Everything You Wanted to Know About the iPhone 5 But Were Too Afraid to Ask

With the first reviews pouring in today for everyone’s soon to be most bragged about toy, the iPhone 5, it’s time to take a step back and look at everything we know about the new iPhone, to date.

The Look

It’s thinner (the thinnest smartphone in the world according to Apple), it’s taller (a half an inch taller to be exact), it comes in black and white (though that doesn’t matter according to the late Michael Jackson), and of course it’s pretty sleek. Apple has had more than enough time in this business to know what works and what doesn’t and they aren’t messing with the formula now. The iPhone 5 looks like an iPhone, just better.

The Features

For the most part, all of the usual upgrades apply. The sound is better, the video is clearer, and everything is supposed to be faster. Of particular note, though, are the new 4G capabilities and Siri functions. The 4G is supposedly as quick as you need it to be, Siri is better than ever, and can perform an array of new tricks from pulling up apps on request, to providing sports scores. Also, the camera is supposed to work better in lowlight, and the battery life is cited as working up to 12-14 hours in some cases with normal usage, which would mean a great improvement over the previous models.  However, if you’re looking for the real new feature of the iPhone 5, you have to turn to the new iO6.

iO6

The biggest upgrade to i06 is the new Apple Maps features which opposes the popular Google Maps program. Reviews aren’t particularly flattering for the new app, as reviewers cite trouble using it practically in urban environments ,along with being generally behind Google Maps, but with things like Yelp integration, and Siri enabled GPS, a few updates could put the system on the right track. Otherwise, the new operating system is offering up increased Facebook functionality, Facetime compatibility, and a great all in one travelling app called Passbook that also works with some of your payment methods to help create a virtual wallet. Nice.

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AT&T starts sending out tethering notices to jailbreakers

Tethering.

One of the big advantages to jailbreaking has been the ability to enable tethering without carrier support. That doesn’t mean the carrier is unaware of the way the phone is being used. In fact, AT&T has started sending text messages to customers who are tethering without the company’s tethering plan.

The message reads as follows:

“Did you know tethering your Smartphone to a computer requires a tethering plan? Pls call 888-860-6789 for details or visit att.com/dataplans.”

Some customers are also receiving emails about the usage, alerting customers that they will be automatically enrolled in the DataPro 4GB plan if they don’t get in touch with AT&T. From the email:

“If we don’t hear from you, we’ll plan to automatically enroll you into DataPro 4GB after March 27, 2011. The new plan – whether you sign up on your own or we automatically enroll you – will replace your current smartphone data plan, including if you are on an unlimited data plan. If you discontinue tethering, no changes to your current plan will be required.”

AT&T says the goal is fairness to customers. Yes, they would like to screw all of us equally.

Verizon iPhone could cause Android and Blackberry exodus

Verizon iPhone.

We’re just three days from the official Verizon iPhone launch. This could be the biggest tech day of the year, but not just because it’s a Verizon iPhone. According to a recent survey, the release could mean millions of users abandoning the Android and Blackberry platforms.

According to uSamp, a research firm in LA, 66 percent of RIM customers labeled themselves either ‘very likely’ or ‘somewhat likely’ to switch to the iPhone. For Android customers, it was 44 percent for either somewhat or very likely. Granted, those aren’t a guaranteed switch, but it’s certainly more people than I expected. Those kind of numbers would mark huge losses for both Google and RIM, though I’d guess RIM would come away in worse shape than Google.

Source: CNN

iPhone coming to Verizon in January?

Verizon iPhone.

Bloomberg is reporting that the iPhone may be breaking onto America’s favorite network in January of next year. The report cites two unnamed sources who are, as always, close to the issue.

There has been a lot of speculation about the end of the AT&T exclusivity arrangement, especially when AT&T started offering up iPhone 4 upgrades to anyone that would take one.

The device will be available to customers in January, according to the people, who declined to be named because the information isn’t public. Natalie Kerris, an Apple spokeswoman, and Jeffrey Nelson, a Verizon Wireless spokesman, declined to comment.

The iPhone, which has been the sole domain of rival AT&T in the U.S. since June 2007, will give Verizon a boost in its competition for smartphone customers, UBS AG analyst John Hodulik said in an interview. Verizon customers, who numbered 92.8 million at the end of the first quarter, may buy 3 million iPhones a quarter, he estimates.

For now I’ll remain skeptical, if only because there have been rumors of a Verizon iPhone for years now. Actually, I just don’t want to believe I signed with AT&T when Verizon was just around the corner.

No new iPhone 4s until June 29th

If you were planning to pop by your local AT&T store to pick up an iPhone 4 on launch day, take the morning to get some extra sleep instead. AT&T will not have extra stock on hand for launch day as was initially thought.

The first batch of stock phones won’t be available until June 29th, when it will be sold on a first-come, first-serve basis. This is just for AT&T, though, so you might have a shot at the new handset at a Best Buy or Apple retail store.

Here’s the official word from AT&T:

• Retail purchase (no preorder): AT&T plans to have iPhone 4 inventory – available on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last – on June 29 in its retail locations, at www.att.com, and in business sales channels. As inventory sells out, AT&T will offer the convenient option of purchasing iPhone 4 and having it delivered to a home or business or an AT&T store. As always, customers will receive an email once their order is placed, and again when it ships.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Apple takes 600,000 iPhone 4 pre-orders

Steve Jobs iPhone 4.Despite the insane problems during the iPhone 4 pre-order launch, Apple still sold more than 600,000 pre-orders on day one, according to a company statement. That number includes all the carrier sales, which may not have been recorded in full considering pen and paper was being used at one point and it could take some time to log those orders.

From the Apple press release:

Yesterday Apple and its carrier partners took pre-orders for more than 600,000 of Apple’s new iPhone 4. It was the largest number of pre-orders Apple has ever taken in a single day and was far higher than we anticipated, resulting in many order and approval system malfunctions. Many customers were turned away or abandoned the process in frustration. We apologize to everyone who encountered difficulties, and hope that they will try again or visit an Apple or carrier store once the iPhone 4 is in stock.

At first, 600,000 seemed a little low, but that’s just the people fanatic enough to go out and order the first day it became available.

iPhone 4 pre-order was full of snafus, still sold out

Steve Jobs iPhone 4 launch.

After today’s crazy iPhone 4 pre-order problems, it’s hard to imagine what the 24th is going to look like.

As I mentioned here earlier today, website pre-ordering was down for both AT&T and Apple for most of the day. I finally got one ordered through Apple, still confirmed for delivery on the 24th as far as I can tell, but a lot of people were stuck staring at an error screen, or worse yet, an AT&T retail store for a few hours.

In case you missed the fun, there were reports of errors in the AT&T system that were granting access to another user’s account when you would log in. The AT&T upgrade system was down to the point that some stores were breaking out pens and paper and the old knucklebusters to take orders. Some stores were only taking down phone numbers and credit card info and then calling customers back to finalize the details of the sale. All in all, it was a crazy day full of AT&T’s failure to manage the load on their system, and the phone still sold out.

Here’s the official word from AT&T:

“Because of the incredible interest in iPhone 4, today was the busiest online sales day in AT&T history. As of Tuesday afternoon, customers who preorder iPhone 4 moving forward will receive their device on June 25 or later, depending on when the order is placed. We’ll email customers with confirmation once their order is placed, and again when it ships. In addition, we will have devices available on a first-come, first-serve basis in our stores beginning on June 24.”

As ever, the resounding sentiment from the tech world sounds something like “jesus christ will you idiots end the AT&T exclusivity already?!?” Seriously, Apple, people want the phone so badly they are willing to put up with mountains of carrier-related bullshit to get the thing. Find someone that doesn’t suck, make them pay you to sell your awesome phone. Thanks.

iPhone 4 pre-orders are totally borked

I woke up early this morning all excited to pre-order my iPhone 4. I was up a bit late last night and noticed that the store was down, and with the iPad, pre-orders were available around 8:30am EST, so I planned accordingly. Much to my chagrin, the online system at Apple wasn’t working. Neither was the AT&T system. In fact, it seems the whole pre-ordering process has melted down.

I started digging around the web to find other experiences, and even the people in brick-and-mortar stores are having trouble pre-ordering. The problem, it seems, is on AT&T’s end (who’s surprised?). Requests for account information aren’t being handled properly, and presumably because of the massive traffic AT&T is receiving, every step of the upgrade process is causing errors. As in, you fill out the data for step one (which renews your contract), press enter and get an error. Resubmit until it goes through. Now you have a new contract, but no subsidized phone until you can get step two or three to work.

This especially sucks for the people in brick-and-mortar stores. Cross step one and you’re stuck in the store until AT&T’s system deems you worthy to leave or, as I mentioned, you get a renewed contract but no new phone. Hopefully this will get fixed at some point today, but knowing AT&T, that’s not going to happen. If you have a couple hours to kill and feel like testing your boiling point, head on out to your nearest AT&T retailer for a little fun.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Tomorrow is iPhone 4 pre-order day

iPhone 4 in white.

Tomorrow you can finally pre-order that shiny, new iPhone 4 you’ve been dreaming of. I’ll be out at some point tomorrow to put down my own pre-order and I’ll be listing my current phone shortly thereafter.

You will be able to make pre-orders from a variety of stores, including your local AT&T retailer. There’s also Radio Shack, which looks like it won’t be requiring any sort of deposit and may actually be taking your old electronics for credit toward the new phone. Best Buy is also offering pre-order for a $50 deposit fee. Both retailers are rumored to be opening a bit early for the iPhone 4 launch day. Really, though, your big day is tomorrow if you want to make sure you lock one of these bad boys down.

Should I be more cautious about the AT&T upgrade?

Dueling iPhonesI am unflinchingly excited for the new iPhone, and even more so that AT&T has granted me an early upgrade eligibility. But why did they do it? Supposedly the subsidy on my 3GS, which is only a year old, is built into the life of my two-year plan. Is that $18 upgrade fee really going to cover the difference of a full year of service?

No. It’s not. So why is AT&T so ready to lock me in for what would only be an additional year. Here’s what AT&T says:

The reason we’re doing it is we recognize the commitment our current iPhone customers have made to us. We listened to people last year and took steps to make the process better. And we built on it this year by expanding further the approach.

Here’s what I say: bullshit. Of course you don’t want angry customers on your hands but losing even more money on each phone by selling it off to people who haven’t made up the difference seems crazy. You have to wonder if that Verizon iPhone rumor isn’t true after all. I know, it’s been denied up and down and back and forth and whatever other way you can deny it. But come on, is AT&T really that generous?