About Deidre Richardson
Deidre has written 103 articles so far, you can find them below.

128GB Memory Storage: Another Dead Giveaway Before Apple’s July 2013 Announcement

128GB IPhone 5S on the horizon

[Photo Credit: hitechanalogy.com]

Apple released its fourth-generation, 128GB iPad this week, a smart move to continue the Apple product hysteria so common to Cupertino’s production line. Apple has what I like to call a “reciprocal spec transfer” that takes a new feature added to one product and distributes it to the other products. Siri, for example, was once a unique voice command feature only for the iPhone. If you wanted Apple’s latest technology, the iPhone had it. In fact, since the iPhone accounts for nearly 60% of Apple’s sales, the company considered it to be Apple’s most valuable product and highly advertised its smartphone in order to continue drumming up more support (both by word-of-mouth and finances) for it. That all changed, however, when Apple decided to bring Siri to the iPad and MacBook experience as of last September. I was so excited about having Siri on my iPad 3 with Retina display without needing to get the iPhone 4S. Still, I went out and purchased the iPhone 4S this past Christmas – so now, I enjoy Siri twice as much as I did before. She’s still a work in progress, but it’s a nice feature to entertain tech geeks in their spare time.

I read somewhere recently that even Apple’s internal memory storage sizes were not always common to Apple products. The iPhone 3GS, one of the first of Apple’s most technology-laden smartphones, provided a 16GB smartphone experience under the Apple brand for the first time. After the iPhone 3GS, it was the iPhone 4 that provided a 32GB experience, followed by an iPhone 4S that provided a 64GB experience. The iPhone 5 now owns all three sizes (16GB, 32GB, 64GB); however, the 128GB iPad gives iPhone users some certainty with regard to Apple’s July 2013 announcement. Why is this the case? Because Apple’s “reciprocal spec transfer” (or reciprocal spec distribution) concept applies here as well. Anyone can see this when you look at the iPhone’s increased memory storage threshold that was then transferred to the iPad when the iPad 2 emerged in 2010. When the iPhone 5S emerges in July, it too, will have the 128GB internal memory storage. Apple’s revelation of this little surprise gives away one of its newest specs for the WWDC convention held this summer.

For those of you who are huge iPad fans (I am one), the fifth-generation iPad will not be left out. The iPad 5 will come with the same 128GB memory storage increase as the newly-produced 128GB iPad 4. IPad Mini fans will also have something extra to look forward to. At this moment, many anticipate Apple presenting an iPad Mini with Retina display either this summer or this fall (September-October 2013). If Apple does this (and I happen to think this will be based upon Apple’s constant iteration of its product line), Apple will also present iPad Mini users with a 128GB memory storage of their own. This is all a part of Apple’s attempts to move consumers into a “post-PC” era where your tablet becomes your computer.

It is not often that we get some insight into Apple’s plans; when we do, however, we can have more certainty about predictions than many of the new Apple rumors on the market.

Apple Receives Flexible Display iPhone Patent

Flexible iPhone Display Patent

[Photo Credit: Patently Apple]

Patents are marvelous licenses that hold incredible ideas. While there is more to invention than filing patents, it is a legal strategy that prevents companies from losing ideas — or having to pay license fees to other companies for wanted technology. The saying “the early bird gets the worm” is no truer than in the area of invention patents. Steve Jobs learned that, and Apple has been patent-crazy ever since. Cupertino is not alone; as of this week, Samsung has become known for holding the most mobile patents of all known manufacturers.

Apple’s newly-published patent (awarded by the US Patent and Trademark Office, USPTO) calls for a flexible, wraparound display that is made out of flexible material of some kind. In order to achieve a flexible display, Apple’s new patent toys around with the idea of creating a prism-like, 3D shape and form for the iPhone. The flexible iPhone on the patent shows the App Store logo as well as the iTunes logo (music notes), with the calendar, video, and notes logos above and the email, phone, iPod, and text message logos below in the icon dock.

The flexible iPhone patent also explores a number of shapes the iPhone could take; this is to be expected if the iPhone turns out to have the flexibility Apple is aiming for. One of the more unique features of the patent is Apple’s removable end caps, which Apple would allow to be removable in order to expand the size of the iPhone screen. According to Eric Slivk of Macrumors,

“Apple explores a variety of options for such devices, including multiple form factors and the potential use of a second inner display underneath a transparent outer display to provide the illusion of 3D content. Apple also suggests the possibility of interchangeable end caps to fit specific situations” (Eric Slivk, “Apple researching iPhone designs with flexible wraparound displays”).

Other details from other tech sources reveal additional information. Cam Bunton of todaysiphone says that the flexible iPhone will come with the following additional features:

* facial recognition and on-board cameras
* multiple displays inserted on top of the others
* glass frame
* gesture controls replace hold and volume buttons

What can be seen from this flexible iPhone patent is that Apple is looking to explore more uses for its iPhone than just phone talking, movie and video viewing, and music playing. Apple at some point in the near future may be considering a multi-purpose iPhone with numerous capabilities. One iPhone may be responsible for doing all the things your iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad do on a regular basis.

Apple has published a number of patents pertaining to neat features in its products. Cupertino has published patents related to 5D kinetic gaming technology, as well as inductive field charging within the last year. The company has made tweaks to its smartphone over the last six years, but investors and consumers want something more out of their iPhone experiencing — hopefully prompting Apple to make good on some of its published patents and hidden ideas. The flexible display iPhone patent is credited to Scott Meyers and was filed in August 2011.

YouTube and Google Maps Rank First and Second in Apple’s App Store

Google Apps rank in top at App Store

[Photo Credit: iDownloadblog]

My grandmother is a stellar cook; she’s had 65 years to get good at cooking. Since she was 10 or 11 years old, she’s been learning how to cook food, come up with new recipes, and document the old ones for her family (to live in her absence). I once told her that she needed to document her world-famous recipes so that, should she die, her family would not be forced to eat grandpa’s cooking every night.

Although grandma is an excellent cook, she is also one who likes to brag about her cooking ability. She recalls being a teenager and cooking a stellar meal for her family. After the meal, she asked her father, “Didn’t I cook a good meal?,” a smile on her face. Her mother responded with the words, “Daughter, let others congratulate you; do not be so quick to praise your own work.” In other words, praise and commendation shine the brightest when given by others.

The same can be said for Google as of late. Although Facebook rules the day on Google’s Play Store, Google has ranked in the top two with its YouTube and Google Maps app on iOS at Apple’s App Store. Google Maps has always been a top app (as well as YouTube), but their high rank at the App Store is important with good reason.

YouTube has always been a great place to view music videos, artists, and famous events, but it has become even better in recent days. Only within the last few months have Gmail users been given an automatic YouTube login account. Integrating GMail and YouTube services has been a step in the right direction for Google. I discovered a few weeks ago on my iPhone 4S (prior to purchasing the iPhone 5) that the “upload to YouTube” function within iOS no longer operated thanks to the removal of YouTube integration from iOS. Google responded in marvelous fashion in its recent YouTube app update with the inclusion of its “Capture” camera application. The Capture camera application allows you to take pictures or record video, then upload them to YouTube right from within the Capture app itself. The Capture app also works to help you upload photos and videos you take within the iPhone’s camera app onto YouTube as well. The Capture application makes it all to easy to record video and take photos and post them to YouTube. I have found the process to be almost effortless.

Google Maps is one of the top map apps available on iOS at the moment. Although Google has been known for its outdoor maps, the company has also dabbled into indoor mapping and has produced some excellent indoor maps for viewing by way of its Maps app. Google has become such a top contender in indoor mapping that Apple’s recent WiFiSLAM purchase was Apple’s way of saying, “You’re ahead of us in the Maps game and we want to compete with you.” Remember when Apple removed YouTube as well as Google’s Maps app from within iOS? What was the reason for that? To make room for Apple’s own 3D Maps. Apple removed these from its OS in order to get iOS users to rely on Apple’s applications instead. What happened, however, is that Apple found out its 3D Maps were lacking and that it needed Google’s Maps in order to please its customers (who were not too happy with the 3D Map fumbles).

Google and Apple have a long history, stemming back to the time of Steve Jobs. Eric Schmidt, now at Google, was once an employee at the Apple Corporation. Immediately after he left Apple, he joined Google. Steve Jobs believed that Google and Android borrowed heavily from Apple and iOS, and he committed the remainder of his life to squashing Google at all costs. Steve Jobs is gone, but Google has risen to a place of prominence and respect among the world’s top companies. YouTube and Google Maps are nothing more than reminders that Google is more of a formidable foe than even Apple imagined.

Apple iPhone Considered to be “Most Hacked Mobile Device”

SourceFire Study Finds the iPhone is the most hacked mobile device

[Photo Credit: Business Insider]

There have been a lot of reports in the news lately surrounding Android malware and the lack of Internet security on Android devices. The complaint about Android has been common in the news, but sources such as Android Authority have responded in stellar fashion to malware mentions whenever they appear: that is, many complain of these vulnerabilities while there are few to no stories reporting that these vulnerabilities have been exposed. If anything, Apple’s iCloud is more vulnerable than most Android software on Android devices.

All it takes, however, is for a report such as the one in question to kill much of the discussion surrounding Android malware — although I doubt the malware complaints will end. SourceFire, a web security company, recently published an Internet security report titled “25 Years of Vulnerabilities,” showing the number of Critical Vulnerabilities and Exposures (or CVEs) of the major operating systems: Windows, Android, BlackBerry, and iOS. The results of SourceFire’s study found that, of the four major operating systems and their devices, Apple’s iOS and its iPhone are the most hackable of the group.

TodaysiPhone writer Stephen Warwick wrote in an article that Apple’s closed system may explain why more users like the idea of hacking into iOS than anything else (the iPhone included). While I agree with his claim that customization explains why few Android customers root their devices, I’m not so sure I agree with the claim that the closed nature of iOS explains why many hack into their devices. This may be an explanation for computer programmers, professional jailbreakers, and IT guys, but I doubt the average consumer wants to jailbreak his or her device because iOS is a closed system.

What does the average consumer know about jailbreaking and open vs. closed systems? Not much. They may be able to guess something right about open and closed systems, but they know little to nothing (in most cases) about jailbreaking. I’ve asked several, average iPhone owners did they know about jailbreaking; they told me that the term sounded as though the act itself was illegal. Most individuals do not read tech news on a daily basis, and would not know much about jailbreaking (including the fact that it is legal and approved by the DMCA). If they know little to nothing about jailbreaking, I highly doubt they know much about open and closed systems.

Now, let’s consider the fact that the majority of jailbreakers are average consumers. I have watched jailbreak conference videos, and the audiences are small in number. If the jailbreaking population consists of only jailbreakers, then a lot fewer devices are jailbroken than the numbers imply. Take the recent Evasi0n jailbreak, for example: over 7 million downloads occurred in the first two weeks (there may have been more). Millions are downloading jailbreak programs, more than the total number of jailbreakers that exist. Thus, the numbers themselves confirm that the majority of users are average consumers — who do not concern themselves with jailbreaking, hacking, or any other computer programming practices and knowledge.

Android is known for its customizations, something for which iOS is not known. I have met a number of iPhone users who were once Android users that jailbreak because they miss Android’s customization. These users may not take to Android devices that much, but there is one thing they appreciate about their former OS. It is the fact that they cannot get over Android that moves them to hack into their iOS device. Apple, however, is taking steps to prevent this — particularly with its new iOS6.1.3 update (a point of no return in the never-ending fight between iOS and the jailbreaking community).

AT&T Galaxy S4 Available for Pre-Order on April 16th

AT&T Galaxy S4 for Pre-Order on April 16th

[Photo Credit: AT&T]

Samsung just unveiled its Galaxy S4 earlier this month, but the circumstances under which it revealed the new Galaxy phone were a bit strange. If you’ve watched Samsung’s Broadway musical-style presentation, you will understand what I mean. The acting was heavy on the “artificial” and seemed worst than typical soaps such as The Young and the Restless (whose daytime drama can be effective at times, ineffective at others). Regardless of the terrible acting, Samsung has produced an awesome smartphone that has a few tweaks here and there and some original software additions. The Galaxy S3 was a phenomenal phone, but Samsung has taken it one notch higher with the GS4. The GS3 was an iPhone contender (it surpassed the iPhone), and the GS4 will be more of the same, no doubt. I say these things as someone who owns both the GS3 and the iPhone 5 (and own the iPhone 4S).

AT&T, the top of the Big Three phone carriers, will be the first to receive the Galaxy S4 to sell to its customers. The AT&T GS4 will go on sale on April 16, 2013 for $249 with a two-year agreement (of course). T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint will all have to wait for their GS4s, though we can imagine that they won’t be far behind.

AT&T will use its GS4 announcement as an “in your face” response to T-Mobile, since the fourth largest carrier has started activating its LTE network this week in eight cities, with a few additional cities since the announcement. AT&T and T-Mobile are GSM carriers and in direct competition with each other with regard to GSM phone users, and AT&T has become somewhat shaken by T-Mobile’s new value plans and LTE network rise. T-Mobile, however, will remain unphased by AT&T’s announcement, particularly because Magenta secured the iPhone 5 this week. Apple will use T-Mobile’s AWS 1700Mhz band to create a unique, T-Mobile compatible iPhone for T-Mo users and looks to sell both locked and unlocked T-Mo iPhone 5s in retail T-Mo stores. The T-Mobile iPhone 5 will go on sale at local T-Mobile stores on April 12, 2013.

AT&T has branded itself “the nation’s largest and fastest 4G network,” though things could change in the future. The GS4 boasts a 5-inch, super AMOLED display (441 pixels per inch),  a 1920 x 1080 screen resolution with 1080p video recording, as well as Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) preloaded. The phone will also offer a 2.1-megapixel, front-facing camera and a 13-megapixel, rear-facing camera — considered to be right at 2013 camera expectations (the HTC One being the only exception, with its 4UMP (ultra, megapixel) camera. Some GS4s will come with wireless charging (although no one has confirmed that any US variant will receive the feature). Samsung’s latest flagship phone offers software features such as HomeSync, Smart Pause, Smart Scroll, Story Album, S-Translator, and more. If you are an AT&T customer whose contract has expired or is soon to evaporate, head over to your ATT account on April 16th and place your order for one of the best smartphones of 2013.

AA’s HTC One vs. iPhone 5 Drop Test Shows the Need for Sapphire Glass

Android Authority's Drop Test -- iPhone 5 shattered display

[Photo Credit: Android Authority]

Joshua Vergara from Android Authority (AA) recently performed a drop test with two of 2013’s top smartphones: the HTC One and the iPhone 5.
Both phones have aluminum chassis, aluminum being a more sturdy material than Apple’s former glass backing. The difference in the two phones, however, concerns the phones’ glass displays. The torture tests were performed at the Hollywood conservatory, across from the famous “Hollywood” sign that the Shrek movies renamed “Far, Far Away”.

Vergara decided to test out the durability of the two smartphones by first, dropping them from the pocket, then the chest level, and finally, from ear level (the level you reach when talking on the phone). When the iPhone 5 was dropped from the pocket, the glass display was cracked on one side. After being dropped from chest level and ear level, the iPhone 5 took a further beating to its glass display. On the other hand, the HTC One did experienced some dents in the aluminum chassis and the loss of the speaker grille on the front, but the phone experienced no glass display cracks until the final test — when it was dropped directly on its face.

The results of the drop test show that both forms are crafted well, considering that aluminum fares better against the elements than glass backing. At the same time, however, both phones have glass displays that are yet not durable enough to withstand hard cracks and falls, particularly on concrete surfaces (as did Vergara’s Drop Test). One solution that the tech world is longing for as of late concerns the use of Sapphire glass for smartphone and tablet displays. This is what ExtremeTech had to say about sapphire glass:

“Sapphire glass is around three times the strength and scratch resistance of Corning’s Gorilla Glass, [making] an almost perfect smartphone screen. There’s one caveat: according to a market analyst, a sheet of Gorilla Glass costs around $3, while the same piece of sapphire glass would cost $30. Thanks to increasing competition, though, the cost of sapphire glass is dropping. It wouldn’t be surprising to see a high-end smartphone (such as the iPhone) use a sapphire screen in the next few years. It’s worth noting that the iPhone 5 already uses sapphire glass to protect the rear camera lens, so Apple is certainly aware of sapphire’s potential” (Sebastian Anthony, “Your next smartphone might use sapphire glass instead of Gorilla Glass”).

ExtremeTech also provides this information about sapphire:

* sapphire is a crystal form of alumium (alumina)
* ten times more resistant than the glass used on windows
* easy to make
* a weaker type of diamond
* more abundant material than diamond

These factors, coupled with the iPhone 5’s sapphire glass lens, make the material one to be coveted in the days and years to come. You may be looking at drop tests with no glass display breaks sometime soon.

Why T-Mobile Gets Its Very Own iPhone 5

T-Mobile's very own iPhone 5

T-Mobile’s announcement about getting the new iPhone 5 provides a breath of fresh air and good news for customers who have had the unfortunate displeasure of bringing incompatible iPhones to T-Mobile’s network (and experiencing 2G EDGE as a result).

Legere’s announcement brings another little piece of exciting news: T-Mobile will have its own, unique iPhone 5 with carrier branding. That’s right: you will see “T-Mobile” every time you look at the back of your iPhone 5. T-Mobile customers will now have the same sense of pride as their friends who are customers with the Big Three — AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless. T-Mobile will no longer be branded as “the nation’s fourth wheel,” but rather, an equal contender to the other top national carriers.

The timing of T-Mo’s announcement seemed rather haphazard and out of the blue, right? After all, the iPhone 5 has been out for six months. Why not wait until Apple presented the iPhone 5S? Why did T-Mo feel the need to make an announcement about its new iPhone 5? While the answers to these questions may not be obvious, there is an answer: T-Mo made its grand announcement because 1) T-Mo has some unique hardware features to its iPhone 5 and 2) T-Mo had some unique software features to add to its iPhone 5. In truth, both are correct.

First, T-Mobile has some software features for its iPhone 5 customers that iPhone 5 users from other carriers do not have. One of these is called HD voice (high-definition), a feature that, like its HD graphics counterpart, produces clearer calls and eliminates background noise. Apple has included noise reduction into its latest flagship phone, but you can still detect noise in the background when you place a call to a family relative or friend. T-Mo’s new HD voice feature may just improve Apple’s noise reduction even more — and the best part of it all is that HD voice is unlimited with all of T-Mo’s value plans (and its $50 and $70 prepaid plans!).

T-Mobile’s iPhone 5 will also need a hardware distinction from the iPhones of other carriers. The carrier’s services run on AWS, known as “Advanced Wireless System,” contrary to the wireless bandwith used by other carriers. T-Mobile’s AWS 1700Mhz band is currently lacking on both unlocked iPhones as well as AT&T GSM phones; unfortunately, there is no software update that can convert these incompatible iPhones into compatible ones. It is the reason why T-Mobile’s network has been non-iPhone-compatible for so long. Apple, after all these years, has finally agreed to make a T-Mobile-compatible iPhone just for iPhone customers who do business with the Deutsche Telekom USA carrier. There were many who believed, prior to this announcement, that iPhone 5s would run on T-Mo’s HSPA+ and LTE network. Many said that iPhone 5 users who joined the carrier would experience 2G EDGE in most places, not to mention slower Internet speeds than that of, say, AT&T. This news shakes up the stakes and places T-Mo back into a competitive position with AT&T.

Now that you know about Apple’s pledge and partnership with T-Mo to create a Magenta-compatible iPhone, what do you think? Do you want to sign with T-Mobile now on a value or prepaid plan? Let us know in the comments.

T-Mobile LTE Speeds Put to the Test, Found to Be “Impressive”

T-Mobile LTE Speeds

[Photo: The Verge]

It is one thing to brag about one’s fast Internet speeds and LTE network, but another thing to tell the truth. T-Mobile has had a lot of catching up to do, seeing that it acquired the iPhone 5 yesterday after six years of lost customers and strange looks from iPhone lovers. As it is often said, some things are “well worth the wait.” T-Mobile certainly thinks so.

Immediately after T-MO CEO John Legere’s announcement, tech writers and iPhone lovers took to the streets of New York City to test out the new LTE network. The results? T-Mo’s LTE network will hold its own against the existing LTE networks of the Big Three. Tech site Engadget reported that it saw somewhere between 18-26Mbps for upload speeds, and 10Mbps for download speeds:

“Finally, we tested two separate iPhone 5s and, interestingly, saw different speeds. The first averaged 26Mbps down, the second 18 — despite being tested at the same time. Upload speeds hovered around 10Mbps and pings were always very good, typically under 50ms…the network can certainly deliver some impressive numbers on average” (Julie Clover, “T-Mobile’s iPhone 5 Reviews”).

While Engadget tested T-Mo’s LTE speeds, Gizmodo tested T-Mo’s HD voice calling capabilities on the new iPhone 5. The site seemed extremely pleased with T-Mo’s new HD voice:

“Calling from one T-Mobile iPhone to another, my caller’s voice came through loud and clear…it was a much more natural sounded call. It was a bit richer, and definitely fuller. I wouldn’t say it was like night and day, but it’s definitely a noticeable improvement” (Clover, “T-Mobile’s iPhone 5 Reviews”).

Keep in mind that these are initial responses to the new phones, sounds, and network, but it is extremely encouraging.

T-Mobile’s iPhone 5 will offer HD voice, making Magenta the only national carrier in wireless history to offer the feature. Since T-Mobile has leveled its prepaid and off-contract plans, prepaid customers will be able to purchase their unlocked iPhone 5 with T-Mobile branding in T-Mo retail stores nationwide. Value plan customers will be given the choice of either paying for their iPhone outright or paying over a near-two-year period. If you decide to trade in your iPhone for a new one (or another smartphone), you will be given what T-Mobile calls a “fair price”. It seems that the fair price in question will need to be determined at a later date.

One new feature that you may not see with your new iPhone 5 from T-Mobile is WiFi calling. For the longest time, this feature has separated contract customers from prepaid customers. No more; as of yesterday, WiFi calling will no longer be offered through T-Mobile. The reason? All value plans will come with unlimited voice minutes — eliminating the need for WiFi calling, since you no longer have to conserve your voice minutes for fear that you will run over your monthly allotment.

Just think: your iPhone 5 will come with unlimited HD voice (that’s right: it’s unlimited AND HD voice!), unlimited texting, and the data plan of your choice — all with the T-Mobile branding on the back of your iPhone 5. T-Mobile has got its groove back, and Magenta will build pride in her wireless service one step at a time.

What You Need to Know About the T-Mobile iPhone 5 Deal

iPhone comes to T-Mobile

 

[Photo Credit: T-Mobile]

I am excited to read of T-Mo’s recent announcement regarding its acquisition of Apple’s flagship phone, the iPhone 5. Now that T-Mo CEO John Legere has made the public announcement, the question becomes, “What do we need to know about the iPhone 5 deal?” One of the first things to remember is that T-Mo will now join the ranks of the other three national carriers (Sprint, AT&T, Verizon) who already sell the iPhone in their stores. When T-Mo’s first carrier-branded iPhone 5 arrives next month (that’s right, folks: it’s gonna have T-Mo branded on the iPhone; how cool is that?), T-Mo will enter the ranks of the top national carriers and solidify her place as a heavy contender. The other three “cowboys” (borrowed from one of T-Mo’s newest commercials) will not laugh at Magenta anymore.

The next thing you need to know about T-Mo’s new deal is that the iPhone 5 can be purchased for $99 down. There is a caveat to this, however: you’ll have to submit to a credit check in order to get the $99 deal. As Steve Kovach of Business Insider reports:

“Assuming your credit is good (yes, there’s now a credit check involved if you want to buy a new phone or plan from the carrier), T-Mobile will ask you to pay $100 for the iPhone 5 up front” (Steve Kovach, “We Did the Math, And It Turns Out the T-Mobile iPhone 5 Could Save You a Bunch of Money”).

If your credit is not so hot, you may want to consider paying more for the device up front than just $100. Most contract customers pay $199 up front for the cost of their iPhone, so you may find you’re comfortable with $199 if you don’t pass T-Mo’s credit check.

Another fact that is significant about the T-Mo announcement is that, should you choose the monthly installment plan, you will likely be required to pay a monthly fee of approximately $15 or $20 a month — in addition to your phone plan price. Let’s say, for example, you decide to purchase the $70 unlimited plan; the price of your bill each month will be $85 or $90 instead of $70, since the additional phone price will be attached to the plan price. This means that, despite your freedom to upgrade or change your plan at any time, you will still pay contract-like prices. Until you pay for the entire cost of your phone, T-Mo will lock you into its own network. Once the cost of your phone ($580) is paid off completely, your device can be unlocked and you’re free to do with it what you wish.

Last but not least, Apple is partnering with T-Mobile to sell both locked iPhone 5s and unlocked iPhone 5s in its retail stores. This means that those of you who, like me, live for prepaid agreements will now be able to purchase your unlocked iPhone 5 at a local T-Mobile near you. You will not have to go to the Apple Store or online to Apple.com to purchase your device — although, should you want to use those venues, you are always free to do so.

These are just a few things you need to know about T-Mo’s new iPhone 5 deal with Apple. If you can handle all these, head on over to T-Mobile’s page and pre-order your T-Mo branded iPhone 5 today.

The Fourth Cowboy: T-Mobile’s Wild West “Unleash” Commercial Makes Being the Boss Uncool

T-Mobile Wild West Commercial

[Photo Credit: T-Mobile]

To add to the excitement surrounding its iPhone 5 announcement and Simple Choice Value Plans this week, T-Mobile has started its aggressive advertising, with the goal of getting to the hearts and minds of consumers who may yearn for a better experience than they have with their current contract carrier. The new commercial in question involves a few cowboys who storm into a town to take over it and tell the inhabitants what to do. As the advertisement starts, everyone in the town pulls down their window curtains, locks their doors, and runs inside to hide away from the cowboy invaders. This is a typical scene you will find in Wild West movies.

It is during the invasion that one of the cowboys decides he is tired of bossing people around, invading towns, and terrorizing innocent citizens: “I can’t do this anymore…all this ‘do what I tell you’ stuff doesn’t work for me.” When he is asked by one of the cowboys, “So What are you gonna do?”, he responds with the words, “Something better.” He then puts on a pink cowboy hat (T-Mobile being known as the Magenta Pink carrier) and rides away into the distance. At this moment, the voice of T-Mobile says, “Finally, one of the big wireless carriers is gonna stop restricting people from getting what they want.” I think it’s clear that the 4 cowboys in the advertisement represent the four national carriers: AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile. T-Mobile’s cowboy  (represented by the pink hat) is the one who decides to abandon the old way of doing things. T-Mobile indicates that its new UNcarrier approach is an improvement over the old contract agreement by saying, “something better.”

Do you remember the T-Mobile ring tone that accompanies every T-Mo commercial? It’s the same ring tone, but it’s accompanied by Wild West Music. As an undergraduate music major in college, I found T-Mobile’s ring tone to be a refreshing piece of nostalgia to accompany the Wild West music (given in A minor) with the ring tone notes of T-Mo (C-C-C-E-C). If you want to try these notes out on a random piano, feel free to do it sometime.

As for the plans themselves, T-Mobile now offers plans that come with no contract. Those who choose to do business with T-Mobile can either 1) purchase their device outright in full or 2) pay monthly installments to cover the full phone price. Customers now receive unlimited voice and text messaging starting at $50 a month, with a free 500MB of data and an additional $10 per 2GB. Those who want to purchase an unlimited data plan can pay $90 but will only have a small amount of WiFi hotspot tethering. The best news about all of these plans is that you can abandon your plan whenever you want. You will no longer be tied into a two-year agreement for any reason. This means that you can get the latest smartphones when you want them, as they come.

I don’t know how successful the “fourth cowboy” will be, but Magenta is on her way to starting a smartphone revolution. When will you join her?

T-Mobile Announces the iPhone 5 in New York City, Along with Its Own LTE Network

T-Mobile Gets the iPhone 5

[Photo Credit: Engadget]

Even though the iPhone 5 has been out for six months, it’s still refreshing to see new announcements being made about it. The latest concerns T-Mobile and its announcement today about the iPhone 5. T-Mobile announced that it will offer the iPhone 5 for $99 down (customers must qualify for this), followed by a monthly installment of $15-$20 on the iPhone over the length of the agreement. The good news in all this is that T-Mo’s current agreements are stripped of all contracts: that is, customers are no longer bound by the usual, overwhelming two-year contract agreement that can only be broken by way of a $350 early termination fee. T-Mo CEO John Legere gave the announcement in powerful fashion to an audience in New York earlier today, according to T-Mo’s official press release:

“This is an important day for people who love their iPhone but can’t stand the pain other carriers put them through to own one. We feel their pain. I’ve felt the pain. So we’re rewriting the rules of wireless to provide a radically simple, affordable iPhone 5 experience — on an extremely powerful network” (T-Mobile USA John Legere, quoted by Jordan Kahn, “T-Mobile Announces iPhone 5 for $99 down, available starting April 12”).

I agree with Legere. Contracts have weighed down the majority of Americans who do everything they can to afford expensive contracts, all because they do not want to pay the full monty up-front. One of the best-kept secrets in phone news that is now making its way to readers at every tech site is that contracts cost more overall than prepaid agreements. I pay twice as much for my US Cellular contracts ($140 a month) than I do for T-Mo’s prepaid agreement ($70 flat) — and I have a strong feeling that I’m not alone in this pain.

When can you get your hands on the iPhone? April 12th is the day scheduled for T-Mobile to sell the iPhone. What does this mean, though, for T-Mo’s LTE network? While the nation’s new “UNcarrier” has just rolled out its LTE network to eight cities, many others stand waiting. While I may be one to speculate, I think that countless other cities will have T-Mo’s 4G LTE access by the time the iPhone 5 launches under the T-Mobile name next month. After all, why would T-Mobile launch the iPhone 5 if it did not already have the towers in place? I was told recently by a T-Mobile representative that the carrier branches are waiting to receive word on when to “flip the switch,” so more cities will receive the new LTE in the coming days.

I do not know why T-Mobile chose March 26th as the ideal day to announce its very own iPhone 5, but something tells me that the carrier has spent the last six months making preparations to its network infrastructure for the day when the iPhone 5 would be revealed. Now that it’s here, are you ready to claim your T-Mobile iPhone 5?

Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 to be released in the UK Next Month

Galaxy Note 8.0

[Photo Credit: Pocket-Lint]

The Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet has been announced, although there has been little information on arrival dates and pricing. Usually, when Samsung reveals a new product, US consumers are forced to wait at least three months after the product launch to get their hands on it.

Well, at least Samsung customers can breathe a sigh of relief. New sources suggest that Samsung’s new iPad Mini competitor will go public in the United Kingdom next month (April 2013). This means that American customers may get a chance to purchase the tablet this summer.

The Galaxy Note 8.0 has the following features and specs:

* 1280 x 800 screen resolution
* 1.6Ghz, quad-core Exynos 4412 processor
* 2GB RAM
* 16GB of internal memory storage (additional storage provided by way of a microSD card slot)
* 1.3-megapixel, front-facing camera
* 5-megapixel, rear-facing camera
* 4600mAh battery
* OS: Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean; may upgrade to Key Lime Pie)

The screen resolution matches that of Google’s Nexus 7 tablet and provides a full HD display. The microSD card slot available on the Galaxy Note 8 will make the tablet one to be coveted. After all, Apple provides fixed memory for its tablets. What most Android users may not know, however, is that the information stored on a microSD card is often wiped out when someone updates his or her operating system. The info stored on the microSD card is destroyed because the old info cannot be accessed on a newer OS.

The 4,600mAh battery seems as if it will provide excellent battery life, web browsing, and hours of web searching, social media, gaming, and so forth (although the amount of time may differ among many different tablet activities).

The Exynos 4412 processor was the subject of scrutiny when it was reported some months ago that international GS3s bearing the Exynos 4412 processor had some sort of Internet security loophole or malware exploit that hackers could access (if given the chance). Some Samsung fans were hoping that Samsung would use its new Exynos 5 processor chip instead of its 4412 — but time may prove something entirely different when the tablet makes its way to the UK and then the USA.

Samsung’s 1.3-megapixel and 5-megapixel cameras are not the greatest cameras for a 2013 tablet, since its own GS4 comes with a 2.1MP front-facing camera and a 13MP rear-facing camera. Some think that using tablets to snap photos is a ridiculous idea, but concepts such as ASUS’s FonePad may change the large impasse the tech world has placed between smartphones and tablets. The strength of Samsung’s tablets, while not found in its tablet cameras, is very present in its smartphone camera application. Samsung provides so many photo customizations that enhance real-time pictures and give a creative flair to lasting memories that one could get lost in the camera application alone.

With regard to pricing, UK retailer Handtec says that the eight-inch Galaxy Note tablet will cost somewhere around 371.99 euros (~$564 USD). This is a rather steep price, considering that the iPad Mini (the GNote 8’s direct competitor) costs $329 for the first-gen. iPad Mini. Apple intends to create a Retina iPad Mini this year, so prices will most likely jump. Still, I highly doubt that Apple’s iPad Mini price will jump $250 or more. This means that, despite all the bells and whistles of Samsung’s Galaxy Note tablet, UK customers may opt for Apple’s iPad Mini. There are those who will purchase Samsung’s 8-inch tablet, despite its price — since Samsung seems to be the Apple of the European continent.

AT&T Expands Its LTE Network, Fears T-Mobile’s Potential

AT&T  adds to its 4G network in Ohio, Connecticut, Florida, and Tennessee

[Photo Credit: AT&T]

T-Mobile announced its LTE reach as well as its new Value Plans today, and AT&T has wasted little time in responding to T-Mobile’s reach. The carrier known for having “the nation’s largest 4G network” has responded by extending its reach into the states of Alabama, Connecticut, Tennessee, Florida, and Ohio. AT&T must respond in some manner, since T-Mobile’s plans look to disrupt the comfortable consumer base that AT&T has enjoyed until now. AT&T has already issued its mudslinging ads — although T-Mobile responded in stellar fashion. What is keeping AT&T up at night? “Apparently Us,” reads one of T-Mobile’s anti-AT&T ads.

According to AT&T, 4G LTE coverage will now be extended to 21 sites in Alabama:

* I-10, east of Spanish Fort to Florida’s state line
* HWY 59 (I-10, Loxley, Foley, and Gulf Shores)
* HWY 180 (Fort Morgan to Gulf Shores)
* HWY 59 to Orange Beach

Baldwin County and South Alabama will be the major recipients of AT&T’s new LTE towers in Alabama State. According to AT&T’s announcement, the company has “invested nearly $100 million in its Mobile area wireless and wireline network — and nearly $1.4 billion in Alabama’s wireless and wireline network – from 2010 through 2012.”

Connecticut is the second state to receive the benefits of AT&T’s expanding LTE coverage. Cheshire, Meriden, Prospect, Waterbury, and Wolcott will receive LTE coverage. In Tennessee, Dyersburg and Ripley will receive LTE coverage under the AT&T banner; in Florida, Sebring will sport AT&T LTE, and Athens in Ohio (also Bowling Green) is the new recipient of AT&T’s plans to extend LTE coverage in Ohio State.

To add to the new LTE expansion, AT&T also expanded LTE coverage in various cities throughout Virginia and Georgia on March 14, 2013.

The result of all this coverage is that more and more citizens on the East Coast (and In the North) can enjoy AT&T’s nationwide 4G LTE. All of this expansion means that T-Mobile will have some catching up to do with its LTE towers. While T-Mobile just flipped the switch for 8 major cities in the US (including Las Vegas, Kansas City, Houston, and Washington DC), the Deutsche Telekom carrier will need to turn more and more tower switches on in the next few months — preferably, by the time Apple introduces its iPhone 5S.

French Manufacturer Archos Introduces Gamepad, Tablets 80 and 97 Titanium HD

Archos 80 and 97 Titanium HD

[Photo Credit: Archos]

Manufacturers turn excited when they prepare to present a new product or software to their customers and the consumer public. There is something about new product presentations that gets both manufacturers and customers in a good mood. While most present only one new product for purchase, it is odd to find one company presenting three new products in back-to-back days.

French manufacturer Archos is full of surprises these days: on Friday, Archos presented a new gamepad for sale. The Archos GamePad is a seven-inch tablet that features the following features and specs:

* 1,024 x 600 screen resolution
* 1.6Ghz, dual-core processor
* quad-core Mali 400MP GPU
* 1GB RAM
* 8GB internal memory storage
* microSD card slot that allows up to an additional 64GB of memory storage
* mini-HDMI output
* OS: Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)
* thumbsticks
* facial and shoulder buttons
* price: 149.99 euros; $179 USD

The screen resolution is not that impressive (a little less than the screen resolution of the iPad 2 at 1024 x 768). Archos’s screen resolution is also less than that of the Nexus 7 (1280 x 768). The graphics will be incredible here, however (with a quad-core Mali GPU), as will be the thumbsticks and gamepad buttons. While the internal memory storage is not all that great, Archos has provided a microSD card slot — a feature that Google’s Nexus 7 does not have. If you add anywhere from $40-$60 for an additional card slot, you may end up with a tablet that provides 72GB of memory storage for approximately the same price as Google’s 32GB Nexus 7. Even the price for the Archos GamePad at 8GB is less than Google’s former 8GB Nexus 7 (formerly available at the Google Play Store at $199).

You didn’t think this was the end of the product presentations, did you? If so, prepare for two more product presentations: Archos waited until yesterday (the day after the GamePad presentation) to reveal its new 9.7-inch 97 Titanium HD and the 8-inch 80 Titanium HD tablets. The “97” tablet is so named for its 9.7-inch display, the “80” tablet so named for its 8-inch display. The 9.7-inch tablet will have a screen resolution of 2048 x 1536 — which matches the exact screen resolution of Apple’s iPad 3 with Retina display. As you can see, Apple holds the standard in tablet production, and the French manufacturer wants to make sure that its 9.7-inch “iPad-like” tablet can withstand the competition. The one drawback to Archos’s tablets is that they only come with 8GB of internal memory storage. I wish Archos would have paid more attention to its internal memory storage and made its storage amount match that of Apple’s iPad.

While Archos has two great tablets, it fails to deliver the same punch that customers will find in the Apple iPad experience. If you’re looking for the bare necessities of the tablet experience with an impressive screen resolution and a current Android OS, the Archos 80 and 97 Titanium HD are two tablets that you may want to consider. The Archos 80 HD tablet will cost $169, the Archos 97 Titanium tablet will sell for $249.

Archos presented three great products. Now, who’s buying?