Verizon spanked by FCC for charging extra for tethering/apps, should drop extra fee in short order

Verizon iPhone Personal Hotspot settings (Image: TechCrunch)

Verizon was fined a measly $1.25 million today for blocking access to tethering apps mostly on the Android platform. That does not apply to most iOS users (currently), however. That is because this ruling —for now— only affects LTE 4G devices. With the next-generation iPhone, which will launch in mid-September, heavily rumored to be the first iPhone to include LTE access, this will affect those choosing to go with Verizon Wireless for their fancy new iPhone.

The ruling asserts that Verizon must not charge an additional fee for tethering on its devices—so long as they are not on the grandfathered unlimited data plans. The iPhone has included tethering support since iOS 3.0, and the feature was taken to the next level by Apple and Verizon Wireless with the launch of the Verizon iPhone 4 and the wireless Personal Hotspot feature in early 2011. The feature was soon spread to iPhone carriers globally with iOS 4.3.

Earlier this year, Apple brought the Personal Hotspot feature to its tablet with the LTE iPad. Something notable with Apple and Verizon’s agreement for the iPad is that the wireless tethering feature is included in the pre-paid data plans. If a user pays a certain amount for data, they will not have to pay anything extra to access the wireless tethering system. With the LTE iPhone, according to today’s FCC ruling, users will have the same, great experience.

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AT&T activated 4.3M iPhones last quarter, over 78 percent of its smartphone activations

AT&T is still the “iPhone network,” according to numbers  from its quarterly earnings report. AT&T sold 5.5 million smartphones in the quarter, but 4.3 million of the smartphones activated were iPhones. That means the iPhone represented a whopping 78 percent of total smartphone sales (although some “iPhone activations” could have been hand me downs). Additionally, AT&T’s postpaid customers are almost 60 percent smartphone customers, which means AT&T’s iPhone customers represent a huge percentage of its base—nearly 5o percent and growing.

Verizon announced numbers last week including 3.2 million iPhones sold. While the iPhone is down significantly from the holiday quarter, it is up from 3.6 million activations in Q1 2011. Apple’s earnings will be reported at the end of the day today.

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Consumer Reports: Forget what we said before, new iPad is the best we’ve ever seen

Consumer Reports took a beating for measuring the new iPad’s heat and charging non-issues under intense loads. However, it still overwhelmingly recommended Apple’s new device.

The high-resolution screen of the new iPad establishes a new benchmark in excellence, providing the best rendering of detail and color accuracy we’ve ever seen on a tablet display. As a result, the iPad tops our new tablet Ratings, posted today.

Performance on the new iPad ($500 to $830) was superb in virtually every other way as well. The 5-megapixel camera took very good photos. Verizon’s 4G network yielded very fast, dependable connectivity to a 4G-compatible version of the iPad in our informal tests. And despite the energy-intensive display and graphics, the iPad still has longer battery life than all other tablets.

Responding to consumer comments on the new device, and to coverage from other reviewers, we also carried out further tests that confirmed the new iPad is warmer in its hottest spots than the iPad 2. But we didn’t find those temperatures to be cause for concern. In addition, further tests of observations we made that the new iPad was not recharging when playing a demanding, intense video game, showed that the problem was limited to times when the device was playing a demanding game with the screen fully bright. Our high overall judgment of the new iPad was not affected by the results of either battery of tests.

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Verizon teases “Something is Coming” ahead of iPad launch (Update: AT&T too)

It is interesting how little Verizon has to provide, yet the splash page they put up today still screams “iPad!”.

Notably, the graphic image file name is:766x385_HP_pre_NO_optin.jpg but somehow we don’t think Verizon’s big surprise is the recently discontinued HP Pre.

Update: Now AT&T has their version up:

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Apple is testing 8-inch iPad, says WSJ

Following Wall Street Journal’s report last night that AT&T and Verizon will carry the LTE iPad 3, the publication is reporting that Apple is now testing an 8-inch iPad in its labs. While WSJis not exactly sure the version will launch, it does claim the iPad is being tested.

Officials at some of Apple’s suppliers, who declined to be named, said the Cupertino, Calif.-based company has shown them screen designs for a new device with a screen size of around 8-inches, and said it is qualifying suppliers for it. Apple’s latest tablet, the iPad 2, comes with a 9.7-inch screen. It was launched last year.

WSJ’s sources said the 8-inch iPad’s screen would pack a 1,024-by- 768 display similar to the current iPad. The smaller version will apparently also pack a LTE chip inside, as WSJ said the iPad 3 would.

There is always the chance that the 8-inch iPad will not see the light of day, because Apple tests things and sometimes does not bring them to market. An 8-inch variant of the iPad would be a close competitor to Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which has seen great growth.

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WSJ: Verizon and AT&T to carry iPad 3 LTE

Adding to earlier reports today, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Verizon and AT&T will carry the iPad 3 rocking LTE. Also backing up earlier claims, WSJ said Apple would hold its media event to unveil the iPad 3 during the first week of March.

Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. will sell a version of the coming iPad that runs on their newest fourth-generation wireless networks, according to people familiar with the matter, as the battle to cash in on big investments in mobile broadband heats up.

It is not certain if Sprint will carry the LTE version on its upcoming LTE network, according to the publication.

One of its sources is the infamous Captain Obvious:

When LTE isn’t available, the new iPad will default to a slower network technology, one of these people said.

The iPad 3 is rumored to feature Apple’s A6 quad-core processor, Retina display, LTE, upgraded camera, and more, according to multiple sourcesiMore reported today that the iPad 3′s announcement will occur specifically on March 7 with a launch shortly after.

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