If you’re hankering to get one of Apple’s hot Mac computers, some accessories or an iPhone or iPad but can’t make it down to an Apple Store, you’re in luck: there’s now an iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad) app for that. Called Apple Store (iTunes link), with this free app, you can visit Apple Stores virtually, put in orders, or sign up for workshops or help from the Genius bar. While the app is free, you can only use it in the United States for now.
Wondering what you’d buy with the app? Apple just released details of the their latest Mac Mini. While the price has gone up yet again (once $499, up to $599 last year and now $699), this small-footprint desktop computer packs a fair bit of power, starts with 320GB of hard drive space, and sports the Mac OS X Snow Leopard operating system. If you’re planning to do iPhone or iPad development, or simply want a Mac, this is your lowest-cost option.
Unfortunately, due to demand for the new iPhone 4 and possibly the new Mac Mini, the Apple online store is down, though the Apple Store app seems to be working. From my quick test, it appears that you pay for items with the same payment details that you asigned to your iTunes account, so be careful. And make sure your delivery info is up-to-date.
If you were thinking about getting a new iPhone, you might have to wait until after the Jun 24th availability date (USA, UK, and 8 other countries). Thanks to preorders today, the system crashed and word is that they’re sold out. If your order didn’t get in before 1:30 pm PST, your phone won’t arrive until Jun 25th – July 5th. At this point, AT&T is taking preorders by hand. On the other hand, AT&T stores will have phones in-store starting Jun 24th, on a first-come, first-served basis.
If you’re just after the Mac Mini, they seem to still be in stock. No idea if the Mac Minis will have the new Mac OS 10.6.4, released today, but that’s probably likely. You can of course get the OS upgrade — which includes Safari 5 Web browser, without buying a new computer. If you do, it’s a good idea to back up your hard drive before updating your OS.