T-Mobile unveils expanded WiFi calling capabilities, Personal CellSpot router, partnership with Gogo for in-flight texts

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During its Uncarrier 7.0 event this afternoon, T-Mobile revealed a handful of new announcements as part of its ongoing quest to lead the mobile industry. Firstly, CEO John Legere announced that every phone it sells from here on out will be capable of WiFi calling and texting. The company says that anyone who does not currently have a phone capable of WiFi calling can upgrade to a supported phone with the carrier’s Jump program. As the name implies, WiFi calling and texting allows you to make calls and send texts over your WiFi network, as opposed to over the cellular connection.

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Skipping the US Customs and Border Protection queues? There’s now an app for that …

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection is trialling an iPhone app that allows travellers returning to the United States to bypass the normal immigration queues by entering their details into the app and getting a QR code containing their electronic approval.

You still have to show the code to a CBP officer, but you can bypass the normal queues and use a special Mobile Passport Control lane that should be significantly quicker …  Read more

Apple talked HealthKit with insurance companies UnitedHealth and Humana

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Bloomberg‘s Adam Satariano has an interesting profile out this morning regarding the usage of wearable fitness devices in work environments. The report says that some companies are offering devices, such as the FitBit, in order to track the fitness of its employees. With that information, companies are able to slice costs off of insurance plans if employees hit certain fitness data thresholds:

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Apple Stores to start offering iPhones via carrier financing on Aug. 20th

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A significant number of Apple Stores in the United States will likely begin offering iPhone sales via the latest carrier financing programs later this month, according to several sources. We previously detailed that Apple Stores will soon offer iPhones on AT&T Next, Verizon Edge, and the T-Mobile Jump plans, and now we’ve learned some new information on the matter. We’re told that Apple is tentatively planning to begin rolling out the programs on Wednesday, August 20th as a pilot.

Of course, this could slip back a few days as this new program’s existence has not even been officially confirmed by Apple.  We’ve also been sent a couple of slides from internal Apple employee training materials showcasing what exact plans will be offered. The slide above details the differences between the plans, and the photo below compares the perks of each program. Also, it does not appear that Sprint’s latest financing offerings will be in the mix for Apple Stores anytime in the near future. Will you buy your iPhone 6 at the Apple Store via carrier financing? Tim Cook certainly thinks you should.

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Apple says it has created or supported 629,000 jobs in Europe, including 500k from the ‘app economy’

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Apple is today touting a lot of new stats regarding Apple’s contribution to European economies. The company has done similar things for the United States, in the past. For Europe, Apple claims to have created or supported 629,000 jobs across Europe, with over 500,000 of those representing the ‘app economy’. Apple says this number is made up of employees whose jobs can be directly attributed to the App Store. Out of $20 billion in worldwide developer earnings, $6.5 billion has gone to European developers.

In 2014, Apple estimates the ‘app economy’ will add $86 billion to worldwide GDP this year. Aside from the App Store, Apple employees 16,000 Europeans directly and indirectly supports a total of 132,000 jobs elsewhere. The company has also calculated that 116,000 European jobs have been created at other companies as a result of Apple’s growth.

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Samsung and Apple agree to end all patent disputes outside of the United States

Men pose with Samsung Galaxy S3 and iPhone 4 smartphones in photo illustration in Zenica

Samsung and Apple just announced that they have agreed to drop all patent suits against each other in countries outside the United States, Bloomberg reports. The two companies will drop suits against each other in Australia, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Netherlands, the U.K., France and Italy. This agreement does not include any licensing agreements, though. This has no effect on United States battles either.

In a joint statement, the two companies had the following to say:

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Apple Store iPhone 5s screen replacements coming to Europe next week

Earlier this week, Apple started replacing iPhone 5s glass screens in Apple Stores for the first time. But the catch is that the service is only available in the United States and Canada. That will change, though, next week. Sources say that the program will expand across Apple’s official retail locations in Europe as soon as Monday, August 11th. The pricing for the screen replacements will likely come in around the equivalent of $150. iPhone 5c screen replacements started across Apple’s locations earlier this year.

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Apple Stores to finally begin iPhone 5s display replacements on August 4th

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Apple will finally begin offering iPhone 5s screen replacements in its official U.S. and Canada retail stores in the coming days, according to several sources. Apple Store Genius Bars are said to have begun taking delivery of large quantities of iPhone 5s screens for the repair program. The crucial service’s debut is currently scheduled for Monday, August 4th. This upcoming rollout will mark an official launch as a few stores in the U.S. have piloted iPhone 5s screen repairs over the past several months. Apple officially rolled out iPhone 5c screen repairs in January, and it began replacing other iPhone 5c and 5s parts late in 2013. The screen replacements will cost approximately $150 per repair, and this is more affordable than the $269 price of completely replacing a broken iPhone 5s.

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Apple profiled for renewable energy in sapphire factory, says supply-chain is now the focus

After showing more journalists around its solar-powered North Carolina data center (where it is building a third solar farm), Apple says that its new focus for renewable energy is its supply chain. The Guardian reports that the sapphire factory in Arizona forms part of this initiative.

The company is also moving to install solar and geothermal power at a plant in Mesa, Arizona that has been manufacturing sapphire glass. Apple would not directly comment on the Arizona factory but the state’s governor, Jan Brewer, has publicly praised the company’s decision to relocate there and to use solar and geothermal in manufacturing.

Apple’s VP of environmental initiatives Lisa Jackson said that the company is conscious that its supply chain cannot claim the same green credentials as Apple itself …  Read more

Apple Stores to soon open up iPhone sales via AT&T Next, T-Mobile JUMP, & Verizon Edge

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Apple is preparing a significant expansion of its iPhone sales capabilities in its official retail stores, according to sources. Late in August, many Apple Stores in the United States will kick off a pilot program for customers to be able to purchase a new iPhone via the latest carrier upgrade programs: AT&T Next, T-Mobile JUMP, and Verizon Edge. Currently, iPhones bought at Apple Stores must either be purchased on a two-year deal, or at full-price (unlocked) with no contract…

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Apple & AT&T begin sending $40 checks to original 3G iPad buyers

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Apple and U.S.-based wireless carrier AT&T have begun sending out $40 checks to buyers of the original iPad WiFi + 3G in the United States over a “bait-and-switch” regarding the device’s data plan. The backstory is that when Steve Jobs announced the 3G iPad in January 2010, he announced a deal with AT&T for a $30/month unlimited iPad data plan.

When the 3G iPad launched in late April 2010, this plan was available, but AT&T eliminated the plan just about one month later in early June 2010. Lawsuits followed in the months and years following the shift in data plan strategy claimed that customers overpaid for the 3G iPad believing that they would be able to use the device to access unlimited amounts of data.

In September 2013, Apple and AT&T settled and agreed to pay $40 to each affected iPad buyer. For iPad buyers who had not yet purchased an unlimited data plan, a discount on the replacing 5GB plan was offered. The two companies began sending the checks out late last week, and they began arriving today. You can view the entire check stub and letter from the payout fund below:

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