Best Buy ratchets up the Apple sales with dedicated Apple ad against increased pricing competition [video]

The above ad has entered heavy rotation this weekend, while Best Buy has new deals on Apple- and Apple-related products (including $25 off $250+ purchases):

Best Buy takes 15 percent off all iTunes Gift Cards, both physical and digital, with free shipping.

Best Buy also continues to have significant discounts on iPod Touches, Nanos and Shuffles, as well as the rest of Apple products (including refurbished Airports starting at $39).

The competition is also moving, as MacMall continues to have big savings with its Cyber Monday sale and impressive “Door busters”:

11.6″ MacBook Air dual-core Intel Core i5 1.7GHz, 4GB & 64GB Flash Storage $849.99 ($150 off)
13.3″ MacBook Air dual-core Intel Core i5 1.8GHz, 4GB & 128GB Flash Storage $1,019.99 ($180 off)
iPad 2 16GB Wifi: $329 ($70 off and the lowest price we’ve ever seen new)

…while Amazon continues to match many competitive prices.

Of note, MacConnection’s Tech Holiday sale has some pretty remarkable prices, including: MacBook Airs starting at $699Retina MacBook Pros starting at $1,559  ($140 off Apple’s Price), and Mac Minis starting at $549.

As always, check our Apple product pages for the latest best prices on iPadsiPad MinisiPod TouchNanoShuffleMacBook ProsAirsiMacsMac Minis, and Apple TVs. More of our holiday shopping coverage below: Read more

Mophie announces Outride, a waterproof action sports camera kit & app for iPhone

There are more than a few hardware camera kits and peripherals on the market that extend the capabilities of the iPhone’s built-in cam. We recently reviewed the Olloclip camera lens kit that provides three external lenses for iPhone 4S. Today we introduce you to another that has just been announced by Mophie and combos with a dedicated companion app for managing and sharing footage. According to Mophie, the goal of its new action sports “Outride” camera kit, which integrates a wide-angle lens with 170 degrees viewing angles and a waterproof, impact resistant casing, is to eliminate “the need for a dedicated device such as a GoPro or Contour camera.” The kit will also include several custom, quick-release mounts for attaching the device to a variety of sports equipment and capturing footage at various angles.

To go along with the camera kit, Mophie will also launch the Outride iOS app that provides users with a profile and the ability to capture and share footage with other users:
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$50 iTunes gift card for $40 delivered through email

From 9to5Toys.com:

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For a few more hours, Walmart is offering the $50 iTunes gift card for $40. That’s 20 percent off and the lowest price yet. The card comes immediately through email, and it counts toward free shipping on other items. It can be purchased for use in the US iTunes Store on iBooks, Mac and iOS Apps, Music, Videos, Movies and more.

Limit two per customer (You can get around the 2 per customer limit if you have multiple credit cards). International readers are telling us that their foreign credit cards are rejected (though US based Paypals are working).

Update: This ended over the weekend  - subscribe to 9to5toys for the latest deals on tech.

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Report: Apple working on high-fidelity iTunes audio with adaptive streaming

The Guardian reports that Apple is working on a new high-definition audio format to adapt to bandwidth or hardware capabilities. Presumably, Apple will leverage the new format to distribute high-fidelity music through iTunes and perhaps upgrade the iTunes Match service that currently provides matched songs in 256Kbps AAC format.

It is believed the new audio format would intelligently adjust itself to the bandwidth and storage available on the receiving device. Such a description also gives hope that an iTunes music streaming service, which is akin to Spotify and based on Apple’s Lala acquisition, could be in the works.

According to “a source with inside knowledge of the process,” the Cupertino, Calif.-based company is working with a London studio to prep existing audio files for the new format. An anonymous source told the paper:

All of a sudden, all your audio from iTunes is in HD rather than AAC. Users wouldn’t have to touch a thing – their library will improve in an instant.

Apple’s annual iPod refresh that usually takes place in fall could be a fitting venue to announce the new high-fidelity format. Another possibility is the forthcoming iPad 3 event rumored to take place March 7.

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In Japan, iTunes gains ringtones, 3G purchasing, iTunes Plus, Complete My Album, iTunes in the Cloud

Following yesterday’s story by the usually accurate Japanese blog Macotakara on Apple’s Japan arm rolling out iTunes in the Cloud for music, Japanese music journal AV Watch reported this morning that the California-based iPod maker has its sights set high on the 130 million people market. According to the report, customers in Japan are now finally able to purchase and download music on iOS devices through 3G cellular networks rather than just wireless hotspots, as before. The story also quoted Apple’s Senior iTunes Director for the Asia, Pacific, and Canada region Peter Lowe, who confirmed that iTunes Match would roll out to iTunes Japan in the second half of this year.

“We are keeping good relationship with Japanese music publishers,” said Lowe as he highlighted that iTunes Japan’s catalog now includes Sony Music’s Western artists, such as Beyonce, Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, and Sade. Interestingly, Apple did not allow the music journal to publish Lowe’s mug shot. In case you were wondering, iTunes in the Cloud files as the first-ever music re-downloading service in Japan. The iTunes Store launched in Japan in 2005…

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Apple looking to launch iTunes Store, App Store overhauls later this year

In a move that will surely keep the Mac and iPhone maker on top of the digital music and software application industry, Apple is preparing its first iTunes Store redesign in nearly three years. In late 2009, Apple launched a new iTunes Store that traded in a blue-themed, convoluted store for a much simpler, white-themed store that provides a great focus on the store’s downloadable content.

The redesign of the iTunes Store that runs on both the iTunes application for the Mac and the PC is a top priority for Apple. The work on the redesign comes soon after the launch of new services in the United States such as the Spotify music streaming service and the growing popularity of Amazon’s online music store. Apple dominates the majority of the digital music market, and it will continue to bet on an in-application download store and not an online store found only in a web browser.

The new design is said to be even simpler and more user-friendly than the current design. Apple is working on ways to enhance the speed and efficiency of finding new content, such as songs, videos, and applications. The cornerstone element of Apple’s new iTunes Store is interactivity. As Apple vaguely explained to a number of music labels and entertainment partners, Apple is looking to make the iTunes Store a much more engaging experience. Read on for more…

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