Apple Pay setup detailed & retailers begin training as service launches at Apple HQ

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The launch of Apple Pay, Apple’s NFC and Touch ID-based mobile payment solution, is upon us. Apple has begun preparing for the launch by kicking off Apple Pay training programs for its own group of retail store employees and by working with retailers to prepare for the debut later this month. The training materials, shared by a reliable source, for the Apple Pay launch at Apple retail stores have also detailed some new specifics regarding the Apple Pay setup and transaction processes both on customer iPhones and in Apple retail stores…

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Apparent block on mass-unlocking of AT&T iPhones hits resale industry

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Companies that specialise in buying and selling used iPhones are reporting that the methods they use to unlock handsets to allow them to be used on any compatible network are no longer working for AT&T models.

AT&T models are in greatest demand for companies reselling iPhones overseas, as the frequencies used are compatible with many foreign networks. But the WSJ says that something changed early in October, and no solution has been found since then. One reseller, run by Louis Ashner, says it is being forced to close.

“The market is gone,” Mr. Ashner said, who said he was on track for $1 million in revenue this year. “We are closing up.”

Business owners throughout the U.S. used-smartphone market are reporting the same problem, and like Mr. Ashner none of them knows exactly what went wrong. Whatever changed, AT&T appears to be at the center of it …  Read more

Staples begins selling the iPad (and iPods) through its US online store

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As per Mark’s scoop last week, Staples has indeed begun selling the iPad and is offering the full line with 5% back in Staples gift cards. Staples now also carries every iPod model including the iPod touch, Classic, Nano and shuffle. You can now order the iPad from its online stores (which will begin shipping next week), and if online sales go well, through its physical retail stores early next year. Staples will also begin putting up iPad kiosks in its stores next week.

You’ll recall from our iPad Product Page, we’d probably recommend holding off the purchase of any iPad because Apple will likely update its line in October.  However, those companies with Staples purchasing accounts will now be able to scoop up an iPad on the corporate account.

Staples began carrying Apple products in the US earlier this year and would seem to be doing well at it as evidenced by the expanding line of products.  Read more

Can Apple announce the rest of 2013’s products in just one event?

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Last fall, Apple had a lot of products to introduce: a new iPhone, two new iPads, three new iPods, and a few new Macs. Apple ended up dividing those new devices into two events: an iPhone + iPod event and an iPad + Mac event.

Without much occurring during the first half of this year, and even with the new iPhones launching this month, Apple still has a significant amount of products to still announce this year. Let’s take a look at what’s coming:

Could Apple announce all of this in one sitting?…

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Apple boosts production of gold iPhone 5s by a third after availability went straight to October

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The WSJ reports that Apple has instructed suppliers to increase production of the gold model of the iPhone 5s by one-third after seeing high demand for the color. Availability for the gold model was into October within 30 minutes of orders opening on Apple Store sites around the world, with retail stores also reportedly selling out quickly and carriers getting few in the first place …  Read more

New Apple TV in development, could arrive as soon as next month

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Apple is working on a new version of the Apple TV, and according to MG Siegler, it could arrive as soon as next month. We have independently heard that a new version of the Apple TV is in development, but our sources have not provided a clear picture in terms of a launch timeframe.

Siegler says that the launch could occur in October, which is the month that we’re expecting new versions of the iPad arrive. It would make sense for Apple to launch the new Apple TV and iPads in tandem as this is a launch combination that it has done in the past (iPad 3 + Apple TV 3 in 2012)…

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Apple’s OS X Mavericks release planned for end of October

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Apple plans to release its next Mac operating system, OS X 10.9 Mavericks, at the end of October, according to sources with knowledge of the launch plans.

This comes despite claims and speculation that Apple will release OS X Mavericks and iOS 7 in tandem this month. iOS 7 is set to ship alongside the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C later in September. There has also been chatter about Apple holding the iPad iOS 7 release back until October.

For the launch of both OS X Lion and OS X Mountain Lion, Apple released the new operating systems the day following an earning results release. Apple traditionally shares its Q4 earnings numbers during the second half of October, so perhaps Apple will release Mavericks the day following its Q4 results announcement…

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Can Apple get away with another “S” iPhone?

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There have been many rumors this year about what upgrades Apple will include in its anticipated annual iPhone refresh. Most agree Apple will move to release two iPhones, but there is some debate about what those phones will be.

Rumor has it that Apple is working on a low-cost iPhone that will do away with the current iPhone design and instead use a new plastic case with a curved back similar to previous iPods. Despite being a less expensive device, that could make things even trickier for Apple to impress with an iPhone 5S upgrade that is largely expected to retain the “old” design of the currently shipping iPhone 5. The devices from competitors are making things even more difficult for Apple’s expected “S” upgrade. Rumors of a 4.8-inch iPhone prototype that recently surfaced don’t seem likely for the next iPhone, but that hasn’t stopped mainstream media and analysts from reporting that Apple is losing out on iPhone sales as consumers opt for larger screen devices. However, that might now be the case, at least not in the United States, with Strategy Analytics and NPD estimating Apple beat Samsung to become the No.1 phone vendor in Q4 2012. Will consumers want or expect a larger screen on the next iPhone, or will Apple’s usual minor refresh suffice?

What did past S upgrades have? Read more

Report claims iPad 5 with iPad mini-like design set for October release, offers new details on upcoming iPhones

iPad5-mockup-render-03new report from Jeremy Horwitz of iLounge provided us with what he claimed is a few details on the upcoming fifth-generation iPad based on hands-on time with a “supposedly accurate” physical model. He also claimed to have details on upcoming iPhone releases.

Horwitz noted he has inspected what he believed are casings for the iPad 5, and he described a completely redesigned device with “virtually no left or right bezels, and only enough space above and below the screen to accommodate the mandatory camera and Home Button elements.” As previously rumored, Horwitz claimed the fifth-gen iPad as iPad mini-like in its physical design with similar “chamfered edges and curves” along with the slimmed down bezel.

He also speculated that Apple could go with an IGZO display to achieve what he said is a much thinner design compared to previous generations:

Beyond that, it’s noticeably thinner, as well, which is to say the the fifth-generation iPad will be smaller in every dimension than its predecessors. As it will have the same chamfered edges and curves, calling it a “stretched iPad mini” is very close to entirely accurate… The changes are so considerable that a new screen technology, such as IGZO, seems like a given. Going Retina for the third-generation iPad forced Apple to make that tablet a little thicker than the iPad 2, in part to seriously beef up the battery.

The report also said that Apple is now targeting an October release for the iPad 5, “give or take a couple of weeks,” after originally planning for a March launch.

Horwitz, who has been accurate with details of unreleased Apple products in the past, also claimed to have new details on the upcoming iPhone releases:

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iPhone 5 Apple online store shipping time drops from 3-4 weeks to 2-3 weeks

Apple updated the iPhone 5 section of its online store to show shipping estimates for the handset have improved from “3 -4 weeks” to “2 -3 weeks”. The iPhone 5 has seen shipping delays since it first went on sale in late September due to high demand and problems in production. Today’s improvements follow official word from Foxconn in October that production for the iPhone 5 has improved. Foxconn said the iPhone 5 is “the most difficult device that Foxconn has ever assembled,” and it added production is getting better day-by-day. During Apple’s Q4 earnings call, CFO Peter Oppenheimer said, “We’re working very hard to get more into customer hands as quickly as possible.” CEO Tim Cook added, “The demand for iPhone 5 is extremely robust. We are in a significant state of backlog.”

Thanks, Luis!

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iPhone 5 Nano-SIMs headed to T-Mobile in October

We already knew T-Mobile had big plans for the iPhone in coming months when it announced plans to launch the Unlimited & Unlocked iPhone marketing initiative on the same day as the iPhone 5 launch. Today, we get confirmation from TmoNews that nano-SIMs are indeed on the way to T-Mobile for customers wishing to use the new iPhone on its network. The carrier expects the SIMs to arrive in October, but we are hearing they have already started arriving. You will, of course, first have to get your hands on an unlocked iPhone 5.
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Fox: New iMacs launching before Christmas

Clayton Morris at Fox says that new iMacs will launch soon, perhaps as early as next week during the iPhone event or even after the rumored October event, but he seems to think they will be available for the holidays.

I’ve been hoping for an iMac update and it looks like my wish is about to come true! Multiple sources tell me that a new lineup of desktop machines from Apple is imminent.

It appears that Morris changed his story from “releasing next week” but there is no mention of that on the Fox News website.  Only this tweet:

There has been no shortage of new iMac rumors, and supplies have been dwindling in a number of retail channels. We are in agreement with some of Morris’s predictions like USB 3, updated CPU/GPU and SSD options, but we are not yet on board with the outward design overhaul and loss of optical drive.

A few things we can count on in the new iMacs are new Ivy Bridge processors, improved graphics chips, USB 3.0, and expanded SSD capacities. Also look for a new slimmer design with Apple finally removing the optical drive from the side.

It is possible that the iMac announcement could happen at the rumored October iPad mini announcement, but I’m not holding my breath for that. Apple has been known to update the desktops without much fanfare.

Analysts have expected a new iMac for some time now, with KGI Research’s latest estimates below: Read more