When Apple launched the iPad Air 2 and the iPad mini 3 in late 2014, many people were disappointed with the iPad mini update, which essentially just added Touch ID to the existing iPad mini 2 with no other external design changes. Since then, there have been a few rumors suggesting Apple is working on an iPad mini 4 update that includes iPad Air 2 design elements like a thinner body.
French site Nowhereelse.fr [Google Translate] today shared a video and some images of what's said to be an early version of the rear casing for the upcoming iPad mini 4.
The aluminum shell closely resembles the shell of the existing iPad mini, but it does include several design elements introduced with the iPad Air 2. There's a single row of larger speaker holes alongside the Lightning port at the bottom of the device, rather than two smaller rows, and the mute switch on the device has been removed and replaced with a microphone hole.
Rumors have suggested the iPad mini 4 will be thinner than the iPad mini 2 and the iPad mini 3, giving it a thickness more akin to the iPad Air 2, but it is difficult to determine the device's possible thickness based on the images that were shared. Along with an iPad Air-style design, an updated iPad mini 4 would likely adopt one of Apple's more recent processors, possibly the A8X in the iPad Air 2 or an A9 processor coming later this year.
There's been little word on when an updated iPad mini might launch, but given Apple's historical fall release schedule for iPads, it's unlikely we will see the iPad mini 4 until the later months of 2015.
Apple CEO Tim Cook today sent out an email to all Apple employees to thank them for the effort they've put into the launch of the Apple Watch and to announce a major discount on Apple Watch models for Apple workers. The email was obtained byMacRumors and is shared below.
Employees will be able to order any stainless steel Apple Watch or Apple Watch Sport for personal use at a 50 percent discount, and Apple is also offering $550 off the Apple Watch Edition. $550 is half off the most expensive stainless steel Apple Watch and the maximum discount that employees can obtain.
The day we’ve all been waiting for is almost here: Apple Watch is ready to ship.
Our retail stores are training for a whole new way to engage customers and help them experience Apple’s most personal product yet. On Friday, in over four hundred stores across four continents, we’ll open our doors to people who want to try on Apple Watch for the first time and start deciding which one is right for them.
Tens of millions of people have seen our keynotes and demonstration videos about the watch, and there’s much more to come. Some of the most innovative developers in the world are working on new experiences designed specifically for Apple Watch. More than one thousand apps were submitted in just four days last week when the App Store started accepting them, and the rate of submissions has only been climbing since then.
I know that many of you have been looking forward to choosing an Apple Watch for yourselves, and we want to make it easy for you. Starting Friday in countries where the watch is available for pre-order, a special Employee Purchase Plan will offer a 50% discount on any Apple Watch or Apple Watch Sport for your personal use.
As we introduce the watch in more countries, the special pricing for employees will be offered in those countries as well. Discounts will begin at pre-order and last for 90 days after availability. AppleWeb has more details, so I invite you to check it out.
Our products enrich people’s lives like no others, and we think Apple Watch is going to delight our customers in ways people can’t yet imagine. We want you to share in that experience right alongside them.
Congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard for years to help this product reach our customers. And thanks in advance to the thousands of retail employees around the world who will start placing it on people’s wrists starting Friday.
Over the course of the past several weeks, MacRumors has spoken to multiple Apple retail employees who have relayed just how much work has gone into Apple Watch preparations. Training for the Apple Watch has been intense and somewhat stressful, as employees have needed to learn all new sales techniques to relate to customers in a more personal manner to offer fashion recommendations.
Employees are also gearing up for a couple of busy weeks as customers begin scheduling try-on appointments in stores beginning April 10, so the discount on the Apple Watch will be seen as a welcome bonus. In his email, Tim Cook says that he wants Apple retail employees to "share in the experience" of the Apple Watch right alongside the customers that are purchasing them, and he goes on to thank all of the retail employees that will be working with customers in the coming weeks.
Tim Cook's email also includes a note about third-party apps. He says that "more than one thousand apps" were submitted to Apple for approval last week after the company began accepting submissions, and that "the rate of submissions has only been climbing since then." We've covered many of the Apple Watch apps that have already surfaced, both in a comprehensive list that contained many of the first available apps and individual posts (airlines, to-do lists, transit apps) that give a deeper look at how we'll be able to use the Apple Watch. Even more info on Apple Watch apps can be found on Apple'sdedicated app site.
The Apple Watch will be available for pre-order beginning April 10, which is also the day that try-on appointments will become available. The Apple Watch officially launches on April 24.
Apple's retail employees were today given newly redesigned shirts that will be worn during the Apple Watch launch, MacRumors has learned. The shirts are a dark shade of navy blue, much darker in color than the existing brighter blue shirts employees wear now. Employees have been given two T-shirts each and have been instructed to wear the shirts beginning on April 10. Apple also typically distributes polo shirts and T-shirts with longer sleeves, but employees have not yet received these.
The new shirts Apple employees are receiving for the Apple Watch mark the second wardrobe change that's been enacted this year. In January, Apple distributed redesigned T-shirts and polo shirts all in a dark shade of blue, with an Apple logo located at the top left of the shirt, over the heart.
Apple's head of retail Angela Ahrendts was rumored to be behind the first style change, and she's likely handling the new look for employees during the Apple Watch as well, using her expertise as Burberry's former CEO to find a uniform look that's suitable for employees handling every day sales and those dedicated to serving high-end retail customers as Apple prepares to start selling its first luxury item, the gold Apple Watch Edition.
Along with new shirts, the launch of the Apple Watch has brought many changes for retail employees. Employees are undergoing rigorous training in order to get ready to sell the Apple Watch, which is being positioned as a fashion item. As we've learned from leaked training materials, employees are learning how to interact with customers in all new ways, evaluating customer style and preference to make product recommendations.
Training is still ongoing, and as of this week, employees have been learning what store-front displays will look like and they've begun to receive word on which stores will be carrying the gold Apple Watch Edition. It appears that only a limited number of flagship stores will have the higher-end device available for sale, and safes are being installed in some of these stores this week. In the United Kingdom, for example, only the Covent Garden and Regent Street Apple Stores are said to be selling the Apple Watch Edition, along with the dedicated shop in Selfridges department store in London.
Employees are also beginning to receive details on how reservations and try-on appointments will be handled (try-on appointments will be worked into the Mac queue), and they are preparing for a major overnight revamp of stores, which will include the installation of Apple Watch try-on tables and display stations.
The Apple Watch will go on sale online this Friday at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time. It will be available in all first-wave launch countries simultaneously, including Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Apple today updated its dedicated Apple Watch website with a brand new "Guided Tours" section that includes several Apple Watch walkthrough videos. The introductory video on the site, entitled "Welcome to Apple Watch," walks users through all of the things the Apple Watch can do. Apple Watch Guided Tours are also being featured on the main Apple site.
The site includes dedicated videos on various Apple Watch features, like Messages, Faces, and Digital Touch. Other video walkthroughs on features like Phone Calls, Siri, Maps, Music, Apple Pay, and more, are labeled as "Coming soon," and may be added over the next few days.
The four videos available today are "Welcome to Apple Watch," "Messages," "Faces," and "Digital Touch." As previously mentioned, the first video is a walkthrough, but other videos are more specific. In "Messages," for example, we see a demo of how Messages works on the device. An incoming message causes a tap on the wrist through the Taptic Engine, and raising the wrist displays the message. Lowering the wrist dismisses the message, while tapping "Reply" lets the user pick a pre-defined response or dictate one through Siri.
There's also a walkthrough of the animated emoji that can be sent through the Messages app, and a demo on how to send new messages directly from the watch.
In "Faces," there's a demonstration of all of the different faces that are available on the Apple Watch, and a walkthrough on how to customize each watch face. A firm press on the watch face brings up a faces gallery and access to customization options. Each face has different customization options, from adding more detail like weather to changing second hand colors.
"Digital Touch" goes through sending sketches, taps, and heartbeats to contacts. Touching the side button of the Apple Watch gives you access to your friends list, where you can make a call, send a message, or send a Digital Touch. With Digital Touch, you can send a quick sketch, tap to send a tap to a friend, or hold two fingers on the screen to send a heartbeat.
These videos are also referenced within other areas of the Apple Watch site, with the Messages, for example, available in built-in apps section, and the Digital Touch video available in the "New Ways to Connect" section.
Today's walkthrough videos from Apple come a week ahead of Apple Watch pre-orders, which are set to begin on Friday, April 10 at 12:01 AM PT. April 10 will also mark the date when Apple begins offering in-store try-on sessions, giving customers the opportunity to test the Apple Watch out before its April 24 launch.
Update 6PM PT: Apple's added the Guided Tour videos to its YouTube channel.
Apple today updated the Apple Watch page of its online store to note that online pre-orders for the Apple Watch will begin at 12:01 AM Pacific Time on Friday, April 10. Just after midnight on the West Coast is Apple's typical time for pre-orders, and the company will likely take the store down beginning at 9PM to prepare for orders.
Apple Watch pre-orders will go live simultaneously in all of the first-wave launch countries, meaning U.K. customers will be able order at 8:01 AM local time while Australian pre-orders will go live at 5:01 PM AEST.
Here's a full list of pre-order times by country (in local time):
- U.S., Canada: 12:01 a.m. (Pacific Time), 3:01 a.m. (Eastern Time)
- U.K.: 8:01 a.m.
- Germany: 9:01 a.m.
- France: 9:01 a.m.
- Australia: 5:01 p.m.
- Hong Kong: 3:01 p.m.
- China: 3:01 p.m.
- Japan 3:01 p.m.
Apple will accept orders both through its website and through its Apple Store app on the iPhone. Placing an order through the app can often bypass some of the congestion that occurs when pre-orders first begin.
Pricing for the Apple Watch begins at $349 for the Apple Watch Sport, $549 for the stainless steel Apple Watch, and $10,000 for the gold Apple Watch Edition. Pre-orders will be delivered to customers beginning on April 24, which is the device's official launch date.
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