Today’s column is not specifically about Apple. Yes, sometimes it’s nice to take a break from dumb things that are written about Apple and take a look at dumb things that are written about technology in general.
Writing for CBS, Amanda Schupak chastised: “It's Thanksgiving, put down your phone.”
We're more connected than ever these days.
What a nightmare. Think of it: Our children will never know the simply pleasure of having to wait days for written messages to be received by loved ones. They can instantly contact anyone, like say, if they’re in trouble or just feeling lonely.
Thanksgiving and Black Friday have come and gone, so maybe you’re hung over from shopping. Maybe you haven’t started your shopping yet (join the club). Or maybe you’re in the midst of shopping right now, and you’re resting your weary feet. Regardless of what you’re doing, take a break and catch up on the Apple news from the past week. It was a short week but it was still an interesting one. Click on the link in each slide to get the full story.
Another killer deal on iPad on Black Friday is $100 off the iPad mini 4 at Best Buy-that retailer's deals have been among the best today. That puts the starting price for Apple's newest iPad mini model at $399, a 20 percent discount off retail. This offer is available in stores, but you can also shop online.
Walmart is offering Apple's iPad mini 2 for $199, a $70 discount off the retail price of $269. That's a significant 26 percent off, one of the biggest percentage discounts we've seen on an Apple product. This is a Black Friday deal only, but it's available online so you don't have to endure the insanity of a Walmart Black Friday store.
Best Buy is offering $100 or $125 off of iPad Air 2. 16GB and 64GB models, both Wi-Fi-only and Wi-Fi + Cellular, are discounted by $100. That means you can get one starting at $399. 128GB models are discounted $125, meaning they start at $574.99. These deals are being offered in-store, but you can also get them online.
Best Buy's 20 percent off iTunes cards offer is back on today. This deal was first offered on Wednesday, but quickly expired. It works like this: buy the first card at full price and get the second for 40 percent off, a 20 percent discount on the two of them when combined. These are for physical cards that are shipped to you (we also posted a deal on same-day email codes from PayPal on Friday). You can also choose to pick it up at a store. To get the deal, simply add two cards to your cart and the price will automatically be discounted. No coupon code required. Best Buy's instructions don't make that clear, but I tested the process.
If you want a Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil for the iPad Pro, you might check with your local Apple retail store. I’m not making any guarantees, but there may be a few in stock if you’re lucky.
Though the iPad Pro accessories are still showing a 4-5 waiting time for availability when you order ‘em online, I just picked up both peripherals at the Green Hills Apple Store in Nashville, TN. The Apple Pencil costs US$99 and Smart Keyboard is priced at $169.
Hopefully none of you were involved in an altercation at a local store today, but if you did manage to get some early deals by being "feet on the ground" at a store, congratulations. Here are a bunch of Black Friday deals we've seen so far that you can take advantage of from the safety and warmth of your own home:
Pencil by FiftyThree
The original Pencil, from FiftyThree (makers of Paper), is on sale at up to 40% off through Monday at 11:59 PM PST. The graphite version is available for $29.95 (down from $49.95), while the gold and walnut devices are both $39.95 each (down from $59.95). If you're tired of waiting for an Apple Pencil or want a good backup device, get the Pencil.
Doxie Mobile Scanners
The Doxie Go Wi-Fi is on sale starting for $179 ($50 off), Doxie Go Plus for $139 ($40), the Doxie One is a deal at $99 ($50 off), the original Doxie Go is on sale for $129 ($30 discount), and the Doxie Flip is $99 ($50 off). TODAY ONLY! Head over to the Doxie website to take advantage of the deals.
Today only, enter promo code BFDEAL2015 at checkout for 50% off of most products. Quantities are limited, so do it now! Offers end at 11:59 PM EST November 27, 2015.
Smile PDF Business Kit
The PDF Business Kit is made up of PDFpen for iPad & iPhone and PDF Scan+. Buy 'em together from now through Cyber Monday for just $10.99 -- that's 50% off.
Telestream Apps including Wirecast
Back when I was doing the weekly TUAW TV Live show, we used Wirecast, an amazing livestream production app for Mac. You can get 30% off on Wirecast and most of the other Telestream apps for Mac and Windows today through Cyber Monday, using promo code CYBERSALE2015.
Can't be Black Friday without 50% off on everything at Slickwraps. Just use promo code BLACKFRIDAY now!
Skiva Technologies Cyber Week Deals
Between today and December 6, take advantage of savings of up to 80% off on everything from the AC121 StandCharger 7-port charging station, SP101 AudioFlow Big Sound Speaker, and more. Skiva Technologies provided two promo codes: for special sale items, use SKIVA001, while SKIVA002 will get you a discount on everything in the store.
NextWorth 15% Bonus on All Trade-ins
Need to sell an older iPhone or iPad? Get an extra 15% tacked onto your trade-in at Nextworth through 11/30/15, using promo code CYBER15.
DODOcase: 30% off everything
Yep, 30% off of everything in the store, through midnight Pacific Time tonight. Use code BF30 at checkout.
Ergonis: 25% off on PopChar, Typinator, and KeyCue
These are amazing productivity tools for Mac, and you can get 25% off of any Ergonis software by entering the promo code BlackFriday15A during checkout.
Withings: Up to 60% off on Withings products
Withings makes the Activité activity tracker/watch, Aura wake up light, Smart Body Analyzer, Withings Home video cam, Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor and more. They're amazing tools that all work well with the Apple Health app, and you can get up to 60% off on selected products today through Cyber Monday.
iTunes: $6.99 albums
Get special Black Friday pricing of $6.99 on Justin Bieber's Purpose, Carrie Underwood's Storyteller, Taylor Swift's blockbuster 1989, Trapsoul by Bryson Tiller, Blake Shelton's Reloaded, Fetty Wap's self-titled album, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, and Logic's The Incredible True Story... plus more! The deals are only available through Cyber Monday.
Use promo code CYBER to get 25% everything from Netatmo, including the Weather Station, Welcome webcam, and Thermostat. Today through Cyber Monday.
FUZ Designs: 50% off of your entire order
Wow -- free domestic shipping and 50% off on everything from FUZ Designs, including their EverDock, Apple Watch Dock, EverDock Duo, Felt Case, and more. Use discount code BLACKFRIDAY through November 30 at midnight, MDT.
Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the United States, and columnists writing things-I’m-thankful-for columns is as much a tradition as turkey and stuffing and family arguments. Who am I to buck tradition? So let me present my 2015 list of technology stuff that I’m thankful for.
Find My Friends. This year my son started middle school and my daughter high school. They’re both now using hand-me-down iPhone 5’s, and it’s extremely helpful to be able to find where they are when I’m wondering. Part of growing up is gaining independence, but that doesn’t mean dad’s feelings aren’t improved when I know that my son’s a couple blocks away and will be home on his bike in just a minute.
As of the third quarter of 2015, the Apple TV has 20 percent of the global digital media streamer market share, according to new data from Strategy Analytics.
However, the fourth generation Apple TV didn’t go on sale until October, so had little impact on these stats. Look for Apple’s set-top box to garner a bigger share of the digital media streamer market in quarter four. Google’s Chromecase has 45 percent, Amazon Fire TV has 16 percent, Roku has 16 percent, and “others” have 13 percent, the research group says. The new report from Strategy Analytics also notes that:
Global shipments of all connected TV devices (including smart TVs, Blu-ray players, game consoles and digital media streamers) reached 53 million units in the third quarter and are on target to hit 221 million units for the full year, representing growth of 17 percent.
Samsung continues to dominate the global smart TV market from LG and Sony and it now accounts for 1-in-4 smart TVs in use worldwide. During the quarter, Philips joined Sony and Sharp in offering smart TVs with Google's Android TV platform in a number of its mid to high end ranges. Android TV captured an estimated 8-10 percent share of the overall smart TV market during the third quarter.
Within the game console market, Sony shipped more than double the number of consoles as Microsoft in the quarter although the Xbox One is expected to close the gap on the PS4 during the final quarter thanks to its appealing first and third party bundles.
Australian banks are reportedly refusing to sign up for Apple Pay, Apple’s mobile payment system, and allowing customers to link their bank accounts to their iPhones.
The country’s Reserve Bank has been urged to examine potential anti-competitive behavior in the emerging card-free payments market amid claims the banks have frozen out Apple Pay, which was recently introduced in the country, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. Labor's spokesman on digital innovation, Ed Husic, has written to the RBA and the Australian Bankers' Association, raising his concern that Australians are being "denied choices" in digital payments, the article adds.
Apparently, banks in Australia aren’t too keen on the idea of giving Apple a bit of the US$2 billion they earn annually from interchange fees. In the US, Apple earns close to 15¢ on every $100 of transactions. Apple’s trying for a similar number in Australia, and the Aussies aren’t having it. Why? Well, interchange fees in the US are about $1 for every $100 of transactions, while in Australia, those fees are only about half that amount.
Earlier this month Apple applied for a patent for a “life vest” for iPhones so they won’t sink if dropped in water. Now Apple has applied for a patent (number 20150341070) ) with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for a “bumper system” for iOS devices and Mac laptops.
In the filing for the patent, dubbed “screen protection using actuated bumper,” Apple notes the screens of portable electronics devices include one or more fragile elements such one or more layers of glass. Such devices are commonly dropped.
For example, an electronic device may be dropped by a user, fall from a table, fly from a user's hand when a user trips, and/or otherwise free fall to the ground or other surface. Drop events of these or other kinds may damage fragile elements of screens such as glass layers and repairing damage to screens may be “burdensome, expensive, and/or impractical,” according to Apple, who wants to alleviate such possibilities.
Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention: “An electronic device includes at least one screen. One or more bumpers are moveable between at least a stowed position where the bumper is flush or below the screen and a deployed position where at least a portion of the bumper projects above the screen. One or more sensors detect when the electronic device is subject to one or more drop events.
“When a drop event is detected, the bumper moves to the deployed position, protecting the screen. In various implementations, the bumper may be moveable by a push-push mechanism or a magnet assisted actuator mechanism. In other implementations, the bumper may include piezoelectric material to which voltage can be applied to move the bumper.”
While Apple was busy touting the benefits of increasing the iPad’s overall size, iPad keyboard maker Brydge has been hard at work creating a keyboard for the iPad mini.
The BrydgeMini follows the same overall design of the BrydgeAir, the company’s keyboard for the standard iPad. Lacking from the smaller version, however, is the built-in speaker which I found to be a distraction anyways.
The $129 BrydgeMini is available in three different colors: gold, silver, and space grey. The keyboard is compatible with every version of the iPad mini except for the iPad mini 4.