Did Best Buy’s inventory database reveal Sprint’s plan to carry the iPad 4G?

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We are all familiar with the intricacies of the Best Buy inventory system’s loose lips. Sure, sometimes it is just employees playing pranks, but other times it reveals honest to goodness new stuff.

On that note, Sprint 4G (“new”) iPads have appeared in this system, and they were screen-grabbed for all to see. This one makes some sense for a few reasons:

1. Sprint and Apple are now partners with the iPhone 4S, so the relationship is already in place.

2. Sprint is building a LTE network that will be compatible with the iPad, but it has not released even one device on that network yet, including the LTE Galaxy Nexus that it already announced. Apple likes to release on finished products.

3. Apple would not pre-announce something months away when people could buy something now on AT&T or Verizon (or in a few days).

4. We heard about Sprint testing iPads.

If you are a die-hard Sprint customer, you might have an iPad option in the near future.

 

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NPD: Apple grabs almost a fifth of all holiday consumer electronics sales, Apple Stores second only to Best Buy and Walmart in revenue

Apple’s $46.33 billion dollar holiday quarter and the 73+ million shipped Macs and iOS devices are clear standouts in the newest NPD research note exposing Apple as the only brand to have grown sales in the all-important holiday quarter. The same cannot be said for rivals Hewlett-Packard, Samsung, Sony, and Dell, which all experienced missteps in holiday-quarter gadget sales. Five consumer electronics categories (PCs, TVs, tablets/e-readers, mobile phones and video game hardware) drove nearly 60 percent of all sales in 2011. Apple’s share of total revenue across these five important categories rose 36 percent year-over-year, according to NPD.

As a result, Macs, iPhones, iPods, iPads, Apple TVs and the company’s other consumer electronics gear accounted for 19 percent of all sales dollars. That is almost twice as much as No. 2 Hewlett-Packard. HP’s, Samsung’s, Sony’s and Dell’s sales dipped 3 percent, 6 percent, 21 percent, and 17 percent, respectively. Apple Retail was No. 3 in terms of revenue, right after No. 1 Best Buy and second-ranked Walmart. Staples and Amazon tied for fourth place to round out the top five—a repeat of 2010.

By the way, did you notice which two consumer electronics categories lack a dedicated Apple offering?

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Apple TVs are disappearing from shelves, could see an update next month as well

We learned last year that the new iPad is codenamed “J2″ in the iOS 5.1Beta software, and we learned last week that it will probably be announced at the beginning of next month. However, we also learned about another Apple Jxx product: The next Apple TV. It is codenamed “J33” and “AppleTV 3,1″ in the 5.1B software. This new Apple TV will also feature the low-power Bluetooth 4.0 technology. Perhaps, besides both showing up in iOS 5.1 software, the Jxx devices are also A6 devices? We cannot tell if this new device will be a 1080P/A6 upgrade from the current or something bigger.

So, when will it be delivered?

One of our Best Buy sources just pinged us and alerted us that Apple TV is not just out of stock at his store, but Apple TVs are no longer shipping to the stores at all anymore.

A customer was inquiring tonight about Apple TV. However right now we are out of stock (Which hasn’t happened since I started). Not only were we out of stock, but also I was also unable to order one from our product ordering system (OMS). Product was listed as “currently unavailable”. From prior experience, this usually is associated with a product that is being “discontinued”.

A visit to Best Buy.com shows that it is out of stock online. Only some stores have them in stock and if those are like our tipster’s, as seen above, they cannot order any more either. A quick check around the web shows an eerily similar pattern: Amazon is out for “2-5 weeks”, as seen below, which fits into Apple’s iPad announcement window, and it has returned to calling it the “2010 model.” Some of Amazon’s third party retailers do have them in stock, however.

We checked Target and many others too… Read more

Best Buy and Taiwanese tablet vendor borrow marketing cues from Apple ahead of Super Bowl advertising craze


last year’s 

The iPhone maker is many things to many people and it is easy to overlook Apple’s powerful marketing amidst the popularity of its gadgets. Yet, the two are inseparably intertwined. No wonder well-known names in business are (again) taking cues from Apple’s marketing cookbook, including United States specialty retailer of consumer electronics Best Buy that uncharacteristically decided to break away from the usual Super Bowl advertising featuring celebrities, which seems to be norm these days.

Instead, its new approach calls for celebrating technology innovators, a concept Apple popularized back in 1997 with the “Think Different” campaign. According to Bloomberg, the retailer opted to feature Silicon Valley inventors, such as Instagram cofounder Kevin Systrom and camera phone pioneer Philippe Kahn who will help bring home the message at Sunday’s big game. From the mouth of Best Buy’s Marketing Chief Drew Panayiotou:

Big brands like to hire celebrities. We looked at everyone from George Clooney to Stephen Colbert. We believe the inventors are more than enough. I give those 125 million viewers a lot of credit. I think they’ll appreciate the story. […] They may not be at the same level as Steve Jobs, but they created some amazing stuff.

Eagle-eyed readers could point out that the retailer last holiday season aired Apple-focused adverts promoting its store-within-a-store displays, seen below. However, Best Buy’s latest creative concept marks a departure from its past Super Bowl campaigns that tapped celebrities, such as heavy metal rocker Ozzy Osbourne and teen heartthrob Justin Bieber. Meanwhile, a Taiwanese vendor is treading the fine line between originality and a display of disrespectfulness by featuring a Steve Jobs imitator to drum up excitement for its upcoming Android slab. Check it out that commercial in a clip included right after the break.

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Apple Store coming to London’s world-famous Harrods department store

Apple has opened retail stores prime locations like Grand Central Station and Fifth Avenue in New York, Covent Garden in London, the Louvre in Paris, and its Beijing store with a 40-foot curved glass exterior. While those stores may be large, beautifully architected, and significant, Apple is preparing a new store that will be even more extraordinary for the decade-old retail chain…

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Apple reportedly looking to open iconic retail store in Queens, NY

Apple currently has only one other Apple Store in New York City outside of Manhattan that is located in Staten Island. Things could change, however, according to a new report from NY Daily News that clamed retail developer Yeheskel Elia is working with Apple to bring an “iconic store” to Queens, New York. The specific location of the store would be Austin Street in Forest Hills.

Nothing is official because Elia and Apple are still working on more details. Elia said he would do anything to bring an Apple Store to the bustling area. If a deal is reached, Elia said a store could open in under a year. Several months ago, an Apple broker also reached out to Elia regarding the new store.

The deal would be a “kick in the pants” to the neighboring rival Brooklyn who, with borough president Marty Markowitz and local hipster legions, has campaigned nonstop for an Apple Store for years.

When NY Daily News reached out for comment from Apple, in a typical fashion they responded, Apple has “made no announcements” regarding a NYC store outside of Manhattan (sorry Staten Island).

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Siri now lets users access the entire Best Buy product catalog

As noted by RazorianFly, Siri can now help users retrieve the best deals for consumer electronics and gadgets sold at Best Buy. How does she handle this, you might ask? Well, Siri gets some of its answers from the acclaimed answer-engine Wolfram|Alpha.

Wolfram Research announced yesterday they are leveraging data from Best Buy’s public application programming interface, allowing users to browse more than 35,000 appliances and consumer electronics products sold by Best Buy.

Third-party applications and services that integrate with Siri automatically benefit, so Siri is now able to deliver answers to your product-related queries sourced from Best Buy’s vast database.

In addition, taking into account Wolfram|Alpha’s clever decision-making and analysis engine and Siri’s natural-language interface, you can ask her to, let’s say, list plasma TVs larger than 50-inches. Even though Best Buy-sourced answers are laid out as any other information Siri sources from the web, Apple could -in the future- take advantage of Best Buy’s public APIs to produce rich results sporting product images, categories, more meta data and so forth.

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Your best Black Friday deals are on at 9to5Mac and 9to5Toys

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Like everyone, we’re gearing up for Black Friday with the best online and offline deals on electronics products that our readers are after.  Always ongoing, 9to5Toys.com has the best deals on Apple products and accessories from around the web, including some cool new stuff you might not have seen elsewhere.  However, starting on Black Friday morning at Midnight, we’ll be promoting the best deals throughout the day on 9to5mac.com, making sure you have the lowest price options on all of your Apple products and accessories.

As always, we aren’t just going to barf out a list of prices from retailers.  We curate to only find exceptional deals.  For instance, we were the first to find the Apple Store Black Friday Ad which showcases the 11.6″ MacBook Air starting at $898.

Also, no one touches this Best Buy $200 off  13-inch MacBook Air we dug up earlier this week.  We’re seeing 1080P displays falling below $100 (here and here) at MacConnection already.  We’re finding iPods and iPads which will be at their lowest prices ever and often be bundled with free accesories and giftcards.  There is tons of Free Music at Amazon. The list goes on and on.

Make sure to stop by on Black Friday and as always 9to5Toys for the latest deals. Read more

aTV Flash (black) hack from FireCore goes 1.0, on sale

You don’t need this software to hack an AppleTV but it makes things easier.

aTV Flash (black) is a user-friendly software package that supercharges your new black AppleTV, unleashing a plethora of new functionality. Don’t worry about the technical details – aTV Flash (black) is simple to use and safe for your AppleTV. Installation is a snap and doesn’t require any physical changes to the AppleTV.

MacUpdate has it for the sale price of $19.99 today only.  AppleTV (2010) went on sale for $89.99 at Amazon matching Best Buy so you are looking at $110 for the whole shebang.  If you have an old AppleTV, they’ve got you covered there as well.  Full features below:

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Review: Lifeproof case is like a dry suit for your iPhone

I had a chance this week to demo a iPhone 4 and 4S case from a company called LifeProof that purports to offer 100% waterproof and military graded shockproof protection to iPhone 4 and 4S.  There are other cases that offer this type of protection, but this one is relatively thin and also allows you to hear the speakers and use the mic thanks to micro-holed that are so small that water can’t get through but sound can.  It also allows easy plugging in of a charging cable (forget docks) or headphone set with a convenient little O-ring adapter.

Well, it is certainly waterproof (even if it is really hard to let your iPhone go into the water the first time – what if you forgot to snap even one bit and it leaks?!  There goes $600!).  But it does work as advertised.  At the showstoppers event, LifeProof were throwing them on the carpeted floor which didn’t seem all that harrowing.  At home, I dropped it on hardwood from waist high (accidentally, incidentally) and the phone didn’t even see a scratch.  The underwater images below were taken after the drop so the case appears to have weathered the storm as well.

Whenever my toddler gets the iPhone 4, he also gets the LifeProof case.  You can pick up the LifeProof Cases at Best Buy for $79 in Black or White Read more

15% off Apple iTunes Gift Cards at Best Buy

From 9to5Toys.com:

Best Buy takes 15% off all Apple iTunes Gift Cards. With free shipping, that’s the best deal we could find on these cards and the first time we’ve seen them discounted since June, when Target took 20% off in-store only. After the discount, a..

$15 gift card costs $12.75

$50 gift card costs $42.50

$100 gift card costs $85, among others (3 pack of $10 for $25).

They’re good for music, videos, iBooks and iOS/Mac app purchases. Read more