Amazon is reportedly running a secret shipping operation in Ohio

Amazon is steadily expanding its delivery infrastructure, whether it’s by driving items to consumers in select cities or testing a secretive drone delivery program. Could the company also reduce its reliance on shipping companies like UPS and FedEx by running its own air cargo operations instead of using others’ planes?
A report from Motherboard indicates that Amazon is most likely behind a secretive operation from an Ohio airport dedicated to shipping consumer goods. If the report is accurate, it would appear that Amazon is at least testing a system that could give it more control over the paths its wares take to reach consumers.
This control would help Amazon sidestep any issues other carriers face. Instead of being at the mercy of UPS and FedEx, the company would be responsible for making sure items reach their new owners on time, and it would have the power to fix anything that goes wrong instead of just mopping up after others’ messes.
It could also help reduce shipping costs. As Motherboard notes in its report:

With shipping, as with all of Amazon’s $250 billion empire, efficiency is key. Amazon’s net shipping cost in 2014 was $4.2 billion, up from $3.5 billion in 2013, according to a 10-K filing from 2014 with the Securities and Exchange Commission. With delivery costs weighing heavily on Amazon and ongoing headaches with UPS and other third party shippers, the company has a lot to gain from its own logistics network, whether just supplementing shipments in peak seasons or cutting out other carriers entirely.

This is what Amazon is all about — owning everything its customers might ever have to interact with. Take digital media, for example. Amazon sells the devices used to access online content; runs services used to stream that content; and operates the network that delivers all those bits and bytes to people’s devices.
Those efforts pay off by making Amazon an integral part of digital media, convincing people to continue purchasing things from its website, and even create an incredibly valuable business devoted to the cloud computing market. Why wouldn’t the company want to replicate that success in the physical realm?
Given all that, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Amazon might be testing its own air cargo operations. If anything, it’s more surprising that it’s taken this long for a company whose greatest strength is owning every aspect of whatever business it’s in took this long to run an experiment like the one taking place now. (I reached out to Amazon for comment and will update this post if I hear back.)

Smoother iPad ordering, new stock status added to Apple’s online store

Apple has made a couple of minor changes to its online store Friday morning, which, though small, should make shopping for products through the web-based portal even more painless. The first is a new iPad-ordering process, and the other is a change in stock level indicators.

Apple TV Now Shipping

For those refresh monkeys banging away at the Apple (s aapl) Store online shortly after the event on September 1st, your obsession may finally be rewarded. Many early buyers are reporting their Apple TVs are now shipping, with expected arrival dates as early as September 29.

Apple Issues Magic Mouse Update, But Where Are the Mice Themselves?

magicmouseLast week, Apple (s aapl) announced the Magic Mouse, which is its new standard pointing device, complete with Bluetooth connectivity and multitouch gesture support. I promptly called my local Apple store, and a staff member told me they weren’t in stock and to try back again later in the week. I did, and again, no luck. It’s now been over a week, and no stores seem to have stocked them yet.

One staff member at the flagship Toronto store said that the delay was due to software incompatibility, and that the mice would be available following an update release from Apple. Late yesterday, we received said update, which makes the Magic Mouse compatible with Mac OS X Leopard, includes a driver for 10.6.1. OS X 10.6.2, which is coming soon, and is said to support it out of the box. Read More about Apple Issues Magic Mouse Update, But Where Are the Mice Themselves?

Apple Shipping Snow Leopard on Friday August 28

snow_leopardLooks like the rumor mill was spot on this time, as speculation that Mac OS X Snow Leopard would ship earlier than its anticipated September street date have proven true. Apple (s aapl) announced this morning via a press release that 10.6 will go on sale Friday, August 28th (yes, that’s the end of this week, you’re not dreaming) at Apple retail stores. Pre-orders are now being accepted online.

It’s not really that shocking, since one Mac mini reportedly already shipped with Snow Leopard in Japan. This means users will be able to physically get their hands on the new OS two months before Windows 7 is scheduled to arrive, marking a significant win for Apple over Microsoft (s msft). Read More about Apple Shipping Snow Leopard on Friday August 28