The Tech News Blog

August 25, 2014

Apple Offering iPhone 5 Battery Replacements

7 Tips to Save iPhone Battery Life

Is your iPhone 5 experiencing shortness of battery life or need to be charged more frequently? It may be eligible for Apple's replacement program.

Cupertino is now offering new batteries for "a very small percentage of iPhone 5 devices" purchased between September 2012 and January 2013. The replacement process began Aug. 22 in the U.S. and China; it will become available in other countries as of Aug. 29.

To find out if your phone is eligible, enter your phone's serial number on Apple's website (Settings > General > About > Serial number). If it is, you can visit an Apple retail store or contact technical support to have your battery replaced.

Your phone needs to be in working order. "If your iPhone 5 has any damage such as a cracked screen which impairs the replacement of the battery, that issue will need to be resolved prior to the battery replacement," Apple said.

If you're eligible and already paid to have your battery replaced, Apple said to get in touch about a refund.

April 27, 2014

Apple to Fix iPhone 5 Sleep/Wake Button Issues for Free

Apple iPhone 5 (AT&T)

Some kind of issue with the iPhone 5 has caused some users' sleep/wake buttons to not work anymore. That's a bit of a bummer for those who are trying to use their devices in any meaningful way, we realize. Apple realizes as well, for the company has just launched a new program that will allow the "small percentage" of those affected by this issue to have their phones repaired by Apple free of charge.

The fix-it program, which went live yesterday in the U.S. and Canada (May 2, everywhere else), is pretty simple. You first have to enter your device's serial number at a website that Apple has specially set up for those dealing with this issue. Once you qualify — and we're not quite sure what criteria Apple is looking for in the "verify serial number" process — then you'll be able to drop your phone off at your nearest Apple Repair Center to have it fixed.

The caveat? This isn't a walk in, walk out kind of a deal. You'll be without your iPhone 5 for anywhere from four to six days as the Apple crew fixes it up. You'll also want to back up your data prior to starting the repair process, suggests Apple, and you'll need to erase all of the content and settings on your device. Additionally, don't expect that Apple will just take your broken phone and swap it out for a brand-new device.

August 30, 2013

Walmart Slashes Prices for iPhone 5, Galaxy S4, More

Walmart Logo

Walmart has slashed prices for Apple's iPhone 5, Samsung's Galaxy S4, and a number of other smartphones, tablets, and big-screen televisions, effective immediately. The price drops go into effect at the retail giant's brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S. and online, Walmart said Friday.

Customers are now able to purchase a 16GB iPhone 5 from Walmart, contingent on inking a two-year contract with AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint, for $98, down from $129. The Galaxy S4 is now available for $138 with a two-year contract with Verizon and AT&T, down from the $148 and $168, respectively.

Unlike Best Buy's current limited-time Labor Day trade-in promotion, which slashes iPhone 5 prices by half, Walmart's price adjustment will be in effect for a minimum of 90 days, a spokesperson said.

Prices for older Apple and Samsung phones have also been reduced. Apple's iPhone 4S is now available through Walmart for just $39, while the iPhone 4 can be had for a mere $0.97. Both of those price cuts apply to 16GB models and require a two-year contract with AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint.

Walmart actually got the ball rolling on less-than-a-dollar pricing with the AT&T version of the Samsung Galaxy S III back in July. Now the Verizon Galaxy S III, formerly priced at $39.98 through the carrier, is also available for $0.97 after signing a two-year contract with Verizon.

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.

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.

June 21, 2013

iPhone 5 Arrives on Virgin Mobile June 28

iPhone 5Virgin Mobile today announced that it will finally launch the iPhone 5 on Friday, June 28.

The handset will be available in black or white on Virgin's Beyond Talk plans, offering unlimited 3G/4G LTE data and messaging for at low as $35 per month. That "unlimited" data, however, is throttled after 2.5GB.

Customers can find the 16GB smartphone online, at participating Virgin Mobile dealers, and at Radio Shack for $549.99; the 32GB and 64GB versions will be available online only for $649.99 and $749.99, respectively, without a contract.

Virgin Mobile offered a similar deal last year, when the 8GB iPhone 4 and 16GB iPhone 4S hit its shelves, carrying respective price tags of $549 and $649.

With the iPhone 5, Virgin Mobile will provide the same unlimited data and messaging plans, starting from $35 per month, with a $5 monthly discount for customers who register for automatic payments with a credit card, debit card, or PayPal account.

June 5, 2013

Report: Fix Broken iPhone 5 Screen at Apple Store for $149

iPhone 5 Drop Test

iPhone 5 owners, rejoice: Your broken screen can now be fixed while you wait at an Apple Store. But the repair comes with a price — almost the same price as buying a new iPhone 5.

According to MacRumors, iPhone 5 owners can take a broken phone to any company retail store and walk away with a new display for $149. Formerly, those whose warranty period had passed who didn't have AppleCare+ had only two options: Purchase a new phone, or package and mail the broken one and get it replaced for $229.

Apple has not formally announced the new service; the company did not immediately respond to PCMag's request for comment. But MacRumors said Apple will also start offering in-house repairs on other iPhone parts next month, like the camera, sleep/wake buttons, and logic boards.

May 8, 2013

T-Mobile Sells 500,000 iPhones in First Month

The Best T-Mobile Phones (Update)T-Mobile sold 500,000 iPhones since officially adding the Apple smartphone to its lineup in early April, the company said in a Wednesday earnings report.

Revenue for the first quarter landed at $4.68 billion, down 7 percent year over year. Adjusted earnings were $1.2 billion, up 12.4 percent from the fourth quarter, but down 7.5 percent from last year.

"Our first quarter operating metrics and financial results are showing positive impact from the changes we began making in the fourth quarter," T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in a statement. "We ended the quarter with strong operational momentum, which is continuing into the second quarter, driven by the successful launch of our Un-carrier 'Simple Choice' service plan and the introduction of the iPhone into our device line-up."

T-Mobile now has 34 million customers, adding 579,000 over the quarter. Its churn rate - or the number of customers it lost - was at 1.9 percent, which T-Mobile said was its lowest since the second quarter of 2008.

April 18, 2013

Verizon Moves 4 Million iPhones in First Quarter

iPhone 5

Verizon customers this quarter picked up 4 million iPhones, half of which were Apple's newest smartphone, the iPhone 5.

That's down from the 6.2 million iPhones Verizon moved in the fourth quarter, but that's to be expected, as the iPhone 5 made its debut in late September and Apple has not released a new device since then.

Overall, Verizon sold 7.2 million smartphones during the quarter, 67 percent of which were 4G LTE devices. New Verizon customers made up 28 percent of new smartphone activations, up from the 22-24 percent range Verizon was seeing in the first half of 2012. About 38 percent of upgrade customers, meanwhile, were buying a smartphone for the first time.

Fran Shammo, Verizon's CFO, did not break out how many of those devices were Android-based, but he said that half of the iPhones sold were 4G LTE. At this point, the iPhone 5 is the only 4G LTE iPhone on sale; Verizon customers can also get the less expensive 3G iPhone 4S and 4.

Shammo also said that more and more customers are buying into Verizon's Share Everything plans, which allow for multiple gadgets to share a data bucket on a single account. About 30 percent of post-paid customers are now on a shared data plan.

April 5, 2013

T-Mobile Accepting Pre-Orders for $99 iPhone 5

iPhone 5

T-Mobile USA on Friday started accepting online pre-orders for the iPhone 5.

The popular Apple smartphone won't be available in T-Mobile stores until April 12, but customers can pre-order it on the carrier's website now. The base 16GB variant in either black or white will set you back $99.99 down, plus $20 per month for 24 months. You can avoid the monthly fee by paying the full price of the phone, $579.99, at checkout.

The carrier is also offering the 32GB and 64GB variants in black and white. The 32GB model is priced at $199.99 down, plus monthly payments of $20 for 24 months, or $679.99 upfront. The 64GB variant costs $299.99 down, plus monthly payments of $20 for 24 months, or $779.99 upfront.

After much speculation, T-Mobile late last month officially announced plans for the iPhone. The carrier also recently ditched wireless contracts and phone subsidies, referring to itself as the "un-carrier." Plans start at $50 per month for unlimited talk and text and 500MB of 4G data. Customers can add 2GB of 4G data for $10 per month per line or get unlimited 4G data for an additional $20 per month per line.