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.

Probable WWDC, iPhone Announcement Rumored for July

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Date: Monday, December 21st, 2009, 06:21
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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Rumors make life interesting and a calendar listing for San Francisco’s Moscone Center has led to speculation that Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference will coincide with the three-year anniversary of the original iPhone’s launch. Per AppleInsider, San Francisco’s Moscone Center Calendar lists a “Corporate Event” from June 28, 2010 through July 2, 2010 in the Moscone West hall. Previous Apple events have been reserved with the same title.

This year, WWDC 2009 ran June 8 through June 12. In previous years, the event has marked the introduction of new iPhone models. This June, Apple introduced the iPhone 3GS.

If WWDC 2010 does take place on June 28, 2010, it could be booked to coincide with the expiration of the current contract with wireless carrier AT&T. Recent reports have suggested that Verizon, the largest wireless carrier in the U.S., could offer a CDMA compatible iPhone next year.

For their part, Verizon officials said last week that their network would be capable of handling the added bandwidth from the addition of the iPhone. They did not, however, imply that the handset was coming to their network.

Another option could be T-Mobile. While the fourth-largest carrier in the U.S. does not have the size or stature of AT&T or Verizon, it is a GSM-based network, meaning compatibility with T-Mobile would be simple to accomplish with the existing iPhone hardware. Given the simplicity of such a move, some have predicted it to happen in 2010.

AT&T Releases Mark the Spot App to Help Report Network Troubles

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, December 8th, 2009, 07:59
Category: iPhone, News

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On Monday, wireless carrier AT&T released its Mark the Spot application, a free app which allows users to report any network shortfalls or missed calls on their iPhone.

The application requires iPhone OS 3.0 or later to install and run.

Now whether AT&T will actually pay attention to the network issues reported via the app, that’s another story…

AT&T Files Suit Over Verizon “Map” Ads

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, November 4th, 2009, 04:46
Category: iPhone 3GS, Legal

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Ad campaigns will always be snarky, but there are some areas you don’t want crossed. Per AppleInsider, AT&T has filed suit over Verizon’s “There’s a Map for That” advertising campaign, claiming Verizon is misrepresenting AT&T’s coverage areas.

The suit seeks a temporary restraining order and a injunction to stop Verizon from “disseminating misleading coverage maps” of AT&T’s areas of cellular and data coverage. AT&T is also seeking damages in the suit.

The “Map” advertisement displays two competing 3G coverage maps, in which the Verizon coverage area is clearly more widespread than AT&T’s coverage area. The suit contains an AT&T commissioned survey of the ads which found that 53% of those asked interpreted the non-colored areas of the maps to be total gaps in coverage.

AT&T cites that the company had previously contacted Verizon directly on Oct. 7, requesting that the ads be withdrawn or modified, according to the suit. Verizon responded by dropping the words “out of touch” from the ads and included the phrase “Voice & data services available outside 3G coverage areas” in small print at the end of the advertisements.

The complaint lists two TV spots currently airing, dubbed “College” and “Bench,” as well as a print advertisement that has run in various publications.

“The map attributed to AT&T shows large swaths of white or blank space, as if these are areas in which AT&T has no coverage whatsoever,” the suit reads. “By depicting AT&T’s non-”3G” coverage as white or blank space in the map used in Verizon’s print advertisement, consumers are being misled into believing that AT&T’s customers have no coverage whatsoever and thus cannot use their wireless devices when they are outside of AT&T’s depicted coverage area.”

The complaint was filed Tuesday in an Atlanta, Ga., federal court, and requests a temporary restraining order against Verizon to prevent the ads from continuing to air. The suit notes that the ads are airing during the “most vigorous and important marketing season for the wireless industry.”

AT&T claims that the ads in their current form convey the message that AT&T has no coverage in the areas that are blank on the 3G maps that are shown. AT&T contends that the 2.5G (EDGE) network is available in a much wider area, so to imply that there is no coverage is misleading.

According to Reuters, Verizon has responded, saying that the suit is without merit and the advertisements are intended to show 3G coverage only: “The ads in question clearly state that voice and data services are available outside 3G areas.

Rumor: Apple May Switch From AT&T to Verizon as Official iPhone Carrier

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, October 28th, 2009, 08:51
Category: iPhone, News, Rumor

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Should Apple end its exclusive carrier agreement with AT&T next year, it will likely mark the end of its estimated US$450 carrier subsidy for the iPhone, a new analysis has forecast.

Per AppleInsider, analyst Brian Marshall with Broadpoint.AmTech said that the “sweetheart” carrier subsidy provided by AT&T for the iPhone would not be attainable with Verizon. According to Marshall’s note to investors, the analyst believes that the iPhone will be added to the Verizon network in the second half of 2010, but not without consequences.

A non-exclusive iPhone, Marshall forecast, would command roughly a US$300 carrier subsidy. But he believes that any losses would be made up in volume, as Verizon is predicted to sell roughly 14 million iPhones in the 2011 calendar year. With an average selling price of around US$500, which would account for another US$7 billion in revenue for Apple.

“While AAPL started off with exclusive arrangements in 2007 with the original iPhone launch, the company has since migrated towards multiple carriers per region,” the note said. “In our view, diverse carrier support is a key element to driving global penetration of the iPhone (from ~3% share today of the total handset market). Therefore, we believe the chances are high the iPhone will find its way onto the VZ network in 2H10.”

Marshall’s assumption of 14 million Verizon iPhones is based on the performance Apple has had on AT&T’s network. Within six quarters of the iPhone’s launch, the handset has become 4% of AT&T’s postpaid subscriber base.

In the September quarter, the iPhone was said to represent more than 90% of AT&T’s total postpaid additions — an increase from 57% from a year earlier, and 33% in September 2007. It is based on the strength of the iPhone that AT&T has posted subscriber gains on market leader Verizon, adding 2 million customers last quarter to Verizon’s 1.2 million.

AT&T activated a record 3.2 million iPhones last quarter, of which nearly 40% were customers new to the wireless carrier. But CEO Ralph de la Vega also predicted that the iPhone will not remain exclusive to AT&T forever, though he believes his company’s portfolio will remain strong after the device jumps to other carriers.

Apple Releases iPhone OS 3.1.2 Update

Posted by:
Date: Friday, October 9th, 2009, 06:49
Category: iPhone, Software

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Late Thursday, Apple released version 3.1.2 of its iPhone OS firmware. The update, which weighs in at over 200 megabytes and can be downloaded by attaching your iPhone to your Mac or PC, clicking the device in iTunes, then clicking the “Check for Update” button, adds the following fixes and changes:

- Resolves sporadic issue that may cause iPhone to not wake from sleep.
- Resolves intermittent issue that may interrupt cellular network services until restart.
- Fixes bug that could cause occasional crash during video streaming.

The update also leads to a small carrier update from AT&T for American users.

If you’ve installed 3.1.2 and noticed any changes, for good or ill, please let us know what you think.

AT&T to Launch MMS Feature for iPhone Friday via Carrier Profile Update Over iTunes

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, September 24th, 2009, 04:49
Category: iPhone, News

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American iPhone users will finally see AT&T’s MMS feature unlocked late Friday morning on the west coast by way of a carrier update file that will be delivered through iTunes, AT&T announced Wednesday.

“MMS Update: We know you’ve been eager for this service so we wanted to offer a quick update on the launch plans for MMS on Friday, Sept. 25,” AT&T wrote on its official Facebook page. “Late morning, Pacific Time, on Friday, the new carrier settings update enabling MMS should be live and ready to download through iTunes. We’ll provide the steps and all of the details you need right here at that time.”

Per AppleInsider, east coast residents will likely see their update available sometime early Friday afternoon. It also confirms that an iTunes update to the phone’s carrier profile will be necessary for MMS to be activated.

An article published over on DSLReports cited a source familiar with the company’s MMS upgrade as saying, “Starting at 10AM Eastern (on the 25), AT&T will send out a mass text to a group of iPhone users telling them that MMS now works on their phone.

Assuming all goes well, “They will keep doing groups of phones on the hour throughout the day,” the source said. Official word from company spokesman Seth Bloom said the upgrade would be targeted at early afternoon on the East Coast, or late morning for users on Pacific Time.

The source said AT&T was “very nervous” about the launch, due to seeing a surge in traffic from just a limited number of iPhone users selected to participate in advanced testing of the new service.

MMS allows users to send graphics, audio clips, location and contact files, and even video clips via an SMS-like messaging system. The new MMS features require an iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS.

Picture and video messaging was originally scheduled to arrive in the summer, but will be a few days late. AT&T has said that iPhone data usage has been very taxing on its network, leading to delays as the company attempts to strengthen its service.

Originally, iPhone tethering was also announced for the summer, but AT&T officials have said that service is coming at a later date, with no specifics given. The company apparently has no intentions to cap bandwidth for iPhone users.

Rumor: AT&T MicroCell Device En Route, Will Offer Unlimited Coverage for Extra $20/Month

Posted by:
Date: Monday, September 21st, 2009, 04:39
Category: iPhone, iPhone 3GS, Rumor

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AT&T customers based in one of the company’s weaker pockets of coverage will be able to pay US$20 to pay $20 extra to obtain unlimited calling over 3G using their own Internet access. Per Engadget Mobile, an anonymous tip has stated that the company plans to offer an unlimited calling plan for users for US$20 per month.

The service would be bundled with AT&T-supplied Internet (if available in your area), the monthly fee would drop to US$10, and with AT&T Internet and landline service, the monthly fee goes away entirely.

It’s not clear if the monthly fee for unlimited wireless calling through the device will be mandatory in order to obtain the 3G MicroCell device. According to the photo of official looking marketing collateral included in the report, “3G phones connected to the MicroCell without AT&T Unlimited MicroCell Calling continue to use existing plan minutes.”

If unlimited calling is entirely optional, iPhone 3G and 3GS users may be able to purchase and install the 3G MicroCell and simply use it to burn their existing plan minutes without paying any additional monthly fees, solving dropped call or delayed SMS issues for users within poor coverage areas.

Even if obtaining the device requires the additional unlimited calling plan, users may end up saving money by cutting their existing plan minutes and placing most of their calls from their home or work location. Current iPhone service plans with AT&T cost US$60 for 450 daytime rollover minutes, US$80 for 900 minutes, US$100 for 1,350 minutes, or US$120 for unlimited time.

In either case, other AT&T users who access the MicroCell to place 3G calls, texts or access mobile data will not be charged any differently than if they were to use a regular 3G tower; they will simply eat up their existing plan minutes.

The 3G MicroCell does not create a VoIP alternative to AT&T’s network. In fact, the unit simply tunnels 3G voice and data over the user’s existing broadband Internet service to AT&T’s servers, which process it like any other call handled by its existing 3G cell towers.

AT&T’s 3G appliance isn’t usable by 3G mobile users on other carriers, nor does it provide GSM/EDGE service usable by the original iPhone model. It will work with any 3G-capable sold by AT&T, however. It’s not yet known if the MicroCell supplies the standard 3.6Mbit/sec HDPA service typical of AT&T’s current towers, or if it supplies the faster 7.2 service supported by the iPhone 3GS.

Due to broadcasting regulations, users will also be prevented from using the 3G MicroCell in areas where AT&T doesn’t officially do business. For example, it can’t be installed by users in Vermont or North Dakota or in other countries outside the US; this is enforced by GPS tracking in the device.

Other mobile providers already sell similar “mini cell tower” devices, commonly referred to in the industry as a “femtocell”. These units are used both to provide service where coverage is missing or to allow customers to provide their own pipe for unlimited mobile calling. For example, Sprint sells its Airave for US$5 per month, or with an unlimited calling plan that costs US$10. Verizon sells a femtocell for its 3G users with no monthly fees, but does not provide any unlimited calling option.

T-Mobile, for their part provides unlimited calling through its HotSpot@Home service, which costs US$10 per month.

AT&T is expected to begin rolling out 3G MicroCell devices to users in a limited number of markets over the next couple of weeks, following an extensive beta testing period. Hammered by the iPhone’s voracious data demands, AT&T’s 3G mobile network has been criticized as severely inadequate by many high profile critics and plenty of frustrated users.