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Mac Book Ship Date Slips Again

February 13, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Apple continued to experience problems meeting demand for its totally redesigned Mac Pro desktop computer, with ship dates extending into April.

Now shipping estimates for new orders stretched into April in several foreign markets, including China, France, Germany, Japan, and the U.K., as first reported by MacGeneration, which is based in France. Soon after, Apple’s U.S. and Canadian online stores followed suit, showing April as the estimated ship date.

Although the Mac Pro — a distinctive-looking black cylinder that’s 10 inches tall and about 7 inches in diameter — went on sale Dec. 19, it almost immediately slipped into back order. The February estimate was later pushed into March before today’s change to April.

The pricey computer starts at $2,999 for the low-end stock configuration and can be tricked out to a top price of $9,599.

At least one analyst predicted that the Mac Pro, while catering to the line’s traditional power users, creative professionals and engineers, would also become a status symbol of sorts for those with the wherewithal to buy one.

The shipping delays continue to hint at low production volumes at the new Apple factory in Austin, Texas, where the computer is assembled. Apple has touted the Mac Pro’s built-in-the-U.S.A. trait, including a rare tweet by CEO Tim Cook at the machine’s launch.

Shortages of the Mac Pro will not materially affect Apple’s bottom line, as the Mac division accounted for just 11% of the company’s revenue for the December quarter. The Mac Pro, while expensive, will make up only a fraction of the unit sales of the line overall, which last quarter reached 4.8 million, the majority of those notebooks from the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro families.

But the extended shortages mean that the revenue the Mac Pro produces is being pushed from the current quarter into the calendar’s second. They also are reminiscent of the fiasco Apple created in late 2012 and early 2013, when it announced a redesigned iMac without an inventory even as it pulled the older models from its stores.

The shortages also spurred profit takers to list their new Mac Pro systems on eBay at prices significantly higher than list.

Mac Pro prices on the auction and sales website today were as high as $6,250 for a configuration that Apple sells for $3,999, a 56% markup. Another of the several listings asked $4,499 for a system that runs $2,999 from Apple, a 50% profit for the seller.



Tablets To Be Deeply Discounted For Black Friday

November 15, 2013 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Several of the largest retailers in the U.S. will offer older-generation Apple and Microsoft tablets at deeply discounted prices during their Black Friday sales drives.

According to leaked and published advertisements of the sales, which will begin on the evening of Thursday, Nov. 28, Best Buy, Target and Walmart will all sell brand-name tablets at steep discounts.

Electronics chain Best Buy, for example, will sell Apple’s iPad 2, a tablet introduced in 2011, for $300, or $99 off Apple’s list price. Even though Apple recently launched the 9.7-in. iPad Air, and started selling the upgraded 7.9-in. iPad Mini with a high-resolution display, it kept the iPad 2 in its portfolio, reportedly because schools continue to purchase the model and some businesses have standardized on the tablet for point-of-sales devices.

Best Buy will also discount the 16GB iPad Air by $50, selling it for $449, or 10% less than list.

Both Walmart and Target will sells 2012′s iPad Mini — the one that sports 1,024 x 768 screen resolution — at Apple’s $299 stock price, but will throw in a $100 or $75 gift card, respectively, effectively reducing the price to $199 or $224.

Including the gift cards, the Walmart iPad Mini deal represents a 33% discount, while Target’s comes in at 25% below full retail.

Target will also sell the new 16GB iPad Air for $479, then include a $100 gift card, reducing the overall cost to $379, for a 24% savings.

Best Buy was the only one of the three retailers to also list Microsoft’s Surface, formerly tagged the Surface RT, a 32GB tablet that runs Windows RT, the scaled-down version of the legacy application-supporting Windows 8.1. Best Buy’s $200 sale price for the Surface will be 75% below list.

Although Microsoft continues to sell the Surface on its website and online store, the Redmond, Wash. company refreshed the line last month by introducing the Surface 2, which starts at $449.

Apple and Microsoft will probably run Black Friday sales of their own on Nov. 29; both companies did last year.



Microsoft Raises Prices Of Mac Office By Up To 17%

February 19, 2013 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft has quietly increased prices of Office for the Mac as much as 17% and stopped selling multi-license packages of the application suite.

The move puts Office for Mac 2011 on the same pricing schedule as the new Office 2013 for Windows. The price increases and the disappearance of the multi-license bundles also makes Microsoft’s Office 365, a software-by-subscription deal the company has aggressively pushed, more competitive with traditional “perpetual” licenses.

It’s not clear when Microsoft raised prices. The oldest search engine cache Computerworld found with the new prices was Feb. 2, so the company boosted them before then, likely on Jan. 29, the day it launched Office 2013 and Office 365 Home Premium. Microsoft did not mention the changes to Office for Mac in its press releases that day, or otherwise publicize the move on its Mac-specific website.

The single-license Office for Mac Home & Student now costs $140, a 17% increase from the previous price of $120. Office for Mac Home & Business, an edition that adds the Outlook email client to Home & Student’s Excel, PowerPoint and Word, runs $220, or 10% higher than the older $200 price.

The new prices are identical to those of Office 2013 for Windows, as are the percentage increases.

Buyers can still find Office for Mac 2011 at the older, lower prices, however. Although Microsoft has boosted prices on its online store — as has Apple’s e-store, which also sells the suite — other retailers have not yet joined them.



New iPad Shipping Delays Just Got Longer

March 13, 2012 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Unfortunately for all those anxiously waiting, delays for Apple’s new iPad increased yesterday as the company informed U.S. customers that new orders would ship in two to three weeks.

As recently as Saturday, Apple said that new U.S. orders would ship on March 19.

The U.S. delay now matches that of other markets where Apple plans to launch the new iPad this Friday, March 16. Orders placed with Apple’s Australian, French, Japanese, German, Swiss, Singapore and U.K. online stores all show the same two-to-three-week delay.

The Hong Kong online store still says that the new iPad is currently unavailable.

By Apple’s estimate, a new iPad ordered today won’t ship until the March 26-April 2 time-frame, with delivery coming several days after that.

While the delays have not yet reached the level of last year’s iPad 2 — that tablet pushed shipping times to as long as five weeks within days of its debut — they hint that Apple is facing a repeat of 2011′s supply problems.

Experts believe that that’s a near certainty, and have pinned blame on the higher-resolution screen used by the new iPad, which features a display of 2,048-by-1,536 pixels, or four times the number of pixels of the tablet’s first two generations.

“Apple’s trying to use a new display technology from Sharp for that higher-resolution without compromising on battery life,” said Vinita Jakhanwal, senior manager of small- and medium-sized displays with research firm IHS iSuppli, in a recent interview. “But Sharp is having trouble getting good yields.”

Other display suppliers that Apple is reportedly using — Samsung and LG Display — are also having difficulty qualifying their 2,048-by-1,536 screens for quality, said Jakhanwal. According to her sources, LG Display will probably not ship its higher-resolution screen for the iPad until the second quarter.

“The display is being a challenge,” said Jakhanwal, who pointed to that component as the one that will most constrain supply.

Rhoda Alexander, another iSuppli analyst, estimated last week that new iPads will be difficult to find for the next five to six months.


Verizon Adds LG’s Revolution To Its 4G Phone Line Up

May 26, 2011 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Verizon Wireless announced the Revolution by LG, an LTE-ready smartphone, will become available for sale in stores and online Thursday for $249.99 with a two-year service plan.

The Revolution has a 4.3-in. touch screen and 1 GHz Snapdragon processor. It utilizes the Android 2.2 mobile operating system and comes preloaded with the Netflix application for access to movies and TV shows.

Verizon called the smartphone an “entertainment powerhouse” partly due to the Netflix capability, but the Revolution also runs the Adobe Flash player, provides Dolby Mobile sound and features high-definition video recording and playback.

It also features two cameras, a 5 megapixel, rear-facing camera and a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera that supports video chat. It includes a 16GB pre-installed microSD card, which is above average for today’s smartphones.

The Revolution is Verizon’s third LTE-ready smartphone, after the HTC ThunderBolt, introduced in March, and the Droid Charge by Samsung, which finally went on sale May 14.

Verizon’s LTE supports download speeds of up to 12 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 5 Mbps where LTE is available. Otherwise the signal switches to 3G, usually about one-tenth as fast.

Televisions Losing Ground To Tablets

April 12, 2011 by Michael  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Google has done a survey and is now saying that tablets are replacing televisions and netbooks. Apparently, more 77 per cent surveyed said their PC use dropped after they got their tablet.  The survey also revealed that 43 per cent of the group said that their new tablet was used to replace their desktop or laptop computers as the device of choice. One third of those surveyed said they use their tablet more than they watch television. The survey also pointed out that 84 per cent used their tablets to play video games.

One of the main questions that Google needs to answer, who did they ask?  How big was the sample size?  As you know you can get a survey or statistics to sway in your favor.  Most of the people chosen must have been gamers and Apple lovers.  In my opinion Google needs to let us know the people surveyed before we can look at this as a true trend.


iPad 2 Supplies Getting Closer To Demand

April 5, 2011 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Apple’s supply of the iPad 2 moved closer towards the demand today as the company’s online store showed only a two-to-three week shipping delay.

That is an improvement on the three-to-four week delay between ordering and shipping that Apple was quoting customers last week.

All models of the iPad 2 now show availability in two to three weeks on the U.S. e-store, as well as the online stores for customers in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the U.K.

Apple has had problems keeping up with demand of the iPad 2, which began offering in the U.S. early last month and started selling in more than two dozen other countries on March 25.

Last week, auction giant eBay released data caged from nearly 12,000 iPad 2 sales, saying that average selling prices were between 40% and 53% above list. Analysts attributed the high prices on eBay to overwhelming demand of the new tablet.

The March earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the continued problems at one of the country’s nuclear power plants, also drove some experts to speculate that the disasters have affected Apple’s supply chain.

Apple sells the iPad 2 in the U.S. for between $499 and $699 for the Wi-Fi model, and between $629 and $829 for the Wi-Fi/3G version of the tablet.

eBay Resellers Making Huge Profits on iPad 2 Sales

April 1, 2011 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Resellers are making big profits by listing Apple’s iPad 2 on eBay, where the selling prices have averaged as high as 53% above retail, the auction giant stated.

According to data released Thursday by eBay, the average selling price of a 16GB Wi-Fi iPad 2 since its launch three weeks ago has been $697, $198 over Apple’s retail price. That represents a profit of 40%.

The more expensive 64GB iPad 2 has put even more money in resellers’ pockets. The average auction price of the 64GB Wi-Fi model has reached $963, or 53% above retail, while the 64GB Wi-Fi/3G iPad 2 averaged $1,235, 49% higher than the list price of $829.

“Supply of the iPad 2 is short, and there’s a great deal of uncertainty about whether Apple can meet the demand in the short or medium run,” said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, in explaining the high prices.

This month’s earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and the continued problems at one of the country’s nuclear power plants, has caused some analysts to bet that the disasters will affect Apple’s supply chain.

As Gottheil pointed out, Apple’s iPad 2 remains in very short supply in the U.S. and in the more than two dozen other countries where it’s gone on sale thus far.

On Apple’s U.S. online store, the delay between ordering and shipping currently stands at three to four weeks. The same delay is posted on the French, German, Italian and U.K. editions of Apple’s e-store. The company’s retail stores have also been plagued with long lines of customers and short supplies of the tablet.

Apple sells the iPad 2 for between $499 and $699 for the Wi-Fi model, and between $629 and $829 for the Wi-Fi/3G version of the tablet.

While people are paying hundreds above list price for an iPad 2, the original iPad remains available on Apple’s online store. There, a 16GB 3G tablet runs $529, $100 less than the iPad 2, while the 64GB 3G device costs $729.

“There’s a real issue getting the iPad 2,” said Gottheil. “That’s because its just very appealing.”

Apple’s iPad 2 Shortage Woes Continue

March 16, 2011 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Apple’s iPad 2 is in extremely short supply, with shipping delays from Apple’s online store now being quoted at four to five weeks and customers at several popular retail stores today going away empty-handed.

But those shortages aren’t due to the unfolding disasters in Japan, and likely will be solved in the next month or two, analysts said today.

“Just because Apple’s showing four to five weeks does not necessarily mean that’s the next time you can buy one,” said Brian Marshall of Gleacher & Co. “I expect that Apple will stagger shipments to its retail stores, with the next large one coming Monday, March 21.”

As of noon ET Tuesday, Apple’s online store showed “4-5 weeks” as a shipping window for all iPad 2 orders. That delay nearly doubled from last week, when the e-store indicator changed several times on March 11, first from two to three business days, then five to seven days, and finally settled on two to three weeks.

Apple started selling the iPad 2 last Friday, first through its Web store and then at 5 p.m. local time at its retail outlets.

Marshall admitted that a four-to-five week delay is unusual for Apple. “Five weeks is pretty intense,” he said.

In the past, Apple has dealt with low supplies and high demand for new products, particularly the iPhone 3GS in 2009 and then last year with the iPhone 4. With the latter, Apple posted delays of up to three weeks on early iPhone 4 orders, and Apple CEO Steve Jobs apologized for the short supply of the new smartphone.

In 2008, iPhone 3G shipping delays extended for more than a month at Apple’s U.S. carrier partner AT&T, although Apple had sufficient supplies to meet demand within three weeks.

Marshall said that the iPad 2 shipping delay and the limited supply of the new tablets at Apple’s retail stores was due to “tremendous demand,” and not indicative of a production problem. Rhoda Alexander, an analyst at IHS iSuppli, concurred.

iSuppli anticipated early shortages of the iPad 2, Alexander added. “When we heard that there were going to be just 100 iPad 2s per store, we knew there was going to be a problem.”

Alexander expects that iPad 2 supplies will match demand in the next month or two. “Overall, I think Apple has its ducks well in a row on this.”