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Staples may be the next major retailer to offer Apple products, according to a tweet by Erin LaFlamme, a Strategic Account manager for Staples. Precisely what Apple products and when Staples will offer them are unknowns, but the company will join a select group of major retail outlets to provide Apple-branded hardware, namely Target, Walmart, Best Buy and "The Shack" (the artist formerly known as RadioShack).
Most national retailers only sell Apple's portable offerings: iPods and, in some cases, iPhones and iPads. Best Buy is perhaps the best (and only) example of a national brick-n-mortar outlet who offers a full range of Apple products, including iMacs, MacBooks, iPhones, iPods, Apple TVs and so on. Whether or not Staples will have a full range of products or just a limited selection of Apple portables remains a question mark.
All of this talk about Apple and retailers also reminded me of this following bit of history; Before Apple's successful chain of self-branded retail stores, CompUSA was possibly the only national retail source for Apple products following their 1997 partnership. A decade later though, CompUSA run into some major financial hurdles, prompting the closure of its physical retail operations.
Earlier this year, we mentioned how Apple maintains its consistent prices throughout its retail channels. Because of Apple's carrot-and-stick approach, it's unlikely even a loss-leader-wielding store like Staples will fall out of line with its competitors. This is one case where increased availability doesn't necessarily lead to competitive pricing.
Despite Apple's designer appeal and high grossing prices, Best Buy said that selling Cupertino's products isn't without risk, citing "relatively low margins" as a contributing factor to last year's hardships.
The Apple iPad (3rd-gen) includes a Retina Display operating at a resolution of 2,048 x 1,536. Powering the new iPad is a dual-core A5X processor with quad-core graphics, it also gets upgraded optics in the form of a 5MP backside illuminated sensor that features a 5-element lens, IR filter and ISP built into the A5X chip. Apple claims The new iPad is good for 10 hours of battery life and nine hours when using 4G LTE.
The Apple iPhone 5 features a 4-inch display retains the same 326 PPI density as its predecessor with an effective resolution of 1,126 x 640, and a new Lightning connector. The new handset now features 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi with 802.11n supporting dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies. Bluetooth 4.0 is back in addition to GPS and GLONASS for location services.
The iPhone 4S looks identical to last year's model but comes in a new 64GB flavor and upgrades the camera to include an 8-megapixel sensor with improved low-light performance and 1080p video capture. In terms of performance the new iPhone is reportedly up to 2x faster and is also capable of running on faster HSPA+ networks, reaching theoretical download speeds of up to 14.4Mbps.
The Apple iMac 27 inch / 2012 Edition is outfitted with a 2560x1440 and 1080p LED-backlit display, a 3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 1TB of storage. It features a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M graphics processor with 512MB of GDDR5 memory, integrated speakers, an IR receiver, four USB 3.0 ports, Mini DisplayPort output with support for DVI, VGA, and dual-link DVI, as well as 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. Last but not least, it is equipped with two Thunderbolt ports.
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