A new report profiling AT&T’s bandwidth troubles posed by millions of iPhone units reveals that AT&T had Apple modify the handset to ease strain on the company’s network. Per the Wall Street Journal, AT&T Chief Technology Officer John Donovan said he and other executives flew to Apple’s Cupertino, Calif., campus to give the handset maker a “crash course in wireless networking.” With regular return meetings at Apple, AT&T employees helped the iPhone designers create new technologies to limit the strain on the wireless provider.
“Apple rejiggered how its phones communicate with AT&T’s towers,” the report said. “As a result, the phones now put less of a load on the network for such simple tasks as finding the closest tower or checking for available text messages.”
Donovan told the Journal that Apple’s designers are now “in a Master’s class” on networking, having learned the basics and worked with AT&T to improve the iPhone dramatically. Exactly what changes were made, and whether they were hardware or software based, were not revealed.
The article also revealed that AT&T executives set up a 100-day play in December of 2009 to improve the company’s network in large cities where users most commonly experience dropped calls. A random performance test released in February found that AT&T’s 3G network speeds had improved by 84%.
But the Journal also noted Tuesday that AT&T is still “racing” to improve its network as Apple is rumored to be working on a CDMA capable iPhone that could be headed to the Verizon network as soon as this year.
Apple on Monday announced that its iPad tablet will go on sale this Saturday, April 3rd, at all of its 221 U.S. Apple retail locations, as well as “most” Best Buy stores.
“iPad connects users with their apps and content in a far more intimate and fun way than ever before,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in a press release. “We can’t wait for users to get their hands and fingers on it this weekend.”
Per AppleInsider, Apple will offer free personal setup service to all customers who purchase an iPad in-store. The service will help users to customize their iPad by setting up e-mail, loading software from the App Store and more.
All U.S. retail Apple stores will also hold special iPad workshops Saturday morning. The sessions will allow customers to learn more about the capabilities of the product.
In addition to Apple retail stores and Best Buy locations, Apple stated that the iPad will be sold through Apple authorized resellers and campus bookstores.
Best Buy’s also revealed its iPad sales information this weekend and went on to state that about 675 Best Buy locations with designated Apple departments will begin selling the device on April 3rd. The retail chain has also reportedly planned a promotion for the device on April 11th.
The April 3 launch will be for the Wi-Fi-only version of the iPad, which costs $499 for 16GB, $599 for 32GB and $699 for 64GB. The 3G-capable versions will be available in late April and carry a $130 premium.
Apple has apparently exhausted its supply of iPads for the U.S. market per the company’s online store.
According to Macworld UK, Apple’s store noted that pre-ordered iPads might not ship until April 12th, more than a week after the tablet goes on sale. People who placed orders before the March 27th cut-off will still receive their iPads for Saturday, April 3rd, an Apple sales representative said on Sunday.
Apple began taking pre-orders for the iPad on March 12th, when it also allowed customers to reserve the tablet for pickup at Apple US retail stores. At the time, it promised to ship pre-ordered iPads so that they would arrive 3 April.
US retails stores contacted by Computerworld said that they had also exhausted their supplies of iPads available for pick-up next Saturday. However, a salesperson at a Portland, Ore. store said that reserved iPads that are unclaimed by 3 p.m. local time would be put up for sale to walk-in customers.
iPad sales have been the target of substantial speculation since Apple started taking pre-orders three weeks ago. Investment blogger Daniel Tello has been using iPad order numbers submitted by volunteers at Investor Village’s AAPL Sanity message board to estimate pre-sales. Last Friday, Tello upped his estimate to 240,000 units , a number that did not account for in-store reservations or bulk orders by businesses, schools and other organizations.
Apple will release the WiFi-only models on April 3rd in the US. The more expensive tablets that support both WiFi and 3G connectivity can be pre-ordered, but are not scheduled to ship until later, according to Apple’s online store.
If there have been any changes in your iPad order, please let us know.
Over in the hacking domain, George Hotzhas demonstrated a new method to permanently “jailbreak” the iPhone 3GS, and he said the hack will “probably” work on the iPad, which goes on sale next week.
Per AppleInsider, Hotz, known online as “Geohot,” posted a recent blog entry including video which demoed a jailbroken iPhone 3GS being rebooted. The handset had been hacked via the first untethered method to date.
“The jailbreak is all software based, and is as simple to use as blackra1in,” Hotz said, referencing his previous iPhone 3GS crack that employed a method known as a tethered jailbreak. “It is completely untethered, works on all current tethered models (ipt2, 3gs, ipt3), and will probably work on iPad too.”
Late last year, Apple quietly updated the BootROM in the iPhone 3GS to thwart potential hackers. The change marked the first time ever that the handset maker had modified its hardware in the middle of a product line, without a new model released.
The new BootROM, known as iBoot-359.32, has proven challenging for hackers, who have only been able to implement the tethered jailbreak, which requires users to connect their iPhone to a computer via USB every time they reboot the device. Hotz claims his latest hack will not require a USB connection.
While iPhone users can rely on jailbreaking to unlock their handset for use with unauthorized carriers, the 3G-capable version of the iPad, scheduled to arrive in late April, ships unlocked by default. However, its 3G frequencies are only compatible with AT&T in the U.S.
Apple and the jailbreaking community, led by Hotz and a separate group of hackers known as the iPhone Dev Team, have gone back and forth for some time, as the Cupertino, Calif., company has looked to close avenues used by hackers. One of the main concerns about jailbreaking is piracy, as the procedure can allow users to steal software from the App Store.
As assorted publishers get their offerings ready for the launch of Apple’s long-awaited iPad tablet next week, approximately 30,000 books will be available for free via the Gutenberg Project upon the device’s release.
Per AppAdvice, reports have emerged that upon checking Apple’s iBookstore, the entire 30,000 Gutenberg Project catalog appears to be available to iPad users.
The Gutenberg Project is billed as the first and largest single collection of free electronic books, or eBooks. Michael Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg, invented eBooks in 1971 and the project is now assisted by thousands of volunteers who help digitize the books.
The catalog currently includes titles such as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana by Vatsyayana.
Earlier this week Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs confirmed in a brief email the iBookstore would offer a selection of free eBooks without elaborating on details.
The Gutenberg Project notes: “Our books are free in the United States because their copyright has expired. They may not be free in other countries. Readers outside of the United States must check the copyright laws of their countries before downloading or redistributing our ebooks.”
So, yeah, the iPad will arrive new, shiny and with something to read on it…
After months of promotion, AT&T announced that the company will begin the formal national rollout of its 3G MicroCell service next month.
Per AppleInsider, the company announced that there would be no additional costs, other than the purchase of the 3G MicroCell device, for using the 3G MicroCell service, as minutes used through the hardware affect the account of the phone making the call. Individual or Family talk subscribers can pay US$19.99 per month to make unlimited calls through the special femtocell hardware device.
The 3G MicroCell hardware itself will retail for US$149.99, but comes with a US$100 mail in rebate for customers who select a MicroCell calling plan. In addition, customers who purchase a new line of broadband service with AT&T are also eligible for a US$50 mail-in rebate. Those who select both could receive the hardware for free.
The hardware blankets a 5,000 square foot area, about a 40 foot radius from the device, to provide voice, data and text service coverage in areas that might otherwise be a “dead zone” for cell phone reception. The hardware supports up to four users making simultaneous calls, and up to 10 on 3G standby available for incoming calls and messages.
Last September, Charlotte, North Carolina served as the first test market for the femtocell device, which provides 3.2Mbit/sec 3G service from the home. In order to support that bandwidth, the device must be connected to an appropriately fast broadband connection.
AT&T was expected to expand its 3G MicroCell service to other markets in 2009, but until this week availability was limited to Charlotte. In that test, the device was said to cost US $150 and carried no monthly fees.
In February, AT&T expanded its trial of the 3G MicroCell service to five markets, adding select counties in Georgia, South Carolina, San Diego and Las Vegas.
With April 3rd only a handful of days away it’s time to dig through the Steve Jobs mail bag for some additional answers.
Per AppleInsider, a recent e-mail from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs stated the forthcoming iPad will initially be sold only in Apple retail and online stores, as well as Best Buy and not AT&T retail outlets.
A response from Jobs regarding iPad sales was brief and addressed an inquiry as to whether the iPad would be available for purchase with Apple’s authorized resellers.
“Initially at Apple Retail and online stores and Best Buy,” Jobs replied via e-mail. A copy was provided to AppleInsider.
In February, Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook revealed that the iPad would be available at Best Buy and other assisted locations. He said that other retail outlets will be added in time.
iPad users who opt for the 3G-capable hardware, which carries a US$130 premium, can add AT&T service to their device at any time without signing a contract. The carrier will offer data for US$15 per month for 250MB, or US$30 per month for unlimited access.
Other Jobs e-mails:
In addition to the comment on retail stores, Jobs has allegedly sent a number of other e-mails in recent days that have generated publicity.
In one note, Jobs was asked if there was a way to get documents onto the iPad through iWork.com or the iDisk. Jobs responded: “Yes.”
As noted around the Web, Apple has targeted business users as potential iPad customers, adding features designed to make the device attractive to the enterprise market. The iPad will sync documents with iTunes, just like the iPhone currently does, and will also access cloud, Web, and local file shares.
Stick around for additional details as they become available.
Software giant Adobe revealed on Tuesday that its Creative Suite 5 package would be unveiled on April 12th, ship about a month later and include the debut of Photoshop for the Mac as a 64-bit application.
According to AppleInsider, Adobe will begin accepting preoders on April 12th and has scheduled a launch event for CS5 at 11 a.m. Eastern which will be streamed on AdobeTV, allowing users the ability to see the features of the product. It is then the company will also announce its price and details.
Adobe’s CS5 launch Web site has been outfitted with a clock counting down the days until users can get their first official look at CS5. A handful of “sneak peek videos” are also available.
Adobe Systems Inc. announced the date during its quarterly earnings report Tuesday, in which the company revealed its profits fell 19% in its fiscal first quarter. But Chief Executive Shantanu Narayen said the company expects better results next quarter, which will feature the debut of the latest Creative Suite.
“We will be giving many more details of CS5′s features, functionality and pricing on April 12 with shipping of the English version about four weeks later,” Narayan said with analysts Tuesday.
Flash CS5, codenamed Viper, marks a new strategy for adobe in trying to maintain relevance among mobile developers. The latest version will give developers the ability to output native iPhone apps from existing Flash-related assets for release on Apple’s App Store. Adobe will offer the porting feature in response to Apple’s refusal to support Flash as a Web plugin runtime on the iPhone OS.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if there’s something you’d love to see from Creative Suite 5, let us know.
Following up on yesterday’s story about possible shortages of Intel’s new Core mobile processors contributing to the delay in the new generations of MacBook Pro notebooks, a user, according to MacRumors, e-mailed Apple CEO Steve Jobs with the following message:
“I recognize the need for secrecy etc but I am really losing heart in the lack of vision for the MBP and Mac Pros. Not expecting a response but as someone who has personally switched dozens of people onto the mac way this is a sad email for me to compose.”
Jobs got back to the reader with a short reply that simply said “Not to worry.”