Apple adds refurbished Retina 5K iMac to online store, prices start at $2,119

apple-imac-5k-retina

Apple has recently added the 27-inch iMac with Retina display, originally released in October 2014, to the refurbished section of its online store. Currently, the baseline 5K iMac with a 3.5 GHz quad-core Core i5 processor, 8 GB of RAM, a 1 TB Fusion Drive, and an AMD Radeon R9 graphics processor will cost you $2,119 refurbished from Apple. That’s $380 – or 15%- off the price of a new model.

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Samsung brings in new design chief from Apple designer Jony Ive’s former firm

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Samsung announced last year that, after negative reviews of the design of its Galaxy S5, its head of mobile design Change Dong-hoon was being replaced by then VP of mobile design Lee Min-hyouck. Today, however, it was revealed that the company is bringing in an outside designer to help refresh its product lineup. A report from the Korea Herald states that Samsung has hired Lee Don-tae to be its new head of design. Don-tae would lead design of all Samsung gadgets, including smartphones.

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Apple planning 5 new Chinese retail store openings by Feb, hiring for 15 new locations

Angela Ahrendts

Apple is committed to its promise of expanding its retail presence in China from 15 to 40 stores within two years. Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts told Chinese website Xinhua on Thursday that the iPhone maker is gearing up to open five new stores in roughly five weeks.

“We are opening five new stores before the Chinese New Year this year. Four of the stores are in brand new cities for us,” said Ahrendts in a telephone interview with Xinhua. The new locations will be opened in time for China‘s Spring Festival, a popular shopping season that commemorates the Chinese New Year, on February 19. Read more

Apple says iBooks adding 1M new users a week since being preinstalled on iOS 8

Keith-Moerer-Apple-01

Apple’s Director of iBooks Store Keith Moerer appeared at the Digital Book World Conference today to talk iBooks, and during the interview offered some updates on stats and insights into how Apple’s book business is going. Of note, Moerer said Apple has added about 1 million new iBooks users a week, which he said is in part thanks to Apple’s decision to preinstall iBooks on devices with its iOS 8 release in September.

The interview was covered in a number of tweets (below) by those attending event and the official Digital Book World account. Read more

Touching the dial: How iTunes Radio could be tuned for a better user experience

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iTunes Radio, Apple’s first real foray into streaming music, made its public debut back in June 2013, where it was announced alongside iOS 7. Over a year since its release, the service hasn’t exactly taken over the world, quite literally. It’s still only available in the United States and Australia. If you compared iTunes Radio today with iTunes Radio as it existed the day it was first available to use, you’ll notice that not much has really changed.

Of course, just last May, Apple announced its acquisition of Beats Electronics, which brought along with it Beats Music, a robust and almost entirely different approach to streaming music. While Apple may seek to integrate Beats Music more tightly with iTunes in the future, at this time it hasn’t.

So in the meantime, what could Apple do to make iTunes Radio more appealing to customers? Some might say the music selection is limited, or that streaming doesn’t always work correctly. However, focusing on the service strictly from a feature standpoint, there are many small changes and additions Apple could implement that would have a huge impact on the usefulness and utility of iTunes Radio. Let’s take a look.

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Review: ZeroChroma’s Folio-Slide and Slide-Lid Keyboard expand iPad Air 2 stand, keyboard case options

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History suggested that iPad Air 2 cases would be far more numerous after January’s annual CES show, but due to unexpected production delays, there still aren’t many choices out there. But thanks to ZeroChroma, there are two largely bright spots on the horizon: a finished case called Folio-Slide for iPad Air 2 ($70), and an upcoming $100 version called Folio-Slide with Slide-Lid Keyboard, both of which I’ve been testing for the past week.

The basic version of Folio-Slide is the iPad Air 2-compatible sequel to the very best case I’ve tested for the original iPad Air – one I highly recommended in an iPad case and stand roundup last year. But this year’s version regrettably took a couple of design shortcuts in order to quickly reach the market, the details of which may or may not matter to you. On the other hand, ZeroChroma’s Slide-Lid Keyboard is a truly interesting new add-on that will really appeal to iPad Air and iPad Air 2 owners. Read on for all the details.

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Opinion: Could there be method in Apple’s apparent madness in removing freebies?

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I was extremely surprised when Apple made the decision to drop its Single of the Week, after doing the same thing with its 12 Days of Christmas promo. As I wrote then, the free single seemed a win-win-win: consumers got free music, lesser-known artists got exposure, Apple got the goodwill that stems from giving away free stuff.

But thinking more about it, perhaps there is method in Apple’s madness after all. Let’s start with the obvious point: the company is about to launch an Apple-branded Beats Music service, and it would then make sense to say that this, not iTunes freebies, is the way to discover new music.

But it’s not just music: 12 Days of Christmas was content of all types, apps included, so I think there could be a bigger picture here. Bear with me while I make that case in a slightly roundabout fashion …

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Bank of America announces 1.1 million cards using Apple Pay, new grocery stores add support

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Bank of America, which partnered with Apple to rollout Apple Pay at launch last October, has announced new customer data on adoption of the iPhone-based mobile payment service. The bank’s most recent quarterly earnings reveal that nearly 800,000 of its customers have begun using Apple Pay with a total of about 1.1 million debit and credit cards activated.

In addition to the latest customer data from Bank of America, support for paying with Apple Pay is popping up in another grocery store chain… Read more

T-Mobile introduces new Simply Prepaid plans starting at $40/month

Simply Prepaid T-Mobile

T-Mobile continues to shake up the wireless industry by introducing a number of affordable plans and options as part of its ongoing Un-carrier initiative. Today, the carrier announced that it is expanding choices for prepaid customers with new Simply Prepaid plans for as little as $40 per month. The new plans will be available for new and existing customers on January 25th. Read more

Parallels Access gains new file manager, iPhone 6 support & web version

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Parallels Access today received a significant version 2.5 update with support for the iPhone 6 & iPhone 6 Plus, a new file managing system, improved audio controls, and a new web browser-based version. Parallels Access, as we covered upon its launch for the iPhone last year, is a robust remote computing application that allows you to view and control multiple Macs or Windows PCs via an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Android device.

Besides support for the larger, higher-resolution iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus displays, this new version introduces an improved file management system. The new file picker leverages the new tools in iOS 8 to better work with other applications like Dropbox and Google Drive. Parallels shares the list of enhancements to the feature:

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Xiaomi aims to take on the iPhone 6 Plus with new 5.7″ Note phablet

Image via @DarthMowl

Image via Darth Mowl

After teasing a super-thin new smartphone earlier this week, smartphone maker (or, maybe more accurately, “smartclone maker”) Xiaomi revealed its 2015 flagship model, the Note. Just to be clear, this is an entirely new device, and doesn’t seem to be related to the company’s existing “Redmi Note” smartphone.

It’s also not related to Samsung’s similarly named devices, though it hardly seems unreasonable to think that Samsung’s execs aren’t exactly pleased with the name. iPhone users may detect quite a bit of irony (karma, perhaps?) watching the Korean company squirm as it gets ripped off by a competitor, though.

The 5.7-inch phone is positioned as an iPhone 6 Plus competitor. It features a 1080p display, a 13-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization—a far cry from Apple’s 8 MP shooter—and a 4 MP front-facing camera.

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Apple seeds new OS X 10.10.2 beta with build number 14C99d to developers

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Apple has released a new beta version of OS X 10.10.2 to developers through the App Store’s software update mechanism and the Mac Developer Center. The update, which has a build number of 14C99d (compared to 14C94b in the previous release) is not yet available to AppleSeed users.

The 10.10.2 update will include fixes for common Wi-Fi problems, issues with the built-in Mail app, VoiceOver, and more. With only one week passing between pre-release builds, it seems the patch is getting closer to completion, and could be expected for public release soon.