Apple launches online retail store in Russia

It's been nearly a year since we heard of Apple's plans to begin direct sales in Russia, and this week it's finally putting that plan into action. The company has opened a web store in the country, allowing consumers to order iPhones, iPads and more.

Believe it or not, this is actually the first time that folks in Russia will be able to order products directly from Apple. Previously, the company's devices were only available via third-party retailers, as it doesn't have any physical stores in the country...

iPad mini shipping times drop to 1-3 days in some countries

Apple has had a hard time catching up with demand for its new iPad mini. Since the tablet debuted last November, supply has been extremely constrained, and shipping estimates only recently dropped below a month.

But things are starting to even out now—either due to Apple ironing out supply chain issues or a recent drop in demand—because the mini is now showing shipping times (in some countries) of just 1-3 business days...

iPad mini shipping times improve to 3-5 days

During Apple's earnings call earlier this week, Tim Cook noted that the iPad mini was constrained for most of the holiday quarter. And he was right, estimated shipping times were as high as a month in November, and still a week out in December.

But it looks like Apple's supply is catching up with demand. Today, for the first time, those estimates have dropped below a week. In the United States, in Canada, and several other countries, Apple's web store is showing ship times of just 3-5 days...

Amazon optimizes MP3 Store for iPhone

Amazon's been really stepping up its game in the digital music business over the last 6 months. Last fall it overhauled its Cloud Player service to make it more competitive with iTunes Match, and earlier this month it introduced AutoRip.

It's work continues today, with a new announcement that it has just optimized its MP3 Store for the iPhone and iPod touch. That's right, you can now purchase music from Amazon from your Apple device, with tracks starting at just $0.69...

Apple brings community Q&A to online store

Apple already has one of the most customer friendly shopping experiences around with its online store. An easy to navigate UI combined with pages full of information and a great customer support staff make it one of the best. Today, Apple has added a new element in hopes of making things a bit easier when you're buying your new iPhone or iPad online.

Apple has introduced an 'Answers from the community' section that allows customers to ask any question and get quick responses from fellow Apple fanboys. For more direct questions, this new section of the site should be of more assistance than Apple's support forums...

Hint reveals the new iPad will be available at 8AM this Friday

Customers have already rushed to get their pre-orders in for the new iPad, as it's set to deliver and go on sale in-stores this Friday. Apple confirmed that the first wave of iPads are sold out and that demand for the new tablet is "off the charts".

Today, Apple has revealed it plans to open its new Houston retail store this Friday, at 8 AM. Apple typically opens its stores at 10 AM, but has made an exception this time around. More than likely, this reveals that Apple will begin selling the new iPad in its stores Friday at 8AM...

As Predicted, Apple Store App Updated to Support Self-Checkout


We've been hearing about Apple's plans to implement some sort of a self-checkout system in its chain for over a week now. As a matter of fact, we've been expecting to see the feature added in an Apple Store app update since November 3rd.

As they say, better late than never. MacRumors was the first to spot the update in the App Store, which must have been uploaded sometime late last night. As promised, Apple added a number of features to the app, including self-checkout...

iPhone 4 Shipping Times Extended to 1-3 Days, Product Refresh Imminent [Updated]

Apple has extended shipping estimates for nearly all of its products on its online store, including the iPhone 4. Many of Apple's products would usually ship within 24 hours, but estimates have been moved to a longer timeframe across the board.

The changes are visible in the US and European Apple stores, though shipping estimate changes were initially discovered in the European channel last night...

New in iOS 5: Tone Store to Download Customized Email and SMS Tones

Apple's iOS software design strategy is interesting, to say the least. For example, many people wonder why it took the company nearly a year to implement the App Store after launching the iPhone. It took another year after that to add copy/paste and picture messaging features.

Apple excluded unnecessary items in early builds of iOS, demonstrating a quality-over-quantity sort of approach to adding new features. Luckily, iOS 5 seems to be finally bringing many of those omitted functions to the iPhone. Who's been dying to change the email tone?

Wal-Mart Offers iPhone 4 Priced at Only $147

The mega-retail chain, Wal-Mart, is currently offering Apple's iPhone 4 for a reduced price of $147. The 16GB iPhone 4 is originally priced at $197, but Wal-Mart's promotion offers the device in white and black at a $50 discount.

This sale goes through June 30, and requires an accompanying contract with either AT&T or Verizon.

Cydia Operating “Below Capacity,” Saurik Updates Homepage with News about Amazon EC2 Outage

Cydia's backend has been extensively affected by Amazon's EC2 outage. Towards the end of last week, Amazon's popular EC2 cloud computing service went offline and affected many heavily-trafficked services across the internet.

When EC2 went under, Cydia's store and account infrastructure went with it. Any type of account activity remained unavailable until EC2 slowly started kicking back in over the weekend.

Cydia's creator and admin, saurik, has posted an update to Cydia's homepage explaining the issues that Cydia has been experiencing for the past 84+ hours.