Apple launches in-store Android trade-in program to boost iPhone sales

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In line with our report from earlier this month, Apple today launched its first trade-in program for non-iPhones in its Apple Retail Stores. The program allows users of select Android, Windows Phone, and BlackBerry phones to bring in their devices and receive credit toward the immediate purchase of a new iPhone 5c, iPhone 6, or iPhone 6 Plus (but not an Apple Watch). Apple first launched its standard iPhone Reuse and Recycle trade-in program in 2013, and the company expanded the feature to the iPad last year. Apple made today’s announcement on the individual retail store pages, indicating that the program is so far now available in the U.S., France, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and Italy, and multiple retail sources say that the program has indeed gone live today. A version of the iPhone trade-in program that does not support non-iPhones is launching this week in China.

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10 reasons why Apple is to blame for the decline of iPad sales

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It has been a tough slough for Apple’s iPad since the height of its popularity in 2013. Facing its second straight year of negative growth, there isn’t a consensus on why iPad sales have declined. I believe the slump is attributable to a combination of factors.

Apple CEO Tim Cook called the declining iPad sales a “speed bump” last year before the launch of the 2014 models, but we haven’t seen what Apple plans to do to rejuvenate the product. From my point of view, Apple itself has done more to hurt iPad sales than any external factor, such as Microsoft or Google.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Here’s a full explanation of my theory…

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New rumor claims Apple will launch three iPhone models this year, including 4-inch iPhone 6C

A sketchy new rumor from the sometimes-unreliable Digitimes claims that Apple will be releasing three new iPhone models this year. While many Apple watchers are expecting to see the release of two new “S” models—the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus—the new report also says the company will release a third model this year.

We’ve previously heard rumors that the “C” iPhone lineup would be disappearing after the launch of the iPhone 6. However, Digitimes claims that Apple will be debuting an “iPhone 6C” later this year that will sport a 4-inch display like that of the iPhone 5 and 5s. It’s possible that this is related to the rumors of a pink iPhone launching with the next refresh.

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Apple to expand iPhone trade-in program to China next week, Foxconn to resell devices on secondary markets

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Apple will begin rolling out an iPhone trade-in program in China in the near future. The option may become available in stores as soon as March 31st, allowing Chinese users to take advantage of the program that has helped boost iPhone sales in several countries already, including the United States, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.

Chinese retail employees will determine the condition of the phone being traded in, and offer Apple Store credit to customers, Bloomberg reports. Devices that are traded in will be sold to Foxconn by Apple. The manufacturing partner will then make any necessary repairs and resell them through its own online outlets:

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Apple TV gains CNNgo channel for viewing live and on-demand news content

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Just a day after the last Apple TV channel refresh, CNNgo has added more news content to the set-top box lineup. The new channel appears to require an active cable subscription to view live content, but on demand news content is available without authenticating a subscription. This marks the first time content from CNN has been available on the Apple TV.

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UK government approves free iPad Air 2 for all 650 members of parliament

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The UK government has decided to equip all of its 650 members of parliament with an iPad Air 2, according to a report from The Telegraph citing an official announcement from the House of Commons Commission this week.

While some have been critical of the decision to lock into Apple’s ecosystem, it’s now official with all members set to receive a 16GB WiFi + Cellular iPad Air 2 at a cost of around £200,000 or almost $300,000 US a year: Read more

Mini-review: Libre, the ultra-thin & spill-proof iPad keyboard (with a rather less thin case)

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As someone who uses his iPad for email and writing as much as for media consumption, I’m a big fan of physical keyboards. My current favorites are the ClamCase Pro and Brydge, each of which offers a near-Macbook quality moving keyboard.

But if you’ve ever been deterred by the bulk or weight of a full moving keyboard, the Libre – a new iPad Air/2 keyboard case that launched yesterday on Kickstarter – may be worth a look. The keyboard itself is just 5mm thick and weighs only 200g, yet manages to squeeze in a backlight and the ability to switch between up to three devices. I’ve been using a prototype version for the past few days …  Read more

How-To: Rearrange and hide Apple TV channels to personalize and declutter your home screen

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As the current Apple TV continues to add countless new and sometimes unfamiliar channels to the home screen, the out-of-the-box experience grows increasingly complex for new and existing users. The Apple TV home screen consists of colorful rectangles that represent various content providers for serving up entertainment over the Internet to your television, but actually finding something to watch can prove difficult and intimidating for even a seasoned Apple TV owner. Many of the channels require authenticating an active cable or satellite subscription to unlock full access while others are interest-specific likes sports or culture.

Apple TV’s user interface is meant to simulate an iPhone or iPad home screen with apps being channels and the theme optimized for the living room, and you can customize the app arrangement on your Apple TV similarly to your other iOS devices. While you cannot explicitly delete channels from your Apple TV, you can rearrange or even hide all but the very top row of channels in a few short steps provided in this How-To guide. Read more

Apple adds TED Talks, Tastemade, and Young Hollywood apps to Apple TV

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Shortly after dropping the price from $99 to $69, Apple has updated the Apple TV channel lineup with a few additions in the United States. New apps for viewing content from TED, Tastemade, and Young Hollywood are now available. The channels should appear automatically or after a restart on the latest Apple TV set-top box, and all three offerings are available without a cable or satellite subscription. Read more

Review: TrackR Bravo locates lost items with Bluetooth 4, and without requiring yearly replacement

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Two years ago, the Tile Bluetooth tracking device raised over $2.6 million in a crowdfunding campaign, thanks in part to an expansive ad run that seemed to blanket the entire Internet. Elegantly designed with a square plastic housing, Tile paired a low-energy Bluetooth chip with a battery, letting you track any attached item using a Bluetooth 4-enabled iPhone. Each Tile can track keys, a purse, or even a roaming pet for a year before the battery dies, at which point you are supposed to replace it. The first Tiles shipped last year, and can now be had for $20 each versus their standard $25 retail price.

I skipped Tile because I don’t like products that need to be replaced when their batteries die. Over the course of reviewing thousands of Apple accessories, I’ve watched some companies waste vast quantities of plastic, metal, magnets, and packing materials, and I try not to buy things that are designed to be worthless after a short period of time. (Note: Users are encouraged to recycle Tiles by buying discounted replacements and mailing old units back to the company.) So a new Tile competitor called TrackR Bravo ($29) appealed to me. Made partially from anodized aluminum, it’s shaped like a dog tag and designed to be kept rather than tossed away. The core functionality is the same as Tile’s, but Bravo’s battery can be replaced with ease. You can also use Bravo to locate a misplaced iPhone, and optionally sound a separation alarm whenever your iPhone and Bravo get too far away from one another…

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Read an exclusive free sample of Becoming Steve Jobs in iBooks

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Becoming Steve Jobs, a new book by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli about Jobs’ life, comes out on March 24th and is available to download both in digital and print. As part of a strong marketing push by Apple in the run up to the book’s release, iBooks is offering an exclusive free sample of the prologue and first chapter that you can download right now. (Update: It’s unclear what countries the sample is being offered in — readers are reporting it showing it for some but not universally.)

Apple has been heavily promoting the book in the last few days, on its iBooks Twitter account as well as through iTunes marketing emails. iBooks describes it as the ‘only book about Steve recommended by the people who knew him best’. For comparison, in one of the chapters, Tim Cook describes the Isaacson biography as a tremendous disservice.

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