Apple to Release Wi-Fi iPad on April 3rd, 3G-Capable Models to Arrive in Late April

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Date: Friday, March 5th, 2010, 08:46
Category: iPad, News

Apple finally announced that it will release the Wi-Fi version of its long-awaited iPad on Saturday, April 3rd (full press release available here) in the U.S. with 3G-capable units arriving in late April. All models of the device will be available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the UK come late April.

Users will be able to pre-order both the Wi-Fi and the 3G-capable units from Apple’s online store come March 12th or reserve a Wi-Fi model to pick up on Saturday, April 3, at an Apple retail store.

Prices are slotted at US$499 for the 16GB unit, US$599 for the 32GB unit US$699 for 64GB unit. The Wi-Fi + 3G models will be available in late April for a suggested retail price of US$629 for 16GB, US$729 for 32GB and US$829 for 64GB.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know if you plan to snag an iPad at launch or wait a bit…

AT&T CEO Confirms Tiered Plan Pricing to Be Inevitable, Company Will Retain 3G Network for Time Being

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Date: Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010, 05:25
Category: News

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AT&T executives stated recently that the wireless industry will likely eventually charge bandwidth-heavy users more for their data plans than those customers who use networks more sparingly, but added that the company in no rush to roll out its next-generation technology.

Per MarketWatch, the comments came as part of a broad presentation by AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson to investors attending a Morgan Stanley conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, in which he stated his belief that most early adopters of Apple’s soon-to-ship iPad device will largely rely on WiFi instead of purchasing another 3G wireless plan.

It’s going to be “interesting to see the customer reaction to the iPad,” he said, answering investors’ concerns that yet another popular Apple device could further strain its 3G network in congested major metropolitan cities like New York. “We think it’s going to be a largely WiFi-driven product.”

Stephenson reemphasized AT&T’s commitment to continue strengthening its 3G network by pouring millions into backend technology in regions where customers have experienced the most problems. He added, however, that another safeguard against over-saturation could see the carrier eventually adopt a new metered pricing model that will charge its bandwidth-guzzling customers more than those who make more modest use of its network.

In an update on AppleInsider, AT&T spokesman James Carracher clarified Stephenson’s comments, which were meant to portray where the CEO thinks the wireless industry as a whole is headed and offered the following:

“For the industry, we will progressively move towards more of what I call variable pricing. The heavy consumers will pay different than the lower consumers.”

The remarks could rekindle speculation that tiered iPhone 3G data plans may be on the horizon. Rumors to that end first surfaced in an research report from Kaufman Bros last February but only gained widespread attention when AT&T consumer services chief Ralph de la Vega later seconded the notion during a UBS investment conference in December.

More specifically, he cited statistics as revealing that 40% of AT&T’s network capacity is used by just 3% of smartphone users, adding that it’s inevitable that those high-bandwidth users will be charged for what they use. Following public outcry over the matter, AT&T spent the next week attempting to cool rumors of tiered iPhone data pricing, with de la Vega clarify his comments to suggest the carrier would instead begin offering incentives to users to “reduce or modify their usage.”

In other revelations Tuesday, Stephenson confirmed that the iPhone will remain a staple of AT&T’s business for “quite some time,” but stopped short ruling out the possibility that rival carriers could also begin carrying the device stateside. He also said AT&T is in no hurry to push out its 4G network, which is based on technology referred to as LTE or Long Term Evolution.

Although its LTE network will greatly broaden its wireless pipelines and provide customers with much faster download and upload speeds, the carrier reportedly believes its existing 3G network is ‘sufficient to handle data traffic for the next few years.’

“We’re not in a tremendous hurry on LTE,” he said. Instead, the carrier doesn’t plan to begin rolling out the next-gen technology until 2011, before taking it mainstream in 2012.

Rumor: iPad to Hit on March 26th

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Date: Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010, 04:32
Category: iPad, Rumor

Because the rumors make life interesting.

A recent rumor has suggested that Apple Store employees will get their first hands-on experience with the iPad and begin training on Wednesday, March 10th, while consumers could be able to purchase one Friday, March 26th.

According to The Examiner, an unnamed Apple Store manager in Southern California stated Tuesday evening that the definitive release date has not yet been determined, but the March 26th date is “very likely.” As was announced at its unveiling, the 3G-enabled models will arrive about a month later.

While employees will begin training on March 10th, commercials will allegedly begin to air on TV starting March 15th. Those TV spots are expected to emphasize the e-book capabilities of the device.

Finally, the report claimed that those who camp out for the iPad will receive a “special gift.”

If accurate, the report would suggest that an alleged “manufacturing bottleneck” will not delay the launch of Apple’s new multi-touch device. However, initial supplies could still be constrained, as rumors of an “unspecified production problem” have surfaced from Apple’s manufacturing partner, Foxconn.

Initial demand for the iPad is predicted to be strong, with most analysts on Wall Street forecasting first-year sales of between 1 million and 5 million.

Apple Improves 27″ iMac Ship Time, Raises Cap on 3G Downloads

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Date: Friday, February 19th, 2010, 05:33
Category: iMac, iPhone, News

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Following Apple’s recent troubles with its 27″ iMac and a wait time of up to three weeks, AppleInsider is reporting that the company has dropped the ship time to five to seven days, suggesting that the company has managed to address the video issues that haunted the desktops. The change applies to both the Core 2 Duo and Core i5 powered versions of the computer.

Early adopters of the big-screen iMac have seen a number of hardware issues pertaining to the screen, with reports of flickering and yellow discoloration. The company released two software updates to fix the issues, and also reportedly offered some customers a 15 percent refund for their troubles.

Supplies of the 27-inch iMac have been constrained for months, with Apple in December even apologizing for delays, citing considerable demand form consumers. When it first launched in October, the new iMac was the best-selling desktop machine for the month. The 21.5″ iMac came in first place, while the 27-inch iMac took third in overall sales.

In other news, Apple quietly doubled the download limit for files from the iPhone App Store and iTunes via 3G. Users can now download files up to 20MB in size from a wireless carrier’s data network. The previous cap was 10MB for “over the air” downloads.

In addition to applications, the new limit also applies to multimedia files, such as podcasts available through iTunes. The update expands beyond AT&T in the U.S., with international reports stating the 10MB cap has also been lifted.

If you’ve played around with the new limit, let us know.

Battery-Powered Wi-Reach Classic Converts 3G/4G Cards Into Wi-Fi Hotspot

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Date: Tuesday, February 16th, 2010, 08:18
Category: News

This could be nifty.

Per Business Wire, Connect One‘s battery powered Wi-Reach Classic allows users to insert a 3G or 4G USB card to create a portable Wi-Fi hotspot that can allow up to 10 Wi-Fi-enabled devices to connect to the Internet. The device will support the WiMax and LTE protocols after a future firmware update and car reportedly run for up to five hours on a full charge as well as recharge over a USB connection.

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The Wi-Reach Classic is available now for US$99.

Rumor: Fourth-Generation iPhone to be Slightly Taller Than Current Models

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Date: Tuesday, February 9th, 2010, 04:08
Category: iPhone, Rumor

Recently, the cool cats at iResQ leaked photos of what they claim are parts from Apple’s upcoming iPhone 4G, which is anticipated to be released this summer. Per MacRumors, the iResQ pictures focus on a screen that is apparently 1/4″ taller than current models. The site also notes that the screen is glued to the digitizer, which would make screen repair of the next-generation device more costly than 3G and 3GS models.

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The images also point out that the part has a reflective, mirror-like surface right above the earpiece. It’s generally thought that this is where a proximity sensor would be located, which also happens to be a different location than previous models. Although iResQ has been around for a while, it’s difficult to determine if this is a production part or just a prototype.

Feel free to hurl your two cents in and let us know what you think.

Apple Discussing iPad Data Plans with U.K. Carrier O2

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Date: Thursday, February 4th, 2010, 09:19
Category: iPad, News

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The iPad is en route, never forget that.

Per the mighty City AM, wireless carrier O2 is apparently negotiating with Apple for a U.K. 3G wireless data deal for the device. The 3G-compatible version of the iPad will ship as an unlocked device so users can pick their favorite carrier, although Apple is working with vendors to set up incentives and special deals.

Apple’s deal with AT&T offers tiers in which users receive 250MB of 3G data access per month for US$14.99, or unlimited 3G wireless data for US$29.99 a month. Both plans include unlimited Wi-Fi access at AT&T hotspots, and users can sign up for and cancel the service on a monthly basis without incurring extra fees.

Apple plans to start shipping the Wi-Fi version of the iPad in March, and the Wi-Fi plus 3G models should begin shipping about 30 days later.

Rumor: AT&T Apparently Outbid Verizon for iPad Data Plan

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Date: Thursday, February 4th, 2010, 07:25
Category: iPad, Rumor

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While many were surprised to see AT&T offer a pay-as-you-go option for the recently-released iPad, others were shocked to see a lack of a Verizon option.

Per FoxNews.com, AT&T apparently offered a better price on a no-contract plan that sealed the deal.

According to the article, reporter Clayton Morris stated that both companies are “still talking,” despite the fact that Apple went out of its way to defend AT&T last week, and also introduced the wireless carrier as the sole 3G partner for the iPad in the U.S.

Last week, when Apple introduced the iPad, it also announced no-contract data plans from AT&T, running US$15 per month for 250MB of data, or US$30 per month for unlimited access. The plans will also offer free access to AT&T’s nationwide hotspots. Typically, cell phone companies charge US$60 per month for their mobile data-only plans.

As a contract-free purchase, users can buy a 3G-enabled version of the iPad starting at US$629. The AT&T network access can be purchased and later canceled at any time directly from the iPad. Though the device ships unlocked, due to hardware limitations it will only have access to AT&T’s 3G data network in the U.S.

Prior to last week’s iPad unveiling, Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook defended AT&T in his company’s quarterly earnings conference call. He called AT&T a “great partner,” and said most customers have had a positive experience with the carrier.

SlingPlayer to Function Over AT&T 3G Network Connections

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Date: Thursday, February 4th, 2010, 07:27
Category: iPhone, Software

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Wireless carrier AT&T has announced that the company will allow the SlingPlayer app for the iPhone to stream live TV over 3G network connections.

Per the New York Times, AT&T has worked with Sling to optimize the app in order to minimize network congestion. “Since mid-December 2009, AT&T has been testing the app and has recently notified Sling Media, as well as Apple, that the optimized app can run on its 3G network,” AT&T said in a press release.

Sling Media’s SlingPlayer Mobile app for iPhone and iPod touch was originally launched in May 2009 without the ability to stream over 3G, a limitation AT&T admitted to putting in place due to fears that the app “would use large amounts of wireless network capacity” and “could create congestion and potentially prevent other customers from using the network.”

AT&T Formally Admits to Poor Coverage in New York City

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Date: Friday, January 29th, 2010, 10:27
Category: iPhone, News

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If you live in New York and have an iPhone, you probably saw this coming.

Wireless carrier AT&T has formally admitted that its New York City iPhone service is below par per a presentation slide published on Tom’s Guide noting that the company’s 3G Voice Composite Quality in the New York metro area—particularly in Manhattan—is below its performance objective.

Recently, the company explained that 3G service has suffered in New York due to “better than average iPhone penetration,” meaning “AT&T has been too successful in selling the iPhone, to the point where the network has been severely strained.” The company even briefly stopped selling iPhones online in New York City because the area didn’t “have enough towers to handle the phone.”

The slide does contain some good news for AT&T subscribers. Apparently, AT&T has had “three consecutive months of improvement” and it is doing “change-outs” of Radio Network Controllers among other upgrades.

If you live in New York and have noticed a difference, let us know.