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.
Prepaid carrier catches up to rivals
The US branch of Virgin Mobile will finally carry the iPhone 5 beginning June 28th, according to an announcement. As with any smartphone on Virgin the iPhone will be sold contract-free, in this case costing $550 for 16GB, $650 for 32GB, and $750 for 64GB. The main advantage of the carrier will be its monthly plans, which start at $35 per month and include unlimited texts plus 2.5GB of 3G/4G data. After the 2.5GB mark, speeds are throttled.
First trade-in day retailer's most successful ever
On Friday, the US branch of Best Buy will be launching another promotion in which shoppers can get a "free" iPhone 5. People who bring in an iPhone 4 or 4S in good condition can get at least $150 in credit, which is enough to cover most of the cost of a 16GB iPhone 5 with Best Buy's current $50 instant rebate. Should a used iPhone be worth more than $150, Best Buy says it will make up the difference with a gift card.
Disputed patent acquired from Siemens
A Texas company, Bluebonnet Telecommunications, is suing Apple for patent infringement in relation to call forwarding technology. Specifically Bluebonnet says that the iPhone 4S and 5 violate US Patent No. 5,485,511, a patent that previously belonged to Siemens Rolm Communications but was picked up by Bluebonnet in June 1996. The patent describes a phone communicating with a central switch to generate a list of options, which are then displayed for the phone's user.
Company looking to keep speeds relatively even between carriers?
Apple and the iPhone's major US carriers are imposing artificial caps on the cellular speeds of the iPhone and iPad, claims Joseph Brown, a developer of hacked carrier updates. Brown notes that by scrapping a line of Apple code in his AT&T update, iPhone 5 and fourth-generation iPad speeds saw "significant and noticeable results." AT&T iPhones are reportedly limited to 14.4Mbps HSDPA, despite the iPhone 5 being capable of 42.2Mbps DC-HSDPA+, and AT&T's 3G network supporting speeds up to 21.1Mbps. The carrier also reportedly limits LTE.
Attempt at saving cash on iPhone troubleshooting
Apple is now offering the option to have an iPhone 5 display replaced at an Apple Store for $149, says MacRumors. The service costs the same with or without AppleCare+. It may be most important for people without the plan, though, who otherwise have to pay $229 to have a non-defective iPhone replaced. With AppleCare+ active, a replacement is $49.
Deal should cover most of 16GB iPhone 5's price
Best Buy is doing a one-day promotion on Saturday in which it will give $150 in trade-in credit for a working iPhone 4 or 4S, says CNET. The deal is meant to cover the cost of a new 16GB iPhone 5. Buyers must be eligible for an upgrade (or new contract) with AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint however, and pay any sales tax or carrier activation fees. The promotion is also limited to Best Buy's retail stores.
Other phones getting week-long promotions
The US branch of Best Buy is planning to launch a $50 discount on iPhones starting on Sunday, says AllThingsD. The sale should last for four weeks, and cover the iPhone 4, 4S, and 5. All phones must, however, be tied to a new two-year contract with AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint, ruling out carriers like T-Mobile.
Foxconn staff still overworked
Apple's biggest supplier, Hon Hai -- better known as Foxconn -- is continuing to break Chinese labor laws, according to a newly-published audit by the Fair Labor Association. The latest evaluation was conducted in January, and did find that Foxconn is complying with 98.3 percent of the 360 points of action the FLA and Apple initially agreed to. 70 out of 76 items that were pending in mid-2012 have been complied with.
Aimed at existing customers eligible for an iPhone 5 upgrade
Hot on the heels of iPhone 5 promotions from T-Mobile and Verizon, AT&T appears to have thrown its hat into the ring with reports that existing, upgrade-eligible customers are being targeted in a new email. The email offers special trade-in pricing for used iPhone 4S models, promising up to $200 in credit towards the cost of an iPhone 5 -- effectively cancelling out the up-front cost of moving up. Appleinsider reports that the email may be only a regional promotion instead of national.
Adds 2,100mAh battery
Accessory maker Mophie has launched an iPhone 5 version of the Juice Pack Plus. The new case adds a 2,100mAh battery, which can roughly double the usable life of an iPhone. It in fact holds slightly more power than the Plus for the iPhone 4/4S, which is rated at 2,000mAh.
May hint at upcoming discount
[Updated with Verizon confirmation] Earlier today, Verizon briefly posted a $100 pricetag for the 16GB iPhone 5 on its website this morning, a move the company later confirmed was a genuine offer, but only for select customers. The phone typically sells for $199 with a two-year contract, which was also a stipulation for the $100 cost. Verizon quickly reverted the price back to normal, and in response to inquiries would only say it doesn't discuss rumors.
Promotional $99 down payment rises to $149 for 16GB model
The newest national carrier of the iPhone, T-Mobile, has ended a promotional "introductory price" period for the iPhone 5, raising the down payment from $99 to $149 for the 16GB model -- with similar $50 increases for the 32GB and 64GB models. Though it is still one of the cheapest ways to buy an iPhone 5 rather than buying a no-contract phone or going through a contract with one of the other carriers, the price difference with a T-Mobile plan is now down to about $20 less than buying the iPhone outright.
Does not require jailbreaking, doubles throughput rates
An altered carrier update that has been modified by two hackers successfully increases the bandwidth available for iPhone 5 units on T-Mobile's US network, tests have found. The patch to the carrier update file, which was originally distributed to add LTE signal to the iPhone 5 using T-Mobile's 1900MHz band, works on both unlocked AT&T units as well as "native" T-Mobile iPhone 5 devices without requiring a jailbreak, though instructions vary for customers using jailbroken iPhones.
Focuses on iPhone 5 discount
T-Mobile is planning to push the iPhone 5 heavily in weekend advertising for Mother's Day, according to an internal memo obtained by TmoNews. The effort should specifically focus on the trade-in offer T-Mobile has had since April 12th, in which new or otherwise qualified customers can hand in an iPhone 4 or 4S and negate the cost of buying a 5. The deal applies to both GSM and CDMA trade-ins, but does require that the old hardware have no damage.
Service currently limited to Houston, Orlando, Tampa
AT&T has officially launched Aio Wireless, an awaited MVNO carrier offering cheaper prepaid plans. Aio is offering Basic, Smart, and Pro tiers for phones, all of which including unlimited calling and texting. Basic costs between $35 and $40, and includes 250MB of data. Smart costs $55 per month for 2GB, and the $70 Pro plan ups the data cap to 7GB. Once a cap is exceeded, Aio begins throttling speeds. A special $15 tablet plan provides 250MB of data.
BiteMyApple ships OCDock iMac or Thunderbolt display-mounted iPhone 5 dock
Accessory retailer BiteMyApple.co has commenced shipping the OCDock, a dock for the iPhone 5 that fuses with the “foot” of the iMac and Thunderbolt Display. Designed to eliminate the hassle of wires, the OCDock boasts a cable as thin as a sheet of paper that slides under the aluminum foot of the iMac or Thunderbolt display. The dock is crafted out of brushed aluminum so it looks like an extension of the Apple product, not a separate piece. The dock retails for $80, and is sold exclusively at BiteMyApple.co.
Rollercoaster ride used to demonstrate low-light capabilities
Nokia is continuing to tease its impending launch of the Lumia 928, by comparing its camera against that of the iPhone 5 and Samsung Galaxy S III. A video on the Nokia website using footage from the three phones claims to show how the 8.7-megapixel PureView camera stands up to those found in competing handsets in low-light conditions.
Carrier may try to compete with Sprint, T-Mobile
Verizon will launch a $100 discount on the iPhone 5 sometime in mid-May, evleaks claims. No other information on the sale is available, such as how long it might last and who will be eligible. The rumor may have some merit, however, as Verizon's competitors have made similar efforts.
Continues trend of targeted iOS updates
In an unexpected move, Apple has released a new version of iOS exclusively for iPhone 5 owners. iOS 6.1.4 upgrades the audio profile for the device's speakerphone, and so far doesn't appear to make any other changes. The update applies to both GSM- and CDMA- equipped iPhones.
Samsung has made significant improvements to the GS4 AMOLED display
DisplayMate has run an in depth analysis on the new Super AMOLED 5-inch 1080p display in the Samsung Galaxy S4 giving its seal of approval. According to the site, the quality of AMOLED displays is starting to “challenge the best performance of the best LCDs.” Compared to the display in the superseded Galaxy S III, the new Galaxy S4 display is said to be better calibrated and brighter.
Some 240,000 units available across carrier's outlets
A number of US T-Mobile stores saw small lineups today for the carrier's launch of the iPhone 5, reports say. The information is confirmed by photos, first-hand accounts, and calls to some locations. In some cases, according to AppleInsider, shops reported having a "full store" for some time after opening. Documents obtained by TmoNews reveal that T-Mobile is limiting orders to one phone per person every 14 days, and that it has over 240,000 launch units to sell.