T-Mobile to offer iPhone 5 on April 12th, will incorporate $99 upfront payment plan

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Date: Tuesday, March 26th, 2013, 08:33
Category: iPhone, News, retail

The day T-Mobile customers have been waiting for has arrived.

And you’ll be able to snag an iPhone via T-Mobile on April 12th.

Per AppleInsider, customers of T-Mobile, the fourth-largest carrier in the U.S., will get long awaited access to Apple’s iPhone when the iPhone 5 launches on the carrier’s network April 12.

The announcement was made Tuesday by T-Mobile as part of the company’s “Uncarrier” branding, which seeks to differentiate the carrier from competing providers like AT&T, Verizon and Sprint — all of which already carry the iPhone.

In standing out from the others, T-Mobile is offering a 16-gigabyte iPhone 5 for US$99 up front, with 20 additional monthly payments of US$20. With an April 12 sale date in T-Mobile’s retail stores, preorders will begin April 5.

Joining the iPhone 5 will be the remainder of Apple’s current smartphone lineup: the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 4. As with other carriers, only the iPhone 5 will be compatible with T-Mobile’s new 4G LTE high-speed data network.

T-Mobile officially announced its new LTE network at Tuesday’s event as well, available in a total of seven U.S. markets: Kansas City, Kan., Houston, Tex., Las Vegas, Nev., Phoenix, Ariz., San Jose, Calif., and Washington, D.C.

T-Mobile’s new data plans include 500 megabytes of high-speed online data and unlimited calls and texts for US$50. For an extra US$10 per month, users get 2.5 gigabytes of high-speed data, while unlimited 4G access runs US$70 per month. In addition, users are simply throttled, not penalized, when they go over their data cap.

Bringing Apple’s iPhone to T-Mobile with full support has been no small task. While the carrier counts some two million iPhone customers among its base — with about 100,000 added per month — T-Mobile’s reliance on the 1700MHz frequency for its 3G HSPA+ network proved an obstacle for T-Mobile with regard to Apple’s bestselling smartphone.

The 1700MHz frequency, branded as “4G” but not “LTE”, is unique to T-Mobile among carriers, and allows iPhone users only very slow 2G connectivity. Given T-Mobile’s relatively small customer base, Apple never moved to support T-Mobile’s standard. Instead, T-Mobile has been working to switch much of its network to 1900MHz in order to allow iPhone connectivity. The company will be repurposing its 1700MHz band for 4G LTE.

T-Mobile last year announced a deal with Apple to begin selling Apple products in 2013. Executives from the carrier said in January of this year that customers could expect Apple products on T-Mobile sooner rather than later, floating the possibility of “three to four months” rather than “six to nine.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple to triple franchise stores in India between now and 2015, official Apple Store locations unlikely

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Date: Tuesday, March 26th, 2013, 07:47
Category: News, retail

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Never doubt the power of economic expansion.

Per the Economic Times, Apple plans to triple the number of Apple-exclusive franchise stores in India from 65 to 200 by 2015, but the country still won’t see any official Apple Stores.

Government regulations mean that branded stores must source 30 percent of their stock from Indian companies, something Apple’s yet unable to do. Thus, the stores will sell via franchisees who operate under their own brands, the stores emulating Apple’s look and feel in the process.

These franchisees, who did not wish to be named, told ET that they have been asked to scale up operations in the country as the Cupertino-based company plans to grow aggressively in the country. In addition to increasing the number of Apple exclusive stores, called Apple Premium Resellers, that are owned and managed by 17 franchisees, the company also plans to expand its presence in multi-brand stores, they said.

Some of these plans are said to have been discussed during last month’s Mumbai visit of Hugeues Asseman, Apple’s vicepresident (sales) for Europe, Middle-East, India, and Africa. Asseman met key trade partners and franchisee owners to take stock of the company’s India business and to outline the company’s expansion plans. Apple’s London-based spokesman, Alan Hely, declined comment on the company’s expansion plans.

Apple will increasingly look to expand sales in developing markets as its traditional markets have reached saturation point.

Apple’s high prices relative to local salaries mean the company has historically struggled to sell significant volumes in India, but the introduction late last year of monthly installment plans along with more focus on marketing and distribution saw Apple’s share of the smartphone market jump from 3.9-percent in Q3 to 15.6-percent in Q4.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Leaked images, training documents show Apple merchandise headed to Staples for late March

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Date: Wednesday, March 13th, 2013, 11:08
Category: News, retail

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The Apple stuff you’ve been hankering for Staples to carry should be there by late March.

Per Mac Rumors, a series of screenshots from training materials for Staples sales associates. The screens describe sales curricula for the iPhone 5, Apple TV, and Mac notebooks.

Those materials showed that the training modules needed be completed by March 26 or 27, likely indicating that the retailer will begin selling Apple products shortly thereafter.

Reports that Staples was preparing to sell Apple products emerged earlier this year, with a Staples executive tweeting the news, though without specifics. Subsequent reports brought word that the retailer would be carrying Apple TV and accessories.

The addition of Apple’s higher-end merchandise to Staples’ offerings will put Apple products in more than 1,500 outlets across the United States, considerably expanding the computer maker’s accessibility. Staples’ reputation in the enterprise sector could also aid Apple in accelerating the growth of its presence in the enterprise segment.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple patent explores loan, resale features for DRM-protected content

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Date: Friday, March 8th, 2013, 08:19
Category: News, retail, Software

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This could get fairly interesting, as well as get around some parts of DRM that, well, NOBODY likes.

Per AppleInsider and the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a recently published patent application details of an exhaustive Apple invention covering the resale and loan of owned digital content like e-books, music and movies, possibly portending an upcoming addition to iTunes.

The patent is outlined in three divisional applications, each titled “Managing access to digital content items,” with two filed in September of 2011, and one in June of 2012. From the most recent filing, Apple describes a system that manages the authorized transfer of owned digital content between end-users. The invention is basically a system that allows purchasers to sell or loan “used” content to other people.

Interestingly, Amazon was recently granted a patent for a nearly identical system, though the online retailer’s solution calls for a centralized marketplace while Apple’s is largely distributed. Amazon first filed for its property in 2009.

Apple’s filing provides for the authorized access to digital content, otherwise known as digital rights, to be transferred from one user to another. As an example, a first user may purchase an e-book from the iBookstore and later decide to sell that content to a second user. The original owner notifies the store that they want to sell the item, and if certain criteria are met, the user is allowed to transfer rights to the second buyer. Content itself may or may not change hands, but more importantly the rights attached to said content is managed so that the first user can no longer access the content once it is sold.

The invention decentralizes the process by taking the online store out of the equation:

“Alternatively, instead of a third party determining whether one or more criteria are satisfied, the first (or second) user’s device makes the determination and may be responsible for preventing the first user’s device from further consuming the digital content item. In some embodiments, the online store and/or the publisher of the digital content item may receive a portion of the proceeds of the transfer.”

It should be noted that the content need not reside permanently, or at all, on a user’s device, meaning the system can be cloud-based.

Key to the system’s operation is ownership history. As the “used” content is passed from one user to the next, a database is established so that the proper owner is allowed access to the item and can then choose to transfer those rights to yet another party.

Transferral of authorized access can be device-to-device through an intermediary like an online store, device-to-device without an intermediary, meaning verification must be established at a later time. In another embodiment, no device-to-device transfer is necessary.

Restrictions of transfer are a means to manage the flow of content between end users and can be set by the publisher. For example, a certain e-book may not be resold within a six month period and must have a resale price of at least US$5. The restrictions can be set on a timed basis, frequency of transfer, price and to whom the content is sold.

Proceeds are also discussed, with publishers or content makers sometimes granted rights to a portion of the resale value. These percentages are based on time and how many transfers have been completed for a particular item. Gifting is also supported, with proceeds for these transfers split between the end user and publisher.

Other embodiments deal with temporary transfers, partial transfers, delayed transfers and loans.

Eliza C. Block and Marcel Van Os are credited as inventors of all three applications, while E. Caroline F. Cranfill, Alan C. Cannistraro, William M. Bachman and Timothy B. Martin were added to the list for one of the 2011 filings.

Local carrier Strata Networks to carry iPhone 5, provide additional coverage for Idaho, Utah, Colorado areas

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Date: Wednesday, March 6th, 2013, 08:59
Category: iPhone, News, retail

If you were looking for iPhone 5 handsets and local carrier-based goodness in Colorado, Idaho or Utah, you’re in luck.

Per 9to5Mac, Utah-based Strata Networks recently started advertising that the device is “coming soon” to its network. In November, Strata officially rolled out its LTE network, the first in the Uintah Basin covering several counties in Utah, and the carrier also has local coverage in Idaho, Utah, and Colorado. A map of the carrier’s LTE coverage in Utah is below, while a full map of nationwide coverage can be found here.

Many other regional carriers have been known to offer the device at a discounted price compared to Apple and the major carriers with the iPhone 5 starting at US$149 on a two-year contract through many.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Staples confirms sale of Apple accessories in brick and mortar locations across U.S. and Canada in Q1

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Date: Wednesday, March 6th, 2013, 08:37
Category: News, retail

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It had to happen sometime.

Per Reuters, office supply retailer Staples began offering Apple accessories on its U.S. online store last month, and now the office supply retail chain has confirmed the merchandise will soon be available in stores as well.

The retailer Staples announced fourth quarter and full year 2012 performance earnings on Wednesday, and, during the earnings call, CEO Ronald Sargent said his company would have Apple accessories in stores in Q1.

Staples currently has 1,886 brick-and-mortar stores in North America, including Canada where it already sells Apple accessories, and it allows many businesses, large and small, with corporate accounts to easily buy products with little friction.

If you’ve seen assorted Apple products surfacing at your neighborhood Staples location, please let us know in the comments section.

Canadian thieves rob Vancouver-area Apple Store location using bear spray as weapon

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Date: Tuesday, March 5th, 2013, 08:15
Category: iPad, iPod, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, retail

If you’re going to steal thousands of dollars worth of Apple products north of the border, remember to bring along bear spray.


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Per the National Post, thieves armed with bear spray hit the Oakridge Mall Apple Store in Vancouver just before closing in Monday, spraying roughly 40 people and making off with an unknown number of iPods, iPads, and notebooks.

The robbery, which saw three men bearing a caustic, cayenne pepper-based chemical attack the Apple Store. There were roughly 40 customers in the store, of which five would later need treatment by paramedics for exposure to the spray. The robbers are said to have fled by car.

Most of the valuable Apple electronics are likely to have been out of reach of the robbers, as Apple Stores keep most stock in hidden storage rooms behind closed doors. Vancouver police say that the thieves made off with only “a small number of electronics.”

Apple catches up with demand, now offering 21.5-inch, 27-inch iMac models at 1-3 day ship times

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Date: Monday, March 4th, 2013, 07:06
Category: iMac, News, retail

It never hurts to catch up.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple seems to have finally caught up with demand for its latest iMac models. Both the new 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs are now shipping from Apple’s online store in 1-3 business days. Up until earlier today, Apple’s new iMacs were quoted as having a shipping time of 2-3 weeks for the 21.5-inch model and 3-4 weeks for the larger 27-inch configurations.

Apple’s redesigned iMacs models have been supply constrained since their November and December launches. Apple CEO Tim Cook noted multiple times during earnings calls and other public appearances that the iMacs are seeing significant shortages. During an internal “Town Hall” meeting with employees, Cook blamed low Q1 Mac sales on low supply of Apple’s newest Mac lines.

Apple’s new iMacs feature a much thinner chassis compared to the previous generation’s design in addition to a new screen lamination process that may contribute to the time it takes to produce each unit.

Stay tuned for additional details and if you’ve seen an improved turnaround time on a new iMac you ordered, please let us know in the comments.

Staples to begin carrying Apple products, exact start date unknown

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Date: Friday, February 15th, 2013, 05:53
Category: News, retail

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This one’s been a long time coming…

Per 9to5Mac and MacRumors, office retailer Staples had a meeting today with corporate employees announcing that Apple products were coming to their stores. The company followed up with a tweet to confirm that a deal with Apple has been finalized and that their stores will begin selling Apple products. Staples Senior Vice President of Global Human Resources Regit Mulot confirmed the deal on Twitter, albeit this tweet has since been deleted.

While there’s no mention of what Apple products Staples would carry, it’s been overheard that Staples would carry Apple’s full lineup of Macs, iPads as well as the iPhone 5 in their stores.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iMac ship times hold for U.S., see delays in European markets

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Date: Monday, February 4th, 2013, 08:32
Category: iMac, News, retail

Look at it this way: Europe may not have the greatest of iMac ship times, but it’s still pretty damn beautiful and the food’s amazing.

Per MacGeneration, estimated shipping times for Apple’s thinner iMac continue to slip, as the 27-inch model is now advertised to arrive in Europe in 4 to 6 weeks, while the 21.5-inch model has been delayed to between 3 and 4 weeks.

The delays apply to both iMac models, as the 21.5-inch variety was previously advertised to ship in 2 to 3 weeks, while the 27-inch model was available in 3 to 4 weeks.

The delays do not yet affect Apple’s U.S. online store, though if recent trends are any indication, the new estimated shipping times will be reflected in the company’s American store in due time.

Shipping times for the smaller 21.5-inch model also began slipping late last month to between 2 and 3 weeks. The updates to Apple’s European online stores on Monday suggest that the company continues to see production problems with its redesigned iMac.

Those problems have persisted since the new iMacs first went on sale in December. In the holiday quarter, Apple’s Mac sales dropped 17 percent, a decrease the company attributed to severe constraints on the new, thinner iMacs.

Continued setbacks for the iMac also cast into doubt a recent rumor that claimed Apple’s suppliers had solved their production problems. However, some 21.5- and 27-inch iMac units did begin trickling into Apple’s reseller channels last week.

That trend has continued in the U.S., as reseller MacConnection reflects availability of all 4 standard retail configurations as of Monday with an instant US$20 discount per model. A handful of other custom configurations are also popping in and out of stock at other retailers.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.