Retina Display supplies constrained by demand, shift in labor practices for Foxconn workers

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Date: Wednesday, April 11th, 2012, 07:09
Category: iPad, News, retail

If you don’t have enough of a given part, it makes assembly a bit harder.

Then there’s the awkward part about easing working conditions for your labor force…

Per AppleInsider, demand for Apple’s new iPad remains strong, but production of the device has reportedly been limited by supply of Retina displays, as well as a new focus on employees at Foxconn that has resulted in worker hours being cut.

Analyst Shaw Wu with Sterne Agee aimed to quash some investor concern on Wednesday that demand for the new iPad is waning. That’s not true, he said, as his checks within Apple’s supply chain have found that the company continues to have strong interest in its latest touchscreen tablet.

Instead, he said, it’s supply of the new high-resolution Retina display that has limited shipments of the latest iPad. He expects that situation to improve over the coming quarters, as additional production lines and suppliers are added.

Samsung is currently believed to be the primary supplier of Retina displays for the new iPad. Both LG and Sharp were said to have initially struggled in making the high-resolution screens for Apple, but recently began small-volume shipments.

Another factor in iPad supply, Wu said, has been the fact that Foxconn is now “conforming to more sound labor practices.” Last month, following an independent audit by the Fair Labor Association, Apple’s manufacturing partner Foxconn agreed to fix a number of violations that were discovered, including excess working times by its factory employees.

“This is in an effort to improve working conditions,” Wu said. “From our understanding, the irony is that many employees prefer to work more overtime.”

Some Foxconn workers publicly questioned last month why their hours were being cut after the review conducted by the FLA. Foxconn reduced employee working hours to 49 per week, including overtime, but the change will also result in smaller paychecks for workers.

Because iPad production has apparently been slowed by factors other than demand, Wu has opted to raise his estimates for sales in the current quarter. He now sees Apple having sold 12.3 million iPads in the already-concluded March quarter, up from his previous forecast of 11.5 million.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPad 3 to go on sale at 8 A.M. this Friday

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Date: Wednesday, March 14th, 2012, 07:48
Category: iPad, News, retail

Once again, that time is upon us.

Yes, once again, you shall stand in line for the brand new iPad.

And, per the weather reports, I get to do it in the rain.

Again.

On Wednesday, Apple announced that the third-generation iPad will go on sale at 8 A.M. local time this Friday in the U.S. and nine other countries.

The third-generation iPad will be available at Apple’s retail stores and the company’s online store this Friday at 8 a.m. in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and the U.K. It will also be available in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In addition to Apple’s retail stores, the new iPad will also be available in the U.S. at Best Buy, Radio Shack, Sam’s Club, Target and Walmart on Friday’s launch day. 4G LTE versions will also be available at AT&T and Verizon retail stores in the U.S.

Officially announced a week ago, the new iPad has a high-resolution Retina display powered by the new A5X chip that features quad-core graphics processing. The third-generation tablet also sports a 5-megapixel iSight camera with advanced optics capable of recording 1080p video.

The new iPad also offers a 4G LTE model capable of connecting to high-speed data networks in the U.S. and Canada, as well as 3G networks around the world based on HSPA+ and DC-HSPDA.

In addition to the new iPad, Apple has also continued to sell last year’s iPad 2 in a capacity of 16GB, starting at US$399 for the Wi-Fi-only model. A 3G-capable version is also available for US$529.

New iPads purchased at an Apple retail store come with free “Personal Setup” service, which helps customers customize their iPad by setting up e-mail, installing software from the App Store and more. Apple also offers its “Personal Pickup” service at U.S. retail stores, allowing customers to shop and buy from anywhere, then pick up their purchase at any retail store.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple sells out of iPad 3 online preorder stock, retail units should still be available for Friday launch

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Date: Monday, March 12th, 2012, 07:31
Category: iPad, News, retail

It might just be a long iPad 3 launch day line this year.

Per AppleInsider, Less than two days after Apple’s new iPad was unveiled, the company has sold out of launch-day preorders in its online store, as new orders are now advertised to ship by March 19.

Customers who order a third-generation iPad now from Apple’s online store will not receive it until after next Friday’s launch date. The March 19 shipping date now applies to all models, capacities and colors sold in the U.S.

Of course, while launch-day supplies are no longer available at Apple’s online store, those who wait in line at the company’s retail outlets will still have a chance to get an iPad on March 16. In addition, Apple’s retail partners, including Best Buy and others, will have stock on launch day.

The first sign that demand for the new iPad was outstripping supply came on Thursday, when shipping estimates for the white 4G LTE model compatible with AT&T’s network were the first to have estimated shipping dates of March 19. The first models to sell out for launch day delivery were the 16- and 64-gigabyte capacities.

But now, all 16-, 32- and 64-gigabyte models, Wi-Fi-only or 4G LTE, and in black and white are all scheduled to ship three days after the official iPad launch.

Next Friday’s iPad launch will be the largest debut yet for the company, as the touchscreen tablet will go on sale in 10 countries. They are the U.S., Canada, the U.K., France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia.

As for the 16-gigabyte iPad 2, available in both white and black with Wi-Fi-only connectivity or 3G compatibility, new orders are advertised to ship in one to three business days. The Wi-Fi-only iPad 2 will remain available in a 16-gigabyte capacity as the new low-end model, for US$399, while a 3G variant will cost US$529.

Those who were among the first to preorder the third-generation iPad have already begun receiving notifications that their order has shipped from China. However, the iPads are not scheduled to actually be delivered until next Friday, which is the product’s official launch day.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple to combat scalpers in Hong Kong with lottery system for iPhone 4S release

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Date: Tuesday, January 31st, 2012, 05:23
Category: iPhone, News, retail

It never hurts to think ahead.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple is looking to combat reservation scalpers through a new lottery system for its iPhone 4S Hong Kong release. The company has set up a new web page on its site for reserving an iPhone in Hong Kong. The page requires the customer to enter a government ID number, which they must reportedly also show at the time of purchase. The system will then employ a lottery system, in which the winners get a chance to buy an iPhone.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple Volume Purchase Program allows businesses to buy iOS apps in bulk

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Date: Thursday, January 26th, 2012, 05:58
Category: iOS, News, retail, Software

Sometimes a business just needs certain App Store apps.

Per Macworld, Apple quietly unveiled a Volume Purchase for Business program (also known as VPP) last summer: Essentially, it’s an App Store specifically for businesses, where they can purchase iOS apps in bulk. It allows developers to custom-tailor software for specific businesses; it also gives Apple another entry into the business market.

Here’s how the Volume Purchase Program works: Businesses create a single Apple ID to manage their purchases. Using that account—which needs to be linked to a corporate credit card or purchasing card—organizations can search for apps and then buy them in bulk.

Once the purchases have been made, Apple issues the company a list of redemption codes for the app. Whoever is managing app distribution for the company can email those codes to employees, allowing them to download the app just by following a link on their Mac, PC, or iOS device. The management interface is updated as users redeem the apps, keeping track of which codes are still available, as well as retaining a full purchase history.

Developers say Apple sets a minimum price of US$10 per app, but after that they’re free to offer custom prices, features, and services to specific customers.

VPP does have its limitations and as of now has yet to expand beyond the United States.

For years, Apple has famously focused on the consumer end of the market. But as more and more of those consumers bring their iPhones and iPads to work, IT departments are increasingly needing to take advantage of those devices; VPP gives Apple a way to help with that and thereby make inroads into the enterprise market.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve ever used the VPP for your business, please let us know about your experience, positive or otherwise.

Apple nukes $100 rebate with purchase of qualifying printer, future incentive programs in question

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Date: Wednesday, January 18th, 2012, 05:23
Category: News, retail

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You know, it was kind of nice having a nifty incentive/rebate to look forward to.

Per ” target=”_blank”>AppleInsider, Apple’s promotion that offered a US$100 rebate to customers who purchased a Mac and qualifying printer has been discontinued with no alternative incentives announced.

In a change to its promotion information webpage on Tuesday, Apple announced that the long-standing printer rebate program has been cancelled, leaving the company without any rebates or incentives for new computer buyers.

The Cupertino, Calif., company has traditionally offered some sort of incentive when customers buy a new Mac, such as the US$100 instant rebate when purchasing a computer and printer. While the programs were usually “limited time only” affairs, Apple’s latest printer rebate was a perpetual offer that stipulated the company could end it at any time.

Apple has advertised a US$100 printer rebate sporadically from 2001 alongside numerous other discounts and promotions for both hardware and software.

The company is also known for its educational rebates and discounts, including the annual back-to-school promotion which has offered free iPods to gift cards.

Currently, Apple offers discounts for students and teachers through its Education Store or at Apple Store locations and campuses though the program is more of an institution rather than form of incentive.

It is unclear whether Apple is slowly phasing out incentives as the company’s online store usually has some type of discount.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Target announces 25 Apple “Store-Within-a-Store” locations in 2012

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Date: Thursday, January 12th, 2012, 15:38
Category: News, retail

With any luck, this’ll work out better than the infamous Apple “Store Within a Store” locations at CompUSA during the 90s…

Per the New York Times, Target on Thursday confirmed that it plans to open 25 specialty stores dedicated to Apple products inside 25 of its existing retail locations.

The concept is called “The Shops at Target,” and the dedicated Apple ministores coming to 25 Target locations will not be alone. The Minneapolis-based retailer has also partnered with Boston’s Polka Dog Bakery and Miami’s The Webster, among others, for its specialty shops.

Target has been selling Apple products for years, including the iPad, iPhone, and Apple’s iPod lineup. Target does not currently offer any of Apple’s Mac lineup, however, while Best Buy’s Apple stores do sell Mac products.

The new Target mini-stores could pave the way for more products, like Macs or AirPort wireless routers, to become available. However, there has been no indication that the Apple stores at Target will offer a product selection as wide as Best Buy currently does.

“Stores-within-a-store, with dedicated floor space and signs and shelves designed by a brand, have been a popular strategy for a while,” author Stephanie Clifford wrote for the Times. “Department stores have long had small boutiques for designers like Ralph Lauren or Chanel. J.C. Penney, a Target competitor, has made its stores-within-a-store — for Sephora, Call It Spring, MNG by Mango and other brands — a centerpiece of its strategy.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple announces free shipping, free gift wrapping for online orders

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Date: Monday, November 28th, 2011, 13:11
Category: News, retail

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You can’t argue with Cyber Monday.

Or free shipping.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Monday announced that all orders for any product placed at its U.S. online store through Dec. 22 will ship for free, while customers in other countries can also receive free shipping for one day only.

The announcement was made on Apple’s online store on Monday, also known as “Cyber Monday,” or the first Monday following the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. Apple does not have any Cyber Monday deals, though it did participate in Black Friday, the largest shopping day of the year, last week.

Apple’s free shipping promotion through Dec. 22 applies only to the U.S., but customers in other countries — including Canada, the U.K., France, and Spain — receive free standard shipping on all orders placed Monday. The free shipping offer in those countries does not extend beyond Monday.

Monday’s free shipping offer does not extend to all other countries. For example, Apple’s official online store in Australia simply advertises that customers can receive free gift wrapping on iPod and iPad purchases through Christmas, on Dec. 25.

Assorted resellers of Apple products also offer Macs and other products at discounted prices with free shipping, including MacMall, MacConnection, B&H, Amazon, Best Buy and DataVision.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Additional Black Friday sales announced, Microsoft and Adobe put forth wares

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Date: Friday, November 25th, 2011, 05:46
Category: News, retail, Software

It’s Black Friday and there shall be savings.

Per AppleInsider, the shopping holiday has brought an assortment of discounts on essential Mac software, including up to 50% off Adobe’s products, Microsoft Office for Mac 2011 for US$69.99, and VMWare Fusion for US$29.99.

Microsoft Office for Mac 2011:
The best deals for Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac come from Amazon, MacMall and Buy.com. Amazon is selling Home & Student One Packs and Family Packs for US$50 off retail, US$69.99 and US$99.99, respectively. The site also has the Home & Business One Pack for the low price of US$151.99. Buy.com is selling the Home & Business Multi Pack for US$180.94.

Mac Virtualization Software:
For Mac Virtualization software that lets Macs run the Windows operating system alongside Mac OS, Amazon has the best deal on Parallels Desktop 7 at US$44.99. MacMall has the lowest price for VMWare Fusion 4, selling the software for US$29.99.

Adobe Products:
Adobe is offering as much as 50 percent off on instant downloads of its software through Nov. 29, though individual products may need to be added to the shopping cart for the discounts in the chart below to appear. Creative Suite 5.5 is available to commercial customers with savings of 30 percent on upgrades and 10 percent on full purchases.

The software maker is also providing a discount of US$250 on the full version of Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended and US$150 off the full version of Photoshop CS 5, while those upgrading from an earlier version will save 30 percent. Commercial customers can get 50 percent off the entry-level Elements versions of the Photoshop and Premiere applications, as well as US$100 off Lightroom.

Meanwhile, qualifying education customers can save up to US$1800 on Student and Teacher Editions of Creative Suite from Adobe’s retail partners.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple specifies discounts for 2011 Black Friday sales

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Date: Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011, 03:01
Category: iPad, iPod, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, retail

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As mentioned yesterday, Apple will be planning assorted discounts for this year’s Black Friday shopping holiday.

Per 9to5Mac, the discounts are in-line with last year’s prices with only modest discounts on their products. Price drops for their core products are as follows:

iPad 2: US$41 to US$61 Off

iPod nano: US$11 off

iPod Touch: US$21 to US$41 off

MacBook Air: US$101 off

MacBook Pro: US$101 off

iMac: US$101 off

Meanwhile, 3rd party accessories are also seeing some small discounts ranging from US$11-US$101.95 in savings for accessories such as iPad Smart Covers, iPhone battery packs and external hard drives.

These prices should be available for both online and local retail Apple store locations. For those who were planning to purchase from Apple retail anyway, it makes sense to wait until Friday. For those looking for more savings, other online retailers frequently their own Black Friday sales on Apple products as well. Depending on your location, those other online retailers may provide the added advantage of not charge sales tax on online orders. Apple’s online store does charge local sales tax on all orders due to its local presence in every state.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.