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

Posted by:
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.

Apple Media Event: Come the iPad

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Date: Wednesday, January 27th, 2010, 10:58
Category: News

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Folks, the Apple media event has begun, the cool cats at Macworld are on hand to cover it and here we go in a play by play:

- Jobs has appeared on stage, has cited that Apple is current the number one mobile device maker in the world and has stated that the “Last time there was this much excitement about a tablet, it had some commandments written on it.”

- Jobs is now citing 1991 and the first PowerBooks, is theorizing that there might be a better category between a notebook and a smartphone.

- They’ve caught a glimpse of the thing. There’s apparently a Home button, a MacBook-like aluminum bezel and a glass screen. Users are apparently able to personalize their home screen as they’d like it.

Hang tight, they’ve got an initial picture:
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- The name has just been revealed: It’s the iPad.

- Jobs is apparently sending an e-mail with an Apple Mail-esque client and typing on the screen as he would with a standard QWERTY keyboard. The device is on his lap.

- Jobs is looking through photos and is able to grab data from a nearby Mac or PC as well as turn the tablet to portrait or landscape mode as well as pinch, scrub and flick through pictures.

- Ok, there’s an iPod interface that looks a lot like the album view in iTunes meshed with Cover Flow on the iPhone.

- The interface apparently contains floating panes and windows.

- Jobs is now surfing through high definition YouTube videos of a surfing dog. Behold the nesting instinct!

- Right the iPad is apparently half an inch thick, weighs only 1.5 pounds and is both thinner and lighter than any netbook on the market. The device features a 9.7″ IPS display that allows for terrific angles of view. There’s a full capacitive multi-touch screen, a 1GHz Apple A4 chip and either 16, 32 or 64 gigabytes of solid state flash memory onboard.

- The chip is by PA Semi.

- Other specs: The iPad features 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1, an accelerometer and compass, speaker microphone, standard 30-pin connector and apparently 10 hours of battery life. The unit also sports a full month of standby life and the user can set it down, walk away for a month and it’ll still have a charge when they come back.

- The iPad is arsenic free, BFR-free, mercury-free, PCV-free and recyclable.

- The iPad apparently runs almost every iPhone/iPod touch app unmodified right out of the box.

- Ok, Jobs is now using Facebook and there’s an option to run apps at different resolutions.

- Video looks great on the iPad and Jobs is playing an unmodified snowboarding game.

- Apple is apparently undergoing a huge effort to get App Store apps to this device.

- Oh, cool, they’re releasing an updated iPhone SDK to offer development support for the iPad. The new SDK will be released today on Apple’s web site.

- The new SDK will feature an iPad simulator to allow iPad apps to run on your Mac as you write them.

- Right, the mighty Gameloft, which has over 60 games and 55 million downloads is now showing off its Nova shooter.

- A representative from the New York Times is demoing the paper’s web site on the iPad. It apparently looks great… and with any luck, this will save journalism as we know it.

- Because a picture’s worth a thousand words:
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- Ok, the reading experience looks good and users can change the number of columns, resize text easily and view embedded videos.

- A Brushes app allows users to edit images, all the while tapping to bring up palettes, brushes and tools. Pinching allows the users to zoom in up to 32x and the app will be available at product launch.

- Electronic Arts is up and showing off Need for Speed for the iPad. The company has apparently built a cool version in just a few days.

- Hmm, the iPad is being reported as speedy. Not a bad thing.

- Chad Evans from Major League Baseball is showing off the At Bat app. With this, users can navigate league scoreboards, check player profiles and receive live data from the MLB.com web site.

- Hang on, they’re bringing out an Apple app: an e-book reader.

- Right, it’s called iBook, the interface contains a bookshelf of books and a new iBook Store will be available through iTunes and allow you to purchase titles from publishers including Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon and Shuster, Macmillan and Hachette Book Group.

- Prices for the books vary between US$7.99 and US$14.99, you tap to read, tap anywhere to flip the pages forward or backward, drag a page to slowly turn said page and tap to access the Table of Contents.

- Book fonts can be changed on the fly. All right, that’s cool.

- Books will be published via the EPUB format, which is open and compatible to what’s out there.

- Phil Schiller has now emerged to describe the new version of iWork.

- A completely new version of Keynote has been designed for the iPad. The application runs in the iPad’s horizontal mode and users can tap buttons to create presentations, open templates, etc.

- Users can tap and hold an icon to slide it around the screen. Photos can be resized via pinching and other effects are applied with finger-based gestures.

- For animations in Keynote, tap the animation mode and slide your finger around to access animation techniques.

- The new version of Pages allows you to open a document via tapping. Then, tap anywhere to open a keyboard. A new Page Navigator tool allows you to hold a finger on the right of a document to bring up a loupe icon that allows you to skim through the pages. Menus and sub-menus can be accessed via tapping.

- Over in the Numbers app, a new tab interface allows a single document to hold an assortment of spreadsheets. Columns can be rearranged by tapping and dragging and data automatically updates itself.

- Ok, this is interesting. Apple is going to charge US$9.99 for each of the new iWork applications. Users can purchase them from the App Store with little hassle.

- The iPad: It connects to projectors!!!

- Steve Jobs has just returned to the stage and the iPad syns with your Mac or PC via iTunes. Users can sync photos, music, movies, TV shows, contacts, calendars, booksmarks and applications. Backups are synced back and the app creates files to restore from.

- Each iPad features Wi-Fi but additional models will have 3G access built in as well. iPad owners will be ablt to access AT&T plans, the first offering 250 megabytes of data for US$14.99 per month. An unlimited data plan will be available for US$29.99 per month. Users will be able to access AT&T’s hotspots for free around the U.S.

- Users can go to the store, activate the plan on the iPad and there’s no contract. Users will be able to to pre-pay in advance.

- Apple hopes to have international plans in place by Jule or July and all iPad 3G models are unlocked and use new GSM micro Sim units.

- You’re going to like this: The iPad starts at US$499.

- US$499 gets you the base model with 16GB onboard, US$599 gets you the 32GB model and US$699 gets you the 64GB model. The 3G models retail for US$130 extra to include the radio units and are available at US$629, US$729 and US$829.

- The iPad will be available worldwide in 60 days and the 3G units will be available in 90 days.

- There’s a docking device that includes a keyboard. Slide your iPad into it, the dock will charge it and you can type as much as you want. The third accessory seems to be a case which doubles as a typing stand.

- Ok, that seems to be about it and there’s something cool on the horizon. As always, let us know what you think in the comments.