AT&T Formally Admits to Poor Coverage in New York City

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 29th, 2010, 10:27
Category: iPhone, News

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If you live in New York and have an iPhone, you probably saw this coming.

Wireless carrier AT&T has formally admitted that its New York City iPhone service is below par per a presentation slide published on Tom’s Guide noting that the company’s 3G Voice Composite Quality in the New York metro area—particularly in Manhattan—is below its performance objective.

Recently, the company explained that 3G service has suffered in New York due to “better than average iPhone penetration,” meaning “AT&T has been too successful in selling the iPhone, to the point where the network has been severely strained.” The company even briefly stopped selling iPhones online in New York City because the area didn’t “have enough towers to handle the phone.”

The slide does contain some good news for AT&T subscribers. Apparently, AT&T has had “three consecutive months of improvement” and it is doing “change-outs” of Radio Network Controllers among other upgrades.

If you live in New York and have noticed a difference, let us know.

Updated iPhone SDK Now Allows VoIP Calls Over 3G Connections

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Date: Thursday, January 28th, 2010, 06:01
Category: iPhone, News

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Apple’s iPhone SDK update didn’t just bring iPad support, the SDK is now permitting VoIP calls to be made over 3G networks. In the past, this option had only been available via a Wi-Fi connection. Per iCall, Apple has revised its SDK to allow VoIP calls over cellular networks. This is a major change from Apple’s previous agreement with AT&T which only allowed VoIP communications over a Wi-Fi connection.

Last October, AT&T announced that it would open up its 3G network to VoIP applications on the iPhone, the action apparently coming to fruition.

Previously, as part of a concession made to AT&T, Apple’s terms for software approval on the App Store prohibited VoIP-based applications like Skype from utilizing networks operated by wireless carriers.

In April, internet advocacy group Free Press asked the FCC to investigate both AT&T and Apple over claims that both companies were violating federal net-neutrality protection.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple Media Event: Come the iPad

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, January 27th, 2010, 10:58
Category: News

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Folks, the Apple media event has begun, the cool cats at Macworld are on hand to cover it and here we go in a play by play:

– Jobs has appeared on stage, has cited that Apple is current the number one mobile device maker in the world and has stated that the “Last time there was this much excitement about a tablet, it had some commandments written on it.”

– Jobs is now citing 1991 and the first PowerBooks, is theorizing that there might be a better category between a notebook and a smartphone.

– They’ve caught a glimpse of the thing. There’s apparently a Home button, a MacBook-like aluminum bezel and a glass screen. Users are apparently able to personalize their home screen as they’d like it.

Hang tight, they’ve got an initial picture:
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– The name has just been revealed: It’s the iPad.

– Jobs is apparently sending an e-mail with an Apple Mail-esque client and typing on the screen as he would with a standard QWERTY keyboard. The device is on his lap.

– Jobs is looking through photos and is able to grab data from a nearby Mac or PC as well as turn the tablet to portrait or landscape mode as well as pinch, scrub and flick through pictures.

– Ok, there’s an iPod interface that looks a lot like the album view in iTunes meshed with Cover Flow on the iPhone.

– The interface apparently contains floating panes and windows.

– Jobs is now surfing through high definition YouTube videos of a surfing dog. Behold the nesting instinct!

– Right the iPad is apparently half an inch thick, weighs only 1.5 pounds and is both thinner and lighter than any netbook on the market. The device features a 9.7″ IPS display that allows for terrific angles of view. There’s a full capacitive multi-touch screen, a 1GHz Apple A4 chip and either 16, 32 or 64 gigabytes of solid state flash memory onboard.

– The chip is by PA Semi.

– Other specs: The iPad features 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.1, an accelerometer and compass, speaker microphone, standard 30-pin connector and apparently 10 hours of battery life. The unit also sports a full month of standby life and the user can set it down, walk away for a month and it’ll still have a charge when they come back.

– The iPad is arsenic free, BFR-free, mercury-free, PCV-free and recyclable.

– The iPad apparently runs almost every iPhone/iPod touch app unmodified right out of the box.

– Ok, Jobs is now using Facebook and there’s an option to run apps at different resolutions.

– Video looks great on the iPad and Jobs is playing an unmodified snowboarding game.

– Apple is apparently undergoing a huge effort to get App Store apps to this device.

– Oh, cool, they’re releasing an updated iPhone SDK to offer development support for the iPad. The new SDK will be released today on Apple’s web site.

– The new SDK will feature an iPad simulator to allow iPad apps to run on your Mac as you write them.

– Right, the mighty Gameloft, which has over 60 games and 55 million downloads is now showing off its Nova shooter.

– A representative from the New York Times is demoing the paper’s web site on the iPad. It apparently looks great… and with any luck, this will save journalism as we know it.

– Because a picture’s worth a thousand words:
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– Ok, the reading experience looks good and users can change the number of columns, resize text easily and view embedded videos.

– A Brushes app allows users to edit images, all the while tapping to bring up palettes, brushes and tools. Pinching allows the users to zoom in up to 32x and the app will be available at product launch.

– Electronic Arts is up and showing off Need for Speed for the iPad. The company has apparently built a cool version in just a few days.

– Hmm, the iPad is being reported as speedy. Not a bad thing.

– Chad Evans from Major League Baseball is showing off the At Bat app. With this, users can navigate league scoreboards, check player profiles and receive live data from the MLB.com web site.

– Hang on, they’re bringing out an Apple app: an e-book reader.

– Right, it’s called iBook, the interface contains a bookshelf of books and a new iBook Store will be available through iTunes and allow you to purchase titles from publishers including Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon and Shuster, Macmillan and Hachette Book Group.

– Prices for the books vary between US$7.99 and US$14.99, you tap to read, tap anywhere to flip the pages forward or backward, drag a page to slowly turn said page and tap to access the Table of Contents.

– Book fonts can be changed on the fly. All right, that’s cool.

– Books will be published via the EPUB format, which is open and compatible to what’s out there.

– Phil Schiller has now emerged to describe the new version of iWork.

– A completely new version of Keynote has been designed for the iPad. The application runs in the iPad’s horizontal mode and users can tap buttons to create presentations, open templates, etc.

– Users can tap and hold an icon to slide it around the screen. Photos can be resized via pinching and other effects are applied with finger-based gestures.

– For animations in Keynote, tap the animation mode and slide your finger around to access animation techniques.

– The new version of Pages allows you to open a document via tapping. Then, tap anywhere to open a keyboard. A new Page Navigator tool allows you to hold a finger on the right of a document to bring up a loupe icon that allows you to skim through the pages. Menus and sub-menus can be accessed via tapping.

– Over in the Numbers app, a new tab interface allows a single document to hold an assortment of spreadsheets. Columns can be rearranged by tapping and dragging and data automatically updates itself.

– Ok, this is interesting. Apple is going to charge US$9.99 for each of the new iWork applications. Users can purchase them from the App Store with little hassle.

– The iPad: It connects to projectors!!!

– Steve Jobs has just returned to the stage and the iPad syns with your Mac or PC via iTunes. Users can sync photos, music, movies, TV shows, contacts, calendars, booksmarks and applications. Backups are synced back and the app creates files to restore from.

– Each iPad features Wi-Fi but additional models will have 3G access built in as well. iPad owners will be ablt to access AT&T plans, the first offering 250 megabytes of data for US$14.99 per month. An unlimited data plan will be available for US$29.99 per month. Users will be able to access AT&T’s hotspots for free around the U.S.

– Users can go to the store, activate the plan on the iPad and there’s no contract. Users will be able to to pre-pay in advance.

– Apple hopes to have international plans in place by Jule or July and all iPad 3G models are unlocked and use new GSM micro Sim units.

– You’re going to like this: The iPad starts at US$499.

– US$499 gets you the base model with 16GB onboard, US$599 gets you the 32GB model and US$699 gets you the 64GB model. The 3G models retail for US$130 extra to include the radio units and are available at US$629, US$729 and US$829.

– The iPad will be available worldwide in 60 days and the 3G units will be available in 90 days.

– There’s a docking device that includes a keyboard. Slide your iPad into it, the dock will charge it and you can type as much as you want. The third accessory seems to be a case which doubles as a typing stand.

– Ok, that seems to be about it and there’s something cool on the horizon. As always, let us know what you think in the comments.

Rumor: AT&T Exclusive iPhone Deal Could End Wednesday

Posted by:
Date: Monday, January 25th, 2010, 05:15
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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AT&T’s exclusive contract with the iPhone (read: license to essentially print money) could end on Wednesday. Per Electronista, a purported contact within the carrier says exclusivity should end along with the January 27th date. The tipster doesn’t say who would join AT&T in supporting the iPhone, albeit Verizon has often been cited as the most likely pick, in part for the large subscriber base as well as the frequently cited network strength.

While evidence have yet to be provided, possible signs of this have shown up in the following leaked screen capture:

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A contract found by web site HotHardware has cited a strategy that AT&T strategy that the company has indirectly confirmed itself. The company would “compensate” for losing sole rights to the iPhone by carrying smartphones on platforms it has previously ignored. The carrier has already said it would offer several new smartphones in the first half of the year that include five Android devices as well as Palm’s webOS phones, most likely GSM versions of the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus. It’s also been noted anecdotally that AT&T has lately deemphasized its exclusivity and has instead focused on attacking Verizon.

Per the contact, AT&T has been mentioned as being internally frustrated with the reputation it has garnered through its network problems and may actually be willing to end exclusivity simply to offload the more publicly hostile customers to Verizon. It’s been hinted that some of the complaints may stem from the iPhone having a less than ideal transition from 3G to GSM when 3G isn’t ideal. Nearly all of AT&T’s upgrade efforts in recent months have focused on adding either 850MHz 3G or improving 3G capacity behind the scenes.

Once again, all should be revealed at the media event on Wednesday.

AT&T, Verizon Drop Calling Plan Rates, Unlimited iPhone Plan Reduced by $30 Per Month

Posted by:
Date: Monday, January 18th, 2010, 05:59
Category: iPhone, News

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The pot shots between wireless carriers Veizon and AT&T continue with Verizon Wireless on Friday cutting the prices of its unlimited talk and text plans and AT&T immediately following suit. The end result benefits iPhone customers, who can now opt for an unlimited voice and data plan that costs US$30 less per month.

Per Macworld, iPhone users paid US$100 per month for unlimited voice plan plus another US$30 for unlimited data. Starting Monday, however, AT&T is charging US$100 a month for unlimited voice and data. Family Talk plans feature unlimited voice and data for US$180 (assuming two iPhones). Texting prices remain unchanged, at US$20 for unlimited plans and US$30 for Family Talk Plans.

An AT&T spokesman stated that the pricing changes only affect unlimited voice and data plans. Full details as to the new pricing structures can be found here for reference.

For users looking to move over to the new plan, they can make the move starting today without penalty or contract extension using AT&T’s online account management tool.

Rumor: Next-Gen iPhone to Include OLED Screen, Dual Core Processor, Other New Features

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Date: Wednesday, January 13th, 2010, 06:27
Category: News

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What’s life without rumors?

Aside from, you know, accurate and filled with information that’s been solidly confirmed by sources and publications.

Per the Korea Times, high-ranking executives at wireless carrier KT, Apple’s exclusive carrier in South Korea, have commented that the next-generation iPhone will include an OLED screen, support video chat and – perhaps most surprisingly – have a removable battery.

The unit will reportedly feature a dual-core processor, more powerful graphics and an improved camera. The officials say that KT’s corporate clients will get the new phones in April as a “litmus test” before they’re provided to local distributors in June.

International availability isn’t specified in the report, but an upgraded iPhone in June would fall in line with Apple’s history.

Following the feature-by-feature breakdown, an OLED screens seems likely. This feature was rumored for the iPhone 3GS and never came to fruition. Competitor Google’s Nexus One handset has just arrived with an OLED screen, thereby perhaps pushing Apple to include one as well.

The removable battery on the other hand seems less likely, as Apple has a history of non-removable batteries in its iPhone and current notebook lineups. Last February, The Register dug up a few battery-related Apple patents, one of which describes a method for removing batteries from mobile devices and charging them in a host computer, so Apple might have a trick up its sleeve.

Video chat could arrive in the next iPhone, but prove to be a double edged sword, as wireless carrier AT&T might express concern about potential bandwidth use. This feature would also require a front-facing camera, which could be valuable even without video conferencing.

Korea Times says the 4G iPhone is being pushed out early to quell rising interest in Android phones, though this has yet to be confirmed.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments.

AT&T Cites 3G Network Upgrade Completion, Describes Future Upgrades En Route

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, January 6th, 2010, 06:04
Category: iPhone, News

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Even in the wake of rumors that Apple is in negotiations with wireless carrier Verizon, AT&T has reported the successful completion of a nationwide software upgrade program that will enable the company to deliver High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 7.2 Mbit technology across its 3G cell sites.

Per AppleInsider, the upgrade is the first of several initiatives to be completed as part of AT&T’s overall network enhancement strategy.

Apple’s iPhone 3GS, which shipped last summer, is already equipped to take advantage of the faster tier of 3G service. At the same time, the company’s network is being criticized by customers for its spotty coverage limitations, particularly in specific areas.

AT&T has stated that the upgrade increases the company’s network efficiency and will help in “generally improving consistency in accessing data sessions” for its customers. Additional work now underway and continuing through the next two years will, the company said, “dramatically increase the number of high-speed backhaul connections to cell sites, primarily with fiber-optic connections, adding capacity from cell sites to the AT&T backbone network.”

The initial deployment of backhaul improvements is already underway in the Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, and Miami markets. “We anticipate that the majority of our mobile data traffic will be carried over the expanded fiber-based, HSPA 7.2-capable backhaul by the end of this year, with deployment continuing to expand in 2011,” the company said in a statement.

The company said it is designing its new backhaul deployments to accommodate both faster 3G and future “4G” LTE deployments. “AT&T currently plans to begin trials of LTE technology this year, and to begin LTE deployment in 2011, matching industry time lines for widespread availability of compelling devices and supporting network equipment.”

Apple, Verizon Cited as Disagreeing Over Pricing Terms for 2010 iPhone

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Date: Wednesday, January 6th, 2010, 06:34
Category: iPhone

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With rumors of Apple and wireless carrier flying that the two companies are in negotiations over a summer 2010 CDMA iPhone launch, Verizon is apparently angry with Apple over pricing structures.

According to AppleInsider, in a new note to investors Tuesday morning, Maynard J. Um of UBS Investment Research said that a new iPhone is expected to launch in mid-2010. Whether that phone would be available for Verizon’s CDMA network remains to be seen.

“We believe a CDMA-iPhone is also in the works,” Um wrote, “though believe Verizon Wireless and Apple may currently be apart on pricing.”

Um also stated that even if Apple and Verizon can’t arrive at terms, a CDMA iPhone is a possibility in 2010, as China and Japan include carriers which operate on CDMA networks.

Last fall, conflicting reports within chip maker Qualcomm suggested a Verizon-capable iPhone could arrive in mid 2010. Whether that handset would be a dual-mode world phone, or a Verizon-only CDMA model was disputed.

Though Qualcomm plans to release dual-carrier chips that would allow future phones to work on CDMA/EVDO carriers such as Verizon and Sprint, as well as rival 3GPP carriers using UMTS/HSPA+ technologies like AT&T and T-Mobile, those chips will not arrive until the second half of 2010. Some have said that timeframe would not allow Apple to release a dual-mode phone until 2011 at the earliest.

And others believe a Verizon iPhone deal is more wishful thinking than anything else. Given that both companies tend to be focused on consumer control, analyst Shaw Wu of Kaufman Brothers has predicted that the conflicting interests of the two companies would get in the way of an agreement.

Currently, it is estimated that Apple gets a favorable US$700 average selling price per iPhone, subsidized through exclusive carrier AT&T. Compare that with the ASP of the Motorola Droid, exclusive to Verizon, which costs an estimated US$450 per sale.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have your own two cents on this, we’d love to hear them.

AT&T Resumes Online iPhone Sales in New York City

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 29th, 2009, 05:02
Category: iPhone, News

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As quickly as they stopped, wireless carrier AT&T has resumed selling iPhones through its Web site to New York City customers with no official explanation as to what prompted the halt.

Per Techmeme, New Yorkers who tried to order an iPhone through AT&T’s Web site over the holiday weekend found themselves unable to given errors in the web site. When customer representatives were asked as to why this was, explanations ranged from network congestion problems to online fraud to this the boilerplate explanation that “We periodically modify our promotions and distribution channels.”

Come Monday, sales were once again being processed for New York City ZIP codes through AT&T’s site.

AT&T has yet to offer an official explanation for what caused the disturbance.

AT&T Cuts Off NYC-Area Online iPhone Sales, Has Yet to Explain Why

Posted by:
Date: Monday, December 28th, 2009, 05:03
Category: iPhone, News

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As of last night, something odd happened.

It apparently became impossible to purchase an iPhone from AT&T’s online store if you live in New York City, and as of right now, the carrier isn’t saying why. In addition, some online customer representatives have offered comments that New York wasn’t “ready for the iPhone,” while, per Engadget, others were fed a line about credit card fraud causing a ban on online sales.

Hop out of your home and apartment and both New York City-area Apple and AT&T store locations are happily selling the iPhone, which is still in stock.

So far, the closest thing to an official explanation is the following “We periodically modify our promotions and distribution channels.”

If you’ve experienced this or have any ideas of your own, please let us know.