China Telecom advertises intent to sell iPhone 6 supporting all networks with curious set of renders

china-telecom

If you thought things were messy with U.S. networks, Verizon and Sprint using CMDA and AT&T and T-Mobile using GSM, things are even worse in China – with WCDMA, CDMA2000, CDMA1X, GSM, TDD-LTE and FDD-LTE all in use by different carriers in different combinations.

The iPhone 6 may be about to make life a whole lot easier, though, with Sina (via ZDNet) reporting that the model sold by China Telecom at least will support all of the wireless networks in use in the country, based on a Weibo post by the carrier. Admittedly the image used in the Weibo above looks a little different than the general consensus we’ve seen before – they were created by Tomas Moyano and Nicolàs Aichino, and China Telecom likely downloaded them from Bēhance.

That aside, the message they are sending might be more interesting…

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Report: Sprint wants to buy T-Mobile USA in 2014

(via Flickr)

Almost two years to date since AT&T pulled its bid for T-Mobile USA, rival carrier Sprint is reportedly preparing its own offer to purchase the fourth largest carrier in the US.

That’s according to a The Wall Street Journal report which claims Sprint is currently looking into regulatory concerns that could be voiced if the third largest US carrier acquired the company which runs the fourth largest US carrier.

Sprint hasn’t yet decided whether to move ahead with a bid. Going forward despite regulators’ concerns would be highly risky. Any pursuit of a bid by Sprint could be aimed at testing antitrust officials’ reaction to a deal, and a bad reaction could put an end to the effort. Read more

Apple starts selling unlocked, SIM-free iPhone 5s in the U.S.

Screen Shot 2013-11-22 at 9.51.53 AMApple today released an unlocked GSM version of the iPhone 5s on its online store for the United States. This version of the iPhone 5s includes the same exact capabilities of the non-unlocked models, but does not include a SIM card. Users who buy this version of the iPhone will need to supply their own SIM card. The central benefit of an unlocked iPhone is that it can work on many GSM networks across the globe with no contract. For frequent world travelers, this option is worth looking into…

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Sprint and Verizon won’t support simultaneous voice and data on iPhone 5

Unlike Verizon’s lineup of LTE Android smartphones, we just confirmed with the carrier that the new iPhone 5 would not support simultaneous voice and data over its LTE network.

A Verizon spokesperson told us:

“The iPhone 5 was designed to allow customers to place a voice call on the Verizon Wireless network, while simultaneously letting customers access the Internet over the WiFi.”

We confirmed with AT&T, however, that the feature will work on its GSM model of the iPhone 5. AT&T told us:

“AT&T customers can talk and surf simultaneously on the new iPhone 5.”

We know Apple is shipping the same CDMA model iPhone 5 to both Sprint and Verizon, so it is probable that Sprint’s iPhone 5 will not support simultaneous voice and data as well.

Some Android devices do simultaneous voice and data on Verizon, so it is probably Apple’s baseband processor choice that led to the situation.

Update: According to the New York Times, the change is due to Apple. An Apple spokesperson explained:

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iPad 3 parts leak as rumored 2012 release comes closer

As the rumored early 2012 iPad 3 release draws closer, Cydia Blog discovered a part for the iPad 3 on TVC Mall’s website. What you see above is apparently a replacement part for the microphone on the iPad 3, and shows some pretty major changes compared to the iPad 2’s microphone — namely the shape. The apparent dock connector and ribbon cable for the iPad 3 also leaked this summer. Cydia Blog reports:

The new part, when compared with iPad 2, shows a different arrangement in internal circuitry, hinting a major re-design. The tail end of the part makes a “U-turn”, whereas the iPad 2′s Microphone Mic Flex Cable makes almost 90-degree turn both ways. Except for few details, the leaked part so far doesn’t offer a tantalizing tease.

The iPad 3 is rumored to launch early 2012 — maybe February — with a rumored higher res display and thicker form-factor. Other specs are rumored to be a dual-mode wireless chip for both CDMA and GSM, Apple’s A6 processor, and more RAM. Citi’s analyst Richard Gardner says he’s heard from sources that a February launch is coming, but some have pointed to mid-summer. The updated mic form-factor above could point to pretty major internal changes. It should be worth noting, however, that manufacturer replacement parts aren’t always in the final version. (via MacRumors)

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Apple online store now accepting orders for unlocked iPhone 4S as Sprint begins SIM-locking them

Apple’s US online store today began accepting orders for the unlocked iPhone 4S, priced at $649/$749/$849 for the 16/32/64GB version, making good on its promise to provide the unlocked handset in November. The company advises:

The unlocked iPhone works only on supported GSM networks, such as AT&T in the U.S. When you travel internationally, you can also use a micro-SIM card from a local GSM carrier. The unlocked iPhone will not work with CDMA carriers such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint.

An unlocked iPhone 4S is of particular interest to those traveling abroad as they can just pop in a local carrier’s SIM card to avoid paying exorbitant roaming fees.

Meanwhile, carrier Sprint today begun SIM-locking all iPhone 4S devices purchased Friday, November 11, 2011 and onwards, SprintFeed noted. According to SprintFeed:

Starting tomorrow, all iPhone 4S devices will have the SIM locked. The locking occurs during the activation process and is invisible to the customer (no extra action is needed by customer or rep).

9to5Mac discovered mid-October that Apple Stores in the United States were selling contract-free iPhones. Any GSM phone that was sold off contract was unlocked and we’ve confirmed that they’ve stayed unlocked, even after the 5.0.1 update (below). Read more

AT&T plans a “4G upgrade” for the iPhone in name only

Perhaps looking to differentiate its service from the other two US carriers, AT&T is working with Apple to get a “4G” icon on the iPhone 4S when it hits its HSPA+ network according to The Verge.

The move would seem to try to further differentiate AT&T’s network which is already significantly faster than Sprint or Verizon’s (and theoretically double the iPhone 4 speed).

If you are in the US, which network will you be getting an iPhone 4S on?

Unlocked iPhone 4S available in November, only works on GSM networks


It’s interesting that you can’t take your unlocked iPhone 4S over to Sprint or Verizon to enable service, at least explicitly. Also, it appears that you can take your unlocked iPhone 4S over to T-Mobile (Apple says “GSM Networks” but doesn’t mention T-Mobile specifically), but only expect to use the EDGE 2G speeds.  Being unlocked also means swapping out micro SIMs when travelling internationally is possible.

The unlocked iPhone includes all the features of iPhone but without a contract commitment. You can activate and use it on the supported GSM wireless network of your choice, such as AT&T in the United States.* The unlocked iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S will not work with CDMA-based carriers such as Verizon Wireless or Sprint.

If you don’t want a multiyear service contract or if you prefer to use a local carrier when traveling abroad, the unlocked iPhone is the best choice. It arrives without a micro-SIM card, so you’ll need an active micro-SIM card from any supported GSM carrier worldwide. To start using it, simply insert the micro-SIM card into the slot on your iPhone and turn it on by pressing and holding the On/Off button for a few seconds. Then follow the onscreen instructions to set up your iPhone.

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iPhone 4S with iPhone 4 design, dual-mode capability leaked by iTunes

While we have independently been expecting the new iPhone to feature little exterior differences from the iPhone 4, there still has been some debate over the new iPhone’s design. Today, rumors of a re-design can essentially be put to rest. Inside the latest iTunes beta is a specific mention of the “iPhone 4S.” Along with the new iPhone name of “iPhone 4S” comes an image, and it is of a CDMA iPhone 4.

Unless Apple still has the CDMA iPhone 4 as a placeholder image until the new iPhone is announced, we’re fairly confident that the iPhone 4S will pack the CDMA iPhone design. iTunes only holds two iPhone 4S references: black and white versus the four iPhone 4 references of black/GSM, black/CDMA, white/GSM, and white/CDMA. This may also confirm the rumors of the new iPhone being a dual-mode/CDMA + GSM handset.

iPhone 4S confirmed as N94 (iPhone 4,1) that showed up in Apple’s inventory system:

The new iPhone will likely feature the dual-core A5 processor from the iPad 2, and eight megapixel camera, 1GB of RAM, Nuance-based speech-to-text Dictation, and the breakthrough Assistant feature based on Apple’s purchase of Siri. Everything you need to know can be read here.

Thanks, Ron!

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Apple’s Sprint-compatible iPad appears ready and waiting for launch

Apple and Sprint have completed work on a version of the iPad for Sprint’s data network. This Sprint compatible iPad appears to be ready for public consumption and will join the family of GSM (AT&T) and Verizon capable Apple tablets before the holidays. With Apple soon launching a Sprint version of the iPhone – which we independently confirmed in June – we suspect that the Sprint iPad will come alongside or soon after that release. The iPhone 5 release is still scheduled for October 7th according to our source (and others), but changes/delays are always possible.

The first week of October date for the new iPhone’s availability fits nicely with our report about AT&T’s major early October changes: data throttling and a new insurance plan for $199 devices.

The Sprint version of the iPad is completely separate from the CDMA Verizon model.  We can’t confirm that this new iPad will run on Sprint’s powerful 4G WiMAX network, but the question begs to be asked: Why would Apple build a new iPad for Sprint and not use the CDMA iPad that Verizon already carries?  A report yesterday from TUAW seemed to imply that a 4G iPad from Sprint would be happening at some point.

What’s perhaps most enticing about the Sprint iPad (besides the possibility of 4G) is that Sprint is a lot more generous with its data plans, perhaps offering iPad users once again a truly unlimited data option.

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Purported iPhone 4S antenna band compared to GSM and CDMA iPhone 4

Here’s something interesting that appeared in our inbox this evening. According to our tipster SulfoDK, the middle iPhone antenna below will be the new ‘iPhone 4S’ antenna band. It appears to simply be the current CDMA antenna with a SIM card tray cut out in a similar spot as the GSM iPhone 4 (and as such could be faked or prototyped fairly easily). With the amount of advertising on these images and the easy in which it could be faked, we are wary.

But the idea works out on some levels and here’s why: If Apple were to build only one ‘iPhone 4S’ for 2011-2012 season, they could sell what is basically the Verizon iPhone 4 with its worldphone Gobi chip and an added SIM tray to every carrier. It would make sense to keep that overall same antenna design since it already works well on Verizon. Earlier cases seem to indicate the same thing.

For clarification below, the frame on top labelled ‘4G’ is the current GSM iPhone 4. They are using ‘4G’ in the AT&T/T-Mobile sense.

Top and bottom views below:

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AT&T to slash international data roaming prices on July 17th

One of the advantages of AT&T’s GSM iPhones (and iPads) is that they  can roam just about anywhere in the world fairly easily.  For that convenience, AT&T charges a hefty – some would say exorbitant – fee (illustrated above, left).

Today, AT&T has announced a significant (2.5-5x) drop in international fees.

You get 2.5 times the data for $25 which is now set at 50MB.  At the high end, you get 4x the data, 800MB, for $200.  And overages used to cost $5/MB(!!); now it is ‘just’ $10/10MB.

It is still far from cheap and smart travelers will continue to pick up a Mifi, unlock and use a local SIM or just stick to Wifi hotspots.  But it is something, right? Read more