Verizon to offer $20/month “personal hotspot” WiFi tethering plan

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Date: Wednesday, January 26th, 2011, 06:06
Category: iPhone, News

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Verizon Wireless has finally confirmed that it will offer iPhone 4 with a US$20 “personal hotspot” WiFi tethering plan similar to what it currently offers its existing smartphone subscribers.

According to Macworld, Verizon’s mobile hotspot plan allows users, for an extra US$20 option on top of their data plan, to share their mobile 3G service with up to five WiFi devices (such as an iPad, iPod touch, MacBook, or any other WiFi device).

The iPhone 4 tethering plan has its own 2GB monthly cap, according to the report, with each additional gigabyte costing another US$20/month. Previous Verizon tethering plans cost US$30/month but delivered 5GB of data, in addition to the user’s data plan. That means the unlimited plan with tethering will cost a total of US$50, with 2GB for tethering and unlimited use of mobile data.

AT&T’s US$20 tethering plan currently only supports USB or Bluetooth tethering to a single device at once, and rather than offering a separate data pool, the plan counts use against the user’s plan. That means the 2GB data plan with tethering costs US$45 total, but still only offers 2GB of data per month.

Verizon earlier announced that its new CDMA iPhone 4 would only be offered with an unlimited data plan costing US$30, with no option for a limited use data plan as the company now allows its current smartphone users to choose.

In the future, Verizon says it will phase out the unlimited data plan, following AT&T toward tiered service plans. It has not detailed when it will do this, nor how much it will charge.

AT&T also announced earlier this month that it would be simplifying its texting plans to two options: 1000 messages for US$10/month, or unlimited texts for US$20/month.

Verizon to offer $30/month unlimited data plan, cites unknown “cutoff date” to deal

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Date: Tuesday, January 25th, 2011, 10:25
Category: iPhone, News

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With Verizon en route to sell the iPhone come February 10th, this is where competition becomes interesting.

Per the Wall Street Journal, Verizon COO Lowell McAdam confirmed that it will offer its US$30 unlimited data plan during the launch of the iPhone but stated the plan will only be available for a limited time. McAdam did not specify a cutoff date for offering the plan, but he reiterated statements the company made in June 2010 that Verizon will soon follow AT&T’s lead and drop unlimited data plans altogether in favor of a tiered pricing model.

Even though Verizon plans to eventually drop its unlimited data plans, this comes as good news, as iPhone owners are known to gobble much more data than users of competing devices.

Rumor: Apple looking to incorporate Near Field Communications into next-gen iOS devices, allow for easier purchases on the fly

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Date: Tuesday, January 25th, 2011, 05:41
Category: iPad, iPhone, Rumor

A recent Bloomberg report claims that Apple will be incorporating NFC (Near Field Communication) hardware in the next iPhone and iPad, allowing customers to use the iPhone and iPad to make purchases:

The services are based on “Near-Field Communication,” a technology that can beam and receive information at a distance of up to 4″, due to be embedded in the next iteration of the iPhone for AT&T Inc. and the iPad 2, said Richard Doherty, director of the consulting firm Envisioneering Group. Both products are likely to be introduced this year, he said, citing engineers who are working on hardware for the Apple project.

Apple could potentially tie this payment system into people’s existing iTunes accounts. The technology has been described as allowing customers to walk into a store and make payments directly from their iOS device. Apple may also incorporate loyalty rewards and credit systems into iTunes as well. Other possibilities include using location-based transactions to improve iAd targeting.

According to the source, Apple has already made created payment terminals intended for small businesses to scan NFC-enabled iPhones and iPads. These terminals could be subsidized or even given away to encourage adoption.

Apple has been hiring NFC experts as well as applied for several patents on the technology. A couple of previous reports have also pegged the next generation iPhone as having NFC technology built in.

Stay tuned for any information on this as it becomes available.

White iPhone 4 spotted in AT&T database system

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Date: Monday, January 24th, 2011, 10:16
Category: iPhone, News

You’ve been hankering for a white iPhone and it just might be on its way.

Per Boy Genius Report, the white iPhone has been sighted in AT&T’s online systems, but there is still no indication when the phone will be available.

In a recent sighting, listings appeared for a white iPhone 4 16GB model and a 32GB model. AT&T also has 32GB and 16GB models of the iPhone 3GS, as well as a 16GB white iPhone 3G.
Signs at Apple’s retail stores in December listed the white iPhone as becoming “available spring 2011.”

Apple has never given a specific reason for the delay of the white iPhone 4, other than it has “proven more challenging to manufacture than expected.”

Originally scheduled to be released shortly after the black iPhone, the white iPhone 4 delayed in late July until “later this year,” and again in October until spring 2011.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Italian hacker locates Qualcomm references hidden in iTunes software

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Date: Monday, January 24th, 2011, 05:06
Category: News, Software

A hacker claims to have discovered evidence pointing to an upcoming Qualcomm cellular baseband inside the code for Apple’s iTunes software, possibly indicating that the iPhone maker plans to incorporate Qualcomm’s CDMA baseband into the next generation of iOS devices.

Per AppleInsider, Italian hacker Zibri published a section of code on his blog Friday that hints at Qualcomm as the baseband provider for the iPhone 5 or iPad 2 devices. Zibri obtained the code by decompiling the latest version of iTunes.

According to the post, the code is a “definitive answer” to rumors from last week that named Qualcomm as the baseband provider for the iPhone 5. As the inventor of CDMA, Qualcomm may also already provide the radios for the CDMA iPhone 4, which will arrive on the Verizon network on Feb. 10.

Per the post, the files “partition.mbn” and “AMSS.MBN,” which were discovered in the iTunes code, mean “only one thing: QUALCOMM. Those files are the building blocks of any Qualcomm baseband.”

“So I can tell you that the next wave of iProducts will be using a QUALCOMM baseband,” Zibri wrote. “Which one I don’t know… maybe the iPad2, maybe the iPhone5 most probably all of them. What is clear is that they are testing them using the same iTunes you have on your hard drives.”

However, if Qualcomm is indeed the supplier of the baseband for the upcoming Verizon iPhone, references to a Qualcomm baseband in the iTunes code may simply point to the CDMA iPhone, rather than the next-generation iPhone or iPad.

Reports of a Qualcomm baseband for future iPhone models have persisted for some time. Apple and Qualcomm reportedly met in late 2009 to discuss “future cooperation.” In August of of 2010, reporters noticed a job posting on the Qualcomm website for an “iPhone developer guru.”

Interesting things may be on the horizon so stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple to ship universal bumper case for GSM, CDMA iPhone 4 handsets

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Date: Friday, January 21st, 2011, 12:59
Category: Accessory, iPhone, News

If you’re hankering for a Verizon iPhone and worried about needing a bumper case, Apple may be a step ahead of you.

Per Engadget, Apple has apparently worked around the problem of needing two versions of its Bumper case with the pending launch of the iPhone 4 on Verizon’s network by creating a universal Bumper. The new Bumper case includes a larger switch slot that accommodates the slightly different positions of the mute switch on the two iPhone 4 models.

The iPhone 4 bumper Apple shipped months ago for GSM-based networks like AT&T, O2 and Orange, the handset using a different antenna configuration than the new CDMA-based model that will sell for Verizon’s network. That change meant Apple needed to reposition the mute switch that sits just above the iPhone’s volume buttons, making the company’s current Bumper cases incompatible with the new model.

It’s unknown whether the bumper will be free (as was the case with the iPhone 4) or available via retail.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple swapping in new inaccessible, “pentalobe” screws to new, repaired iPhone 4 units

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Date: Friday, January 21st, 2011, 05:58
Category: iPhone, News

If you were hoping to buy a new iPhone 4 and tinker with it, you might have some problems.

Per the mighty iFixIt, Apple has begun replacing the standard phillips head screws that hold together most iPhones sold in the U.S. with tamper-resistant “pentalobe” screws. The result is a device that most users are unable to open which also proves difficult for third party battery replacement services to replaces the battery in the device.

The pentalobe screw is a design controlled by Apple, and getting a screwdriver is very difficult, unless you’re an Apple Certified repair technician. Apple is apparently replacing the old screws with the new ones whenever an iPhone is brought into an Apple Store for repair, and users aren’t alerted to the change before or after it takes place.

Pentalobe Screw from iFixIt’s explanatory video

The new screws have begun to surface in recently shipped iPhones and iPhone 4 models shipped with the screw in Japan from the get-go.

These same screws are used on some MacBook Pro and Air models, and are likely to make their way to more Apple products in the future.

A video’s worth a couple thousand words and quite a bit of argument:


Apple’s Diabolical Plan to Screw your iPhone from iFixit on Vimeo.

Apple releases second iOS 4.3 beta to developer community, states multitouch gestures on iPad “just a preview”

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Date: Thursday, January 20th, 2011, 05:36
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, News, Software

Late Wednesday, Apple released to developers the second external beta of its upcoming iOS 4.3, as well as a new pre-release copy of Apple TV software designed to support the mobile operating system’s new AirPlay feature for third-party programmers. The company also informed developers that some features present in the initial beta won’t make it into the 4.3 release.

Per AppleInsider, the new beta of iOS 4.3 carries build number 9F5135d and is available for all three of Apple’s iOS devices. At this point, it’s too early to tell what changes may come baked into the release when compared to the first beta, released exactly one week ago.

The first beta of iOS 4.3 introduced a personal hotspot control panel, new multitouch gestures for the iPad, and updated SMS alert settings. Resource files accompanying the release also provided hints at a handful of new iPad and iPhone models, as well as a potential “Find My Friends” social networking feature.

It should be noted, however, that the multi-touch gestures that made their debut in the first beta won’t be ready for prime time by the final release of iOS 4.3, according to a note to developers accompanying the release of the second beta.

“This feature will not be enabled in iOS 4.3 for customers,” the documentation reads, “but we are providing this preview to gather input on how these gestures work with your apps.”

Still, a picture’s worth a thousand words and gestures on the iPad could prove interesting:



As always, let us know what’s on your mind in the comments.

Rumor: Personal Hotspot feature could come to iPhone 3GS under iOS 4.3

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Date: Wednesday, January 19th, 2011, 08:52
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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This could be nifty.

The cool cats at iLounge have received an anonymous tip stating that the Personal Hotspot feature of iOS 4.3 will work on both the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 3GS. Per the source, who claims to have tested it using the first beta version of iOS 4.3, the feature works on the 3GS exactly as it works on the iPhone 4, including the ability to share the device’s 3G network connection over Wi-Fi.

While it’ll be up to the individual wireless carriers to support the feature, the feature may be present in the OS but not show up in users’ Settings app unless it has been enabled by their carrier. In addition, while the feature is present in the current 3GS build of iOS 4.3 beta, it is possible that Apple could remove the feature prior to the public release of the update.

Even if it’s just a rumor, this could lead to something useful down the line.

Apple posts $6 billion profit in Q1 earnings call

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Date: Tuesday, January 18th, 2011, 14:56
Category: Finance, News

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Apple Inc. announced Tuesday that first quarter profits rose more than 77% to US$6 billion, or US$6.43 per diluted share, driven by record sales in three of its four major product categories, thereby beating analysts’ predicted earnings in the process.

Per AppleInsider, the company also posted record revenue of US$26.74 billion for the three-month period ended December 25, 2010, or more than US$2 billion above consensus estimates. The results compare to revenue of US$15.68 billion and net quarterly profit of US$3.38 billion, or US$3.67 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter.

Apple sold 4.13 million Macs during the quarter, a 23% unit increase over the year-ago quarter. The company also sold 16.24 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 86% unit growth over the year-ago quarter. iPod sales during the quarter totaled 19.45 million, representing a seven percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter, while iPad sales came in at 7.33 million units.

“We had a phenomenal holiday quarter with record Mac, iPhone and iPad sales,” said Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs. “We are firing on all cylinders and we’ve got some exciting things in the pipeline for this year including iPhone 4 on Verizon which customers can’t wait to get their hands on.”

Gross margin was 38.5% compared to 40.9% in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 62% of the quarter’s revenue.

“We couldn’t be happier with the performance of our business, generating $9.8 billion in cash flow from operations during the December quarter,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the second fiscal quarter of 2011, we expect revenue of about US$22 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share of about US$4.90.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.