July 18, 2012

Last time we checked Apple’s plans to bring 3,600 jobs to Austin, Texas with a $304 million investment and the construction of a new campus, the company received approval on the last of several major incentives from city officials. The approval officially initiated an Economic Development Agreement between Apple and the city, but the project was still not 100 percent confirmed.

Reports originally said Apple would build the new campus on 38 acres at West Parmer Lane and Delcour Drive, and today’s report from AustinBusinessJournal confirmed Apple recently purchased land near the address:

Records at the Travis County Clerk’s Office show that McShane Development Co. LLC, through its Riata Vista LP entity, sold three tracts of land to Apple on June 20. The exhibits indicate that the land is in the Milwood Section 20 subdivision near Parmer Lane and Delcour Drive.

The report did not offer any information about how much Apple paid for the land, but the purchase is a good indication Apple is going ahead with its new Austin campus. According to AustinBusinessJournal, McShane CEO James McShane released a press release yesterday on its new vice president who helped make the deal with Apple:

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Tvc-mall.com (via CydiaBlog) has some “iPhone 5″ cases for sale (at just $1.58 each!) that seem to align with the many, many, many, many next generation iPhone body part leaks. One thing to remember: Just because a case maker is producing cases, does not mean the next generation iPhone will fit into it.

As you can see, the cases are longer to accommodate the larger 4-inch display and have a smaller dock connector hole at the bottom. The speaker holes are bigger with the addition of the headphone jack rumored to be moving down south.

If you are one of the 65 percent of smartphone owners who are already signed up for the next iPhone, are you buying a case for it yet?

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AT&T today announced its shared data plans for smartphone, tablet (phablet?), and Mac/PC users. Current and new customers will be able to choose plans for all of their devices with one with a fairly simple matrix. Current customers will not be forced into these plans (ahem Verizon!), but many with multiple devices/family members might jump at the opportunity.

Bucket plans start at $45 a month (but drop to $30 a month at higher data tiers) + $40 for 1GB of data. Tablets like the iPad will cost $10 a month to add to a smartphone plan. PCs and Macs will be an additional $20 each via LaptopConnect cards, MiFi, or built-in modems. Adding an extra smartphone with unlimited talk and text will be $30 a month.

Interestingly, MiFis are grouped with PCs, so that might be better than getting a separate tablet and PC charge, but it also is another device to carry/charge. Moreover, the extra hop often slows down the speed of the network.

Below is the cost matrix:

Let’s say you have an iPhone and an iPad that you want to put on AT&T’s network with 10GB of data per month. It would be $120+$30 for the iPhone and an additional $10/month for the iPad. That is $160 a month. Adding a Mac data card would bring the total to $180 a month.

This shared bucket plan will particularly appeal to folks with lots of devices/family members and probably most of all businesses that want simplified billing and bucket data. Whether customers use the bucket for a bunch of co-workers or one businessperson with like three biz devices, billing will be simplified for IT.

“We offer customers a broad choice and the best lineup of plans, now enhanced by Mobile Share,” said AT&T Chief Marketing Officer David Christopher. “With these new plans, the more you share, the more you save. They will be a good fit for a variety of new and existing customers. However, if customers want to stay on their current plan or choose from our existing plans, they can do that, too. It is their choice.

“Today we think of people’s smartphones and tablets sharing a bucket of data. But in the future we’ll see health care monitors, connected cars, security systems and other devices in the home all connected to the mobile Internet,” said Christopher. “Our Mobile Share plans are simple, easy and a great value for individuals or families with multiple mobile Internet devices.”

You need to activate a smartphone with these plans. You cannot go data only. I would have liked a data-only share plan where I could just buy data for a few iPads and Macs to share.

The full release follows:

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July 17, 2012

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A slew of iOS apps launched today, and 9to5Mac gathered the most noteworthy ones in our usual round up below. Today’s crop includes an intense digital audio recording system for the iPad, a game from Tom Hanks, a new rapping app by Smule, and more. Oh, and Aisle411 went national today with its biggest retail partner yet.

Check them out:

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