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Facebook Messenger for iOS Adds Support for Groups

Mar 28, 2014, 7:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Facebook recently updated Messenger for iOS devices and added several new features to the stand-alone messaging app. First and foremost, Messenger now supports groups. Users can create groups, name them, tag them with photos, and save them. Second, users can now forward messages from one user/conversation to another. Facebook also said the app contains several bug fixes and performance improvements. Facebook Messenger for the iPhone is free to download from iTunes.


Straight Talk Now Selling Nano SIM Cards

Mar 13, 2014, 4:03 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Straight Talk, an MVNO that runs a bring-your-own-device service, is now offering nano SIM cards. Nano SIMs are the smallest SIM cards available, and fit devices such as the iPhone 5/5s/5c, Moto X, and select Droids. The nano SIM cards cost $6.99. Customers can buy the SIM cards directly from Straight Talk and use them in unlocked GSM handsets. Service plans for smartphones start at $45 per month and include unlimited voice minutes and messaging, and 2.5GB of high-speed data. Straight Talk's service runs on the networks of both AT&T and T-Mobile around the U.S.


Apple Releases iOS 7.1 with Bug Fixes and New Features

Mar 10, 2014, 12:19 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 7.1 available to iPhones, iPads, and iPods Touch. The operating system update resolves a significant bug that soft reset iOS devices when being used. iOS 7.1 also adds support for CarPlay, Apple's recently-announced in-car software. The update tweaks the behavior of a wide range of functions, such as the ability to control Siri manually by pressing and holding the home button. Siri gains more natural-sounding voices for Chinese, UK English, Australian English, and Japanese. iTunes Radio was improved with new placement of the search bar, and the ability to buy albums directly from the Now Playing screen. The Calendar app gains the ability to display events in the month view, as well as view country-specific holidays. Accessibility has been improved with a bold font option, and the Reduce Motion function now applies to more apps, including weather and messages. iOS 7.1 also adds new HDR camera tools, improves iCloud Keychain support, automatically clears FaceTime calls, improves Touch ID on the iPhone 5s, improves performance of the iPhone 4, and provides other UI teaks. iOS 7.1 is free to download from Apple.

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CarPlay Lets Drivers Access Their iPhone Via Siri

Mar 3, 2014, 8:04 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today announced CarPlay, a bridge that will let drivers user their car's infotainment center to access and interact with their iPhone. In order to work, CarPlay must be installed by the car manufacturer and a separate app must be installed on the iPhone. Drivers can use the car-based controls, such as steering wheel buttons, to launch Siri (Apple's voice-activated assistant), which can then access contacts, make calls, and listen to voicemails. Siri will read incoming messages aloud at the user's request, as well as dictate spoken messages for replies. CarPlay ties into Apple Maps, and can access recent trips, or addresses buried within emails or text messages, as well as plan and route turn-by-turn directions. Apple Maps will appear on the car's built-in display. CarPlay also gives drivers access to all their music, audiobooks, iTunes Radio, and podcasts with on-screen navigation or through Siri. According to Apple, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo will be the first to add CarPlay to their vehicles. Other car makers, including BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citro├źn, Subaru, Suzuki, and Toyota, will follow down the road. CarPlay will be enabled in iPhones through a system update.


Verizon iPhone Users Gain Access to Isis via Cashwrap Case

Feb 6, 2014, 1:21 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless today announced the availability of the Incipio Cashwrap case for owners of the iPhone. The Cashwrap case includes an NFC radio and compatibility with the Isis mobile payment service. iPhone owners interested in using Isis will need to have a special SIM card, the case, the Isis application, and a credit card from a participating financial institution. The case is available for the iPhone 4/4S and 5/5s. It costs $70 and can be purchased directly from Verizon Wireless. The Cashwrap case was recently made available to AT&T iPhone owners, as well, but has yet to arrive for T-Mobile customers.


Apple Updates Pages, Keynote, and Numbers

Jan 24, 2014, 8:49 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple recently published updates to its core productivity applications for the iPhone and iPad. Pages, Apple's word processor, has a significant number of new features. The app now lets users share password-protected documents via iCloud or export them to .docx files. The app supports charts with date, time, and duration values, and makes it easier to start lists with new characters. The app also improves support for bidirectional text, ePub export, and compatibility with Microsoft Word 2013 documents. Keynote, Apple's presentation app, includes many of the same improvements and also adds a new remote feature to control slideshows on other devices, adds new transitions, improves presenter display options, and adds custom number formats. Numbers, Apple's spreadsheet app, now permits spreadsheets to be viewed and edited in landscape orientation, adds iCloud sharing and .xlsx file export for secure documents, and improves compatibility with Microsoft's Excel program. Each app costs $9.99, but the update is free for customers who've already purchased the apps.


StraightTalk and Net10 To Sell iPhone 5s, 5c Dec. 13

Dec 9, 2013, 9:51 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

StraightTalk Wireless and Net10 Wireless today announced they will each sell the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c beginning December 13. The iPhones will be sold at Walmart stores and online for their full retail prices. The 16GB iPhone 5s costs $649, the 16GB iPhone 5c (online only) costs $549, and the 8GB iPhone 4S costs $449. StraightTalk's no-contract plans start at $45 per month and Net10's no-contract plans start at $50 per month. Customers can finance their iPhone purchase when they use a Walmart credit card.


Apple's iBeacon to Track Shoppers, Offer Recommendations

Dec 6, 2013, 8:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Dec 6, 2013, 8:46 AM

Apple plans to launch its iBeacon service at 254 of its U.S. stores today, reports the Associated Press. iBeacon uses Bluetooth transmitters inside Apple Stores to track the exact location of shoppers. Customers must download the most recent version of the Apple Store application, and turn their Bluetooth radios on in order for iBeacon to track them. When shoppers move about the Apple Store, iBeacon can sense if they are standing next to a table of iPhones, for example, and will send a message to ask if the customer is interested in an upgrade. The app can also direct shoppers to the check-out counter, or alert them when purchases are ready for pickup. Apple Stores will also be able to send alerts concerning sales or deals to shoppers in the vicinity. iOS device owners need to agree to allow Apple to track them in order for iBeacon to work. Apple has not updated the Apple Store application since early November, and it is unclear exactly when iBeacon will come online.


Foursquare Overhauls iOS App with New Design

Dec 5, 2013, 2:12 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Foursquare today made version 7.0 of its application available for iPhones. The newest rendition of the popular location-sharing social network takes on iOS7's design language with new themes and colors throughout. Foursquare 7.0 now makes more real-time recommendations to users. For example, it will suggest food orders when users enter a specific restaurant based on the feedback provided by other users. The app also changes constantly, updating as users move about, offering information on as many of the nearby venues as it can. Foursquare also refreshed the news feed, making it easier to keep tabs on friends through Foursquare. Foursquare 7.0 is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Apple Now Selling Unlocked iPhone 5s Online

Nov 22, 2013, 10:59 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made the unlocked iPhone 5s available online. Apple is charging $649 for the 16GB model, $749 for the 32GB model, and $849 for the 64GB model. Unlocked models are already available in Apple's retail stores.


Apple Releases iOS 7.0.4 to Resolve Facetime Bug

Nov 14, 2013, 1:23 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 7.0.4 available to iPhones and iPads. The minor system update fixes a bug that caused Facetime calls to disconnect. The update is small and can be downloaded over the air.


AT&T Refarming PCS Spectrum for LTE In Some Markets

Nov 8, 2013, 8:17 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T has begun to repurpose its 1900MHz PCS spectrum to help bolster its LTE network. GigaOm reports that AT&T is operating LTE in a 5MHz-by-5MHz slice of airwaves in its PCS band in New York City. AT&T has previously used the PCS band only for voice services and GSM/HSPA data. In addition to refarming some of its existing spectrum, GigaOm discovered that AT&T has already added LTE support in the PCS band to a number of its devices, including the iPhone 5s/5c, iPad Air/Mini, and the Nexus 5. These devices are already connecting to AT&T's LTE service in the 1900MHz band in New York. The additional LTE availability won't increase data speeds on AT&T's network, but it will offer more capacity in markets where it is needed. More than a year ago, AT&T said that it will shutter its GSM/EDGE network entirely by 2017 and reuse that spectrum for faster networks. AT&T competitors Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless are all working on similar spectrum repurposing projects to improve the capacity of their own LTE networks in order to meet the growing demand for mobile broadband.


Boost to Sell No-Contract iPhones for $100 Off

Nov 1, 2013, 8:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Boost Mobile today announced pricing details for the Apple iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. It will sell both phones beginning Friday, November 8. Boost is charging $549.99 for the 16GB iPhone 5s, and $649.99 and $749.99 for the 32GB and 64GB models, respectively. Boost is charging $449.99 for the 16GB iPhone 5c and $649.99 for the 32GB model. It is selling the iPhone 4s for $299.99. Boost Mobile provides pre-paid service that runs on Sprint's CDMA/LTE networks. It does not require contracts. The prices it is charging for most of the iPhones mentioned above is $100 off the full retail price charged by Apple.


Cricket Prices iPhone 5s at $599, iPhone 5c at $499

Oct 25, 2013, 7:20 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today made available the Apple iPhone 5s and 5c. Cricket customers may buy the new iPhones at Cricket retail stores or via Cricket's web site. Cricket is only selling the 16GB models. It is charging $599.99 for the iPhone 5s and $499.99 for the iPhone 5c. Cricket also offers device financing. Well-qualified customers can get the new iPhones for as little as $25 down and payments as low as $21 per month (for iPhone 5c). Service plans start at $50 for unlimited talk, text, and data. Cricket does not require contracts.


Apple Pushes iOS 7.0.3 to Fix Bugs

Oct 22, 2013, 3:10 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made available a minor update to its iOS 7 operating system. The new platform software includes support for iCloud Keychain, which can be used to keep track of account names, passwords, and credit cards across Mac devices. According to the changelog, the system update also adds a password generator for Safari; updates the lock screen TouchID behavior and patches a lockscreen bug; returns web and Wikipedia search to Spotlight; fixes several iMessage bugs; improves iWork stability; eliminates a VoiceOver bug that impacted Siri and input sensitivity; and resolves an accelerometer calibration issue. iOS 7 is free to download over the air and is compatible with devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

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Boost Mobile to Sell iPhone 5s/5c November 8

Oct 21, 2013, 7:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Boost Mobile today announced that it will sell the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c to its prepaid customers beginning November 8. Boost did not immediately offer details on how much it will charge for the iPhones.


Google Hangouts for iOS Gains Voice Calls

Oct 19, 2013, 8:45 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google updated its Hangouts app for iOS devices and added the ability to place free voice calls from the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch to other lines in the U.S. and Canada. Google Voice users can also receive calls through Google Hangouts. The app also improves visibility of who's online, makes it possible to send animated GIFs, and turns down music volume when incoming calls arrive. Hangouts for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


U.S. Cellular Lands the iPhone 5s/5c November 8

Oct 18, 2013, 4:40 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

U.S. Cellular today announced that it will offer the Apple iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c beginning November 8. U.S. Cellular didn't announce pricing details. It is already for sale from most other U.S. carriers.

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Cricket to Sell iPhone 5s and 5c

Oct 14, 2013, 8:07 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today announced that it will begin selling the Apple iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c on October 25. Interested customers may sign up for more details. Pricing wasn't disclosed.


Skype Updated for iOS 7

Oct 7, 2013, 8:59 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today made a new version of Skype available for iOS devices. The application has a refreshed look to better match the design language of iOS 7. It also has improved accessibility features, as well as speed improvements and other fixes. Skype for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store. It is compatible with both the iPhone and the iPad.


Virgin Mobile to Sell iPhone 5s and 5c October 1

Sep 27, 2013, 9:08 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Virgin Mobile USA today announced that it will offer the Apple iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c online and in stores beginning October 1. The new iPhones will be sold at full retail price without a contract.


C Spire to Launch New iPhones October 1

Sep 23, 2013, 11:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

C Spire Wireless today announced that it will offer the iPhone 5s and 5c on October 1. C Spire didn't announce pricing for either device.


Google Makes Wallet App Available to iPhone

Sep 19, 2013, 10:23 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 19, 2013, 10:36 AM

Google today released a version of it Google Wallet service that is compatible with Apple's iOS devices. Previously, it was only available to Android devices. Google Wallet for iOS lets users send money to others via an email address; add credit/debit and loyalty cards that can be used in stores; and see nearby offers/sales based on location. The app uses a PIN for security and the app can be disabled remotely if the phone is lost. Since iPhones do not have NFC radios on board, Google Wallet cannot be used to make mobile payments at retail locations where Google Wallet is accepted. The app mostly allows Google Wallet account holders to manage their account. Google Wallet for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Review: Apple iOS 7 from A to Z

Sep 18, 2013, 4:30 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple's new operating system takes a major step forward in terms of design and functionality. It greatly improves usability, while also introducing some nifty new features. Here is Phone Scoop's comprehensive review of iOS 7.

continued ›


Facebook and Twitter Deliver Major iOS Updates

Sep 18, 2013, 2:40 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Facebook and Twitter today both welcomed Apple's iOS 7 update with significant updates of their own mobile applications. Facebook took to its blog to describe the changes it made to its app for iPhones, noting that it borrowed heavily from iOS 7's new design language. Facebook added a new navigation dock to the bottom of the screen that makes it easier to jump to different sections of the app. Additionally, it has a translucent bar at the top of the app that will change dynamically as you scroll through different photos and posts. Twitter also made changes to its app based on iOS 7's new features. For example, Twitter can now be searched by Siri, and Safari will display links shared in the user's Twitter feed. It also ties Twitter's music discovery feature to iTunes Radio via its own station. Further, Twitter makes it easier to share web pages and photos from within select iOS 7 apps, and adds Twitter handles to the iOS 7 contact application. Both Facebook and Twitter for iOS will be available later today and are free to download from the iTunes App Store.


T-Mobile Prices iPhone 5s and 5c at $23 Per Month

Sep 13, 2013, 7:09 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today announced its Simple Choice pricing for the new Apple iPhones. Beginning September 20, T-Mobile will sell the 16GB iPhone 5s for a $99 down payment followed by 24 payments of $22.91. The 32GB and 64GB models will require down payments of $199 and $299, respectively, but T-Mobile is charging the same $22.91 monthly fee. T-Mobile will also sell 16GB iPhone 5c for $0 down payment followed by 24 equal monthly payments of $22. The 32GB iPhone 5c requires a $99 down payment and 24 monthly payments of $22.91. The iPhone 5c can be pre-ordered from Apple's web site beginning today. Both devices will be in T-Mobile retail stores next week.


Chrome for iOS Updated with Better Search Tools

Sep 12, 2013, 2:20 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today made available an updated version of its Chrome browser for iOS devices. Chrome 29 for the iPhone and iPad makes it easier to return to search results with an improved "back" function. The app also supports the use of pronouns in voice search, so users can ask more direct questions such as "Who is the...?". Other changes include a bandwidth manager to help control mobile data usa, and improved single sign-in with Google Apps. Chrome 29 for iOS will hit the iTunes App Store later today.


AT&T Reveals 'Next' Pricing for New iPhones

Sep 12, 2013, 12:39 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today announced how it will price Apple's iPhone 5s and 5c with its AT&T Next plans. The AT&T Next plans do not require down payments and let people pay for their device over time through monthly installments. The 64GB iPhone 5s will carry a $37 monthly device fee, while the 32GB model will cost $32 per month and the 16GB model will cost $27 per month. The 32GB iPhone 5c will carry a $27 monthly device fee, and the 16GB model will cost $22 per month. The contract pricing for the iPhone 5s costs $199, $299, and $399 for the 16, 32, and 64GB models, respectively; and the iPhone 5c costs $99 and $199 for the 16 and 32GB models, respectively.

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Apple Kills Off Cards App

Sep 11, 2013, 1:35 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple on Tuesday discontinued its Cards application for the iPhone. The app let iPhone owners create greeting cards directly on their phone and then place orders for physical cards that would be delivered by mail. Apple said orders placed with the Cards app up until 1PM September 10 will be fulfilled. After that point, it ceased accepting new orders. Apple suggests that people use iPhoto on their Mac computer, instead.


Apple Reveals the iPhone 5S with Fingerprint Sensor

Sep 10, 2013, 12:43 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 12, 2013, 2:41 PM

Apple today announced the iPhone 5S, a refresh to the iPhone 5, that will be available in slate, silver, and gold. The iPhone 5S is made from aluminum with chamfered edges and a 4-inch Retina Display. Outwardly it looks similar to the iPhone 5, but Apple says the iPhone 5S has numerous internal changes. The iPhone 5S is run by a 64-bit system-on-a-chip processor called the A7, which was designed by Apple. Apple says the chip has over 1 billion transistors and offers desktop-class performance. iOS 7 and all Apple apps have been rewritten to run in 64-bit (they will also run in 32-bit on older devices). Apple claims the processor is more than twice as fast as the iPhone 5's. The iPhone 5S runs OpenGL ES version 3.0, it offers 56 times faster graphics performance. The 5S contains what Apple calls the M7 Motion Coprocessor, which continuously measures accelerator, gyroscope and other motion data to work better with health and fitness apps. Last, the A7 supports Xcode in order to make it easier for developers to port their apps. Apple claims the new iPhone will offer 10 hours of 3G talk time or 10 hours of LTE browsing time, with standby time clocking in at 250 hours. The iPhone 5S has an improved 8-megapixel camera. Apple redesigned the lens, which has 5 elements and an aperture of f/2.2 for better low-light performance. Apple also enlarged the size of the pixels so they capture more light. The camera takes multiple shots and selects the best one, and can adjust the dual-LED flash to match the ambient light for correct skin tones. It also adds a burst mode that can fire up to 10 shots per second, and the video camera can shoot 720p HD video at 120 frames per second for slow-motion videos as well as 1080- HD video at 30 frames per second. The iPhone 5S also features a fingerprint sensor, which is built into the sapphire Home button. Apple calls the feature "Touch ID." The sensor scans sub-epidermal skin layers at 500ppi to read the owner's fingerprint. It can read fingerprints in any orientation and is used to unlock the iPhone or authenticate things such as app purchases. As with previous iPhones, the 16GB model costs $199, the 32GB model costs $299, and the 64GB model costs $399 with a new two-year contract. The iPhone 4S will continue to be available for free with a new contract. The iPhone 5S will be available for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless.


iOS7 Features Detailed, Available to iPhones September 18

Sep 10, 2013, 12:17 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 10, 2013, 12:17 PM

Apple today revealed more details about iOS 7, the next-generation mobile operating system for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. iOS 7 has been fully redesigned, representing the first major change to the platform since 2007. It adds hundreds of new features, including Control Center for managing radios and other settings; Notification Center for richer control over incoming alerts; changes to multitasking make it more visually appealing; as well as improvements to Siri that make Apple's voice-activated assistant more useful. Siri can search through Tweets, Wikipedia, the web, and the camera roll. The final version of iOS 7 will also include more ringtones and alerts; more ways to sift through, share, and edit photos in the gallery; and iTunes Radio for discovering and listening to new music. It will be available to the iPhone 5, 4S, and 4; iPad 4, 3, and 2; and iPod Touch 5th Generation on September 18.


Walmart Kicking Off Its Own Phone Trade-In Program

Sep 10, 2013, 7:40 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Walmart today announced that beginning September 21 customers will be able to receive instant credit for old phones that are traded in for new phones. The program is being run for Walmart by CExchange, which will responsibly recycle the old devices. Walmart said that it will accept most functioning smartphones and will offer credit ranging from $50 to $300, depending on the device and its condition. For example, Walmart said that it will provide $300 in credit for an Apple iPhone 5, or $175 for a Samsung Galaxy SIII. In order to receive the trade-in credit, however, customers must sign a new two-year agreement with AT&T, Sprint, or Verizon Wireless. The trade-in program will be available at some 3,500 Walmart and Sam's Club locations throughout the country.


Apple to Accept iPhone Trade-Ins at Stores

Aug 30, 2013, 10:14 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today confirmed the launch of a trade-in program that will be available at its retail stores. iPhone owners will be able to take their functioning iPhone to an Apple Store and trade it in toward the purchase of a new iPhone. "In addition to helping support the environment, customers will be able to receive a credit for their returned phone that they can use toward the purchase of a new iPhone," said an Apple spokesperson. According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple will award up to $280 for old iPhones that are swapped for new ones. However, in order to buy a new iPhone customers will have to sign a new contract with a wireless network operator. The program gets under way today, according to CNBC.


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