Normally after Apple releases a new version of one of its devices, we recommend that shoppers save money by skipping the latest model and instead look for deals on the previous generation; often the new upgrades are minor and "older" models are barely a year old.
But when it comes to the latest MacBook Air, we're actually recommending that shoppers instead consider the 2013 model; the updates on this generation offer a significantly better performance and, thus, a far better value than last year's model. And even though this means you'll be paying more, you can still score a small discount by shopping smartly.
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2013 MacBook Air Has Double the Storage Capacity
The previous generation 11" MacBook Air shipped with a standard 64GB SSD, which was considered paltry. This week, Apple gave the 11" MacBook Air one of the best upgrades it could receive: a faster and larger 128GB SSD. And because you can't manually upgrade the MacBook Air's hard drive, the new SSD alone makes the Haswell MacBook Air a much better value. (Last year, consumers had to pay $100 to double their storage capacity to 128GB on the base model.) Furthermore, Apple rates the new SSD 45% faster than last year's model, so you can expect to see a nice speed bump in overall system performance, too. ( Continue… )
Is it impossible to shop for your dad? You may have racked your brain and even consulted our Father's Day Gift Guide for the perfect gift to give the man who has everything, but to no avail.
However, all is not lost. If your dad doesn't need a new tool set or has enough ties to open up his own eBay store (and make a decent profit), give him a gift that will never go out of style: food. This Father's Day, several restaurants will be offering dads across the country all sorts of treats at no extra charge. Yes, that's right — your dear papa can reap the benefits of free food just for being the wonderful father that he is!
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Below, we've rounded up the best Father's Day food freebies. Unless noted, these offers are valid on June 16 only:
The Spaghetti Warehouse
Freebie: Mamma mia! Dads who dine at The Spaghetti Warehouse for lunch or dinner can enjoy a free Lasagne or Original Recipe Spaghetti via this printable coupon. Each meal also includes sourdough bread plus a choice of bottomless salad or soup. Buon appetito, padre! ( Continue… )
Ah, Costco! The Emporium of Everything, it's the one store that's got you covered from cradle (diapers) to grave (caskets). If you're a regular, you already know that this membership-only warehouse club isn't fazed by the most eclectic shopping list you can muster. But even Costco veterans might still not consider it a go-to locale for gasoline. The fact is that Costco — a chain now some 600 stores large — offers gasoline for about 6 to 12 cents a gallon below its local competitors' prices.
As such, Costco's gas sales have helped the company's bottom line, but how do Costco's gas prices stack up when you hold them under close scrutiny?
Cheap Gas Depends on Location
Much of the answer depends on where your Costco is located. In Chicago, the Lincoln Park Costco charges $4.49 per gallon for 1987 regular gas, according to GasBuddy. But that's no big bargain compared to many gas stations within a 45-minute drive of the place. Why is this?
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For starters, Chicago (which has among the highest gas prices in the nation) also has rather high gas taxes within the city limits. So once you cross the border, gas prices drop sharply — a fact of life that applies even as you compare Costco stores to each other. In Bolingbrook, IL, located about 40 minutes southwest of Chicago, the local Costco sells gas for $4.07 a gallon, 32 cents a gallon cheaper than a Bolingbrook-area Shell and BP, located just a stone's throw away. ( Continue… )
Air travelers looking to cut the weight of a checked or carry-on bag may find one offbeat solution helps: booking the right hotel room.
Consumers have more incentive these days to travel light. The 15 largest U.S. carriers collected a record $3.5 billion in bag fees during 2012, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. That's 3.8 percent more than in 2011.
And it's not just travelers checking more bags. Of 52 airline fee changes tracked byTravelNerd.com in the year ended in January, more than half involved bags.
"It's become absolutely imperative to pack light," said Anne McAlpin, a packing expert behind PackItUp.com, who has seen increasing interest from travelers looking to reduce their load to an 18-pound carry-on.
Laptop sales are in the dumps. Windows 8 was supposed to give them a jump-start, but Redmond's new operating system turned out to be worse than Vista. In fact, analysts are now blaming Windows 8 for the lull in sales, which in turn is giving tablet sales such an upper hand that they're expected to surpass notebook shipments later this year. Even the mighty Intel can't save the laptop industry.
While this all may sound like a nightmare scenario for retailers, it's a blessing for consumers: this summer you'll be able to score some extraordinary laptop deals at Black Friday-like prices. And with new back-to-school sales surfacing each week, laptop deals are bound to break records. So forget about the summer BBQ. Here's why now is the perfect time to shop for a new laptop.
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1. Windows 8 Didn't Live Up to the Hype
Despite all the fanfare, Windows 8 failed to live up to the hype. Yes, Microsoft sold over 100 million licenses of its shiny new OS, but Windows 8 didn't ignite sales. It also received an unprecedented amount of negative feedback, and it simply didn't sit well with consumers. Sales were so bad that Microsoft cut licensing costs for its partners. And while Microsoft's forthcoming OS update is expected to address many concerns, it's still unlikely that it will give laptop sales the extra boost they need. That means Microsoft, big-box retailers, and manufacturers are all on the mend, desperately trying to get consumers back in stores, preferably buying new systems. And what better way to lure customers than with low prices. ( Continue… )
Aloha, travel enthusiasts! A paradise-like vacation amidst waterfalls, active volcanoes, sandy beaches, and lush vegetation awaits in Hawaii. With these airfare, vacation packages, and cruise deals, you'll be one step closer to the wondrous beauty that distinguishes our nation's 50th state from the rest of the pack.
Make your way to the northern set of Polynesian islands with United Airlines roundtrip flights to Hawaii from select departure cities such as San Diego, Seattle, Las Vegas, and New York (from $455.50, a low by $7; expires June 30).
Or, take to the seas from the start by boarding a Celebrity Cruises 15-night Hawaii cruise for two (from $2,658, a low by $120; expires June 30) and witness the distinct islands from the Century's deck. You'll make pit stops in Hilo, Kailua (make sure to see Hawaii's most active volcano, Mount Kilauea), Lahaina, Honolulu, and Ensenada, Mexico. This mid-sized ship also provides plenty of perks on board including a variety of restaurants, access to the casino, and ample beverages at the Martini Bar — the first ice bar at sea.
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Looking for a more sprawling vessel to take you to Hawaii's finest islands? Book a room abord the 2,590 passenger Grand Princess and set sail on a Princess Cruises 15-night Hawaii cruise for two instead (from $3,198, a low by $116; expires June 30). This ship offers everything from movies under the stars, to private time at an adults-only sanctuary, plus live comedy acts. Coupled with half-day and day-long stops in chic Honolulu, blissful Nawiliwili, Kauai, Lahaina, Maui, and Hilo, you'll have ample time to explore the main sights before heading back to sea.
If exploring the hills, waterfalls, beaches, and volcanoes by land is more your style, we can recommend a number of airfare, hotel, and car rental packages instead. Wander Hawaii's third largest island of Oahu with exactly such a vacation package: this 3-night flight, hotel, and car rental package for two with a stay at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani will cost you less than $2,000 (from $1,889.85, a low by $408; expires June 30). Definitely take advantage of having some wheels and visit all of the island's hotspots: swimming in the warm waters of Waikiki; enjoying mountain views at Nuuanu Pali Lookout; ogling the brave surfers on the North Shore; and getting a taste of local flavors in Kapahulu. Perhaps most impressively, the hotel's status as former estate of Hawaii's last princess means you'll also have easy access to Waikiki Beach, views of Diamond Head, the Koolau Mountains, and Honolulu's city lights.
Speaking of Diamond Head, a 3-night flight, hotel, and car rental package for two at the Aston at the Waikiki Banyan (from $1,346, a low by $7; expires June 30) will put you in the center of it all. Plus, with rates starting at $735 per person, this property's 1-bedroom suites can accommodate up to five people, and are in close proximity to the beach, Kapiolani Park, and the Honolulu Zoo, which make it a great destination for families.
Often called the Magic Isle, Maui is home to a plethora of wildlife. Relish in your surroundings with a 3-night flight, hotel, and car rental package for two with a stay at the Kaanapali Beach Hotel (from $1,421, a low by $106; expires June 30). Situated on 11 acres that front the sands of famous Kaanapali Beach, the hotel is also surrounded by tropical gardens, and offers complimentary Hawaiian activities like ukulele, and hula lessons, lei-making, a cultural garden tour, nightly hula, and music shows at sunset. Explore the island by hiking through a forest of bamboo, taking a helicopter ride through pristine valleys, and waterfalls, and horseback riding near Kipahulu's Seven Sacred Pools or atop Haleakala, Maui's highest peak.
For a luxury getaway, book yourself and travel buddy a 3-night flight, hotel, and car rental package for two with a stay at the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa (from $2,770, a low by $200; expires June 30). Also set on an expanse of Kaanapali Beach, the Sheraton is located at the foot of the legendary Pu'u Keka'a, Black Rock, and the newly renovated resort draws honeymooners, and families alike (kids stay free!) Take a dip in the freshwater swimming lagoon, sway to nightly Hawaiian entertainment, and view a traditional cliff-diving ceremony at sunset. While you're there, check some ocean activities off your list: snorkel among popular Maui reefs, sail on a Teralani catamaran, and kayak with the dolphins.
With these deals to Hawaii, you'll get just the right dose of island paradise without even leaving the country. But, if you've got different ideas for a vacation, be sure to check out our daily travel deals for other airfare, hotel, and vacation packages.
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Summar Ghias is a contributor to dealnews.com, where this article first appeared.
It's Friday, National Doughnut Day, and Starbucks only charges $1 for some drinks. Can it get any better than this? How about a big price low on a Haier soundbar and wireless subwoofer, one of the cheapest (and coolest) Bluetooth speakers we've seen, and more in today's list of five Editors' Choice deals that we found overnight and early this morning.
Top Coffee Deal
Grande Iced Coffee, Tea, or Starbucks Refreshers Beverage
Store: Starbucks retail locations
Do You Need It?: As if national doughnut day wasn't enough, Starbucks is running a promotion for an iced coffee, iced tea, or Refresher for just a dollar. Even though we saw other drinks for free last week, anyone who's ever ordered a grande anything at Starbucks knows that it's still a bargain.
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( Continue… )
AT&T made headlines last week by imposing a new $0.61 monthly "Mobility Administration Fee" to help cover its "interconnection and cell site rents and maintenance" expenditures — you know, the costs of operating as a wireless service provider. It might be unsurprising to learn, however, that Verizon and Sprint already charge such administrative fees, on top of monthly taxes for vague things like "regulation" and "universal service."
These "below-the-line fees," which are added to a base price for essential or mandatory services, are an easy way for companies to charge more without officially raising its prices. That way, they can still advertise more attractive prices to customers. And though the new AT&T fees are just cents to the consumer, they add up. The Wall Street Journal estimates that AT&T could make more than half a billion dollars annually from its new fee.
But wireless service providers aren't the only companies slipping in extra charges to the consumer. Some banks, colleges, airlines, and other utility service providers hit customers with below-the-line or hidden fees. But there may be something you can do about it.
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Free Overdraft Protection That's Not Really Free
Ah, banks and their fine print. The federal government has limited a bank's ability to charge customers for merely swiping their debit cards, and Bank of America famously had to bow to public outrage when it tried to charge customers $5 a month for the privilege of actually using their debit cards. But are banks still finding ways to slip in fees? ( Continue… )
In the past, it wasn't very Apple-like for the Cupertino company to introduce cheaper models to its fleet of existing iDevices. But ever since March 2012, when the company kept the iPad 2 in rotation at a lower price point, it has seemed as if we're witnessing a shift in Apple's marketing strategy. In fact, just last week Apple announced a smaller 16GB version of its 5th-generation iPod touch priced at $229.
At $70 less than the 32GB model, the latest iteration also comes with some tradeoffs. While Apple did away with the much beloved 5MB back camera, this could be a smart move by the manufacturer, who hopes to grab first-time device users with a low price and hook them as future buyers. However, as many dealnews readers know, it may be smart to hold off on this Apple device; if history has taught us anything, it's that that $229 price tag could drop even further.
An iPod touch Priced to Sell ... with Some Exclusions
First off, for $70 less you should know what else Apple nixed from the iPod touch's features. Not only is there no 5MB rear-facing camera (which is found on the 32GB and 64GB models), but the photographer-friendly Loop hand strap device has been removed from the touch's design as well. Gone too are custom colors — the new 16GB model comes only in black and white.
Yet for $229, you still get an iPod touch with a front-facing Facetime HD camera, 4" retina display (something that was cut from the iPad mini to make it a cheaper alternative to the main tablet line), A5 chip, and Siri. Apple also reduced the new touch's weight slightly, making it 0.06 oz. lighter than other 5th-gen iPod touches. ( Continue… )
Many of us never lost our love for the two-wheeled bicycle adventures we first had as kids, and many folks have adopted biking as their major means of travel. If you have a yearning to pedal on in adulthood, you might start by buying a new bike that takes advantage of modern equipment which will allow you to go further and faster than the rusty beater buried somewhere in your garage.
There are two general categories of bicycles: the road bike, which is meant to be ridden on paved roads, and the mountain bike, which is designed for trails. A good road bike is the proper vehicle for commuting, touring, exercising, and racing. Road bikes come in several flavors, too: urban/commuting, touring, sport/racing/triathlon, and recumbent. Below, we've detailed the types and included some current bike deals to get you started.
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How to Buy a Road Bike: The Basics
Handlebars on a road bike come in a couple of styles. Dropped handlebars are curved below the middle, and straight towards the ends. Curved handlebars allow a rider to crouch in a more aerodynamic position, which is important when riding into the wind or attempting to maximize speed by cutting down on wind drag. However, straight handlebars are more common on commuting/urban bikes because they allow for a more comfortable upright position.
Road bikes typically come with narrower tires and lighter wheels than mountain bikes, as this cuts down on the friction with the road and makes travel easier. A racing bike can have tires as narrow as 20mm! Commuters usually choose a wider tire, however, because it offers greater puncture resistance and more cushioning, which translates into a smoother ride. ( Continue… )