RBC Capital analyst Mike Abramsky recently sat down in a meeting with Apple’s chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer and chief operating officer Tim Cook to discuss a range of topics, from Apple’s patent battles to the possibility of a budget-priced iPhone. “Apple’s primary criterion for launching a lower-end iPhone is an innovative, category-killer experience,” Abramsky wrote in a recent note to investors. The execs said that the components sector is currently a “buyers market,” which means it has the upper hand when it comes to negotiating for parts. In addition, Abramsky said Apple is interested in settling a number of patent lawsuits against Android phone makers such as Samsung and HTC, in an effort to strike favorable agreements in countries like China that have less firm patent protection. We recently reported exclusively that Apple has plans to launch a $350 contract-free iPhone, which could very well be the iPhone 3GS. Apple is expected to unveil its next-generation iPhone in the coming months for a September or October launch.
Broke? Think your iPhone is faster than Usain Bolt? T-Mobile’s so confident that the Samsung Galaxy S 4G is quicker than the iPhone that it’s offering $1,000 to anyone who can walk into one of its ten Seattle stores and prove otherwise. Your iPhone just has to win in two out of three throughput speed tests — using an app provided by T-Mobile – and you’ll walk away a cool $1,000 richer. The Galaxy S 4G is sure to be some stiff competition, though. After all, it does pack HSPA+ with support for T-Mobile’s 21Mbps network. The offer is from Friday, April 29th until Sunday, May 1st. Hit the jump for more information from T-Mobile, including a list of participating locations. More →
That’s right, you’re looking at photos of an iPhone prototype with T-Mobile USA 3G bands. The actual internal model is N94, and if you remember, the Verizon model is N92 while the standard GSM variant is N90. We have verified that the phone itself is running a test version of Apple’s iOS, much like the one we saw in those videos from Vietnam, and it includes internal Apple test apps like Radar and Apple’s employee directory app. Additionally, the front of the white iPhone pictured looks a little different from the photos of the retail white iPhone 4 that surfaced recently — specifically, the proximity sensor has changed on the retail version. Combined with the fact that it wouldn’t make sense to release an iPhone 4 on T-Mobile at this point in time, we’d wager that Apple is just testing the new T-Mobile-friendly radio with its current iPhone 4 hardware, possibly in preparation for integration in a future device. It’s also entirely possible the internals on this iPhone prototype are being disguised in an iPhone 4 shell, though we doubt it. Let’s see what happens with the iPhone 5 and if that makes it way to T-Mobile. If that AT&T acquisition gets approved though, the iPhone will eventually make its way to T-Mobile customers regardless.
We don’t think we’re alone when we say we kind of miss the soft welcoming glow of the red buttons on the second generation iPod, and a new patent suggests Apple may be working on a new iPhone “Smart Bezel” feature that will bring some of those illuminated controls back. According to a patent discovered by Patently Apple, Apple may offer a new area around the iPhone’s primary display with controller buttons that glow and morph for work and play. Developers may even be able to control the icons presented, which could be used to control applications — maybe even games – without interrupting the content being displayed on the screen. The secondary, “printed segmented electroluminescence” display, could be “selectively illuminated to provide one or more indicators that represented where or how a user can provide inputs to the device,” Apple’s patent states. It reminds us a bit of the technology used on the Motorola ROKR E8, which launched in 2007, and we’re definitely interested to see how this pans out. Hit the jump for more info on the patent. More →
For the fifth time running, Apple has topped J.D. Power’s smartphone customer satisfaction survey. The iPhone earned a score of 795 out of a possible 1,000 points. In line with the last survey published in September 2010, Motorola and HTC followed Apple with scores of 763 and 762, respectively. Here’s how J.D. Power weighs the various categories:
Operation (30%); physical design (30%); features (20%); and battery function (20%). For smartphones, the key factors are: ease of operation (26%); operating system (24%); physical design (23%); features (19%); and battery function (8%).
Palm (736), Nokia (734), and Samsung (734) all scored below the industry average score of 761. RIM’s BlackBerry smartphones ranked lowest on the survey with a score of 732. Hit the jump for a chart of the results along with the full release. More →
Look, I have been dreaming about a Verizon iPhone since the original announcement was made in 2007. I’ve always admired Verizon’s insanely solid and reliable wireless network, even before it was Verizon (someone tell James Earl Jones I said what’s up). I had the first digital phone Verizon Wireless offered (following countless analog phones prior to that), and I’ve had many more since then. But I switched away from Verizon Wireless as soon as I saw that the handsets available in Europe were becoming more advanced, because these new phones typically didn’t become available from Verizon for months or even years later, if at all. As soon as I saw that I could switch my SIM card from phone to phone myself, I was on a tear — first on T-Mobile, then AT&T when I realized how much better AT&T’s coverage was in my area, even five years ago. More →
Yahoo! has reportedly fixed an IMAP bug that caused the iPhone and Windows Phone devices to transmit loads of superfluous data over 3G. The bug worked like this: when a user went to check their email, the server would send more information to a user’s phone than was required to just check mail. This resulted in people accidentally consuming loads of rouge data each month. Microsoft first responded to the issue back in January after Windows Phone users began complaining about alerts stating that they were nearing their monthly data cap. On February 1st, Microsoft said that it had determined that the bug was caused by an inefficiency in the Yahoo! Mail email client and that the problem would be fixed in an upcoming update. Just two days later, programmer Rafael Rivera took the situation into his own hands, and during his investigation, discovered that the bug wasn’t just confined to Windows Phone 7 devices — it was also present on the iPhone. Just recently, Rivera updated his blog noting that Yahoo had fixed the issue and has upgraded its software from version 0.7.65_12.286037 to version 0.7.65_14.298026. More →
At its Mobile World Congress press conference on Tuesday, Deutsche Telekom mentioned that it will soon begin deploying Near Field Communications (NFC) enabled mobile devices in multiple markets. The deployment starts this year and will ramp up until 2012 when most of Deutsche Telekom’s markets will be included. Phone Scoop is reporting that during the press conference, Deutsche Telekom execs handed out a slide deck featuring Apple and referred to them being included in the 2011 launch — seemingly confirming, or at least fueling the fire, that the next iPhone will include NFC capability. Apple and Samsung were listed as being NFC-compatible in the second quarter, with RIM and LG having devices in the third quarter of 2011. But hey, you already knew that about RIM, didn’t you?
BGR exclusively reported on Wednesday that Apple is currently testing a variety of gestures on its iPhone. While the more interesting gestures are still locked away safely on the Apple campus, the task-switching gesture managed to come out to play in Apple’s recent iOS 4.3 beta software. Antoni Nygaard decided to laugh in the face of Apple’s developer agreement on Wednesday and show off these new gestures on camera. As we’ve pointed out in the past, these gestures are currently in place for testing purposes only. Trust us — if and when gesture support is officially added to the iPhone, it won’t involve uncomfortable four-finger swipes. So while we all wait impatiently to see what official gesture support might look like, hit the break for the video demo of Apple’s test gestures in action on an iPhone 3GS. More →
T-Mobile USA’s new CEO Phillip Humm confirmed at an event on Thursday that the carrier will soon launch a pair of new “4G” HSPA+ phones. Humm noted that T-Mobile will soon announce a 4G version of Samsung’s Galaxy S smartphone as well as a 4G addition to the popular Sidekick line that will run Android. “We will launch as new the Samsung Galaxy S 4G … and coming soon, will also be a Sidekick 4G. Everybody knows the Sidekick, and we’re going to relaunch the Sidekick and bring it as a 4G device, Android based, into the market,” Humm said at the event. While he didn’t refer to the Vibrant 4G by name — instead, he called it a “Galaxy S 4G” — Humm’s confirmation certainly firms up our exclusive report from earlier this week. We can likely expect both handsets to be announced next month at Mobile World Congress, and Humm confirmed that both devices will launch in the first half of this year. T-Mobile also said at the even that its current Vibrant smartphone will finally receive a software update “very soon,” and that the carrier will not offer Apple’s iPhone in the near future due to the device’s incompatibility with its AWS 3G network.
UPDATE: Check that. It looks like T-Mobile went with the “Galaxy S 4G” moniker instead of “Vibrant 4G.” Since it’s basically the same phone with the addition of newer HSPA+ compatibility from the looks of things, the carrier likely wanted to distinguish it from its predecessor as much as possible. More →
New estimates released Thursday by Japanese market research firm BCN place the Samsung Galaxy S at the top of Japan’s smartphone charts. The powerhouse it displaces is none other than Apple’s 32GB iPhone 4 — a handset that took Japan by storm when it launched earlier this year. For 18 weeks straight, the iPhone 4 had been Japan’s top seller. In its debut week, however, the Galaxy S managed to take the top spot, though only when considering the 32GB and 16GB iPhone models individually. Whether or not the Android 2.2-powered smartphone can maintain pace remains to be seen, but Samsung should certainly be pleased that it has a hit on its hands in Japan.
Like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, some claimed fourth generation iPhone parts have emerged from the corn fields business district of Olathe, Kansas. The supposed parts arrived at iResQ, an iPhone repair shop, and include a front panel which iResQ notes is 1/4 inch taller than the iPhone 3GS. This small increase in size could potentially translate into an iPhone with a 3.7 inch display, a size which is fast becoming the industry standard. The front panel also has a small reflective surface right above the earpiece that, no, is not a vanity mirror but may be a spot for the proximity sensor, a location that differs from the previous iPhone models. Bad news for those that are hard on their phone and tend to break not just the glass but the LCD panels underneath, as the LCD is reportedly glued to the digitizer and must be replaced together as an all-in-one unit. We don’t need to remind you that this dual-pieced part may cost a small arm and leg to replace. Last but not least, make sure your Martini glass is lined with a bit of salt as you’ll need those extra white granules while reading the unconfirmed contents of this post.
The folks over at MOTO Labs (not related to Motorola) demonstrated a DIY yourself technique that allows the average person to easily compare touchscreen performance between multiple handsets. The test is performed by opening a drawing application on the test handset and drawing a diagonal pattern of straight lines very slowly on the screen. A good touchscreen will produce straight linear lines, while a poor touchscreen will produce wavy lines. To demonstrate the technique, MOTO Labs did a comparison test between the Apple iPhone, Google Nexus One, Motorola DROID and HTC DROID Eris. The clear winner in most of the tests was the iPhone which produced straight lines but with curving and sensitivity loss at the edges of the screen. The Nexus One and DROID Eris fall slightly below the iPhone with both handsets performing equally well, producing straight lines with some waviness and good sensitivity at the edge of the screen. At the bottom of the pack was the Motorola DROID which showed significant waviness and “stair-stepping” in all tests. These results might definitely mean something to the average user as a touchscreen that tracks poorly has a higher likelihood of misinterpreting touch input, and apparently imprecision even as small as a millimeter or two can make a significant difference when using a small on-screen keyboard or selecting text for editing. The video demonstrating the test and its results are after the jump. Watch it and let us know what you think. Is the DROID really as bad as the results show or is this test somehow skewed? More →