AT&T to introduce HD Voice later this year, iPhone 5 users rejoice

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Date: Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013, 06:02
Category: iPhone, News

If you’re an iPhone 5 user, your call quality with AT&T should improve this year.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog and AllThingsD, when Apple introduced the iPhone 5 last year, Apple’s Senior VP of Marketing Phil Schiller explained that Apple updated the iPhone 5’s entire audio system. In addition to the inclusion of three microphones and an improved speaker design, Schiller also boasted that the iPhone 5 featured a technology dubbed wideband audio, otherwise known as HD Voice technology.

Phil Schiller said the technology was capable of delivering amazing sound performance and described it thusly:

In a typical cellphone call, this is what it looks like. The frequency of the data in your voice is compressed around the midrange to help make that call sound more intelligible, but it doesn’t sound entirely natural all the time. So with wideband audio we can fill up more of the frequency spectrum and make your voice sound even more natural.

In order to take advantage of the much improved call quality, however, the technology must be supported by the carrier and both devices on a particular call.

When Apple first introduced the iPhone 5, Schiller said that 20 cellphone carriers worldwide would be ready to support the iPhone 5’s wideband audio technology at launch. Notably, no US carriers were part of that original grouping of 20.

But that’s all poised to change.

According to statements made by AT&T senior VP Kris Rinne on Tuesday at the VentureBeat Mobile Summit indicating that Ma Bell is planning to roll out support for wideband audio later this year.

“HD Voice is part of our voice over LTE strategy,” Rinne explained.

Of course, this is welcome news for AT&T subscribers who have long complained of subpar call quality measured against other US carriers like Sprint and Verizon.

Rinne also added that AT&T is taking other measures to improve call quality on its network.

Rinne, who oversees network technologies for the carrier, said that the carrier will also begin work on so-called advanced LTE which does things to reduce interference and bond together traffic from various frequencies.

Sprint is reportedly interested in supporting HD Voice as well, though a timetable for such support wasn’t specified.

So, if you ever felt your iPhone 5’s call quality was just slightly short of stellar, this should help. Verizon users, on the other hand, will have to wait until 2014 for HD Voice support.

Rumor: Unlocked GSM iPhones could go from 2G EDGE to LTE on T-Mobile network, firmware update possible

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Date: Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013, 13:31
Category: iOS, iPhone, Rumor

Bring your iPhone over to the right carrier and nifty things can happen.

Per TmoNews, T-Mobile customers that brought their iPhones over to the carrier will see feature enhancements and perhaps even a data speed boost when the carrier rolls out an update on Friday.

The web site carried an image of a leaked screenshot showing a carrier update set for April 5. The update will bring features like Visual Voicemail, and MMS Settings, as well as “Network/Device optimizations that customers do not have access to today.”

While unconfirmed, it is possible that these “optimizations” will give current iPhone owners on T-Mobile access to the network’s LTE network. Currently, data speeds for iPhones on T-Mobile’s network top out at 2G EDGE levels. The iPhone 5, when it reaches T-Mobile, will be able to take advantage of the carrier’s new high-speed network.

Apple’s iPhone 5 will make its official debut on T-Mobile on April 12, for US$99 on the carrier’s new UNCarrier payment plans. The OTA update for current T-Mobile iPhone users will go out to devices running iOS 6.1.x or higher beginning April 5.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Firefox updated to 20.0

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Date: Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013, 09:12
Category: News, Software

elfirefox

And just a few years ago, they were at version 3.0…

On Tuesday, Mozilla.org released version 20.0 of its Firefox web browser. The new version, a 38.3 megabyte download and adds the following fixes and changes:

New:
– Security fixes.

– Per-window Private Browsing.

– New download experience.

– Ability to close hanging plug-ins, without the browser hanging.

– Continued performance improvements around common browser tasks (page loads, downloads, shutdown, etc.).

– Continued implementation of draft ECMAScript 6 – clear() and Math.imul.

– New JavaScript Profiler tool.

– getUserMedia implemented for web access to the user’s camera and microphone (with user permission).

Various:
– Details button on Crash Reporter.

– Unity plugin doesn’t display in HiDPI mode.

Known Issues:
– If you try to start Firefox using a locked profile, it will crash.

– Some function keys may not work when pressed.

– Browsing and Download history clearing needs unification to avoid confusion on clearing download history.

– Download statusbar add-on continues downloading files from Normal.

– Browsing, when switching to Private Browsing.

– Copy actions are broken on HTML5 videos.

Firefox 20.0 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.

If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

First “iSteve” parody trailer goes online

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Date: Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013, 07:34
Category: News

To everything, there’s a parody.

The first trailer for the “iSteve” parody has gone online, the movie will be released in theaters on April 15th and you guys can decide what you make of Justin Long as Apple co-founder Steve Jobs:

Apple seeds first OS X 10.8.4 beta to developer community

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Date: Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013, 06:54
Category: News, Software

That OS X 10.8.4 goodness you’re looking for…it just entered its first beta.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Monday began seeding the OS X 10.8.4 beta to developers, though not much is known about the new maintenance update as little information was offered in the release notes.

According to sources familiar with the release notes, build number 12E27 doesn’t show any changes in the areas on which developers should focus, suggesting the software contains bug fixes and small enhancements at this time.

Like the final OS X 10.8.3 betas, the first 10.8.4 seed asks testers to look at Wi-Fi, Graphics Drivers and Safari, while the seed comes with no known issues.

Interestingly, Apple said it is not offering the build as a software update through the Mac App Store, as it did with the 10.8.3 builds. This may change with future seeds, but the company didn’t elaborate further.

The new seed come a over two weeks after Apple released OS X 10.8.3 to the public with Safari 6.0.3 and enhanced iTunes integration. Along with the new feature set, 10.8.3 brought bug fixes and wider support for Windows 8 in Boot Camp.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple to announce Q2 2013 earnings statement on April 23rd

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Date: Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013, 06:45
Category: Finance, News

applelogo_silver

It’s about that time again.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Apple updated its investor relations page on Monday to reveal that the company will post its earnings results for Q2 2013 on Tuesday, April 23. Per usual, an earnings conference call will follow at 5 p.m ET. Typically, this is where CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer go over Apple’s earnings in further detail and answer an assortment of questions from analysts.

Naturally, all eyes will be on Apple and its perceived ability to maintain the tremendous growth it has enjoyed over the past few years.

Stay tuned for full coverage of the event throughout the day.

Celebrating World Backup Day (a Day Late…)

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Date: Monday, April 1st, 2013, 06:48
Category: News

backupdrive

It may be a bit of a chore, but yesterday (which was also Easter) was the official day for it.

Per a nifty guide over at The Unofficial Apple Weblog, Sunday was World Backup Day with many in the tech industry encouraging users to take some time to back up their Mac and iOS devices.

In short, this means users should back up every Mac, PC and mobile device they can get their hands on, if only to avoid some much-dreaded grief down the road.

Head on over, take a look at the guide and let us know what your favorite backup method is over in the comments.

Leaked Blackberry product roadmap shows potential iPad competitor on the horizon

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Date: Monday, April 1st, 2013, 06:45
Category: Hardware, iPad, News

blackberry

You may not love and adore Blackberry, but it looks like the company intends to stick around long enough to release a tablet competitor to the iPad.

Per @BB10Leaks and TechnoBuffalo, Canadian manufacturer BlackBerry appears to be readying another go at the tablet sector, as an image purporting to be a leaked product roadmap shows a potential iPad competitor slated for a late 2013 release.

The supposed product roadmap appeared Friday in a tweet and appears to show BlackBerry’s forthcoming products through the second quarter of 2014. In addition to the already released Z10 and its hardware QWERTY keyboard sporting counterpart, the Q10, the roadmap shows a tablet, a phablet, and a phablet-esque device with a hardware QWERTY keyboard of its own.


bb10-product-leak-130330

The iPad competitor appears to be named the B10. The roadmap gives no details on its dimensions or specifications, but it looks to be a large tablet in the vein of Google’s Nexus 10 and Apple’s full-size iPads. Should the device materialize, it would represent BlackBerry’s second attempt at breaking into the tablet segment.

The Canadian manufacturer previously released a 7-inch PlayBook tablet, meant to provide enterprise-minded customers with a more portable alternative to Apple’s iPad, which dominated the tablet segment then as it does now. Poor software implementation and developer support, though, doomed the PlayBook to sluggish sales even as Apple’s tablet moved to greater heights. Eventually, then-RIM’s inventory of unsold PlayBook units caused the company to take a US$485 million charge.

With the launch of BlackBerry 10, though, the manufacturer has seen encouraging signs. BlackBerry’s most recent financial figures revealed one million Z10’s shipped since the device’s launch in February. That, in combination with drastic cost reductions, led to BlackBerry’s first profitable quarter in some time.

A new tablet would help flesh out the range of devices BlackBerry offers, making it a more capable alternative for customers looking outside of Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Speaking earlier in March, BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said that the company would have to do something “really substantial and meaningful… [and] profitable as well,” if it were to enter the tablet space again.

Should the leaked roadmap prove accurate, BlackBerry’s tablet will see release some time in either the third or fourth quarter of 2013. It would be followed shortly thereafter by a large-screened BlackBerry 10 device, apparently dubbed the U10. That device — likely a “phablet” in the vein of Samsung’s Galaxy Note II — may be the rumored Aristo device that surfaced late last year. Following the phablet’s release, another large-screened model would follow quickly thereafter, this one sporting a hardware QWERTY keyboard much like BlackBerry’s forthcoming Q10.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.