AT&T

iPhone HD: The new Apple iPhone? Also, WSJ reports Verizon iPhone in the works

Monday, March 29th, 2010 | Personal | No Comments

iPhone 3G -- What will the iPhone HD look like?

Saw a few articles with “information” on the iPhone HD, and news on a Verizon iPhone.  The source of most of the information coming from Wall Street Journal (of all places!) … New iPhone Could End AT&T’s U.S. Monopoly.

Apple Inc. plans to begin producing this year a new iPhone that could allow U.S. phone carriers other than AT&T Inc. to sell the iconic gadget, said people briefed by the company.

The new iPhone would work on a type of wireless network called CDMA, these people said. CDMA is used by Verizon Wireless, AT&T’s main competitor, as well as Sprint Nextel Corp. and a handful of cellular operators in countries including South Korea and Japan. The vast majority of carriers world-wide, including AT&T, use another technology called GSM.

› Continue reading

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iPhone OS 3.0 – Apple to preview on March 17th, 2009

Friday, March 13th, 2009 | Personal | 1 Comment

iPhone OS 3.0

Apple will be previewing the new iPhone OS 3.0 on Monday March 17th, 2009 @ 1pm EST (10am PST) at the Cupertino Apple Town Hall. 

This has been repoted by quite a few various sources including Engadget, Macrumors, etc.

As far as “What” will be presented, it is known that this will be a developer version of the operating system only.  It will show off an updated SDK (for developing for the iPhone OS 3.0).

Rumors are running rampant on the net with regards to what the new OS major revision will contain.

Widely held to be true, are rumors of:

  • MMS (Multimedia text messaging)
  • Tethering via Bluetooth and USB (we’ve been talking about tethering on the iPhone for a while now, this isn’t a big surprise — after all it already worked almost a year ago)

More “out there” options, that have no confirmation, but seem likely are:

  • New Home screen app (SpringBoard) – we all now have too many apps to efficiently manage with the 16 icons (+4 static) per screen
  • Push notification to apps
  • Background processes
  • Copy & Paste
  • Flash support
  • Magnetometer support (digital compasses, as in the Android G1)
  • Syncing of notes
  • Better bluetooth support (headphones, car kits, etc)
  • Horizontal Keyboard
  • Video Conferencing (ok, we’re stretching it now)

In my opinion, we’re likely to see MMS, as  well as tethering.  Don’t get too excited, I’m sure tethering will come with a clause from ATT (most likely a monthly fee just like the blackberry).

Otherwise if we get just 1 or 2 of the wishlist items, I think we should be happy.  We’ve been looking for Copy / Paste, Flash, Push notification, and background processes for a while.  I know push notification is working for “MobileMe”, but I mean the type of push notification Apple was touting last summer (here’s a hint, its the same as the original Exchange push notification that Apple NEEDED to have in order to somewhat compete with blackberry).  

Let’s hope there is good news on Monday for us all.

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iPhone: An update to the carrier settings? MicroCells?

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009 | Personal | No Comments

I just popped my iPhone into the dock to sync, and got the following message:

An update to the carrier settings for your iPhone is available.  Would you like to download it now?

From a little bit of research, it seems to be linked to AT&T’s upcoming 3G MicroCell technology.  

It’s a smart idea, and it looks like they’re charging people for it!  

The only information I can put together about these MicroCells is:

  • An AT&T 3G MicroCell acts like a mini cellular tower supporting voice and data
  • It uses an existing broadband connection
  • Supports up to 10 3G handsets
  • Works with any AT&T 3G phone
  • Seamless call hand-over
  • Uses GPS somehow (probably for the cellular GPS information we take for granted, maybe associated with “e911″ issues, also to verify the network is used where AT&T is licensed to operate — some lines will be blurred here)
  • There is an associated fee (comparable offerings by Sprint $99 and $4.99 monthly, Verizon $249 and no monthly fee)
  • Unlimited plans will be available

Wow!  This is interesting!

If your gripe was ever “I don’t get service where I live”, then you just pay AT&T to extend their network to your home.  Your cell phone will act like your landline. 

I have to say, I didn’t see this coming, and I believe it’s brilliant.  With so many issues on some 3G phones, just buying this device should eliminate those problems.  Of course, it sucks to have to pay to fix service coverage.  We all know some of us will do it.

This has to be great for some small businesses too.  Setup a MicroCell in your office, pay for a basic cellular plan for your employees, and they can use the cell at the office for free.  

Plus — Apple Stores won’t ever have those embarrassing moments when you unbox your iPhone (do they still do that?) and you have no service in the store!

I’m not sure whether this is for any 3G device in the area, or if it’s specifically for your 3G devices in the area.  Most descriptions say it is secure, and that you can modify these settings.  I’d love to be able to share my 3G service with my neighbor’s phones if I could.  

Wonder if this is going to result in grumbling fro ISPs — now they’re supporting cellular calls.  

Some relevant links:

What is an AT&T 3G MicroCell?

AT&T’s 3G MicroCell to patch iPhone dead zones

AT&T 3G Microcell, a femtocell, coming sooner than we think?

Apple Issues Update Signaling iPhone Compatibility With AT&T’s MicroCell

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Google Android GPhone #2

Thursday, December 4th, 2008 | Personal | No Comments

With all the “hype” around the T-Mobile G1, what did we get?

Certainly not enough.  

Now we are waiting to see what happens with the – Agora.  

The Kogan Agora, powered by the Android Operating System will be the first phone in Australia powered by the Android software.

That’s right, Australia.  Will it get to the states?  It looks cool enough, but what about the specs?

 

  • 2.5-inch TFT-LCD flat touch-sensitive screen with 262k QVGA (320 X 240 pixel) resolution
  • 5-Way Central Navigation Key
  • QWERTY Keyboard
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • Built in Mic and Speaker
  • Headphone output
  • Video: JPEG2, H263, H264, MPEG4, AVI
  • HxWxD – 108mm x 64mm x 14.8mm
  • Weight: 130g
  • 1300 mAh Lithium-ion battery
  • Up to 400 minutes Talk Time
  • Up to 300 hours Standby Time
  • 624 MHz processor
  • 256 MB On-board + 128 MB Flash
  • microSD card expansion slot
  • VERY IMPORTANT: UMTS/HSDPA (850, 1900, 2100 MHz), GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)
Features available:
  • Handsfree
  • FM Radio
  • SMS
  • Email
  • MMS 1.0
  • Video Recording
  • IM
  • Phone Book
  • Ring Silencer/Quick Silent
  • Mini-USB Connectivity (Charging, headset)
The cost?  $299  according to the site.  Other news reports prices as $193 for a basic unit, and $258 for the “pro” unit.  These prices are prior to any subsidies being applied.  

 

Silicon Alley Insider reports on the release as well, Another Google Android GPhone On The Way (GOOG).

Dan Frommer, of Silicon Alley Insider, says that this phone woudl work better with AT&T than T-Mobile, as it doesn’t support the 1700 MHz frequency that T-Mobile uses for 3G.

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AT&T iPhone Tethering to cost $30/month

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008 | Business | 1 Comment

Macblogz reports, AT&T iPhone Tethering Plan Specifics, No Unlimited Plan?

Read the article, in summary:

  • Ralph De La Vega announced an official iPhone tethering plan
  • Supposedly, delayed because AT&T is paranoid about how the service will run on their network
  • 5GB Data Cap (just like blackberry users)
  • Initial connection through iTunes? (might be just initial setup)
  • Expected Speeds: GPRS: 30k – dialup speeds / EDGE: 110k – ISDN / 3g: 1000k – slow broadband
  • Will be $30 / month, new iPhone plans may roll out including tethering
  • Do not pro-rate tethering/bandwidth, it can become a nightmare, instead wait until new billing cycle (not sure how this will work)
  • Unlimited bandwidth = AT&T says to get a wireless PC Card
  • No ETA on launch
Some interesting points to watch out for…
A 5GB Data Cap?  We’re seeing bandwidth limits being expressed clearly, that’s one good thing.  On the flip side, they say this is a technical limitiation.  Is the 3G network not everything we had built it up to be?  The posting did say that cap may go down for all users (including blackberry) because of network congestion issues.
At least this doesn’t feel like AT&T is being “big brother” for profit, they are protecting their network.
$30 / month … ouch.  I know blackberry users are already paying this, but if you have an iPhone 3G with tethering, you are now paying $60 a month just for the privilege of the device.  That’s quite the premium to pay.
No idea on launch date — this means that Apple and AT&T have to find out a way to enable tethering natively on the iPhone in such a way that they can disable it if you hit your bandwidth cap.  This should be pretty interesting.  
What about the battery life of the iPhone after being used as a tethered connection?  I know we all use the wifi now, but with a tether we can use much more of the bandwidth — probably a fairly high tax on the battery.  
Of course, battery life isn’t a big deal if the iPhone is physically tethered to the laptop.  I haven’t seen anyone say anything about wireless tethering, just tethering.  Does this mean we need to connect the iPhone to the laptop?  Given the line about iTunes being required, maybe it requires the iPhone to connect to iTunes via USB to enable the tether?  

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iPhone 2.2 Screenshots, Podcast Updates, and Tethering

Friday, November 7th, 2008 | Business | No Comments

Some new news has been uncovered.  In a post on AppleInsider.com, Sam Oliver writes about the new iPhone 2.2 screenshots.  

 

The screenshots (shown above) show a new podcast interface to the iTunes store. Additional changes (reported a while ago) include modifications to the categories screen.  The new screen includes larger icons.  Personally, I prefer having the one line, shorter height categories.  You can fit more on the screen.  

As far as tethering on the iPhone — my bones tell me that AT&T is conjuring up another fictional fee to place on the functionality.  When will the time end that we have to pay a company to stop blocking functionality?

Reported in AT&T: Tethering Coming to the iPhone Soon, on Technologizer — the AT&T Mobility President and CEO Ralph De La Vega just told an interviewer, Michael Arrington, that AT&T is working with Apple to let the iPhone server as a tethered wireless modem for laptops.

This disgusts me.  

First of all, there was an app already out there that let us do this.  Apple removed it.  

Second — aren’t we already paying through the nose for our iPhone?  I’m paying AT&T an additional $30 a month, just to use the iPhone.  

If you’re willing, jailbreak your phone, and install PdaNet for iPhone.  

Hey — AT&T — if you don’t want us jailbreaking the phone, try not to eliminate functionality, spend 3.5 months recreating it, and then charging us for it.

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Android and Silverlight will help the iPhone

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008 | Personal | 1 Comment

So the #1 competition that the iPhone has, Google’s Android — and Apple’s big rival’s, Microsoft’s, rich web plug-in Silverlight — Will both help the iPhone?

Absolutely.

Lets all be honest here, Apple’s been holding control of the iPhone in too close.  We all have wanted GPS navigtion (real gps navigation), VOIP applications, alternative email applications, alternative podcasting apps, better browsing experience, and an overall better experience.

Until now, Apple had the final say on all of those things.  Preventing applications that competed with the iPhone’s core functionality, relenting to implement common technologies such as VOIP applications, Flash in Safari, and other nice to have’s.

With the Android platform out there, we can all bet it will soon have both Flash and Silverlight running.  It’s just a matter of time.  

Apple can’t afford to be so stringent, with a fairly capable competitor doing things that will gain it significant market share.

I love my iPhone, but if the Android gets flash and Silverlight (not that I’m a fan of Silverlight, but at least it’s something) — I’d probably give Apple a week or 2 to make an announcement, then go right out and get one.  Not only that, I’d happily leave AT&T for another provider. 

We all hope Apple sees this, and starts helping us out.

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iPhone 2.2 software coming soon?

Friday, September 26th, 2008 | Personal | No Comments

In a photo posted at iphoneatlas.com (seen below), you can see some of the changes Apple has in store for the 2.2 update to the iPhone.

Please check out the article, Apple Debuts New Safari Interface in iPhone OS 2.2.

Why are we always so excited about this minor updates Apple releases?

I know I love getting new software in the hopes that it fixes some of the things I most find annoying.  Every release for me has “Copy Paste” in it.  Then I install, it doesn’t have the feature, so I assume it’s in the next one.

The whole point of this update CAN’T only be moving the Google search bar up, and the refresh icon over?  Can it?

If it is, we know for sure they’ll say “other fixes and security updates” in the patch.

Whenever I’ve deployed a website missing some importantly functionality, I’ve always spent the night up working on a fix for it.

Worse yet, what if Apple started charging iPhone users like they charge iPod Touch users?  I find it obnoxious that they charge those users to upgrade the software.  Perhaps this is part of a contract with ATT?  Not to release functionality developed for the iPhone for free to other Apple customers who aren’t paying the $30 a month for the “privilege” of owning an iPhone.

Here’s to hoping that the next release fixes more than the dreaded “Google search bar misplaced” bug (sarcasm).  Maybe I’ll have more time to work with actual web development topics, as opposed to the iPhone drama.

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Frustration with AT&T’s Customer Support, and setting up a second iPhone

Thursday, September 11th, 2008 | Business, Personal | No Comments

Over the last few weeks I have been trying to get another line added to my AT&T service so I can connect my old iPhone to my account (officially, although I did play, successfully, with jailbreaking the old iphone once I had my 3G iPhone working).

To summarize my experience in one word, miserable.

The process started off with a pleasant phone call (conversation #1 ~30 minutes) to AT&T sales (always the easiest to get a hold of) with an agenda of:

1) Confirm new address (I had just moved)
2) Confirm pricing of an additional line
3) Confirm that with a new SIM card I can easily upgrade my old iPhone.

Of course the call was great, he helped work through everything, confirmed prices, and told me the process I had to go through.  All I had to do was get a SIM card shipped (3-5 business days) and when it was received, plug it into the old iPhone and — it would work.

WRONG.

Start off with, at the end of the call, an official disclaimer that I had to listen to.  You got that right — those disclaimers that no one reads and always clicks through, well, they said I had to listen to it after the call.  I said ok. Alas, 15 minutes later I hung up on it.  It was just obnoxious.

Fast forward exactly 10 business days after the initial call.

Tuesday (9.9.2008) I call AT&T (conversation #2 ~15 minutes) to ask what happened to my SIM card.  They had no record of it ever being shipped.  Nor did they have a record of anything we talked about in my initial phone call. The guy was just saying things and didn’t actually DO anything.

So the following day I go to pick up the SIM card (free of charge, gee, thanks) which took about 20 min. to get there, 20 min. to get back, and 5 min. in the store (running total is up to 90 minutes).

The man at the store says he cannot access my second number to enable the SIM card and that I’d have to do that by phone.  I said ”Ok” and went off to activate it by phone in my car. 

I like to give these Support personnel the benefit of the doubt, they aren’t the monster, they just work for them.  This phone call was a little rough explaining my situation (getting a new SIM card to install on an old iPhone with a new phone number), but it was going well.  Until at the end of the call when I was told, “You will need to call the Terms and Conditions phone number, which is … uhh … 866-895-10″ …. no signal.  I thought that since she said it was no problem, and I just had to call that number I could go home and get it sorted out.

From that point on it would be approximately 17 hours until that phone worked again.  It is STILL “Restoring iPhone from backup”

Personally, I believe she had disabled the SIM card on my main phone (the 3G iPhone) but I would never get confirmation on that.  That is, except for that the ultimate fix was to install the new SIM card in my current phone, and get yet another SIM card for my “old” iPhone.

Overall that night I spent 3.5 hours on tech support with AT&T and 3 different representatives.  The first few contacts were clueless and told me I had to go back to the store to turn anything on.  They would transfer me to that Terms and Conditions number, at which point I would enter my phone number, it would say I’m already activated and it would hang up.

I kept telling them that I really believed it had to do with the CS rep from the earlier phone call, as it happened to my main phone, when she was supposed to be doing something similiar to my old phone — changing the SIM card.

No one would listen to that, they kept trying to troubleshoot.  Turn this off, try that.  I told them it said “No Signal”, but they kept wanting me to try to call my own voicemail.  Can’t any intelligent person understand that it wouldn’t work?

Finally they whipped out a checklist and said “Well, we tried to reboot your phone, we reset your account with us, we have determined this is an Apple specific issue”.  They gave me the Apple Customer Support phone number (which is available anywhere) and said “We would be happy to hear that we resolved your issue.” 

To be fair, the CS rep I had the last time at AT&T was very nice.  She was patient, she understood how frustrated I was and herself volunteered to escalate to a manager (this was when their Terms & Conditions didn’t work, she did the call with me to verify, and she was trying to find out what she could do for me).

I had to tell her that I still wasn’t satisfied, as my problem hadn’t been solved, and I thought I was just being handed off because they didn’t want to deal with me anymore.  However, I figured I’d have to go through Apple to get them to respond any further to me. 

So I did.

Apple was quick to the point.  The rep had me reset the phone, and call back.  When I called back nothing had changed in the phone (there was still the “No Service” label in the top left corner).  They got AT&T on the phone for me, and came back with the following, “We have decided that it can only be one problem, the SIM card needs to be replaced.”

Another trip to the store and I finally get everything back up and running.  The store employee took my SIM card from my original iPhone and put it in my new iPhone 3G (which was the phone that had traditionally been working).  To me this means — the original CS rep disabled my 3G iPhone’s SIM (which wasn’t to be changed at all in this whole process), and AT&T didn’t know how to check this.

I felt like Apple was really trying to help — they even got AT&T on the phone.  That shows me that they really wanted the issue solved.  The Customer Support representatives from AT&T just wanted to get me off the phone.  They wanted to fullfill their obligation to test certain things, and then hand me off.

I’m very UNHAPPY with the way AT&T treated the issue.  Especially since it’s one they caused.  My phone worked before calling in, after it failed, and I had to spend a total of 5 hours and 45 minutes of MY time dealing with this issue.

Please let me know if anyone has had similiar experiences.

I’m not an Apple fan boy myself, actually I’m one of those rare “happy” Windows Vista users with no desire to switch over.  This is just how I saw this specific incident.  I do, however, love the iPhone and iPod products.  It’s a problem.

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