Rumor: Apple, Verizon in Talks for 2010 iPhone

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Date: Monday, April 27th, 2009, 08:34
Category: Rumor

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Despite its exclusive contract with carrier AT&T, Apple is now claimed to be in discussions with Apple for its own version of the iPhone in 2010.
According to USA Today, anonymous sources familiar with the negotiations stated that Verizon reportedly entered serious talks before Steve Jobs’ hiatus and has been continuing those talks even with Jobs temporarily sidelined for medical reasons.
Other than a 2010 target release window, little else has been divulged by the apparent insiders.
Though not explicitly stated, the article infers that the phone would be a CDMA device compatible with Verizon’s existing network and therefore using EVDO for its 3G Internet access. Such a move would give the phone broad coverage but directly contradicts Apple COO Tim Cook’s own dismissal of CDMA last week. During a previous speech regarding iPhone expansion plans, the executive justified the absence of a CDMA model by arguing that a single, GSM phone model is easier to produce than building a separate version for a relatively small batch of customers. Cook also sharply criticized CDMA by asserting that it has no future, as most CDMA carriers plan to phase out the calling technology in favor of the same 4G standard that will be used on GSM networks.
A direct leap to a 4G seems more liekly and Verizon chief executive Ivan Seidenberg recently explained that a deal is more likely for a phone with the advanced networking technology as it would let Apple continue making one phone but still service North American carriers that are for now off limits.
Verizon has stated that it plans to officially launch its commercial 4G network in early 2010 and would therefore have at least some of its network ready for an iPhone by the time AT&T’s exclusivity term ends, which is likely for the same year.

Updates Rumored for Pro Apps and MacBooks at WWDC

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Date: Tuesday, April 21st, 2009, 23:05
Category: Rumor

According to 9to5 Mac, Apple plans to introduce minor updates to the MacBook line as well as some significant updates to Final Cut Pro, Aperture, Logic, and Shake.

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There has been some speculation in the last few months, fueled by rumors, that AT&T may be subsidizing MacBooks in much the same way as the iPhone due to built-in 3G connectivity. I am putting this rumor into the “unlikely” column, but 9to5 Mac’s sources suggest the laptop updates may be more than just speed-bumps. This could include changes to the battery, such as making it non-removable. I will want to be out of town if that announcement hits the floor to avoid the rioting.

I for one don’t see Apple handing over any control of the sale of their computers, but stranger things have happened. There are almost 2 more months before WWDC kicks off, so plenty of time for more rumors to bounce around the internet. I think we all agree that a new iPhone (or 3) will be announced, but how about a netbook? Send us your thoughts in the forums!

AT&T Confirms Efforts to Double 3G Network Speeds

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Date: Tuesday, April 21st, 2009, 07:01
Category: iPhone

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In an interview with TelephonyOnline, AT&T vice president of technology realization Scott McElroy has confirmed that the carrier is currently performing a variety of upgrades on its 3G network that should combine to double capacity in the coming months.
McElroy stated that his team plans to upgrade “the downlink capacity on its high-speed packet access (HSPA) from 3.6 megabits per second to 7.2 Mb/s through software upgrades at the base station.”
Though McElroy didn’t provide a timetable for the upgrade, he said that AT&T is in the process of field certifying the faster network in two test markets, adding that AT&T plans to eventually migrate its 3G networks to evolved-HSPA (or HSPA+), which would increase top speeds threefold.
AT&T could then theoretically upgrade its HSPA network to 14.4 Mb/s but is expected to forgo that option due to a technical problem and its ability to migrate directly to 21 Mb/s HSPA+, McElroy said. He told TelephonyOnline that AT&T will focus “on upgrades to the baseband, which will dramatically increase capacity without having to fiddle with the elements on the tower or in the core.”
McElroy also noted that AT&T is simultaneously upgrading its network backbone to handle the increased data traffic resulting from its network upgrades. He refused to reveal the exact extent of those upgrades.
Sources close to the story say Apple has set a strict deadline that asks AT&T to complete the upgrade, quality test it, and have it ready to go live no later than May 31st. The third-generation iPhone is expected to be unveiled a few weeks later.
Meanwhile, McElroy says AT&T is also looking further ahead, selecting vendors for its 4G (or long-term evolution (LTE)) network expected to go live in test markets by 2010 ahead of widespread commercial availability the following year.
The carrier will reportedly use both its 700 MHz and advanced wireless services (AWS) spectrum to facilitate the LTE launch, with other spectrums on reserve should 4G usage take off. It could also repurpose its 2G and 3G channels for LTE once users begin migrating off those channels to the 4th-gen network.

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AT&T Pushing for Exclusive iPhone Rights Through 2011

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Date: Wednesday, April 15th, 2009, 08:35
Category: iPhone

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After three years of holding exclusive rights to the iPhone, AT&T is looking to take one more shot at an exclusive deal for the Apple handset and may keep it away from competitors until 2011.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “people familiar with the matter” have stated that AT&T has a deal to keep the iPhone in its stable until 2010 and that negotiations are underway to have the device onboard for one more year.
Though there has been no specific commentary from AT&T regarding this, an Apple spokeswoman would only say that the two companies have a “great relationship.”
The commentary follows a report from last year that also said AT&T had struck a deal to keep the iPhone until 2010 and may provide insight into current talks. At the time, the cellular carrier reportedly agreed to allow iPhone 3G subsidies in exchange for a one-year extension of the iPhone’s US exclusivity. Although the cost of discounting those phones has been severe — as much as US$1.3 billion to date, according to an estimate — the agreement renewed interest in AT&T and gave it millions of users paying at least US$60 per month (on grandfathered plans) for service.
Should AT&T be allowed to keep exclusive rights to the iPhone, it would be able to help prevent customers from jumping ship to Verizon or an alternate carrier at a time when the market is saturated and customers are more likely to have switched than sign up for the first time. The company added 1.9 million iPhone users just in the fall 2008 quarter alone.

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Apple Begins Selling Contract-Free iPhone 3G at Full Price

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Date: Friday, March 27th, 2009, 09:40
Category: iPhone

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As of Thursday, Apple retail locations have begun selling unrestricted quantities of the company’s iPhone 3G handset at the non-subsidized price of US$599 for the 8GB version and US$699 for the 16GB version. Once sold, the buyer does not need to have an existing AT&T contract.
According to AppleInsider, activation can completed by the customer at home through iTunes.
Though the handsets are still technically (and legally) locked to AT&T service, it’s possible (but not supported) to unlock the phones for use with other mobile service providers such as T-Moble and Metro PCS, although both GSM providers do not support the 3G network the iPhone 3G needs to connect at faster than EDGE speeds.
Apple’s change in sales policy comes as the company is working to sell off remaining inventory to prepare for the upcoming launch of the new 2009 iPhone, which is expected to be released around the middle of June.
The launch may be expected to take place around this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, which will take place yet again in San Francisco, California.
If you’re en route to pick up a contract-free iPhone, please let us know about the experience in the comments or forums.

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Sprint to Deploy WiMAX Networks in 10 U.S. Cities Throughout 2009

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Date: Wednesday, March 25th, 2009, 14:00
Category: News

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Telecommunications giant Sprint has announced plans to deploy WiMAX services in 10 major cities throughout 2009, with at least five additional major markets due to get services in 2010.
According to Macworld, the company plans to deploy services to Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Portland, and Seattle. The comapny also expects to launch WiMAX services in Boston, Houston, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. throughout 2010. Sprint’s WiMAX services are only available currently only available in Baltimore, where Sprint kicked off its nationwide WiMAX deployment last September. Comcast, one of Sprint’s partners in the Clearwire WiMAX coalition, recently announced that it planned to start reselling WiMAX services from Clearwire sometime this year.
Sprint’s WiMAX division, now referred to as “Sprint 4G”, has stated that it plans to release several new WiMAX devices in 2009 and 2010, such as a single-mode WiMAX data card, WiMAX-embedded laptops and a small-office WiMAX broadband modem. The company’s currently offer peak downlink speeds of 12Mbps and average downlink speeds between 2Mbps and 4Mbps.
Through the release of WiMAX services in major cities, Sprint is looking to stay ahead of rival carriers AT&T and Verizon, which each plan to launch their own 4G mobile data services based on Long Term Evolution (LTE) in roughly two years’ time. The LTE standard is the latest variation of Global Systems for Mobile Communications (GSM) technology and is seen as the natural progression of High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA), the GSM technology that is currently used by carriers such as AT&T to deliver 3G mobile data services.
If you’ve seen any Sprint WiMAX network prep work taking place in your city, let us know in the comments or forums.

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AT&T Officials Slip Details About Next-Gen iPhone

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Date: Tuesday, March 24th, 2009, 08:56
Category: iPhone

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One of more AT&T senior officials may have reportedly revealed important details about the next-generation iPhone handset, including a June release and boosted speed specs.
According to Boy Genius Report, an AT&T official was quoted as stating that a formal unveiling for the new handset will occur in mid-June and that the mid-year update is “becoming a tradition” at AT&T.
While it’s not quite known how familiar the management-level source (or sources) might be with what’s contained in the new iPhone, a distinct pattern in the remarks centers on the speed of the handset. According to the remarks, the next model “will be faster” and may well support AT&T’s planned upgrade to 7.2Mbps 3G scheduled for this year.
AT&T is reportedly eager to demonstrate the advantages of a new handset and upgraded network. Per the comment, customers should buy a smartphone from AT&T based on their personal tastes and that “the gap in credibility should be filled” with the new release.
It’s currently unclear as to which specific features will find their way into the next generation and the iPhone OS 3.0 release has left a wide amount of room for speculation. Others have stated that the changes will also apply to older iPhone models.
The statements also echo AT&T’s vision of integration with TV services and claim an iPhone app is in development that would let users steer the video recorders for AT&T’s U-verse digital TV.
The mention of a June schedule also isn’t exclusive to AT&T; UAE provider Etisalat matter-of-factly stated that it would get the next iPhone in June.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments or forums.

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Rumor: Apple Seems Likely to Add Video Recording Features to Next-Gen iPhone

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Date: Monday, March 23rd, 2009, 07:40
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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Apple seems certain to add video recording capabilities in the next iPhone hardware revision per a source close to AppleInsider.
Though the details are currently limited, there is no suggestion of current hardware being able to support video recording. Given this fact, only an upgraded iPhone with a new built-in camera should support the feature. The source stated that the new revision is expected between late spring and early fall this year and could add video support and improved gaming hardware via multi-core PowerVR chips as the headlining features.
Oddly enough, a screen capture from the forthcoming iPhone Software 3.0 on Engadget’s website shows a MobileMe panel for uploading images titled “Upload Video,” thereby adding strength to the rumor.
An additional rumor has speculated that faster iPhone internet speeds are en route, AT&T confirming that the company currently has HSPA 3G peaking at 7.2 megabits per second, twice the current speed of the network. The extra speed would help to handle video transmissions via iPhone handsets.
A final rumor has stated that Apple will release a new iPhone App called “Movies” which will offer rudimentary video editing similar to the new “Voice Memos” iPhone app that Apple recently previewed. The software would allow for sharing video via e-mail and MMS messaging.
Even so, Apple may only offer the video capabilities as a premium feature only on a high-end model when it releases new iPhones this summer. References to four different multi-touch handheld products which were found in the new iPhone 3.0 software beta seem to indicate two distinct model lines, possibly one with video capability and one lacking the feature.
Stay tuned for details as they emerge and please let us know if you’ve heard anything on your end in the comments or forums

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AT&T to Begin Selling Contract-Free iPhones in U.S. Next Week

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Date: Friday, March 20th, 2009, 08:48
Category: iPhone

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Recently, wireless carrier AT&T announced that it would begin selling contract-free iPhones in the United States beginning next week.
According to Boy Genius Report, the price works out to be more expensive than that of buying a subsidized iPhone with a two-year contract, paying the subscription for a month, canceling the plan and paying the early termination fee.
The phone, including the activation fee, would retail at US$599 for the 8GB model and US$699 for the 16GB model.
“This is simply another way AT&T customers can experience iPhone 3G on the nation’s fastest 3G network,” AT&T said in a statement.
Existing AT&T customers – the only people who can buy the contract-less phones – are eligible to purchase an iPhone at a subsidized price based on the amount of time left on their contract and their payment history. In many cases, these users fare better by waiting until they become eligible for a subsidized iPhone with a two-year contract.
There currently seems to be a “one per customer” limit tied in with the offer.
AT&T’s current cheapest plan retails for US$70 a month, including voice and data access.
iPhones without contracts have been available in some European countries. AT&T has long said that it would sell iPhones without contracts but until now had not said when.
If you’re looking into picking up a contract-free iPhone, let us know what’s on your mind in the comments or forums.

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Rumor: AT&T Stores May Begin Selling Refurbished iPhone 3G Units for US$149

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Date: Tuesday, March 17th, 2009, 08:18
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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AT&T store locations in the New York and New Jersey region appear to be getting their hands on a stock of refurbished 16GB iPhone 3G units. While this isn’t unusual, the guys over at Boy Genius Report appear to have gotten some screenshots of shipping manifests citing a US$149 price tag.
The deal seems to require a 2-year contract and customers must be opening a new activation, as the refurbished units are not available for upgrades and are limited to one per customer.
If anyone catches wind of this in the tri-state area, please confirm this and let us know in the comments or forums.

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