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.
Hardware incubator hit hard by Fire Phone failure to launch
According to recent reports and rumors out of Seattle and Cupertino, e-commerce giant Amazon is scaling back some of its hardware ambitions. Amazon's Lab126, its hardware incubator has contracted somewhat, with "several hundred" of the 3000-strong staff looking for work following a combination of hardware development projects and the cancellation of some upcoming projects killed in the wake of the Fire Phone's failure.
New program allows customers to check if unlocked phones will work on Verizon
Verizon is making it easier for potential subscribers to join its network with their own hardware, by starting a program to activate specific unlocked mobile devices compatible with its network. Starting from this week, the carrier will now allow unlocked iPhones and other devices to be activated on its network, with a dedicated webpage allowing for customers to check that their device is eligible for activation.
Google re-opens Map Maker tool in 45 countries
Google is making its Map Maker tool available to more countries with an increased level of oversight, as part of a second wave of its reopening to the public. Temporarily shut down in May due to cartographical mischief by some users, the tool can now be used in 45 countries, including the United States, with participants able to submit local mapping changes that could be added to the main Google Maps listings at a later time.
Samsung Test Drive promotion for iPhone users runs out of smartphones
Samsung has temporarily put its smartphone test drive promotion for US-based iPhone users on hold, after running out of devices. Launched on Friday, the scheme offered iPhone owners the ability to try out the Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge, and Galaxy S6 Edge+ with cellular service for a 30-day period at a cost of $1. Cult of Android reports the South Korean electronics producer ran out of smartphones within a few hours due to "overwhelming demand," though since the program will be run until the end of this year, Samsung asks interested parties to keep checking back for when it can make more Galaxy smartphones available.
Convenient cable boasts two ends: micro USB and Lightning
If yours is a house of multiple devices chances are you leave with at least a couple of different cables in tow. But is it absolutely necessary? Doesn't it become a hassle trying to keep track of all those cords? Lucky for you, Tylt is here to fix that problem with the Flyp-Duo reversible USB charge & sync cable, a cable that lets you charge your iOS and Android products without excess cord clutter.
Comcast makes Xfinity Share streaming app available to all subscribers
Comcast is extending access to an app that allows users to stream from their mobile devices to an X1 DVR-ready set-top box to all subscribers. The app, Xfinity Share for iOS and Android, can be used to broadcast photographs, recorded videos, and live video streams from a smartphone to a suitable cable box, and it is also possible to share the stream with another subscriber's TV. Slashgear reports the app was originally available to just Triple Play package customers, but now it can be used by any Comcast voice, video, home, and Internet subscriber.
Free use of Samsung smartphone, data plan for month offered to iPhone users
Samsung is offering a trial of its smartphones to owners of the iPhone, in an attempt to acquire more sales by convincing iOS users to switch. Open to only iPhone owners in the United States, the "Ultimate Test Drive" promotion provides access to the user's choice of either a Samsung Galaxy Note 5 or a Galaxy S6 Edge+ smartphone for a 30-day period, with Samsung claiming there to be "no obligation" to acquire the borrowed device after the trial.
China iPhone sales continuing to skyrocket amid contracting market
A new report from industry analyst Gartner claims that Apple's iPhone sales are continuing to grow, and that Samsung's sales are continuing to fall, particularly in China. Overall, the report says that Apple's worldwide smartphone share increased 36 percent, rising 2.4 percentage points to 14.6 percent, while Samsung's sales have dropped 5.3 percent year-over-year. In China, Apple's sales grew by 68 percent, while the overall Chinese smartphone market fell four percent compared to the same quarter last year.
At stake is $400 million of $548 million damages award
Samsung has made its intention known to appeal the ruling on the its first trial with Apple before the US Supreme Court. In papers filed today, the Korean manufacturer petitioned that the continuing battle with Apple in the California courts be suspended until the matter could be heard before the Supreme Court, following the refusal last week at the US Federal Court of Appeals.
Altered Mobile Share Value plans includes 15GB data allowance for $100
AT&T has made some changes to its Mobile Share Value plans, changing the variety available to its customers. Starting from tomorrow, five core tiers of service will be available to choose from, with all including the same rollover data, unlimited calls and texting as earlier plans, and plans priced at $100 or more will also get free calls to phone numbers in Mexico and Canada added to their service at no extra charge.
Galaxy S6 edge+, Note 5 have similar specification, payment capabilities
Samsung has unveiled two new Android smartphones at its Unpacked event today, as well as when it will be launching its own payment system competing against Apple Pay. The Galaxy Note 5 is the latest in the manufacturer's phablet range, while the Galaxy S6 edge+ is a supersized version of its existing smartphone with the curved edge display, and Samsung Pay will start to be used by members of the public in the United States by the end of next month.
Carrier turns on Wi-Fi calling for limited number of iPhone users
AT&T is allegedly allowing some of its subscribers to take advantage of Wi-Fi calling, starting with those using iPhones running on last week's iOS 9 beta release. The carrier is said to have enabled the function for a limited number of iOS 9 users, letting them make and receive calls through their iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus via Wi-Fi instead of the cellular network, but is still stopping short of formally announcing the service's availability.
Twitter signs two-year agreement with NFL for extra promoted content
Fans of the NFL will soon see more football-related content in their Twitter feeds. The NFL has signed a two-year deal with the microblogging service, reports USA Today, extending an existing Twitter Amplify program that has offered TV highlights on the service since 2013. As part of the deal, it is expected that "significantly more" content will be posted to Twitter each day, including sponsored tweets, recaps of recent games, as well as footage from the NFL archives.
Latest episode a bit like a quick summer read, so try listening at poolside
This week, the usual suspects -- MacNN Editor Charles Martin, Managing Editor Mike Wuerthele, and staff writer Malcolm Owen -- deliver a lighter, shorter, 47-minute summer episode that tries to accentuate the positive, and make lemonade out of lemons. Having spent last episode complaining about iTunes 12.2, the iOS Music app, and (as required by law) Microsoft's Windows 10, this episode focuses on the new Back to School promo from Apple, what can be done to make iTunes better, how to make an OS X home server, how Windows 10 is working out, and Microsoft's new iOS-to-Windows initiative. Show notes after the jump.
New simplified Verizon sharing plans offer just four data allowance tiers
Verizon Wireless is overhauling its price plans, in a bid to be clearer to customers. Starting from August 13, the carrier is changing how it charges for its wireless service, separating out the data and charging per connected line, and requiring customers of the new price plans to also acquire a device in a separate payment plan, a scheme that bears some resemblance to competitor T-Mobile's plans.
Company straight-out denies Business Insider report about effort
In a rare refusal, Apple has shot down rumors that it is developing its own mobile service. In a terse statement, the company said in response to a Business Insider report yesterday that "We have not discussed nor do we have any plans to launch a (mobile virtual network operator)."
Low end of offerings begin at $200 a month, without home broadband
Following its very recent acquisition of DirecTV, AT&T has rolled out the first of its combined nationwide package of TV and wireless services from a single provider on one bill beginning August 10. The low-end offer includes HD and DVR service for up to four TV receivers, unlimited talk and text for four wireless lines, and 10GB of shareable wireless data for $200 a month.
Reverses $63M loss from previous quarter, 8.3M devices sold
T-Mobile has managed to post a net profit of $361 million for the most recent quarter, reversing a $63 million loss from the previous quarter and almost reaching the $391 million it brought in for the same period last year. In its successful quarter, the carrier reports total revenue of $8.2 billion, up year-on-year by 14 percent, with the per-share loss of $0.09 from last quarter being switched for an earnings per share of $0.42.
Teenagers charged for scam selling iPhone boxes filled with Play-Doh
Teenagers performing a scam where they sold iPhone boxes filled with Play-Doh bricks have been arrested. Three teenagers have been charged by the Auburn Hills police near Detroit, Michigan over the scam, after they sold the weighted box to a Metro PCS store owner, reports Reuters. The store owner contacted the police after he encouraged the teenagers to perform a second sale of "more phones" to the store, with the group arrested upon their return. All three have entered not guilty pleas and are due in court for a pre-exam conference on August 3.
Two new Moto X variants have large displays, 21MP rear cameras
Motorola has introduced three more devices to its Moto Android smartphone range at today's media event. A 2015 edition of the entry level Moto G was shown alongside two new variants of the flagship Moto X, including the Moto X Play with a large 3,630mAh battery said to last for up to 30 hours of mixed usage, and the Moto X Style, which uses a 5.7-inch Quad HD display and improved internal specifications.
T-Mobile subscribers able to stream Apple Music without using data allowance
T-Mobile is completing its Un-carrier Amped summer initiative with a pair of announcements that benefit Apple fans the most. Its Music Freedom service will include Apple Music for the first time, while customers picking up an iPhone 6 from the carrier this summer will be able to upgrade to the next generation of device for free, if the upgrade takes place before the end of this year.
Quarterly results largely positive for AT&T
AT&T achieved consolidated revenues of $33.0 billion for the last quarter, a year-on-year increase of 1.4 percent, according to the carrier's latest financial report. The earnings per share is also up to $0.69, up from $0.61 for the same period last year, with AT&T beating the $0.63 EPS expected by analysts despite meeting expectations on revenue, in what could be described as an overall positive quarterly report.
Phantom adverts affecting data caps, defrauding advertisers
Over 5,000 fraudulent apps currently available for iOS and Android are displaying ads users cannot see, but which are causing problems, using up cellular data, and costing advertisers around $850 million per year, says online fraud research company Forensiq in a new report. The ads are not visible on screen, yet the volume of them contributes to an overal slowing down of iPhone or Android devices while stealing data from often-limited cellular data plans.
Online deal highlights for July 22, 2015
Welcome to Daily Deals, the post where the staff of MacNN searches online retailers for offers, bundles, sales, and discounts on hardware, software, games, and gadgets for you, the discerning reader. All the old deals have been ruthlessly exterminated and are removed from the list, with the new collection including a refurbished 2.1-channel Logitech speaker system for $25, a 240GB Kingston SSD, and the Nikon 1 S2 mirrorless camera.
Region continues to offset normal summer sales doldrums
Although Apple's conference call with analysts on Tuesday was light on new information, a few facts and figures about China -- Apple's fastest-growing sales region by revenue, and currently buying more iPhones than the US -- came to light. In the most recent quarter, Apple's "greater China" revenues (which include Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau and Taiwan) jumped 112 percent from the year-ago quarter, to $13.2 billion. That's right, more than double. In a year.
Hidden fingerprint reader could aid removal of buttons from front of smartphones
Flagship smartphones and tablets of the future may not have a visible fingerprint reader on the front of the device, if a technology from one research firm is adopted by manufacturers. Sonovation has worked out a way to bond the fingerprint sensors directly onto the underside of a smartphone's glass display, potentially allowing for a future removal of visible readers, such as the home button on more recent Touch ID-enabled iOS devices.