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Using Aio Wireless $15 Tablet Plan on an Old iPhone

Posted by Jeff Scott on October 18th, 2013

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.

AT&T Update Will Provide Wireless Emergency Alert System

Posted by Andrew Stevens on June 17th, 2013

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.

Inaugural 2013 Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Jennifer Allen on January 21st, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: HISTORIC
Capturing all the latest information, news and clips on the 57th Presidental Inauguration.
Read The Full Review »

This Week at 148Apps: September 10-14

Posted by Chris Kirby on September 15th, 2012
iPad App - Designed for iPad

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."

Read all of Jeff's great advice at 148Apps.com.

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."

Read the full review at GiggleApps.com.

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."

Read all of the steps at 148Apps.biz.

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!

Howto: Switch Carriers for the iPhone 5

Posted by Jeff Scott on September 13th, 2012

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.


And finally...

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).


Quick Reference

Here's a quick reference to some of the items you may need in helping you decide if you want to switch carriers.

AT&T
[ Account Login ]
[ Coverage Area Maps ]
[ Plan Prices ]

Sprint
[ Account Login ]
[ Coverage Area Maps ]
[ Plan Prices ]

Verizon
[ Account Login ]
[ Coverage Area Maps ]
[ Plan Prices ]

AT&T To Start Unlocking iPhones

Posted by Kevin Stout on April 10th, 2012

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.

The Portable Podcast, Episode 117

Posted by Carter Dotson on December 27th, 2011

iCADE, You Cade, We All Cade!

On This Episode:

  • 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.

  • Who We Are:

  • Host: Carter Dotson
  • Co-Host: Jaden Walker, The Eternal

  • Music:

  • "Beatnes7 (Theme to The Portable Podcast)" by The Eternal - Download on iTunes here:


  • "Nanocarp" by The Eternal

  • How to Listen:

  • Click Here to Subscribe in iTunes:
  • Click Here to Subscribe via RSS.
  • Listen Here: [powerpress]
  • Apps Mentioned on This Episode:





    How's Your iPhone Service? Tell Us For Chance to Win a $100 iTunes Card

    Posted by Rob LeFebvre on September 19th, 2011

    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.

    Hit the jump for the form and your chance for a free $100 iTunes Gift Card.

    Unlocked iPhones Can Get Contract-Free 3G Service With Smaller Carrier H2O Wireless

    Posted by Carter Dotson on September 12th, 2011
    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

    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.

    H2O Wireless doesn't just purport to be some dinky local carrier, either - their service map encompasses many portions of the US with major metropolitan areas. For users with GSM iPhones that want to avoid contracts and/or AT&T's service issues, this smaller carrier may be an option.

    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!

    AT&T to Acquire T-Mobile USA for $39 Billion; Become Largest US Carrier

    Posted by Jeff Scott on March 21st, 2011

    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.

    New Contest: Win a Verizon iPhone 4 Case

    Posted by Chris Kirby on February 9th, 2011

    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. :)

    Keep watching www.facebook.com/148apps for more information.

    Need Cell Coverage? There's An App for That...

    Posted by Blake Grundman on January 13th, 2011
    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

    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.



    [gallery]

    Google Voice Finally Comes to iPhone

    Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on November 18th, 2010
    iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad

    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
  • Voicemail transcription
  • 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?

    [itmsapp: 318698524]
    [via Google]

    Target Getting the iPhone

    Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on November 3rd, 2010

    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.

    [via MacStories]

    Apple May Pull an End-Around on Wireless Carriers

    Posted by Brad Hilderbrand on November 2nd, 2010

    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.

    [via Gigaom]