Buyer’s Guide: Discounts on 2013 Retina MacBook Pro, iPad Air, AppleCare, and Apple Accessories [Mac Blog]

This week’s Buyer’s Guide includes some deals on the previous-generation 2013 Retina MacBook Pros, which are now available at rock bottom prices thanks to the launch of new 2014 Retina MacBook Pros on Tuesday. There’s also a decent discount on the 2014 MacBook Air, and some discounted prices on an array of different Apple accessories.

Retina MacBook Pro

For users who are looking for a deal on a Retina MacBook Pro and don’t mind losing out on the slight speed boost (and extra RAM on entry-level models) introduced with the new 2014 model, there are some ultra low prices available.

MacMall, Amazon, Best Buy, and B&H Photo are all offering the entry-level 2013 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro with 4GB of memory and 128GB of storage for $1,099, which is $200 cheaper than the corresponding 2014 entry-level model. Best Buy, Amazon, and B&H Photo have the 2013 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro with 8GB of memory and 256GB of flash storage for $1,299, also a discount of $200. The high-end 13-inch version with 8GB of memory and 512MB of storage is available for $1,599 at Best Buy.

As for the 2013 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro, Adorama and B&H Photo are selling the version with 16GB of memory and 512GB of storage for $2,249, $250 off the corresponding 2014 model. The 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro with 8GB of memory and 256GB of storage is available for $1,649 from Adorama and B&H Photo, an impressive $350 off the corresponding 2014 model.

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Best Buy’s discounted Retina MacBook Pro prices can be combined with the site’s educational deal offering $100 off all Macs, making it a solid choice for students. B&H and Adorama, as always, are a good choice for buyers who live outside of New York and New Jersey, as the sites only charge sales tax in those states.

MacBook Air

Deals on the current 2014 MacBook Air aren’t great this week, with the only solid sale being on the entry-level 11-inch version with 4GB of memory and 128GB of storage, which can be purchased for $799 from Adorama and B&H.

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There are also no significant deals on iMacs or iPhones this week, but make sure to check out next week’s Buyer’s Guide deals post if you’re looking for a discount on one of those products, because the deals change on a weekly basis.

Before making a purchase of a Mac or iOS device, make sure to consult our Buyer’s Guide to find out if it’s a good time to buy. For example, because the MacBook Air was updated in April, the Buyer’s Guide indicates that now is a good time to purchase.

iPads

Best Buy has the 16GB iPad Air in Space Gray and Silver discounted to $399.99, the lowest price point we’ve seen for the iPad Air. Best Buy also offers an additional $50 off all iPads for students, dropping the price down to $350.

AppleCare

B&H Photo is offering several discounts on AppleCare this week. The AppleCare Protection Plan for the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro and the 15-inch MacBook Pro is available for $244, $105 off Apple’s regular price.

The AppleCare Protection Plan for the MacBook Air and the 13-inch Retina Macbook Pro is available for $174, $75 off Apple’s regular price.

The AppleCare Protection Plan for the Mac Pro is available for $174, $75 off Apple’s regular price, while the AppleCare Protection Plan for the iMac is available for $129, $40 off Apple’s regular price.

Apple Accessories

Spigen’s compact car charger with two USB ports is available for $29.99 from StackSocial, a discount of $10. The Fitbit Zip can be purchased for $39.99 in Target stores or for $49.99 from the Target website, a savings of $10-$20.

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The OtterBox Commuter case for the iPhone 5c is available for $14.99 from Groupon, a savings of $20. Groupon is also offering the LifeProof Fre case for iPad mini for $34.99, down from the standard $99 price tag.

All LifeProof products are on sale for 10% off this week on the LifeProof website, using the code “BTS10.” Finally, the older model iHealth digital scale with Bluetooth can be purchased at the discounted price of $29.99 from Best Buy, a savings of $40.

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Shoppers in several states are eligible to take part in an upcoming sales tax holiday, allowing them to purchase Apple gear without needing to pay sales tax. States that offer some sort of discount on computers include Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The tax holiday in most states begins on August 1 and lasts a few days.

MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors.





Microsoft’s Office for iPad Apps Gain New Picture Tools, Third-Party Fonts, and Ability to Send Files as PDFs

Microsoft’s Office for iPad apps, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint received a major update today that adds several new user-requested features to each app. All three apps have gained the ability to export files as PDFs, and each one has also gained new Picture Tools that let users crop to focus on the right part of an image. Third-party fonts have also been added to each app.

Excel now includes improved external keyboard support to make the experience of using Excel on the iPad more like a desktop usage experience. There are more print options available, and a new “Flick to Select” feature lets users flick to select all data in a row or column.

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Excel is all about interacting with, consuming, and manipulating your data. When it comes to interacting with data, PivotTables are key to helping explore that data. With Excel for iPad you can now sort, filter, expand and collapse, show details, and even refresh PivotTables whose data is all contained within the workbook. You can even change how your PivotTables look and feel by changing both their visual style and layout.

We’ve also made it easier to consume workbooks and select data, including a large data range, with the introduction of a new flick gesture. Simply grab the selection handle, flick it in any direction, and Excel will automatically select from where you started to the next blank cell. Say you’re at the top of a column of data and want to select all the way to the bottom. Just flick down and the column is selected automatically.

Word didn’t gain new features beyond the Picture Tools, Fonts, and ability to send PDFs, but PowerPoint has seen some improvements. The app has a new Presenter View that lets users view and edit speaker notes, see next slides, and jump to other slides while presenting. Presenter tools allow for highlights and drawings to be erased within presentations, while new media features make it possible for users to play videos, sound effects, and background music while presenting. There are also new tools to insert videos from the Camera Roll and add/edit hyperlinks.

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With this update you can also make your presentations more rich and interactive than ever by more easily including video and sound to help get your point across. Not only do all of your embedded videos and sound recordings now play right from PowerPoint for iPad, but you can insert video directly from your Camera Roll as well. This allows you to quickly record, embed, and present interactive content more quickly than ever, and all from one device.

Today’s update is the second major update the Office software has gotten since its March release. Back in April, the three apps gained some important features that had been missing since launch, including the ability to print directly from the apps.

Microsoft’s Office for iPad apps have proven to be highly successful for the company. During its Q4 earnings call in July, Microsoft announced that its Office for iPad software had been downloaded more than 35 million times.

Microsoft has committed to continually improving its Office for iPad apps, which now directly compete with Apple’s own iWork suite including Numbers, Keynote, and Pages. “As this wave of updates hopefully shows, we’re making good on our commitment to delivering continuous updates and improvements to the Office for iPad apps,” read’s the company’s blog post on the new update.

All of the updates to the new Office apps are currently available and can be downloaded from the App Store for free. While the apps can be accessed for free, unlocking full capabilities, including editing and creating documents, requires an Office 365 subscription.

Microsoft Word for iPad [Direct Link]
Microsoft Excel for iPad [Direct Link]
Microsoft PowerPoint for iPad [Direct Link]






Fates Forever Is League Of Legends Lite For Your iPad

Fates Forever Released earlier this month, TechCrunch Disrupt alum Hammer & Chisel’s Fates Forever is a well-executed attempt to bring the MOBA to tablets. It doesn’t bring every feature in League of Legends to your iPad, but as you play you realize that most of what’s missing is fat trimmed to make for a better handheld experience. Read More


Apple Begins Mass Production of 4.7-Inch iPhone 6, 5.5-Inch Model and iPads Start in September

China media sources (via GforGames) report that mass production of Apple’s 4.7-inch iPhone is underway ahead of the phone’s expected fall launch. These same sources claim the 5.5-inch version of the iPhone 6 has not entered mass production, further suggesting that the launch timeframe for this larger iPhone model is still uncertain.

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Besides the iPhone 6, Apple also is preparing the next-generation iPad Air and Retina iPad mini for mass production starting in September. Apple is expected to unveil its new iPads, possibly alongside the iWatch, at an October event that also will likely be used to announce the public release of OS X Yosemite.

As Apple prepares to launch new iPhones and iPads later this year, the company’s Asian suppliers are gearing up to boost production by as much as 85 percent by Q4 2014. Some of this increased production may be handled by Foxconn robots, “Foxbots”, with the company reportedly deploying as many as 10,000 robots at a cost of up to $25,000 each.

Anticipation for Apple’s fall lineup of devices is high, fueled by comments from Apple executives that suggest the company will enter new product categories with a device lineup that is the best it has had in 25 years.