Apple confirms C Spire Wireless as fourth U.S. iPhone carrier

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Date: Wednesday, October 19th, 2011, 09:39
Category: iPhone, News

The south shall rise again.

This time, with its own wireless carrier for the iPhone.

Per Macworld, C Spire Wireless will join Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T as the fourth U.S iPhone carrier. The company, which functions as the largest privately-held cellular carrier in the country, announced on Wednesday that it will begin offering the iPhone 4S “in the coming weeks.”

C Spire is a regional carrier; until last month, it did business as Cellular South. The company accepts customers primarily in the southeast, focusing on Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, and Florida. Dave Miller, C Spire’s Media Relations Manager, stated that he couldn’t yet comment on whether the company would also carry the iPhone 4 or 3GS, though he did say “more details will be coming out soon about all the Apple devices we will offer.” C Spire is a CDMA carrier, like Sprint and Verizon.

Like Sprint, C Spire currently offers plans that include unlimited data. Miller indicated that he couldn’t yet confirm what plans the company would offer for the iPhone 4S, but declared that C Spire offers “what we consider the best plan in the industry, the 80/40 plan.” That plan offers unlimited minutes, text, and data for US$80 per month for your first line, and US$40 for additional lines.

An Apple spokesperson also confirmed that C Spire will carry the iPhone 4S soon.

Stay tuned for additional details and if you have any feedback from your experience with C Spire, please let us know in the comments.

iLounge review finds iPhone 4S battery less robust for 3G data, media when compared to iPhone 4

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Date: Monday, October 17th, 2011, 10:25
Category: battery, iPhone, News

The good news is that the iPhone 4S is out and is being regarded as fairly spiffy.

The bad news is that its battery may not be the greatest thing in the known universe.

Per the iLounge review, the site compared the iPhone 4 battery to the iPhone 4S battery to test comparative better times given various functions.

For tests with 3G Data, Audio Playback, Video Playback, and Video Recording, iLounge found that the iPhone 4S came in under the iPhone 4′s battery life times. For Wi-Fi and FaceTime testing they found it to be similiar to the iPhone 4, and on cellular calls, they found the iPhone 4S slightly better.

One interesting finding with 3G data was that while their Verizon 4S unit ran for the same time as the AT&T model (~ 5 hours and 54 minutes), they found the Sprint model to lag at 5 hours and 23 minutes. Comparisons across mobile providers may not be completely fair due to differences in signal strength which could impact battery life.

In voice calls, they found the AT&T iPhone 4 and AT&T iPhone 4S to have comparable times of around 7 hours and 6-16 minutes. The Verizon 4S model, however, showed a surprising 8 hours and 27 minutes, while the Sprint 4S again lagged at 6 hours and 27 minutes. iLounge notes that the Verizon model may have shown 4 bars more often than the other two.

Both media playback and recording has taken a hit on the iPhone 4S as compared to the iPhone 4. For video recording, of course, it should be noted that the iPhone 4S is recording much higher resolution video than the iPhone 4.

Ultimately, their conclusion on iPhone 4S battery life is based on what your exact usage model is:

If you spend much of your day near a Wi-Fi network and only rely upon the iPhone 4S for web browsing and phone calling, you won’t notice a major difference—unless you’re thinking of switching to Sprint, in which case we’d be a little concerned. Similarly, if you use 3G data, plan to record or play videos, or want to listen to hours of audio during the day, you can expect greater battery drain from the iPhone 4S.

There may be some confounding data due to regional signal strengths, but given the other complaints about Sprint’s data speeds, it still seems to be the worst choice amongst the iPhone carriers.

In other news, some users have reported dramatically decreased battery life on their iPhone 4S. One solution to that is said to be the calibration of the battery, in which case you drain your entire battery once and then charge to full. Some have found their battery gauge to be inaccurate until this is performed. Apple includes other tips on their site about improving your battery life on the iPhone.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve had a few days to tinker with the new iPhone 4S, please let us know what you think in the comments.

iFixit completes full teardown of iPhone 4S, posts results (updated)

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, October 13th, 2011, 09:48
Category: iPhone, Pictures

With only one day (uno dia) remaining before the iPhone 4S officially goes on sale in brick and mortar locations, the supremely cool cats at iFixit have performed a full teardown of the long-awaited handset. Beyond the 1GHz A5 dual-core processor and 8 megapixel rear-facing camera, here’s what else they stumbled across:

- The iPhone 4S also has an upgraded Qualcomm MDM6610 radio chipset, plus flash memory provided by Toshiba.

- The Retina Display on the iPhone 4S hasn’t changed from its predecessor, Apple stuck with the linear oscillating vibration motor that was standard in the Verizon iPhone 4 (the AT&T version contained a rotational electric motor).

- The teardown confirmed the process of 512 MB of RAM.

- Yep, there’s a larger battery. And that’s never a bad thing.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Sprint, Verizon iPhone 4S units to allow for unlocked SIM cards

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Date: Wednesday, October 12th, 2011, 07:52
Category: iPhone, News

If you wanted an unlocked iPhone 4S, you’re in luck.

Per Macworld, both Sprint and Verizon have confirmed that consumers will be able to have the GSM side of their iPhone 4S handsets unlocked.

On Wednesday, Sprint announced that it plans to sell all of its iPhone 4S units with the micro-SIM slot unlocked, while Verizon’s will be locked initially, but can be unlocked if the customers are in good standing for 60 days. The latter has been Verizon’s policy for all world phones, according to the report.

The change may make it more affordable for iPhone users with Sprint or Verizon contracts to use their devices when abroad than those on AT&T, since AT&T’s iPhone 4S units will arrive locked, forcing users to pay AT&T’s international roaming fees, while Sprint or Verizon iPhone 4S users can simply pop in a new micro-SIM from a local carrier.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Online vendors selling out of iPhone, Apple’s expected ship times pushed back to 1-2 weeks from October 14th launch date

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Date: Monday, October 10th, 2011, 04:56
Category: iPhone, News

If there were any doubts that the iPhone 4S would be a decent seller, the pre-orders have apparently killed them stone dead.

Per AppleInsider, just 24 hours after opening up pre-orders for the new iPhone 4S, Apple has rolled back expected shipping times for the device from expected delivery on the Oct. 14th launch date to an estimate of 1-2 weeks.

The Apple Online Store changed its pre-order availability for all models of the iPhone 4S early Saturday. Apple had promised to begin taking advance orders for the device at 12:01 Pacific on Friday, but slight hiccups delayed sales for Apple and AT&T.

The company’s other two wireless partners in the U.S., Verizon and Sprint, were able to begin pre-orders on time, though some customers reported having trouble completing orders from Apple and carriers alike.

AT&T announced later on Friday that it had received more than 200,000 pre-orders for the smartphone in just 12 hours, a record for the company.

Unveiled on Tuesday, the iPhone 4S features the same external design as the iPhone 4, but adds Siri voice control, a faster A5 processor, an 8-megapixel camera and a new antenna design. Though some have expressed disappointment that the handset did not receive a form factor refresh, Wall Street analysts remain confident that sales of the iPhone 4S will easily top previous records set by the iPhone 4.

Sprint noted on its website late Friday that it had completely sold out of pre-orders for the 16GB iPhone 4S, though, as of early Saturday, the 32GB and 64GB versions were still available for advance purchase. The carrier does, however, state that the 16GB model will be “available in stores on Oct. 14.”

Verizon may also have sold out of its initial pre-order allowance of 16GB models. The carrier’s website currently lists 16GB models of the iPhone 4S for Oct. 21 delivery. Also, some users have reported that orders placed on the Verizon website at 12:01 a.m. on Friday are now estimating delivery on Oct. 21.

Though not a publicly disclosed practice, recent history and evidence supports the fact that Apple allots restricted amounts of devices for its partners to offer on pre-order and at launch.

According to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, Sprint has basically “bet the company” on the iPhone and has agreed to purchase 30.5 million iPhones over the next four years.

This is the first iPhone launch in the U.S. where Apple has to manage multiple carrier relationships. The issue is also exacerbated by the fact that the iPhone 4S is a “global model” and the same model can work on both CDMA and GSM networks.

For those willing to wait, Apple will release a GSM-unlocked version of the iPhone 4S in November, with 16GB, 326GB and 64GB models selling for $649, $749 and $849, respectively. The company cautions, however, that the unlocked iPhone will not work with CDMA carriers such as Verizon and Sprint.

Apple has had trouble producing enough iPhone and iPad models to match pre-order and launch day demand in recent years. Even the Verizon iPhone 4, which launched 8 months after the GSM iPhone 4 arrived, sold out of pre-orders on the first day on offer.

If you’ve received any word as to your iPhone 4S order, please let us know and we’ll have additional details as soon as they become available.

Apple begins taking iPhone 4S preorders, reveals that unlocked model won’t work on CDMA networks

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Date: Friday, October 7th, 2011, 06:31
Category: iPhone, News

Apple on Friday began taking preorders for the iPhone 4S, and also revealed its next-generation handset will be sold unlocked and contract-free in November starting at US$649.

Per AppleInsider, the unlocked iPhone 4GS will only work on supported GSM networks, like AT&T in the U.S. But it will not work with any CDMA carriers, including Verizon Wireless or Sprint.

Customers who buy an unlocked iPhone 4S will be able to use the handset internationally on GSM networks. They must obtain a micro-SIM card from a local GSM carrier to put in the handset.

When it was announced on Tuesday, the iPhone 4S was unveiled as a “world phone,” meaning it is compatible with both CDMA and GSM networks. But customers who want to operate the handset on a GSM network, like Verizon, the largest carrier in the U.S., will need to buy Apple’s latest smartphone with a new two-year contract.

“The unlocked iPhone includes all the features of iPhone but without a contract commitment,” Apple’s description reads. “You can activate and use it on the supported GSM wireless network of your choice, such as AT&T in the United States.”

The contract-free iPhone 4S is available in all three standard capacities, and is priced at US$649 for 16GB, US$749 for 32GB and US$849 for 64GB. It will be available in both black and white.

When the iPhone 4S is delivered in November, it will arrive without a micro-SIM card. By inserting a card and turning on the phone, users will be able to activate the device by following the onscreen instructions without tethering to a Mac or PC, a new feature made possible by the PC-free setup in iOS 5.

Apple has warned that a credit check may be required for customers who purchase the unlocked GSM iPhone 4S in November. In addition, customers must be at least 18 years of age to buy.

The unlocked iPhone 4S will arrive only a few months after Apple began selling the GSM iPhone 4 unlocked in June. The contract-free iPhone 4 also carried a starting price of US$649.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you have any thoughts on this, please let us know what’s on your mind in the comments.

Sprint confirms unlimited data plan to be available for iPhone subscribers

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Date: Thursday, October 6th, 2011, 04:58
Category: iPhone, News

With Sprint being added to the U.S. iPhone carrier list along with AT&T and Verizon, it’s time for some competition.

Per AllThingsD, Sprint will indeed offer unlimited data plans when it starts taking iPhone orders later this week.

“We will be offering the benefit of our unlimited plans that start at just US$69.99,” said spokeswoman Michelle Leff Mermelstein. Sprint’s US$69.99 plan includes unlimited data and 450 voice minutes as well as unlimited mobile-to-mobile calling. Unlimited calling and data retails for US$99.99 a month, these prices not including a $10 per month surcharge for smartphones, so iPhone users will really be paying US$79.99 and US$109.99 for their unlimited plans.

Sprint is counting on unlimited pricing to help it stand out from AT&T and Verizon — which will also carry the very same iPhone 4S. In addition, Sprint and Verizon will have the iPhone 4, while only AT&T will have the older iPhone 3GS to offer for free with a new contract.

Both AT&T and Verizon offered unlimited data plans for the iPhone in the past, but have since shifted to tiered pricing for new customers.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Live Blog: Apple’s “Let’s Talk iPhone” media event

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, October 4th, 2011, 09:46
Category: iPad, iPhone, iPod, News, Software

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Ok, here are the touch points so far, as noted via the cool cats at Mac|Life:

- iOS 5 will be released on October 12th and continue to be free.

- iOS 5 will function on the iPhone 3GS, 4, iPad, iPad 2, and the two recent generation iPod touches.

- Contacts, calendar items and events will all be backed up with iCloud.

- Users will be able to turn location finding on and find friends with a “Find My Friend” feature.

- The iPod app is gone in iOS 5 and has been replaced with the iPod touch’s Music app icon.

- iCloud will debut on October 25th.

- Apple has apparently announced an updated iPod nano with FM radio, pedometer and larger buttons.

- The updated iPod nano will be available at the following price points: 8GB US$129 and 16GB for US$149.

- The updated iPod touch will be available at the following price points: 8GB for US$199, 32GB for US$299 and 64GB for US$399.

- The iPhone 5 will be available in both black and white upon release.

- The iPhone 4S will be powered by the A5 processor.

- The iPhone 4S will feature dual-core graphics, be 2x faster and function as a much better gaming device.

- Apple is citing eight hours of 3G talk time with the iPhone 4S.

- 50 hours of listening to your favorite tunes on the new battery…

- A new antenna system will switch between transmitting and receiving functions, Apple citing this as more reliable than the current iPhone 4 antenna.

- Apple is citing 2X faster downloads with the iPhone 4S.

- The iPhone 4S will function on both GSM and CDMA networks.

- A new 8 megapixel camera will offer a 3264 x 2448 resolution (Apple is stating that this is 60% more pixels than the current camera resolution).

- Camera: f/2.4 aperture, 30% more sharpness due in part to five element lenses.

- Better white balance and facial detection on the iPhone 4S camera.

- The A5 processor allows for speedier shots, Apple citing that the camera can go from the first shot to the next shot in half of a second.

- The new camera will feature 1080p HD recording, temporal noise reduction and video image stabilization.

- AirPlay mirroring will allow your iOS’s apps to be mirrored to a larger monitor via your AppleTV.

- The iPhone 4S looks exactly the same as the current iPhone 4.

- A “Siri” feature will allow you to give spoken commands (such as “What will the weather be like today?” to the device).

- Siri will allow you to reply to texts while the device is in a pocket and will allow for a reply text with a Bluetooth headset.

- Siri’s interface is both onscreen as well as audio, the feature being hardware-dependent and running on the iPhone 4S only.

- Siri will apparently read a text message to you and ask you questions as to how you’d like to reply.

- Siri can do dictations for emails too, the app placing a microphone next to the space bar in the keyboard. The app will start as a beta in the U.S., U.K., Australia, French and German with more languages and services coming.

- The iPhone 4S apparently features an identical screen size to the current iPhone 4.

- And now, your long-awaited pricing and capacities for the iPhone 4S: 16GB for US$199, 32GB for US$299 and 64 GB for US$399.

- The iPhone 3G can now be purchased new for US$49.

- Sprint has now been added to the list of iPhone wireless carriers along with AT&T and Verizon.

- Pre-orders for the iPhone 4S begin Friday, October 7th.

- The iPhone 4S will be released on Friday, October 14th.

- The iPhone 4S will be available in 22 additional countries on October 28th and reach 70 countries by the end of 2011.

That’s all for now and let us know what you think via the comments.

Rumor: AT&T blocks vacation days in mid-October, hinting towards iPhone 5 release

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 27th, 2011, 12:07
Category: iPhone, Rumor

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It’s when companies stop employee vacation time that things get interesting.

Per the cool cats at Boy Genius Report, AT&T has reportedly blocked its employees from taking vacation days in mid-October as the carrier gears up for the launch of Apple’s fifth-generation iPhone.

Employees at AT&T retail locations have allegedly been blocked from taking vacations during the first two weeks of October, BGR reported on Tuesday. Employees have reportedly been told they cannot request time off between Monday, Oct. 3 and Friday, Oct. 14.

In addition, it was said that AT&T’s internal inventory system lists a total of six new product placeholders. The entries are said to be “most likely holding space” for the iPhone models Apple is expected to announce at its event next Wednesday, Oct. 4.

Reports emerged last week that Apple has begun blacking out vacation days for retail employees at some of its stores during the second week of October. Specifically, Apple employees in some locations are said to have been barred from taking time off work Oct. 9 through 12, and Oct. 14 and 15.

Earlier this month, it was said that Sprint also began blacking out staff vacations for the first half of October. The iPhone is currently exclusive to AT&T and Verizon, but Sprint is widely expected to offer Apple’s next iPhone at launch.

As of yet there has not been any word of Verizon employees being barred from vacation time in October. Rumors have pointed toward a sale date of Friday, Oct. 14 for Apple’s next-generation iPhone.

Apple’s fifth-generation handset is expected to become the first iPhone to launch on multiple carriers simultaneously in the U.S. Last June, when the iPhone 4 launched on AT&T alone in America, the carrier was forced to suspend preorders after experiencing demand ten times greater than for its predecessor, the iPhone 3GS.

Verizon eventually gained access to the iPhone 4 more than six months later, in February of this year. Analyst Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray said on Tuesday he expects that demand for the so-called “iPhone 5″ will be large at Verizon, as a recent poll conducted by his investment firm found that 74 percent of Verizon iPhone buyers said they are waiting for Apple’s next model rather than buying the iPhone 4.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Verizon announces “network optimization”/bandwidth throttling for heaviest data users

Posted by:
Date: Monday, September 19th, 2011, 03:00
Category: iPhone, News

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After first notifying customers of the upcoming practice in February, Verizon has now put “network optimization practices” into effect that will throttle the bandwidth of the top 5 percent of data users on its network, just weeks ahead of the launch of Apple’s iPhone 5.

Per DroidLife, the wireless carrier has notified customers that, beginning Thursday, the practice has gone into effect.

“Beginning 9/15, we will start identifying customers who meet these criteria and will expand to others in the base after customer communications are completed. Network Optimization Practices only goes into effect when an Internet or Smartphone device with an unlimited plan/feature falls into the top 5% of data usage and is on a congested cell site,” the company wrote in an email to customers.

Users marked for the periodic speed reduction will have the limitation last for the remainder of the current billing cycle and into the following. According to Verizon, the top 5 percent of data users on its network use 2GB or more of data each month.

A FAQ on the company’s website indicates that full implementation of the program may take several weeks.

Verizon representatives are reportedly being told to recommend that customers either upgrade to a 4G Long-Term Evolution device, migrate to a usage-based (tiered) data plan or use Wi-Fi more often in order to avoid throttling.

In response to criticism over the policy, Verizon alleges that it is not throttling the same way as its competitors AT&T and T-Mobile are, as it is only slowing connections when users are on a congested cell site. In July, AT&T announced that it would begin reducing the speeds of the top 5 percent of its heaviest data users.

The new policy comes into effect within weeks of the expected launch of Apple’s next-generation iPhone. Verizon has said it expects to participate in a simultaneous launch of the so-called iPhone 5 alongside AT&T, and possibly Sprint. The iPhone 5 is widely believed to sport a faster A5 processor and an 8-megapixel camera.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.