November 30, 2013

Much like it has in recent years to show its support for World AIDS Day on Dec. 1, Apple has started to change its iconic Apple logo outside of its retail stores from white to red. A 9to5Mac reader sent in the images above showing the process has already started at the Regent Street Store in London, but Apple will likely transform many of its other flagship locations outside the UK too. It’s also highlighting World AIDS Day on its website (so far just in the UK) with a link to the Product(RED) website. Last year Apple’s flagship Fifth Avenue retail store in New York and others around the world switched to the red Apple logo for the occasion. expand full story

Review: LifeTrak Zone C410, the all-inclusive fitness band with automatic sleep tracking

Back in August, I posted my review of the LifeTrak Move C300. In short, I couldn’t get enough of the Bluetooth-enabled fitness band with a long-lasting coin battery set to live for over a year.

The Move C300 is the best fitness band I’ve used, through and through. For me, having the information always available on my wrist and on my phone is extremely powerful. Rather than having to guess at how many steps you’ve taken or syncing just to find out, just looking at your wrist to find out real-time then syncing later to see aggregate information just feels like the right solution.

Now, Salutron (the company behind the LifeTrak brand) has released the Zone C410, which includes not only all of the great movement tracking and heart monitoring, but also automatic sleep tracking. I’ve had the pleasure of testing out this device for about a month now, and despite my best efforts to fool the “automatic” tracking, it is the best technology available in the industry.

The sleep tracking is “monitored based on motion and arm posture.” I’ve had the Jawbone Up and Fitbit Flex, but having to tell the band when I’m going to sleep has always been impossible for me. I tend to fall asleep on the couch or looking around on my phone while in bed. In addition, I’ve fallen asleep folded up in a regular chair. Yet, the Zone was right there tracking the sleep and even measuring the quality of the sleep.

While the band is water-proof, I tend to take it off when I shower so it doesn’t keep the moisture around my wrist. I have found that sometimes it will go into sleeping mode when I put it on the counter for a shower, but the added amount of “sleep” is negligible when comparing sleep data.

Just like the Move C300, the on-device screen can display charts of calorie, step, and distance data. In addition, you can see your sleep quality for the past 24 hours and the amount of sleep you’ve gotten per night (or total per day, for those who take naps throughout the day) for the whole week.

When it comes to size, the LifeTrak bands are definitely larger than their competitors. However, the on-screen display makes it easy to know how you’re doing without taking out your phone. In addition, the battery doesn’t require you to take off the band and charge every couple of days. The size of the band doesn’t affect my typing and, honestly, I feel naked whenever I take off the band. It’s extremely comfortable and doesn’t weigh you down.

The LifeTrak Zone C410 is available on Amazon for just $99.

November 29, 2013

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As the holiday season kicks into full swing with Black Friday, at least two of the nations largest retailers are offering partial credit to the iPad for blowout sales numbers. Target announced a successful start to the season with record traffic numbers to Target.com and Thanksgiving evening store openings.

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Black-Friday-Apple-roundup

It can be hard to keep up with all of the great Apple related deals available this Black Friday weekend, so we thought we’d make it easy for you. Here are all of the best deals available this weekend on Macs, iPhones, iPads, Apple TV, iPods, iTunes gift cards, and a ton of great apps for both iOS and Mac. As always, 9to5Toys is tracking all the best Black Friday deals on other products as well as the latest discounts as they get announced.

Mac |

Best Buy: Retina MacBook Pro up to $200 off, iMac $150 off, MacBook Air $150 off MacMall: Black Friday Begins Now at MacMall: MacBook Airs $100 off, iPads $40 off, more B&H: Some of the best deals on Macs if you want AppleCare included.

iPhone |

Best Buy: Best Buy offering iPhone 5s for $75 off all models on AT&T, Sprint and Verizon Walmart: Walmart will credit YOU $30 to get an iPhone 5c on contract this Black Friday T-Mobile: T-Mobile, regional carriers offering iPhone 5s and 5c for $0 down on Black Friday

iPad |

Apple iPad Deals: iPad Air w/ $100 Target GC $479, iPad mini $249, iPad 2 $300, more

Apple TV |

Apple TV + HDMI Cable: $72.49 shipped Apple TV 3rd generation 1080p $85 shipped (Reg. $99)

iPod |

Black Friday iPod Discounts: iPod Touch/iPod Nano $50 off, more

Accessories |

Where to find the best Black Friday deals on iPhones, iPads, Macs, & Apple accessories

iTunes |

Discounted iTunes Gift Cards: Save up to 20% on future apps, music, movies, more. $100 gift card for $85 or $50 gift card for $40.

Apps |

Black Friday App Store sale guide: The best deals on iPhone, iPad, and Mac apps

Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Elements 12 combo: $70 shipped

Adobe launches Black Friday deals up to 60% off on Photoshop, Lightroom, and more

VMWare sitewide Black Friday sale, VMWare Fusion 6: $38.99 new or $32.49 for an upgrade

If you’re looking for some great apps to spend those iTunes gift cards this holiday weekend (currently 20% off on 9to5Toys), below we’ve put together the best App Store apps discounted for Black Friday. Like our roundup yesterday of the best accessories for your iPhone, iPad, and Mac, we’re only including the best of the best, and we’ll continue to update throughout the weekend. expand full story

550

We mentioned a couple of days ago that AAPL stock was approaching a high for the year, and it has now broken the $549.02 at which it began the year.

The company has experienced a roller-coaster ride in its stock price, almost entirely divorced from any product-based reality. The value placed on the company by the market at any given time has more to do with the gap between rumors and product launches, and of course short-term speculation …  expand full story

It’s an iPhone-controlled paper airplane – of course I want one

There are some ideas so silly they’re irresistibly cool. An iPhone-controlled paper airplane? Of course I want one!

The Kickstarter project has already quadrupled its $50,000 goal with 57 days to go.

iFixit offers Black Friday deals on repair kits, up to $65 off

For those whose DIY skills are rather less catastrophic than my own, our friends over at iFixit are offering a range of Black Friday deals on their repair kits, with savings of up to 52 percent.

We of course regularly feature the company’s teardowns, with the most recent being the iPad Air and Retina iPad Mini.

$138,432 – one lawyer’s fee to Apple for a fortnight’s work overseeing ebooks anti-trust compliance

Apple has filed a formal objection to the fees being charged by the lawyer appointed by the judge in the ebooks anti-trust case, reports Bloomberg. Michael Bromwich is charging Apple $1265 an hour, comprising $1150 per hour fee plus a 15 percent ‘administrative fee’ on top.

Bromwich’s invoice for his first two weeks of work was $138,432, the equivalent of 75 percent of a federal judge’s annual salary, Apple said in its filing, which described the administrative surcharge as “unprecedented in Apple’s experience.”

bf-us

Our prediction that Apple would offer gift cards rather than cash discounts on Black Friday was confirmed when the U.S. and Canadian stores went live this morning. We first saw this in Australia and New Zealand, whose time-zones made them the first stores to open for Black Friday business.

While Europe bucked the trend, offering cash discounts instead, the North American gift card deals are dollar-for-dollar with Australia. The main ones are:

November 28, 2013

Apple-Black-Friday-Discounts

While Apple’s Black Friday deals started going live in Australia and elsewhere today with Apple Store Gift Cards in place of traditional discounts, it appears Apple will be offering discounts and not gift cards in at least some countries. The UK, France, Germany and other European Apple Online Stores have now started posting Black Friday promotions with discounts on iPads, MacBooks, iPods, Apple TV, and many accessories. expand full story

Hyper offers up to 50% off battery packs, Wi-Fi USB drives & more for your MacBook, iPhone & iPad

There are a ton of great Black Friday deals this year, but if you’re looking for an external battery pack for your MacBook, there aren’t many options other than Hyper. We’ve reviewed various models of the HyperJuice Battery Packs in the past, and today the company let us know it’s offering everything in its online store up for up to 50% off.

That includes its colorful dual USB HyperJuice Battery Packs, its WiFi connected iUSBport camera accessories and hard drives, and much more. Some of the notables (pictured above) include: $50 off HyperJuice MacBook batteries, $60 off USB battery packs, $100 off the iUSBportCAMERA, and $60 off the HyperJuice Battery + iPad stand. iUSBportCAMERA will let you wirelessly tether from most DSLRs to iOS devices, while the iUSBport mini will allow you to wirelessly connect to your MicroSDXC or use it as a USB flash drive.

Hyper has long been just about the only company on the market offering portable external battery packs for MacBooks. Apple doesn’t let third-party accessory makers use the MagSafe adapter, so Hyper’s DIY kit for modding your cable is the reason it’s still the only one with portable MacBook batteries. Good news: There is also an option to order a premodified MagSafe cable directly from Hyper. You can of course use the batteries for many other devices too thanks to built-in USB ports. Read about our experience with it here.

These are just some of the most notable deals available through Hyper for Black Friday:

HyperJuice Battery Packs HyperJuice2 Battery Pack for MacBook (100Wh) – Now $249.95 ($50 off MSRP $299.95) HyperJuice1.5 Battery Pack for MacBook (60Wh) – Now $139.95 ($30 off MSRP $169.95) HyperJuice1.5 Battery Pack for MacBook (100Wh) – Now $199.95 ($50 off MSRP $249.95) HyperJuice1.5 Battery Pack for MacBook (150Wh) – Now $299.95 ($50 off MSRP $349.95) HyperJuice1.5 Battery Pack for MacBook (222Wh) – Now $399.95 ($50 off MSRP $449.95) HyperJuice Micro 3600mAh Dual USB Battery Pack – Now $39.95 ($30 off MSRP $69.95) HyperJuice Mini 7200mAh Dual USB Battery Pack – Now $59.95 ($40 off MSRP $99.95) HyperJuice Stand 11000mAh USB Battery Pack – Now $69.95 ($60 off MSRP $129.95) HyperJuice Plug 10400mAh Dual USB Battery Pack – Now $79.95 ($50 off MSRP $129.95) HyperJuice Plug 15600mAh Dual USB Battery Pack – Now $99.95 ($60 off MSRP $159.95)

HyperDrive Storage Products iUSBportCAMERA DSLR Wireless Tether to iDevice – Now $199.95 ($100 off MSRP $299.95) iUSBport Mini Wireless USB Flash Drive for iDevice – Now $79.95 ($10 off MSRP $89.95) iUSBport Wireless USB Hub for iPad, iPhone, Android – Now $89.95 ($10 off MSRP $99.95) HyperDrive UDMA2 Memory Card Backup Device & Photo Viewer – Now 10% off all models HyperDrive Hard Drive for iPad – Now 10% off all models

HyperShield Apple Accessories HyperShield Back Covers for iPad (various styles and colors) – $4.99 (Usual $19.95-$39.95) HyperShield Stylus (various styles and colors) – $4.99-$7.99 (Usual $9.95-$19.95) ThinShield World’s Thinnest & Lightest iPhone 5/5s Case – $9.95 (50% off MSRP $19.95)

HyperThin World Thinnest HDMI Cables 0.8m – $14.95 ($5 off MSRP $19.95) 2.5m – $29.95 ($10 off MSRP $39.95)

Some additional tidbits on Apple’s gift card-based Black Friday deal

This morning, Apple’s Black Friday sale went live in Australia, confirming our earlier report that it will be based around gift cards and not the usual discounts. Because this is the first time that Apple has provided a gift card-based deal for Black Friday, many readers have approached us with questions. We’ve asked around, and we have some answers. First, as we wrote in the previous post, here’s why Apple moved to gift cards:

An Apple employee reached out to share some details as to why Apple moved from standard discounts to gift cards for this year’s Black Friday festivities. According to this person, the switch has been long considered, and is not entirely influenced by Apple wanting to give customers incentives to spend more money through Apple. According to the person, the standard discounts for Black Friday required several months of preparation (each year) from Apple across several teams within the company. Apple was required to manually update the pricing for every product within its entire backend system for both the online and retail stores. This process is said to have been anything but seamless, and it was, as the source put it, a waste of time and resources. Gift cards, instead, take little effort from Apple to ship alongside products, and in some cases, the money savings (overall) will be even greater for the customer.

We understand that the gift card offer will not be combinable with any other promotions (such as the Education discount available on some products). Apple will also not be price matching products to deals available at other retailers. Apple will work with the customer to decide on which available Apple promotion will save the most money: gift card or education discount, for example.

Black-Friday-Apple-roundup-02

It can be hard to cut through the noise with just about every retailer online having sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best deals available only for iPad, iPhone, iPods, and Mac. You won’t find any deals on TVs or microwaves in the list below, just the best of the best accessories for your iOS device and Mac, and we’ve only included great products from companies we trust (many of which we’ve reviewed personally). If you still need to buy a Mac, iPhone, or iPad first, you’ll also find a roundup of the best deals on Apple hardware from 9to5Toys at the bottom. As always, we’ll update as more deals are announced throughout the weekend and you can send any you might find to tips@9to5Mac.com. expand full story

Lifeproof-nuud

LifeProof has announced an updated version of it’s nüüd and frē cases. The cases both offer the same level of  water, dirt, snow and shock protection as the previous nüüd and frē case for the iPhone 5, but now they support using the Touch ID sensor that is built into the home button on the newer iPhone 5s. expand full story

SonicoMobile, the developers behind the popular apps iTranslate, iTranslate Voice, Files, and Languages released a new update today, iTranslate for iPad. As the name implies, iTranslate for iPad brings all the features customers have loved from iTranslate to the big screen, with an iPad optimized app.

Like the iPhone version, iTranslate for iPad lets you translate words and text in over 70 different languages, with dictionaries for many languages that offer a wide variety of interpretations and meanings, as well as a full text-to-speech conversion tool. With an in-app purchase, you can also unlock iTranslate premium, with features like Voice Recognition built in, and powered by Nuance.

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The Bureau – XCOM Declassified arrives on the Mac App Store

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rx8l2vVWULU]

Originally released in August for Xbox 360, PS3, and Windows, 2K and TransGaming just released The Bureau — XCOM Declassified on the Mac App Store. The release follows the launch of the popular XCOM: Enemy Unknown game on Mac earlier this year, but unlike that game, XCOM Declassified is a third-person shooter with strategy elements taken from the classic XCOM titles. The game received some mixed reviews, but was generally well received by most.

The year is 1962. JFK is President and the Cold War has the nation gripped by fear – but a far more powerful and insidious enemy than communism is threatening America. Known only to a select few, a top-secret government unit called The Bureau begins investigating and concealing a series of mysterious attacks by an otherworldly enemy. As special agent William Carter, call the shots, pull the trigger and lead your squad in a gripping third-person tactical shooter set within a high-stakes, covert war to defend humanity. The Bureau’s mission is clear – survive, adapt and overcome the enemy threat to protect the citizens from the truth.

The Bureau – XCOM Declassified is available now for $34.99 on the Mac App Store. Minimum system requirements below:

OS: Mac OS X Mountain Lion 10.7.5 or higher Processor: Intel Core i series processor Memory: 4 GB RAM Hard Drive: 15 GB free Video Memory: 512MB Video Card: AMD HD4870 / NVIDIA 8800GT or better* Input: Keyboard and 3 button Mouse or Logitech Dual Analog Stick Gamepad

(via iMore)

aus

As we predicted, Apple’s Black Friday deals take the form of gift cards rather than discounts. The Australian store is first to come online with the promotion.

Buy a Mac, and you get a gift card for AUS$150 ($137), an iPad gets you AUS$75 ($68) and an iPod AUS$50 ($45) – with a range of gift card values on selected accessories. It’s likely these amounts will be rounded in the USA.

There appears to be no gift card with the Retina iPad Mini (only with the non-Retina model), likely a reflection of the limited supplies available and that Apple knows it will sell well into the holiday season without incentives.

While the gift card amounts are slightly more generous than past discounts (last year Apple offered $100 discount on a Mac), the fact that you have to lay out the full amount for a credit that has to be spent later may limit appeal …

We’ve posted some answers to common questions about the deal. 

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displaymate

DisplayMate, a company specializing in scientific display testing and calibration, gave the Retina iPad Mini third place in detailed lab tests of three leading 7-inch tablets, criticising Apple for “really bad planning” for what it considers to be out-dated display technology.

And finally… the iPad mini with Retina Display unfortunately comes in with a distant 3rd place finish behind the innovative displays on the Kindle Fire HDX 7 and new Nexus 7 […]

All of this reliance on IGZO is really bad planning… Right now there is a readily available display technology that has much higher performance than IGZO. It’s Low Temperature Poly Silicon LTPS, and it is used in all of the iPhones and in all of Samsung OLEDs (so it’s available in large quantities). Two innovative tablet manufacturers, Amazon and Google, have significantly leapfrogged Apple by introducing Tablet displays using LTPS (in the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 and the new Nexus 7), and they are significantly outperforming the IGZO and a-Si displays in the current iPads. Apple is now lagging in displays, an area where it was once the leader…  expand full story

HT5594--maps_location_permission--en

Reuters is reporting that Lucy Koh has today dismissed a data privacy lawsuit against Apple that dates back to 2011. The plaintiffs were suing on the basis that (in iOS 4.1) Apple collected WiFi hotspot and cell tower location data even though Location Services were disabled.

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November 27, 2013

During a talk at the LISA ’13 conference in Washington D.C earlier this month, a couple members from Google’s Macintosh Operations team explained how the company has been forced to develop its own set of tools to manage its fleet of roughly 43,000 Macs. The reason, according to Google engineers Clay Caviness and Edward Eigerman, is that Apple isn’t doing a great job at supporting its enterprise management tools. As the first slide of the presentation (pictured above) puts it, “While Apple won’t do much for you, there are tools out there you can use to keep your machines secure, up to date and useful.”

“We don’t use any of Apple’s tools to manage the Macs. Apple arguably produces two tools, Mac OS X server… and Apple Remote Desktop. It kinda breaks down when you get it over 50, 100, 200 machines that you’re managing… we’ve sort of lost their attention as far as enterprise management tools.”

During one slide (pictured above, right), Google uses the red line to represent the release of the iPhone while noting Apple’s remote desktop “hasn’t had a major revision to it since 2006.” To avoid using Apple’s management tools, Google has either developed its own tools or is using open source tools for everything from configuration, to package management, monitoring system levels and more. Google announced during the talk that one of the imaging tools it developed, CanHazImage, will soon be hitting open source.  expand full story

9to5toys-black-friday-2013-line

Black Friday 2013 is almost upon us and we’ve got the definitive game plan for Apple folks out there on tap. We cover Gear and Deals at 9to5Toys 365 days a year so we’re experts on where notable deals are to be had. (Unfortunately, this year they won’t be at Apple).

Over the next 36 hours, every retailer will officially begin their pre-announced Black Friday deals. More importantly, competition makes each retailer bring their lowest prices down further throughout the day. It’s what makes Black Friday Black Friday.

Walmart pushed their sales up a full week, Amazon made its earliest start ever, Target is adding huge gift cards to its 5% Red Card and Best Buy has been putting its doorbuster deals online throughout this entire week. MacMall B&H are already in full swing. We already have excellent Black Friday software bundle sales from: Parallels Adobe and Stack Social.

Keep up with the latest deals and news by following 9to5Toys on TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari Push to get updated deals as the day progresses. For Apple’s products, we’ll be updating the 9to5Mac Product pages all day long.

Hopefully these online savings allow you to avoid lines (like the folks in the picture above) and have a Happy Thanksgiving weekend with football, family, food and friends.

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Update: Live in Australia.

As part of the American Black Friday sales tradition, Apple typically offers minimal discounts on its own products and third-party accessories via its online and physical retail stores. However, this year will be significantly different. According to multiple sources, Apple’s sales event this Friday will be based around gift cards, not discounts on products. If a customer buys a product from Apple on Black Friday, instead of receiving a discount, they will be given an Apple Store gift card. This gift card will likely not be able to be used at the time of purchase, solely at a later date. The setup is similar to that of Apple’s recent Back to School campaigns, but it is Apple Store cards, not iTunes cards…

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Update: Pad and Quill is taking: 20% off iPhone cases,  25% off MacBook cases for 9to5 readers

Brian and Kari from Pad and Quill have sent me a few of their drop dead gorgeous iPhone and iPad cases over the past few months. These are hand-made with natural leather and wood materials with high-quality stitching throughout. The ‘Little Pocket Book’ above is a great wallet case for the iPhone 5/5s.  You can just feel the quality of the materials and craftsmanship here. People stop and ask me where I got my iPhone case and if it was hand made.

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This week, Pad and Quill launched the Satchel Bag, Messenger Bag and Field Bag (videos below).  Again, incredible looking product for any Apple user that wants to differentiate from the every day stuff. If the quality is anything like the iPhone and iPad cases, these will be around for a long time. expand full story

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