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printed April 30, 2017
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Review: Belkin Lightning Audio + Charge RockStar

Apr 14, 2017, 9:40 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Belkin's ridiculously-named dongle does one thing: it lets you simultaneously charge your iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus and listen to music. If you want to rock out and power up at the same time, Belkin's Lightning Audio + Charge RockStar makes it possible.

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Qualcomm Countersuit Says Apple Hobbled Its Chips

Apr 11, 2017, 7:08 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Apr 11, 2017, 10:55 AM

Qualcomm filed a retaliatory lawsuit against Apple and accused the iPhone maker of bad behavior. The filing is in response to one Apple made against Qualcomm earlier this year. It that argument, Apple accused Qualcomm of abusing its market position to unfairly charge for chips and licenses. Qualcomm's response points out five major grievances with Apple, suggesting the company has not negotiated in good faith to license Qualcomm's patents. Specifically, Qualcomm says Apple "chose not to utilize the full performance of Qualcomm’s modem chips in its iPhone 7 [and] misrepresented the performance disparity between iPhones using Qualcomm modems and those using competitor-supplied modems." Qualcomm also accused Apple of breaching and mischaracterizing agreements with Qualcomm, interfering with Qualcomm's licensees, encouraging regulatory attack around the world, and threatening Qualcomm to go public over disparities in chip performance. Qualcomm is seeking damages from Apple for "reneging on its promises in several agreements" and it wants Apple to cease interfering with Qualcomm's partners. Qualcomm has come under fire from several governments, including that of the U.S., that allege Qualcomm uses predatory and unfair licensing practices.


Apple Releases iOS 10.3.1 to Fix Bugs

Apr 3, 2017, 12:13 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today pushed a minor system update to iPhones, iPads, and iPods that's primarily meant to fix bugs. iOS 10.3.1, which clocks in at under 50 MB, also improves device security. The update is free to download and install over the air.


T-Mobile Adds Free AppleCare to Its Device Insurance Plan

Mar 27, 2017, 8:14 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today improved its monthly insurance program by offering AppleCare at no additional cost. Customers who subscribe to T-Mobile's Premium Device Protection and Jump! with Premium Device Protection insurance plans will have access to T-Mobile's insurance benefits as well as those offered by AppleCare. T-Mobile's plans cover loss, theft, accidental damage, hardware coverage, and security. AppleCare is available for the newest iPhones and iPads, including the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, and iPad 9.7. AppleCare includes 24/7 technical support from Apple and low fees for certain repairs at Apple Stores and certified Apple repair facilities. For example, screen replacement deductibles cost just $29, while battery replacement service is free. T-Mobile's Premium Device Protection and Jump! with Premium Device Protection insurance plans cost $12 per month.


Apple Announces (Product) Red iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

Mar 21, 2017, 7:49 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today debuted (Product) Red versions of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The devices are identical to the iPhones released last year, the only difference is the color. A portion of the proceeds from (Product) Red iPhone sales will contribute to the Global Fund to help fight AIDs. The red-colored iPhones will only be available in 128 GB and 256 GB capacities. The 128 GB (Product) Red iPhone 7 costs $749 and the 128 GB (Product) Red iPhone 7 Plus costs $869. The special edition (Product) Red iPhones will be available online and in stores beginning Friday, March 24.


Review: IK Multimedia iRig Mic HD and iRig Mic Field

Mar 15, 2017, 2:30 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Whether you're a podcaster, musician, or budding filmmaker, capturing high-quality audio is key when creating content. IK Multimedia's iRig Mic HD and iRig Mic Field give you mono and stereo options, respectively, in compact and easy-to-use accessories for your iPhone. The devices work hand-in-hand with IK Multimedia's software and third-party apps to raise the audio bar.

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Adobe's Lightroom App Adds RAW HDR Shooting for Android and iOS Phones

Mar 6, 2017, 11:46 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Adobe today updated its Lightroom Mobile application and added the ability for Android and iOS devices to shoot in RAW HDR mode. Adobe says the new HDR mode automatically scans each scene to measure the best-possible exposure range and then takes three photos that are merged to deliver the widest exposure and contrast range. The result is a 16-bit floating point DNG image that Adobe claims can rival the quality of images captured by today's dSLR cameras. The new HDR RAW capture mode is available to the Apple iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, iPhone SE, and iPad Pro 9.7. The iOS version of Lightroom also gains the ability to export original files and RAW images, as well as a gesture-to-rate tool, Force Touch actions, and sleep prevention. As for Android devices, the new tool works with the Samsung S7, S7 edge, Google Pixel, and Pixel XL. Adobe says this is because these are the only devices capable of capturing DNG images on their own. More devices will be given access to the HDR RAW capture feature over time. Adobe Lightroom Mobile is free to download from the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.


T-Mobile Brings Back Free iPhone 7 Offer

Mar 3, 2017, 9:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile today resurrected its offer of a free iPhone 7 to people who switch to the Uncarrier, though there are lots of requirements and caveats to the offer. To start, customers must port their number in from another carrier, sign up for the T-Mobile One plan, and trade in an eligible device to score the free iPhone 7. Moreover, T-Mobile is requiring people to purchase the new iPhone 7 (or 7 Plus) on an equipment installment plan. T-Mobile will provide instant credit toward the new device based on the value of the trade-on. The devices eligible for trade in are limited to the most recent iPhones (6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus) and Galaxies (S7, S7 edge, S7 Active). T-Mobile will then send a MasterCard gift card in the mail for the balance of the new iPhone 7. That gift card can be applied to the remaining monthly EIP payments on the account, but it doesn't have to be. The offer is only available from March 3 to March 16 in T-Mobile stores.


5 Best Unlocked Smartphones

Feb 14, 2017, 2:00 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Unlocked smartphones let you use your device on the carrier of your choice, whether at home or travelling overseas. Though unlocked phones tend to be pricey, you can't really put a price on the freedom they offer. Here are our picks for the five best flagship-class unlocked phones available right now.

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Review: RhinoShield Playproof and Crashguard

Feb 10, 2017, 2:30 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

RhinoShield has some inexpensive Apple iPhone cases for sale that claim to offer big protection with a minimal footprint. The Playproof case and Crashguard bumper do keep your phone safe, but perhaps not as safe as you might wish. Here is our review.

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Sprint Flips On 3-Channel Carrier Aggregation for iPhones and Galaxies

Feb 3, 2017, 8:22 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint gave some of its high-end smartphones a speed boost this week. The company added 3-channel carrier aggregation to the Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, and the LG V20 and G5. The HTC Bolt already supports 3xCA, and Sprint plans to update a half dozen more phones soon. The update, which binds together three spectrum bands, boosts potential top download speeds from 100 Mbps to more than 200 Mbps. Sprint says 2xCA is already available in some 250 markets and that it has added 3xCA to about 100 markets. The 3xCA technology will serve as the base for Sprint's forthcoming HPUE network technology. Combining HPUE, 3xCA, 256 QAM, and MIMO can deliver 1 Gbps speeds, according to Sprint. Sprint will begin deploying HPUE in its 2.5 GHz spectrum (Band 41) later this year. The company said 55% of its post-paid phones will support HPUE by the end of this year, with the rest to follow in 2018.


Chrome for iOS Gains QR Scanning Tool

Feb 2, 2017, 9:37 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today updated its Chrome browser for iOS devices and added a novel tool: a QR and barcode scanner. iPhone owners can scan a QR code or barcode by using 3D Touch on the app logo or by searching for "QR" in iOS's Spotlight search bar. Google says it also redesigned the tab switcher layout for the iPad to make it easier for people to access open sites. Chrome 56 is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Review: Otterbox Universe Case System for iPhone 7

Feb 1, 2017, 3:30 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Otterbox has expanded its Universe Case system to the Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, as well as added to its roster of swappable modules. The system includes a rugged case to protect the iPhone day in and day out, and optional accessories, such as a tripod, Flash drive, Bluetooth speakers, multi-tool, and much more. Here is Phonescoop's in-depth review.

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iOS 10.3 Beta 1 Adds 'Find My AirPods' Tool

Jan 24, 2017, 1:20 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released a slew of new beta builds for its various operating systems. iOS 10.3 beta 1 for the iPhone and iPad adds one significant new feature called Find My AirPods. With it, people can locate their AirPod headphones by forcing the ear buds to emit a loud, high-pitched sound. Apple didn't call out any other new features within iOS 10.3 other than a few minor tools for developers. Apple also released first beta builds of macOS Sierra 10.12.4, tvOS 10.2, and Xcode 8.3. These builds are for developers and not public testers. Apple typically makes public betas available a day or two after releasing the developer builds.


Apple Sues Qualcomm Over Royalties, Qualcomm Bites Back

Jan 21, 2017, 8:59 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jan 21, 2017, 11:40 AM

Apple has filed a lawsuit against partner Qualcomm, alleging the mobile chipmaker used its monopoly power to push for "onerous, unreasonable and costly" licensing terms. Moreover, Apple says Qualcomm prevented it from seeking chips from other suppliers between 2011 and 2016. Apple uses Qualcomm's baseband chips in the iPhone and iPad. Apple is seeking $1 billion in rebate payments that it says Qualcomm has withheld since Apple met with Korea's fair trade regulatory body last year. Apple's lawsuit arrives just days after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission sued Qualcomm over what it called aggressive and unfair business practices. The government, in particular, said Qualcomm had taken advantage of Apple and others with its licensing terms. Qualcomm denied the allegations. "While we are still in the process of reviewing the complaint in detail, it is quite clear that Apple's claims are baseless. Apple has intentionally mischaracterized our agreements and negotiations, as well as the enormity and value of the technology we have invented, contributed and shared with all mobile device makers through our licensing program," said Don Rosenberg, executive vice president and general counsel, Qualcomm. In addition to the FTC complaint, Qualcomm was recently sued by the Korean government over similar claims.


Apple's GarageBand Scores Alchemy Synthesizer

Jan 18, 2017, 1:21 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today announced a major update to GarageBand, its music creating and recording app for iOS devices. Chiefly, GarageBand now includes the Alchemy synthesizer, which adds more than 150 new patches from Apple that span myriad styles like pop, rock, EDM, and hip hop. Apple says Alchemy's on-screen tools let musicians merge up to eight patches at a time to create their own, unique sounds. GarageBand includes a new sound browser, too, which should make it easier to find Apple's Touch Instruments. A multi-take recording tool makes it possible for people to record several takes and then compare them to see which is best. Last, the audio recorder has been redesigned with one-tap vocal effects, such as pitch correction, distortion, and delay. Singers can take advantage of visual equalizers to fine-tune their sound, as well as use third-party plugins for even more vocal sound options. GarageBand is free for most modern iPhone and iPad owners.


App Store Antitrust Case Against Apple Allowed to Proceed

Jan 12, 2017, 6:06 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

An on-going lawsuit accusing Apple of holding a monopoly on the market for iPhone apps has been given new life today thanks to an appeals court ruling. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Apple's sole distribution method of mobile apps for the iPhone may be anticompetitive. The original lawsuit was filed in 2012. It charged that Apple's policy of allowing only apps distributed via the app store onto iPhones violates federal law. Apple's legal argument centered on the idea that the App Store serves only as a platform for end users to buy apps from developers, the iPhone maker sees the App Store as shelf space that is rented out by app writers. However, app developers pay a 30% portion of revenues for the ability to sell via the App Store. Moreover, people pay Apple directly for apps via iTunes; they do not pay developers. Initial rulings in the case sided with Apple, but today's decision reversed lower courts, as iPhone owners cannot buy or install apps via any method other than the App Store, lest they jailbreak (or hack) their device. Apple maintains that this policy protects end user security, but a collection of iPhone owners contend it leads to less competition and higher pricing for mobile apps. It's not clear what the next steps in the case are, nor where they may lead.


Google's Motion Stills App Gains Moving Text and Smoother Loops

Dec 16, 2016, 8:21 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google updated its Motion Stills app for iOS with several new features. First, users can now apply text to their GIFs. The Motion Text feature lets people position text anywhere they want in the GIF. It can then follow or move with a subject for the duration of the GIF. Google says it is using motion tracking technology and machine learning to make this function properly. Motion Stills also gains a new looping tool. Motion Stills is able to freeze the background of an image and analyze the movement to create the perfect loop transition. The result is GIFs that loop with fewer obvious cuts. Motion Stills takes advantage of Live Photos as captured by the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, 7, and 7 Plus and turns them into shareable GIFs. Motion Stills is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Apple's Wireless Headphones Reach the Apple Store

Dec 13, 2016, 9:32 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today began accepting orders for its AirPod wireless headphones. The AirPods instantly turn on and connect to nearby iPhones when the carrying case is opened. The AirPods can automatically switch from iPhone to Apple Watch based on what the owner is using. The AirPods provide up to 5 hours of battery life and the case has a built-in battery that can provide a total of 24 hours of play time. The devices rely on the W1, Apple's first wireless chip. The pods include a battery, antenna, accelerometer, and proximity sensor. The AirPods will automatically halt music playback if the pods are removed from the owner's ear. They are compatible with most iPhones and iPads. The AirPods cost $159 and are available online. The headphones were originally expected to debut in October, but Apple delayed the launch. Orders placed online should arrive before Christmas.


Apple Releases iOS 10.2 to the Public

Dec 12, 2016, 12:59 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today released iOS 10.2 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. The minor update to iOS includes Unicode 9 with more than 100 new emoji, including more diverse depictions of minorities and women. iOS 10.2 also includes new wallpapers, iMessage screen effects, improved camera settings, additional video widgets, single sign-on, and emergency contact alerts. It also introduces the new TV app from Apple, which is a TV-guide style app meant to help people find content across various video services. The operating system can be installed over the air or via iTunes.

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Prisma Brings Its Filters to Facebook Live

Nov 8, 2016, 3:12 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Nov 8, 2016, 3:16 PM

Prisma today made it possible to add its filters to Facebook Live videos. Owners of the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, and iPhone 7 Plus can go live on Facebook with Prisma's style filters applied to the live video feed. The feature joins Prisma's existing set of artistic filters that can be applied to photos and videos and then shared to social networks. Prisma didn't say if support for Facebook Live will reach its Android app. Prisma is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Gmail for iOS Updated with Undo Send

Nov 7, 2016, 10:14 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Google today made a new version of Gmail available to iOS devices and the refreshed email app boasts new features and performance improvements. To start, Gmail for iOS now includes the Undo Send tool from Inbox that gives people a short opportunity to recall emails before they are pushed out. Gmail gains a swipe to archive/delete function, as well, which provides more control over inbox clutter. Google improved search in Gmail, adding instant results, spelling suggestions, and raw speed. The revised appearance includes sleek transitions and quicker performance across the board. Gmail for the iPhone and iPad is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Apple Releases iOS 10.1 Beta 5 for Devs and Public Testers

Oct 19, 2016, 11:59 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Oct 19, 2016, 12:23 PM

Apple today made iOS 10.1 Beta 5 available to registered developers and public beta testers alike. This fifth beta follows the release of the fourth beta by just two days, implying that some urgent bug fixes may be contained within. Apple otherwise didn't say what's new in this beta release. iOS 10.1 primarily adds Portrait Mode (bokeh effect) to the iPhone 7 Plus. Apple still hasn't indicated when iOS 10.1 might reach the public other than to say "October."


Apple Drops iOS 10.1 Beta 4 for Developers

Oct 17, 2016, 3:42 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 10.1 Beta 4 available to registered developers. Apple didn't say what's new in this beta release. iOS 10.1 primarily adds Portrait Mode (bokeh effect) to the iPhone 7 Plus. Apple typically releases public betas a day or two after the developer beta. Apple still hasn't indicated when iOS 10.1 might reach the public other than to say "October."


Apple Offering SIM-Free iPhone 7s Online

Oct 14, 2016, 7:25 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has made SIM-free versions of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus available for sale on its web site. The SIM-free versions differ from the carrier versions only in that they are unlocked and don't carry any obligations to carriers. Customers can purchase the SIM-free iPhone 7 and 7 Plus and put any SIM card in it. Carrier financing is not available on SIM-free models, but consumers may use Apple Pay, PayPal, and Apple Store Gift Cards to purchase unlocked iPhones. Some financing options are available from Apple and its banking partners. The iPhone 7 starts at $649 and the iPhone 7 Plus starts at $769.


Facebook's Events App to Help You Find Things to Do

Oct 7, 2016, 12:21 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Facebook today announced a new app called Events, which is meant to help Facebook users find and schedule tings to do with family and friends. The app will highlight events that friends are planning to attend, new events added by liked pages, and updates from events to which users may have already RSVP'd. People will be able to browse recommended local events based on interests, as well as peruse an interactive calendar that details exactly where events are taking place. Last, Facebook Events ties in to users' Facebook calendar, allowing them to keep track of events, in addition to sync them to/from other calendars on their phone. Facebook Events is available to the iPhone starting today and will reach Android devices in the near future.


Apple Outs New iOS 10.1 Beta for Public Testers

Oct 5, 2016, 12:45 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 10.1 beta 2 available to those enrolled in the public beta testing program. The highlighted new feature of iOS 10.1 is Portrait Mode for the iPhone 7 Plus. Portrait Mode uses both the rear cameras of the 7 Plus to help blur the background of portrait images — creating a Bokeh effect. Apple already made iOS 10.1 beta 2 available to developers earlier this week. Apple hasn't said when iOS 10.1 will be released to all iPhones, though the company earlier indicated that Portrait Mode wouldn't reach the iPhone 7 Plus until later this month. Apple also released new developer betas of tvOS 10.0.1 and watchOS 3.1.

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Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus Reach Cricket Stores

Sep 29, 2016, 7:23 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket Wireless today commenced sales of the Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus at select stores around the country. The prepaid carrier is selling the iPhone 7 32 GB for $649, and the 128 GB for $749. It is also selling the 7 Plus 128 GB for $869. Cricket is not carrying the high-capacity 256 GB models. Cricket customers interested in these phones will have to pay full price for them, as Cricket doesn't offer monthly payment plans for hardware. The iPhones are also available from Cricket's web site, but the company says it has sold through its online inventory for the time being. Cricket has discounted several older iPhone models, as well. The iPhone 5s 16 GB, for example, is available for $199 and the iPhone 6s 16 GB is available for $449. Cricket's service plans start at $30 per month.


Apple Releases iOS 10.0.2 to Fix Bugs

Sep 23, 2016, 11:04 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made iOS 10.0.2 available to iPhones and iPads in order to resolve some bugs. According to Apple, the small update addresses a problem impacting audio controls, fixes an issue that prevents some app extensions from working, and solves a bug that caused Photos to crash. iOS 10.0.2 is free to download and install.


Apple Releases New iOS, WatchOS Betas

Sep 21, 2016, 12:42 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made a handful of beta operating systems available to developers. To start, the company releases iOS 10.1, which follows last week's public distribution of iOS 10. iOS 10.1 adds Portrait Mode to the iPhone 7 Plus and makes a resolves a number of bigs and performance issues. Along with iOS 10.1 Beta 1, Apple also released betas of watchOS 3.1, macOS Sierra 10.12.1, tvOS 10.0.1, and Xcode 8.1. Apple didn't discuss any details of the betas, such as new features. Registered developers can download these beta operating systems immediately. Apple is expected to make iOS 10.1 Beta 1 available to public beta testers by the end of the week.


Apple Says iPhone 7 Plus Sold Out for Launch Day

Sep 15, 2016, 7:14 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Consumers hoping to walk into an Apple Store on Friday and pick up an iPhone 7 Plus will come away disappointed. Apple says launch day supply for the larger iPhone is sold out. Moreover, only a small supply of the iPhone 7 will be available in stores. "Beginning Friday, limited quantities of iPhone 7 in silver, gold, rose gold, and black will be available for walk-in customers at Apple retail stores," said Apple in a statement provided to TechCrunch. "During the online pre-order period, initial quantities of iPhone 7 Plus in all finishes and iPhone 7 in jet black sold out and will not be available for walk-in customers." Customers have been able to preorder the iPhone since Sept. 9 and choose from home delivery or in-store pickup. The black models quickly saw shipping times slip to two to three weeks. Apple says its carrier and retail partners may have some iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus units on hand, but availability will vary. Apple recommends people who want an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus order the device online. "We sincerely appreciate our customers' patience as we work hard to get the new iPhone into the hands of everyone who wants one as quickly as possible." The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus have larger batteries, improved cameras, faster processors, stereo speakers, and touch-sensitive home buttons. The devices lose the headphone jack, but are water resistant.


Sprint Talks Up Its Free iPhone 7 Deal

Sep 8, 2016, 12:59 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Sprint today unfurled its own offer for a free iPhone 7. New and existing Sprint customers can get a 32 GB iPhone 7 at no cost as long as they trade in a working iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, Samsung Galaxy S7, or Samsung Galaxy S7 edge and sign up for any Sprint rate plan. Sprint didn't provide specifics about any possible differential in the trade-in value of high-capacity devices. Preorders start on Friday, September 9 at 12:01a.m. Pacific Time.


Apple Makes iOS 10 Grand Master Available to Testers

Sep 8, 2016, 12:18 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today made the penultimate version of iOS 10 available to public beta testers. The release gives testers one last change to check for and report bugs before the final version is released to everyone September 13. iOS 10 adds a number of features to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Most importantly, it opens Siri up to third-party developers, who will be able to integrate Siri voice commands and actions into their own apps. iOS 10 also improves Apple Photos, News, Maps, and Music, and adds features such as stickers and animations to iMessage. iOS 10 will be compatible with all iPhones from the 2012 iPhone 5 up. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be the first iPhones to ship with iOS 10 installed.

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AT&T Waves Around Free Phone Offer

Sep 8, 2016, 7:57 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T is giving people the opportunity to get a free phone with a new line of service. Beginning September 9, DirecTV or U-Verse customers who add a new line to their AT&T account will be rewarded with $695 in monthly bill credits towards a new phone. The free smartphone, which can be the new Apple iPhone 7 if that's what customers want, must be added to an AT&T Next or AT&T Next Every Year program when activated. People who are not DirecTV or U-Verse customers can still score a free phone. Consumers who port their number from another carrier to AT&T will be given up to $650 in bill credits when they trade-in their current device and buy a new one on an AT&T Next plan. AT&T says this port-in deal is limited to select phones, but didn't specify which ones. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus will be available for pre-order starting September 9, but don't reach stores until September 16.


AppleCare+ Lowers Screen Repair Price to $29

Sep 8, 2016, 7:43 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple has tweaked its AppleCare+ protection plans and made some pricing changes that will benefit customers. AppleCare+ costs $129. iPhone owners who subscribe to AppleCare+ will receive warranty coverage for two years from the date of purchase, which is one year more than standard coverage. Moreover, AppleCare+ customers will be given discounts on up to two incidents of accidental damage. Moving forward, screen repairs will cost $29 (down from $99). Cracked and shattered screens are the most common form of damage associated with iPhone repairs. Apple says any and all other types of repairs will cost a flat $99. AppleCare+ is included with the monthly price of Apple's iPhone financing program, or it can be added separately within two months of the original purchase date.


T-Mobile Pitching Free iPhone 7 for a Traded iPhone 6

Sep 8, 2016, 7:25 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

T-Mobile will give a free Apple iPhone 7 to customers who trade in an iPhone 6 or newer when they preorder the new phone. The offer is being made available to new and existing customers. T-Mobile says an iPhone 6 trade-in (any storage capacity) will net a 32 GB iPhone 7. Customers have to own the trade-in outright, it must power on, and it must be free of water and screen damage. Customers who trade in a device with more memory (or an iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s Plus) will be given extra credit towards purchases of the 128 GB iPhone 7, etc. T-Mobile says customers may also elect to pay some cash up front for pricier models. For example, customers who trade in an iPhone 6 but want the iPhone 7 Plus will need to pay $120 up front. The free device is being offered through bill credits over a period of 24 months. After 24 months, the customers will own the iPhone 7. Customers can walk away from T-Mobile at any time during the 24-month period by paying off the phone balance or giving the phone back to T-Mobile. T-Mobile also said it will carry the Apple Watch Series 2 (online only) and the new Beats Powerbeats headphones in an exclusive magenta color. Last, MetroPCS will carry the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus beginning September 23. T-Mobile pre-orders for the new iPhones kick off Friday, September 9th at 12:01a.m. Pacific Time.


Apple Warns Against 'Micro-abrasions' On Jet Black iPhone 7

Sep 7, 2016, 3:44 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The shiny, jet black finish of the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus may show scratches, according to Apple. "The high-gloss finish of the jet black iPhone 7 is achieved through a precision nine-step anodization and polishing process," explained Apple in the footnotes on the iPhone 7's product page. "Its surface is equally as hard as other anodized Apple products; however, its high shine may show fine micro-abrasions with use. If you are concerned about this, we suggest you use one of the many cases available to protect your iPhone." Apple didn't say how just how obvious the micro-abrasions may be. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus also come in matte black, silver, gold, and rose gold.


Apple Says Final Version of iOS 10 to Be Available Sept. 13

Sep 7, 2016, 1:50 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 7, 2016, 2:29 PM

Apple today revealed that iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch owners will be able to upgrade to the latest version of its iOS platform come September 13. iOS 10 focuses on integrating Siri into third-party apps and makes significant changes to the Apple Photos, News, Maps, and Music apps. Apple expanded its HomeKit compatibility and says the iPhone will be compatible with more than 100 home-automation products in the near future. The messaging app adds stickers, animations, accents, and contextual suggestions. News stories will appear cleaner. Users will be able to make dinner reservations from within Maps. iOS 10 will ship in the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. It will be available for download to the iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, SE, 6, 6 Plus, 6s, and 6s Plus.


Apple Announces Wireless AirPods

Sep 7, 2016, 1:34 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 8, 2016, 2:43 PM

Apple today showed off a set of wireless AirPods that connect to the iPhone and Apple Watch with a single tap. The AirPods can automatically switch from iPhone to Apple Watch based on what the owner is using. The AirPods provide up to 5 hours of battery life. The devices rely on the W1, what Apple says is its first wireless chip. The pods include a battery, antenna, accelerometer, and proximity sensor. The case has a built-in battery, which can provide a total of 24 hours of play time. The AirPods will go on sale in October for $159.


Apple Showcases iPhone 7 with New Home Button

Sep 7, 2016, 1:30 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Sep 7, 2016, 2:03 PM

Apple today announced the iPhone 7, the latest version of its flagship product. The device is machines from aluminum and features a refreshed design. The home button, which owners use hundreds of times per day, is now a capacitive, force-sensitive button that works with a taptic engine to create an entirely new feedback feel. The enclosures are water and dust resistant. It rates IP67 thanks to new seals and baffles. The camera is all new. It includes a large-pixel, 12-megapixel sensor with f/1.8 aperture and six-element lens with optical image stabilization. The quad-tone LED flash helps balance skin tones and wide color gamut. An image signal processor makes billions of calculations in a fraction of a second to ensure the best photos. The camera adds stabilization to Live Photo capture, and iOS 10 permits RAW image capture both from the Apple camera app as well as third-party camera apps. The user-facing camera has a 7-megapixel sensor with wide color and image stabilization. The iPhone 7 Plus adds a second, telephoto 12-megapixel camera. The main camera has an effective focal length of 28mm, and the second has an effective focal length of 56mm for a zoomed-in effect. Apple is calling it 2x optical zoom and, when combined with digital zoom, produces higher quality photos at up to 10x zoom. The 7 Plus also includes a Bokeh effect to create better portraiture. (This feature will be added to the 7 Plus later this year.) Apple updated the displays, which it says are 25% brighter than last year's models, offer a wide color gamut, color management, and 3D Touch. For the first time, the iPhone includes stereo speakers that are twice as loud as the 2015 iPhones and have twice the dynamic range. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus remove the headphone jack and rely on just the Lightning port for audio connections. The devices will ship with Lightning earbuds, as well as a Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter. The new iPhones rely on the A10 Fusion processor, which Apple says is 40% faster than last year's A9 and twice as face as the 2014-era A8. The four-core CPU offers two high-efficiency cores that run at one-fifth the power draw for low-intensity or background tasks. Graphics are improved, too. Apple says battery life better, with the 7 providing two more hours of life per day when compared to the 6s and the 7 Plus providing one more hour when compared to the 6 Plus. The devices include LTE-Advanced for speedy wireless. The iPhone 7 comes in jet black, black, silver, gold, and rose gold. Pricing for the iPhone 7 is $649 for 32 GB, $749 for 128 GB, or $849 for 256 GB. Pricing for the iPhone 7 Plus is $769 for 32 GB, $869 for 128 GB, or $969 for 256 GB. The iPhone will be available for preorder September 9 and goes on sale September 16.


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