O'Grady's PowerPage » AT&T

AT&T reveals customer protection plan for recent iPhone 3GS buyers

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Date: Friday, June 11th, 2010, 08:42
Category: iPhone, News

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For those of you who recently snagged an iPhone 3GS at the old price of US$199 for the 16GB model or US$299 for the 32GB model (the two models having been lowered to US$149 and US$199, respectively with a US$99 8GB model being the last to go), AT&T is said to be offering a “one-time Customer Price Protection” plan, giving credit for the difference.

Per modmyi.com, customers who purchased a 3GS between May 7th and the 14th are said to have until June 14th to visit their AT&T store and claim US$50 off the cost of a 16GB phone, or $100 off of a 32GB model. For those who made a purchase between May 15th and June 7th, a 30-day window should be in effect. Alternately, customers within either timeframe (including buyers of the iPhone 3G) can go without a discount and trade in towards an iPhone 4.

A new flyer reveals that AT&T plans to open its retail locations at 7AM on June 24th iPhone 4 launch. Some restrictions apply, namely that new AT&T customers will only be able to buy one phone and activate one line on that day. Existing subscribers will be able to buy one phone per active number.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

AT&T web site hacked, iPad 3G user emails leaked

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Date: Thursday, June 10th, 2010, 04:23
Category: Hack, iPad, iPhone, News

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A good hack can be seen in one of two ways:

1. It keeps a company on its toes and aware of what might come at it.

2. It’s less-than-wonderful news that makes you wonder how your information was exploited and makes a lot of people slam their heads against their desks in frustration.

Per Gawker, a group of black hat hackers have exploited a security flaw on AT&T’s web servers which enabled them to obtain email addresses from the SIM card addresses of iPad 3G users.

The breach described the event as “another embarrassment” for Apple and outlined a variety of high profile individuals whose email addresses were obtained by automated script attacks on AT&T’s web server based on their iPad 3G SIM addresses (ICC ID).

The publication claimed that the identifying information meant that thousands of iPad 3G users “could be vulnerable to spam marketing and malicious hacking,” while also pointing out that many users have actually already published their iPad ICC ID numbers in Flickr photos. Presumably, many of them also have public email addresses and therefore already receive spam like the rest of us.

The attack on AT&T’s web servers resulted in at least 114,000 iPad 3G users’ emails being leaked to the hackers, who were coy as to whether they were planning to enable others to access the data. The security leak, which returned a user’s email address when their ICC-ID was entered via a specially formatted HTTP request, has since been patched.

The group automated requests of the email address information for a wide swath of ICC-ID serial numbers using a script. No other information was discovered.

The report suggested that having known ICC IDs would leave iPad 3G users vulnerable to remote attacks, citing the attackers involved in the security breach as claiming that “recent holes discovered in the GSM cell phone standard mean that it might be possible to spoof a device on the network or even intercept traffic using the ICC ID.”

In its report, Gawker cited telephony security experts who disputed that the ICC ID email breach was a serious issue. “Vulnerabilities in GSM crypto discovered over the years, none of them involve the ICC ID […] as far as I know, there are no vulnerability or exploit methods involving the ICC ID, ” said Emmanuel Gadaix, a mobile security consultant.

The report also noted that Karsten Nohl, a “white hat GSM hacker and University of Virginia computer science PhD,” informed them “that while text-message and voice security in mobile phones is weak,” the “data connections are typically well encrypted […] the disclosure of the ICC-ID has no direct security consequences.”

At the same time, Nohl described AT&T’s lapse in publishing the email information as grossly incompetent, saying, “it’s horrendous how customer data, specifically e-mail addresses, are negligently leaked by a large telco provider.”

On Wednesday, AT&T issued the following statement regarding the breach:
“This issue was escalated to the highest levels of the company and was corrected by Tuesday. We are continuing to investigate and will inform all customers whose e-mail addresses… may have been obtained.”

Either way, be careful out there, beware the spam and the phishing efforts that never seem to let up and if an e-mail is offering something that seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Apple announces iPhone 4 at WWDC keynote

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 7th, 2010, 12:39
Category: iPhone, News

In his long-awaited Worldwide Developers Conference keynote speech, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the fourth-generation iPhone, termed the “iPhone 4″. Per Macworld, the iPhone 4 is 9.3mm thick, or 24$ thinner than the iPhone 3GS and includes new camera with an LED flash on the black, but a second, front-facing camera as well. There are new volume buttons, a mute button, plus a second microphone on the top for noise cancellation. Just like the iPad, it now incorporates a micro-SIM tray.

Apple has also engineered three integrated antennas into the design: one for Bluetooth, one for WI-Fi and GPS, and one for UMTS and GSM.

The iPhone 4 features a new screen technology called a “retina display” which operates at 326 pixels per inch, double the 163 pixels per inch resolution of the iPhone 3GS.

The new display measures the same 3.5″ inches diagonally, but at 960 x 640 it has four times as many pixels as the previous model with an 800:1 contrast ratio that’s also four times that of the iPhone 3GS. It uses the same IPS display technology as the iPad and the iMac for good color fidelity, brightness, and viewing angle.

The new handset also sports the A4 chip, which boasts both a small footprint and good power management. Apple went with the micro-SIM design to save space, mostly for a new battery that, coupled with the new chip, Apple says provides 40$ more talk time. The company says talk time is up from 5 hours to 7 hours; 6 hours of 3G browsing; 10 hours of Wi-Fi browsing; 10 hours of video; 40 hours of music; and 300 hours of standby.

Environmentally, the new iPhone is arsenic free, BFR-free mercury-free, PVC-free, and made from highly recyclable materials.

The handset includes quad-band HSPDPA/HSUPA networking with a maximum of 7.2Mbps down and 5.8 Mbps up.

There’s also 802.11n Wi-Fi wireless networking, an improvement from 802.11g in the previous model.

The iPhone 4 also add a three-axis gyroscope for measuring angular velocity and can figure out pitch, roll, and yaw; and rotation about gravity. The gyroscope plus the accelerometer provide six-axis motion sensing which can be combined with new CoreMotion APIs that developers can call for extremely precise position information.

The iPhone 4 has a new, 5-megapixel camera with 5x digital zoom and an LED flash. It also adds 720p HD video capture at 30 frames per second. The company has also created a version of its iMovie consumer video-editing application for the iPhone. With it, you can record or edit you videos (and add photos as well). Once the video has been recorded, users can add titles, changes themes, and use music from your iTunes library.

iMovie for iPhone will be available for US$5.

For Jobs’ “One More Thing” moment, he sat down on a chair to show off the iPhone 4’s video chatting capabilities. Using either of the two cameras, you can make video calls via a feature called FaceTime between iPhone 4 phones over Wi-Fi only (at least through 2010). Users can also switch between cameras and chat in landscape or portait mode.

The iPhone 4 will be available in both black and white, at US$199 for 16GB and US$299 for 32GB (with the same qualifications and two-year contract with AT&T as in the past). Apple will also add an 8GB iPhone 3GS for US$99.

Jobs said that AT&T is going to make “an incredibly generous upgrade offer.” If your contract expires any time in 2010, you’re immediately eligible for that pricing, for up to six months early eligibility. The iPhone 4 will be available from Apple and AT&T’s retail and online stores, as well as at Best Buy and Wal-Mart stores.

The iPhone 4 goes on sale in the U.S., France, Germany, the U.K., and Japan on June 24th, with pre-orders starting on June 15th. It will ship in 18 more countries in July, in 24 more in August, and in 40 more by the end of September.

Apple also showed off some accessories: a US$29 dock and a US$29 case called a Bumper that comes in white, black, blue, green, orange, or pink.

AT&T offers early upgrade dates to customers

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 7th, 2010, 10:34
Category: iPhone, News

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Just hours ahead of Apple’s anticipated fourth-generation iPhone announcement, AT&T has begun moving some customers’ upgrade eligibility dates forward to allow them to buy Apple’s latest handset.

Per AppleInsider, a number of users have reported that their eligibility for an iPhone upgrade has been updated, allowing them to buy Apple’s next-generation iPhone as soon as it goes on sale, fully subsidized with a 2-year contract agreement.

Customers can see their upgrade eligibility by logging into their account on the AT&T website and selecting “Check Upgrade Options.” Upgrade status can also be checked by dialing *639# from the iPhone.

“As a valued customer, we can offer you an upgrade with a new 2-yr commitment and an US$18 upgrade fee,” AT&T’s message to eligible iPhone owners reads.

Though U.S. iPhone customers must sign a two-year contract with AT&T in order to receive the iPhone at a subsidized price, the wireless carrier frequently offers faster upgrades for its highest paying customers. Those with more services and a higher monthly bill typically are not required to wait the full two years before they become eligible.

Screen shot via TUAW

AT&T previously revealed that generally speaking, customers who spend more than $99-a-month per line are eligible for an upgrade between 12 and 18 months into their contract.

The latest round of upgrades follow previous updates by AT&T in May, when some users saw their upgrade eligibility date moved up by months, to June 21, 2010.

Moving up customers’ upgrade dates is the same approach AT&T has taken in the past. Last year, the wireless carrier offered early iPhone 3G adopters the opportunity to purchase an iPhone 3GS as the same $199 and $299 price points as new customers.

AT&T revises calling plans, announces tethering for iPhone OS 4.0

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010, 05:54
Category: iPhone, News

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AT&T will be transitioning away from unlimited data plans beginning June 7th according to AppleInsider, the company introducing tethering, iPad 3G data plans capped at 2GB per month and slightly lower pricing.

The company announced this week that a new data plan for iPhone owners, dubbed “DataPro,” will be offered starting June 7th, providing 2GB of data for US$25 per month. Tethering will be available for an additional US$20 per month, and lets customers use their handset to share Internet connectivity with another device, such as a laptop. Tethering will be available this summer when iPhone OS 4.0 is released.

AT&T will also offer a less expensive data plan, called “DataPlus,” which offers 200MB for US$15 per month. The carrier noted in its press release that 65% of its smartphone customers use less than 200MB per month, while 98% use less than 2GB per month.

Customers who near their cap for the month will be sent a text message notifying them when they reach a certain usage level. For customers who exceed the cap, an extra 1GB in the DataPro plan costs US$10, and an extra 200MB in the DataPlus plan runs US$15.

Current AT&T customers are not required to switch to the new plans and sacrifice their unlimited data, but can do so without a contract extension.

AT&T also announced that it would discontinue its existing US$29.99-per-month unlimited 3G data plans for the iPad for new customers. This plan will be replaced by a no-contract plan that runs US$25 a month for 2GB of data. Customers who have the existing unlimited plan are not required to change.

Plans for voice and texting through AT&T will remain unchanged after June 7.

AT&T has long hinted that changes to its unlimited data plans were coming, as the company has faced network issues and bandwidth problems. The carrier has sought ways to encourage the heaviest bandwidth consumers to reduce or modify their usage of the AT&T network.

Last December, one AT&T executive said he believed it was inevitable that users who utilize more bandwidth than their share will have to pay more than the rest. At the time, the company said that 40% of the network capacity for AT&T is used by just 3% of smartphone users. Other reports have alleged that the average iPhone user consumes 10 times the bandwidth of a typical smartphone user.

Stay tuned for additional details and let us know what you make of this in the comments.

AT&T revises employee work schedules, fourth-gen iPhone expected

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, May 27th, 2010, 03:56
Category: iPhone, News

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It’s all falling together as it has in years past. Per Boy Genius Report, AT&T employees have been informed that the phone is actually coming, and may in fact be on sale in the month of June.

The announcement matches employee vacations for June affecting the cell carrier and back at the end of April, it was hinted that the fourth generation iPhone might go on sale during the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference itself.

Even so, Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster has stated that he doesn’t expect to see the new iPhone anytime in the immediate future.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what’s on your mind in the comments.

AT&T raises early termination fee to $350, Verizon rumors abound

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Date: Monday, May 24th, 2010, 03:13
Category: iPhone, News

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AT&T appreciates your business.

And just made it that much pricier to leave early to do business with anyone else.

Per the Dow Jones Newswire, beginning June 1st, new AT&T iPhone customers who wish to cancel their contract with the wireless carrier will need to pay a US$325 early termination fee, up from the existing US$175 fee.

The new fee will apply to all smartphones, including Apple’s iPhone, as well as connected netbooks. For feature and messaging phones, the fees will drop to US$150.

Though change comes on the heels of speculation that AT&T could lose exclusivity of Apple’s iPhone over the next year, though an AT&T spokesperson reportedly said that the increase in the early termination fee to US$325 was not related to one specific device.

“The changes come amid increased regulatory scrutiny and class-action lawsuits over the issue,” the report said. “The Federal Communications Commission has expressed concern that onerous fees make it difficult for consumers to switch their service. Wireless carriers argue the fees are necessary to recoup the costs incurred by the subsidies they provide to lower the initial cost of the handset.”

The change follows a previous move by competitor Verizon, which began charging a $350 early termination fee for smartphone users. Google and T-Mobile also charged a combined US$550 fee for those who canceled their contract on the Nexus One. Both of those recent developments have brought early termination fees under scrutiny from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.

AT&T and Apple offer the iPhone at a subsidized rate, starting at US$99 for the iPhone 3G, with a two-year contract for the device. Starting in March, Apple began selling contract-free iPhones at a much higher price, as it has done in previous years, to help clear out inventory before the launch of new hardware.

In addition to recouping lost money from a canceled contract, the fees are also designed to deter customers from jumping to another network. The timing of the early termination fee increase will undoubtedly result in speculation about the potential of the iPhone becoming available on a carrier other than AT&T.

Apple is expected to introduce its next-generation iPhone when it kicks off the annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on June 7th while rumors of a Verizon iPhone have been persistent since March.

iPhone OS 4.0 beta 4 released, incorporates AT&T tethering features

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, May 19th, 2010, 05:03
Category: iPhone, News

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On Tuesday, Apple released the fourth beta of its iPhone OS 4.0 operating system, pushing Apple towards a final release that’s expected to coincide with its WWDC event next month.

Per Gizmodo, the new release appears to invoke tethering options for AT&T in the US. iPhone OS 3.0 introduced tethering support in software, but AT&T has been among the carriers failing to support the feature.

A new configuration panel appears to indicate that AT&T has worked out its issues related to refusing to support tethering on the iPhone (it supports tethering with other phones, but apparently fears that iPhone users would overwhelm its network) and will have a billing program in place by the time iPhone OS 4 ships.

The new Internet Tethering setup panel directs users to call AT&T or visit its website to setup tethering on their account.

Other new features spotted by beta testers include the ability to view photo Camera Rolls in landscape, more useful wallpaper images, an option to turn off group MMS messaging, and a generally faster interface throughout, ranging from call dialing to Maps.

Apple awards CDMA iPhone contract to Pegatron

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Date: Thursday, May 13th, 2010, 04:19
Category: iPhone, News

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Apple has apparently awarded a contract for building a CDMA iPhone to Pegatron Technologies.

The news arrives from Taiwanese newspaper DigiTimes, which back in February announced that the company had won the contract for building the expected next generation UMTS iPhone 4. Previous iPhones have been built by Foxconn, which also builds Apple’s Mac mini, iPods and the iPad, and is the company’s main supplier.

Rumors surrounding the possibly of a CDMA iPhone model that Apple could sell through Verizon and Sprint have regularly surfaced throughout the iPhone’s entire history, and have recently blossomed as speculation about the end of AT&T’s exclusive contract in the U.S. has reached a fevered pitch.

Pegatron is a three year old Taiwanese company formed during a restructuring of Asustek, which resulted in a split between Asustek’s own Asus-branded products, its PC-related manufacturing performed under the Unihan name, and contract manufacturing under the Pegatron name.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

AT&T advances upgrade dates for some iPhone customers in anticipation of fourth-gen handset

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, May 12th, 2010, 10:58
Category: iPhone, News

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AT&T wants to sell some iPhones.

And they’re taking steps to do so.

Per MobileCrunch, AT&T has begun modifying some customers’ upgrade dates, shortening them in some cases by months to allow customers to buy a new, subsidized, fourth-generation handset in June.

This week, a reader contacted MobileCrunch to say that his upgrade date was moved from Nov. 21st, 2010, to June 21st, 2010. The reader said they bought an iPhone 3GS in 2009 on the device’s launch day.

“As a valued AT&T customer, we can offer you a discounted iPhone upgrade at a higher price, along with a 2-year commitment and an US$18 upgrade fee,” the customer’s account profile reads. “Please proceed with the online upgrade process for pricing details. You may qualify for a full discount on a standard iPhone upgrade on 6/21/2010.”

The same changes have appeared for some other customers as well. AT&T has revealed in the past that generally speaking, the more a customer spends with AT&T, the quicker they become eligible for a price break on a new device. For example, iPhone customers who spend more than US$99-a-month per line are generally eligible for an upgrade between 12 and 18 months into their contract.

The revised dates will likely pave the way for AT&T to offer some customers reduced prices on Apple’s fourth-gen iPhone, expected to be announced in June. AT&T also took the same approach last year when the wireless carrier offered early iPhone 3G adopters the opportunity to purchase an iPhone 3GS as the same US$199 and US$299 price points as new customers.

In years past, Apple has introduced its annual iPhone upgrade at the Worldwide Developers Conference. This year, WWDC 2010 will be held June 7th through June 11th at San Francisco’s Moscone West. Tickets for the event sold out just eight days after Apple announced the dates.

Another rumor has suggested Apple could sell the next-generation iPhone as soon as it is announced on June 7th. That approach would be a change from years prior, when a new handset was announced a few weeks before its sale date. AT&T has also blacked out the month of June for its employees, preventing them from taking vacation days.