AT&T and Apple Are Officially Unlocking Old iPhones

For years, iPhone owners have been stuck with their devices being network-locked to AT&T even when they’ve fulfilled their contract commitments rendering these devices useless on other GSM networks. That is, until now. Last week, AT&T began unlocking iPhones that are no longer under contract. For years, many users who have upgraded their phones have searched for ways to sell their old iPhone and it is common knowledge that selling an unlocked phone gives it more value on the secondary market.

The problem has been that unless you purchased your iPhone unlocked from Apple (not available until iPhone 4), then you were stuck with illegal software hacks to get the device unlocked. Unlocking an iPhone could easily be done by jailbreaking the software, but this option is not always safe and it certainly voids your warranty.

Official AT&T Unlock

The easiest way to do this is to simply chat with AT&T online! Here are the steps:

  1. Find your IMEI number using one of these four ways:
    1 – Go into Settings –> General –> About.
    2 – Dial *#06#.
    3 – Take your SIM card out and look at the bottom of the tray (iPhone 4 and 4S only).
    4 – Take a look at the bottom of your box…this is assuming you haven’t swapped out your phone at some point in the past.
  2. Head on over to the AT&T chat support page. You will need to log in to your AT&T wireless account.
  3. Begin the chat by asking to unlock your old iPhone.
  4. Verify any account information they ask you for and send your IMEI number.
  5. Wait for 5-7 business days and AT&T will send you an email with instructions on how to perform the unlock.

The email will contain something similar to the following:

iPhone Unlock














This email will come to you once AT&T has authorized your device to be unlocked. I’m not sure what exactly will keep you from getting your phone unlocked, but one of them for sure is if you’re still on contract and have NOT upgraded your device. It’s also not certain whether the steps above will work on older iPhones. An alternative method for unlocking your device is to call customer support at 611 from your current cell phone.

It looks like the restore process will check the Apple and/or AT&T database for an authorized IMEI number and perform the unlock if applicable. There’s nothing easier than that and the best part is that it’s free! I hope everyone finds this information before getting suckered into paying someone to do this for you!

My two cents

My friend upgraded his phone to the 4S and asked me to sell his old iPhone 4. Since this news came out, I decided to get the phone unlocked so I could attract more buyers from all over the world. I just performed the above steps earlier today, so I have yet to see how well this whole process works. However, when I was doing the online chat, I wasn’t presented with any roadblocks, so I hope that is good news.

I’ve heard some people have had to produce receipts for proof of purchase, but I don’t know how AT&T has been handling that. There wasn’t anywhere I saw to upload scans nor was there any information about sending copies in for review. I’m fairly certain that AT&T has as much information as they need simply by punching the IMEI number into their database.

If anyone has completed the unlock process already, please share your experience in the comments below!!

iPhone 4 vs iPhone 4S – October 14th, 2011

Apple announced the new iPhone today and just as I speculated, it is not a brand new phone, but an upgrade to the iPhone 4. Naturally as they did with the original 3G upgrade, Apple appended a little ‘S’ to signify the difference between devices. This ‘S’ is presumed to mean speed with the iPhone 4S being truly faster than the original iPhone 4. Among the change in processor, Apple has also increased the camera’s megapixels to 8 and upped video recording to 1080p. Lastly, the new iPhone 4S is now a dual-band world phone with two antennas. This made it possible for Apple to have one device that works on all networks.

From a sales point of view, a few things have also changed:

  • There is one device for all carriers. No more GSM and CDMA phones being different.
  • The original iPhone 4 now has a lower-priced 8GB model.
  • The new iPhone 4S now has a 64GB model.
  • The white model will be available at launch. 😉

Comparison Chart

iPhone 4 iPhone 4S
Dimensions 4.5 inches tall by 2.3 inches wide by 0.37 inch thick; 4.8 ounces 4.5 inches tall by 2.3 inches wide by 0.37 inch thick; 4.9 ounces
Display 3.5-inch, 960×640-pixel Retina display 3.5-inch, 960×640-pixel Retina display
Camera 5-megapixel camera with LED flash, 720p HD video recording at 30fps; front-facing VGA camera 8-megapixel camera with LED flash, 1080p HD video recording at 30fps, auto focus, face detection; front-facing VGA camera
Connectivity Bluetooth 2.1; Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n); GSM/UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA; CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A Bluetooth 4.0; Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n); dual-band world phone; GSM/UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA; HSPA+; CDMA/EV-DO Rev. A
Processor 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 Dual-core 1GHz A5 processor with dual-core graphics
Capacity 8GB, 16GB, 32GB 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
Location Assisted GPS, digital compass, Wi-Fi, cellular Assisted GPS, digital compass, Wi-Fi, cellular
Sensors Three-axis gyro, accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor Three-axis gyro, accelerometer, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor
Battery life 7 hours of talk time on 3G, 12.5 days of standby time; 40 hours audio playback; 10 hours video playback; 6 hours (3G)/10 hours (Wi-Fi) Internet use 8 hours of talk time over 3G, 14 hours over 2G, 40 hours audio playback, 10 hours video playback, 6 hours (3G)/9 hours (Wi-Fi)
Carrier AT&T, Verizon AT&T, Verizon, Sprint
Pricing $99 for 8GB, $199.99 for 16GB, $299.99 for 32GB $199 for 16GB, $299 for 32GB, $399 for 64GB
Colors Black, white Black, white

Full iPhone 4S specs can be found at

My two cents

Much like I went from the original iPhone to the 3GS (skipping the 3G), I plan to now go from iPhone 4 to the iPhone 6 which using my best guess will be out next summer. This naming convention will surely cause some confusion among the consumers, but remember that the iPhone 4S is in fact the 5th version of the iPhone making whatever comes next, the 6th. Waiting this out will serve two purposes: 1. Microsoft will have more time to sell me on how much greater Windows Phone 7 is to iOS 5 and AT&T will not have me locked into any contracts, thus allowing me to jump ship if I feel the need to in order to get the next phone on Sprint or Verizon.

All-in-all, if you’re a current iPhone 4 user, there isn’t much of a need to upgrade unless you’re seriously concerned about speed. If you’re a 3GS user or you’ve never owned iPhone, now’s your chance to finally get one at a great price. You can still get the iPhone 4 starting at $99 for the new 8GB model. But keep one thing in mind if you’re buying an iPhone 4S: you could potentially kill your ability to get a subsidized upgrade in the summer if iPhone 6 comes out and you’ll be stuck with a new 2-year contract.

As for me, I’m staying away from this phone and I might stay with Windows Phone 7 if I like the new 7.5 Mango upgrade. If not, I’ll probably just find a cheap iPhone 3GS or 4 on eBay and use it until the next device comes out. To all those who will be waiting in line on October 14th, good luck!

Obama Steps In And Blocks The AT&T/T-Mobile Merger

Just as predicted by many, the Obama administration has filed a block against the AT&T and T-Mobile merger due to anti-competitive concerns. Sprint and Verizon (although Sprint has been more vocal) are concerned with the possibility that the merger could squeeze them out and allow AT&T to charge higher prices without any repercussions. While this may not make a huge difference with Verizon, it would sure impact Sprint.

The purpose of the merger was to help AT&T increase its network capacity while meeting the higher demands for high-speed Internet services. All of the wireless providers have been faced with heavy demands in data in the last few years due in part to new smartphones that were essentially started by Apple—at least in the sense of productivity through the advent of the App store. After the iPhone came out, AT&T once claimed that network activity increased over 300% and later admitted that their network was not entirely ready to support such increases.

This new era in smartphones prompted every carrier to increase their cell capacity and push toward new 4G networks. Verizon and Sprint led the forefront on this while AT&T keeps saying their 4G network is just around the corner. All the while, smartphone usage had been increasing and AT&T has a bad wrap to shake.

Even though the block has been filed, the FCC has not commented on the case and no decisions have been made. With that said, the merger might still be a possibility, but there will not doubt be some heavy restrictions and monitoring to ensure safe and fair business practices are being conducted.

My two cents

Personally, I’ve been with AT&T for so many years (and name changes), I don’t even know where to begin explaining just how I feel about this. On one hand, it might be nice to increase network capacity and possibly even better our service quality. It would also be nice to have a real 4G network so Apple can start making 4G phones. However, if getting these things means that AT&T could slap more and more restrictions on our services while also raising prices, then I’m not for it.

If this merger happened, it might be harder to switch to another company such as Sprint because at some point, the could potentially go out of business or be absorbed by AT&T too! AT&T has a long history of being a monopoly and the government has stepped in to break them apart at least once before. In fact, Verizon (formally GTE) is actually part of the original AT&T breakup.

All I can say at this point is that as long as service gets better and prices don’t go up, then I’m all for a merger. If not, then forget it.

AT&T and T-Mobile Merger Comes With Conditions – More Regulation

Although the merger has practically been approved, AT&T might be facing more regulation and monitoring by the FCC in order to maintain a competitive cell phone market. As it stands now, if AT&T and T-Mobile merge, there will effectively be two cellular powerhouses (AT&T and Verizon) and one underdog (Sprint) left on the playing field. The FCC is concerned that this merger will reduce competition that could cause AT&T and Verizon to have no repercussions should they wish to increase their prices.

Although Sprint may be a worthy competitor now, what would happen when T-Mobile is absorbed by AT&T? It’s clear that AT&T’s only true competition is Verizon and by taking over all of T-Mobile’s customers, they are likely to get larger than Verizon. The two of them together could create an unstoppable duopoly forcing the majority of cell phone users to have less choice in their carrier as well as subjecting them to potentially higher prices.

The FCC aims to prevent this from happening. They have warned AT&T that close monitoring will be in effect after the merger and that regulations may follow. At this time, AT&T has already been actively selling off certain assets to reduce their market power in anticipation of a merger. One aspect of the merger might force AT&T to sell some of its cellular spectrum to Sprint to help maintain it’s competitive advantage.

Years ago when Verizon was merging with MCI, the FCC stepped in and forced them to lease fiber optic lines to business customers in major metropolitan areas such as New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. However, due to the size and nature of the AT&T/T-Mobile merger, more regulations are expected to be put in place and it may take much longer for AT&T to abide by the new rules.

My two cents

I never liked T-Mobile personally. I don’t know what it is, but it always seemed like the red-headed step-child in the Cellular world. Maybe it’s because you expect great phone service from companies that have been around for a hundred years or more and T-Mobile ended up looking like a higher-class Boost Mobile. I don’t even know what any of this has to do with anything, but the point it, I don’t mind that AT&T will soon take them over. My concern is with the power struggle that will come from it.

AT&T has been broken up many times before due to becoming too large of a company and maintaining various monopolies over customers. In fact, that’s how Verizon even exists today. I just don’t want to see something like this causing prices to rise while service quality and customer support falls.

AT&T Implements Throttling for Unlimited Data Plans

There was a time when you could get unlimited data plans on all the major carriers, but one at a time, they all dropped them like flies. Verizon was the latest to abolish their unlimited plan on July 7th, exactly one year and one month after AT&T dropped theirs.

This left T-Mobile and Sprint the last two with unlimited data plans. But, T-Mobile has a catch—while they do offer unlimited in the sense that there are no caps, when you reach the 2GB limit, they down-step your speed to that of something reminiscent of 2G speeds. AT&T has announced that they will be doing the same. That leaves Sprint as the only carrier left with truly unlimited data.

AT&T now throttling data plans

For the first time in cellphone history, the phone is dictating carrier moves. First, AT&T does away with unlimited data plans, then they allow existing users to keep their plans and now they plan to throttle those users.

In a statement last Friday, AT&T says that starting October 1st, they will begin reducing speed for the top 5% of their heaviest users, thus creating a better network experience for all. No data was given as to how much data these users actually eat up, so it’s hard to say whether you might fit into that group, but as part of the plan, they says many notices will be delivered to you informing you that your account will be affected.

The official reasoning behind this is that AT&T is running out of options. They have pushed their network to the max and are running out of wireless spectrum. In fact, the statement actually said, “Nothing short of completing the T-Mobile merger will provide additional spectrum capacity to address these near term challenges.”

Read the full statement from AT&T regarding data throttling.

iPhone destroys unlimited data

Ever since the iPhone debuted on AT&T back in 2007, the carrier has wrangled with the press, users and critics about the quality of service including lost calls, static on the line and slow data speeds. In most cases, things of this nature would usually get pinned on the phone itself. However, nobody could possibly blame the almighty iPhone! It had to be AT&T.

As it turned out, it was. No carrier at the time expected what was to follow as millions of cell phone owners jumped at the chance to own a device that could do everything for except cook them breakfast. What resulted was a large influx of customers that AT&T didn’t expect and therefore couldn’t handle. AT&T even admitted that they were surprised things were holding up as well. The backlashes just kept pouring in; mostly blaming AT&T for having a sub-par network compared to Verizon, but I never understood how the comparison could be made at a time where Verizon didn’t have an iPhone?

Verizon got to sit back for almost 4 years watching and waiting as things got heated up at AT&T, but more importantly, they got headstart into ramping up their own network for the debut of a CDMA iPhone.

At any rate, it can be said that iPhone may have single-handedly killed unlimited data plans for all carriers. This is probably the only reason why Sprint still has theirs although there is talk about Sprint possibly getting iPhone by the end of this year.

My two cents

I’ve been an AT&T Mobility customer since 2007, Cingular Wireless before that, AT&T Wireless Services before that and PacBell Wireless before that, which basically makes me to be an AT&T customer since sometime around the year 2000. I have seen many, many changes and have gone through many devices, service plans, customer service reps and service contracts in my 11 years. In fact, the only thing that hasn’t changed is my phone number!

Anyway, I’m really starting to think I’m done with AT&T. My cell phone bill is considered a low plan with the amount of minutes I have, yet with the $40 per month unlimited data plan (Enterprise version) and $20 per month unlimited text plan added, my bill exceeds $100 every month. This is also after a 21% corporate discount I’m getting! Verizon is not much better in terms of price. Sure I can get an iPhone and the network probably is much better, but without the unlimited data plan, I’m not interested. I could go with T-Mobile, but after the merger, I’ll be back in AT&T’s hands anyway.

So I guess I’m down to Sprint. Unlimited everything really shines considering the price is only $79.99 per month. I’m seriously considering this option if iPhone or some seriously good Windows Phones show up on Sprint’s network. For all you AT&T customers out there with unlimited data plans, what will you do?

Verizon Unlimited Data Plans Are Going Limited

Just like AT&T did over a year ago and T-Mobile did last May, Verizon will be capping its smartphone users this Thursday. For about a year now, Verizon customers laughed at AT&T customers when the capping of data plans went into effect on Big Blue while pointing out yet another reason why Verizon’s network was superior to AT&T’s, citing that AT&T couldn’t handle the excessive data use by today’s smartphones. And then Verizon got the iPhone. Well it seems that the tables have turned!

Verizon plans to implement these new plans on new customers and those existing customers who are upgrading to new smartphones. There’s no word whether Verizon will allow current unlimited data plan holders to keep their plans, but if it’s like AT&T then the we can be sure they will.

New Verizon Data Plans

Just like AT&T once had, Verizon currently has an unlimited data plan for $30 per month. Starting Thursday, the new Verizon data plans will be as follows:

  • $10 – 75MB per month
  • $30 – 2GB per month
  • $50 – 5GB per month
  • $80 – 10GB per month

Going over these limits on all plans will cost $10 per gigabyte. Given the fact that AT&T once estimated that 90% of its customers can operate within their data plan limits, one can assume that the same will hold true for Verizon users as well, but then again, that estimate was done over a year ago and cell phone usage has increased dramatically in that time. Today, users are finding more and more to do with thousands of apps to choose from and more of them using data than ever before.

Of course, as these facts are becoming reality, I’d guess that more wi-fi hotspots are opening up which will further reduce the need for 3G and 4G data services.

My two cents

I’ve been grandfathered into AT&T’s unlimited data plan since 2007 and I love the fact that it’s unlimited, but I fear that when AT&T goes 4G/LTE, the data plan will remain on 3G service therefore if I upgrade to a new phone, I’ll be caught in the limited group. The only real solution to this is to sign up for a new Verizon plan today or tomorrow and leave AT&T because Verizon’s current unlimited data plan supports 4G/LTE.

My advice is if you’re thinking about going with Verizon, do it now because after tomorrow, you will be forced to use one of the plans above!

Unlimited Data*

I’m really getting fed up with all of these services offering “Unlimited Data” with a little asterisk next to it. When you finally make your way down to the fine print, you end up learning that your unlimited data plan is anything but.


It seems like AT&T is the ringleader in this mess—starting first by removing the unlimited data plans for iPhone and continuing now by adding a data cap to their Internet customers! You heard me right, as of May 2nd, AT&T now caps Internet usage on both DSL and Uverse accounts! For DSL customers, the cap is set at 150GB of data transfer per month. Uverse customers get 250GB of data transfer. It’s not clear whether the TV portion of Uverse is included in the 250GB. In either case, AT&T will send you two warnings if you exceed these caps. On the third time, you will be billed $10 for each 50GB you go over.

When asked why they did this, AT&T’s response was:

AT&T has experienced a dramatic increase in the amount of data that is sent and received over its wireline broadband networks. This dramatic increase is driven primarily by a small fraction of our customers. In fact, the top 2% of customers use about 20% of the total capacity on our network. A single high traffic user can utilize the same amount of data capacity as 19 typical households. Lopsided usage patterns can cause congestion at certain points in the network, which can slow Internet speeds and interfere with other customers’ access to and use of the network.

For complete details on AT&T’s new data caps, check out


Fortunately, for those of you lucky enough to get FiOS, you don’t have to worry! When it comes to fiber optic Internet lines directly to your home, Verizon got it right. Each home is outfitted with a direct fiber line to Verizon which minimizes slowdowns and network congestion which has caused AT&T to limit their customers.

The same might not be said about Verizon Wireless when the iPhone 5 comes out. Rumors are abound that Verizon will cap their wireless data plans for smartphones soon. Of course we’ve heard this before, so maybe nothing will come out of it, but the thought is still daunting. It’s a fair statement to say that most people will never reach a data cap, but just the thought of having a limitation there is agonizing. Nobody wants to be surprised with a cell phone bill that has suddenly increased due to unknown overages.

According to Mobiledia, this rumor looks to be coming true.


Sprint appears to have the best “Unlimited” service you can get. According to one of their commercials, “only Sprint gives you true unlimited” and it would seem so. Nowhere on their website do they say anything about data caps, speed throttling, etc.


My two cents

If you’re going to cap your data plans, do it. But, don’t sell them as unlimited just because your definition is that your customers won’t reach the cap, thereby making it feel unlimited! To me, this is false advertising at its worst.

Apple iPhone 5 Rumors

As with everything Apple, the rumors are already abound regarding a 5th generation iPhone. What will it look like? What new features will it have and most importantly, do I really need another iPhone?

It seems that every time a new iPhone comes out, we quietly tell ourselves that this will be the last one we’re going to buy…because it has everything we need. And then a few months before release date, the blogs are on fire about the all new design and features. That’s when the excitement overtakes you and before you know it, you’re trolling around every website you can find trying to scoop up just one more piece of new information.

iPhone 5 News

The blogs are already here! I found the first one by typing “iphone 5” into Google and it looks like is claiming to be the first site dedicated to the iPhone 5. The fact is that there is no actual news yet…just rumors.

As with other tech sites online, I plan to follow this product into oblivion like I’ve done with previous models to bring you the latest as it comes. And just like in the past, I’m sure I’ll have a week or two of discussions simply about iPhone 5 and nothing more!

The Rumors

Let’s get to the good stuff. I’ve rounded up some of the latest rumors about the new phone. Please remember, these are just rumors. Actually, it might be closer to a wishlist than anything else.

  • Larger screen – If only they added a phone feature to the iPad…then we’d have a larger screen! Actually, it’s very possible that the screen could reach a 4-inch size to compete with the latest Droid phones.
  • iPhone on T-Mobile – After AT&T announced they are buying T-Mobile for $39 million, it came as no surprise that T-Mobile customers were excited that this would enable them to get iPhone for the first time…legally. There’s no word whether T-Mobile will still operate as an independent company.
  • Faster processor – While it would be cool if they went with a dual-core processor, Apple might opt for a new A5 chip instead. This would likely be due to battery life.
  • Higher resolution – Just when you thought the screen couldn’t get any better, it just might! Dare I say a 3D iPhone?! How crazy would that be? I mean it might look cool to be using apps and placing phone calls in a 3D environment, but how funny would you look to people on the street?
  • Thinner and lighter – Of course this could be expected given the overhauls they’ve done to the iPad and the MacBook Air. How thin and light could they go if they plan to make the screen larger?
  • 4G service – I can’t imagine Apple releasing their next phone without 4G capabilities, so we can *hopefully* assume this one is true!

More Information

Stay tuned to this site for more information as it comes. I’ll be blogging more and more as news is delivered and you can expect to stay informed by accessing

Lastly, I found an interesting website that created this really cool mockup of the presumed iPhone 5 features. I’m re-posting the image here, but to see the original source, please check out
iPhone 5 Rumored Features

UPDATE April 20, 2011 – Reuters seems to have confirmed that iPhone 5 will likely ship in September. It would also seem as though the new phone will be more of a slight update rather than a whole new device. If this is true, we can expect a similar transition like we saw between the 3G and the 3GS. According to the article, it’s possible that the processor will be the only thing upgraded.

Apple iPad 2 – Coming March 11, 2011

Apple is well known for its snazzy, sleek product designs that have fan-boys (and girls) lining up at retail stores world-wide on product launch days. However, the rest of the crowd (those who are not interested in the latest “iProduct”) generally sees Apple’s product designs as nothing more than an industry slight–one that does a phenomenal job of covering up outdated system hardware.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say Apple’s latest products aren’t up to par with other related tech products. I just think they really believe the road to success is the old KISS method…keep it simple stupid. When the first iPhone came out, as well as every model since, tech gurus and Apple-haters have been complaining about low-quality cameras, slow processor speed, lack of memory, crashing apps, overheating issues, antenna problems and everything else under the Sun. They relentlessly compared them to every other smart phone on the market and in almost every case, the iPhone favored negatively. Meanwhile, while this tech war was being waged, one indisputable reality was taking place…millions of people were still buying iPhones.

iPad 2

And now we’ve come to this–the iPad 2. This week, Apple will start selling the 2nd incarnation of its famed tablet PC that everyone loved to hate. Once again, we have an Apple product that has met with some very harsh criticisms and comparisons to competing products–and still, once again, Apple has prevailed. While consumers were trying to find uses for the iPad, competitors were trying to beat it and iPad 1 did all but destroy e-readers such as Amazon’s Kindle or Barnes and Noble’s Nook along with a host of other tablet PCs. Apple must be doing something right.

Quick Comparison:

iPad iPad 2
Base Price $399 (originally $499) $499
Colors Black Black or White
Dimensions 9.56 x 7.47 x 0.5 inches 9.5 x 7.31 x 0.34 inches
Weight 1.5-1.6 pounds 1.33-1.35 pounds
Storage 16GB/32GB/64GB 16GB/32GB/64GB
Connections Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional AT&T 3G Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional AT&T 3G or Verizon 3G
Screen 9.7-inch 1024×768 9.7-inch 1024×768
Processor 1GHz A4 1GHz dual-core A5
Battery Up to 10 hours Up to 10 hours
Cameras None 720p rear, VGA front
Sensors Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor, 3-axis gyro
Location Wi-Fi, Compass, Optional GPS (3G version) Wi-Fi, Compass, Optional GPS (3G versions)

As you can see, not much has changed. Of course “not much” is a subjective statement seeing as how someone might feel like the addition of two cameras is actually worth the upgrade. Personally, if I sold my current iPad and got the iPad 2, it would be for two reasons only: 1. I can get Verizon 3G service and 2. I can now get it in white.

The processor is likely the third biggest change for me. Although the first iPad was fast enough for what you would generally use it for, it’s nice to have an extra boost–all without degrading the battery life–or so we’ll see! About these cameras…I’m sure the front camera is the better one to have given the Skype® capabilities or maybe you’re hard up for updating your Facebook profile pic, but I don’t see much use for a rear camera. Chances are you’re already carrying a camera in your pocket anyway, so why would you want to hold a 9″ iPad up to your subject and snap a photo? Maybe for a quick eBay listing while you’re at the restaurant? Yeah, I can see that happening.

The Competition

The New York Times said today, “So Far Rivals Can’t Beat iPad’s Price”. When have you ever heard “rivals can’t beat […] price” when talking about Apple products?? Isn’t Apple supposed to be the most expensive ‘everything’ you can buy? On top of that, Apple outsiders will tell you that you’ve overpaid for a sub-par product: “If only you had bought (insert manufacturer name here), you could have saved money and had twice as much!” All I can say is, “Wow!”

At any rate, the Times went on to say that because of Apple’s deep pockets, they are able to save money by buying large amounts of parts up front for larger discounts as well as not having to pay licensing rights to chip makers due to Apple’s in-house chip manufacturing of the A4 and A5 processors. Plus, Apple has the App Store, which brings in more than a billion dollars each year–this alone can subsidize the cost of the iPad. All these factors can let Apple reduce their profit margin to say…25% instead of the usual 50% they pull in from iPhone.

Motorola Xoom
How does the Xoom stack up against the iPad 2?

Xoom iPad 2
Base Price $799 (w/ 2-yr contract: $599) $499
Colors Black Black or White
Dimensions 9.8 x 6.6 x 0.5 inches 9.5 x 7.31 x 0.34 inches
Weight 1.6 pounds 1.33-1.35 pounds
Storage 32GB internal (future support for 32GB SD cards) 16GB/32GB/64GB
Connections Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Verizon 3G (4G compatible) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, optional AT&T 3G or Verizon 3G
Screen 10.1-inch 1280×800 (HD 720p) 9.7-inch 1024×768
Processor 1GHz dual-core 1GHz dual-core A5
Battery Up to 10 hours Up to 10 hours
Cameras 5mp rear + Dual LED flash, 2mp front 720p rear, VGA front
Sensors Accelerometer Accelerometer, Ambient light sensor, 3-axis gyro
Location Wi-Fi, eCompass, aGPS (with Google maps) Wi-Fi, Compass, Optional GPS (3G versions)

My two cents

While the Xoom has the iPad 2 beat in a few ways, it’s hard to justify the price. Even though you can upgrade the internal memory using a 32GB SD card, adding the cost of everything might just exceed the cost of the 64GB iPad. Here’s what you should consider:

  • Xoom has a bigger and better screen
  • Xoom has better cameras
  • Xoom has expandable memory (in the future)
  • Xoom will support 4G
  • Xoom has the Android app store
  • iPad 2 has a larger app Store
  • iPad 2 is much cheaper
  • iPad 2 comes in a wi-fi only model
  • iPad 2 looks cooler

I threw that last one in there to see if you were paying attention! The fact of the matter is that Apple has another winner here and it all comes down to this: If you already own an iPad, keep it. There’s not much to upgrade to. If you can’t find a valid use for an iPad or another tablet pc, then don’t buy any of them. If you’re on the fence, buy the iPad 2. You can’t beat the size of the App Store and the price.

Verizon iPhone Is Coming

I am certainly not reporting anything new, but as usual, I do have an opinion! There’s a new iPhone section of Verizon’s website and it appears that they’re going with a pretty outlandish tagline: iPhone 4. Verizon. It begins. I can’t tell if they’re simply just that excited about the phone coming to them (as well as the influx of new customers) or if they’re declaring an all-out war on AT&T, but either way, let’s hope all these claims of Verzion’s superiority over AT&T are true.

It’s no secret that AT&T has suffered some harsh criticism over the last 3 years due to the breakout device of the century. Looking back, we had a phone that was developed by a computer manufacturer in a time where RIM ruled the day with their Blackberrys, so lovingly called “Crackberrys” and nobody (even Apple) thought it was going to go anywhere. We all know what happened next.

iPhone on AT&T

We’ve had the chance to see how AT&T has handled the iPhone and to many, it’s been a disaster. From complaints about dropped calls, network crashes and static on phone calls to pre-order disasters, iPhone 4 antenna issues (this was Apple’s fault) and the loss of the unlimited data plan, AT&T has built themselves quite the reputation. It’s no wonder why many people have opted to move to Verizon and pick up some kind of Droid phone.

In the wake of every major problem to hit AT&T, their response has been slow, inadequate or just downright lacking. Meanwhile, Verizon has been sitting in the back of the room just waiting semi-quietly for this day to come: the perfect combination of AT&T’s bad press and the end of the exclusivity contract. I say semi-quietly because none of us can forget the epic, and very public advertising battle between the two giants. AT&T says “There’s an app for that.” while Verizon touts, “There’s a map for that.”, in which they tried to tell everyone that AT&T has less network coverage than Verizon. The reality of that statement is that AT&T does have less 3G coverage, but overall, AT&T’s network is the same size, if not bigger than Verizon’s.

By far the biggest complaint among iPhone users on AT&T has been the data usage. iPhones are powerhouse, data guzzlers! When the phone first debuted in 2007, nobody had a device that could match it and AT&T was forcefully giving away unlimited data plans. What they weren’t prepared for was the increase in customers. Not only were more people jumping on the Apple bandwagon, but the phone allowed them to do so much more than anything else at the time. It was simply human nature at that point: if it’s there, why not use it. So what was AT&T’s answer? “We’re improving the network. Oh and by the way, we’re taking away the unlimted data plans.”

To add to all of that, AT&T has been able to maintain its exclusive contract between Apple that was hammered out in 2007, basically keeping the iPhone from being on any other network. Well, this contract is ending and now we’ll see how Big Red handles this wonder device.

iPhone on Verizon

Rumors that have been fluttering around the blogosphere for the last year or so have now been squashed. The iPhone is coming to Verizon on February 10th, 2011. and there’s no looking back! Many Verizon customers have had ‘iPhone envy’ for as long as they can remember—those customers not willing to jump ship to AT&T because they love their “more” reliable service so much. Who can blame them? With everything that I mentioned above plus all the bad press that AT&T has suffered the last 3 years, I’m amazed that I’m still an iPhone owner.

It’ll be interesting to see exactly what happens now that Droid phones have been able to gain some foothold in the industry. Will Verizon customers trade phones? Will AT&T customers pack their bags and head for Verizon-land? Will Blackberry finally meet its demise? Nobody can say for sure, but investors are already prepping. AT&T stocks have started to drop while Verizon’s have started to rise.

One other important note is that AT&T offered early upgrades to all existing iPhone users with the release of the iPhone 4. Of course many, many customers jumped at the chance to get the new phone, but failed (or didn’t care) to realize that they were being locked into 2 more years of AT&T’s service. This was no doubt AT&T’s last attempt to keep its iPhone customers alive and well.

The last major issue of concern is the well-known antenna issue–you know, the one where you couldn’t hold your phone without a bumper case? The question is whether Verizon will be getting the same, defective phone or if a re-design is in order. Time will tell, but these pictures sure point to good news.

New iPhone antenna "slits"
New iPhone antenna “slits”
Old iPhone antenna "slits"
Old iPhone antenna “slits”

For a closer view, check out Engadget’s article about the new iPhone casing design. The potential new design is somewhat of a concern due to the movement of the vibration switch and you know what that means!! That’s right, all new cases!!

My Two Cents

As if my opinions matters to you anyway…I’m sure you’ve already made up your mind about what you’re going to do. As for me, I’m locked in for just over one more year and after reviewing AT&T’s early termination fee schedule, I don’t think I’m going anywhere soon. Just in case you didn’t know what it is, if you own an iPhone, the cost is $325 minus $10 for every month you were in your contract. For me, that fee will be $225 if I jump over to Verizon in February.

My plan at this point is to wait for everyone else to jump ship and that should alleviate the network congestion. But that’s just hopeful thinking I guess and at least I’m not the only one who feels that way.