Apple’s Lucky Bags promotion goes live in Japan

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 2, 2014

As announced a week ago, Apple today kicked off its Lucky Bags promotion in Japan. The 36,000 yen (approximately $345 USD) mystery bags filled with randomly picked Apple products and third-party accessories are being offered today only to customers in select Apple retail stores across the 128 million people country.

Also known as Fukubukuro, or Mystery Bags, Japan’s annual New Year’s Day tradition entices shopper with grab bags containing unknown contents. Although buyers can’t tell what they’re actually getting until they look inside, these mystery bags contain a selection of products worth more than the value of the Lucky Bag.

Here’s what fans in Japan are finding in their Lucky Bags from Apple… Read More


Day 3 of Apple’s 12 Days of Gifts: ‘Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2014′ iBook

By Cody Lee on Dec 28, 2013

We are now on day 3 of Apple’s 12 Days of Gifts event, meaning Apple has removed Tiny Thief and has posted a new free item for download. Today’s gift is an iBook called “Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2014.”

For those unfamiliar with Lonely Planet, it’s one of the world’s leading travel guide publishers with guidebooks to almost every destination on the planet. And in this iBook, it highlights 10 of its favorite spots… Read More


iOS five times as popular as Android for Christmas shopping on mobile

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 27, 2013

In something of a repeat of 2012 when the iPad crushed Android tablets in Black Friday mobile revenue, this time around U.S. shoppers used their iPhone, iPod touch and iPad gadgets to racket up a whopping five times the amount of mobile Christmas Day sales as Android devices did, accounting for more than an 83 percent take of mobile-oriented sales compared to Google’s mobile platform.

That’s the gist of yesterday’s survey by IBM providing insights into the nation’s mobile holiday shopping patterns. Read on for the full breakdown… Read More


Apple to kick off annual ‘Lucky Bag’ one-day sale in Japan on January 2

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 26, 2013

Apple has confirmed that its retail stores in Japan will be kicking off the holiday ‘Lucky Bag’ promotion next Thursday, January 2, 2014. The country’s annual sales event is something of a local tradition and Apple has made sure to delight its loyal fans with mystery bags filled with randomly picked products.

These bags are discounted so the customer typically ends up paying less than the total combined value of the included goods. The trick is that shoppers can’t really tell what’s inside a bag until they have bought it… Read More


The year in review: a look back at some of our best stories of 2013

By Sébastien Page on Dec 25, 2013

December is always a good time to look back at what you’ve accomplished during the year that just went by. If you set some goals for yourself at the beginning of the year, now is the right time to see if you reached these goals. Who knows, maybe you’ve even exceeded them.

For us at iDB, the end of the year is the perfect time to see what some of our most popular articles were. Most of the best performing posts on iDB won’t really come as a surprise to you, but I’m sure you’ll find some unexpected content as well.

As 2013 is slowly opening the door for 2014, we go over some of this content that has been making iDB one of the most visited Apple-focused sites around. Further than that, we also reflect on why these specific articles have been so popular, what it means for iDB, and what lessons we draw from that.

I hope you will enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it… Read More


A look back at some of Apple’s old Christmas commercials

By Cody Lee on Dec 24, 2013

Apple’s been causing a lot of commotion lately with its latest iPhone 5s commercial ‘Misunderstood.’ The ad, for those who haven’t seen it, depicts a teenager with his head buried in his smartphone while the family participates in holiday activities, and has a delightful twist.

But Apple hasn’t always been so sentimental around the holidays. In fact, it’s been making Christmas-themed spots for over two decades now, and many of them tended to err on the side of humor. Don’t believe me? Check out some of these Apple ads from the last 20 years… Read More


iDB holiday gift guide: Chris’ picks

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 21, 2013

You’ve already heard from Cody, Lory, Oliver and Jim about their gift suggestions so it’s my turn now to articulate some of my favorite gadgets and accessories to possibly make your holidays merrier.

My personal picks may not be what you’d call tremendously diverse, but they do reflect the values I’m all about: innovation, practicality, power and true passion for awesome design which doesn’t sacrifice form over function and inspires folks to get the most from their gadgets.

Plus, I stand by these products as a direct result of using them myself and have voted for each and every one of them with my wallet. It’s my hope these suggestions will help you choose something worthy of that special someone with a technological bent, or at least give you some fresh ideas on boosting your everyday computing.

I proudly present Christian’s favorite holiday gift ideas… Read More


iDB holiday gift guide: Jim’s picks

By Jim Gresham on Dec 20, 2013

The second annual holiday gift guide is taking submissions from the iDB editing team. Looking back, there are quite a few items that made my list this year, most of which were released in 2013. Also, as the hardware review editor, many of the items were reviewed on the site.

Last year I took a look at bargain priced items, but I threw pricing to the side this year. Why limit the excitement to items under $30? Take a look below for my suggested gifts for the gear head in your life. In no particular order, genre or category, let’s dive in… Read More


App Santa: deep discounts on 15 popular iOS apps

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 20, 2013

With less than 24 hours until the annual App Store holiday freeze, developers are pushing out last-minute app updates like crazy.

But more importantly, ’tis the season when not-to-be-missed promotions and discounts become available as an early Christmas present.

Cody yesterday covered a bunch of notable iOS games discounts from the likes of Disney, Warner Bros and others and today a brand new holiday deal on iPhone and iPad apps goes live to help your wallet.

App Santa, a collaborative effort by high-profile developers, is offering deep discounts on fifteen popular iPhone and iPad applications, including 1Password, Tweetbot 3, Launch Center Pro, Screens, Clear+ and more. You can grab these fine apps with as much as 60 percent discount. Your download links are right after the break… Read More


Apple airs new holiday-themed iPhone 5s TV ad

By Cody Lee on Dec 16, 2013

Apple has tonight begun airing its first new commercial in nearly a month. As you’d imagine in mid-December, the spot carries a holiday theme and focuses on the new iPhone 5s handset and its AirPlay feature.

The ad shows a teenage boy capturing his family participating in various holiday activities like decorating the Christmas tree and playing in the snow on his iPhone 5s, and then playing it for them on their TV set… Read More


Apple offers free Lorde single in ’12 Days of Gifts’ app

By Cody Lee on Dec 16, 2013

Last week, Apple updated its ’12 Days of Gifts’ app for the 2013 holiday season. The update was a fairly significant one, because for the first time ever, the company opened up access to the application for folks in the United States.

And Apple is celebrating the occasion by giving away a free gift early. While the actual 12 Days of Gifts event isn’t scheduled to begin until December 26, users with the app installed right can pick up Lorde’s new single ‘No Better.’ Read More


Your free Holiday Playlist awaits you in Apple Store app

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 4, 2013

As is its wont, Apple is once more giving away a bunch of Christmas-themed songs to make your holidays merrier.

Akin to its 2009 promotion of the then-new iTunes LP format which gave U.S.-based users a free downloadable selection of 20 holiday songs from a variety of popular artists, this time around Apple is giving away individual holiday favorites through a special link in its Apple Store application for the iPhone and iPad.

A total of eight songs are available for download, including performances by such acts as Mary J Blige, The Robertsons and Kool and the Gang. Jump past the fold for the instructions on claiming your free music… Read More


Apple publicizes holiday ordering deadlines

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 2, 2013

If you’re going to buy an Apple product this holiday season, you’ll be wise to plan your purchase in advance unless you can cope with broken hearts on post-Christmas deliveries. But holiday shoppers needn’t worry too much as Apple is feeling your pain.

This morning, the company has refreshed its U.S. Online Store with a handy guide specifying the important ordering deadlines for Macs, iPads, iPhones, iPods and accessories for delivery by December 24, 2013.

Deadlines vary from one product to another. For example, Apple’s Next Day Shipping is available for many, but not all iPads. Specifically, if you’re buying an iPad mini with Retina display, your best bet is to place an order with Apple by midnight on December 5 for delivery by December 24.

The full breakdown follows right below… Read More


Apple’s gift card-only Black Friday deals now live in North America, cash discounts in Europe

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 29, 2013

Following Apple’s Black Friday deals that went live yesterday on the Australian web store, the company this morning refreshed its United States and Canadian outlets with 2013 Black Friday promotion.

Just as we suspected, this year the iPhone maker has rather disappointedly opted not to offer actual discounts on products and instead is luring shoppers with Apple Store Gift Cards, redeemable against purchases solely at a later date.

Apple has never offered deep Black Friday discounts and this year’s gift card-only promotion will no doubt disappoint bargain hunters who’ll be better served shopping elsewhere (iDownloadBlog has you covered with a comprehensive roundup of Black Friday deals)… Read More


Apple’s 2013 Black Friday to be based around gift cards, not product discounts?

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 27, 2013

Black Friday, for our international readers, is the Friday following Thanksgiving Day, which is observed on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and on the second Monday of October in Canada. While Thanksgiving is a national holiday and is celebrated as such, Black Friday is not.

What Black Friday does is it kicks off the Christmas shopping frenzy by having major retailers open extremely early and offer huge discounts.

Not Apple, America’s greatest retailer since the turn of the century.

To Apple, Black Friday is a one-day shopping event with only modest discounts. Example: last year, Apple’s Black Friday sale included $101 off MacBook Pros/Airs, a rather modest $41 off the iPad with Retina display and a paltry $31 off iPod touches, Airport Express base stations, the Magic Mouse and other select accessories.

And this time around, Apple’s Black Friday promotion may focus on Gift cards rather than actual discounts on products, reports a well-informed blogger. Duh… Read More


T-Mobile offering iPhone 5s/5c with $0 down for Black Friday weekend only

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 27, 2013

Black Friday is just around the corner and TMoNews is reporting that T-Mobile USA will be offering Apple’s iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c with $0 down on its usual installment plans, for the Black Friday weekend only, November 29. Following the weekend, limited time pricing “for these amazing devices” will be available beginning Cyber Monday, December 2, as per the carrier’s internal memo.

I’m guessing these prices are for entry-level iPhones with sixteen gigabytes of storage. For those wondering, that’s a $149 saving on the iPhone 5s and a $49 saving on the iPhone 5c right off the bat as you’ll be paying about $20 per month for 24 months on T-Mobile’s installment plans. I’ve included the full details right after the break… Read More


Mesmerizing front-window displays going up at Apple Stores ahead of holidays

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 18, 2013

With the start of the 2013 holiday season officially less than two weeks away, Tim Cook and his lieutenants are adamant to turn Apple Stores into the best place to experience the magic of iPhone and iPad devices, Macs and other gear – all over again.

As is Apple’s wont, part of the upcoming festivities is a holiday-themed interior design and fitting tweaks, including this mesmerizing front window display.

Take a closer look after the break and tell us what you though about it down in the comments… Read More


Several U.S. Apple Stores will be open on Thanksgiving Day

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 14, 2013

I know it may sound blasphemously to some, but the iPhone maker’s retail army does get to enjoy turkey with their families as Apple Stores typically close for major holidays such as Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving Day. One notable exception is the flagship glass cube store on Fifth Avenue, open 24/7 every day of the year.

Apple normally allows store employees to spend time with their families on Thanksgiving Day, with some of its retail shrines typically opening as early as 3am on Black Friday. Last year, for example, only the Royal Hawaiian and Las Vegas Forum Shops outlets were open on Thanksgiving, mainly because of tourist who arrived in droves for the start of the holiday shopping season in the United States.

This year will be different. According to a guy who tracks Apple’s retail efforts for a living, a bunch of Apple’s brick-and-mortar Stores in the United States will be open on Thanksgiving Day, a move apparently that in line with Tim Cook’s policy of doubling down on Apple Stores.

UPDATE: Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly cancelled plans to keep additional Apple Stores open on Thanksgiving… Read More


Christmas comes early as Apple refreshes web store with holiday gift ideas

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 12, 2013

A seeming barrage of Apple product refreshes over the past few months has helped a great deal overhaul virtually the company’s whole lineup. For starters, with September’s dual-launch Apple’s replaced the iPhone 5 with the fingerprint-reading iPhone 5s and the colorful iPhone 5c and released iOS 7 for public consumption.

Moreover, Tim Cook & Co. have finally managed to give the iPad mini and 13-inch MacBook Pro some much-needed Retina/Haswell love while at the same time introducing the iPad Air and rebooting Mac Pro around a radical new industrial design.

Doomed, indeed!

This has become Apple’s modus operandi as of lately: they time product updates so that everything gets revamped ahead of the all-important holiday season. With less than three weeks until Black Friday, Apple’s now updated its online store with some nice gift ideas for holiday shoppers… Read More


Apple advertising engraved and gift-wrapped iPads for Valentine’s Day

By Cody Lee on Jan 23, 2013

Now that Christmas is just a tiny spec in our rear-view mirrors, it’s time to start looking ahead to the next gift-giving holiday: Valentine’s Day. And this morning, Apple started doing just that, highlighting the affair on its web store with a new “There’s more than one way to say I love you” iPad advertisement… Read More

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