Everything That Went Down at Apple’s iPad Event

By Alison Clancy

On a scale of 1 to 10 on the Apple Fangirl scale, I probably fall somewhere between a 5 and a 6. For example, you can bring me around Android people and I won’t make it my personal mission to destroy them. I do love my iPhone though, and I usually make it a point to follow the latest news from the Apple camp. However, my usual response to iPad talk is solid indifference. That being said, when I tuned into Apple’s event yesterday to hear about the rumored new tablets, I didn’t know what to expect. To my pleasant surprise, I enjoyed hearing about all the new updates coming to a store, phone, wallet near you. Here are some of the highlights (with a few random thoughts thrown in for good measure).

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1. First big news of the day: Apple Pay will roll out next Monday on October 20th with 500 banks now on board. This will coincide with the software update release, iOS 8.1. So how does this thing work exactly?

  • Step 1: You will hold your iPhone near a contactless reader with your finger on Touch ID.
  • Step 2: You’ll feel a vibration – this is how you’ll know that the payment went through.

Apple has hooked up with major credit and debit cards (Visa, MasterCard and American Express to name a few), and Apple Pay is now accepted at 220,000 stores including Walgreens, Macy’s and McDonalds. Will Apple Pay start boxing out similar products like Square? Only time will tell. Oh, and it will only be available for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus – us fivers (iPhone 5, 5C, 5S) will have to wait until January of next year for the new feature.

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2. Speaking of next year, it was announced that the Apple Watch will be coming out in early 2015, which is totally not vague at all. Really appreciated Tim Cook coming out and modeling his very own Apple Watch for us common folk. 

3. At the next event, there should be a mandatory rule that the audience members can only cheer in the style of Arsenio Hall.  

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4. WatchKit (a developer “kit” for the Apple “watch” – can’t get anything by me!) will also roll out in early 2015. The first quarter of the new year is going to be busy for Cook & Co.

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5. OS X Yosemite became available for download as of yesterday afternoon. It sure is one good-looking operating system, with beautiful typography and clean design. It’s also pretty fancy – Yosemite marks the integration of iOS 8 and 8.1, bringing the iPhone and Mac together as one. Users will now be able to answer phone calls and send texts straight from the computer. There will also be a new feature that will allow people to move projects from one device to another – start writing an email on your phone, finish it up on your computer.

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6. iOS 8.1 will be available on Monday; the iWork update is available right now.

7. Stephen Colbert called in during Apple exec Craig’s Federighi’s demo and I thought it was pretty funny. I have already emailed my boss to ask her if I can officially change my title to Chairwoman Honeycrisp.

8. I thought the guy in the teal shirt during the handshake/security protocol video was Justin Timberlake, which isn’t too far-fetched since he’s the other voice in that commercial with Jimmy Fallon

9. “What do you do when you make the best iPad in the world? How do you make it better?” According to Tim Cook, you bust out the iPad Air 2! I laughed when he asked if we could even see it. Get it? BECAUSE IT’S SO THIN. Again, nothing gets by me. But back to the facts: This is the thinnest tablet in the world at 6.1 millimeters thick – 18% thinner than the first iPad Air. It also is the only tablet with an anti-reflective coating, reducing glare by 56%. The iPad Air 2 also promises 10 hours of battery life and one sweet camera. Pricing ranges from $499 for the 16GB to $699 for the 128GB, and pre-orders begin today.

10. Next up: the iPad Mini 3. Outfitted with a Touch ID fingerprint sensor, it’s has a metal back and now comes in gold. Those are pretty much the only differences between it and its predecessor. Prices start at $399 in 16GB for Wi-Fi only and goes up to $729 for the 128GB LTE model. Like the iPad Air 2, pre-orders begin today and they’ll ship by next week. Is the price still a bit too steep for you? The first, non-Retina iPad mini now costs only $249.

11. Because I work at ecoATM, I always appreciate when companies like Apple speak openly about the environmental impacts of their products. It was great to see the Environmental Checklist above get its own slide during the presentation. Reminding the public that the aluminum parts of the new devices are 100% recyclable is great and will hopefully motivate people to recycle their old and unused electronics.

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12. Meet the iMac with Retina display! This screen will have the highest resolution display on the market and will be so sharp that you’ll see every pixel in your pictures, every bead of sweat, every leaf on that tree you awkwardly took a picture of in the park. The Retina 5K display is 5120 x 2880 and will sell for $2,499.

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13. The last reveal of the morning goes to the upgraded Mac Mini. Cook called it “the world’s most energy efficient desktop.” This small form factor desktop computer will have integrated graphics that will be up to 90 percent faster then the model that came before it. It will also be cheaper, retailing at $499.

And that about wraps it up! What device or announcement are you most excited about?  

Planning on recycling your old tablet? Find your nearest ecoATM location to get started.

Apple Unveils New Tool to Check iPhones and iPads for “Kill Switch” 

By Randal Erman

Apple recently announced a new “kill switch” or Activation Lock checking tool for consumers. This utility takes a prospective IMEI, as well as a web access code, and returns a result showing if the Activation Lock is on or off. The "kill switch" or Activation Lock for those who are not familiar is the technology used to render a cell phone worthless. It is mandated by law in two states and will be included in all smartphones shipped in California by July 2015. Samsung and Apple are the only two vendors who have currently integrated the Activation Lock, though Google is rumored to release it in December’s L release of Android.

This is a big deal for consumers who previously had no other way of figuring out if the phone they bought from a friend or family member still had the “kill switch” on. Clearly, Apple wanted to prevent people from abusing the system which is why the access code was included, otherwise one could in theory determine how many devices actually have enabled this technology.  

This news will also impact buyback channels, as retailers can now search to determine if the phone that is being traded in and resold has the “kill switch” on. This will help prevent the buyback of devices which were purchased for a large sum of money, only to be sold as scrap.  

Sadly, the Activation Lock won’t solve the overall problem. The tool cannot be integrated into 3rd party software in a way that makes the check straightforward in the buyback channel. This would help to reduce staff training, mistakes on information entry and would decrease the overall transaction time. Despite this one shortcoming, it is a nice step forward as it shows Apple being progressive in their thinking by giving consumers a tool to help protect themselves from buying a worthless device.

Click here for more on “kill switch” technology

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ecoATM Survey Reveals What Consumers Want in the New iPad

With another Apple event just a few days away (check out the invite that confirmed the 10/16 event), rumors have been swirling about new iPad releases, including the iPad Air 2, iPad Mini 3 and the iPad Pro. But, will current tablet-owning consumers even want to upgrade? Fifty-eight percent said no, saying that their current tablet fits their needs, according to a recent survey from ecoATM.

For the other 32 percent, however, there are certain rumored features that will make them consider upgrading from their current tablet – 52 percent said they would upgrade if the new iPad had a longer battery life and/or lower price point, followed by a faster processer at 47 percent.

Gold is in, according to Apple, who included a gold-colored option for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. While the gold iPhone 6 saw impressive traction among consumers, only 9 percent said a gold-plated iPad option would make them consider buying a new tablet. 

If you decide to go ahead and purchase the latest and greatest tablet from Apple, ecoATM is an easy option to trade-in your old tablet for instant cash. Our survey indicated that 27 percent of consumers have sold their old tablets for money, and 13 percent have properly recycled their device in the past. Check out ecoATM’s current trade-in values for various iPad models: 

  •        iPad – Up to $30
  •        iPad 2 – Up to $90
  •        iPad 3 – Up to $120
  •        iPad 4 – Up to $140
  •        iPad Air – Up to $173
  •        iPad Mini- Up to $115
  •        iPad Mini 2 – Up to $150

What rumored feature of the new iPad will get you to upgrade? Tell us in the comments below.


By Alison Clancy

Have you ever heard someone say, “Ugh! Austin is the worst.” My guess is that you probably haven’t. After spending my first weekend there earlier this summer, even in the unrelenting, I-can’t-breathe-and-also-I-might-be-dying heat, my experience in Austin was just plain awesome.

So why the sudden ATX lovefest?  

Today, the ecoATM team will be exhibiting at SXSWeco, joining a global community of thought-leaders in the sustainable solutions world focusing on technology, the environment and doing good. It’s through this participation that I found another reason to love Austin - it’s one of the greenest cities in the country, and a really exciting place to be for environmental leaders, enthusiasts and businesses. Let’s review some of the city’s most notable accomplishments:

1. In 2007, Austin passed the Climate Protection Plan and pledged that all facilities, fleets and operations in the city would become 100 percent carbon neutral by 2020. This means that they will all be powered solely by using clean energy, which will prevent any carbon dioxide from releasing into the atmosphere. This year, the city took this plan a step further by setting a goal of having the entire city become carbon neutral by 2050.

2. Fifteen percent of Austin is green space: 206 parks, 26 greenbelts and more than 50 miles of trails. Green space in an urban setting has many benefits, including pollutant absorption and providing a habitat for a variety of wildlife.

3. Dozens of green start-ups, like HelioVolt, call Austin home; start-ups provide employment for 15,000 residents. 

4. Austin has more 100%-green powered businesses than any other city in the country. Consumers and businesses can receive handsome rebates for installing energy-efficient appliances. 

5. The city has it’s own mobile app call Rethink, created to motivate residents and visitors to practice “greener behaviors that protect and preserve what’s best about Austin.” Users can earn pins and badges in 10 different categories, and the app claims that by using its environmentally-kind tips, people can save $200 a year.


6. By 2017, the Universal Recycling Ordinance will require all commercial properties to provide their tenants and employees access to proper recycling services for a minimum of five materials. These properties include office buildings, retail, medical, manufacturing and warehouse facilities, in addition to multi-family apartments and condominiums. This effort is in line with the city’s overall goal of being zero-waste by 2040 or sooner. Click the video image above for more information.

7. In March 2013, Austin banned paper and plastic single-use bags at all retailers within the city limits. Officials calculated that Austinites were using 263 million plastic bags each year.

Do you see why we’re excited? For team ecoATM, being in Austin and at SXSWeco will give us the opportunity to chat with attendees about our recent environmental milestones. Outerwall, our parent company, recently made a commitment at the Clinton Global Initiative to collect two million pounds of e-waste through ecoATM kiosks over the next three years. We’re also proud to say that we just passed the three million recycled devices mark.

If you are attending SXSWeco this year, come visit us for a chat and a demo of the kiosk at booth #122. And if you’re not attending? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for event updates. Oh, and make sure you put Austin on your travel bucket list.    

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My First Week with the iPhone 6

By Vanessa Cirannek

Friday, September 19, 2014

11:28 am. I am anxiously staring at my tracking number. This morning, I got a message saying my new iPhone 6 was being delivered to its destination, but where is that? My house or the carrier store? After work, I run home and there is a package waiting for me - a wedding gift. What a letdown!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

3:44 pm. Turns out that my phone ended up at the Sprint store, so that’s where I am. It’s really busy in here and I have to wait. This is taking forever. Why is going to a carrier store always so unpleasant? Everybody waiting with me seems to share this feeling. There are now two places I despise visiting the most: The auto dealer and the carrier store.

6:30 pm. Finally home! I’ve unboxed the phone and I’m trying to set it up. I’m still old school and don’t use the cloud, so I back up my iPhone 5 one last time over iTunes. I select Set Up and wait. And wait. And wait some more. E voilà, my 6 is set up like my 5 - apps, settings, email and contacts are all there. The Apple Health app is new. Probably useful with the new watch or other gear, though I’m not sure if my doctors are fancy enough to provide my health data to my phone.

So far, I’m really liking the new look and feel of the iPhone 6 – fits comfortably in my hand thanks to the rounded edges. New screen size is perfect! I used to have a Samsung Galaxy S3, and it’s good to be reunited with a large display.

Sunday, September 21, 2014 

3:20 pm. I have had to adjust a bit more to the bigger screen size. I made my font size smaller as I actually do not want to see everything bigger, but more. Apps that don’t pull my settings are just that: bigger. I feel like an old person!

Monday, September 22, 2014

8:46 am. I caught myself thinking, “The iPhone 6 looks like the Galaxy S4,” though the rounded edges remind me of the original iPhone. And the round home button is still there - it’s a real Apple device after all!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

9:13 pm. The bigger size of the phone is awesome most of the time, but then sometimes it’s a pain. I usually put my phone in my purse, but sometimes I don’t want to schlep a purse around with me, so I try to fit my phone in my pocket. This is a battle - at least while you’re riding a bicycle. I cruised along the boardwalk today and it was too risky to put my device in my front pocket. I used to be able to fit my iPhone 5 in there - horizontally! But don’t worry, iPhone 6, I’ll just have to get a cute bicycle basket for next time. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

11:59 am. I am constantly looking for the Off button. Oh right, they moved it from the top of the phone to the side. I can only remember this fact for maybe 15 minutes at a time before I forget again. 

In other news, the double-tap feature to retrieve content seems to be useful for the iPhone 6 Plus, but I doubt I will use it.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

4:10 pm. People at work keep stopping by my desk to have a first glimpse at my phone. Is this what famous people feel like? Bought a phone case yesterday and the cashier said, “Oh wow, you already got the new iPhone!” Feeling like a celebrity more and more. Had to go to the Apple Store for my MacBook - it’s been a week since the iPhone 6 became available for sale, and there were still people lined up out the door. 

7:35 pm. I’m also loving the “new” word AutoComplete feature. Apple finally offers it for iOS 8! 

Friday, September 26, 2014

1:23 pm. Overall, I’m really happy with my new purchase. I like the size, the display, the design and the lightness of the phone. Sure, there isn’t anything uber-innovative and earth-shattering about iPhone 6, but the advancements they’ve made on the backend definitely make a smoother and faster experience.

Now, if I could only find that Off button.

Need extra cash to buy your own iPhone 6? Find out how much you could get back for recycling old or unused devices at ecoATM. 

Better Know An Element: Bromine Edition

By Randal Erman

There is no doubt that I am a nerd. (Editor’s Note: It’s true. Huge nerd.)   

I love science, and one aspect I wish I had more time to study is chemistry. Thankfully, chemistry aligns with the ecological goals of ecoATM, hence my introduction of a brand new blog series: “Better Know An Element” (hat tip to Stephen Colbert for the name inspiration).

Today, we are going to look at Bromine (Br), a brownish-red liquid with a bleach-like odor known as the 35th element on the periodic table. According to a 2012 study reported by HealthyStuff.org, 17% of the cell phones they tested contained this element.

Bromine was discovered in the early 1800s in the ash of seaweed. It has chemical properties similar to that of chlorine and iodine. Way back when, Bromine was used in lots of things like gas, pesticides, and some other medical usages, but thankfully people soon figured out that it wasn’t overly good for people or the ozone. In fact, long-term consumption of bromine can cause bromism. Bromism was common in hospitals when patients were provided bromine-based sedatives. It was recorded as having neurological and psychiatric effects on people, and could appear in the shape of a rash on the skin or as a gastrointestinal issue like nausea and vomiting.  

So how does one make bromine? It’s done by heating water, chlorine and brine-rich solution and then condensing the vapors at a temperature which bromine will condense, but chlorine will not. The remaining wet solution that is remaining is then refined further and by the end of that process, Bromine is in its purest form.

Bromine is most commonly used as a flame retardant due to its chemical property of disrupting the radical chain reaction of the oxidation reaction of fire. In simpler terms, bromine has the attribute of making things less flammable, which is why it is/was used in electronic products. Less flammable is normally a good thing, but plastics and electronics that include bromine monofluorides (BRFs) above 0.1% are difficult to recycle, which is why the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) guidelines require that all plastics contain less than 0.1% BRFs. According to that same study by HealthyStuff.org, the iPhone 2G and 3G had components which included Br, but the iPhone 4, 4S and 5 are 100% BRF free which makes them easier to recycle than the earlier versions.         

Bromine is an interesting chemical on the periodic table but hopefully the reduction in modern plastics and electronics continues making things easier to recycle.  

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Outerwall CEO Scott Di Valerio attended the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative in New York City last week. Here’s what he had to say about his experience: 

It is a tremendous milestone for Outerwall to be making a bold commitment at the Clinton Global Initiative this week, to collect 2 million pounds of e-waste through ecoATM over the next 3 years.

This is a significant moment for Outerwall on the world stage.  It has been remarkable to have the opportunity to meet President Clinton and other world and business leaders and to share our vision for automated retail — and perhaps more importantly — how we can uniquely address the global problem of e-waste with a solution that is easy, convenient and offers consumers real value.

It has been a great privilege for me to represent Coinstar, Redbox and ecoATM — and our collective work as Outerwall to make a better everyday — including the broader purpose of making a global difference in addressing a major world problem.

There have been a lot of highlights this week: Seeing the world’s movers and shakers around big difficult world issues — talking to other business leaders — meeting new partners. The one key takeaway highlight is the enthusiastic reception of our commitment and the resonance of Outerwall’s business model and the value proposition of our LOBs.

We have opened a new chapter of engaging with influentials with our CGI commitment. I really look forward to achieving our goal and doing much more to offer inventive automated solutions that also help solve global issues.

Read more on Outerwall’s Facebook page

Announcing New ecoATM Locations!

1. Fort Smith, Arkansas 

Walmart - 2425 South Zero Street

2. Little Rock, Arkansas

Walmart - 8801 Baseline Road

3. Springdale, Arkansas

Walmart - 2004 S Pleasant Street

4. Acworth, Georgia

Walmart - 3826 Cobb Parkway NW

5. Lawrenceville, Georgia

Walmart - 630 Collins Hill Road

Walmart - 1400 Lawrenceville Highway

6. LaGrange, Georgia

Walmart - 803 New Franklin Street

7. Marietta, Georgia

Walmart - 1785 Cobb Parkway S

8. Moultrie, Georgia

Walmart - 641 Veterans Parkway S

9. Olive Branch, Mississippi

Walmart - 7950 Craft Goodman Frontage Road

10. Oxford, Mississippi

Walmart - 2530 Jackson Ave W

11. Asheville, North Carolina

Walmart - 125 Bleachery Boulevard

12. Belmont, North Carolina

Walmart - 701 Hawley Ave

13. Eden, North Carolina

Walmart - 304 E Arbor Lane

14. Franklin, North Carolina

Walmart - 833 Wells Grove Road

15. Hickory, North Carolina

Walmart - 2525 US Highway 70 SE

16. Lenoir, North Carolina

Walmart - 935 Blowing Rock Boulevard

17. Lumberton, North Carolina

Walmart - 5070 Fayetteville Road

18. Marion, North Carolina

Walmart - 2875 Sugar Hill Road

19. Mooresville, North Carolina

Walmart - 169 Norman Station Boulevard

20. Oxford, North Carolina

Walmart - 1015 Lewis Street

21. Shelby, North Carolina

Walmart - 705 E Dixon Boulevard

22. Taylorsville, North Carolina

Walmart - 901 NC Highway 16 S

23. West Jefferson, North Carolina

Walmart - 1489 Mount Jefferson Road

For more information on our locations nationwide, head on over to ecoATM.com.


By Randal Erman

I will soon be the owner of an iPhone 6, but the only thing that scares me about this as a gamer is making sure my games and the progress I have made in them will be able to move with me to the new device. I didn’t spend a billion hours playing Angry Birds, Clash of Clans and Pet Rescue to have it all go away. That isn’t even talking about the money for in-game purchases! 

To ease my anxieties, here’s a list of games that can be moved to the iPhone 6 (I also sadly found one game that I won’t be able to transfer, Hungry Shark Evolution). It is important to note that pretty much every single game will require you to tie your progress to a Facebook account or the iOS Game Center account. 

Games That Can Be Moved to the iPhone 6

Click on each link to get step-by-step instructions

1. Angry Birds

2. Candy Crush

3. Clash of Clans

4. Pet Rescue

5. Minecraft Pocket Edition

6. Plants vs. Zombies

Any games we missed on this list? 

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Outerwall Commits to Collecting Two Million Pounds of Mobile Devices to Help Combat Surging E-Waste Crisis

On September 22nd at the Clinton Global Initiative’s Tenth Annual Meeting, Outerwall Inc. announced that it expects to collect at least two million pounds of mobile phones, tablets, and…

We’re up for the challenge!