AT&T confirms Apple SIM card lock, says customers will need to buy new SIM card to change carriers

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Date: Monday, October 27th, 2014, 10:11
Category: Hardware, iPad, News, wireless

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There may be increased competition and good deals to be had in the wireless markets, but the major carriers will still try to lock you in…

Per Re/code, wireless carrier AT&T has apparently taken advantage in the change to the SIM card found in the new iPad, which apparently allows customers to designate which wireless carrier they’d like to use it with, by essentially locking its customers in to the service, requiring the customer to purchase an entirely new SIM card to change their provider.

AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel confirmed to Re/code that customers who use the Apple SIM on AT&T will need another SIM card to switch carriers, but stressed that the device itself remains unlocked.

“With us you can change carriers with this iPad any time you want,” he said. “It is an unlocked device. … All [you] have to do is switch out the SIM in the device so it works on another carrier.”

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Samsung announces next-gen 802.11ad Wi-Fi technology, cites speeds five times faster than 802.11ac protocol

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Date: Tuesday, October 14th, 2014, 11:57
Category: Hardware, News, wireless

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As much as you may love your 802.11ac Wi-Fi router, it may not be the fastest thing on the block for long.

Per Macworld, on Sunday, Samsung announced it’s developing new 802.11ad Wi-Fi technology that can boost network speeds fivefold, from today’s 866Mbps per-device maximum to a blistering 4.6Gbps. At that rate, Samsung says, a 1GB movie file can transfer from one device to another in under 3 seconds.

This feat is achieved by ditching the crowded 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless channels used by today’s routers and jumping to the 60GHz frequency band.

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Verizon backs off on controversial data throttling plan set to begin in October

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Date: Thursday, October 2nd, 2014, 11:27
Category: News, wireless

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A little competition’s a good thing.

According to The Verge, a statement from wireless carrier Verizon stated that the company will not be throttling 4G LTE data speeds for users grandfathered in to unlimited data plans, while at the same time announcing a buffed data plan promotion.

In July, Verizon announced plans to expand its “network optimization” initiative, which amounts to throttling data speeds for subscribers with unlimited data plans when the telco’s 4G LTE network is congested. The enhanced policy was set to go live in October.

Verizon Wireless won’t be throttling the LTE speeds of its remaining unlimited data customers after all. In an eleventh hour reversal, the largest U.S. carrier has just announced that it’s “decided not to move forward with the planned implementation of network optimization for 4G LTE customers on unlimited plans.”

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Energous developing wireless Wattup technology, could allow for gadget charging across a room

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Date: Friday, May 23rd, 2014, 14:23
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPhone, News, wireless

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We’ve all dreamed of charging our devices from across the room.

This may soon be a reality.

Per the MIT Technology Review, startup Energous is developing a technology called WattUp that will allow you to charge smartphones, tablets, and other small gadgets from across a room without wires.

Energous hopes other companies will license this technology and build it into all kinds of products and places, so you can easily power your iPad while sitting on the couch or top off your phone while buying a coffee in an airport. It will face competition, however, from a startup called Witricity that uses a different method, and already has the backing of some major electronics companies.

For now, WattUp’s technology is still in the demo stage. But it works and devices can be charged wirelessly if they are connected to an external receiver, or slotted into a special protective case.

During a recent demonstration, an iPhone was plugged into a white device shaped like a smartphone atop a little stand. Another iPhone sits on the table, wearing a bulky Energous case. Across the table, a briefcase-sized wireless energy transmitter sits on another tripod and a plug dangling from that was plugged into the wall.

The demonstration showed the iPhone’s charge progress, as measured via an app on a nearby iPad, the wireless energy transmitter being controlled via an app on the iPad. A small beep indicated that the iPhone’s charge cycle had begun and recharging works more than 10 feet from where the power is emitted, and you can move the device around while it’s charging.

The most common wireless-charging technology currently available is magnetic induction, which uses coils to transfer power over small distances via a magnetic field. This is the method used to recharge electric toothbrushes, for example.

Energous’s charging method uses a transmitter with lots of small antennas to send radio waves to a receiver connected to the gadget being charged. The transmitter uses Bluetooth to scan for nearby gadgets that are authorized to receive a charge. Once it finds one, the transmitter directs radio waves toward the receiver, which collects them and converts their energy to DC power so it can charge the phone.

The transmitter and receivers Energous brings to my office can send power to two devices that require less than 10 watts of power at a distance of up to 15 feet; eventually, Energous says, it will be able to charge more gadgets at a time.

The company expects the first products using its technology—such as smartphone cases that can deliver wireless power to the devices—to be shown off by partner companies at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next January and go on sale later in the year. Company representatives had predicted that a phone case would cost about US$75 to US$125, which is within the range of what you’d pay today for a case that provides extended battery life, though the transmitter for charging things probably would cost around US$300.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

What can we expect from a new Apple TV?

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Date: Friday, February 14th, 2014, 08:26
Category: Apple, Apple TV, Rumor, Television, wireless

appletv_2ndgenAs we reported last month, speculation on the next revision of the Apple TV has begun. Now the Apple TV is back in the news with some speculation more focused on what kind of content Apple might be bringing along with the new hardware. The discussion has popped up smack in the middle of Comcast’s intention to buy up Time Warner Cable, which may be playing a part in how Apple moves forward with its plans for the Apple TV. It has been reported that Apple has been in negotiations with several content providers to serve up their programming directly to Apple TV users, but the media companies keep pulling out of talks fearing a loss of revenue. This leaves Apple with no choice but to deal with the cable companies for content.

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Apple TV finally gets some respect

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Date: Wednesday, January 29th, 2014, 03:06
Category: Accessory, Apple, Apple TV, Rumor, Television, wireless

appletv_2ndgenDidn’t I just call Apple out on this? Congratulations Apple TV, you’ve hung in there and now made it to the big times! Early Tuesday, Apple’s online store went offline for some updates and when it came back, the Apple TV finally had its own section to call home. Rather than being relegated to the Accessories section of the Apple Store, now it’s listed alongside the sections for Mac, iPhone, iPad, and iPod and even has its own accessory section that lists some products for the Apple TV that I had never seen before. It appears that the Airport Extreme and Airport Express have found a home here as well. In addition, you now have the option to buy refurbished Apple TVs at $25 less than standard retail.

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AT&T’s Chris Penrose unveils $5/day “data day pass” for cellular-equipped tablets

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Date: Saturday, October 19th, 2013, 23:18
Category: iPad, News, wireless

ATT

This could come in handy.

Per AllThingsD, speaking at GigaOm’s Mobilize conference Thursday afternoon, AT&T vice president Chris Penrose told the audience that the lowest US$5, 250 megabyte day pass option, alongside a tier that allots users up to 1 gigabyte of data over a three month period for a one-time US$25 fee, is aimed at those who would normally rely on hotel Wi-Fi on the road.

Penrose expressed the company’s desire to connect more tablets to its network, saying “We really think that a Wi-Fi only tablet is good, but it is not good enough.” He added that AT&T would “like to see tablet manufacturers build just one tablet,” a single model equipped with a cellular radio. Currently, many manufacturers like Apple offer two tablet versions — cellular-capable and Wi-Fi only — to reduce costs for those who don’t plan on connecting to a 3G or 4G network.

To sign up for the new plans, users with cellular-capable tablets simply access buyasession.att.com through their device’s web browser and complete the four-step purchase process from there. An AT&T SIM card is required.

When Apple released the original iPad in 2010, users could purchase a US$29.99-per-month unlimited data plan directly from the tablet’s Settings app on a month-to-month basis using a credit card. The option remains, though the cost and data allotment varies by carrier, and some will charge only a prorated portion of the fee for users who only subscribe for a limited number of days in a given month.

If you’ve tried AT&T’s newest tier and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.

AT&T expands coverage to 11 new cities, many in southeastern United States

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Date: Thursday, October 3rd, 2013, 07:23
Category: News, wireless

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It’s never a bad thing when a wireless network expands.

Per AppleInsider, AT&T has announced the expansion of its 4G LTE network to 11 more markets, and the carrier has improved service in two other markets, meaning iPhone owners in those locales will see greatly increased speeds.

Much of the expanded LTE service is in Georgia or Mississippi, but locations in Alabama, Texas, Florida, Washington, Michigan, and Louisiana will also see greater data speeds. The new locations are part of AT&T’s continuing effort to expand its network, an effort that saw the addition of 79 new markets over the summer.

AT&T’s 4G LTE network provides data speeds up to 10 times faster than 3G. The network covers more than 280 million people across the United States.

The markets now able to access 4G LTE connections are as follows:
- Selma, Alabama.

- Brenham, Texas.

- Vero Beach, Florida.

- Cordele, Georgia.

- Dublin, Georgia.

- Brookhaven, Mississippi.

- Natches, Mississippi.

- Picayune, Mississippi.

- Port Angeles, Washington.

- Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

- Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Additionally, AT&T announced improved LTE coverage for two more markets on Tuesday. Putnam and Greene Counties near at Atlanta and Wright and Carver Counties near Minneapolis will now have improved reliability and access in their LTE connections.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Inventory shortfalls hint at updated iMacs, 802.11ac Airport Express units

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Date: Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013, 07:01
Category: iMac, retail, Rumor, wireless

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When the inventory runs low, there’s cool new stuff around the corner.

Or it just means you need to order more inventory.

Per MacRumors and 9to5Mac, low retail stocks of Airport Express base stations are suggesting that a faster 802.11ac model is expected soon to match the capabilities of the latest Macs. This would offer Wi-Fi speeds almost three times faster than current 802.11n models, a capability that has already been incorporated into the current Airport Extreme and Time Capsule models.

That said, an 802.11ac Airport Express and a Haswell-powered iMac is a no-brainer, the question being “when” rather than “if”. The new iMac is unlikely to see much of a design change, so neither would be big announcements, suggesting they could be passing mentions in the iPhone-focused event on 10th September. If not, the new units could be announced alongside the iPad 5, rumored to be around October, perhaps with the long-awaited Thunderbolt Display update.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Microsoft purchases Nokia’s Devices and Services division, moves to rearrange executive lineups

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Date: Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013, 06:53
Category: News, wireless

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Because it’s fun to buy multi-billion dollar companies.

Per The Mac Observer, Microsoft is buying Nokia’s cell phone business for about US$5 billion and tossing in another US$2.2 billion to license the company’s patents. The deal throws together two big time companies that are struggling to compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung, brings Nokia CEO Stephen Elop — a former Microsoft executive — back into the fold, and shows Microsoft is serious about playing in the smartphone game. All this as current Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has announced he will step down within 12 months, although now it’s looking like that may come much sooner than he thought.

As part of the €5.44 billion (about US$7.2 billion) deal, Mr. Elop will step down as Nokia’s CEO and take on the roll of Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Devices and Services. Other Nokia executives joining Microsoft include Chris Weber, Jo Harlow, Timo Toikkanen, and Juha Putkiranta.

Microsoft has had limited success in the smartphone market taking on Apple’s iPhone and Google Android-based devices from Samsung and other companies. Nokia threw its weight behind Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform about two years ago, and has since been able to climb above BlackBerry’s marketshare to become a very distant third to iOS and Android-based smartphones.

With Nokia’s Windows-based Lumia smartphone now in Microsoft’s hands, it’s a safe bet that we’ll see a strong push to boost sales. Exactly how Microsoft can go about convincing consumers to start buying the smartphone, however, maybe something of a trick since shoppers haven’t been flocking to the device in droves. So far, consumers are still far more interested in buying iPhones and Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones.

Whether or not Microsoft can really be successful at its slow-and-steady game this time isn’t, however, a sure thing. Apple and Android smartphone makers hold nearly all of the market share today and aren’t showing any signs of loosening their grips.

Apple is expected to unveil new iPhone models on September 10, and Samsung, HTC and Motorola are churning out new Android-based smartphones as fast as they can. Microsoft has maybe a year ahead of it during during which it will integrate Nokia into its business, plus it’s on the hunt for a new CEO who will need time to settle into the job.

Mr. Ballmer said he plans to step down within 12 months, implying that it may be that long before his replacement is found. Finding a new CEO could take that long, although Microsoft is already on the hunt, and it’s very possible the company just bought their new boss and picked up their own smartphone business as a side bonus.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.