Verizon launches ad showcasing iPad, Verizon MiFi unit

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Date: Tuesday, November 9th, 2010, 06:00
Category: iPad, News

In a fairly uncharacteristic move, Apple has allowed its new carrier partner, Verizon, to create its own commercial for the iPad, advertising that the touchscreen tablet can now be bought with a MiFi for on-the-go connectivity.

The new commercial, entitled “Breakaway,” debuted on national TV this week. The largest wireless carrier in the U.S. began selling the Wi-Fi-only iPad, bundled with a 3G MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot, late last month.

Since a picture’s worth a thousand words, take a gander:



According to AppleInsider, the commercial could be a sign of things to come: Verizon is widely expected to begin carrying a CDMA version of Apple’s iPhone starting in January of 2011. That information has been independently confirmed by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Fortune.

It has been reported that control over the iPhone, including its advertising, was a major point of contention between Verizon and Apple in 2005. The carrier and Apple could not come to a deal, and the device debuted on AT&T’s network in 2007.

But in order to bring the iPhone to Verizon, Apple may be compromising — as evidenced by the iPad commercial. Fortune also reported in October that Verizon’s iPhone is expected to offer special features, like live TV for customers of Verizon’s FiOS cable service.

If you have two cents to throw in on this, let us know what you think in the comments.

Apple now offering free laser engraving on iPads sold through apple.com for the holidays

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Date: Tuesday, October 26th, 2010, 04:28
Category: iPad, News

With the holiday shopping season coming up, Apple is now offering free iPad engraving for its online store orders.

Per AppleInsider, the company will allow up to 2 lines of free engraved text on the back of an iPad purchased from Apple.com as an “Apple Online Store exclusive,” confirming a July rumor that Apple would extend its free laser-engraving option from the iPod to the iPad this fall. Custom engraved iPods have been available from the Apple online store for several years.

Customers are given the option to engrave their iPad after selecting an iPad model and any desired accessories from the online store. Engraved iPads are non-returnable, so prospective buyers are cautioned to double-check their spelling.

Also, customers should take note that adding the engraving option currently lengthens the shipping time from “Within 24hrs” to “1-3 business days.”

In preparation for the holiday season, Apple has greatly broadened the retail availability of the iPad. The device will be available for sale at Walmart, Target, AT&T and Verizon stores.

Rumor: Verizon hiring call center workers for possible AT&T launch

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Date: Monday, October 25th, 2010, 17:21
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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If you’re fed up with your iPhone on AT&T’s network, you might just like this.

Per CNET, Verizon is reportedly hiring hundreds of call center staff through third-party hiring companies, adding to speculation that the largest wireless carrier in the U.S. is preparing to launch the iPhone.

Customer service call center staffing companies Teleperformance and Ryla are looking for thousands of customer service representatives to field calls for a “major wireless cell phone service retailer,” per the article. Posts to the Careerbuilder website as well as the companies’ own websites reveal that the positions will be dedicated to “either a wireless, cell phone, or communications company,” with additional positions offering technical support for “personal computers and portable devices like MP3 players and smartphones.”

One Teleperformance call center in Augusta, Georgia, will double its employees through the hiring campaign. “It is for a major wireless company that we have secured a new line of business, one of our existing clients,” Marcie Ballard, vice president of recruiting for Teleperformance, told the Augusta Chronicle, although she declined to say which provider.

Both companies have prior experience supporting Verizon. Teleperformance also works with Apple, in addition to Verizon Wireless and the other major cell phone carriers in the past, the report notes. Ryla has worked with Verizon for over 10 years, a source told CNET.

While the connection between a flurry of call center recruiting and a Verizon iPhone remains tenuous, the rumor was bolstered by Friday’s news that Verizon had lost more ground to rival AT&T than expected in the third quarter. Third-quarter earnings reports from Verizon and AT&T this week show that Verizon netted 584,000 new monthly-bill paying customers during the quarter, compared to AT&T’s 745,000 additions according to Reuters.

Verizon CFO John Killian told Reuters that Verizon expects to add 550,000 to 600,000 new monthly-bill paying customers in the fourth quarter, less than half of last years’ number. Killian also stressed the importance of converting standard users into smartphone users in order to increase revenue through sales of data plans.

Though Verizon Wireless still holds the No. 1 spot as the largest telecommunications network in the U.S. with 93.2 million subscribers as of October, AT&T is close to overtaking the provider with 92.8 million subscribers of its own.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple field-testing iPhone 4 revision with CDMA support

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Date: Tuesday, October 19th, 2010, 07:16
Category: iPhone, Rumor

It’s a rumor but it’s an interesting one.

Per Boy Genius Report, Apple has begun field testing a new version of the iPhone, prompting continued speculation of an early 2011 launch of a CDMA-compatible iPhone.

Citing a “solid Apple source,” the publication claimed Monday that iPhone model 3,2 has reached the field test phase, while the next-generation “iPhone 5″ has advanced to the Engineering Verification Test stage of the development cycle.

“We have been told that iPhone model 3,2 — what everyone is assuming to be the Verizon (or at least CDMA-compatible) phone — just hit the “AP” testing stage. This is the very last stage before retail release; final hardware, almost final software,” the report noted.

Since Apple uses the first number in these device identifiers to refer to major revisions and the second number to refer to minor revisions, iPhone model 3,2 should be an updated iPhone 4 rather than a next-generation model. The report speculates that the 3,2 revision could also include a fix for the widely publicized iPhone 4 antenna issue.

BGR’s source asserts that iPhone version 3,2 will contain a SIM card slot, which is generally used only by GSM devices. However, earlier this month, rumors surrounding a Verizon CDMA iPhone implied that Qualcomm could provide Apple with a dual-mode baseband chip that would support both GSM and CDMA networks. In the U.S., AT&T and T-Mobile run GSM networks, while Verizon and Sprint use the CDMA standard. China Telecom is also reportedly in talks with Apple over a CDMA iPhone.

The story adds to articles published by both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times from early October that a Verizon iPhone is in the works for next year, the much-talked-about rumors of Apple going multi-carrier in the U.S. have gained momentum.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple posts over $20 billion in sales, $4.31 billion profit for fourth quarter

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Date: Tuesday, October 19th, 2010, 06:56
Category: Finance, News

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Apple on Monday reported a “great fiscal quarter,” citing a quarterly profit of US$4.31 billion, compared to US$2.53 billion for the same period last year. Over the quarter, Apple recored US$20.34 billion in revenue, an increase of nearly 67 percent from the year-ago quarter’s sales figure of US$12.21 billion.

Apple’s earnings of US$4.64 per diluted share handily beat estimates by Wall Street analysts who were expecting the company to report earnings of US$4.06 a share on $18.86 billion in revenue for September quarter.

“We still have a few surprises left for the remainder of the calendar year,” said CEO Steve Jobs in a statement accompanying the earnings. Apple has scheduled a press event for this Wednesday where the company is expected to focus on the Mac.

Per Macworld, Apple executive Peter Oppenheimer credited record iPhone sales, enthusiasm for the iPad, and a new quarterly sales record for Mac sales as the drivers behind Apple’s strong quarterly performance. In particular, Apple sold 4.19 million iPads during the first full quarter of sales for the tablet; all told, the company sold 7.5 million iPads during its 2010 fiscal year.

For the fiscal fourth quarter, Apple recorded US$2.8 billion in sales of iPads and related accessories, with the iPad accounting for US$2.7 billion of that figure. That translates to an average selling price of around US$645 for the tablet, Oppenheimer said.

iPad sales may disappoint some analysts, who were expecting Apple to sell close to 5 million tablets. One of the issues may be with inventory—Apple says it has three-to-four weeks worth of channel inventory, which is below its target range of four-to-six weeks. The company plans to expand its iPad distribution efforts, adding retailers like Verizon, Walmart, Target, and AT&T into the mix as well as launching in additional countries.

As for the iPhone, Apple managed to sell 14.1 million units during the quarter. This marks a 91% increase over the 7.4 million phones sold during the year-ago quarter and a new quarterly record for smartphone sales for the company.

For the 2010 fiscal year, Apple sold 40 million phones, a 93 percent jump over 2009. During September, the company says it passed the 125 million mark for cumulative iOS sales of its iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch offerings.

Apple also saw a record quarter for its Mac business. The company sold 3.89 million computers, up 27% from its year-ago sales. Fourth-quarter Mac sales topped the previous high-water mark of 3.47 million mark set during the June quarter. Year-over-year sales growth was more than double the growth rate projected for the overall PC market by research firm IDC, according to Oppenheimer.

Notebooks continue to drive Mac sales, with portable products, accounting for 71% of the Macs sold during the September quarter. However, sales of desktops rose nearly 28% to a little more than 1 million units, on the strength of the company’s iMac and Mac Pro updates over the summer.

Despite the largely positive news, the iPod segment continues to shrink, with Apple selling 9.05 million music players during the quarter (an 11% drop from last year’s figures). Apple updated its iPod line in September, though the company usually sees the fruits of those efforts during the holiday quarter.

While iPod sales growth stalled throughout 2010, Apple opted to focus on the positive Monday. It noted that the iPod’s share of the MP3 player market in the U.S. continues to top 70% according to research firm NPD’s figures. And Apple says its music player gained market share internationally from the year-ago quarter. The company also reported that its iTune Store brought in more than US$1 billion in revenue for the September quarter.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs took a minute during the conference call to comment on the company’s “hobby” product, the Apple TV, announcing that it had moved more than 250,000 units since the device went on sale. That’s the first time the company has ever revealed sales information for the device, which has gone through a number of iterations since its original introduction in 2007. Jobs confirmed that Apple had moved to an all-streaming model for content for the device, which will allow streaming of media from iOS devices in November when Apple ships iOS 4.2.

Apple’s retail segment had what Oppenheimer called a “record-breaking quarter,” with revenue rising 75% to US$3.57 billion. Apple sold 874,000 Macs through its retail arm, an increase of 30% from the year-ago quarter. The company sales that half of the Macs sold through its brick-and-mortar outlets continue to be to customers who are new to the platform.

Apple ended the fourth quarter with 317 stores, 84 of which were outside the U.S. The company opened 24 new stores during the quarter, with 16 of those opening outside of U.S. borders. In fact, with new store openings in Spain, Apple now has retail outlets in 11 countries.

The company also stated that it plans to open 40 to 50 stores during the coming fiscal year, with half of those slated for outside the U.S. The company also plans to start renovating several of its U.S. stores during 2011.

Monday’s earnings report closes the book on Apple’s 2010 fiscal year, which saw the company record US$65.2 billion in sales, a 52% increase from the US$42.9 billion in revenue recorded in 2009. Apple turned a US$14 billion profit in 2010, an increase of 72% from the previous year.

“The September quarter was the culmination of a monumental year for Apple,” Oppenheimer said.

iPad to hit Verizon retail outlets on October 28th

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Date: Friday, October 15th, 2010, 05:11
Category: iPad, News, retail

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A few major changes may be coming to fruition as wireless carriers AT&T and Verizon announced Thursday that they will begin selling Apple’s iPad in their brick-and-mortar retail stores on Thursday, October 28th, with the latter offering the device in conjunction with its MiFi mobile hot spots.

Per AppleInsider, AT&T said all three iPad Wi-Fi + 3G models will be available at more than 2,200 AT&T Stores starting October 28th. The wireless operator said it will be pitching the tablets alongside its 3G pre-paid data plans complete with Apple’s easy on-device activation and management.

Plans start at US$14.99 per month for 250MB and US$25 per month for 2GB with no term contract. Both plans include unlimited access to AT&T’s 23,000+ domestic Wi-Fi Hot Spots. The iPads themselves will sell for Apple’s suggested retail price of US$629 for the 16GB model, US$729 for the 32GB and US$829 for the 64GB.

For its part, Verizon will offer only the WiFi versions of the iPad, bundling them with its Verizon MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot routers for a suggested retail price of US$629.99 for iPad Wi-Fi 16GB + MiFi, US$729.99 for iPad Wi-Fi 32GB + MiFi and US$829.99 for iPad Wi-Fi 64GB + MiFi.

Verizon is offering a monthly access plan to iPad customers of up to 1GB of data for US$20 a month. In addition, the carrier will also offer all three iPad Wi-Fi models on a stand-alone basis.

Verizon’s MiFi 2200 unit allows users to create a personal Wi-Fi cloud capable of sharing the high-speed Internet connectivity of the Verizon Wireless 3G Mobile Broadband network with up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices. The MiFi 2200’s rechargeable battery provides up to four hours of active use and 40 hours of standby time on a single charge.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPhone 4 shipping times drop to 5 to 7 days

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Date: Wednesday, October 6th, 2010, 05:48
Category: iPhone, News

Apple looks to have worked its its supply constraints for the iPhone 4 since the device’s June launch, AppleInsider reporting that the handset is now advertised for shipping within 5 to 7 days from Apple’s online store.

Both models of the iPhone 4 (available in 16GB and 32GB capacities for US$199 and US$299, respectively, with AT&T contract) now ship within 5 to 7 business days. The 8GB, US$99 iPhone 3GS ships within 1 to 2 weeks, while the white iPhone 4 remains unavailable.

The change in shipping times would imply that Apple has begun to catch up with strong consumer demand for the iPhone 4.

Shipping estimates had remained at three weeks or longer since the handset launched in June. In its first three days of availability, the phone sold a record 1.7 million units.

Apple has struggled to meet demand since launch, as supplies for overseas expansion have been constrained. Last month, the iPhone 4 launched in China, and carrier China Unicom was only able to fulfill about half of the preorders placed by customers.

In a similar fashion, Apple could not meet iPad demand for months after the touchscreen tablet launched in April. It took until late August for the Cupertino, Calif., company to improve online order shipping times to 24 hours.

The white iPhone 4 is still listed as unavailable, and Apple has not provided an update on the status of the device since July, when it said the product would not be available until “later this year.” The company has said that the white model proved “more challenging to manufacture than expected.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

AT&T to launch LTE 4G network in 2011, expand HPSA+ services

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Date: Friday, September 17th, 2010, 05:48
Category: iPhone, News

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Wireless carrier AT&T appears to be planning to launch its fourth-generation high-speed wireless network by mid-2011, and will continue to expand its speedy HPSA+ 3G network this year.

Per FierceWireless, the company is currently conducting trials of its 4G long-term evolution network in Baltimore, Maryland and Dallas, Texas, the company’s operations chief executive, John Stankey, said Thursday at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2010 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference. He also said the company is on track to launch its LTE network by mid-2011.

The timing of AT&T’s launch could allow for the next-generation iPhone, likely to be unveiled in June as it is every year, to connect to the high-speed 4G wireless network. Apple in the past sought to hire experts on LTE, presumably for a forthcoming handset.

AT&T will reportedly spend US$700 million on its LTE network this year, and plans to “go far beyond that” in 2011, Stankey reportedly said. His news comes as competing carrier Verizon said it will launch its own LTE network in 30 National Football League cities by the end of 2010.

Stankey also said AT&T is preparing a nationwide HSPA+ upgrade for this year, which will allow for real-time download speeds of 7Mbps. Earlier this year, the company vowed that its high-speed upgrade will reach 250 million Americans in 2010.

AT&T has partnered with Alcatel and Lucent to build out its LTE network, which will deliver higher broadband throughput and lower latency than the company’s existing 3G network, including the HPSA+ upgrades.

Stankey also revealed that AT&T has seen a 5,000% increase in wireless data traffic over the last three years, since the iPhone was introduced in 2007. The company’s wireless data revenue is also up 27%.

Spiffy news if it comes true. And per dropped calls, there’s always the iPhone 4 bumper on hand…

Deutsche Telekom expected to lose exclusive iPhone contract in Germany this October

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Date: Tuesday, September 7th, 2010, 04:37
Category: iPhone, News

If it can happen in Germany, it can happen in America…

Another prominent exclusive arrangement with Apple for the iPhone is expected to conclude in a matter of months, when it is anticipated that Deutsche Telekom will lose sole access to the iPhone in Germany.

Per the Wall Street Journal, sources sources stated on Friday that Apple’s iPhone will become available on two new carriers as soon as October. Currently, the handset is exclusive to Deutsche Telekom, but the plans are reportedly for it to become available on rival carriers Vodafone and O2.

“One said that deals haven’t been finalized but added that negotiations are in an advanced stage,” the report said. “Deutsche Telekom’s exclusive rights to sell the device haven’t been extended and could end as early as october, posing a threat to growth in the company’s home market.”

Deutsche Telekom, which is also the parent company of T-Mobile in the U.S. and elsewhere, has 37 million customers in Germany, while Vodafone has 34.9 million and O2 has 16.3 million.

Elsewhere throughout Europe, the end of exclusivity has resulted in boosted sales for Apple’s iPhone. In 2009, the iPhone went multi-carrier in France after a government ruling nullified Apple’s exclusive arrangement with Orange. After that, it was estimated that the Apple’s handset rose to as high as a 40% market share of all smartphone sales in the nation.

The most largest exclusive arrangement for the iPhone is in the U.S., with AT&T. Rumors of a new CDMA iPhone compatible with the Verizon network have persisted for years, but have not become a reality.

In August, AT&T warned that exclusivity for “a number of attractive handsets” will end, leading some to believe that the company was preparing investors for the loss of iPhone exclusivity.

While Apple has allegedly not yet brokered a deal to extend exclusivity with Deutsche Telekom in the company’s home country of Germany, there have also been rumors that the company has talked with Apple about a potential deal to bring the iPhone to carrier T-Mobile in the U.S. Of the four major carriers in America, T-mobile is the smallest, with 33.7 million customers as of July.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Analyst points out advantages of iPhone on Verizon network, highlights Apple/Verizon negotiations in progress

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Date: Tuesday, August 24th, 2010, 04:24
Category: iPhone, News

It’s the rumor that never dies, but this time it could be garnering additional strength and credence.

Per AppleInsider, analyst Shaw Wu with Kaufman Brothers indicated that a deal between Apple and Verizon is being ironed out. The analyst went on to state that he expects Apple to expand the iPhone to another carrier in the U.S. next year. Apple needs this, he said, to maintain high growth, as the company’s smartphone nears saturation on the AT&T network.

The current front-runner is Verizon, which is said to be in talks with Apple for a “SVDO” iPhone which would allow both voice and data at the same time, something not possible with a traditional CDMA phone on Verizon’s network.

While Wu believes that the iPhone will eventually come to Verizon, that could happen as late as 2012, he said, if Apple decided instead to go another route: both T-Mobile and Sprint.

“It is notable that signing up both T-Mobile USA and Sprint would almost be the equivalent of Verizon (in terms of subscribers),” he said. “For point of reference, AT&T has 90 million wireless subscribers compared to 93 million at Verizon, 48 million at Sprint, and 34 million at T-Mobile USA.”

Wu said sources have indicated to him that important details are still being ironed out between Verizon and Apple, including technology and economics. But while the companies are in talks, he said it would be “premature” to rule out T-Mobile and Sprint.

However, the growth of Android on the Verizon network also provides Apple with an incentive to make the iPhone available on the carrier, he said. Making the iPhone available to Verizon customers would be the best way to address the growing presence of Android phones, Wu wrote.

While Apple and Verizon are said to be eying SVDO for the iPhone for now, the companies are said to be viewing that option as an interim device until a full-fledged long-term evolution (LTE) 4G phone debuts in a few years.

“From AAPL’s perspective, the debate is whether it makes sense to roll out an interim CDMA iPhone sometime in 2011 or perhaps wait until LTE becomes more available in 2012,” Wu wrote.

Stay tuned for additional details as we get them.