Nest updates Learning Thermostat to be more accurate, efficient
Nest has started to roll out an update for its Learning Thermostat that promises to make the heat management device more useful. Arriving to all generations of the thermostat over the next few weeks, the update will in theory help heat the home closer to the temperature set by the user, as well as improving the efficiency of multi-stage heating systems, along with changes to the Time-to-Temperature, Early-On, and Heat Pump Balance functions to make them more precise.
First carrier attack of T-Mobile Un-Carrier Unwrapped campaign targets Sprint
T-Mobile is offering Sprint customers an extra $200 on their account if they switch carriers. The second "gift" announcement in the Un-Carrier Unwrapped campaign, T-Mobile claims it will provide a credit of $200 per line switched over to a Simple Choice postpaid plan from any Sprint number, including prepaid and postpaid plans, as well as those on Boost and Virgin Mobile, with the limited-time promotion starting from tomorrow.
Offer for existing subscribers accompanied by T-Mobile holiday deal details
T-Mobile subscribers are being offered free unlimited LTE data, as part of a month of promotions dubbed "Uncarrier Unwrapped." Current users of the postpaid Simple Choice plan, including business customers, as of the end November 23 will receive unlimited access to the LTE network free for a three-month period, starting from December 1 until March 1, regardless of the data allowance they have on their price plan.
Nearly one in three Americans owns an iPhone, study finds
A new study (PDF) by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) claims that as of the end of September, more than 101 million iPhones were in use in the United States, a ratio approaching one iPhone for every three Americans. The study further found that of that number, 62 million units -- were recent models from either this year or last. The majority, 58 million, are 2014's iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, with only four million of the latest model sold in the US in the first weekend of availability before the end of the September quarter.
Amazon adds two-factor authentication to accounts
Amazon is improving the security of its account system, just in time for the Black Friday sales, by giving the option of adding two-factor authentication to the log-in process. The online retailer is now allowing account holders to log in using an extra generated code alongside their regular username and password, potentially preventing potential fraudulent purchases from being made from the account.
Apple nearing half Samsung shipments as Android leader stumbles
The latest report by analyst firm Gartner shows Apple's iOS platform increasing its worldwide share to 13.1 percent in the September quarter, an increase in percentage points of 0.6 year-over-year, while Samsung's larger share slipped 0.2 points to 23.7 percent. Though the Android platform as a whole continues to be dominant worldwide -- growing 1.4 percent over the past year to 84.7 percent share -- the rise is seen as having mostly come from Windows Phone losses.
Samsung Galaxy S6, iPhone 6s among supported devices
Earlier today, wireless carrier Sprint activated its implementation of the LTE Advanced network, which the company calls LTE Plus. The new network delivers speed in some markets around 100 megabits per second in 77 of Sprint's larger markets, such as the Baltimore, Boston, Pittsburgh, Washington DC, and New Orleans metropolitan areas.
New accessories designed for high-end car interiors
Belkin has announced its new Car Power Valet accessories, new charging accessories designed to fit in with the interior of high-end vehicles. These high-end car chargers utilize an embedded smartchip technology that determines the optimal level of energy pushed through to an iPhone, protecting devices from damage resulting from excessive charging.
Apple picks up second femtocell-related patent
Apple has been granted a further patent on Femtocell technology which is typically used in network base stations that use low-power cellular connections and are designed to be operated in homes and smaller businesses. This new patent, number 9,191,839, has been issued regarding methods of configuring Femtocells and it follows an August patent regarding access to wireless signals using the technology.
Verizon receives FCC waiver allowing Wi-Fi calling
Verizon has become the latest carrier to be provided an FCC waiver, allowing it to offer subscribers Wi-Fi calling. Following after AT&T, Verizon received its waiver after petitioning the FCC, asking for permission to use Real-Time-Text (RTT) as an alternative to the required Teletypewriter (TTY) system used to allow people with hearing impediments to make calls, a technology apparently ill-suited for IP-based telephony.
Amazon constructs physical book store in Seattle
Amazon has opened up its first physical book store today, in what can be best described as an unusual decision by the primarily-digital online retailer. It has built its brick-and-mortar store in University Village, Seattle, where it will provide real copies of books to customers, alongside gadgets including the Fire TV, Echo, Kindle eBook readers, and the Fire tablet range, with Amazon using its digital strength for stock selection.
Employees changing from iPhone to Android aids Facebook development
Some Facebook employees are being ordered to switch from using an iPhone to an Android smartphone, for the sake of the social network's development, according to a report. Chief product officer Chris Cox has apparently told members from his team to change their mobile devices, in order for the team to go through what the social network users interact with on a daily basis for themselves and in theory helping to improve related services.
T-Mobile launches 4G LTE CellSpot, mini cell tower for home use
T-Mobile is offering its customers a way to get LTE signal from within their home, in areas where LTE coverage is unavailable or lacking in strength, via a mini cell tower. The 4G LTE CellSpot is a unit measuring 8.5 inches wide and tall, and 1.3 inches thick, and is capable of providing an average area of 3,000 square feet LTE service over the network by using the customer's existing home or business Internet connection.
Leak claims T-Mobile will offer video streams without using data allowance
T-Mobile may soon allow its subscribers to access content from major video streaming service without reducing their monthly allowance of LTE data, a rumor claims. Serial leaker Evan Blass posted to his @evleaks Twitter account that the carrier's "Uncarrier X" event taking place on November 10 is likely to cover the new account bonus, which appears to be a natural extension of the existing Music Freedom feature on current plans.
Roaming charges in EU will be capped from April 2016
The European Union's crusade against roaming charges has received crucial support from the European Parliament, after being given the all-clear, at the same time as new net neutrality measures. Proposals to scrap roaming charges completely across the continent have been approved by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) in a vote, and though they won't be removed completely until mid-2017, consumers in the region can expect to start feeling the effects of changes in the law from April next year.
Macs hit all-time sales record of 5.7 million, Apple Watch growing
In today's quarterly results call for the company's fiscal fourth quarter, Apple revealed it had sold 48 million iPhones, a record for Q4. Strong sales in China and other developing regions helped boost the numbers, along with a short period of availability of the company's newest iPhones, the 6s and 6s Plus. Macs also set an all-time sales record of 5.7million units sold. The Mac figure was all the more remarkable given that the PC industry in general has seen an 11 percent decline.
Samsung falls as local manufacturers compete with Apple
Hours before Apple reveals is fiscal Q4 quarterly results, Counterpoint Research has revealed a new study showing that Apple has retaken the top spot in China's smartphone market, selling seven million units last month to take the title back for the first time since February, and outpacing its previous top monthly sales by more than three million units. Chinese manufacturers Huawei and Xiaomi will keep pressure on, however, though Samsung's presence in the market has plummeted.
AT&T FCC request prompts similar action from Verizon
Verizon has made a request to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allow it to waive certain requirements for the carrier's own Wi-Fi calling service. Following after AT&T's own request to the FCC earlier this month, Verizon has asked for permission to bend the rules regarding Teletypewriter (TTY) support, to allow it to use an alternative system while still providing Wi-Fi calls to its subscribers.
Bandwidth abusers on Sprint to be given lower network priority in congested areas
Sprint is updating its policy to limit the connection speeds of high-bandwidth subscribers it believes is abusing the service, within weeks of revealing it is increasing the cost of unlimited data plans. A new Quality of Service (QoS) practice will now apply to unlimited data plans, throttling the connection of customers using more than 23GB of data on their devices in a month, though only in cases where the network in a market is congested.
Sprint increases Direct 2 You coverage to 27 metropolitan areas
Sprint is expanding its Direct 2 You personalized delivery program to cover customers in more cities, bringing the total number of metropolitan areas it now delivers smartphones within to 27. The new areas now serviced by Direct 2 You representatives are Charlotte, N.C., Cincinnati, Las Vegas, Nashville, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, and Salt Lake City, with more cities expected to join the list next year.
Rumor suggests Samsung may face more criticism for copying 3D Touch
Samsung may be preparing to borrow a feature from Apple for its smartphones, with a rumor claiming it is planning to add pressure sensitivity to its next flagship Galaxy device. It is alleged the electronics giant will be implementing its own version of 3D Touch from the iPhone 6s in the Galaxy S7, something which many may criticize the manufacturer for copying instead of coming up with its own original features, if found to be true.
Verizon subscribers get more prepaid data plan options for tablets
Verizon is giving customers who use their LTE-equipped tablets and other devices sparingly more options for connecting to the wireless network, with a collection of five new prepaid data plans. At the same time, it has been revealed the carrier is going to be increasing the cost of its grandfathered unlimited data plans, with customers expected to pay an extra $20 per month on their subscription starting from November 15.
Government agencies, like FBI, will lobby for snooping 'backdoor' nonetheless
FBI Director James Comey, a vocal advocate for forcing computer manfacturers to install "backdoors" in computers so that various law-enforcement and spy agencies can gain unfettered access to US and foreign citizens' data, announced on Friday that the Obama administration had opted not to force tech companies to decrypt encrypted communications and files in testimony before Congress. Comey added that talks with tech companies about how to help with law enforcement had, however, become "more productive."
AT&T enables Wi-Fi calling for iOS users on postpaid accounts
AT&T has enabled Wi-Fi calling for some of its customers, shortly after receiving a waiver from the FCC concerning some regulatory aspects of the service. Confirmed in a blog post, users on iOS 9 devices with a postpaid wireless account set up for HD Voice are now able to make their calls over Wi-Fi if cellular connections are unavailable. Users will be able to make and receive calls through their existing number over Wi-Fi, with no additional charges being applied on calls to US numbers.
Android still has majority, but grip is slipping in the US even as LG rises
As with recent quarters, Apple is continuing to erode the marketshare of Android in the US, according to new figures from ComScore. The iPhone moved up to 44.1 percent marketshare for the period ending in August -- a 0.6 percent gain prior to the latest iPhones being introduced, which came at the end of the quarter. The gain came entirely from drops in combined Android sales (down 0.4 percent) combined with smaller drops in share from Microsoft and BlackBerry (0.1 percent each).
AT&T complains about asymmetrical regulation over TTL waivers
AT&T customers will soon be able to make calls from their smartphones over Wi-Fi, after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provided the carrier with a waiver. Issued yesterday, the Wi-Fi calling waiver arrives after AT&T complained about its competitors enabling the feature on their networks without abiding by certain rules, something the waiver allows AT&T to bypass for a limited period of time.
Carrier concerned about TTL obligations for Wi-Fi calling
AT&T is delaying a launch of its Wi-Fi calling service, over a failed request to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The carrier has asked the FCC to waive the rules requiring communications companies to provide alternative options for the deaf and hard-of-hearing users, at the same time as complaining to the regulator over existing Wi-Fi calling services offered by competitors Sprint and T-Mobile, as the other carriers did not request waivers.
Says Apple Music subscriber numbers are a 'long term' issue
In an extended interview with the London Evening Standard mostly about the just-concluded Apple Music Festival, Apple's SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue let slip that the company is investigating trying to "fix" the problem of international data roaming charges for iPhone users, and come up with a solution that would benefit consumers without alienating profit-oriented phone carriers. The focus of the conversation, the festival, also revealed that Apple is playing a long game with its Apple Music service.
Sprint increasing price of unlimited single-line plan from $60 to $70
Sprint is preparing to increase the cost of its unlimited plan for a single line. While it is currently priced at $60 per month for unlimited calls, texts, and data, the carrier will be raising the plan's monthly charge to $70 from October 16 for new customers. Existing customers on the plan will continue to pay the $60 monthly rate, with Sprint advising they can also activate a new phone and remain on the same $60 Unlimited Plan, as long as they still meet the plan requirements and are either purchasing or financing a phone.
New Nexus smartphones have Nexus Imprint fingerprint readers
Google showed off three Android-powered mobile devices at today's event, alongside the new Chromecast dongles. The Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P are smartphones produced by Huawei which Google will be shipping in the near future, while the Pixel C is Google's first Android tablet it has built end-to-end, with the search company applying what it learned from its Chromebook Pixel notebooks to the tablet format.
Hearing impaired Sprint customers impacted by 911 faults
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has fined Sprint close to $1.2 million for issues that prevented people with hearing difficulties from calling the emergency services. Sprint and a number of connected companies were accused of failing to connect a telephone relay service (TRS), used by hard of hearing customers to contact other people, to 911 for long periods of time varying between five weeks and ten months, with the fine settling the FCC investigation.
Free tier accompanied by paid options in UK FreedomPop launch
FreedomPop has made its first major expansion outside of the United States, by launching its free mobile phone service in the United Kingdom. Launching later than originally planned, FreedomPop's UK service is now operational, with its freemium model giving its customers the ability to use a small allocation of minutes, texts, and data to use each month without paying a monthly subscription fee, similar to its original US plan.
Final judgement order already appealed by Samsung
Judge Lucy Koh, overseer of the Apple versus Samsung smartphone patent trials, has decreed that Samsung must now pay $548 million from the first patent trial between the pair, as ordered by the Federal Court of Appeals. Samsung, as expected, is appealing the decision based on a lengthy and ongoing patent invalidation process, saying that because of the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) examination, the order isn't being performed as required by federal procedure.
Sprint adds 33 more countries to Open World roaming service
Sprint has expanded its Open World roaming scheme to cover 33 more countries. First introduced in August, the scheme now offers free texting, discounted calls from $0.20 per minute, and high-speed data for $30 per gigabyte in more than 50 countries. The new list of countries included in Open World include France, Barbados, the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Fiji, Gibraltar, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, and Tonga, with customers able to add it to their service for free via the Sprint website or their local store.
Patent trial loss should have forced embargo of now obsolete smartphones
The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC has ruled that Apple should have been awarded an injunction against Samsung during the second smartphone patent trial. In its ruling affirming the embargo, and pointing out errors by the lower court, the appeals court declared that "Apple does not seek to enjoin the sale of lifesaving drugs, but to prevent Samsung from profiting from the unauthorized use of infringing features in its cellphones and tablets."
No room for reviews from users that have never used the app in question
Yesterday afternoon, Apple released its app on Google Play allowing users of Android devices to "easily" shift over to an iOS device. As expected, the app has been battered with one-star reviews by ever-classy Android fans, trotting out the same old tired missives about iSheep, walled gardens, and expensive hardware. Does the app work? Can't tell by the reviews -- and that's a problem, not only with Google Play, but with Apple's app stores as well. Cupertino, Mountain View, your attention please: its time for a change.
Tool helps users move data to iOS devices securely, wirelessly
In a gracious move, the Google Play store has added a new Android app from Apple -- only the second such application the iPhone maker has offered for the rival platform -- that helps users who wish to transition from Android to iOS (or use both but transfer data) to do so. Called simply "Move to iOS," even the program's description reads as a pitch for users currently on Android devices to consider switching -- with the application promising to move contacts, message histories, photos and videos, web bookmarks, mail accounts, and calendars over seamlessly.
Unlimited AT&T LTE customers can use four times the data limit before throttling
AT&T has made another change to its policies regarding its restrictive Unlimited Data Plan customer limits, by giving its customers a lot more leeway. The carrier is now going to allow subscribers on the unlimited plans to use up to 22GB of data within a single billing period before any throttling will take place, an increase from the previous monthly allowances of 5GB for LTE data and 3GB of 3G data before bandwidth starts to get restricted.
Carriers aim to launch 250 Best Buy stores-within-stores by end of this year
Verizon and AT&T are going to make things easier for new subscribers to sign up for their services, by having their own store-within-a-store at a number of Best Buy retail locations. Both carriers are aiming to open the miniature "experience stores" in 250 locations across the United States by the end of this year, with some Best Buy stores hosting both carriers at the same time, with Verizon planning to open up 100 of the stores later this month.
$10 billion industry in resale of taxi medallions in danger of collapse
A lawsuit brought against the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission in New York by four credit unions was adjudicated today. Queens Supreme Court Justice Allan Weiss ruled that the commission need not block the "pre-arranged transportation" generated by Uber, with the ruling preventing shutdown of the service in New York City. At stake is not only Uber's continued existence in New York City, but the financial backbone in the city built around loans to acquire taxi medallions, valued at up to $1 million each.
Online deal highlights for September 11, 2015
Welcome to today's installment of Daily Deals, the post where the staff of MacNN scours online retailers for discounts, bundles, sales, and discounts on hardware, software, games, and gadgets for you, the discerning reader. The new deals joining the still-alive deals on the list include the SteelSeries Flux gaming headset for $13, the Blue Microphones Yeti USB mic for $80, and the Nikon Coolpix S3600 20.1MP compact camera for $70.
Carrier strengthens satisfaction guarantee, offers deal on Jump plans
T-Mobile and its colorful CEO John Legere wasted no time in jumping on Apple's bandwagon, announcing on Thursday the expected arrival of the iPhone 6s to the carrier's stable, but also surprising Twitter followers by confirming that the company will also carry the Apple Watch, though it did not announce a formal date for sales to begin for the wearable device. T-Mobile is also strengthening its customer satisfaction guarantee, and offering substantial savings on the cost of an iPhone 6s through its Jump On Demand installment-plan option.
Get it written and then get it published using your Apple gear
If this were a magazine, we'd be calling this a "Cut Out and Keep" feature: this is your one-stop guide to writing e-books and paperbacks using Macs and also iOS devices. Well, it's a one-stop guide to the 10 or so stops we made along the way while writing you a book or two for the first MacNN summer project this year. Start at the top if you're setting out on this nutty project. Start at the end if you want an overview of the software recommendations we made -- or if you are even now writing a book and pulling your hair out, jump straight to the bit you need help with.
Update brings passive heart rate tracking, other features
Jawbone today launched a new design for the UP2, and 10 new colors for the UP2 and UP3, further expanding the company's portfolio of activity trackers. In addition, Jawbone released a range of new features for UP2, UP3 and UP4 that improve product functionality and reliability through a free over-the-air firmware update.
Overseas developments to be adapted for US frequencies, bandwidth requirements
Verizon, the first company to introduce "4G" LTE wireless network technology about six years ago, has unveiled preliminary details of a test program of 5G wireless networks in the US. By working closely with key partners, Verizon aims to launch field technology trials next year.
Refutes suggestions that US big-screen iPhone market is saturated
A new study by market research firm Kantar Worldpanel based in Europe has disputed speculation that Apple's next iPhones may not do as well as the record-shattering iPhone 6 lineup, which proposes that pent-up demand for a bigger-screen iPhone has now been addressed after three quarters of staggering sales figures. The study not only found that at least a third of all US iPhone buyers are at the end of their two-year contracts, but that the "switcher rate" from Android to iOS in Europe continues to grow.
Users circumventing T-Mobile tethering restrictions face carrier punishment
T-Mobile is warning its customers not to abuse the carrier's unlimited data service, or they will end up being punished. CEO and President John Legere has spoken out against some of its highest bandwidth-consuming subscribers, warning that they will find their plans will be altered to limit the amount of bandwidth they use, preventing them from abusing the service and freeing up capacity for the rest of the carrier's subscriber base.
Free Google Play credit, $100 cash offered if iPhone users switch to Samsung
Samsung, in an attempt to make its current "switcher" promotion more attractive, is offering iPhone users who switch to its smartphones extra bonuses. On top of what participants of the existing Ultimate Test Drive receive, Samsung is offering $100 in Google Play credit if the user actually purchases a Samsung device after the trial period -- with an extra $100 check awarded if they trade in their iPhone with their carrier or a retailer.
Free wireless service, contract buyout offered by Sprint to DirecTV subscribers
Sprint is attacking AT&T and "celebrating" its competitor's merger with DirecTV, by offering existing DirecTV customers free service for a year if they switch carriers to Sprint. Starting from today and running until September 30, existing customers of the satellite TV service can activate new lines on Sprint and get 12 months of service with no monthly fee, including unlimited talk, unlimited text, and 2GB of data per line per month.
Android tablet, projector, and LTE hotspot in one package
Home theaters are becoming more and more accessible these days, but maybe you've been a bit wary about buying a home projector. Honestly, we don't blame you. Until recently, your options for home projectors have been slim, all with obvious downfalls. Most home projectors weren't affordable or user friendly, or if they were, they simply weren't bright enough or designed to work with your electronics. That's not universally the case anymore, and we're going to show you how easy at-home projection can be with our review of the ZTE Spro 2 Smart Projector.