How would you like to have a single shared data plan for both your iPhone/iPad? Or share one single data plan with other members in your family calling plan? It may be coming sooner than you might think. Could it be here by iPad 3‘s release date?
Engadget is reporting that Verizon is making progress towards shared data plans, according to recent employee training materials.
“Verizon said it was working on a shared data solution for 2012, and according to an anonymous tipster, the new packages could be rolling out soon. We’ve been told that training material for an update to the outfit’s internal account management application includes screenshots (one of which you can see above) that show a new section labeled “account level data plans.” The new section apparently shows an account level charge for data allowance and a 9.99 charge per line.”
There has been no official announcement on when or even if Verizon Customers will be getting shared data plans, but I would remain optimistic.
- Handset will launch at ‘special event’ similar to Apple’s iPhone launches
- Galaxy S3 will be on sale in first half of 2012
- Handset will showcase Samsung’s most hi-tech components
- Phone could be one of iPhone 5′s major rivals
Last updated at 3:30 PM on 1st February 2012
Samsung’s Galaxy S2 Android touchscreen has sold 10 million units: Its successor is liable to be a showcase for Samsung’s most hi-tech components
Samsung has officially confirmed the existence of the Galaxy S3 – the hi-tech follow-up to one of the most iconic Android smartphones.
The phone will be unveiled at a special event early this year – and will be on sale shortly afterwards.
The ‘special event’ approach is akin to Apple’s glitzy iPhone launch events – and a new idea for Samsung.
If Apple launches iPhone 5 this summer, as expected, the S3 is liable to be among its most heavyweight competitors in the second half of this year.
‘The successor to the Galaxy S2 smartphone will be unveiled at a Samsung-hosted event in the first half of
the year, close to commercial availability of the product,’ said the
Korean electronics giant in a statement.
Technical specifications of the device haven’t been released.
Samsung’s Galaxy series are traditionally used to showcase the most hi-tech components manufactured in Samsung’s factories – and have been ahead of the components in Apple’s iPhone.
Samsung recently launched the Galaxy S Advance – a cheaper model of the hit handset with slightly less cutting-edge components. It’s available now
The Galaxy S2 was one
of the first handsets with a laptop-esque dual core processor, and
offered an eight megapixel camera months before Apple’s iPhone 4S.
Samsung still makes several components that are used in Apple’s iPhones.
Samsung’s Galaxy S2 sold 20 million units at last
One in 10 of the whole Korean population owns an S2, and the phone is still a cult favourite on tech sites.
The S2 helped propel Samsung’s smartphone sales past Apple’s in the
third quarter of 2011.
‘Samsung’s Galaxy lineup has been one of the most sought after smartphone lines worldwide,’ says Boy Genius Report.
‘The Galaxy S II became the company’s fastest selling smartphone ever, selling three million units in just 55 days.’
Samsung sold more than 30 million Galaxy S and Galaxy S II smartphones
worldwide as of October.’
‘There is no question that consumers are
interested in the Galaxy.’
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If the new looks are said to be true, then the upcoming BlackBerry London smartphone may eat a pie out of the market share mostly dominated by Android and Apple iPhone.
Here is a special look at the comparison of BlackBerry London and iPhone 4S with the acquired specifications.
Display: Even though the information related to display looks vague, RIM’s previous image leak related to the same phone showed a device looking thinner than iPhone 4S showcasing a black and silver angular design similar to the BlackBerry Porsche Design P’9981.
However, the present images with a fully polished black look shows a display close to 4.3-inch. The iPhone 4S features a display of 3.5-inch and the upcoming iPhone 5 is touted to come with a 4-inch plus display.
Operating System: The new ‘London’ smartphone is expected to come with new BlackBerry 10 QNX-based operating system, previously known as BBX. RIM’s new CEO Thorsten Heins recently did reveal that the company was open to licensing the BlackBerry 10 OS to other manufacturers. Meanwhile, the present iPhone 4S has the iOS 5 support whereas iPhone 5 may receive an updated version of iOS 5.
Processor: RIM is believed to be testing TI OMAP5 and Qualcomm processors both of which are said to be 1.5GHz dual-core offerings whereas iPhone 4S runs on an 800 Mhz processor and iPhone 5 is expected to retain the same processor as the existing models.
Storage: BlackBerry London will come with 1 GB RAM memory and 16 GB internal storage along with up to 32 GB microSD card support while the present iPhone 4S features 512 MB RAM and has varied 16/32/64 GB storage models. Apple has maintained a low profile when it comes to RAM memory compared to other smartphones in the market.
Camera: RIM’s new smartphone is expected to feature an 8 megapixel and 3264×2448 pixels camera along with LED flash and 1080p HD video recording similar to iPhone 4S.
WLAN: iPhone 4S has Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz support and BlackBerry London may feature Wi-Fi ranging 2.4 GHZ b/g/n – 5GHz a/n support.
On the other hand, iPhone 5 rumors have reached an upscale as the phone is expected to come with NFC, LTE technology, HD video support, home button, 3D content and Apple’s I / O Apple technology called Thundebolt that enables a faster transfer of data and phone recharging.
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Electronics manufacturer Foxconn might hire as many as 100,000 more employees at a plant in Zhengzhou, China, to accommodate demand for the next version of Apple’s iconic iPhone. And there’s no shortage of people who want those jobs.
Earlier this week, a TV station in China took video of a line that stretched more than two football fields long and interviewed people eager to get hired. Hundreds of people waited for hours outside a labor agency in Zhengzhou, and M.I.C. Gadget snapped some photos of the madness.
The site says people can make $261 per month (U.S.), with an increase to as much as $500. It’s long hours, with some putting in double the normal American workweek. Many of the applicants are young people who also get room and board near the facility. Some have work experience, but others are recent college graduates.
Many are speculating that the push to hire more workers and the pending start of production on the iPhone 5 might mean the device is slated for a summer launch.
Foxconn has taken a lot of heat over its working conditions the past couple of years after a number of employees committed suicide. But the company has said it’s taken steps to make life more tolerable there.
Meantime, a petition has started by an online group that wants Apple’s next iPhone to made in an “ethical” manner. Almost 40,000 people have added their electronic signatures to the petition, which closely scrutizines Apple’s own report that found nearly two-thirds of the more than 200 manufacturing facilities it inspected did not follow the company’s policy that limits employees to 60-hour weeks. More than one in eight (13 percent) also lacked protection for workers who are minors and another third had issues with hazardous-waste management, the Washington Post reported.
SumofUS.org asks Apple to “overhaul the way its suppliers treat their workers in time for the launch of the iPhone 5.”
Favourite aggregator of anti-corporate campaigns, SumOfUs, has started a petition calling for an “ethical” iPhone 5, and has already garnered more than 40,000 signatures.
The emotive petition paints a picture of a young girl in a Chinese factory being steadily poisoned by the use of n-hexane, promising that the neurological damage will see her out of a job and on the streets within a few years. It’s a call that no one could ignore, and will likely attract the target of 50,000 names pretty soon.
But it’s a picture Apple would – and does – dispute. Apple monitors its suppliers, and publishes an annual report detailing everything from failure to wear ear plugs to excessive aluminium dust in the air (the latter being responsible for two, separate, explosions in the last 12 months). Many of the abuses came to light though Apple’s own auditing, and the CEO Tim Cook has been busy writing to all the company’s employees to remind them how much Apple cares.
“Every year we inspect more factories, raising the bar for our partners and going deeper into the supply chain,” says the letter, which is replicated in its entirety by 9to5Mac. The letter concludes with a link to Apple’s Supplier Responsibility site and a clear statement that “What we will not do — and never have done — is stand still or turn a blind eye to problems in our supply chain. On this you have my word.”
That letter was in response to a detailed examination from The New York Times, which focuses on the explosions but also highlights several occasions where Apple appears to have been warned about problems and had failed to react fast enough to save lives.
The piece quotes a former manager at Foxconn as saying: “Apple never cared about anything other than increasing product quality and decreasing production cost” – and goes on to discuss how Apple’s insistence on transparency from its suppliers leaves them little room to increase profits without pushing workers, and conditions, harder.
But the petition isn’t concerned with the details; it just calls on Apple to be more ethical without any specific demands. It also points out that Cupertino has lots of money, so can afford to be nice, and no one is every going to stand up and argue that any company should be less ethical.
So if you’re an Apple customer, feel free to add your voice. Cupertino is unlikely to make any major changes as a result, but it might make Apple push its existing efforts a little harder. ®
Article source: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/01/ethical_iphone/
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Is Apple [AAPL] undervalued or are investors simply predicting slower future growth for the tech giant?
Matt Yglesias captions:
Back before the crisis, the market was comfortable valuing Apple at something like 35 times earnings. If that pattern continued today, the company would have a staggering market capitalization. Instead, earnings have surged so much faster than share price that it now struggles to maintain a valuation of 15 times earnings.
Some people (including, I think, Dedieu) read this as a story about Apple being “undervalued.” I don’t see any particular reason to believe that’s true from an investment advice perspective. But it is an interesting story about the real operation of American corporations and financial markets. Among other things, the management doesn’t seem to particularly care about this even though the value to Apple shareholders of figuring out how to convince the markets to return to the high-multiple scenario would be worth huge sums of money to them.
I’m not sure it’s a matter of management “not caring” so much as a sign that investors don’t think Apple’s growth will continue the trajectory it’s been on for the past five years. Back when Apple was valuing at 35 times earnings, investors saw a lot of earnings potential and untapped growth on the horizon. I’m not sure it’s possible for Apple to replicate that sort of growth in the coming five to ten years.
Apple will continue to see success with its iPad and iPhone lines, but it’s very unlikely that the upcoming Apple TV will be able to drive growth the way Apple’s entrance into the MP3 player or mobile markets did in the past. This isn’t to say that Apple is on its way out by any means. Plenty of people still don’t have iPads. There’s lots of room to expand in the smartphone market.
But the massive, rapid growth that has propelled Apple into the second most valuable firm in America simply can’t continue.
Management may or may not care about this, of course, but there’s probably not a lot that they can do to change it regardless.
All that being said, Apple is still a smart buy in the near-term with plenty of near-term growth on the horizon.
“We believe Apple is likely to announce a dividend during 2012, potentially next quarter when crossing $100B in cash and cash equivalents,” said analyst Michael Walkley of Canaccord Genuity. ” We view this as very bullish for investors, as we believe a new group of investors seeking dividends would invest in Apple and drive shares higher.”
He added, “We believe Apple is well positioned for very strong [Calendar] 2012/13 sales and earnings growth driven by new product introductions, including the pending refresh of MacBook Air, the iPad 3 launching this spring, an LTE iPhone likely in [Third Quarter Calendar] /2012 and potentially Apple TV exiting [Calendar] 2012.”
Notice, however, that the reasons to be bullish on Apple are all refreshes: iPad 3, a new MacBook Air, iPhone 5. And, of course, the question mark that is Apple TV.
NFC and wave-and-pay technology was one of the first big iPhone 5 feature rumors in 2011. Now, with a bit of new NFC-related news from Mastercard, it is making its way back into the iPhone 5 conversation. But is there really anything in Mastercard’s recent comments to suggest that NFC will definitely be on the iPhone 5?
Today, new stories are breaking about the renewed prospect of NFC on the iPhone 5. The stories are coming by way of a recent interview with Mastercard’s emerging markets executive Ed McLaughlin, who had this to say: ”I don’t know of a handset manufacturer that isn’t in process of making sure their stuff is PayPass ready.” When pressed on whether this statement involves the iPhone 5 as well, his response was middling: “Um, there are…like I say, [I don't know of] any handset maker out there… Now, when we have discussions with our partners, and they ask us not to disclose them, we don’t.”
Of course, you know what’s now happening: this statement is getting transposed into an affirmation that Mastercard is gearing up for NFC on the iPhone 5. If you recall, Sony has similar gaffes last summer in relation to the 8 megapixel camera rumor for the 2011 iPhone. While the Sony stutters turned out to be revealing, we cannot assume the same for this statement.
Instead, I think that Jonny Evans over at Computerworld offers some grounding on this issue when he notes, “A quick reality check: NFC is in the field. Many Android handsets are compatible with the solution, and Google offers Google Wallet to drive the payment system. However, it’s fair to say that no one is using it,” remarking that Android is already malware-prone, which makes users reluctant to interface their personal finances with it.
Everything that Evans says above is correct. For our part, we have to consider how the fact that no one is currently using NFC on Android impacts its chances for being implemented on the iPhone 5. A more conservative perspective would argue that, like 4G LTE last year, the public isn’t quite ready for NFC technology, and Cupertino knows it. This is why they didn’t include it in iOS 5 and the iPhone 4S. It would have been “easy” to include and, from a marketing perspective, it would have made the iPhone 4S seem less like a refresh. That being said, if Apple knows that NFC isn’t going to sell well — or at the very least get used by a plurality of iPhone users — there would be no sense for them to risk investing in it for the iPhone 5.
But there is another school of thought regarding the iPhone and the current unpopularity of NFC: smartphone users might be waiting for Apple to roll it out.
There is an analog to this NFC discussion: the tablet computer. It isn’t as if tablet PCs didn’t exist prior to the iPad. In the consumer electronics industry, the know-how existed long before the iPad to make a tablet. However, the market itself had the expectation that apple would have to be the one to make the tablet mainstream, and until Cupertino released the iPad, the tablet market would be kept in waiting.
NFC might be a similar market segment: users are assuming that Apple will have the most innovative mainstream solution for bringing all of the features and issues of NFC into one acceptable, marketable package. It is assumed that they will have the answers for making it easy and fun to use, while also allowing for the utmost level of security. Even Mastercard themselves acknowledged this, as reported by Gotta Be Mobile: “Interestingly, though, despite MasterCard’s early partnership with Android and Google, McLaughlin highlights that Apple’s participation in NFC is needed to bring the technology mainstream.”
Will Apple take up the challenge to make NFC the next big thing in mobile computing?
By Michael Nace
Last fall, the tech press – and we include ourselves in this category – got extremely jazzed up about the imminent arrival of the iPhone 5, which many bloggers thought would be thinner and faster and flatter than all other iPhones that had come before. Of course, what Apple actually unveiled was the iPhone 4S, essentially an internally bulked-up version of the iPhone 4, with a better camera and the Siri voice-activated personal assistant.
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Have no fear! An Apple iPhone 5 is actually on the way, according to the tech site 9 to 5 Mac, which cites a source at Foxconn, the Chinese manufacturer that provides many Apple parts.
“The iPhone 5, as it is currently being called, is now gearing for production,” writes Seth Weintraub of 9 to 5 Mac. “The source said various sample devices are also floating around (they vary slightly from one another), so it is impossible to tell which one will be the final.”
Still, Weintraub says that all of the sample devices have a few things in common. For one, they all have different body shapes than the current iPhone – although none of the samples are teardrop shaped, as had been previously rumored. And all of the devices have screens larger than 4 inches, up from the current 3.5-inch display. Finally, Weintraub notes, none of the samples are in final form.
In other words, things can change, and they probably will. Apple is known for throwing out finished prototypes because they weren’t perfect.
For what it’s worth, the rumors floated by 9 to 5 Mac don’t seem that outlandish to us. After issuing two phones with identical boxy curves, and identical 3.5-inch displays, Apple is due for a shake-up. And a screen size shake-up is a good way to do that, especially considering the recent arrival of some tremendously large smartphone displays, like the 4.65-inch monster screen on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
Up, up, and away.
A report published last week by 9to5mac claimed that Apple may release an iPhone 5 smartphone with a screen diagonal higher than four inches, which means an increase of at least 11 per cent.
But as respected blogger John Gruber puts it, the report sounds like “b***s***” especially as it mentioned a longer and wider device; Gruber put forward his expert opinion that “I can see Apple putting a bigger display on a device of the same size. I can’t see them making a bigger device.”
And we believe he is right. Increasing the screen display of the iPhone 5 requires a tricky equilibrium that goes beyond the physical size of the device or of the screen itself.
For a start; if Apple wants to stick to the retina display moniker for a third generation, it will have to stick to a 326 pixel per inch pixel density and, for the sake of backward compatibility, offer a 3:2 screen ratio.
A 4-inch screen will have to be roughly 3.33 inches high and 2.22 inches wide (to respect the screen ratio) and currently the screen size of the iPhone 4 and 4S stands at 2.9 x 1.93 inches.
The iPhone 4 currently has a height of 4.5-inches and is 2.31-inches wide, and to maintain the same pixel density Apple would have to increase the resolution of the iPhone 5 to 1080×720 pixels at the very least.
So here’s the conundrum, any increase in screen size will have to be accompanied by a proportional rise in resolution to keep the “retina display” label, and as it stands, bumping the screen size cannot happen unless there’s a change in size.