AAPL goes into the Black for 2013 on Black Friday as it hits $550

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We mentioned a couple of days ago that AAPL stock was approaching a high for the year, and it has now broken the $549.02 at which it began the year.

The company has experienced a roller-coaster ride in its stock price, almost entirely divorced from any product-based reality. The value placed on the company by the market at any given time has more to do with the gap between rumors and product launches, and of course short-term speculation …  Read more

DisplayMate tablet shootout puts Retina iPad Mini in last place, with ‘out-dated technology’

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DisplayMate, a company specializing in scientific display testing and calibration, gave the Retina iPad Mini third place in detailed lab tests of three leading 7-inch tablets, criticising Apple for “really bad planning” for what it considers to be out-dated display technology.

And finally… the iPad mini with Retina Display unfortunately comes in with a distant 3rd place finish behind the innovative displays on the Kindle Fire HDX 7 and new Nexus 7 [...]

All of this reliance on IGZO is really bad planning… Right now there is a readily available display technology that has much higher performance than IGZO. It’s Low Temperature Poly Silicon LTPS, and it is used in all of the iPhones and in all of Samsung OLEDs (so it’s available in large quantities). Two innovative tablet manufacturers, Amazon and Google, have significantly leapfrogged Apple by introducing Tablet displays using LTPS (in the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 and the new Nexus 7), and they are significantly outperforming the IGZO and a-Si displays in the current iPads. Apple is now lagging in displays, an area where it was once the leader…  Read more

Apple Stores start selling Retina iPad mini to walk-in customers as regional carriers launch cellular models

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Regional carriers are starting to announce availability for cellular models of Apple’s new Retina iPad mini just as the company today started offering the device to walk-in customers.

Bluegrass Cellular announced today that it is now offering the iPad mini Wi-Fi Cellular models in-store and online. Available on the carrier’s website now starting at the usual $530 for the 16GB model, the carrier is also offering all three models (16GB, 32GB, and 64GB) on its no-contract “Freedom, Expanded” plan. That allows customers to make 12 monthly payments to get the device they want with the ability to trade-in and upgrade to a new device after a year. That plan will run $26.50/month for the 16GB model on Bluegrass, $31.50/month for the $630 32GB model, or $36.50/month for the $730 64GB model. The carrier appears to only have Space Gray models of the device available, at least online, and the Freedom Expanded plans are only available in-store. Another regional carrier, C Spire Wireless, will begin selling the Retina iPad mini over the next week. UpdateU.S. Cellular has also begun cellular iPad mini with Retina Display sales today on its website.

In other Retina iPad mini news, we’ve just received word Apple has just started selling the device to walk-in customers in its retail stores following an initial launch for Personal Pickup orders only.

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Review roundup: The Retina iPad mini verdict is ‘pricey but best small tablet ever’

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A Retina display may have been some time coming on the iPad mini, but the general verdict appears to be that it was worth the wait.

Many are querying the price, especially now that the full-size iPad Air is so much smaller and lighter than its predecessors, and costs just $100 more. But if portability is key, reviewers seem every bit as impressed by the iPad mini as I was by the Air.

Read on for the conclusions from five early reviews …  Read more