Apple begins taking iPhone 4S preorders, reveals that unlocked model won’t work on CDMA networks

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Date: Friday, October 7th, 2011, 06:31
Category: iPhone, News

Apple on Friday began taking preorders for the iPhone 4S, and also revealed its next-generation handset will be sold unlocked and contract-free in November starting at US$649.

Per AppleInsider, the unlocked iPhone 4GS will only work on supported GSM networks, like AT&T in the U.S. But it will not work with any CDMA carriers, including Verizon Wireless or Sprint.

Customers who buy an unlocked iPhone 4S will be able to use the handset internationally on GSM networks. They must obtain a micro-SIM card from a local GSM carrier to put in the handset.

When it was announced on Tuesday, the iPhone 4S was unveiled as a “world phone,” meaning it is compatible with both CDMA and GSM networks. But customers who want to operate the handset on a GSM network, like Verizon, the largest carrier in the U.S., will need to buy Apple’s latest smartphone with a new two-year contract.

“The unlocked iPhone includes all the features of iPhone but without a contract commitment,” Apple’s description reads. “You can activate and use it on the supported GSM wireless network of your choice, such as AT&T in the United States.”

The contract-free iPhone 4S is available in all three standard capacities, and is priced at US$649 for 16GB, US$749 for 32GB and US$849 for 64GB. It will be available in both black and white.

When the iPhone 4S is delivered in November, it will arrive without a micro-SIM card. By inserting a card and turning on the phone, users will be able to activate the device by following the onscreen instructions without tethering to a Mac or PC, a new feature made possible by the PC-free setup in iOS 5.

Apple has warned that a credit check may be required for customers who purchase the unlocked GSM iPhone 4S in November. In addition, customers must be at least 18 years of age to buy.

The unlocked iPhone 4S will arrive only a few months after Apple began selling the GSM iPhone 4 unlocked in June. The contract-free iPhone 4 also carried a starting price of US$649.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have any thoughts on this, please let us know what’s on your mind in the comments.

Parallels Desktop updated to 7.0.14924.699487

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Date: Friday, October 7th, 2011, 05:00
Category: News, Software

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On Thursday, Parallels released version 7.0.14924.699487 of its Parallels Desktop virtualization software. The new update, a 289 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

– Add support for Windows 8 Developer Preview (new Windows 8 installation is recommended after installing the update).

– Improve compatibility with Quicken 2011.

– Improve support for Autodesk 3ds Max 2012.

– Optimize CPU usage when Parallels Desktop is idle.

Parallels Desktop 7 retails for US$79.99 and requires a 64-bit Intel-based processor, Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later, 2GB of RAM (4GB recommended to run Windows 7), at least 700 MB of space available on the boot volume for Parallels Desktop installation and 15 GB of available disk space for Windows.

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

Sprint confirms unlimited data plan to be available for iPhone subscribers

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Date: Thursday, October 6th, 2011, 04:58
Category: iPhone, News

With Sprint being added to the U.S. iPhone carrier list along with AT&T and Verizon, it’s time for some competition.

Per AllThingsD, Sprint will indeed offer unlimited data plans when it starts taking iPhone orders later this week.

“We will be offering the benefit of our unlimited plans that start at just US$69.99,” said spokeswoman Michelle Leff Mermelstein. Sprint’s US$69.99 plan includes unlimited data and 450 voice minutes as well as unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling. Unlimited calling and data retails for US$99.99 a month, these prices not including a $10 per month surcharge for smartphones, so iPhone users will really be paying US$79.99 and US$109.99 for their unlimited plans.

Sprint is counting on unlimited pricing to help it stand out from AT&T and Verizon — which will also carry the very same iPhone 4S. In addition, Sprint and Verizon will have the iPhone 4, while only AT&T will have the older iPhone 3GS to offer for free with a new contract.

Both AT&T and Verizon offered unlimited data plans for the iPhone in the past, but have since shifted to tiered pricing for new customers.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple unveils AppleCare+, adds limited coverage for user-caused damage

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Date: Wednesday, October 5th, 2011, 08:36
Category: iPhone, News

Always have a backup plan.

Per AppleInsider, Apple on Tuesday introduced AppleCare+ for iPhone, a new extended warranty service that combines traditional tech support, software support, and hardware support with the addition of the company’s first accidental damage plan.

Like the traditional $US69 version of AppleCare for iPhone that it replaces, the new US$99 AppleCare+ for iPhone extends an iPhone’s repair coverage and technical support to two years from the original purchase date but also adds coverage for up to two incidents of accidental damage due to an owner’s poor handling of the device.

Each accidental damage incident is subject to a US$49 service fee and is available only for the iPhone and its original included accessories. In turn, Apple promises that the replacement equipment it provides to customers taking advantage of the “may be new or equivalent to new in both performance and reliability” (meaning either a new iPhone or a certified refurbished one).

AppleCare+ also bundles standard AppleCare features, such as software troubleshooting and telephone-based technical support, while also offering customers with repair needs the option for mail-in or carry-in repairs, and an express replacement service.

iPhones that exhibit defects in materials, workmanship or see their battery charge fall by 50 percent or more from original specification, remain eligible for a replacement from Apple at no cost under the new plan. Apple also notes that customers must purchased AppleCare+ together with their new iPhone, with the safest bet being to have both items appear on the same receipt (fine print).

For Apple, the new service marks the first time that company has offered accidental coverage for drops, spills, and other incidents caused by the owner. Previously, iPhone customers seeking full coverage of their device were left to seek out pricey third-party alternatives that sell for the same price or more.

Replacement costs for an out-of-contract iPhone can cost hundreds to replace new or US$200 previously though Apple’s Out-of-Warranty Service.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases iOS 5 golden master, updated Mac OS X 10.7.2 build to developer community

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Date: Wednesday, October 5th, 2011, 04:55
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

Amidst yesterday’s hubbub about the iPhone 4S, Apple on Tuesday issued the golden master build of iOS 5 to members of its development community, along with a new build of Mac OS X 10.7.2.

Per AppleInsider, sources close to the story said the golden master build of iOS 5 is known as “Build 9A334”. It is said to be labeled as a GM, or golden master, seed, which means that it is likely to be identical to the final version of the software Apple will release to the public.

Those people said there are a handful of fixes contained in the golden master build. For example, the GM build of iOS 5 reportedly fixes an issue that existed when deleting a song or video from the Music and Videos applications on an iOS device, causing it to crash.

Developers are also notified that starting with iOS 5, AirPlay is enabled by default for video content available on applications and websites. Those with access to the golden master have also been advised that the WebKit framework in the latest build more closely matches the engine used in Apple’s Safari 5.1 desktop Web browser.

iOS 5 will be released to the public next Wednesday, Oct. 12. It will be compatible with the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, first-generation iPad, fourth-generation iPod touch, and third-generation iPod touch.

On Wednesday Apple released a new build of Mac OS X 10.7.2, known as “Build 11C73”. It is said to not contain any known issues. The forthcoming update to Lion will add support for iCloud.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple posts “Let’s Talk iPhone” media event playback on web site

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Date: Wednesday, October 5th, 2011, 04:49
Category: iPhone, News

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In case you missed it, Apple’s “Let’s Talk iPhone” media event was held yesterday and the release of the iPhone 4S seemed to impress on some levels.

For those of you looking to relive the magic or take a look at something you might have missed during the keynote, Apple has posted the playback of the event here for all to see.

If you have any feedback regarding the iPhone 4S, please let us know what you think in the comments.

Only nine days until it’s released. This is never a bad thing.

Google Chrome updated to 14.0.835.202, resolves security, stability issues

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Date: Tuesday, October 4th, 2011, 12:26
Category: News, Software

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Google Chrome, Google’s new web browser, just reached version 14.0.835.202 for the Mac. The new version, a 40.5 megabyte download, offers the following changes:

– Contains Adobe Flash Player 11 plus stability and security fixes.

Google Chrome 14.0.835.202 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run.

Apple iPhone web site hints towards at unlocked iPhone 4S model for sale

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 4th, 2011, 12:44
Category: iPhone, News

If you’re planning to snag an iPhone 4S, you might want to insure it.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog, wording on Apple’s iPhone page suggests that it will be offered unlocked. The below excerpt is directly from Apple’s FAQ for the device (relevant portions in bold for emphasis):

“If I lose my iPhone, can I buy a replacement iPhone?

Yes. You can purchase a replacement iPhone from the Apple Online Store, an Apple Retail Store, or your carrier’s store. Your price will depend on whether you qualify for a carrier subsidy. You can also purchase an unlocked iPhone from the Apple Online Store or Apple Retail Store and obtain a micro-SIM card directly from your supported GSM carrier.

When I buy from the Apple Online Store, does my iPhone come ready to use?

Yes, if you have selected a mobile phone carrier. When your iPhone arrives, all you have to do is turn it on and follow the onscreen instructions to set it up. There’s no need to call the carrier or visit a store to complete the activation. If you have selected an unlocked GSM phone, you will need to acquire a micro-SIM from the supported GSM carrier of your choice and activate it in order to use your iPhone.”

Information in a footnote on both that page and the iPhone 4S tech specs page further suggests the iPhone 4S will be available unlocked:

For those who are not qualified customers, are not eligible for an early upgrade, are purchasing an unlocked iPhone (for supported GSM wireless service provider networks only), or wish to buy an iPhone as a gift, see your carrier, an Apple Retail Store Specialist, the Apple Online Store, or an Apple Authorized Reseller for pricing.

No official pricing info for unlocked iPhone 4S models is available yet, though the 8 GB iPhone 4, available for US$99 with a 2-year contract, costs $549 without a contract. Extrapolating from the iPhone 4’s pricing suggests the following pricing scheme for unlocked models:

– 16 GB iPhone 4S: US$649 (the same as the unlocked 16 GB iPhone 4 from months back)
– 32 GB iPhone 4S: US$749 (again, same price as unlocked 32 GB iPhone 4 was)
– 64 GB iPhone 4S: US$849

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Live Blog: Apple’s “Let’s Talk iPhone” media event

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Date: Tuesday, October 4th, 2011, 09:46
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

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Ok, here are the touch points so far, as noted via the cool cats at Mac|Life:

– iOS 5 will be released on October 12th and continue to be free.

– iOS 5 will function on the iPhone 3GS, 4, iPad, iPad 2, and the two recent generation iPod touches.

– Contacts, calendar items and events will all be backed up with iCloud.

– Users will be able to turn location finding on and find friends with a “Find My Friend” feature.

– The iPod app is gone in iOS 5 and has been replaced with the iPod touch’s Music app icon.

– iCloud will debut on October 25th.

– Apple has apparently announced an updated iPod nano with FM radio, pedometer and larger buttons.

– The updated iPod nano will be available at the following price points: 8GB US$129 and 16GB for US$149.

– The updated iPod touch will be available at the following price points: 8GB for US$199, 32GB for US$299 and 64GB for US$399.

– The iPhone 5 will be available in both black and white upon release.

– The iPhone 4S will be powered by the A5 processor.

– The iPhone 4S will feature dual-core graphics, be 2x faster and function as a much better gaming device.

– Apple is citing eight hours of 3G talk time with the iPhone 4S.

– 50 hours of listening to your favorite tunes on the new battery…

– A new antenna system will switch between transmitting and receiving functions, Apple citing this as more reliable than the current iPhone 4 antenna.

– Apple is citing 2X faster downloads with the iPhone 4S.

– The iPhone 4S will function on both GSM and CDMA networks.

– A new 8 megapixel camera will offer a 3264 x 2448 resolution (Apple is stating that this is 60% more pixels than the current camera resolution).

– Camera: f/2.4 aperture, 30% more sharpness due in part to five element lenses.

– Better white balance and facial detection on the iPhone 4S camera.

– The A5 processor allows for speedier shots, Apple citing that the camera can go from the first shot to the next shot in half of a second.

– The new camera will feature 1080p HD recording, temporal noise reduction and video image stabilization.

– AirPlay mirroring will allow your iOS’s apps to be mirrored to a larger monitor via your AppleTV.

– The iPhone 4S looks exactly the same as the current iPhone 4.

– A “Siri” feature will allow you to give spoken commands (such as “What will the weather be like today?” to the device).

– Siri will allow you to reply to texts while the device is in a pocket and will allow for a reply text with a Bluetooth headset.

– Siri’s interface is both onscreen as well as audio, the feature being hardware-dependent and running on the iPhone 4S only.

– Siri will apparently read a text message to you and ask you questions as to how you’d like to reply.

– Siri can do dictations for emails too, the app placing a microphone next to the space bar in the keyboard. The app will start as a beta in the U.S., U.K., Australia, French and German with more languages and services coming.

– The iPhone 4S apparently features an identical screen size to the current iPhone 4.

– And now, your long-awaited pricing and capacities for the iPhone 4S: 16GB for US$199, 32GB for US$299 and 64 GB for US$399.

– The iPhone 3G can now be purchased new for US$49.

– Sprint has now been added to the list of iPhone wireless carriers along with AT&T and Verizon.

– Pre-orders for the iPhone 4S begin Friday, October 7th.

– The iPhone 4S will be released on Friday, October 14th.

– The iPhone 4S will be available in 22 additional countries on October 28th and reach 70 countries by the end of 2011.

That’s all for now and let us know what you think via the comments.

VirtualBox updated to 4.1.4

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Date: Tuesday, October 4th, 2011, 03:58
Category: News, Software

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VirtualBox, an open source x86 virtualization project available for free has just hit version 4.1.4. The new version, a 88.9 megabyte download, sports an extensive list of changes that can be found here.

VirtualBox 4.1.4 is available for free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and an Intel-based Mac to install and run.

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