Case-Mate’s iPhone 5C designs ‘evleak’ out, including September 20th ship date

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Update: A bunch more cases have been added below.

Evleaks, a source with an excellent reputation for reliability, has tweeted two photos of aftermarket iPhone 5C cases, together with a very specific shipping date: 8am on 20th September.

It’s widely expected that Apple will announce the 5C (along with the iPhone 5S) on 10th September, and that it will go on sale on the 20th. Both T-Mobile and Verizon have blocked employee vacations around this date.

The photos as posted were rather small – we’ve enlarged them to give a better look …  Read more

T-Mobile announces Jump, an anytime upgrade club for $10 a month

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Just as several rumors suggested, T-Mobile has announced a new anytime upgrade plan at its press event today. ‘Jump’ will allow for customers to upgrade their phone more often than once every two years for an extra $10 a month every month. The plan will allow customers to trade-in their existing devices for a new one at the same or lower price. After a six month waiting period, customers will be able to upgrade their phone twice every year. The club will kick off on July 14th.

JUMP! from T-Mobile is designed to provide customers with total protection for one of their prized possessions: their smartphones. It offers the freedom to upgrade to a new device more affordably and protects against malfunction, damage, loss or theft — all for just $10 per month, per phone (plus taxes and fees). That’s just $2 more than most customers have been paying for handset protection alone.

“This is one of those things that annoys customers so much,” CEO John Legere said. Read more

iPhone closes gap on Android during May, grabs 31% of T-Mobile smartphone sales

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Following stats from comScore late last month for smartphone market share by vendor and OS, research firm Kantar Worldpanel is out today with its own numbers for the three month period ending in May. While Kantar puts Android at the same 52% of the market during May as comScore, it has Apple slightly higher at 41.9% of the market (up 3.5% from the same period last year) compared to the 39% comScore reported:

Through the 3 month period ending May 2013, Android continues to lead smartphone sales at 52%. Close behind is iOS with 41.9% of sales.

Kantar notes that Apple’s increase is thanks to T-Mobile picking up the iPhone 5, which is now the best selling smartphone at the carrier despite only being available since mid April. Thanks to iPhone, T-Mobile could soon increase its share of smartphone sales in the US, as Kantar notes all iPhone models counted for 31% of the carrier’s smartphone sales during the quarter. Currently the carrier holds just 10.1% behind Verizon (34.6%), AT&T (29%), and Sprint (12.7%).

The report notes T-Mobile has been attracting a lot of first time smartphone buyers since getting the iPhone with around 53% upgrading from feature phones: Read more

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

Walmart reportedly slashing iPhone 5 price indefinitely to $129 beginning Saturday

Walmart is set to dramatically cut iPhone prices starting Saturday, according to Mashable, which points to an impending iPhone hardware refresh in the coming months. Walmart will reportedly slash the already low iPhone 5 cost from $189 to $129 and the iPhone 4S will go from $89 to $39 on contract with AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon (Uncarrier T-Mobile, which Walmart doesn’t support, is not included in the deal).

Walmart isn’t the only retailer jumping on the discounted iPhone wagon. Best Buy will reportedly offer substantial discounts to iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 customers offering in-store credit or credit toward the purchase of a new iPhone. Such promotions tend to hint at upcoming hardware refreshes as retailers look to move out existing inventory. Read more

Developer claims Apple is throttling iPhone/iPad data speeds on AT&T, Sprint, & Verizon (updated)

Update: a person in the know has pointed out a few problems with Brown’s post:

  1. It was taken down and is currently down.
  2. If you look at one of the lines of Apple’s code that he uses to allege throttling, it doesn’t even have anything to do with throttling internet speed. It’s just the term, used to talk about how often a phone should ping the network when it doesn’t encounter a signal, or something like that.
  3. AnandTech posted a lengthy article explaining why it just isn’t true.

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Joseph Brown, the developer behind the hacked carrier updates floating around for AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile, just posted a lengthy blog post detailing how he claims “Apple limits devices to even out” the networks of its carrier partners. Specifically, Brown says that Apple is limiting the iPhone 5 to Category 10 (14.4Mbps) HSDPA despite the device’s support for category 24 (42.2Mbps) DC-HSDPA+ and the AT&T network supporting up to Category 14 (21.1Mbps) HSDPA+:

Here we can see what is quite obvious to, really, anyone at this point from being jerked around so much by carriers. Yes folks, this is throttling coding. When we made the AT&T Hacked Carrier Update, this was the first line of coding to be scrapped when the project started. Immediately, through my testing on an AT&T iPhone 5 and iPad 4th generation, there were significant and noticeable results. There is no argueing or disputing that this is clear evidence you are purposely, 24/7, being throttled, even if you haven’t used more data than your authorized to use or that you’ve purchased with your hard earned money. AT&T users, do you think this is fair?

The theory is that Apple limits the capabilities of the device in order to combat the large amount of data/bandwidth iOS device users consume and ease congestion on carrier networks. Brown found signs of throttling data speeds for Verizon and Sprint too. The only carrier that is apparently not limiting the iPhone 5’s capabilities is T-Mobile.

Brown also says “Apple has band preferences set for T-Mobile and AT&T causing signal issues” that could be easily fixed.

Here’s what Brown found in his analysis of the other carriers: Read more

AT&T explains its new 61 cent/month administrative fee policy

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Thanks reader Kory for screenshot

AT&T started this month charging an administrative fee of $.61/month/user for its mobile customers in addition to its current fees. While the fee may be small, as the Verge notes it adds ‘up to hundreds of millions of dollars’ over 24 month contracts and millions of customers. What gives?  An AT&T spokesperson told us:

Consistent with similar fees charged by other carriers, the monthly fee of 61 cents per line will help cover certain expenses, such as interconnection and cell site rents and maintenance

The fee applies to consumer mobility lines as well as IRU lines –  the kind of business lines where the employee pays the bill directly.

AT&T isn’t alone in this endeavor. Verizon charges admin fees of $0.91 and Sprint charges $1.99.  (Plus more for regulatory fees.)  T-Mobile’s combined regulatory programs fee is $1.61.  On this basis, AT&T’s is still the lowest of all carriers.  It still sucks though. “expenses, such as interconnection and cell site rents and maintenance” seems like it should be part of the current fees and that fee is easier to raise because it isn’t part of the publicized rate plan.

Update: TheTechBlock notes that you may be able to cancel your plan because of this fee. A nice way to slip out of your subsidized plan? Read more

T-Mobile increases down payment on iPhone 5 to $149, forgot to tell you the $99/down was introductory pricing

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When T-Mobile introduced the iPhone 5 for $99 down, many were quick to point out that the device would cost much less than the $649 Apple charges, costing customers a total of $579 after completing T-Mobile’s $20/month, 24 month payment plan. However, T-Mobile didn’t talk much about the fact that $99 down price point was introductory pricing that would eventually increase. Today marks the end of T-Mobile’s introductory pricing, as noted by TmoNews, with the carrier increasing the minimum down payment on an iPhone 5 for qualified customers to $149 for the entry level 16GB model.

All other models of the iPhone will see the same $50 increase with the 32GB and 64GB models now requiring a $249 and $349 down payment on T-Mobile 24 month payment plan. Despite the increase, it still gives T-Mobile the cheapest pricing on iPhone 5 around with the total cost of the entry level 16GB model now $629. That’s $20 less than the retail price of the unlocked device.

Although today marks the end of introductory promotional pricing for the iPhone 5 on T-Mobile, the carrier will continue to offer its trade in offer on previous generation iPhones to allow customers to get an iPhone 5 for $0 down. Read more

Hackers release modified T-Mobile carrier update file to amplify iPhone 5 cellular speeds (jailbreak unnecessary)

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Just prior to the official launch of the iPhone, T-Mobile issued a carrier update to enable LTE, improve battery performance and add Visual Voicemail support .  The only problem is that some users were reporting slower speeds after the update.  TmoNews reports that two well known cellular programmers, @joe012594 & @cooldayr2, have successfully modified the carrier update to “increase the amount of bandwidth allowing for better throughput of data and data connection.”  That means you should be able to download apps quicker, browse the web faster and have a better overall experience on your T-Mobile iPhone after applying the patched carrier update.

Before and after speed comparison (via TmoNews):

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The update does not require your iPhone to be jailbroken, preface by the coders and instructions for the hack are below.  As always, please be sure to do a full backup of your iPhone prior to modding it in any way.
Read more

AT&T launches AIO Wireless MVNO with iPhone 5 plans at $55 to $70/month

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As we reported last week, AT&T today launched its new pre-paid wireless MVNO called Aio Wireless with the iPhone 5 on offer, front and center. Currently, the service is only available in Houston, Orlando and Tampa but it is expected to roll out nationally over the coming months.

The company will offer 4 plans: Aio Basic, Smart and Pro phone plans at $35-40 for 250MB, $55 for 2GB and $70/month for 7GB data respectively. Each plan will shift to lower speed data after data is used up and also offers unlimited calls and text on AT&T’s network. They will also offer a tablet plan that starts at $15/month for 250MB.

The MVNO will carry Android, Windows and Apple smartphones including iPhone 4S for $499 and iPhone 5 for $649 without subsidy. They also cap 4G data at 4Mb/s so LTE speeds shouldn’t be expected.

Clearly this, as well as Verizon’s upcoming MVNO-like service, will address the competition from T-Mobile and other pre-paid carriers.

Press release and rate plans follow: Read more

T-Mobile USA moves half million iPhone 5’s in first month, spurs first subscriber growth since 2009

T-Mobile just released its first earnings report since it started officially carrying the iPhone on April 12th and ‘coincidentally’ the first where it has picked up customers in 17 quarters. The carrier had accumulated 2.1M iPhone users without even carrying the iPhone up until it launched in April, which is up from 1 million in 2011.

T-Mobile tallied approximately 500,000 iPhone 5 sales in the first 30 days which is stronger than you might initially imagine, especially off a launch cycle. Other US carriers who have reported iPhone sales in the millions over 3 months note that about half of their sales are iPhone 5 (the other half are cheaper iPhone 4 and 4S).

The US #4 carrier saw its subscriber base increase by  579,000 customers, a number likely directly correlated to iPhone sales. In addition, T-Mobile will be adding 9 million MetroPCS users over the coming quarters to its ranks. T-Mobile also ran into some legal problems last month and was forced to change its marketing terminology with regards to ‘no-contract plans’ and was forced to offer customers refunds.

T-Mobile launched its subscription-based T-Mobile TV on iPhone last week.

Read more

Attorney General calls T-Mobile’s no-contract plans ‘deceptive’, carrier agrees to offer refunds and change advertising

T-Mobile-uncarrier-no-contract-plansFollowing the launch of T-Mobile’s new “Uncarrier” strategy alongside the $99 iPhone 5 and new no subsidy pricing plans last month, today the Washington State Attorney General has ordered T-Mobile to change its advertising calling its promise to offer no annual contracts “deceptive”.

The result of a court order filed by Attorney General Bob Ferguson and signed by T-Mobile will ensure the carrier’s commitment to changing advertising in order to properly outline “the limitations of its new no-contract” service plans. It will also allow “customers duped by the deceptive ads to exit their contracts with no penalty.”

“As Attorney General, my job is to defend consumers, ensure truth in advertising, and make sure all businesses are playing by the rules,” Ferguson said. “My office identified that T-Mobile was failing to disclose a critical component of their new plan to consumers, and we acted quickly to stop this practice and protect consumers across the country from harm.”

More specifically, the Attorney General’s investigation found T-Mobile “failed to disclose that customers who purchase a phone using the 24-month payment plan” would be required to stay with T-Mobile’s plans for 24 months or pay the balance owed on the phone in order to cancel their service. T-Mobile has been working with the Attorney General’s Office to come to a solution and has now agreed to the following terms: Read more