Rumor: Verizon hiring call center workers for possible AT&T launch

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Date: Monday, October 25th, 2010, 17:21
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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If you’re fed up with your iPhone on AT&T’s network, you might just like this.

Per CNET, Verizon is reportedly hiring hundreds of call center staff through third-party hiring companies, adding to speculation that the largest wireless carrier in the U.S. is preparing to launch the iPhone.

Customer service call center staffing companies Teleperformance and Ryla are looking for thousands of customer service representatives to field calls for a “major wireless cell phone service retailer,” per the article. Posts to the Careerbuilder website as well as the companies’ own websites reveal that the positions will be dedicated to “either a wireless, cell phone, or communications company,” with additional positions offering technical support for “personal computers and portable devices like MP3 players and smartphones.”

One Teleperformance call center in Augusta, Georgia, will double its employees through the hiring campaign. “It is for a major wireless company that we have secured a new line of business, one of our existing clients,” Marcie Ballard, vice president of recruiting for Teleperformance, told the Augusta Chronicle, although she declined to say which provider.

Both companies have prior experience supporting Verizon. Teleperformance also works with Apple, in addition to Verizon Wireless and the other major cell phone carriers in the past, the report notes. Ryla has worked with Verizon for over 10 years, a source told CNET.

While the connection between a flurry of call center recruiting and a Verizon iPhone remains tenuous, the rumor was bolstered by Friday’s news that Verizon had lost more ground to rival AT&T than expected in the third quarter. Third-quarter earnings reports from Verizon and AT&T this week show that Verizon netted 584,000 new monthly-bill paying customers during the quarter, compared to AT&T’s 745,000 additions according to Reuters.

Verizon CFO John Killian told Reuters that Verizon expects to add 550,000 to 600,000 new monthly-bill paying customers in the fourth quarter, less than half of last years’ number. Killian also stressed the importance of converting standard users into smartphone users in order to increase revenue through sales of data plans.

Though Verizon Wireless still holds the No. 1 spot as the largest telecommunications network in the U.S. with 93.2 million subscribers as of October, AT&T is close to overtaking the provider with 92.8 million subscribers of its own.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple field-testing iPhone 4 revision with CDMA support

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Date: Tuesday, October 19th, 2010, 07:16
Category: iPhone, Rumor

It’s a rumor but it’s an interesting one.

Per Boy Genius Report, Apple has begun field testing a new version of the iPhone, prompting continued speculation of an early 2011 launch of a CDMA-compatible iPhone.

Citing a “solid Apple source,” the publication claimed Monday that iPhone model 3,2 has reached the field test phase, while the next-generation “iPhone 5″ has advanced to the Engineering Verification Test stage of the development cycle.

“We have been told that iPhone model 3,2 — what everyone is assuming to be the Verizon (or at least CDMA-compatible) phone — just hit the “AP” testing stage. This is the very last stage before retail release; final hardware, almost final software,” the report noted.

Since Apple uses the first number in these device identifiers to refer to major revisions and the second number to refer to minor revisions, iPhone model 3,2 should be an updated iPhone 4 rather than a next-generation model. The report speculates that the 3,2 revision could also include a fix for the widely publicized iPhone 4 antenna issue.

BGR’s source asserts that iPhone version 3,2 will contain a SIM card slot, which is generally used only by GSM devices. However, earlier this month, rumors surrounding a Verizon CDMA iPhone implied that Qualcomm could provide Apple with a dual-mode baseband chip that would support both GSM and CDMA networks. In the U.S., AT&T and T-Mobile run GSM networks, while Verizon and Sprint use the CDMA standard. China Telecom is also reportedly in talks with Apple over a CDMA iPhone.

The story adds to articles published by both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times from early October that a Verizon iPhone is in the works for next year, the much-talked-about rumors of Apple going multi-carrier in the U.S. have gained momentum.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple posts over $20 billion in sales, $4.31 billion profit for fourth quarter

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Date: Tuesday, October 19th, 2010, 06:56
Category: Finance, News

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Apple on Monday reported a “great fiscal quarter,” citing a quarterly profit of US$4.31 billion, compared to US$2.53 billion for the same period last year. Over the quarter, Apple recored US$20.34 billion in revenue, an increase of nearly 67 percent from the year-ago quarter’s sales figure of US$12.21 billion.

Apple’s earnings of US$4.64 per diluted share handily beat estimates by Wall Street analysts who were expecting the company to report earnings of US$4.06 a share on $18.86 billion in revenue for September quarter.

“We still have a few surprises left for the remainder of the calendar year,” said CEO Steve Jobs in a statement accompanying the earnings. Apple has scheduled a press event for this Wednesday where the company is expected to focus on the Mac.

Per Macworld, Apple executive Peter Oppenheimer credited record iPhone sales, enthusiasm for the iPad, and a new quarterly sales record for Mac sales as the drivers behind Apple’s strong quarterly performance. In particular, Apple sold 4.19 million iPads during the first full quarter of sales for the tablet; all told, the company sold 7.5 million iPads during its 2010 fiscal year.

For the fiscal fourth quarter, Apple recorded US$2.8 billion in sales of iPads and related accessories, with the iPad accounting for US$2.7 billion of that figure. That translates to an average selling price of around US$645 for the tablet, Oppenheimer said.

iPad sales may disappoint some analysts, who were expecting Apple to sell close to 5 million tablets. One of the issues may be with inventory—Apple says it has three-to-four weeks worth of channel inventory, which is below its target range of four-to-six weeks. The company plans to expand its iPad distribution efforts, adding retailers like Verizon, Walmart, Target, and AT&T into the mix as well as launching in additional countries.

As for the iPhone, Apple managed to sell 14.1 million units during the quarter. This marks a 91% increase over the 7.4 million phones sold during the year-ago quarter and a new quarterly record for smartphone sales for the company.

For the 2010 fiscal year, Apple sold 40 million phones, a 93 percent jump over 2009. During September, the company says it passed the 125 million mark for cumulative iOS sales of its iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch offerings.

Apple also saw a record quarter for its Mac business. The company sold 3.89 million computers, up 27% from its year-ago sales. Fourth-quarter Mac sales topped the previous high-water mark of 3.47 million mark set during the June quarter. Year-over-year sales growth was more than double the growth rate projected for the overall PC market by research firm IDC, according to Oppenheimer.

Notebooks continue to drive Mac sales, with portable products, accounting for 71% of the Macs sold during the September quarter. However, sales of desktops rose nearly 28% to a little more than 1 million units, on the strength of the company’s iMac and Mac Pro updates over the summer.

Despite the largely positive news, the iPod segment continues to shrink, with Apple selling 9.05 million music players during the quarter (an 11% drop from last year’s figures). Apple updated its iPod line in September, though the company usually sees the fruits of those efforts during the holiday quarter.

While iPod sales growth stalled throughout 2010, Apple opted to focus on the positive Monday. It noted that the iPod’s share of the MP3 player market in the U.S. continues to top 70% according to research firm NPD’s figures. And Apple says its music player gained market share internationally from the year-ago quarter. The company also reported that its iTune Store brought in more than US$1 billion in revenue for the September quarter.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs took a minute during the conference call to comment on the company’s “hobby” product, the Apple TV, announcing that it had moved more than 250,000 units since the device went on sale. That’s the first time the company has ever revealed sales information for the device, which has gone through a number of iterations since its original introduction in 2007. Jobs confirmed that Apple had moved to an all-streaming model for content for the device, which will allow streaming of media from iOS devices in November when Apple ships iOS 4.2.

Apple’s retail segment had what Oppenheimer called a “record-breaking quarter,” with revenue rising 75% to US$3.57 billion. Apple sold 874,000 Macs through its retail arm, an increase of 30% from the year-ago quarter. The company sales that half of the Macs sold through its brick-and-mortar outlets continue to be to customers who are new to the platform.

Apple ended the fourth quarter with 317 stores, 84 of which were outside the U.S. The company opened 24 new stores during the quarter, with 16 of those opening outside of U.S. borders. In fact, with new store openings in Spain, Apple now has retail outlets in 11 countries.

The company also stated that it plans to open 40 to 50 stores during the coming fiscal year, with half of those slated for outside the U.S. The company also plans to start renovating several of its U.S. stores during 2011.

Monday’s earnings report closes the book on Apple’s 2010 fiscal year, which saw the company record US$65.2 billion in sales, a 52% increase from the US$42.9 billion in revenue recorded in 2009. Apple turned a US$14 billion profit in 2010, an increase of 72% from the previous year.

“The September quarter was the culmination of a monumental year for Apple,” Oppenheimer said.

Apple launches updated MobileMe calendar, removes membership requirements

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Date: Friday, October 15th, 2010, 05:14
Category: News, Software

Apple announced Thursday that its new web-based calendar application for MobileMe subscribers has officially exited the beta stages and is now available to all members.

Users looking to become new calendar members simply need to sign in to me.com/calendar, click “Upgrade now” in the lower left corner of the Calendar web application, and follow the instructions. Current members who’ve been using the Calendar since it was a beta product don’t need to do anything.

Per AppleInsider, Apple has stated the new MobileMe Calendar was designed to integrate more fluently with the built-in calendar app on iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches by always keeping it in sync with a Mac or PC. New events or changes are automatically pushed to iOS 4 devices so the calendar stays up to date. Users who schedule a meeting on their iOS devices will also see that meeting pushed everywhere too.

The new version also makes it easier for users to share calendars with one or more MobileMe members to keep everyone on the same page. For example, users can create a shared calendar called “Family” for weekend activities, then allow family members to edit events, and then receive email notifications informing them of those changes.


Another new features lets users share a read-only public calendar, which Apple says is ideal for publishing an events calendar such as a child’s sports team schedule. Once set up, a link to view the calendar can be sent to other team members for viewing on their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or PC.


Users can also invite guests to an event by adding their email address to the event (they don’t have to be a MobileMe member) and guests will get an invitation email they can respond to directly by clicking a link. The event then automatically updates, making it easy to track RSVPs right in the calendar.

These features tie into new web application at me.com with redesigned day, week, and month views, as well as a new list view to make scanning events easier.

Apple says the new web application works best with the Safari 5, Firefox 3.6, and Internet Explorer 8 web browsers. Compatibility with iPhone or iPod touch requires iOS 4.1, while iPad users must be running either version 3.2 or 4.2 (due this November). Mac users must have Mac OS X 10.6.4 or later installed and PC users will need MobileMe Control Panel version 1.6.3 and Outlook 2007 or 2010.

If you’ve tried the new calendar and have any feedback to offer, let us know.

Square Trade study finds iPhone 4 glass 82% more susceptible to breaking that iPhone 3GS glass

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Date: Wednesday, October 13th, 2010, 05:26
Category: iPhone, News

You love your iPhone 4 like an additional child or pet.

So be sure to take care of it.

Per 9to5Mac, a Square Trade study has determined that the iPhone 4′s glass casing has been show to break 82% more than an iPhone 3GS’ casing.

While the iPhone 4 has two sides of glass instead of one, thus potentially doubling the incidents versus previous iPhone generations that maintained plastic backs, it was also determined that the plastic around the sides of the iPhone 3GS is able to cushion potential impact much better than the iPhone 4′s metal antenna-frame.

Other findings include the following:
-iPhone 4 owners reported 82% more damaged screens in the first four months compared to iPhone 3GS owners.

-More than 25% of damage reported was to the glass on the back of the unit.

-The reported accident rate for the iPhone 4 was 68% higher than for the iPhone 3GS.

-An estimated 15.5% of iPhone 4 owners will have an accident within a year of buying their phone.

-iPhone 4 screen damage is responsible for more than four-fifths of reported accidents during the last four months, slightly higher than the iPhone 3GS during the same time period.

Square Trade currently functions as the largest independent warranty provider in the world and has analyzed iPhone accidents for well over 20,000 iPhone 4 units.

If you’ve had an iPhone 4 glass incident on your end or want to hurl in your two cents, let us know what’s on your mind.

Apple releases third iOS 4.2 beta, adds SMS ringtones, changes AirPlay functionality

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Date: Wednesday, October 13th, 2010, 04:47
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Late Tuesday Apple released the third beta of iOS 4.2 to developers alongside the second beta of iTunes 10.1, making subtle changes to the distributions of the former for both the iPhone and the iPad.

Per fscklog, the iOS 4.2 build releases seem to be following a two week cycle, as the first iOS 4.2 beta was released four weeks ago, with the second beta arriving two weeks after.

People familiar with the latest iOS beta said it is known as build 8C5115c.

The beta contains several significant changes, including an updated version of the modem firmware. Noticeably missing from the beta were AirPlay features from previous builds. The AirPlay button has disappeared from the Photos, Videos, and YouTube apps on the distribution for the iPad.

Developers have noticed a bug with the AirPrint functionality. When printing from an iPhone, the image sometimes prints as just the size of the iPhone’s screen, not the original image size.

The beta also packs a number of smaller additions. According to fscklog, the new beta adds “a larger number” of tones for receiving text messages on the iPhone 4. The 17 new SMS ringtones include tones such as “Calypso,” “Choo Choo,” “Sherwood Forest,” and “Tiptoes.”

In a minor change to the iPad, the Connect to iTunes recovery screen now uses the controversial new iTunes 10 icon.

The iTunes 10.1 beta released alongside the iOS 4.2 beta continues to support printing.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve gotten your mitts on the new beta, please let us know what you make of it.

Rumor: Fifth-gen iPhone to support GSM, CDMA, will forego 4G for the time being

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Date: Tuesday, October 12th, 2010, 04:44
Category: iPhone, Rumor

There’s some nifty stuff en route for the fifth generation iPhone, even if it doesn’t encapsulate everything at once.

Per TechCrunch. the upcoming iPhone will be capable of running on networks based on both of the world’s most popular 3G wireless standards but will forgo support for the faster 4G networks that are just now coming online.

Following rumors up to 11 months old, the article claims that Apple’s next major iPhone revision will run on both GSM and CDMA networks (presumably via a dual-mode Qualcomm baseband chip) but won’t support the next-generation of faster, Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks, more communally referred to as 4G networks.

The handset will reportedly take a less aggressive approach that will see it delay the iPhone’s support of 4G networks until some time in 2012, allowing it to bypass the first generation of power-hungry and potentially problematic LTE baseband controllers in favor of boosting its efforts around proprietary technologies like FaceTime.

Such an approach would be in the vein of more traditional efforts such as the launch of the original iPhone, which only supported AT&T’s robust 2.5G EDGE network despite broad availability of the faster 3G technology around the same time.

“Apple simply doesn’t want to be the guinea pig on new LTE networks that aren’t ready for primetime, and Steve Jobs knows not to trust the hype that’s spewed by the carriers on 4G,” the report says. “The truth is that 3G networks have many more years of life, and the transition to LTE will be much slower than the carriers want you to believe (LTE doesn’t even have its voice standard fleshed out yet).”

It’s for these reasons, the report adds, that AT&T has been upgrading its network for broader support of the faster HSPA+ (or the so-called 3.5G) standard while Verizon has been working to implement an enhancement to the CDMA standard that will let future devices transmit both data and voice communications simultaneously.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPhone 4 shipping times drop to 5 to 7 days

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Date: Wednesday, October 6th, 2010, 05:48
Category: iPhone, News

Apple looks to have worked its its supply constraints for the iPhone 4 since the device’s June launch, AppleInsider reporting that the handset is now advertised for shipping within 5 to 7 days from Apple’s online store.

Both models of the iPhone 4 (available in 16GB and 32GB capacities for US$199 and US$299, respectively, with AT&T contract) now ship within 5 to 7 business days. The 8GB, US$99 iPhone 3GS ships within 1 to 2 weeks, while the white iPhone 4 remains unavailable.

The change in shipping times would imply that Apple has begun to catch up with strong consumer demand for the iPhone 4.

Shipping estimates had remained at three weeks or longer since the handset launched in June. In its first three days of availability, the phone sold a record 1.7 million units.

Apple has struggled to meet demand since launch, as supplies for overseas expansion have been constrained. Last month, the iPhone 4 launched in China, and carrier China Unicom was only able to fulfill about half of the preorders placed by customers.

In a similar fashion, Apple could not meet iPad demand for months after the touchscreen tablet launched in April. It took until late August for the Cupertino, Calif., company to improve online order shipping times to 24 hours.

The white iPhone 4 is still listed as unavailable, and Apple has not provided an update on the status of the device since July, when it said the product would not be available until “later this year.” The company has said that the white model proved “more challenging to manufacture than expected.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple patent shows efforts towards expanded cloud-based syncing

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Date: Friday, October 1st, 2010, 02:40
Category: News, Patents

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A new Apple patent published this week, entitled “Configurable Offline Data Store”, shows that future mobile devices from Apple could sync and save large amounts of data over the Internet, allowing future access to information when an Internet connection is no longer available and removing the need to tether to a PC.

The invention, filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on June 14th, 2010, would synchronize data for offline use when an Internet connection is not available.

Per AppleInsider, the patent describes a system that would allow users to access content from a remote computer or server, but also save that information locally for use when an Internet connection is not available. The application also notes that users may want to disable their Internet because constant syncing and updating may result in poor performance.

It describes individual applications that would be able to access this cloud-stored data, dubbed “savvy applications.” These are distinguished from “non-savvy applications,” which would not have access to the remote data.

The smart syncing system would predetermine which data might be “reasonably requested” when the two machines are reconnected, having it queued an ready to go immediately. The system would also allow for other “requested records,” which would occur when changes are made to lesser-used files.

Current mobile devices from Apple like the iPhone have a number of options for users to sync basic data, such as iPhone contacts, with Internet-based services. But the company is also said to be interested in offering a cloud-based streaming service for purchased iTunes content, like music and movies.

The technology described within the patent application would allow such data to be stored locally, and synced from anywhere with an Internet connection, rather than on a local network or via a USB cable.

Such a feature could also be used with Apple’s App Store, where software downloads greater than 20MB in size are not allowed over cellular data networks. When on a 3G network, the client-side machine (an iPhone or iPad) could save an intended download for later, when it can be obtained over a Wi-Fi network.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases updated iOS 4.2, iTunes 10.1 betas to developer community

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Date: Wednesday, September 29th, 2010, 03:44
Category: News, Software

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Late Tuesday, Apple released new betas of two major upcoming software releases, the upcoming versions of iOS 4.2 and iTunes 10.1.

Per AppleInsider, Tuesday’s release of iOS 4.2 marks the second beta of the software update, due for a public release in November. It is available for the iPad, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, and second-, third- and fourth-generation iPod touch.

People familiar with the latest iOS beta said it is known as 8C5101C.

The first beta of iOS 4.2 was released earlier this month, and marked the debut of AirPrint, Apple’s new wireless printing standard for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. AirPrint will allow iOS device users to print to a shared printer connected to a PC or Mac, or directly to some printers that are compatible with the format.

The previous beta also packed a number of small fixes, including improvements to YouTube and FaceTime. Its release in November will also be the first time iPad owners have had access to the iOS 4 features iPhone and iPod touch users already enjoy, including multitasking and home screen folders.

A beta of iTunes 10.1 was also issued for testing Tuesday, and people familiar with the build said it also supports printing. Just this past weekend, iTunes 10.0.1 was publicly released, bringing improvements to Ping.

If you’ve had a chance to play with either beta, let us know and stay tuned for additional details as they become available.