This week's "iPhone 5" rumors focus on the carriers. According to Piper Jaffray analyst Chris Larsen, via CNET, the "most noteworthy" change to Apple's next-generation iPhone is that it'll be offered by Sprint and T-Mobile, on top of existing carriers AT&T and Verizon.
In May, another analyst said an iPhone "4S" was launching on Sprint and T-Mobile in time for the Christmas holidays.
Meanwhile, ChipHazard reports that the next-generation iPhone is being field tested on AT&T's networks, according to a "well-placed sources in AT&T Mobility." The tests include signal reception and connectivity, and once they pass the tests the prototype will be given to manufacturers.
As for phone specs, there's an endless amount of speculation. Some of the more recent rumors include a completely revamped iPhone 5 with wireless juicing, a "baby iPhone" for developing markets.
Following up on a report from last week, Boy Genius Report has added some key new details about Google's next Nexus phone, codenamed "Nexus Prime."
On Tuesday BGR editor Jonathan Geller said Samsung will once again manufacture the next pure Android cell phone, as it did with the recent Nexus S 4G.
"Nexus Prime" will be a flagship device for Android 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich. Furthermore, the screen will use Samsung's "Super AMOLED HD" glass and come with a 1.5-GHz, dual-core OMAP4460 chip from Texas Instruments.
Notably, Geller also said "Nexus Prime" will lack carrier bloatware or manufacturer customization, much like Google's first Nexus phone, the Nexus One.
Yesterday we told you that Apple started selling unlocked iPhone 4s here in the U.S. We do have to admit that the move leaves us scratching our heads a bit. The iPhone 4 is a year-old device at this point. That leaves the question: why?
The GSM iPhone 4 only works well on AT&T. Sure, you can run it on 2G EDGE with T-Mobile, but that's a lousy user experience, and Apple is all about providing smooth user experiences. I just can't accept that T-Mobile users want the iPhone so desperately that they're willing to give up 3G for it, although I may be wrong about that, too.
Boy Genius Report's Jon Geller is right when he says that Apple sells unlocked iPhones in 85 other countries. But those countries all have more than one GSM iPhone-compatible 3G carrier. Canada has three. Dave Zatz points out this morning that for Americans, the "unlocked" iPhone will cost $450 more over two years than the locked model, because AT&T doesn't give any discounts for bringing your own phone. That's "an extra $450 mostly for the privilege of feeling more liberated and fancy free," he concludes.
Apple is finally selling unlocked GSM iPhone 4 models in the US, although you'll have to pony up a pretty penny to get it. You can get an unlocked black or white iPhone 4 directly from Apple for $649 for the 16 GB model, and $749 for the 32 GB model, making these the most expensive iOS devices in the Apple portfolio, save for the 64 GB iPad. Why would you want an unlocked iPhone 4 in the US? Well, if you frequently travel abroad, this would allow you to easily swap SIM cards to take advantage of local calling rates. You can also use the unlocked model with T-Mobile without risking the loss of your jailbroken unlock due to a software update, however, the iPhone 4 won't take advantage of T-Mobile's 3G speeds, so you'd be stuck with EDGE. At this point, with the iPhone 5 set for a September release, we aren't really sure who'd wanna rush out and pick up an unlocked iPhone 4 at these prices. That said, here's hoping that the next iPhone launches with an unlocked option right off the bat.
Read More | Unlocked iPhone 4
On the heels of yesterday's heady HTC Sensation 4G announcement, T-Mobile announced Thursday that it is coming out with its second Android 2.3, aka Gingerbread, device this month, the Samsung Exhibit 4G.
Not only does it cost half the price of the HTC Sensation, it actually runs on 4G speed, which T-Mobile defines as HSPA+ 21. The Sensation, meanwhile, is stuck on HSPA+ 14.4.
For a modest $79.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and two-year contract, the Samsung Exhibit 4G comes with a 1-GHz processor, touch screen keyboard, 3-megapixel rear-facing camera, front-facing photo camera with pre-installed video chat, Flash-supported Web browsing, microSD slot, and best of all, theoretical speeds of 21 Mbps. Or perhaps this is the best part: the phone also comes pre-loaded with Bejeweled 2, Hasbro's Scrabble, and Doodle Jump.
The Exhibit comes in black or violet, and is expected to hit stores sometime in June, T-Mobile said.
AT&T Mobiliy President and CEO Ralph de la Vega was interviewed at the D9 conference, mostly focusing on AT&T's current service, as well as their hopeful acquisition of T-Mobile. In the clip above, Walt Mossberg hits Ralph with some criticism for the inability of AT&T to deliver good service to New York City customers in particular.
More Apple rumors for you to chew on today! A new research note from Jefferies & Co analyst Peter Misek suggests that Apple isn't going to be performing a significant upgrade to the connection capabilities of its new, to-be-released iPhone 5—namely, no 4G LTE support.
Whenever the next version of Apple's smartphone hits the market—we're already nearing the one-year anniversary of the iPhone 4's launch with no hint of a new product in sight—Misek suggests that the device will only have incremental upgrades compared to the iPhone 4's specifications. Heck, it's practically keeping the same name.
"We believe the likelihood of the iPhone 5 launch in September including LTE is now remote," wrote Misek in a research note on May 13. "According to our industry checks, the device should be called iPhone 4S and include minor cosmetic changes, better cameras, A5 dual-core processor, and HSPA+ support."
The bigger news on Apple's side is Misek's suggestion that the company will be pursuing an expanded carrier lineup for its iPhones. His "industry checks" indicate that Apple will be launching the iPhone on both Sprint and T-Mobile in time for the holidays—remember, although the latter is in the process of being purchased by AT&T, T-Mobile currently remains a separate company from the larger carrier. In other words, no iPhone yet.
The FCC has opened public comment on the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, and now is the time to make your views known.
I have no idea whether any amount of public outrage will stop this merger, but we might as well try. Checking this morning, I saw that there are already almost 3,000 comments submitted, overwhelmingly opposing the merger.
AT&T set out its justifications for the merger in a 388-page filing with the FCC.
I'm sure that AT&T will soon rally some sort of Astroturf organization to write comments in support of the deal. It's interesting, really: the comments I could find in support of the merger come from groups and trade associations, while the comments against the merger generally come from individual Americans. It's clearly easier to get a lobbying organization in AT&T's corner than it is to get real people in support of this deal.
AT&T's bid for T-Mobile is now official. The carrier on Thursday filed the necessary paperwork with the Federal Communications Commission, kicking off what will likely be a in-depth review of the proposed merger.
In its filing, AT&T claimed that purchasing T-Mobile will allow it to deploy its 4G LTE network to 97 percent of the U.S. population, up from the 95 percent number it gave last month.
"After conducting a more refined analysis of the combined network, AT&T is increasing the scope of this commitment to 97.3 percent," the carrier said.
AT&T surprised the tech community recently when it announced plans to acquire T-Mobile for $39 billion. AT&T argued that the purchase will help stop the spectrum crunch and spur the companies's deployment of 4G service.
T-Mobile on Wednesday announced an unlimited talk, text, and data plan for $79.99 per month, though the carrier will throttle data speeds after a user consumes 2GB, so it's not exactly unlimited.
With the plan, dubbed T-Mobile Even More Unlimited, users get unlimited calling and text messages and up to 2GB of data at normal speeds. If a user exceeds 2GB in a one-month period, however, they will experience "reduced speeds until their new billing cycle starts," T-Mobile said.
T-Mobile will alert users via text message if they are approaching 2GB of data usage. This might not be a major issue for the average user, who uses about 1GB per month, but if you have a particularly data-intensive month, plan on some slow-loading Web sites by the end of your billing cycle.