Sprint targeting T-Mobile customers w/ $200 min. trade-in offer for switchers

iPhone 6

Just one day after T-Mobile unveiled its Smartphone Equality program letting loyal customers avoid credit checks, Sprint has announced a new promotion specifically targeting T-Mobile customers with an offer to make switching carriers easier. Sprint’s latest buyback and trade-in offer joins the carrier’s existing ‘Cut Your Bill in Half’ promo which encourages AT&T and Verizon customers to switch; T-Mobile was notably missing from that offer. Here’s how Sprint details the new promotion for T-Mobile customers: Read more

Amazon releases Kindle Textbook Creator for Mac, a cross-platform iBooks Author competitor

Kindle Textbook Creator Beta Mac

Apple first released its iBooks Author Mac app for creating interactive textbooks for the iBooks Store back in 2012, and now Amazon is delivering its own textbook composing Mac app for publishing to the Kindle Store. Kindle Textbook Creator, announced today, is available in beta for both Mac and PC with the competitive benefit of publishing to the cross-platform Kindle Store, which is available on iOS, Mac, Android, and more. Read more

T-Mobile launches Smartphone Equality, expanding base of customers qualified for financing & special deals

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T-Mobile often rolls out “Un-carrier” initiatives that intend to challenge its competitors (which sometimes get copied), and John Legere’s latest announcement for the company is no different. The T-Mobile CEO shared today that the carrier soon start offering the same financing options to customers with weak credit as it provides for well qualified customers. The program is called Smartphone Equality, and here’s how it works… Read more

BlackBerry CEO thinks Apple should be legally required to bring iMessage to BlackBerry

BlackBerry Messenger for iPhone (it's OK to laugh)

BlackBerry Messenger for iPhone (it’s OK to laugh)

If you can’t beat ‘em, tell the government to force ‘em to let you beat ‘em. That’s the approach BlackBerry CEO John Chen wants to take to mobile software development. Today Chen wrote in a blog post on the BlackBerry website that he believes the issue of net neutrality requires the government to not only promote and protect neutrality not only among wireless and broadband carriers, but also among app and content providers.

Chen argues that it’s pointless to tell Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon, and other carriers that they can’t discriminate against certain data while still allowing applications and content providers to discriminate against certain platforms.

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Apple grabs 33% smartphone marketshare in South Korea, a historic record for foreign manufacturers in Samsung’s home turf

iphone-6-plus

Apple’s marketshare in South Korea has skyrocketed in the last quarter, driven by strong demand for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, according to data by Counterpoint. Apple increased its share of sales from 15% to 33%, more than doubling its market power in one quarter.

Historically, Samsung has dominated South Korea, largely due to geographic advantages, but Apple’s gains now threaten the #1 spot. Apple is the first foreign smartphone company ever to surpass 20% marketshare in the region, taking the number 2 spot. Samsung’s marketshare fell from 60% in November to 46% and (now third-place) South Korean LG Electronics fell to 14%.

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Apple commemorates Martin Luther King on its homepage, encouraging employees to volunteer through gift matching

Screen Shot 2015-01-19 at 11.12.24Apple has updated its homepage today in commemoration of Martin Luther King, which Apple CEO Tim Cook has often noted as an inspiration for his work. Cook says he has pictures of Martin Luther King on his desk. However, this is the first time Apple has recognised Martin Luther King day (which happens on the third Monday of every January) so openly on its website. Read more

KGI: Apple likely to sell stylus accessory alongside 12-inch ‘iPad Pro’

applestylusitisapplied

According to a new report by KGI, Apple will soon introduce a stylus accessory for its iPad products, targeted at the expected (but still officially unconfirmed) larger-screened ~12 inch iPad Pro. Both products are quoted for release sometime this year, with KGI most recently quoting a Q2 launch window. The stylus would apparently charge using a Lightning cable.

Although KGI reports tend to be based off of supply-chain sources, which have proven very reliable in the past, Ming-Chi Kuo does not allude to any such indicators for the stylus prediction report. Instead, he highlights a number of patent filings in recent years by Apple on tablet styli and a need to differentiate the upcoming more premium iPad aside from screen size.

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Intel CEO says relationship with Apple strong amid rumors of Apple-designed Mac processors

Apple Intel

As we reported earlier this week, often reliable KGI is predicting that Apple will bring its in-house designed A-series processor to an entry-level Mac sometime in 2016 with TSMC and Samsung expected to fab the potential A9X and A10X chips, respectively. As the move to put non-Intel chips in the Mac lineup would be a departure for the company, CNBC asked Intel CEO Brian Krzanich about the chip-maker’s business plans with Apple… Read more

Samsung brings in new design chief from Apple designer Jony Ive’s former firm

Glam_Galaxy-S5_Group

Samsung announced last year that, after negative reviews of the design of its Galaxy S5, its head of mobile design Change Dong-hoon was being replaced by then VP of mobile design Lee Min-hyouck. Today, however, it was revealed that the company is bringing in an outside designer to help refresh its product lineup. A report from the Korea Herald states that Samsung has hired Lee Don-tae to be its new head of design. Don-tae would lead design of all Samsung gadgets, including smartphones.

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Bank of America announces 1.1 million cards using Apple Pay, new grocery stores add support

apple-pay copy

Bank of America, which partnered with Apple to rollout Apple Pay at launch last October, has announced new customer data on adoption of the iPhone-based mobile payment service. The bank’s most recent quarterly earnings reveal that nearly 800,000 of its customers have begun using Apple Pay with a total of about 1.1 million debit and credit cards activated.

In addition to the latest customer data from Bank of America, support for paying with Apple Pay is popping up in another grocery store chain… Read more

T-Mobile introduces new Simply Prepaid plans starting at $40/month

Simply Prepaid T-Mobile

T-Mobile continues to shake up the wireless industry by introducing a number of affordable plans and options as part of its ongoing Un-carrier initiative. Today, the carrier announced that it is expanding choices for prepaid customers with new Simply Prepaid plans for as little as $40 per month. The new plans will be available for new and existing customers on January 25th. Read more

Xiaomi aims to take on the iPhone 6 Plus with new 5.7″ Note phablet

Image via @DarthMowl

Image via Darth Mowl

After teasing a super-thin new smartphone earlier this week, smartphone maker (or, maybe more accurately, “smartclone maker”) Xiaomi revealed its 2015 flagship model, the Note. Just to be clear, this is an entirely new device, and doesn’t seem to be related to the company’s existing “Redmi Note” smartphone.

It’s also not related to Samsung’s similarly named devices, though it hardly seems unreasonable to think that Samsung’s execs aren’t exactly pleased with the name. iPhone users may detect quite a bit of irony (karma, perhaps?) watching the Korean company squirm as it gets ripped off by a competitor, though.

The 5.7-inch phone is positioned as an iPhone 6 Plus competitor. It features a 1080p display, a 13-megapixel camera with optical image stabilization—a far cry from Apple’s 8 MP shooter—and a 4 MP front-facing camera.

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