Opinion: Why the new $50 iPod pricing tiers probably won’t make it to Apple’s lucrative iPhones and iPads

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Earlier today Apple made a significant change to the iPod touch lineup. Aside from a few small hardware improvements to the lowest-end model, the company has—for the first time—started to close the price gap between storage tiers.

When the iPod touch first launched, there was a $70 gap between the 8 GB and 16 GB models. Jumping from 16 GB to 32 GB would cost an extra $100. However, with the launch of the second-generation iPod touch, the gap between the lowest two tiers increased to $100, and it’s stayed there ever since.

Until today, that is. Now, for the first time since the debut of the first iPhone in 2007, there is a mere $50 gap between all three capacities of an iOS device. Is this a sign that Apple is ready to give in and drop the ridiculous $100 pricing tiers on future big ticket premium devices when the actual Flash storage and controllers only cost Apple a few bucks? Or will we continue to see a $100 price gap between iPhones when the next-gen model is revealed this fall?

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Inside Apple’s MFi game controller program: Why the current crop of controllers aren’t up to snuff

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Apple’s new MFi game controller program offers a lot of promise for gaming on iOS— the top mobile gaming platform around could also soon be a serious platform for hardcore gamers. But the first crop of controllers have been met with much criticism from developers, reviewers and consumers alike. The consensus so far: flimsy buttons and joysticks, lack of support from developers, and a $99 price tag make them far overpriced compared to your standard Bluetooth game controller.

The launch for the first few controllers to hit the market was rushed, developers are disappointed and still trying to catch up, and manufacturers are limited in pricing, features, and quality due to Apple’s MFi program requirements. What does Apple have to do to overcome a rocky start to its game controller program which is supposed to control quality? And how are manufacturers limited by Apple in building better controllers at a fair price? We’ve dug into Apple’s MFi program and talked to developers and companies building the controllers to find out… Read more

iPhone 5c goes on sale for just $27 with a two-year agreement this Friday at Wal-Mart

iPhone-5cUpdate: Best Buy is currently taking $75 off all iPhone 5s models.

Update 2:  Starting today MacMall Retail Stores will offer the iPhone 5c for $19.99 and the iPhone 5s at $119.99.

The holiday deals just keep getting better for Apple fans. Wal-Mart shoppers will be able to get the new iPhone 5c for only $27 with a new two-year contract starting this Friday. The phone typically goes for $99, putting the total discount at $72. Following the 5c’s launch earlier this year, we noted that its higher-end counterpart, the 5s, was outselling it two-to-one. It seems Wal-Mart is quite interested in moving some stock to try to even those numbers out.

Special deals on other Apple devices will be available the same day, including the iPhone 5s at $127 with a contract, a savings of—you guessed it—$72. The retailer is also planning to offer a $50 gift card with the purchase of a new iPad mini. And of course no Apple sale would be complete without discounted iTunes gift cards. A $30 card will only set you back $25 during the sale.

To keep up with all of the latest holiday sales on Apple gear and more, be sure to check out our sister site 9to5Toys, and subscribe to the new Safari push notifications feature to make sure you’re always up-to-date with the latest deals.

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Best Buy slashes new Mac prices w/extra savings for students; Haswell Airs start at $849

From 9to5toys.com:

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Best Buy is having a significant College Student sale this week on MacBook Airs, Retina/Pros and iMacs and Students or anyone with a .edu email address get another $100 off the sale prices signing up here. For instance, the entry level Haswell MacBook Air is now $949 and another $100 drops it down to $849, the lowest price we’ve seen by $100.

Haswell MacBook Air prices:

  • MacBook Air – 11.6″ Display/4GB Memory/128GB Flash Storage:$949.99-$100 students=$849.99 ($150 off)
  • MacBook Air – 11.6″ Display/4GB Memory/256GB Flash Storage:$1139.99-$100 students=$1039.99 ($170 off)
  • MacBook Air – 13.3″ Display/4GB Memory/128GB Flash Storage:$1,044.99-$100 students=$944.99 ($155 off)
  • MacBook Air – 13.3″ Display/4GB Memory/256GB Flash Storage:$1,234.99-$100 students=$1134.99 ($165 off)

Retina MacBook Pro prices:

iMac Prices save $100 across the board and another $100 for students = $200 savings starting at $1100

The MacBook Student $100 off promotion starts today, and will end July 27. Read more

Apple cuts prices again on refurbished iPads

From 9to5Toys.com:

Apple this morning dropped prices across the board on iPads in its refurbished section of the online Apple Store as noted by MacRumors. We’ve recently seen quite a bit of iPad price reductions at 9to5Toys, some even steeper than this. For instance, Walmart has a new iPad mini for $80 off and refurb iPad Mini 16GB for $250. The new Apple Store prices:

iPad mini

- 16 GB Wi-Fi: $279, down from $299 previously and $329 brand-new
– 32 GB Wi-Fi: $359, down from $389 previously and $429 brand-new
– 64 GB Wi-Fi: $439, down from $489 previously and $529 brand-new

- 16 GB Wi-Fi + Cellular: $389, down from $429 previously and $459 brand-new
– 32 GB Wi-Fi + Cellular: $469, down from $519 previously and $559 brand-new
– 64 GB Wi-Fi + Cellular: $549, down from $619 previously and $659 brand-new

Fourth-generation iPad

- 16 GB Wi-Fi: $419, down from $449 previously and $499 brand-new
– 32 GB Wi-Fi: $499, down from $549 previously and $599 brand-new
– 64 GB Wi-Fi: $579, down from $649 previously and $699 brand-new

- 16 GB Wi-Fi + Cellular: $529, down from $579 previously and $629 brand-new
– 32 GB Wi-Fi + Cellular: $609, down from $679 previously and $729 brand-new
– 64 GB Wi-Fi + Cellular: $689, down from $779 previously and $829 brand-new

Good news for those interested in displays too: Thunderbolt and Cinema Displays are down to $799 (a $30 drop).You know what this usually means…

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Ron Johnson out as CEO of JCP, Apple Retail boss job still open

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Former Apple Retail Chief Ron Johnson is out at JCPenney after his radical retail redesign failed to ignite sales in the same manner in which Apple Stores had grown accustomed. Ron Johnson left Apple in 2011 for the JCP job after a decade at Apple.  He helped design the original Apple Store concept after being lured away from Target by Apple CEO Steve Jobs. He pioneered concepts like the Genius Bar which was unheard of at the time but still a growing trend in the industry.

We know more than a few folks who would like to see him back at Apple which meanwhile has found him difficult to replace. One such attempt was the hiring and subsequent firing of John Browett, a former Dixon’s UK CEO.

Johnson continued to live in the Bay area during his stint at JCP commuting to Plano Texas via Jet so…

https://twitter.com/parislemon/status/321367332289138690

https://twitter.com/adamlashinsky/status/321369011633917952

https://twitter.com/reuters/status/321371936544399360

We’ve reached out to JCP and Apple for comment and will update as appropriate. Press release follows:
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New MacBook Pros launching as soon as next week at current price points

Last week we exclusively reported that the current line of MacBook Pros is severely constrained and that part numbers for a new MacBook Pro line had surfaced. Based on these similar internal part numbers, the new MBP’s design should be the same as the current design.

Now, we’ve received pricing for the new laptops and the prices for each unit are the same as the prices for the current generation.

With supplies only becoming more constrained, and with shipments already touching down in select countries, we think a launch next week is likely (between Tuesday and Thursday). That is, of course, if there are no unforeseen circumstances. Thanks Mr. X! 

One more thing… after the break:

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Apple leaks clues to new MacBook Pros on its own website?

Last week we revealed that Apple is planning a small refresh for its MacBook Pro line with modest CPU bumps and possibly improved Bluetooth Wireless networking. Today we’ve found what seems to be evidence for such a refresh in Apple’s own online store.

If you do a search on Apple’s online store for ‘MacBook Pro’, you get a list of Apple’s products. In that list of products, there are two mysterious entries for ‘Macbook Pro Memory Model’ toward the bottom with the caption “Ships: Coming in November”.

Perhaps more interestingly, they link to the following two URLs which aren’t currently active:

http://store.apple.com/us/product/ME_17_2_33_MBP?mco=MTY3ODQ5OTY

http://store.apple.com/us/product/ME_17_2_4_MBP_PREV?mco=MTY3ODQ5OTY

We’ve heard that these could be the spare part part numbers for the new MacBook Pros and the 2_33 and 2_4 could be the new speeds of the quad-core Intel Core i7 processors (current is 2.0 to 2.3 GHz). If they are spare parts, these often ship a week or so after the new products so the MBPs could come sooner than ‘November’.

Update: 4-year-old MacBook Pro RAM has a similar URL but it isn’t certain if the two parts are related.

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