Nothing like a little competition to get the wireless carriers to try to beat each other’s offerings.
That and the FCC yelling at you to do it sort of helps.
Per the company’s blog, AT&T announced on Wednesday it will enable FaceTime over cellular at no extra cost to any customers with a tiered data plan and compatible iOS device.
The announcement was made on the carrier’s website by Mark Collins, senior vice president of voice and data products. The change means that iPhone 4S customers with tiered plans will be able to make FaceTime calls over the AT&T network.
“We have already begun updating our systems and processes and expect to start rolling the update out to customers on an ongoing basis beginning in the next couple of weeks,” Collins wrote. “Customers do not need to do anything — the update will be applied automatically over the next few months.”
FaceTime over cellular will not come to older devices such as the iPhone 4 or second-generation iPad, even if they are running iOS 6. But that’s because the hardware does not support mobile FaceTime connections — a decision made by Apple, not AT&T.
Previously, AT&T had restricted FaceTime over cellular to customers who had switched to its Mobile Share plans, as well as those with an LTE device, such as the iPhone 5 or latest iPad, on a tiered plan.
AT&T came under fire for its initial decision, and the company was compelled to defend itself in a statement claiming its plan complied with Federal Communications Commissions that prohibit carriers from blocking services that compete with their own. The carrier argued that its decision was in compliance because AT&T does not offer its own competing preloaded video chat application.
AT&T began quietly activating FaceTime over cellular for more subscribers in November. At the time, some users who had grandfathered unlimited data plans said they too were able to use FaceTime. However, Wednesday’s announcement indicated the ability will only extend to customers who have tiered data plans.
If you get a chance to try FaceTime over AT&T’s cellular connections and have any feedback to offer about it, please let us know in the comments.
Just the term, “golden master”, it pretty much sounds awesome.
Per German web site iFun, Apple is said to be internally testing a new beta of iOS 6.1 that is expected to be the golden master build, suggesting the software is nearly ready to be released to the public.
Citing a “reliable source,” the web site reported Friday that the fifth beta of iOS 6.1 is about to be released to developers. The software is said to have gone through “extensive internal testing,” and if all goes well it will be the golden master of the software.
The software is expected to be released to developers either on Friday or potentially on Monday.
Apple began supplying beta builds of iOS 6.1 to its development community in early November. To date, there have been four betas seeded, the most recent arriving in mid-December.
Changes in iOS 6.1 are mostly minor, with the most significant user-facing additions including the ability to purchase movie tickets through Fandango with Siri, and a new prompt that asks users to enter security questions for iCloud when setting up their device for the first time.
For developers, iOS 6.1 includes an enhanced Map Kit framework that will allow third-party applications to search for map-based addresses based on points of interest. For example, a user could search the term “coffee” and the new framework would return the location of local coffee bars along with information about each one.
iOS 6.1 builds released to date have been compatible with the iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, and iPhone 3GS; fourth-, third-, and second-generation iPad; iPad mini; and fifth-and fourth-generation iPod touch.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.
Video Lan Client, the nigh-indispensable open source media player for multiple audio and video formats (MPEG, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Divx, ogg, etc.), was updated to version 2.0.5. The new version, a 41.9 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
- Rework and fixes of the Mac OS X interface.
- Fix Pulseaudio initial synchronization.
- Fix MKV, SWF, AIFF and subtitles demuxer crashes.
- Translations updates and new Welsh translation.
- DVB-S delivery system detection.
- Fix audio and video track selection through libVLC.
- Fix system sleep issue on Mac OS X 10.5.
VLC 2.0.5 requires an Intel-based Mac running Mac OS X 10.6 or later to install and run.
If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback to offer, let us know in the comments.
Per AppleInsider, developers on Monday were provided with the third pre-release beta of iOS 6.1, Apple’s forthcoming software update for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
The update is available through Software Update in the iOS Settings application. People familiar with the software said it is identified as build “10B5117b.” It arrives three weeks after the second beta was issued.
One person testing the software stated that users are now asked to enter security questions for iCloud once their device boots up. This feature was not in previous betas of iOS 6.1.
The iOS 6.1 beta is compatible with the fourth-, third- and second-generation iPad, iPad mini, iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and the fifth- and fourth-generation iPod touch. Apple informed developers that the beta “contains bug fixes and improvements.”
Earlier betas of iOS 6.1 added the ability to purchase movie tickets through Fandango with Siri.
The first two betas of iOS 6.1 also featured an enhanced Map Kit framework that will allow developers to search for map-based addresses in points of interest. In one example provided to developers, users could search the term “coffee,” and the system would return the location of local coffee bars along with information about each one.
If you’ve managed to get your mitts on the new beta, please let us know what you make of it in the comments. Otherwise, stay tuned for additional details as they become available.
It’s time to sort out this iOS Maps snafu in a major way.
Per AppleInsider, Apple on Thursday provided developers with a prerelease version of its forthcoming iOS 6.1 update, featuring improvements to its Maps application programming interface, and also issued a beta of Xcode 4.6.
Both iOS 6.1 and Xcode 4.6 are now available to download from Apple’s developer website. People familiar with the first iOS 6.1 beta indicated it is identified as “Build 10B5095f.”
The iOS 6.1 beta is available for the iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS; fourth-, third- and second-generation iPads; and the fifth- and fourth-generation iPod touch.
Beta versions of iOS 6.1 compatible with the iPad mini and new fourth-generation iPad, which will become publicly available tomorrow, are not said to be offered on Apple’s developer website.
The only major new addition to iOS 6.1 is said to be “Map Kit Searches” as part of the “Map Kit” framework. It now lets developers search for map-based addresses and points of interest.
A new class labeled “MKLocalSearch” is also said to offer map-based content using a natural language string. This will allow users to enter place name information or portions of an address to return relevant information.
In one example provided to developers, users could search the string “coffee,” and it would return the location of local coffee bars along with information about each one.
The new Xcode 4.6 beta is reportedly labeled as “Build 4H90b,” and it includes the iOS 6.1 beta SDK, along with Mac OS X 10.8 SDK. The pre-release version of Xcode includes the Xcode IDE, iOS simulator, and all required tools and frameworks for building OS X and iOS applications.
If you’ve gotten your hands on the new development tools and have any feedback to offer, please let us know in the comments.
If it’s not the suppliers that offer interesting hints as to upcoming products, it’s the retailers.
Per AppleInsider, one retailer is preparing in advance for the rumored device by sending out in-store displays to sell accessories to customers.
A leaked image shows instructions for standalone displays designed to sell iPad mini accessories. The instruction manual comes from a large box that apparently includes parts from which the future displays will be assembled.
The tipster indicated that the pages labeled “Amazon/Apple Tablet Display Parts List” came from a box with a note attached, telling employees not to look inside. They said the papers fell out of the box, revealing the contents of the recently delivered package.
Exactly what store the display parts were shipped to was not provided, but the design shown in the illustration looks similar to in-store displays seen at major retailers such as Best Buy or Target.
The shipment comes after a list of dozens of supposed “iPad mini” cases were revealed in a spreadsheet on Wednesday. That list of products suggested that third-party accessory makers Belkin, Kensington and Trust all have cases for Apple’s smaller iPad ready to go.
The fact that the name “iPad Mini” is included on the design of the accessory display should not be taken as a confirmation that it will be the final name of the rumored product. Because the name of the iPhone 5 was not known as case-makers built accessories based on leaked schematics, many cases available for sale at launch came in boxes that simply advertised they were for the “New iPhone.”
Case makers have bet — and lost — on rumored Apple product designs before. In 2011, some third-party accessory makers banked on a completely redesigned look for Apple’s next iPhone, but that October the iPhone 4S debuted with a design nearly identical to its predecessor, the iPhone 4.
Similarly, one report this week claimed that a major accessory maker had halted production of cases designed for the so-called “iPad mini”. Manufacturing of those cases was reportedly stopped because of an apparent “design change” that caught the manufacturer-off guard.
Apple is expected to hold an event later this month to officially unveil a smaller iPad with a 7.85-inch display. The company is said to have ordered more than 10 million units for sale this holiday shopping season.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.
Google has added support for the open CardDAV contact syncing protocol used by Apple in OS X and iOS, enabling Google Contacts users to directly sync just like Yahoo and iCloud.
Google’s Gmail product manager Jeff Ellingson noted the new support for CardDAV on the company’s blog today.
The new support requires iOS 5 or higher, and currently requires users to manually set up an “other” CardDAV account, as Apple’s automated setup for Google accounts on both OS X and iOS only configure Gmail & Notes (via IMAP), Calendar & Reminders (via CalDAV), and Messages (via XMPP).
In the future, Apple will likely add support for simply checking a box for Contacts sync to simplify CardDAV account configuration, just as it does for Yahoo and Facebook accounts that already support CardDAV.
Apple pioneered support for the CalDAV and CardDAV open specifications in its efforts to build open Calendar and Contact sharing services in OS X Server as an alternative to Microsoft Exchange Server, which uses proprietary protocols to sync such data between clients and servers.
The company first added CalDAV and CardDAV support to its mobile devices in iOS 4 two years ago.
Apple has aggressively pushed both open standards for calendar and contact sync, enabling users to seamlessly use Macs and iOS devices with not just its own OS X Server and iCloud offerings, but also third party services from AOL, Google, Yahoo and any other systems that support them.
CalDAV and CardDAV are based upon the WebDAV specification for building web servers capable of both reading and writing information, so implementing the protocols is relatively simple for third parties.
If you’ve tried the new Google CalDAV and CardDAV support features in iOS, please let us know how your experience went in the comments.
Once again, the lunatics over at iFixit got their mitts on the new iPhone, got to work dissecting it and posted the results faster than anyone could believe it.
And, once again, they found some really cool stuff inside Apple’s newest handset.
Per iFixit’s full teardown report, the repair firm managed to snag a “black and slate” copy of the device in Australia, the first country to see official iPhone 5 availability, within the first hour of sales and proceeded to disassemble the device for its usual comprehensive teardown.
The first steps of revealing the innards of Apple’s most advanced smartphone include removing the small proprietary pentalobe screws that attach the unit’s 4-inch display to the aluminum “uni-body” back casing. A suction cup was used to easily lift the screen assembly away from the rear housing, a departure from the involved removal procedure seen with the iPhone 4 and 4S.
“Compare this to the iPhone 4s, where it took 38 steps to isolate the display assembly, and this iPhone may be the most repairable iPhone we’ve seen in a while,” iFixit wrote.
Next to be removed was the larger 3.8V, 5.45WH battery, which holds slightly more juice than the 3.7V, 5.3Wh part found in the iPhone 4S. In comparison, Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S III uses a 3.8V, 7.98Wh battery.
To the right of the larger power cell is the the logic board, which contains the high-performance A6 chip, baseband system, storage and a litany of other essential components.
With help from Chipworks, the logic board’s packages were identified:
- Skyworks 77352-15 GSM/GPRS/EDGE power amplifier module
- Avago A5613 ACPM-5613 LTE band 13 power amplifier
- Triquint 666083-1229 WCDMA / HSUPA power amplifier / duplexer module for the UMTS band
- STMicroelectronics LIS331DLH (2233/DSH/GFGHA) ultra low-power, high performance, three-axis linear accelerometer
- Texas Instruments 27C245I touch screen SoC
- Broadcom BCM5976 touchscreen controller
- Apple A6 Application processor
- Qualcomm MDM9615M LTE modem
- RTR8600 Multi-band/mode RF transceiver
According to iFixit, “many of the components that came out with the logic board are held in place with screws and brackets.”
Apparently Apple is very concerned with making sure that all the connectors are firmly seated and won’t rattle lose over time.
The A6 is also though to be Apple’s first attempt at designing an ARM core in-house, however the internal architecture has yet to be investigated.
Wrapping up the teardown is a look at Apple’s new Lightning connector. There has been mixed emotions with the new plug, as the move away from Apple’s 30-pin design means the iPhone 5 may not work with legacy aftermarket accessories without an adapter. The company claims there was no way to make such a thin handset without the new connector, however, and said the standard is expected to be used for foreseeable future.
Overall, iFixit gives the iPhone 5 a “7 out of 10″ score for repairability.
Since a video’s worth more than a thousand words, take a gander at what iFixit had to say: