AT&T revises calling plans, announces tethering for iPhone OS 4.0

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010, 05:54
Category: iPhone, News

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AT&T will be transitioning away from unlimited data plans beginning June 7th according to AppleInsider, the company introducing tethering, iPad 3G data plans capped at 2GB per month and slightly lower pricing.

The company announced this week that a new data plan for iPhone owners, dubbed “DataPro,” will be offered starting June 7th, providing 2GB of data for US$25 per month. Tethering will be available for an additional US$20 per month, and lets customers use their handset to share Internet connectivity with another device, such as a laptop. Tethering will be available this summer when iPhone OS 4.0 is released.

AT&T will also offer a less expensive data plan, called “DataPlus,” which offers 200MB for US$15 per month. The carrier noted in its press release that 65% of its smartphone customers use less than 200MB per month, while 98% use less than 2GB per month.

Customers who near their cap for the month will be sent a text message notifying them when they reach a certain usage level. For customers who exceed the cap, an extra 1GB in the DataPro plan costs US$10, and an extra 200MB in the DataPlus plan runs US$15.

Current AT&T customers are not required to switch to the new plans and sacrifice their unlimited data, but can do so without a contract extension.

AT&T also announced that it would discontinue its existing US$29.99-per-month unlimited 3G data plans for the iPad for new customers. This plan will be replaced by a no-contract plan that runs US$25 a month for 2GB of data. Customers who have the existing unlimited plan are not required to change.

Plans for voice and texting through AT&T will remain unchanged after June 7.

AT&T has long hinted that changes to its unlimited data plans were coming, as the company has faced network issues and bandwidth problems. The carrier has sought ways to encourage the heaviest bandwidth consumers to reduce or modify their usage of the AT&T network.

Last December, one AT&T executive said he believed it was inevitable that users who utilize more bandwidth than their share will have to pay more than the rest. At the time, the company said that 40% of the network capacity for AT&T is used by just 3% of smartphone users. Other reports have alleged that the average iPhone user consumes 10 times the bandwidth of a typical smartphone user.

Stay tuned for additional details and let us know what you make of this in the comments.

Adobe releases Camera Raw 6.1 update

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010, 04:37
Category: News, Software

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Early Tuesday, software giant released version 6.1 of its Camera Raw plugin, a program which delivers access to “raw” image formats in professional and mid-range digital cameras from Canon, Fujifilm, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus and others. The new update, a 61.9 megabyte download (courtesy of VersionTracker), includes the following fixes and changes:

– This new version of the Camera Raw plug-in replaces the original Camera Raw plug-in that was installed with Adobe Creative Suite 5, Adobe Photoshop CS5.

Support has been added for the following cameras:

– Canon EOS 550D (Digital Rebel T2i/ EOS Kiss X4 Digital)

– Kodak Z981

– Leaf Aptus-II 8

– Leaf Aptus-II 10R

– Mamiya DM40

– Olympus E-PL1

– Olympus E-600

– Panasonic G2

– Panasonic G10

– Sony A450

Camera Raw 6.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.

Skype 2.0 app out the door, adds for bug fixes, 3G call support

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 1st, 2010, 07:12
Category: iPhone, Software

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While you were barbecuing and watching the game, Skype released version 2.0 of its Voice over Internet Protocol app for the iPhone. The new version, which is available for free, introduces support for making calls over 3G wireless data networks.

Per Mac Observer, Skype-to-Skype calling over 3G networks is free for now, but the company plans to start charging for the service at the end of the year. While that’s bad news for users hoping to get a free ride, it’s still better than Skype’s original plan to start charging for the service this August.

Skype 2.0 also includes several performance improvements and bug fixes. The application requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later to install and run and is available here.

Apple working to include Bing within iPhone OS 4.0 web services

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 1st, 2010, 05:40
Category: iPhone, News

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Per a report by TechCrunch, Apple’s iPhone OS 4.0 will also include search and related web services from Microsoft’s Bing as well as inclusion of Google, as per usual.

The new iPhone OS won’t drop Google for Bing entirely, but will expand the number of search options iPhone users see, and apparently make those options more visible.

TechCrunch originally reported that Google would be entirely replaced by Bing search in iPhone OS 4, a claim that was later retracted in an update that said sources clarified “it’s more complicated than this” and that Apple wouldn’t be removing support for Google search.

Apple already provides an option to use Yahoo for web search in Safari, although that option is not obvious and requires visiting system settings to make the switch.

A report by Kara Swisher of the “All Things Digital” blog indicates Microsoft has been asking that Bing search be added to the iPhone’s search options for some time, and also wants to make the choice more visible to users.

Microsoft has also been in talks with Apple to get its mapping services integrated into the iPhone. Individual iPhone apps have already made use of Microsoft’s mapping services, but Apple’s own Maps app on the iPhone and iPad is hardwired to Google’s mapping services.

Last fall, Apple purchased Placebase, a mapping service designed to overlay demographic, economic and environmental data on top of maps. It has since been speculated that Apple planned to use the acquisition to either build an alternative mapping service for iPhone Maps, or more likely, add additional layers of features on top of the current Maps data to differentiate the iPhone from Google’s own map app for Android.

Last fall, TechCrunch writer Michael Arrington stated that “Apple expressed dismay at the number of core iPhone apps that are powered by Google. Search, maps, YouTube, and other key popular apps are powered by Google.” He added, “other than the browser, Apple has little else to call its own other than the core phone, contacts and calendar features.” That comment was repeated in the most recent article regarding Bing.

Arrinton’s dismissal of the iPhone OS as being little more than a client for Google services was further exaggerated by fellow writer Erick Schonfeld, who wrote “in fact, some of the best apps on the iPhone—Mail, Maps, YouTube, Search—were developed by Google.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Videos of possible fourth-gen iPhone components continue to surface

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 1st, 2010, 04:15
Category: iPhone

Apple’s good at a lot of things.

Keeping its upcoming fourth generation iPhone hardware completely under wraps isn’t one of them. Per iPhone Portugal and 9 to 5 Mac, the hardware was “delivered” to the iPhone Portugal web site with the corresponding video focusing on the sub-frame assemblies, the unit having been purchased in China by a reader.

It’s impossible to tell if the apparent iPhone frames are the real deal as they don’t appear to be stamped with an Apple logo or official tag. No actual electronics are included in the video, so there’s also a chance this could come from a Chinese knockoff.

The site goes on to say that the two frames it purchased are “more then (sic) perfect” with “no defects” and that there’s “not even one difference between the 2 we have, this seems to be made in mass production.”

Still, a picture’s worth a thousand words, so let us know what you think:





Happy Memorial Day from the PowerPage

Posted by:
Date: Monday, May 31st, 2010, 05:10
Category: Announcement

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It’s Memorial Day, the beginning of summer and we here at PowerPage will be taking the day off to spend it with friends and family.

We’ll resume our regular news coverage of all things Mac, mobile and awesome tomorrow.

In the meantime, there’s a nice day out there, friends to invite over and tasty barbecue to cook and serve.

And you should get started on that.

Have an outstanding Memorial Day and we’ll be here tomorrow.

Rumor: Apple working on next-gen Apple TV device powered by iPhone OS 4.0

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 28th, 2010, 10:07
Category: Apple TV, Rumor

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Details have emerged of a next-generation Apple TV set top box reportedly based on iPhone OS 4, powered by Apple’s custom-built A4 processor, and offering 1080P cloud-based streaming content with a price tag starting at US$99.

Per Engadget, editor Joshua Topolsky said the information came from a tip and was confirmed by a source “very close to Apple.” The new hardware will reportedly have just 16GB of storage, but will be capable of full 1080P HD video.

“Not only will this be priced to sell (like hotcakes), it seems that Apple is moving away from the model of local storage and will be focusing the new ATV on cloud-based storage (not unlike Amazon’s streaming scheme, though we’re talking instant-on 1080P, a la Microsoft),” the report said. “For those still interested in keeping their content close, there will be an option to utilize a Time Capsule as an external storage component, but the main course will be about streaming.”

The new hardware, said to be small with only a power plug and video out, was described as “an iPhone without a screen.” Sources could not say whether or not the new hardware would be compatible with software from the App Store, though Topolsky noted “it makes sense given the shared platform.”

It’s been reported that Apple will not announce the new hardware at the forthcoming Worldwide Developers Conference, but the development is currently “full steam ahead.”

The project has allegedly been in development since long before the Google TV was introduced last week. Google’s offering will run on the Android operating system, and will be integrated in set top boxes as well as on HDTV hardware itself from major manufacturers. Google TV, which will run applications from the Android Market and stream Internet video, is scheduled to be released this fall.

The current generation of Apple TV devices begin at US$229 and comes with 160GB of storage. Last September, Apple discontinued the low-end 40GB Apple TV.

The set top box software was updated last October to Apple TV 3.0. The update added a redesigned main menu that aimed to make navigating content simpler and faster. It also allowed useres to watch iTunes Extras and iTunes LP content in full screen on their TV.

However, the software update failed to boost sales for the device, and Apple executives maintained their position that the Apple TV is simply a “hobby” for the Cupertino, Calif., company. In February, Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook said the set top box market does not compare with the other categories in which Apple competes, particularly media players, smartphones and computers.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

International iPad launch underway, line of over 1,200 reported in Japan

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 28th, 2010, 05:49
Category: iPad, News

Apple’s iPad hit the international markets today with initial reports over over 1,200 lined up at Apple’s Ginza flagship store for its 8AM opening. Per Electronista, lines had started as early as Wednesday in Japan and have been matched by similar lines in Australia and Europe. Japanese pre-order numbers aren’t known, but over 900,000 allegedly ordered the tablet in Europe.

The Tokyo queue was helped by the Japanese pre-order campaign, which let customers reserve their iPads in-person rather than online. Shoppers country have also historically been more likely to line up for product launches of many kinds, not just Apple, as NTT DoCoMo saw smaller but noticeable lines for the Xperia X10 handset.

Apple has routinely had a disruptive effect on Japan, as the iPod was the first foreign MP3 player to oust the Sony Walkman from its top spot; the iPhone makes up 72 % of Japanese smartphones and a small but sizeable portion of all cellphones in the country. Few tablets are sold in Japan outside of convertible notebooks, and the relative absence of competitors may give Apple free rein in the short-term future. Sony so far has refused to enter the market quickly but has been one of the few in the region to express interest in building a rival.

Apple updates iBookstore, allows for self-published submissions

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 28th, 2010, 04:40
Category: News

Yesterday, Apple opened up the ability for individuals to submit their books to the iBookstore within the United States. Previously, aspiring authors have been able to work with third-party agggregators with whom Apple has deals, such as Lulu, Smashwords, and Ingram, these firms handling a lot of the overhead and performing tasks such as acquiring an ISBN for your book and making sure the ePub file checks out. Apple has now added e-books as an option to iTunes Connect, albeit the company does warn users that they may get paid faster by using one of those aggregators, as it doesn’t pay out until the sales meet earning thresholds in various regions.

Per Macworld UK, users will need to provide some information before your book hits the digital presses. Besides an Apple ID, you’ll need an ISBN for your book as well as a Tax ID from the IRS (also known as an Employer Identification Number).

Once your application has been approved, Apple says you can submit as many books as you want to the iBookstore. Of course, you’ll still need to create an ePub version of your title, then validate it, and finally submit it to the store for sale.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve ever published a work on your own and have anything to say about it, please let us know in the comments.

Security researchers locate additional iPhone security hole, publish findings

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 27th, 2010, 04:02
Category: iPhone, News, security

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Even if you feel absolutely secure in entering your PIN every time you unlock your iPhone, there may still be some security shortfalls. Per a blog post by Bernd Marienfeldt, Marienfeldt and fellow security wonk Jim Herbeck have discovered that plugging even a fully up-to-date, non-jailbroken iPhone 3GS into a computer running Ubuntu Lucid Lynx allows nearly full read access to the phone’s storage even when it’s locked.

The belief is that they’re just a buffer overflow away from full write access as well, which would surely open the door to making calls. Bernd believes the iPhone’s lack of data encryption for content is a real problem, and also cites the inability to digitally sign e-mails as reasons why the iPhone is still not ready for prime time in the enterprise.

Still, better that these guys found it and put the evidence in front of Apple than another party locate the security hole.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.