By Mikey Campbell
Published: 06:15 PM EST (03:15 PM PST)
ATT plans to raise insurance costs for iPhone users and begin to throttle the top 5 percent of its data users as it prepares for the launch of Apple’s fifth-generation handset.
The wireless provider on Friday updated its insurance information webpage to note that starting Oct. 4, rates will jump from $5 to $7 for both new and existing customers.
As Electronista points out, the price hike arrives in conjunction with the establishment of a new device tier ( Device Tier 3) for iPhone and “other devices” that carries a $199 non-refundable deductible.
The changes go into effect the same day Apple has scheduled a media event to take the wraps off its latest line of iPhones. As such, the timing may suggest that Apple and it partners may begin accepting pre-orders shortly after the announcement, given the new insurance plan will go into effect the same day.
Another change coming to ATT customers ahead of the new iPhone is the throttling of data speed for its heaviest users.
Some of these customers began receiving text messages from ATT this week, advising them that their data usage places them in the top 5 percent of the network and warns of reduced speeds beginning Oct 1st. Reddit user skelatwork posted an image of a text he received from the carrier on Thursday, claiming he had used over 11GBs at the time.
ATT released a statement in July preparing users for the bandwidth cap, though it has never outlined what usage statistics constitute being in the top 5 percent.
A new study has revealed that there is a high demand for the iPhone 5 ahead of the expected launch of the next-generation smartphone this Tuesday.
Apple is expected to launch its iPhone 5 this Tuesday at an event it will hold at its Cupertino, California headquarters.
According to InMobi through a report from PC World, 41 percent of cellphone users in the U.S., Canada and Mexico have said that they plan to get the iPhone 5 when it is released.
In terms of people wanting to switch from other phones, the InMobi study reveals the following: over 50 percent of BlackBerry users plan to switch to the iPhone 5, 27 percent of Android users plan to switch to the iPhone 5, and 51 percent of users of older version of the iPhone plan to get the iPhone 5 when it is released.
As for expected time frame of getting the iPhone 5, PC World writes: “Within the group of potential switchers, the study says, more than 50 percent of respondents said that they would buy the iPhone 5 within the first six months of its availability. This could help Apple increase its market share from 27 percent in June to a dominant 41 percent, the study predicts.”
However, it is still unclear whether the iPhone 5 or an enhanced iPhone 4 being called the iPhone 4S or the iPhone 5 together with the iPhone 4S will be launched on Tuesday.
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Boston-based Gazelle.com and Billerica’s NextWorth are gearing up for Tuesday’s widely-hyped release of the Apple iPhone 5 — the biggest event of the year for the local companies, which pay cash for old gadgets.
Anthony Scarsella, chief gadget officer of Gazelle, is comparing the event to Black Friday — Gazelle is rolling out a simpler trade-in interface just for the iPhone, and an iPhone app and increased customer service for the big day.
“This is the first app where you can trade in your iPhone from your iPhone,” he said.
Scarsella said 4,500 mobile phones have been traded in so far during the two weeks before the release, compared to 3,500 prior to the release of the iPhone 4, a level of activity he called “unprecedented.”
“They always wait at least until the announcement,” Scarsella said. “Everyone’s trading in their phones before they even know what this thing’s going to be. It’s crazy.”
Sprint, Verizon, and original iPhone carrier ATT are expected to offer the iPhone 5, and Scarsella said trade-in activity points to Sprint and Verizon customers planning to switch to the iPhone. In the last three weeks, Gazelle has seen a 49 percent increase in BlackBerry trade-ins and a 102 percent increase for trade-ins for phones using Google’s Android operating system, Scarsella said.
NextWorth is guaranteeing $250 for ATT iPhone 4’s in good condition until Monday.
“Our big push is to make people aware that this is an option,” said NextWorth chief marketing officer Jeff Trachsel. “People just put stuff in a drawer without realizing it retains significant value.”
Trachsel said the next big product on the trade-in horizon was another Apple product, the iPad 3.
“We’re hearing January through the rumor mill,” he said. “That’s our next big mover.”
Scarsella mentioned a product released just last week, the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet, which he said could spur iPad owners to downgrade to the $199 device.
“It’s a product that’s almost the same thing, almost as good for half the price,” he said. “We expect a lot of Kindle and a lot of iPad trades in November.”
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Another report from MacRumors said one of the Case-Mate iPhone5 cases that appeared a couple of weeks ago was showing up at ATT stores. The report stated that a MacRumors reader had sent “alleged photos of iPhone5 silicone sleeves that appear to have arrived at his ATT store.”
Similar to other cases for the rumored redesign of the iPhone5, these cases also show a thinner design and the mute switch moving to the opposite side of the device, according to the MacRumors report.
Meanwhile, according to a 9to5Mac report, Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone5 at its media event Oct. 4 with 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB storage capacities. Rumors are rife that Apple will either reveal an updated iPhone4 called the 4S or a completely new iPhone5.
A similar rumor came out last year just before the iPhone 4 was launched, but Apple released only 16GB and 32GB models at that time. However, there is hope that a 64GB model may be released this year.
InMobi, which claims to be the world’s largest independent mobile ad network, has said that if Apple announces an update of the current iPhone4 on Oct. 4, the interest in the new iPhone will come down among customers.
According to a study it conducted, less than 15 percent of consumers would be likely to pick up the new handset, if Apple announces only a refresh of the current model of the iPhone. On the other hand, 41 percent of mobile users in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada intend to buy the iPhone5.
The iPhone5 is believed to run on the latest iOS5, which will be coming with 200 new features, including an improved notifications system, a Newsstand, and iMessage. In addition, iPhone5 is expected to feature the new iCloud service to enable a user to operate iTunes with wireless remote access to music from all personal computers and mobile devices.
Other highly expected features of iPhone5 include an 8-megapixel camera with a dual LED flash; a faster 1.2-to-1.5 GHz dual-core A5 processor chip; 1GB of RAM; an edge-to-edge 4-inch retina display; 4G networks for ATT, Verizon, and Sprint; NFC technology; and enhanced battery life.
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know one thing: Apple is hosting an iPhone-themed event Oct. 4 at its
Cupertino, Calif., headquarters.
that, speculation abounds about Apple’s plans for moving its smartphone
franchise into the future. For weeks, increasing chatter suggested Apple was
gearing up to reveal the next iPhone, which the media has dubbed “iPhone
5.” According to a recent report by AllThingsD,
whose sources accurately called that Oct. 4 event date, Apple CEO Tim Cook will
take the stage to introduce the device.
this point, various news outlets seem to agree that the next iPhone, whatever
its name, will include Apple’s more powerful A5 processor, an 8-megapixel
camera and perhaps an overall redesign.
bigger question is whether Apple plans to unveil one iPhone or two. In
September, former Vice President Al Gore, a member of Apple’s board of
directors, reportedly told
a conference about “new iPhones coming out next month.”
use of the plural refueled rumors that Apple plans on releasing a line of
lower-cost iPhones, with an eye toward combating the midmarket Android devices
that have swallowed up a sizable portion of the mobility market in recent
reason for Android’s strength is its presence on multiple carriers, something
Apple could counter during the Oct. 4 event by announcing that Sprint is
joining Verizon and ATT as iPhone carriers in this country.
previous rumors that Sprint would carry Apple’s next iPhone, Piper Jaffray
analyst Gene Munster estimated that such a move would boost the smartphone’s
overall sales by 6 million units. A Sprint iPhone would also leave T-Mobile as
the only major U.S. carrier without an Apple phone in its portfolio, unless
ATT manages to complete its planned T-Mobile acquisition in the face of
federal scrutiny. (T-Mobile’s parent company, Deutsche Telekom AG, has offered
the iPhone for years in Germany.)
next line of mobility devices will certainly run iOS 5, a major upgrade to the
company’s mobile operating system. New features include boosted
interoperability with Twitter and a Newsstand application that consolidates
e-periodical subscriptions. Apple is also launching an iCloud service, which
will sync user content across various iOS devices via the cloud.
could use the Oct. 4 event to announce new iPods. The company usually reserves
a September event for unveiling revamps to its multimedia-player line,
something that didn’t happen this year.
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Here are the features that the study found that consumers are wanting in the iPhone 5:
- Upgraded battery life: Rumor has it that the new iPhone will come with a thinner, lighter battery that may provide an extra 100 hours of standby time and more than two hours of talk time.
- Increased processing speed: the next generation of Apple smartphone is expected to have a new and improved dual core processor. The A5 chip, which is the same chip that’s inside the iPad 2 could be put into the iPhone 5. The A5 has a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore CPU and a dual-core PowerVR SGX543MP2 GPU. The A5 package contains 512 MB of low-power DDR2 RAM clocked at 1066 MHz.
- Higher-quality screen resolution: It is rumored that Apple may increase its screen size to 4-inch up from the current 3.5 inch.
- Stronger phone service in the new device: There have been a lot of reports about the iPhone 5 possibly becoming compatible with 4G. Several smartphones have are already 4G capable. ATT reportedly already started running its 4G network in Chicago, Atlanta and Houston. A 4G-ready iPhone 5 would have Apple competing in that market.
Apple is yet to release any specifics about its new iPhone and whether it will release an iPhone 5 or iPhone 4S.
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HSPA+ may not be true 4G, but the downstream speeds of many high end smartphones today already have 4G capability and iPhone 5 would probably want to stay competitive in that field. In fact, ATT has already begun running its true 4G network in places like Chicago, Atlanta and Houston, so a 4G ready iPhone 5 would be ready to go in those places.
Additionally, the French version of CNET has reported it has a source who said the iPhone 5 will sport a much larger 4.3 inch display, the same size as the HTC Evo 3D as mentioned on the CNET UK Web site. The next question then is if the same resolution could be maintained on such a huge screen. iPhone 4 is after all well known for having an extremely sharp looking screen, and Apple again may not want to give that up.
Rumors about the iPhone 5 and Nexus Prime continue, more features claim.
Nexus Prime, the rumored new Android smartphone from Samsung and Google, is expected to take the Unpacked 2011 “Google Episode” stage on October 11. The expected launch of the Nexus Prime is exactly a week after the iPhone 5 event of Apple on October 4th. Coincidence, not actually.
Samsung and Apple are friends turned frenemies, and now enemies. With multiple lawsuits filed around the world, Samsung and Apple’s competition is not just about smartphones and tablets now, obviously. With the new (but must be treated as rumor) Nexus Prime, Samsung will use a Google brand and a Google operating system to compete against Apple’s iPhone 5, that could get a mid October release date.
Rumors say the Nexus Prime is also scheduled to arrive in October, or a week or two after the release date of the iPhone 5 in United States. Reports also say that the Nexus Prime will join all four carriers including Verizon Wireless, the largest wireless carrier in US, while the iPhone 5, still according to developing reports, will join all big carriers, excluding T-Mobile USA.
Sprint iPhone is one of the possible “big problems” of Android, including the Google Nexus Prime because Sprint is rumored to offer unlimited data plans just for the iPhone 5, making the device more attractive.
Some of the rumored features of the Google Samsung Nexus Prime are 1.5GHz dual-core processor, some say TI OMAP4, 8-megapixel camera, front-facing camera for video chat apps including Google Talk with Video, high-resolution screen and Long Term Evolution for Verizon Wireless model, while HSPA+ for other carriers.
It is worth noting that these are rumors, and must be taken with a grain of salt. The TI OMAP4 processor rumor also appeared just because an earlier report has suggested that Texas Instruments will play a big Android 4.0 role.
Additional reports and leaks also suggest that the Nexus Prime will include NFC and Google Wallet credit card alternative payment system out of the box, making the device more appealing especially if you love innovations.
Meanwhile, iPhone 5 rumors say the next Apple smartphone is powered by A5 processor, the dual-core processor used by the iPad 2, a new powerful 8-megapixel primary camera, a full 1GB of RAM and new thinner profile. New reports also say that the iPhone 5 will not feature LTE or Long Term Evolution, but will boast faster data speed by using HSPA+.
It is worth noting that HSPA+ is ATT’s “4G,” so if this new rumor is legit then the speed of iPhone 5 models (ATT, Verizon and the rumored Sprint variant) will sport different data speeds.
Editors’ note: Updated on September 30, 2011.
With just days to go before Apple unveils the next
iPhone on October 4, the iPhone 5 rumors continue to fly fast and furious. Will it have a completely new design with a larger screen or just be a slightly modified version of the
iPhone 4 (the iPhone 4S) with enhanced parts and various tweaks? Will there be a smaller, lower-cost iPhone?
We’ll know soon enough. But before the big announcement, here’s a last look at my list of most-wanted features for the
iPhone 5, and I’ve even thrown in a poll to spice things up. (I originally posted this column the day after the iPhone 4 launched, which is why you see a lot of comments dating back to June of last year.)
As a reminder, the 20 items in the list are ordered from least important to most in a reverse countdown. I’ve also included what I think are the odds of Apple actually implementing each request. As always, feel free to agree or disagree with me and make your own suggestions (and to post your own ordered wish list).
Oh, and Android users, don’t be shy about extolling the virtues of your phones and saying how most of the items on this list are already available in Android models. It’s always nice to see the Android and Apple fanboys and fangals mixing it up.
Click on any image to begin the slideshow.
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And that’s good news, not only for iPhone 5 newbie Sprint, but also for microprocessor and chipset maker Advanced Micro Devices. AMD’s shares traded Friday afternoon down 10 cents to $5.21.
Advanced Micro remains well-positioned to benefit from an upswing in both PC sales and notebook computers and other products. Look for 2012 revenue to rise six to nine percent to about $7.1 billion, after a one to two percent rise in 2011.
Advanced Micro should also benefit from new product introductions, and the company’s market share in PCs and graphics markets should increase.
Margins also will likely widen to about 47 percent in 2012: all those “iPhone 5 Wave” customers will spark an increased demand for AMD chip-laden products — allowing the company to maintain existing prices in most categories. Margins will also benefit from outsourcing.
Further, after a pedestrian 2011, Advance Micro’s improved product portfolio, nimble operation model, and solid cash flow will lead to a substantially higher P/E ratio — a P/E that’s above the company’s historical average. In a summary, with a P/E of about 5.5, Advanced Micro is cheap.
The Thomson Reuters First Call FY2011/FY2012 EPS estimates for AMD are 53 cents and 65 cents. Each EPS estimate looks about 10-15 percent lower, according to my analysis.
Technically, Advanced Micro’s shares slid roughly in-sync with the U.S. economy slowdown this spring/summer, falling from about $9.60 to the psychologically-significant $5 level. There is a gap-down to $5 from about $6, but the calculation forwarded here is that the $5 mark represent good support — the bottom. To be sure, AMD has to overcome technical hurdles in both the key 50-day and 200-day moving averages, and clutter in the $6 to $6.75 range, but once it becomes clear that tech will have a good year in 2012, institutional investors will make rear-view mirror work of those resistance levels. Advanced Micro should trade above $6.50 by the end of 2011, and above $7.50 by the end of 2012
Stock Category: Advanced Micro is ideal for investors who want a high growth stock will prevent of upside potential. Keep in mind that Advanced is a moderate-risk stock not suitable for low-risk investors. Also, there’s a 10 percent chance you’ll lose your entire investment with VZ over a 10-year period.
2011 Outlook: I view Advanced Micro devices as a long-term play, but if you’re looking to sell AMD within the year, it’s probably best to take your profits after it rises to $5.75-5.95, if it fails to rise above $6.
Stock Analysis: Advanced Micro Devices is a moderate-risk stock. If an investor has already purchased the company’s shares, I’d hold them. If not, I’d consider buying a 50 percent position in AMD now and another 25 percent in one month, if the U.S. economy does not worsen substantially. I’d put a sell/stop loss at: $2.60.
Disclosure: L.C. Jacobs of New York, N.Y. reviews stocks on a quarterly, semi-annual, and annual basis.
L.C. Jacobs has no positions in stocks reviewed, but does own federal, municipal, and corporate bonds.
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