lower-cost plastic composite handset many have taken to calling the “iPhone 5C.”

The iPhone 5 successor is rumored to sport a fingerprint sensor embedded in its home button, a 31 percent faster A7 processor, motion tracking and upgraded camera components. Numerous parts “leaks” have also pointed to a new “champagne” color option for the handset.

The iPhone 5C is rumored to carry a plastic composite shell to be offered in a variety of colors, though not much is known regarding its internals. Some claim the unit will use the same 4-inch form factor of the iPhone 5, but with older components to keep costs down.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to release next-gen iPhone in Japanese marketplace on September 20th

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, August 21st, 2013, 07:16
Category: iPhone, retail, Rumor

Today’s rumor mill is focused on the land of the rising sun and when it’ll receive the next-gen iPhone handsets.

Per CNET, Apple is set to release both a next-generation “iPhone 5S,” as well as a less-expensive “iPhone 5C,” in the country on Sept. 20 through cellular carriers SoftBank and KDDI.

The rumor has it that Apple will release the two handsets simultaneously on Sept. 20, a date that jibes with a rumor that claimed the company is planning to announce the devices at a special Sept. 10 iPhone event.

In addition to the supposed release date, the publication said Apple will debut a new gold color option for the iPhone 5S, a rumor that has quickly gained traction over the past week.

Apple’s current partner carriers SoftBank and KDDI are expected to have both the iPhone 5S and 5C available on launch, while NTT DoCoMo will once again go without.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple offers rare iTunes movie collection sale

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, August 13th, 2013, 07:08
Category: News, retail

A deal’s a deal.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple is apparently offering a rare sale on iTunes movie bundles yielding the lowest prices seen to date on digital downloads of 25 popular movie collections. Bundles are available in SD/HD and start at US$9.99, making a lot of these “buy one get two free” pricing.

From what’s being seen, the prices have fluctuated a bit and the offer is apparently only applicable in the U.S.

Some standouts (HD Prices):
- Harry Potter Complete Collection: US$9.99 (normally US$125.92)

- Spiderman Trilogy: US$19.99

- The Godfather Trilogy: The Coppola Restoration: US$19.99

- The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: US$9.99 (normally US$44.97)

- Lethal Weapon Movie Collection: US$9.99

- Austin Powers Collection for US$9.99

- The Bourne Collection – US$29.99 (normally US$59.96)

- The Matrix Trilogy: US$9.99 (normally US$44.97)

- The X-Men Quadrilogy US$29.99 (normally US$59.96)

- Die Hard Ultimate collection: US$39.99

- Back to the Future Trilogy: US$19.99

It’s unknown as to when this sale will last until, so catch it while you can and let us know what you make of it in the comments.

Apple to expand USB takeback program to UK, other countries

Posted by:
Date: Monday, August 12th, 2013, 14:30
Category: Accessory, iPad, iPod Touch, News, retail, Rumor

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The Apple USB power adapter takeback program has expanded.

Per MacNN and 9to5Mac, Apple is extending the number of eligible countries in its USB adapter takeback program. The program began in China August 9th, and is coming to the US on August 16th. Now also joining on the 16th will be Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the UK.

The deadline for the program in the new countries is October 18th, as in the US. Participants can get a new USB adapter at a discounted price, so long as they bring in an old third-party adapter plus an iPhone, iPod, or iPad to validate a serial number. The lower price is $14 in Canada, €10 in France and Germany, ¥1,000 in Japan, and £8 in the UK.

9to5Mac claims that each retail Apple Store will have at least one iOS Genius on hand to conduct trade-ins for the old adapters. Stores are also, reportedly, already receiving related training materials.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Best Buy rolls in free Apple TV with purchase of 15-inch Retina Display MacBook Pro, offer good until Saturday

Posted by:
Date: Friday, August 2nd, 2013, 07:45
Category: MacBook Pro, News, retail

best-buy-logo

It’s a nifty offer and it’ll run until tomorrow.

Per AppleInsider, retailer Best Buy on Thursday kicked off a promotion that has the company bundling a free third-generation Apple TV with a purchase of select 15-inch MacBook Pros with Retina display

While not heavily advertised on Best Buy’s website, the free Apple TV deal is currently available for two MacBook Pro with Retina display models, both high-end 15-inch versions of Apple’s notebook.

The least expensive option is the Retina MacBook Pro with 8GB of memory and a 256GB SSD for US$1,999. The second version has 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD for US$2,599. As reflected in the pricing, Best Buy is having a sale on the laptops, which extends takes another US$100 off select non-Retina MacBook Pro models.

In addition to the normal sale pricing, college students can also sign up for a US$100 savings with their current school email address. The discount extends to desktops like the iMac as well as a number of other computers and accessories.

The latest Best Buy promotion comes less than a week after the big box retailer slashed MacBook Pro with Retina display prices by US$200 as part of its “Hot July Black Friday Sale.”

If you’ve taken advantage of this deal and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

Apple lowers price of refurbished Apple TV units to $75

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 31st, 2013, 13:02
Category: Apple TV, News, retail

A little competition sometimes brings out a decent price.

Per AppleInsider, Apple has lowered the price of its refurbished Apple TV units to US$75, knocking 25 percent off the price of a new model.

The price drop could reflect Apple’s reaction to Google’s salvo against the Apple TV, which currently rules the roost among streaming devices. The refurbished model is now just over twice the price of Google’s Chromecast, but it also comes with a 1-year Apple warranty and a much wider feature set than Google’s streaming device.

Most recently, Apple added iTunes music purchasing to its set-top box, and a number of video apps have added AirPlay streaming capabilities over the last few months. Also, users may soon be able to use a touch to configure option to automatically set up their Apple TV devices in the near future.

Inside, the refurbished model has an Apple A5 processor, and it is compatible with high-definition televisions with HDMI and capable of 1080p or 720p at 60/50Hz. It can be purchased directly from Apple, with the refurbished device shipping within 24 hours. Depending on a customer’s location, it may also be available for in-store pickup.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Beijing-area scalpers buying up Genius Bar appointments, selling them online

Posted by:
Date: Monday, July 29th, 2013, 06:28
Category: News, retail

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If you’re planning on traveling to China in the near term, you might want to be aware of this.

Per the Beijing Morning News, Beijing ticket scalpers have found a new way to make money on Apple: booking up all available Genius Bar appointments and then offering them for sale online.

Ticket scalpers usually make their money by buying large quantities of event tickets as soon as they go on sale, and then illegally selling them for more than face value once the event is sold-out. With Genius Bar appointments, they don’t even need to fork out cash in the first place: just use a bunch of email addresses to make the appointments, then advertise them online.

Appointments sell for 10- yuan (US$1.60-US6.40) in a country where the average monthly salary is equivalent to US$580. A Beijing Morning News reporter found there were no appointments available on the Apple site for iPhone, iPad or iPod. They contacted one of the advertisers asking for an appointment the next day, and were offered a choice of two local stores and two time slots. The reporter was sent login details for the booking by instant messenger, and was then able to access the booking on the Apple site to change the details to their own.

The reporter contacted Apple for comment, and had not received a reply at the time of writing.

If you’ve been traveling and noticed anything similar to this, please let us know in the comments.

Rumor: Mac mini ship times slip to 5-7 days, near-term Haswell refresh possible?

Posted by:
Date: Friday, July 26th, 2013, 06:04
Category: Mac mini, retail, Rumor

When the ship times vary, a new product refresh could be around the corner.

Per MacRumors, Mac mini ship times on many Apple Online Stores have slipped to 5-7 business days.

This flies in the face of ship times for all the other Macs, as the other units on the online store have shipping estimates of “within 24 hours”. That said, most Apple Retail Stores do show availability for the mini, as does Amazon.com.

Apple sometimes does have temporary product shortages of computers mid-cycle, but they can also portend intentional drawdowns of stock ahead of a product refresh. The Mac mini is a candidate for an upgrade to Haswell processors, and it is coming due for a possible update in the near future.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases Q3 2013 numbers, cites $35.3 billion in revenue, $6.9 billion profit

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, July 24th, 2013, 06:17
Category: Finance, News, retail

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There wasn’t massive growth, but the numbers were still good.

Per Macworld, Apple reported sales of US$35.3 billion, with net profit at US$6.9 billion for its third fiscal quarter. That translated to earnings of US$7.47 per diluted share. Apple’s revenue marked a record for the June quarter, ticking up 1 percent from the $35 billion Apple posted in last year’s third quarter. Still, profits fell 22 percent year-over-year, down from US$8.88 billion in 2012. Apple also reported a drop in profit during its fiscal second quarter of 2013.

With a tiny increase in revenue but a drop in profit, you’d rightly conclude that Apple’s gross margin dropped: For the quarter, it was 36.9 percent, versus 42.8 percent on the year-ago quarter. That’s because Apple’s most popular products now have lower margins than the top-sellers a year ago.

The company also says it has issued US$18.8 billion in cash to shareholders through dividends and buybacks.

While Apple generally keeps a tight lid on future product announcement, company officials did reiterate a point made during its second-quarter earnings announcement in April—that the company plans to roll out new products starting this fall and into the next year. “We are laser-focused and working hard on some amazing new products,” CEO Tim Cook said in an statement accompanying Apple’s earnings announcement.”

Apple says it sold 32.2 million iPhones—a record for the June quarter. That’s up from 26 million iPhones in the year-ago period. For the U.S., iPhone sales rose 51 percent year-over-year, Apple says.

The picture was less rosy for iPad sales, but Apple has a perfectly reasonable explanation for the 14 percent drop in tablet sales from last year’s third quarter. A year ago, Apple introduced the third-generation iPad and enjoyed a full quarter’s worth of sales to the tune of 17 million units. This quarter, sales fell to 14.6 million iPads.

Still, Apple has plenty of reason to remain bullish on the iPad. Company chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer said that the iPad ranked tops in a 2013 U.S. tablet satisfaction survey by JD Power and Associates. And during the quarter, the company inked a deal with the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest district in the U.S., to roll out iPads to 640,000 students.

In fact, the iPad got the bulk of the credit for a strong quarter of sales to U.S. schools. According to Oppenheimer, the last three months generated the highest quarterly revenue ever for Apple’s U.S. education institution business.

Mac sales also fell in the quarter, down 7 percent from last year to 3.8 million units. Still, Oppenheimer pointed out that the 3.8 million Macs sold beat Apple’s own expectations. And Apple’s sales still were ahead of the total PC market, which saw sales contract by 11 percent according to estimates from research firm IDC. By Apple’s math, the Mac gained market share during the quarter.

The Mac was one of the few product lines to see any changes during the quarter, with Apple updating its MacBook Air lineup at the beginning of June by adding new Intel processors. Company executives had little to say about any impact those new laptops had on overall Mac sales, but Oppenheimer did call it the most successful MacBook Air launch to date, adding that customer response was great.

But during the call, executives implied that there were better things to come. Oppenheimer noted that June’s Worldwide Developers Conference included previews of both the Mac Pro and the next version of OS X, code-named Mavericks.

The iTunes Stores—which includes the App Store, Mac App Store, iBookstore, and the music, movies, and TV sections of iTunes—generated $4.3 billion in billings, Oppenheimer said, culminating in the best week and best month ever for App Store. That translated to quarterly revenue of US$2.4 billion, up 29 percent year over year. Total quarterly revenue from iTunes, software, and services generated US$4 billion in revenue.

Oppenheimer said that Apple now has over 320 million iCloud accounts, and 240 million Game Center accounts.

As for brick-and-mortar retail efforts, the Apple Store saw revenue of US$4.1 billion for the quarter, virtually unchanged from the year-ago quarter. Oppenheimer reported that Apple saw 16,000 visitors per store each week.

For the quarter, Apple had an average of 405 stores, with average revenue per store at US$10.1 million, down US$1 million from the year-ago quarter. Apple opened six stores across five countries during the quarter, giving it 408 stores around the globe; 156 of those outlets are outside the U.S.

The company plans to open nine new stores during the September quarter, giving it 27 new openings during the 2013 fiscal year. It’s not just about new stores, however: Apple says that it relocated four of its stores to more appealing spots; it will complete 23 such relocations before the end 2013 fiscal year in September.

Where stockholders are concerned, the company’s Board of Directors has announced another cash dividend, this one at US$3.05 per share of common stock, payable on August 15 to any shareholder as of August 12.

For the next quarter, Apple is predicting revenue between US$34 billion and US$37 billion, with gross margins between 36 and 37 percent. That sales figure would put Apple’s performance in line with the US$36 billion in revenue it reported in the fourth quarter of 2012. For the coming quarter, Apple also predicts operating expenses will be between US$3.9 billion and US$3.95 billion, with a tax rate of 26.5 percent.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.