Tagged: canada

iPhone 5 selling at a record pace

Early predictions for the iPhone 5 were nothing short of miraculous, with some analysts going on record with a sales target of 10 million units sold in the first 30 days. Others went so far as to suggest the mighty iPhone would contribute a whopping 0.5% to the entire U.S. GDP. Keep in mind, we’re talking about a phone here, an expensive one at that, and thus not a necessity for anyone. I agreed that there was pent-up demand for Apple’s latest device, but these numbers seemed liked hype and not reality.

But I’m beginning to think the bulls were right.

TechCrunch is reporting that today, as pre-orders for the iPhone began at midnight, the demand for the iPhone 5 obliterated the previous sales records set by the iPhone 4 and 4S. Unlike the older models which took 20 and 22 hours respectively to sell-out of Apple’s first week stock, the iPhone 5 hit this milestone after 60 minutes.

Now, we need to be somewhat circumspect with our amazement, after all, only Apple knows the true number of units this represents. It’s quite conceivable that they simply had fewer units available for the September 21st launch date than with their previous models. And yet, there’s no question, despite lacking a single big “wow” factor feature, the iPhone 5 is likely going to be the most popular iPhone yet.

Update, September 17: Looks like the early reports of sell-outs weren’t just the result of low-inventory. Apple says that the iPhone 5 shattered the previous first day-sales record for an iPhone – the company sold more than 2 million units in the first 24 hours. That’s nearly double the amount of iPhone 4S units sold in the same period post-launch.

If you’re a Canadian looking to hop on the iPhone bandwagon, we’ve got good news: The $199 starting price quoted by Apple at their launch event on Wednesday is the U.S. contract price. Here in Canada, with our longer 3-year terms, the starting price is a little lower: $179 for a three-year term with all of the major carriers.

Pre-orders have begun with Bell,  Rogers and TELUS, while Fido is offering a reservation system for customers.


RIM brings uber-BlackBerry P'9981 to Canada

Looks like Canada is finally getting the recognition it deserves as a market with more than enough well-heeled residents to justify its own Porsche Design store.

The first Canadian location for the high-end European design marque that takes its pedigree from the legendary sports car manufacturer, will open in Toronto on June 14th.

Beyond giving Bloor Street shoppers access to an exclusive collection of sunglasses, footwear and even tobacco pipes (people still smoke these things??) Porsche Design will be the only place in Canada where you can pick up the most expensive BlackBerry ever created: the somewhat blandly-named P’9981.

If this sounds familiar it’s because RIM actually debuted the angular smartphone months ago to a much more discerning crowd in Dubai.

At the time, I was irked by the Canadian company’s decision to ignore its home town (loosely speaking) instead choosing to go half way around the world to introduce their new gadget. But in hindsight, maybe it was the right decision. Given that the Porsche Design P’9981 retails for a cool $2,000 $1,800 you can’t blame RIM for wanting to test the product with a group of people who think nothing of spending that kind of cash (and more) on a single night in a hotel.

I’m no more convinced that RIM can justify the price on the P’9981 now than I was then, but it seems like now is an especially bad time for the company to be putting the focus on a high-end BlackBerry when clearly, a much different strategy is needed.

But hey, if you have an extra two grand lying around, and you’re in Toronto on June 14th, why not drop by 77 Bloor St. West – it will be the one place you can pick up the BlackBerry that is a guaranteed collector’s item: It will either be the last model before the company springs back from one of the worst chapters in tech history, or it will be a flashy reminder of the company that once had the tech world by the horns.

[imagebrowser id=85]

Amazon’s Kindle in Wi-Fi and 3G now available at The Source

If you haven’t already checked out a friend or family member’s Kindle, and have harboured an intense curiosity about how the e-reader from Amazon feels in your hand, or how its screen handles the display of text, today’s your lucky day.

That’s because The Source is the first retailer in Canada to stock the Kindle and odds are, you live within a few minutes of a Source location (they have over 700 locations across the country). You’ll find the Kindle at most locations except those in Quebec.

While you’re there, be sure to get a sales associate to pull out one the other e-readers the Source carries – say the Sony PRS650, or the Aluratek Libre eBook Reader Pro,  so you can compare them to the Kindle. The Sony and the Aluratek are great products, but I have a feeling that once you get your hands on a Kindle, you won’t want to put it down.

The Kindle’s pearl e-ink screen is easy on the eyes, and actually gets easier to read the brighter your environment which makes it the perfect outdoor companion this summer. Tablets are great and they can do so much – same with smart phones – but they have yet to create a tablet screen that handles sunlight as well as e-Ink.

I’m also a big fan of Amazon’s online bookstore and they way they’ve integrated it right into the Kindle. As soon as you’ve finished reading one book, you can immediately receive recommendations and have your next title sent to your device within minutes. It’s incredibly easy.

If there’s any downside to the Kindle, it’s the current lack of compatibility with lending libraries, at least in Canada. In the U.S., Amazon has a solution they are rolling out to enable library lending and with any luck, it won’t be long before that solution comes up here.

Pricing is $159 for the Wi-Fi only model and $209.99 for the Wi-Fi+3G model – which includes free 3G access for downloading books, magazines etc, in hundreds of countries. Interestingly, unlike the vast majority of the The Source’s product selection, the Kindle is only for sale in-store, not online.

If you’re still hunting around for that perfect Father’s Day gift, I highly recommend the Kindle. If, however, you can wait a little longer, the rumour mill is heavily favouring a price drop on the Kindle before the holidays.

Full Disclosure: Sync is owned and operated by Bell Canada which also owns The Source

XM, Sirius receive CRTC approval to merge in Canada

It always amazes me how long media-related changes take to get full regulatory approval here in Canada. It took a year for iTunes to open here after its launch in the U.S., it took nearly three years for Slacker Radio to open its doors here and other ventures such as Pandora and Spotify are still waiting in the wings with no indication as to when (if ever) they will be able to operate here legally.

Today however, we can finally check one more change off the list: XM and Sirius have been cleared for their merger by the CRTC. The new entity, “Sirius|XM Canada,” will become official in June as long as they meet all of the conditions of the merger.

Here’s the full press release for your reading pleasure:

XM Canada and Sirius Canada Receive CRTC Approval to Merge

Merger on track to close by June 2011

Toronto, Ontario, April 11, 2011 – Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. (“CSR” or the “Company”), parent company of XM Canada (TSX: XSR), along with SIRIUS Canada Inc., welcome today’s Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) ruling which includes authorization of the transaction that will result in the merger of Canada’s two satellite radio businesses, XM Canada and SIRIUS Canada (the “Merger”).

“This decision will lead to the creation of a stronger combined organization, better equipped to innovate and compete in the broader audio entertainment marketplace,” said Mark Redmond, President & CEO of both SIRIUS Canada and the merged entity. “We are pleased that the CRTC recognized the clear benefits derived from this merger. This is an exciting time for SIRIUS|XM Canada, and we look forward to continuing to offer a world-class entertainment experience for our current and future subscribers.”

“Today’s decision is great news for our subscribers, shareholders, employees and partners, keeping us on track for completing this transaction by June,” said John Bitove, Executive Chairman of CSR. “SIRIUS|XM Canada will now have more than 1.8 million subscribers in Canada, and this merger will create long-term shareholder value.”

In November 2010, SIRIUS Canada and CSR agreed to merge in order to create a stronger platform for future innovation within the Canadian audio entertainment industry. The combined company will leverage key content and programming relationships and distribution agreements with every major automaker and retailers nationwide. Subscribers will continue to enjoy a broad spectrum of commercial-free music channels, plus exclusive sports, talk and news content featuring today’s biggest names in audio entertainment.

At the CSR (XM Canada) annual general meeting held in Toronto on February 17, 2011, shareholders unanimously approved the Merger recognizing that the merger would enhance the long-term success of satellite radio in Canada.

On February 23, 2011, the Competition Bureau issued to the Company a No-Action Letter under the Competition Act, and announced that it did not intend to make an application to the Competition Tribunal to challenge the proposed merger with Sirius Canada Inc. under the merger provisions of the Competition Act, recognizing that the proposed transaction would not likely give rise to a substantial lessening or prevention of competition.

The approximate ownership interest in CSR following closing of the transaction will be as follows, the balance being widely held:

· CSRI Inc., 30.0% voting interest

· CBC/Radio-Canada 20.2% voting interest

· Slaight Communications, 20.2% voting interest

· Sirius XM Radio Inc. (NASDAQ:SIRI) 25.0% voting interest

The Merger remains subject to the satisfaction of certain closing conditions and is scheduled to close by June 2011.

iPad 2 goes on sale Friday, but beware the backlight leaks

Photo of an Apple iPad 2 showing light leakage around the edges of the screen. Courtesy of NiqueXyZ/Apple support forums.

Photo of an Apple iPad 2 showing light leakage around the edges of the screen. Courtesy of NiqueXyZ/Apple support forums.

It’s almost tragic. The iPad 2 has proven yet again that Apple’s “magical” device is still magical – at least as far as sales are concerned. The line ups for the latest Apple tablet in the U.S. have been unprecedented, and perhaps predictably, have led to shortages across the country and online where wait times are now pegged at 4-5 weeks.

And while many who have shown up at their local Apple store have been turned away disappointed and empty-handed, it has now come to light that still others who successfully acquired the much sought-after device are also disappointed – but for a very different reason.

Apple’s online support forums are slowly filling with complaints from iPad 2 buyers regarding a backlight leak problem.

Flickr user Aaron Harvey (aharvey2k) experienced the light leak problem with his iPad 2 and took this photo to document it. Used with permission of the photographer.

Flickr user Aaron Harvey (aharvey2k) experienced the light leak problem with his iPad 2 and took this photo to document it. Used with permission of the photographer.

Light leakage is a problem that can happen with any back-lit device. It occurs when the glass of the screen isn’t completely adhered to the chassis of the device – often a result of uneven or inadequate adhesive during the manufacturing process.

When this happens, blotchy pale areas can appear on the edges of the screen. Typically, it’s only noticeable when the screen is trying to show very dark background colours – effectively “blocking” the backlight. But because light is managing to escape  around the edges, it becomes visible as a localized “halo” effect.

A lot of people might never notice the problem. Some that do might not be bothered by it. But if you are the kind that notice it and dislike it, it can be a huge frustration – especially if you just spent 24 hours in line to drop $499 USD on a new gadget.

Now I have no doubt whatsoever that Apple will do the right thing for these customers and replace the defective units. But given the supply problems in the U.S., it’s hard to say when that replacement will come.

My advice to you if you are determined to be first in line for Friday’s Canadian launch of the iPad 2, is to ask your sales associate to let you open the box and turn the device on before leaving the store. Given the insane crowds the stores will be faced with, this won’t be a popular request. But the good news is that you should be able to tell if your unit has the problem almost immediately.

The start-up screen on i-devices is black, with the silver Apple logo in the middle. The start-up sequence takes about 15 seconds. During that time take a good look around the edges of the screen. Even in the bright store lights, you should be able to detect a bad leak as a slightly pale area on the otherwise dark screen, near the edge.

Good luck, and happy shopping!

[via Electronista]

Motorola Xoom Wi-Fi hits Canada in April

The device that won best of show for this year’s CES, is finally destined for Canada, at least in Wi-Fi flavour.

According to a Motorola press release sent out today, the Android Honeycomb-powered tablet will be in retail “beginning April 2011.” If that wasn’t vague enough, there was no pricing info included either.

Beyond just a repeat of the specs for the Xoom, which most people are probably familiar with by now, the only new info that was offered was a list of the accessories that will be available at launch:

  • Standard Dock for watching videos on the Xoom while you listen through external speakers
  • A Speaker HD Dock “for sending HD content directly to a TV or clearly listening to music through two built-in speakers”
  • A Bluetooth keyboard with Android-specific shortcut keys

And – you guessed it – no pricing on these items either.

So stay tuned. Oh BTW, the 3G version is coming “mid-year”.

Update 2:54 p.m.: Okay looks like we have a price by way of a TELUS press release… $599. Interestingly, nowhere do they say that they have an exclusive on the Xoom, so hopefully more retailers will join the fray before the April launch.

Update Mar 22: You can pre-order the Xoom on FutureShop or BestBuy, both sites selling for $599 for the 32GB version. For some reason Motorola hasn’t seen fit to offer a 16GB version to match the 16GB iPad 2, though some rumours suggest this may yet change.

Related: Check out Marc’s video tour of the Xoom

Rumour: BlackBerry PlayBook to ship April 10, pre-order tomorrow

image courtesy of RIM.comWe don’t have much on this, so it could all turn out to be horribly wrong, but if Will Robertson is right, it looks like Sears Canada will begin taking pre-orders for the BlackBerry PlayBook tomorrow, with shipping to follow on April 10th. As unusual as it seems for Sears of all places to be getting the jump on a hot gadget like the PlayBook, Robertson appears to have received an affiliate program email from them claiming that they will have it and that he should let his readers know.

That info, according to BoyGeniusReport, jibes with what they had heard and reported on – at least as far as the ship date is concerned.

Sadly, there’s no pricing attached to that email. I guess we’ll just have to wait.

So if you’ve already decided that the iPad 2 and the Motorola Xoom hold no interest for you and the PlayBook is the tablet to have, it may be worthwhile to check out Sears.ca when you wake up tomorrow.

Update, Mar 12: Looks like it was horribly wrong after all. No sign of  a pre-order on Sears.ca and Will Robertson’s original post has been updated to say “date is unconfirmed, hope it comes out soon, I can’t wait to get one.”  That’s because Sears slipped up and sent that first email by mistake. Check out their back-peddle:

***Playbook Correction Notice ***

Please note that the information about the Playbook launch dates is incorrect.  While Sears Canada will be selling the Playbook, the date that pre-ordering starts and the date that the Playbook will be available for sale are not yet confirmed.

Please remove any reference to the Playbook date immediately as they are not endorsed by Sears Canada

We apologize for any inconvenience and look forward to sharing Playbook order dates as they become available.

And in case you missed it, here’s our tablet round-up… er, minus the iPad 2…

[imagebrowser id=10]