Apple’s annual Back to School promotion likely kicking off at end of June

Retro Apple Store Back to School display

Retro Apple Store Back to School display

Apple could be planning to launch its annual Back to School sales promotion within the next two weeks. Apple Stores, according to several employees, will be changing the front of store glass window displays overnight on June 30th. This is the usual timeframe in which Apple launches a promotion to boost Mac, iPad, and iPhone sales in anticipation of the new school year in the fall.

Last year, the Back to School promotion consisted of $100 App Store gift cards for Mac purchases and $50 cards for iPad and iPhone purchases by students with their Student IDs. Of course, this June 30th window change could be connected to another promotion or a new product, but based on the timing, the Back to School program being in the wings seems most likely.

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Slingshot app lets you share your iOS screen with others on any platform

Slingshot-iOS-app-01

I’ve written about apps from Squirrels in the past. It makes the AirParrot and Reflection apps that let you mirror your Mac or PC screen to an Apple TV or your iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch screen to a Mac or PC. Today it’s launching a new product that utilizes technology from both of those previous apps called ‘Slingshot.’ The cross-platform apps let you share your iOS screen with others on iOS, Mac OS X, Windows, or Android, and provides some slick collaboration tools in the process: Read more

Opinion: Why the upgrade cycle means the ‘Apple tax’ is lower than it seems

Photo: mashable.com

Photo: mashable.com

I’m sure most of us have at some point had Windows- and Android-using friends ask us why we pay the ‘Apple tax’ – the price difference between an Apple product and what they perceive to be an equivalent competitor product.

A large part of the answer, of course, is that the competitor product isn’t equivalent at all. You can’t compare a MacBook with its premium materials, build-quality, high-spec components, screen quality and aesthetics with a low-end Windows laptop with plastic casing, low-spec innards and cheap and cheerful display. No more than you can compare an iPhone with a budget ‘droid. When you do genuine like-for-like comparisons with truly equivalent products, the Apple premium shrinks considerably.

But to get an accurate idea of the effective purchase cost, you also need to take into account both the replacement cycle and resale value …  Read more

Opinion: Will the next Mac mini be a lot more mini than ever before?

mini

When it first launched in 2005, the Mac mini was almost unimaginably small. The original aim of the machine was to convert owners of desktop Windows machines. Because those people already owned monitors, keyboards and other peripherals, selling them just the computer itself would enable them to switch to Mac for far less than the cost of buying an iMac.

The typical Windows desktop box of that era looked like this:

windows

A system unit that measured just 6.5 inches square and only 2-inches thick was an incredible feat of engineering. Today, however, it looks rather less impressive …  Read more

PC Market exodus continues as LG considers quitting, Mac prices & margins leave Apple almost immune

ultrabook

PC manufacturers seem to be dropping like flies at present. Shortly after Sony confirmed it was selling its PC business and Vaio brand, LG is rumored to be planning its own exit from traditional PCs, to focus on smartphones, tablets and ‘convertible’ PCs (touchscreen Windows tablets that flip round into a laptop).

Other manufacturers are witnessing falling sales, prices and profits – with The Guardian calculating that the average profit per PC in the third quarter of 2013 fell to just £14.87 ($24.09). One manufacturer of conventional-format PCs, however, has remained almost immune to the trend: Apple …  Read more

Microsoft names Satya Nadella CEO as Bill Gates demoted from Chairman to ‘Technology Advisor’

Following the announcement last August that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was out the door as soon as the company could find a new captain to lead the ship, the Board finally announced today that it has found its guy: Satya Nadella.

As part of the changes, founder and former CEO Bill Gates has agreed to step down from the Board and into a new role as ‘technology advisor’. Gates says he will step up his time at the company meeting with various groups and helping with future products at the request of Nadella. Read more

Total Apple device sales will equal Windows PCs this year, predicts analyst

total

The total number of Apple devices sold will equal the number of Windows PCs by some point this year, predicts Asymco’s Horace Dediu in an interesting piece of analysis.

The dark shaded area compares all Apple hardware – Mac plus iPad plus iPhone – with Windows PCs, and shows that by last year there were only 1.18 more Windows PCs than Apple devices. It’s of course a somewhat artificial comparison, as Dediu is including iPhones while excluding Windows Phones and tablets, but given the very limited success of Windows mobile devices to date, correcting that wouldn’t change the patterns too much.

What’s particularly interesting here, as John Gruber notes, is that the dramatic reversal kicked in well before the launch of the iPhone. Dediu and Gruber between them put forward a number of theories for this, and of these I think three are likely key …

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Macupdate’s $40 Winter Bundle: 12 apps incl. Anonymizer, Backblaze, Expandrive, much more

From 9to5toys:

(note: 3 other bundles are currently running: Parallels 9 Adobe Photoshop CC $10 extended unti l Dec. 8th and Stack Social)

MacUpdate just launched their Winter Mac app bundle this morning. This bundle contains 10 apps + 2 bonus apps for early buyers. Together, the 12 apps are worth nearly $400 (or about $360 without the 2 bonus titles), but the bundle is priced at just $39.99.

The bundle includes: Read more

Bundles! Camtasia/Crossover/+8 more for $10, Metakine 10 apps: $40, AfterShot Pro+10 apps: $49

Camtasia Bundle

Specials.9to5Toys.com this month has a “Name Yor own Price Bundle” which is a bit of a misnomer since you’ll need to pay above the average which is currently below $10.  You’ll get Camtasia which allows you to “Easily Create Stunning Screen Captures & Video Recordings” and well as CrossOver which allows you to run Windows programs on your Mac for the sub $10 price. Then there are 8 more great Mac Apps.  At below $10, you can’t miss.

Then there is the 11 app AfterShot Pro bundle from MacLegion, below: Read more

Ending! Parallels 8 Bundle: $50, includes Snagit, Typinator, WinZip Mac, xPlan, Boom, Leap, more

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 9.17.31 AM

Ending this weekend from 9to5Toys.com, comes one of our favorite Mac app bundles. For $30 less than the price of the Parallels 8 (Give Windows 8.1 a free spin?) headliner app alone , you get another 9 other solid applications valued at $482 for $49.99. These are available for immediate download without shipping or tax charges worldwide.

Details and video below or on Specials.9to5Toys.com

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Parallels 8 Bundle: $50, includes Snagit, Typinator, WinZip Mac, xPlan, Boom, Leap, more

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 9.17.31 AM

From 9to5Toys.com, comes one of our favorite Mac app bundles. For $30 less than the price of the Parallels 8 headliner app (Give Windows 8.1 a free spin?), you get another 9 solid applications valued at $482 for $49.99. These are available for immediate download without shipping or tax charges worldwide.

Details and video below or on Specials.9to5Toys.com

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Times have changed: No iTunes water in Windows 8 Hell for Microsoft Metro tablet users

“It’s like giving a glass of ice water to somebody in hell”

That’s what Steve Jobs said of iTunes for Windows when asked why Apple made its software for competing Microsoft users in 2007.

But times have changed. Apple continues to make/support iTunes for Windows desktop computing environments, but it doesn’t need Microsoft’s outlier tablet users who now represent the third largest share of tablet OS behind iOS and Android (by the way, don’t expect iTunes for Android any time soon either).

In fact, the iTunes ecosystem is a competitive advantage as Apple sells its iOS tablets, smartphones and TVs against Android and now Windows 8 devices. Where Windows dominated the userbase in the early 2000s, Apple now is the leader in the current ecosystem race.

That’s why it comes as no surprise that Microsoft’s Windows division CFO Tami Reller is telling folks not to expect a Windows 8 ‘Metro’ iTunes app:

“You shouldn’t expect an iTunes app on Windows 8 any time soon,” said Tami Reller, chief financial officer of Microsoft’s Windows division. “ITunes is in high demand. The welcome mat has been laid out. It’s not for lack of trying.”

It should be noted that Microsoft has been dragging its feet in delivering the once ubiquitous Office Suite of applications for iOS which is now letting competitors (Like Pages/Numbers/Keynote and Google Apps) thrive on the now dominant iOS and Android touch platforms. Read more