Last week, MacRumors received word that office supply retailer Staples would soon begin offering Apple products for sale. While the company has offered Apple products in international markets for some time, it had long been unsuccessful in striking a deal for the U.S. market.
We were unable to confirm the claim at the time, but 9to5Mac now reports that Apple products have begun appearing on the Staples website in the United States as part of an Apple Mock Up section. The section includes a number of products, including the Apple TV (listed at a remarkably low price of $49.99) and iPad Smart Covers, all marked with “Test” in the item description.
While the products listed on the test pages are limited to accessories with the exception of the Apple TV, our original source had claimed that Apple’s full lineup of Macs, iPads, and at least the iPhone 5 would be coming to Staples in the United States. No specific timeframe for an official launch of Apple’s products at Staples beyond “in the coming months” has been shared.
According to a rumor from The China Times [Google translation], Apple is planning to adopt new touch panels with “Touch on Display” technology for the next iteration of the iPhone. The panels, which have been developed by Apple supplier Innolux, are said to be in testing at the moment.
Apple’s iPhone 5 incorporated a display that uses in-cell technology, and it has been reported that problems with the recognition of rapid diagonal swiping on the screen are due to the display. That may be one reason Apple is looking at new touch panel technology.
The China Times concurs, pointing to the slow response speed of the iPhone 5′s touch panels along with interference issues as the deciding factor behind the switch.
There isn’t much information available about the Touch On Display panels, but they are said to be thin and tough, with a thickness of 0.5mm and improved optical performance and sensitivity.
The new display would presumably be used in Apple’s iPhone 5S, which could be entering production as early as the first quarter of 2013.
Rumors about the next-generation iPhone are already surfacing, with a report earlier this week claiming that the iPhone may launch in mid-2013 in several different colors and sizes, and a leaked photo in December of what might be the rear shell of the next phone.
Retina seems like a logical update for Apple’s second generation iPad mini, and a report from Digitimes today says that Apple is indeed planning to increase the resolution of its next iPad mini.
Apple’s next-generation iPad mini will focus mostly on enhancing the device’s display resolution, according to Taiwan-based backlighting industry sources.
The sources have yet to specify whether the device will use Apple’s Retina Display technology to enhanced resolution, but market observers said it is highly likely based on the development of past Apple products such as the iPhone and 9.7-inch iPad series.
Adding a Retina display to a device as thin as the iPad mini could be a tricky prospect, possibly requiring a large battery and a more robust processor, as it did when Apple introduced the Retina display to the full-sized iPad. This restriction has led notable technology site AnandTech to predict that the next iPad mini won’t come with a Retina display, as stated in the site’s iPad mini review.
Digitimes adds that the next generation 9.7-inch iPad will be lighter due to new LED light bar technology that will incorporate just one light bar instead of the two that are currently in the third and fourth generation iPads. While Digitimes has had a mixed record in the past, it’s clear that they do have sources in Apple’s supply chain.
Both Apple and Samsung are continuing the patent battle in the courtroom with a second patent infringement lawsuit filed in August. This is a separate U.S. lawsuit from the $1 billion verdict that was awarded to Apple.
Due to the early stages of this lawsuit, both sides are trying to extend the scope of their case against the latest products from each company. Last week, Samsung sought to extend the infringement claims to include the iPad 4 and iPad mini. Days later, Apple also brought a motion to include several recent Samsung products, including the Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note II, Galaxy Tab 8.9 Wifi, Galaxy Tab 2 10.1, Rugby Pro and Samsung S III Mini.
Samsung had previously moved to add the iPhone 5 to the U.S. lawsuit shortly after its release. As noted by FOSS Patents, this latest Samsung/Apple lawsuit won’t even go to trial until March 2014.
BestBuy launched its Thanksgiving Weekend, Black Friday and one-day-only “Doorbuster” sales today. Most of their sales run from Thursday to Saturday. These include discounts on many Mac products that are better than the ones from MacMall posted yesterdaty. We’ve highlighted the deeper savings here on several Apple notebook models:
- 13″ 1.8GHz MacBook Air – Retail $1199. $175 Off
- 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro – Retail $1199. $165 Off.
- 13″ 2.9GHz MacBook Pro – Retail $1499. $150 Off
- 15″ 2.3GHz MacBook Pro – Retail $1799. $120 Off
- 13″ 2.5GHz Retina MacBook Pro – Retail $1999. $120 Off.
iPod Touch and iTunes Gift Cards:
- 32GB 5th Generation iPod Touch – $294. Free $50 Gift Card.
- $100 iTunes Gift Card for $80 – $80
These $60 iPad discounts are today (Thursday) only:
- 4th Generation iPad – $60 Off.
- iPad 2 – $60 Off
- iPad with Retina Display. A$ 41.00 Off
- iPad 2. A$ 31 Off
- iPod touch. A$ 31 Off
- iPod touch 4th Generation. A$ 25 Off
- iPod nano. A$ 11 Off
- MacBook Pro with Retina Display. A$ 105 Off
- MacBook Pro. A$105 Off
- MacBook Air. A$105 Off
- Various Accessories
Discounts should be comparable for U.S. customers and on the exact same products. Apple’s U.S. sale should kick off around midnight tonight on Apple’s online store. Both Best Buy and MacMall seem to have deeper discounts on select products in their base configuration.
Fortune points to a new report from research firm Retail Sails, which once again ranks Apple as the U.S. retail store chain with the highest sales per square foot. Apple’s sales productivity is calculated at over $6000 per square foot, more than double that of second-place Tiffany & Co.
Apple also topped the list last year, with this year’s 7.5% growth in sales per square foot ranking second among the top five companies to lululemon’s 11.8% growth. Apple’s retail store sales growth has, however, slowed considerably from Retail Sails’ 2011 estimate of 49.1% growth as Apple has in some cases been transitioning to larger store sizes and expanded iPhone and iPad distribution has siphoned some demand from Apple’s own retail stores.
“People want great maps, and with HERE we can bring together Nokia’s location offering to deliver people a better way to explore, discover and share their world,” said Nokia President and CEO Stephen Elop. “Additionally, with HERE we can extend our 20 years of location expertise to new devices and operating systems that reach beyond Nokia. As a result, we believe that more people benefit from and contribute to our leading mapping and location service.”
To further extend its location services, Nokia is launching a maps application for iOS under the HERE brand. Based on HTML5, it will include offline capabilities, voice-guided walk navigation, and public transport directions. The application is scheduled to be available for free download from Apple’s App Store in the coming weeks.
The initiative also includes a partnership with Mozilla for mapping in Firefox OS, a reference app for Android developers, acquisition of California company earthmine to help with 3D mapping, and new LiveSight 3D mapping technology.
The New York Times has more on why Nokia has chosen to open up its mapping platform even as it seeks to differentiate its Lumia smartphones in the market.
Stephen Elop, chief executive of Nokia, said in an interview that in order to ensure that its mapping platform stays competitive, it needs lots of users. The more people who look up directions or search for locations on its maps, the smarter the system gets. And Nokia can still build exclusive location features into its Lumia phones, he said.
“For the location platform to be at the highest quality, one needs scale, and you need as many different people contributing as possible,” Mr. Elop said. “Of course, Nokia will build apps, some of them unique to Lumia devices, that gain a competitive advantage for Nokia.”
Apple has been working to improve its in-house Maps app launched as part of iOS 6, following significant criticism of the app’s features and accuracy. In an open letter addressing mapping issues, Apple CEO Tim Cook pointed to the web version of Nokia’s maps as an alternative for users unhappy with the performance of Apple’s own app.
Three US carriers have announced plans to improve their coverage areas, with AT&T announcing a $14 billion new investment, T-Mobile bringing HSPA+ or 4G support to three new metropolitan areas, and Sprint announced a $480 million spectrum and customer acquisition from regional carrier U.S. Cellular.
AT&T says it is investing $14 billion to expand its wireless and wireline IP broadband networks in order to accommodate future growth in high-speed Internet connectivity.
AT&T today announced plans to invest $14 billion over the next three years to significantly expand and enhance its wireless and wireline IP broadband networks to support growing customer demand for high-speed Internet access and new mobile, app and cloud services. The investment plan – Project Velocity IP (VIP) – expands AT&T’s high-potential growth platforms, helping drive continued increases in revenues from existing and new products and services, and earnings per share.
T-Mobile announced that it has brought HSPA+ service to three new metropolitan areas, expanding its ‘Bring Your Own Phone’ marketing effort. T-Mobile says iPhone 4S devices running on its network experience 70% faster connections than comparable devices on AT&T.
T-Mobile customers can now experience these improvements in:
Washington D.C.: Alexandria, VA; Arlington, VA; Chevy Chase, MD; Falls Church, VA; Laurel, MD; McLean, VA; and Silver Spring, MD.
Baltimore: Glen Burnie and Towson, MD
Houston: Cypress, Jersey Village, Humble, Kingwood, and The Woodlands.
T-Mobile network advancements also continue in additional cities including Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York metro area, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Diego and Seattle. Customers in parts of these metro areas are already experiencing improved coverage and iPhone “speed sightings” on T-Mobile’s 4G network.
Finally, Sprint is purchasing 585,000 Midwestern subscribers and a chunk of related spectrum from U.S. Cellular for $480 million. U.S. Cellular customers in Chicago, St. Louis, central Illinois, and other Midwestern markets are affected. Japanese carrier Softbank recently purchased a controlling interest in Sprint.
(Image via Flickr/Gary Lerude)
DC Entertainment, the #1 comic book publisher in the U.S., announced today its entire line of periodical comic books are now available for download from the top three e-bookstores including Kindle Store, iBookstore and NOOK Store. The precedent setting new digital availability brings bestselling DC Comics and Vertigo periodical titles, including JUSTICE LEAGUE, BATMAN, SUPERMAN, DETECTIVE COMICS, ACTION COMICS, BATGIRL, WONDER WOMAN, GREEN LANTERN, FABLES and AMERICAN VAMPIRE, among many others, to an even broader audience of digital readers.
DC will continue to deliver comics through its DC Comics and Vertigo apps, as well as the comiXology platform. The inclusion of the comics on the iBookstore is intended to make it easier for comic readers to purchase via their preferred digital outlet.