If you're in the market for a new iPhone or iPad, Black Friday (Nov. 29) is the day to take the plunge. Actually, many of the great deals start as early as Nov. 28 and continue through the weekend. In a previous post I mentioned two websites tracking Black Friday deals and summarized the best deals. I wanted to also point you to the continuously updated comprehensive roundup posted on MacRumors. Plus, they summarize the best deals in a chart at the top of the page. Some remarkable deals are to be had: iPad Air for $379 at Target, iPad mini (first generation) for $199 at Walmart, iPad 2 for $299 at Target, and iPhone 5s for $114 and iPhone 5c for $0 at Walmart. MacRumors also offers shopping tips, such as which online retailers charge local sales tax in which states.
Apple posted a new page on its website this past week titled Life on iPad that shows the amazing range of uses for this device. It offers a two-minute overview video (embedded below) that shows snippets of people using an iPad for maintaining wind turbines, harvesting crops, assessing athletic performance, tracking inventory, accessing recipes, navigating in vehicles, driving race cars, doing surgery, playing games, drawing, performing music, accessing augmented reality, climbing mountains, and more.
We're going to have months of rumors regarding the next iPhone, but already they're starting to converge around a common theme: the iPhone 6 will have a larger screen. According to AppleInsider, the latest rumor comes from a popular Chinese technology blog, which reported that Apple is field testing an iPhone with a 4.9-inch display. Earlier Bloomberg had reported Apple was developing phones with curved 4.7- and 5.5-inch displays. In the past I've read that in fact Apple typically tests a variety of different models before settling on a particular one, so that may be what's going on here. But it does seem to indicate that Apple is serious about adding a larger iPhone to its line. In 2014 we may therefore see both a larger iPad and a larger iPhone.
Since there's so much video available for free online, I avoid paying for content. Therefore, my main use for my $99 Apple TV device has been to use the AirPlay feature to stream free content from my iPad. Most of the best channels that come with Apple TV require a subscription, such as Netflix and Hulu, or they require that you already have a cable TV service (which I don't). So it was a real revelation when I tried the two new channels that Apple TV added Tuesday: Yahoo Screen and PBS. Each offers a trove of content—and all of it is free. These two channels may be the most compelling reason yet to get an Apple TV if you're someone who's considering cutting your cable subscription.
It's now a lot easier to shop in Apple's online store via your iPad thanks to Apple's new free app Apple Store for iPad. It does a good job of using the larger screen space of the iPad to enhance your shopping experience, while having some useful features.
On Sunday the Israeli publication Calcalist (Google translation here) reported that Apple has purchased a company called PrimeSense, which makes chips used in 3D motion-sensing and computer vision. Their technology is used in Microsoft's popular Kinect (see image accompanying this post), which lets users of Microsoft's Xbox video game console and Windows PCs control the devices and play games just by making motions in the air. The article speculates that Apple will use the technology in conjunction with the rumored HDTV that Apple has been said to be working on. And it notes that Apple does indeed have patents regarding controlling a TV via motion sensing.
The Korea Times reported today that Apple will be launching a 12.9-inch iPad early next year, according to "an official at a local Apple supplier in Korea." The source says that Apple's Korean supplier is already producing the display. Also, the iPad will not only be larger but will also have improved picture quality, approaching that of ultra high-definition. When Apple introduced the iPad Air last month, a number of observers suggested the name change opened the door for an 'iPad Pro," paralleling Apple's line of MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. The Korea Times says Apple is making the move to compete with Samsung and LG, who will also be introducing larger tablets next year. And the Sony VAIO Tap 11, with an 11.6-inch screen, is already available.
Initially the impression that Apple gave was that the iPad mini with Retina display was pretty much the same as the iPad Air, but smaller. Same processor, same high-resolution display, same camera. But small differences are emerging. The processor clock speed on the iPad Air is a bit higher than the retina iPad mini, and now AnandTech is reporting that the new iPad mini has the same color gamut as the first generation device, and a smaller range than the iPad Air. Their article shows the sorts of tests they run to measure a display's performance. The new mini clearly has a narrower color range. However, they said the difference is a non-issue and that while the difference is apparent, it's small. They say it would mainly be of concern to photographers and other professionals who need the best possible color reproduction.
It's time to start planning your Black Friday shopping, with some great deals available on November 29, the day after Thanksgiving. In fact, some deals are starting on Thanksgiving this year. Among the websites tracking iPhone- and iPad-related deals are iMore and IntoMobile. One of the best deals on the iPad may be Target's, which is offering a $100 gift card with any iPad purchase. Plus, they're lowering the price of the price of the 16GB WiFi iPad Air to $479. So that means that, in essence, you're getting the iPad Air for $379.
As with the iPad Air, the early reviews of the new iPad mini with Retina display are stellar. Overall, the consensus is that the new iPad icontinues to lead the other smaller screen tablets.
Associated Press: The $399 price of the iPad mini might too pricey for those on a budget, says the Associated Press, and in that instance recommends one of the other tablets or the first-generation mini. "But if you're looking for a top-notch experience, you can't go wrong with the new Mini, even with the higher price tag."