Apple today added several iPad Air 2 models to its online store for refurbished products, marking the first time refurbished versions of the iPad Air 2 have been made available for purchase.
Released in October of 2014, the iPad Air 2 features a slimmer body than the original iPad Air, plus a triple-core A8X processor, an 8-megapixel camera Touch ID, and a gapless display with an anti-reflective screen coating.
Apple is currently offering several refurbished iPad Air 2 models, ranging from the entry-level 16GB Wi-Fi only iPad Air 2 to the 128GB Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad Air 2. All models are discounted by 15 to 17 percent, dropping prices by $80 to $160. For the entry-level Wi-Fi only 16GB model, the discount lowers the price to $419 from the original $499 price tag.
That price point beats many sale prices from third-party vendors, and as with all of Apple's refurbished products, the iPad Air 2 models come with a full 1-year warranty, a new battery, and a new outer shell.
Apple's refurbished inventory fluctuates on a regular basis based on available supply, so models that are available today may not be available tomorrow. The refurbished iPad Air 2 models can be purchased immediately from the online store.
Apple today launched a new microsite focused on the iPad, exploring the way the iPad can "change the way you do things every day." The site offers up a selection of apps and usage ideas for the iPad, organized into several categories: Cooking with iPad, Learning with iPad, Small Business with iPad, Traveling with iPad, and Redecorating with iPad.
Like the company's past advertising efforts, this new campaign aims to portray the iPad as a tool that's useful in all aspects of life that goes far beyond mere content consumption, as can be seen in the introductory video on the site. The video features people using the iPad in a whole range of situations, from cooking to managing a business.
Each section of the new site includes imagery covering what the iPad can do and a wide range of recommended apps for each purpose. "Cooking with iPad," for example, has sections on using the iPad as a cookbook, as a tool to create cookbooks, and as a prep tool for organizing ingredients to be purchased.
Some of the recommended apps include Green Kitchen, Cook, and Epicurious, and the site also recommends the Smart Cover as a tool for propping up the iPad while cooking. Siri is highlighted as a way to use the iPad hands-free in the kitchen, and a long list of apps is linked at the bottom of the page.
Learning with iPad focuses on using the iPad to learn at all ages, with sections highlighting learning through play, programming, exploring space through apps like Star Walk 2, using textbooks in iBooks, using apps like Notability and Coursera for learning, and exploring free courses on iTunes U. Hobby-based apps are also included in a "Never stop learning" section.
The other three iPad sections, Small Business, Traveling, and Redecorating, are equally as extensive, suggesting a range of use cases and apps for different situations that people might otherwise have missed. Every app used on the new site and within the "Everything changes for iPad" site is also listed in a special section on the App Store.
Over the course of the last few years, Apple has explored several different advertising campaigns for the iPad in an effort to spur people into purchasing one of its tablets. We've seen "Why You'll Love an iPad," "Your Verse," and "Start Something New" in 2013 and 2014.
Apple changes its iPad advertising tactics much more frequently than it does for other products, likely because its iPad sales have been down for several quarters in a row. During its the second quarter of 2015, Apple's iPad sales were down to 12.6 million from 16.35 million in the year-ago quarter.
Tim Cook has remained optimistic about iPad sales, however, suggesting that the company's future product pipeline (which includes the rumored "iPad Pro") and its efforts in the enterprise market will ultimately cause iPad sales to grow again. "I believe the iPad is an extremely good business over the long-term," he said. "When precisely it begins to grow again I wouldn't want to predict, but I strongly believe that it will."
OtterBox today announced the availability of its new Symmetry Series folio cases for iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 in black with faux leather or white with a tan fabric cover. The cases feature a one-piece protective shell and slim folio that wraps around to cover the screen, alongside a micro suede interior cover to keep the tablet's display free of scratches.
The Symmetry Series cases for iPad double as both protective cases and multi-position stands with 360-degrees rotation for landscape and portrait viewing. The cases also automatically wake and sleep the iPad screen when the folio is opened and closed, and have certified drop protection in case your iPad takes a tumble.
OtterBox Symmetry Series folio cases for iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 can be purchased through the accessory maker's website for $69.95 and $59.95 respectively. OtterBox makes the number-one selling cases in North America and was one of the earlier providers of cases and accessories for iPhone, iPad and other products by both Apple and competitors.
Thursday April 30, 2015 6:48 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
The latest numbers from market research firm IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker reveal that Apple continues to be the largest vendor in a declining tablet market, shipping 12.6 million iPads in the first quarter of 2015 to capture a 26.8% share of the global tablet market. Apple maintained the top position despite facing a 22.9% decline in tablet shipments compared to the year-ago quarter.
Samsung was the second largest tablet vendor with 9 million tablet shipments in the first quarter, good for 19.1% market share in the global tablet market and a 16.5% year-over-year decline. Lenovo, Asus and LG Electronics rounded off the top five, with 2.5 million, 1.8 million and 1.4 million global tablet shipments in the first quarter respectively for a combined 12.2% market share.
Apple, Samsung and several other electronics makers are feeling the effects of a prolonged slowdown in the tablet market, with the iPad declining in annual growth for five consecutive quarters and competing tablets experiencing similar trends. The launch of the larger iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and lack of major updates to the iPad lineup since 2013 are likely contributing factors to falling iPad sales over the past few years, while consumers also upgrade their tablets less often than smartphones.
Apple CEO Tim Cook, during the company's recent earnings call, said he believes that continued investments in the company's product pipeline and shift to the enterprise market will help the iPad be an "extremely good business over the long-term," although he stopped short of providing a forward-looking statement about when iPad sales could begin growing again.
"And so my belief is, that as the inventory plays out, as we make some continued investments in our product pipeline, which we're doing, that we already had planned and have had planned for some time," said Cook. "Between that, the inventory playing out, the enterprise starting to take over, I think still, i believe the iPad is an extremely good business over the long-term. When precisely it begins to grow again I wouldn't want to predict, but I strongly believe that it will."
Strategy Analytics shared smartphone data for the first quarter on Wednesday.
Thursday April 30, 2015 6:32 am PDT by Mitchel Broussard
Apple today announced a "first-of-its-kind initiative" that will see the Cupertino company partnering with Japan Post Group and IBM to bring IBM-developed apps and analytics into the hands of senior citizens in Japan. The project hopes to connect its customers with apps related to services, healthcare, community, and family.
The initial plan sees Japan Post Group entering the service into a test phase, with expansion planned in stages and the final objective of the initiative being 4 million to 5 million customers in Japan by 2020. As a raw statistic, currently more than 33 million senior citizens collectively make up about 25 percent of Japan's population, so the elderly-focused initiative announced today definitely has room to grow and expand in the future.
“This initiative has potential for global impact, as many countries face the challenge of supporting an aging population, and we are honored to be involved in supporting Japan’s senior citizens and helping enrich their lives,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “iPad is incredibly intuitive, easy to use and has accessibility features built in, making it a perfect device for any generation to be connected and engaged.”
“We are joining with two of the world’s most respected leaders in technology to bring our elderly generation into the connected world, expand our businesses by deepening relationships, and discover new ways to strengthen the fabric of our society and economy,” said Taizo Nishimuro, CEO of Japan Post Group.
Some of the new apps debuting on the service will include experiences custom-built by IBM Global Business Services, reminding customers with alerts for medication, diet, and exercise. Other apps will directly connect its customers to a larger community, showcasing various activities, possible job listings, and provide basic service support for grocery shopping. Previously, Apple has partnered with IBM for a lineup of enterprise apps called MobileFirst, a service which the two have continuously expanded upon in the months since it was announced.
According to today's press release, IBM plans to bring analytic and accessibility technology to the initiative, providing ease-of-use to its elderly customers and ensuring a positive experience. Japan Post Group, under its parent company Japan Post Holdings, provides postal and package delivery services, banking services, and life insurance to "nearly all" of the around 115 million adults in Japan, which angles the company to provide a wider reach for the elderly-focused initiative in the long run.
Tuesday April 28, 2015 8:15 pm PDT by Husain Sumra
An iPad "test model" was one of the stolen items during a robbery and kidnapping at a Cupertino home earlier this month, reports the San Jose Mercury News. It's unclear whether the test device was for a previous iPad model or a future one.
The robbers took the device, along with electronics, prescription drugs and cash valued at $7,500, from a Cupertino home during an incident in which a 20-year-old man was kidnapped and robbed after answering a woman's online advertisement.
The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office has arrested the two suspected robbers, who took the items and forced the victim into their car before driving three-quarters of a mile and releasing him. The victim contacted the sheriff's department five days later and the case is still being investigated. The test iPad has not yet been found.
Apple has had test devices stolen in the past, with the most famous example being the test iPhone 4 that was lost in a Bay Area bar before being found by someone and sold to a reporter for $5,000. The reporter then posted images and a breakdown of the new device before returning it to Apple. After that, the reporter's house was raided by authorities and his computers and other property were seized.
Update: According to iMore, the stolen iPad was an "outdated model or test device", not a prototype of an unreleased device.
Thursday April 2, 2015 6:38 pm PDT by Husain Sumra
Samsung will provide Apple with A9 chips for its next-generation iPhone and other devices, reportsBloomberg, confirming a previous report in early February. Over the past couple of months there had been confusion and conflicting reports as to whether Samsung, Apple's longtime supplier and rival, or Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) would produce the chips.
Samsung will start making Apple A9 processor chips at its Giheung plant in South Korea, the people said, asking not to be identified because the contract hasn’t been discussed publicly. Additional orders will go to Samsung’s partner Globalfoundries Inc., according to another person familiar with the arrangement.
In 2013, Apple signed a chip production deal with TSMC in hopes of diversifying its supply chain resources and reducing its reliance on Samsung amid the two companies' ongoing legal disputes.
It appears that Samsung's investment in manufacturing technologies won Apple over, with TSMC Chairman Morris Chang recently telling investors that the company would lose ground to Samsung in producing the most advanced chip technology possible in 2015, though he also noted the company would regain that advantage in 2016.
Samsung is reportedly producing the chips with its advanced 14-nanometer process, which has outpaced TSMC's capabilities and results in smaller chips that consume less energy and provide more processing power. The Korean company is also said to be providing memory chips for Apple's next-generation devices.
Thus far, little is known about what the next-generation iPhones or iPads could include other than new A9 chips, but new reports indicate Apple could be bringing its new Force Touch technology to the devices. Other rumors also suggest the A9 may make its way into the "iPad Pro", which may debut in late 2015. It's likely the 2015 versions of the iPad Air and iPad mini will be outfitted with versions of the A9 as well.
Wednesday April 1, 2015 11:07 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Before heading on a road trip from Los Angeles, California to Phoenix, Arizona with his family to watch spring training baseball, MacRumors forum member and car audio installer Wesley, otherwise known as MrMacMini, decided that some entertainment would be needed for the five-hour drive. With a love for both Apple products and car audio installations, he decided to create his own entertainment system based on a pair of iPads, an Apple TV and Alpine headrest monitors in his 2011 Toyota Sienna.
The custom in-car entertainment system consists of a removable iPad mini retrofitted into the vehicle's dashboard, alongside two discontinued Alpine PKG-M780 headrest monitors in the rear that mirror an iPad 2 over AirPlay using a third-generation Apple TV. The setup also includes a 1TB Seagate Wireless Plus hard drive and Alpine CDE-HD149BT head unit for AM, FM, HD Radio, CDs and Bluetooth streaming audio. Wesley also purchased factory brackets to mount the head unit in the factory rear DVD player location.
"The iPad mini sends the sound via Bluetooth to the Alpine head unit. I opted for keeping a head unit so that I can still use the steering controls and have access the radio, in case 1 day I forget the iPad at home," explains Wesley. "The rear screens run independent. My daughters can watch anything they want via the Apple TV and the 1TB wireless Seagate. If we all want to want to watch the same thing, I have it set up so that I can AirPlay from the iPad mini to the Apple TV and have the sound feed back through the Alpine head unit."
iPad mini 3 running iOS 8.1 (jailbroken) — in the dash, fully removable
iPad 2 — used for rear monitors
Apple TV 3 — used for rear monitors
Alpine CDE-HD149BT — AM/FM/HD Radio/CD/BT streaming audio head unit
A complete gallery of before and after photos, including pictures of the individual parts and assembly process, can be found within the discussion forums. For those without the DIY savviness to create their own in-car entertainment system, Alpine has partnered with Apple as an official maker of aftermarket CarPlay systems, which bring Maps, Messages, Phone, Music and Siri to the dashboard, for between $700 to $1400 depending on the unit.
Given that certain car manufacturers are only now beginning to roll out CarPlay support in select new vehicles, and the expensive price tag of aftermarket systems by Alpine and Pioneer, this custom Apple-powered entertainment system could be a more affordable, not to mention cool, alternative for those that may have an iPad or two kicking around the house. If you have any Apple-related DIY projects, past or present, be sure to let us know by sending us a tip.
Friday March 6, 2015 10:30 am PST by Joe Rossignol
Apple will be making significant changes to iPad deployment for education during the upcoming school year that should eliminate some of the hurdles that school districts face when adopting iPads for use in the classroom. In an email obtained by MacRumors, the company outlines plans to make app distribution easier by eliminating the need for an Apple ID to load apps, tweaking the Apple ID for Students program and unifying several deployment programs into one.
Apple plans to simplify app distribution by allowing schools to assign and distribute apps to a device without an Apple ID this fall, reducing the number of steps needed to set up an iPad. Schools will no longer be required to create generic Apple IDs solely to load content on the tablet, and teachers and administrators will have the option to block students from making personal purchases without approval.
"To simplify large deployments, including one-to-one and shared use, we want to make app distribution even easier. Today, Apple IDs are required in order to deliver apps and books to students. We are working to change this in the fall by allowing schools to assign and distribute apps to a device without an Apple ID. As currently planned, this will greatly reduce the number of steps needed to setup a device. This change should eliminate the need to create generic Apple IDs solely for the purposes of getting content onto iPad. Schools will also have the option to prevent students from making personal purchases without approval."
The email also outlines changes to the Apple ID for Students program to roll out during 2016, including schools gaining the ability to create and manage Apple IDs for students under 13 that can be used to access iCloud. System administrators will also be able to reset student passwords. The new approach will continue to meet COPPA requirements for children's online privacy in the United States.
Apple will also be improving its Apple Deployment Programs by unifying several programs into one for a simplified administrative experience, making it easier for school districts to enroll, manage, and support large iPad deployments. Apple hopes the changes will continue to result in increased student engagement, better attendance and higher test results at all grades and levels of education.
Sunday February 8, 2015 4:43 pm PST by Richard Padilla
Ahead of tonight's telecast of the 57th annual Grammy Awards, Apple has debuted a new music-themed iPad commercial titled "Change" featuring Swedish singer Elliphant, Los Angeles-based producer Gaslamp Killer, and English DJ Riton.
The ad shows the three musicians composing a remix to Elliphant's "All Or Nothing" entirely on an iPad, from initial songwriting, production, recording, and more. Apps shown throughout the add include Apple's GarageBand for songwriting, iMPC Pro for production, Serato Remote for live performances and Manual Camera for filming video.
Billboard also reports that Apple CEO Tim Cook and SVP of Internet Software and Services were the focus of much attention at a pre-Grammy party held by record producer Clive Davis. Apple is estimated to have paid upwards of $2 million for its Grammy ad.
The new iPad ad follows rumors of a revamped Beats Music subscription service, with a report last week noting that Apple would be charging $7.99 per month for access on OS X , iOS, Apple TV, and Android. Apple is expected to relaunch Beats Music later this year, possibly at June during the company's annual Worldwide Developer's Conference.
Building on Kensington's similarly-titled products for the original iPad Air and iPad Air 2, the X3 Plus features a larger 4,500 mAh battery inside of its attached Bluetooth keyboard, alongside an integrated USB port that allows users to fully charge an iPhone up to three times or a 50 percent charge to an iPad. A free-to-download app lets users monitor how much battery the keyboard has left to charge their devices.
"Today's iPad and iPhone users don't want to risk running out of battery life. They want to know that they have the power they need to get the job done, regardless of where they are," said Jim Murakami, Global Product Marketing Manager, Kensington. "With the new KeyFolio Thin X3 Plus, we're taking power to the next level while also giving users the high-performance keyboard they want to be more productive. It's the perfect mix of function, style and efficiency."
The keyboard features six rows of scissor-switch mechanical keys, including a row of dedicated shortcut keys for improved productivity. The company promises secure protection as well, with "a sleek and form-fitting, hard-shell exterior" that's also not bulky.
Kensington has not given a specific launch window for the KeyFolio Thin X3 Plus for iPad Air 2, but did confirm the new case will cost $119.99.
Tuesday January 6, 2015 5:59 am PST by Kelly Hodgkins
AT&T today announced the upcoming availability of its new Modio smartcase that will add 4G LTE connectivity to a Wi-Fi-only iPad or iPad mini. The Modio smartcase will be compatible with the iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad mini 3, iPad mini 2 and iPad mini.
The Modio will allow Wi-Fi iPad owners to connect to AT&T's 4G LTE network using the data available on the customers' Mobile Share plans. Mobile Share allows customers to pay for a monthly data allotment that is shared between smartphones, tablets and other connected devices.
Beyond cellular connectivity, the Modio smartcase also includes its own 4,600 mAh battery to support up to 10 hours of use, along with a microSD card slot that can be used to store up to 32 GB of media and other files. Case owners can install the accompanying AT&T Modio Data application to monitor data usage and manage cellular plan details.
The AT&T Modio smartcase for iPad mini is listed on AT&T's website as coming soon, with a version for larger iPad Air models to follow. Pricing and exact launch dates for the new cases has yet to be announced.
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