Buyer’s Guide: Discounts on Original iPad Air, iPad Mini 2, and Apple Accessories [Mac Blog]

Now that Apple’s iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3 are available, retailers have been offering discounts on the original iPad Air and the iPad mini 2.

There are quite a few deals on previous-generation higher capacity cellular and Wi-Fi iPads, and this week also sees some discounts on remaining 2013 Retina MacBook Pro inventory and deals on some Apple accessories.

iPad Air

The Wi-Fi only 64GB iPad Air in Space Gray can be purchased for $499 from Best Buy, as can the 64GB Silver Wi-Fi model. The Wi-Fi only 128GB iPad Air in Silver can be purchased from B&H Photo for $599, or from Best Buy for $699. Best Buy also has the 128GB iPad Air in Space Gray for $699.

Several sites are also offering deals on the higher-capacity Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad Air models. The 64GB Cellular iPad Air in Silver from AT&T is available for $599 from Adorama. The 64GB Cellular iPad Air in Space Gray from AT&T is also available for $599, from B&H Photo.

ipad_air_flat
Verizon models are slightly more expensive, with both the 64GB Silver Cellular iPad and 64GB Space Gray iPad available for $629 from Best Buy.

The 128GB Cellular iPad Air in Silver from AT&T is available for $829.99 from Best Buy and the 128GB Space Gray AT&T Cellular iPad is also available for $829.99 from Best Buy.

128GB models from Verizon are priced similarly, with the 128GB Silver version available from Best Buy for $829.99 and the Space Gray version available for $729 from B&H Photo.

iPad mini 2

Higher-capacity iPad mini 2 models are also available at steep discounts, and these iPads are a particularly good deal as the only difference between the mini 2 and the mini 3 is Touch ID and a gold color option.

The 64GB Wi-Fi only iPad mini 2 in Silver is available for $399 from Best Buy. The Space Gray Wi-Fi only iPad mini 2 is also available for $399 from Best Buy.

The 128GB Wi-Fi only iPad mini 2 in Silver is available for $499 from Best Buy, while the Space Gray version is available for $499 from Best Buy.

retina_ipad_mini_colors_front_back
The 64GB AT&T Cellular iPad mini 2 in Silver is available for $529.99 from Best Buy as is the Space Gray model.

64GB Verizon Cellular iPad mini 2 models in Silver are available for $529.99 from Best Buy and the Space Gray model is available from Best Buy for the same price.

The 128GB Cellular AT&T iPad mini 2 in Silver is available for $629 from Amazon and Adorama. The AT&T Space Gray model in 128GB is also available for $629 from Amazon and Adorama.

The 128GB Cellular Verizon iPad mini 2 in Space Gray is available for $629 from Best Buy and Adorama. The 128GB Cellular Verizon iPad mini in Silver is available for $787.99 from Best Buy.

Fourth-generation iPad

Best Buy is selling the now-discontinued fourth-generation Wi-Fi only iPad in both Silver and Space Gray for $299.99.

Retina MacBook Pro

There are a few deals 2014 Retina MacBook Pro this week. The 2.6GHz/8GB/128GB 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro is available for $1,199.99 from Adorama and B&H Photo. The 13-inch 2.6GHz/8GB/256GB model is available for $1,399 from Adorama and B&H Photo. The high-end 2.6GHz/8GB/512GB 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro is on sale for $1,699.99 from Adorama and B&H Photo, a savings of $100.

There are some deals on remaining 2013 Retina MacBook Pros. The 2.4GHz/4GB/128GB 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro is available for $1,099 from Adorama and B&H Photo. The 2.4GHz/8GB/256 13-inch model is available for $1,279 from Adorama. The 2.6GHz/8GB/512GB 13-inch model is available for $1,549 from Adorama and B&H Photo.

macbook_pro_13_15_late_2013
The 2.0GHz/8GB/256GB 15-inch model is available for $1,599 Amazon, Adorama, and B&H Photo. The 2.0GHz/16GB/512GB 15-inch model is available for $2,199 from Amazon, Adorama, and B&H Photo.

The non-Retina 13-inch MacBook Pro is also on sale for $949.99 from Best Buy and $999.99 from Adorama, and B&H Photo.

Apple Accessories

The Sony Portable Bluetooth Speaker with Lightning Dock is available for $169 from Groupon, down from its original price of $249. LivingSocial has a deal on the Jawbone Jambox speaker, offering it for $89.

jawbonejambox

StackSocial is offering the “Mac to the Future” bundle for $29.99, which includes $961 worth of Mac software programs like Fantastical and Ember.

nintendocases
The Jarv Run BT Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate Monitor is available for $28.95 from Amazon. Groupon is selling the Kensington PowerBolt Apple Car Charger for $9.99 and StackSocial has Nintendo iPhone 6 and 6 Plus cases for $14.

macbundle
The Kensington Portafolio Soft Folio Case for Apple iPad mini is available for $14.99 from Groupon, and the Logitech iPad mini Folio is available for $20 off at Best Buy.

MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors.






This Week On The TC Gadgets Podcast: iPads, Disrupt London, And iPads

gadgets141024 You might have heard that Apple released some new iPads last week. A lot of them. Plus, TechCrunch ventured across the pond for Disrupt London, where a number of incredible hardware startups debuted their wares. It was a long, but awesome, week.
We discuss all this and more on this week’s episode of the TC Gadgets Podcast featuring John Biggs, Matt Burns, and Jordan Crook.
Have a good… Read More


AT&T Locking Apple Interchangeable SIMs in iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 [Updated]

Apple’s new Apple SIM card in the iPad Air 2 and the Retina iPad mini 3 is designed to be universal, usable across a variety of wireless carriers in the US and UK, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and UK’s EE.

According to user reports in the MacRumors forums and on Twitter, however, AT&T is not supporting this interchangeability and is locking the SIM included with cellular models of the iPad Air 2 and Retina iPad mini 3 after it is used with an AT&T plan.

cellular-att-SIMImage via John Legere
A newly posted Apple support document details what happens to the SIM when it is activated on US carriers.

Using Apple SIM, you can choose from different cellular carriers and their various programs. The data plans vary by carrier. For instance, in the United States, you can choose a domestic plan from either Sprint or T-Mobile and also pick an alternate plan from the other carrier as needed. When you choose AT&T on iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, AT&T dedicates Apple SIM to their network only.

AT&T appears to be the only participating carrier that is locking the Apple SIM to its network. T-Mobile’s John Legere has indicated that T-Mobile’s process does not lock a customer in to T-Mobile, which appears to be confirmed by Apple’s support document, and Sprint’s process also seems to leave the Apple SIM unlocked and able to be used with other carrier plans. Verizon, the fourth major carrier in the United States, did not opt to allow the Apple SIM to work with its network.

According to the Apple support document, when an Apple SIM becomes locked to a specific network like AT&T, purchasing a new Apple SIM from an Apple Retail store will allow an iPad to be usable with other carrier programs.

Apple introduced its universal SIM alongside the iPad Air 2 and Retina iPad mini 3 on October 16. It is the first SIM provided by Apple that is designed to work across multiple carriers.

Update 12:10 PM PT: An AT&T spokesperson confirmed to Re/code that AT&T customers who use the Apple SIM with AT&T will need a different SIM card to switch carriers.

“With us you can change carriers with this iPad any time you want,” he said. “It is an unlocked device. … All [you] have to do is switch out the SIM in the device so it works on another carrier.”

AT&T did not explain why it opted to lock the SIM card to its network, however, with the spokesperson saying “it’s just simply the way we’ve chosen to do it.”




iPad Mini 3 Teardown Reveals NFC Controller for Apple Pay, Hot Glued Home Button

After tearing down the iPad Air 2 earlier this week, iFixit has now moved on to the iPad mini 3, which also received a minor update during Apple’s October 16 iPad event. Unlike the iPad Air 2, the iPad mini 3 saw few internal improvements, gaining a new gold color option and a Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

As expected, iFixit’s teardown reveals many of the same parts that were used in first Retina iPad mini, now called the iPad mini 2. It continues to use the same 7.9-inch display, A7 processor with M7 coprocessor, 5-megapixel camera, and 802.11n Wi-Fi.

There is one new addition, which is directly related to Touch ID and the iPad mini 3’s ability to support in-app Apple Pay payments. Like the iPad Air 2, the iPad mini 3 includes a 65V10 NFC controller manufactured by NXP.

ipadmini3teardownNFC Controller in blue
There is no accompanying NFC antenna to allow the tablet to make NFC-based payments within stores, but there has been strong speculation suggesting the NFC chip is where Apple Pay’s “Secure Element” is located. According to Apple, the Secure Element is a dedicated chip that stores encrypted Device Account Numbers, which replace credit card numbers for security reasons.

Though the iPad mini 3 and the iPad Air 2 are not able to make payments within stores, they can make Apple Pay payments within participating apps and thus utilize both the Secure Element and Device Account Numbers.

NXP’s own site details the use of a specific integrated circuit designed for handling and storing secure data on its website, stating the technology has been integrated into its NFC controller chips. While the 65V10 is not mentioned by name, its appearance in both the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3 suggests that it is indeed being used for its security function rather than its NFC function.

Aside from the inclusion of the 65V10 NFC chip, which is located in a spot on the logic board that was previously left blank, there are few other notable features about the iPad mini 3. iFixit did find that the tablet has new home button cabling to support Touch ID and home button brackets that are securely affixed by hot glue, which makes removing the home button a much more difficult task.

homebuttonglue
Like the Touch ID cable in the iPhone 5s, the location of the Touch ID cable in the iPad mini 3 makes screen repairs very difficult, as the cable is easy to sever when opening up the display. Due to the glue and the precarious position of the Touch ID cable, the iPad mini 3 earned a repairability score of 2 out of 10 from iFixit.

Apple’s iPad mini 3 is currently available in both retail stores and from Apple’s online store, with prices that start at $399.




NFC-Equipped iPad Air 2 Sparks Speculation of Future Apple Pay Registers for Small Businesses [Updated]

Earlier this week, a teardown analysis of the iPad Air 2 by iFixit surprisingly revealed the presence of a near field communications (NFC) controller chip that is identical to the one inside the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Apple never advertised the Air 2 as having NFC, and the tablet doesn’t support contactless Apple Pay payments, so the inclusion of this chip is somewhat puzzling.

In a new article, Gigaom examines the reasons why Apple might include but not activate this hardware in its tablet device, speculating that the chip may eventually serve to help small businesses process payments.

ipad_air_2_nfcPortion of iPad Air 2 logic board showing NFC chip boxed in red (Source: iFixit)
In this scenario, the iPad Air 2 would serve as a cash register, potentially using the onboard NFC chip to process wireless Apple Pay payments without any additional hardware. The iPad already is gaining traction with small retailers for use as a mobile register, often in conjunction with a credit card reader and processing service such as Square. But with Apple Pay rolling out as an NFC system for payments, Apple could be eventually be looking to help retailers accept such payments with its hardware.

The key to NFC in the iPad Air 2 is that it affords the possibility of becoming an Apple Pay cash register with no dongle needed. Conceivably, it could expand the number of outlets that take Apple Pay from around 40 to anyone selling stuff who owns the latest iPad. It brings Apple Pay out from the big box store and into farmers’ markets and boutiques.

Such a system would appear to complement rather than replace existing credit card implementations used by small businesses, as Apple Pay currently has only limited distribution through the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and retailers would still need to accept traditional credit and debit cards. Businesses also still require credit card processing arrangements through either a bank or a separate payment service such as Square.

Apple Pay launched earlier this week with only a few hiccups in an otherwise smooth release. Early reports were favorable with most users noting that transactions were processed quickly and easily. Its biggest limitation is distribution, with only large chain launch partners officially accepting the payment service. But as Apple Pay evolves, it will be interesting to see whether the NFC-equipped iPad Air 2 and small businesses will play a bigger role in Apple’s mobile payment plans.

Update: As pointed out by a number of readers, the lack of NFC antennas in the iPad Air 2 leaves it unclear how the iPad Air 2 could be used as payment receiver. Forum member GekkePrutser notes that the chip is likely included in the iPad because it houses the secure element where Apple Pay data is stored for the in-app payment feature that is supported on the new iPads.