Apple really is hosting a media even next Tuesday, and everyone is expecting a mini iPad announcement. Microsoft is hoping for some tablet love, too, EPEAT has a new green for laptops, ebook buyers may get a settlement kickback, and Apple's logo is a symbol of blasphemy. Once again, the week's news lines practically writes itself for Mac OS Ken's Ken Ray.
It's Apple Event Time
Good news, campers! We can finally stop saying "if Apple has an event on the 23rd of October," and start saying "when Apple has an event on the 23rd of October."
The Cupertino-company sent out an invitation to a select group of individuals this week. Splashy and colorful, as recent Apple invitations are wont to be. The top half of the Apple logo is defined by the negative space, all sitting atop the words "We've got a little more to show you."
I wonder which part people will obsess over: the "We've?" The "got?" The "show?"
It'll probably be the "little" part.
The event is scheduled for Tuesday, October 23rd at 10:00AM pacific time. It'll be held at the California Theatre in San Jose, which is where Apple launched the first video iPod and TV shows for iTunes way back in ought-5.
Now if only we knew what they were going to announce this time. My money's on iPhone 6.
While we've heard rumors of a new MacBook Pro, a new Mac mini and a new iMac, the star of the show is expected by everyone to be the much anticipated iPad mini. What do you think? Two or three of those? How about 24?
AppleInsider has word of some inventory list from someplace, though the piece doesn't even hint from whence it came. Here's what they're thinking, though: four storage capacities -- presumably 8, 16, 32, and 64 gigabytes -- and a surprising three levels of connectivity: WiFi only, WiFi plus 3G and WiFi plus 4G/LTE.
That seems needlessly cumbersome. I mean, it may help Apple save money on components, but would it not add a level of confusion to consumers' buying decisions? iPhone 5 can do 3G or LTE, why wouldn't the iPad mini be able to as well?
Anyway, four storage capacities times three connectivity configurations is 12 times two colors is 24. 16 sounds more sensible to me, but what do I know?
Expect the iPad mini to hit the scene hungry for consumer dollars, and quite possibly its elders. The iPad mini's elders, not the consumers' elders. That'd be gross.
AppleInsider has Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster doing back-of-the-envelope math with some partially assumed -- or made-up -- numbers. The way the munificent Mr. Munster sees it, if the iPad mini goes on sale on Friday, November 2, which has kind of turned up as the assumed release date, Munster expects Apple to sell at least 5 million of them in the current holiday quarter.
Munster had been calling for 21 million iPads to be sold this quarter; he's upped his total iPad sales expectation to 25 million -- assuming we do get an iPad mini announcement next Tuesday -- but that actually means a loss of traditional iPad sales. If you're looking at sales of 5 million iPad minis and a total of 25 million iPads sold, and you had been expecting 21 million iPads to be sold, that's one-million traditional iPad sales cannibalized by the iPad mini, and there's the mini feasting on its elders. Which still sounds gross.
As for the mini's effect for calendar year 2013, Munster had anticipated sales of 86.5 million iPads at an average selling price of $527 dollars, which comes out to roughly $45.6 billion in sales. He's now upped that number to 95 million units sold with an anticipated lower average selling price of $495. They still come out ahead though, raking in an anticipated $47 billion is sales.
All of this assumes a lot that we won't actually know until next week though, like how much Apple will charge for the iPad mini, when it will go on sale, and whether Apple is actually going to sell an iPad mini. I mean, we all think they will at this point, but we won't know until we do.
On the Surface: Microsoft's Tablet
Assuming an iPad mini will be the center of attention at next week's Apple event, how much time should we spend on next week's other tablet: The Microsoft Surface.
My thought is, not much. When reviews come out, when sales numbers hit, when John and Jane Q. can get their hands on it and do, then might be a good time to go deep on what Microsoft brings to the tablet table.
Still, it would be wrong not to hit a bit of it.
AllThingsD says the ads have begun. They apparently started on Monday Night Football. Believe I had to read it someplace to know that. I hope I read it correctly. The one-minute spot is also available online and I have to say I hate it. Not because it's for a Microsoft product but because it tells you nothing about what the device does.
Remember "Stomp?" The sort of half-dance half-acoustic performance show? It's kind of like that. There's lots of dancing and lots of noise made by fastening and unfastening the cover to the tablet-pc-tablet-thing.
The ads began Monday; the pre-orders began Tuesday.
Surface for Windows RT tablets are priced to compete with the iPad. According to Wired, "the 32GB base model will cost $499, or $599 with a Touch Cover." There's also a 64GB Surface for $599, or buyers can buy it with a Touch Cover, for $699. Touch Covers are also sold separately for $120 each, and Type Covers -- with actual, movable keys -- are sold separately for $130.
Microsoft Surface for Windows RT and it's various covers should land in consumers' hands on Friday, October 26th.
EPEAT's New Green
EPEAT seems to be getting fairly ultrabook friendly, or maybe it's vice-versa. You may remember Apple's flap with the green-electronics organization from this summer. Apple announced that it was pulling its machines from the EPEAT certification program. People lost their freakin' minds. Apple announced that it was putting its machines back in the EPEAT certification program.
That was a fun few days.
We learned a bit about EPEAT this summer. Top of that list, members of the certification program can pretty much give their machines EPEAT certification if they want to do so, then its up to EPEAT itself to check the manufacturer's work.
While super-thin laptops have been in the organization's program for a while, it looks like EPEAT has gone through and given several of those the official official seal of approval. Engadget has the organization saying that it has given the greenest of green lights to ultra-thin laptops from Lenovo, Samsung, Toshiba and at least one from Apple, though which one from Apple has yet to be made clear.
We know how ultrathin laptops from Apple, Lenovo, Samsung and Toshiba got the official official EPEAT certification: EPEAT changed the rules. To their credit they say they "clarified" the rules, but they changed them. Which is fine. There was really nothing else they could do.
Infoworld has the environmental electronics organization explaining the clarification/change thing.
According to the piece: One of the issues in question was EPEAT section 126.96.36.199, which in part required that "the product is upgradeable with commonly available tools."
If you have seen a MacBook Air or other ultrathins like it -- or other ultrathins that want to be like it -- you know that that is just not the case. Unless you change what you mean by "upgradeable with commonly available tools."
The way EPEAT suddenly sees it:
Products containing externally accessible ports such as a high performance serial bus or a USB are capable of being upgraded by adding a hard disk, DVD, floppy drive, memory and cards, and therefore conform to this criterion...
And "commonly available tools" are now things that can be "purchased by any individual or business without restrictions and is readily available for purchase on the open market."
So you buying an external hard drive to plug into the USB port on your MacBook Air would be you buying a "commonly available tool" and "upgrading" your machine. Another area requiring clarification, a requirement around "ease and safety" of disassembly.
Well it turns out, in the hands of the properly trained, taking apart a unibody or ultrathin laptop for recycling and disposal is both safe and easy. Just don't try it at home unless you're properly trained.
It would be easy at this point to accuse EPEAT of rolling over for the industry, though I honestly think that that would be unfair. When the Apple flap happened over the summer EPEAT acknowledged that their rules were a few years behind the industry and that they were behind in updating them.
So. Now they're up to date. See you again in a few years.
The Big Ebook Payback. Sort of.
If you've bought an ebook in the past two-and-a-half-years you may have a few bucks in bookstore credit headed your way. CNNMoney says both Amazon and Apple have started letting customers know that they may get that credit if a proposed settlement over alleged price-fixing is approved by the court presiding over the case.
Apple and five publishers were sued by the U.S. Department of Justice earlier this year, though three of the publishers - Hachette, Simon and Schuster and Harper Collins -- have proposed a settlement.
The DoJ says as a result of the alleged collusion between Apple and the publishers, e-book customers paid $2 or $3 more for some of the books they bought. And yet, Amazon estimates that affected customers will get credits ranging from 30 cents to $1.32 per book.
No, I'm not sure how that works, but whatever.
The piece says "Customers who bought qualifying e-books between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012 are eligible for a refund, and won't need to do anything in order to receive their credits." More information is available at the ebook settlement website.
On Apple & Blasphemy
And finally this week, in what could be the dumbest story of the week, CNET says the Russian Orthodox Church may have a problem with Apple's logo. Apple's decades-old logo.
According to the piece, "some extreme Orthodox Christians in Russia" think the logo may be "blasphemous," because they think the Apple apple with a bite out of it is representative of Adam and Eve's original sin in the Bible.
CNET points out that Apple's apple was, in fact, "inspired by the legendary piece of fruit that fell on the head of mathematician and astronomer Isaac Newton."
Let's hope they never find out that the first Apple Computer cost $666.66. Otherwise, we might be in for another dumb story.