Apple Black Friday: (RED) charity gift cards on select purchases, but much better deals at Best Buy, Target, Walmart & others

Apple Store RED Black Friday

Apple announced last night its campaign to support World AIDS Day 2014 with a series of App Store promotions and plans to donate a portion of Apple Store sales on Black Friday and Cyber Monday to the Global Fund to support the fight against AIDS. Specifically for November 28th, or Black Friday, Apple shared that select Apple products will include a special edition (RED) iTunes gift care with a percentage going toward the Global Fund, and now we know exactly which products will qualify for Apple’s (RED) promotion on Black Friday.

Supported products include the iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 5s, and iPhone 5c as well as each iPad mini, iPad Air, and iPad Air 2 which will include a $50 iTunes gift card (as well as the donation). Customers picking up an iMac, Retina iMac, MacBook Pro, Retina MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air will receive a $100 iTunes gift card. Finally, Apple will include a $25 iTunes gift card with the purchase of an iPod nano, iPod touch, Apple TV, or Beats headphones or speakers.

While it’s nice to see Apple use the Black Friday shopping event to promote (RED), its deals are admittedly less charitable than some other retailers if you’re trying to save some actual cash on your Apple or Beats purchases rather than picking up credit for iTunes or the App Store.

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Fitbit users can finally view their data in the Health app thanks to 99 cent sync tool

fitbit-sync

A 99 cent app finally allows owners of Fitbit activity trackers to view their data in Apple’s Health app. Sync Solver for Fitbit provides a daily sync of ten different pieces of data to the Health app built into iOS 8 – a feature the company itself said it had no plans to introduce.

The first sync needs to be performed manually, by tapping a button in the app, after which it will sync data automatically every 24 hours …  Read more

Apple Online Store frontpage redesigned ahead of Black Friday, pushing iOS devices, Macs and Beats accessories

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 13.42.11

For Black Friday, Apple has refreshed the frontpage of its online store with a rather-drastic redesign. Each product category now dominates the webpage, with full-bleed images of their main product lines. The new iPad updates get the top spot, but interestingly Apple TV and Beats headphones also get prime placement. In fact, the product images for Beats accessories are so large, it only takes four images to dominate the screen.

The strap-line ‘From one gift come many’ headlines the page, which also links up with Apple’s upcoming retail store holiday changes. The same tagline will soon be featured in Apple Store windows around the world, highlighting the wide scope of the iPhone and iPad, as shown below.

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Apple retail gift cards arrive in third-party stores for the holidays, in-store Beats repairs begin tomorrow

Gift-cards-gold-Apple

Apple is making a big push with gift cards for the holidays with the most notable change being gift cards for its retail stores arriving through third-party retailers, according to sources. The company already sold iTunes/App Store gift certificates through a number of retail parters, but it has just recently started selling its Apple Store gift cards outside its own channels as well. Apple Retail will also make changes to repair procedures tomorrow including the introduction of in-store repairs for Beats products.  Read more

Fitbit fitness tracking lineup dropped from Apple Online Store

Apple Watch fitness

Apple Watch will include fitness and health tracking features

Update: Fitbit statement below the fold…

If you’re in the market for a Fitbit device and you’re shopping at the Apple Store, you’ll probably have to shop elsewhere to purchase the fitness tracker. Following report from Re/Code last month that Apple planned to drop the Fitbit line of wearable devices from its Apple Store lineup, Apple has today removed the Fitbit Flex and other Fitbit products from its online store following low inventory over the past week. While its unclear why Apple is no longer selling Fitbit products through its retail channels, on the surface the move is similar to Apple’s decision to discontinue selling Bose headphones and speakers at its retail and online stores.

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Apple to grow retail stores in China from 15 to 40 within two years, says Cook

shanghai-apple-store

Tim Cook noted during Monday’s earnings call that Apple was “investing like crazy” in China, but he took the opportunity of his current visit to the country to put a specific number on the company’s retail expansion plans: it will open 25 new Apple Stores in Greater China within the next two years. Greater China includes both Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Speaking to local media, Cook also said that China would in time become Apple’s biggest market, reports the WSJ …  Read more

Bose headphones and speakers no longer available from Apple Online Store

Eddy Cue and Jimmy Iovine at Code Conference via Re/code

It was reported last week that Apple would soon stop selling Bose headphones and speakers at its Apple Store locations. Previously, a variety of Bose headphones and speakers were demoed at each Apple Store location and available for purchase there and online. All Bose speakers and headphones have since been completely removed from sale through the Apple Online Store and several Apple Retail Store locations we’ve contacted have confirmed Bose inventory is no longer available.

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Apple Store goes down to get ready for pre-orders of the new iPads

store

The online Apple Store is down as Apple readies the site to take pre-orders of the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3.

The iPad Air 2 is 18% thinner than the original Air, adds Touch ID, M8 motion-sensing chip and an AX8 processor that Apple says is 40% faster than the previous model. It also has camera and wifi improvements, and is available in gold …  Read more

Retina iMac now available for purchase as Apple Store comes back online following keynote

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 2.37.16 PM

The Apple Store online is back up following today’s event and there are a bunch of new products to check out. The new iMac with Retina 5K display is now available for purchase starting at $2499 for the base model. The updated Mac Mini is also available with prices ranging from $499 to $999.

If you’re more interested in the new iPad models announced today, you can check out pricing and configuration info for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 before ordering starts tomorrow. Older iPad models are still available at reduced prices as part of an ever-expanding lineup of tablets.

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Apple reportedly dropping Fitbit wearables from its retail stores

Apple Watch fitness

According to Re/code, Apple may soon drop the Fitbit health tracking devices from its retail stores. The report lacked a specific reason for Apple planning to no longer carry Fitbit bands but noted Fitbit’s lack of support for HealthKit on iOS 8 so far as well as Apple’s own fitness tracking device plans with the release of the Apple Watch in 2015.

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