AT&T has launched a new initiative called Mobile Share Value Plans that is designed to save customers money on their monthly AT&T mobile phone service bills. The following changes are specifically for the Mobile Share program, which allows devices to work under the same AT&T account and share data, talk, and text plans. Similar to T-Mobile’s “un-carrier” approach, the new AT&T plans separate the cost of the device hardware completely from the monthly service charges:
Following a statement from the White House on Monday confirming it would support “narrow legislative fixes” to make unlocking cellphones legal again, several lawmakers have announced plans to introduce legislation. According to a report from The Hill, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy and Chair of the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights Senator Amy Klobuchar have confirmed they will introduce bills in support of the legalization of cellphone unlocking:
“I intend to work in a bipartisan, bicameral fashion to restore users’ ability to unlock their phones and provide them with the choice and freedom that we have all come to expect in the digital era,” Leahy said in a statement.
The Judiciary Committee, which handles copyright issues, would likely have jurisdiction over any bill to legalize cellphone unlocking.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who chairs the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, said she plans to introduce her own bill this week.
During a recent panel discussion on Capitol Hill, other lawmakers voiced their support for the legislation, including Representatives Darrell Issa and Jared Polis, while The Hill reported the Federal Communication Commissions’Jessica Rosenworcel “encouraged Congress to re-examine the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.”
The decision was made by the Library of Congress in October to make unlocking cellphones illegal, and that policy officially took effect in January. Following the White House’s statement in response to a petition with over 110,000 signatures, the Library of Congress issued a statement and agreed that “the question of locked cell phones has implications for telecommunications policy and that it would benefit from review and resolution in that context.” Read more
Today, research firm IDC published its Q1 2012 report of top mobile phone and smartphone shipments worldwide. While Apple was able to post impressive growth with a high of 8.8-percent of the total mobile phone market (up from 4.6-percent a year ago) and 24.2-percent of the global smartphone market (up from 18.3-percent), Samsung was able overtake Apple for the top spot with a year-over-year change of 267 percent and 29.1-percent of the total smartphone market. Samsung also took the top spot of global mobile phone marketshare from Nokia for the first time since 2004.
Meanwhile, the worldwide smartphone market grew 42.5% year over year in 1Q12, as Samsung overtook Apple for the smartphone leadership position. Vendors shipped 144.9 million smartphones in 1Q12 compared to 101.7 million units in 1Q11. The 42.5% year-over-year growth was 1% higher than IDC’s forecast of 41.5% for the quarter, and lower than the 57.4% growth in the fourth quarter of 2011
In terms of shipments among smartphone vendors, Apple took the second spot behind Samsung up from 18.6 million units in Q1 2011 to 35.1 million in Q1 2012. Apple was only behind Samsung with 42.2 million units shipped, up from just 11.5 million a year ago.
The company does not publicly release shipments from Samsung, and IDC’s number of 42.2 million smartphones shipped during Q1 is significantly more than the 32 million estimated by IHS iSuppli just days ago. If IHS’s estimate were correct, it would put Samsung much closer to the 35.1 million devices Apple confirmed it
shipped sold during the quarter.
CNET reported that Apple settled 18 suits bundled as a Class-action lawsuit over the “Antennagate” “scandal.” Each iPhone 4 owner (it is not clear if Verizon iPhone 4 users who had different radios/Antenna are exempt) is entitled to a $15 cash settlement or a bumper. Apple began offering bumpers to users shortly after the release and the subsequent press conference to address the issue (as well as returns, no restocking fee or questions asked).
The settlement found:
Apple was “misrepresenting and concealing material information in the marketing, advertising, sale, and servicing of its iPhone 4–particularly as it relates to the quality of the mobile phone antenna and reception and related software.”
The settlement has its own Web site, http://www.iPhone4Settlement.com, which will be up in the coming weeks (the site doesn’t go anywhere right now). There, customers will be able to get information about the settlement and how to make a claim. As part of the arrangement, e-mails will also be sent alerting original buyers to the settlement before April 30, 2012. The claims period is then open for 120 days.
“We believe that the Apple iPhone 4 settlement is fair, adequate, and reasonable,” said co-lead counsel Ira Rothken, who represents the class, to CNET. “We believe that it allows members of the class to choose, and they can get $15 of cash or a bumper, so we believe that type of choice is proportional to the circumstances.”
Consumer Reports, who could not recommend the iPhone 4 based on the problem, demonstrated above, said the iPhone 4S was free of this issue.
Apple still sells the iPhone 4 with what we believe is the same design as the one used above, so it is not certain how this settlement will affect those sales.
Update: Statement from Apple via the Loop:
“This settlement relates to a small number of customers who indicated that they experienced antenna or reception issues with their iPhone 4 and didn’t want to take advantage of a free case from Apple while it was being offered in 2010,”
The above image is a comparison of an iPad 2 home button and an iPad 3 home button. At the surface, not much as changed, but the prospects of some minor structural tweaks do hint at something greater. The iPad 3 home button, which has been handled in both black and white flavors, looks almost identical to the iPad 2 home button. However, the gray glyph representing the frame of a home screen application icon is slightly thicker. This, obviously, is not all the interesting…but we do learn a few things:
- The iPad 3 will likely come in both black and white-just like the iPad 2-if these iPad 3 home buttons pan out to be the ones used in the final.
- The buttons floating around right now-in large quantities-signal that the iPad 3 is either in production or close to the production stage
- The iPad 3 will not lose the home button (iOS devices have been rumored to soon be losing the home button).
Perhaps the most interesting part about the iPad 3 home button is that its internal structuring is smaller than the iPad 2′s connector (easy to tell in the comparison image above). Apple tweaking the home button structural design and making its size smaller may indicate that Apple is trying to make room for something else. The iPad 3 is already rumored to be nearly 1 mm thicker to accommodate a more pixel-dense Retina Display. Perhaps this slightly smaller home button is one method Apple is using to keep the extra thickness required to a minimum.
Power and volume rockers with a similar design to their iPad 2 counterparts are also floating around, perhaps hinting a minimal design changes. Stay tuned for more.
Among a bunch of Google+ improvements announced today, Google said it would bring Hangouts to mobile phones including iPhone (and iPad 2 and 4G iPod likely). We’re big fans of Google Hangouts and having it on mobile is going to be really great. They are also offering Hangout broadcasts which might be fun ways to broadcast a keynote for instance