Archive for iPhone

AT&T to launch shared data plans in late August, offer base price around $45 per smartphone

// July 18th, 2012 // No Comments » // Cheap iPhone Monthly Service, iPhone

AT&T to launch shared data plans in late August, offer base price around $45 per smartphone: “

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You can’t argue with a bit of competition.

Per AppleInsider, wireless carrier AT&T on Wednesday announced its new shared data plans, ranging from 1 gigabyte to 20 gigabytes of cap space, and starting at US$40 for 1 gigabyte of data plus an additional US$45 per smartphone.

The cost per gigabyte and smartphone decreases as customers add more data to their plan, so 4 gigabytes of data has a base price of US$70, plus US$40 per smartphone, all the way up to US$200 for 20 gigabytes of data per month and US$30 per smartphone.

Cellular capable tablet-style devices like Apple’s iPad are less expensive, and will cost US$10 per month to add to a shared data plan. Laptops and mobile hotspot devices are another US$20 each month, while basic and messaging phones can get shared data, unlimited talk and text for US$30 each month.

The new shared data plans allow customers to choose open of AT&T’s existing individual or family plans, and current customers are not required to switch to the new plans. Those who decide to switch to AT&T’s shared data plans can do so without a contract extension, and the rates are also available for business customers.

Customers can choose up to 10 devices to attach to their shared plan, and at least one of those devices must be a smartphone. The plans include tethering and unlimited domestic calls and texts for smartphones.

Competing U.S. carrier Verizon launched its own shared data plans on June 28, called ‘Share Everything.’ With it, line access for smartphones like Apple’s iPhone run US$40 per month, while tablets like the iPad are US$10 per month.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Verizon to begin shared data plans starting June 28th

// June 13th, 2012 // No Comments » // iPhone

Verizon to begin shared data plans starting June 28th: “

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Maybe shared data plans will come into vogue this year.

Per AppleInsider, wireless carrier Verizon has announced that it will be initiating shared data plans later this month, making it the first of the ‘big-three’ U.S. telecoms to offer such a program.

The company announced the new ‘Share Everything’ option on Tuesday, which includes unlimited talk, text and tiered shared data plans for both smartphones and tablets as well as data-only plans, is slated to start on June 28.

Up to ten devices can share data under the new plan with varying pricing for device type. For example, line access for a smartphone like Apple’s iPhone is US$40 per month while a tablet adds on US$10. Mobile hotspots are also included in the Share Anything plan and can be added for an additional US$20 per month.

The carrier is introducing a number of new data tiers to its existing one-line offerings, and shared data users can now select one of six levels ranging from US$50 per month for 1GB of bandwidth to US$100 per month for 10GB. Data overage is still in place and looks to be US$15 per gigabyte across the board but users can opt to up their data plans in 2GB intervals before reaching their limit.

As an example, Verizon offers a US$180 access plan that includes two smartphones at US$40 each, one feature phone at US$30 and 4GB worth of shared data which carries a cost of US$70 per month.

Data-only customers have four tiers to work with starting at US$30 per month for 4GB and topping out at US$60 per month for 10GB. Mobile hotspots and tablets with mobile hotspot functionality are included in this pricing model.

The new Share Anything plan is a step in the direction of what many believe is the future of wireless in the U.S. In an early June report, AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson said that his company was also working on rolling out a shared data plan, though that plan has been in the works for over a year.

Verizon was recently the target of a media blitz when CFO Fran Shammo said ‘when [customers] migrate off 3G they will have to go to data share,’ which caused a fracas because many thought the company would forcibly move unlimited data users to more profitable tiered pricing. The issue was quickly clarified in a Verizon statement that said only customers who choose to take carrier subsidies when upgrading to another smartphone will be forced out of out of their unlimited plans. In either case, it is clear that the telecom is pushing for tiered pricing, a trend that has become increasingly popular as wireless providers acknowledge the profitability of soaring data use.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Verizon Introduces ‘Share Everything’ Service Plan for Up to Ten Devices

// June 12th, 2012 // No Comments » // iPhone

Verizon Introduces ‘Share Everything’ Service Plan for Up to Ten Devices: “Verizon today announced the launch of a new ‘Share Everything’ pricing structure designed to allow users to share monthly data allotments across multiple devices. The plan, which is rolling out on June 28, includes unlimited voice and messaging across all devices, with an overall data cap and number and type of devices being the only differentiating factors among pricing tiers.

Each device carries a base monthly access charge ranging from $10 for a tablet to $40 for a smartphone. A single data charge is then applied on top of that base amount, starting at $50 for 1 GB and ranging up to $100 for 10 GB. Mobile hotspot functionality within the data cap is also included at no extra charge.



Compared to Verizon’s existing plans, the new Share Everything plan appears to represent a solid value even for single-device customers interested in unlimited minutes and texting, but less so for other customers.

Under Verizons current pricing, a customer would pay a total of $120 per month for unlimited minutes ($70), unlimited messaging ($20) and 2 GB of data ($30). Adding mobile hotspot functionality costs an additional $20 but increases the total data cap to 4 GB.

With the new Share Everything plan, a customer would pay $100 per month for the same service: $40 smartphone access and $60 for unlimited minutes and messaging and 2 GB of data. With mobile hotspot functionality included at no additional charge, stepping up to the 4 GB plan would cost just $10. In addition, a user could add an iPad to his or her account for just $10 per month with no contract requirement, as long as it was drawing from the same data allotment as the users phone.

The plans are not as good of a deal for users with packages of lower numbers of minutes. A user with 450 minutes, unlimited messaging and 2 GB of data would pay $90 under current plans, compared to $100 under Share Everything, although the new plan does offer mobile hotspot at no additional charge. Current plans also offer a range of messaging options from pay-per-use up to unlimited, allowing lower-use customers to cut their monthly bills even further.

As the balance of smartphone usage shifts increasingly toward data and away from voice minutes, carriers are seeking to simplify the voice and messaging aspects of their plans to focus on data allotments as the primary differentiator among their plans. The shift is a reversal from the previous model in which customers selected from a number of options for voice minutes and then received unlimited data for a set monthly charge. In addition to Verizon, AT&T has also expressed its preference for this new model, while Sprint, the third major iPhone carrier in the United States, has indicated that it remains committed to its unlimited data offerings.

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AT&T CEO states data-only plans could become “inevitable” with next 24 months

// June 5th, 2012 // No Comments » // iPhone

AT&T CEO states data-only plans could become “inevitable” with next 24 months: “

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One day, AT&T will provide something for everyone.

Per the Associated Press, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said on Friday that data-only wireless phone plans are likely to arrive within the next two years, marking a dramatic shift away from traditional cell network usage toward VoIP and text-as-data solutions like Apple’s iMessage.

Speaking at an investors conference, Stephenson said that while AT&T had no plans in place to offer an all-data subscription model, the industry is trending in that direction as smartphones continue to gain popularity led by Apple’s iPhone and handsets running Google’s Android mobile operating system, reports the Associated Press.

‘I’ll be surprised if, in the next 24 months, we don’t see people in the market place with data-only plans,’ Stephenson said. ‘I just think that’s inevitable.’

Under a data-centric plan users would have to use VoIP solutions like Skype to hold voice conversations, changing Internet calling into a necessity rather than an option to save on billed minutes. The switch would also be disruptive to the installed system in which telecoms monetize voice calls by charging each other to connect to cellphone numbers. This is one of the reasons why voice and data charges are billed separately.

Stephenson recently bemoaned AT&T’s decision to offer unlimited data with the original iPhone and iPad, adding that Apple’s iMessage is also a source of concern because it takes away from the company’s texting revenue.

While it may seem ironic that texting is quickly moving the industry away from voice technology toward a style of communication seen in pagers during the 1990′s, the reality is that modern data exchanges offer a much richer and more immediate experience than their obsolescent counterparts. Smartphones give users the ability to be in constant contact with each other, and new data-driven apps like Sounder literally keep an open connection to friends and peers.

As telecoms move to 4G LTE, an increasing amount of consumers will use an increasing amount of limited bandwidth which could force carriers to raise prices or find alternative solutions.

For now, AT&T is hoping to introduce a shared data plan similar to how the company offers shared voice plans for families. The initiative is a long time coming and the carrier has been ‘working on it’ for over a year, presumably to find a way to implement such a service without losing profits.

With shared data plans essentially representing a discount for users that would normally buy separate plans for each device they owned, the prospect of the pricing structure would seemingly be damaging to telecoms’ bottom lines. Stephenson pointed out that AT&T is looking to make more money from shared data, not less.

When you have millions of devices such as tablets that lack cellular data plans, Stephenson said, ‘it seems to me it’s a lift, not a deterioration’ to get them connected. The chief executive is referring to users who may not be using the cellular capabilities of their iPads or other tablets and are instead operating solely on Wi-Fi.

To make data plan pricing more attractive to consumers Stephenson noted that the wireless industry will experiment with charging content providers for the data used to access their websites in a type of ‘800 toll-free number’ system. Critics say this would give the upper hand to well-established companies that can afford to pay the instituted subsidy and squelch competition from cash-poor startups. The experiment will likely start within the year, though it is unknown which carriers will be taking part in the initiative.

‘It’s not us going out and mandating this. The content guys are coming in asking for it,’ Stephenson said. ‘If you don’t allow those kinds of models to flourish, you’re going to inhibit the potential of these services.’

Something for everyone somewhere down the line.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPhone Coming to U.S. Prepaid Carrier Cricket on June 22

// May 31st, 2012 // No Comments » // iPhone

iPhone Coming to U.S. Prepaid Carrier Cricket on June 22: “Cricket Communications today announced that it will begin offering the iPhone on June 22, becoming the first U.S. carrier to offer the device on a prepaid basis with no contract. Service will cost $55 per month and include unlimited voice and SMS, as well as ‘unlimited’ data with a soft monthly cap of 2.3 GB after which speeds will be throttled.

Cricket Communications, Inc., a leading provider of innovative and value-driven wireless services, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Leap Wireless International, Inc., announced today that it will be the first pre-paid carrier in the US to offer iPhone to its customers. Beginning on Friday, June 22, Cricket will offer iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 with its $55 per-month, all-inclusive unlimited talk, text and data plan. […]

‘Our customers want the best products available and we are excited to bring iPhone to our pre-paid consumers with an industry leading $55 per-month service plan,’ said Doug Hutcheson, president and chief executive officer, Leap Wireless International, Inc. ‘Launching iPhone is a major milestone for us and we are proud to offer iPhone customers attractive nationwide coverage, a robust 3G data network and a value-packed, no-contract plan.’



Interestingly, Cricket appears to be offering a partial subsidy on the iPhone hardware, with the iPhone 4 priced at $399.99 and the 16 GB iPhone 4S priced at $499.99. The discounts of $150 off of Apples standard pricing for unlocked handsets are in place even though customers are not required to sign service contracts.

The iPhone will be offered in Cricket’s existing core markets covering over 60 million people. The full list of iPhone markets is included on the carrier’s iPhone site.

Cricket has entered into a three-year deal with Apple with a commitment to purchase at least $900 million worth of iPhone hardware over that term. The carrier also intends to carry new iPhone hardware as it becomes available, although company executives were unwilling to directly address whether Cricket would be able to offer new hardware at the same time as other carriers.

Cricket is generally considered one of roughly half a dozen ‘super-regional’ carriers in the United States, with just under 6.2 million customers as of the end of the first quarter. The carrier offers a nationwide network through roaming agreements and its prepaid model offers simple pricing with no activation fees or overage charges.

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Does iPhone’s Siri have loose lips?

// May 23rd, 2012 // No Comments » // iPhone

Does iPhone’s Siri have loose lips?: “If you work for IBM, you can bring your iPhone to work, but forget about using the phone's voice-activated digital assistant. Siri isn't welcome on Big Blue's networks.

Report Claims 7-Inch iPad in August, New iPhone in September, New 10-Inch iPad by End of Year

// May 9th, 2012 // No Comments » // iPad, iPhone

Report Claims 7-Inch iPad in August, New iPhone in September, New 10-Inch iPad by End of Year: “Digitimes has had a hit-or-miss track record when it comes to Apple rumors, but with the site having offered some accurate information in the past, its claims continue to be closely watched. In its latest report, the site lays out a timeline for Apple’s iPhone and iPad plans for the remainder of the year, basing its claims on sources within Apple’s supply chain.

The report focuses on Pegatron, which has served as an alternate assembly partner to Foxconn for a number of Apple products. According to Digitimes, Pegatron has landed orders for both a new iPhone planned to launch in September and a new iPad scheduled to debut ‘in the fourth quarter’.

The iPhone claim appears to be a reasonable one given current thinking that Apple will return to a roughly one-year interval between iPhone updates, with a September launch coming just under a year after the early October introduction of the iPhone 4S last year.

But the iPad claim is a more troublesome one, as Apple has so far stuck to a yearly schedule for iPad hardware updates centered around the March-April timeframe. A late 2012 release of a new ’10-inch iPad’ presumably arriving as a next-generation version of the current device would mark a significantly shorter lifecycle for the current model than would be expected.

Similar rumors of a late-year iPad update surfaced last year before being quashed amid reports that work on the new Retina display would keep Apple on its yearly update cycle.



Mockup of 7.85-inch iPad next to an iPhone (courtesy of CiccareseDesign)


Digitimes makes one final claim in its latest report, indicating that Foxconn will be a manufacturing partner for a smaller 7-inch iPad, which is planned for release in August. Claims of such a device have been circulating for some time with some reports similarly pointing to a Q3 launch, and it seems likely that Apple has at least toyed with the idea. It is unclear, however, whether the company truly has any intentions of bringing it out of its design lab.

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More Claims of Taller, Thinner Next-Generation iPhone with 4-Inch Screen and New Dock Connector

// May 3rd, 2012 // No Comments » // iPhone

More Claims of Taller, Thinner Next-Generation iPhone with 4-Inch Screen and New Dock Connector: “iLounge reports on information its has received regarding the next-generation iPhone, claiming that Apple will indeed be making the move to a 4-inch display by increasing the height only has had been previously speculated. To accommodate the taller screen, the body of the device will also become slightly taller, but it will also see an approximately 20% reduction in thickness.

What we’ve learned: the new iPhone will indeed be longer and thinner than the iPhone 4 and 4S. Approximate measurements are 125mm by 58.5mm by 7.4mm—a 10mm jump in height, nearly 2mm reduction in thickness, and virtually identical width. According to our source, Apple will make one major change to the rear casing, adding a metal panel to the central back of the new iPhone. This panel will be flat, not curved, and metal, not ceramic. Our artist’s rendition provides a rough idea of what this change will look like; it echoes the current-generation iMac design, to be sure.





The report also claims that Apple will be adopting the rumored smaller dock connector for the device, which will be ‘closer to a pill shape’ than the existing connector.



iLounge has offered some correct information in the past, and was rather accurate in its claims regarding the latest iPad. Not all of the site’s claims came to fruition, however, with the new iPad’s front-facing camera failing to gain HD resolution and Apple offering no sign of an enhanced smart cover for the device.

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Rumor: Apple’s next-gen iPhone to be thinner, incorporate 4-inch screen, utilize metal backing and new dock connector

// May 3rd, 2012 // No Comments » // iPhone

Rumor: Apple’s next-gen iPhone to be thinner, incorporate 4-inch screen, utilize metal backing and new dock connector: “

There’s got to be some element of truth here…

Per iLounge, Apple’s next-gen iPhone will be slightly taller to accommodate a 4-inch screen with a new aspect ratio, will feature a redesigned dock connector, and will also have a new metal panel on the back side, a new report claims.

The latest rumors about Apple’s sixth-generation iPhone stated that the new iPhone will be about 10 millimeters taller, giving it dimensions of 125 millimeters tall, 5.8 millimeters wide and 7.4 millimeters thick. That’s about 2 millimeters thinner than the current iPhone 4S, with essentially the same width as the current model.

Because the new iPhone will allegedly be the same width, that would mean that new applications would need to be designed to work with the handset. The taller screen would have more pixels at the top and bottom, giving it a different aspect ratio.

‘According to our source, Apple will make one major change to the rear casing, adding a metal panel to the central back of the new iPhone,’ the report said. ‘This panel will be flat, not curved, and metal, not ceramic.’

Author Jeremy Horwitz also added that the new iPhone is expected to be partially made from Gorilla Glass 2, which offers identical strength to the original Gorilla Glass with a thinner design. At just 0.8 millimeters thick, Gorilla Glass 2 can withstand 121 pounds of pressure.

Finally, the report also claimed that the next iPhone will have a new, smaller dock connector that will be ‘a little larger’ than the bottom speaker and microphone ports on the existing iPhone 4S. The new port was described as ‘a pill shape,’ and is believed to have just 16 pins, compared to the current 30-pin dock connector.

‘It will be used in all upcoming devices, including an update to the iPod touch that’s expected this year, and will almost certainly feature a similarly updated screen and CPU,’ the report said.

In March, iLounge reported that Apple was working on a new case for the iPad that would protect not only the front screen, as the current magnetic Smart Case does, but also the aluminum back panel of the device. The site credited a ‘repeatedly reliable source,’ but such a case has not yet been released.

The rumors come on the heels of a new component claimed to be the SIM card tray for Apple’s next-generation iPhone. A home button also purported to be from a prototype Apple handset also appeared, but no components thus far have given any concrete indication that the next iPhone’s design will be a radical departure from the look of the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S.

Still, there has been rampant speculation that Apple’s next iPhone will have a redesigned exterior. Rumors of unibody enclosures, larger screens and thinner form factors have all cropped up in recent months.

Early prototyping of the next iPhone is believed to be underway ahead of a launch anticipated this fall, one year after the debut of the iPhone 4S. In March it was said that Apple was reviewing potential components for the new iPhone.

Rumors surrounding the next iPhone have picked up steam in recent weeks, as one report said the handset will feature Qualcomm’s ‘MDM9615″ LTE 4G chip for high-speed wireless connectivity. Reports have also claimed that the next iPhone will adopt in-cell touch panel technology, which will allow Apple to make the next iPhone thinner by 0.44 millimeters, or fit in a larger battery.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

AT&T to begin unlocking off-contract iPhone units beginning April 8th

// April 6th, 2012 // No Comments » // iPhone

AT&T to begin unlocking off-contract iPhone units beginning April 8th: “

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As much as AT&T may drive you crazy, you might like this.

Per Electronista and Engadget, AT&T will begin unlocking certain iPhones in the (very) near future. As of April 8, customers that are either out of contract or bought contract-free will have the option of derestricting the phone’s SIM slot much like the already-unlocked iPhones sold at Apple retail stores. The only other condition was to have a healthy account.

“Beginning Sunday, April 8, we will offer qualifying customers the ability to unlock their AT&T iPhones,” a spokesman said. “The only requirements are that a customer’s account must be in good standing, their device cannot be associated with a current and active term commitment on an AT&T customer account, and they need to have fulfilled their contract term, upgraded under one of our upgrade policies or paid an early termination fee.”

The initiative follows a number of complaints that led to Apple’s Tim Cook taking action and arranging for a handful of case-by-case unlocks. Other carriers worldwide have been offering after-sale iPhone unlocks, most notably in Canada, but AT&T until now has declined to do it, even for customers who paid the unsubsidized price.

More incentive exists for AT&T to unlock phones now that its spectrum refarming gives a real chance that its 3G network, and future 4G LTE network, will work properly with existing iPhones. A SIM unlock was previously only useful for those either willing to limit themselves to 2G data or who were traveling and wanted a much less expensive local SIM card instead of AT&T’s roaming plans.

If you go through the unlocking experience, please let us know how it went and stay tuned for additional details as they become available.