Apple introduces Retina iPad mini, aims for November release date

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Date: Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013, 00:31
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPad mini, News

Now THIS is the thing you’ve been hankering for.

Per Macworld, Apple announced a new iPad mini with Retina display at its press event on Tuesday, the company also lowering prices for the original iPad mini, giving its smaller tablet much-anticipated upgrades to its screen, processor, cameras, and more.

As hoped and expected—the new iPad mini with Retina display ups the screen resolution to Retina quality, going from 1024 by 768 pixels to 2048 by 1536 pixels at the same 7.9-inch (diagonal) screen size. This change raises the iPad mini’s pixel density from 163 pixels per inch to 326 pixels per inch—a density almost identical to that of the iPhone 5s.


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The new mini gets some upgrades on the inside, as well. Whereas the original mini used the same dual-core A5 processor, at the same clock speed, as the two-and-a-half-year-old iPad 2, the new mini line bumps its horsepower significantly by using Apple’s 64-bit A7 processor, similar to the one in the iPhone 5s. During Tuesday’s media event, Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller said that the new processor makes the Retina iPad mini up to four times as fast as its predecessor for processor-intensive tasks, and up to eight times faster for graphics-intensive tasks. Like the new full-size iPad, the iPad mini with Retina display also features Apple’s M7 motion coprocessor, which can monitor the device’s various motion sensors (accelerometer, compass, and gyroscope) without having to wake the main processor.

The new mini also gains upgraded wireless capabilities thanks to dual Wi-Fi antennas and support for MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) technology. Apple says this change allows the new iPad mini to communicate at up to twice the bandwidth: 300 MBps (megabytes per second). The cellular-equipped versions of the new iPad mini also include expanded LTE capabilities, allowing them to work on more LTE networks around the world.

Apple has also upgraded the iPad mini’s cameras slightly. Though the resolution of those cameras hasn’t changed (5 megapixels for the rear camera, 1.2 megapixels for the front FaceTime HD camera), the company says the new iPad mini gains larger pixels and improved backside illumination sensors in order to take better low-light photos. In addition, the improved image-signal processing of the A7 processor should provide better overall camera performance.

Apple says the new iPad mini with Retina display offers the same 10-hour battery life as the original iPad mini. However, it appears that accomplishing this feat while adding the additional power drain of a Retina display required Apple to increase—ever so slightly—the size and weight of the new iPad mini. The new version is exactly the same height (200mm) and width (134.7mm) as the original, but it’s a tiny big thicker (7.5mm compared to 7.2mm) and a little bit heavier: 331 grams versus 308 grams for the Wi-Fi model, and 341 grams versus 312 grams for the Wi-Fi + Cellular version.

The iPad mini with Retina display will be available in silver/white or Space Gray/black “later in November,” according to Apple. The Wi-Fi versions will retail for US$399 for 16GB, US$499 for 32GB, US$599 for 64GB, and US$699 for 128GB—a first in that capacity for the iPad mini. Cellular versions add US$130 to each: US$529, US$629, US$729, and US$829, respectively.

By all accounts, the original iPad mini has been a big hit for Apple, even though other small tablets, such as the latest Nexus 7, have debuted with better specs or lower prices. The new iPad mini line should blunt some of that spec-sheet-based criticism.

Along with the new iPad mini units, the company is keeping the original iPad mini around—in a single configuration—as a lower-price option. Specifically, the 16GB Wi-Fi iPad mini is now priced at US$299, rather than its original price of US$329, with the Wi-Fi + Cellular version at US$429. The cellular version is available for the U.S. networks of AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

Apple did make one minor change to the original iPad mini: It’s now available in Space Gray or Silver, rather than the original black or white. It is available now.

Both iPad mini versions (Retina and non-Retina) ship with iOS 7 installed, and—as with all devices running iOS 7—allow you to download Apple’s iLife and iWork suites for iOS free of charge.

Finally, Apple announced new cases for its new Retina iPad mini. The new iPad mini Smart Cover, made of polyurethane, will sell for US$39. A new leather iPad Smart Case will cost US$69.

As always, let us know what you make of this and if Apple delivered what you wanted or if improvements could be made.

AT&T’s Chris Penrose unveils $5/day “data day pass” for cellular-equipped tablets

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Date: Saturday, October 19th, 2013, 23:18
Category: iPad, News, wireless

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This could come in handy.

Per AllThingsD, speaking at GigaOm’s Mobilize conference Thursday afternoon, AT&T vice president Chris Penrose told the audience that the lowest US$5, 250 megabyte day pass option, alongside a tier that allots users up to 1 gigabyte of data over a three month period for a one-time US$25 fee, is aimed at those who would normally rely on hotel Wi-Fi on the road.

Penrose expressed the company’s desire to connect more tablets to its network, saying “We really think that a Wi-Fi only tablet is good, but it is not good enough.” He added that AT&T would “like to see tablet manufacturers build just one tablet,” a single model equipped with a cellular radio. Currently, many manufacturers like Apple offer two tablet versions — cellular-capable and Wi-Fi only — to reduce costs for those who don’t plan on connecting to a 3G or 4G network.

To sign up for the new plans, users with cellular-capable tablets simply access buyasession.att.com through their device’s web browser and complete the four-step purchase process from there. An AT&T SIM card is required.

When Apple released the original iPad in 2010, users could purchase a US$29.99-per-month unlimited data plan directly from the tablet’s Settings app on a month-to-month basis using a credit card. The option remains, though the cost and data allotment varies by carrier, and some will charge only a prorated portion of the fee for users who only subscribe for a limited number of days in a given month.

If you’ve tried AT&T’s newest tier and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

AT&T expands coverage to 11 new cities, many in southeastern United States

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Date: Thursday, October 3rd, 2013, 07:23
Category: News, wireless

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It’s never a bad thing when a wireless network expands.

Per AppleInsider, AT&T has announced the expansion of its 4G LTE network to 11 more markets, and the carrier has improved service in two other markets, meaning iPhone owners in those locales will see greatly increased speeds.

Much of the expanded LTE service is in Georgia or Mississippi, but locations in Alabama, Texas, Florida, Washington, Michigan, and Louisiana will also see greater data speeds. The new locations are part of AT&T’s continuing effort to expand its network, an effort that saw the addition of 79 new markets over the summer.

AT&T’s 4G LTE network provides data speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G. The network covers more than 280 million people across the United States.

The markets now able to access 4G LTE connections are as follows:
- Selma, Alabama.

- Brenham, Texas.

- Vero Beach, Florida.

- Cordele, Georgia.

- Dublin, Georgia.

- Brookhaven, Mississippi.

- Natches, Mississippi.

- Picayune, Mississippi.

- Port Angeles, Washington.

- Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

- Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Additionally, AT&T announced improved LTE coverage for two more markets on Tuesday. Putnam and Greene Counties near at Atlanta and Wright and Carver Counties near Minneapolis will now have improved reliability and access in their LTE connections.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

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.

Gold iPhone 5s sells out via Online Apple Store, other iPhone 5s, 5c models show varying availability

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Date: Friday, September 20th, 2013, 08:02
Category: iPhone, News, retail

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Sometimes you don’t know how popular a product model is going to be.

Per The Mac Observer, the Online Apple Store quickly ran through its gold iPhone 5s inventory for AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint in the first half hour of availability Friday morning. T-Mobile’s contract-free gold iPhone models are still showing shipping estimates of 1-3 days.

This means the gold iPhone 5s is either the most popular model or the model with the least availability.

You might remember that the gold and white model was initially met with disdainful criticism by tech bloggers, who labeled it a terrible mistake and a sure sign of Apple’s downfall when it was leaked.

Within minutes of being available for order online, however, it was the gold one whose shipping estimates slipped the fastest. In 26 minutes, gold models for AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon were all listed as “October.” T-Mobile’s contract-free models were still showing 1-3 days.

Most space gray (the new black) and silver (the new white) models are still showing shipping availability in 1-3 days as of this writing, though the 64GB model on AT&T quickly slipped to 7-10 days.

Apple began taking orders for the iPhone 5s at 12:01 AM PST, and customers can also wait in line at their nearest Apple Store and some third party retailers, with Apple’s retail stores opening at 8:00 AM local across the country.

Carriers have reported having “grotesquely low” inventory of all models, with inventory of anything but space gray being particularly light.

So…if you want the gold iPhone 5s, you’re out of luck for a bit. If you’re comfortable with the other colors, you’re in better shape.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Sources call iPhone 5s/5c inventory available via wireless carriers “grotesquely low” for September 20th launch

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 18th, 2013, 07:25
Category: News, retail, Software

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This might not be the best indication for the upcoming iPhone 5s/5c launch.

Per AllThingsD, sources from U.S. wireless carriers on Tuesday stated that carriers are facing “grotesquely” low inventory for the device’s launch. Sales of Apple’s next flagship handset will begin online Friday at 12:01 a.m. Pacific, while Apple’s retail stores will begin selling the iPhone 5s when they open at 8 a.m. local time.

Tuesday’s report also revealed that carriers may be seeing less demand for the iPhone 5s than expected. That’s attributed to the new mid-range, multi-colored iPhone 5c, which may be proving more popular than some had anticipated.

It’s unknown whether Apple is holding the majority of inventory for its own retail stores, or whether the new handset will be spread thin between Apple itself and its carrier partners. Regardless, Apple is not accepting preorders for the iPhone 5s ahead of Friday’s launch, a fact that had already suggested to many observers that supply will be limited this weekend.

Preorders for the iPhone 5c did begin last week, and carrier-subsidized models appear to remain in healthy supply from Apple’s online store. The new iPhone 5c features many of the same components as last year’s iPhone 5, but sports a new polycarbonate back that is available in five colors: green, blue, yellow, red and white.

Well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities revealed last month that the iPhone 5c would out-ship the iPhone 5s in the current quarter. According to Kuo, the iPhone 5s has faced apparent production issues associated with the new Touch ID fingerprint scanner located under the home button.

Both the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c are launching on all four major U.S. carriers this Friday: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. The devices will also be available in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the U.K.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple posts press release regarding iPhone 5s, 5c launch day availability

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Date: Tuesday, September 17th, 2013, 08:08
Category: iPhone, News, retail

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Come Friday, you will stand in line for a new iPhone 5s or 5c, gently shove the elderly out of your way and emerge victorious.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple sent out a press release today confirming the launch details for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. Though much of the information was announced last week, this latest communication reaffirms the retailers which will be selling the iPhones when they launch this Friday, September 20th.

Besides the Apple Store and Apple’s online storefront, customers can visit their local wireless carriers including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless. The iPhone will also be available at Best Buy, RadioShack, Target, Walmart stores and other Apple Authorized Resellers. If you are not sure whether a retailer will be selling phone, you may want to call them in the next few days, so you can plan your Friday shopping trip.

That being said, good luck, don’t push the elderly out of the way on Friday (they often have interesting stories and will share their Werthers Originals candies) and happy hunting!

Walmart to begin pre-orders on Friday, will offer the iPhone 5c for $79, the iPhone 5s for $189

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Date: Thursday, September 12th, 2013, 08:30
Category: iPhone, News, retail

In spite of how you might feel about Walmart, they’ll have the upcoming iPhone 5s and 5c available for pre-order.

Per 9to5Mac, Walmart has announced that it will be offering both of the new iPhone models in their 16Gb versions, the 5c at US$79 (a US$20 savings) and the 5s at US$189 (a US$10 savings). Walmart offers the phones on Verizon, AT&T and Sprint.

What’s interesting here is that Apple Stores usually do price matching so it might be worth a try after waiting on line on launch day. Best Buy will also price match often, so this could trigger markdowns all over.

Pre-orders for the 5c start tomorrow, with pickup available from September 20th. Apple is not making the iPhone 5s available on pre-order, however, so you’ll need to wait until the 20th to order yours.

While the original iPhone 5 is still showing up online at US$98, it’s said that it will be available in-store for US$79: the same price as the 5c. The 4s price is also said to be coming down from US$39 to 99 cents.

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

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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

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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.