Rumor: Next-gen iPhone to arrive later than usual launch date, development issues cited

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Date: Friday, April 12th, 2013, 08:20
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor

The next-gen iPhone may be a bit late in arrival.

Per ” target=”_blank”>AppleInsider, Ming-chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who has a strong track record in revealing Apple’s future product plans, shared a research note on Thursday that suggested Apple’s so-called “iPhone 5S,” a rumored low-cost iPhone, and a second-generation iPad mini will all launch later than market consensus expects.

These apparent delays are driven by a variety of issues, according to Kuo. For the “iPhone 5S,” he said Apple plans to include a fingerprint sensor that poses a number of technical challenges. An “iPhone 5S” fingerprint sensor, Retina display for next iPad mini, and ultrathin plastic casing for low-cost iPhone are expected to cause production challenges for Apple.

“Apple has to work out how to prevent interference from the black and white coating material under the cover glass,” he said. “Apple is the first to attempt this function and technology, and time is needed to find the right coating material, which will likely affect iPhone 5S shipments.”

Kuo has previously claimed that Apple plans to integrate a fingerprint sensor beneath the home button the next iPhone. This new technology would allow users to bypass password entry, and could also allow Apple to integrate secure e-wallet functionality.

Another hold-up for the next iPhone, according to Kuo, is the development of iOS 7, Apple’s anticipated next-generation mobile operating system. The analyst said Thursday that more time is likely to be needed for software development and testing, particularly with respect to the fingerprint scanning functions that will be included with the software.

As for the rumored low-cost iPhone said to be in the works at Apple, Kuo said Apple faces challenges with the casing on the device. He expects that the low-end iPhone will have a plastic casing that will be slimmer than such casings regularly are. Kuo correctly predicted the bulk of Apple’s 2012 product lineup. This year, he sees iPhone and iPad sales shrinking to single-digit growth in the third quarter because of apparent behind-the-scenes production delays.

“The slimmer casing may make it more difficult to ramp up production yields of coating and surface treatment, and could slow down the shipment timetable,” he said.

Finally, Kuo said the “iPad mini 2″ faces challenges with its display panels, as he expects Apple will opt to include a high-resolution Retina display with the second-generation device. This is expected to make the device more difficult to manufacture, which could delay shipments.

As a result of these issues, Kuo said it’s likely that Apple will see single-digit growth in iPhone and iPad shipments in the third quarter of 2013. That would be well below the market consensus, which sees Apple growing its sales by between 30 and 40 percent with the introductions of new products.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

T-Mobile firmware update to bring Visual Voicemail, LTE access to unlocked iPhone 5 units on carrier’s network

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Date: Monday, April 8th, 2013, 07:53
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Never doubt a nifty firmware update.

Per TmoNews, a software update released this past Friday will give iPhone 5 users on T-Mobile access to the carrier’s LTE network, in addition to adding a number of other features like Visual Voicemail

T-Mobile on Friday updated its support forums to detail the new features the carrier update will bring. All eligible iPhones using a T-Mobile SIM card will now have access to Visual Voicemail, the Commercial Mobile Alert System, and LTE connectivity on T-Mobile’s AWS spectrum for iPhone 5 users.

The update also brings HD Voice to T-Mobile iPhone 5 users, and it contains device/network optimizations that will improve battery life.

The update is restricted to iPhones running iOS 6.1.x or higher. Rumors of the update leaked earlier this month, and it has rolled out as predicted.

T-Mobile’s network currently hosts roughly two million iPhone customers using unlocked devices, adding about 100,000 more per month. The carrier will begin officially carrying Apple’s smartphone on April 12, with a 16GB iPhone 5 available for US$99. Pre-orders for the device began on Friday.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPhone 5 now available for pre-order through T-Mobile

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Date: Friday, April 5th, 2013, 07:30
Category: iPhone, News, retail

There’s nothing wrong with a good pre-order via an upcoming iPhone carrier.

Per 9to5Mac, customers will be able to order the iPhone 5 on T-Mobile’s newly revamped “un-carrier” unlimited plans for a carrier-exclusive low price.

Along with the low down payment on the pre-order comes a two-year financing plan that totals US$579.99, which is US$70 cheaper than purchasing the phone unlocked. Plans start at US$50 per month for 500MB of high-speed data and throttled data afterward, while US$70 per month gets unlimited high-speed data.

Following the pre-orders this week, all models of the iPhone will be available for immediate purchase on April 12. Customers who purchase a new iPhone 5 through Apple or T-Mobile will be able to take advantage of T-Mobile’s speedy LTE network in markets where it is available, but those who use older AT&T or unlocked iPhone 5 models will need to install an over-the-air update to do so (and won’t get all the AWS HSPA bands without new hardware). T-Mobile also announced that the updated iPhone 5 will receive HD Voice service in a future software upgrade.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

AT&T to introduce HD Voice later this year, iPhone 5 users rejoice

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Date: Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013, 06:02
Category: iPhone, News

If you’re an iPhone 5 user, your call quality with AT&T should improve this year.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog and AllThingsD, when Apple introduced the iPhone 5 last year, Apple’s Senior VP of Marketing Phil Schiller explained that Apple updated the iPhone 5′s entire audio system. In addition to the inclusion of three microphones and an improved speaker design, Schiller also boasted that the iPhone 5 featured a technology dubbed wideband audio, otherwise known as HD Voice technology.

Phil Schiller said the technology was capable of delivering amazing sound performance and described it thusly:

In a typical cellphone call, this is what it looks like. The frequency of the data in your voice is compressed around the midrange to help make that call sound more intelligible, but it doesn’t sound entirely natural all the time. So with wideband audio we can fill up more of the frequency spectrum and make your voice sound even more natural.

In order to take advantage of the much improved call quality, however, the technology must be supported by the carrier and both devices on a particular call.

When Apple first introduced the iPhone 5, Schiller said that 20 cellphone carriers worldwide would be ready to support the iPhone 5′s wideband audio technology at launch. Notably, no US carriers were part of that original grouping of 20.

But that’s all poised to change.

According to statements made by AT&T senior VP Kris Rinne on Tuesday at the VentureBeat Mobile Summit indicating that Ma Bell is planning to roll out support for wideband audio later this year.

“HD Voice is part of our voice over LTE strategy,” Rinne explained.

Of course, this is welcome news for AT&T subscribers who have long complained of subpar call quality measured against other US carriers like Sprint and Verizon.

Rinne also added that AT&T is taking other measures to improve call quality on its network.

Rinne, who oversees network technologies for the carrier, said that the carrier will also begin work on so-called advanced LTE which does things to reduce interference and bond together traffic from various frequencies.

Sprint is reportedly interested in supporting HD Voice as well, though a timetable for such support wasn’t specified.

So, if you ever felt your iPhone 5′s call quality was just slightly short of stellar, this should help. Verizon users, on the other hand, will have to wait until 2014 for HD Voice support.

Rumor: Unlocked GSM iPhones could go from 2G EDGE to LTE on T-Mobile network, firmware update possible

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Date: Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013, 13:31
Category: iOS, iPhone, Rumor

Bring your iPhone over to the right carrier and nifty things can happen.

Per TmoNews, T-Mobile customers that brought their iPhones over to the carrier will see feature enhancements and perhaps even a data speed boost when the carrier rolls out an update on Friday.

The web site carried an image of a leaked screenshot showing a carrier update set for April 5. The update will bring features like Visual Voicemail, and MMS Settings, as well as “Network/Device optimizations that customers do not have access to today.”

While unconfirmed, it is possible that these “optimizations” will give current iPhone owners on T-Mobile access to the network’s LTE network. Currently, data speeds for iPhones on T-Mobile’s network top out at 2G EDGE levels. The iPhone 5, when it reaches T-Mobile, will be able to take advantage of the carrier’s new high-speed network.

Apple’s iPhone 5 will make its official debut on T-Mobile on April 12, for US$99 on the carrier’s new UNCarrier payment plans. The OTA update for current T-Mobile iPhone users will go out to devices running iOS 6.1.x or higher beginning April 5.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

T-Mobile iPhone 5 to feature Advanced Wireless Services feature, arrive unlocked

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Date: Wednesday, March 27th, 2013, 05:06
Category: Hardware, iPhone, News

The T-Mobile iPhone 5 will ship on April 12th and feature something different.

Per Engadget, the handset is being reworked straight from the factory to take advantage of the carrier’s Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) bandwidths, a modification that reportedly cannot be done with a simple software update.

Apple confirmed to the web site on Tuesday that the T-Mobile version of the iPhone 5 carries the same A1428 model number as the AT&T iteration, but has AWS enabled thanks to a factory tweak. The change can’t be duplicated by a firmware update, meaning current AT&T iPhone 5 owners must buy the newest version if they want AWS functionality.

As a consolation, the new A1428 model will be factory unlocked when it ships on April 12, the same day as T-Mobile’s launch date for the device. Apple will reportedly be selling the unit at full MSRP prices in a “SIM-in unlocked fashion.” While the handset has been customized for T-Mobile’s AWS bands in the U.S., AT&T customers will be able to take advantage of the slightly revamped model on their 4G LTE network.

The publication goes on to say that Apple is phasing out the older A1428 model in favor of the T-Mobile-compatible version, suggesting that AT&T iPhone 5 units sold after April 12 will support AWS.

T-Mobile announced on Tuesday that it will be offering the iPhone 5 as part of the company’s unsubsidized payment plan, which allows users to pay a low US$99 up front fee for a 16GB version of the smartphone, with the remainder of the unit’s cost spread out across 20 additional monthly payments of US$20.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

T-Mobile to offer iPhone 5 on April 12th, will incorporate $99 upfront payment plan

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Date: Tuesday, March 26th, 2013, 08:33
Category: iPhone, News, retail

The day T-Mobile customers have been waiting for has arrived.

And you’ll be able to snag an iPhone via T-Mobile on April 12th.

Per AppleInsider, customers of T-Mobile, the fourth-largest carrier in the U.S., will get long awaited access to Apple’s iPhone when the iPhone 5 launches on the carrier’s network April 12.

The announcement was made Tuesday by T-Mobile as part of the company’s “Uncarrier” branding, which seeks to differentiate the carrier from competing providers like AT&T, Verizon and Sprint — all of which already carry the iPhone.

In standing out from the others, T-Mobile is offering a 16-gigabyte iPhone 5 for US$99 up front, with 20 additional monthly payments of US$20. With an April 12 sale date in T-Mobile’s retail stores, preorders will begin April 5.

Joining the iPhone 5 will be the remainder of Apple’s current smartphone lineup: the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 4. As with other carriers, only the iPhone 5 will be compatible with T-Mobile’s new 4G LTE high-speed data network.

T-Mobile officially announced its new LTE network at Tuesday’s event as well, available in a total of seven U.S. markets: Kansas City, Kan., Houston, Tex., Las Vegas, Nev., Phoenix, Ariz., San Jose, Calif., and Washington, D.C.

T-Mobile’s new data plans include 500 megabytes of high-speed online data and unlimited calls and texts for US$50. For an extra US$10 per month, users get 2.5 gigabytes of high-speed data, while unlimited 4G access runs US$70 per month. In addition, users are simply throttled, not penalized, when they go over their data cap.

Bringing Apple’s iPhone to T-Mobile with full support has been no small task. While the carrier counts some two million iPhone customers among its base — with about 100,000 added per month — T-Mobile’s reliance on the 1700MHz frequency for its 3G HSPA+ network proved an obstacle for T-Mobile with regard to Apple’s bestselling smartphone.

The 1700MHz frequency, branded as “4G” but not “LTE”, is unique to T-Mobile among carriers, and allows iPhone users only very slow 2G connectivity. Given T-Mobile’s relatively small customer base, Apple never moved to support T-Mobile’s standard. Instead, T-Mobile has been working to switch much of its network to 1900MHz in order to allow iPhone connectivity. The company will be repurposing its 1700MHz band for 4G LTE.

T-Mobile last year announced a deal with Apple to begin selling Apple products in 2013. Executives from the carrier said in January of this year that customers could expect Apple products on T-Mobile sooner rather than later, floating the possibility of “three to four months” rather than “six to nine.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to debut cheaper iPhone with plastic casing, no Retina display come June/July

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Date: Friday, March 22nd, 2013, 06:22
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor

There’s gotta be a nugget of truth in here somewhere…

Per AppleInsider, analyst Amit Daryanani of RBC Capital Markets issued a note to investors on Friday in which he said he’s received word that Apple plans to launch “multiple new phones” in the June-July timeframe this year. Specifically, he expects Apple to launch a next-generation flagship handset, a so-called “iPhone 5S,” as well as a more affordable handset.

“The low-end iPhone will have the same 4-inch form factor as the iPhone 5, but will have a plastic casing and no Retina display,” he said. “With a lower price point, AAPL will be able to target a growing and important part of the smartphone market (sub-US$400 price band).”

Daryanani believes Apple’s rumored low-end iPhone will carry lower gross margins than the iPhone 5 or an iPhone 5S. But he also expects that such a product would contribute another US$22 billion in revenue and more than US$5 in earnings per share in calendar year 2014, which he believes would add US$50 of value to Apple’s stock price.

In his projections, the low-end smartphone market has a total addressable size of about 500 million units in calendar 2014. He believes Apple could capture more than 15 percent of that market in the medium term, leading to what he said is a “conservative” estimate of 70 million units.

Daryanani also expects Apple to launch a new iPad mini and full-size iPad this year, while he said a full-fledged Apple television and so-called “iWatch” smart watch are “likely,” but the timing of their debut is “unclear.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple’s next-gen “budget” iPhone to feature same 4-inch display as current iPhone 5

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Date: Friday, March 15th, 2013, 07:09
Category: iPhone, Rumor

Just because you’re buying the economy model doesn’t mean you have to settle for a smaller screen.

Per AppleInsider, contrary to some rumors suggesting Apple’s low-cost iPhone will have a larger 4.5-inch display, the company’s new entry-level handset will have a 4-inch display, matching the size of the iPhone 5.

The details on Apple’s so-called “budget” iPhone were revealed on Friday by Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, who has a reliable track record in predicting Apple’s future product plans. According to Kuo, the specs for Apple’s low-cost iPhone were decided in 2011, and the company is “unlikely to abruptly change” due to a market shift toward larger screens in the 5-inch range.

The new, less expensive iPhone model is said to have a “super-thin plastic casing mixed with glass fiber.” The material will make it stronger, thinner and lighter than typical smartphone plastic casings, Kuo said.

He expects the thickness to be between 0.4 and 0.6 millimeters, which is thinner than the average plastic casing at between 0.7 and 1 millimeter.

The phone will also reportedly come in a range of colors, much like Apple’s iPod lineup. According to Kuo, there will be between four and six options, expanding from the black and white choices currently available on existing iPhone models.

Apple is said to have contracted with Foxconn as well as Green Point of the Jabil group for its strong and thin iPhone plastic casings. Hon Hai will both build casings and assemble the phones, while Jabil is expected to provide its casings to Pegatron, which will assemble the remaining iPhones. The analyst reported earlier this week that Apple was likely to diversify manufacturers for both its low-cost and legacy iPhones.

Kuo’s latest report issued on Friday was specifically issued to dispel claims made in the rumor mill that claimed Foxconn would be losing orders for Apple’s low-cost iPhone. The report erroneously indicated that the device would have a larger display than 4 inches.

The latest information from Kuo corroborates other rumored details present within the tech industry. That report claimed the “budget” iPhone will feature a 5-inch display like the iPhone 5, but will also borrow some design elements from the latest iPod touch and even the legacy iPod classic, with a flat back made of plastic.

In addition to a low-cost iPhone based on the design of the iPhone 5, Kuo also expects Apple to release an updated premium “iPhone 5S” later this year. He has previously revealed that the next high-end iPhone is expected to include a fingerprint sensor under the home button that will eliminate the need to enter passwords and potentially add new functionality such as secure e-wallet transactions through Passbook.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Local carrier Strata Networks to carry iPhone 5, provide additional coverage for Idaho, Utah, Colorado areas

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Date: Wednesday, March 6th, 2013, 08:59
Category: iPhone, News, retail

If you were looking for iPhone 5 handsets and local carrier-based goodness in Colorado, Idaho or Utah, you’re in luck.

Per 9to5Mac, Utah-based Strata Networks recently started advertising that the device is “coming soon” to its network. In November, Strata officially rolled out its LTE network, the first in the Uintah Basin covering several counties in Utah, and the carrier also has local coverage in Idaho, Utah, and Colorado. A map of the carrier’s LTE coverage in Utah is below, while a full map of nationwide coverage can be found here.

Many other regional carriers have been known to offer the device at a discounted price compared to Apple and the major carriers with the iPhone 5 starting at US$149 on a two-year contract through many.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.