Hacked AT&T carrier update claims to enable HD voice (wideband audio) on iPhone ahead of official rollout

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AT&T already announced plans to turn on HD Voice, aka, wideband audio support, later this year through a carrier update for iPhone users in the US. Today, iTweakiOS announced an update for one of its hacked carrier profiles that it claims will allow AT&T users to access HD Voice, as well as the recently announced CMAS government and Amber alert update, ahead of a full roll out of the feature later this year.

This hack fixes the reported issue of unstable HSPA+ speeds/signal and iPad users having trouble updating and losing all signal. This hack enables, along with the previous enabled features, HD Voice for all iPhone models running on AT&T so users can now use the UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+ network for HD qaulity calling on their 4S and 5. This hack also enables Release 7 HSDPA speeds for the iPhone 4S, giving it a new maximum theoretical downlink of 21Mbps, which AT&T does indeed support. Signal improvements from the previous release have not changed and are still present in this release along with unthrottled LTE and HSPA+.

Apple has actually supported the feature since the iPhone 5 launched last fall, but only around 20 international carriers currently support the feature. Unfortunately, the HD Voice feature, even with the hack, won’t yet work for all users, as AT&T is still currently in the process of rolling out support: Read more

Will the Plastic iPhone knock the iPhone 4S out of this year’s free iPhone pattern?

Credit: Ferry Passchier

Credit: Ferry Passchier

We’ve seen a pretty consistent pattern when a new iPhone is released: the previous model gets significantly cheaper, and the model before that tends to be widely available on free-with-contract deals. We’ve already seen the process beginning in anticipation of the 5S, with AT&T cutting the on-contract price of the iPhone 5 to $99 and 4S to $49, with Walmart going a little further with a $39 deal for the 4S.

But with the prospect of the long-awaited low-cost (or lower-cost!) iPhone being released at the same time as the 5S, might we expect to see the plastic iPhone being offered as the freebie in the iPhone 4S’s place … ?  Read more

U.S. Cellular announces plans to carry Apple products later this year

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U.S. Cellular, the Chicago-based carrier serving around 5.8 million customers in 126 markets, will likely start offering the iPhone later this year, possibly in addition to other iOS devices. The carrier announced today in its first quarter results that it will soon begin carrying Apple products, but didn’t provide any further information regarding when or what specific products it might launch:

“We have a number of strategies in progress to increase loyalty and attract more customers, including our announcement today that we will begin offering Apple products later this year. By further strengthening our device portfolio, we’ll give consumers another great reason to switch to U.S. Cellular, and enable our existing customers to choose from an even wider variety of iconic smartphones, and enjoy the outstanding U.S. Cellular customer experiences they deserve. Our smartphone penetration is currently 43 percent of core market customers and growing quickly. We believe there will be strong, ongoing demand for smartphones and data products and services from our customers, and we have significant room for growth in this area.

You might remember a couple years back U.S. Cellular claimed it said no to the iPhone 4S with CEO Mary Dillon at the time saying Apple’s “terms were unacceptable from a risk and profitability standpoint.” Later, CEO of the cellular provider’s parent company TDS hinted that the carrier would wait until Apple unveiled an LTE capable device, which was of course before the unveiling of Apple’s LTE iPhone 5.

After it decided not to carry the iPhone 4S, it soon after launched its Wonderphone ad campaign that were seen by many as mocking the iPhone.

U.S. Celluar today reported service revenues for the first quarter of $996.3 million and noted that it plans to roll out its 4G LTE service to 87 percent of its subscribers this year. The carrier also said it plans to close its $480 million deal to sell its Chicago, St. Louis, central Illinois and other markets to Sprint in the second quarter of 2013.  Read more

iOS 6.1.1 build 10B145 being rushed to address 3G performance and enterprise concerns, some carrier testing completed

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Following reports about some carriers in Europe issuing warnings not to upgrade to iOS 6.1 due to issues with 3G performance, it seems a fix is already in the works. The issue was not just with 3G through carriers such as Vodafone and three in Austria, many users in Apple’s own forums complained of similar problems, degraded battery life, and more. Users have also had problems with Exchange support, causing AOL corporate to temporarily disable the ability to manage mobile meetings from iOS devices running iOS 6.1.

Today, a report from German language blog iFun claimed that carriers have already completed testing a 6.1.1 update to address the bugs and a 23MB update carrying build number 10B145 should be available over-the-air soon:

After ifun.de this information is already in version 6.1.1 of the night on Monday as “Testing Complete” and should be offered the iPhone community with little flow as a wireless update. Sources which are applicable in the past on the issue dates of iOS 6.0.2 and iOS 6.1 as well as the eradication of the “SMS spoofing problem” have informed, indicate the large 23MB update with UMTS-compatible.

Apple’s first beta release for 6.1.1 was released last week with build number 10B311.

Walmart now offers iPhone 5 for $127, 4S for $47, and third-gen iPad for $399; Target to discount Virgin’s Prepaid 4S to $399 (updated)

iphone5

Walmart is continuing to slash price tags on Apple products this holiday season, as the global retailer just announced it is now offering the 16GB iPhone 5 for $127.

Walmart also cut the iPhone 4S from $89.97 to $47 starting today, with both smartphones sales subject to the usual two-year contract, and it further lowered the (update below16 GB third-generation iPad with Wi-Fi to $399. Walmart said its iPad deal would feature a bonus $30 iTunes card beginning Dec. 17, but all special rollback prices are in-store only.

Target plans to offer an Apple product sale, as well. It will discount Virgin Mobile’s Prepaid 16GB iPhone 4S from $449.99 to $399.99 starting Dec. 16, but the deal is only available at Target Mobile locations.

Update 1: Walmart’s story continues to evolve. We’ll continue to update.

Update 2: Walmart’s PR agency made multiple corrections to its original announcement today. While the first press release said the third-generation iPad would go on sale for $399 on Dec. 17, a later correction indicated the deal actually started today for the fourth-generation iPad. Now, this evening, Walmart’s PR agency has made another correction: today’s $399 sale is for the third-generation iPad. The rollback prices for the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S remain correct.

9to5Mac contacted Walmart directly today on multiple occasions to verify the sale prices advertised in the press release, but only its PR agency would comment on specifics and make subsequent corrections. Read more