As we head into March, deals are beginning to pick up a little bit. The iPad Air 2 is still available at discounted prices from B&H Photo, and Best Buy is offering discounts on its stock of original iPad Air tablets.
There are also deals to be had on the iMac, the MacBook Air, and the Retina MacBook Pro, plus, as always, we have a nice selection of Apple accessories that have been discounted this week.
iPad Air 2
B&H Photo is offering up to $60 off its entire stock of iPad Air 2 models, dropping the price of the entry-level 16GB Wi-Fi only iPad Air 2 to $459. Discounts vary based on model, but the lowest discount is $35 and the highest is $60 off the 128GB Wi-Fi only iPad Air 2.
Best Buy is discounting its entire stock of original iPad Air tablets by $50 to $100, depending on the model. Wi-Fi only models are discounted by $50, dropping the price of the entry-level 16GB iPad Air to $349.99, and cellular models are discounted by $100, dropping the price of the entry-level 16GB cellular model to $379.99.
Best Buy also has a few now-discontinued higher-capacity iPad Air models available at low prices.
– iPad Air Cellular Silver 128GB (AT&T) – $599.99
– iPad Air Cellular Space Gray 128GB (AT&T) – $599.99
– iPad Air Cellular Silver 64GB (Verizon) – $566.99
– iPad Air Cellular Space Gray 64GB (Verizon) – $566.99
iPad mini 3
iPad mini 2
Best Buy still has a few now-discontinued higher-capacity iPad mini 2 models available at low prices.
– iPad mini 2 Cellular AT&T Silver 64GB – $399.99
– iPad mini 2 Cellular AT&T Space Gray 128GB – $499.99
– iPad mini 2 Cellular AT&T Silver 128GB – $499.99
– iPad mini 2 Cellular Verizon Silver 64GB – $412.99
– iPad mini 2 Cellular Verizon Space Gray 128GB – $566.99
– 21.5-inch 2.7GHz/8GB/1TB (Adorama) – $1,189, $110 off
– 21.5-inch 2.9GHz/8GB/1TB (Adorama) – $1,389, $100 off
– 27-inch 3.2GHz/8GB/1TB (Adorama) – $1,689, $110 off
– 27-inch 3.4GHz/8GB/1TB (Adorama) (B&H Photo) – $1,794, $205 off
– 27-inch 3.5Ghz/8GB/1TB Retina iMac (Adorama) (B&H Photo) (MacMall) – $2,349, $150 off
– 11-inch 1.4GHz/4GB/128GB (Adorama) – $799, $100 off
– 11-inch 1.4GHz/4GB/256GB (B&H Photo) (Adorama) – $999, $100 off
– 13-inch 1.4GHz/4GB/128GB (B&H Photo (Adorama) – $919, $80 off
– 13-inch 1.4GHz/4GB/256GB (B&H Photo) (Adorama) – $1,099, $100 off
Retina Macbook Pro
– 13-inch 2.6GHz/8GB/128GB (Adorama) (B&H Photo) – $1,189, $100 off
– 13-inch 2.6GHz/8GB/256GB (B&H Photo) (Adorama) – $1,399, $100 off
– 13-inch 2.8GHz/8GB/512GB (Adorama) – $1,599, $200 off
– 15-inch 2.2GHz/16GB/256GB (Best Buy) (Adorama) (B&H Photo) – $1,799.99, $200 off
– 15-inch 2.5GHz/16GB/512GB – (Best Buy) (Adorama) (B&H Photo) – $2,249.99, $200 off
There are quite a few apps that are on sale at discounted prices or available for free for a limited time. We’ll highlight a few here, but make sure to check out our sister site AppShopper for a complete list.
Toca Hair Salon, a popular game for children, is available for free this week, down from $2.99. NFL Quarterback 15 is available for free, down from $0.99. Duet Display is half off this week, priced at $7.99 instead of $15.99.
The Bolt battery and wall charger is available for $44.99 from StackSocial, a $15 discount off its regular price. The Griffin PowerJolt car charger is available for $24.99 from Groupon, $10 off its normal price. Groupon is also selling the Mophie Powerstation 4,000mAh battery charger for $29.99, down from its original price of $79.95.
The second-generation Jawbone UP fitness tracker is available for $49.99 from LivingSocial, down from its original price of $129.99. The Ion iCade Arcade Bluetooth cabinet is available for $59.99 from Amazon, $70 off its regular price of $129.99. PayPal Digital Gifts on eBay is offering a $100 iTunes gift card for $80.
The JBL OnBeat Mini Speaker Dock for iPhone 5/5s/6/6 Plus and iPad is available for $39.99 from Groupon, an 80 percent discount off its regular price.LivingSocial is selling the Speck CandyShell Grip case for iPad mini for $14.99, down from $44.95.
Speck is offering 50 percent off site wide, discounting its entire stock of iPhone cases and accessories. The discount will be available until Saturday and is applied at checkout.
SkinIt, a site that makes custom skins for a wide range of devices from the iPhone to the MacBook, is offering a special deal buy one get one 50 percent off deal for MacRumors readers. With the code MACRUMORS, you can get 50% off a second skin after purchasing one skin.
MacRumors is an affiliate partner of some of these vendors.
Case Logic is known its line of backpacks, cases, and other storage accessories, all of which are priced affordably, making it quite popular with people looking for inexpensive but quality solutions for carrying around their devices.
We met up with Case Logic at CES this year, where the company had a large booth showcasing all of its products, including the Ibira backpack, one of its newest offerings. We went hands-on with the Ibira backpack in our latest video review, so check it out to see what we thought.
The Ibira is a lightweight, slim backpack but we were impressed with what it was able to hold. We fit in a MacBook, an iPad, an Apple keyboard, an iPhone, several chargers and accessories, a water bottle, and several notebooks. Build wise, the backpack is made of a high quality material that feels like it will stand up to heavy usage, but the straps were a bit too thin and could use more padding to be comfortable.
Case Logic’s Ibira Backpack is available in black and anthracite from the Case Logic website for $29.99.
Apple may be planning to release iOS 8.2 to the public as early as next Monday, reports BGR. iOS 8.2 has been in testing since November and notably contains support for the Apple Watch. The March release date has been rumored for several weeks now, but earlier information pointed towards a launch a bit later in the month, possibly during the second week of March.
A Monday, March 2 release date for iOS 8.2 would mean the software would be released to consumers a full week ahead of Apple’s scheduled March 9 “Spring Forward” media event, where the company is expected to divulge additional details on the Apple Watch.
BGR is fairly accurate when it comes to iOS release date predictions. The site correctly determined several iOS 7 beta release dates, but it has been wrong on occasion. Because March 2 is not in line with earlier predictions, BGR could be off by a week, but we will certainly be seeing a public release of iOS 8.2 sometime during the first two weeks of March, even if the March 2 date is inaccurate.
Thus far, there have been five iOS 8.2 betas, with the last beta coming on Monday, February 2, suggesting either another beta or a public release is coming in the near future.
The site also says that it has learned from its sources that there may be as many as four betas of iOS 8.3. We have had two iOS 8.3 betas, so there could be two more beta updates before the software is provided to the public. That would put iOS 8.3 on track to launch in April. iOS 8.3 brings several new features to the operating system, most notably introducing a redesigned emoji picker and adding both new emoji and emoji skin tone modifiers.
Apple CEO Tim Cook on Friday made an unannounced visit to the iconic Apple Store in Covent Garden, a popular shopping and tourist location in London, according to The Telegraph. The chief executive also sat down for an interview with the British publication to discuss the Apple Watch, providing a few more interesting details about the device ahead of Apple’s highly-anticipated “Spring Forward” media event on March 9.
Cook claimed that the Apple Watch will have several features that go beyond timekeeping and health and fitness, such as the ability to replace large car key fobs that come with most current vehicles. “This will be just like the iPhone: people wanted it and bought for a particular reason, perhaps for browsing, but then found out that they loved it for all sorts of other reasons,” he said.
The chief executive told Apple retail employees at the Covent Garden store that the Apple Watch will be unlike any other product the company has ever sold before. “We’ve never sold anything as a company that people could try on before”, said Cook. He added that “tweaking the experience in the store” will likely be a requirement when the wrist-worn device launches in April.
During his visit to the Covent Garden store, one retail employee asked Cook what his biggest accomplishment was in the past year. “I’m proud we stayed true to our North Star”, replied Cook. “We are pro-privacy, pro-environment and pro-human rights.” He added that the Covent Garden location is one of his favorite Apple Stores and praised the retail staff for being such a contributing factor to Apple’s success.
Cook has been traveling on an international tour this week, making stops in Belgium, Germany and Israel over the past several days. The chief executive kicked off the week in Belgium to meet with the European Commission, visited the newsroom of popular German publication BILD on Tuesday and traveled to Israel on Wednesday to sit down with President Reuven Rivlin, committing to continued growth in the country.
Following Apple’s unveiling of a March 9 media event that will most likely focus on the pricing and launch date for the Apple Watch, Swiss watchmakers Swatch, Frédérique Constant and Alpina have recently released more details regarding products that will be residing in the same smart wearable space as the Apple Watch (via Watch Insider).
Swatch yesterday announced the Swatch Touch Zero One, a new smartwatch with a dedicated touch screen and a focus on durability and outdoor activity. The sports-heavy focus comes thanks to the company’s partnership with the Beach Major Company, which specializes in organizing and putting on Beach Volleyball competitions.
Besides volleyball specific functions like counting “power hits” and “power claps”, the Touch Zero One will apparently compete most directly with the Apple Watch Sport, thanks to its enhanced durability, lightweight frame, and sweat-proof band.
“Beach Volleyball is a wonderful sport, a thrill for the players and very exciting for the fans,” said Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek. “We’ve had great fun in the past and now we want to push it further with the new Major Series in collaboration with the FIVB. With the players we share a passion for this great, young sport and look forward to the upcoming tournaments.”
Lacking from the Touch Zero One, however, is any mention of non-fitness related content such as phone, text, and e-mail notifications, even though the company confirmed the device will sync with a smartphone app. Swatch says the Swatch Touch Zero One will be “available this beach volleyball summer season” and cost those interested around $159.
Watch Insider also reported on the partnership between Swiss luxury watchmakers Alpina and Frédérique Constant, who have taken a different approach to the smartwatch business and introduced “smart” components into otherwise traditional timepieces instead of crafting an entirely new smartwatch line.
The created platform, called Manufacture Modules Technologies (MMT), powers the new line of Swiss Horological Smartwatches and allows for a device that tracks sleep and activity in real time and syncs automatically with a smartphone app and allows users to break down the information into daily, weekly, or monthly categories.
“The Swiss Horological Smartwatch is the synthesis of high-tech innovation and traditional Swiss watch craftsmanship; it is the link (no pun intended) between modern and classic, and the bridge between Silicon Valley and Switzerland,” said co-founder and CEO of the Frédérique Constant group Peter Stas. “There is no digital screen on our Swiss Horological Smartwatch. Instead, the beautiful laser cut hands on the watch dial display information in analog form.”
A few companies who have been in the watch business for a while have reversed course – including Swatch itself – on dismissing the trend of smartwatches, announcing new products to be released around the launch window of the Apple Watch or sometime later in the year. More and more companies are announcing their own product additions to the smart wearable trend almost every week in preparation for the Apple Watch, which new rumors suggest could launch within the first week of April.
Mobile printing app Printer Pro, by developer Readdle, has been named by Apple as this week’s App of the Week. Known for their knack at developing productivity-based apps, Readdle says Printer Pro will allow users to “print just about anything” from an iPhone or iPad.
Normally priced at $6.99, the app gives users the ability to print a wide array of documents – from pictures in the Photos app to documents found in iCloud or Mail – to any Wi-Fi or USB-enabled printer. Readdle also provides a free-to-download desktop utility for the service that helps users with USB printers through an initial set-up and allows everyone using it to “print more document types and with better quality.”
The company notes that to print a Safari page, users can change “http” to “phttp” in the address bar and hit go, immediately bringing up the desired web page within the Printer Pro app. Most other apps, like Dropbox, Mail, and Readdle’s own PDF Expert, allow for a more streamlined process of accessing the app from a third-party app’s “Open In” list.
Once installed, Printer Pro appears in the “Open In…” list on your device. This lets you print documents from Mail, PDF Expert and many other applications on your iPad that supports this function.
Using “Open In…” approach you can print files from many popular online storages: Dropbox and Google Drive. It just a matter of several taps to download your file via free Dropbox or Google Drive application and send it to printer.
The app has garnered a 4 star rating on the App Store, with one review calling it “indispensable” and many others praising its ease-of-use and high quality. Relied on by “over 2 million people”, according to Readdle, Printer Pro [Direct Link] will remain free as the App of the Week for the next week.
Apple faces further legal action from Ericsson this week after refusing to accept a licensing deal for its patented LTE technologies, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Swedish networking company on Friday said it is suing Apple for infringing 41 wireless-related patents that it believes are critical to the functionality of products such as the iPhone and iPad.
“By refusing Ericsson’s fair and reasonable licensing offer for patented technology used in Apple smartphones and tablets, Apple harms the entire market and reduces the incentive to share innovation,” the company said in a statement.
Ericsson has filed two complaints with the U.S. International Trade Commission in an effort to secure an exclusion order against Apple, which could block the iPhone, iPad and other products involved from being sold in the United States. The company has also filed seven complaints with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas as part of the negotiations. Apple’s previous licensing deal with Ericsson expired in mid-January.
Apple originally filed suit against Ericsson on January 12, arguing that it was demanding excessive royalties for patents not essential to LTE standards. Ericsson countersued in a Texas courtroom just hours later, seeking an estimated $250 million to $750 million in royalties per year for Apple to continue licensing its patented wireless technologies. Ericsson is the world’s largest provider of mobile network equipment and holds over 35,000 patents related to 2G, 3G and 4G wireless technologies.
Following Apple CEO Tim Cook’s visit to Israel this week, the company’s increasing interest in the country is said to relate to chip design, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Apple recently opened new research and development offices in Israel north of Tel Aviv, with the facilities serving as the iPhone maker’s second-largest R&D operations outside of the United States.
“Apple’s Israeli acquisitions and its expanding local workforce show that the company is becoming more and more independent on the chip level, where it once had to rely on external suppliers,” said Shlomo Gradman, chairman of the Israeli Semiconductor Club.
Apple may be looking to increase development of chips internally to the costs associated with relying on third-party suppliers, although it still relies heavily on vendors such as Samsung to produce chips for iPhones. Apple has acquired two Israel-based microprocessor chip design firms in Anobit Technologies and PrimeSense in recent years, and also hired several Texas Instrument engineers in Israel after the company announced some 250 job cuts at its Ra’anana offices.
Apple vice president of hardware technologies Johny Srouji is an Israeli Arab that grew up in Haifa and earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Computer Science from Technion, Israel’s Institute of Technology. Srouji joined Apple in 2008 and oversees custom silicon architecture and development covering several devices and technologies. Apple has over 700 other employees working directly for the company in Israel.
“We’ve hired our first individual in Israel in 2011 and we now have over 700 people working in Israel directly for us,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in the meeting with Israeli president Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday. “Israel and Apple have gotten much closer together over the last three years than ever before, and we see that as just the beginning,” he added.
Apple has job listings in Israel for a number of chip-related positions in the fields of silicon and semiconductor design, testing and engineering. The company has also been hiring staff to work at its chip design center in Haifa over the past three years. Google, Facebook, IBM, HP and hundreds of other international companies have also setup R&D centers in Israel, often following acquisitions of local companies.
Apple yesterday updated its 3D “Flyover” map of London, adding animated images onto popular London-based attractions that result in real-time moving pictures right inside of the Maps app (via The Daily Mail).
The update causes the current time to be showcased on the face of Big Ben’s clock tower, and the popular giant London Eye to constantly rotate when users find each structure in the London Flyover map. The feature, according to The Daily Mail, is expected to hit other big cities “within weeks.”
Though a straightforward and purely aesthetic update, the addition of real-time animated effects in the Maps app brings a more immersive experience to Apple’s mobile map service and could give it a slight edge on competing map apps.
Thanks to hefty amount of criticism following the rocky launch of Maps, even resulting in a public letter of apology by Tim Cook, Apple has been steadily attempting to straighten the app’s course and win back the users that migrated to services like Google Maps in the intervening years.
Apple has steadily improved the accuracy of its maps, increased the number of points of interest displayed, and improved the quality of its Flyover imagery, while also reportedly working to add new features such as transit directions and indoor mapping information. Apple-leased minivans with equipment rigs on top have also been seen in a number of U.S. cities in recent months, suggesting the company may be collecting street-level imagery to compete with Google’s Street View.
Apple has not provided details on when the Apple Watch might begin shipping to customers beyond the broad “April” launch date shared by CEO Tim Cook, but new information provided to MacRumors suggests the Apple Watch could see a release more towards the beginning of April rather than the end of the month.
According to a reliable source that spoke with MacRumors, Apple is planning to begin moving Apple Watches to centralized distribution points in the U.S. during the first few days of the month, with an Apple Watch release possibly coming during the first full week of April, between April 6 and April 10.
A launch date around this time would see the Apple Watch shipping approximately one month after the company’s planned March 9 media event, where it is expected to unveil new details about the Apple Watch. There are many details about the device that the company has kept under wraps, including its prospective battery life and full pricing details on the middle tier Apple Watch and higher-end Apple Watch Edition.
Apple will likely share a specific Apple Watch release date during the March 9 event, and we’re also likely to find out whether the company will be accepting pre-orders. With an early April launch timeline, Apple could begin accepting pre-orders during the last week of March.
Apple will be live streaming its March 9 media event, and MacRumors will also be providing live coverage of the information the company unveils about the Apple Watch.