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This is as agressive on both pricing and placement as I’ve ever seen Apple and the biggest indication yet that they aren’t just after the 20% “high end” market in tablets that the Mac commands. Apple wants to be the mainstream tablet maker and have the iPad be as ubiquitous as iPod.
When Apple started selling iPhones at WalMart last year, you knew that they were aiming at big market share numbers for iOS products. How far will they go? Moving to TJ Maxx is another giant step. What’s next?
The $399 price tag is “Crazy Eddie” insane. That’s $200 less than the smaller Samsung Galaxy Tab (the only “real iPad competitor”). Looking at Apple’s own line, $399 is the same price as a 64GB iPod touch and about $200 less than the base iPhone 4 when purchased off plan, not that you’d ever find any of those products at a TJ Maxx or Marshalls.
How can Apple make any money off of a $399 iPad? This could be what Tim Cook was referring to when he said Apple’s margins would be significantly lower going forward.
A new sales model.
Apple’s other retail partners have to be upset with this model. Perhaps we’ll see some more pricing changes arriving for Black Friday.
Is Apple trying to kill off the competition before they even have a chance to gain a footing?
You might notice that there aren’t any real iPod touch competitors out there. Why is that? Up until recently, you could get an iPod touch for under $200 (and you can often pick up a previous edition iPod touch for $150). I don’t think you can make a competitor for much less than that. Even with the free Android OS, device manufacturers simply can’t make a competing hardware much cheaper. Samsung (who make a lot of the parts in Apple’s iOS products) aren’t even trying to push their Galaxy Player in the US because they can’t make it cheap enough.
Apple has sewn up the iPod touch market because of aggressive innovation and pricing. It wants to do the same for tablets, a much bigger potential market and one that could become as big as PCs.
Looking closer, is Apple offloading excess inventory?
Another less plausible theory is that Apple went overboard on production. Apple initially wasn’t able to meet iPad demand for almost a half year, but there is a possibility they’ve over-compensated and will need to sell a lot more products for the holidays than they could at their March $499 price points. If they are already getting production ready for the iPad 2, they’ll need to make sure Holiday inventory moves.
But TJ Maxx and Marshall’s aren’t just aren’t first run stores. They buy up excess inventory from manufacturers and other stores at lower prices “and pass the savings on”. Literally nothing in their stores is first run products. That’s why I initially thought that these products were refurbished. Apparently, they aren’t.
Did they do the same with Apple?
…and what about the Apple Brand.
It is going to take a hit, that’s for sure. TJ Maxx carries Polo and Chanel and other top fashion brands but those are overproduced, irregular and last season. Apple is putting their flagship product in TJ Maxx. There is no other way to put it: TJ Maxx is a glorified wap meet (no judgements, most of my underwear probably comes from TJMax/Marshalls/Ross). But there’s no way to spin this as good for the brand. So much for high end. Welcome to mass market.
Whatever the case, the $399 iPad changes the game in a big way. Christmas iPad shoppers: It is time to get a deal.
(top image via the Onion)
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Apple is now launching refreshed AirTag firmware to more customers with a different build number from the previous AirTag firmware which had a build number of 1A291e.
Revised AirTag firmware begins rolling out to all users
The firmware started rolling out in August 2023
A few days later, it received a new build number
In September, the build number was updated again
The version now rolling out has yet another new build number
The latest AirTag firmware is now rolling out to all
According to online reports, the new AirTag firmware has a build number 1A291f.
The only difference between it and the previous one seems to be the removal of the deployment limit that the previous firmware set to 25 percent, which restricted the availability of that firmware to no more than 25 percent of active devices in the wild. With the deployment limit entirely removed, all AirTag owners should soon get the latest firmware update.
Apple does not provide release notes for these things so we don’t really know if the latest firmware enables any new feaures. So far, online reporting indicated bug fixes only.
→ How to read AirTag’s embedded NFC tag
So what’s up with the ever-changing build numbers? As MacRumors speculates, Apple’s over-the-air delivery mechanism for AirTag software updates could be why we saw several AirTag firmware releases lately, each having a different build number.
There have been several minor releases with different build numbers, and behind the scenes, those tweaks were to meter the number of people who were seeing the AirTag update at one time. […] It is not clear why Apple has metered the release of the AirTags firmware update, but it may have to do with the over-the-air distribution method.
To find the firmware version of your AirTag, go to the Items tab in the Find My app:
Open the Find My app on your iPhone, iPad or Mac
Choose the tab labeled “Items”
Select the AirTag you’d like to see more details about.
Hit the battery icon below the AirTag name to reveal the firmware version.
So how do you update the software powering your AirTag?
Apple doesn’t provide a manual update mechanism for AirTags. Instead, AirTag automatically updates itself when new firmware becomes available. For that to work, however, your AirTag and iPhone must be within Bluetooth range because the phone delivers the AirTag firmware.
This AirTag software has had a very rocky start
The latest AirTag firmware is arriving two months after the previous one brought out new anti-stalking features. On August 26, 2023, the new firmware began rolling out to some AirTag owners as an automatic update.
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The software came with a version number of 1.0.291 and build number 1A291a.
A few days later on August 31, an updated version of the AirTag firmware launched with the same version but a higher build number at 1A291c versus the previous one. And on September 7, the company replaced that firmware with yet another one carrying a build number of 1A291e.
So far, none of our Apple-branded personal item trackers have received the latest 1A291e update. Once we do get it, however, we’ll be making sure to check if the version number in the Find My app matches the latest AirTag firmware available, then report our findings back to you.
Pictures can take up a lot of space on an iOS device so it’s a fairly reasonable thing to want to delete them all from an iPhone to clear up some space. We’ll cover a few of the easiest ways to delete all the pictures, some directly on the iPhone itself, and the others you’ll need to connect the iPhone to the computer and delete everything with a bundled app like Image Capture or Explorer. Newer versions of iOS have improved their photo management capabilities, so if you’re on iOS 6 or later there’s a particularly easy option available to you.
Before proceeding, you’ll probably want to transfer all pictures from the iPhone to the computer beforehand, otherwise you won’t have any backups stored on the computer or the iPhone itself. If you’re going to be connecting it to a computer anyway to trash the pictures, you really should back them up first as part of that process.Delete ALL Photos Directly from the iPhone
This is the best and quickest option available, but it is limited to iOS 6 or later. This limitation is because, for whatever reason, Photos wasn’t included in the app storage Usage list prior to the newest iOS versions, despite being counted against available storage, so you can’t just easily swipe to delete all the images from a central location like you can with all Music. That has changed with the latest versions though, and here is how to use this excellent feature:
Open Settings app and then go to “General” followed by “Usage”
Choose “Photos & Camera” from the list, this will also show you how much space they take up
Use a left or right swiping gesture on the album to reveal a red “Delete” button
Swipe on “Camera Roll” to delete ALL photos from the iPhone, swipe on “Photo Library” to delete just pictures that are synced with a desktop, and swipe on Photo Stream if you want to remove everything from the shared streams.
This method is by far the fastest approach since it doesn’t require any syncing, manual removal, or computer use, but as we mentioned it is not available to all iOS users as it only arrived in iOS 6 and in later versions.Delete Photos from the iPhone Itself
The third, and perhaps most obvious option, is to delete photos from the iPhone itself. This is done directly in the Photos app, and all you need to do is select which pictures to trash in your Camera Roll or any photo album. The select deletion option is available to all iOS versions:
Open Photos app and go to Camera Roll or the album to delete images from
Tap directly on every picture you want to delete, select as many as you want, multitouch works to select groups at once
When satisfied with the selections, tap the red “Delete” button in the corner, followed by the “Delete Selected Photos” button to immediately remove them from the iPhone
Of course these iOS-based approaches work aside from the iPhone as well, and this is obviously better if you want to be removing pictures from any iOS device while you’re on the go and away from a computer.Deleting All Photos from iPhone Using a Mac
This works in all versions of Mac OS X:
Connect the iPhone to the computer via USB
Launch Image Capture from the /Applications/ folder
Confirm deletion when asked and be prepared to wait
Now the waiting part, which can take quite a while depending on how many pictures you have. If you have 10GB+ of pictures expect it to take at least an hour to remove them all. The lengthy deletion process seems very inefficient and it’s a bit surprising there isn’t a quicker way to delete all pictures from an iOS device in one fell swoop. Also, once you start deleting the images, there’s no cancel button. It’s safe to say there’s room for improvement with this entire process, which is identical whether you’re on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.Delete All Photos from iPhone Using Windows PC
This should work in all versions of Windows:
Connect the iPhone to the computer via USB
Open ‘My Computer’ and choose “Apple iPhone”
Open to folders “Internal Storage” and then open “DCIM”, contained within will be a folder containing all photos and videos on the iPhone
From the folder containing the pictures, select all, then delete
Removing pictures from the iPhone this way through Windows is significantly faster than it is from Mac OS X, probably because Windows treats it like a file system rather than a photo manager.
Thanks to Jason for reminder of how easy it is in Windows.
For quite a while I’ve been thinking about switching from Apple Music to Spotify. I’ve been an Apple Music user since day one and rely on the Apple ecosystem for everything (from AirPods to HomePod and all other Apple devices), so I thought this would be a tough decision.
In April, I decided that I’d finally give Spotify a chance, and I’ve got some initial thoughts: the good, the bad, and all the surprises along the way. A couple of weeks from now, I’ll give my final opinion on whether I stick with Spotify or whether I return to Apple Music.Migrating from Apple Music to Spotify Why did I decide to try Spotify?
Apple Music has seen brighter days: wrong covers, delays to new albums and songs, and content missing have been occurring a lot recently. Spotify, on the other hand, recently rolled out a new user interface, and I’ve always wanted to try all of the social experiences on the music streaming service. This includes connecting to more friends, sharing my playlists, and getting to know more about Spotify’s “magical” algorithm.How did I migrate my library?
To start my experience with Spotify, I had to migrate all my library from one service to another, and I wouldn’t be able to do that one song per time. That’s why I used FreeYourMusic. It’s a free-to-download app, but to migrate an entire library, a onetime purchase is required.
After more than a day of migrating my whole library, most of my playlists and songs looked alright. Surprisingly, the app was able to match most of my songs, but, for some reason, it had a lot of trouble with the Beatles – music rights? – and I’ve now got a lot of Beatles covers instead of the original albums. If you want to know more about how to transfer Apple Music songs to Spotify (or any other music streaming service, actually), check out our full coverage here.
Spotify is the same price as Apple Music: $9.99/month on the individual plan, but unlike Apple Music, you only have one month for free as a Spotify Premium user, and Apple Music gives you three months.The good about Spotify All my friends are here
Apple Music always felt like an empty party. Sure, I have many friends that use the streaming service, but Apple doesn’t focus that much on friends’ playlists, what they’re listening to, and ways to engage with them, such as creating collaborative playlists.
The first thing I noticed was how many of my Facebook friends are on Spotify: more than 400. On Apple Music, I have around 20 friends, and that’s only if I consider Eddy Cue a friend.
I of course didn’t add all 400 of them. In fact, this also got me thinking about how personal listening to music is. I added only people I really care about, and I think it’s fun to know what they’re listening to while I’m working on my Mac.Sound quality, handoff, and lots of playlists
I always heard that Spotify doesn’t have the best sound quality, and that’s true if you’re using the free tier subscription. But if you’re paying for Spotify, you can set the streaming quality to “Very High” or 320 kbit/s. You’ll also be able to stream in a HiFi quality with a newer subscription tier later this year.
At this point, 320 kbit/s is better than Apple’s AAC on Apple Music, which is available only in songs labeled as Apple Digital Masters. You can’t know if a song has this label on Apple Music, you have to search for the album on the iTunes Store and see if the artists master their songs with Apple’s own coding.
I’m not an audiophile, but I can say I have been enjoying my songs a bit more on Spotify with the AirPods Pro than I did with Apple Music. What’s weird is that I don’t hear any difference when using the Beats Studio3 Wireless, which means both music streaming services sound good for me.
One thing I loved about Spotify is the seamless integration between devices. I can continue a song on my Mac that is playing on the iPhone. It’s just a tap away using Spotify’s powerful Connect platform.
Apple kind of has this with the HomePod, but I’ve found Spotify Connect to be far more reliable than Handoff and AirPlay.
Last but not least, it’s fun to see the Daily Mix playlists with exactly what I love to listen to. That’s different from Apple Music, in which I focus the most on my Library. I’ve been using the “Home” tab on Spotify a lot more. I can easily see what I have recently listened to and start playing my favorite songs with just two taps.The bad about Spotify HomePod integration
AirPlaying Spotify to the HomePod is weird. While it technically works OK, the sound quality seems lower than when compared to Apple Music. It could be my impression only, but it feels like HomePod doesn’t give its full sound potential when I use AirPlay with Spotify.
Additionally, there is no way to interact with Spotify using HomePod. While Apple added this technology, Pandora is the only music player to incorporate it so far. Whether or not Spotify is working on this feature remains to be seen, but it’s a glaring omission right now.
I also tried linking my Spotify account to my third-generation Amazon Echo, and both streaming services sound the same.There’s a lot of playlists and I want to listen to my songs
You just heard from me that playlists are a great part of Spotify, but at the same time, it feels like it’s the only one. I have this feeling that the app forces you to discover new songs, and every time you finish an album, it just keeps playing a similar thing.
That’s nice, but sometimes I just want to finish an album and that’s it. Or I just want to listen to one specific song. But this has also shown me that I use music streaming services differently than most people.
Most people probably listen to an album or playlist, right? Well, I like to shuffle all my downloaded songs every now and then, and finding your entire library of songs in Spotify isn’t as easy as in Apple Music.
This algorithmic approach to music has its pros and its cons. As much as discovering new songs is great, most of the time I just want to jump to Folklore by Taylor Swift, Battle Born by The Killers, or Milo Greene’s self-titled album, and that’s it.Wrap-up
There’s still some time until I decide whether I’m going to keep on using Spotify or to go back to Apple Music. In the meantime, I’d like to hear what you like the most about Spotify, and what you want me to try while I’m testing the service.
Stay tuned for my next article on Spotify vs. Apple Music, where I’ll try to talk more about my overall experience and Spotify’s features that I haven’t yet had time to test.
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Apple is said to be introducing an entirely refreshed lineup of Macs later this month. The event is said to be on October 27th, which we first speculated earlier this month. The new Macs are expected to be available to consumers this month, as well.
As is often the case with Apple events, we already know a good portion of what the company has up its sleeve. Read on for a roundup of what to expect…MacBook Air
The MacBook Air certainly isn’t expected to be the star of the show this year, but the lineup will receive some attention. It has been reported that Apple will discontinue the 11-inch model in order to direct its attention to the 12-inch MacBook and 13-inch MacBook Air. Some sources, however, have cast doubt as to the likelihood of this happening.
Should the 11-inch MacBook Air get discontinued, it’s possible that Apple will cut the price of the 13-inch model, as Ben speculated this morning. The 12-inch MacBook’s price point could also benefit from the death of the 11-inch Air, too.
Nevertheless, the MacBook Air clearly won’t be the focal point of this year’s changes, but some upgrades will occur to bring it up to par.iMac
Much like the MacBook Air, the iMac isn’t expected to receive a major overhaul this year, though Apple is planning some under-the-hood changes to keep it somewhat up to date.
The biggest change will come to the graphics performance. Apple is said to be planning new options for GPUs from AMD, while other under-the-hood specs will likely also be bumped up. Design and scree specifications are expected to remain the same. The addition of USB-C is also possible.External 5K Display
Apple officially discontinued its outdated and overpriced Thunderbolt Display earlier this year, paving the way for a newer and more capable model. It is expected that Apple will introduce a new 5K external display at its event this month that also includes a built-in GPU. We first reported on Apple’s plans for a 5K display with an integrated GPU earlier this year.
The display is expected to feature a 5K resolution of 5120 x 2880, while the powerful internal GPU will be able to assist lower-powered Macs in pushing that many pixels.
It’s unclear how Apple plans to price its new 5K display, but we should know more following the event next week. Don’t expect it to be cheap, though, given the $1000 price point of the Thunderbolt Display and the addition of a GPU.
One thing to note, however, is that the release date for this display has changed several times already, so it’s possible that Apple has indeed pushed it back again and we won’t see it at this year’s event.MacBook Pro
The star of the show this month is widely expected to be the MacBook Pro. Apple’s “Pro” laptop hasn’t seen a major overhaul in 4 years and is well overdue for one, and the company certainly seems to have a lot planned for this year’s refresh.
First off, let’s talk design. The new MacBook Pro is expected to be much thinner and lighter than the current models, though it’s unlikely that they will feature a wedge design like the MacBook Air and 12-inch MacBook. Nevertheless, the overall footprint of the laptop is expected to smaller, while the trackpad will be slightly bigger.
The design changes extend to the port options, as well. The new MacBook Pros will likely ditch all of its traditional ports in favor of USB-C connectivity. MagSafe is also getting the axe this year, as charging can be done via USB-C.
The biggest change to the design, however, will be the addition of a new OLED touch display in replace of the standard function keys at the top of the keyboard. This display is expected to provide quick action buttons for common tasks that vary depending on which app is open. Apple is said to be working with third-party app developers to ensure that a variety of software is optimized for the new touch bar at launch, as well.
Touch ID is also expected to come to the MacBook Pro this year, likely being located on the power button of the machine. While Auto Unlock allows Apple Watch users to unlock their Mac when their Apple Watch is in close proximity, Touch ID will allow for all users to unlock their machine without typing in the actual password.
The MacBook Pro lineup will also get speed boosts under-the-hood. While specifics of the spec upgrades are unclear, Apple is expected to offer one of AMD’s Polaris GPUs and Intel’s Skylake processors. The design of the Polaris GPU is small enough to fit in the smaller footprint of the Pro, while also offering the best combination of power and battery usage.AirPods
Another thing we should expect to see at next week’s event is the release of Apple’s truly wireless AirPods, or at least the announcement of an actual release date. At the iPhone 7 event last month, Apple teased that AirPods would be available in late October, but the company has not said anything since.
If Apple sticks to its word, then we should expect an AirPods release sooner rather than later.Odds and Ends
A refresh of Apple’s AirPort accessories isn’t out of the question for this year’s event. The AirPort Express is still stuck on 802.11n, while the AirPort Extreme and Apple’s Mac lineup have been updated to support the newer and faster 802.11ac. So it seems logical for the AirPort Express to finally receive that update.
Colorware’s custom jet black accessories; read Jordan’s review here
Additionally, it’s possible that Apple introduces new peripherals, such as a new Magic Keyboard with an OLED touch bar. While it’s unlikely, new colors of the peripherals would likely be met with fanfare, such as rose gold, gold, space grey, and jet black.
This is speculative, though, and likely won’t be a big portion of Apple’s announcements.Mac Pro/Mac Mini (or what not to expect)
While minor under-the-hood refreshes aren’t out of the question, it’s unlikely that Apple has anything major planned for the Mac Pro or Mac Mini.Wrap-up
It’s clear that the MacBook Pro and external display will be the star of Apple’s October event this year, and rightfully so. Both are due for their respective upgrades and it sounds as if Apple has quite a bit planned for each.
While Apple has not yet sent out press invites for the October 27th event, we should expect them to come at any moment. As always, we’ll have live coverage of Apple’s event as it happens.
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CES 2023 is going ahead despite in-person event concerns
CES 2023 is set to go ahead in January next year, with the organizers of the huge tech show insisting that it will be able to safely organize an in-person event despite COVID-19. The surprise news comes amid ongoing concerns that the coronavirus pandemic has not been sufficiently dealt with, particularly in the US, where things like social distancing efforts have been patchy.
As a result, we’ve seen multiple companies opt to cancel physical events in 2023. Mobile World Congress axed its Barcelona event at the last moment in February, and numerous auto shows and events have been wiped off the calendar. Google called a halt to I/O 2023 altogether, and Apple is running its WWDC 2023 developer event entirely online.
The Consumer Technology Association – the organizing body for the Consumer Electronics Show – isn’t following suit, however. While it says that CES 2023 will “expand the show’s digital reach” it nonetheless insists that a physical event in Las Vegas, NV, is appropriate.
“We are working closely with the Las Vegas community, including the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and hotels venues, as they develop and implement their re-opening plans,” the CTA said in a statement. “We are also working with leading event industry associations as they develop their best practices. And we will ensure our plans follow the recommendations of public health experts and standards set by the federal, state and local governments.”
Perhaps most challenging, however, will be social distancing. The CTA says it will be “widening aisles in many exhibit areas and providing more space between seats in conference programs and other areas where attendees congregate,” but exactly how feasible that is remains to be seen. At CES 2023, for example, around 170,000 attendees and over 4,400 exhibitors were present, across what the CTA says was more than 2.9 million net square feet of exhibit space.
Crowding is a fact of life at CES, and the event is notorious for its potential for picking up the so-called “CES flu” from others on-site. Even with the best of efforts, a not-insignificant number of people report sickness after the show.
Indeed there have been suggestions that, though it only broke into the public conscious later on, COVID-19 could have been a significant factor at CES 2023 in January. An absence of widespread, consistent track and trace policies in the US has left confirming that almost impossible, however.
It’s unclear at this stage how many companies the CTA expects to sign up for CES 2023. “Major brands are committed for the show,” the organization said, though it has not confirmed any specific names. Many major players in the tech space have sworn off physical events altogether for the moment, while automakers – such a fast-growing presence at CES that it was a significant contributing factor to the Detroit Auto Show rescheduling its annual event from mid-January to the summer – have also put in-person events on hold.
Meanwhile there’s the question of attendees. Some who might ordinarily come to the show each year will undoubtedly question that decision given the ongoing pandemic; others, some stung by only receiving partial refunds at best from hotels and airlines after MWC was cancelled, are likely to hold off until closer to January 2023 to see whether the CTA really does go through with its plans.
For those who do want to attend in person, meanwhile, there are multiple travel factors to consider. International travel is still being disrupted as different countries and regions apply restrictions on who can fly where. Mandatory quarantine periods also add to the complexity, since they could end up bookending a visit to the US with as much as four weeks of self-isolation.
Back in May, the organizers of IFA 2023 – the annual European tech show held in Berlin, Germany – announced a severely modified event for this year. Not only will the public no longer be invited to attend, and the show itself trimmed to just three days in total, IFA will be limited to 1,000 media per day. At the time Messe Berlin, the company responsible for IFA, admitted that it would have a significant impact on financial performance for the show.
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