We broke the news just a month ago that AT&T looked like it was prepping to limit the use of FaceTime over cellular, and we find today that limitation was indeed the intention. As with most Friday after-work announcements, this is bad news – for AT&T customers.
We just got the word directly from AT&T that Facetime over 3G and 4G would only be available on AT&T for those who choose to go with its new “Mobile Share” plans. If you have an individual plan or family plan, you will not be able to purchase or use FaceTime over 3G/4G at any price. Pre-paid? Nope.
The official statement:
AT&T will offer FaceTime over Cellular as an added benefit of our new Mobile Share data plans, which were created to meet customers’ growing data needs at a great value. With Mobile Share, the more data you use, the more you save. FaceTime will continue to be available over Wi-Fi for all our customers.
AT&T noted that you could still use FaceTime over Wi-Fi with an AT&T iPhone. *Slow Clap*.
As for the competition, Sprint already announced that it will not hinder FaceTime over cellular, and Verizon is being forced not to mess with it because of a Net Neutrality promise.
I’m not sure how smart a move this is for a company that has a quarter of the LTE infrastructure as Verizon. AT&T might have been able to pull this when they had faster 3G, exclusive simultaneous Talk+Data and broader international roaming. But with Verizon’s much broader LTE coverage and Sprint’s much more generous plans, there is hardly a reason to stick with AT&T.
Also, we get into the legality of blocking a service. The FCC forced AT&T to allow Skype over 4G, so how is this OK?
Less than a week after seeding the initial build of OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.1 (build 12B13), Apple has followed up with a new build to developers. The beta, coming in at build number 12B17, has no known issues. Apple asks developers to focus on Active Directory, iCal, Microsoft Exchange in Mail, PAC proxies in Safari, SMB, USB, and WiFi and audio when connected to an Apple Thunderbolt Display.
10.X.1 OS X updates are usually maintenance updates released soon after the initial 10.X.0 release. The short amount of time between developer beta releases, and the small amount of builds between the earlier release and today’s release should point to that. However, the release notes are yet to be included in 10.8.1 seeds. (as shown above).
It must be a cold day in Hell. Apple is consorting with Google, Samsung, LG Electronics, and various ventures and firms to bid as a group on Kodak’s intellectual property.
Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection in January, according to The Wall Street Journal, and it is looking to auction its patents to raise money for surviving a Chapter 11 court protection. Kodak could barter all 1,100 digital photography-based patents or end the auction without a deal, as the company announced it would name the winning bidders on Monday but eventually pushed the deadline upon talking with creditors.
Negotiations and the bidding group’s composition are fluid, the people said. If the consortium reaches a deal to buy some or all of Kodak’s patents, they would essentially be kept out of any one company’s hands and could prevent consortium members from using them in litigation against each other. A deal, however, could also attract attention from federal antitrust regulators.
A deal for the entire portfolio—one of many options under discussion— could fetch more than $500 million based on recent negotiations, people familiar with the process said. That is well above opening bids when the auction started last week, but far below the $2.2 billion to $2.6 billion Kodak at one point said the patents could be worth.
In a statement Thursday, Kodak said discussions with buyers are active and that it isn’t ready to announce a result. The company added that it might decline to sell some or all of the patents, depending on how the auction progresses.
Photography and cameras are obviously a main feature of mobile devices. Competitors in the tech arena have joined forces in the past to snatch up attractive patents, but The Wall Street Journal noted it is “unusual for them all to join the same camp.”
Patent law whiz Michael Carrier, of Rutgers University in Camden, said the companies would not suffer antitrust issues if the tech giants commit to licensing on reasonable rates. Otherwise, an action such as dividing the patents without sharing the rights to use them could likely meet legal trouble down the road.
Following reports from The Wall Street Journal this week claiming Apple is in negotiations with cable TV operators for a new Apple TV set-top-box, today a report from Jefferies analyst Peter Misek claimed Apple’s much rumoured HDTV is “in full production”. The report is covered by Forbes and Barron’s.
While referring to the platform as iTV, Jefferies added Apple is planning to partner with Verizon and AT&T in addition to selling set-top-boxes for cable providers such as Comcast. According to the report, Apple will offer a “premium Apple television” offering content from Verizon and AT&T, as well as giving users an option for just a cable box for Comcast and possibly other cable operators.
Content for users outside of the US was not discussed in the report. Jefferies is now including 2 million iTVs in its model for early 2013 with an average sale price of $1,250.
Misek notes that recent data out of Sharp, Hon Hai and other specialty chemical and TV component suppliers support this.
Another random musing: $1499 Apple iTV with 2-year AT&T UVerse or Verizon FiOS contract (Apple gets something like $2000 per TV).
Misek also notes that JDSU recently said it has a new non-gaming customer for its gesture control modules, which are also used inMicrosoft‘s Kinect system for Xbox 360. JDSU indicated this is a new “living room” based customer. “We believe Apple will leverage AT&T‘s and Verizon’s content deals for the iTV,” he writes.
Earlier this week, WSJ reported that Apple is in talks with cable TV operators regarding using an Apple TV as a set-top-box for their customers. The report noted that the talks would likely center around a next-gen Apple TV, but could also extend to a full-fledged television that Apple has at the very least prototyped in the past. Apple has apparently not yet been able to reach a deal with any cable operators, and Bloomberg backed up WSJ’s article with many of the same details.
In March the New York Post reported Apple’s attempts to convince cable operators to use Apple TV as a set-top-box had largely failed. That same month Jefferies & Co. analyst Peter Misek said production of up to 5 million units could begin as early as May with a product launch expected in Q4 2012.
Apple passed its all-time high of 644 and its market cap is once again over $600 billion. Apple last hit both milestones on April 10. The news follows yesterday’s first dividend disbursement in 17 years that paid $2.65 per share of the company’s common stock. The stock price closed over 648.
Mercury News’ Mike Rosenberg caught up with the clown who had Steve Jobs’ 64GB stolen iPad.
Literally–he’s a professional clown. Kenneth Kahn, 47, received the iPad, which Mercury News noted as being “silver,” from 35-year-old Kariem McFarlin. He met McFarlin roughly a decade ago when he coached him on a basketball team in Alameda, Calif. Kahn thought he was getting an “old device McFarlin wanted to get rid of” and believed his friend bought a newer-version.
Kahn, who is known as “Kenny the Clown” by day, only used the illustrious tablet to play a “Pink Panther” theme song and Michael Jackson during a clown act.
He had no idea the device came from the fabled Jobs residence until after the friend who gave him the gadget was charged with breaking into the CEO’s Palo Alto home. By then, the cops had already shown up at his door and taken it away.
“It would be like getting a football from Joe Montana that was stolen out of his house,” said the 47-year-old professional clown, whose real name is Kenneth Kahn. “It’s bizarre; it’s really bizarre.”
McFarlin, an Alameda resident with only a misdemeanor charge on his record for driving without a license in 1999, stole the iPad from Jobs’ Waverley Street home on July 17. He allegedly gave another iPad to his daughter, according to police, but both devices were returned to Jobs’ family upon McFarlin’s arrest on Aug. 2. McFarlin immediately admitted the crime and waited in jail Thursday in lieu of $500,000 bail.
“Before the public sees him as this horrible monster, I’d like to hopefully think we can somehow get across that he just made the worst mistake of his life,” Kahn said to Mercury News. ”It still hasn’t really 100 percent set in for me. It was Steve Jobs’ iPad — literally. If this thing weren’t so tragic, it would be comical.”
Going away from the constant rumors that Apple is building its own TV set, yesterday evening the Wall Street Journal reported that Apple is in talks with cable television operators to use an Apple TV device as a set-top-box. Adding to yesterday’s report, the publication has shared another note today with more details of Apple’s vision for the new device. This evening’s report mentions is that Apple is looking to introduce a feature that will allow users to view a TV show at any time, even minutes after it has begun. iCloud DVR has a nice ring to it.
The Cupertino, Calif.-based company proposes giving viewers the ability to start any show at any time through a digital-video recorder that would store TV shows on the Internet. Viewers even could start a show minutes after it has begun. Time Warner Cable Inc. offers a limited version of this feature called Start Over.
Furthermore, Apple is said to be working on a redesigned interface for the set-top box that is more in-line with the icon interface of the iPad. In recent months, users have begun to express their concern over the Apple TV’s UI, saying that the menus are confusing and calling the interface clunky. Social media features may also be added, allowing users to easily share thoughts on TV shows and movies.
An iPad-like UI could make things easier for customers, as most have become accustomed to iOS’ easy to navigate UI. Customers have an understanding of how apps work, making it easy for them to launch a CBS “channel” for example. Apple would also presumably tie some pretty awesome remote features into its existing iOS lineup. The rumored iPad mini sounds perfect.
Apple is still far-off from making a deal, the report noted. The Cupertino-based company still has many hurdles left, including getting the actual agreements in place. Apple is said to be talking to the operators, laying out what the new set-top box can do.
Many of you already know that the same story for over a year now has been that Apple is working on its own TV set. Prominent Apple analysts have pegged the device to land as early as 2013 and have called it as ground breaking as when the iPhone launched in 2007.
Sales for Apple’s current $99 Apple TV offering have been on the up-and-up. As of the company’s latest earnings call, Apple has sold 4 million Apple TV units this year alone. CEO Tim Cook noted that Apple will “continue to pull the string and see where [the Apple TV] takes them,” which is certainly an interesting comment. Cook also continued with the same song and dance, saying Apple TV will remain in the company’s interest.
It’s worth noting that in December the Wall Street Journal also reported that Apple was discussing a voice-powered TV that features enhanced AirPlay and an iCloud DVR service (which was again mentioned today).
A cheap set-top box that operators make available seems like the better option than a full-fledged television. What do you think?