AT&T CEO states data-only plans could become “inevitable” with next 24 months

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 4th, 2012, 13:20
Category: iPhone, News

attlogo

One day, AT&T will provide something for everyone.

Per the Associated Press, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said on Friday that data-only wireless phone plans are likely to arrive within the next two years, marking a dramatic shift away from traditional cell network usage toward VoIP and text-as-data solutions like Apple’s iMessage.

Speaking at an investors conference, Stephenson said that while AT&T had no plans in place to offer an all-data subscription model, the industry is trending in that direction as smartphones continue to gain popularity led by Apple’s iPhone and handsets running Google’s Android mobile operating system, reports the Associated Press.

“I’ll be surprised if, in the next 24 months, we don’t see people in the market place with data-only plans,” Stephenson said. “I just think that’s inevitable.”

Under a data-centric plan users would have to use VoIP solutions like Skype to hold voice conversations, changing Internet calling into a necessity rather than an option to save on billed minutes. The switch would also be disruptive to the installed system in which telecoms monetize voice calls by charging each other to connect to cellphone numbers. This is one of the reasons why voice and data charges are billed separately.

Stephenson recently bemoaned AT&T’s decision to offer unlimited data with the original iPhone and iPad, adding that Apple’s iMessage is also a source of concern because it takes away from the company’s texting revenue.

While it may seem ironic that texting is quickly moving the industry away from voice technology toward a style of communication seen in pagers during the 1990′s, the reality is that modern data exchanges offer a much richer and more immediate experience than their obsolescent counterparts. Smartphones give users the ability to be in constant contact with each other, and new data-driven apps like Sounder literally keep an open connection to friends and peers.

As telecoms move to 4G LTE, an increasing amount of consumers will use an increasing amount of limited bandwidth which could force carriers to raise prices or find alternative solutions.

For now, AT&T is hoping to introduce a shared data plan similar to how the company offers shared voice plans for families. The initiative is a long time coming and the carrier has been “working on it” for over a year, presumably to find a way to implement such a service without losing profits.

With shared data plans essentially representing a discount for users that would normally buy separate plans for each device they owned, the prospect of the pricing structure would seemingly be damaging to telecoms’ bottom lines. Stephenson pointed out that AT&T is looking to make more money from shared data, not less.

When you have millions of devices such as tablets that lack cellular data plans, Stephenson said, “it seems to me it’s a lift, not a deterioration” to get them connected. The chief executive is referring to users who may not be using the cellular capabilities of their iPads or other tablets and are instead operating solely on Wi-Fi.

To make data plan pricing more attractive to consumers Stephenson noted that the wireless industry will experiment with charging content providers for the data used to access their websites in a type of “800 toll-free number” system. Critics say this would give the upper hand to well-established companies that can afford to pay the instituted subsidy and squelch competition from cash-poor startups. The experiment will likely start within the year, though it is unknown which carriers will be taking part in the initiative.

“It’s not us going out and mandating this. The content guys are coming in asking for it,” Stephenson said. “If you don’t allow those kinds of models to flourish, you’re going to inhibit the potential of these services.”

Something for everyone somewhere down the line.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Matrox releases DS1, allows Thunderbolt-equipped Macs and PC notebooks desktop range of ports

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 4th, 2012, 05:17
Category: Hardware, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, News, Peripheral

You can’t knock a good peripheral device.

Per AppleInsider, Matrox on Sunday unveiled its new DS1 Thunderbolt docking station, which allows users to add multiple peripherals like an HDMI display, a full-size keyboard and a mouse to a Thunderbolt-equipped Mac or PC and will be available this September for US$249.

The DS1 also includes a gigabit Ethernet port that provides connectivity to wired corporate networks at data transfers 18 times faster than Wi-Fi. In addition, it has a high-speed USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, a microphone input, and a speaker/headphone output, all of which can connect to a Thunderbolt MacBook or Ultrabook with just one cable.



The Matrox DS1 will be showcased at the Computex Taipei 2012 event at Intel’s official booth, located at M0410 in the NanGang Exhibition Hall.

Also set to arrive in September is Belkin’s Thunderbolt Express Dock, which was announced earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show. It will also turn a Thunderbolt-equipped Mac into a full-fledged desktop workstation with an HDMI port, FireWire 800 port, three USB 2.0 ports, a 3.5-millimeter audio port, one gigabit Ethernet port, and two Thunderbolt ports for daisy-chaining to another Thunderbolt device.

Apple also offers the Thunderbolt Display, which lets users plug in one 10Gbps Thunderbolt cable to drive a monitor, three USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 800 port, one Gigabit Ethernet port, and a Thunderbolt port for daisy chaining up to five additional Thunderbolt devices.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

China regulatory officials approve sale of 3G third-generation iPad

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, May 30th, 2012, 12:26
Category: iPad, News

Give it time and the regulators will eventually say yes…

Per MarketWatch, regulators in China have approved the 3G version of Apple’s third-generation iPad for sale in that market, signaling that the new iPad could soon become available in another major market.

The approval of the new iPad model compatible with the China Unicom 3G network was noted on Wednesday, China’s Telecommunication Equipment Certification Center giving Apple the OK to begin selling its latest iPad with model number “A1430.”

The arrival of the new iPad in China is an important event for Apple, as the nation of over a billion people has become the second-largest market in the world for the company, behind the U.S. The new iPad is already available for sale in most developed countries around the world.

Wednesday’s report suggested the slow release in China could be a result of an ongoing trademark dispute between Apple and Proview, a company that is the original owner of the “iPAD” name in China. Lawsuits from Proview’s Shenzehen-based operation have accused Apple of acting “with oppression, fraud and/or malice” when it used a U.K.-based proxy company named IP Application Development, Ltd., to buy the rights to the “iPAD” name.

Regulatory approval for the Wi-Fi-only version of the new iPad was granted by the proper authorities in late March. However, that device has yet to go on sale in China.

Outside of mainland China, Hong Kong was one of ten places the new iPad went on sale when it launched on March 16. It joined the U.S, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and the U.K, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Last year, the iPad 2 saw a much quicker debut in China, launching there on May 6, 2011. The launch of the iPad 2 drew large crowds, as well as scalpers who offered to resell the device for a markup of 200 yuan, or US$30 U.S.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iOS messaging hints at prospect of FaceTime over 3G connections

Posted by:
Date: Friday, May 18th, 2012, 12:04
Category: iOS, News, Software

Because FaceTime should be on just about every type of connection, no matter what the throughput.

Per Romanian website iDevice, warnings contained in the latest version of iOS suggest that Apple plans to bring support for 3G wireless data connections to its FaceTime video chat feature.

When a FaceTime call is active over Wi-Fi on an iPhone running iOS 5.1.1, and a user turns off the “Enable 3G” option in the Settings application, the operating system presents users with a warning message: “Disabling 3G may end FaceTime. Are you sure you want to disable 3G?”

Despite the warning, FaceTime video calls will continue over Wi-Fi uninterrupted, even after 3G has been turned off or on, which has suggested to some that Apple is planning to bring 3G support to FaceTime.

Tests have confirmed that the warning message does, in fact, display when the iPhone’s 3G is disabled during a FaceTime call. In addition, iOS also displays another message when a user attempts to turn 3G back on: “Enabling 3G will end your phone call. Are you sure you want to enable 3G?” Neither enabling or disabling 3G interrupted any FaceTime calls.

Apple first introduced FaceTime video chat in 2010 with the launch of the iPhone 4. Since then, it has been brought to the Mac, and the addition of forward-facing cameras to the iPod touch and iPad have also allowed FaceTime with those iOS-based devices.

Since its launch, FaceTime has only been available to use over Wi-Fi. Users who attempt to connect a FaceTime call over 3G are met with an error message telling them the service is not available.

When he introduced FaceTime in 2010, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs explained that the video chat feature was not available over wireless cellular networks at the request of mobile carriers. Jobs said that Apple needed to “work a little bit with the cellular providers” in hopes of offering FaceTime over 3G.

If Apple does enable FaceTime over 3G, it’s possible that some carriers could opt to block or restrict the functionality on their own networks. For example, though tethering was enabled on the iPhone with iOS 3.0, U.S. carrier AT&T blocked the feature until a year later, with the release of iOS 4.0.

If you’ve seen the warning on your end, please let us know and we’ll have additional details as they become available.

Security hole found in FileVault under Mac OS X 10.7.3

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, May 8th, 2012, 06:04
Category: News, security, Software

Ok, this isn’t the best news in the world…

Per Crytome, Apple’s legacy FileVault Mac encryption system in OS X 10.7.3 has a security flaw that could allow malicious users to access stored passwords. According to the post, the issue only applies in specific configurations to users who have updated to OS X 10.7.3, in which a system-wide debug file that displays login passwords in plain text is created.

“Thus anyone who can read files accessible to group admin can discover the login passwords of any users of legacy (pre LION) Filevault home directories who have logged in since the upgrade to 10.7.3 in early February 2012,” Emery explained.

The login data can also be viewed by booting a Mac into FireWire disk mode and reading it by opening the drive as a disk. The information can also be accessed by booting the Lion recovery partition and using the available superuser shell to mount the main file system partition.

Users can protect themselves from these methods by using the whole disk encryption capabilities of FileVault 2. Emery explained that this requires that a user know at least one login password before they can access the main partition of the disk.

Further protection can be achieved by setting a firmware password that must be supplied before a user can boot the recover partition or external media, or enter firewire disk mode.

“Having the password logged in the clear in an admin readable file *COMPLETELY* breaks a security model — not uncommon in families — where different users of a particular machine are isolated from each other and cannot access each others’ files or login as each other with some degree of assurance of security,” Emery wrote.

The bug was introduced with Apple’s OS X 10.7.3 update, which was issued in early February. The latest version of Lion came with Wi-Fi connectivity fixes and Windows file sharing compatibility.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Third-gen iPad shipping times drop to 3 to 5 business days

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012, 09:40
Category: iPad, News

It never hurts to meet demand for your product.

Per AppleInsider, estimated shipping times for the third-generation iPad have been lowered to 3 to 5 business days over in Apple’s online store.

New orders of the third-generation iPad in both black and white, in all capacities, and also in the “Wi-Fi + 4G” models are now advertised to ship in less than a week in the U.S. It’s the second time in less than a month that estimated shipping times have improved for the new iPad.

Just weeks ago, shipping times shortened to 5 to 7 days, an improvement from the previous advertised shipments of one to two weeks.

Apple revealed last week that it sold 11.8 million iPads in the March quarter, a three-months pan during which the new iPad was only available for a few weeks. During his company’s quarterly earnings conference call, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook revealed that the company faced supply constraints with the new iPad.

“The new iPad was supply constrained last quarter for the first three or so weeks that it was shipping, and it is still constrained,” Cook said. He added that he expected the company would be able to supply “a significant number of iPads” in the current June quarter.

Limited availability of the new iPad is believed to be largely caused by constraints related to the new high-resolution Retina display. The screen, the defining feature of the third-generation iPad, has primarily been built by Samsung, while LG and Sharp were said to have had trouble building Retina displays initially.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Third-generation iPad to arrive in 12 additional countries this Friday

Posted by:
Date: Monday, April 16th, 2012, 10:54
Category: iPad, News

There’s only a few certainties in this world. Death and taxes are the discouraging ones, but the likelihood of the iPad 3 arriving in your country is the third (and more upbeat) one.

Per AppleInsider, Apple will launch its new third-generation iPad in a total of 12 countries this Friday, April 20, while even more countries, including India, will get the new iPad a week later.

The full list of countries where the new iPad will debut this Friday is Brunei, Croatia, Cyprus, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Malaysia, Panama, South Korea, St. Maarten, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

In addition, a week later, on Friday, April 27, the new iPad will also become available in Colombia, Estonia, India, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, South Africa, and Thailand.

The new iPad will be available starting at a suggested retail price of US$499 for the 16-gigabyte Wi-Fi-only model. Apple will also sell the 16-gigabite Wi-Fi iPad 2 for US$399.

The new iPad also comes available in a model with 4G LTE high-speed wireless Internet. However, customers in the latest launch countries will be restricted to slower 3G speeds, as the new iPad is only compatible with 4G LTE networks in the U.S. and Canada.

The third-generation iPad has seen the fastest international roll-out of any Apple product ever. It originally debuted in mid-March in the U.S. and nine other countries, while an additional 25 countries and territories gained the new iPad just a week later.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple insists iPad 3 battery functions as designed, disputes charging analysis claims

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, March 28th, 2012, 05:43
Category: iPad, News

This may be someone’s fault, but Apple insists everything’s hunky dory.

Concerns about the iPad’s battery arose last week when an analysis was publicized claiming that the new iPad “prematurely” reports that it is fully charged by two hours. Dr. Raymond Soneira of DisplayMate claimed that the iPad actually finished its charging cycle some two hours after it reports a full charge.

That’s by design, Apple’s Michael Tchao said to All Things D on Tuesday. All iOS devices, including the new iPad, will display that they are 100 percent charged just before the device reaches a fully charged state. The device will then continue charging, then discharge a bit, and recharge once again — a cycle that will continue until the device is unplugged.

“That circuitry is designed so you can keep your device plugged in as long as you would like,” Tchao said. “it’s a great feature that’s always been in iOS.”

Apple’s battery percentage display is simplified so that users are not confused by the constant cycle of charging and discharging while a device is plugged in. But Apple’s approach allows all of its iOS devices to maximize their potential battery life.

Apple has boasted that the new iPad offers the same 10-hour battery life as its predecessor, even with the inclusion of a new quad-core graphics processor and 3.1-million pixel Retina Display. The new high-speed 4G LTE model also offers 9 hours of battery life when using a wireless network.

In particular, the Verizon model of the new 4G LTE iPad can serve as a mobile hotspot for more than 24 hours when sharing a high-speed data connection with external devices over Wi-Fi. That’s upwards of five times longer than most standalone 4G LTE hotspots.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPad 3 gains regulatory in China, exact launch date there unknown

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, March 27th, 2012, 07:43
Category: iPad, News

If you’re over in China, the third-generation is en route and has gained government regulatory approval.

And that’s a nifty thing.

Per Engadget China, China’s Quality Certification Center granted iPad model number A1416 last week. That’s a sign that the Wi-Fi iPad could head to retail in China “soon.”

Additional approvals are needed for the 3G-capable iPad model to go on sale in China. There has been no indication as to when any version of the new iPad will become available to customers in mainland China.

China has become a very important part of Apple’s business in recent years, as one report last week highlighted in noting that the nation now leads the world in iOS device activations. Last year, the region was the second-largest market for Apple, behind only the U.S.

Approval of the new iPad comes as Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook was spotted in China this week. Cook was there to meet with government officials to discuss plans to further expand operations in the country.

Apple did not reveal the specifics of what Cook and officials spoke about, but the company did say in a statement that “China is very important to us and we look forward to even greater investment and growth there.”

But the impending launch of the new iPad in China also comes as Apple has been engaged in a series of courtroom battles with a local company over ownership of the “iPad” name. Proview has asserted that it is the rightful owner of the “iPad” brand, and that Apple’s purchase of the rights in 2009 through a Taiwanese affiliate of Proview was not a legal transaction.

Outside of mainland China, Hong Kong was one of ten places the new iPad went on sale when it launched on March 16. It joined the U.S, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and the U.K, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Some users complaining about Wi-Fi signal strength on third-generation iPad units

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, March 21st, 2012, 07:54
Category: iPad, News

A firmware update or two may be in order for the iPad 3.

Per the Apple Support Communities forum, a number of users have reported that wireless reception with their new iPad is notably inferior than with Apple’s previous iPad models.

In a growing thread, dozens of users have posted about their troubles with Wi-Fi connectivity on the new iPad. Reports claim that areas that previously achieved strong Wi-Fi signals are now weak, or have no reception at all.

Some users have also compared the reception of their new iPad to their iPhone or MacBook Pro. While the other Apple devices might receive a strong signal in a particular location, they say the new iPad has weak or no connectivity.

“MacBook Pro as well as iPhone 4S show ‘Full Fan’ — new iPad (16GB WIFI) shows ‘one dot’ or just flat drops the wifi connection (and is often unable to search and find it),” user ‘aka_srp’ wrote in a post over the weekend.

Another user, ‘gdtobm,’ said they bought a new iPad from Best Buy on last Friday’s launch and experienced Wi-Fi connectivity issues. The iPad was returned later that day, and the new model they received did not have any problems.

Still another person who posted to Apple’s forums, ‘Andrew Mclaughlin2,’ compared the performance of the new iPad to a first-generation iPad and an iPhone 4S. The tests conducted at Speedtest.net reportedly found that the third-generation iPad has half the throughput of the other devices.

Some of those posting in Apple’s forums have attempted to resolve their issues with AppleCare representatives, while others have talked to personnel at the company’s retail stores. One user, ‘HealthClif,’ said they switched back to a previous-generation iPad 2 after experiencing Wi-Fi connectivity issues with multiple replacements of the new iPad.

Complaints of Wi-Fi-related issues also cropped up with the launch of the first iPad in 2010. Two years ago, some users said they experienced weak Wi-Fi reception, dropped signals, and difficulty connecting to a network.

Apple eventually resolved those issues with an iPad software update. The company acknowledged that a “very small number of iPad users” had experienced issues with Wi-Fi connectivity on the first-generation iPad.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.