Apple now offering unlocked, contract-free iPhone 4S units via online store to U.S. customers

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Date: Friday, November 11th, 2011, 10:40
Category: iPhone, News

You’ve wanted it since 2007 and it’s finally here.

Per AppleInsider, Apple has begun offering its unlocked iPhone 4S contract-free from the online store.

The unlocked iPhone 4S starts at US$649 for the 16GB model, while customers can also get a 32GB option for US$749, or 64GB for US$849. All three models are estimated to ship within one to two weeks when ordered from Apple’s online store.

The unlocked iPhone 4S is only supported on GSM networks, like AT&T in the U.S. Users can also obtain a micro-SIM card to use on overseas carriers when traveling abroad.

Customers of CDMA networks, like Verizon and Sprint, should not buy the unlocked iPhone 4S, because it cannot be activated on their networks, even though the iPhone 4S is a “world phone” compatible with both GSM and CDMA networks.

“If you don’t want a multiyear service contract or if you prefer to use a local carrier when traveling abroad, the unlocked iPhone is the best choice,” Apple’s official product description reads.

“It arrives without a micro-SIM card, so you’ll need an active micro-SIM card from any supported GSM carrier worldwide. To start using it, simply insert the micro-SIM card into the slot on your iPhone and turn it on by pressing and holding the On/Off button for a few seconds. Then follow the onscreen instructions to set up your iPhone.”

The company warns that a credit check may be required for customers to buy the unlocked iPhone 4S, and the handset is only available to buy for customers who are 18 or older.

Apple first revealed that the new iPhone 4S would be sold unlocked and contract-free in October. The sale of the unlocked iPhone 4S at Apple’s online store in the U.S. means the company met is previously promised deadline of November.

The unlocked iPhone 4S arrives five months after Apple began selling the GSM iPhone 4 unlocked in June. The contract-free iPhone 4 also carried a starting price of $649 for 16GB.

Stay tuned for additional details and while it may be pricey, it’s the unlocked, contract-free freedom you’ve been hankering for.

Sprint to require locked SIM cards on iPhone 4S units starting today

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Date: Friday, November 11th, 2011, 05:35
Category: iPhone, News

You might not be crazy about this.

Per SprintFeed, new iPhone 4S users on Sprint will have the SIM card locked from Friday, November 11 onwards, a last-minute leak uncovered. The activation process from here onwards will require that customers at least initially use a Sprint SIM when traveling abroad. Sprint’s memo allows for an unlock through the Worldwide team, although it didn’t reaffirm whether this was possible for free following the 60-day window mentioned earlier.

Existing subscribers whose iPhones were already activated before November 11 should still keep their unlocked SIM slots and have the freedom right away to use a GSM carrier’s SIM.

The move adds a restriction and, during the period that the SIM card is locked, will make customers pay more than they have to for roaming. If a temporary lock, however, it’s most likely to prevent customers from exploiting Sprint to buy an unlocked phone, cancel service, and promptly go to another carrier or another country with a fully functioning GSM device.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases MacBook Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.5 for unspecified MacBook Pro notebooks

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Date: Friday, November 11th, 2011, 05:37
Category: MacBook Pro, News, Software

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In addition to the AirPort Base Station and Time Capsule firmware updates, Apple on Friday also released MacBook Pro SMC Firmware Update 1.5, which reportedly “resolves an issue where a MacBook Pro being used with a power adapter may unexpectedly shut down under heavy workload if the battery charge level is near empty.”

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, it’s not entirely clear which models of MacBook Pro are covered by this firmware update.

The update can be located, snagged and installed via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update feature and requires a MacBook Pro running Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later on the Mac OS X 10.6 end and Mac OS X 10.7.2 or later for the Mac OS X 10.7 end to install and run.

This one’s still sort of up in the air, so if you’ve tried the firmware update and noticed any major changes, please let us know in the comments.

Apple releases Bases Station, Time Capsule Firmware Update 7.6

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Date: Friday, November 11th, 2011, 05:07
Category: News, Software, Time Capsule, wireless

Early Friday, Apple released AirPort Base Station and Time Capsule Firmware Update 7.6 for its AirPort Express, 802.11n AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule models.

The update, a 4.6 megabyte download, provides fixes for the following:
- An issue with performance on overlapping wireless networks.

- An issue with AirPlay audio streaming.

- An issue with configuring multiple entries for DNS servers.

To install the update, use the following steps:
- Open AirPort Utility (in your /Applications/Utilities folder). If there are no other important issues displayed, the base station in need of an update will be selected and the version information will be displayed).

- Click “Update Firmware”.

- Follow the prompts.

The update takes about two minutes to install and reboot the device from there and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the firmware update and noticed any major changes, please let us know in the comments.