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Redesigned Typo 2 physical keyboard for Apple’s iPhone 5 & 5s now available for preorder


Thursday, July 31, 2014, 01:42 pm PT (04:42 pm ET)

After being slapped with an injunction because of similarities to BlackBerry keyboards, the Typo physical keyboard for iPhone has been redesigned in a new second-generation model that will begin shipping in mid-September.

In what was likely a bid to avoid future litigation, the new Typo 2, which is now available for preorder, is redesigned with a look that further differentiates it from the keyboards on BlackBerry smartphones. The product is backed by celebrity presenter and radio host Ryan Seacrest, who helped drum up hype for the first — now banned — product earlier this year.

The Typo 2 is now available from its official website for $99, with the first orders shipping in mid-September.

“Typo 2 was born out of a desire for efficiency,” the product description reads. “For several years, many of our friends and colleagues carried two phones: one for typing and correspondence and an iPhone for virtually everything else.”

The people behind Typo believe that physical keyboards are superior to the virtual buttons featured on Apple’s iPhone. Their product was in development for two years, and the company calls it “an indespensible business tool that people simply can’t live without.”

The original Typo Bluetooth keyboard launched for iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s early this year, but was quickly met with a lawsuit from BlackBerry which alleged the design too closely represented its own popular physical keyboards. BlackBerry quickly won an injunction and barred sales of the Typo in the U.S.

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Apple to roll out in-store iPhone 5s screen replacement program on Aug. 4


Thursday, July 31, 2014, 02:23 pm PT (05:23 pm ET)

Apple Stores will on Monday expand their iPhone repair services to include iPhone 5s screen replacements, helping to cut down on overall cost and turnover rates.

The machine used by Apple’s Geniuses to precisely align replacement displays.

A source familiar with the matter told AppleInsider on Thursday that Apple Stores will start replacing broken iPhone 5s displays in-house on Aug. 4, adding to similar existing repair options for the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c.

The person, who said they received confirmation of the new program from an Apple Store today, notes iPhone 5s screens can be swapped out only on units free of water damage or other hardware failures, like bent chassis. For iPhones with serious damage, customers must send their device in to Apple for servicing or replacement.

No details were provided regarding out-of-pocket cost, but the person did note customers with AppleCare+ would pay the usual $79 plus tax fee just as they would if sending the phone off by mail. Current iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c screen replacements run $149 plus tax, but an iPhone 5s repair may be more expensive if the sapphire-covered Touch ID home button is also damaged.

Apple first started repairing iPhone screens at brick-and-mortar Apple Store locations with the iPhone 5 in 2013. By replacing just the screen instead of performing a wholesale device swap-out, Apple looks to save money and time for both itself and its customers.

Earlier this year, Apple extended the screen replacement program to include the iPhone 5c, which is very similar in construction to the iPhone 5.

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Resurgent T-Mobile passes 50M subscribers, but CEO refuses to talk about Apple’s ‘iPhone 6′


Thursday, July 31, 2014, 06:54 am PT (09:54 am ET)

U.S. carrier T-Mobile on Thursday posted strong results for its fiscal second quarter, adding 1.5 million subscribers, more customers than any other wireless provider, while recording a $391 million profit on revenues of $7.2 billion.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere

“We have completely reversed T-Mobile’s trajectory and started a revolution that is changing the rules in wireless,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in a release. The quarter marks T-Mobile’s fifth consecutive period with over 1 million net subscriber additions.

In comparison, competitors ATT and Verizon posted net additions of 1 million and 1.4 million subscribers, respectively, in their own fiscal second quarters. Sprint, rumored to be in merger talks with T-Mobile, lost 245,000.

Some 329,000 of T-Mobile’s additions were mobile broadband customers driven by tablets, the company noted, a five-fold increase from the previous quarter. T-Mobile sees tablets such as the iPad — as well as wearable devices — as a significant opportunity for growth.

“We’re very excited about wearables coming with their own radios, and we’re seeing some of these on the horizon,” T-Mobile marketing chief Mike Sievert added during Thursday’s earnings call.

Despite the rapid increase in tablets, smartphones continued to dominate T-Mobile’s hardware sales. The carrier moved 6.2 million smartphones in the quarter, and the devices now account for 83 percent of phones on T-Mobile’s branded network.

T-Mobile has the smallest exposure of any major carrier to the iPhone, however. Asked for his opinion on whether the launch of Apple’s next-generation handset would have a material impact on the company’s subscriber growth going forward, Legere said that such an event would present a “huge opportunity,” but was cagey on specifics.

“You’re not gonna get me to use the iPhone 6 word on this call,” Legere joked.

Apple and T-Mobile have worked more closely in recent months as T-Mobile claws its way back into contention with its larger rivals thanks to a series of “Un-Carrier” initiatives. As part of “Un-Carrier 5.0,” T-Mobile offered potential customers a free iPhone 5s with unlimited data to “test drive” the carrier’s network for one week.

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Samsung earnings disappoint as company blames competition in smartphone space


Thursday, July 31, 2014, 08:14 am PT (11:14 am ET)

While Apple continues to see strong growth with its hot-selling lineup of smartphones, rival Samsung reported lower-than-expected earnings on Thursday, posting its smallest profit in two years.

Samsung’s net income of 6.18 trillion won, or $6 billion U.S., fell short of analyst expectations of 6.83 trillion won for the June quarter, according to Bloomberg. Income declined 18 percent, and shares of the South Korean company fell after the earnings were reported.

The Android smartphone maker has been losing ground to lower priced options from Chinese manufacturers Xiaomi Corp. and Lenovo Group Ltd.

Samsung shipped at total of 95 million handsets in the quarter, but the company does not break down how many of those were smartphones. Analyst Timothy Acuri estimated in a note to investors, a copy of which was provided to AppleInsider, that about 75 million of those were smartphones, and the remaining 20 million were low-end and mid-tier devices.

Acuri estimates that Samsung’s share of the smartphone market declined a “meaningful” 500 basis points quarter to quarter, down to 25 percent. The company also shipped 8 million tablets in the three-month frame, which was considerably less than the 13 million it had shipped in the preceding quarter.

In contrast, last week Apple reported sales of 35.2 million iPhones and 13.3 million iPads in the June quarter, resulting in $7.7 billion in profit. Though the numbers fell slightly below Wall Street expectations, investors were still encouraged by the fact that iPhone shipments grew 12.7 percent from the same period a year prior.

Samsung had warned earlier this month that it would report a sales decline. The June results mark the third consecutive quarter of decreasing profits.

Samsung is Apple’s chief rival in the smartphone space, as the South Korean company sells the overwhelming majority of higher-end devices running the Google Android platform. Samsung’s latest flagship device, the Galaxy S5, launched during the company’s June quarter, while Apple is expected to unveil its response, the highly anticipated “iPhone 6,” in the coming months ahead of the fall holiday shopping season.

But Samsung is also a key supplier for Apple, most notably building all of the custom A-series processors that the Cupertino, Calif., company uses to power all of its iPhones, iPads, iPod touches and Apple TV units to date.

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Verizon’s plan to throttle LTE speeds draws scrutiny from FCC chairman


Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 09:09 pm PT (12:09 am ET)

Verizon is planning to restrict LTE data speeds of customers still holding on to unlimited data plans, but the program has “deeply troubled” FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler, who sent a letter to the carrier asking for clarification on the new policy.

FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler

As part of its “network optimization” initiative, Verizon plans to slow down 4G LTE data speeds for subscribers with unlimited data plans when the network is particularly congested.

In response, U.S. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Wheeler sent a note to Verizon CEO Daniel Mead on Wednesday, voicing concern over the change and requesting that a few questions regarding the policy be answered. A copy of the letter was obtained by GigaOm.

“‘Reasonable network management’ concerns the technical management of your network; it is not a loophole designed to enhance your revenue streams,” Wheeler wrote. “It is disturbing to me that Verizon Wireless would base its ‘network management’ on distinctions among its customers’ data plans, rather than on network architecture or technology.”

Specifically, the carrier plans to start limiting customers who “fall within the top 5 percent of data users on our network, have fulfilled their minimum contractual commitment, and are on unlimited plans using a 4G LTE device.” Under the terms, slated to take effect in October, these users may see slower data speeds when performing high bandwidth operations like high-definition video or gaming apps.

The practice, known as throttling, has been a major concern for both consumers with grandfathered-in unlimited data plans and carriers that can apparently no longer deliver on their promises.

“I know of no past commission statement that would treat as ‘reasonable network management’ a decision to slow traffic to a user who has paid, after all, for ‘unlimited’ service,” Wheeler wrote.

Wheeler also asks three questions of Mead:

  1. 1. What is your rationale for treating customers differently based on the type of data plan to which they subscribe, rather than network architecture or technological factors? In particular, please explain your statement that, “If you’re on an unlimited data plan and are concerned that you are in the top 5% of data users, you can switch to a usage-based data plan as customers on usage-based plans are not impacted.”
  2. 2. Why is Verizon Wireless extending speed reductions from its 3G network to its much more efficient 4G LTE network?
  3. 3. How does Verizon Wireless justify this policy consistent with its continuing obligations under the 700 MHz C Block open platform rules, under which Verizon Wireless may not deny, limit, or restrict the ability of end users to download and utilize applications of their choosing on the C Block networks; how can this conduct be justified under the Commission’s 2010 Open Internet rules, including the transparency rule that remains in effect?

Before the smartphone — and subsequently the cellular-connected tablet — caught on, providers offered unlimited data plans alongside the devices as a way to spur sales in an unknown market. With popular products like the iPhone, smartphone use exploded, causing cellular data consumption rates to rapidly increase. Carriers were left with an infrastructure not equipped to deal with the unexpectedly high data demands, prompting the use of stop-gap practices like throttling.

Unlimited data contracts were quickly quashed, but subscribers already on the most-expensive plans were allowed to keep them as long as monthly payments continued. The rollout of speedier next-generation cellular technology like 4G LTE effected even faster data consumption rates.

For its part, Verizon claims throttling will help give the other 95 percent of its customers a consistent usage experience, saying the policy affects only a small number of people.

“What we announced last week was a highly targeted and very limited network optimization effort, only targeting cell sites experiencing high demand,” Verizon said in a statement provided to Re/Code. “The purpose is to ensure there is capacity for everyone in those limited circumstances, and that high users don’t limit capacity for others.”

Wheeler on Verizon Throttling via GigaOm

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Briefly: Readdle slashes up to 70% off iOS app titles in honor of 7th birthday


Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 11:56 pm PT (02:56 am ET)

Readdle, developer of popular iOS apps like Scanner Pro and PDF Expert 5, is having a 48-hour sale on its iOS app offerings in celebration of its birthday, cutting up to 70 percent off select titles.

Starting at around 1 a.m. Eastern on Thursday, and lasting for two full days, Readdle will be applying huge discounts on its premium app lineup, with up to 70 percent savings in honor of the company’s seventh birthday.

It’s been long 7 years when we first started as a product company right after the announcement of the first iPhone. Since then, we followed the path of creating the best productivity apps for iOS devices, so the main goal was to empower our users. We managed to grow into a sustainable business with a team of 50 people, 33 million downloads worldwide and top positions on the App Store.

Readdle’s temporary price changes are as follows:

Applicable discount pricing is available now through the links above and will be active until Saturday at 1 a.m. Eastern.

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