The Tech News Blog

August 16, 2013

Best Buy Running Another iPhone Trade-In Deal

iPhone 5

Best Buy is running another iPhone trade-in program, which can help iPhone 4S owners land a new iPhone 5 for free.

Running now until Sunday, Aug. 18, those who visit a Best Buy store can trade in their working iPhone 4S for a $200 Best Buy gift card or an iPhone 4 for a $100 gift card, which can be used toward the purchase of an iPhone 5 with a two-year contract.

The iPhone 5 currently starts at $199 for the 16GB version, but Best Buy also sells the 32GB for $299 and the 64GB for $399.

Given that T-Mobile has adopted a no-contract "un-carrier" approach, this deal does not apply to T-Mobile users. A 16GB iPhone 5 on the carrier will cost $145.99 down, plus payments of $21 per month for two years.

Best Buy has offered similar trade-in deals throughout the summer. A one-day promotion on June 1 was so successful that the deal returned in late June for nine days.

The iPhone is not the only discounted Apple gadget available at Best Buy. The big box retailer is offering $200 off the new Haswell-enhanced MacBook Airs. Students with a .edu email address can get an additional $100 off the Apple laptops.

August 13, 2013

Analyst: Low-Cost iPhone 5C to Ditch Siri, Replace iPhone 4S

iPhone 5C

With almost a month until Apple's reported iPhone event, the rumors show no sign of slowing down, with one analyst suggesting that a low-cost iPhone will drop Siri and ultimately replace the iPhone 4S.

In a Monday note to investors, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster suggested that Apple would "exclude some software features, such as Siri" on its budget iPhone, dubbed by some as the iPhone 5C.

Siri debuted on the iPhone 4S and has since extended to the iPhone 5 and iPad. Munster did not elaborate on why Siri might be on the chopping block, though it might be necessary if Apple goes with a lower-power chip.

Ultimately, "we believe it may make sense for [Apple] to discontinue the 4S product altogether and use the 5C as the lowest end phone in the product line," Munster said.

During a recent earnings call, however, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the iPhone 4 was quite popular during the quarter among first-time smartphone buyers. With carrier subsidies, many people can get the older iPhone for free. Munster suggested the low-cost iPhone will retail for $300, though that is likely the unlocked, unsubsidized version.

June 23, 2013

Walmart Cuts Prices for iPhone 4S & 5 to $40 and $130

Apple iPhone 5 (AT&T)

The summer deals continue!

If you haven't yet picked up an iPhone 5, but have been eyeing Apple's flagship smartphone for some time now, Walmart is swooping in with one of the better iPhone 5 deals around. Starting yesterday, the retailer has officially slashed prices on Apple's 16GB iPhone 5 from $190 to $130 – a $60 savings.

It's not quite as good a deal as the Best Buy promotion we reported earlier this month, where the retailer was handing out free 16GB iPhone 5 smartphones as part of a trade-in promotion for one's older iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S. The success of the single-day promotion prompted Best Buy to rekindle the discount for the time period between June 21 and June 30 — a working iPhone 4 or 4S nets a user a credit of up to $150 for the trade-in and, combined with a $50 instant rebate for the 16GB iPhone 5, makes the iPhone (essentially) free.

Of course, a few strings come attached to all of these deals. For both Walmart's and Best Buy's price cuts or promotions, those looking to take advantage of the reduced prices will have to sign up for the typical two-year service agreement with AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint. Additionally, Walmart's prices aren't available online – you'll have to physically walk into a retail store to score the price cut.

February 11, 2013

Apple Rolls Out iOS 6.1.1 to Fix iPhone 4S Bugs

iOS 6.1.1

Apple today released an iOS update for the iPhone 4S that fixes a connectivity problem users were experiencing.

The iOS 6.1.1 update "fixes an issue that could impact cellular performance and reliability for iPhone 4S," Apple said.

The 86.8MB update comes after Vodafone warned iPhone 4S users not to update to iOS 6.1 because of battery and connectivity problems.

"Some customers may occasionally experience difficulty in connecting to the network to make or receive calls or texts or to connect to the Internet," Vodafone said in a statement. "Apple is working on a solution to their software issue. These connection problems are intermittent."

That solution is now ready for download. To check if your iPhone 4S is ready to update, select Settings > General > Software Update or connect your phone to your PC and check via iTunes. At PCMag, the update had rolled out to co-workers with the iPhone 4S; iPhone 5 users did not receive any updates.

Apple released iOS 6.1 on Jan. 28, which added LTE support for more carriers and the ability to purchase Fandango movie tickets via Siri, among other things.

January 9, 2013

Walmart to Offer iPhone 5 Via Straight Talk Pre-Paid Plan

iPhone 5

Walmart announced today that it will offer the unlocked iPhone 5 and iPhone 4 via its Straight Talk wireless service.

Starting Jan. 11, shoppers in more than 2,000 Walmart stores can pick up one of the Apple smartphones and get unlimited talk, text, and data starting at $45 per month without a contract.

Walmart will sell the 16GB version of the iPhone 5 in black and white for $649 and the 8GB version of the iPhone 4 in black and white for $449. Those who use a Walmart credit card can pay for the smartphone in installments of $25 per month.

"We believe customers shouldn't have to choose between saving money and having the latest technology," Seong Ohm, senior vice president of Entertainment for Walmart U.S., said in a statement. "Now customers can have the coveted iPhone with unlimited talk, text and data without a contract for $70 a month thanks to our exclusive Straight Talk plan and industry first financing offer."

Straight Talk plans include: a $45 monthly no contract plan for unlimited talk, text, and data; and a $60 no contract plan that adds unlimited international calling to more than 1,000 destinations in Mexico, Canada, India, and other countries.

December 10, 2012

iPhone 5, 4S Get $50 Price Cut at Best Buy

Best Buy Cuts $50 from iPhone 4S, 5 Prices

Just in time for some last-minute holiday shopping, Best Buy has shaved $50 off the price of the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S.

According to the store's website, consumers can save $50 on any iPhone 5 or 4S with a two-year agreement.

For the technophile in your family, pick up an Apple smartphone for $49.99 to $349.99, depending on generation, carrier, and size. The devices are available from the big three — Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and AT&T, all with a new two-year contract.

A 16GB iPhone 5, for example, is on sale now for $149.99, down from $199. The 32GB is $249.99 and the 64GB is on sale for $349.99.

The iPhone 4S, meanwhile, can be had for as little as $49.99 (16GB), with the 32GB running $149.99 and the 64GB available for $199.99.

Though free shipping is tossed into the package, not all phones are eligible for transport via snail mail; some must be picked up at a brick-and-mortar store.

The deal is valid through Jan. 5, with a limit of two devices per person, according to a spokeswoman.

September 4, 2012

Galaxy S III Sales Top iPhone 4S in August

Samsung Galaxy S III (U.S. Cellular)

The iPhone 4S lost ground to Samsung's Galaxy S III last month, marking the first time that the Apple smartphone was not the top-selling smartphone in the U.S. since its launch, according to Tuesday data from Canaccord Genuity.

The stats, however, aren't all that shocking, since most Apple fans are likely waiting for the next-gen iPhone instead of buying the now 10-month-old iPhone 4S. Apple today sent out invites for a Sept. 12 press event, which is expected to include the launch of the next-gen iPhone.

Those iPhone sales losses were Samsung's gain. The Samsung Galaxy S III was a top-selling phone at all four U.S. carriers, followed by the iPhone 4S , the HTC One, the Samsung Galaxy S II , and the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx, Canaccord analyst T. Michael Walkley wrote in a note to investors.

Walkley cited "channel checks" in his report. "Overall, September quarter smartphone sales are tracking in line with our expectations for modestly improved sequential global sales growth," he wrote.

August 30, 2012

Apple Offers up to $345 for Used iPhone 4S

Apple Reuse and Recycling iPhone 4S

For those Apple fanatics who wholeheartedly believe in the rumors that a new iPhone will hit shelves within a month, ditching their iPhone 4S is a priority. And Apple is happy to help with the process.

Through its Reuse and Recycle program, Apple allows phone holders to turn in their iPhone (original, 3G, 3GS, 4, or 4S) for a rebate up to $345 – for a 64GB iPhone 4S in amazing condition.

Using the online wizard to input your phone series and model, just answer a few questions about the condition of your device, and the site will spit out a price that it believes your product is worth. Different models will be valued at different prices.

Even a completely wrecked 16GB iPhone 4 can earn you $50, plus free shipping and packaging.

By throwing the power cable into your package, Apple's recycling partners will return to you a gift certificate that can be redeemed with any new purchase in the online store. The actual value of each gift card will be determined once Apple's partner PowerON receives and evaluates your device.

While there is no concrete pricing information for the alleged iPhone 5, an extra $285 (for a 16GB iPhone 4S) or $345 could potentially go a long way toward the purchase of a new Apple smartphone.

August 7, 2012

Sprint Cuts iPhone 4S Price by $50

Apple iPhone 4S (Virgin Mobile)

Sprint has discounted the iPhone 4S by $50, with pricing for the Apple smartphone now starting at $149.99.

On its homepage, the carrier is pushing the 16GB version of the iPhone 4S, which is now $149.99 with a two-year contract. But click around a bit and you'll find that the other versions of the device also got a $50 price cut. The 32GB iPhone 4S is now $249.99, while the 64GB is $349.99.

The 8GB iPhone 4 is still $99.99.

Sprint is offering free activation when purchased online, which will save buyers $36.

A Sprint spokesman had no comment on the price change. These types of price drops, however, often indicate that a new phone is on the horizon. Rumors suggest that Apple might unveil its next-gen iPhone at an event on Sept. 12, so Sprint might want to clear out its iPhone 4S inventory before the "iPhone 5" arrives.

Apple's iPhone 4S was released in October 2011, at which point Sprint was also added as a U.S. carrier.

AT&T and Verizon are still selling the 16GB iPhone 4S for $199.99. A Verizon spokeswoman declined to comment on the company's pricing strategies or future plans. AT&T did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

April 24, 2012

AT&T Activates 4.3 Million iPhones in Q1

AT&T said today that it activated 4.3 million iPhones during the first quarter, with 5.5 million smartphones sold overall.

About 21 percent of iPhone activations were for customers new to AT&T, the company said during a earnings call with analysts this morning. Last week, rival Verizon said it sold 3.2 million iPhones during the quarter.

AT&T's numbers are a bit of a drop from last quarter, when it sold 7.6 million iPhones, but that coincided with the release of the Apple iPhone 4S.

Overall, AT&T sold 5.5 million smartphones during the quarter, 78 percent of which were for post-paid customers. At this point, 59.3 percent, or 41.2 million, post-paid AT&T customers have smartphones, up from 46.2 percent last year.

AT&T didn't break out Android sales, except to say they were "strong." Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility, also made a point to mention Windows Phone and the new Lumia 900, which debuted on AT&T earlier this month.