T-Mobile unveils its big Sept. 12 plans for iPhone: ‘Bring your unlocked iPhone and save $1200 vs. AT&T’

T-Mobile announced a huge new “unlimited and unlocked iPhone” initiative today that will launch Sept. 12—a date that should ring a bell. The nation’s fourth-largest carrier does not and will not officially carry the iPhone, but its parent company carries the iPhone all over Europe and was even the original carrier in its home Germany. The biggest issue with T-Mobile USA and the iPhone is that T-Mobile’s 3G/4G bands are incompatible with Apple’s iPhone hardware. Therefore, a million plus iPhone users are kept to EDGE 2.5G speeds, which seemed to work O.K. for the original iPhone, but five years have passed since it first launched and expectations have largely risen.

Today’s announcement is a big one for T-Mobile and will be accompanied by a large marketing push. T-Mobile claims —and the math seems to work— that it will save users $50 a month over similar AT&T plans. The total savings amount equals $1,200 over the life of a two-year contract.

T-Mobile will have a store-within-a-store for iPhone users who want to make the hop. Trained T-Mobile salespeople will be able to instruct users on unlocking, but they will not physically open the devices. This is an unprecedented move…especially for a device that T-Mobile does not officially carry.

Getting your hands on an unlocked device is pretty easy and will probably get a lot easier over the next weeks as the new iPhone is announced. Apple has offered the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S unlocked almost since it released last year and you can currently snap up a new one at eBay for about $580.

T-Mobile has some more good news for prospective iPhone customers today: Remember the iPhone-compatible 1900MHz network it demo’ed at WWDC? That same 1900MHz 4G network is rolling out in Seattle, Las Vegas, Washington, DC, and the New York metro area currently (readers? sightings?).

Even better: T-Mobile’s tests of unlocked iPhone 4S devices running over 4G (HSPA+) on its 1900 band have recorded 70 percent faster average download speeds than iPhone 4S on AT&T’s network. We will wait for neutral parties to review before judging and, obviously, LTE is coming for the iPhone 5, which T-Mobile expects will run on its network.

However, the best part might be the company behind the network. T-Mobile allows its customers to make and receive calls over Wi-Fi when there is no network on their smartphones. The iPhone is no exception. T-Mobile has the Bobsled app for iPhone for making calls. This is fantastic not only when in low -service areas but also when travelling abroad. T-Mobile will release other apps soon for things like live TV, account management and visual voicemail.

We’re also developing iOS versions of helpful T-Mobile applications like T-Mobile myAccountT-MobileVisual Voicemail and T-Mobile TV (we already offer an iOS version of our popular Bobsled application).

For those thinking about making the jump, remember that T-Mobile is not an official carrier and things like the following may apply:

Also, AT&T offers customers a chance to request a device unlock for their iPhone. The main requirements are that the device is an AT&T iPhone and all contract and term commitments are satisfied before submitting a request. The carrier can take up to a week to process a request, and it “reserves the right to deny any unlock request that it concludes would result in an abuse of this policy or is part of an effort to defraud AT&T or its customers.” AT&T further said it could “alter this unlocking policy at its discretion without advance notice.”

Check out AT&T’s Customer Device Unlock page for more information.

The full press release follows: Read more

Will the next-gen iPhone feature an upgraded camera system?

In the lead up to Apple’s Sept. 12 media event, where most expect the next-generation iPhone to be unveiled, there are still some things —believe it or not— that we don’t know about the device. The new iPhone is rumored to sport a longer, four-inch display, a smaller dock connector, an overall thinner design, updated RAM, and other internal components. But we have not heard much about the camera, which is one of the most important parts of any smartphone.

There is some evidence that Apple has now centered the FaceTime camera, such as the next-generation iPhone backs that we posted in May, and Apple seems to be moving toward FaceTimeHD, but we also expect the device’s rear camera to receive an upgrade over the previous-generation iPhone 4S.

While the iPhone 4S introduced a redesigned 5 lens camera system with a new sensor and 8-megapixels, the game has definitely been stepped up with a number of camera-related product announcements from Sony, Nokia, Motorola and Samsung. If the next-generation iPhone’s camera is to keep its lead with the most recent devices announced by these manufacturers, Apple is likely planning an improved camera system for the ‘iPhone 5′.
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Photoshop/Lightroom will get Retina update this Fall says Adobe (Update)

Adobe just announced on its blog that Photoshop CS6 would recieve a Retina update this fall:

The Photoshop and Lightroom teams are pleased to announce we will provide support for HiDPI displays in the coming months, including the Retina Display available on the new MacBook Pro. Supporting this new technology requires significant work by our product teams and we’re committed to provided a free update to all Photoshop CS6 customers this Fall and Lightroom 4 as soon as the work is complete. Please note that Creative Cloud members will receive Photoshop updates more frequently and receive this update in advance of updates for non-members. While Photoshop,Photoshop Touch and Lightroom will be joining Adobe Ideas in their support of HiDPI Retina Displays, Photoshop Elements will not fully support HiDPI displays in the immediate future however the team is investigating the effort required to support these new displays.

We are also hard at work on some new features that will be rolling out to Creative Cloud members in the coming months. Stay tuned for more details.

For additional background and information on other Adobe software products, please read this blog post.

Thanks for your patience as we work to ensure the quality of our products meet your expectations.

Adobe Creative Cloud is still $29 per month for a limited time.

Update: Adobe has detailed that Retina support will also be coming to the following software around the same time:

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Live from IFA: Hands on with LifeProof’s nüüd waterproof iPad case

LifeProof already made a splash with its water, dirt, snow, and shockproof cases for iPhone 4 and 4S ($54). Today, at the ShowStoppers IFA event in Berlin, we were able to get our hands on LifeProof’s latest creation: an iPad version of the popular Nüüd case. If you are unfamiliar, the Nüüd cases feature no screen protection (although there is now an optional display cover that doubles as a stand), but it instead protects your iPad from the elements by creating a seal around the perimeter of the display. The case is currently available for iPad 2 and 3 through the LifeProof website and bundled with the screen protector/stand for €127.53 ($160 USD). Go past the break for another video demo of the Nüüd case ‘skinny dipping’ (being submerged in water).

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Turn your iPhone 4/4S into the next-gen iPhone with this $30 back plate mod kit

While we certainly cannot vouch for the quality of this “iPhone 5 conversion mod kit” for iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, it appears to be a back-plate mod kit based on leaked next-generation iPhone designs. Available in both black and white, the kit is based on the next-gen metal iPhone backs that we first posted high-resolution photos of in May. The mod kit is currently shipping worldwide within seven days for $30. The sellers claim the kit uses “camera glass lens of same quality as original iPhone back panel,” while the back plate includes “glass-like acrylic” and aluminum.

The kit also comes with Phillips and Pentalobe screwdrivers. The iPhone 5 mod kit is available here, and a short promo video of the result is below. For comparison, images of the “real” thing are here.

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iPhone trade-in roundup: Get as much as $500 back on the iPhone 4S, returns due as late as October

The next-generation iPhone is set to launch in just three weeks and trade-ins are peaking, so now is the perfect time to start exchanging those soon-to-be old models to earn some cash for Apple’s upcoming smartphone. 9to5Mac compiled a list of reliable places to help you trade in that ole’ dusty iPhone for cash or credit—up to $500s worth in some cases! That is enough to buy a new iPhone and cover the AT&T early termination fee for moving to a carrier that fully supports FaceTime.

Before browsing the options, take a moment to identify the condition, features, and model of the swappable iPhone. This will help determine its potential value, because most online programs use a survey to calculate the iPhone’s estimate. Moreover, it is prudent to act now, as retailers will likely drop their prices as the launch date draws nearer.

Check out the top 10 trade-ins list below.

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Apps & updates: Skype, ooVoo Video Chat, Plants vs. Zombies, more

Skype version 4.1: Both Skype’s iPhone and iPad apps were updated today with the ability to send and receive photos (with no file size limit) in addition to a number of other enhancements. Also present is updated privacy settings, a fix for issues related to Bluetooth and calls, and “Minor visual improvements across the app.” Skype also explained how it’s made the app “less battery hungry” and improved overall performance:

We’ve also improved the overall performance of Skype’s mobile apps. We’ve made them less battery hungry when running in the background, so you’ll now be able to answer Skype calls throughout the day when they come in. And, as you’ll be able to keep Skype open, you can respond to or send IMs to friends and colleagues all day long. In addition, we’ve tried to make the app start and contact list load even faster, so you can do all the things you love to do with Skype more quickly.

ooVoo Video Chat version 1.2.0: The free 12-way HD video chat app was updated today with a bunch of notable features including 4 pane video chat support on iPhone 4S, push notifications for chat messages and incoming video, and much more. You can also now send chat messages during a video call, start chats from the IM tab, and view a history of past text and video chats.

Plants Vs. Zombies Sequel: PopCap has confirmed it is working on a sequel to the extremely popular Plants Vs. Zombies title slated to launch sometime in late spring 2013. With the success of its iOS version of the first title, there is no doubt part two will be landing on iPhones and iPads when it arrives next year. We don’t have many details yet, but PopCap said the game will include “a bevy of new features, settings, and situations, designed to delight the franchise’s tens of millions of fans around the world.” We are also promised “hordes of new plant and zombie types.”

“Spring is crullest curlie ungood time, and plantz grow dull roots,” noted an unidentified spokesperson. “So, we are meating you for brainz at yore house. No worry to skedule schedlue plan… we’re freee anytime. We’ll find you.” Read more

iFixit posts repair guide for Retina MacBook Pro, estimates battery replacement at $500

You might remember a couple months ago when our friends at iFixit tore down the new Retina MacBook Pro. Unfortunately, the device received its lowest repairability score with the company calling it “the least repairable laptop”. While the new MacBooks provide possibly Apple’s least accessible and upgradeable design out of the box, iFixit updated its website today with its official 2012 MacBook Pro Retina repair guide to make it as easy as possible. Fifteen separate installation guides for the AirPort Board, battery, fans, logic board, speakers, SSD, trackpad, etc., are included in the repair guide with one maintenance guide for reapplying thermal paste to the CPU and GPU.

Many components within the laptop can be removed without much fuss, provided folks use the correct tools. Pentalobe screws hold the lower case in place and Torx screws secure everything else. Spudgers and plastic opening tools are absolutely necessary, as many of the components are designed with such tight tolerances that using fingertips is simply not an option.

Fair warning: working on the laptop is no easy task. Some repairs are simply infeasible. For example, there is no way to replace the trackpad without removing the battery. And while it’s possible to remove the battery, chances are high that it will be punctured in the process. Puncturing Lithium-polymer batteries releases noxious fumes and can cause fires. Additionally, removing the LCD glass from the aluminum frame will almost certainly break the glass. So components residing under the LCD — such as the FaceTime camera — will have to be replaced with the entire assembly… Finding replacements for the machine’s proprietary components is currently difficult. We’re working to source parts, but it may take some time.

iFixit also estimated that third-party battery replacements —if done correctly— could cost over $500:

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Report: European carriers placing nano-SIM orders in anticipation of next-gen iPhone launch

According to a report from Financial Times, carriers in Europe are stocking up on mini SIM cards designed for Apple’s next-generation iPhone in anticipation of the device’s expected October launch. In June, reports speculated that Apple’s nano-SIM design for the new 4FF standard was selected by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, while hands-on video of the next-generation iPhone backs, which we first revealed in May, showed what appeared to be a smaller SIM card holder.

Today’s report from FT claimed Apple’s nano SIM card design is indeed the mini SIMs being purchased by European operators:

Operators expect that the iPhone will feature the nano sim in a slimmed down design, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation, and have begun to store millions of the cards in warehouses in anticipation of high demand for Apple’s iPhone. Apple declined to comment[Shocker]…

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Retina MacBook Pro shows up in EPEAT Registry

Apple’s products are back on the EPEAT’s registry with a Gold standard, but the Retina MacBook pro notably was at question.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based Company announced earlier this week that it planned to forgo the environmental rating system. The decision allegedly came after the EPEAT took up an issue with the new MacBook Pro’s Retina display and repairability factor, which iFixit detailed in a widely reported analysis last month.

After Apple dropped the EPEAT standard, the city of San Francisco said it planned to stop purchases of some Apple products, and then Politico revealed federal officials were also thinking twice before procuring Apple’s computers.

The hullabaloo apparently caused the folks in Cupertino to second guess their plan of action, as Senior Vice President of Hardware Bob Mansfield suddenly issued a statement on Apple’s environmental page today regarding the contention. He said the company made a mistake and would concede by returning to EPEAT.

Now, a few hours later, the EPEAT’s registry has 40 Apple products listed, including the Retina MacBook Pro. However, its IEEE 1680-2009 Criteria Category Summary (screenshot below) is a bit perplexing, especially considering the reasons reported as to why Apple pulled its products in the first place.

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Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac and Parallels Mobile now support Retina Display [Video]

Parallels announced that its Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac and Parallels Mobile now support Apple’s Retina display.

“We are proud to announce that both Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac and Parallels Mobile have been updated to support Apple’s Retina display and its over 5 million megapixels on the newly released MacBooks and latest iPad,” explained the software firm, which delivers an integrated Windows-on-a-Mac experience, so users can reap the full advantages of Apple’s offering across all their devices.

Parallels Desktop 7 for Mac is able to run multiple operating systems, including Windows 8 Release Preview, Windows 7, Chrome, and Ubuntu, and it will soon provide support for the final versions of Mountain Lion and Windows 8 after their release, while Parallels Mobile allows users to remotely control a computer from an iOS device.

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Swedish ‘iWatch’ concept features FaceTime, Retina display [Photos]

The New York Times reported in December that a small group of people at Apple were “conceptualizing and even prototyping some wearable devices,” so we posted Federico Ciccarese’s creepy take on a wearable, curved-glass iOS device last week. Now, Swedish designer Anders Kjellberg introduces his iteration of the tech with an “iWatch” concept featuring FaceTime.

The mockup touts a Retina display, an 8-megapixel camera with HD and FaceTime capabilities, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Airplay support, a built-in, rechargeable Lithium-ion battery, 16 GB of storage, accelerometer, proximity and ambient light sensors, and eight customizable wristbands. Oh, and iTunes and apps—of course.

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