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.
Dozens of apps allow unlimited login attempts, creating minor security risk
A new report has found that a number of popular iOS and Android apps have what amounts to a minor security fault, in that they allow users to make an unlimited number of attempts to login to an associated account, thus making them vulnerable to password hacking for attackers who have physical access to the device, such as thieves or overzealous law enforcement. Security firm AppBugs says "dozens" of apps are affected, including Slack, iHeartRadio, Dictionary, SoundCloud and many others.
New e-SIM cards lets users switch carriers without changing SIMs
A new form of SIM card may be used in a future iPhone, if reports Apple is working with a mobile telecoms industry association are correct. Apple is reportedly working with the GSMA and a group of other companies in the mobile device market, including Samsung, in adopting electronic SIM cards (e-SIMs), which could allow for users to switch between carriers quickly and easily, without resorting to changing the physical SIM card.
T-Mobile refreshes family plans with four-person $120 option with 10GB data each
T-Mobile has revamped its family plan, as part of its "Uncarrier Amped" announcements. The new scheme has two people each having unlimited calls, texts, and 10GB of LTE data for each line for $100 per month, with additional lines including their own 10GB allocations costing an extra $20 per month, and an additional 10GB of data available at $10 per month per line. From now until Labor Day, the carrier will cut the cost of the fourth line entirely, making the four-person family plan with 10GB of data each cost $120 per month.
Pebble Time Steel production begins, shipments to backers starting this month
Pebble has revealed it is beginning production of the Pebble Time Steel smartwatch this week, with the first devices expected to start shipping to backers in the last week of this month, two months after the standard Pebble Time went through the same process. Steel version backers are supposed to receive a leather band and a matching metal version, but due to limited initial supply, Pebble will be including both bands where possible, with some backers getting their steel bands at a later time than the watch itself.
Roaming changes announced alongside T-Mobile subscriber increases
T-Mobile is allowing some of its subscribers to use their smartphones abroad in some countries without extra charges, under "Mobile Without Borders." As part of T-Mobile's Un-Carrier Amped announcements, users of the carrier's Simple Choice plans will be able to roam in Canada and Mexico for free, starting from July 15, with both prepaid and postpaid customers being able to use calls, texts, and data in the countries under their existing calling plans.
Loss of 7,800 Microsoft jobs, $7.8B impairment charge confirmed
Microsoft has revealed it is planning to majorly restructure its phone hardware business, in order to "better focus and align resources." An email sent out to staff by CEO Satya Nadella advises that the restructuring effort will also mean layoffs, with up to 7,800 positions at risk in its phone business in the coming months, as well as recording an impairment charge of approximately $7.6 billion in its next set of financial results.
Share of iPhone increases by 1.8 percent for second quarter in a row
Matching its performance in the previous quarter, Apple's iPhone again gained nearly two percent market share in the US in the last three months, according to ComScore, widening its lead as the dominant smartphone maker. While Android as a platform continued to hold the top platform position at 52.1 percent, it again suffered an overall decline of 0.7 percent, while iOS surged to 43.5, a 1.8 percent gain matched exactly by losses from Android, Microsoft, and BlackBerry.
Online complaints prompts backtracking by Sprint over bandwidth policy
Sprint has backtracked on its decision to limit the bandwidth of video streams in a recently launched plan, following online complaints. The All-In plan, launched just yesterday, will no longer have the video-specific rule in play, which prevented subscribers from watching streaming video at higher bit rates than 600kbps, with the carrier having to find other ways to prevent its network from being heavily used.
Huawei Honor 7 has 5.2-inch 1080p display, 20MP camera, metal body
Huawei has launched a pair of new devices in the last 24 hours, including a smartphone and a smartwatch that are both destined for sale in China in the near future. The Honor 7 is a smartphone equipped with a 20-megapixel camera with phase detection autofocus, held inside a metal alloy frame, while the Honor Band Zero has been teased as another round-faced smartwatch that the manufacturer is aiming to release this summer.
Video throttling restriction included in $80 Sprint unlimited data plan
Sprint has launched a new price plan today that it hopes will make the cost of the service simpler to subscribers signing up to it. At the same time, the carrier has also come under fire for including a policy in the "All-In" plan's small print, limiting the amount of data transferred for specific types of network traffic, a move which some may consider to be against the basic principles of net neutrality.
Deal puts end to roaming charges in European Union by June 2017
Europe is one step closer to ending mobile phone roaming charges throughout the continent, after the European Parliament agreed on new rules to forbid them once and for all. According to the deal, agreed to last night in the final days of Latvia's European Union Council presidency, roaming charges as a whole in the region will be scrapped in the next two years, with the agreement also -- surprisingly -- including stricter net neutrality rules that would apply across the continent.
Spring expands Direct 2 You deliveries to four new markets
Sprint is bringing its Direct 2 You home delivery and set-up service to two new markets. The latest major expansion of the service, Sprint will now be delivering smartphones and transferring files and user settings between old and new devices in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Denver. This brings the total number of cities covered by Direct 2 You to 28, with it expected to roll out to more locations throughout the rest of this year.
Jump On Demand customers able to upgrade three times per year
T-Mobile is altering its Jump program yet again, making it cheaper and easier for subscribers to upgrade their smartphone whenever they want. Introduced in a video from CEO and president John Legere, the Jump On Demand program continues to allow customers to upgrade their smartphone and cover the cost of the device with a monthly free, but now customers are able to trade in their device up to three times per year, instead of the current limit of twice per year.
Ubuntu smartphone being made available on invitation-only basis
A smartphone running Ubuntu is being made available to potential users in Europe, on an invitation-only basis. The Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition, a repackaged version of the existing Meizu MX4 running the titular operating system, is a device with a 5.36-inch, 1920x1152-resolution, Gorilla Glass 3-protected display, backed by a customized octa-core Mediatek processor with PowerVR G6200 GPU, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage.
Partnership will build developer resources, materials for mobile migration
Linux provider Red Hat and Samsung Electronics America today announced a strategic alliance to deliver the next generation of mobile solutions for the enterprise. The partnership will fuse Samsung's mobile device portfolio with Red Hat's open source middleware, mobile and cloud technologies to deliver mobile solutions that enable rapid development and integration of enterprise applications for organizations.
A seven-port USB Charging Station keeps you from being powerless
Whether at home or at work, there's a lot of stuff that needs to be charged -- and sadly there's only so many outlets to charge them on. Even if the number of outlets isn't a problem, who wants to always have to answer the question, "have you seen the iPad?" with the answer, "have you checked the bathroom?" The Satechi Seven-Port Multi Charging Dock is a seven-port charging hub that only takes up one outlet, keeps everything together in a single location, and makes an effort towards the Herculean task of making the rat's nest of cables and devices look nice and neat.
Deal brings Marvel comics to Kindle Store
Comic book fans now have more of a reason to go to Amazon, as a deal between Marvel and the retailer has brought more than 12,000 digital issues to the Kindle Store, allowing for comics from the Amazing Spiderman, Daredevil, and other franchises to be downloaded to the Kindle app and Kindle ebook readers. The agreement does not affect ComiXology, the digital comic book service owned by Amazon, nor the ComiXology-powered Marvel Comics platform.
Samsung Knox being used to force the update to affected smartphones
Samsung is issuing a patch to close a vulnerability in its smartphones caused through an insecure updating system for its software keyboard. The manufacturer is pushing the fix to affected smartphones over the next few days via a security policy update via Samsung Knox, its own security platform meant for enterprise use, though it is also working on a more standard firmware update for non-Knox devices that will pass through carriers.
FCC claims AT&T misled consumers using grandfathered unlimited data plans
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is planning to fine AT&T to the tune of $100 million, for "misleading its customers about unlimited mobile data plans." Resulting from complaints received by the agency since 2011, the carrier is being penalized for throttling the amount of data for customer accounts that have plans marketed with "unlimited data" once they reach a certain threshold for the month.