AT&T will finally be lifting its almost 3-year ban on FaceTime (and other pre-installed video chat services like Google Hangouts on ANdroid) for its customers on grandfathered unlimited data plans. Over time, AT&T has made stock video chat apps available on its cellular network only to customers on tiered data plans, or its newer Mobile Share plans, while unlimited users looked on in disappointment. That all changes starting next month, when customers with LTE devices get access to pre-installed video chat services:
For video chat apps that come pre-loaded on devices, we currently give all OS and device makers the ability for those apps to work over cellular for our customers who are on Mobile Share or Tiered plans. Apple, Samsung and BlackBerry have chosen to enable this for their pre-loaded video chat apps. And by mid-June, we’ll have enabled those apps over cellular for our unlimited plan customers who have LTE devices from those three manufacturers.
So if you've got an iPhone 5, you're in luck. If you are on an older iPhone 4S or iPhone 4, you have a bit more of a wait ahead of you. In fact, it appears that even if you have a current LTE device that isn't made by Apple, BlackBerry, or Samsung, you've got a wait ahead of you. Recent buyer of the awesome HTC One? Sorry:
Throughout the second half of this year, we plan to enable pre-loaded video chat apps over cellular for all our customers, regardless of data plan or device; that work is expected to be complete by year end.
We've been getting reports that some AT&T customers with unlimited plans and LTE devices are already seeing FaceTime over Cellular enabled.
Read More | The Verge
T-Mobile USA is set to launch the iPhone 5 this Friday, and in anticipation of the long-awaited event, it's offering current iPhone owners a free iPhone 5 if they switch from another carrier. Here's how it works: you bring in your iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S between April 12 and June 16, and you get a T-Mobile iPhone 5 at no cost up front, and a $120 credit that you can choose to apply towards your bill, extra accessories, or even an outstanding bill. The iPhone 5 would typically cost $100 up front, and an additional $20 per month over 2 years, so you are basically getting it with no up-front cost, and then a six month break on the monthly fee.
Of course, if you are mid-contract elsewhere, you have your early termination fee to worry about, which might put the kibosh on this one for you. However, if you have a spare iPhone 4 laying around, this could be an easy way to try T-Mobile's new smartphone plans out.
Read More | T-Mobile
T-Mobile, the fourth largest US carrier, has officially announced that it will carry Apple's iPhone, beginning on April 12 with the iPhone 5, 4S, and 4. T-Mobile was the the last remaining holdout of the the big four, that includes Verizon, AT&T and Sprint, to sell the iconic smartphone. The delay was due to a variety of reasons, one being the economic ramification of the iPhone potentially outselling other handsets that are heavily branded by T-Mobile, which the carrier heavily relies on. The iPhone 5 will be able to run T-Mobile's LTE which, coincidentally, finally went live today in 7 cities: Washington DC, San Jose, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Houston, and Baltimore.
The unique twist is how T-Mobile will manage to sell both the iPhone and the other handsets it carries. T-mobile will allow customers to pay the full price or pay $20 installments over 24 months with a down payment of $99 and will not be requiring a two year contract. Along with this announcement, T-Mobile will also sell the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S in certain markets with HSPA+. Despite its small LTE markets, T-Mobile boasts very competitive service plans that might entice new customers to defect from other carriers. Example, $70 for unlimited calling, data and text. One perk for the switch is that T-mobile is marketing that it will be the only carrier with HD Voice deployment on the iPhone 5. Now the iPhone 5 will officially sell on an equal playing field in the US. Pre-order starts now.
Read More | T-Mobile
iOS 6.1 introduced an odd Exchange calendar syncing bug, and today Apple released iOS 6.1.2 to fix it. The issue resulted in heightened network usage that would significantly reduce the battery life of affected devices. If you use an Exchange account with your iPhone, you'll wanna grab this over-the-air update now. No word yet on if iOS 6.1.2 also fixes the lock screen bypass bug that was discovered last week as well, but we'll check on that as soon as we're updated.
After a longer than normal beta period, Apple has finally released iOS 6.1. You can download it now and update your device over the air, or by using iTunes, and can expect various bug fixes and improvements, including:
- LTE support for more carriers
- The ability to purchase movie tickets with Siri
- iTunes Match users can now download individual songs from iCloud
- New button to reset the Advertising Identifier
Let us know if you find any other hidden goodness in this release!
We got a look at the Canopy Sensus Touch Case at CES 2013, and walked away impressed. The Sensus Touch Case gives iPhone users 10-point touch input along the back and sides of the device, which means you can do things like play games by swiping along the back of the iPhone, leaving the display free and clear of your fingers. You can also do things like snap images by tapping the side of the phone, or zoom in and out of objects with a slide of your finger. Expect to see the case launch later this summer, priced somewhere between $59 and $99.
Read More | Canopy
We've come to the end of another year, and as we wave goodbye to 2011, we figured it was only fitting that we share the most popular stories published on Gear Live this year, as determined by our readers (we've also got the top ten most read stories regardless of publish date, as well as the ten most popular Gear Live videos of 2012!) These are the ten stories that were read the most, and when you consider that fact, it's pretty surprising to see what made the list. Let's kick it off with our most read story of the year:
iPhone 5 vs. iPhone 4S vs. iPhone original:
iPhone 5 certainly got a lot of attention this year, and our image gallery comparing it to previous iPhone designs served as our most popular post in all of 2012.
Will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas fame apparently doesn't think his iPhone is smart enough, so he's planning to do something about it. He's even received a development license from Apple to produce and sell what he claims will turn the iPhone into a "genius phone" under his new i.am+ brand.
We have our own sensor and a better flash. You dock your phone into our device and it turns your smartphone into a genius-phone. We take over the camera...
"I was just hanging out [after a photo shoot], and one of the models took an iPhone picture, which circulated the planet before the shoot was even over... I took one of the photographer's lenses and held it up on my [phone] and said "imagine this one day". Then I said: "I'm going to do this"."
The camera attachment will clips onto the iPhone, bumping the 8 megapixel camera to 14 megapixels. A website is currently being produced (www.i.am) where users will be able to create profiles and assumedly share pictures and other content created with Will.i.am's app.
I.am+ is scheduled to make it's debut in London later this week, where pricing will also be announced.
Read More | The Telegraph
Apple has just released iOS 6.1 beta 2 as an over-the-air download a few minutes ago. This release comes just 11 days after the initial iOS 6.1 beta was released to developers, alongside the public release of iOS 6.0.1. iOS 6.1 will make it easier for users to report issues with the Apple Maps data, bring better music controls to the lock screen, makes it easier to find Passbook apps, and more. If you're already running the iOS 6.1 beta, check Software Update in your settings app to grab the latest update - if not, head over to the Dev Center for the download!
Last week we mentioned that Starbucks was looking to add Passbook support to its iOS app by the end of September. Well, they missed the target by a few days, but this evening Starbucks released an update to its iPhone app that includes, among other things, the long-awaited Passbook support. Here's the full changelog:
- Passbook support
- iOS6 support
- Now easier to sign up and start earning Rewards with our new account creation flow
- Accessibility, data optimization, and performance improvements
- Multiple bug fixes
When setting up Passbook for Starbucks, you can select different Starbucks locations that you want to set as your favorites. This will allow Passbook to pull up your Starbucks card upon arrival, without you having to go looking for it.
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