Apple’s eBay store offers significantly better deals on Apple.com refurbs (and that’s before tax+payment advantages)

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9to5Mac first broke the news that Apple sold refurbished merchandise through its own eBay store last year, equipped with the same price tags, full warranties, and approved inspections, and now the company has dropped prices on many of those items below what it offers at store.apple.com.

9to5Toys and eventually Dealnews recently noticed a $100 price cut for Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Air with 1.8GHz i5 and 128GB of storage (now over). It costs $100 more at store.apple.com for the same refurbished unit.

An even better eBay deal has emerged today: Apple’s 11.6-inch MacBook Air with 1.8GHz, 4GB SDRAM and 256GB SSD is only $949. It’s certified refurbished unite, while the same refurb model goes for $1,059 on Apple.com, and the 256GB MacBook Airs start at $1,299 new. All items come with free standard shipping, and eBay adds sales tax for only a few states at purchase and allows folks to pay with PayPal and BillMeLater. Read more

Announcement: 9to5Mac Apple Products pages

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It is the holiday shopping season again, and we know many of you will be looking to buy Apple- and Apple-related products this year. To help out, we’re compiling a new section of 9to5Mac called Apple products and separate sections for each of Apple’s lines. Elsewhere, we have seen buying guides, pricing guides, related news and predictions, but we’re wrapping them up into one page per product.

How it works:

1. With the help of our 9to5Toys editors, we’re finding the lowest prices on Apple products in the U.S. and keeping a matrix of the biggest retailers’ prices. Here’s the current static matrix of MacBook Airs.

2. For the last few months and going forward, every post we do on a related product will be propagated to the page so you’ll have a roundup of the latest information on each product line. Additionally, in every post on a topic, you’ll notice a new link to the product section on the right.

3. We’ll also have a record of Apple’s past updates on each product, which should help in estimating the next product cycle.

4. Finally, we have our best predictions on upcoming products from 9to5Mac’s editors headed by Mark Gurman.

Together—this information should help Apple product users and buyers make smart, informed decisions.

Enjoy! Read more

Apple opens its first eBay store for a trial with select refurbished products

Seth Weintraub and Danny DeSilva contributed to this post.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been posting links to a mysterious Apple refurbished store that appeared on eBay about a month ago and has been hiding in plain sight ever since. Labeled only “Refurbished Outlet” with hidden corporate information and nothing in the way of contact information or a traceable backend, the store gets impressive 99.7-percent positive reviews from buyers. But, there is no information on where devices are coming from.

We thought Apple might be testing the waters to sell refurbished products directly to customers through eBay, and it seems that’s exactly what is happening. We discovered that this is in fact an Apple-run Store within eBay. It is in trial, and it could open the door to much bigger things. No one would go on the record at eBay, however.

Aside from the image fonts above, which are an uncharacteristic wreck, there are many telltale signs of Apple’s direct involvement. Just like Apple’s own refurbished products, the “refurbished outlet” products all have the following:

  • Full one-year warranty
  • Returned to like-new condition
  • iPads/iPods include a new battery
  • Received complete burn-in testing
  • Original OS re-installed
  • Repackaged with manual and cable
  • Final quality inspection by Apple

The prices on the products are also identical to the Apple Store’s refurbished prices across the board (below) Read more

Aerial shots of Apple’s NC Data Center show off 100-acre solar array, Bloom energy cells and new tactical data center[Gallery]

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Wired just published aerial shots of Apple’s data center in Maiden, N.C. from Monday, when construction crews were in the midst of laying foundation for a large structure in a northwest sylvan area, and it appears the company has just begun assembling its Bloom Energy fuel cells for biogas conversion.

According to Wired:

Our flyover captured some pretty clear images of the tactical data center, the massive solar array, and, of course, this new mystery building.

Check out some closeups of the parts below, and Wired for full gallery and details.

Read more

Prototype iPad with landscape dock connector surfaces in eBay listing

As noted by MacRumorsan eBay listing popped up today showing what appears to be a prototype 16GB iPad with two dock connectors. The iPad has always included the same, single dock connector that allows docking in portrait orientation, but the prototype in the listing shows a second dock connector that would allow for docking in landscape view.

We heard rumors several times as far back as the original iPad launch that Apple was working to add a second dock connector. The rumors were supported by several patents that surfaced. They detailed possible advancements Apple could make to its dock connectors on iOS devices. As pointed out by the report, the prototype in the eBay listing does not actually have any iPad trademarks, but just a prototype ID number instead. Otherwise, it appears to be genuine with components carrying “part numbers and copyright dates from prior to original iPad’s components.”

Read more