AT&T ceases “permacookie” tracking program for the time being, Verizon still enacting its own version

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Date: Monday, November 17th, 2014, 04:45
Category: iPhone, News, privacy, wireless

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There are consequences for when a wireless carrier installs something that apparently tracks its user base a little too closely with no convenient means of removal.

Per Macworld and ProPublica, wireless carriers Verizon and AT&T have been caught up in a privacy firestorm over their use of so-called “permacookies,” a method of tracking what their users do while browsing the Web with the intent of sharing that data with advertisers. Verizon’s permacookie program lives on, but AT&T has ceased the practice.

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AT&T admits to testing “unique tracker” on smartphones, offers opt-out option

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Date: Thursday, October 30th, 2014, 11:55
Category: iPhone, News, security, wireless

attlogosmall

This isn’t the best news.

According to Forbes, wireless carriers Verizon and AT&T have ceded that they’re tagging their customers with unique codes that are visible to third parties, making smartphone users far easier to track on the Web than they’ve ever been before, targeted advertising being that much easier to create as a result of this. After the findings by researchers, AT&T admitted it’s “testing” a new way of tracking its customers for ad display purposes.

“There’s nothing ready to announce,” said AT&T spokesperson Mark Siegel. “We’re still testing.”

But that means, yes, AT&T customers are being tagged by AT&T in a way that’s visible to the websites they visit, but AT&T says it’s building in what it considers to be a privacy-protective measure: the unique code for each user will change every 24 hours. Siegel says this is happening now, but Kenneth White, one of the researchers who discovered the tracking, says that is “categorically untrue,” saying he found three identifying codes being sent by AT&T that were persistent.

“AT&T does not currently have a mobile Relevant Advertising program. We are considering such a program, and any program we would offer would maintain our fundamental commitment to customer privacy,” read a statement from AT&T. “For instance, we are testing a numeric code that changes every 24 hours on mobile devices to use in programs where we serve ads to the mobile device. This daily rotation on the numeric code would help protect the privacy of our customers. Customers also could opt out of any future AT&T program that might use this numeric code.”

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Verizon backs off on controversial data throttling plan set to begin in October

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Date: Thursday, October 2nd, 2014, 11:27
Category: News, wireless

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A little competition’s a good thing.

According to The Verge, a statement from wireless carrier Verizon stated that the company will not be throttling 4G LTE data speeds for users grandfathered in to unlimited data plans, while at the same time announcing a buffed data plan promotion.

In July, Verizon announced plans to expand its “network optimization” initiative, which amounts to throttling data speeds for subscribers with unlimited data plans when the telco’s 4G LTE network is congested. The enhanced policy was set to go live in October.

Verizon Wireless won’t be throttling the LTE speeds of its remaining unlimited data customers after all. In an eleventh hour reversal, the largest U.S. carrier has just announced that it’s “decided not to move forward with the planned implementation of network optimization for 4G LTE customers on unlimited plans.”

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Apple announces 10 million iPhone 6 handsets sold during launch weekend

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Date: Monday, September 22nd, 2014, 11:07
Category: iPhone, News, retail

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Another year, another broken record.

Per Macworld, Apple announced on Monday that it sold ten million iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models combined after the first weekend of availability—a new record for launch weekend iPhone sales. It’s no surprise, after Apple announced last Monday that iPhone 6 and 6 Plus pre-orders hit 4 million in the first 24 hours alone.

The latest iPhones became available on Friday, September 19th in 10 countries and territories worldwide.

Apple’s latest sales record beats the company’s 2013 iPhone launch weekend for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, which topped out at nine million devices.

However, the iPhone 5s and 5c were available in 11 regions worldwide including the U.S., Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the UK. For this year’s launch weekend, China was left off the initial launch list.

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Customers complain of difficulties pre-ordering iPhone 6, 6 Plus handsets

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Date: Friday, September 12th, 2014, 15:37
Category: iPhone, News, retail

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The pre-orders for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are coming in.

And they’re overwhelming Apple.

Per AppleInsider, Friday’s kickoff for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus preorders was marred by a series of glitches, issues and errors that left a number of customers frustrated with Apple and its carrier partners’ inability to keep up with overwhelming demand.

Readers reported that they’d experienced a number of problems attempting to place their order for Apple’s next-generation handsets on Friday. Things kicked off just after midnight Pacific, 3 a.m. Eastern, but initial customers were only able to access preorders via the iOS Apple Store app, and not through Apple’s website on a traditional browser.

And while U.S. carriers AT&T, Verizon and Sprint were accepting preorders, customers could not buy a handset for T-Mobile, directly from the carrier or through Apple’s website, for hours Friday morning. That also affected AT&T customers looking to buy a no-contract, no-subsidy unlocked handset compatible with AT&T’s network.

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I’m back! Did you miss me? Reviewing last week.

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Date: Tuesday, January 21st, 2014, 08:37
Category: Apple, Article, Consumer Electronics, Google, News, Opinion

newspaperI was sick for most of last week, which accounted for the crickets you might of heard when you loaded up the PowerPage. While I get back up to speed on all the current tech news, I thought I’d provide a short list of key articles from last week by other tech sites to get you caught up in case you missed them.

Target data hack only the beginning of massive, sophisticated attack – BGR.com

This is one story that hit close to home. Because of the breach, my credit card company is reissuing my credit card with a new account number which means I get to spend a day or so updating ALL of my automatic billing accounts. Have you noticed this sort of thing seems to be happening more frequently lately? Frankly, I’m starting to consider switching to stuffing my mattress with cash.

Google’s smart contact lens tracks glucose levels for diabetics – AppleInsider.com

Wow, Google really wants to do do stuff with your eyes. While I applaud the clever idea of “always on” monitoring of glucose levels, I have to question why this tech needs to be stuck in your eye. While tears can provide this information, blood is actually the better source for it. Current glucose meters already require regular calibration and a margin of error, partly due to variations in blood. How are you going to do this with a contact lens? And how do you account for the many people who can’t or won’t wear contact lenses, and adding prescriptions to them for people who do wear them? Wouldn’t it be better to have a sensor imbedded under the skin, that anyone could use and didn’t have to be constantly cleaned, removed, replaced, etc.? Eyes are already responsible for a lot of data, do we need to be sticking more things in them?!

Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules – MacObserver.com

If you aren’t familiar with the battle for net neutrality, you should start educating yourself because this won’t go away for some time, and if people aren’t paying attention, they could just get royally screwed by large corporations that are fighting it. The “net” part refers to the Internet and in a nutshell, without net neutrality, everything you do on the internet (which IS practically everything) will cost you more, especially your connection to it. This ruling is kind of a drop in the bucket, but it is a minor setback in the fight to maintain neutrality and keep the greedy profit-seeking providers from gouging everyone just to watch a movie or read an email.

Beware of this Apple ID phishing scam – TUAW.com

I think people on the whole have been getting better about detecting phishing scams, where unscrupulous types attempt to sucker innocent people into willingly handing over their account information by posing as an email from a service they use. Now someone is trying this with an email that looks like a security warning from Apple. Read the details in the article and remember to ALWAYS be cautious with these kinds of requests and make sure the messages are actually coming from where they say they are.

Box overhauls iOS apps and offers 50GB of free storage for life – Macworld.com

Now THIS is a hot tip, and one I took advantage of myself. I’ve had a Box account for some time, but never really used it because the default, free account only provided 5 GB of storage and I have quite a bit more available to me over at their competitor, Dropbox (Oooo…I should write an article about how I did that.). Also, at the time, Box wasn’t as slick and well integrated with the Mac and iDevices as Dropbox. Well, now Box is throwing down the gauntlet and offering 50 GB of storage to users that create (or have) an account and download the iPhone and/or iPad apps, for the next 3 weeks or so at least. Plus, the new iApps have been overhauled and look pretty spiffy. I won’t give up Dropbox, but I’m sure going to find a use for that 50 GB. Can you say “online backup”?

Google acquires smart thermostat maker Nest for $3.2 billion in cash, Father of iPod now Google employee – 9to5Mac.com

This was kind of a surprise, but with wearable computing and home automation being the hot topics at CES this year, it seems to make sense. Perhaps I’m more surprised Apple didn’t acquire them given its pedigree and Apple-like design. While I was kind of disappointed to see another successful company swallowed up by a big fish, I wasn’t as paranoid as a lot of people who felt the proper response was to rip the device off the wall and put it on CraigsList. This one’s a two-fer since it’s a perfect lead in for Apple marketing chief Schiller unfollows Nest & Tony Fadell on Twitter following Google deal.

Apple introduces Retina iPad mini, aims for November release date

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Date: Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013, 00:31
Category: Hardware, iPad, iPad mini, News

Now THIS is the thing you’ve been hankering for.

Per Macworld, Apple announced a new iPad mini with Retina display at its press event on Tuesday, the company also lowering prices for the original iPad mini, giving its smaller tablet much-anticipated upgrades to its screen, processor, cameras, and more.

As hoped and expected—the new iPad mini with Retina display ups the screen resolution to Retina quality, going from 1024 by 768 pixels to 2048 by 1536 pixels at the same 7.9-inch (diagonal) screen size. This change raises the iPad mini’s pixel density from 163 pixels per inch to 326 pixels per inch—a density almost identical to that of the iPhone 5s.


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The new mini gets some upgrades on the inside, as well. Whereas the original mini used the same dual-core A5 processor, at the same clock speed, as the two-and-a-half-year-old iPad 2, the new mini line bumps its horsepower significantly by using Apple’s 64-bit A7 processor, similar to the one in the iPhone 5s. During Tuesday’s media event, Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller said that the new processor makes the Retina iPad mini up to four times as fast as its predecessor for processor-intensive tasks, and up to eight times faster for graphics-intensive tasks. Like the new full-size iPad, the iPad mini with Retina display also features Apple’s M7 motion coprocessor, which can monitor the device’s various motion sensors (accelerometer, compass, and gyroscope) without having to wake the main processor.

The new mini also gains upgraded wireless capabilities thanks to dual Wi-Fi antennas and support for MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) technology. Apple says this change allows the new iPad mini to communicate at up to twice the bandwidth: 300 MBps (megabytes per second). The cellular-equipped versions of the new iPad mini also include expanded LTE capabilities, allowing them to work on more LTE networks around the world.

Apple has also upgraded the iPad mini’s cameras slightly. Though the resolution of those cameras hasn’t changed (5 megapixels for the rear camera, 1.2 megapixels for the front FaceTime HD camera), the company says the new iPad mini gains larger pixels and improved backside illumination sensors in order to take better low-light photos. In addition, the improved image-signal processing of the A7 processor should provide better overall camera performance.

Apple says the new iPad mini with Retina display offers the same 10-hour battery life as the original iPad mini. However, it appears that accomplishing this feat while adding the additional power drain of a Retina display required Apple to increase—ever so slightly—the size and weight of the new iPad mini. The new version is exactly the same height (200mm) and width (134.7mm) as the original, but it’s a tiny big thicker (7.5mm compared to 7.2mm) and a little bit heavier: 331 grams versus 308 grams for the Wi-Fi model, and 341 grams versus 312 grams for the Wi-Fi + Cellular version.

The iPad mini with Retina display will be available in silver/white or Space Gray/black “later in November,” according to Apple. The Wi-Fi versions will retail for US$399 for 16GB, US$499 for 32GB, US$599 for 64GB, and US$699 for 128GB—a first in that capacity for the iPad mini. Cellular versions add US$130 to each: US$529, US$629, US$729, and US$829, respectively.

By all accounts, the original iPad mini has been a big hit for Apple, even though other small tablets, such as the latest Nexus 7, have debuted with better specs or lower prices. The new iPad mini line should blunt some of that spec-sheet-based criticism.

Along with the new iPad mini units, the company is keeping the original iPad mini around—in a single configuration—as a lower-price option. Specifically, the 16GB Wi-Fi iPad mini is now priced at US$299, rather than its original price of US$329, with the Wi-Fi + Cellular version at US$429. The cellular version is available for the U.S. networks of AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

Apple did make one minor change to the original iPad mini: It’s now available in Space Gray or Silver, rather than the original black or white. It is available now.

Both iPad mini versions (Retina and non-Retina) ship with iOS 7 installed, and—as with all devices running iOS 7—allow you to download Apple’s iLife and iWork suites for iOS free of charge.

Finally, Apple announced new cases for its new Retina iPad mini. The new iPad mini Smart Cover, made of polyurethane, will sell for US$39. A new leather iPad Smart Case will cost US$69.

As always, let us know what you make of this and if Apple delivered what you wanted or if improvements could be made.

Gold iPhone 5s sells out via Online Apple Store, other iPhone 5s, 5c models show varying availability

Posted by:
Date: Friday, September 20th, 2013, 08:02
Category: iPhone, News, retail

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Sometimes you don’t know how popular a product model is going to be.

Per The Mac Observer, the Online Apple Store quickly ran through its gold iPhone 5s inventory for AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint in the first half hour of availability Friday morning. T-Mobile’s contract-free gold iPhone models are still showing shipping estimates of 1-3 days.

This means the gold iPhone 5s is either the most popular model or the model with the least availability.

You might remember that the gold and white model was initially met with disdainful criticism by tech bloggers, who labeled it a terrible mistake and a sure sign of Apple’s downfall when it was leaked.

Within minutes of being available for order online, however, it was the gold one whose shipping estimates slipped the fastest. In 26 minutes, gold models for AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon were all listed as “October.” T-Mobile’s contract-free models were still showing 1-3 days.

Most space gray (the new black) and silver (the new white) models are still showing shipping availability in 1-3 days as of this writing, though the 64GB model on AT&T quickly slipped to 7-10 days.

Apple began taking orders for the iPhone 5s at 12:01 AM PST, and customers can also wait in line at their nearest Apple Store and some third party retailers, with Apple’s retail stores opening at 8:00 AM local across the country.

Carriers have reported having “grotesquely low” inventory of all models, with inventory of anything but space gray being particularly light.

So…if you want the gold iPhone 5s, you’re out of luck for a bit. If you’re comfortable with the other colors, you’re in better shape.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Sources call iPhone 5s/5c inventory available via wireless carriers “grotesquely low” for September 20th launch

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, September 18th, 2013, 07:25
Category: News, retail, Software

eliphone5s

This might not be the best indication for the upcoming iPhone 5s/5c launch.

Per AllThingsD, sources from U.S. wireless carriers on Tuesday stated that carriers are facing “grotesquely” low inventory for the device’s launch. Sales of Apple’s next flagship handset will begin online Friday at 12:01 a.m. Pacific, while Apple’s retail stores will begin selling the iPhone 5s when they open at 8 a.m. local time.

Tuesday’s report also revealed that carriers may be seeing less demand for the iPhone 5s than expected. That’s attributed to the new mid-range, multi-colored iPhone 5c, which may be proving more popular than some had anticipated.

It’s unknown whether Apple is holding the majority of inventory for its own retail stores, or whether the new handset will be spread thin between Apple itself and its carrier partners. Regardless, Apple is not accepting preorders for the iPhone 5s ahead of Friday’s launch, a fact that had already suggested to many observers that supply will be limited this weekend.

Preorders for the iPhone 5c did begin last week, and carrier-subsidized models appear to remain in healthy supply from Apple’s online store. The new iPhone 5c features many of the same components as last year’s iPhone 5, but sports a new polycarbonate back that is available in five colors: green, blue, yellow, red and white.

Well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities revealed last month that the iPhone 5c would out-ship the iPhone 5s in the current quarter. According to Kuo, the iPhone 5s has faced apparent production issues associated with the new Touch ID fingerprint scanner located under the home button.

Both the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c are launching on all four major U.S. carriers this Friday: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. The devices will also be available in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and the U.K.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Walmart to begin pre-orders on Friday, will offer the iPhone 5c for $79, the iPhone 5s for $189

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, September 12th, 2013, 08:30
Category: iPhone, News, retail

In spite of how you might feel about Walmart, they’ll have the upcoming iPhone 5s and 5c available for pre-order.

Per 9to5Mac, Walmart has announced that it will be offering both of the new iPhone models in their 16Gb versions, the 5c at US$79 (a US$20 savings) and the 5s at US$189 (a US$10 savings). Walmart offers the phones on Verizon, AT&T and Sprint.

What’s interesting here is that Apple Stores usually do price matching so it might be worth a try after waiting on line on launch day. Best Buy will also price match often, so this could trigger markdowns all over.

Pre-orders for the 5c start tomorrow, with pickup available from September 20th. Apple is not making the iPhone 5s available on pre-order, however, so you’ll need to wait until the 20th to order yours.

While the original iPhone 5 is still showing up online at US$98, it’s said that it will be available in-store for US$79: the same price as the 5c. The 4s price is also said to be coming down from US$39 to 99 cents.