AT&T to Deploy HSPA 7.2 Network Ahead of Third Generation iPhone Launch

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 28th, 2009, 09:13
Category: 3G Wireless, iPhone, News

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Wireless carrier AT&T has formally announced plans to deploy its 7.2 Mbps HSPA 7.2 network this year, the deployment supporting faster iPhone models expected for release this summer.
According to AppleInsider, AT&T has stated that the HSPA 7.2 upgrade will deliver theoretical peak speeds twice that of the company’s current 3G network. The company has stated that installation will continue through 2011 and that AT&T will begin trials of LTE (Long Term Evolution), with deployment of that technology to begin in 2011. LTE plans to eventually reach theoretical peak speeds of 20 Mbps.
Both HSPA and LTE are components of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) family of technologies, which include GSM/EDGE and UMTS, the worldwide “3G” service supported by the iPhone 3G.
Because AT&T’s network is currently based on 3GPP standards, the company can deliver the upgrade to HSPA 7.2 service immediately to support faster smartphones prior to the buildout of LTE, which isn’t expected to become widely available until at least 2011-2012.
AT&T has stated that its current 3G service is available in 350 major US metro areas, with deployment in another 20 planned this year. The company stated that its new HSPA 7.2 technology “will be deployed widely in the network, with the benefits of the network upgrade to be announced on a local basis as the faster speeds are turned up.”
The company also said it will introduce “multiple HSPA 7.2-compatible laptop cards and smartphones beginning later this year.” Apple is expected to release a new iPhone model in June that supports HSPA 7.2 service. In addition to having access to a faster network, the new iPhone model is expected to have a significantly faster processor, enabling it to better handle the data it can receive, resulting in faster overall operation.
Along with the upgrade to HSPA 7.2, AT&T also reported plans to build out other network improvements this year as part of a capital investment plan costing $17-18 billion.
Elements include:

  • Near-Doubling Radio Frequency Capacity: In 2008 and 2009 to date, high-quality 850 MHz spectrum has been deployed in more than half of AT&T’s 3G network footprint to improve overall coverage and in-building reception, with additional markets planned for later in the year.
  • More Bandwidth to Cell Sites: AT&T is adding fiber-optic connectivity and additional capacity to thousands of cell sites across the country this year, expanding the critical connections that deliver traffic from a cell site into the global IP backbone network. These upgrades will support the higher mobile broadband speeds enabled by both HSPA 7.2 and LTE.
  • More Cell Sites: Deployment of about 2,100 new cell sites across the country.
  • Wi-Fi Integration: Many AT&T smartphones will be able to switch seamlessly between 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity. AT&T customers with qualifying smartphone and 3G LaptopConnect plans have access to the nation’s largest Wi-Fi network – more than 20,000 hotspots, including locations in all 50 states – at no additional charge. AT&T’s global Wi-Fi footprint covers more than 90,000 hotspots, and AT&T also can create permanent or temporary extended Wi-Fi zones in areas with high 3G network use, like a grouping of hotels or a festival.
  • MicroCells: Customer trials leading toward general availability of AT&T 3G MicroCell offerings, which utilize femtocells to enhance in-building wireless coverage.
  • Rumor: Possible Next-Gen iPhone Bezel Image Leaked

    Posted by:
    Date: Thursday, May 28th, 2009, 08:46
    Category: iPhone, Rumor

    A leak from yesterday morning may prove interesting as web site China Ontrade claims to be the first with a replacement third-generation iPhone’s bezel and says it comes “directly from [the] factory.” The design would have a black metallic frame instead of chrome, as found on the current iPhone 3G model. It also stops near the very top of the shell rather than running a complete circle like existing iPhone models, and appears to move the phone speaker significantly higher.
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    Although the authenticity of the bezel is difficult to determine, many firms in the region do have access (both authorized and unauthorized unauthorized) to parts from factories. Still, there is no way to verify that China Ontrade has the authentic part and not that for a different company’s device. Part leaks from China have nonetheless confirmed Apple products in the past, such as the unibody MacBook notebook.
    If real, the bezel would rebuff earlier beliefs that the new iPhones are internal upgrades alone rather than redesigns.

    MacUpdate, Koingo Offering AirRadar 1.1.7 for Free

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, May 26th, 2009, 11:56
    Category: Announcement, Software

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    The lads at MacUpdate and Koingo Software have announced that they will be making copies of Koingo’s AirRadar 1.1.7 wireless network scanning software available for free.
    AirRadar, which normally retails for US$10, allows users to scan for open networks and tag them as favorites or filter them out. Users can also view detailed network information, graph network signal strength, and automatically join the best open network in range.
    The application also delivers other information, including encryption status, encryption type, encryption cipher, router MAC address, first and last seen date and time, noise level, and vendor information.
    AirRadar 1.1.7 requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run and can be downloaded from here.

    iPhone OS 3.0 SDK Beta 5 Continues Next-Gen Device Pictures, References

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, May 26th, 2009, 07:47
    Category: iPhone

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    Ok, this is nifty.
    Per MacNN, images located in beta 5 of the iPhone OS 3.0 SDK provide clear references to next-generation hardware according to anecdotes. In searching for a separate file through Spotlight, one Australian developer is said to have found a collection of the PNG graphics displayed when people sync a device with iTunes. Although two of these reference the original and 3G iPhones — “iPhone1,1″ and “iPhone1,2″ — and a third refers to the second-gen iPod touch, the remaining ones are listed as black and white variants of an unknown device, “iPhone2,1.”
    The “iPhone2,1.” model number has appeared repeatedly throughout the iPhone OS 3.0 betas, but until now only as text strings. The new beta seems to lack some previously-cited devices, such as iPod2,2, iPod3,1 and iPhone 3,1 and Apple has also yet to include a “human-readable” name for iPhone2,1, leaving question marks in place of a designation.
    The PNG files discovered are low-resolution and difficult to discern, but show little if any visible distinction from the iPhone 3G. The discovery could reinforce rumors that the next iPhone will make mostly internal changes, but might also suggest that Apple is merely using placeholder art. A formal announcement of future iPhone hardware is expected at WWDC 2009, scheduled to begin June 8th in San Francisco.


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    32GB Capacity iPhone Listed in AT&T Upgrade Program

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, May 26th, 2009, 07:56
    Category: iPhone, News

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    You might want to file this under “premonitions”.
    According to Phone Arena, an AT&T upgrade program for BlackBerries has listed a 32GB iPhone as a trade-in option. Simultaneously, Canadian cellular provider Rogers may be preparing for another summer iPhone release.
    The potential discovery occurred on Friday when a BlackBerry Bold trade-up program run on behalf of AT&T, albeit via a third party, showed an “iPhone 32GB 3G” as one of the phones that can be exchanged for cash towards the Research in Motion smartphone. The RIM handset is listed as worth US$335, though it’s unlikely this is connected to any final pricing.
    It’s currently unknown as to whether this is a genuine addition or a speculative move on behalf of the company running the ad. None of the other iPhones in the list are unreleased models. However, it does follow an accidental post of a similar sort by T-Mobile Austria, which briefly showed a 32GB iPhone in its “coming soon” section only to pull it shortly afterwards.
    The 32GB iPhone listed as a trade-in choice for moving to an AT&T BlackBerry Bold.

    AT&T Considering Cheaper, Capped Data Plans for iPhone

    Posted by:
    Date: Friday, May 22nd, 2009, 08:00
    Category: iPhone

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    When in doubt, offer something cheaper.
    Per Reuters, AT&T has signaled that the company is looking to offer lower data rate plans for the iPhone, especially in a market where users are more sensitive to price.
    Ralph de la Vega, AT&T’s current chief executive officer, remarked this week at the Reuters Global Technology Summit that he could see AT&T setting a cap on the amount of data used in a given month in return for a lower fee. One example, though not necessarily what AT&T would use, is the company’s netbook strategy: while the mini notebooks still have access to the usual 5GB monthly data plan, subscribers can pay US$20 less per month if they’re willing to put the cap at 200MB before overage fees kick in.
    The executive went on to mention the iPhone as possibly affected by any switch in strategy but that it wasn’t Apple’s device alone that would prompt demand. Instead, smartphone adoption in a difficult climate was the important concern.
    “Right now we continue to study what is the best thing that is available, not just from an iPhone point of view, but what you can do to stimulate additional demand,” de la Vega said.
    The news echoes rumors that, among other things, AT&T may offer a US$20 iPhone data plan that would save customers US$10 a month but put a ceiling on data access.
    De la Vega ruled out simply cutting the price without restrictions on Internet use, however. AT&T recently declared itself the leader in smartphones and has steadily become more reliant on data as a source of income. The provider’s goal is to profit from services, he said, and with the iPhone’s price already being heavily subsidized, dropping the price would only hurt AT&T’s bottom line.

    32GB iPhone Placehole Appears on T-Mobile Austria Web Site, Quickly Removed

    Posted by:
    Date: Friday, May 22nd, 2009, 07:13
    Category: iPhone

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    This is a bit strange, but it may be something. According to AreaMobile, a “iPhone 32GB” placeholder appeared in the “Coming Soon” section of T-Mobile Austria’s web site.
    Though this was quickly removed, a similar slip occurred at T-Mobile Germany that accurately foretold the coming of the original iPhone two years ago.
    In addition to this, wireless carrier Vodafone Australia recently sent out a notice stating that the 16GB iPhone has been deemed “End of Life” by Brightpoint, the company’s supplier.
    So, nothing definite, but there’s some interesting happenings out there.

    Intego Warns of Unrepaired Security Vulnerability in Mac OS X

    Posted by:
    Date: Thursday, May 21st, 2009, 08:48
    Category: Software

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    Security firm Intego has warned that a critical security vulnerability within the current version of Java has gone unrepaired for months and may place Mac OS X users at risk.
    According to the company’s web site, the current version of Java incorporates a serious flaw that could allow local code on a user’s Mac to be executed remotely.
    “This can lead to ‘drive-by attacks,’ where users are attacked simply by visiting a malicious web site and loading a web page,” the firm said.
    The exploit could allow a third-party to execute code, access or delete files, or run applications on the compromised machine. Combined with other exploits, outside parties could even potentially run system-level processes and gain total access over the affected Mac.
    Given that the vulnerability relies solely on Java, no native code is required to execute the flaw, which theoretically exists in all browsers on all platforms that have not been patched. This is the case with Mac OS X 10.5.7 and earlier, meaning the vulnerability affects even the update released just a week ago.
    The firm claims that Apple has been aware of the exploit for at least five months, when it was publicly disclosed and fixed by Sun, but has yet to issue a security patch. The exploit was first discovered by Landon Fuller, who has released a proof of concept via his blog that outlines the security hole.
    Intego has stated that it has not found any malicious applets in the wild thus far, but the publicity around this vulnerability may entice hackers to target the exploit before Apple issues a security update. The firm’s VirusBarrier X5 already blocks potential malware but unless users are sure they trust the site they’re viewing, simply disabling Java in the browser may provide the best protection while Apple works on a fix.
    To disable Java, launch Safari, choose Safari > Preferences, click the Security tab, and uncheck “Enable Java” if it is checked. In Firefox, this setting is found on the Content tab of the program’s preferences. It is safe to leave JavaScript activated, since the vulnerability only affects Java applets.

    CrossOver Reaches Version 7.1.2

    Posted by:
    Date: Wednesday, May 20th, 2009, 08:31
    Category: Software

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    CrossOver, the popular emulation program from CodeWeavers, has been updated to version 7.1.2. The new version, which is available as a demo, offers the following change:

  • Fixed an incompatibility with the quartz-wm packaged in XQuartz 2.3.3.2.
  • CrossOver retails for US$59.95 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and Intel-based hardware to run.

    Apple to Begin Stress-Testing iPhone OS 3.0 Push Notification Functions

    Posted by:
    Date: Tuesday, May 19th, 2009, 09:03
    Category: iPhone, Software

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    This week, Apple joined forces with the Associated Press and called upon some of its iPhone developer community to help stress test a Push Notification service scheduled to arrive with iPhone OS 3.0 later this year.
    According to AppleInsider, the e-mail stated that “We have selected a pre-release version of the Associated Press app for iPhone OS 3.0 to create a high-volume test environment for our servers.”
    The test application, which requires iPhone OS 3.0 beta 5, will activate over the next week and then expire. During this week, “AP will be sending a high-volume of real news alerts” to give Apple an opportunity to monitor how well the system works and what optimizations can be made.
    The Push Notification system, which was originally slated to arrive in the fall, was delayed after Apple had apparently underestimated the demands third parties would make of the system. Given these new conditions, Apple pulled the plug and began designing a system that could simultaneously address an audience of tens of millions of iPhone and iPod touch users.
    The planned iPhone OS 3.0 Push Notification system for sending alerts from third party application developers to mobile users is believed to use the same technology as its push notification system for MobileMe and the push notification system planned for Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server.
    In all cases, the alert being “pushed” is minimal, essentially a tweet that indicates more information is ready. The notification alerts act like an instant message because that’s exactly what they are; an analysis of MobileMe push messages indicates Apple is using the open source XMPP (eXtensible Messaging and Presence Protocol), used in Jabber.
    The XMPP feature can allow a variety of applications to alert the user as to changes and updates and the technology could find its way into e-mail, calendar and contact changes via Apple’s MobileMe cloud services.