Rumor: Apple to release official 4G-capable iPhone in 2012

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Date: Tuesday, October 25th, 2011, 05:22
Category: iPhone, Rumor

When the iPhone 4S was released recently, one of the major complaints was that the unit lacked an official 4G function.

This may be resolved next year when Apple is “expected to join the LTE club,” according to sources who spoke with DigiTimes.

Apple’s entrance into the 4G LTE smartphone market is expected to come as Nokia, Research in Motion and Sony Ericsson also release their own next-generation high-speed handsets next year. The debut of those smartphones will come as carriers around the world launch their own LTE networks.

Just 35 LTE networks are online globally at the moment, but that number is expected to triple and exceed 100 before the end of 2012. By 2015, LTE networks are expected to reach 290 million people, and sales of LTE smartphones are projected to top 154 million units.

In the U.S., competition for 4G networks is expected to pick up next year, when Sprint launches its own LTE services in the middle of the year. The third-largest carrier in America, which began offering the iPhone earlier this month, reportedly expects to launch 15 LTE-enabled devices in mid-2012.

Earlier this year, reports claimed that Apple had eyed building an LTE-capable iPhone in 2011, but opted to push back the launch of such a device in 2012. It was said that the implementation of LTE networks had not yet matured enough to satisfy Apple.

In a quarterly conference call earlier this year, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, then the company’s chief operating officer, said that poor battery life and other issues with current LTE technology were enough to dissuade the company from pursuing an LTE iPhone at the time.

“The first generation of LTE chipsets force a lot of design compromises with the handset, and some of those we are just not willing to make,” Cook said.

The just-released iPhone 4S features an improved antenna that it HSDPA compatible for theoretical download speeds of up to 14.4Mbps. That has led U.S. carrier AT&T to advertise that the iPhone 4S has 4G-like speeds on its GSM network. However, the world-mode phone is not capable of achieving those same speeds on CDMA networks with carriers like Sprint and Verizon.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple confirms C Spire Wireless as fourth U.S. iPhone carrier

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Date: Wednesday, October 19th, 2011, 09:39
Category: iPhone, News

The south shall rise again.

This time, with its own wireless carrier for the iPhone.

Per Macworld, C Spire Wireless will join Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T as the fourth U.S iPhone carrier. The company, which functions as the largest privately-held cellular carrier in the country, announced on Wednesday that it will begin offering the iPhone 4S “in the coming weeks.”

C Spire is a regional carrier; until last month, it did business as Cellular South. The company accepts customers primarily in the southeast, focusing on Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida. Dave Miller, C Spire’s Media Relations Manager, stated that he couldn’t yet comment on whether the company would also carry the iPhone 4 or 3GS, though he did say “more details will be coming out soon about all the Apple devices we will offer.” C Spire is a CDMA carrier, like Sprint and Verizon.

Like Sprint, C Spire currently offers plans that include unlimited data. Miller indicated that he couldn’t yet confirm what plans the company would offer for the iPhone 4S, but declared that C Spire offers “what we consider the best plan in the industry, the 80/40 plan.” That plan offers unlimited minutes, text, and data for US$80 per month for your first line, and US$40 for additional lines.

An Apple spokesperson also confirmed that C Spire will carry the iPhone 4S soon.

Stay tuned for additional details and if you have any feedback from your experience with C Spire, please let us know in the comments.

iLounge review finds iPhone 4S battery less robust for 3G data, media when compared to iPhone 4

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Date: Monday, October 17th, 2011, 10:25
Category: battery, iPhone, News

The good news is that the iPhone 4S is out and is being regarded as fairly spiffy.

The bad news is that its battery may not be the greatest thing in the known universe.

Per the iLounge review, the site compared the iPhone 4 battery to the iPhone 4S battery to test comparative better times given various functions.

For tests with 3G Data, Audio Playback, Video Playback, and Video Recording, iLounge found that the iPhone 4S came in under the iPhone 4′s battery life times. For Wi-Fi and FaceTime testing they found it to be similiar to the iPhone 4, and on cellular calls, they found the iPhone 4S slightly better.

One interesting finding with 3G data was that while their Verizon 4S unit ran for the same time as the AT&T model (~ 5 hours and 54 minutes), they found the Sprint model to lag at 5 hours and 23 minutes. Comparisons across mobile providers may not be completely fair due to differences in signal strength which could impact battery life.

In voice calls, they found the AT&T iPhone 4 and AT&T iPhone 4S to have comparable times of around 7 hours and 6-16 minutes. The Verizon 4S model, however, showed a surprising 8 hours and 27 minutes, while the Sprint 4S again lagged at 6 hours and 27 minutes. iLounge notes that the Verizon model may have shown 4 bars more often than the other two.

Both media playback and recording has taken a hit on the iPhone 4S as compared to the iPhone 4. For video recording, of course, it should be noted that the iPhone 4S is recording much higher resolution video than the iPhone 4.

Ultimately, their conclusion on iPhone 4S battery life is based on what your exact usage model is:

If you spend much of your day near a Wi-Fi network and only rely upon the iPhone 4S for web browsing and phone calling, you won’t notice a major difference—unless you’re thinking of switching to Sprint, in which case we’d be a little concerned. Similarly, if you use 3G data, plan to record or play videos, or want to listen to hours of audio during the day, you can expect greater battery drain from the iPhone 4S.

There may be some confounding data due to regional signal strengths, but given the other complaints about Sprint’s data speeds, it still seems to be the worst choice amongst the iPhone carriers.

In other news, some users have reported dramatically decreased battery life on their iPhone 4S. One solution to that is said to be the calibration of the battery, in which case you drain your entire battery once and then charge to full. Some have found their battery gauge to be inaccurate until this is performed. Apple includes other tips on their site about improving your battery life on the iPhone.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve had a few days to tinker with the new iPhone 4S, please let us know what you think in the comments.

iFixit completes full teardown of iPhone 4S, posts results (updated)

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Date: Thursday, October 13th, 2011, 09:48
Category: iPhone, Pictures

With only one day (uno dia) remaining before the iPhone 4S officially goes on sale in brick and mortar locations, the supremely cool cats at iFixit have performed a full teardown of the long-awaited handset. Beyond the 1GHz A5 dual-core processor and 8 megapixel rear-facing camera, here’s what else they stumbled across:

- The iPhone 4S also has an upgraded Qualcomm MDM6610 radio chipset, plus flash memory provided by Toshiba.

- The Retina Display on the iPhone 4S hasn’t changed from its predecessor, Apple stuck with the linear oscillating vibration motor that was standard in the Verizon iPhone 4 (the AT&T version contained a rotational electric motor).

- The teardown confirmed the process of 512 MB of RAM.

- Yep, there’s a larger battery. And that’s never a bad thing.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Online vendors selling out of iPhone, Apple’s expected ship times pushed back to 1-2 weeks from October 14th launch date

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Date: Monday, October 10th, 2011, 04:56
Category: iPhone, News

If there were any doubts that the iPhone 4S would be a decent seller, the pre-orders have apparently killed them stone dead.

Per AppleInsider, just 24 hours after opening up pre-orders for the new iPhone 4S, Apple has rolled back expected shipping times for the device from expected delivery on the Oct. 14th launch date to an estimate of 1-2 weeks.

The Apple Online Store changed its pre-order availability for all models of the iPhone 4S early Saturday. Apple had promised to begin taking advance orders for the device at 12:01 Pacific on Friday, but slight hiccups delayed sales for Apple and AT&T.

The company’s other two wireless partners in the U.S., Verizon and Sprint, were able to begin pre-orders on time, though some customers reported having trouble completing orders from Apple and carriers alike.

AT&T announced later on Friday that it had received more than 200,000 pre-orders for the smartphone in just 12 hours, a record for the company.

Unveiled on Tuesday, the iPhone 4S features the same external design as the iPhone 4, but adds Siri voice control, a faster A5 processor, an 8-megapixel camera and a new antenna design. Though some have expressed disappointment that the handset did not receive a form factor refresh, Wall Street analysts remain confident that sales of the iPhone 4S will easily top previous records set by the iPhone 4.

Sprint noted on its website late Friday that it had completely sold out of pre-orders for the 16GB iPhone 4S, though, as of early Saturday, the 32GB and 64GB versions were still available for advance purchase. The carrier does, however, state that the 16GB model will be “available in stores on Oct. 14.”

Verizon may also have sold out of its initial pre-order allowance of 16GB models. The carrier’s website currently lists 16GB models of the iPhone 4S for Oct. 21 delivery. Also, some users have reported that orders placed on the Verizon website at 12:01 a.m. on Friday are now estimating delivery on Oct. 21.

Though not a publicly disclosed practice, recent history and evidence supports the fact that Apple allots restricted amounts of devices for its partners to offer on pre-order and at launch.

According to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, Sprint has basically “bet the company” on the iPhone and has agreed to purchase 30.5 million iPhones over the next four years.

This is the first iPhone launch in the U.S. where Apple has to manage multiple carrier relationships. The issue is also exacerbated by the fact that the iPhone 4S is a “global model” and the same model can work on both CDMA and GSM networks.

For those willing to wait, Apple will release a GSM-unlocked version of the iPhone 4S in November, with 16GB, 326GB and 64GB models selling for $649, $749 and $849, respectively. The company cautions, however, that the unlocked iPhone will not work with CDMA carriers such as Verizon and Sprint.

Apple has had trouble producing enough iPhone and iPad models to match pre-order and launch day demand in recent years. Even the Verizon iPhone 4, which launched 8 months after the GSM iPhone 4 arrived, sold out of pre-orders on the first day on offer.

If you’ve received any word as to your iPhone 4S order, please let us know and we’ll have additional details as soon as they become available.

Apple begins taking iPhone 4S preorders, reveals that unlocked model won’t work on CDMA networks

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Date: Friday, October 7th, 2011, 06:31
Category: iPhone, News

Apple on Friday began taking preorders for the iPhone 4S, and also revealed its next-generation handset will be sold unlocked and contract-free in November starting at US$649.

Per AppleInsider, the unlocked iPhone 4GS will only work on supported GSM networks, like AT&T in the U.S. But it will not work with any CDMA carriers, including Verizon Wireless or Sprint.

Customers who buy an unlocked iPhone 4S will be able to use the handset internationally on GSM networks. They must obtain a micro-SIM card from a local GSM carrier to put in the handset.

When it was announced on Tuesday, the iPhone 4S was unveiled as a “world phone,” meaning it is compatible with both CDMA and GSM networks. But customers who want to operate the handset on a GSM network, like Verizon, the largest carrier in the U.S., will need to buy Apple’s latest smartphone with a new two-year contract.

“The unlocked iPhone includes all the features of iPhone but without a contract commitment,” Apple’s description reads. “You can activate and use it on the supported GSM wireless network of your choice, such as AT&T in the United States.”

The contract-free iPhone 4S is available in all three standard capacities, and is priced at US$649 for 16GB, US$749 for 32GB and US$849 for 64GB. It will be available in both black and white.

When the iPhone 4S is delivered in November, it will arrive without a micro-SIM card. By inserting a card and turning on the phone, users will be able to activate the device by following the onscreen instructions without tethering to a Mac or PC, a new feature made possible by the PC-free setup in iOS 5.

Apple has warned that a credit check may be required for customers who purchase the unlocked GSM iPhone 4S in November. In addition, customers must be at least 18 years of age to buy.

The unlocked iPhone 4S will arrive only a few months after Apple began selling the GSM iPhone 4 unlocked in June. The contract-free iPhone 4 also carried a starting price of US$649.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have any thoughts on this, please let us know what’s on your mind in the comments.

Sprint confirms unlimited data plan to be available for iPhone subscribers

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Date: Thursday, October 6th, 2011, 04:58
Category: iPhone, News

With Sprint being added to the U.S. iPhone carrier list along with AT&T and Verizon, it’s time for some competition.

Per AllThingsD, Sprint will indeed offer unlimited data plans when it starts taking iPhone orders later this week.

“We will be offering the benefit of our unlimited plans that start at just US$69.99,” said spokeswoman Michelle Leff Mermelstein. Sprint’s US$69.99 plan includes unlimited data and 450 voice minutes as well as unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling. Unlimited calling and data retails for US$99.99 a month, these prices not including a $10 per month surcharge for smartphones, so iPhone users will really be paying US$79.99 and US$109.99 for their unlimited plans.

Sprint is counting on unlimited pricing to help it stand out from AT&T and Verizon — which will also carry the very same iPhone 4S. In addition, Sprint and Verizon will have the iPhone 4, while only AT&T will have the older iPhone 3GS to offer for free with a new contract.

Both AT&T and Verizon offered unlimited data plans for the iPhone in the past, but have since shifted to tiered pricing for new customers.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Live Blog: Apple’s “Let’s Talk iPhone” media event

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Date: Tuesday, October 4th, 2011, 09:46
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

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Ok, here are the touch points so far, as noted via the cool cats at Mac|Life:

- iOS 5 will be released on October 12th and continue to be free.

- iOS 5 will function on the iPhone 3GS, 4, iPad, iPad 2, and the two recent generation iPod touches.

- Contacts, calendar items and events will all be backed up with iCloud.

- Users will be able to turn location finding on and find friends with a “Find My Friend” feature.

- The iPod app is gone in iOS 5 and has been replaced with the iPod touch’s Music app icon.

- iCloud will debut on October 25th.

- Apple has apparently announced an updated iPod nano with FM radio, pedometer and larger buttons.

- The updated iPod nano will be available at the following price points: 8GB US$129 and 16GB for US$149.

- The updated iPod touch will be available at the following price points: 8GB for US$199, 32GB for US$299 and 64GB for US$399.

- The iPhone 5 will be available in both black and white upon release.

- The iPhone 4S will be powered by the A5 processor.

- The iPhone 4S will feature dual-core graphics, be 2x faster and function as a much better gaming device.

- Apple is citing eight hours of 3G talk time with the iPhone 4S.

- 50 hours of listening to your favorite tunes on the new battery…

- A new antenna system will switch between transmitting and receiving functions, Apple citing this as more reliable than the current iPhone 4 antenna.

- Apple is citing 2X faster downloads with the iPhone 4S.

- The iPhone 4S will function on both GSM and CDMA networks.

- A new 8 megapixel camera will offer a 3264 x 2448 resolution (Apple is stating that this is 60% more pixels than the current camera resolution).

- Camera: f/2.4 aperture, 30% more sharpness due in part to five element lenses.

- Better white balance and facial detection on the iPhone 4S camera.

- The A5 processor allows for speedier shots, Apple citing that the camera can go from the first shot to the next shot in half of a second.

- The new camera will feature 1080p HD recording, temporal noise reduction and video image stabilization.

- AirPlay mirroring will allow your iOS’s apps to be mirrored to a larger monitor via your AppleTV.

- The iPhone 4S looks exactly the same as the current iPhone 4.

- A “Siri” feature will allow you to give spoken commands (such as “What will the weather be like today?” to the device).

- Siri will allow you to reply to texts while the device is in a pocket and will allow for a reply text with a Bluetooth headset.

- Siri’s interface is both onscreen as well as audio, the feature being hardware-dependent and running on the iPhone 4S only.

- Siri will apparently read a text message to you and ask you questions as to how you’d like to reply.

- Siri can do dictations for emails too, the app placing a microphone next to the space bar in the keyboard. The app will start as a beta in the U.S., U.K., Australia, French and German with more languages and services coming.

- The iPhone 4S apparently features an identical screen size to the current iPhone 4.

- And now, your long-awaited pricing and capacities for the iPhone 4S: 16GB for US$199, 32GB for US$299 and 64 GB for US$399.

- The iPhone 3G can now be purchased new for US$49.

- Sprint has now been added to the list of iPhone wireless carriers along with AT&T and Verizon.

- Pre-orders for the iPhone 4S begin Friday, October 7th.

- The iPhone 4S will be released on Friday, October 14th.

- The iPhone 4S will be available in 22 additional countries on October 28th and reach 70 countries by the end of 2011.

That’s all for now and let us know what you think via the comments.

AT&T to raise iPhone insurance rates by $2/month on October 4th

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Date: Friday, September 30th, 2011, 10:45
Category: iPhone, News

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It never hurts to be protected…and you can take that any way you want.

Per Electronista, AT&T has confirmed that insurance costs will be going up for AT&T iPhone owners on October 4th, as rumored, a page on the carrier’s website reveals.

Come October 5th, insurance rates are scheduled to jump from US$5 to US$7, affecting new and existing customers alike. The hike is happening in conjunction with the creation of a new device tier, covering the iPhone and “other devices” for which a US$199 non-refundable deductible will apply.

The switch is clearly meant to coincide with Apple’s iPhone press event on the 4th, at which time the company will announce one or more new iPhone models. Potentially significant is that AT&T is increasing rates in tandem with the hardware’s introduction, and not at a later date when devices will presumably go on sale. It could imply that Apple is planning a rapid turnaround, opening up orders within the space of a week if not immediately.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Leaked iPhone 5 case image surfaces from AT&T store, speculation grows

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Date: Friday, September 30th, 2011, 06:30
Category: iPhone, Pictures, Rumor

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It’s the leaks that make things interesting.

Per MacRumors, a picture showing iPhone 5 cases entered into the carrier’s inventory system, more evidence has emerged that AT&T has begun stocking third-party iPhone 5 cases days before Apple is expected to unveil its next handset.

An alleged store employee at an AT&T retail store sent to MacRumors photos of newly arrived silicone sleeves for the as-yet-unannounced “iPhone 5.” The product appears to be a low-end generic case, as it carries no distinguishable brand, is simply labeled “cell phone accessory” and comes in oversized packaging.

The sleeve features a tapered design with the mute switch on the right side of the device, resembling purported iPhone 5 cases that have proliferated in China for months.

However, the publication took care to note that the cases run against the “growing feeling that Apple may not be releasing such a device” because of recent evidence suggesting that Apple’s design for its next iPhone may be “nearly identical to the iPhone 4.”

Earlier on Thursday, a leaked photo allegedly of AT&T’s inventory system surfaced, showing entries for iPhone 5 hard case, soft case and skin products from Case-Mate. The case maker had previously posted its case designs on its website, but took them down shortly after they went up.

Anticipation for the next-generation iPhone reached a fever pitch after Apple sent out invitations to an event next Tuesday, Oct. 4, with the tagline “Let’s talk iPhone.” The tagline has prompted renewed speculation that Apple will include voice recognition features on its fifth-generation smartphone. The next iPhone is widely believed to feature the A5 processor found in the iPad 2 and an 8-megapixel camera.

There has been some disagreement, however, about whether Apple will introduce a redesigned iPhone 4 in addition to a new model. It had been suggested that Apple was looking to release a cheaper iPhone 4S alongside the iPhone 5, but recent reports have poured cold water on the rumor.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.