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Hundreds Line Up at Apple Stores on Record Breaking Black Friday!

Written by iHospital. Posted in Apple News

Were you shopping in the Apple Store on Black Friday? If so, I hope the crowd left the pepper spray at home unlike the Walmart crew!

The dismal economy didn’t seem to affect the Apple Store on Black Friday. In fact, reports claim that they even broke records for the best sales ever this past Thanksgiving holiday with MacBook Air’s flying off the shelves.  Modmyi mentioned in an article that an Apple retail source speaking in confidence to their friends at 9to5Mac indicated Sunday that Apple’s sales on Black Friday broke all records.  Here’s more of the conversation:

Apple Retail was forecast and broke Retail sales records all over the country today, this is from [redacted] today, the forecast today is more than 4 times what we normally do.  We broke the forecast by 7pm.

Increased sales can also be linked to the fact the Apple Store had the lowest ticket price on big ticket items like the iPad.  The savings ranged from just under 16% for items such as the mouse, keyboard or trackpad to 7% for the 2TB Time Capsule.  The best deal was the MacBook Air going for $898, a $101 savings. Amazon, however, beat their price selling the MacBook Air at $849.99.   The Mac Mini and the Mac Pro were not included in the deals at the Apple Store.

Apple’s prices were slashed at both its online and brick-and-mortar stores for the entire duration of Black Friday.  Many of the latter opened their doors at 6:00 am to accommodate their customers! Talk about service.

Black Friday is the biggest sale of the year for Apple and the temptation proved to be too much for many! Did you venture out to the Apple Store, or did you purchase something online? How big of a discount did you get? Let us know in the comments below!

Don’t forget to drop in to iHospital for all your iPod and iPod Nano repairs, iPad repairs, iPhone repairs and Mac repairs. No appointment is needed and all repairs are backed with a one year warranty. Repairs are done while you wait and some repairs take as little as five minutes! Come see us today! Click here for list of our locations.

Unlocked iPhone 4S Sold Today – World Travelers Rejoice!

Written by iHospital. Posted in Apple News

Starting today Apple is selling unlocked iPhone 4S’s via their online U.S. store.  Shipping time is estimated at one to two weeks.

The prices for the unlocked, contract-free iPhone 4S is $649 – 16GB, $749 – 32 GB and $849 – 64 GB.  It’s important to note that the unlocked device is only compatible with GSM networks such as AT&T.  You can’t use Verizon Wireless or Sprint as they are CDMA-based carriers.

The neat part is if you travel outside of the U.S. you can purchase a micro-SIM card from a local carrier and you won’t get dinged with all the roaming and long distance charges.  One poster on MacRumors posted the following rates:

  • In Canada $10 will get you 125 MB of data for a week with unlimited evening calls.
  • In Singapore $20 will get you unlimited incoming calls for 30 days.
  • In Hong Kong $12 will get you unlimited data for 3 – 4 days.
  • In Macau $12 will get you unlimited data for 4 days.
  • In Bali $10 will get you a hefty amount of data
  • In China $30 will get you 600 MB and unlimited incoming calls that lasts about a month.
The poster also stated that if he had a locked iPhone he would have had to subscribe to AT&T’s international data roaming plan for $200 and pay $3 per minute for calls.
If you are a frequent word traveler you should definitely consider purchasing one of the unlocked iPhone 4S’s Apple started selling today.  Hopefully you won’t be leaving for a couple of weeks as they are only available online. If you don’t travel often you may not be interested in purchasing an unlocked iPhone unless carriers start competing for better rate plans! Will you be purchasing an unlocked iPhone 4S? What kind of rates did you get internationally?

Don’t forget to drop in to iHospital for all your iPod repairs, iPad repairs, iPhone repairs and Mac repairs.  No appointment is needed and all repairs are backed with a one year warranty.  Repairs are done while you wait and some repairs take as little as five minutes! Come see us today! Click here for  list of our locations

Grand Central-Apples Newest Location

Written by iHospital. Posted in Apple News

Apple is opening up shop in Grand Central Station minutes away from the iHospital located in New York City.  Don’t forget to stop by the iHospital for all your iPhone, iPod and iPad repairs! No appointment is necessary and most repairs are done while you wait by certified D.i.D specialists.

This will be the fifth brick-and-motrtar store in New York City.  Construction began in mid August and it was expected to take roughly 120 days. Meanwhile, Apple’s flagship Manhattan store located on Fifth Avenue is currently giving its iconic glass square entrance a major upgrade.

The Grand Central store will be approximately 23,000 square feet and will be located on the north and northeast balconies of the terminal’s main concourse.  It will be one of the biggest (if not the biggest) Apple Store to date.  Apple paid celebrity chef Charlie Palmer a cool $5 million to give up his lease early.

Apple signed a ten year lease and will be paying a hefty annual rent of $800,000, double what Charlie Palmer was paying. Rent will increase by 3% each year and after the ninth year it will jump to $10 million.

The Manhattan Transit Authority is hoping the Apple Store will bring substantial economic benefit to the MTA compared to the status quo.  They expect to make $5 million per year with Apple as a tenant.

Grand Central has a colorful history in New York City.  It was built in 1871 and its 44 platforms on two underground levels make it the biggest train station in the world.  Apple is promising to preserve the historical integrity of the building and will make modest alterations.

Will you be stopping by the new Apple Store on Black Thursday? Be sure to take pictures and share them in the comments below.

Source: PC Mag – Report: Apple’s Grand Central Store Will Open on Black Friday

Will Siri Power the New Apple TV?

Written by iHospital. Posted in Apple News

Will you be throwing away your remote TV for a “siri-like” voice controlled Apple TV soon? The answer is yes according to biographer Walter Isaacson. 

The New York Times reported yesterday that Steve Jobs was thrilled when he had an epiphany about how to make Apple TV work.  “I’ve finally cracked it!” he told his biographer, Walter Isaacson.  Some interpreted this comment to be related to the physical television set but they were wrong.  What Steve was so excited about was Siri, Apple’s new voice recognition software on the iPhone 4S.

The good folks at Apple have been racking their brains for years on how to make Apple TV different.  How can they make it more user friendly which is a hallmark of their brand and company.  They couldn’t put a giant home button on the screen so how could they really make Apple TV rock?

They toyed with a wireless keyboard and mouse or using your iDevice as a remote control but Steve axed both of those. They weren’t innovative enough for Apple.

The engineers and designers at Apple figured it out – get rid of the dreaded remote control and replace it with Siri.  People can choose their television content as easily as they download an app on their iPod, iPhone or iPad. Cool right? Imagine sitting on your couch wondering what to watch. You laugh as you remember Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure so you say, “Play Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and voila! Done! The same goes for baby animals on Youtube, Justin Bieber, etc.

Because they aren’t rich enough, Apple could generate an extra $19 billion in revenue from a Apple television set excluding content deals and that’s if they only reached 5% of current TV watchers.  Some expect to launch by 2013. What do you think? Would you switch in your LCD Television for an Apple TV? I’m sure we know the answer.

Source:  The New York Times – What’s Really Next for Apple in Television

iTunes Mach LIVE! Well Almost.

Written by iHospital. Posted in Apple News

Developers were notified on Wednesday evening that Apple is wiping iTunes Match on October 27th, 2011 in in order to clean up the “overall quality and reliability” of the service ahead of its upcoming public launch.

Wondering what iTunes Match is? It’s an awesome service that provides users a convenient scan and match service that determines which songs on their hard drive are also available on the iTunes music store.  This includes all your music including music you’ve burned from CDs or purchased somewhere besides iTunes.  Those songs will accessible from iCloud.  Your music library will be available to all your Apple and Mac devices.

The service will cost $24.99 per year and Apple is claiming the scan will take minutes compared to weeks of upload time from rivals Amazon and Google.  Your subscription will get you unlimited downloads on up to ten devices! You’ll also have access to Apple’s 18 million iTunes store database.  Tracks not found will be uploaded in their original format to Apple’s database and won’t count towards your storage limit.

The best feature of iTunes Match is it will also offer better quality of music by providing 256 Kbps AAC downloads even when the matched files have a lower bitrate. Your second-rate music files will become first class in seconds!

iTunes Match is currently closed to Developers.  Today’s news of the wipe points to it being launched very soon.  Possible reasons to delay the service include licensing and copyright.  You might have noticed an iTunes Match toggle in your iOS music settings pane which directs users to subscribe to the service.

Apple Developers have been instructed to turn off their iTunes Match service on computers and operating systems during the wipe. Current songs shouldn’t be affected but it’s important to backup regularly and don’t delete the music you’ve added to iCloud from your library.

Was Apple TV Steve Job’s Last Frontier?

Written by iHospital. Posted in Apple News

There’s a lot of chatter about Apple TV on social networks and the Intranet this morning.  Steve Jobs biographer Walter Issacson suggested that Apple may have been working on an Apple-branded television set.

Why is this such big news you ask?  Well rumors of an Apple television set have been swirling around for years and Apple has always doubted the profitability of entering a market where cable operators control everything.

As we all know Steve Jobs felt the general rules didn’t apply to him and Walter’s biography confirms this for us. Here is a excerpt published by The Washington Post:

He very much wanted to do for television sets what he had done for computers, music players, and phones: make them simple and elegant,” Isaacson wrote.

Isaacson continued: “‘I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,’ he told me. ‘It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.’ No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. ‘It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.

There are varying opinions on the success of an Apple TV model.  Some suggest tough licensing laws and video protections will be a problem for Apple.  Another conflict could be the varying contracts people are in with their current cable subscribers.  Lastly, Apple would need to provide a lot of in-home support to set up boxes, hardware, etc. which they don’t currently offer.

We can’t confirm what exactly Steve meant by the above statement but we’re sure it would give regular longstanding telecommunications companies a run for their money.  He certainly won the hearts of the MP3 player market, the Smartphone market and the Tablet market. Apple currently offers a set-top box that they officially call a “hobby”.  Walter’s biography hints there is much more to come.

What do you think about Apple TV?  Would you pay a premium to use it?

Sources

Washington Post – Job’s Final Plan: An “integrated” Apple TV

MacRumors – Steve Jobs on an Apple Television Set: “I Finally Cracked It”

6 Things You Need to Know about Steve Job’s Special on 60 Minutes

Written by iHospital. Posted in Apple News

Walter Isaacson, authorized biographer of Apple founder Steve Jobs, was on 60 Minutes last night approximately 24 hours before his biography becomes available in book stores around the world. Here’s a rundown of what you need to know just in case you missed it.

The Biography

The biography is made up of over one hundred interviews of Steve’s acquaintances as well as forty interviews of Steve himself. Steve initially requested Walter interview him over seven years ago (which Walter thought was a tad presumptuous). What Walter didn’t know was Steve was just about to undergo surgery for pancreatic cancer.

High Expectations

Walter mentioned that Steve could be quite rude to people – a waitress at a local restaurant, a guy who stayed up coding all night. When asked why he acted this way Steve replied, “I really want to be with people who demand perfection. And this is who I am.”

Influences

Steve’s adoptive father Paul influenced Steve to become quite the perfectionist. When working on a fence during Job’s childhood, Paul said, “You’ve got to make the back of the fence that nobody will see just as good as the front of the fence. Even though nobody will see it, you will know, and that will show you’re dedicated to making something perfect.”

The Bay Area where Steve grew up also influenced him quite drastically. Surprisingly, Steve dropped acid, listened to Dylan music but also had a passion for electronics. He did the night shift at Atari because nobody wanted to be near him – he walked around barefoot and didn’t bathe.

Steve’s simplistic style was inspired during a seven month trip to India. His encounters with Zen Buddhism encouraged the notion that simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

Rules Don’t Apply to Steve

According to Walter, Steve felt that traditional rules didn’t apply to him – he didn’t have respect for authority. This was demonstrated by not having license plates on a Mercedes sports coupe.

Cancer

Job’s cancer was discovered in 2004 during a routine scan for kidney stones. In the beginning he tried natural remedies. It wasn’t until four years later in 2008 he moved on to conventional medicine. Jobs continued to have secret cancer therapy even though he was telling everyone he was cured.

Final Years

Steve focused more on the iPad and the iPhone during the last 2.5 years of his life. He also began to see the importance of spending time with his family. During one of his last interviews with Walter Steve reflected about death by saying, “Maybe it’s ‘cause I want to believe in an afterlife. That when you die, it doesn’t just all disappear. The wisdom you’ve accumulated. Somehow it lives on,” he said on tape. He paused and went on, “Yeah, but sometimes I think it’s just like an on-off switch. Click and youre’ gone. And that’s why I don’t like putting on-off switches on Apple devices.”

Five Ways to Boost iPhone 4S’s Siri

Written by iHospital. Posted in Apple News

The new iPhone 4S personal assistant Siri has been impressing users all over the world but did you know there’s five ways you can improve your Siri experience? Read on Appleheads and let us know what you think:

Siri and I just met a few days ago. I think we’re getting along pretty well so far (although she seems to get a bit testy and sarcastic when I ask her to “open the pod bay doors.”). As great as Siri seems, though, Apple is calling this a beta and I can see why.

1. Alternative Voices

I have nothing against Siri’s voice per se, but it would be cool to be able to use alternate voices and give my iPhone 4S a more unique “personality” than every other iPhone 4S in the world. When I moved from Michigan to Texas I had a TomTom GPS unit with multiple voices. It made the trip much more entertaining to be able to choose whether to get my navigating instructions from an Australian dude or a French female—including slang and colloquialisms of the culture in question.

I don’t necessarily think Apple needs to have voices like Darth Vader, or Ozzy Osbourne (how would you even understand what it’s saying?) like TomTom does, but just having some alternate voice options would be nice. It would be cool to have other famous AI voices, though—like HAL and GlaDOS.

2. Multilingual

Siri has some multi-linguistic skills, but not enough. The United States version of iOS 5 running on my iPhone 4S lets me choose between English (Australia), English (United Kingdom), English (United States), French, and German. I’m not sure what the stats are for how many German-speaking or French-speaking citizens we have here in the United States, but I can guarantee you that it’s lower than other populations such as Spanish-speaking.

I assume including languages takes up space and Apple can’t include them all, but there are millions of people in the United States who speak languages other than French, German, or three variations of English, and it would be very helpful for those people to be able to at least choose and download their native tongue from Apple and install it on their iOS device to make Siri more useful.

3. iPad 2 Support

Tell me again why my iPad 2 didn’t get Siri? As I understand it, the iPhone 4 didn’t get Siri because it lacks the dual core processing horsepower of the iPhone 4S. Fair enough, but that argument doesn’t hold water against my dual core processing iPad 2.

I’d like to be able to ask questions, set reminders, check the weather, etc. using Siri on my iPad 2. In fact, I am pretty sure I would use Siri more on the iPad 2 than I do on the iPhone 4S. Hopefully iPad 2 support will be coming in an update…soon.

4. Deeper Integration

I am still learning what Siri is capable of, but she is not shy about letting me know what she is not capable of. So far I have learned that Siri can’t open apps, and it can’t take pictures. Siri will let me dictate a text message, but not a Twitter tweet or a Facebook status update.

This isn’t all Apple’s responsibility, though. Apple just needs to have the APIs that allow third-party developers to tap into and integrate with Siri. For example, Remember the Milk has already figured out how to link in to the power of Siri so when I tell Siri to set a reminder it saves it to Remember the Milk.

5. Default security

Apple has included an option with Siri that lets you access the power and capabilities of the personal assistant without unlocking the phone. A blog post from Sophos describes an issue with the default functionality of Siri while the iPhone 4S is locked. The problem is that if I can pick up the phone and send a text message, or access my schedule to get my reminders, so can anyone else who picks up my phone.

The bigger problem is that Apple leaves this on by default. I can understand making the choice available, but this should be turned off by default. The very point of having establishing a passcode lock is to prevent unauthorized access to my iPhone and the information it contains. Allowing Siri to circumvent the passcode and share that information violates the concept.

You can turn this off in Settings, but it is oddly not part of the Siri settings. Tap General, then Passcode Lock. Under the Passcode Lock settings, you can turn off the ability to access Siri’s functionality from a locked iPhone.

There you have it. Five things I wish Apple would add, change, update, or improve for Siri 2.0. Actually, since this is still a beta, I guess the next major iteration would technically be Siri 1.0.

It looks as though Siri isn’t able to take over the world yet but she’s definitely giving us a run for our money.  Is there anything else you’d update about Siri?  Perhaps fold the laundry ore prepare dinner? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Macworld – Five Ways to Improve Siri

What Tim Cook Has to Say About the iPhone 4S

Written by iHospital. Posted in Apple News

Interested in hearing what Tim Cook has to say about the iPhone 4S? Although he’s a tad bit busy being Apple’s CEO he continues to take part in a quarterly call with Wall Street analysts.  He discussed a number of topics and we’re sharing what we think you’ll find interesting. Enjoy!

On the iPhone 4S

We’ve gotten off to a great start with the 4S. We’ve sold over 3 million only three days after launch so we are thrilled with the start that we’ve had. We’re confident that we will have a large supply, but I don’t want to predict when supply and demand might balance because the demand is obviously extremely high right now. I’m confident that we will set an all-time record for iPhones this quarter.

If you look on a sell-through basis, the sequential comparison is down 2.4 million units… That 2.4 was much less of a reduction than what we were expecting and was a large factor in our revenue exceeding our guidance by over $3 billion. We expected to be greater than 2.4 because we knew that there was great anticipation of a June or July new iPhone since that was the pace we had been on in the last several years. And as we predicted that sell-through did occur in the quarter, but not nearly to the extent that we thought. We significantly beat our guidance. The reduction happened significantly in the back quarter as the [iPhone 4S] speculation hit extreme highs. However, we are thrilled to be shipping the new iPhone 4S and iOS 5 and iCloud, and we are very confident that we will set an all-time record in the December quarter for iPhone sales. In our wildest dreams, we couldn’t have gotten off to a start as great as we have on the 4S.

On iPhone 4S velocity

We can’t tell you with precision how many units we would have sold had there not been rumors and people weren’t expecting an new iPhone. I certainly believe it was substantial. That’s the reason that we called it out. I think anyone monitoring the press knows this, you can probably talk to a group of customers and get the same answer. I think the 4S is off the charts. If you do a comparison of the three days after launch of last year on the iPhone 4 we came in at 1.7 million; this year we were over 4 million in the same time frame and so that’s the mother of all uplifts. We’re thrilled with how we’ve gotten started. The feedback we’re getting from customers is fantastic, so I couldn’t be more pleased with where we are.

On Siri

The number of people using it already is amazing. The asking it questions and so forth and the personality it has it incredible. We see this as a profound innovation, and I think over time that many people will use it in a substantial way. What percent of their input will be by that and what percent of the searching, I don’t know. It is substantial and an incredible innovation, and that’s the feedback we’re getting from customers.

On iPhone price reductions

We did it because we wanted to make the iPhone more accesible to a broader market and so not only did we take the 3GS to free on a post-pay basis, but we also lowered the price on the iPhone 4 to $99. We’ve done both of those because as we looked at it, these are still fantastic products and we think that we can do reasonably well selling those in the post-pay market. It also has the advantage of having a lower price in the pre-pay markets, not free and $99, but lower than those entry points were previously. Both of those markets are very important to us. It has been our thinking for a while to do that.

iPhone goals

We want the iPhone to be in as many customers hands as possible because we think it’s the greatest phone by far. That’s why we live to do that. We aspire to much larger volumes than where we are. We think the smartphone market with eventually absorb the handset market. The handset market is a huge market, it’s 1.5 billion handsets, and the smartphone market is a bit over 400 million or so. There’s a huge growth in the smartphone market, and we think we can grow with the sector. The big win will be to eat into the 1.5 [billion]. You can tell that with the moves we’ve made recently.

Carriers receptivity of iPhone pricing change

If you look at the channel inventory on iPhone that was there at the end of September 24, there were 5.75 million. Over half of that has already sold through. So one portion of the things driving that is the elasticity question you’re getting at. What we also did in a very few countries last quarter is drop the 3GS price a bit early, particularly in some of the prepay markets and were extremely pleased with the results. It gave us even more conviction to follow through with the plan change we made over in October.

We think Tim is doing an excellent job as Apple CEO.  The runaway success of the new iPhone 4S is probably helping as well!  What do you think of what Tim has to say? He has big shoes to fill and we look forward to getting to know him during future interviews and presentations.

Source: Macworld – Tim Cook on iPhone 4S, iPad, and more

Was Steve Jobs Working On The iPhone 5 Until his Last Day?

Written by iHospital. Posted in Apple News, Breaking News

Steve Jobs was the epitome of dedication. Rumor has it he was working on Apple’s “next project”  - AKA the iPhone 5 – right up until the day he passed away.  We don’t doubt it as Steve was extremely dedicated and always on the forefront of the latest technology.

As one might expect, following the death of Steve Jobs, many rumors and legends have taken on a life of their own. The most recent whispers are related to the notion, proffered by Rodman & Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar in a recent research note, that Jobs worked on next year’s iPhone 5. But while many tend to take the word of analysts with a grain of salt, especially when it comes to the hyper-secretive Steve Jobs, Apple partner Masayoshi Son, CEO of Softbank, recently recounted an anecdote that appears to confirm this speculation.

During an interview conducted last weekend by the U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos, Son talked about his relationship to Apple and Jobs. Son revealed an interesting series of events during the launch of the iPhone 4S.

Son said, “I visited Apple for the announcement of the iPhone 4S [at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California]. When I was having a meeting with Tim Cook, he said, ‘Oh Masa, sorry I have to quit our meeting.’ I said, ‘Where are you going?’ He said, ‘My boss is calling me.’ That was the day of the announcement of the iPhone 4S. He said that Steve is calling me because he wants to talk about their next product. And the next day, he died.”

Recounting the episode, Son was visible touched by the Apple co-founder’s passion and drive. He went on to say, “Even one day before he passed away, the first subject he wanted to call Tim Cook about…he wanted to talk about the next product… That’s the kind of spirit a true entrepreneur would continue to have until they die. He was very sick, very ill. But the announcement of their newest product made him live longer. Physically he could have died much earlier. But his passion, his love for his own company and dream, about the next products, that made him energized.”

Son didn’t elaborate on which product Jobs discussed with Cook, but given this new information, the speculation that next year’s iPhone 5 will be Jobs’ final master stroke of product innovation now seems far more credible. You can check out the video here.

We at iHospital like to believe Steve had a hand in creating the next iPhone.  It saddens us to think of a world without Steve’s latest invention – he did own 303 patents.  Let’s hope he’s like Tupac Shakur and has a whole safe full of technology just waiting to be released.

Source: PC World

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