Apps & updates: eBay for iPad, The Daily for iPhone, Google Currents Retina support, more

A number of notable apps were released or updated today on the App Store like the release of previously iPad-only news app The Daily, which was originally launched by News Corp last year. We also get a new iPad app from NBC offering video coverage, interactive tools, and live election results for breaking political news, as well as a completely redesigned iPad app for eBay, and more.

The Daily: Like the iPad version, The Daily iPhone client is free with a selection of content accessible to everyone. However, you will need to grab a $20 per year or $2 per month subscription to access the entire app, which is considerably less than the $40 per year and $1 per week offered with the iPad version.

eBay for iPad: This app received a huge update today bringing support for Retina displays, a redesigned home screen, “ultra-high resolution item images,” and many enhancements made to search results and notifications. The online auction and shopping website also noted it added some of the top requested features from users, such as: revise listings, back button, and improved search.

Google Currents: It is not a huge update, but Google updated its free magazine-style news app today with support for iPad Retina displays and the usual bug fixes.

NBC Politics: NBC’s new universal iOS app provides coverage of all-things politics with video coverage including interviews and shows like “Andrea Mitchell Reports” and “Morning Joe.” It also offers an interactive “Battleground Map,” real-time live election results, candidate profiles, and sharing features.

Lowe’s Virtual Experience: Lowe’s released a universal iOS app today allowing you to view 3D models of its major appliances available in its physical retail locations. It employs augmented reality to allow you to view and walk around the products in your home—as if your kitchen was the showroom.

Assassin’s Creed Rearmed: Ubisoft’s latest iOS spin-off of the Assassin’s Creed franchise was updated today with bug fixes for crashing during the character selection screen. But, more importantly, a new “Synergy” feature now allows you to “hack the Animus and use normal abilities in spectacular ways.” There are a eight abilities, such as: Smoke Bomb Immunity, Instant Trap, and Killing Knives. Read more

iPad 2 trade-ins as high as $450 ahead of new iPad launch

If you plan to trade-in your iPad 2 and pick up a third-generation iPad when it launches on Friday morning, Apple is now giving you another option by offering up to $320 in trade-in value (Apple Store gift cards) for an iPad 2 depending on the condition and model. To get the full $320 from Apple’s Reuse and Recycle program, you will need a 64GB Wi-Fi + 3G model in near perfect condition. On the entry-level 16GB Wi-Fi model, Apple is offering $205. Before the new iPad unveiling, we told you our Top 10 places to trade an iPad for cash or credit, and a few of those options are still providing slightly more than Apple in many cases.

A quick look at a couple of the other popular options—Gazelle and Amazon—will get you just over $400 for an AT&T 64GB Wi-Fi + 3G iPad in “flawless” condition, which is quite a bit more than Apple is offering. Of course, for your iPad to qualify for that much, it will have to “look like it has never been used,” according to Gazelle. Some listings on Amazon are as high as $450. Those options also give you alternative payout methods. In the case of Gazelle, you will be able to get your trade-in value by check, PayPal, or an Amazon gift card. Trade-in values will likely start to fall after the new iPad’s rollout, but Gazelle told us it has seen a 700-percent increase in trade-ins since the new iPad announcement with over 150,000 iPad offers in total so far. Apple’s announcement that the iPad 2’s new $399 price tag was great for education and it certainly did not hurt demand for the iPad 2.

Before you sell your iPad, you will want to get it prepared, cleaned, and packed to get the maximum trade-in value. After the break, you will find step-by-step tips for doing exactly that, courtesy of Gazelle:
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Top 10 places to trade an iPad for cash or credit

The Internet is abuzz with stats about iPad trade-ins going through the roof as the March 7 iPad 3 unveiling in San Francisco looms closer, and while percentages and graphs are vaguely interesting, the real meat to the story concerns where and how people can get the most bang for their buck.

Look no further as 9to5Mac compiled a list of places to trade in an ole’ dusty iPad for cash or credit to buy Apple’s upcoming toy. Before perusing the options, identify the condition, features, and model of the swappable iPad. This knowledge will help decide its maximum value, because most of these online programs use a survey to determine the slate’s estimate. Moreover, it is prudent to act now as some reports indicate retailers are steadily dropping prices with Apple’s event drawing nearer.

Trade-in websites and their prices are available below. 

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Steve Jobs figurine legal in most states, begins to hit eBay

We reported yesterday that Apple was requesting Chinese manufacturer In Icon to cease production of what is probably the most realistic Steve Jobs figurine to date. While we already knew CEO Tandy Cheung’s stance on Apple having the copyright to Steve’s likeness, a new report from Paid Content claimed the doll is in fact legal in most states and “Apple’s legal claim is largely bogus.”

The report explained that people do own the rights to their likeness, but most American states do not recognize these rights after death. In fact, according to Paid Content, only a dozen states currently recognize “personality rights” after death.

What this means is that Apple’s warning about the doll is an empty threat in most places. It may not even be able to stop others from using the name Steve Jobs as, surprisingly, the term does not appear on the company’s long list of registered trademarks.

In light of that news, several of the figurines appear to have made their way to different eBay stores globally. One —on the United States eBay store— is listed with a ‘Buy It Now’ price of US $138.88 and ships straight from Hong Kong. The figurines have also landed on the Australian eBay here. You can still preorder from In Icons’ official website for $109.99 with shipping expected to start in February. However, the website noted it is a ‘first-come, first-served’ policy with refunds being issued when initial limited stock runs out.

Paid Content cited the following list of states where the doll could potentially run into an issue, according to a recent paper on Dignitarian Posthumous Personality Rights:

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Rare Steve Jobs autographed iPod shuffle is up for auction on eBay (Update: Pulled)

Update: The auction was pulled, but it is unknown as to the reason.

A fourth-generation iPod shuffle autographed by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is depicted in the image above. The owner put the device up for auction on eBay, and the bidding currently sits around US $4,000 US $10,000.

The iPod’s owner said he and three colleagues were invited to attend an Apple event in conjunction with the “innovators of tomorrow” program, where they had the rare opportunity to ask Jobs for his signature. After the event wrapped, the owner approached Jobs:

“I hear you’re not really one to give autographs, but I just gotta ask…. will you sign my iPod? It’s fine if you don’t want to. I’m not normally one to even ask for autographs.” 

According to the seller’s account, Jobs responded:
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New base iMac: $1050, iPod touch $160, more

From 9to5Toys.com:

Today only, Buy.com via eBay Daily Deals has the 21.5″ iMac Core i5 base configuration for $1049.99 with free shipping. That matches Best Buy’s Black Friday price (but with Tax in fewer locations) and the lowest we’ve seen.

Buy.com also offers the base model 13″ MacBook Pro for $1049.99 with free shipping (Update:OVER).  MacConnection offers almost the same machine for $999.

MacMall offers a number of Closeouts on new, one generation old MacBook Airs and Pros (w/$50 rebate), below:

(Bonus: Best Buy has iPod Touch 8GB in white or black for $189 with a $30 Gift card.  Amazon ‘matches’ this with music giftcard.) Read more

Apple joins other tech firms in Digital Due Process group

As the Electronic Frontier Foundation notes, Apple (and Dropbox) have joined up with the Digital Due Process group which seeks to modernize digital surveilance laws.

In April we launched “Who Has Your Back”, a campaign calling on major Internet companies like Google, Amazon and Microsoft to stand with their users when it comes to government demands for users’ data. Today, we’re pleased to see that two of the thirteen companies highlighted in our petition, Apple and Dropbox, have agreed to one of our requests: that they stand up for user privacy in Congress by joining the Digital Due Process coalition.

Digital Due Process is a diverse coalition of privacy advocates like EFF, ACLU and the Center for Democracy & Technology and major companies like AT&T, eBay and Comcast that has come together with the shared goal of modernizing surveillance laws for the Internet age. The DDP coalition is especially focused on pressing Congress to update the woefully-outdated Electronic Communications Privacy Act or “ECPA.”

The timing of the announcement would seem to coincide nicely with Apple’s iCloud release in the coming days. Now that Apple is a Cloud vendor (OK MobileMe, .mac, eworld were all Cloud too), it would be good to hear where they stand on giving private data to law enforcement or foreign governments.
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Apple requests safe return of its 3G MacBook Pro prototype

We told you a couple weeks ago about the possibility Apple was testing 3G MacBook Pro designs back in 2007 after a prototype popped up on Ebay recently. After reaching nearly $70,000 in bids, it looks like Apple is stepping in and requesting the device be returned.

A report from CNET today sheds a little more light on the current situation of the seller, who was allegedly contacted by Apple to return the machine to local Apple employees after the company had the eBay listing removed citing copyright, trademark, and IP infringement.

A little more back story surrounding the device and it’s eBay auction also emerged in the report… Read more

iPhone 4 prototype available on Ebay

Have you ever wanted to get your hands on an iPhone that Apple engineers have used for testing? If you’ve got 5 figures to blow on a non working phone, now’s your chance because an iPhone 4 prototype has shown up on Ebay. The listing comes from a user by the name of jtmaxo, who lists the device as ‘Apple iPhone 4 black APPLE GENUINE PROTOTYPE, GENUINE’. In the description the users states the device as a GSM iPhone labeled with the model number XXXXX FCC ID: BCGAXXXXX IC ID: 579C-AXXXXX.

Just like Gizmodo’s iPhone 4 prototype, the volume buttons are missing ‘+’ and ‘-‘ labels and storage information (XXGB) on the back of the device. Also, the seller says the device won’t activate through an AT&T SIM card plugged in through iTunes. Lastly, on the front of the device a ‘DF1692′ label is shown, which is thought of as a tracking code used by Apple. When the seller searched the serial number on Apple.com, it returned no results. So, where did the seller get this device?

(update: the prices keep fluctuating.  It was over $100,000 last night but somehow is down to $7K this morning.  Apple will likely pull this auction anyway.)

via This is my next

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Black MacBook Airs coming soon? (Update: another source says unseen)

MacRumors is reporting that Apple is readying Black MacBook Airs in its next refresh.

We’ve received several anonymous tips claiming that at least some models of the next-generation MacBook Air will be be available with a black finish, different from the aluminum case used on the current MacBook Air and most of Apple’s other Macs. The most specific of the claims suggests that a black anodized aluminum case would be available on a top-end MacBook Air model, in much the same way as Apple once offered a high-end black MacBook on top of the standard white offerings.

Remember that when we first broke the news of a MacBook Air way back in 2007 (without Optical drives), we’d been told there was a black version.  That information was later verified with the Ebay auction selling a prototype MacBook Air with a Black aluminum shell (pictured above, another shot below).

We’ve also received an anonymous tip with a similar Lion/Sandy Bridge/Thunderbolt/Next few weeks release information.  That tip also said a $899 starting price point.

Update: A reliable source has told us that they haven’t seen any Black in the new MacBook Air materials

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Prototype of Apple's first portable Mac hits eBay

A prototype of Apple’s first portable Macintosh has just been posted for sale on eBay. The device is said to have not been intended for sale and is clearly marked as a prototype unit with a label stating “this device is a demonstration unit only. Production units will comply with all applicable Federal Rules and Regulations.”  The device itself is in “perfect condition” but does not power on. By perfect the seller means the outside as the inside contains a defunct acid battery.

The Macintosh Portable is the basis for the laptop computers we use today. It ran on a rechargeable battery , included a screen which flipped shut and had an input device. In the case of the Macintosh Portable is was a trackball. More photos of the protoype device are at eBay.

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After $2500 sale, Steve Jobs action figures popping up all over eBay

That lovely Steve Jobs action figure you see up there went on auction for $2500 recently.  Only 100-300 were sold through MIC Gadget before the operation was shut down by Apple, making the items a rare find for collectors.  More have cropped up on eBay fetching prices from $1000.. to.. $2500.

BTW, is anyone interested in ours?  We may have a charity auction or something later this month.  Check twitter for updates. Read more