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New Apple Store in Atlanta scheduled to open this weekend, new Toledo store under construction

via Ed Hunter

Toledo, OH Apple Store location (via <a href="https://twitter.com/edhunter/status/506949412678295553/" target="_blank">Ed Hunter</a>)

Apple has announced that the grand opening for its new Cumberland Mall store in Atlanta, Georgia will take place this Saturday, September 6th at 10 AM. The store will be the sixth Apple retail location in the state.

It looks like construction is ready to get underway at the Franklin Park Mall location in Toledo as well, which will become the eighth store in Ohio. The iconic black barricades that usually precede the appearance of an Apple Store have been put up in front of the upcoming location (as seen in the photo above from Ed Hunter on Twitter).



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Apple lets customers in nine states know how to buy Macs and/or accessories tax-free

tax

Apple is emailing customers in nine states that offer sales tax holidays to let them know they have an upcoming opportunity to buy Macs and/or accessories tax-free.

Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, South Carolina and Tennessee all offer dates on which you can buy at least some Apple gear free from sales tax.  The email provides a link to a webpage where you can click on your state to find out the dates, qualifying products and the maximum spend.

Missouri appears to offer the best deal, with a wide range of products qualifying and a maximum spend of $3500. Several states require a computer to be one of the items purchased.

If you’re not fortunate enough to live in one of the qualifying states, hit up 9to5mac.com/products to find the lowest prices on Apple gear (many only charge tax in states where they operate).

We also noted yesterday that Retina MacBook Pros had dropped to their lowest-ever prices in the refurb store, and you can find more Apple deals over on 9to5Toys.

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RE/MAX rolling out Passbook business cards for 4,500 real estate agents in the US

Taking advantage of a new digital business card platform from Vizibility that integrates Apple’s Passbook, RE/MAX will be the first company to have its employees carry iPhone-based Passbook business cards on a large scale. The business cards, demoed in the video above, will be first carried by 4,500 RE/MAX Regional Services real estate agents in Georgia, Southeastern Michigan, Kentucky, Southern Ohio, and  Tennessee.

Vizibility also announced three new features that enhance its business card platform, one of which uses geofencing to provide agents with lockscreen access to the business cards when in a specific location like the office or at an open house:

  • CardSense™ enables Passbook users to select locations where their Mobile Business Card Pass can be instantly accessed from their iPhone lock screen with a finger swipe. This capability makes it a snap to share contact information at the office, tradeshows, networking events, open houses, or anywhere else frequent, fast access to a Mobile Business Card is needed. Locations are set right on the back of the Pass.
  • CardFollow™ enables people to receive updates when the vCard they previously downloaded from a Mobile Business Card changes. This patent-pending feature makes it possible for the first time to stay in sync with specific people without having to sync every personal contact with cumbersome, third-party systems. Vizibility users can easily see and manage their vCard followers.
  • The Mobile Directory displays a searchable directory of mobile business cards for everyone in an organization. This feature makes it possible to link a company’s business cards together to facilitate discovery and reinforce the depth of an organization’s expertise. Vizibility corporate administrators can easily control who appears in their organization’s Mobile Directory.
RE/MAX Regional Services Taps Apple’s Passbook for Business CardsVizibility Slides Out Passbook, vCard Following and

Mobile Business Card Directories

NEW YORK, December 4, 2012 – Vizibility announced today that RE/MAX Regional Services, one of the largest RE/MAX franchisors in the United States, is offering digital business cards to its 4,500 real estate brokers and agents across Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Southern Ohio and Southeastern Michigan. Vizibility’s popular Mobile Business Card is a personalized mobile microsite which is used to package and share a professional’s contact information and web presence. Agents can easily share their new Mobile Business Cards using Passbook on their iPhones as well as with QR codes printed on business cards, listings and other sales materials. Agents can also share their Mobile Business Cards wirelessly with Near Field Communication (NFC) using Vizibility’s plastic Mobile Wallet Card.

“In today’s competitive real estate climate, we have to push the envelope of technology to give our agents a competitive edge. We also must provide home buyers with the best tools to make what may be the most important decision of their lives,” said Dane Ellison, CEO of RE/MAX Regional Services. “Technologies like Vizibility’s Mobile Business Card can help our agents get more opportunities to share their listings, provide mobile virtual tours and engage effortlessly with prospective home buyers. By making it a little easier to close sales, we’re making it a lot easier for our RE/MAX agents to be more successful.”

Vizibility is the first company to use Passbook for sharing Mobile Business Cards and RE/MAX Regional Services is the first to implement it on a large scale. Passbook, recently introduced with Apple’s iOS6, allows users to keep boarding passes, movie tickets, coupons, loyalty cards and more in one place. Major companies are supporting Passbook including Target, Starbucks, United Airlines, American Airlines, Google and Ticketmaster.

Vizibility is also introducing three game-changing Mobile Business Card features:

  • CardSense™ enables Passbook users to select locations where their Mobile Business Card Pass can be instantly accessed from their iPhone lock screen with a finger swipe. This capability makes it a snap to share contact information at the office, tradeshows, networking events, open houses, or anywhere else frequent, fast access to a Mobile Business Card is needed. Locations are set right on the back of the Pass.
  • CardFollow™ enables people to receive updates when the vCard they previously downloaded from a Mobile Business Card changes. This patent-pending feature makes it possible for the first time to stay in sync with specific people without having to sync every personal contact with cumbersome, third-party systems. Vizibility users can easily see and manage their vCard followers.
  • The Mobile Directory displays a searchable directory of mobile business cards for everyone in an organization. This feature makes it possible to link a company’s business cards together to facilitate discovery and reinforce the depth of an organization’s expertise. Vizibility corporate administrators can easily control who appears in their organization’s Mobile Directory.

“Smartphones have fundamentally changed the way we buy products and select service providers. Google recently reported that 96% of U.S. smartphone owners have researched a service or product on their mobile devices,” said Greg Harris, Product Manager at Vizibility (find Greg in Google at http://viz.me/greg). “The Mobile Business Card is like a personal storefront for professionals. We’re excited to be helping enterprises and their people drive revenue using the latest mobile marketing technologies such as Passbook, QR codes and NFC.”

About Vizibility Inc.

Vizibility Inc. delivers the first enterprise class identity management and engagement platform. Vizibility’s highly acclaimed digital business card addresses today’s reality that the first impression a company or individual makes is often online, and in many cases on a mobile device. Vizibility enables people to package and share their online presence to make powerful, accurate and lasting impressions. The company’s solutions are available from authorized resellers and atwww.vizibility.com. U.S. Patents 7,831,609, 7,987,173, 8,095,534, 8,271,650, 8,275,837, 8,280,879 and 8,290,941. Other patents pending.

About RE/MAX Regional Services

RE/MAX Regional Services was founded in 1978 by Howard McPherson. The company provides outstanding support to the more than 300 offices and over 4,000 agents in its five regions. RRS ensures its real-estate professionals have the leading technology, the most advanced training, and the highest level of expertise to best serve the homebuyers and sellers in their communities. Visit http://www.franchise-remax.com.

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Iran’s Apple product vendors say iOS devices flourish in capital despite US sanction

Apple product vendors in Iran are laughing at reports from last week about U.S. Apple Store employees refusing sales to Farsi-speaking customers.

According to a weekend story from the Agence France-Presse (via MSN News), iPhones and iPads are widespread throughout Iran’s capital:

One salesman who gave only his first name, Hossein, told AFP that he had sold 40 iPhones the day before, and explained that prices for Apple items in Iran were only around $50-$60 more than in the United States.

Hossein explained it is easy for traders to workaround the export restriction. He said Apple’s highly coveted products are smuggled into Iran through Iraq. He also noted practically everyone in Tehran owns an iOS device, while other salesclerks claimed several shops are “dressed up to look like official Apple Stores.”

Despite the vendors’ jibes, and their claims about Iran’s unwavering access to the Cupertino goods, many questioned Apple’s treatment of Farsi-speaking U.S. customers, which bordered on racial profiling. An Apple Store in Georgia apparently refused to sell iOS devices to an Alpharetta woman and her uncle, because they spoke Farsi, a Persian-Iranian language, to each other. Another customer, Zack Jafarzadeh, apparently received the same treatment at a different Apple Store in Atlanta when he accompanied a fluent friend to buy an iPhone.

Sabet and Jafarzadeh asserted that the Apple Stores racially profiled Iranians and discriminated against them. They further said Apple’s policy is both confusing and inconsistent.

A representative for the U.S. State Department clarified there was no policy or law that prohibits Apple from selling products in the U.S. to anybody intending to use them stateside, including customers of Iranian descent or citizenship, but customers do need a license to take the “high-technology goods” to Iran.

Apparently, though, at least to a few vendors in Iran, that license is a joke.



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Verizon expanding LTE network in dozens of cities April 19

Verizon put out dozens of press releases today announcing expansions and additions to its 4G LTE network. The majority of the additions and expansions will kick-in April 19.

Additions:

LaGrange, Georgia, Macon, Georgia, Brunswick, Georgia, Cattaraugus-Allegany Counties (New York), Dodge City, Kansas, Great Bend, Kansas, Garden City, Kansas, Hays, Kansas, Pierre, South Dakota, Ocala, Florida, Provo-Orem, Utah.

Expansions:

Southern Illinois, East and Southeast of Des Moines, Iowa, Wichita, Kansas, St. Louis, Missouri, Southwest Missouri, Columbus, Ohio, Cleveland, Ohio, Boise-Nampa, Idaho, Ft. Collins-Loveland, Colorado, Salt Lake City-Ogden, Utah.

Cross-posted on 9to5Google.com

iPhone 4S lands on C Spire network in the U.S. on November 11th

C Spire confirmed via press release today after announcing it last month, that Apple’s iPhone 4S will be available on their network on November 11th in the Southeastern United States. C Spire will keep with Apple’s pricing, offering the 16GB version for $199, 32GB version for $299, and the 64GB version for $399. The carrier will be offering 4 plans with the iPhone 4S, outlined below. For those who don’t want to go with a data plan they can pay for it as they go for one penny per five kilobytes.

Plans 1 and 2 above, while they have unlimited data, somehow only allow 30 minutes of streaming video per month. Having the iPhone 4S available on CDMA C Spire is part of Apple’s plan to expand availability of the iPhone to almost everyone. C Spire currently has almost a million customers in Mississippi, Florida, and parts of Alabama and Georgia and Tennessee and boasts “the highest level of smartphone penetration among carriers in the US”.



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