Black Friday is here, and Best Buy has a great deal: $100 off on all iPad Air 2 models. (However, according to AppleInsider, some WiFi models were aleardy sold out as of 7 am Friday morning.) In addition, their discounts include $75 off all iPad mini 3 models and up to $200 off on some cellular data iPad mini 2 models.
First there were reports that the new iPhones bent easily, and now there's a report that some users are complaining that their displays are easily scratched. It turned out that bending wasn't as much of a problem as first reported, and I'm hoping the same will be the case regarding the scratching. AppleInsider has posted an article about extended discussions (nearly 700 posts) on Apple's forums of the scratching issue. People say they are noticing scratching on the display after less than a week of normal use, and that these displays seem more prone to scratching than on other recent iPhone models. AppleInsider suggests the fault could lie with the new design of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which lack a protruding bezel "lip" that might have helped protect earlier models from brushing against surfaces. The curved-edge design leaves the glass more exposed.
Time-lapse videos can be fun, whether of moving clouds, a sunset, a busy street corner, a tennis player — basically any situation where there's movement or change. Time-lapse videos simply take still photos at specific intervals, such that a slow-moving snail can appear to be speeding along. One of the neat features of iOS 8 is the new Time-lapse mode in the Camera app. As usual, Apple has made it simple.
One of the great features of recent versions of iOS is how deeply embedded sharing is. You can quickly share items such as photos and videos with friends, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Flickr, and more. In fact, you have so many options now that the screen that pops up when you tap the button for sharing can start to get cluttered. Fortunately, you can customize it.
It's fun to see so many more details of the Apple Watch emerging as a result of Apple's releasing their WatchKit to developers who are creating apps. I summarized many of these details in a previous post, including the pixel dimensions of both sizes of the Apple Watch. An interesting article on The Verge also has a good summary, including some details that I missed. In particular, an interesting feature of the Apple Watch is that it will distinguish between "Short Look" and "Long Look" notifications. If it senses that you're just glancing at your watch, you'll get a single message, such as that your plane is boarding now. But if you keep looking at the notification, more information appears. In this case, the flight number, boarding time, and gate number.
With iOS 8, we finally got the ability to customize the interface by adding widgets to Notification Center. Now when you swipe down from the top of the screen to see the Today view in Notification Center, you have the opportunity to see many new items in addition to the standard ones that had been available in the past. New widgets you can add include sports scores, news, travel guides, calculator, dictionary and thesaurus, package tracking, task management, photos, and much more.
Like Walmart, Best Buy is already beginning to offer Black Friday deals, notably $80-$85 off the WiFi iPad Air for the 16, 32, 64, and 128 GB models. That means you're paying $320 for the 16 GB iPad Air, which isn't quite as good as Walmart's offer of a $100 gift card with the purchase of the $397 16 GB iPad Air.
Many people are waiting until the great deals available on Black Friday to make their purchase of an Apple product. And if Walmart's deals on the iPhone and iPad interest you, you won't have long to wait. According to AppleInsider, Walmart is kicking of their Black Friday deals on Friday, November 21. As I noted in an earlier post, those deals include a 16 GB iPhone 6 for $179 plus a $75 gift card, meaning that your final price is effectively $104 (with a two-year contract). They'll also have the new 16 GB iPad Air 2 for $489 with a $100 gift card. You'll be able to get an iPhone 5s for $79, with a $75 gift card. Also, if you're an AT&T Next or Verizon Edge customer, you can get the iPhone 6 or iPhone 5s for $0 down.
One of the most-requested features for the iPhone and iPad was the ability to add third-party keyboards, and Apple responded to that request in iOS 8. Popular keyboards such as Swype ($0.99) and SwiftKey (free) add many features, and can speed up text entry.