Apple's Black Friday 2014 event
It is now officially Black Friday and we wanted to get things started off on the right foot, so we have rounded up a selection of items from Apple's Black Friday sale. This year Apple has combined their Black Friday promotion with the World AIDS day promo announced earlier this week. With qualified purchases, customers will receive Product (RED) gift cards on everything from iPhones and iPads to iPods and Beats by Dr. Dre headphones.
Walmart deals on electronics available now
Black Friday sales have gone live at Walmart.com, however if you plan on getting a head start on the deals at your local store, keep in mind they will be opening their doors tonight at 6PM. They are offering 3 different door-buster events, which are outlined below. If you don't want to wait for the door-busters, or would just prefer to shop from the safety and comfort of your own home, we have highlighted a selection of deals that are available now.
The avalanche has started, it is too late for the pebbles to vote!
While Turkey Day (for our US readers) is only now upon us, the sales period associated with the dreaded "Black Friday" has begun! We are listing various deals you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader, can take advantage of now. As usual, all prices are correct at the time of publication, but may not be valid or available at a later time, so check before purchasing. Also, check back on this post later today and on Thanksgiving Day, as more deals will be added as time goes on before our next post on Friday.
Aborted 8.0.1 update made users gun-shy; 8.1 picks up pace
Apple's iOS 8 adoption rate has returned to normal levels following a brief stagnation in the wake of the botched 8.0.1 update that was only very briefly available but caused havoc for the thousands who downloaded it, and temporarily made users hesitant to upgrade. In an update on iOS 8 distribution posted to its developer website, Apple said 60 percent of users registered with the iOS App Store are now running some version iOS 8 (up four percent from two weeks ago), with 35 percent running iOS 7 (down five percent from the same period).
Top pick Apple Watch is curious choice, but shows public anticipation
Time magazine has picked out its top 10 Gadgets list (among other Top 10s such as Video Games and Toys) for holiday season shoppers, and unsurprisingly Apple devices or accessories dominate the selection, taking four out of the 10 slots -- the most of any single company. In a list that seems determined to rank some promising but nascent technology higher than one would expect, the rankings are puzzling for the surprising amount of "vaporware" on it -- including its top choice, the coming-next-year Apple Watch.
When looking for an external keyboard to use with something like the iPad, you are generally limited to two streams of products: Bluetooth keyboards designed for desktop use, and keyboard cases. While wireless desktop keyboards offer a superior typing experience when compared to keyboard cases, they suffer from a design not intended for extensive portability. Meanwhile, keyboard cases are easy to tout around, but force users to add bulk directly to their so-called "portable" device. Enter Logitech's Keys-To-Go, a small Bluetooth keyboard that offers no means of attaching itself to a mobile device, yet has been designed to throw in a bag and carry around.
Band Bleachers shown using Apple Pay at variety of small businesses
Megabank Chase has aired a new TV commercial featuring the band Bleachers using a Chase Freedom credit account to purchase a variety of items and services ahead of a rooftop gig in Los Angeles -- with the difference being that the band members used their iPhones and Apple Pay instead of their credit cards. A representative from Chase told AdAge that representatives from Apple were involved in the creation of the ad, but asked mainly that the Apple Pay be shown in realistic situations.
Bank limits support to MasterCard for time being
Another financial institution, Commerce Bank, has implemented support for Apple Pay mobile payments. The bank operates chiefly in Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Colorado. It hasn't made an formal announcement, but is now listed in an official Apple Pay support document. Commerce customers who want to use Apple Pay are currently limited to personal MasterCards, even though the bank also offers Visa.
Many more merchants, banks planning to add support in coming weeks, months
In addition to today's announcement by Square that it will bring support for Apple Pay to its app and systems early next year, a number of other merchants have also unveiled Apple Pay support or are planning to soon. Venues that utilize Tickets.com as their online ticket provider, for example, have now adopted support for Apple's iPhone 6-centric payment method, and some apps will soon be offering an Apple Pay option for online purchases.
Evernote for OS X releases updates for Yosemite
Evernote has released a major update for its OS X app, bringing support for Yosemite. Over-all performance speed has been improved, introducing a redesigned interface with a lighter color theme, and new icons. Users now have more control over tables they create, with new color and style customizations available. Notes can be searched for via OS X's Spotlight function, and sending notes to others can now be done while remaining in the app. Many bug fixes and crashing issues have also been resolved in the latest app iteration. Evernote is free to download, with premium subscriptions available.
Siri fails and iOS 8.1.1 comments
This week in the MacNN forums, members share amusing tales of times that Siri has failed them, providing examples of how Siri doesn't always understand what is really going on. Comments are piling up faster than the snow in Buffalo about the latest update to iOS 8, with some saying it made things better while others aren't so sure it has helped much at all.
iPads, storage and more
At BestBuy.com this week, find low prices on previous-generation iPad Air configurations. The iPad Air with Wi-Fi and 64GB of storage has seen an $85 price break, dropping the cost from an already-reduced $500 down to $415. That makes this around $85 less than the lowest price offered anywhere else. This iPad features a 9.5-inch multi-touch display with a A7 processor, 1.2MP front-facing camera, 5.0MP rear-facing camera, built-in Wi-Fi, and 64GB of storage space. It is backed by Apple's one-year limited warranty on parts and labor.
MacNN and Electronista deals for November 21, 2014
Black Friday is just one week away, and veteran shoppers are probably dreading the prospect of facing off against a deal-seeking mob shouting at each other over discounted electronics in the near future. Today's Friday Deals post, just as with previous Fridays and now every Monday until the end of the year, aims to provide you, the discerning MacNN and Electronista reader, early deals from retailers from the comfort of your home, without going near the intimidating (and likely plague-ridden) mass of shoppers. As usual, all prices are correct at the time of publication, but may not be valid at a later time. We're going to update this post many, many times over the next three days. Check back often!
Briefly: AnyAngle iPad case, Red Giant Universe 1.3
Logitech has announced the introduction of a new protective case in its suite of tablet products, the Logitech AnyAngle for iPad Air 2 and iPad mini. Featuring an integrated, hidden hinge, the case holds an iPad at any angle within a 50-degree range, keeping that angle in place without tipping or sliding. The stand folds behind the iPad as to create a minimalist appearance, and magnets also secure the stand and assist in holding an angled position. The has a rubberized frame that protects the tablet from accidental bumps and drops, and its hidden magnets keep the case securely closed as to prevent scratches and cracks. Available in a variety of colors, the AnyAngle case will be available this month for $60.
May be response to complaints about free-to-play apps
Apple has today made a small change at the App Store, renaming the "Free" button for zero-cost downloads, particularly those that feature in-app purchases to "Get." Paid apps continue to show the purchase price. It's not clear why Apple decided to make the change, but it may be a response to ongoing complaints about marketing of free-to-play/"freemium" apps.
Service likely to be rebranded under iTunes name
Apple is planning to bundle Beats Music as a native iOS app early next year, sources tell the Financial Times. The shift is expected to happen in the form of a firmware update, that could debut as soon as March. The Times has little other information, but argues that it's likely Apple will rebrand the service under the iTunes moniker, as other reports have suggested.
Griffin Technology releases two new tablet stands composed of reclaimed railroad steel
Griffin Technology has partnered with Rail Yard Studios, offering the release of two new tablet stands made of railroad steel. Made of reclaimed rail stock installed on the original Louisville and Nashville Railroad between 1906 and 1908, the Rail Slice Tablet Stand and Rail Artifact Stand are built to hold a full or mini-sized tablet in both landscape and portrait orientation.
8.2 release enables testing of Apple Watch apps
Apple is now seeding two important releases to developers, beginning with the first iOS 8.2 beta. The only mentioned addition is support for the Apple Watch, granting Watch apps the ability to access data from a paired iPhone. "You can also enhance your Watch app by providing two optional Apple Watch interfaces that give users timely, high-value information: A Glance provides a screenful of meaningful information related to a Watch app," Apple's release notes read. "As its name implies, a Glance displays information that users can absorb instantly, without interaction; in fact, tapping a Glance on Apple Watch launches your Watch app.
Ecobee3 gains shelf space alongside Honeywell smart thermostat
Starting on Monday, Apple Stores are now carrying at least one rival to Google-owned Nest's self-titled smart Learning Thermostat. The Ecobee3 offers an advantage over the Nest in terms of multi-room support, utilizing sensors that can be bought separately to bring more intelligent energy management to the full home rather than relying on a single point of reference. Like Nest and Honeywell's rival entry, the smart device can be managed through a smartphone app from anywhere with a cellular or Wi-Fi connection. The Ecobee3 sells for the same price as the Nest, $250.
Yosemite update fixes serious Wi-Fi issues
Apple has released simultaneous updates for OS X Yosemite and iOS 8. OS X 10.10.1 for Mac copes mainly with significant bugs, such as a glitch with Wi-Fi that would cause a system to repeatedly disconnect. It also solves problems with sending Mail messages, displayed updates at the Mac App Store, Mac minis not waking from sleep, and disappearing items like Actions, sharing services, and Notification Center widgets.
Studio, Skinny Pro line of tablet covers extends to new iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3
STM Bags announced that two models of its existing tablet covers are coming for the new iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3. The STM Skinny Pro snap-on case is getting a slight refresh to fit both of the new iPad, coming in blue, black, red, and urban camouflage. The cover features an instant on/off feature, along with the ability to fold into different viewing or standing options. The inside of the cover is lined with micro suede, while the exterior is polycarbonate and polyurethane. The STM Skinny Pro can be ordered on Amazon now for $40, but shipping time is listed from one to three months out.
iPad mini rants, Siri fails and more
Yesterday in the MacNN forums, Grizzled Veteran "chasg" needed to rant about how he is beginning to hate his iPad mini for a variety of reasons, and a few others have chimed in with some advice on how to reconcile the relationship, and make things right again. Forum-goers continue to discuss which of the new iPhones are best in the thread titled "iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus?"
Defenses relatively simply, agency says
The US Department of Homeland Security has issued a formal alert warning people about the Masque Attack security hole discovered in iOS. Although mostly reiterating claims by research firm FireEye, DHS describes the hole as allowing malware "under a limited set of circumstances," and sets forth three basic steps for dodging problems. These including avoiding apps from outside the iOS App Store or a person's own organization, not clicking "Install" on third-party webpage pop-ups, and tapping "Don't Trust" if launching an iOS app spawns an "Untrusted App Developer" warning.
No down payments, but tied to two-year leases
US carrier Sprint has announced new "iPad for Life" plans for people wanting to buy a 4G-equipped iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3. All of the plans have no down payments, unlike similar T-Mobile offerings, but still require people to pay monthly fees over the course of a two-year lease. Those fees vary based on device storage. A 16GB Air 2 is $20 a month, for example, whereas 64GB is $24, and 128GB is $28. For the Mini 3, those fees are $17, $21, and $25, respectively.
Microsoft takes .Net open source and cross-platform, adds new development capabilities with Visual S
Microsoft has open-sourced the full server-side of its .Net stack, a platform for running and developing applications, prioritizing cross-platform expansion for running on Linux and Mac operating systems. Microsoft also released Visual Studio Community 2013, a new free edition of Visual Studio that features access to its core toolset. Microsoft is providing the full .Net server stack in open source, including Asp.Net, the .Net compiler, the .Net Core Runtime, Framework and Libraries, thus enabling cross-platform building. The announcements come alongside the release of Visual Studio 2015 Preview and .Net 2015 Preview, which are built to support iOS, Android, and Windows.
Companion app allows for Camera Roll backups or media steraming
SanDisk has today introduced the iXpand, a new USB flash drive aimed at iOS devices. Unlike most, it incorporates a secondary Lightning connector, allowing owners to plug it directly into an iPhone or iPad. A companion app can be toggled to automatically backup photos and videos from a device's Camera Roll. The app can moreover stream music and videos directly from the drive; compatible movie formats include AVI, MKV, MP4, MOV, and WMV.
Error in 'wrapping' of update caused cellular, Touch ID issues, he says
An interview of Apple's VP of iPhone, iPod and iOS Produce Marketing Greg Jozwiak conducted last month at a Re/code conference has been posted online. In the 34-minute session, "Joz" defended the company's quality-control procedures even in the face of some recent minor -- and one major -- software snafus for the mobile platform. The talk also covered many of Joz's responsibilities, including Apple Pay, the new Apple SIM, iOS and more.
EMV tech becoming standard in US by end of 2015
Retail payment service Square has opened up preorders for a new version of the Square Reader, designed to scan chip-based credit and debit cards. It supports older stripe-based cards as well, and the company is promising end-to-end encryption, as well as active tamper detection. It's compatible with iOS and Android, requiring only the appropriate apps and an account with Square for paying service fees.
Combines two Imagination GPUs
The A8X chip in the iPad Air 2 uses a semi-custom graphics component, a new report illustrates. Apple has typically used off-the-shelf GPUs from PowerVR creators Imagination Technologies in the past. In the case of the A8X, though, Apple has combined a pair of Imagination's quad-core GX6450s.
Budget retailer to host three short-term 'events'
Walmart will be including Apple products in three different US Black Friday sales "events," the retailer has announced. The first event, actually scheduled for November 27 starting at 6PM local time, will include a 16GB non-Retina first-gen Wi-Fi iPad mini for $199 ($50 less than Apple's price), bundled with a $30 gift card. Customers also be able to buy a set of Beats Wireless headphones for $149, $130 below normal retail price.
New iPad Air 2 sees $100 discount, Macs get up to $200 off
The "doorbuster" deals for Best Buy's Black Friday event have been published, and reveal that the chain will offer discounts on various Apple products, among other items. Of particular interest is a $100 discount on all models of the new iPad Air 2, reducing the entry-level model's price to just $400 but also applying to all other capacities, including the Wi-Fi + Cellular models. Macs, iPods, iTunes gift cards and even Beats headphones will also see discounts.
Apple iPad mini 3 gets Touch ID, remains a match for the competition
Before Apple introduced the iPad Air last year, there would have been few who would have argued that it didn't need the iPad mini in its lineup. At the time, around 50 percent of tablet sales were going to smaller seven- to eight-inch devices, with the many of those sales going to Android devices. However, the iPad Air redesign was such a departure from the original iPad in overall footprint and volume that many Apple customers that had switched to the smaller iPad mini because it was lighter and easier to hold than the fourth-generation iPad, re-evaluated the larger 9.7-inch display option. So with the arrival of an even thinner, lighter and much more powerful iPad Air 2, is there still a place for the iPad mini 3?
Activations of iOS devices jump two percent, Android drops one in corporate environments
Even though the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were only available for two weeks at the end of the most recent quarter, the latest iPhones appear to have reversed some gains by the Android platform in enterprise buying, reports Good Technology. The business software company says that Apple's share of the corporate mobile device market is up to 69 percent, two percentage points higher than in the previous quarter. The Android platform, which had gained four percentage points (in part at BlackBerry's expense) in the June quarter saw a drop of one percent in the September quarter. Remarkably, the iPhone 6 models accounted for 17 percent of total smartphone activations.
Rare hole in iOS security
A serious vulnerability in iOS, dubbed "Masque Attack," could result in malicious apps being installed, says security research firm FireEye. The flaw is said to have been discovered in July, and stems from iOS not enforcing matching certificates for apps with the same bundle identifier. This means that a person could theoretically be lured into installing an app that replaces and/or mimics an original -- even borrowing that app's local data -- and accidentally give up personal information, or even root access privileges.
Supports all recent iOS devices
Pangu's iOS 8.x/8.1 jailbreak tool has been successfully ported to the Mac, its creators have announced. As with the original Windows edition of the jailbreak, it supports all iOS 8-capable devices, including even the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, and iPad mini 3. The Pangu team cautions that people should backup a device before beginning, and also restore if they've downloaded any over-the-air firmware updates.
$100 off 16GB iPad mini
Today only save $100 on the iPad mini at Walmart.com. It carries a retail price of $299, but has been reduced to $199, making it about $45 less than the lowest price offered anywhere else. Free delivery is included and sales tax applies for residents of most states. This iPad mini comes in space gray or white, has 16GB of storage space, Wi-Fi, A5 processor, 5MP iSight camera and FaceTime camera. Included is Apple's one year warranty on parts and labor.
iPads will let people track flights, shop, browse web
United Airlines is spending $120 million on upgrading Terminal C at New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport, particularly with iPads for travelers, according to Bloomberg. The terminal is United's main residence at the airport; by 2015, all restaurants and gate seats there will be equipped with an iPad for purposes such as flight tracking, web browsing, and buying food and retail goods. People shopping for goods are even being promised a 15-minute delivery window.
Still down slightly from record high; Amazon tablets more popular than Samsung tablets
New data from ad network and analytics firm Chitika saw the iPad regaining nearly two full points of North American web traffic among tablets in September, finishing the month with 79.9 percent share. Even at its lower July reading of 78 percent, the iPad line still completely dominated its rivals, all of whom reported single-digit web presence. The next nearest rival was Amazon, with 6.7 percent share for its entire Kindle Fire line. Samsung followed in third place, with six percent.
Move by Apple limits iOS infections to jailbroken devices
Apple has responded to the reports of the "WireLurker" malware infecting users in China. After revoking the certificate being used to install malware through enterprise provisioning, Apple confirmed that the malware existed, and noted that it has taken steps to rectify the situation.
New page suggests that official rollout coming soon, partnership going public
Following on from the partnership announcement Apple and IBM made in July, Apple has posted a new page to its website announcing a new AppleCare for Enterprise package that includes on-site hardware support from IBM, alongside a fleet of specially-developed apps for vertical markets. The new page is the most prominent sign that Apple and IBM's plans for enterprise are taking shape, built on a bed of strong on-site hardware support, software support and business services.
Maps gets 'material design' look in iOS, Android
Google has announced a collection of important app updates. The Google Maps apps for iOS and Android are both making the switch to "material design," the new aesthetic behind Android Lollipop. The scheme is more bright and colorful, and uses elements like animations and drop shadows to reinforce the connection between interface components. Google has also integrated OpenTable reservations for US restaurants, and pickup times and prices for Uber cars. In the latter case, users must also have their platform's Uber app installed.
A rugged case...for those who need it
For some people, the best protection options for an iPad are probably the simplest. An AppleCare+ plan, for instance, may be $99 up front -- and cost an extra $49 per accident -- but will let you forego a case entirely, or at least pick a case for style over substance. And on the most basic level, you can just be cautious and keep your iPad out of anything like a dangerous situation. That may not be an option though, and for that, there are cases like the Griffin Survivor Slim.
NAND in devices not universally faulty, or to blame for some units crashing
After a night of sensationalist reports from South Korea, news agencies elsewhere in the world reported that the iPhone 6 Plus 128GB was likely going to be subject to a recall. MacNN started looking into the newest claims of iPhone 6 Plus problems early this morning, in parallel with an ongoing investigation that started last week about app library size causing device instability. Despite reports of phones being bent either accidentally or on purpose, we can report that there is no reason for a recall at this time over faulty NAND memory, or any other cause.
Updates arriving in 'the coming weeks'
Microsoft has announced a partnership with Dropbox that will bring the latter's cloud service into Office apps for iOS and Android. Integration is promised with updates in "the coming weeks" that will let people browse, edit, and share Dropbox files from within Office apps. Inside of Dropbox's proprietary app, people browsing Word, Excel, or PowerPoint files will see an option to edit them in the appropriate software.
Concentrates on bugfixes, speed boosts
In tandem with the OS X 10.10.1 beta, Apple has simultaneously released an initial iOS 8.1.1 beta to developers. The code is listed as build 12B432. So far, the update appears concentrated around bugfixes and performance increases, rather than adding new features, as in iOS 8.1.
iPad Air 2 packs the power of a notebook into a tablet form factor
Apple continues to dominate the tablet market with good reason -- its pace of innovation since launching the original iPad just four years ago must have its competitors reeling. The iPad Air 2 is the six-generation iPad, although the product line is only four years old. It is a testament to Apple's desire to remain at the forefront of tablet innovation and market leadership that it has advanced the definition of state-of-the-art each time a new iPad is released. Is this Apple's most amazing mobile device yet? Read on in our full review of the Apple iPad Air 2.
Japanese site with mixed track record claims to have inside scoop
A Japanese Apple-centric site claims to have unearthed some details about the rumored "iPad Pro." The latest from the site claims that the as-yet-unannounced tablet will not be a 12.9-inch device, but instead offer a 12.2 inches display. Addtionally, the device is said to have additional speakers and microphones on the top of the device for the possibility of stereo sound support. Allegedly, the new device will be about the same thickness as the iPhone 6, right around 7mm at its thickest. This is a bit thicker than the iPad Air 2, at 6.1mm, likely due to the larger battery that would be needed to run the display.
Trick or Treat! Win a Kaebo Lightning to USB cable!
Tomorrow is Halloween, and as such MacNN and have a bag of treats to give away to our readers. We are going to be handing out prizes to lucky little ghosts and ghouls who participate. Keep an eye out for the selection of treats that we have to offer for the rest of today and tomorrow. Beware, some of the items we list will be tricks! First up, we have three JunoPower Kaebo Lightning cable connectors to give away. Read on to learn more.
Tool begins to reach masses
The Pangu iOS 8.1 jailbreak tool is now being bundled with Cydia, and will get an English translation within 24 hours, its developers say. Cydia is commonly used to simplify jailbreaking, partly by offering an easy way to install unapproved apps. When the Pangu code was released earlier this month, it was only in Chinese and in a rudimentary form intended for developers.
Company hadn't anticipated possibility
In another sudden turnaround, Apple has reversed a decision to block apps with calculator widgets from the App Store. An Apple spokesperson says that PCalc and other similar apps will be permitted in the store without changes. It's suggested that the company simply hadn't anticipated the possibility of widgets serving as calculators, hence reviewers being confused as to whether they can give the greenlight.