I recently discovered something interesting. Checking out Aio Wireless, I discovered I could add data-only service to an old iPhone for as low as $15 per month all-in and no contract.
Aio Wireless is the new LTE pre-paid service from AT&T. It’s not listed anywhere that it’s run by and uses the AT&T network, but this is mentioned in press releases about the service. They offer both recurring and single month services.
Aio Wireless offers a set limit 250MB tablet rate for just $15/month. With additional GB available to add for $10/month. Not a bad deal. To use the Aio service a SIM card will need to be ordered from the site for $9.99 (make sure to order the correct size for the phone or tablet to use). In my test it got to me in just a day.
Once the account is set up and the SIM is registered for the $15/month tablet plan, the SIM will then work in any iOS device that is unlocked and compatible with the AT&T network. Even an iPhone. Voice and SMS won’t work, and don’t expect it to since this is just a data service. But iMessage will work as well as any other feature that uses the data connection.
The downside, and it’s not a big one, is that the service provided for pre-paid cell phone services like this is never first-tier. Meaning it isn’t prioritized on the host network like contract services. Aio Wireless specifies that the LTE service is capped at 8MB. Still a great speed, but well below the 30-40Mbps I have seen on AT&T LTE. So data rates will be slower, but still very usable. Especially considering the price.
I’m guessing this little loophole will be closed eventually, but until then it’s a great way to give access to an old iPhone or iPad for an extra device for a relative, to use as a hotspot, or to have a device on another network.
The Verge reports that AT&T will release a small update for the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S which will add support for the Wireless Emergency Alert System. The system is designed to send out presidential alerts for national emergencies, AMBER alerts for missing children, and severe weather alerts for those sometimes scary skies above.
This week at 148Apps.com, everything was about – what else? – the iPhone 5. Site founder and all-around iPhone guru Jeff Scott provided some much-needed advice for anyone interested in switching carriers when upgrading: “So you, like many, have decided to switch carriers with the iPhone 5? You could go data only but perhaps you still need the phone part of the iPhone. Let’s say for instance you are tired of the customer-hostile management at AT&T and want to move to Verizon. Just, you know, as an example.
Let’s rundown what you will need to make the switch and any pitfalls you might hit. It’s a fairly simple process, but there are some things you should know first, before starting.”
Meanwhile, GiggleApps headed to the Great White Way, courtesy of Amy Solomon’s review of Broadway Barks: “Broadway Barks is a lovely interactive story, written, narrated and sung by Tony-winning actress Bernadette Peters, based on the previously published children’s book with CD of the same name. Versions for both iPhone as well as iPad are available.
This is a cute and charming story of a dog who no longer has a home and is all alone in the park until he is discovered and given a chance to be seen at Broadway Barks – a charity event in New York City to promote the adoption of animal, ultimately finding a new home.”
iPad Only App - Designed for the iPad
Released: 2012-07-20 :: Category: Books
Finally, 148Apps.biz featured a how-to for creating a better mobile app from Prince Arora: “You just came up with a great idea for a mobile app or you are working on a new feature to add in your existing app. You have laid out all the screens, primary & secondary actions, and interaction flow in your head and you get down to write the code.
Great! However, this scenario is the same as starting to build a house without a blueprint. Wireframes are like blueprints and visual design is like interior decoration for an app.
So before you start writing code, work on a blueprint — this includes writing down the features/user stories, designing the flow charts, defining the primary & secondary action and designing the wireframes. These sounds like a lot but I’ll walk you through each step to show you how simple it can be.”
And that, my friends, brings us to the end of a very busy and exciting week. Stay abreast of the latest news, reviews and contests by following us on Twitter and Liking us on Facebook, and be sure to meet me back here next weekend for a rundown of what you might have missed. See you next week!
So you, like many, have decided to switch carriers with the iPhone 5? You could go data only but perhaps you still need the phone part of the iPhone. Let’s say for instance you are tired of the customer-hostile management at AT&T and want to move to Verizon. Just, you know, as an example.
Let’s rundown what you will need to make the switch and any pitfalls you might hit. It’s a fairly simple process, but there are some things you should know first, before starting.
Double check your new carrier choice
While you can look at coverage maps online to see where your new carrier of choice has coverage (see below for quick reference). It’s always best to double check the service in the places that matter most to you. For most people this is going to be home and work. Find someone you know on your new carrier in or near those locations and check their signal strength as close to those locations as you can.
This is a much more reliable way to test that your new carrier will have service where it matters to you most.
Call your current carrier, and be nice
It’s a good idea to call your current carrier to find out what your early termination fees will be, if any. They may give you the tough sell and try to get you to stay. Be careful though, unless the deal is killer and enough to sway you, they could renew your contract for another two years if you agree to a new plan rate.
Try to be nice to them, even though you are likely fed up by now. Remember that the person you are talking to doesn’t set the policies or prices.
If any of your phones are still under contract, you’ll be looking at an early termination fee. This will be somewhere around $350 minus $10/per month fulfilled in your contract depending on when you signed up and what carrier you have. And that’s for each line still under contract.
If you are out of contract, the carrier you are switching from shouldn’t charge you anything to cancel, except perhaps a small account change fee; they get you whenever they can.
Make the Switch
To actually pull the trigger and make the switch you’ll create a new account at your new carrier of choice. This is typically done when you order your new phone. In this case we’ll assume you are ordering the iPhone 5. You’ll create the account during the ordering process and then cancel your old account after your new phone is all set up and working.
You’ll need your current mobile phone number, your account number, and your account password from your current carrier to make the switch. Though those things are only needed if you wish to keep your current phone number. If you are getting a new number, you’ll just need to call your current provider to cancel your account once the new one is working.
Next you’ll need to decide if you want to do the switch online or in a store. Each has it’s advantages. In store you will have someone who will help you walk through the process. If you do it online you won’t need to wait in any lines.
Make the Switch Online
You can pre-order the iPhone 5 and switch carriers at the same time. Here’s what you need to know to do so.
First, during the order process you want to create a new account with your new carrier. You will likely need to choose what level of service you want to for the new account and then continue.
Next, you will have two choices when you order your phone online. You can either keep your current phone number (called number porting), or you can get a new one. Think about both options, you may want a new number, especially if your old boyfriend/girlfriend keeps bugging you.
If you want to keep your current number, at some point during the process it will ask for your current phone number, your account number and password with your current carrier. The account number and password are what you typically use to login to your carrier’s site to check your account. For some carriers, your account number may be the same as your phone number.
Enter this and it will walk you though the process to port the number. A couple more steps and you’ll likely be asked for your Social Security Number as the carrier will want to do a credit check before opening your account.
Finish the process answering things like your billing address, then do the normal hardware ordering process, pay for it, and then wait. And skip to The Switch is Done below.
Make the Switch In Store
By far the easiest way to do this is to go to the carrier you want to move to. After all they are incentivized (and the salesperson usually gets commission) to get you set up properly. You can also go the the Apple Store to do this and it will be just about as easy.
When you get to the store let them know that you want to create a new account with your new carrier. They will get the information needed and help you pick a service level plan. You will need to decide if you want to keep your current phone number (called number porting), or you can get a new one. Think about both options, you may want a new number, especially if your old boyfriend or girlfriend keeps bugging you.
The sales assistant will need your phone number, account number and password with your current carrier. The account number and password are what you typically use to login to your carrier’s site to check your account. For some carriers your account number may be the same as your phone number.
The rest of the process will be fairly straightforward, filling out forms with your address, billing info, etc.
The Switch is Done
Ok, the switch is done, your phone is ordered, now what?
Nothing will really happen until you get and activate your new iPhone. When that happens, your phone number will transfer over and your old account will be a zombie. This will likely happen in store if you go that route, or when you plug in your phone for the first time if you order it online. If you ported over your number, that will take 1-3 hours from when your new phone is turned on. Once that’s done your phone number will ring to your new phone on your new carrier.
Once you have your new phone, new account, and everything is in working order, it’s a good idea to call your old carrier again. You will need to close the account down and pay any termination fees. If you don’t close your account, they may just keep it open and assign you new phone numbers and keep charging you.
While talking to them, ask them to unlock your phone as well. It will make it worth a bit more money down the road.
Backup and Restore Your Old iPhone
If you already have an iPhone you’ll likely want to use iCloud or iTunes to backup and restore your phone. This will bring over all your apps, preferences, and data to your new phone. Here’s our Howto backup your device with iTunes or iCloud guide that will walk you through that.
Enjoy your new iPhone and your new carrier!
They will hopefully be better for you. Remember that each carrier has dead spots, don’t expect your phone to magically work everywhere. And the dead spots that you memorized for your old carrier will likely be different now. You phone may get reception in places it didn’t before and will likely not get reception in all new places. Hopefully you did step one above to make sure it works in the places most important to you.
Consider donating your old phone to a charity that helps people in need. Or you could sell it, hopefully as an unlocked phone. Just make sure to wipe the old phone’s data before you get rid of it (instructions in the above linked backup post).
Here’s a quick reference to some of the items you may need in helping you decide if you want to switch carriers.
Shortly after 9to5Mac broke a story about an AT&T customer resorting to asking Tim Cook for help unlocking his iPhone, AT&T has decided to start unlocking iPhones for “qualifying customers.”
The story from a couple weeks ago dealt with an AT&T customer who had been reassigned to Canada for work but wanted to continue using the iPhone 3GS he had already purchased from AT&T. AT&T refused to unlock the device so the customer sent a letter to Tim Cook as a last resort. Tim Cook took care of the problem and the man’s iPhone was unlocked.
Now AT&T, as of April 8th, will be offering the ability to unlock iPhones to customers who are in good standing and are either off contract or pay a termination fee.
According to Ars Technica, users have been reporting that to unlock the phone they must first initiate a call with AT&T, get approved for being unlocked, then go through a system with Apple receiving a code via email, and a backup and restore through iTunes. At first, it seemed that the process could be done completely online (using AT&T’s Wireless Support Chat) until users started reporting that a call to AT&T was needed to start the process.
This adds a greater resale value to iPhones that were purchased through AT&T. It’s now possible to sell an old, unlocked AT&T iPhone without going through jail-breaking methods to unlock the phone.
Check out the official statement by AT&T at Engadget.
Carter and indie musician Jaden Walker (composer of The Portable Podcast theme song) discuss a variety of topics in the land of iOS, from AT&T data caps, the iCADE, card games, and asynchronous multiplayer games.
Congrats to Annalise Rose, winner of the $100 iTunes Gift Card. Look for an email for details on how to redeem your iTunes Gift Card.
The iPhone 5 should be coming along fairly soon, and we wanted to take a moment to gauge where our readers were at with their current service and their plans for their future service. Because, of course you’re gonna get an iPhone 5, right? We hope to use this data to make some recommendations on what the best provider for the iPhone 5 will be for you, in your area.
To get this data, we need your help. We need you to spread the word about this survey — the more responses we get, the better the results will be. Please take a second and tweet or post on your Facebook wall about this survey. All you need to do is hit those convenient tweet or like buttons at the top of the page for a quick post, or feel free to put the mention in your own words.
In the United States, AT&T has had exclusive iPhone rights up until January of this year, but now the Verizon is in on the game. And T-Mobile too, if you buy the unlocked iPhone 4 from Apple. There have been tons of complaints about service quality on the AT&T network in large cities like New York and San Francisco (and Las Vegas during CES). Switching providers to one that has better coverage for a user’s specific location may make sense. Of course, AT&T customers who have been with the telecom giant for a while might lose those grandfathered unlimited data plans, as only Sprint has unlimited data plans at this point. Of course, many of us use less data than we think, so we’ve included a spot for survey takers to measure that and report as well.
So tell us, 148Apps readers (and all your friends), what is your phone service like now? What will you choose to do once the iPhone 5 is released? Each completed surve will get a chance to be randomly selected for a $100 iTunes Gift card, on us. Make sense? Open to US iTunes accounts, only, please.
One problem with the iPhone in the US is that users are beholden to the mega-carriers and all their assorted issues and requirements. In particular, the GSM iPhone sold locked through AT&T or available factory-unlocked from Apple requires AT&T service to get 3G data. The iPhone will technically work on T-Mobile, but only over EDGE, not 3G. This is because T-Mobile supports 3G over the 1700/2100 MHz bands, with 850 MHz used for GSM/GPRS/EDGE connections. AT&T uses 850/1900 MHz for 3G, and 850 MHz for GSM/GPRS/EDGE connections. However, a smaller carrier named H2O Wireless, which uses the same 3G bands as AT&T, is now offering support for unlocked phones that support those wireless bands, including the iPhone.
H2O Wireless offers contract-free wireless plans, including data plans for smartphones, with an unlimited data plan available for $60. This includes plans for phones that would hypothetically work on unlocked GSM phones, such as the iPhone and Android phones, as H2O offers just a SIM card that can be used in these GSM phones. Now, these phones have to be configured to access H2O Wireless’ network, but this can be done relatively easily. For iPhone users, they have to install a configuration file that will enable the phone to be used on their network. Android users with phones that support the 850/1900 MHz 3G bands can just download an app from the Android Market to update their wireless settings. H2O Wireless has an automatic setup app that will work on iPhones, but if Apple ever approved it for the App Store, fire would rain from the skies and the end of days would be upon us.
Update:The MyH2O app was approved by Apple recently, allowing for users to configure their phones to use H2O Wireless, as well as giving the ability to manage their account directly from the app. If fire rains from the skies and the end of all days does indeed happen, then I apologize profusely. If it doesn’t, then just ignore me the next time I make these dire predictions about the end of mankind in articles on an iOS website!
In an oddly timed announcement, AT&T announced Sunday that they intend to acquire the US operations of T-Mobile for $39 billion. The deal would make AT&T the largest US carrier with 120 million subscribers to Verizon’s approximately 90 million. The deal will bring new subscribers to AT&T, but more importantly increase AT&T’s spectrum.
So you may be wondering if the deal would mean that the iPhone is coming to T-Mobile now. While that’s likely to happen, it’s too early to know what AT&T really plans on doing with T-Mobile. Though a conference call is scheduled for early Monday to help clear up the deal. Another thing to note is that while both AT&T and T-Mobile are GSM carriers, their respective 3G networks work on different frequencies meaning that the current iPhones used on T-Mobile would only work in the lower speed Edge network.
If AT&T divulges more info on the deal on Monday, we’ll report back.
So, you’ve broken free of AT&T and now own a shiny new Verizon iPhone 4. How are you going to protect it? Speck has the answer with new fitted cases for the Verizon iPhone 4, and we have ten to give away starting Thursday, February 10th.
All you have to do to win is keep watching our Facebook page. Sometime on the 10th, and then for the next ten days, we’ll post on our wall that the daily contest is on. You then have to “like” our post and comment below it to be eligible to win. We’ll choose one winner at random from all of the commenters, so please keep it to just one comment per contest day.
Winners will need to provide us with a valid email address as well as a physical mailing address, since we can’t electronically transmit your case to you.
As much as I hate resorting to use of Apple’s famous catchphrase, there has never been a situation where it seemed more apropos. Unless you spent the last three days in a deep coma, you probably have heard the groundswell of news coverage surrounding the iPhone finally welcoming Verizon customers into the iOS fold. This was a huge revelation to be sure, but lets all be honest and admit that it was long overdue.
In anticipation of the masses making the jump from the good (albeit admittedly overcrowded) ship USS ATT, developer Two Steps Beyond has created an app that will give you a better idea of what your new cellular and 3G networks are going to look like. The interestingly named Coverage? not only provides you maps of AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile’s nationwide coverage, but it will allow you to zoom into your precise location and compare each carrier.
Here is a video walk through, demonstrating how exactly the app operates:
If you were even slightly curious about what to expect while changing your cellular provider, Coverage? could prove to be an irreplaceable tool. Heck, who knows? Maybe it could even sway you away from making the transition.
While this has a timely use to ravenous consumers, its true purpose is actually to indulge your inner road warrior. When I try to get away from it all and embrace the wilderness, I try to disconnect from the outside world. However, there is an whole seperate sub-culture of Americans that would never leave home without their handy Blackberry, iPad, and even iPhone in tow. For these crazy people, Coverage? would allow them to camp in comfort, while sleeping soundly knowing that they are not going to run up drastically overpriced roaming charges.
Just be sure to consult the software before you pitch your tent. Your wallet will thank you later.
In a move that’s been a long time coming, Google has finally officially launched the Google Voice app for the iPhone. The introduction of the service provides users with a number of native Google Chat services such as:
Cheap rates for international calls
Free text messaging to U.S. numbers
Display your Google Voice number as caller ID when making calls
In addition, the service will also feature push notifications to let you know when you receive a new voicemail or text message, as well as calling via direct access numbers, which should streamline the call process.
This app is a godsend for those who can’t stand the cost associated with sending and receiving text messages, as well as folks who place a lot of international calls and are thus hit with some pretty hefty fees.
The introduction of Google Voice also signals a turning of the page in terms of relations between Apple and Google, who up until this point have been rather bitter foes. Google submitted their Voice app for approval way back in June 2009, but Apple refused to approve and release the service until now. Apple’s original stand was that Google Voice was redundant, and merely offered service the iPhone already provided. Now, after undisclosed changes and a resubmission the app has been approved.
The Google Voice app is a free download and requires only that you have an existing Google Voice account in order for it to work. If you don’t have an account yet you can always sign up for free, so it’s just one minor extra step to take along the way. The release of this app is a pretty big deal, so how many of you are excited to download and get started? Is this enough to make you change your contract with AT&T and start using Google for more of your calls?
So let’s say you’re planning on buying an iPhone for a loved one for the holiday season, where are you going to buy it? AT&T, Best Buy and the Apple Store already offer the devices, but starting November 7 you can also pick up the machine at your local Target. The company has confirmed that it will carry both the iPhone 4 as well as the iPhone 3GS just in time for your holiday shopping needs.
Those wishing to grab the phone will have to head to one of Target’s 846 stores which have a mobile center tucked inside, but the good news is your phone can be bought and activated all in one stop. “At Target we continue to offer our guests the best in electronics so we’re happy to add iPhone to our Target Mobile offerings,” said Mark Schindele, senior vice president or merchandising. “With expert support from Target Mobile specialists and in-store activation, our guests will be able to leave the store with a new, working iPhone3GS or iPhone4 in-hand.”
Now the only question is when people think of the iPhone, will they think of Target? There are no shortages of places to buy Apple’s device, as in addition to the retailers listed above it’s also pretty easy to find the phone online and have it shipped right to your doorstep rather than venturing out to the store. Could it be that the mega-retailer is too late to the game to make a difference?
Actually, we doubt that very much, as we expect the chain to see a pretty considerable sales bump from the iPhone. Considering the fact that Target is a major outlet for holiday shopping anyway, the idea that consumers can also buy their smartphone there makes the big red stores even more appealing. You can also expect to see a major marketing blitz telling consumers all about how the store is now carrying the machine, prompting even more excitement. And if nothing else, the addition of Target as an outlet gives consumers even more choice, and choice is always a good thing.
There is great excitement over yesterday being the day when AT&T and Verizon began selling the iPad, but the good feelings between Apple and wireless service providers may not last much longer. Reports out of Europe state that Apple is working on a special SIM card which will allow users to buy iPhones directly from Apple and turn on service via the App Store. The new card will apparently be built directly into the phone and will let users effectively cut out the middleman.
The device is a joint venture between Apple and Gemalto, and the new SIM card will prompt users to select their carrier and activate their phone via an App Store download rather than having to call or physically visit a store to get things set up and working properly. The chip’s built-in ROM already has all the technical and security aspects written on it, leaving space where users fill in the carrier info via download. Thus, your phone is a blank slate, ready to roll as soon as you pop the last piece of the puzzle in place.
This rumor, if true, would basically allow Apple to fling open the doors and let just about any carrier they authorize provide iPhone service. While the device is already available on multiple carriers in Europe, moving from one company to another is still a cumbersome task. With this new SIM card changing to a new wireless plan is as simple as downloading a new bit of software, allowing consumers to be much more mobile with their mobile phones. Imagine that!
Such a setup would be a sweetheart deal for customers, who could easily jump from carrier to carrier in order to constantly get the best deal. Having a permanent, phone-specific SIM card means you’ll never lose your personal information and saved numbers, so all you have to worry about is how to save the most money. The only ones upset by this would be the wireless carriers, but it’s hard to drum up much sympathy for that lot.
Two weeks ago, Apple announced officially that AT&T rival network carrier Verizon would carry the iPad in “over 2,000 Verizon Wireless Stores nationwide” from October 28. That day is finally here.
“This is the perfect pairing for holiday travels,” said John Stratton, chief operating officer for Verizon Wireless. “iPad together with the nation’s largest and most reliable 3G data network allows customers to easily connect on the go wherever they are.” But Stratton makes the process sound more integrated than it actually is – in a bizarre twist to the announcement, Verizon won’t be carrying 3G models of Apple’s rival tablet device. Instead, customers have the option of picking up a Verizon MiFI 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot – a device launched in May 2009 that converts Verizon’s cellular 3G signal into a Wi-Fi connection which your iPad can connect to, just like any other wireless network.
1GB of data through MiFi will cost $20 per month, with additional service options of 3GB ($35/month) and 5GB ($50/month) available to all users, according to Newsi.es. This contrasts with AT&T’s available options of 250MB of data for $14.99/month or 2GB for $25/month, which beforehand were the only legal options iPad owners could choose from. The prices of devices in Verizon stores are as follows:
$629.99 for 16GB iPad (Wi-Fi) + MiFi
$729.99 for 32GB iPad (Wi-Fi) + MiFi
$829.99 for 64GB iPad (Wi-Fi) + MiFi
Note that these prices are $1 extra than Apple’s WiFi + 3G models, but include the MiFi device which would otherwise cost $269 standalone. Verizon will sell all three devices without MiFi, presumably for the same cost as the iPad in your local Apple store. For now, it looks like if you walk into the Apple store seeking an iPad with data, AT&T is the only way forward; but if you take a trip to your local Verizon Wireless store, things will be a little different. Apple noted in their official press release two weeks ago that “customers can sign up for more information on Apple’s iPad together with Verizon Wireless’ MiFi 2200 at www.verizonwireless.com/iPad” – no mention of Apple in-store service.
Verizon stores are apparently opening early to deal with potential high demand, so be sure to get down bright and early if you’re after the AT&T alternative.
It seems the end may indeed be nigh for AT&T’s status as the exclusive provider of the iPhone. Bloomberg reports that the wireless retailer has begun increasing shipments of other smartphones and has begun to retrain staff to emphasize sales of other devices over the iPhone. So far the plan seems to be working, as AT&T has managed to sway roughly half the customers interested in an iPhone over to other devices.
“AT&T clearly has tried to diversify themselves away from the iPhone, and that’s probably the right strategy since they’ve relied so heavily on the iPhone these past few years,” said Stifel Nicolaus & Co. analyst Chris King. “This handset strategy could shelter them from some customer losses.”
Current rumors suggest that Verizon will begin selling the iPhone in January, making this the last holiday season in which AT&T can rely on Apple’s smartphone to bolster sales. Still, it looks like under the current strategy AT&T is already trying to diversify customer interested and lead consumers toward Blackberry, Windows or other phones.
For their part, AT&T is denying that they’re planning for life after the iPhone, but rather are trying to provide consumers with the most comprehensive information and best available selection for their smartphone needs.
“We made a conscious decision to give our customers a choice and let them decide what is best for them,” said AT&T devices senior vice president Jeff Bradley. “We’re probably there now, at a critical mass.”
Complimenting this new strategy is a new training program for employees which will teach them the finer points of each smartphone the carrier stocks, rather than only the virtues of the iPhone. Stores are also being rearranged to de-emphasize Apple’s phone and shine a spotlight on other models. After years of trying to steer every smartphone customer to one specific device, this is a major change as the retailer looks to encourage sales of multiple brands.
Though the strategy is a sound one it’s strange to see AT&T seemingly concede defeat to Verizon before the competitor even begins to offer the iPhone. While Verizon may indeed offer better pricing or service, it’s not like no one will ever come to AT&T wanting to buy an iPhone again, so why try and steer them away? It will be interesting to see what Verizon has to offer when they begin carrying the product, because if they can truly offer a better experience then they may become the de facto exclusive carrier. We can only wait and see how it all pans out.
We all believe that the iPhone yearns to be free to be sold by multiple carriers, and it would seem that this once-mythical day is nearly upon us. According to reports, iPhone model 3,2 (the CDMA-compatible model) is in the “AP” field testing phase. That basically means the hardware is all done, the software is practically done, and if these final tests go well then the phone will be ready for retail release. For those keeping score at home, a CDMA-compatible phone means that carriers such as Verizon would be able to carry the device and offer the same (or better) service as AT&T.
If you want to be a pessimist then there’s also the distinct possibility that this new model of iPhone isn’t the “Verizon version” at all, but rather a minor hardware redesign that will simply solve some of the antenna problems plaguing current phones. Because of our boundless hope that someday the iPhone will be untethered from AT&T we don’t want to believe this is the true reason for the new hardware, but it’s very likely that Occam’s Razor will come back to bite us if we claim otherwise. For now, we’ll just treat the whole thing with tempered enthusiasm.
Traditional iPhone users will also be pleased to hear that the iPhone 5 is apparently in EVT (engineering verification testing) right now. While we don’t have an approximate ETA for this next major hardware refresh, don’t go thinking you’ve got the top-of-the-line phone just because you have an iPhone 4. Apple definitely plans to make you upgrade yet again, it’s just a matter of time.
Thanks to an improvement in the availability of components, iSuppli has announced that it is raising the shipment forecast for iPads to 13.8 million units in 2010, up from its July outlook of 12.9 million. Furthermore, the company expects iPad production to hit 2.5 million units a month by the end of the year. The announcement is great news for Apple, which has struggled to keep up with consumer demand for its innovative tablet.
“In its previous iPad forecasts, iSuppli noted that the only constraint on shipment growth now is production—and not demand,” said Rhoda Alexander, director of monitor research for iSuppli. “The only factor limiting production is the availability of key iPad components, such as the Field Fringe Switching (FFS) LCD panels, projected capacitive touch screens and NAND flash. Despite ongoing yield issues, Apple’s suppliers have steadily increased monthly production to meet Apple’s demand. Production rates are now on target to meet the expected strong fourth-quarter sales.”
Manufacturing should be boosted once more in 2011, when Apple plans to include new suppliers in the iPad’s production chain. The increased availability of the device will allow Apple to pursue as-yet-untapped markets such as schools and businesses who may be interested in buying the devices in bulk, but can’t yet due to the fact Apple doesn’t offer bulk purchase incentives. With the announcement that AT&T will begin selling iPads direct to businesses it was clear that Apple needed to work fast in order to make sure supply could keep up with demand.
This is also good news for those looking to buy a loved one an iPad as a holiday gift, since now perhaps they’ll be a bit less scarce. Coupling the increased production with the expansion of retailers approved to sell iPads means that perhaps you’ll spend a bit less time tromping through stores and less gas driving from one retailer to the next. Won’t that be nice?
In a move which could quickly swell the ranks of iPad users, AT&T has announced that it will begin selling iPads directly to business consumers on October 28. If that date sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same day both AT&T and Verizon will begin selling iPads directly to average Joes.
“iPad is a great fit for our enterprise customers across a wide range of industries who are looking for ways to increase business productivity and offer greater flexibility,” said Michael Antieri, President, Advanced Enterprise Mobility Solutions, AT&T Business Solutions. “This new offer further strengthens AT&T’s commitment to provide businesses with the tools they need to accelerate mobility-led productivity.”
The new plan will allow businesses to buy the devices as well as mobile broadband price plans at AT&T’s business rate, which works out to be much cheaper on a per-person basis than standard plans. This move should drastically help Apple land yet another of its products in the business world. Much in the same way iPhones now permeate high-level executive circles, iPads are poised to do the same for salespeople and other office personnel constantly on the move.
Though Verizon is going to begin offering iPads in stores on the same date there is no word of a similar business sales plan from the retailer. Thus it would seem that Apple’s favored distributor is enjoying privileged status once more, standing as the only place for corporate consumers to snap up iPads and service plans at a special rate. AT&T’s specific rates for corporate iPad service plans have not been stated, so it remains to be seen just how deep the discount will be.
Just in case the temptation to buy an iPad isn’t already great enough, Apple will begin offering its tablet at both wireless retailers on October 28th. AT&T will sell the device at normal prices with 3G support, so when you go pick up that new iPhone 4 why not grab an iPad while at the store?
“We can’t wait to showcase the amazing features of iPad Wi-Fi + 3G in our stores across the country just in time for the holidays,” said Glenn Lurie, AT&T President of Emerging Devices, Resale and Partnerships, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “With our breakthrough iPad data plans starting at just $14.99 and access to AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots around the country at no extra cost, our customers will have the best of both worlds.”
“We look forward to expanding the reach of iPad, allowing even more customers to experience the magic of iPad for themselves,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s COO. “As we approach the holiday season, we are very happy that customers will now be able to buy iPad Wi-Fi + 3G at AT&T Stores.”
Perhaps the more surprising story is the fact that the iPad will also be offered at Verizon, though under slightly different pricing and wireless capabilities. Verizon will only be selling the Wi-fi enabled iPads, but will also be bundling the machines with their Mi-fi service. The end result is that prices for Verizon iPads will run $630, $730 and $830.
“This is the perfect pairing for holiday travels,” said John Stratton, chief operating officer for Verizon Wireless. “iPad together with the nation’s largest and most reliable 3G data network allows customers to easily connect on the go wherever they are.”
“We’re thrilled to be working with Verizon Wireless to get iPad into the hands of even more customers this holiday season,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s COO. “iPad allows users to connect with their apps and content in a more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before, and together with Verizon Wireless we’re offering an easy way to stay connected wherever you go.”
The fact that Verizon is selling Apple’s hot new tablet fuels the fire of the rumors that the wireless retailer may also soon start selling the iPhone, Apple’s flagship product. Rumors began swirling in 2009 that Verizon would carry the iPhone this year, but the latest reports have pushed back such a deal to 2011. Could Apple be testing the waters with the iPad to see if Verizon is worthy of the iPhone? We’ll just have to wait and see.
AT&T U-verse customers, you lucky dogs, are now able to watch on-demand video from the newly updated U-verse mobile app.
On top of being able to “browse the U-verse TV program guide, view program descriptions, and schedule and manage your DVR recordings,” you can now download full TV shows from the U-verse network over any available Wi-Fi network.
“We’re making it possible for you to watch TV shows on your iPhone at no extra charge. It’s just one more valuable and innovative feature available on U-verse TV,” said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “Our U-verse multi-screen promise is now a reality for millions of U-verse TV customers, with content available on U-verse TV, U-verse Online, and today, U-verse Mobile. No cable provider comes close to matching the cross-platform experience we’re delivering today, and we’ll continue to add unique features that further integrate these screens.”
In an effort to get existing iPhone users to sign up for yet another AT&T contract, they are offering a $75 gift card for new users that order AT&T U-verse U300 or U450. In case you are weary of selling your digital souls to AT&T, they were the “Highest in Residential Television Service Satisfaction in the South and West Regions Two Years in a Row,” according to the J.D. Power and Associates for 2008 and 2009.
For those of you who have already made the leap, be sure to pick up U-verse Mobile from the App Store ASAP, it’s totally free.
As iPhone owners may know, it’s far from a perfect device, and its US carrier is far from perfect either. Heading out to one of the biggest celebrations of geek culture, the infamous San Diego Comic-Con, for the first time, I realized how much these issues will come to light when you’re out and about with thousands of your closest fellow geeks, nerds, otaku, et cetera. I came back with 4 important things to remember the next time I or any other iPhone owner heads out to a big trip with their iPhone in tow.
1. Phones will die. Prepare accordingly.
The iPhone is not a paragon of extensive battery life. Thankfully, the various extended life battery packs that are available can be a lifesaver for the iPhone owner. If you’re heading out to Comic-Con, picking up a couple is a very good idea, as otherwise your phone will die. Some columnists would make it a point to say “you’re hanging out with real people, enjoy their presence,” but we all know sometimes you need to check your tweets, or text someone to figure out what’s going on. Having an actual working phone is better than not having one, and a backup battery will go a long way towards preventing that from happening.
Now, you’ll want to make sure that your backup battery actually works. I had 2 batteries to help charge my iPhone, a 1900 mAh battery, and an 800 mAh battery that was small enough to carry around as a key fob. I hadn’t charged my larger capacity backup battery in months, and a few days before I left, I decided to charge it up, only to discover that I hadn’t used it in so long that it wouldn’t hold a charge. Well, no matter, I still had my 800 mAh backup battery, which charges via mini USB, and I had a mini USB wall charger that I brought along with my camera. But the fool in me failed to make sure said wall charger would work with my backup battery. I sure regretted this when I discovered it wouldn’t charge, and I had no mini USB cable with me as well, somehow. I was at the mercy of my 2 year old iPhone 3G’s stock battery. It suffered at times, to say the least.
In a surprising finding, given the insane amount of media negativity towards AT&T, the Yankee Group reports that 73% of iPhone users are “very satisfied with AT&T’s service”, a higher number than any smartphone group feels about their various wireless carriers.
Despite the fact that the tethering feature was MIA for a good year despite being offered on other worldwide carriers, people suffered (and still are suffering) through periods where it was easier to drop a call then make one, and the fact that “iPhone owners pay AT&T nearly $12 a month more for service than the average smartphone user”, people still seem to love their service.
According to Carl Howe of the Yankee Group, “Consumers transfer the high gloss of their Apple iPhone experience to AT&T. The iPhone creates a halo effect that rubs off.”
AT&T obviously doesn’t believe in “reality distortion fields”, and instead says that “There’s a gap between what people hear about us and what their experience is with us. We think that gap is beginning to close. It doesn’t mean we’re perfect; we still have work to do. But that’s no surprise to us, because we have a great network.”
Whatever the reason is, it’ll be interesting to see how many people abandon AT&T when/if the iPhone moves to multiple networks. “Drake Johnstone, an analyst with Davenport & Co., forecasted that poor experiences with AT&T would drive as many as 40% of iPhone customers to Verizon once that network gets the iPhone.” After this finding, I’m not so sure.
In a very odd move, less than a month after the launch of the iPad 3G, AT&T are changing the iPad data plans and getting rid of the unlimited data plan. As mentioned in a previous article, AT&T are modifying their data plans and going forward will only support a 200MB for $15/mo and 2GB for $25/mo plans.
Since iPad users are not under contract, AT&T has the right to change the plans as often as they like. But if you are currently subscribed to one of the old plans, you can keep using that plan. Going forward though, instead of the 250MB and unlimited data plans, customers will have the option to purchase 2GB of data for $25/month. And instead of $15 for 250MB, iPad users will only get 200MB for $15/month.
I’m found it hard use up the 250MB plan in the first month of use. I only used around 150MB on my iPad 3G, so I don’t think I’ll switch to the unlimited plan. But I’m happy to keep getting and extra 50 MB for my $15 per month.
AT&T today released a press release announcing two new data plans going into effect June 7th. In that information it was also mentioned that tethering would be an option for those plans on the iPhone with OS 4.
This confirms that AT&T iPhone users will finally be getting tethering, nearly a year after the rest of the world got it. The cost will be an additional $20/month — and there’s a catch.
The two new data plans announced are DataPlus and DataPro. The DataPlus plan will give you 200 MB of data for $15/month. For the majority of users, this should be your new plan of choice. AT&T notes that 65% of their data plan users don’t go over 200 MB/month. If you go over the 200MB, you’ll automatically be billed another $15 for 200MB extra.
The DataPro plan gives you a cap of 2GB of data for $25 / month. While it’s cheaper than the unlimited plan by $5/month, there is a cap. AT&T notes that if you go over that 2GB, you will automatically be billed $10 for an additional 1GB of data for your current month. On their new dataplans info page they mention that 98% of their data plan customers don’t go over 2GB per month.
Tethering will only be an option for customers that switch to the new DataPro plan. If you are a current AT&T customer and have the unlimited plan for $30/month, you can keep it. But you can not add tethering to that plan. New customers will not be able to choose the unlimited data plan.
While I really like the new data plans, I like that all iPhone users will no longer be forced to pay $30/month for data, I don’t like the extra charges for tethering.
I think charging extra for tethering in this new format is a very anti-consumer move. By re-formatting the data plans, AT&T now makes it explicit that you are paying for a set amount of data. Data is therefore a commodity. How you use the amount of data you purchase should no longer matter. In an unlimited plan it’s understandable that a provider would want to charge more since you are now connecting multiple devices to the data plan and theoretically using much more data. But if you are buying a set amount of data, you should be able to use it on as many devices and in any way you wish.
As usual, AT&T has taken a small step forward and a huge step back. They are sticking with the bull headed mentality of a 100 year old utility company. But, for US customers it’s still our only option.
Now, let’s discuss the coincidence of the data plans going into effect on the day the next iPhone is expected to be announced….
Mac Rumors has received unofficial word that Sprint may become a carrier of the iPhone as early as this summer. The site points to skeptical claims made by a Sprint employee who has been reliable in the past and to a TechUpdate post covering information from a BestBuy employee who has similar information.
We reported recently that AT&T’s iPhone exclusivity may be under threat from other carriers and that it narrowly avoided losing sole rights to iPhone tariffs by offering a very competitive data plan for the 3G iPad. Verizon is the most hotly tipped network to take on the iPhone but, should AT&T’s exclusivity come to an end, Apple may well consider multiple iPhone carriers as it has done in Europe. As Mac Rumors points out, multiple contracts would also see a boost in iPhone uptake as has been seen with Android-based handsets. TechUpdate’s unnamed BestBuy employee feels that AT&T’s exclusivity has already been lost with the blow softened by exclusive iPad tariffs in the meantime.
Steve Jobs is set to host a Keynote at the start of Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference on June 7 so perhaps we will find out more then.
A forum post over at Mac Rumors has shed a little light on the hugely delayed availability of internet tethering for the iPhone on AT&T. Announced at the iPhone OS 3.0 event (yes, that long ago!) AT&T is yet to introduce the feature that allows users to share their iPhone’s 3G connection with a computer via Bluetooth or USB.
The forum post shows two images found within the iPhone 4.0 Beta that is being seeded to developers and shows a Setup Internet Tethering option as well as a popup screen explaining that in order to enable tethering the user must contact AT&T. AT&T remains the sole carrier of the iPhone in the US and has been dogged by issues with its network including dropped calls and poor 3G coverage. Many believe that its delay in rolling out tethering to the iPhone is due to worries that it may put too much strain on the network.
Will the launch iPhone OS 4.0 be the moment those desperate for tethering have been waiting for? We guess all will be revealed at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference this June.
In an effort to keep iPhone users happy and avoid the outcry we heard last year, AT&T has apparently started rolling back upgrade eligibility dates prior to the launch of the next iPhone. MobileCrunch has posted the following image showing an updated eligibility date moved from November to June of this year for a customer who purchased the iPhone 3GS at launch last year.
Last year lots of people were angry that they could not take advantage of upgrade pricing for the new iPhone. But it looks like AT&T is trying to avoid that fury this year and allow many more people to upgrade. Though at this point we don’t know if it’s universal as there has been no statement by Apple or AT&T.
MobileCrunch is reporting that AT&T has started to roll back upgrade eligibility dates from 18 months to what appears to be 12 months. This would allow customers who are eligible to take advantage of much cheaper upgrade prices for the hardware when the next iPhone is released.
We do not know at this time if that roll back will be for everyone or if that date is only for certain customers and not all at this time. While there are multiple reports of this from AT&T customers, it could be they are only rolling back the dates for customers over a certain service level.
Why would AT&T do this? They must have a reason. Perhaps they are doing it because the iPhone will be available on other carriers soon and AT&T wants to get as many customers as possible under a new two year contract. Or perhaps with the new front facing camera, AT&T will be increasing the monthly unlimited data plan fees, and they want as many new customers as possible on the new plan. Or perhaps AT&T just loves us all and wants to apologize for bad service. Ha!
But it seems as though lots of people are trying to see if they are eligible — I can’t even log into AT&Ts site at this point. Have you checked, has your eligibility date been rolled back? If so, let us know and let us know what plan you subscribe to (number of minutes/month) and how long you’ve been a subscriber. Let’s see if this is universal or not.