Apple’s Back to School Promotion Begins

With the announcement of new Macs, Apple has introduced their back to school promotion for the 2012 school year. This year, eligible customers receive a $100 iTunes gift card with the purchase of a new Mac, and $50 with a new iPad.

Customers are required to purchase a Mac or iPad for college between June 11th and September 21st in order to qualify for the Back to School gift card offer. The gift card can be used on apps, books, music, and movies. Also, students and faculty can purchase their Mac with Apple Education Pricing to save money on the hardware.

In order to qualify for the offer, customers must be a college student, a student accepted to a college, a parent buying for a college student, or a faculty or staff member from any grade level.

Customers can buy a qualifying Mac or iPad from the Apple Online Store for Education, the Apple Retail Store, or an Apple Authorized Campus Store. With their purchase, they will receive a back to school gift card. The gift card can be used in the iOS and Mac App Stores, the iBookstore, or iTunes.

Apple Announces iOS 6 with Over 200 New Features

During the WWDC 2012 keynote, Apple revealed iOS 6 with over 200 new features for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. iOS 6 will offer new functionality for Siri, Facebook integration, a brand new Maps app, Share Photo Streams via iCloud, and more.

Apple revealed that iOS 6 will add several new functionalities to Siri. In iOS 6, Siri will be able to provide sports scores and schedules, make restaurant reservations via OpenTable, find local movie listings and even launch apps. The virtual assistant will also debut in new languages including Spanish, Italian, and French.

Another really nice feature that was introduced in iOS 6 was Facebook integration. It is very similar to the current Twitter integration in iOS 5 with a system wide log in and the option to quickly post from apps. Also, contacts can be updated automatically using information gathered from Facebook. Third-party developers will also be able to add functionality with a public API.

Do Not Disturb model was also added which allows users to schedule when notifications should not cause any sounds or visual alerts. In addition, the also received new options that will allow users to reply with a text message or prompt a reminder to return a call later when an incoming call arrives.

Share Photo Streams were also introduced which lets users easily share photos with selected family and friends. The share photos can be viewed by other iOS devices,  iPhoto and Aperture on a Mac, or on the web or through an Apple TV.

Passbook was also introduced. It is an app that will combine payment cards and electronic tickets. Also, movie tickets purchased through Fandango can be redeemed through the app. I think with the introduction of Passbook it shows where Apple is headed with mobile payments, and it seems that they have cracked mobile payments. A new API will offer developers access to Passbook.

iOS 6 will be compatible with the iPhone 3GS and later, 2nd-generation iPad and later, and the 4th-generation iPod touch and will be available in the fall. A beta has been made available to developers today.

Let’s get this straight. A three year device will still be getting the latest version of iOS! 80 percent of Apple’s customers are now using iOS 5. Now when you compare that to Android’s less than seven percent on 4.0, that’s absurd. Android 4.0 was released around the same time as iOS 5.

Eat your heart out, Android owners.

[Image credit Engadget]


Apple Updates Mac Pro

Earlier today, Apple announced some incredible new updates to its MacBook Pro and MacBook Air line of Macs during the WWDC 2012 keynote. However, they didn’t mention anything regarding the Mac Pro. The company has also quietly updated the Mac Pro via its website. The new Mac Pro has received a long awaited update, and the desktop now features Intel’s Xeon E5 processor.

The standard configuration 12-core Mac Pro offers two 2.4 gigahertz 6-core Intel Xeon E5645 processors and 12 megabytes of fully shared L3 cache per processor. The 12-core model starts at $3,799 with 12 gigabytes of memory, a 1-terabyte hard drive and ATI Radeon HD 5770 graphics with 1 gigabyte of GDDR5 memory.

The quad core Mac Pro offers one 3.2 gigahertz quad-core Intel Xeon processor and 6 gigabytes of memory. It also features a 1-terabyte hard drive and ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1 gigabyte of GDDR5 for $2,499. A Mac Pro server configuration is also available and features a 3.2 gigahertz quad-core Intel Xeon processor and 8 gigabytes of RAM standard. $500 more and it offers two 1-terabyte hard drives, the ATI Radeon HD 5770 with 1 gigabyte of GDDR5 RAM, and it comes installed with OS X Lion Server.

Apple Launches New Maps App in iOS 6, Includes Turn-by-turn Navigation, and More

Today, Apple introduced a new Maps application in iOS 6 that will replace Google Maps as the default mapping application on the iPhone and iPad. The company is building its own real time traffic service and mapping is crowd sourced. It was designed by Apple from the scratch and everything was developed in-house. The entire new app looks incredible.

Maps logo iOS 6 

In the Maps app, turn by turn directions are provided, which will work with Siri. In addition, local search listing with 100 million business listings from around the world will be provided. Yelp is also integrated into the new Maps app and a 3D mapping feature called “Flyover”. will ship with iOS 6 later this fall.

Google must be terrified right now and navigation apps are probably having a bad day. Good riddance, really.

[Image Credit MacRumors]

New MacBook Pros Sport Intel Ivy Bridge Processor and Thinner Design; MacBook Pro With Retina Display Also Announced

Along with the new MacBook Airs, Apple has also announced a totally new and refreshed MacBook Pro line-up. The new MacBook Pros will be powered by Intel’s Ivy Bridge procesors with the top of the line quad-core i7 chip running at 2.7 and capable of running at 3.7GHz via Turbo Boost. Like the Air, there will be 8GB of RAM running at 1600Mhz and “60% faster graphics”. The 15.4-inch MacBook Pro will come with Nvidia’s Kepler GeForce GT650M GPU with 1GB of dedicated memory, while the 13-inch model will presumably use Intel’s Ivy Bridge in-built GPU. The new MacBook Pros also come with an SSD (Up to 786GB) and two USB 3.0 ports.


Along with a spec-bump, Apple has also refreshed the design of the new MacBook Pros. The new MBPs are a mere 0.71-inch thick i.e. 1/4th of the current generation model and weight in only 4.46 pounds.  Other ports on the new MBPs include a thinner MagSafe, Thunderbolt port, SD card reader, headphone jack and surprisingly an HDMI port. Other new features include Bluetooth 4.0, FaceTime HD, dual-microphones, and the usual but awesome backlit keyboard and glass trackpad.

Apple also announced a new 15.4-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display. Yes, as rumors had suggested, Apple has managed to fit in a Retina Display on the new 15-inch MBP. The new 15-inch MBP with Retina Display  has a whopping…jaw busting resolution of 2880*1800, with a total pixel count of 5,184,000 pixels and a 220 ppi. This new display also touts of reduced glares, better color reproduction, better viewing angles and higher contrast ratios.

The base 13-inch MacBook Pro will cost $1199 with the top-of-the-line model costing $1499, while the base15-inch model will cost $1799 and and the fully loaded version will set you back by $2199. The new MacBook Pro with Retina Display will set users back by $2199 and will include a quad-core i7 running at 2.3GHz, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of flash storage and 7 hours of battery life.

Like the new MacBook Airs, all the new and refreshed MacBook Pros including the one with Retina Display start shipping from today itself.

And oh! the new MBPs still have an optical drive.


Apple to Launch New App Usage Tracking Tools for Developers to Balance User Privacy

WWDC 2012 is this Monday and speculation is running wild. Last year, Apple announced that it would not allow developer to access UDIDs. UDIDs are the unique iOS device identifiers that allowed developers and advertisers to track usage of their content and also in some cases helped track users’ movements across apps and browsing sessions. Then earlier this year, Apple started to reject apps that continued to use the UDID over other tracking methods that would enhance privacy by remaining unique to the developer’s app.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is preparing to release new tools to assist developers with tracking usage of their apps without using the UDID. These tools will help maintain user privacy while still making it easy for developers to gather usage data on their apps.

The report also says that Apple has been inconsistent about blocking apps that use the UDID for tracking purposes. WSJ also reports that the new tools will provide developers with ways to collect important data anonymously without being linked to the UDID. Other details regarding the tools have yet to be revealed, but the company is expected to share more information next week at WWDC 2012.

Virgin Mobile USA Launching iPhone on June 29 with Plans Starting at $30

A couple of days ago, we reported that Sprint would announce later this week that it will start to offer the iPhone as a prepaid option via its Virgin Mobile brand. The announcement occurred days after Leap Wireless announced that it would begin offering the iPhone on a prepaid basis through its Cricket brand beginning June 22. Today, Virgin Mobile USA announced that it will begin offering the iPhone on June 29. Virgin Mobile USA is a prepaid brand operated by Sprint.

Virgin Mobile’s Beyond Talk unlimited data and messaging plans for iPhone start at $35 per month for access to Sprint’s Nationwide Network, and customers can receive a $5 per-month plan discount when they register for automatic monthly payments with a credit card, debit card or PayPal account, making iPhone available for as low as $30 per month. Customers can also use their iPhone as a mobile hotspot through Virgin Mobile for an additional $15 per month.

Virgin Mobile will begin offering service plans for as low as $30 per month with no commitment when customers sign up for automatic payments. All three of the carrier’s plans include unlimited texting and data (throttled after 2.5 GB), with different amount of voice minutes. With the $5 discount for automatic payments, the plans are priced at $30 (300 minutes),  $40 (1200 minutes), and $50 (unlimited minutes).

Virgin Mobile will offer the iPhone through its website and at RadioShack, Best Buy, and other select retailers.

New Part Numbers Reveal Apple to Refresh Most of Mac Lineup at WWDC

It seems that ahead of WWDC 2012, information regarding the new Macs just don’t stop leaking. Today, AppleInsider has posted a  full list of 27 new part numbers said to be on their way to resellers in Australia. 13 of those numbers are listed as “standalone kits”, which would suggest that they are accessories. The 14 other numbers listed on the list would suggest that they are new Mac models.

9to5Mac has posted a full list of parts and prices along with their speculation on new models matching up with the parts. MacRumors speculates that part number MC414 appears to be priced under AU$1000. The next batch of part numbers includes a pair of “D2″ machines with prices above AU$2000 and AU$3000, and these parts may represent new 15-inch MacBook Pro models. Recent rumors have suggested that the MacBook Pro will receive a significant upgrade, with a slimmer form factor.

Also, the two pairs of model numbers at J30 and J31 maybe update iMacs, with the three lowest models being priced in the AU$1000-AU$1999 range and the top end model coming in above AU$2000. iMacs have also been rumored to receive the Retina display.



WWDC 2012 Banners Go Up at Moscone

Apple has started to put up the first banner for the company’s 2012 Worldwide Developers Conference, which takes place next week at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA. The tagline on the banners is “Where great ideas go on to do great things.” So mysterious, Apple.

WWDC 2012 Banner

Apple will kick off the annual conference next Monday with a keynote at 10 AM Pacific. The official conference schedule was published last week, but a lot more than usual sessions were marked as “To Be Announced.”

Nobody really knows what is going to be announced during the keynote, but rumors suggest revelation of iOS 6 and new Macs. Apple is also expected to announce a new maps application for iOS. It is reported that Apple will ditch Google Maps in iOS 6. Also, Facebook integration may be added in iOS 6.

MacRumors also notes that the banners feature an assortment of app icons and the same colorful squares that make up the Apple logo on the WWDC 2012 invitation.

[Image credit: MacRumors]

Apple Pulls Mac Pro Inventory from Most Retail Stores Ahead of WWDC 2012

Just yesterday, it was reported that Apple will update nearly the entire Mac lineup at WWDC 2012. Today, MacRumors has discovered that after doing an inventory check with around 100 U.S. Apple retail stores, the availability for the entry-level stock Mac Pro appears out of stock for in-store pickup. This would further suggest that new Mac Pros will be revealed next week.

In fact, even flagship stores like the one in New York’s Grand Central Station are supposedly out of stock of all Mac Pro models.  The same location will have the Server version of the tower in stock by June 9 while all others will be ready for pickup on June 12, AppleInsider reports.

Projected availability dates for orders placed today also vary. Some stores show availability on  June 8 or 9 while others would not be able to offer a Mac Pro for pickup until June 12 or 13. Apple’s WWDC 2012 keynote will occur on next Monday, June 11th.

Bottom line is that if you are looking to purchase a new Mac, you should wait until the announcements are made on June 11th.