VIDEO: Upbeat new Apple spot shows how much people love their MacBook Airs

As the popularity of MacBook Air continues to grow, so do the many ways users customize these ultralight notebooks. ‘Stickers,’ a brand-new spot from Apple, showcases the creativity of these folks. Fun stuff (and if you watch carefully, you’ll spot at least two references to recent Apple acquisition Beats Audio).

VIDEO: New iPhone 5s ad, ‘Parenthood,’ hints at future Apple smart home initiatives

A new 60-second TV commercial spotlighting the iPhone 5s, Parenthood, was posted by Apple last Sunday. In it, parents are shown using their iPhones to teach kids how to brush their teeth, as well as using it as a baby monitor, to find a lost pet, and to turn down the room lights. This dovetails neatly with Apple’s recent announcements surrounding HomeKit, a platform for smart home devices.

It also happens to be a clever, warm and engaging piece of advertising.

Deal of the Week | July 5th, 2014: UltraLast 4-pack of AA alkaline batteries for 99¢

UltraLast 4-pack AA alkaline batteris for 99 cents at Connecting PointFlashlights. Remotes. Garage door openers. Laser pointers. So many devices, so few AA alkaline batteries to power them all.

Until now.

For this week’s DOTW, we’ve scored a major buying coup on four-packs of UltraLast’s excellent AA alkaline batteries. And we’re letting them go, while supplies last, for less than a buck a pack.

Find out more about our latest Deal of the Week here.

Connecting Point will be CLOSED Friday, July 4th, 2014

Connecting Point will be closed Friday, July 4th, 2014In observance of the national Independence Day holiday, both Connecting Point locations (Bend and Medford, Oregon) will be closed Friday, July 4th.

Enjoy the long weekend, and please take care of yourselves! Remember we’re in Fire Season, conditions are tinder-dry, and temps will likely be high. Be very careful with matches, fires, and (especially) fireworks.

We’ll be open for business as usual Saturday morning.

Apple milestone: On this date in 1976, original Apple I personal computer first offered for sale. Price: $666.66

Original Apple I personal computer motherboard

Image credit: Wired.com

The first Apple computer was a kit. These early versions were hand-built by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and first shown publicly at meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club. This club was an informal, Silicon Valley-based group of electronic enthusiasts and technically-inclined hobbyists. In other words, nerds – über nerds, with a number of infamous hackers and future entrepreneurs among its members.

Apple co-founder and Apple I creator Steve Wozniak

Apple I creator Steve Wozniak

The Apple I was essentially a motherboard, with CPU, RAM, and basic text/video chips on a single board (see above). You had to build your own enclosure, and provide your own keyboard and monitor. But it was a fully functioning system on a single circuit board, it was reasonably affordable – and that was a breakthrough at the time. Apple had incorporated a few months earlier (on April 1st), but this was their first product to make it to market.

[A side note: A little over a year later, Connecting Point - then known as TEAM Electronics, on E Street in Grants Pass - would become one of the very first retailers in the world to sell and service the newly-introduced Apple II - launching a decades-long partnership between the two companies that persists to this day.]

Its $666.66 price tag works out to about $2,800 in 2014 dollars, adjusting for inflation – which may seem a bit steep for such a rudimentary device. But recent auctions have seen original Apple I’s selling for as much as $50,000. They’re extremely rare, and an important part of computing history. The Apple I paved the way for the revolution to come.

So check your attic. Scour your garage. Look under the bench in your cellar workshop. You may be sitting on a goldmine.

Deal of the Week | June 27th, 2014: 12-piece electronic tool kit for $14.99

12-piece electronic tool kit for $14.99Twelve tools in one – and it doesn’t fold up into an unwieldy metal clump you carry in your pocket.

No, this tool kit is full-blown and compromise-free. Granted, it won’t fit in your pocket. But it does come in a padded, zippered pleather case. And within that case: 12 of the most commonly needed tools to examine, diagnose, and fix electronic devices. You get a soldering iron, a de-soldering pump, a couple kinds of pliers, a couple screwdrivers, and more. Good stuff.

Good stuff that won’t set you back a small fortune, too – especially this week. Since it is our featured Deal of the Week, we’re marking down its usual $39.99 price to a paltry $14.99. Find out more here.

 

Deal of the Week | June 20th, 2014: USB-powered desk fan for $9.99

USB-powered desk fan on sale for $9.99“See the curtains hangin’ in the window
In the evening on a Friday night
A little light-a-shinin’ through the window
Lets me know everything’s all right

“Summer breeze makes me feel fine
Blowin’ through the jasmine in my mind” - Summer Breeze, Seals and Crofts, August 1972

This week’s DOTW feels like this classic soft rocker sounds: Cool, breezy, soothing…and, just possibly, a bit of a guilty pleasure.

OK, maybe we’re reaching here. But imagine the envy of co-workers as you sit at your post, amidst the inchoate fury of full-on Oregon summer, cool as a cucumber. Right as rain. Relaxed and comfortable, as the soft foam blades push air into your face and hair, making your long locks dance in the breeze like in a Beyoncé video.

And it’ll only set you back 10 bucks. Now that’s pretty…cool. Stifle that guilt, and find out more here.

Now the entry price for a new iMac is $200 less, as Apple debuts $1099 model

Apple iMac 21.5-inch, front viewToday, Apple announced a new entry-level iMac priced at $1099 – $200 less than the previous entry-level model (which, like all the other iMac® models, remains current). It retains many features identical to its two 21.5-inch brethren:

  • 21.5-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit display with IPS technology, 1920×1080 pixels
  • 8GB DDR3 memory (not expandable)
  • FaceTime HD camera
  • Built-in downward-firing stereo speakers
  • Dual microphones
  • Headphone/optical digital output
  • Four USB 3.0 ports; Two Thunderbolt ports; SDXC card slot
  • Gigabit Ethernet; 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.0
  • Apple Wireless Keyboard and wireless Magic Mouse
  • OS X Mavericks operating system

So what’s different? A few key changes have been made to reduce the cost:

  • 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, with Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz. Contrast this with the substantially faster (2.7GHz and 2.9GHz) quad-core processors in the other two models. The L3 cache is smaller, too, and shared by the two processor cores.
  • 500GB 5400 RPM SATA hard drive, in place of the 1 TB hard drives in the other models.
  • Intel HD Graphics 5000, in lieu of Intel Iris Pro graphics in the $1299 model, and  the 1GB NVIDIA GT 750M graphics in the $1499 model.

To better see how the new model fits in with the other 21-5-inch models, click here.

AVAILABILITY: We’ll be accepting orders for this new iMac model immediately. Fulfillment will depend on initial supplies and demand, which could push delivery to as much as two weeks away.

Apple, the Apple logo, Mac, and Macintosh are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.