Verizon confirms Feb. 3, 3 a.m. preorder window for current customers

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Date: Monday, January 31st, 2011, 05:15
Category: iPhone, News

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With its February 10th launch date just around the corner, wireless carrier Verizon has launched a new teaser countdown page for existing customers, telling them to come back at 3 a.m. eastern standard time on Feb. 3rd.

Per AppleInsider, Verizon sent out emails to business customers earlier this week notifying them of the 3 a.m. start, the new page is the first time that all existing customers were informed of the time. Verizon customers will, of course, still need to check with the carrier to verify that they are eligible for an iPhone upgrade.

Verizon’s iPhone frequently asked questions page still states that preorders will begin “on or around February 3rd 2011″ and will be sold on a “first come, first serve” basis.

While a 3 a.m. Eastern time may seem an odd time for Verizon to begin taking iPhone 4 preorders, it’s the earliest time where all contiguous states will have reached Feb. 3.

The 16GB iPhone 4 model will retail for US$199, while the 32GB model will go for US$299, each with a 2-year contract. A leak on the Apple website Wednesday revealed that Verizon’s voice plans for the iPhone 4 will start at US$39.99 per month, with unlimited data for US$29.99, and the option of 2GB of data tethering for an additional US$20. According to one Verizon executive, the company’s unlimited data plan will only be available for a limited time before being phased out for a tiered pricing structure.

In preparation for the launch, Verizon has also begun carrying cases for the CDMA iPhone 4 on its website. Apple recently began offering a universal bumper case that fits both the GSM and CDMA models of the iPhone 4, since the new CDMA iPhone has a new antenna design that necessitated moving the mute switch slightly.

Apple releases iTunes 10.1.2 update

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Date: Friday, January 28th, 2011, 04:05
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Late Wednesday, Apple released iTunes 10.1.2, the latest version of its digital jukebox/digital hub software. The new version, an 90.4 megabyte download, sports the following fixes and new features:

- Use AirPlay to instantly and wirelessly stream videos from iTunes to the all-new Apple TV.

- Sync with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 4.2.

- The update also allows for syncing with Apple’s CDMA iPhone (a.k.a., the Verizon iPhone available on February 10th).

iTunes 10.1.2 requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later to install and run and can be located, downloaded and installed via Mac OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the new version and noticed any major changes, please let us know.

AT&T pulls out unadvertised data plan pricing loophole to retain customers

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Date: Thursday, January 27th, 2011, 05:54
Category: iPhone, News

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When in doubt, match your competition’s offer.

Per the Associated Press, AT&T is reportedly offering some customers unlimited iPhone data plans in an attempt to keep them from defecting to rival carrier Verizon, where Apple’s handset will launch on February 10th.

The report states that AT&T is employing an “unadvertised loophole” in an effort to retain some subscribers who contact customer service. The carrier is said to be quietly offering the option to customers who had a previous version of the iPhone prior to June 2010, when the carrier offered an unlimited data plan for US$30.

Though AT&T wouldn’t confirm the option, the report cited a resident of Brentwood, N.Y., who said he and a friend were switched back to an unlimited plan after they contacted the carrier’s customer service and threatened to swtich. Both subscribers are iPhone 4 users who owned a previous version of the iPhone with an unlimited plan.

AT&T introduced tiered data plans with lower pricing in June 2010. New customers can receive 2GB of data for US$25 per month, or 200MB for US$15 per month.

Customers who signed a contract for US$30-per-month unlimited 3G data prior to last June can keep the plan until their two-year contract expires. Those customers have been able to keep their unlimited plan when upgrading, but the ability to switch back to unlimited, after choosing tiered, has apparently been secret.

Claims that AT&T is offering some customers an unlimited option come as the iPhone 4 is just weeks away from going on sale for Verizon customers. This week, the carrier revealed it would offer unlimited data for iPhone customers for US$30 per month.

Verizon Chief Operating Officer Lowell McAdam said Verizon hopes its unlimited offering will help the carrier attract more customers away from AT&T. He said canceling the company’s unlimited plan would create a barrier for customers who might otherwise switch.

“I’m not going to shoot myself in the foot,” McAdam said on Tuesday.

Still, Verizon’s unlimited data plan will only be available for a limited time, as the carrier has indicated it intends to move to a tiered structure with caps on monthly data use, much like AT&T did last June. Verizon has not indicated when it will adopt tiered plans, but the company has expressed interest in making the change in the near future.

When AT&T capped its plans last year, the carrier noted that 65% of its smartphone customers use less than 200MB of data per month, and 98% use less than 2GB per month. To soften the blow, the tiered structure came with lower prices, as AT&T now charges US$5 less per month for its high-end 2GB plan than it did for its unlimited plan.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

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.

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’s CDMA iPhone en route to Asian markets

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Date: Friday, January 14th, 2011, 07:07
Category: iPhone, News

Apple’s new CDMA iPhone for the Verizon network in the U.S. will also become available with compatible carriers in China, Japan and South Korea, according to a new report from Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes. In the article, it was reported on Thursday that Foxconn will be the sole manufacturer of the Verizon CDMA iPhone, while another overseas supplier, Pegatron, will build the CDMA model of Apple’s smartphone for “China and other countries.” The report went on to note that Apple is “set to start supplying its CDMA iPhone to Japan and South Korea.”

The anticipated launch of the CDMA iPhone in at least four countries is expected to help Apple achieve a record year of handset sales. The report noted that the availability of the iPhone to 93 million Verizon customers on Feb. 10 is expected to double its sales in the U.S.

Sources indicated that Apple currently plans to have about 7 million CDMA iPhones built in the first quarter of 2011. The report also noted that the CDMA baseband module in the new iPhone 4 is slightly more expensive, which would make the handset’s bill of materials as high as US$200 — higher than the estimated US$188 cost of components in the GSM iPhone 4.

Earlier this week, one Wall Street analyst said that higher cost could result in the Verizon iPhone 4 carrying a subsidized price US$20 to US$30 higher than the standard. However, the CDMA iPhone 4 will have the same US$199 starting price as on AT&T for the 16GB model.

Carrier China Telecom has been viewed as a potential candidate for the new CDMA iPhone, and one analyst also believes India’s Reliance would be an ideal alignment. While Thursday’s report mentioned China, along with Japan and South Korea, it made no mention of a potential launch in India.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iOS 4.3 beta code points towards Verizon iPad 2, iPhone variants and camera app for iPad

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Date: Thursday, January 13th, 2011, 06:54
Category: News, Software

The developers got the iOS 4.3 beta yesterday.

And they found some nifty stuff in it.

Per Engadget and 9 to 5 Mac, discoveries in the iOS 4.3 beta have revealed that Apple’s fifth-generation iPhone and second-generation iPad will come in native editions for Verizon along with camera functions. Mirroring the iPhone 3,1 and 3,2 entries that represent the iPhone 4 for GSM and CDMA respectively, device listings now exist for iPhone 4,1 and iPhone 4,2 as well. The appearance suggests Apple plans to synchronize its iPhone launches rather than stagger GSM and CDMA by a wide margin.

A third iPhone 4 variant (iPhone 3,3) has also appeared, which seems unusual and the device may be a version for GSM carriers on 1,700MHz 3G in North America, most notably including T-Mobile in the U.S. but also a slew of new Canadian carriers such as Wind Mobile, Videotron and Mobilicity. Without an iPhone 4,3 listed, though, it’s possible that either the third iPhone 4 variant will never ship or else that its iPhone 5 equivalent will ship sometime later.

The next iPad is also on show in the code and shows the newly promised Verizon model. Along with Wi-Fi (iPad 2,1) and HSPA 3G (iPad 2,2) variants, an iPad 2,3 version has tipped up and is almost certainly an EVDO version to give CDMA carriers one with internal 3G.

Separately, discoveries in the iOS 4.3 SDK have shown iPad-sized graphics for a camera app. The images show the camera iris effect as well as icons for both still photo and video modes, confirming movie recording. The full iris image tops out at 1024×768 and casts doubt on rumors of a higher resolution display unless Apple is deliberately keeping higher resolution graphics out of beta releases to avoid spoilers.

Apple releases iOS 4.3 beta to developer community

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Date: Thursday, January 13th, 2011, 05:20
Category: iPhone, News, Software

Apple on Wednesday released the first beta of iOS 4.3 for the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV to the developer community. Per Macstories.net, the update will bring support for Personal Hotspot, new multi-touch gestures, the ability for third-party applications to use AirPlay, and a software option for changing the functionality of the iPad hardware switch.

The initial beta is available to developers in the iOS Dev Center. iOS 4.3 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch is dubbed build 8F5148b.

According to the article, iOS 4.3 brings new multi-touch gestures built specifically for the iPad, including 4- and 5-finger gestures. The new beta reportedly allows users to pinch to access the home screen, to swipe up to reveal the multitasking tray, and swipe left and right to switch between open applications.

In addition, another iOS 4.3 beta for the Apple TV was also released. It allows developers to test AirPlay functionality with iOS applications on the new Apple TV.

Update: In addition, the new update also reportedly adds the ability to change the functionality of the iPad hardware switch. When the iPad launched, the switch originally acted as an orientation lock, but with the release of iOS 4.2, the button changed to mute the device.

The download page makes no mention of the iPhone 3G or second-generation iPod touch. Supported devices currently include the iPad, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, third-generation iPod touch, and fourth-generation iPod touch.

The new beta confirms rumors that Apple would add its new Personal Hotspot feature to existing GSM iPhones with iOS 4.3. The functionality allows users to share their 3G data connection with up to five devices over Wi-Fi. Those reports claimed that Apple plans to publicly release iOS 4.3 in March.

The new Wi-Fi tethering ability was first revealed on the new CDMA iPhone for Verizon when the product was announced on Tuesday. That forthcoming phone was demonstrated running a different version of iOS, 4.2.5. The latest public version of iOS for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch is 4.2.1.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple may add Personal Hotspot feature to AT&T/GSM iPhone in iOS 4.3 update

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Date: Wednesday, January 12th, 2011, 04:09
Category: iPhone, Rumor

The much-hyped Personal Hotspot feature found on iOS 4.2.5 will not remain exclusive to the CDMA variant of the iPhone 4, and will arrive with the release of iOS 4.3 for existing GSM-based handsets, according to a new rumor.

Per iPhoneHellas.gr, (via Google Translate), the feature will be part of a purported update in the works known as iOS 4.3. The rumor was credited to “reliable information” obtained by the site.

The Personal Hotspot feature is included in a new version of iOS, dubbed 4.2.5, that was spotted on pre-release CDMA iPhone hardware shown off at Tuesday’s Verizon iPhone press conference. The feature is found in the Settings application on the phone, where it can be turned on or off and the Wi-Fi password can be changed.

In addition, on Tuesday iPhoneclub.nl also reported that the iOS 4.3 update will only support the mobile hotspot feature, which allows up to five devices to be connected to a 3G data connection over Wi-Fi, will only be available if a carrier offers it.

AT&T famously did not allow tethering on the iPhone in the U.S. even after Apple had added the ability to share a wireless Internet connection via USB or Bluetooth to its mobile operating system. The feature eventually arrived last June alongside new, capped data plans. Tethering with an iPhone on AT&T costs an extra US$20 per month.

When asked on Tuesday whether AT&T will offer the Personal Hotspot feature on its network, a company spokesperson said they wouldn’t “speculate” on potential future features. Apple has not made any mention of the Personal Hotspot coming to existing iPhones since the feature was first revealed on Tuesday.

Stay tuned for additional information as it becomes available.