Bad news for those of you intently waiting for the iPhone 4 unlock tool to be released. The iPhone Dev Team has clarified that an unlock tool for iPhone 4 shall not release until the official roll out of iOS 4.2.5 or iOS 4.3 – whichever is the latest. In a tweet to followers, jailbreaker MuscleNerd wrote,
“Official iPhone unlock statement: no unlock will be released until after 4.2.5 or official 4.3 (whichever is last) is out”
This should come as a huge disappointment considering that we had heard from another jailbreaker a few weeks that promised an unlock solution by this week. You may remember that Dev Team member Sherif Hashim had revealed back in December that the application should be out latest by January 16.
While this is definitely bad news, this was not entirely unexpected. Apple is expected to roll out iOS 4.3 within a couple of weeks from now – the beta version is already out with developers. Given that this new version could possibly patch the current exploits, it does not make much sense for the Dev Team to roll out an unlock tool only to get blocked a couple of weeks later.
What do you think?
Until now, all iPhones in the United States were on just one carrier which meant there was nothing much to choose from as far as data plans were concerned. That has changed now with the imminent launch of a Verizon iPhone. Now, American iPhone customers have two carriers and an equal number of alternatives to pick from. So here is a comparison of offers from AT&T and Verizon.
Web access is one of the primary tasks of smartphones and Verizon has priced their data plans quite aggressively. Users can avail 150MB of data at a monthly price of $15. Additional data can be purchased in packets of 150MB – each costing $15. Alternately, users can also choose to go with unlimited data plans at $30 a month.
In comparison, while AT&T’s basic plan – 200MB at $15 (with additional 200MB for $15) – looks attractive, the carrier however does not have an unlimited data option. Instead, users have to pay $25 for a 2GB data plan and also pay $10 for every additional GB of data consumed.
Tethering is cheaper on Verizon. Users get 5GB worth data tethering at a price of $30. AT&T users on the other hand get 2GB of data tethering at $45. Do note that the $45 is just for enabling the tethering option and does not come with any extra data.
What plan are you going for?
Looks like the CDMA iPhone, that was built by Apple in partnership with Verizon, is not limited to the American market alone. A new report on the Taiwanese publication – Digitimes – claims that Apple could soon be launching the CDMA variant of the iPhone 4 to Asian countries like China, Japan and South Korea.
Apple is reported to have partnered with Foxconn and Pegatron technologies for the manufacture of these CDMA handsets. While the Foxconn shipments are expected to be sold solely in the United States, those from Pegatron are expected to be shipped to China and other countries.
While the Digitimes article does not explicitly mention India as one of the countries where the CDMA variant could be headed to, there are chances given that a WSJ report late last year had indicated that Apple was in talks with Indian CDMA carriers – Reliance and Tata – to launch the CDMA iPhones in the market.
But given the lukewarm response to earlier iPhone models in the country, it is likely that Apple may defer their India CDMA launch to sometime later.
Case Mate is among the most popular third party accessory manufacturer for the iPhone. Following the announcements yesterday from Verizon, Case Mate has announced a new line of iPhone cases that will be sold to Verizon iPhone 4 customers when the device goes on sale next month. The accessory manufacturer has come with a number of unique and bizarre designs – named Monsta, Waddler, Egg, Gelli and Vroom.
On the product page, Case Mate points out that AT&T iPhone customers may not find these covers suitable for their phones since they have been “specially created for this device“. The cases are not out on pre-order yet. However, if you are one of those looking to purchase a Case Mate accessory, be sure to sign up on the product page to get notified when the case becomes available for order.
With Verizon having announced the availability of the mobile hotspot feature on their upcoming iPhone, there has been considerable speculation over whether this functionality shall also be available on GSM carriers like AT&T. According to a Netherlands based iPhone blog, a reliable insider has revealed that Apple is working towards releasing a new iOS update before February 10 – the proposed launch day for the CDMA variant. This iOS 4.3 update will also bring the mobile hotspot feature to GSM iPhones.
But here is the catch – the feature would have to be activated by the individual carriers. This is similar to the USB tethering feature that was initially made available with iOS but was however kept disabled by AT&T for a long time. This time though, chances for a similar eventuality are less considering the significant mileage that Verizon may derive out of such a move from AT&T.
We will wait for an official statement from AT&T and Apple in this regard.
As expected, Verizon announced the new CDMA variant of the iPhone at their media event yesterday. The device is expected to go on pre-0rders in the United States starting February 3 and will launch on Apple and Verizon stores on February 10th.
So what is changing with the new launch? Here is a roundup
New iOS Update :
Apple is expected to roll out iOS 4.2.5 shortly. The Verizon iPhone will run on this new iOS platform that will also bring some new features.
Mobile Hotspot :
The Verizon iPhone will let users set their device as a wireless internet router that can be connected from up to five devices. This feature will require a software update that the new iOS 4.2.5 is supposed to provide. It is not clear if the feature will also simultaneously make its way to the GSM variant of the iPhone.
Modified Antenna :
The iPhone 4 antenna design that had invited severe criticism now stands slightly modified with the new launch. The antenna break points are now no longer on the top and are instead on the sides – something that will reduce the death grip issue. However, Apple claims this new design change is to accommodate the CDMA communication frequency that is different from GSM’s.
Simultaneous Voice & Data :
The EVDO Rev-A CDMA network that Verizon operates on does not support simultaneous usage of voice and data. This means Verizon iPhone users cannot talk and surf the web in the same way as AT&T users do. Verizon however maintains that this will be a pretty small compromise in comparison to the other things on offer with Verizon
No SIM Card Slot :
There is no SIM card slot – as it is with a CDMA phone. What this also means is that international travelers will find it difficult to use their iPhones when they travel abroad since CDMA network penetration is not high in many parts of the world.
The Verizon iPhone is not exclusive which means Apple could soon be offering CDMA variants of its iPhone across other carriers around the world. The Verizon iPhone shall be priced at $199 and $299 for the 16GB and 32GB variants respectively.
All eyes are now set on the Verizon media event that is scheduled for later today when the carrier is expected to make the highly anticipated announcement regarding the launch of a CDMA iPhone on their network. There are already speculations that Verizon could be announcing unlimited data plans for iPhone users in a bid to compete against AT&T.
However, according to JP Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz, Verizon could also be facing some challenges. He says that the carrier could be pricing their iPhone at a price that is $20 to $30 higher than the price of an iPhone on AT&T. This, he says, is because the redesigned iPhone will require components like CDMA radio that are pricier than the UMTS components.
But considering the cut-throat competition in the segment, we do not expect Verizon to transfer the higher costs to consumers. Instead, Verizon is likely to reduce their own margins in the short term to consolidate their iPhone subscriber base.
If you are in the United States, this is something you would want to look at – Refurbished iPhone 4 units; devices that have been returned or exchanged that have been quality-tested once again, are now available for cheap. You can now get hold of an iPhone 4 16 GB model at $99 while the $32 GB will be available for $199.
If these prices do not seem low enough, you can also look at one of these devices with “cosmetic blemish” – usually minor hardware issues that may not be easily noticeable. The 16GB and 32GB variants are available at a price of $79 and $179 respectively.
Do note that this price is inclusive of a regular AT&T contract that you will be bound for a period of two years. If the price sounds convincing enough, you can hit the AT&T site and make your online purchase right away.
iPhone 4 users looking for a way to unlock their device may not have to wait for long. According to a tweet posted by Sherif Hashim, one of the prominent hackers from the iPhone Dev Team, the unlock tool should be released in less than a month’s time – at least before January 16.
It is not clear if this new unlocking solution will be based on a new exploit or if Hashim will make use of a baseband exploit that was discovered sometime back. As you may recall, this exploit can be used to cover all basebands – including versions 02.10.04 (that is incorporated on iOS 4.1) and 03.10.01 that is bundled with iOS 4.2.1.
Last month, we had reported about the release of UltraSn0w unlock tool. That, however, only worked with the older iPhone models like the 3G and 3GS. So if you are an iPhone 4 user who is yet to break away from your contracted carrier, the time to do it should come soon.
Still undecided about what smartphone to go for this shopping season? How about an iPhone 4? Sam’s Club, it is learned, is offering brand new iPhone 4 units to customers at a price of $147. If you are looking for something cheaper than that, you could also check out the iPhone 3GS at $47. Of course, these prices come with usual caveats about signing a two year contract with AT&T.
Sam’s Club – a members-only retail chain in the United States operated by Wal-Mart – announced their foray into the iPhone segment few weeks back. The iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS units have until now been sold at the retail price of $199 and $99 respectively. The $52 cut in price is sure to get a lot of customers who are yet to finalize their Christmas purchases interested.
What about you? Are you buying one as well?