A recent meeting between Toni Sacconaghi of Bernstein Research and Apple COO Tim Cook confirmed that Apple is seriously considering more affordable iPhone models. Summarizing the meeting, Sacconaghi also stated that Apple is working to “’figure out’ the prepaid market.”
A prepaid iPhone? This would be a very interesting move for Apple, bypassing the wireless carriers’ contracts, service requirements and credit checks, and selling iPhones directly to consumers for an unsubsidized, one-time fee.
Prepaid phones are sold at relatively low cost to customers without a contract. Users then pay by the minute, purchase airtime in chunks, or pay a flat monthly fee (usually $45-$60 per month) for unlimited voice, text and data. There are several prepaid brands including Boost Mobile (Sprint), Straight Talk (Tracfone & Wal-Mart), and carrier-branded services from AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. At present, prepaid phones are usually older models which can be sold unsubsidized at affordable prices ($25-$100).
While there are a handful of smartphones now available as prepaid devices – most notably the Android-powered T-Mobile Comet – the vast majority are so-called dumb phones that do little more than make calls and offer text messaging.
If Apple were to add an iPhone to the prepaid mix, this market would change quickly.
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One of the few speaker systems that can accommodate the iPod and iPhone as well as the iPad, the Philips Fidelio DS8550, is on sale today at Amazon.com for $179. That’s $120 off the MSRP. Sale ends either at the end of the day or when the supply runs out.
Here’s a portion of the Amazon’s description of the Fidelio:
Delivering exceptional sound performance in a compact package, the Philips Fidelio DS8550 Docking Speaker plays music from your iPod, iPhone, or iPad in stunning detail, and enables wireless Bluetooth streaming for undocked music playback. Designed for audiophiles, this speaker is engineered with PureDigital technology and a curved profile to provide tight, precise sound, and its built-in rechargeable battery provides up to eight hours of playback on a single charge. Unlock additional features using the complementary Fidelio app, which gives you access to custom alarms, equalizer settings, and more.
Philips Fidelio DS8550
We’ve known for months that November was the month for the next version of the iOS operating system, so it didn’t come as much of a surprise when Apple posted the Gold Master of iOS 4.2 yesterday afternoon. Developers were given access to GM versions of iOS 4.2 for the iPad, iPhone 4, 3GS and 3G, and 2nd, 3rd and 4th Gen iPod touch. A beta version of iTunes 10.1 was also posted.
As long as no major flaws are discovered in the iOS 4.2 GM, it will be the version eventually released to the public via iTunes. If past releases are any indication, public availability of iOS 4.2 will come in the next week or so. Upgrades will be free for all compatible devices.
iOS 4.2 adds multitasking and folders to the iPad and changes the screen lock switch to a mute switch (booo!). Other new or updated features include better parental controls, new text tone alerts on the iPhone 4, printing over a wireless network (AirPrint), text search within web pages, and minor UI changes.
For a complete list of iOS 4.2 changes, check out this chart on Wikipedia.
iOS 4.1 is now available for download in iTunes. The update adds several new features and is supposed to address the proximity issue on the iPhone 4.
All iPhones and iPod touch models (excluding the 1st generation of each) are compatible with the upgrade, though older devices may not be compatible with every feature of iOS 4.1.
iOS 4.2 is due out in November, which will add multitasking and other iOS 4.1 features to the iPad.
To upgrade your device to iOS 4.1, simply sync with iTunes. Be sure you have the latest version of iTunes 10 before upgrading.
Although Apple’s US website remains mum on the exact release date of iOS 4.1 for the iPhone and iPod touch, the UK version of the company’s site lists the iOS update as available September 8, 2010.
iOS 4.1 will address the iPhone 4’s proximity sensor issue and add new features like High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography, Game Center, support for Ping, and the ability to upload HD video to YouTube and MobileMe. The update will be free for all iPhone and iPod touch users, though the first-gen iPhone and iPod touch models are not compatible.
UPDATE 9/7/10: The UK Apple site has been changed and now lists the iOS 4.1 update as “Coming Soon,” just as the US site does.