Apple fined $670k by Taiwan Fair Trade Commission over iPhone plan pricing

iPhone-Taiwan

The Wall Street Journal reports that Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission has fined Apple approximately US$670,000 for its attempts to influence phone pricing set by distributors and service providers in the region. According to a statement from the commission, Apple was forcing at least three carriers to submit pricing plans for iPhone ahead of offering the devices for sale:

“Through the email correspondence between Apple and these three telecom companies we discovered the companies submit their pricing plans to Apple to be approved or confirmed before the products hit the market,” it said in a statement.

The report adds that Apple could face an additional fine of NT$50 million (around $1.7 million US) if it doesn’t change its current methods of negotiating iPhone pricing plans with carriers: Read more

T-Mobile eliminates down payment on new 16 GB iPhones for holiday shoppers

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T-Mobile has announced that they will no longer require a down payment on certain iPhone models during the holiday season. Specifically, customers will no longer have to pay anything when purchasing a 16 GB iPhone 5s or 5c. Several iPad models—the 16 GB Air, mini, and Retina mini—are also available for no money down, though that seems to be their regular price. Monthly payments on these devices ranges from $17-$26.

This deal is available both in physical T-Mobile stores and through the carrier’s online store starting on December 11th. This special price is only available for a limited time, though the carrier hasn’t given an official ending date. The full press release is below:

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Confirmed: Apple & Best Buy will price match Walmart’s $479 iPad Air deal in stores (Staples & Target too)

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As it has been known to do for recent Apple product launches, Walmart announced last week that it would be offering a $20 discount on Apple’s new entry-level 16GB iPad Air starting as soon as the device launches tomorrow on November 1. Now, on launch day of the device in the US, we’ve confirmed that both Apple and Best Buy will be price matching the $479 deal in at least its retail stores. Staples has also decided to join in the day-one iPad Air discount and is currently listing the $479 price point on its websiteRead more

Apple announces new Mac Pro pricing and availability, ships by Dec. starting at $2999

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After first unveiling the completely redesigned Mac Pro at WWDC earlier this year, Apple today gave the new machine a bit of stage time at its iPad event to announce pricing and availability details. The base model of the new Mac Pro (pictured above) will start at $2999 and ship by the end of the year.

While Apple will presumably have several configurations and built to order options available for the next-gen Mac Pro– including Quad 6, 8, or 12-core designs– it only announced base pricing for the configuration above. That model includes a 3.7GHz quad-core Xeon processor, 12GB of DRAM, Dual FirePro D300 graphics, 2GB VRAM each, and a 256GB 22D.

Apple is also listing a $3999 configuration on its online store that comes with a 6-core 3.5GHz Intel Xeon E5 processor, 16GB DDR3 ECC memory (configurable up to 32GB), and Dual AMD FirePro D500 with 3GB GDDR5 VRAM each.

Apple also mentioned on stage that it has new versions of Final Cut Pro and Aperture that support 4k and other features of the new Mac Pro while presenting first impressions from professionals that have been using the new machine.

The new Mac Pro features an all-new cylinder design that is 1/8th the volume of previous generation Mac Pros and also packs in some impressive specs that Apple’s Phil Schiller walked through today on stage (gallery below).  The new machine includes the latest Xeon processors in Quad 6, 8, or 12-core configurations, dual station FirePro GPUs with up to 12GB of GDDR5 VRAM, 4K video support, PCIe-based flash, ECC memory, and six Thunderbolt 2 ports.

Other specs include HDMI, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11ac WiFi, up to 1TB of flash storage, and a motion sensor that lights up I/O when picking up the Mac Pro.

Apple also noted today that it aimed to have the new Mac Pro as quite as the current Mac Mini and was able to achieve that goal.

The new Mac Pro will be assembled in the USA as part of Apple’s plan to bring manufacturing of some of its Macs back to the U.S. this year. (Full press release below) Read more

Apple officially unveils the next-gen ‘iPhone 5S’ w/ fingerprint sensor & new gold color option

As we were expecting, Apple just officially announced its new iPhone 5S live on stage during its event taking place now on the company’s Cupertino campus. The new iPhone 5S largely retains the same glass and aluminum design as Apple’s previous generation iPhone, but it does include upgraded internals, and a new gold color option and fingerprint sensor that we previously reported. The new iPhone 5S comes alongside the announcement of Apple’s much rumored lower-cost, plastic iPhone 5C unveiled during the event earlier today.

The iPhone 5s includes a new A7 chip, which Apple notes is the first 64-bit chip in a smartphone, something we reported previously that the company was testing. Apple says the new chip includes 2x general-purpose registers, 2x floating-point registers, and includes over 1 billion transistors on a 102mm2 die size. A7 makes the iPhone 5s over twice as fast in terms of speed, according to Apple, and also provides a 40x increase in CPU performance and 56X faster graphics. The new iPhone 5s hardware will also support Open GL/ES 3.0 and will still support 32 bit apps.

TouchID-iPhone5S-fingerprint-sensor-01Apple is also including a fingerprint sensor in the new iPhone 5s for a new security feature dubbed “Touch ID.” Embedded into the home button, the Touch ID capacitive sensor is 170 microns thin and will not only allow users to unlock their device, but also authenticate iTunes purchases.  Apple says that all fingerprints will be encrypted, stored securely and never uploaded to iCloud or its own servers. It also noted the fingerprint sensor will be able to support multiple fingerprints with the same device

The new iPhone 5s also include a new motion co-processor called the “M7″ that Apple says works alongside the A7. It’s able to measure motion data continuously, as well as measure gyroscope, compass, and accelerometer data.

M7 knows when you’re walking, running, or even driving. For example, Maps switches from driving to walking turn-by-turn navigation if, say, you park and continue on foot. Since M7 can tell when you’re in a moving vehicle, iPhone 5s won’t ask you to join Wi-Fi networks you pass by. And if your phone hasn’t moved for a while, like when you’re asleep, M7 reduces network pinging to spare your battery.

The new chip will work with new CoreMotion APIs in iOS 7 that will allow developers to identify user movement. The first to take advantage of the technology is Nike with a new app called “Nike+ Move”.

Battery life: Apple says the new iPhone 5S will get 10 hours of 3G talk time, 8 hours of 3G browsing,a nd 10 hours of LTE and WiFi browsing. You’ll also get around 250 hours standby and 10 hours of video, according to Apple.

The iPhone 5s packs in a new camera system with a dual LED true tone flash, a new five-element lens designed by Apple, a F2.2 aperture, a sensor with a 15 percent larger active area, auto stabilization, and bigger 1.5 micron pixels. The camera also includes a new burst mode that will continuously take photos a rate of 10fps, and the 120fps slow mo mode that we reported about back in July. Head below for iPhone 5s pricing and availability: Read more

Apple unveils much rumored iTunes Radio service at WWDC 2013

iTunes-RadioThere were no shortage of details regarding Apple’s much rumored radio service leading up to today’s keynote address. The rumors said Apple was planning on introducing a free, ad-supported radio service, similar to Pandora, that would be highly integrated with a tweaked model for its iAd business. Apple has now officially unveiled the service dubbed ‘iTunes Radio’ and provided some details on exactly how it will work during its keynote presentation this morning at Moscone West in San Francisco.

The new iTunes Radio app is built in to the iOS radio app, and works on the Mac and Apple TV as well. As rumored, iTunes Radio will be free, supported by ads. In a twist, however, iTunes Radio will be completely free (free of ads) if you’re a subscriber to iTunes Match:

The Music app has a beautiful new design and includes the new iTunes Radio, a free Internet radio service featuring over 200 stations and an incredible catalog of music from the iTunes Store®, combined with features only iTunes can deliver. iTunes Radio is the best way to discover new music. When you tune into iTunes Radio on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac®, PC or Apple TV®, you’ll have access to stations inspired by the music you already listen to, Featured Stations curated by Apple and genre-focused stations that are personalized just for you.

As we reported prior to today’s event, the underlining technology is based on Apple’s iTunes Genius feature with iTunes Radio tailoring the experience to your iTunes usage. Apple says there will be Siri integration, and also aims to offer users “access to exclusive “first listen” premieres from top selling artists.” Read more

T-Mobile increases down payment on iPhone 5 to $149, forgot to tell you the $99/down was introductory pricing

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When T-Mobile introduced the iPhone 5 for $99 down, many were quick to point out that the device would cost much less than the $649 Apple charges, costing customers a total of $579 after completing T-Mobile’s $20/month, 24 month payment plan. However, T-Mobile didn’t talk much about the fact that $99 down price point was introductory pricing that would eventually increase. Today marks the end of T-Mobile’s introductory pricing, as noted by TmoNews, with the carrier increasing the minimum down payment on an iPhone 5 for qualified customers to $149 for the entry level 16GB model.

All other models of the iPhone will see the same $50 increase with the 32GB and 64GB models now requiring a $249 and $349 down payment on T-Mobile 24 month payment plan. Despite the increase, it still gives T-Mobile the cheapest pricing on iPhone 5 around with the total cost of the entry level 16GB model now $629. That’s $20 less than the retail price of the unlocked device.

Although today marks the end of introductory promotional pricing for the iPhone 5 on T-Mobile, the carrier will continue to offer its trade in offer on previous generation iPhones to allow customers to get an iPhone 5 for $0 down. Read more

Apple unveils 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display starting at $1,699, ships today

We had many of the details for the 13.3-inch Retina MacBook Pro ahead of today’s unveiling, but Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Philip Schiller just confirmed the device’s specs and pricing. As we told you earlier, the new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro comes in two base configurations (with a third 2.9GHz dual-core i7 upgrade option available) and gets many of the enhancements that the 15-inch version received. Schiller noted that the device is 20 percent thinner than the previous generation 13-inch MacBook, and it includes a 2,560-by1,600 Retina display with 29 percent higher color contrast and 75 percent reduced reflection.

Apple also announced that the device would start at $1,699 for the base configuration, and it will start shipping today. Apple also showed a second configuration would be offered for $1,999. Both options below are configurable to a 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i7.

  • 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz) with 3MB shared L3 cache
  • 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz) with 3MB shared L3 cache

Some of the device’s specs—that Apple is now listing on its website— are below: Read more

Apple October 23rd event: What we know, expect and some new tidbits

Had you heard? Apple’s got a ‘little’ event going on at the newly-decorated California Theatre tomorrow where they will FINALLY showcase the iPad Mini, new Mac Minis, a Retina 13-inch MacBook Pro as well as software like iBooks 3.0 and iTunes 11.

First, the bad news: We’ve heard that the some of the iMacs that we found earlier have been pushed so far back that they might not warrant inclusion at the event this week. That doesn’t mean they are cancelled but because there have been some issues with the products and the including them is a “gameday decision”. We’re obviously hoping they make the docket.

And now the good news: Read more

Cue on agency model: ‘I don’t think you understand. We can’t treat newspapers or magazines any differently than we treat FarmVille.”

By now you probably know that the U.S. Department of Justice launched an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and two publishers this month following an investigation into Apple’s eBook pricing agency model. Three publishers, including Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster, decided to reach a settlement with the Department of Justice to return to Amazon’s set-your-own price wholesale model. Meanwhile, Apple, Macmillan, and Penguin will take the fight to court.

Interestingly, a report from The Wall Street Journal, which is owned by the HarperCollins’ parent company News Corp, suggested Apple was only ever trying to continue its App Store business model. The Wall Street Journal’s L. Gordon Crovitz described visiting Senior Apple Executive Eddy Cue to discuss changing Apple’s policies for publications. He quoted Cue as comparing book pricing to apps and not wanting to treat publications differently than app developers:
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Apple explains stance on e-book price fixing and the ‘Kindle threat’ in court documents

Yesterday, reports from The Wall Street Journal claimed the United States Justice Department was planning to launch an antitrust case against Apple and the country’s five largest book publishers related to claims of e-book price fixing. The European Commission announced in December that it would begin investigating whether Apple and book publishers “engaged in illegal agreements or practices that would have the object or the effect of restricting competition.” Many believe the probes are a direct result of Steve Jobs’ comments documented in Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs biography where the late CEO said: “Amazon screwed it up.”

“We told the publishers, ‘We’ll go to the agency model, where you set the price, and we get our 30 percent, and yes, the customer pays a little more, but that’s what you want anyway… They went to Amazon and said, ‘You’re going to sign an agency contract or we’re not going to give you the books.’ “

Today, new court documents from a request by Apple to throw out a class action case over e-book price fixing revealed Apple’s stance on the issue. PaidContent explained: “Apple argues that its business plan was to sell as many e-books as possible and that it had no incentive to raise prices.” Meanwhile, Apple argued: “Why would Apple offer Amazon’s Kindle app on the iPad.” The company’s comments sidestepped all claims about Apple allegedly conspiring to slow Amazon’s entrance into the tablet market with Kindle Fire:

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