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Personal Hotspot coming to all iPhones in iOS 4.3?

According to various reports, the Personal Hotspot feature that debuted yesterday in the Verizon iPhone will be available to all iPhones in iOS 4.3. Citing an anonymous source, Boy Genius Report claims that the feature will be present in iOS 4.3 but will be dependent on carrier support, meaning that users on some carrier may not have access to the feature upon 4.3’s release. According to the same report, the OS version will be 8F5148b with a baseband of 04.08.00. Both (Translated Link) and iPhoneHellas (Translated Link) have made similar claims, stating that all current GSM iPhones will receive the feature via the iOS 4.3 update, although it is unclear whether the feature, which allows users to share their iPhones’ Internet connections with up to five other devices over Wi-Fi, will be limited to just current-generation hardware, as Apple has previously withheld certain features from older models. [via Mac Rumors]

Report: Apple to launch CDMA iPad on Verizon

Apple is planning to produce a CDMA-compliant version of the iPad for use on Verizon Wireless, according to a new report. Citing Francis Shammo, CFO of Verizon Communications—Verizon Wireless’ parent company—Bloomberg reports that the new offering will pose a further challenge to AT&T, which lost its iPhone exclusivity with today’s announcement of a CDMA iPhone 4 for Verizon. The report states that Shammo declined to say when the product may become available, but given the fact that the current-generation iPad was revealed almost a year ago, it seems likely that any CDMA version may appear as a second-generation product. Verizon currently sells Wi-Fi-only iPad units—bundled with MiFi mobile hotspots for data access—at its stores.

AT&T, Verizon trade barbs over iPhone

AT&T has responded to the formal announcement of the CDMA-compliant iPhone 4 for Verizon Wireless, which has also issued a response to AT&T’s statement. Speaking with the Washington Post, AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel downplayed the announcement, saying, “For iPhone users who want the fastest speeds, the ability to talk and use apps at the same time and unsurpassed global coverage, the only choice is AT&T.” Verizon responded to AT&T’s statement with a scathing response of its own. “The AT&T network can’t handle AT&T calls,” said Verizon Wireless spokesman Jeffrey Nelson. “AT&T iPhone customers should come on over. We have built a network that will ensure their calls go through. What a nice change for iPhone lovers.” The back-and-forth statements are only the beginning of what is likely to be a hard-fought battle between the two carriers over U.S. iPhone customers.

Verizon iPhone FAQ reveals no-contract purchase option

Verizon Wireless’ new iPhone 4 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page has revealed several new details about pricing and service for the upcoming device. According to the page, customers will have the option to purchase the iPhone 4 at full retail price without signing a two-year agreement, although it does not specify how much it will charge for the device. Existing Verizon customers will be able to use their “New Every Two” credit, if eligible, towards the purchase of the iPhone, but Verizon will not be offering any sort of early upgrade promotion at launch. While the document notes that iPhone customers will need to choose from any of the company’s current Nationwide voice plans, it also states that a data package will be required, and that data plan pricing will be announced at a later date. Interestingly, it says that the “iPhone will have the 3G Mobile Hotspot app pre-installed,” that the company’s VZ Navigator and V CAST Media Manager apps will be available “in the market,” and that customers will be able to use the Verizon iPhone for voice and text in over 40 countries, with data service available in 20 countries. Finally, and most likely due to the small external changes to the phone, the document states that while most existing accessories should work with the CDMA iPhone 4, “cases and covers could be different depending on the product manufacturer.”

Apple holiday poll ends, Verizon iPhone poll begins

With over 3,000 responses from iLounge readers, our latest poll—“Which new Apple device did you get for the holidays?”—has ended. Readers were given a choice between the iPad, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, fourth-generation iPod touch, sixth-generation iPod nano, iPod classic, fourth-generation iPod shuffle, Apple TV, accessories, or no Apple gear at all.

More than a quarter of respondents—26 percent—said they received a fourth-generation iPod touch over the holidays, a greater number than those who received no Apple gear at all (23 percent). 19 percent of readers said they received an iPad for the holidays, followed by 10 percent who received an iPhone 4, seven percent who received an Apple TV, and another seven percent who didn’t receive a device but did get accessories. Finally, only three percent of readers received a sixth-generation iPod nano, followed by two percent who received an iPhone 3GS, another two percent who received an iPod classic, and only one percent who received a fourth-generation iPod shuffle. Thanks for all your responses!

Our new poll focuses on the Verizon iPhone 4. We’d like to know if you plan to buy one. Are you an existing Verizon customer who has been waiting patiently for the handset, an AT&T customer ready to jump ship, or a customer of some other carrer who plans to purchase an iPhone 4 from Verizon? Or are you an existing customer of Verizon, AT&T, or a different carrier who isn’t going to purchase a Verizon iPhone? Or do you live outside the United States, where you’ve likely had a choice of iPhone carriers for some time? Our new poll, “Are you going to buy a Verizon iPhone 4?” lets you answer that question. You can find the iLounge Poll in the left-hand column of the main homepage. Cast your vote today!

Verizon site shows white iPhone 4, wrong specs

Despite the fact that the white model was not mentioned during today’s press event, the white version of the iPhone 4 is shown on Verizon’s website. After clicking on the “More About iPhone 4” link found on the newest iPhone carrier’s iPhone splash page, a pop-over appears with a design similar to that of the iPhone section of Apple’s website. Within the Tech Specs section of the popover, the white iPhone 4 is shown as an option under “Capacity and Color,” while the “Cellular, wireless, and location” tab shows information for the GSM variant of the device, and the images found on the “Size and weight,” “External buttons and controls,” and “Connectors, I/O and sensors” pages depict the GSM model as well, with the older antenna design visible. Apple said in October that it was delaying the launch of the white iPhone 4 until Spring 2011 without providing details as to why the device remains unavailable.

Verizon iPhone 4 coming February 10; $199/$299

Verizon Wireless and Apple have officially announced a CDMA variant of the iPhone 4. The design of the CDMA handset is similar to that of the GSM model, but features a revised antenna design with a noticeable black line above the ring/silent switch, as well as a Personal Hotspot feature that allows it to provide wireless Internet access to up to five devices at a time. Apart from CDMA and the Personal Hotspot, the phone’s feature set appears to have remained the same, with a five megapixel rear video camera, 720p HD video recording, the Retina Display, a front-facing camera, and A4 chip. Notably, due to the limitations of Verizon’s CDMA network, the device will be unable to handle simultaneous voice and data connections; neither will the CDMA version of the iPhone be exclusive to Verizon Wireless. The CDMA iPhone 4 will be available for pre-order to existing Verizon customers beginning February 3, while all other customers will be able to order starting February 10, the official launch date. Pricing is set at $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for the 32GB model with a new two year customer agreement.

“We are pleased to introduce millions of wireless users to the industry leading iPhone 4 on the nation’s most reliable network,” said Lowell McAdam, president and chief operating officer of Verizon. “This is an important step for the industry as two great companies join forces to give wireless customers one of the most important technological additions to the mobile landscape this century.”

“Verizon Wireless customers have told us they can’t wait to get their hands on iPhone 4, and we think they are going to love it,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s chief operating officer. “We have enormous respect for the company Verizon has built and the loyalty they have earned from their customers.”

For analysis of the Verizon iPhone announcement, see our Backstage article.

Verizon iPhone event: 30 minutes long, live overview here

Verizon’s iPhone 4 announcement event is taking place live today starting at 11:00am Eastern Time. We will be updating this story as the event takes place with live news.

11:29AM: Apple is focusing now on just getting an iPhone on Verizon, rather than trying to push the envelope with speed or features. Losing simultaneous voice/data is a tradeoff Verizon customers will just have to live with. And that’s it.

11:27AM: Verizon will be aggressively competing to bring customers over to its network.

11:24AM: This is confirmed to be a multi-year, non-exclusive contract between Apple and Verizon for the CDMA iPhone. The phone has been optimized to work on a CDMA EVDO network. It cannot do voice calls and data at the same time, apparently.

11:21AM: Apple didn’t go with LTE because it couldn’t make it happen at this point in time with the iPhone 4’s design. It’s not willing to commit to how long the iPhone 4 will be the lead iPhone on any network, or when LTE will happen.

11:19AM: Q&A with Tim Cook and Dan Dee. We’ll note at this point: it does seem sort of awkward today for Verizon to offer what’s basically last year’s iPhone 4 six months later for the same price, when a new model is coming mid-year.

11:17AM: New Wi-Fi hotspot feature will let you connect up to 5 devices through the iPhone. Awesome!

11:16AM: Meanwhile, no reference to LTE support for the Verizon iPhone 4. They’re still “building out the 3G network” as they’re rolling out 4G. Feb 3 preorder for existing customers. $200 for 16GB, $300 for 32GB. Two-year contract. February 10, anyone can order online, in Verizon stores, and in Apple Stores.

11:13AM: Dan Dee from Verizon out to discuss the launch. Says that the shipping and inventory systems at Verizon have been scaled up to handle the demand that’s anticipated, a clear jab at AT&T, which repeatedly failed to handle iPhone launches with issues all up the chain. Network is ready for the iPhone, has been tested and can handle it.

11:11AM: It has CDMA support, FaceTime, Retina Display - all the features that you’d expect. Note from iLounge: We’ve heard from sources that the new antenna design can lead to what’s being referred to as the “death hug” instead of the “death grip”—hold it in landscape mode to attenuate the signal. We’ll have to check this out.

11:09AM: Tim Cook from Apple takes the stage. Black iPhone 4 shown in image, slight differences in side metal.

11:08AM: iPhone 4 available early in February.

11:07AM: In 2008 discussions started about CDMA version of iPhone, and they spent a year testing it.

11:06AM: Discussing the “armada” of Verizon’s LTE devices, says they’re partnering now with giant Apple.

11:04AM: Suggests that the speed of Verizon’s LTE network is more akin to “6G” than “4G” in performance.

11:02AM: Boasts that “network quality is the hallmark of the Verizon brand,” and says two innovators are coming together. Talking up Verizon’s varied broadband assets. Looks like a series of verbal delays here so that the iPhone can officially be announced at 11:11AM on 1/11/11 rather than, say, 11:04.

11:00AM: Lowell Macadam, Verizon Wireless CEO, takes the stage. Initially hints at confirming long-awaited announcement of iPhone coming to Verizon.

Several pre-event notes: rumors swirling prior to the event suggested that Verizon may receive an exclusive on the as-yet-unreleased white iPhone 4, that the company may receive a CDMA/GSM/LTE “4G world phone” that’s more powerful than the versions Apple and AT&T have previously been selling, and that the price of the new version may be adjusted.

AT&T exec blasts Verizon ahead of iPhone launch

Speaking in a recent interview, AT&T’s head PR executive has taken a shot at the Verizon iPhone prior to its announcement. “The iPhone is built for speed, but that’s not what you get with a CDMA phone,” AT&T’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications Larry Solomon told Business Insider. “I’m not sure iPhone users are ready for life in the slow lane.” Solomon went on to say that AT&T’s GSM technology is faster than Verizon’s CDMA technology; the same could not be said for Verizon’s new Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, which the company launched late last year. Verizon Wireless is expected to announce the Verizon iPhone at a press event later today.

Murdoch, Jobs to announce The Daily on Jan. 19?

News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch will appear onstage with Apple CEO Steve Jobs to announce the former’s new iPad-only newspaper, The Daily, on January 19, according to new reports. Yahoo! News reports that the event will be held in San Francisco, and that the date could change, although January 19 remains the expected launch date. Citing Ad Age’s Edmund Lee, Forbes reports that Murdoch briefed some reporters on The Daily at the 2011 International CES, although the information is under embargo. Forbes also claims that The Daily’s staffers have been engaged in full-scale dry runs for weeks, and notes that landing page now offers a coming soon message, as well as a new icon (pictured). Prior reports have indicated that The Daily will take advantage of a new subscription plan from Apple that will enable automatic delivery of new content to readers’ iPads.

2011 CES sees huge attendance, 2012 show moved to mid-week

The Consumer Electronics Association has announced impressive attendance numbers for the 2011 International CES, as well as dates for next year’s show. According to CEA, preliminary numbers indicate that over 140,000 industry professionals attended the 2011 CES, including a record-breaking 30,000 attendees from outside the United States. In addition, it has announced that the 2012 International CES will be held on January 10-13, 2012, moving the show from its traditional Thursday-Sunday slot to a mid-week Tuesday to Friday timeframe.

Apple drops restock fees, iPhone 3GS price

Following in the footsteps of its retail partners, Apple has officially dropped the price on the 8GB iPhone 3GS, while a new report suggests the company its dropping its standard restocking fee. The 8GB iPhone 3GS is now available for $49 directly from Apple with a two-year contract; the move was widely expected, as retailers such as AT&T, Radio Shack, and Best Buy were already offering a similar discount on the device. In addition, 9 to 5 Mac reports that Apple is dropping its standard 10% restocking fee beginning tomorrow. While the report indicates that the 14 day return policy will remain in place, the absence of the restocking fee will allow potential iPhone customers to purchase both the AT&T and Verizon versions of the device and test them during the return window to see which works best for them, then return the unwanted version without penalty.

CES launch round-up: Monster, Scosche, Speakal, and more

A number of companies have launched new products at the 2011 International CES. While we’ve covered the cream of the crop in our 2011 Best of Show and subsequent articles, here’s a brief overview of some other major product introductions from the show.

Monster: Monster introduced a number of new automotive accessories for the iPod, iPhone, and iPad at the show, including the iMotion CarPlay Direct Connect. The iMotion CarPlay Direct Connect functions as a traditional car charger and audio-out accessory but adds the ability to control basic music playback functions with gesture controls. It features a charger bulb-mounted sensor to track movement, and also features a black and silver body, red, black, and chrome cords similar to those found on the company’s Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, and a built-in hinge for adjusting the direction of the sensor. Monster’s iMotion CarPlay Direct Connect will sell for $120; other new items include the iCable USB to Dock Connector Cable ($25), the iCarPlay Direct Connect AI 900 ($60), the iCarPlay Direct Connect AI 2000 ($70), the PowerPlug Dual USB 700 Car Charger ($40), the PowerPlug USB 600 Car Charger ($30), the iCar Dual USB 700 Car Charger ($45), the iCar USB 600 Car Charger ($40), and the AirTalk Bluetooth Handsfree Car Kit ($80). 

Bluetrek at CES: Aurele cases, Bluetooth accessories

Bluetrek is showing a number of new items at its booth inside the iLounge Pavilion at the 2011 International CES. Among them is the new LostDog series of cases inspired by the work of French artist Aurele. The snap-style cases for the iPhone 4 feature glossy rear surfaces covered in artwork, open access to all ports and controls—including the micro SIM slot—and frosted side coverings; a screen protector is also included. Notably, each article in the lineup is made from natural, recycled, or recyclable materials, and most of the cases carry a unique ID that can be used to identify a device should it be lost. Bluetrek’s LostDog cases for the iPhone 4 are available now and sell for $27; the folio-style iPad cases sell for $60 and $90.

Also being shown at the booth but yet to receive a price or release date are the company’s new Speaky Bluetooth handsfree car kit and the Carbon Bluetooth headset. The Speaky is a cartoon character-like car kit that is designed to hang from a car’s rearview mirror, with volume controls on its arms and a central control button on its torso, audible voice alerts, a 3.5mm input for non-Bluetooth use, and a unique auto-off sensor system that shuts the Speaky down after five minutes of no motion. The Carbon is a very small Bluetooth headset, featuring a slim carbon fiber microphone stem, a 4.5 hour battery built into the stem, and an iPhone-like power button.

Incipio shows Game Boy iPhone case, advanced designs

Incipio is showing a Game Boy-inspired iPhone 4 case at its booth in the iLounge Pavilion at the 2011 International CES, as well as a number of other cases demonstrating innovative design techniques. The Game Boy case features button color, texture, and placement that’s nearly identical to Nintendo’s original Game Boy, with raised button surfaces, recesses around the buttons and to represent the original device’s speaker holes, and an opening to represent the screen that also allows for visibility of the iPhone 4’s Apple logo. Due to obvious legal concerns, the company has no current plans to mass produce or sell the case, but is instead showing it as a demonstration of its production capabilities.

Other highlights from the booth include an impressively thin battery case for the iPhone 4, sporting a 1450mAh rechargeable cell, a front mounted power button and LED charging status lights, a bottom mounted micro USB charging port and microphone pass through, and overall body dimensions that shave millimeters off of competing designs, particularly in height and depth, adding little bulk to the handset. A new range of cases is also on display, including a variety of both single- and two-piece multi-material designs and the company’s new Alpine Stars-branded cases, all showing a commendable level of fine detail. Details include beveled edges between the hard and soft pieces of some designs, small ridges milled into a black plastic camera surround that are meant to improve flash photography, and interior details like graphics and padding strips.

Outside of the company’s traditional cases, Incipio is also showing a new line of fashionably-colored headphones and a new range of bags, featuring details like ballistic nylon exteriors, TSA-compliant laptop carriers, and soft, padded compartments for the iPod and iPhone with headphone cable pass-throughs, and removable inserts for repurposing general-purpose bags into compartmentalized camera cases.

Mattel shows Angry Birds playset at CES

Toy maker Mattel is showing a new Angry Birds-branded playset at the 2011 International CES. Named “Angry Birds: Knock On Wood,” the multi-piece plastic set includes recreations of the red, yellow, and black bomb birds from the game, a variety of wooden set pieces and pigs, and a slingshot launcher. Also included are point cards for keeping track of the score. Angry Birds: Knock On Wood will launch in May and will retail for $15; a second playset is planned for release, as is a card-based Angry Birds game. Keep reading for more pictures.

Mobee shows new chargers for Magic Trackpad, more

At its booth in the iLounge Pavilion at the 2011 International CES, Mobee has given iLounge an exclusive preview of its upcoming charging solutions for Apple’s Magic Trackpad, Wireless Keyboard, and portable devices. The Magic Trackpad and Wireless Keyboard solution consists of rechargeable battery tubes that slip into the devices’ battery compartments, with a small external nub that slides into a receptacle on the charger. The charger itself is a stylish metal piece with a curved tray designed to hold the curved rear surfaces of the trackpad and keyboard. For either device, users can expect to recharge the battery pack every 3-4 weeks; the battery pack recharges in roughly eight-hours. A second charger will be offered that is similar to the first but features a large rear surface for charging a Magic Mouse and second device, as well as an integrated four-port USB hub.

Mobee’s portable solution consists of a 5,000mAh battery inside an iPhone 4-inspired case. The portable battery pack charges via induction on either the company’s Magic Charger base or on the upcoming keyboard charger, with a USB port for charging an iPod, iPhone, iPad, or other portable device. Interestingly, the battery pack itself also doubles as an inductive charger for the company’s Magic Mouse battery pack or other future inductive charging solutions for the company, switching between the two modes with the flip of a switch. Pricing and availability for Mobee’s new products have yet to be announced.

OrigAudio rolls out iLevel mounts for iPod, iPhone, iPad

OrigAudio has rolled out its new iLevel Raptor and iLevel Viewer mounts for the iPod/iPhone and iPad. The mounts consist of a large, clip-style clamp, a flexible, adjustable, eight-inch plastic and metal arm, and an iPad or iPod/iPhone device mount. The Raptor mount for iPod and iPhone notably uses a case-compatible mount from Arkon, while the Viewer mount for iPad uses a ProClip mount designed to hold unencased iPads only. OrigAudio’s iLevel Raptor and iLevel Viewer mounts for the iPod, iPhone, and iPad are expected to sell for $30 and up; release details have yet to be announced. For more information on the iLevel Raptor and iLevel Viewer, see our First Look article.

Lingo debuts iRis Battery Pack + FM/DAB Receiver for iPhone 4

Lingo has debuted its new iRis Battery Pack + FM/DAB Receiver for the iPhone 4. The iRis features a glossy plastic frame with a folding design to allow for insertion and removal of the iPhone, open access to all ports, controls, and cameras, save for the Dock Connector, a bottom-mounted headphone port and speaker, and a micro-USB charging port. It works in conjunction with the company’s free DAB GO! app to provide tuning of FM and DAB broadcasts as well as battery management features, including the ability to monitor both the iRis and iPhone 4’s battery level and optimize the duration of charging. Lingo’s new iRis Battery Pack + FM/DAB Receiver for the iPhone 4 will sell for $80; availability has yet to be announced. For more information on the iRis Battery Pack + FM/DAB Receiver for iPhone 4, see our First Look article.

Verizon to hold 1/11/11 iPhone 4 media event

Confirmed by The Wall Street Journal as Verizon’s official launch gathering for the iPhone 4, an otherwise ambiguous media event was announced today via an ugly, heavily compressed digital invitation sent out by the wireless carrier rather than Apple. The event will take place on January 11, 2011 at 11:00am in New York City, and will most likely feature an on-stage appearance by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, as well as the debut of a modestly redesigned version of the current-generation iPhone 4. Parts leaks have shown a new antenna system that seemingly will be less susceptible to the “death grip” signal issues experienced by AT&T iPhone 4 users, confirming earlier reports that Apple quickly sought to redesign the device’s central frame despite downplaying reports of signal strength problems before and during a July, 2010 “Antennagate” media event.

Rumors of an iPhone with support for one of Verizon’s networks have been gathering steam for literally years, following a reported rebuffing of Apple by the United States’ largest cellular provider prior to the original iPhone’s release. It is unclear whether Apple, which famously guarded the original iPhone and its sequels against carrier badging or pre-installed applications of any sort, will make concessions to the notoriously bloatware- and badge-demanding Verizon akin to the ones that have seen numerous other devices receive the carrier’s red markings and software; similarly unknown is whether Apple will be offering the iPhone as a purely CDMA device, with 4G LTE support like recent Android phones, or as a multi-mode phone with GSM roaming support.

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