AT&T States Data Pricing to Hold Steady, Faces More Competitive Marketplace

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Date: Tuesday, June 16th, 2009, 18:05
Category: iPhone

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Data pricing plans look to hold steady for the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3G S handsets in the near future per an article in the Wall Street Journal. “We’ve been very happy with our pricing,” said AT&T spokesman Mark Segal, who went on to mention the average monthly bill for an iPhone user was within US$90 to US$100. The article went on to suggest that AT&T could charge an additional US$10 to US$40 per month for MMS and tethering featured on the new iPhone 3G S. AT&T is currently facing pressure to offer lower priced data plans by both consumers facing the financial crunch and competitors setting aggressive data pricing.

Last month, AT&T’s wireless chief Ralph de la Vega stated that the company was considering a lower tier of pricing plans. These packages would include limits over the amount of time spent on the Internet or the number of applications that could be wirelessly downloaded.

Sprint Nextel has said its Palm Pre data plans cost US$600 less per year than AT&T, while Verizon wireless offers an unlimited data plan for US$70 per month. AT&T offers a similar plan, charging an additional US$5 for text messages.

AT&T could lose money if it does decrease its data plan pricing, as users commonly purchase unlimited data plans which AT&T then must pay to transfer across the network. The company must also must pay hundreds of dollars in subsidies to Apple in order to maintain iPhone exclusivity. In addition, current upgrades being installed to double the network speed for the iPhone 3G S have raised costs even further for AT&T.

Apple Nearing Completion of Chinese iPhone Deal

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Date: Thursday, June 11th, 2009, 17:52
Category: iPhone

Apple may be making progress towards a Chinese iPhone deal, as noted by signs on the company’s web site as well as that of a Chinese government organization.

According to Macworld, an Apple handset that uses one of the next-generation mobile standards offered in China has appeared on the approved product list of the State Wireless Inspection Center, a government-managed industry arbiter. The handset, apparently an iPhone, was cleared last month to use its assigned frequency range for five years, according to the center’s Web site.

Unicom, a Chinese carrier currently negotiating with Apple about offering the iPhone to the Chinese market, operates a network based on the standard used by the approved Apple handset, WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access).

Separately, Apple has also posted an ad on its Web site for a <a href=”http://jobs.apple.com/index.ajs?BID=1&method=mExternal.showJob&RID=35658&CurrentPage=1″>Beijing-based job</a> overseeing “iPhone training” across Asia. The job’s tasks include designing training for carrier partners that sell the iPhone.

Apple has stated that it hopes to begin selling the iPhone in China in 2010. Still, talks with China Unicom have hit disputes over whether the phone will use Wi-Fi and whether China Unicom will be allowed to pre-install non-Apple programs, such as a media player other than iTunes, analysts say.

The Chinese government appears to have lifted a long-standing ban on Wi-Fi in handsets in recent weeks. Still, it has gone on to require phones with Wi-Fi also to use a China-developed security protocol for wireless LANs, said Liu Ning, an analyst at BDA, a telecommunications research company.

The protocol, called WAPI (WLAN Authentication and Privacy Infrastructure), can also be used without dual support for the equivalent Wi-Fi protocol, Liu said.

The iPhone might require an additional chipset to support WAPI, though a software upgrade might also make it compatible, he said.

The frequency approval is just one of three government tests the iPhone must pass to receive a network access license. But the “major difficulty” for Apple is still the terms of cooperation with China Unicom, Liu said.

The argument as to how to split revenue from sales in the iPhone’s App Store is another snag in discussions about what applications the carrier can put on the phone, said Liu.

Apple Announces iPhone 3G S, Unit to Be Available June 17th

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Date: Monday, June 8th, 2009, 16:09
Category: iPhone, News

During the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote address, Apple unveiled a new model of its iPhone handset, the iPhone 3G S.
“The ‘S’ stands for speed,” stated Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, during the keynote.
Per AppleInsider, the new handset retails for US$199 for the 16GB version and US$299 for a 32GB model. Apple is cutting the price on the current iPhone 3G handset to US$99 for the 8GB phone.
The iPhone 3G S to be available in the U.S. on June 19th and go on sale in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland on June 19th. Apple has stated that the handset will launch in six more countries, with more launches to come in July and August.


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Despite a similar external appearance to the iPhone 3G model, the iPhone 3G S offers a 3. megapixel camera that lets you control the focus either by tapping on the screen or using the autofocus feature. In addition, the iPhone’s new camera captures video in addition to still photos.
A new “tap to focus” feature allows users to select an object or area of interest and the camera automatically re-adjusts focus and exposure. You can record high-quality video clips and edit them right on your iPhone 3G S by simply trimming the start and stop points and send photos and video by email or MMS and post them to MobileMe or YouTube with just one tap.
The unit also includes a voice-control feature to allow users to speak commands for applications on the phone. Accessibility improvements include VoiceOver support for reading to users and the ability to zoom in on the phone’s display for larger icons.
The iPhone 3G S also includes hardware encryption while other features within the iPhone OS 3.0 firmware include a “Find Your iPhone” feature as well as a remote wipe tool wherein personal information and backups can be readily destroyed as needed.
Apple has also promised improved battery life with the iPhone 3G S, the new phone offering nine hours of Internet access on Wi-Fi, 10 hours of video, 30 hours of audio playback, 12 hours of 2G talk time, and five hours of 3G talk time.
The company also touted the environmental friendliness of its new handset, Apple noting that it reduced packaging for the phone by 23% as well as making the iPhone 3G S arsenic-free glass and a mercury-free LCD as well as free of brominated flame retardant (BFR) and PVC.
Other features announced during Monday’s keynote include a built-in digital compass, and support for the Nike+ fitness accessory.
The iPhone 3G S will ship with iPhone OS 3.0, which provides access to over 100 features such as such as Cut, Copy and Paste, MMS, Spotlight Search, landscape keyboard and more.

iPhone “3GS” Code Name Leaked, New Unit to Feature Longer-Lasting Battery

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Date: Monday, June 8th, 2009, 08:58
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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With only hours to go before Phil Schiller’s keynote address at the 2009 Worldwide Developers Conference, a couple of interesting details have emerged.
According to Daring Fireball, the third-generation iPhone is code-named “iPhone 3GS.” The code name could tie into the Apple IIGS, which shipped in 1986.
The other interesting rumor is that battery life on the new iPhone is 15-20% longer than the iPhone 3G. This will have to be seen and tested, but would prove to be an extremely welcome change if true.
If you have any ideas as to what to expect from the keynote, let us know.

Rumor: Possible Next-Gen iPhone Bezel Image Leaked

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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.

32GB Capacity iPhone Listed in AT&T Upgrade Program

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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

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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.

SlingPlayer Mobile for iPhone Due Soon, Will Ship Without 3G Support

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Date: Tuesday, May 12th, 2009, 13:29
Category: Software

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Per iPodNN, Apple will publish the long-awaited SlingPlayer application for the iPhone and iPod touch handsets within the next 24 hours. Unfortunately, developer Sling Media is said to have confirmed that the application will lack any form of 3G support.
Sling Player is designed as extension of the company’s Slingbox hardware, which broadcasts TV from a person’s home to a remote Internet destination. Using SlingPlayer, people should be able to view streams, change channels and control DVR units.
The final application will be able to connect exclusively over Wi-Fi in what is believed to be a concession to iPhone carrier AT&T. Through its terms of service the company has effectively banned redirecting TV over 3G, a strategy deemed necessary to prevent constraining bandwidth. As a consequence however, the range and usefulness of the iPhone app has been substantially diminished.
SlingPlayer Mobile will sell for US$30 at the App Store, and officially support the Slingbox PRO, SOLO and PRO-HD devices. Older hardware is also said to be compatible, but not officially supported.

iPhone OS 3.0 to Provide Much-Desired MMS Capabilities

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Date: Wednesday, May 6th, 2009, 10:03
Category: Opinion

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By Rachel Hoyer
So, you’ve just taken the world’s most adorable picture of your dog on your iPhone.
If you want to text it to your friends, you’re out of luck.
You’ll have to email it to them.
iPhone enthusiasts everywhere have bemoaned the lack of MMS support on the handset. MMS is the protocol which allows transmission of images in text messages. The current iPhone OS 2.2.1 software supports SMS, but not its MMS extension. SMS, or Short Messaging Service, is a communication protocol that enables text messaging between mobile devices. MMS, or Multimedia Messaging Service, is an extension of SMS that allows transmission of multimedia objects such as images, audio, video and rich text files within a text message. Both SMS and MMS are supported on a wide variety of mobile networks, including the 3G network used by iPhone. SMS and MMS technology are rapidly becoming obsolete due to widespread availability of the Internet on mobile devices via Wi-Fi, 3G and Apple Wireless technology. This may be the reason that Apple did not include MMS on previous iPhone software versions.
This begs the question: Why include SMS support, but not MMS support on iPhone OS 2.0? One possibility is that AT&T, the sole cell phone service provider for iPhone, pressured Apple into maintaining SMS text messaging support. Despite the advanced age of its technology, text messaging remains hugely popular among cell phone users. In addition, cell phone service providers such as AT&T rake in a ridiculously high profit margin on SMS text messaging services. But they make equal, if not more money, from selling ringtones and sending images delivered via MMS. Following the cell phone provider profits theory, it would be illogical to include SMS but not MMS. Another hypothesis: Apple did not want to deprive iPhone users of the highly convenient and popular SMS service, but assumed that MMS would not be missed given the ease of web access.
At present, when you try to send a picture on your iPhone, it is posted on a website. Then, a text message linking the page is sent to your selected recipients inviting them to visit the site to view the picture. While web browsing is a simple task on the iPhone, it is a problematic endeavor for many other types of cell phones. Although nearly all cell phones have MMS capability, typically their web browsers are both dodgy and expensive. Not to worry, iPhone users: Apple plans to release iPhone OS 3.0 in June which (along with a host of other improvements) will provide MMS support. The upgrade will be free for iPhone 3G owners and $9.99 for iPod Touch owners. Sadly, due to a hardware compatibility issue, older iPhone models are not upgradeable.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go email my friends pictures of my dog in a football jersey.