Apple launches iPhone in China, 32 additional countries

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Date: Monday, December 17th, 2012, 08:57
Category: iPhone, News, retail

The iPhone 5 world introduction tour continues.

Per The Next Web, Apple kicked off sales of the massively popular iPhone 5 handset in China and 31 other countries on Friday, fending off supply constraints as the company continues its fastest rollout ever.

Concerning the China launch, the usual long lines seen at past Apple product launches in China were staunched, largely in thanks to the combination of a snow storm and the preorder system instituted by the country’s two official partner carriers.

The Sanlitun Apple Store, the company’s first retail outlet in China, saw workers milling about waiting to greet customers that never came. The lack of walk-in purchases is in stark contrast to reports of strong pre-sale number that had cellular carrier China Unicom sitting at over 300,000 preorders days before Friday’s launch.

China is now Apple’s second-largest market, and holds the world’s biggest base of mobile subscribers. While the Cupertino, Calif., company has been able to broker deals with China Unicon and China Telecom, Apple has yet to tap into the vast pool of the world’s largest carrier China Mobile. An arrangement has been rumored to be in the works for years and China Mobile’s president recently acknowledged that the two companies are in talks, but chances are slim that a partnership will be reached in the near future.

Along with China, the iPhone 5 also launched in the following countries on Friday:
Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Ecuador, Grenada, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Kuwait, Macedonia, Malaysia, Moldova, Montenegro, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

The smartphone will debut in over 50 countries in December with the next wave of releases scheduled for a week from today.

Apple launches iPad mini in China, still deals with scalper element at product releases

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Date: Monday, December 10th, 2012, 07:36
Category: iPad, News, retail

In spite of various protocols, it’s hard to keep a good scalper down.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Apple’s reservation-only system in China, put in place after a near-riot occurred for the iPhone 4S launch, led to few crowds for the debut of the iPad mini.

Many of those who turned out for the iPad mini launch in China on Friday were scalpers looking to resell and profit from the device. But Apple’s recently instituted rules have made it tougher for scalpers to get in the way of legitimate customers.

Chinese customers must participate in an online lottery one day in advance to purchase an iPad mini at one of the company’s seven retail stores in China. Those who are selected are limited to two iPad minis and must bring photo identification.

The system was instituted after the iPhone 4S launch in January of this year was disrupted by an unruly crowd in Beijing. The crowd prevented Apple from opening its store in Sanlitun, and the company decided to postpone the launch of the iPhone 4S in Beijing and Shanghai.

And in May of 2011, the launch of the iPad 2 and white iPhone 4 caused a scuffle in Beijing in which disgruntled customers shook a glass door at the Sanlitun Apple Store and shattered it.

Those incidents prompted Apple to implement its anti-scalping measures this July for the launch of the third-generation iPad in China. Local media alleged that scuffles at Apple’s stores were between rival groups of scalpers.

For Friday’s iPad mini launch, a Wall Street Journal reporter was harassed by a group of scalpers for filming them outside the Apple Store in Sanlitun. The scalpers told the reporter they felt it was an invasion of their privacy.

“After the reporter pointed out that they were conducting business in a public place, they proceeded to kick, swat and push him as Apple and mall security stood by,” Friday’s report said.

Aside from scalpers at the Sanlitun Apple Store, there were no crowds for Friday’s iPad mini launch. The scalpers stood near the store’s entrance to collect iPad minis from Chinese customers in exchange for cash.

So…despite annoying scalpers snagging up as much of the supply as they could, the iPad mini is out in China.

T-Mobile announces company will begin selling iPhone, iPad in 2013

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Date: Friday, December 7th, 2012, 07:52
Category: iPhone, News, retail

If you’re a T-Mobile fan, you’ll appreciate this.

Per AppleInsider, wireless carrier T-Mobile has announced it has inked a deal with Apple to begin selling products in America next year, presumably including both the iPhone and iPad.

The announcement came as part of a press release by the carrier’s parent company, Deutsche Telekom, on Thursday. The release declined to mention specific products, but Apple’s iPhone and iPad lineup are the only cellular-capable devices offered by the company.

“T-Mobile USA has entered into an agreement with Apple to bring products to market together in 2013,” the release said.

T-Mobile is the fourth-largest carrier in the U.S., but despite its size, it has not offered Apple’s iPhone to date. And yet many smaller, regional carriers already offer the iPhone through partnerships with Apple, which T-Mobile has admitted contributed to its woes in America.

“Following on from the preceding steps such as the spectrum swap with Verizon, the towers deal with Crown Castle and the transaction with MetroPCS that we have announced, we have now added the final piece to the jigsaw to boost the competitiveness of T-Mobile USA sustainably,” said René Obermann, CEO of Deutsche Telekom.

Though the iPhone is not officially available through T-Mobile, the carrier is said to have more than 1.5 million active unlocked handsets on its network. Many of those handsets operate at wireless data speeds slower than 3G because of technical limitations with T-Mobile’s network.

To address that issue, T-Mobile has begun widening its 4G HSPA+ network in major metropolitan areas across the U.S., offering users of unlocked iPhones the ability to access high-speed data on its network.

The main reason T-Mobile has not offered the iPhone is because its network’s frequency band is incompatible with current versions of the iPhone. While the iPhone can place calls on T-Mobile’s network, it cannot connect to the carrier’s unique high-speed 3G frequency.

That’s begun to change as the carrier has transitioned its service to the 1900 MHz GSM band. That’s the same frequency used by AT&T, and is compatible with existing iPhone models.

T-Mobile has publicly admitted that the lack of Apple’s iPhone in its smartphone lineup has hurt the carrier and caused customers to leave. The carrier has about 33 million subscribers in the U.S., placing it behind Sprint, AT&T and Verizon in terms of size.

However, T-Mobile is set to grow next year thanks to a planned merger with MetroPCS — the fifth-largest carrier in America, and another provider that does not have access to Apple’s iPhone. T-Mobile and AT&T previously attempted to merge, but that deal was pulled when it became clear the Federal Communications Commission would block the agreement.

The terms of the attempted merger between AT&T and T-Mobile deemed that AT&T would give T-Mobile US$1 billion worth of wireless spectrum in the 1900MHz range if the deal fell through. That spectrum exchange is now likely key to the announced agreement between T-Mobile and Apple.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple to launch iPhone 5 in dozens of additional countries throughout December

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Date: Monday, December 3rd, 2012, 09:09
Category: iPhone, News, retail

Come Friday, the iPhone 5 will be available pretty much everywhere.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Monday announced that the iPhone 5 will debut in more than 50 countries this month, including South Korea on Friday, Dec. 7, with Russia, Brazil and Taiwan to follow a week later.

Those additional countries that will gain access to Apple’s latest smartphone include China, which Apple announced last week will have the iPhone 5 launch on Dec. 14. The dozens of new countries will join 47 countries where the iPhone 5 is already available for sale.

The full list of countries set to gain the iPhone 5 on Friday, Dec. 14 are: Albania, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Ecuador, Grenada, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Jordan, Kuwait, Macedonia, Malaysia, Moldova, Montenegro, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

The iPhone 5 will also be available on Friday, December 21 in Barbados, Botswana, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Egypt, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Morocco, Niger, Senegal, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Tunisia, Uganda, and Vietnam.

Monday’s announcement also confirms an earlier report that claimed Apple would launch the iPhone 5 in Taiwan on Dec. 14. It was said that all major Taiwanese carriers would begin accepting preorders a week prior.

International expansion of the iPhone 5 comes as Apple has begun to catch up with supply in countries such as the U.S., where the handset launched in September. Last week, Apple also began selling an unlocked version of the iPhone 5 through its online store in America.

Updated 27-inch iMac sells out quickly, ship times slip to 3-4 weeks for customers

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Date: Monday, December 3rd, 2012, 08:29
Category: Hardware, iMac, News, retail

It’s new, it’s snazzy…and now it’s really, really hard to get.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s big-screen 27-inch iMac looks to be in extremely limited supply this holiday, as the estimated shipping time has already lengthened less than 24 hours after the new all-in-one desktop went on sale.

Apple’s online store originally advertised that the new 27-inch iMac would ship to new orders within two to three weeks. But just hours after the slimmer iMac became available, new orders are now advertised to ship in three to four weeks.

The revised shipping estimate suggests that new orders may not arrive in time for Christmas, which is just three and a half weeks away.

The three-to-four-week wait applies to both the 2.9-gigahertz model, which sells for US$1,799, as well as the 3.2-gigahertz model, available for US$1,999.

For those interested in the 21.5-inch model, both the 2.7- and 2.9-gigahertz varieties remain available to ship in one to three business days. Units may also available at Apple’s retail stores for those who want to pick one up right away.

The first benchmarks for the 27-inch model show that its new Ivy Bridge processor will offer more than a 50 percent speed boost with certain tasks. Tests of the 21.5-inch model have also been shown to be about nearly 25 percent faster than their predecessor.

The redesigned iMac boasts an aluminum that is only 5-millimeters thick at its edge and also features a reengineered display which Apple claims reduces reflections by 75 percent. Speed has also been increased thanks to new quad-core Intel silicon and NVIDIA GeForce graphics processors, the latter of which is said to deliver up to a 60 percent boost in performance.

Also new is the Fusion Drive, a hybrid hard drive solution that combines the performance of solid-state media with the capacity and affordability of a hard drive. Apple solution couples 128-gigabytes of flash memory with a standard hard drive to create a single storage volume that intelligently manages frequently-used files and programs to optimize performance.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Next-gen iMacs begin to surface in Australia, now available for online ordering in the U.S.

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Date: Friday, November 30th, 2012, 08:27
Category: Hardware, iMac, News, retail

You know that new, thin, redesigned iMac you’ve been hankering for?

The Aussies got it first.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Friday kicked off sales of its totally redesigned iMac all-in-one desktop, and customers in Australia are among the first to get their hands on Apple’s newest all-in-one desktop.

The new computer has begun appearing in Apple Stores and authorized resellers on Friday local Australia time.

A quick check with various Australian retail locations found iMac supply was unsurprisingly concentrated at stores in larger cities like Sydney, while smaller outlets such as Canberra had yet to receive their allotments. This is in line with a statement from Apple CEO Tim Cook, who noted that there would be a “significant shortage” of iMacs in the fourth quarter.

Apple announced on Tuesday that it would be launching the revamped iMac on Friday, Nov. 30, just making the November ship-by date promised when the device was unveiled in October.

Starting Friday, the 21.5-inch model will be available through Apple’s online and brick-and-mortar stores, as well as authorized dealers. Apple will also open up orders for the 27-inch model on through its online storefront, however those units won’t ship until December

The 21.5-inch iMac features a 2.7-gigahertz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor and Nvidia GeForce GT 640M graphics for a suggested retail price of $1,299. A faster 2.9-gigahertz model will be offered for $1,499.

The larger 27-inch iMac will have a 2.9-gigahertz quad-core Intel Core i5 and GeForce GTX 660M graphics for US$1,799, while the 3.2-gigahertz model comes with GTX 675MX graphics and will cost US$1,999.

Update: The new iMacs just went on sale in the U.S. Apple Online Store. Take a gander and please let us know what your estimated delivery date is expected to be.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPhone 5 supply stabilizes, units now readily available for holiday shopping season

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Date: Thursday, November 29th, 2012, 07:41
Category: iPhone, News, retail

It took a while and there were muchos conflicts with Foxconn, but it finally happened: Apple’s iPhone 5 supply chain has stabilized.

Per AppleInsider, the popular iPhone 5 handset is now readily available in the U.S. at Apple’s brick-and-mortar retail stores as the company has apparently overcome supply issues experienced since the device was launched in September.

While the Apple online store still shows one-week ship-by dates, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said a poll of 20 U.S. Apple Stores reveals the iPhone 5 is readily available at physical Apple Stores for the first time since the unit was released at the end of September.

“We believe the iPhone 5 has finally reached a point where consumers can walk into an Apple Store and walk out with a phone,” Munster said in a note to investors on Thursday.

The analyst performs a nightly check with the online Apple Store for local pick-up orders half an hour after new stock arrives at 100 locations. He also noted that 20 out of 20 Apple Stores polled showed availability for Verizon models, the supply of which has been the most constrained out of the three major U.S. carriers.

“The bottom line is that AT&T, Sprint and Verizon are consistently showing 90%+ availability,” Munster wrote.

A similar report earlier this month showed that, while inventory of Sprint versions of the Phone 5 was improving, models supported by AT&T and Verizon’s networks were still seeing constraints.

Going further, Munster maintains his estimate of 45 million iPhone shipments for the fourth quarter, but warns that there may not be a significant upside as supply is only now meeting demand.

According to a recent report, the iPhone 5 helped to double Apple’s share of the U.S. smartphone market, pushing it ahead of worldwide leader Android.

Next-gen iMac to go on sale Friday, November 30th

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Date: Tuesday, November 27th, 2012, 08:19
Category: Hardware, iMac, News, retail

If you’re hankering for the new, thinner iMac, just wait 72 hours.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Tuesday announced that its all-new iMac desktop will launch this Friday, Nov. 30, meeting its deadline to launch before the end of the month.

The 21.5-inch model will be available through Apple’s online store, Apple retail stores and select authorized resellers. The 27-inch variety will begin shipping in December, but orders will begin at Apple’s online store on Friday.

The 21.5-inch iMac will feature a 2.7-gigahertz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor and Nvidia GeForce G6 640M graphics for a suggested retail price of US$1,299. A faster 2.9-gigahertz model will be offered for US$1,499.

The larger 27-inch iMac will have a 2.9-gigahertz quad-core Intel Core i5 and GeForce GTX 660M graphics for US$1,799. The high-end 3.2-gigahertz model with GTX 675MX graphics will cost US$1,999.

The redesigned iMac has an aluminum and glass enclosure that is 5-millimeters thin at its edge. It also features a reengineered display that Apple has said reduces reflections by 75 percent.

The new iMac also sports 8 gigabytes of 1,600-megahertz memory, along with a 1-terabyte hard drive and standard Intel Core i5 processors that can be upgraded to a Core i7. The new Nvidia GeForce graphics processors also promise up to 60 percent fast performance.

The all-in-one iMac desktops also sport Apple’s new hybrid Fusion Drive, which gives customers the performance of flash with the capacity of a hard drive. This is accomplished by combining 128 gigabytes of flash with a standard hard drive, creating a single storage volume that intelligently manages files to optimize read and write performance.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

eBay begins Cyber Monday sale, offers $989 deal for mid-2012 13-inch MacBook Pro, other offers

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Date: Monday, November 26th, 2012, 09:38
Category: iPad, MacBook Pro, News, retail

Hey, a deal’s a deal.

Per AppleInsider, eBay, which is currently undergoing a rebranding itself to be in more direct competition with Amazon via a push towards more direct sales, is hosting a Cyber Monday sale offering 5% off iPads with Retina display and 18% off the entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro (US$989), as well as significant discounts on other consumer electronics like cameras, game systems and more.

The US$989 price (US$210 savings) on the 2.5GHz 13″ MacBook Pro (MD101LL/A) is the lowest price that’s currently been published, and presents an exceptional value proposition for consumers in the market for a sub-US$1000 Apple notebook that still retains a CD/DVD optical drive.

Other notable deals include 5% off 16GB iPads with Retina display (US$474.99, 56% off, 42% off a new Canon T3i Digital SLR Camera with 2 Canon IS lenses 747.25 (US$551.75 savings), and 74% off a 32GB SanDisk SDHC TM Memory Card for US$17.99 (US$52 savings).

Meanwhile, retailers including Amazon, MacMall, B&H Photo, MacConnection and Best Buy have launched their own Cyber Monday sales with pricing on Macs and iPads similar to pricing seen on Black Friday. Additionally, MacMall continues to advocate inventory of the vast majority of Apple’s iPad mini product line (see chart), while Wal-Mart recently received all flavors of the AT&T iPad mini which its shipping out today.

For users looking for a new Mac with 3-years of AppleCare extended protection, B&H Photo’s Buy Together & Save (bundle prices, instructions) offer savings of up to US$450 with its Cyber Monday pricing.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard install DVDs surface in Apple online store, available for $19.99

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Date: Friday, November 23rd, 2012, 08:45
Category: News, retail, Software

snowleopard

In as much as it’s useful to keep operating systems on thumb drives and recovery partitions, there are times where you miss having an emergency DVD on hand.

That being said, this should be useful.

Discovered by French web site MacGeneration and the mighty Mac Observer, Apple’s Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard has returned to Apple’s Online Store as a physical disc purchase after being removed upon the launch of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion in July.

Snow Leopard, released in August of 2009, was the first Apple operating system to run exclusively on Intel processors. It was also the last version of OS X to include Rosetta, Apple’s translation software that allowed applications written for PowerPC-based Macs to run seamlessly on Intel-powered machines.

Most importantly for owners of older Macs, Snow Leopard represented a crucial transition point for Apple. The Mac App Store, which launched in early January 2011 exclusively on Snow Leopard 10.6.6, inaugurated a new era of digital software distribution. Starting with the launch of OS X 10.7 Lion in July 2011 and continuing with Mountain Lion in July 2012, the primary method for Mac owners to receive new versions of OS X became the Mac App Store (there were indeed other methods of acquiring a new version of OS X, such as the short-lived official USB installer or by making your own, but these were limited options for relatively advanced users).

For users who had already upgraded their eligible Macs to Snow Leopard, the upgrade to Lion or Mountain Lion was simple: purchase and download it from the Mac App Store. But if users were still on OS X 10.5 Leopard or 10.4 Tiger, they would first have to install Snow Leopard to gain access to the Mac App Store, and then purchase and download Lion or Mountain Lion.

As a result, Apple kept OS X Snow Leopard for sale in its online store until the launch of Mountain Lion when, for reasons unknown, the company removed it. Now, thankfully, the Snow Leopard installation DVD is back for US$19.99, and is currently in stock with free shipping.

While it is true that most Mac owners who are eligible to upgrade to Lion or Mountain Lion have already done so (or have at least upgraded to Snow Leopard), for the remaining holdouts who want to try a newer version of OS X, or for current users who want a copy of Snow Leopard in case they ever need to run a PowerPC app via Rosetta, now is the time to snag it while it’s still available.