Monday, March 29, 2010

Wall Street Journal: iPhone to Verizon this year

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple's ever-popular iPhone is indeed coming to Verizon this year.

Many industry pundits and analysts have speculated that the popular touch screen phone would come to what is generally considered the country's best overall network.

This is the most solid report yet.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple is readying a model that would use a technology that would allow the iPhone to run on Verizon and Sprint's networks.

Most industry insiders predict a new iPhone, version 4.0, to be released this summer, in keeping with Apple's past release policies. The 4.0 is expected to be thinner, faster and have much better battery life.

Some industry analysts are saying the new phone, called iPhone HD, will debut on June 22 and will have a front-facing camera, enabling video chat. It also allow multi-tasking (using more than one app at once).

Losing the iPhone exclusivity could be a big blow for AT&T, which has more than 43 percent of the country's smart phone users. Verizon has 23 percent.

In the fourth quarter of last year alone, AT&T activated 3.1 million iPhone users. All those iPhone users have created a drag on AT&T's network. Users often flood message boards (and reporter's emails) with reports of dropped calls and slow service. AT&T has been active to try to revamp its network and has taken steps here in Charlotte to improve.

For Apple, opening up the iPhone to more companies could mean more money. The company has sold 25.1 million iPhones worldwide, but Verizon has 91 million customers, many of whom are wanting to try Apple's touchscreen technology.

For the customer, this could be good. Earlier this year, Verizon and AT&T cut $30 off their unlimited service plans, dropping from around $150 to $120 per month.

If the iPhone hits Sprint, with its potentially $99 everything plan, my guess is that the other two companies would have to follow.

Stay tuned.

Apple's iPad arrives Saturday

Some analysts think Apple will ship up to 10 million iPads to customers, when the device becomes available Saturday.

This much we know: the new device will be available in all 221 U.S. Apple retail stores and most Best Buy stores this Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m.

The iPad, runs from $500 to $840, and lets users browse the web, read and send email, enjoy and share photos, watch HD videos, listen to music, play games, and read ebooks on a thin touchscreen about 10 inches big. Apple says the device has a battery life up to 10 hours.

Apple retail stores will offer a free Personal Setup service to every customer who buys an iPad at the Apple Store.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Lady Gaga comes to Rock Band

Hot pop singer of the moment, Lady Gaga, has a new four-pack of songs available for Rock Band.

Also out are new singes from 3 Doors Down, Mute math, the Subways and a Gaga cover song by Comedy Central's Eric Cartman ("South Park"). Cartman covers "Poker Face."

The songs will be added to the Rock Band music store of downloadable content next week for the Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii.

The Gaga songs available will be "Bad Romance," "Just Dance," "Monster" and "Poker Face."

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

New Tiger Woods video game, with Ryder Cup feature, due June 8

We may not know when -- of if -- Tiger Woods will return to the golf course, but we do know when his new EA Sports videogame comes out.

Electronic Arts (and, of course, Nike) are two of the few sponsors who haven't backed away from or broken ties from the World's No. 1 golfer, who has spoiled his image with a series of extramarital affairs.

The new Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 debuts on June 8 for the Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and iPhone platforms. Woods shares the cover with European golf sensation Rory McIlroy.

The big new feature will allow gamers to select a team and try to win the Ryder Cup. The Ryder Cup bi-annually matches a team of European stars, like McIlory, against their American counterparts.

In the videogame, players will choose the U.S. or Euro squad and participate in traditional Ryder Cup formats (singles, foursomes, fourballs and alternate shot). While in Ryder Cup mode, you can swap matches, so if one of your guys is doing poorly (or doing well) you can jump in and try to secure that "point" for your team.

Players can also take their team online in Xbox and PS3 version. Online, you can allow up to 24 players to compete head-to-head in the team mode.

The Wii version has added new swing mechanics using the Wii Motion Plus controller add on that will make the game more realistic for hardcore gamers or golfers. It now will read rotation or swing angle. The new "Tour Pro" swing mechanic will even check your swing plane, making the game a little like practice for real life golfers.

The Tour Pro swing also has a first person camera angle from the tee box to the green. EA Sports is calling it the "most immersive and authentic golf experience in any video game."

We'll get to find out soon -- and it'll be interesting to see if EA Sports can do good business with a Woods-driven product.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Get your iPad....On April 3

Apple will release its heavily anticipated iPad tablet device on April 3 and will take pre-orders beginning March 12, the company announced today.

The dates available are for the Wi-Fi model only. Apple plans to release a 3G enabled model in late April.

The iPad is a touchscreen device with a 10 inch screen that will let users do many functions that they currently use a laptop or desktop computer for -- web browsing, email, games, videos, photos, music -- in a lightweight hand-held device. The iPad will also have a built-in e-reader that many publishers are creating specialized content for.

iPad will be available in Wi-Fi models on April 3 in the US for a suggested retail price of $499 for 16GB, $599 for 32GB, $699 for 64GB. The Wi-Fi + 3G models will be available in late April for a suggested retail price of $629 for 16GB, $729 for 32GB and $829 for 64GB.

ChangeWave surveyed 3,171 consumers and found a huge demand for the iPad, saying it was greater than the original pre-release demand for iPhone.