Rumor: Apple May Switch From AT&T to Verizon as Official iPhone Carrier

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Date: Wednesday, October 28th, 2009, 08:51
Category: iPhone, News, Rumor

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Should Apple end its exclusive carrier agreement with AT&T next year, it will likely mark the end of its estimated US$450 carrier subsidy for the iPhone, a new analysis has forecast.

Per AppleInsider, analyst Brian Marshall with Broadpoint.AmTech said that the “sweetheart” carrier subsidy provided by AT&T for the iPhone would not be attainable with Verizon. According to Marshall’s note to investors, the analyst believes that the iPhone will be added to the Verizon network in the second half of 2010, but not without consequences.

A non-exclusive iPhone, Marshall forecast, would command roughly a US$300 carrier subsidy. But he believes that any losses would be made up in volume, as Verizon is predicted to sell roughly 14 million iPhones in the 2011 calendar year. With an average selling price of around US$500, which would account for another US$7 billion in revenue for Apple.

“While AAPL started off with exclusive arrangements in 2007 with the original iPhone launch, the company has since migrated towards multiple carriers per region,” the note said. “In our view, diverse carrier support is a key element to driving global penetration of the iPhone (from ~3% share today of the total handset market). Therefore, we believe the chances are high the iPhone will find its way onto the VZ network in 2H10.”

Marshall’s assumption of 14 million Verizon iPhones is based on the performance Apple has had on AT&T’s network. Within six quarters of the iPhone’s launch, the handset has become 4% of AT&T’s postpaid subscriber base.

In the September quarter, the iPhone was said to represent more than 90% of AT&T’s total postpaid additions — an increase from 57% from a year earlier, and 33% in September 2007. It is based on the strength of the iPhone that AT&T has posted subscriber gains on market leader Verizon, adding 2 million customers last quarter to Verizon’s 1.2 million.

AT&T activated a record 3.2 million iPhones last quarter, of which nearly 40% were customers new to the wireless carrier. But CEO Ralph de la Vega also predicted that the iPhone will not remain exclusive to AT&T forever, though he believes his company’s portfolio will remain strong after the device jumps to other carriers.

Apple Quietly Drops Prices on MacBook Pro RAM, Processor Upgrades

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Date: Tuesday, October 27th, 2009, 04:03
Category: MacBook Pro, News

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Amidst Apple’s release of new hardware last week, the company apparently also quietly dropped the prices of additional RAM and processor upgrades on its MacBook Pro line. Per AppleInsider, Apple’s Australian online store, as of Monday, had cut prices on MacBook Pros by up to $700 AUD. The 17″ model, which previously sold for $3,999 AUD is now $3,299 AUD.

Take a look around and if you see any other price reductions, please let us know in the comments.

Current Mac OS X 10.6.2 Seed Refers to Unreleased MacBook Pro Notebooks

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Date: Monday, October 26th, 2009, 04:58
Category: MacBook Pro, News

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The latest beta seed build of Apple’s upcoming Mac OS X 10.6.2 update references a slew of new Apple notebooks. Per Spanish web site applesfera.com, entries exist in the 10C531 build that make references to “MacBook Pro 6,1″ and MacBook Pro 6,2,” neither of which exists in the market. The current MacBook Pro notebooks range between 5,1 and 5,5.

The move from 5 to 6 in the naming scheme points to these being significant revisions rather than minor refreshes. Both may be signs of early preparation for MacBook Pro portables unofficially expected at the start of 2010. Apple is likely to be one of the earliest adopters of Intel’s upcoming Arrandale processors, which in January should bring the Core i5/i7 architecture to more power-efficient dual-core chips that would fit in a thin-and-light notebook’s enclosure and require a new underlying platform.

If you’ve heard anything from your end or have any ideas as to what to expect, let us know in the comments.

Apple Releases Updated Airport Extreme Base Station, Time Capsule Units

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Date: Thursday, October 22nd, 2009, 07:17
Category: News

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Right, it’s not a huge update, but Apple’s Airport Extreme Base Station and Time Capsule received mild updates on Tuesday. The two devices are now certified to the 802.11n specification (not draft-n), and along with this certification come improvements in antenna design, which promises 50% better Wi-Fi performance and 25% better range. Per the cool cats at The Unofficial Apple Weblog, the units feature extra range via a more optimized antenna design.

The price remains the same at US$179 for the Airport Express Base Sation, US$299 for the 1TB Time Capsule and US$499 for the 2TB Time Capsule.

Apple Releases Magic Mouse, Says Goodbye to Mighty Mouse

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Date: Wednesday, October 21st, 2009, 04:20
Category: Hardware, News

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If you weren’t sure what to make of Apple’s 2005 Mighty Mouse design, it’s not a concern anymore. Per Macworld, Apple left its 2005 Mighty Mouse design behind and introduced a wireless Magic Mouse that incorporates a multi-touch surface on its top side.

The new mouse, which ships standard with the new iMac models announced today, does more than let you right- and left-click. Users can use a single finger to scroll around in any direction in supported applications.

The Magic Mouse also supports swipe gestures, though not the same ones you’ll find in Apple’s multi-touch trackpads. Swiping left with two fingers in Safari will move you back a page, and in a stack of images in iPhoto, swiping left or right with two fingers will take you to the previous or next photo, respectively.

Users can still pick up a wired version of the Mighty Mouse (which has now been rebranded as the “Apple Mouse after the company lost its rights to use the “Mighty Mouse” trademark earlier this month). In addition, the Magic Mouse uses laser tracking instead of optical tracking to make it usable on different types of surfaces.

The Magic Mouse is powered by two AA batteries, and Apple says they’ll power the mouse for approximately four months. The device can detect when it’s not in use and manage power appropriately—a power switch on the bottom can turn it on or off.

In addition to being packaged with the new redesigned iMac, the Magic Mouse is available on its own for US$69. It requires Mac OS X v10.5.8 or later with Wireless Mouse Software Update 1.0.

Apple Releases Unibody MacBook to Replace White MacBook Design

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Date: Wednesday, October 21st, 2009, 04:21
Category: Hardware, MacBook, News

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Apple Inc. on Tuesday announced an updated, unibody version to its low end MacBook notebook. The new model, available immediately, is still covered in white polycarbonate but features the same unibody construction and bright LED-backlit screens as Apple’s other laptops, as well as the same glass multi-touch trackpad found in the MacBook Pro line.

According to Macworld, the new 13.3″ MacBook still retails for US$999, but is powered by a 2.26GHz processor. It also features 2GB of 1066MHz RAM, a NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics chip, and a 250GB hard drive.

The new notebook weighs in at 4.7 pounds compared to 5 pounds for the old design and now features a non-swappable battery. Apple says that will boost battery life for the MacBook to seven hours, up from five hours in the previous model; it also means users will have to pay US$129 for replacement batteries from Apple. As a result of the battery change, the bottom of the laptop has no feet—instead, the entire bottom surface is rubberized, save for eight screws.

The redesigned MacBook case introduces at least one other change from the previous model—the FireWire 400 port is gone and Apple’s MacBook Pro offerings are now the only Apple portables with FireWire ports.

If you want to vent your spleen about the new notebook, let us know in the comments.

Apple Posts US$1.67 Profit for Q4 2009

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Date: Tuesday, October 20th, 2009, 04:57
Category: Finance, News

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In spite of a sagging global economy, Apple posted the results to its most profitable quarter ever, the company setting records for both Mac and iPhone sales. According to Macworld, the company reported a net profit of US$1.67 billion, or US$1.82 per share, on revenue of US$9.87 billion for its fourth quarter earnings.

Comparing those numbers to Apple’s year-ago figures, quarterly profits rose 46%, while earnings per share jumped 44%. Revenue increased 25% from the September 2008 quarter. At the end of the corner, the company had US$34 billion of cash on hand.

For the full 2009 fiscal year, Apple’s revenue rose 12% while its income increased 18% from 2008, according to chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer. Those increases come during what the Apple executive called “extraordinary challenging times” which have done little to slow the company’s growth.

“We are thrilled to have sold more Macs and iPhones than in any previous quarter,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a statement accompanying the earnings announcement. “We’ve got a very strong lineup for the holiday season and some really great new products in the pipeline for 2010.”

For the December quarter, Apple told analysts to expect between US$11.3 and US$11.6 billion in sales and earnings ranging from US$1.70 to US$1.78 per share. This guidance was given without accounting for a rule change in the way Apple recognizes revenue from the iPhone and Apple TV. Apple was uncertain when it would adopt the new accounting method, which was OK’d by the Financial Accounting Standards Board last month.

Over the course of the quarter, Apple sold 3.05 million Macs during the quarter (a 17 percent increase over what it sold for the same three-month period in 2008). That 3.05 million figure sets a record for Mac sales, topping the previous high-water mark of 2.61 million Macs sold during the fiscal fourth-quarter of 2008.

During the quarter, Apple sold nearly 2.3 million notebooks, with portables accounting for an astounding 74% of the Macs sold during the last three months.

“Last quarter was the quarter of the portable,” chief operating officer Tim Cook said during a Monday conference call to discuss Apple’s earnings. In response to one analyst’s comment that “the [laptop] price cut worked,” Cook responded loudly, “Yes, it did!”

Cook also said that Snow Leopard sales were stronger than Apple expected, with twice as many sales of Snow Leopard upgrades during the operating system’s first five weeks on sale than Leopard made during its first five weeks.

iPhone sales rose 7% from the year-ago quarter to nearly 7.4 million units. That compares to a little less than 6.9 million iPhones in the September 2008 quarter—a three-month period that saw Apple roll out the iPhone 3G in a number of markets around the globe.

For the quarter, Apple reported recognized revenue from iPhone handset sales of $2.3 billion, a 185% jump from US$806 million in last year’s fourth quarter.

If Apple had any disappointments in the quarter, it would be in its iPod business, where sales of the handheld music players fell 8% from the year-ago quarter to 10.2 million units. It was the second consecutive quarter where Apple saw iPod sales drop from the year-ago period.

However, Apple saw signs for optimism in its iPod numbers. According to the company, 50% of recent iPod buyers were purchasing their first iPod. What’s more, sales of the iPod touch doubled when compared to the same quarter a year ago, and Apple believes it can attract even more customers to the widescreen music player after cutting the price of the 8GB iPod touch to $199 last month.

“We believe the iPod lineup is attractive positioned for the holiday buying season,” Oppenheimer told analysts during Monday’s conference call. And that’s critical for Apple, which traditionally sees its highest iPod sales during the December quarter. In the December 2008 quarter, for example, Apple sold 22.7 million music players.

Apple Reportedly Working on FM Radio Application for iPhone, iPod Touch

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Date: Wednesday, October 14th, 2009, 06:54
Category: iPhone, iPod, News, Software

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Apple is reportedly developing an FM radio application for the iPhone and iPod touch, with similar functions now available to iPod nano users. Per 9to5Mac, the company is developing an FM radio application that would work in the background, like listening to music via iTunes, while users check email and surf the Internet.

Last month Apple added an FM radio tuner to the popular iPod nano with the ability to pause and rewind your favorite radio stations and shows while on the go.

The radio supports tagging in the US, with listeners able to buy songs they hear on air via iTunes.

According to 9to5Mac: “The holdup on this app is that Apple is trying to integrate the Mobile iTunes Store purchases into the functionality of the program.”

The website suggests Apple could could add some Shazam technology to help with those stations that don’t support tagging, which appears to be the majority of them.

Apple’s iPhones and iPods are already able to receive FM radio signals but the function has only be used for the Nike+ ecosystem until now according to 9to5Mac.

Apple Acknowledges Snow Leopard Data Loss Issue

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Date: Tuesday, October 13th, 2009, 07:35
Category: News, Software

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Since the release of Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), a number of users have reported that their personal data has gone missing after logging into their guest accounts. According to CNET, Apple now says it’s working on finding a fix.

“We are aware of the issue, which occurs only in extremely rare cases, and we are working on a fix,” an Apple representative said in a prepared statement Monday.

The statement marks the first time Apple has said it is looking into the issue. In early September, a handful of Mac users reported the issue on Apple’s discussion boards. The problem, when it occurs, goes like this: when logging into the guest account on their Mac first and then logging into their regular account, some users are finding all their data to be missing and their accounts completely reset.

This doesn’t appear to be a widespread problem and there are currently less than 100 posts on several current discussion threads on the issue. Microsoft is currently dealing with a massive data loss at its Danger subsidiary, the company it acquired that makes the Sidekick mobile phone.

Apple’s data loss issue marks the most recent significatn bug with the Mac OS X 10.6 operating system, including the Finder hanging or crashing, incompatibility with certain apps, and the AirPort connection dropping.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end, please let us know.

TechRestore Now Offering MacBook Glossy to Matte Screen Conversion for $200

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Date: Tuesday, October 13th, 2009, 04:42
Category: MacBook, News

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You either love Apple’s glossy displays or hate them with the fury of a thousand suns.

Until now, shoppers could get either a glossy or matte display with the 15″ MacBook Pro, but not the 13″ model. Per Cult of Mac, TechRestore (disclaimer: a PowerPage sponsor) has stepped in to do the “repair.” For US$200, they’ll remove your 13″ MacBook or MacBook Pro’s glossy display and slap a matte screen in its place. The work comes with a 1-year warranty and TechRestore says they’ll have your notebook back to you within 24 hours of receipt. Note that this requires a trade-in of your existing screen and it’s theirs forever.

If you’ve tried this service before, let us know in the comments.