Staples starts pushing iPads and iPod via company’s online storefront

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Date: Monday, September 30th, 2013, 07:22
Category: iPad, iPod, News, retail

staples_logo

This came a little earlier than expected.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, only seven months after Staples became an authorized reseller of Mac and iOS accessories, the office supply giant is now selling both iPads and iPods via its online store.

The splash page for Staples.com advertises the iPad and iPad Mini while also indicating that the items are eligible for free shipping and 5 percent back in rewards points.

As it stands now, iPads and iPods via Staples are only available online, but that may soon change if online sales of Apple’s popular tablet prove to be successful.

With over 2,000 brick-and-mortar stores across 26 countries, getting the iPad into Staples retail stores would certainly help Apple sell more iPads.

If you’ve seen Staples having begun to sell iPads and iPods in a brick and mortar fashion in your area, please let us know in the comments section.

Apple to issue $40 compensation checks to owners of certain iPad 3G units following AT&T class action suit over unlimited data plans

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Date: Monday, September 30th, 2013, 07:57
Category: iPad, Legal, News

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If you own a cellular-enabled iPad, You might be getting a check in the mail in the near future.

Per Law360, a US district court judge in San Jose approved a proposed settlement between Apple and wireless carrier AT&T on Thursday, according to Law360. Under the proposed plan, Apple will pay US$40 to everyone in the United States who bought or ordered a 3G-enabled iPad on or before June 7, 2010.

Additionally, cellular-enabled iPad owners who did not sign up with AT&T will get a US$20 per month discount on the telecom’s 5GB per month plan for up to a year.

The class action suit is looking to rectify an issue iPad buyers faced after purchasing the tablet. Some customers may have based their decision to buy at least in part on the promise of unlimited data through AT&T, which was the first U.S. carrier to offer the iPad with cellular capabilities. In a somewhat controversial move, the telecom nixed unlimited plans in 2010 in favor of a tiered model, citing bandwidth constraints.

At the time, data was capped at 2GB per month, but subscribers can now go as high as 5GB per month, which includes tethering to other devices. As a consolation to frustrated users, AT&T allows those unlimited data plans to continue their service as long as there is no break in payments. Device tethering is not offered for grandfathered all-you-can-eat plans and once a subscriber switches to a tiered option, they cannot return to unlimited.

The deal is subject to final approval, which is expected in February of 2014. At that point, Apple will begin contacting all eligible customers to inform them of their pending settlement check.

Those who no longer own their original iPad will still be eligible for the deal as long as they didn’t sign on to an AT&T data plan with that device, due to a no-class action clause in the carrier’s contracts.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Chipworks continues examination of A7 processor, finds new architecture, quad-core GPU

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Date: Monday, September 30th, 2013, 07:57
Category: Hardware, News, Processors

a7processor

There’s some cool stuff going on with the iPhone 5s’ new A7 processor.

Per an analysis published by Chipworks, the A7 contains assorted changes from the previous A6 processor, including the addition of a mysterious SRAM cell never seen in A-series silicon.

Continuing its comprehensive investigation of the new A7 SoC, which on Tuesday confirmed a 28nm manufacturing process, silicon experts at Chipworks are digging deeper into the processor’s major structures and overall design.

The firm notes in the report that the latest findings are currently just “best guesses,” as circuit extraction testing has not yet been performed to yield conclusive data.

Taking the caveat into consideration, one of the more interesting findings would be the “secure enclave” used for Touch ID fingerprint data storage that Apple discussed during the iPhone 5s reveal earlier this month.

Chipworks was unable to identify a given area it had noted, but guesses that a new SRAM cell located above the GPUs is a prime suspect as the rather large storage space is a new addition to the A-series lineup. Extrapolating the size of the memory block and comparing it with metrics of known technology, the firm estimates the SRAM module to have a density of about 3MB.

Moving to the CPU, the A7’s dual-core unit and accompanying memory, estimated at 1MB for L2 cache and 256KB for L1, takes up about 17 percent of the die area. Located across from the CPU setup is a quad-core GPU with shared logic, which accounts for 22 percent of on-die space.

A side-by-side comparison of the A7 and last year’s A6 show the chips’ CPUs do not share the same layout. The new A7 appears to be closer to a conventional automated design, which would be a departure from Apple’s most recent custom-architected A-series SoCs.

Aside from the above discoveries, the rest of the A7’s design appears to be carried over from the A6. Of note, the USB, LCD and camera interfaces are identical to those found in Apple’s A5, A6 and A6X chips.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iHS iSupply support states Retina Display “iPad Mini 2” may not ship in 2013

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Date: Friday, September 27th, 2013, 06:42
Category: Hardware, iPad mini, News, Rumor

The next-gen iPad mini may not possess the fabled Retina display, or at least the yield numbers on production may not be quite high enough yet.

Per AppleInsider, and CNET, a report published on Thursday claims Apple may not be planning to release a Retina display iPad mini alongside an expected next-generation “iPad 5” next month, citing low manufacturing volumes unsuitable for mass shipments.

According to IHS iSuppli’s supply chain checks, the next-generation 9.7-inch iPad is on track for an October launch, but production of a high-resolution iPad mini is “>not yet at levels that would indicative of a simultaneous release, reports CNET.

“The Retina Mini looks less certain for that time,” said IHS iSuppli’s director of Tablet and Monitor Research, Rhoda Alexander. “Manufacturing volumes on that would match better with a Q114 [first quarter 2014] launch.”

Alexander qualified the statement by noting Apple may introduce such a device in October with the fifth-generation iPad, but could choose to ship it at a later date.

The publication notes that, while analysts have discussed Retina panel yields, they claim mass production could be less than optimal for a 2013 launch. In either case, it appears that Apple will likely be face with supply constraints, a situation that has become increasingly familiar for the company.

Earlier this year, KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Retina display yield issues would push back Retina iPad mini production until October. In a more recent report, the analyst predicted the “iPad 5” and “iPad mini 2” would both see release in the fourth quarter of 2013, with Apple pushing up the mini’s launch date due to increased competition in the sector.

All should be revealed in the coming weeks, as Apple is rumored to be planning a special event next month to introduce a revamped tablet lineup.

Stay tuned for additional coverage and, as always, let us know what you think in the comments section.

Rumor: Staples to begin selling iPad, additional Apple products starting in October

Posted by:
Date: Friday, September 27th, 2013, 06:15
Category: iPad, iPod, iPod Touch, retail, Rumor

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If you’re hankering for a more convenient source for Apple’s products, Staples could finally be in line to offer a decent selection.

Per 9to5Mac, an anonymous source close to the story has stated that office retail chain Staples is looking to start sales of various iPad and iPod configurations as soon as Oct. 1, bringing the company’s U.S. online store in line with its Canadian counterpart.

The source went on to say that an existing deal to distribute Apple products was meant to test the water for future agreements. Currently, Staples sells the Apple TV, AirPort models, iPad Smart Covers, the Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad, Time Capsule, and EarPods.

Staples first started selling Apple products through its U.S. online store in February, and initiated in-store sales a month later.

The company is looking to do much the same with the iPad and wants brick-and-mortar availability to begin in early 2014. Apple is reportedly stipulating weekly performance numbers for that to happen, however, with the source saying each physical store must refer one iPad sale per week in October, two per week in November and fiver per week in December.

If the conditions are met, Apple will supposedly allow in-store kiosks to be erected in various Staples locations. It is unclear how large these kiosks will be, though they are unlikely to be the “store-within-a-store” arrangement enjoyed by other retailers like Target and Walmart.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 7.0.2 update, fixes Lock Screen vulnerability

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, September 26th, 2013, 12:43
Category: iOS, iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, security, Software

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It got some negative attention and now it’s got a fix.

On Thursday, Apple released iOS 7.0.2, an updated new version of its operating system for its iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices. The new operating system, which weighs in as a several hundred megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:
– Fixes bugs that could allow someone to bypass the Lock screen passcode.

– Reintroduces a Greek keyboard option for passcode entry.

iOS 7.0.2 is available via iTunes or Over-The-Air updating and requires an iPhone 4, 4S, 5, iPad 2, third or fourth-gen iPad, iPod Touch 4th Gen or iPad Mini to install and run.

If you’ve tried the updates and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.

iPhone 5s, 5c to come to additional U.S. regional carriers on October 1st

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Date: Thursday, September 26th, 2013, 07:04
Category: iPhone, News, retail

eliphone5s

The iPhone’s regional support and overall availability in the U.S. is about to become a bit more robust.

Per AppleInsider, Apple’s new flagship iPhone 5s and mid-range iPhone 5c will become available on eight regional wireless carriers in U.S. beginning Oct. 1, including C Spire, Cellcom, and Bluegrass.

The new iPhones may get slightly easier to find as they make their way to regional wireless carriers next month. Apple moved more than nine million iPhone 5s and 5c units in their first weekend of availability, and larger national carriers AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and Sprint quickly sold out of their supply.

Carriers launching Apple’s new phones on Oct. 1 include:

– Cellcom – Michigan and Wisconsin

– C Spire Wireless – Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, Georgia

– Nex-Tech Wireless – Kansas and Colorado

– MTA – Alaska

– GCI – Alaska

– Bluegrass Cellular – Kentucky

– Appalachian Wireless – Kentucky and Virginia

– Ntelos – Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina

Some of the smaller carriers have chosen to offer the devices at a discount — for instance, consumers can get an on-contract iPhone 5s from Ntelos for US$149.99, a US$50 discount from the the phone’s normal price.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iMac EFI Firmware Update 2.1 for late-2013 iMacs

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Date: Wednesday, September 25th, 2013, 13:24
Category: iMac, News, Software

Never doubt a firmware update.

On Wednesday, Apple released version iMac EFI Firmware Update 2.1 for its just-released late 2013 iMacs. The update, an 8.7 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– This update addresses an issue which may cause a black screen to appear when installing Windows 7 or Windows 8 using Boot Camp Assistant if both an external optical drive and USB thumb drive are connected to the system. This update also ensures that the system will boot by default into OS X after installation of Windows 8.

The update requires a late-2013 iMac running OS X 10.8.4 or later to install and run and can also be downloaded and installed via OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the update with your new iMac and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

AppleCare+ policies to change, will allow for hardware repairs in any country where AppleCare+ is offered

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 25th, 2013, 07:48
Category: Apple TV, AppleCare, iPad, iPhone, iPod, News

applecare

If you travel with an AppleCare-covered device, you might like this.

Per AppleInsider and TechCrunch, it was revealed on Tuesday that Apple has changed the terms and conditions tied to AppleCare+ and will be lifting geographic limitations on support, meaning travelers can get their device serviced outside of their home country.

As noted, the recent policy change allows owners to take in products for repair in any country where AppleCare+ is offered, lifting previous restrictions that limited service to the country in which the plan was purchased. Devices include the iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, Apple displays and Mac models.

It should be noted that replacements and repairs may not be offered in all countries. The publication offers the CDMA version of the iPhone 5 as an example, pointing out the handset can’t be serviced or replaced in countries where it is not sold, like Brazil.

The changes are likely part of Apple’s continued effort to overhaul its post-sales service. When the iPhone 5s and 5c were unveiled on Sept. 10, it was announced that the AppleCare+ for iPhone per-incident deductible would be raised to US$79, up from US$49 previously.

Currently, AppleCare+ for iPhone, iPad and iPod is offered in Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iSuppli runs numbers, finds $199, $183 build costs for iPhone 5s, 5c handsets

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Date: Wednesday, September 25th, 2013, 07:47
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News

eliphone5s

If you’re wondering how much Apple’s new iPhone handsets cost to manufacture, they’ve got a number.

Per AllThingsD, a forthcoming IHS iSuppli report posits that Apple spends at least US$191 on components to build a 16GB model of the iPhone 5s and between US$167 and US$176 for a low-end iPhone 5c. Those prices are just a few dollars lower than what Apple spent in order to build the iPhone 5 according to iSuppli’s year-ago report on that device. The firm adds another US$8 in assembly costs for the iPhone 5s, while iPhone 5c assembly tacks on another US$7 to assemble, giving full construction estimates of US$199 for the 5s and between US$173 and US$183 for the 5c.

The iPhone 5, released in 2012, cost Apple about US$205 to produce and sold for between US$649 and US$849 off-contract. Apple saves about US$13 to produce the new high-end iPhone, even considering its beefed up processor and biometric sensor, and Apple sells it for the same price point.

Memory capacity plays a part in the price of an iPhone, with the jump from a 16GB module to a 64GB module adding US$19 to the component cost, plus another US$8 in assembly.

The display components are among the biggest cost contributors for the device, though, amounting to US$41 out of the component cost. IHS believes that Apple’s displays came from a number of vendors, including Sharp, Japan Display Inc., and LG Display.

The use of a polycarbonate shell for the iPhone 5c helps Apple drop the component cost of what is essentially an iPhone 5 even further. Whereas the iPhone 5 was machined from a single piece of aluminum in a costly process, Apple spends only US$173 to build a 16GB iPhone 5 model and US$183 to build the 64GB model.

IHS’ look at the new iPhones seems to agree with some observers’ opinion that the iPhone 5s, despite the addition of a number of technologies, is more of an incremental progression over its predecessor.

“I would say that they’re almost the same phone,” said IHS analyst Andrew Rassweiler, “except for that the 5s has the fingerprint sensor, the A7 processor and some newer memory chips that consume less power. Beyond that, they’re basically the same.”

The lower production cost per unit could work in Apple’s favor going forward. The Cupertino company recently revised its guidance for the September quarter after selling more than nine million new iPhone units in the launch weekend. Part of that guidance revision was to orient investors to look toward the upper range of its previous estimate, possibly due to the improved margins on its hot-selling new devices.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.