The Tech News Blog

November 12, 2013

Apple’s Retina iPad Mini Now on Sale

Hands On With the iPad Mini With Retina Display

Without much fanfare, Apple on Tuesday started taking orders for the new iPad mini with Retina display.

The device is now available on, with the 16GB and 32GB Wi-Fi model shipping in 1-3 business days and all other models shipping in 5-10 days, in both colors.

Apple unveiled its new iPad mini and iPad Air at a press event last month. The iPad Air went on sale on Nov. 1, but Apple would only say that the Retina iPad mini would land later in November.

Pricing for the newest small form factor iPad starts at $399 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version and goes up to $829 for the 128GB cellular plus Wi-Fi version. All four major U.S. wireless carriers now offer the iPad, with T-Mobile serving up 200MB of free monthly data to entice customers to the "un-carrier."

The original iPad mini is still on sale; the 16GB Wi-Fi version is $299 while the Wi-Fi plus cellular model is $429.

November 5, 2013

Target Offering $200 iPad Trade-In Deal

iPad Air Alt

Target is running a promotion that will provide those who trade in their old iPad with a gift card worth at least $200.

From now until Nov. 9, those who visit a Target Mobility store and trade in their iPad will get "at least $200" to use toward the purchase of a new iPad Air or other Target merchandise.

"Your device will be appraised in-store at the mobility kiosk," according to Target. "[The] $200 minimum promotional credit will be issued on a Target Trade-In Gift Card and is redeemable in any Target store."

To qualify, an iPad "must power on and screen must not be scratched," Target said.

Once the promotion ends, customers can still trade in their old iPads in stores and online for Target gift cards up to $300, but in some cases, it could be less than the $200 being offered during this week's deal. On, for example, a 16GB Wi-Fi iPad 2 is worth $125.

November 4, 2013

AT&T: iPad Activations Up 200 Percent Over Last Year

iPad Air Alt

Though lines for the iPad Air were not as long as those for the new iPhones, AT&T isn't complaining. The carrier said Monday that it saw a sharp increase in iPad activations over the weekend.

"iPad activations on AT&T increased more than 200 percent over the past three days compared to last year's launch weekend, driven by consumer excitement around the new iPad Air and the popularity of AT&T Mobile Share, which lets customers add an iPad to their existing data plan for just $10 a month," Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility, said in a statement. "We also saw strong demand for AT&T Next, which offers customers an iPad for $0 down."

The iPad Air went on sale Friday in 42 countries, including the U.S., U.K., and Canada. Apple has yet to release official sales figures for the new tablet, but CEO Tim Cook said during a recent earnings call that he was confident that it would be an "iPad Christmas."

November 1, 2013

Apple iPad Air Fails iFixit Repairability Test

iFixit Teardown Apple iPad Air

Apple's new iPad Air looks sleek, weighs next to nothing, and is nearly impossible to repair.

In its latest teardown, iFixit slammed the slate, giving it a failing repairability score of 2, based on difficult battery removal, oodles of adhesive holding everything in place, and fragile entrails.

Cupertino last month unveiled the 9.7-inch iPad Air, complete with the new A7 chip currently found in the iPhone 5s, and the M7 motion coprocessor, which keeps tabs on the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass.

But it's those newfangled pieces of technology — which help boost the performance capabilities of the tablet — that are also the Air's greatest downfall when it comes to restoration.

Once finally opened, with some brute force and special iFixit equipment, the team found the new 3.73 V, 32.9 WHr, two-cell power unit — "the worst battery ever," according to iFixit's Walter Galan. Trapped under the logic board and glued onto the slate for dear life, the battery eventually comes free, warping in the process.

Along the way, the teardown team was able to extract the SIM card tray, which is glued in, but separately from the logic board.

"We'll call this a repairability-neutral finding," iFixit said.

October 22, 2013

Apple Announces New iPads With Free iLife Apps, New Features Live Now


The big news at Apple's fall event today was definitely the new MacBooks and iPads, but there was some important app news buried in the hardware. Apple is continuing its trend of offering its first-party apps for free--the iLife suite will be offered at no charge with new iPadsand iPhones. In addition, there will be some notable updates to these apps for everyone, new iDevice or not.

GarageBand has gotten a big update with an new UI, support for eight tracks, and more built-in instruments. Professional musicians sometimes don't use many more than eight tracks, so this is pretty impressive for a mobile app. The new instruments also plug into a new AI drummer feature. The different personalities will play along, taking a slightly different approach to the track you're mixing. Apple showed off a few of these at the event, saying more would be available through a $4.99 in-app purchase. The basic features of this app are still free to all iPad users.

Apple's iMovie video editing app has also gotten a complete overhaul with an iOS 7 interface. It has picture-in-picture, speed adjustment, and full timeline controls. This featureset is especially handy for video shot with the iPhone 5S and its new 120fps slow-motion mode. This app is $4.99 for anyone not getting a new iDevice.

October 22, 2013

New iPads Coming to T-Mobile With 200MB Free Monthly Data

iPad AirSelf-proclaimed "uncarrier" T-Mobile is officially adding Apple's iPads to its lineup.

"Yep! Proud to be launching iPad Air and new iPad mini! But how? Uncarrier way of course! #Disruption #Uncarrier #StayTuned" T-Mobile CEO John Legere tweeted Tuesday.

This is the first time T-Mobile will offer support for cellular versions of the iPad. To celebrate the occasion and get a leg-up on competitors, T-Mobile is planning to offer a pretty sweet deal.

According to Apple's website, T-Mobile will offer the new iPads with 200MB of free monthly data — a deal you won't get on Verizon Wireless, AT&T, or Sprint. The carrier is also offering two other more standard data packages — 2.5GB per month for $30 and 4.5GB for $40.

Rival AT&T just announced plans to offer a 250MB day pass for $5, but customers can also sign up for monthly plans, which range from $14.99 for 250MB to a 5GB pass for $50. Sprint offers 1GB of data for $14.99, while Verizon sells the same for $20, to start. Tablets can also be added to shared data plans from Verizon or AT&T.

The carriers will begin selling the iPad Air on Nov. 1, with the iPad mini with Retina display coming later in the month. The 3G iPad 2 will remain on the market, with data available from AT&T or Verizon, though it gets a price drop to $299.

October 22, 2013

Apple Unveils New iPad Air, Retina iPad Mini

Apple Unveils New iPad Air, Retina iPad Mini

Apple today unveiled a new tablet lineup, including the newly named 9.7-inch iPad Air, as well as an iPad mini with Retina display.

The updated iPad mini with Retina will arrive in late November, starting at $399 for the 16GB with Wi-Fi and $529 for one with cellular connectivity. It will come in white and silver or space gray and black, and Apple promised 10 hours of battery life.

The original iPad mini will remain on sale, but gets a price drop from $329 to $299 for the non-Retina version.

Meanwhile, according to Apple's Phil Schiller, the new iPad Air is 20 percent thinner than the previous iPad, from 9.4mm to 7.5mm. The bezel is also 43 percent thinner than the previous version, "making it more comfortable to hold," he said.

"To make an iPad this thin took a huge amount of work over years," Schiller said. "The team has just been remarkable in finding every tenth and hundredth of a millimeter from the bezel to the multi-touch service to display and battery."

The previous iPad weighed 1.4 pounds, but the iPad Air will come in at just 1 pound.

October 15, 2013

Apple Sends Invites for Oct. 22 iPad Event

Apple iPad Event

Apple on Tuesday sent out invites for an Oct. 22 press event that is largely expected to include the launch of next-gen iPads.

The event will kick off at 10 a.m. Pacific at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater.

The invite itself is an image of Apple's logo, with colorful leaves floating above it. "We still have a lot to cover," reads a tagline, which likely means Apple has more than just the iPhone 5s and 5c to unveil in 2013.

The event will come one year after Apple unveiled the iPad mini and 4th-gen iPad in Oct. 2012. As a result, Cupertino will likely refresh both devices, with many iPad fans hoping that the smaller, 7.9-inch iPad mini will get a Retina display like its larger counterparts.

Rumors about a Retina display iPad mini have been making the rounds for months, but a few reports suggest that Apple might have difficulty producing enough Retina displays for the smaller iPad. As a result, Apple might unveil a Retina iPad mini next week, but it might be in short supply over the holiday season, so put your orders in as soon as possible.

The 5th-gen iPad, meanwhile, will reportedly take on more of the look and feel of the iPad mini, getting some rounded edges and a slimmer profile.

October 8, 2013

Report Tips Oct. 22 Apple iPad Event

iPad mini

Apple will introduce its next-gen iPads at an event on Oct. 22, according to AllThingsD.

The tech blog on Tuesday said that the event will focus on new iPads, but attendees will likely get a glimpse at the new Mac Pro and OS X Mavericks, too.

ATD was not able to confirm a location, but Apple's Cupertino headquarters or the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco are two main contenders.

ATD has a strong record when it comes to getting to the inside scoop on when Apple will hold its launch events. It correctly reported that the iPhone 5s/5c event would be on Sept. 10, but has also been right on past Apple events, too.

If accurate, Apple is following a roll-out schedule similar to the one it executed last year, when it launched the iPhone 5 in September and the iPad 4 and iPad mini a month later.

October 8, 2013

Report: Microsoft Prepping Office for iPad


An iPad version of Microsoft Office is in the works, according to outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer.

As reported by The Verge, Ballmer told attendees at a recent Gartner symposium that Microsoft's Office suite would eventually land on Apple's tablet. But Microsoft is still working on a "touch first" interface for the iPad version of Office, so no word on when to expect an official release.

During a September appearance at Microsoft's financial analyst day, Ballmer talked about developing for non-Microsoft platforms. "We don't have our heads in the sand," he said. "We are working away on all the things you think we should be working away on." PC World interpreted that to mean Microsoft Office on the iPad and Android tablets.

Redmond has introduced its productivity suite for the iPhone and Android phones, but it has not yet been released for non-Windows tablets. Not surprisingly, Redmond's upcoming Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 will support the company's Office suite.

Of course, chatter about Office for iPad has been making the rounds for ages, but hearing from Ballmer makes it a bit more official.