Rumor: Apple Could Release Verizon iPhone at Jan. 27th Media Event, Additional Tablet Specs Emerge

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Date: Thursday, January 21st, 2010, 05:03
Category: Hardware, iPhone, Rumor

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Albeit a new generation iPhone isn’t expected until June, Apple could use its January 27th media event at the Yerba Buena to announce a Verizon handset next week.

Per AppleInsider, Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek has stated that he expects Apple to announce a Verizon iPhone as well as introduce iPhone OS 4.0. The Verizon iPhone could fall under the category of Steve Jobs’ “One More Thing…” used at the end of his product announcement speeches.

Misek said he believes tiered data plans are imminent with most wireless carriers in the U.S., but his checks with industry sources indicate that a Verizon-capable iPhone would still carry an unlimited data plan. He also said that the new handset will run on both CDMA and GSM networks.

“Together with our semi-conductor partners, we have ascertained that there is a reasonable chance the Asian supply chain is prepping for mass production of a new iPhone in March, for availability in late Q2, likely June,” he said.

In addition, he predicted the new handset will have different pricing than Apple’s current model. However, he said, sources have not provided any details on prices.

Misek also stated that he expects Apple to release an LTE-capable “4GS” iPhone in June 2011.

Per Apple’s long-anticipated tablet, analyst Ashok Humar of Northeast Securities has stated that he believes the tablet will be available in a subsidized model through Verizon at launch.

Kumar has offered his thoughts as to the tablet’s specs, which he believes will be manufactured by Samsung and will be based on the Cortex-A8 ARM architecture, rather than the new Cortex-A9, with a speed of about 1GHz.

As for a Verizon-compatible iPhone, Kumar disagrees with Misek that the handset would be a world phone capable of both CDMA and GSM networks. Kumar has stated that dual-mode chips from Qualcomm will not likely see enough availability for a June iPhone launch. Instead, Kumar expects a separate CDMA-only phone to be introduced in 2010, alongside the existing GSM-only models.

Six days and we’ll see what’s what, homegeese. Six days.

AT&T, Verizon Drop Calling Plan Rates, Unlimited iPhone Plan Reduced by $30 Per Month

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Date: Monday, January 18th, 2010, 05:59
Category: iPhone, News

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The pot shots between wireless carriers Veizon and AT&T continue with Verizon Wireless on Friday cutting the prices of its unlimited talk and text plans and AT&T immediately following suit. The end result benefits iPhone customers, who can now opt for an unlimited voice and data plan that costs US$30 less per month.

Per Macworld, iPhone users paid US$100 per month for unlimited voice plan plus another US$30 for unlimited data. Starting Monday, however, AT&T is charging US$100 a month for unlimited voice and data. Family Talk plans feature unlimited voice and data for US$180 (assuming two iPhones). Texting prices remain unchanged, at US$20 for unlimited plans and US$30 for Family Talk Plans.

An AT&T spokesman stated that the pricing changes only affect unlimited voice and data plans. Full details as to the new pricing structures can be found here for reference.

For users looking to move over to the new plan, they can make the move starting today without penalty or contract extension using AT&T’s online account management tool.

Analyst Claims That Apple Tablet Will Feature Verizon 3G Support

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Date: Thursday, January 7th, 2010, 07:16
Category: News

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Apple’s long-awaited tablet device will reportedly incorporate access to Verizon’s 3G network to connect to the Internet if a WiFi network is unavailable according to Broadpoint AmTech analyst Brian Marshall in a recent ComputerWorld article. The analyst went on to state that the “tablet will have both WiFi and wireless connectivity and will be available at multiple wireless carriers, including Verizon.”

His assessment is based in part to unnamed sources familiar with the device.

Marshall then went on to concur with recent reports that content will be key for Apple, and the device will be an Ebook reader, a TV viewer, “and more.”

If Apple offers the device through multiple carriers for 3G data, it would be a departure from the strategy the company has heretofore employed for the iPhone, which is limited to one carrier in most markets around the globe. A partnership with Verizon would lend significant credence to reports that Apple and Verizon were in negotiations for an iPhone deal, with the tablet subbing out for the iPhone.

Until then, we’ve got 20 more days until the January 27th media event where the tablet will hopefully be introduced. And if you can’t wait that long, we’ll just pull the car over at the next rest stop so you can get yourself together.

AT&T Cites 3G Network Upgrade Completion, Describes Future Upgrades En Route

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Date: Wednesday, January 6th, 2010, 06:04
Category: iPhone, News

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Even in the wake of rumors that Apple is in negotiations with wireless carrier Verizon, AT&T has reported the successful completion of a nationwide software upgrade program that will enable the company to deliver High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 7.2 Mbit technology across its 3G cell sites.

Per AppleInsider, the upgrade is the first of several initiatives to be completed as part of AT&T’s overall network enhancement strategy.

Apple’s iPhone 3GS, which shipped last summer, is already equipped to take advantage of the faster tier of 3G service. At the same time, the company’s network is being criticized by customers for its spotty coverage limitations, particularly in specific areas.

AT&T has stated that the upgrade increases the company’s network efficiency and will help in “generally improving consistency in accessing data sessions” for its customers. Additional work now underway and continuing through the next two years will, the company said, “dramatically increase the number of high-speed backhaul connections to cell sites, primarily with fiber-optic connections, adding capacity from cell sites to the AT&T backbone network.”

The initial deployment of backhaul improvements is already underway in the Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, and Miami markets. “We anticipate that the majority of our mobile data traffic will be carried over the expanded fiber-based, HSPA 7.2-capable backhaul by the end of this year, with deployment continuing to expand in 2011,” the company said in a statement.

The company said it is designing its new backhaul deployments to accommodate both faster 3G and future “4G” LTE deployments. “AT&T currently plans to begin trials of LTE technology this year, and to begin LTE deployment in 2011, matching industry time lines for widespread availability of compelling devices and supporting network equipment.”

Apple, Verizon Cited as Disagreeing Over Pricing Terms for 2010 iPhone

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Date: Wednesday, January 6th, 2010, 06:34
Category: iPhone

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With rumors of Apple and wireless carrier flying that the two companies are in negotiations over a summer 2010 CDMA iPhone launch, Verizon is apparently angry with Apple over pricing structures.

According to AppleInsider, in a new note to investors Tuesday morning, Maynard J. Um of UBS Investment Research said that a new iPhone is expected to launch in mid-2010. Whether that phone would be available for Verizon’s CDMA network remains to be seen.

“We believe a CDMA-iPhone is also in the works,” Um wrote, “though believe Verizon Wireless and Apple may currently be apart on pricing.”

Um also stated that even if Apple and Verizon can’t arrive at terms, a CDMA iPhone is a possibility in 2010, as China and Japan include carriers which operate on CDMA networks.

Last fall, conflicting reports within chip maker Qualcomm suggested a Verizon-capable iPhone could arrive in mid 2010. Whether that handset would be a dual-mode world phone, or a Verizon-only CDMA model was disputed.

Though Qualcomm plans to release dual-carrier chips that would allow future phones to work on CDMA/EVDO carriers such as Verizon and Sprint, as well as rival 3GPP carriers using UMTS/HSPA+ technologies like AT&T and T-Mobile, those chips will not arrive until the second half of 2010. Some have said that timeframe would not allow Apple to release a dual-mode phone until 2011 at the earliest.

And others believe a Verizon iPhone deal is more wishful thinking than anything else. Given that both companies tend to be focused on consumer control, analyst Shaw Wu of Kaufman Brothers has predicted that the conflicting interests of the two companies would get in the way of an agreement.

Currently, it is estimated that Apple gets a favorable US$700 average selling price per iPhone, subsidized through exclusive carrier AT&T. Compare that with the ASP of the Motorola Droid, exclusive to Verizon, which costs an estimated US$450 per sale.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have your own two cents on this, we’d love to hear them.

Probable WWDC, iPhone Announcement Rumored for July

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Date: Monday, December 21st, 2009, 06:21
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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Rumors make life interesting and a calendar listing for San Francisco’s Moscone Center has led to speculation that Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference will coincide with the three-year anniversary of the original iPhone’s launch. Per AppleInsider, San Francisco’s Moscone Center Calendar lists a “Corporate Event” from June 28, 2010 through July 2, 2010 in the Moscone West hall. Previous Apple events have been reserved with the same title.

This year, WWDC 2009 ran June 8 through June 12. In previous years, the event has marked the introduction of new iPhone models. This June, Apple introduced the iPhone 3GS.

If WWDC 2010 does take place on June 28, 2010, it could be booked to coincide with the expiration of the current contract with wireless carrier AT&T. Recent reports have suggested that Verizon, the largest wireless carrier in the U.S., could offer a CDMA compatible iPhone next year.

For their part, Verizon officials said last week that their network would be capable of handling the added bandwidth from the addition of the iPhone. They did not, however, imply that the handset was coming to their network.

Another option could be T-Mobile. While the fourth-largest carrier in the U.S. does not have the size or stature of AT&T or Verizon, it is a GSM-based network, meaning compatibility with T-Mobile would be simple to accomplish with the existing iPhone hardware. Given the simplicity of such a move, some have predicted it to happen in 2010.

Rumor: Foxconn Tapped to Build Next-Generation iPhone for Mid-2010 Release

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Date: Friday, December 11th, 2009, 08:56
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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Taiwanese manufacturer and Apple favorite Foxconn has reportedly received an order to build the next-generation handset, likely to arrive in mid-2010. Per Mobile Review editor Eldar Murtazin’s Twitter post on Thursday: “Foxconn received order for next generation iphone.”

The timing makes sense, as Apple’s first three iPhone product debuts hit a June launch.

Despite there being some time yet until the next-generation iPhone debuts, there are plenty of rumors surrounding the anticipated device. In November, the first signs of a model “iPhone 3,1″ was tracked by a developer in its software usage logs, suggesting Apple was testing a new handset.

Apple has indicated it intends to overhaul its iPhone maps application with in-house developers. The company’s purchase of worldwide mapping company Placebase over the summer would likely play a part in any new features.

Reports have also said Apple is testing RFID swipe support in next-generation iPhone prototypes. Such technology would allow the phone to sense embedded chips without making direct contact. The feature could allow swipe payments with the phone at checkout at a store, or obtaining information from kiosks.

Apple is also expected to build its own proprietary iPhone chips based off of ARM’s A9 reference designs, thanks to the US$278 million purchase of chip designer PA Semi in 2008. The new iPhone could have multi-core ARM chips powering it.

Finally, the question of a Verizon-capable CDMA iPhone has surfaced. Conflicting reports have differed on the possibility of a dual-mode CDMA and GSM world phone debuting in 2010, though Verizon and chipset maker Qualcomm are said to have been in talks.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Kaufman Bros. Analyst Predicts Apple, Verizon Alliance Less Likely Than Anticipated

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Date: Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009, 06:27
Category: iPhone, News

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Even if Apple is striking a deal with Verizon (currently the largest carrier in the U.S.), competitors T-Mobile and Sprint might be more likely to carry the iPhone in 2010, one analyst believes. Per AppleInsider, Verizon is the top prize in terms of the four major U.S. carriers. Apple is currently in an exclusive deal with the No. 2 carrier, AT&T, which has 82 million customers. But that agreement is believed by many to expire in 2010.

In a new note to investors Wednesday morning, analyst Shaw Wu with Kaufman Bros. said although many believe the iPhone will come to Verizon in 2010, it’s likely wishful thinking. The problem, he said, is both Verizon and Apple have found success by focusing on “customer control.” Their similarities are what he believes will keep them apart.

“Apple runs its own App Store and VZ has aspirations to do so,” Wu said. “Apple controls the media experience with iTunes and VZ with its V CAST service. Moreover, Apple gets very favorable economics with an overall iPhone (average selling price) of US$611 and at AT&T, we estimate it is higher at roughly US$700. RIM, who is by far VZ’s largest smart phone supplier, only has an ASP of $340. Palm’s ASP is US$436 and we estimate Motorola’s Droid ASP is roughly US$450.”

Because Apple and Verizon have conflicting interests, Wu said he believes that a deal between the two companies would take longer than many currently expect. That would make a potential 2010 deal unlikely.

Instead, Wu said that Apple could strike deals with both Sprint, which has 48 million wireless subscribers, and T-Mobile, which has 33 million customers. Both companies are more likely to be agreeable with Apple’s practices in order to offer the iPhone.

“While we believe VZ is likely inevitable at some point when 4G technology rolls out in 2012 or so, we believe Sprint and/or T-Mobile are more willing partners for Apple in helping maintain margins and customer controls,” he said. “From a technology perspective, we believe T-Mobile may have an advantage with a similar 3G UMTS/WCDMA network as AT&T.”

This marks the second time this week an analyst has predicted Apple will jump to T-Mobile in 2010. In terms of technology, T-Mobile would be the simplest choice: Though carrier’s high-speed 3G connectivity operates on a unique 1700MHz spectrum that is incompatible with the current iPhone, the addition of that frequency to a future hardware model would be much simpler than adding compatibility with Verizon or Sprint’s CDMA networks.

Recent rumors have suggested Apple is working on an agreement with chip maker Qualcomm to add CDMA connectivity to a new iPhone in 2010. But both Verizon and Sprint use a technology that, unlike the GSM network of AT&T and T-Mobile, is not widely used abroad.

Another possibility noted by Wu is that Apple could extend its contract with AT&T through 2011. The analyst said he believes AT&T’s agreement ends in the summer of 2010, but a last-minute extension remains a possibility. Earlier this year, there were reports that AT&T was working to extend the contract with Apple for one more year.

Rumor: Apple Working on Next-Gen iPhone, Expanding Maps Application with New Hire

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Date: Monday, November 30th, 2009, 10:39
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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Hints as to a new iPhone hardware model have emerged online with a handset identifying itself as “iPhone 3,1″ was tracked by PinchMedia in its application iBART for San Francisco public transportation. Per MacRumors, iPhone 3,1 appeared in its usage logs during November.

The reference could signify a new iPhone model with major hardware changes, as Apple only changes the first number in a product’s identifier string when a significant upgrade is en route. The current iPhone 3GS carries the identifier iPhone 2,1 while the original iPhone identifies itself as iPhone 1,1, and the iPhone 3G (which featured minor architectural changes from its predecessor) is iPhone 1,2.

Apple’s use of the 3,1 indicator could imply major and distinct changes, a practice that it also uses with its Mac lineup. References in software to an iPhone 3,1 have existed for some time, but the alleged use of the unreleased hardware would be a first.

Early this year, signs of iPhone 2,1 began appearing online. That hardware was eventually released months later, in June, as the iPhone 3GS.

Apple has released all of its iPhone updates in the summer. Recent rumors have suggested that the company could release a Verizon-capable phone in 2010.

Also revealed this weekend was a new job listing from Apple for a software engineer to work on the iPhone Maps application. The listing seeks a full-time employee to work in Cupertino, Calif., on the software:

“The iPhone has revolutionized the mobile industry and has changed people’s lives and we want to continue to do so,” the listing reads. “We want to take Maps to the next level, rethink how users use Maps and change the way people find things. We want to do this in a seamless, highly interactive and enjoyable way. We’ve only just started.”

The description is particularly interesting given that Apple quietly purchased a Google Maps competitor, Placebase, this summer. The worldwide mapping company offered products that would aggregate data on subjects such as demographics, home sales, crime, mortgage lending, school performance and more.

In addition, the existing Maps application has also served as a point of contention between Apple and Google. Apple rejected the Google Latitude app because it was reportedly thought the software would only be confused with the default Maps application. Google instead released a Web-based version of the software.

Google has added additional functionality to its own Android-powered handsets with Google Maps Navigation, a free turn-by-turn voice guidance system part of the new Motorola Droid. Google has stated its intent to bring the software to the iPhone, if Apple approves.

AT&T Files Suit Over Verizon “Map” Ads

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Date: Wednesday, November 4th, 2009, 04:46
Category: iPhone 3GS, Legal

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Ad campaigns will always be snarky, but there are some areas you don’t want crossed. Per AppleInsider, AT&T has filed suit over Verizon’s “There’s a Map for That” advertising campaign, claiming Verizon is misrepresenting AT&T’s coverage areas.

The suit seeks a temporary restraining order and a injunction to stop Verizon from “disseminating misleading coverage maps” of AT&T’s areas of cellular and data coverage. AT&T is also seeking damages in the suit.

The “Map” advertisement displays two competing 3G coverage maps, in which the Verizon coverage area is clearly more widespread than AT&T’s coverage area. The suit contains an AT&T commissioned survey of the ads which found that 53% of those asked interpreted the non-colored areas of the maps to be total gaps in coverage.

AT&T cites that the company had previously contacted Verizon directly on Oct. 7, requesting that the ads be withdrawn or modified, according to the suit. Verizon responded by dropping the words “out of touch” from the ads and included the phrase “Voice & data services available outside 3G coverage areas” in small print at the end of the advertisements.

The complaint lists two TV spots currently airing, dubbed “College” and “Bench,” as well as a print advertisement that has run in various publications.

“The map attributed to AT&T shows large swaths of white or blank space, as if these are areas in which AT&T has no coverage whatsoever,” the suit reads. “By depicting AT&T’s non-”3G” coverage as white or blank space in the map used in Verizon’s print advertisement, consumers are being misled into believing that AT&T’s customers have no coverage whatsoever and thus cannot use their wireless devices when they are outside of AT&T’s depicted coverage area.”

The complaint was filed Tuesday in an Atlanta, Ga., federal court, and requests a temporary restraining order against Verizon to prevent the ads from continuing to air. The suit notes that the ads are airing during the “most vigorous and important marketing season for the wireless industry.”

AT&T claims that the ads in their current form convey the message that AT&T has no coverage in the areas that are blank on the 3G maps that are shown. AT&T contends that the 2.5G (EDGE) network is available in a much wider area, so to imply that there is no coverage is misleading.

According to Reuters, Verizon has responded, saying that the suit is without merit and the advertisements are intended to show 3G coverage only: “The ads in question clearly state that voice and data services are available outside 3G areas.