Ahead of 2013 launch, T-Mobile lights up iPhone-compatible high speed networks in Atlanta, Seattle and Minneapolis

factory-unlocked-iphone-4s-running-t-mobileAfter confirming a partnership with Apple to bring products to market in 2013 last week, T-Mobile today announced plans to bring its enhanced iPhone-compatible 4G network to even more areas. Chief Technology Officer for T-Mobile USA Neville Ray announced on the company’s blog that the carrier’s enhanced network will now be available in Atlanta, Seattle, and Minneapolis. T-Mobile will also continue to enhance its network in Oakland, San Francisco, and the Silicon Valley:

Continuing our fast-paced work to strengthen our already competitive 4G experience in major metro areas across the country, we’ve just announced technology advancements in three additional major metro areas, including Atlanta, Seattle and Minneapolis. Additionally, we have continued to expand on enhancements made last month in Oakland, San Francisco and the Silicon Valley to cover more surrounding cities.

T-Mobile also pointed out: “Internal tests of unlocked iPhone 4S devices running over 4G (HSPA+) on our 1900 MHz network recorded on average 70% faster download speeds than iPhone 4S devices on AT&T’s network.”

A full list of areas included are below: Read more

Nokia to release free ‘Here’ maps app for iOS with voice-guided navigation, public transport directions, and offline

While a native Google Maps iOS app has yet to hit the App Store, Nokia said today it plans to release a new free maps for iOS under the “Here” brand in the coming weeks. “Here” is a cross platform effort for mapping applications that the company described as “the first location cloud to deliver the world’s best maps and location experiences across multiple screens and operating systems.”

San Francisco, California – Today Nokia introduced HERE, the first location cloud to deliver the world’s best maps and location experiences across multiple screens and operating systems. With the new brand, HERE, Nokia aims to inspire a new generation of location services and devices that make the mobile experience more personally significant for people everywhere… To further extend its location services, Nokia is launching a maps application for iOS under the HERE brand. 

The new HTML5-based iOS app, also called “Here”, will arrive in the App Store in the coming weeks and feature “offline capabilities, voice-guided walk navigation, and public transport directions.” Read more

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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Google I/O 2012 Liveblog

The 2012 Google I/O Developers Conference starts today at the Moscone Center West in San Francisco, Calif., with events continuing until June 29 at 4:30 p.m. PST.

For those interested in what the folks at Mountain View are announcing this morning, check out 9to5Google. Seth Weintraub is live-blogging from the event now:

Here are a few vids for some of the key announcements:

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Facebook’s iOS App Center going live tonight?

Update: Facebook confirmed to TechCrunch it has been “testing it with a small percentage of users” since it launched last month, but the social network has “no further details to announce at this time.”

The image above is a screenshot just posted by TechCrunch. A reader who claims to be seeing the Facebook App Center already live in the iOS app sent it. As noted in the report, Facebook has an “app-themed” event in San Francisco tonight where we could see more of the App Center. The company announced the new HTML5-based App Center last month and said the iOS and Android Facebook apps would have access to the app marketplace in the coming weeks.

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WSJ chronicles Apple move away from Google Maps and the growing rivalry between the companies

Most of you know what is coming in iOS 6 Maps. However, in a long post this evening, which unfortunately does not include much that we haven’t seen or heard, the Wall Street Journal chronicles the last five years that have saw Google and Apple going from best of corporate friends by sharing board members and agreeing to no-poach agreements to sworn enemies spending a great deal of time disparaging each other in and out of courts. The latest breakup in the relationship, and probably the biggest holdout, is Maps. Apple has used Google’s Maps since the launch of the iPhone in 2007 when Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt went on stage to introduce the new software (above).

Later this year, Apple is planning to oust Google Maps as the preloaded, default maps app from the iPhone and iPad and release a new mapping app that runs Apple’s own technology, according to current and former Apple employees. Apple could preview the new software, which will be part of its next mobile-operating system, as soon as next week at its annual developer conference in San Francisco, one person familiar with the plans says. Apple plans to encourage app developers to embed its maps inside their applications like social-networking and search services. Technology blog 9to5Mac earlier reported that Apple will launch its own maps app in its next mobile-operating system.

Apple purchased Placebase, C3 Technologies, and Poly9 over the past three years to ramp up its mapping capabilities faster. In a rare description of something we have not heard, a use case is explained for the new calendar-integrated mapping system:

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Which iPhone carrier has the fastest network in your area? AT&T, Verizon, & Sprint get accurate comparison by city

The argument over which carrier has the fastest network speed in any given location in the United States is still up for debate. Putting network speed comparisons aside, which are often not an accurate representation of speeds, you will receive in your specific area, a new app from startup SwayMarkets aims to provide a more realistic comparison.

The app, CarrierCompare, allows users to test the network speed of their current carrier against the two other major iPhone providers. CNNMoney went hands-on when the app released last month and just posted the user data it obtained that compares major iPhone carriers in multiple locations.

Analyzing user-generated data from Boston, New York, Washington, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, these were the results:

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Tim Cook, Samsung CEO to begin to hash out patent settlement on May 21

Earlier this month, we reported Apple’s CEO Tim Cook and Samsung’s CEO Gee-Sung Choi agreed to an Alternative Dispute Resolution with Judge Lucy Koh in a California district court. The agreement, described as “semi voluntary” by media covering the case, would see the two chief’s and their legal counsels meet within 90 days for court-moderated, patent-related settlement talks. According to a new report from Foss Patents, Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero, who is overseeing the settlement talks, has now scheduled the meeting for May 21-22:

The meetings will take place in a San Francisco courthouse, while the litigation itself is before the San Jose division of the court… one of the things Magistrate Judge Spero wants the parties to do is to provide a settlement statement until May 9 including, among other things, “a candid evaluation of the parties’ likelihood of prevailing on the claims and defenses”

Not surprisingly, the mediation and statements submitted by both companies throughout the process will apparently remain confidential. In the report, while noting pending disputes between the two companies exist in as many as 10 countries, Foss Patents broke down how the court’s decisions could impact up to 31 countries:
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WWDC 2012 tickets sell out in under two hours

Apple announced this morning that its 2012 Worldwide Developers Conference is set to take place June 11 at the Moscone Convention Center, but the event’s $1600 tickets are now listed as sold out within two hours of going live. In 2010, it took roughly a week for tickets to sell out, and last year it took about half a day. Tickets were limited to one per person, or five per organization, and are non-transferable and non-refundable.

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Report: Apple building thinner and lighter Liquidmetal next-gen iPhone

A new report from Korean publication ETNews.com claimed industry sources confirmed Apple will use “liquid metal” technology to make a thinner and lighter next-generation iPhone. Apple acquired rights to the patented amorphous metal alloys from Liquidmetal Technologies’ in August 2010.

According to industry sources, the next flagship phones of the companies are expected to adopt unprecedented materials for their main bodies, that is, ceramic for the Galaxy S3 and liquid metal for iPhone5, both being thin, light and highly resistant to external impacts. The new phase of the rivalry is because neither one of them can get a decisive edge over the other solely with its OS and AP specifications, features or design.

Apple has been rumored in the past to be using Liquidmetal in batteries and SIM card tools, but no solid evidence has backed these claims. Today’s report continued to assert that the iPhone 5, as ETNews.com referred to the device, is expected to launch at WWDC in San Francisco this June. However, the publication does not cite a source for the location and timeframe, so it is possible it is just basing this expectation on a rumor. As MacRumors pointed out, the website has a less than perfect track record. Many industry analysts expect Apple to move its iPhone release window to September or October due to the launch date of the iPhone 4S in 2011.

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Apple and Samsung CEOs to meet in court for patent dispute settlement talks within 90 days

According to a report from Foss Patents (and confirmed by Reuters), Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook and Samsung Chief Executive Officer Gee-Sung Choi will meet within the next 90 days for settlement talks over ongoing patent disputes. Judge Lucy Koh, who is presiding over the two cases in California, initiated the meeting after ordering the companies to submit their CEOs and legal counsels to an Alternative Dispute Resolution.

“As directed by the Court, Apple and Samsung are both willing to participate in a Magistrate Judge Settlement Conference with Judge Spero as mediator. At Apple, the chief executive officer and general counsel are the appropriate decision-makers, and they will represent Apple during the upcoming settlement discussions. At Samsung, the chief executive officer and general counsel are also the appropriate decision-makers, and they will represent Samsung during these settlement discussions.”

The report called the talks “semi-voluntary,” because the companies did not have to submit to the Alternative Dispute Resolution. However, as pointed out by Foss Patents, “if only one of them had made the CEO available, the other one would have appeared to be less than constructive.” Apple and Samsung executives will meet in San Francisco with U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero sometime over the next three months:
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