AT&T announces data plan price increases

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Date: Thursday, January 19th, 2012, 07:13
Category: iPhone, News


You might not like this.

Per AppleInsider, AT&T has introduced new data plans for smartphone and tablet users, adding additional cap space but also charging customers more. The new plans max out at 5GB with tethering for US$50 per month.

A press release on Wednesday stated that the new rates that will take effect on Sunday, Jan. 22, marking the first change to the company’s data plans since 2010.

“Customers are using more data than ever before,” said David Christopher, Chief Marketing Officer of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “Our new plans are driven by this increasing demand in a highly competitive environment, and continue to deliver a great value to customers, especially as we continue our 4G LTE deployment.”

The new smartphone pricing is basically a US$5 surcharge for a 1 GB bump in data for DataPro users, while DataPlus subscribers will get an extra 100 MB for the same price.

Tablet owners will see a reshuffling of options as the previous 2 GB DataConnect plan is to be replaced a 3 GB per month flavor previously only available on a two-year contract. An additional 5 GB plan will also be added for US$50 per month and the lowest 250 MB plan remains unchanged.

Current subscribers can keep their existing plans or opt in to one of the new tiers when the program launches on Sunday.

Smartphone plans are as follows:
– AT&T DataPlus 300MB: US$20 for 300MB

– AT&T DataPro 3GB: US$30 for 3GB

– AT&T DataPro 5GB: US$50 for 5GB, with mobile hotspot / tethering

Additional data pricing remains at US$10 per gigabyte for the DataPro plans and US$20 per additional 300 MB for DataPlus customers.

Tablet data tiers have changed to:
– AT&T DataConnect 250MB: US$14.99 for 250MB

– AT&T DataConnect 3GB: US$30 for 3GB

– AT&T DataConnect 5GB: US$50 for 5GB

Overage charges only apply to 30-day tablet prices and include US$14.99 for and extra 250MB with AT&T DataConnect 250 MB, and US$10 per additional gigabyte for DataConnect 3 GB and 5 GB.

The new plans reflect an upward trend in cellphone and tablet data pricing from U.S. carriers as their networks strain under the pressure of a growing customer base.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

WaterBlock technology demoed at CES, could provide waterproofing shield for iOS devices

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 17th, 2012, 04:13
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News

With any luck, something will come of this.

And it will be spiffy.

Per Pocket Lint, HzO, the maker of a “WaterBlock” technology shown off at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show, has said it is in talks with Apple about using its material in future devices, including the iPhone.

HzO was promoting its nano-scale film barrier at CES last week, pitching it as a potential solution to waterproof expensive electronic equipment. One of their demonstrations included submerging an iPhone into water, and having it remain in proper working order.

HzO’s technology is similar to the nano-coating process demonstrated at CES by P2i, branded “Aridion” and profiled yesterday. A video demonstration of Aridion-treated paper also appeared recently. The technology is already in use by Motorola on both its Droid RAZR smartphone and XYBOARD tablet.

While speaking to attendees at the show, officials with HzO said that Apple is among the companies that have shown interest in the water repelling technology. Company officials said Apple was interested in making a future iPhone waterproof, potentially with a sixth-generation model expected to be released later this year.

“We expect HzO to be in next season’s phones,” the company reportedly said.

In addition to Apple, its rival Samsung is also said to have shown interest in HzO’s technology. The company said it showed a Samsung executive a waterproofed Galaxy S smartphone, and that company officials were “really excited” by what they saw.

HzO’s WaterBlock technology protects the insides of devices on a molecular scale. It has been used in demonstrations to protect a number of Apple products, including the iPhone 4S, iPads and iPods, after the material has been applied to the devices in a vacuum deposition process.

The company says that WaterBlock is a non-toxic, organic material that is safe for people to use. It also doesn’t change the aesthetics of a device or add any weight.

The technology is intended for “accidental encounters” with moisture, meaning use in deep waters or being submerged for an extended period of time is not recommended. However, HzO coated devices have reportedly been immersed in water for “many continuous hours,” and they continue to work fine.

“The technology is designed to protect against failure due to jumping in a pool and forgetting your phone was in your pocket, or dropping your iPod in the sink while doing dishes, or getting caught in a torrid rain storm and getting soaked, or leaving your smartphone in your pants when they go through the wash,” the company said.

Still, a video’s worth a thousand words, so here we go:

Let us know what you make of this in the comments.

Apple patent describes using 3D interface for iPhone

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 13th, 2012, 08:57
Category: iPhone, News, Patents


This could definitely qualify as “nifty”.

Per AppleInsider, an Apple patent filing submitted in July of 2010 and made public this week by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), details a new iPhone interface concept in which the user relies on motion controls to interact with a 3D environment. However, this is not 3D in the sense of images springing off the screen; the patent filing refers to it as 3D images built with polygons.

According to the patent application, the interface “uses orientation data from onboard sensors, like a gyroscope and compass, to navigate the system.” A picture accompanying the patent filing shows a virtual room that the user could look around in by moving their device; a “snap to” feature would allow the user to automatically switch to a specific view through a preset action, such as shaking the iPhone.

Cool stuff if it comes to fruition.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple delays iPhone 4S China retail launch as result of unruly lines, crowds

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 13th, 2012, 05:42
Category: iPhone, News

It never hurts to keep a crowd under control.

Per AllThingsD, after an unruly crowd disrupted the release of Apple’s iPhone 4S at its flagship location in Beijing, Apple has decided to postpone the sale of its best-selling handset at its official retail locations in China, though the device will still be available through its carrier partner and authorized resellers, albeit the company has confirmed that it will delay sales of the iPhone 4S at retail locations in Beijing and Shanghai.

“The demand for iPhone 4S has been incredible, and our stores in China have already sold out,” an Apple spokesperson told the publication. “Unfortunately we were unable to open our store at Sanlitun due to the large crowd, and to ensure the safety of our customers and employees, iPhone will not available in our retail stores in Beijing and Shanghai for the time being. Customers can still order iPhone through the Apple Online Store, or buy at China Unicom and other authorized resellers.”

Apple retail staff at the Sanlitun Apple Store in Beijing put signs out Friday afternoon with a note saying, “This store will not be selling the iPhone in the recent future.”

Apple had previously announced that the iPhone 4S would go on sale at its Sanlitun retail store in Beijing at 7AM local time (6PM Eastern), but altercations between scalpers and line-waiters have allegedly delayed the launch. As of 8AM, the store had yet to open.

The imminent launch of Apple’s latest handset in China had attracted thousands of customers outside the company’s five stores throughout the country. Security barricades had originally been set up to manage the crowd at the Sanlitun store earlier in the week, but they were taken down sometime on Thursday night or Friday morning.

Remnants of the crowd outside Sanlitun Apple Store in Beijing early on Friday, Jan. 13.

One journalist on location in Beijing claimed that Apple had canceled the launch because fights had broken out during the night, while some crowd members claimed Apple would take orders for the iPhone 4S at the store on Friday without distributing the devices.

Groups of professional line-waiters and scalpers could be seen congregating outside the store early Friday. As the 7AM launch time came and went without Apple opening its doors, a number of them became disgruntled. Shouts of “Open the door!” rang periodically rang throughout the crowd. At one point, a group of unhappy line-waiters left shouting profanities at Apple. Several individuals were forcefully escorted away by security officials, though it was not immediately clear why they were being removed.

It was reported on Friday that some angry customers pelted the Apple Store with eggs after it was revealed that the device would not go on sale. According to the publication, the Apple Store in the Pudong district of Shanghai opened an hour early and has begun selling the iPhone 4S.

The 16GB iPhone 4S is selling for 4,988RMB (US$790) on Apple China’s online store, while the 32GB and 64GB models sell for 5,888RMB and 6,788RMB, respectively. Estimated shipping time is currently two weeks. China Unicom is also offering iPhone 4S for free with a multi-year contract on plans starting at 286RMB (US$45).

The well-organized secondary market in Beijing has led to conflicts at the Sanlitun store in the past. Last year, the release of the iPad 2 and white iPhone 4 was marred by an incident that resulted in a broken glass door and several injuries.

In addition to China, Apple is scheduled to launch the iPhone 4S in 21 more countries on Friday.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

XtremeMac announces Tango TT dock/speaker accessory at CES

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, January 12th, 2012, 03:51
Category: Accessory, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News

This could prove nifty.

Over at CES, accessory maker XtremeMac has announced the Tango TT, a new speaker dock for iOS devices. Per iPodNN, the dock is unusual in featuring a sliding back, which can raise or lower a device for viewing at different vertical angles. It also features a flexible dock connector, which lets iOS devices (including iPads) sit in the dock in portrait or landscape orientations.

The speakers in the dock are multi-directional, and additionally support input from non-iOS devices through a line-in jack. At launch, a remote app and a photo frame app will be available to enhance use. The Tango TT is due to ship sometime this summer, but no pricing has been announced.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Corning unveils Gorilla Glass 2 at CES, material now 0.8mm thick and withstands 121 pounds of pressure

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Date: Tuesday, January 10th, 2012, 09:13
Category: Accessory, iPhone, News

Because you always wanted your iPhone to be nigh-on-invincible.

Per Gizmodo, Corning unveiled its new Gorilla Glass 2 at CES this week in Las Vegas, Nevada. While the original Gorilla Glass was about 1 millimeter thick, the new material is 20 percent thinner at just 0.8mm.

Corning said Gorilla Glass 2 will enable device makers to build thinner and sleeker devices with brighter images and greater touch sensitivity. Gorilla Glass is widely believed to be used in Apple’s iPhone and iPad, though the company has not revealed its suppliers for recent products like the iPhone 4S and iPad 2.

Product qualification and design implementation for Corning Gorilla Glass 2 is said to be underway with Corning’s customers. Devices featuring Gorilla Glass 2 will reportedly be unveiled over the coming months. While the new glass is just 0.8mm, it can withstand 121 pounds of pressure without cracking.

Corning’s special glass is 20 times stiffer and 30 times harder than plastic, thanks to a chemically strengthened alkali-aluminosilicate material. It is the most widely used cover glass, featured in more than 30 major brands and 575 different product models, with more than 500 million units sold worldwide.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPhone 4S approved by China’s Radio Management Agency, moves closer to market

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 10th, 2012, 05:53
Category: iPhone, News

If you’re over in the orient, you might appreciate this.

Per the Wall Street Journal, an iPhone 4S model compatible with China Telecom’s network has been approved by regulators.

The newspaper reported that an Apple device, model number A1387 — the same number as current iPhone 4S models — was approved by the national telecom regulator’s China Radio Management agency, and is listed as being compatible with CDMA-2000, the same 3G network technology used by China Telecom.

The device must still receive other certifications, including a network access license, before it can be sold in the country, but the approval does signal that the handset should be available on China Telecom in the near future. Currently, China Unicom is the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in China; it will launch the iPhone 4S this coming Friday.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 5.1 beta 3, areas of improvement still hazy

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, January 10th, 2012, 04:42
Category: iPhone, News, Software

It’s not as specific as you might like it to be, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Monday supplied developers with a new pre-release build of its mobile operating system in the form of iOS 5.1 beta 3.

Little is known so far about the latest beta, which was issued to test devices as an over-the-air update. iOS 5.1 beta 1 is not yet available to developers as a direct download from Apple, and as such, there aren’t yet any release notes.

The second beta of iOS 5.1 came a month ago, and gave developers the ability to delete individual Photo Stream pictures. In current, public versions of iOS, users cannot delete individual Photo Stream pictures, and must turn off the Photo Stream feature entirely if they do not want a picture to be stored on Apple’s servers.

iOS 5.1 beta 3 is compatible with the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad, and third- and fourth-generation iPod touch.

The first beta of iOS 5.1 was provided to developers in late November. It included references to a next-generation iPhone, labeled “iPhone5,1,” as well as third-generation iPad models, “iPad3,2” and “iPad3,3.”

If you’ve received the new beta and have any feedback to offer, let us know what you think in the comments.

Liquipel offers iPhone waterproofing without the need for a case

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Date: Monday, January 9th, 2012, 04:06
Category: Accessory, iPhone, News

This could be nifty.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, accessory outfitter Liquipel claims to make your smartphone water resistant by bonding it inside and out with a “nano” coating which repels water.

The downside (for now) is that you’ll have to send your device off to Liquipel for a few days for them to coat it. A rep has stated that the company is hoping to work directly with manufacturers to integrate their coating before you buy a phone. In that case, you’d buy a water resistant phone automatically, eliminating the need for a LifeProof case or OtterBox if you’re just going to have your phone by the pool.

Currently the Liquipel coating costs US$59 for a 1-2 day turnaround for coating your phone.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

China Unicom customers can snag free iPhone 4S handset after signing multi-year contract

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Date: Friday, January 6th, 2012, 09:11
Category: iPhone, News

Incentives are always a good thing.

Apple’s carrier partner in China is offering an aggressive promotion in which customers can get a brand new iPhone 4S for free if they sign a multi-year service contract.

Per Bloomberg, customers can pay as little as 286 yuan, or US$45 per month, for the plan to get a free iPhone 4S. The promotion will begin Friday, Jan. 13, which is the day the iPhone 4S will go on sale in mainland China and 21 other countries.

China Unicom subscribers can get a free 32-gigabyte iPhone 4S with a three-year service contract. And the 16GB model is available free for those who agree to a two-year contract.

The iPhone has already proven to be costly for China Unicom, as the carrier saw its 3G-related cost increase nearly fourfold in the first half of 2011. Some analysts believe the carrier’s heavy iPhone 4S subsidy will only accelerate those costs.

China Unicom’s 3G business has been a money-losing operation for the carrier through the first six months of 2011. Subsidies of smartphones reportedly accounted for 45 percent of the 3G service costs.

The subsidies being offered by China Unicom are much more aggressive than other carriers across the world. For example, in the U.S., customers on AT&T, Sprint and Verizon can get a 16GB iPhone 4S for US$199 with a new two-year plan, while the 32GB model is US$299 and 64GB is US$399.

Customers in the U.S. and some other countries to have an option for a free handset in the form of the iPhone 3GS, which was first released in 2009. That promotion started with the release of the iPhone 4S in October.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.