Staples advertises Apple TV for $49, is the office retail giant going to sell Apple products?

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Here’s an interesting find sent by a tipster. Staples, the biggest office retailer in the United States, has a page showing an Apple TV with a list price of $49.99. While that price is very low, we were not able to add it to our cart or check out because the following page said “out of stock” (screenshots below). Staples also recommended a $24.99 Apple Lightning charge and sync cable when you visit the page. In fact, there is a bunch of Apple’s products sitting on “Mockup Pages” section.

What’s going on here?

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Apps & updates: Angry Birds Space, ProCamera HD, Cut the Rope, TV Guide, more

Angry Birds Space version 1.3.0: Continuing with a consistent line up of new content following the app’s initial release, today Rovio teamed up with NASA to release an updated Angry Birds Space with 20 new levels set on Mars. Also included is two antenna egg levels, a new astronaut pig, and “three hidden rovers and landers to open special bonus levels and discover more about the NASA missions!”

Cut the Rope version 1.9: All the versions of Cut the Rope have been updated today with the new “Spooky Box” bringing 25 new levels that feature “ghosts that morph into different gameplay elements.” Also included in the update is new superpowers allowing players to control candy within the game area and access a fourth star that unlocks additional levels.

ProCamera HD: The full-featured professional camera app previously only available for iPhone has finally made its way to the iPad with the release of ProCameraHD. The app is half off to celebrate its launch.

The iPad is an essential travel companion, especially when it comes to taking videos and photos. With the built-in iPad 5-megapixel camera you can take high-resolution photos and 1080p HD video (720p HD video on iPad 2). The new ProCamera HD app takes pictures and videos better and faster, and helps you get more out of your images with the expert mode and other tools! The SnapTrigger is perfectly adapted to the iPad: You decide where the control bar is located on the screen; this allows you to take photos and videos your way. The new internal library Lightbox allows you to delete, share, and export multiple photos and videos easily.

Doodle Jump version 3.0: A huge update to the popular Doodle Jump game from developers Lima Sky. In its biggest update yet, the game now includes a new Ninja theme with “all-new power-ups, monsters, obstacles (read: BEAR TRAPS), and COINS that you can collect.” The update also includes a ton of other new outfits, abilities, and upgrades.

Well version 1.1: This new social app —developed by former Digg, Blip.fm, and Rackspace engineers— essentially allows users to share their To-Do lists. A few key features include suggestions from friends, and the ability to re-list interesting To-Dos, as well as popular lists for discovering content and more. Visit http://well.io/ for more information.

TV Guide version 3.0: The official TV Guide iOS app received a complete redesign today with a bunch of new features for its over 7 million users. A full list of what’s new is below: Read more

Hulu Plus sneaks its way onto Apple TV, one week free trial

We broke the news late last year that Apple was working on a Hulu Plus app for Apple TV. Unfortunately, getting the app to the Apple TV was a political issue, not a technical one.

We’ve gotten word that inside Apple there are Apple TVs running the Hulu Plus app natively. The app is feature complete and ready to roll out to Apple TV users on current builds. In fact, it has been ready for at least a month and development is now on hold.

While there are no technical issues standing in the way of the Hulu Plus release on Apple TV, there appear to be some political ones. At some level at Apple, there appears to be some consideration that the Hulu Plus app could eat into iTunes TV sales on the Apple TV. Where Netflix tends to run older programming, iTunes is the Apple TV’s only outlet for current TV programming….

Today, our Apple TVs are lighting up with some Hulu Plus goodness. If you do not see it, a quick reboot will bring it up. Hulu offers a free one-week trial here. Pictures directly from the screen are below.

Update: Hulu has updated its blog with the news and provided an unnecessary instructional video (Above).

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Barnes and Noble release Nook Tablet iPod touch competitor

Barnes and Noble announced their Nook Tablet today, a successor to their now $199 Nook Color.  The $249 dual core tablet is aimed squarely at the $199 Kindle Fire but has 10GB more (16GB total) storage and the ability to add up to 32GB via micro SD card.  It also has a superior screen to the Kindle and the popular Hulu Plus and of course Neflix for watching videos.  The app library is a much smaller  subset of the Android market, however it is curated much better so only quality apps are allowed in.

Although we hear it a lot, the Nook Tablet or the Kindle Fire aren’t really competitors to the iPad.  Realistically, if you have a budget for a $500-$830 iPad, you aren’t considering a $200 alternative … and vice versa.  Sure all are “tablets” but it is like comparing a netbook to a MacBook Pro.

If anything, these cheap 7-inch tablets are competition for the $188 iPod touch (though with increased portability, superior app and content ecosystem and cameras -that too is a stretch).  Price, being one of the biggest purchase considerations, puts these things more in line with the lower priced iPods.  For people who want a bigger screen and don’t consider the many other advantages to being in the Apple ecosystem a plus, these might make sense.

If you had a choice between the two, would you choose a $199/$249 Nook or a $199 Kindle Fire?

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Hulu Plus app is ready for Apple TV, decision to update is “political not technical”

We’ve gotten word that inside Apple there are Apple TVs running the Hulu Plus app natively. The app is feature complete and ready to roll out to Apple TV users on current builds. In fact, it has been ready for at least a month and development is now on hold.

While there are no technical issues standing in the way of the Hulu Plus release on Apple TV, there appear to be some political ones. At some level at Apple, there appears to be some consideration that the Hulu Plus app could eat into iTunes TV sales on the Apple TV. Where Netflix tends to run older programming, iTunes is the Apple TV’s only outlet for current TV programming.

Hulu Plus is available on the iPad and other iOS devices but unlike many other content apps, you can’t AirPlay them to an Apple TV like Apple’s own iTunes videos. Additionally, you can use an HDMI cable to watch the iOS Hulu Plus through an iPad on your HDTV, but mysteriously only in Standard definition, not the native HD Hulu or iTunes quality. Plus, who needs an HDMI-tethered solution?

Adding to the political troubles, Hulu was recently trying to sell itself to players including Apple competitor Google (and Apple itself) but no bidders were willing to bid high enough. Perhaps Apple wanted to make sure that Hulu Plus didn’t turn into a Trojan Horse for one of its competitors?

Hulu Plus was originally barred from all TV platforms, but giving hope to Apple TV users, it recently appeared in HD on the $59 Roku (above) and even a few smaller platforms like the very capable Western Digital’s TV Live (pictured below).

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