The MacNN Deals return, complete with new offers
After a brief technical-issue-related hiatus, MacNN Deals is back, and so is our daily look at three items you can pick up from the store pretty cheaply. For the first featured items to herald its return, we have selected deals involving an iPhone 5 and two Bluetooth speakers: one with classic looks, the other opting for a more unusual appearance.
Details of Apple Pay on iPhone 5 family revealed
Apple Senior Vice President Eddy Cue made an appearance at Oakland, California's Oracle Arena, and showed off the Apple Watch's Apple Pay functionality -- and took a veiled swipe at a competitor at the same time. Sporting the stainless steel model of the Watch, Cue showed how the device functions with the iPhone 6 series family, as well as confirmed an important detail of how the Apple Watch will bring Apple Pay to the iPhone 5 series of phones.
Small batch of iPhones may have short-lived battery
A battery exchange program for some iPhone 5 users has been extended into from this year into 2016. Initially limited to "two years after the first retail sale or until March 1, 2015, whichever gives longer coverage" the language on Apple's website for the program was quietly changed to run through January 2016.
Move could be temporary, with iPhone 6 permission coming from Sprint
While other Sprint mobile network resellers -- such as Ting and Straight Talk -- are preparing to finally be allowed to offer the latest iPhone 6 models, one company appears to have gone in the opposite direction. Virgin Mobile USA, which has continually had inventory issues with its current offerings of iPhone 5/5c/5s models since the launch of the iPhone 6, has now removed all mention of Apple products from its online storefront -- though this could be a temporary measure.
Solves unusual bureaucratic obstacle
Apple is now allowing people to participate in its iPhone 5 Battery Replacement Program even if they've had their phone's display fixed using third-party components, according to a notice on the company's private website for service providers. Apple's previous position was that it wouldn't replace batteries in phones that may have seen damage, and as such it required broken displays to be fixed first. If someone fixed a display on their own, though, Apple would deny them a new battery.
Units sold between first launch and January 2013 have defect, may be replaced
On Friday, Apple announced that it had discovered that "a very small percentage" of first-run iPhone 5 units -- those sold between September of 2012 and January of 2013 -- have a defect that results in unusually short battery life, and have instituted a program to replace the battery. Users will need to bring the units to an Apple Authorized Service Provider or retail Apple Store; however, customers should be aware that Apple will send the unit off to a facility to be inspected.
Car accessory mounts iPhone to air vents
Logitech has announced a pair of new accessories for the iPhone 5 and 5s. The first is the Protection+, a case with a tough external shell and a rubber internal layer to absorb some of the force of impacts. Its edges are deliberately raised to guard the screen. Phones in the case should be able to withstand drops up to 1.8 meters, or roughly 6 feet.
Costs start at $449
Apple appears to have opened another "factory outlet" storefront on eBay, in this case offering unlocked, refurbished GSM iPhone 5 models, notes AppleInsider. The page is similar to one launched last year that was selling products like refurbished iPads. Each phone is said to be officially inspected and include a one-year warranty, as well as a manual and charger.
Claims milspec-level damage protection
Casemaker OtterBox has announced Resurgence, a new line of battery cases, initially designed for the iPhone 5 and 5s. Each case is rated at 2,000mAh, and will automatically stop charging an iPhone once the device hits full power. OtterBox also promises that users can still do wired sync with a Resurgence equipped, and use an included headphone jack extender to hold headphone cords.
UK repair company says unofficial USB-to-Lightning adapters may burn out crucial circuit
Reports of iPhone 5 units with charging issues has lead a UK repair shop to note that unauthorized third-party charging accessories used with the iPhone 5 (and possibly other Lightning-equipped iPhones) may be causing damage to the iPhone itself, specifically by burning out a specific power-management integrated circuit (IC) labelled "U2." The circuit helps flow power to the battery and charging circuitry and also controls some USB functions as well as sends power to the sleep/wake button.
Seidio's Innocell Plus for iPhone 5 and 5s now available
Mobile accessories producer Seidio has announced the release of its new Innocell Plus battery case for iPhone 5 and 5s. The protective case -- available in black -- features a 2000mAh internal battery, and is accompanied by a micro USB cable that allows users to sync and charge their device without removing the case. Priced at $70 for the standalone case, the Innocell Plus with an accompanying holster is available for $80.
Companion app identifies compatible games, remaps buttons
Gaming peripheral maker Razer has announced the Junglecat, a combination case and gamepad for the iPhone 5 and 5s. Unlike some alternatives, the controller is designed to be small and thin enough to fit in a pocket. To that end only the bumper buttons are always exposed; a D-pad and four pressure-sensitive face buttons slide out from behind the case. Native iPhone ports and buttons remain accessible at all times.
CDMA iPhone 4, 4s to also be supported on FreedomPop network
Alternative telecom FreedomPop has announced that it is now selling the iPhone 5 (not the 5s or 5c, just the original iPhone 5 from 2012) and offering a free wireless plan with 200 voice minutes, 500 text messages and 500MB of data per month, the first time the Sprint MVNO has carried the iPhone. It will also support the CDMA versions of the iPhone 4 and 4S on its 3G network going forward, and has launched a new iOS app that offers free voice, text and voicemail to all iOS users on other carriers.
US, Canada only now, goes international on May 2
Apple has initiated a repair program for a subset of its iPhone 5 devices that may have issues with the sleep/wake button on the top of the unit. The company says "a small percentage" of the units, which were manufactured between the debut of the smartphone on September 21, 2012 and March of 2013, are prone to have the issue (not caused by abuse or other factors). If a buyer's iPhone 5 has a qualifying serial number, Apple will fix the unit and supply a loaner iPhone while it is being repaired.
Ting adds support for iPhone 5, could add iPhone 5s, 5c in September
Ting has started to support the iPhone 5 over its Sprint-based network, as rumored last month. The MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) already provides support for compatible iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S handsets, with the iPhone 5 bringing it closer to current generation devices, but not by much. A blog post advises that, since the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c reached Sprint in late September last year, support for the devices is expected to occur at "about the same time this year."
Age of device likely overriding concern
Sprint-based MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) Ting will start supporting unlocked iPhone 5 units on its network by next week, sources say. The carrier's iPhone support has so far been limited to the iPhone 4 and 4S; iPhone 5 support has allegedly been held up by Sprint, which often avoids allowing phones on MVNOs until they're a generation or more behind. Because the iPhone 5s and 5c have been available for several months already, the iPhone 5 has reportedly been given the go-ahead.
Griffin Technology's Merchant Case and Square Reader for iPhone facilitate business usage
Officially announced at this year's CES, Griffin Technology is now shipping its Merchant Case and Square Reader for the iPhone 5/5s/5c line. The Merchant case is custom-molded to secure the Square Reader in place, and eliminate excess strain on the iPhone's headphone jack when connected. The groove along the bottom aligns with the Square Reader, and allows credit cards to slide through smoothly. Its silicone construction protects the phone from drops and bumps, and an integrated slot located on the back of the case stores the Square Reader when not in use.
OtterBox announced new Symmetry series at CES 2014 for latest iPhones
Protective accessories company OtterBox has announced its latest case series for iPhone 5 family (as well as the Samsung Galaxy S4), more
CANVAS iPhone case and CoverBuddy iPad cover released by SwitchEasy
SwitchEasy has announced the release of its latest iPhone and iPad accessories, Canvas and CoverBuddy. The Canvas case is now available for the iPhone 5, 5s and 5c, and is made of a durable, scratch-resistant matte canvas material. Its protective polycarbonate and canvas composition provides protection while remaining lightweight, and its cover flap's microfiber material is gentle on the screen's surface. Available in black, red and pink, the Canvas is priced at $25.
Nokia, Samsung, BlackBerry still ahead of Apple overall
A new survey by the United Arab Emirate's (UAE) telecommunications regulatory authority as shown that the iPhone 5 is the most popular individual brand of smartphone in the region, with Apple overall emerging as the fourth most-popular brand among handset makers. About half (46 percent) of the phones on the UAE networks are smartphones, according to the study.
Buyers prefer iPhone 5s over 5c by 3-to-1 margin, but both doing well
Confirming widely-held beliefs that the iPhone 5s is outselling the iPhone 5c -- but upending the conventional wisdom that the iPhone 5c isn't doing as well as the iPhone 5 did a year ago -- the latest numbers from mobile analytics company MixPanel show a healthy and growing market for both models, though the iPhone 5s is the more popular -- and, roughly three months after introduction, now accounts for 10 percent of all iPhones.
Apple pulled orders from Malaysian factory because of low yields
Singapore-based supplier Flextronics effectively hired slave labor to help build camera modules for the Apple iPhone 5, a new Businessweek report claims. The company is said to have relied on recruiters across southeast Asia, who charged migrant workers hundreds of dollars -- up to half or more of their annual salaries -- for the right to take a job. The recruiters then confiscated passports, ultimately leaving the new workers without any pay or food for months.
iPhone support still largely quiet
Ting -- an MNVO carrier launched just last year, and based on the Sprint network -- is now supporting the iPhone 4 and 4S, a report claims. Ting, Apple, and Sprint are said to have signed a deal for the arrangement, which is described as a "beta" in which Ting has to prove that it can support iPhone customers, and hold up Apple's brand reputation, partly through screening for lost or stolen devices showing up on its network. Sources say that Ting is "scared to make Sprint nervous," and that "Sprint is terrified to make Apple nervous," given that Sprint has a deal to sell the iPhone while Ting doesn't. Being able to sell the iPhone often involves strict demands from Apple, including minimum marketing budgets and unit purchases.
Total webshare traffic for 5, 5c and 5s rises as user base updates
Among iPhones accessing the web, the percentage that are the most recent models -- the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s -- has undergone a "sizable shift" in the past three weeks to over 40 percent, reports app marketing and analytics firm Chitika. Prior to the introduction of the two latest models, the iPhone 5 alone represented just over one in three iPhones accessing the web. The growth suggests that owners of older iPhones are upgrading along with new buyers coming to the platform for the first time.
Problems expected to be solved over time
Apps are crashing on the iPhone 5s at twice the rate they are on the iPhone 5 and 5c, according to data from app tracking firm Crittercism. Whereas the 5 and 5c have have a crash rate just under 1 percent, the 5s has been tracked at roughly 2 percent. Crittercism suggests, though, that some issues are natural with new hardware and software, and it's expected that they will eventually be resolved.
Analyst argues Apple aiming for better profits over marketshare
A "bill of materials" breakdown for both versions of the new iPhone show that the 5c is significantly cheaper to build than an iPhone 5, while the 5s is only marginally more expensive than a 5, according to a new report from UBS analyst Ben Rooney. While the BOM cost does not include the massive amounts of money devoted to research & development, OS and software development, assembly, distribution, shipping, marketing, packaging and other costs, the new iPhones are likely to be more profitable overall.
Not a perfect color match for genuine article, doesn't hide home button
Uses who have a white iPhone can, for as little as six dollars, transform them into the highly-desirable iPhone 5s -- thanks to a Chinese-produced sticker set. The severe shortage of the real thing has spawned a "gold skin" kit to help status-seekers fool their more gullible friends. Though not precisely matching the champagne coloring of the genuine gold iPhone 5s or changing the new home button, the kit has sold thousands of copies and is even available through Amazon and other stores.
New line-up features cases for iPhone 5, 5S and 5C
SwitchEasy Limited, an electronics accessories company, has announced its release of Play for iPhone 5C, and Shades for iPhone 5 and 5S. Consisting of a form-fitting rubber construction and reversible wrist strap, Play is available in yellow, black, blue and pink for $18. The semi-translucent polymer case, Shades, is available for $30 in black, lime green and purple, and provides fully enclosed protection (with the inclusion of two protective films and two connector protectors) and metallic button covers. Both case products include a microfiber wipe and a squeegee for film application. SwitchEasy's products are available for purchase online.
Audiobook streaming service updated for iOS and Android
Audiobooks.com announced the release of its updated iOS and Android streaming apps today. Like Netflix and Pandora, Audiobooks.com's app can be used to stream content on demand, choosing from thousands of audio book titles. The latest version features a new user interface, home screen widget and audio player tray. The app can be downloaded from Google Play and iTunes, and requires a $15 per month subscription.
Discounts also available on iPhone 5, can be done in-store or mail-in
A day after announcing that it would accept iPhone trade-ins towards the cost of the new iPhone models (or other brands of contract phones), RadioShack has announced that it will join with carriers AT&T, Verizon and Sprint in offering pre-orders on the iPhone 5c, which commence on Friday. According to reader reports, RadioShack stores will begin accepting preorders at each store's usual opening time, and plans to have stock of all color options for all three of its affiliated carriers. Buyers can trade in smartphones to get up to $250 in credit.
Protection plan offers coverage for iPhones with monthly subscription
Third-party electronics warranty company SquareTrade released today its protection plan for all iPhone models, including the new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. Protect My Phone provides two years of protection against malfunctions and accidents for $8 per month. The plan covers up to four repairs or replacements, reimbursement for service from Apple's Genius Bar within 24 hours, and the option to cancel at any time. Accidental damages are included, such as drops, spills, broken screens, liquid damage and normal-use issues.
Up to $250 discount against cost of new contract smartphones
In addition to trade-in offers from online resellers, Walmart and even Apple itself, RadioShack has jumped into the fray with a new trade-in offer and discounts on soon-to-be-discontinued iPhone 5 models. The company's "Trade and Save" website offers a preliminary check on the value of your current smartphone, and will offer up to $250 (for an iPhone 5), $150 (iPhone 4S) or $100 (iPhone 4) towards a new smartphone (any brand) or discounted older-model iPhone. The retailer is offering the current 16GB iPhone 5 for $150 on contract to AT&T or Sprint.
Follows from Telus report, suggests Apple to keep 16GB as entry model
Just one day after reports that Canadian carrier Telus is going to discontinue the larger-capacity iPhone 5 models on September 28 -- one day after the expected arrival of the forthcoming iPhone 5S -- Vodafone Germany has been seen to be taking the same action on both the 32GB and 64GB iPhone 5 units, as well as the 16GB iPhone 4S through the leak of an internal email. The move reinforces speculation that Apple plans to fully retire the iPhone 4 design and make the 16GB iPhone 5 its "entry level" phone, with the "iPhone 5C" as the mid-range offering.
Retailer works on clearing out stock
Best Buy has dropped the price of a 16GB iPhone 5 to $150 at its retail stores. The company has offered similar deals in the past, but the new discount may be the last of its kind, since Apple is expected to announce two new iPhone models at its September 10th press event. If the iPhone 5 is still available after that point, it will likely drop at least another $50 in price.
Could hint at Apple retaining base iPhone 5 as entry-level model
A move by Canadian wireless carrier Telus may hint at Apple's strategy for its product line following the expected introduction of new iPhones at the September 10 event in Cupertino. The carrier, in a leaked inventory system screenshot, has plans to discontinue the 32GB and 64GB black versions of the iPhone 5 on on September 28 -- just one day after the expected arrival of the iPhone 5S, and a week after the expected arrival of the iPhone 5C. The move may hint at a plan to retire the iPhone 4/4S design and make the 16GB iPhone 5 the entry-level model.
Handset reveals pink or red plastic shell, but impossible to verify
A new video that purports to show a working, fully-assembled "iPhone 5C" was posted on Chinese tech blog C Technology, but reveals little if anything about the alleged forthcoming "mid range" or "more affordable" iPhone model, expected to be revealed on or around September 10. The 50-second video shows the alleged 5C surfing Apple's own web page only, and crucially the unit is never turned over to reveal the back, suggesting that it may be staged with a plastic back cover or reassembled backplate using a "leaked" plastic shell.
Expansion of Helium line of iPhone 5 case
Accessory maker Mophie has announced its release of color options for its iPhone 5 Juice Pack Helium charging cases. The battery-charging cases extend the life of the phone's battery capacity to 3000mAh, and allow for up to six additional hours of talk time on 3G, seven extra hours on Wi-Fi, 30 more hours of audio playback, or seven hours of extra video playback. Alongside the original dark metallic and silver color options, user can now choose blue, purple, pink, green or red for their Juice Pack Helium cases. With a one-year warranty, the new Juice Pack Helium iPhone 5 cases are priced at $80, and available on Mophie's site.
Arrives alongside Apple's official trade-in program
Best Buy is launching another iPhone trade-in promotion this Labor Day weekend, running Friday through Monday. People wanting to buy an iPhone 5 can trade in a working, undamaged iPhone 4 or 4S to get at least $100 towards a 16GB 5, or a minimum $150 towards a 32GB model. Should an old phone be worth more than the minimum, the difference will be made up with a Best Buy gift card.
iWALK releases four Lighting batteries for iPhone 5
iWALK has announced the launch of two new lines of external batteries designed for use with the iPhone 5. The Link series includes three products, the Link 1000i5, Link 1700i5 and Link 2500i5, each a pocketable battery with a built-in Lightning connector. Meanwhile, the Chameleon Lite is a full-body iPhone 5 case that incorporates a 2000mAh battery for up to 9 extra hours of talk time. The Link series is available in both black and white models with prices ranging from $45 up to $65, while the Chameleon Lite can be purchased in steel gray or white for $70.
Retailer likely clearing out stock ahead of iPhone 5S
The US branch of Best Buy has launched another iPhone trade-in promotion, running today through August 18th. People who bring an iPhone 4S into a Best Buy store can get a gift card towards an iPhone 5 worth at least $200, so long as the phone is working and undamaged. A similar deal exists for people trading in an iPhone 4, although the base gift card value starts at only $100.
Utilizes existing Lightning cables for charging
Accessory maker TwelveSouth has launched a new HiRise stand, this time for smaller Lightning-equipped devices. The unit operates like a dock, propping up a device for easy viewing and control while it continues to charge. Owners must, however, have their own Lightning cable ready to make the stand work as intended.
5S expected to upgrade to 12MP
The low-cost iPhone -- potentially called the iPhone 5C -- may be getting the same 8-megapixel camera in the iPhone 5, a Chinese report suggests. IT168 is hosting an image of a supposed 5C camera module, which resembles the one in the 5. Apple heavily promoted camera technology when the 5 was announced last September, focusing on aspects like low-light shooting and the use of sapphire.
Low-cost iPhone to be called iPhone 5C?
The rumored low-cost Apple iPhone could be called the iPhone 5C, if a picture of its purported packaging as seen on WeiPhone is to be believed. Current speculation around the naming centers on various images of the plastic device appearing in a range of different colors, with the 'C' standing for 'Color.' While it is possible that this case is destined for the low-cost iPhone, it could equally be destined for Chinese markets for colored iPhone knock-offs that could hit the streets of China before Apple launches its own device.
SLXtreme accessories now available for iPhone 5 and iPad
Snow Leopard has expanded their collection of heavy-duty cases, offering waterproof protection as well as battery charge supplementing to a users' iPhone 5 and iPad. The SLXtreme case for iPhone, the SLXtreme 5, has an integrated 2250mAh battery, powered by a solar panel, doubling the battery capacity of the phone. The case is designed to be waterproof down to six feet while maintaining full functionality. SLXtreme for iPad protects the iPad 2 or later, and offers waterproof protection for underwater and splash-prone environments. Optionally available is a built-in 1150mAh battery, complete with a USB out that enables users to charge other mobile devices while on the go. Both available in Fall 2013, the SLXtreme 5 will be priced at $130, and SLXtreme iPad for $150 with battery and $100 without.
Company looks to avoid PR problems
Apple is "deeply saddened" by the death of a Chinese woman who was electrocuted while charging her iPhone 5, and will "fully investigate and cooperate with authorities in this matter," a company spokesperson tells Reuters. Police say that Ma Ailun, a 23-year-old from Xinjiang, was killed when she attempted to answer a call on her still-charging iPhone 5. The incident gained attention when Ma's sister made a post on Sina Weibo warning other people to be careful.
Lowers down payment but raises monthly equipment cost
The US branch of T-Mobile has quietly adjusted its pricing scheme for the iPhone 5, reports note. Since July 3rd, down payments have been lowered by $4, bringing costs to $146 for 16GB, $246 for 32GB, and $346 for 64GB. The monthly equipment charge has been raised by a dollar however, leaving the iPhone 5 as much as if it had been bought unlocked through an Apple Store.
iPad, iPhone 5, MacBook Air listed as infringing hardware
Boston University is suing Apple over infringement of a patent for thin, insulating monocrystalline gallium nitride films. The Boston Herald reports that the case was filed Tuesday through the US District Court of Massachusetts, and that the patent in question dates back to 1997, credited to computer engineering professor Theodor Moustakas. The university lists the iPad, iPhone 5, and MacBook Air as infringing products.
Translates to 40 percent share of North American 4G smartphones
Following on the heels of -- and almost precisely in line with -- a Comscore study of US marketshare, ad network Chitika reports that when looking at just the "4G"-capable segment of the overall smartphone market, the iPhone 5 (Apple's only "4G"-capable phone) dominates web traffic just as the iPad does in the tablet arena. When looking at only 4G/LTE smartphones released since July of last year, the iPhone 5 by itself accounts for just over 75 percent of North America 4G web traffic, and when considering all still-active 4G/LTE smartphones it commands about a 40 percent share.
Retailer cutting $50 off iPhone 4, 4S
RadioShack has announced plans to join in tomorrow's launch of the Virgin Mobile iPhone 5. Prices will be identical to those direct from Virgin, except that RadioShack is promising $50 off the cost of the phone with a qualifying trade-in. That offer expires July 27th. If a person trades in an iPhone 4 or 4S, they can get $150 off until July 13th.
Also promises HSPA speed boost for iPhone 4S
An updated hacked carrier profile for AT&T unlocks early access to HD Voice for the iPhone 4S and 5, among other features, says developer iTweakiOS. The update is moreover said to enable faster HSPA speeds on the iPhone 4S, up to 21Mbps down, as well as early access to disaster and Amber alert systems. Troubleshooting efforts deal with unstable HSPA+ connections and iPad users losing signal entirely with a previous update.