AT&T Now Accepting Online Orders For iPhone 3G

11 12 2008

In an unexpected move Thursday, AT&T began accepting online orders for Apple’s iPhone 3G, allowing customers to have the device shipped to their doorstep for activation within the comfort of their own homes.

The exclusive US iPhone carrier is accepting orders from both new AT&T customers as well as existing AT&T and iPhone customers who may want to add an additional line of service to their monthly plans.

As part of the online buying experience, the carrier is offering customers the option of speaking live to an AT&T representative through an online chat. After selecting a specific iPhone model, shoppers can choose their rate plan and add features such as roadside assistance, VoiceDial, and Smart Limits for parental controls.





iPhone 3G #2

7 10 2008

In a little over a year, Apple’s iPhone has grown to become the second best-selling mobile handset in the United States, according to NPD.

A report issued by the market research firm Monday claims the touch-screen handset now trails only Motorola’s RAZR V3 on the US sales charts. It also cited a surge in sales immediately following the introduction of the iPhone 3G that has helped the device garner a 17 percent share of the overall US smartphone market.

More specifically, NPD said the iPhone 3G was the No. 1 US smartphone based on units sales from June through August, outselling the Blackberry Curve, Blackberry Pearl, and Palm Centro.

Of those customers who purchased an iPhone during those months, 30 percent switched from other mobile carriers to join AT&T, according to the firm. That compares to 23 percent of consumers who switched carriers during the same time period for other reasons.





App Store Tweaking

30 09 2008

Apple over the weekend instated a series of changes to the way its App Store operates in an effort to knock out loopholes that were being exploited by some developers seeking an unfair advantage.

Reviews

In particular, the store now requires that users purchase or download an application before they able to post a review of that particular application.

Users attempting to post a review of application that they haven’t downloaded are now met with a dialog box stating: “In order to write a Custom Review for this item you must have purchased or downloaded it.”

Apple hopes this move will mitigate the number of bogus, or agenda-driven reviews that have been used to raise or lower an applications overall rating, sometimes at the hands of developers themselves.

App Updates

Similarly, and more critically, the company also made changes to the way applications appear on the App Store after receiving a minor update.

App Store Changes

In the past, all applications were categorized based on their ‘release date.’ However, Apple had been determining release dates based on the last date the application received an update, rather than the first time it appeared on the store as a 1.0 application.

As a result, applications receiving updates would be pushed back to the first page of their respective category listing, often appearing on the App Store home page within iTunes as well, and the first page of category listings viewed on an iPhone or iPod touch.

The result was an immediate jump in sales, as noted by Krishna Vegesna, whose company TouchMeme offers three applications on the App Store. He posted the graph (below) illustrating this behavior, where each spike in sales coincided with the release of one of his app updates.

App Store Changes

“With the latest update to the AppStore, the above behavior is no longer holds true (and I am glad it doesn’t),” he said. “This is because the applications are now categorized according to the ‘Actual Released Date’ rather that the last updated date.”

Given Apple’s changes, new version 1.0 applications will have a longer shelf life on the first page of category listings, as they won’t be bumped down in the listings as quickly due to an influx of minor app updates.

The moves should also allow developers to shift their focus to “real innovation in functionality rather than focusing on who pushes the update first,” Vegesna said. At the same time, however, he raises the concern that tactical developers may now focus on rolling out new apps to generate high profits rather than improving their existing ones.





New MobileSafari

28 09 2008

We’re going down our “things that absolutely must change on the iPhone” list, and “redo the Safari toolbar” isn’t anywhere on there… Not even at the very bottom. Cupertino works in mysterious ways, though, and they’ve decided in firmware 2.2 that it’s time to muck with the positioning of the text boxes so that the address bar and search bar both appear at all times without needing to first tap in the area. They’ve also moved the refresh button inside the address bar itself, which should truly revolutionize our browsing experience yet again. Apple, screw copy / paste — we’re officially stoked.





iPhone Battery Lawsuit Dismissed

27 09 2008

Apple won’t have to deal with a lawsuit filed over the iPhone battery.

Bloomberg reports that a judge in Chicago has dismissed Jose Trujillo’s lawsuit against Apple claiming the company deceived him regarding the user replaceable status of the iPhone battery. The judge simply read the packaging on the iPhone, which described the battery has having “limited recharge cycles and may eventually need to be replaced by Apple service provider,” and ruled that was sufficient warning prior to purchase that the battery had to be replaced by Apple or a third party.

Trujillo’s lawsuit never seemed to have much of a chance–the original complaint completely misrepresented key facts, such as the expected life of the battery–but he was probably hoping to cash in by linking his case to a successful one over the iPod’s battery. However, the case isn’t completely dead yet. AT&T still has to work out some sort of deal after the judge ruled that Trujillo was not aware prior to purchase that any dispute between himself and AT&T would have to be worked out through arbitration, not the court system.





iPhone Releases in More Countries (Follow-up)

25 09 2008

Several international wireless providers have sent communications to their subscribers or issued press releases announcing plans to begin selling Apple’s iPhone 3G on Friday, with some planning midnight launches.

The new rollouts are believed to be the start of Apple’s phase 3 international iPhone launch that will span to approximately 30 countries, 29 of which were reported on earlier this week and are now officially listed on the company’s iPhone website as “Coming Soon.”

In particular, Vodacom of South Africa began text messing its subscribers on Thursday, inviting them to begin gathering at VodaWorld headquarters at 9:00 p.m. local time for a midnight launch. The transmission was followed by an email from Apple’s European news service, linking to this Apple.com page.

Turkcell, the leading communication and technology company in Turkey, sent out a formal press release announcing that it too would begin selling the iPhone on Friday. The carrier listed three calling plans, ranging from 75 YTL for 150 minutes and 150 text messages to 145 YTL for 1000 minutes and 1000 text messages.

Oddly, VOXmobile of Luxembourg (a country not listed on Apple’s web site) has also been emailing subscribers, inviting them to its VOX shop in Luxembourg City beginning at 4 p.m. on Friday. The carrier claims to have only 140 phones to sell at its launch party, however, and demand is said to be “very high.”

iPhone Countries

It remains unclear whether carriers in all 30 or so countries will simultaneously launch the iPhone in the respective countries on Friday, or if the roll-out will take place over the course of several weeks. Apple has not commented on the matter outside the aforementioned updates to its website.





Apple’s “Begin at Home” Process

23 09 2008

Apple this week announced its new “Begin at Home” iPhone buying procedure which is designed to help accelerate sales of the device during the upcoming holiday shopping season.

The process, which was detailed by AppleInsider over the weekend, lets shoppers enter their billing information and pre-qualify for iPhone’s subsidized pricing from their home computer, and then make an appointment to pick up their new handset at a local Apple retail store.

The four-step process first requests that customers enter their credit card, billing address, age, and social security number so that an automated credit check can be performed. If successful, customers can then select a preferred calling plan and review their iPhone order.

“Once you’re done, choose your closest Apple Retail Store and let us know when you’d like to come in to complete your purchase,” Apple says. “An Apple Specialist will be ready to help you personalize your new iPhone 3G, make calls, browse the web, receive email, and more.”

Apple will still require that all iPhones undergo a final activation before leaving an Apple retail store.








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