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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Tim Cook admits that iMac launch should have been postponed to avoid delays for customers

imac

When asked about staggered product launches during the Q&A of Apple’s Q2 2013 earnings call today, Apple CEO Tim Cook admitted that he wished Apple would have postponed the launch of the new iMac until after the holiday season in order to avoid the significant delays that customers experienced in the initial months of launch:

I don’t spend a lot of time looking back… If we could run it over, i would have announced the iMac after the turn of the year… we felt our customers had to wait too long for that specific product… Where the iPad mini was in shortage in the December quarter, I would not have done that differently because we were able to get the product out to many customers that wanted it. In retrospect, I wish it [iMac] was after the turn of the year so customers would not have had to wait as long as they did.

When Apple first launched the all new, slimmed down iMac lineup leading up to the holidays in October of last year, Tim Cook quickly confirmed that Apple would run into some significant component constraints and delays for the product. The months following launch saw major delays with customers ordering the product having to wait weeks to receive their shipments and some models pushed back as far as December.

Review: Panic’s Status Board — the ultimate information dashboard for your iPad

My personal Status Board

The guys over at Panic Inc. have been teasing their new iPad app on their blog and Twitter all week, and today the app known as Status Board hits the App Store.

Panic was kind enough to allow us a preview of its app, and needless to say, we liked what we found.

The Oregon-based software company is largely known for their OS X FTP client Transmit, but entered the iOS space in April 2011 with the launch of Prompt, their SSH client for iPhone and iPad, followed by their affectionately named web editor Diet Coda this past May. This marks the third year in a row that Panic has released an entirely new app on the iOS platform.

Let’s jump right on board:

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New iPad launches in 12 more countries this Friday, 9 more on April 27

 

 

 

 

Apple just published a press release that confirms the new iPad will launch in 12 additional countries Friday, April 20. Along with the 12 countries listed below, Apple confirmed an April 27 international launch date for nine more countries:

In addition to South Korea, the new iPad also will be available beginning on Friday, April 20 in Brunei, Croatia, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Malaysia, Panama, St Maarten, Uruguay and Venezuela. Beginning on Friday, April 27, the new iPad will be available in Colombia, Estonia, India, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, South Africa and Thailand.

Go past the break for the full press release.
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Huge lines form at Apple Stores in China for iPhone 4S launch

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     The gallery above via Flickr user Liz Phung shows more shots from the launch in Beijing. There are also two images of  employees receiving their first shipments at China Unicom in Wuxi, east China’s Jiangsu Province (via xinhuanet). 

It is just over 8 hours before the iPhone 4S officially lands in China and huge lines already starting to form outside of Apple Stores in Beijing and Shanghai. The image below is from Instagram user Sanverde who noted he snapped the shot outside an Apple Store in Sanlitun Village, Beijing less than an hour ago. As you can see from the daytime image in the slideshow above (posted by Twitter user Alexander Galimberti on Jan. 10), Beijing line sitters started showing up for tonight’s launch days in advance. To the right is an image from Instagram user sainasilverman who says 400,000 units of the iPhone 4S have now arrived in Beijing.

China Unicom, the only carrier currently offering the iPhone 4S, does not currently accept pre-orders, but it will be offering the 16GB and 32GB models free on two- and three-year agreements. China Telecom, the nation’s third largest mobile carrier, is also expected to offer the iPhone in the future. The device recently received necessary approval from the China Radio Management agency for use on its CDMA network.

Check out the most recent shot of the lines outside the Sanlitun Village, Beijing Apple Store after the break and some more shots of gray market line sitters wearing red hats. According to MIC Gadget, those wearing a red cap have been paid 100 yuan ($16) to line up for the 12+ hour wait. We will be updating with more shots, so email your photographs of the lines to us at tips@9to5mac.com Read more

iPhone 4S gains necessary China certification; January launch expected for mainland

People Daily reported that Apple received the certification it needs by the China Compulsory Certification to launch the iPhone 4S in mainland China. The certification was awarded on Dec. 22, shortly after Apple also received certification from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China. With the necessary certifications, Apple has now met all of its requirements to launch the iPhone 4S in China. People Daily said the iPhone 4S-model number A1431- will hit in early January.

To model how well the iPhone 4S could potentially do in China, in this year’s June quarter earnings, Apple’s sales in China topped $3.8 billion. Thus, obviously, the launch of the iPhone 4S in China would boost sales.

China Unicom is the third-largest carrier in China, and it remains the sole carrier for the iPhone. While Apple is able to reach a large market, only being available on one carrier leaves about 1.33 billion people in the market untapped. If Apple were to also sell the iPhone 4S on China Mobile, sales could grow substantially. At any rate, the iPhone 4S is at least on its way to China Unicom by January.


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‘Apple Fixture Installation’ could point to October 21st iPhone 5 launch at Best Buy

Update: This appears to be a mistake

Discovered by This is my next, an internal Best Buy document points to an ‘Apple Fixture Installation’ Friday, October 21st. Interestingly, this date lines up with the mid-October range that’s being tossed around for the iPhone 5 release.

This is my next’s source says that a manager being at the store at 6 A.M. to open the doors is out of the ordinary, seeing as they usually get there at 7 A.M. The source also said that this similar procedure happened with the iPhone 4 launch. Best Buy managers have a meeting scheduled on October 10th to talk “upcoming BIG release dates”. Sounds fishy, huh? If these reports and precedent are correct, we can expect the device to land early Friday morning.

Apple is rumored to be hosting a press event at the end of September where they’ll announce the iPhone 5, and officially release iOS 5. You’ll remember our report that Apple will release the iPhone 5 October 7th, which is also a Friday. In terms of carriers, WSJ is reporting that Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint will be getting their hands on the device.

Also, of note: October 23rd (Sunday) will be the tenth anniversary of the introduction of the iPod. Video after the break:

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Report: iPhone 5 to launch second week of September, iPad 3 later this fall

According to a report (via MR) from The China Times, the iPhone 5 will launch the second week of September (6-15), and the iPad 3 launch will be delayed until Thanksgiving due to component issues. This iPhone 5 report lines up nicely with reports from Reuters regarding a September launch and an earlier report saying right after Labor day (Sept 5th).

If a September launch were to be the case, we assume the iPhone 5 would be announced at Apple’s annual music event in September. Obviously, iOS 5 would accompany it. The China Times’ report regarding a fall launch for the iPad 3 trails behind with what we’ve already heard.

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