About the Author

Seth Weintraub

@llsethj

Publisher and Editorial Director of the 9to5/Electrek sites.

  +SethWeintraub (850,000)

Seth Weintraub is an award-winning journalist and blogger who won back to back Neal Awards during his three plus years  covering Apple and Google at IDG’s Computerworld from 20072010.  Weintraub next covered all things Google for Fortune Magazine from 2010-2011 amassing a thick rolodex of Google contacts and love for Silicon Valley culture.

It turns out that his hobby 9to5Mac.com blog was always his favorite and in 2011 he went full time adding his Fortune Google followers to 9to5Google.com and adding the commerce component 9to5Toys.com gear and deals site. In 2013, Weintraub bought one of the Tesla’s first Model S EVs off the assembly line and so began his love affair with the Electric Vehicle and green energy which is now electrek.co.

From 1997-2007, Weintraub was a Global IT director and Web Developer for a number of companies with stints at multimedia and branding agencies in Paris, Los Angeles, New York, Sydney, Hong Kong, Madrid and London before becoming a publisher/blogger.

Seth recieved a bachelors degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from the University of Southern California with a minor in Multimedia and Creative Technology in 1997. In 2004, he recieved a Masters from NYU’s Tisch School of the Art’s ITP program.

Hobbies: Weintraub is a licensed single engine private pilot, certified open water diver and spent over a year traveling to 60 cities in 23 countries. Whatever free time exists is now guaranteed to his lovely wife and two amazing sons.

More at About.me.

Tips: seth@9to5mac.com, or llsethj on Wickr/AIM/Skype

Seth Weintraub's Favorite Gear

December 11, 2015

AAPL: 113.18

-2.99

Just (barely) in time for the holidays, Walmart.com now carries the Apple Watch Sport in a variety of colors –as long as it is either space gray or silver. The US’s largest retailer won’t carry the Watch in stores and currently the price for the Sport is the non-discounted $349-399 retail which is $100 more than Best Buy and bestbuy.com where it starts at just $249. expand full story

December 9, 2015

AAPL: 115.62

-2.61

There’s been no shortage of controversy surrounding the new iPhone 6/s battery case released yesterday. Most complaints were around the capacity which is at the low end, the shape, or its actual existence which would seem to indicate that Apple made the iPhone 6 with too small a battery.

Tim Cook, in discussing with Mashable the new accessory, had an alternate take on its use:

expand full story

November 26, 2015

AAPL: 118.03

-0.85

Apple Black Friday Gameplan – knock out holiday shopping quickly, save tons of cash

Update: We’ve got hundreds of items in our Apple Black Friday Mac/iPhone/iPad accessories and software guide

As the Thanksgiving turkey and wine buzz starts to wear off and we head into the pinnacle of American consumerism known as Black Friday, we here at 9to5Mac have some tips which should make the shopping experience pleasant, efficient and productive. Over the next 24 hours, everything Apple related will be at the lowest prices of the year. We’re going to guide you to getting in, saving a bunch of cash and getting on your way.

First some don’ts:

  • Don’t for any reason actually go to a physical store. The 2-3 $150 50″ Best Buy TVs per store isn’t worth being in the vicinity of Black Friday shoppers and the “Door Busting”. It’s a nightmare out there. Go to a park. Play with your kids. Spend a few minutes with us and we’ll knock out that gifting.
  • Don’t actually buy anything online until Black Friday. Prices keep dropping in the runup to Black Friday. Wait. Enjoy the time with your family, watch some football. If you must, grab some small ticket items and get those out of the way. If you miss something, it will likely be around again on “Cyber Monday”.
  • Don’t buy anything at an Apple Store or Apple.com. Apple has outsourced Black Friday to their retail partners and have normal prices across the board. The stuff you buy at Target/Best Buy/Walmart/Amazon/etc.com is the exact same product and warranty you get at Apple. Pro-Tip: Apple Stores are for showrooming and repairs.
  • Don’t touch that dial. Stick with us here at 9to5Mac, 9to5Google and most importantly 9to5Toys for all of the best deals. Heck, now’s the time to subscribe to 9to5Toys TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications. We’ve got a team of 20 people scouring the web for the best deals out there and tomorrow it is going to come fast and furious.

As for Apple products, we’ve distilled the absolute best deals out there into just a few options. Important considerations include state tax at time of purchase, gift cards vs. actual savings, shipping and rewards. Also, AppleCare discounts. Here’s the quick rundown:

Apple Watch

Target, B&H and Best Buy in the US have the biggest discounts we’ve seen this year. Best Buy will knock off $50 on Sport and $100 on Stainless. Target gives you a $100 gift card on both models which is of course good for an additional 5% cash back using their RedCard. Both sites charge tax in all 50 states but offer free shipping.

However, the best option might be B&H Photo which offers the Apple Watch in fewer varieties than Best Buy but for the same $50 off Sport/$100 off Stainless. In addition, B&H throws in a $50 gift card, B&H only charges Tax in New York State which may save you big money.

B&H Photo:

Best Buy:

Target:

Apple Watch Sport starts at $349 and comes with a free $100 Target Gift Card. Use your REDcard to save an additional 5% and your effective net cost is just $231.55. That’s the lowest price we’ve seen on new Apple Watches. Target will throw in the free gift card on any in-stock Apple Watch.

Apple TV

Target has the New Apple TV for ~$50 off in store but those prices will likely hit retailers like Walmart ($112) tomorrow. HHGregg also is expected to have some availability on Black Friday at reduced cost. Staples has $25 off if you checkout with Visa Checkout. The 3rd Gen Apple TV is $50 in a number of places and $40 Geek squad refurb at Best Buy. Stay tuned.

iPods

For those of us that still love the iPod touch, there are a few nice deals around. Best Buy cuts $50 across the board, Target cuts $40-$60 and Walmart cuts $35.

iPhone

iPhones with plans from the major US carriers are marked down significantly in a number of retail outlets

iPad

iPad Air/2

iPad mini 2/3/4

iPad Pro

Macs

Mac prices and inventory will fluctuate wildly on Black Friday. Best Buy gives an extra $50 off to students on iMacs and MacBooks

Retina 12-inch MacBooks are now widely available in Gold, Silver and Space Gray. The best prices as of this writing are:

MacBook Airs: B&H are running the table as of this writing with $120 off across the board, Tax only in New York and 6 months of Parallels Access but things will likely change – stay tuned.

MacBook Pro

B&H is leading the way with $150-$500 off 13-inch MacBook Pros and $200-$500 off 15.4-inch MacBook Pros. We expect to see some lower prices at eBay and other locations through the day.

iMacs

The entry level iMac is a whopping $200 off at Best Buy ($899) and with the .EDU  credit drops down to $850 shipped. After that B&H is leading the way with at least $100-$300 off on standard models and MacMall leads the way on custom configs. We’ve heard whispers that a retailler is going to do some serious price drops so we’ll post those when they happen.

Mac mini:

B&H takes $50 off the base model which now starts at $449 and $70 and $100 off the higher models. Other places take off less but will likely drop prices tomorrow.

Mac Pros:

Again, B&H has the lowest base model price and most of the configurations along with MacMall.

The above prices and inventory will likely be all over the place on Black Friday so we’ll be updating frequently. Thanks again for joining us for Black Friday 2015.

November 24, 2015

AAPL: 118.88

1.13

Parallels has one of the most impressive bundles we’ve seen launching today. For the normal price of Parallels ($79.99/$50 upgrade), you get 6 more really good Mac apps as well as 1 year of Parallels Access for iOS devices. If you’ve been on the fence about grabbing Parallels (or a few of the other apps for that matter), this is a great offer. Ends Dec 1 so don’t fmess around.

If $80 is too rich for your bones, Check out these other 50 apps bundles starting at $15 over 90% off).   expand full story

November 19, 2015

AAPL: 118.78

1.49

If you’re like me, you have a bunch of old Apple devices sitting around that hardly get used. Whether it’s because they’re broken or they’ve just been supplanted by newer, better tech, they lose a lot of value EVERY DAY just sitting on your desk or in a drawer doing nothing. With the holidays coming up and lots of presents to buy, that’s a lot of potential cash left sitting on the table.

cracked-water-damaged-tablet-and-phoneTo get value out of your old or broken Apple devices, we’ve partnered with two companies we’ve long used ourselves and have a great relationship with to get value out of your unused devices.

For repairs, ifixyouri has long been our go-to for broken screens, dents, and other damage to our iPhones and iPads. Their site is easy to navigate, and they will immediately generate a UPS shipping label by email which you can print out and attach to your device and send it on its way. Repair turnaround is generally just a few days and cost is always significantly below what Apple charges. We’ve created a secure portal at 9to5mac.ifixyouri.com for our readers.

For cash trade-ins, we’re partnering with Myphones Unlimited who we’ve found to give the most (or very close to it) amount of cash back on iPhone, iPad, iPod and even Mac trade-ins. You’ll get an estimate on the site based on a few parameters and as long as your device matches your description, you’ll get a check back in a week. You don’t have to do much. They send you the box. You put your device in it and give it to USPS. If for some reason, the device doesn’t match the spec, you have the option of accepting less money or getting it sent back for free. Very little risk involved here.

We’ve put a CASH/FIX link in our header for easy access when you get those new devices or break your current ones.  We hope you can take advantage of these services. Even better, if you are satisfied with and move forward with your cash trade-in or repair the service, we may receive a small commission — which supports 9to5mac.

Fix-trade-in

November 18, 2015

AAPL: 117.29

3.60

A bundle of Mac App Bundles, more than 50 total apps over 90% off

From 9to5toys.com:

As we approach Black Friday we are at the Nexus of the Mac application bundle universe with not 1, not 2, but 3 impressive Mac Bundles happening at the same time.

First up is MacHeist’s “Hall of Fame Bundle” which includes greats such as TechTool Pro, Graphic Converter, Stuffit Deluxe, Nisus Writer Pro, Poser, Fetch FTP and more for $15 (or choose the bottom row for “Name your own price”. This one has sold over 10,000 copies but ends in a day so you might want to get hopping.

Next up is Bundlehunt which costs a little more but they let you pick out any 10 of a selection of 30 apps which I love as a concept. This includes ForkLift, Pixa, Flux V, RapidWeaver, Boom 2, Secret Folders Pro, Jump Desktop + 23 great Mac apps. Even if you only need a few of these, the $19.99 price tag means you are getting a steal.

And finally probably the most impressive array of apps is from our own specials.9to5toys.com which using $5 code 9TO5BFMB at checkout drops the bundle price down to $34.99. A great price for most of these Mac Apps on their own. PDF Pen, Aftershot Pro 2, Drive Genius, Mixtape Pro, MacXDVD Ripper, Busy Contacts, Prizmo 3, Motion Composer and more.

November 12, 2015

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November 7, 2015

AAPL: 121.06

0.14

If you are looking for some differentiation in your Bluetooth speakers, the JBL Pulse 2 ($199) and the Marsboy Orb ($30 after SPDJVX3R code) offer varying degrees of light show to accompany your music. While the JBL Pulse 2 is essentially a very good Charge 2+ with a light show wrapped around the outside, the Marsboy brings a base model Chinese brand speaker with a LED array strapped on. Is there any middle ground here?

expand full story

October 24, 2015

AAPL: 119.08

3.58

Video demonstrates using 3D touch screen iPhone 6s to weigh objects, opens up new use cases

Developer Simon Gladman today demonstrated (via Jeff Benjamin) the use of the iPhone 6s display as a way to compare weights of an object, here denoted in a percentage of touch, on Apple’s 3D or Force Touch display.

The app called “Plum-O-meter” for obvious reasons is currently a jailbreak option for tinkerers. I think it is unlikely that this will hit the Official App Store because it likely makes private API calls to acquire the data. However, it does show yet another device the iPhone could one day replace. Full video follows.

Update: Huawei, which announced a “Force Touch” phone a few weeks before Apple, has a scale app on their phone. Hadn’t seen this, where’s the App Store app then?

 

October 23, 2015

AAPL: 115.50

1.74

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer calls 1997 investment saving Apple “craziest thing we ever did”

In a Bloomberg interview this morning former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer spent some time discussing competition with Amazon for talent in Seattle and then moved on to Apple and Tesla.

With regard to Apple, Ballmer first said that Apple has “done a good job” and took credit for saving Apple with an investment in 1997 when Steve Jobs returned – which was part of a patent lawsuit over Windows 95/stolen Quicktime code. Ballmer went on to describe the investment this way: “In a way you could say that was the craziest thing [Microsoft] ever did.”

Ballmer then moved to the current landscape where he said that Microsoft is the only company (in addition to Samsung) really competing with Apple with its SurfaceBook in a new category.

Ballmer currently is the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team and now owns around 4% of Twitter stock. The relevant clip can be found here with Apple conversation starting halfway through.

 

October 20, 2015

AAPL: 113.77

2.04

Popular Ultimate Ears (UE) Bluetooth speakers get new ‘Block Party’ sharing feature

We’re big fans of the Ultimate Ears lineup of speakers from the $89 Roll (review), to the $199 Boom 2 (review) and the huge $299 Megaboom (review). Today the company announced a new firmware and software update feature which allows multiple iPhones and Android apps to share music on one speaker or a set of paired speakers. Called ‘Block Party”, it seems like a great way to let party goers share their music on one device. I’ve had a working speaker and apps for about 24 hours and the feature seems to work in a simulated environment (hard to get a party going on a Monday afternoon).

Losing control of your speaker seems like the only downside to this new feature from Ultimate Ears which will roll out on 3 of their devices today.  Press release follows:

October 12, 2015

AAPL: 111.60

-0.52

Quick Review: OLALA Apple-Certified MFi 6000mAh battery is a convenient iPhone charger for $24

 

We’ve been using the Apple-Certified OLALA MFi iPhone/iPad charger for almost a month. It is an iPhone-sized battery with a built-in Apple Certified Lightning cable which can be extracted from the battery. The plug is at a 90-degree angle which allows for easy charging in a bag or pocket.

The specs to know on this one are:

  • 5V 2.4A  (12W) output meaning the charge is about as fast as can be taken by an iPhone or iPad
  • 6000mAh Capacity  meaning it has enough battery to last up to 2 full iPhone charges (or 1 iPad Mini)
  • It also has a second USB port to charge a second phone or any other device that charges via USB
  • It charges via Micro-USB cable- included.
  • 4 LEDs indicate power level
  • Dimensions: 127.5×63.5x14mm Weight: 146g
  • Comes with 30-day money back guarantee, and 1 full year warranty

Without attempting to be anti-climactic, OLALA does what it says. It always has an iPhone’s worth of charge ready for you when you need it. That Mifi Lightning cable being built in sure does come in handy and the L-shaped retractable tip makes charging super-simple.

Use 9to5mac‘s exclusive $6 off coupon code BL3UY33F to purchase one at $23.99 with free shipping at Amazon. If you don’t have free Prime shipping, you need to pad your order to over $35 otherwise you’ll get tagged with your $6 back in shipping.

October 10, 2015

AAPL: 112.12

2.62

It was discovered by Larry Salibra and others that Apple has been disabling its Apple News Service in China. Perhaps most troubling is how Apple is doing this:

They’re censoring news content that I downloaded and stored on my device purchased in the USA, before I even enter China just because my phone happens to connect to a Chinese signal floating over the border. On device censorship is much different than having your server blocked by the Great Firewall or not enabling a feature for customers with certain country iTunes account. That Apple has little choice doesn’t make it any less creepy or outrageous.

The New York Times reports that Apple confirmed, off the record, that it is indeed turning off Apple News in Mainland China.

Apple has disabled its news app in China, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation, the most recent sign of how difficult it can be for foreign companies to manage the strict rules governing media and online expression there. Customers who already downloaded the app by registering their phones in the United States can still see content in it when they travel overseas — but they have found that it does not work in China. Those in China who look at the top of the Apple News feed, which would normally display a list of selected articles based on a user’s preferred media, instead see an error message: “Can’t refresh right now. News isn’t supported in your current region.”

China is Apple’s most promising market but unfortunately it is controlled by a government that wields total control over information and the media. Simply removing the news App might be better than upsetting Beijing.  Google famously ran afoul of the Chinese government in 2010 after sustaining a state-sponsored hacking attack on its Windows computers and was effectively kicked out of the country. Only in the past few months have attempts been made to mend the bridges.  Apple certainly doesn’t want to hurt its cash cow over censorship. From a PR perspective, it probably doesn’t want to hand the reigns over to Beijing either.

I don’t expect this to change soon.  expand full story

If you’ve ever tried to charge your iPhones/iPads/etc. directly from a small solar panel you probably know it is pretty difficult. Even with direct sunlight, you aren’t likely to be able to charge the device reliably. Most USB-charged devices require a minimum of 5W (5Vx1A) of continuous power to even register a charge. Then a cloud comes or the sun moves and you aren’t charging anymore.

Adding a battery to the mix helps, especially if the battery is big and can charge the device on its own without any sun. But most of the solar/battery combos fall into 2 categories: Either messy because they are a bulky 2 step solution or the solar panel is too small to make a meaningful charge and you are mostly using it like a regular USB battery.

solartab

SolarTab is a breath of fresh air here. It is a relatively big 5.5W solar panel built on a thin 13,000mAh battery enclosure that fits in an included Moleskine-esque case. Size-wise, think the original iPad with a nice leather case and a huge solar panel instead of a screen…

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October 3, 2015

AAPL: 110.38

0.80

How to take professional looking photos with the iPhone 6s and a few bucks [video]

Fstoppers does a nice quick video tutorial on how to get professional looking photos from the already amazing shooter in the iPhone 6s. The only tools they used can be picked up at Amazon for a few bucks:

  1. Black foam core ($11)
  2. White foam core ($9+$6 shipping)
  3. LED flashlight ($10)
  4. LED panel ($30)

Five years ago I filmed the iPhone Fashion Shoot, a 10-minute video in which I take professional looking images with the iPhone 3GS. That video was supposed to inspire photographers who assumed that their work was suffering because their gear wasn’t ultra expensive. The video became extremely popular and became very polarizing. The majority of people thought my images looked good because I used fancy lights.

For the last five years people have been asking me when I was going to revisit the iPhone Fashion Shoot. I had already proven that you can take a great picture with any camera, but when was I going to prove that expensive lights and modifiers aren’t what make images look good? At first I said I never wanted to do another professional photoshoot with my phone because I didn’t want to become “that iPhone photographer” but as time went on I thought, ahhh who cares. When I heard the iPhone 6s was coming out on September 25, I decided now was the best time to create a new video to prove once and for all that quality photography can be taken with any budget.

Also helps if your neighbor looks good in a bikini.

September 28, 2015

AAPL: 112.44

-2.27
According to Chipworks, there are actually two different sized A9 processors floating around in the iPhone 6s and 6s plus released last week. That’s not really a surprise because Apple likes to have redundancy, especially when one of the manufacturers is Samsung. We’d heard that both Samsung and TSMC would be producing A9 processors destined for the iPhone 6s.

However, there appears to be a difference in size of the two A9s which might play a role in how the iPhone performs…

expand full story

September 25, 2015

AAPL: 114.71

-0.29
Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, arrive for a State Dinner reception in honor of Chinese President Xi Jinping, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Among over 200 titans of industry, finance and entertainment this evening, Apple’s Tim Cook and former EPA head and Apple’s VP of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives Lisa P. Jackson attended President Obama’s Chinese State Dinner. The two reportedly sat at the President’s table with FaceBook’s Mark Zuckerberg with wife Pricilla Chan, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Apple Board member and Disney CEO Bob Iger among the 18… expand full story

September 15, 2015

AAPL: 115.31

1.10

One of my absolute favorite Bluetooth speakers got a huge update today. The UE Boom 2 is an upgraded version of the iconic portable Bluetooth speaker from Logitech’s Ultimate Ears division. Originally released in 2013, the Boom set a new standard for Portable Bluetooth speakers with its “cupholder friendly” and colorful design, great acoustics, and iOS/Android apps.

In recent months UE has released a much bigger, more expensive MegaBoom and a much smaller, cheaper UE Roll. Both are waterproof and extremely rugged and if you’d had to have guessed, you’d be right in assuming the Boom would get these same features.

And it has. IPX 7 waterproofing means you can not only take it with you into the shower but you can drop the Boom 2 in the pool or bathtub without damage. It is also more powerful with a 100-foot wireless range, 15 hour battery life, and 25% louder and better sound than its predecessor. The UE Boom 2 also now includes a new tap control that allows you to start, pause and skip songs, without needing to have your phone in-hand.

I’ve been using the UE Boom 2 for the past week and I think this speaker is a big deal… expand full story

September 7, 2015

AAPL: 109.27

-1.10

Toys: $100 US iTunes gift card, instant email delivered: $75 shipped from Paypal/Ebay (25% off)

From 9to5Toys.com:

Paypal’s Ebay store offers a $100 iTunes gift card for just $75 shipped. That’s 25% off and the lowest price we’ve seen in quite some time for a $100 iTunes gift card.

Each iTunes code is redeemable for apps, games, music, movies, TV shows and more on the iTunes Store, App Store, iBooks Store, and the Mac App Store. Recipients can access their content on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod, and watch or listen on a computer – Mac or PC.

Remember, HBO Now and Apple Music unlimited bills through iTunes, so you can use this deal to save on your subscriptions as well. It is a no brainer for those who live in the Apple ecosystem.

Gift cards will be emailed so you’ll be able to start downloading discounted iTunes media sooner rather than later: “In most cases, this will be within a few minutes of purchase. However, in some cases it may take up to 24 hours.”

Happy Labor Day!

August 6, 2015

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