iPhone, News/Rumors

Mobile phone newcomer FreedomPop to sell first Apple devices

FreedomPop, an upstart mobile carrier, announced it will start offering the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4 on its free wireless plan giving 200 voice minutes, 500 text messages and 500 MBs of data per month.

FreedomPop was previously known as the carrier offering free and cheap data plans on Sprint’s network and its plan was only available to select Android devices after launching last year with an outdated HTC device. Additionally, the company is launching a new iOS app that provides iPhone users with free voice, text, and voice mail on any carrier.

“With the launch of its new iOS app, FreedomPop allows any iPhone user stuck in an existing contract to save hundreds of dollars per year by downgrading their voice plans and leveraging FreedomPop’s free voice and text service directly from their existing phone.”

The app is currently available only for US users and provides with a free phone number.

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“This is going to be a big step for us,” said FreedomPop CEO Stephen Stokols.

Of course, the most significant part of the announcement is that FreedomPop will be selling the iPhone 5 directly to customers for just $349 on one of its free no-contract plans. It won’t be available for the iPhone 4, but it will support the smartphone for those who wish to bring their own Sprint-compatible iPhone and supports routing your old number over to the service.

FreedomPop reported it has signed up hundreds of thousands of new customers since adding mobile phone service last October.

In addition to the iPhone, FreedomPop also aims to add the LTE-capable Galaxy SIII and Galaxy S4, for under $200 and for under $300, respectively.

iPhone, News/Rumors

iPhone 5 Touch Screen better than Android

A new set of TouchMark benchmarks from Agawi showed, that the iPhone’s touch screen is much faster than Android and Windows touch screen.

With help of a 240fps high frame rate camera and a custom-built item called a Touchscope, Agawi examined a number of smartphones to unveil their App Response Time (ART). The ART shows the latency experienced between the period of time when an owner touches the phone display to the device’s on-screen response.

According to the results, Apple’s iPhone comes in with a minimum app response time (MART) of 55 milliseconds. The figure is better, than Samsung’s device has. For its Galaxy S4, MART reaches only 114ms, while the Lumia 928 has 117ms. The iPhone 5’s closest rival was the iPhone 4, with a MART of 85. As for the HTC One and the Moto X, their MARTs are 121 and 123ms, respectively.

Agawi CEO, Rohan Relan noted:

“App responsiveness is judged by how quickly the app can respond to your inputs. Smartphones with touchscreens that have lower MART scores feel snappier. This is probably why, to many users, the iPhone keyboard feels more responsive than an Android phone keyboard.”

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Awagi stated, that Apple’s touch screen hardware captures and processes touch better, than the Android and Windows phones do. But, Awagi wants more investigating and comparison, as the company’s team is sure the coding differences can cause some changes in results.

Agawi also wants to make new TouchMark tests, showing both the hardware and software behind the benchmarks, that makes it possible to replicate results. The recently released iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c can also be tested soon by the company.

iPhone, News/Rumors

Apple’s new ‘FaceTime Every Day’ ad focuses on emotions

To continue the series of TV commercials, Apple on Monday uploaded a new  iPhone 5 ad to its YouTube portal that showcases FaceTime video full of emotions that can be captured by the device.

The new ad titled  “FaceTime Every Day” is similar to Apple’s most recent ones, and contains slices of life from multiple iPhone users, showcasing how many people use the the video calling protocol to share emotions with their relatives or friends without saying a word.

While the first two ads showed how “Music Every Day” and “Photos Every Day” helped a lot of people to use iPhone every day to listen to their favourite music and enjoy taking pictures, the company’s latest iPhone 5 ad says, that “every day, more people connect face-to-face on the iPhone than on any other phone” without using gimmicks or loud music.

The Cupertino company emphasizes the role of FaceTime, while the iPhone 5 itself is almost transparent in the ad. The audience is given various ways in which FaceTime can be used, including connecting with friends and parents, communicating with help of sign language, and even showing a new apartment. These all are facial expressions lit by the iPhone screen’s glow.

The key principle of these new commercials is simplicity, but almost every scene of “FaceTime” is accompanied by actors’ voices. While most videos are usually spoken in foreign languages, this ad brings a lot of laughter.

When the surrounding people see an iPhone owner smiling or kissing the air, they understand that FaceTime is made to deliver the unspoken. iPhone is a way of expressing feelings that are difficult or impossible to voice.

“FaceTime Every Day” focuses on one-on-one communication and you can check it out:

 

iPhone, News/Rumors

Apple vowed to investigate death of Chinese woman using a charging iPhone 5

Apple said the company is investigating the death of a Chinese woman who was allegedly electrocuted when getting out of the bath to answer the call on her iPhone 5, which was charging at the time, as Reuters reported.

There are only few details on the incident, but the woman’s family is reported to insist that the woman purchased iPhone from Apple this winter and was using Apple’s official charger at the time of the incident.

Apple said that it is “deeply saddened” by the “tragic incident” and will commit to investigate the situation.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of this tragic incident and offer our condolences to the … family. We will fully investigate and co-operate with authorities in this matter.”

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Apple refused to comment on details, such as whether this was an isolated case. There were no previously widespread claims about faulty charging with the iPhone 5. Apple did refused from iPhone 3G power adapters  in 2008 which could cause a  shocking risk. Some experts have already noted that any device presents a more risky situation when being used while charging.

The company has started receiving a lot of negative reports from the Chinese media regarding the company’s warranty policies and even made Apple apologize formally. This “tragic incident” will probably add fuel to the flames and soon a lot of criticism will be heaped on the company.

iPhone, News/Rumors

Walmart drops the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 prices

Walmart’s customers can now purchase Apple’s iPhone 5 at one of the lowest prices available, just $129, and become a new user of the iPhone 4S for under $40.

Last Saturday, Walmart announced that it would cut the prices of the last two generation smartphones. The iPhone 5 will receive a discount with a price dropping from $189 to $129, while the iPhone 4S will reach from $89 to $39.

Both devices are available at the listed prices upon owners of a new two-year contract signed with one of three carriers. Customers can choose either AT&T, Spring or Verizon, while T-Mobile isn’t offered, as Walmart doesn’t support the carrier.

This isn’t the first time when Walmart offers lower prices for Apple devices. Last winter, the company organized a holiday promotion and announced the iPhone 5 priced at $127.

The question is whether other retailers drop the prices of the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S to compete with Walmart. In January, Best Buy announced it lost $65,000 in one day after price-matching Walmart’s sale price on the iPhone 5. That is probably why the electronics retailer restarted its June iPhone trade-in program. With that program all customers are offered to sign up for a new agreement to get up to $150 off the cost of an on-contract iPhone 5 if they trade in an iPhone 4 or 4S.

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iPhone, News/Rumors

iPhone 5 screens in-store replacing as part of AppleCare overhaul

According to a new Apple’s policy, the company started replacing iPhone 5 screens in the broken units to bring devices to new lives. It means, that now the company can repair only  screens instead of swapping out the broken units for refurbished devices. Thus,  Apple Stores play a bigger role in the company’s repair policy, but  such in-store screen fixes are just a part of a new Apple’s plan, that will help the company to save almost $1 billion per year, as the company wouldn’t need to swap out entire devices, but just a single faulty component.

Such new policy will save money not only for Apple, but will also benefit consumers, as the previous price for a swap out was as big as $229. As reported, customers who didn’t purchase the AppleCare+ warranty, which costs $99 up front and $49 per replacement, are now offered to fix their devices at a lower price.

In addition to such in-store repairs, Apple is planning to offer a new AppleCare pricing plan, or change its subscription model-based service. The new system is expected to be on a per-customer basis, and no matter how many devices are in his possession. Moreover, the new repair service will offer one year support to two years at a later date, while the current reaches only 90 days of free phone support with a new purchase. Apple’s online assets with monitored Community Forums and live chart assistance are also expected.

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Accessories, News/Rumors

Cassette Tape live on with the case for iPhone 5

For those who remember their first albums, which were recorded on cassettes and are ready to greet these things in a new variation, then this news will cheer you. You can help it live on with this cool cassette case for iPhone 5 from Rocket Cases. Priced at just $14.99. This accessory will delight all fans of the original items, and especially music lovers.

Made from a sturdy TPU plastic the cover in the form of audio cassettes ideally adapts to the body of the iPhone 5, and protects it from micro scratches and drops. It also provides your device with all-over protection from the ingress of dust and dirt on the back of the unit, and a slightly protruding silicone edging prevents the screen from scratches on it.

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Due to the unique design and dense, but at the same time light and flexible material, the case has the same shape and curves of the iPhone 5 and practically does not increase its volume and weight. Thus, the control buttons, connectors, earpiece, and other communications are available. The cable you get with your iPhone fits just fine, but if you use a micro USB to Lightning adapter, you’ll need to pull the cassette case off at the bottom. Its shiny finish also makes it easy to pull out of your pocket when taking a call.

The biggest downside to the cassette case, however, is that Rocket Cases isn’t the only company that sells them. The cassette case may feel cheap, but it is built to last. This case could be great for your clumsy kids who need protection for their iPhone 5.

iPhone, News/Rumors

“Black Diamond”-world’s most expensive iPhone 5

Have $15.3 million lying around? United Kingdom-based designer Stuart Hughes will help you get rid of such sum! For three years on end, he has done his best to be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records with his most expensive handheld gadget. He has already made a number of ultra-expensive Apple devices – White iPhone 4 ($ 20,000), iPad ($ 121,000), iPhone 3GS ($ 3,2 million), iPhone 4 ($ 8,000,000) and iPad 2 ($ 8,000,000). Stuart’s new creation – $15 million iPhone 5, which topped all previous prices.

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This beautiful device took 9 weeks of detailed intricate work to re-create the original chasis of the iPhone 5 in solid gold all of which was started and finished by hand, including a flawless black single deep cut diamond weighing in at 26 cts, most unique to replace the home button also the chasis was inlaid with a circa of 600 white flawless diamonds with full gold dressing for the rear section with the logo in solid gold with 53 flawless diamonds.

This masterpiece has 135 grams of 24-carat gold and sapphire glass for the screen. $15.4 million handset, called «Black Diamond» and recognized as the most expensive smartphone in the world, was commissioned for Stuart by a Chinese business man who has had the black diamond for a while. A Chinese businessman was identified only as “Joe”. Purchase of probably the most expensive iPhone in the world isn’t possible, it’s made by special order. But a cheaper iPhone 5,  made entirely of gold is available right now.

News/Rumors

Analyst says: lower-cost iPhone prices make good sense

Following recent meetings with Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer, Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty today issued a research note sharing some of her takeaways from those discussions and her views on Apple’s future plans. Katy Huberty dis not disclose any important information that Oppenheimer shared. She just indicated that Apple is making effort to expand carrier partnerships and distribution for the iPhone to drive growth in Apples largest segment.She believes that Apples is working hard to develop new services to take advantage of the “stickiness” of the Apple ecosystem.

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On the case of lowering the price of iPhone, “We also see several signs that a lower priced iPhone makes sense: 1) iPad Mini is expanding Apple’s customer base with 50% of purchases in China/Brazil representing new customers to the ecosystem. 2) Chinese consumers show a desire to purchase the latest version of iPhone (instead of discounted older generations). 3) iPhone 4 demand surprised to the upside in the December quarter. Even at a low 40% gross margin and 1/3 cannibalization rate, we see an “iPhone Mini” as incremental to revenue and gross profit dollars.”
Despite continued investments in that pipeline, Huberty believes that Apple is likely to return more cash to shareholders as its cash holdings continue to grow. Huberty goes on to note that she believes Apple has maintained its long-standing approach to product decisions under the leadership of Tim Cook and that the company remains committed to innovation with a strong product pipeline under development. It would be wise for Apple if they would lower the prices for their devices. It would generate better revenue and adds more consumers that will be willing to buy Apple products.

iPhone, News/Rumors

iPhone 5 again a Best-Seller ?

According to the latest stats data Apple’s iPhone 5 was the best-selling smartphone in the world in Q4 2012.

History repeats itself: you remember when the iPhone 4S overtook Samsung’s flagship. This time the iPhone 5 took the crown from Samsung Galaxy S III. Now let’s get down to figures: Samsung shipped 15.4 million Galaxy S IIIs, while Apple shipped 17.4 million iPhone 4S units and 27.4 million iPhone 5 units in Q4 2012.

“Samsung’s Galaxy S3 has long proven wildly popular with consumers and operators across North America, Europe and Asia. However, global demand for the Galaxy S3 appears to have peaked and Samsung will surely be keen to introduce its rumored Galaxy S4 upgrade in the coming weeks to fight back against Apple’s popular iPhone range,” said Executive Director at Strategy Analytics Neil Mawston.

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As for the terms of  market share, the iPhone 5 currently holds 12.6% of the global market, followed by iPhone 4S with 8% and Samsung Galaxy S III with 7.1%.