While rumors of leaked iPhone parts circulate this week, in my mind the biggest news is the Senate bill John McCain has been working on. It would require cable companies let consumers select just those cable channels they want to watch, rather than being forced to pay for a bundle of channels that includes many they aren't interested in. This is just what Apple has been wanting to do, according to many rumors, and just the sort of deal they've been trying to negotiate with content providers. Should this bill pass, I think Apple would inevitably offer both an HDTV and TV subscriber service.
Your iPhone is a fairly powerful computer, and increasingly, accessory makers are inventing add-ons that let you use your iPhone for functions you might not have imagined.
1. Luxi ($24.95)
A good example of this is Luxi, an add-on that lets you use your iPhone as a light meter, a device that typically costs several hundred dollars.
If you're looking to buy a new iPhone, you may want to take advantage of AT&T's new trade-in promotion launched earlier this month. If your smartphone is in working order, and you purchased it within the last three years, AT&T will give you at least $100 for it. You can use its trade-in calculator to see how much you'll get for your old phone. It also will take feature phones in trade, but may give less than $100 for them. You can also trade in tablets and netbooks. AT&T will give you an AT&T Promotion Card good for purchasing products and services, or, if you wish, you can donate the value to Cell Phones for Soldiers. According to the promotion, "working order" means the phone can be turned on and off, the screen works, the phone has no damage, and the battery can be recharged.
Mother's Day is this Sunday, and the App Store offers a number of iPhone or iPad apps you might consider to make that special mother feel valued. Options range from apps for creating attractive ecards with design elements specific to Mother's Day, to an app telling you the origin of Mother's Day.
U.S. Cellular announced Friday that it will start carrying the iPhone later this year. The carrier didn't say when, which models, or how much it would cost. Apple just keeps extending its reach.
In addition to the four major carriers and U.S. Cellular, the iPhone also is available from Cricket, Virgin Mobile, and WalMart's Straight Talk. It has yet to make an appearance on the prepaid carriers MetroPCS and Boost Mobile, with rumors suggesting the latter will get the iPhone later this year.
T-Mobile released a new video streaming iPhone app Thursday called T-Mobile TV (Free). It lets iPhone users stream from TV networks such as ESPN Mobile TV, NBC Sports, CBS Sports, Nickelodeon, Discovery, Disney Channel, Animal Planet, ABC News, Bloomberg, Fox News, MTV, Spike TV, Comedy Central, E!, and VH1. It also has on-demand primetime programming from NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox. That's quite a lineup.
Once again, Apple is counting down to an app-download milestone. This time we're approaching the 50 billionth app download. And as before, should you happen to download the 50 billionth app, you'll receive an App Store Gift Card worth $10,000. The App Store home page has a countdown ticker so you can track how close we are to that milestone. In addition to the top prize, the next 50 people to download an app after the 50 billionth will receive a $500 App Store Gift Card.
Apple is focusing its attention on integrating the iPhone with automobiles, according to a recent blog post on 9To5Mac. The article said we might see something yet this year.
It makes sense. iPhones are incredibly powerful and intelligent devices, so why not develop a system where iPhone content is displayed on say, a car mirror, or perhaps receives a video-out signal? 9To5Mac says Apple is working on a system whereby Apple Maps would appear on the car's display (instead of the sort of proprietary GPS systems currently found in cars).
When you think of it, it's amazing all the things that have to come together in order to get a new phone and a new version of the software out the door — with millions of people waiting with baited breath all the while and investors chastising Apple for not coming out with new stuff.
While we all pay close attention to rumors regarding the next iPhone and iPad, perhaps of even greater interest for most iDevice users is news of the forthcoming iOS 7 interface. Apple will introduce the new version of the software in June at its Worldwide Developer Conference, and will likely be available for download soon after that.