Get exclusive access to Incase’s killer new bags + a free power pack and giveaway entry!

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Update: Giveaway winners!! Shoot me an email (jordan@9to5mac.com) with your shipping info using the same email you used to enter. Congrats!

Reform Backpack bundle – Keith Jones

Reform Action Camera Pack bundle – Randy Fang

Reform Sling bundle – Robert a Stine III

Incase has always been one of our favorite brands selling bags for Apple and camera gear. You’ve likely seen their bags in Apple stores and on Apple’s online store. But for the new REFORM collection launching next month, 9to5Mac readers get access before anyone else.

Starting today, 9to5Mac readers only can purchase the bag before they’ve launched to the public and have their order ship before the launch date next month. All orders of the new Incase bags during our exclusive presale event using promo code “9to5Mac” will also get a free Portable Power 2500 battery pack worth $50.

In addition, you’ll also be automatically entered into a giveaway to win an Incase bag full of accessories for your Apple devices (details below).  Read more

Apple offering developers expedited Apple Watch deliveries by random selection

 

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Apple is sending out invites to random registered developers, giving them the chance to buy an Apple Watch with guaranteed delivery by the end of the month. Developer get the opportunity to buy a 42 mm Apple Watch Sport with shipment by the 28th of April. Apple is emailing selected developers, who are offered to apply here.

The process is by application only. Developers find out whether they are eligible to actually go through with the purchase on the 23rd of April, this Thursday.

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Apple to require more secure, stringent return process for Apple Watch Edition

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Beyond a unique sales process and exclusivity to select stores, even returning the Apple Watch Edition will have its own special process. Bringing the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition back to an Apple Store for a refund will require the device to be scrutinized under micro-inspection by Apple Store staff, according to sources. While the return process itself is unique, the return timeframe will be the standard 14 days like most of Apple’s other products…

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Apple plans relaunched Beats streaming music service for WWDC, skipping March event; Apple TV still coming

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Apple won’t take the wraps off of its upcoming Beats-based music streaming service at its March 9 “Spring Forward” event, according to music industry sources briefed on the launch timeline. Instead, Apple currently plans to introduce the service, at least in beta form, at its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in early June. The WWDC keynote likely takes place on Monday, June 8th, and that’s the event where the debut will occur. The new iTunes music streaming service is based on technology acquired from Beats Music, including curated playlists, cloud-based libraries, and offerings customized to the musical tastes of individual users. The service will be priced as high as $7.99 per month, which is less expensive than current $9.99 pricing for Beats Music, Spotify, and Rdio…

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Apple Watch’s retail sales pitch revealed: 3 key features, switch to iPhone, focus on bands

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With next week’s Apple Watch event fast approaching, Apple has revealed its retail selling strategies to employees, including a focus on “three key features” and a plan to encourage Watch customers to upgrade or switch to new iPhones. According to selling guidelines provided by sources within Apple Retail, Apple believes that “many customers have already decided they want an Apple Watch,” and will use the Watch to “position the benefits” of purchasing a compatible iPhone model. Retail employees have been told to ask customers about their iPhone usage habits, their favorite feature in iOS 8, and if they use health and fitness software on their iPhone…

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This is Apple’s retail store gameplan for iPhone 6/Plus launch

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The big day is almost here. After months of speculation, a momentous keynote from Tim Cook, and record preorders, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will officially hit store shelves this Friday. Apple is going to great lengths to ensure that Friday runs smoothly for its customers and employees.

We’ve tracked down Apple’s retail gameplan so you’ll know what to expect on launch day including what percentage of iPhones Apple Stores are required to hold back, refreshment times (Starbucks usually) and Personal Setup details …
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EA says reports Apple paid for Plants vs Zombies 2 iOS exclusive ‘an unfortunate misunderstanding’

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Yesterday a story popped up Giant Bomb claiming that EA executive Frank Gibeau said Apple had paid the company a “truckload of money” to launch PopCap’s much anticipated Plants vs Zombies 2 title as an iOS exclusive. Apple quickly denied the comments in a brief statement following the story and said that no money was exchanged with the publisher. As if that wasn’t enough, EA representatives today issued an official statement on the matter saying that the comment was taken out of context (via PocketGamer):

“A comment from an internal meeting taken out of context has created an unfortunate misunderstanding,” says EA’s statement.

“Reports of a paid relationship between Apple and EA are factually inaccurate, and we apologise for any confusion.”

Gibeau’s comments were clearly taken out of context, and we tend to believe that Apple didn’t offer up any cash in exchange for Plants vs Zombies 2 landing on iOS before Android. But what did he really mean with his “truckload of money” comment? Perhaps EA knew it would receive favorable placement in the App Store as a much hyped iOS exclusive?

There are a lot of unanswered questions about how Apple goes about featuring and ranking apps on the App Store, but it’s big money for developers who often see enormous boost in revenue and downloads when featured on the store.

Last month a report from Fiksu noted changes in how Apple ranks apps and seems to be incorporating user ratings and other new metrics, but this is the first we’ve heard of Apple possibly working with developers to have apps launch exclusively on iOS.

Pebble smart watch announces Best Buy as exclusive retail launch partner, available online today & in stores July 7

Yesterday we noted that Best Buy retail sources indicated the popular ‘Pebble’ Bluetooth smart watch would be landing on at least some of the retailer’s store shelves this weekend. Today Pebble and Best Buy have finally made things official by announcing the partnership that will bring the most successful Kickstarter-backed device of all time to both Best Buy online and across all its U.S. brick and mortar locations.

It’s definitely big news for the company ahead of Apple’s rumored smart watch, as well as Sony and others getting deeper into the space. The exclusive retail partnership with Best Buy also marks Pebble’s first retail launch of the device following raising over $10.2 million from around 68,000 backers on Kickstarter.

“It’s been so rewarding to see and share the great things our early backers and development partners have done with Pebble already,” says CEO Eric Migicovsky. “Their work and our evolving app ecosystem has kept demand very high. Best Buy’s partnership with us is a big step towards meeting that demand.”

As we first reported yesterday, Pebble confirmed today that the device will be landing in all U.S. Best Buy locations starting Sunday, July 7, and Jet black and Cherry red editions of the smart watch are already available through Best Buy’s website. The Jet black models will be shipping starting today through the retailer’s online store, while the Cherry red models will arrive sometime later in August.

The packaging for Pebble also appears to have received an upgrade for Best Buy’s store shelves since we first saw it back in January right before the device started shipping to Kickstarter backers:

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Apple says small number of Apple TVs have WiFi issues, opens replacement program

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Apple has informed its official retail stores, AppleCare employees, and authorized resellers that a small number of third-generation Apple TV units have WiFi issues. These issues surround not being able to locate a WiFi network, unable to join a network, and dropped or intermittent connections.

Apple has determined that a very small number of Apple TV (3rd generation) products might experience one of these Wi-Fi related connectivity issues: Cannot locate network, Unable to join network, Dropped or intermittent connection.

If an Apple technician determines that an applicable Apple TV has these issues, the unit can be replaced as part of a replacement program that Apple has begun because of these WiFi issues. Apple says that replacements can be offered free of charge up to two years after the device’s purchase date.

Here are the serial number pairs that are eligible:

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Google releases free Quickoffice iPhone app for Google Apps for Business customers

After releasing a free version of the Quickoffice iPad app for its Google Apps for Business customers in December, Google today announced free iPhone and Android versions of the app exclusively for its Apps for Business customers.

Google Apps for Business can already edit Microsoft Office files using Quickoffice on an iPad, and starting today they can do the same on iPhone and Androiddevices. From Word to Excel to Powerpoint, you can make quick edits at the airport or from the back of a taxi and save and share everything in Google Drive… iPad and iPhone users can open and edit Office files directly from the Drive app. Just open Drive and select the file, make edits using Quickoffice and save it back to Drive.

Google noted the updated apps also bring new features including support for multiple Google Drive accounts, improved chart rendering, ZIP folders from multiple files, and the ability to sort Drive files by “Shared with me, Starred, and Recent”: Read more