All new Mini models now Retina display only, first-gen still available as refurb
Despite being on the list of devices that will be compatible with the forthcoming iOS 9, Apple on Friday quietly removed the original iPad mini from its online store, leaving only the second- and third-generation devices for sale as new. The company is still offering the original 7.9-inch device, but only as a refurbished unit now (starting at $209, $40 off its most recent retail price). The first-gen iPad mini was introduced in 2012.
Google drops IMAP client Sparrow for Inbox Gmail/Google Now hybrid
Once again, a popular Mac product originally developed independently and later bought by Google, has been discontinued. Like Snapseed before it, Google has decided to kill off popular email client Sparrow for both Mac and iOS in favor of its own Inbox product. The former program has been removed from both the iOS and Mac App Stores. The Mac program never received an update after Google's purchase of Sparrow in 2012, while the iOS one has languished since October of 2013.
Sony's answer to iTunes will close in February
The official PlayStation blog on Wednesday posted an announcement letting PlayStation users know about a new partnership with Spotify. The service includes existing playlists for those who already have Spotify accounts. The post also, however, contained the news that Sony's own Music Unlimited service will be discontinued in late March.
Tape device discontinuation follows Walkman cassette demise in 2010
Sony is set to discontinue sales of its tape recorders and tape-based dictaphones in 2013. The final shipments of the TCM-400, TCM 410, and TCM-450 cassette recorders will be dispatched near the start of the year, and comes just over two years since the company discontinued its Walkman portable cassette player.
Reflects shift to iPad for learning
Apple has now informed resellers that the educational version of the white MacBook, the last such model, is now discontinued, MacRumors reports. The $999 notebook was marked "end of life" for consumers last July, but the company continued to offer the model to educational institutions. The move marks the end of any non-aluminum Macs, and reflects the growing tendency of schools to focus on significantly-cheaper iPads as digital learning portals.
Apple kills Xserve RAID
Despite today's unveiling of the Xsan 2 file system, Apple quietly discontinued the Xserve RAID platform, with any references to the hard drive system absent from the online store. The only mention of enterprise-level RAID hard drive products is that of the Promise VTrak system, for which Apple is also selling a number of service parts as well. The VTrak RAID systems range from 4.8TB to 16TB, and are configured with either SATA or SAS drives.