Apple agrees to participate in “Smartphone Anti-Theft Voluntary Commitment” program

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Apple has agreed to back a new initiative along with a host of Android manufacturers and all of the major U.S. cellular carriers that would require all smartphones manufactured after July 2015 to come with specific anti-theft features. The program is the latest attempt to prevent theft of smartphones, which some have blamed for increasing crime rates.

To this end, Apple introduced a first-of-its-kind system in iOS 7 that blocks freshly-restored iPhones from being used until the original owner logs in with the Apple ID associated with the device. Today’s agreement between the carriers and handset manufacturers essentially states that all parties will ship this exact type of system on new phones.

Specifically, the required anti-theft measures are broken into four kinds:
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Leaked T-Mobile ad hints at plans to cover ETF for switchers

Say what you will about T-Mobile CEO John Legere’s audacious personality (no, really, I’m sure he won’t mind), but under his lead and the company’s Uncarrier campaign the carrier has made quite a few consumer-friendly moves with its policies.

In what the carrier is calling Uncarrier 4.0, the company is likely to announce plans to cover the early termination fees charged to customers switching from AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint during a contract.

That’s according to an ad which leaked and was later pulled. The ad (shown above) was first spotted by Droid-Life which reports the new policy will cover ETF fees up to $350 when you move at least three lines to T-Mobile… Read more

Report: Sprint wants to buy T-Mobile USA in 2014

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Almost two years to date since AT&T pulled its bid for T-Mobile USA, rival carrier Sprint is reportedly preparing its own offer to purchase the fourth largest carrier in the US.

That’s according to a The Wall Street Journal report which claims Sprint is currently looking into regulatory concerns that could be voiced if the third largest US carrier acquired the company which runs the fourth largest US carrier.

Sprint hasn’t yet decided whether to move ahead with a bid. Going forward despite regulators’ concerns would be highly risky. Any pursuit of a bid by Sprint could be aimed at testing antitrust officials’ reaction to a deal, and a bad reaction could put an end to the effort. Read more

iPhone 5s undisputed king at all four major U.S. carriers ever since launch

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The iPhone 5s has retained its status as the best-selling smartphone at the four tier-1 U.S. carriers for the third month running, with the iPhone 5c taking third place after the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Data from Canaccord Genuity showed that the iPhone 5s has topped the sales charts at AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile every month since launch, reports AllThingsD.

“Our surveys indicated continued strong sales of the iPhone 5s, as it was by far the top selling smartphone at all four tier-1 U.S. carriers and at most channels where the smartphone launched globally,” analyst T. Michael Walkley explained in a note to clients. “Our surveys also indicated steady iPhone 5c sales with the smartphone’s color options and more affordable price point proving popular with its intended audience” …  Read more

Verizon no longer the gold standard for mobile data?

Photo: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Photo: Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Verizon Wireless, once the gold standard for LTE, has admitted that it is struggling to keep up with demand in the big cities – with some users being dropped down to slower 3G speeds. The carrier’s Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo said yesterday:

There are certain pockets where we’re absolutely going to experience that down tick from the LTE network down to 3G because of capacity constraints …  Read more

iPad Air now available in the U.S. through Apple’s Online Store and carrier websites, shipping November 4th

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The Apple Online Store has just come back online after about two hours of downtime in preparation for the iPad Air launch in the United States. All four major carriers are also offering the fifth-generation iPad on their own stores.

The iPad Air is the newest version of Apple’s iconic tablet. The latest model features the same 64-bit A7 processor found in the new iPhone 5s, improved cameras, and a new form factor that’s thinner and lighter than the previous generation. It ships with Apple’s new iOS 7 software. Pricing starts at  $499 for the Wi-Fi model with 16 GB of storage and goes up to $929 for the 128 GB LTE-equipped model.

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