Softbank Begins Giving Away Free iPhones to New Customers

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Date: Friday, February 27th, 2009, 08:41
Category: iPhone

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Softbank Mobile, Apple’s iPhone carrier in Japan, plans to introduce a new program Friday that will give some iPhone handsets away for free with a new two-year contract.
The 8GB iPhone 3G handset will be offered for free to new subscribers starting a calling plan today, though this may be likely to disappoint those who paid the equivalent of US$235 (22,782 yen). According to CrunchGear, Softbank is also reducing the price of the 16GB version from US$350 to US$118 as part of the new “iPhone for everybody Campaign.”
The wireless carrier has also cut the cost of its cost of its maximum data plan rate from US$62 a month to US$45.60 a month. Voice calls and texts are free among Softbank customers, but if your friend or colleague is an NTT DoCoMo customer, charges can start to accumulate quickly at 20 cents for a 30-second call.
There’s no clear indication as to whether Softbank is cutting prices in response to demand, but Apple COO Tim Cook noted during last month’s earnings conference call that the company considers the price of the iPhone “clearly elastic,” meaning that every time it has dropped the price, demand has increased.
If you’re in or around the Japanese marketplace and have noticed this offer, let us know in the comments or forums.

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First-Gen MacBook Air Owners Cite Flaw in Hinge Construction

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Date: Friday, February 27th, 2009, 07:42
Category: MacBook Air

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Given what you paid for the first-gen MacBook Air notebook, Hulking out may be entirely permissible given the following news: a number of owners of the notebook have cited a fundamental flaw in the notebook’s hinge constructions.
According to MacNN, a number of users on the Apple Discussions board have noted that, after several months of use, hinges can become unreasonably loose, sometimes enough for a lid to travel or close completely without any help. In extreme cases hinges may break entirely, rendering an Air useless as a portable device.
The problem may be especially critical as some Apple Store Genius Bars are reportedly refusing to honor warranties, with or without AppleCare, on the basis that the damage is thought to be “accidental” rather than an inherent problem. The Air hinges are also divided in two, as in some older Apple notebooks, and embedded into the lid, meaning that people affected by faulty hardware may have to pay as much as US$900 for repairs due to the cost of the associated display.
Some Apple Store locations have cited that they’d be willing to cover repairs under warranty. The problem appears to be absent from second-generation MacBook Air notebooks, though Apple has yet to officially recognize the issue, which could represent the second major flaw to affects Airs following the discovery of graphics corruption.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen this problem on your end, please let us know in the comments or forums.

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Truphone Adds Skype Support for iPhone, iPod Touch

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Date: Friday, February 27th, 2009, 07:37
Category: Software

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Software developer Truphone announced yesterday that the company has added Skype support for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch handsets. Per the press release, users can now instant message their Skype contacts as well as make and receive Skype-based calls to users on their contact list.
To begin, download Truphone for iPhone or iPod Touch, go to the IM screen in the iPhone application (the IM/More screen in the iPod touch application). If you cannot see this screen, select it from within the “More” screen.
Once here, select Skype from the setup screen, sign in using your Skype account details.
Once logged in, you will now see all of your Skype contacts and you will be ready to start.
Skype-based calls within Wi-Fi areas as well as instant messages will be free and users can make Skype-based calls and send Skype instant messages using Truphone Anywhere, which will use your data package to connect the call or send the instant message.
Truphone is a free download and requires iPhone OS 2.1 or later to install and run.
If you’ve tried Truphone for the iPhone or iPod touch and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments or forums.

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PowerPage Podcast Episode 106

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Date: Friday, February 27th, 2009, 00:02
Category: Podcast

PowerPage Podcast Logo 2008Episode 106 of the PowerPage Podcast is now available. You can either download it from the iTunes Store or directly (1’28:39, 35.56 MB, MP3).
Your panel: Jason O’Grady, Rob Parker, Youngmoo Kim and Tom Hesser.
Topics include: This week we have a netbook death match between the Acer Aspire One and the Dell Mini 9 and we discuss the leaked Mac mini video, Safari 4, iTunes Pass, free Omni apps, Apple TV 2.3.1, the MobileMe update and we play “What’s on your Mac?” Featuring: Jason O’Grady, Rob Parker, Youngmoo Kim and Tom Hesser. (2009-022618)
What’s on your Mac?:

  • Rob:

    • TickerMenu ($9) – Stock quotes in your menu bar.
  • Tom:

    • DropBox – Seamlessly sync your files between your computers and the Web.
  • Youngmoo:

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Subscribe to the PowerPage Podcast directly in iTunes or add the Podcast RSS feed to the newsreader of your choice.
PowerPage Podcast theme music is generously provided by The Tragically Hip. Pick up their new release “We Are The Same” on iTunes.
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