Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bloomberg: iPhone 4 to Verizon in January

Bloomberg is quoting sources as saying the new iPhone 4 will come to Verizon in January.

That would bring an end to the iPhone's exclusive three-year run on AT&T's network and open up new revenue streams to Apple and CEO Steve Jobs. Recent surveys indicate more than 14 million Verizon customers would get the device if available on the network. Verizon has nearly 93 million U.S. customers.

Interestingly, Verizon plans to launch its new faster 4G network this fall and introduce wireless devices on it in 2011. At the January Consumer Electronics Show, the company is expected to debut devices that will compatible with the network.

AT&T recently increased fees it would charge customers who break contracts earlier to go to new carriers, moving from $175 to $325. This was done just before the new iPhone 4 debuted.

There have been lots of rumors that the iPhone might move, however, and it has been on AT&T exclusively. We'll see if this one pans out.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Countdown to iPhone 4: Apple's new OS makes old phone glimmer again

As most of you know, Apple will release its new cell phone, iPhone 4, on Thursday. Some shipments have been made to the more than half million people who ordered early. Some may get the new device on Wednesday.

Monday afternoon, Apple released the operating system that will run the new phone. It's called"iOS4," and users of most current Apple devices were able to upgrade. Apple says its adds more than 100 new features (click here for more info).

iPad owners will get the new operating system this fall.

The most current iPod Touches and iPhone 3GS users got almost all the new features, including multi-tasking, allowing you to have more than one app open at once. I have an older iPhone, the 3G, which is not powerful enough to support this feature, which is something I wanted. I like to go walking and would love to have AOL Radio or Pandora rolling at the same time as my iMapMyWalk app that tracks how far and how fast I'm going.

But the new OS includes a tap-to-focus camera and adds zoom. My 3G camera seems sharper and I like the 5x zoom. Email accounts now neatly appear together in one file (as some other phones already do), so you can choose to see all your email in one folder or in separate folders. Emails are now threaded, so you can much more easily follow one email conversation. Those of you who use Gmail are quite used to this neat addition.

I also liked the new folders add-on. If you have page after page of apps, you can now drop 12 apps into one folder. I have, um, a few games on my phone and now have them organized onto one page. I have news apps organized, utilities, music, etc. It's neat to have much quicker access.

Overall, I like the new OS, which also adds the new and popular iBooks reading store that was released with iPad a few months ago. I put the (free) King James Bible on mine and now when I go to church, I don't have to carry The Good Book with me.

We'll follow news on the iPhone 4 release in this space all week.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

DirecTV offers bonus U.S. Open Golf Coverage this week

As it has done at recent golf and tennis major championships, DirecTV is broadcasting bonus U.S. Open golf coverage on Channels 701-705. The coverage is offered in standard and high-definition.

Viewers can watch the network broadcast, a featured group (think Phil and Tiger), coverage of play at holes 7 and 17 or play at hole No. 18

Mix Channel viewers will see the home network channel and three feature channels that will follow a group of golfers around the 7,040-yard course, focus on particular area of the course and provide an “in-depth” channel with live updates, highlights and interviews.

Customers with interactive receivers can view all four channels in the Mix and use their remote to listen to any channel’s audio or tune directly to the full-screen channel. The Mix also features a real-time leaderboard.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Apple sells more than 600K iPhone preorders, about 7 per second

It looks like Apple's upcoming iPhone 4 is going to be a big hit.

The new totally redesigned model goes on sale June 24, but Apple started taking preorders Tuesday. In the first 24 hours Apple announced it had sold more than 600,000 new iPhones worldwide.

That's slightly more than 7 per second.

Demand for the new phone crashed servers at Apple's cellular partner and the company, too. Only the black model was available for preorder. A new white model will be available later.

Apple is already saying new preorders won't ship until mid-July, so looks like the best way to get one of these new phones is to stand in line at Wal-Mart or Best Buy or Radio Shack or AT&T or the Apple store at launch.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

iPhone preorders cause hysteria; ATT CEO talks cell service

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson did an interview with CNBC today to talk about his company's relationship with Apple and the new iPhone 4. Apple began taking preorders today for the device which launches in about 10 days and demand has caused network problems for AT&T and Apple. Lines at retail outlets have been impressive.

In the interview, Stephenson talks about the strength of iPad for business use and about his company's oft-maligned wireless network.

He said AT&T is working to make things better. Rumor has it the new iPhone 4 antenna system will improve reception. We'll see

Monday, June 14, 2010

EA Sports' new game controllers add zip to Wii titles

I'm very impressed with EA Sports' new solo shot game controllers. The game controllers are replicas of tennis rackets and a baseball bat, which I tried. There's also a golf club available.

The controllers include a wireless Wii remote and a rubberized grip that is easy to hold. The controllers are compatible with many popular Wii golf and tennis games and take the realism to a new level.

It's one thing to play tennis holding the "Wii-mote" like a tennis racquet. It's entirely another to actually hold a tennis racket.

I didn't get to try the golf club, but I think that could be the best of all, especially considering how good the Wii version of the Tiger Woods videogame already is.

I'd highly recommend these for any sports game lover.

Read more: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2010/06/14/1501154/jordan-back-on-court-with-nba.html#ixzz0qsRVCfOd

Big changes ahead for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3

The big news out of the E3 electronics and entertainment convention so far has been from Sony and Microsoft, which are giving their popular console game machines two big face lifts.

Microsoft announced that it's new Xbox 360 slim has launched today. It comes with integrated 802.11n WiFi (the fast stuff). It comes with a 250-gig hard drive and will cost $299. Reports say the new model is quieter (thankfully) and much thinner that the current model.

Microsoft also officially gave its Project Natal hands-free control system a name. It's called "Kinect" and it will launch Nov. 4 with 15 titles. The Xbox 360 add-on uses advanced camera and whiz-back computer tech to allow you to interact with the console and play games by just moving your arms and legs. No more Wii-mote. Journalists who saw the technology in a demo this week came away impressed.

EA Sports is already developing "EA Sports Active 2" ($99.99) for the Kinect system. The company promises the exercise game will track full body moment. On Kinect, users will be ability to go through workouts using voice and gesture recognition. PS3 and Wii players will use leg and arm straps with motion sensors built in.

As for Sony, there are big rumors about the company's presentation tomorrow that involve two new PS3 bundles. One will have a 250 gig hard drive and the other will get 500. Both machines will also get updated to the wireless N standard and may ship with Sony's new Wii-mote like motion controller called "Move."

Also look for 3D PS3 games. So get your glasses ready.

And speaking of 3D, Nintendo promises its new 3DS handheld console delivers 3D without the glasses.

Uh oh.

The Electronic Entertainment Expo runs runs until Thursday in Los Angeles.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Time Warner cable vs. Windstream DSL Part II

On Thursday, I wrote about beginning to change from years and years of solid service from Time Warner Cable's Road Runner broadband internet service to Windstream DSL. You can click here to read that blog.

My initial Windstream order was not done correctly, and I was only getting download speeds of 3 megabits per second yesterday, which was much slower than the 13 I was getting from Time Warner.

At 13 megabits, you can download a good sized movie in about eight minutes or an iTunes song in four seconds. At 3 megabits, the speeds I was getting, it's 14 seconds for the song download and 35 minutes for the movie.

But more than that, the internet was just slow. And after Road Running for a long, long time, it felt like I was back on the old AOL dial up connection waiting for that infernal blue bar to move all the way to the right.

That wasn't going to work.

Long story short, I was making the change due to Windstream's new bundle offer -- $49.99 for internet and phone with unlimited long distance for life. The $49.99 offer is good for 3 megabit speed, so I upgraded to 12 megabits, as fast as Windstream offers. That pumped up my bill to $59.99 (or $66.49 after taxes).

Well, it took three calls to customer service and about an hour of total time to get things fixed, but a Windstream tech made a switch to my service this morning, which involved changing a PIN number. That opened up the broadband pipe to my home. I am now getting speeds of 12.63 megabits per second, not far off the 13.31 I was getting from Road Runner yesterday. My upload speeds are twice as fast (0.64 to 0.35) as I got from Time Warner.

Best of all, I'm getting a home phone again plus speedy internet for about the same price as I was paying Time Warner Cable for Road Runner alone.

Late last year, I dropped my home phone service and just went cellular. It trimmed my bills, but giving the kids your cellphone to use whenever they needed to make a call -- or giving it to guests -- got a little bit old.

So next week, I will cancel my Road Runner service, turn in my modem and move on.

Am I making the right call?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Broadband Wars Part I: Windstream vs. Time Warner Cable

I have had Time Warner Cable's Road Runner high-speed internet service since it debuted in Charlotte. The installer who put it in my house told me I was one of the first 10 people in Charlotte to get it.

It's always been great. I've never had a problem with it. This morning, I did a speed test and got download rate of 13.3 megabits per second. That's fast enough to download a song in four seconds or a good sized movie in about eight minutes.

But I may be leaving all that Time Warner goodness.

I've been getting these letters, like I'm sure many of you are, about a fabulous bundle offer from Windstream. The telephone company is offering DSL plus phone for $49.99 -- a price the company said will last as long as you remain in your home and don't change the service.

The $49.99 includes download speeds up to 3 megabits per second, which after using Road Runner from TWC is like crawling. With 3 megabits, you're talking 35 minutes to download that same movie I was talking about earlier, or 14 seconds to download that same song.

In real life, it just means having to wait for things to load that you're not used to waiting to load.

I signed up for 12 megabits down, which raised my monthly price to $59.99 (or $66.49 after taxes). That's about what I was paying for Road Runner. I figured it was a good deal.

Installation today went fast. I got a new modem and everything runs through the existing phone jack. You use a splitter, sending one phone cord to your phone and the other to your modem.

The only bad part was Windstream messed up my order. They signed me up for 3 megabits, so as I write this, things are, um, rather deliberate.

I couldn't live with these speeds.

Tomorrow, a technician will come back out and flip some magical switch and raise my speeds (I hope). I'll report back with what I get and let you know how it goes.

Have any of you tried DSL and gone back to cable? Or vice versa? Would love to hear your stories.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

God Of War III: Incredible, bloody, unforgettable

I've been playing Sony's highly anticipated "God of War III" for a few weeks now and I'm just amazed.

I'm amazed at the graphics, the violence, the blood, and the depth of the story and characters here. Like God Of War II, this is a real candidate for the game of the year. And like GOW II, this is not a game for anyone younger than 18. Beyond the violence, there is nudity and rather graphic depictions of sex, both group and same sex.

GOWII ended with a big cliffhanger, a man turned greek god, Kratos is ascending Mount Olympus on the back of a giant creature, a Titan called Gaia. His mission: kill all the gods, including Zeus himself. Kratos, a former captain of Sparta's army, believes Zeus has betrayed him. He intends to destroy the most powerful Greek god of them all.

If it sounds a little like a Hollywood blockbuster, well, it is, and it's got just as much violence as "300" ever did. We're talking heads ripped arms, arms cut away, blood spewing in all directions; some really violent stuff. And, yet, this game is breathtaking. There are characters here, called Giants, that are immensely large, and they are drawn superbly to scale. The worlds themselves are huge and you can interact with virtually anything in them.

Some of the animation scenes -- parts of the game where you see action but cannot do anything -- are as impressive as anything you'd see on the big screen. I'd go so far as to say this is the best action adventure game of all time. Ever. I didn't see any animations in portions of the game that were open for play that didn't appear to be happening in real time (as opposed to a character made to run to a certain point automatically or climb a wall without you controlling him).

You can gain addition weapons as Kratos by taking down your prey, best achieved by mastering button combos to allow him to make multiple strike attacks.

I will tell you that Sony promises this is the last game in this story line, but maybe not the last in the series. I will tell you that Kratos fails in his attempt to start the game at destroying Zeus. He's betrayed again, by Gaia, who could've saved him. As he descends to a river in the Underworld, where he's attacked and weakened, he swears revenge on her, too.

And from there, if you're good enough, Kratos will find his way out of hell, and start working through his enemies, which include a familiar character named Hercules, boring through them -- if you're good enough -- like Tony Montana in the last hour of the 1983 cult classic "Scarface."

The action never stops and your fingers will virtually never come to rest on your PS3 controller. Played on a hi-def TV with the volume turned up, this game will enthrall you.

But parents, be warned, this is too much for your teens.

Review: Shrek Forever After videogame

I'm all Shreked out. I admit it.

I haven't seen the new movie nor do I want to (and thankfully neither do the kids). I can tell you that the game's plot mirrors the movies a little, so I don't want to spoil it for those of you who plan to visit your favorite Ogre at the theater.

In the game, which is well done, you can play as Fiona, Donkey, Puss In Boots and the ol' green guy himself.

And once you pick your character, each with his or her special abilities, you jump into the game.

Now married, Shrek wants to go back to the days when he lived by the swamp and was feared. He signs a deal with Rumpelstiltskin to give him one day as a dreaded monster, only he's tricked. He can't come back until he earns a "true love's kiss" and he's sent to a new reality where he's never met his wife, Fiona.

Your job now is to hook up with all your old friends and woo Fiona. You must also stomp Rumpelstiltskin from taking over the kingdom in the real world.

There are 11 levels of game play and collect coins to advance your way to a final battle

What's cool is four player mode. You and your friends can team up against your enemies and each use your skill: Shrek can move heavy stuff, Puss N Boots can climb up anything like Spider Man; Fiona sets stuff on fire and Donkey has a super kick.

Best of all the game is easy to pick up and play, and rather fun.

"Storybook Workshop" a great "game" for kids

Konami's "Storybook Workshop" videogame for the Wii is the kind of videogame we could use more of.

It's designed for young kids, though it does have some mild cartoon violence, and is basically a read-along. There are 16 classic fairy tales here, like "Little Red Riding Hood" and "The Ugly Duckling" plus four sing-along songs.

Players use the included USB microphone to read along with, record and play back your reading of the stories. A voice box option lets you alter your voice a little to match the characters. You use the mic to record the stories (or you can listen to the computer). You can get about 40 minutes of storage.

The game helps reinforce reading skills and can help young ones with pronouncing their words.

In addition to the read-along there is some gameplay here, too, with some mini-games. The only bad thing here is getting started. A host character (a walking, talking television) leads players through a tree house with four rooms. In each rooms, are elements to begin the storytelling. If parents are not around, young kids could get frustrated trying to know which room (Grape) has the different characters, and which one (Acorn) has the tutorials and report cards.

Still, it's a nice deviation from most kids games and can actually help enforce some things kids are learning in school.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Steve Jobs announces new iPhone; on sale June 24

More than 5,200 people attended the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco Monday morning. All of them were waiting -- like many tech-lovers throughout America -- to hear what new goodies Apple CEO Steve Jobs would announce at his highly anticipated keynote.

Jobs touted the big success of the iPad. He said Apple sells one iPad every three seconds and has sold more than two million in ten countries. By July, Jobs said, iPad will be in 19 countries.

At 1:31 p.m., half an hour into the speech, Jobs said the new iPhone ($199 for 16 GB or $299 for 32 GB with two-year contract from AT&T beginning June 24) would be the biggest jump in technology since the original phone came out. The new model, he said, would come in black or white and have 100 new features (although there was a technical glitch trying to get the New York Times to load).

One of the new features is video conferencing.

The new iPhone shown was glass on the front and back with stainless steel running up the sides. It is 24 percent thinner than the current version. It has a front-facing camera and another camera with LED flash on the back. It will allow users to multi-task, or run more than one application at once. Jobs promises that multi-tasking won't run down the battery as it does on some other phones with the feature.

It is the same size as the current iPhone, 3.5 inches long, but has 960 by 640 resolution, near Hi-Def, and a contrast ratio four times better than the current model. Jobs said the new iPhone has 78 percent of the pixels of the iPad, "right in the palm of your head."

Jobs said a new technology, which he called "retina density" dramatically improves the screen quality, delivering up to four times as many pixels in the same space as the current iPhone. Jobs said the display delivers about double pixels per inch, or PPI, of the current phone (326 compared to 163).

"In person," Jobs said, "it is one of the most beautiful designs you've ever seen. Beyond a doubt one of the most beautiful and precise things we've ever made."

The new iPhone has a bigger battery that will allow 40 percent more talk time. Users will get seven hours of talk, six hours of 3G web browsing, 10 hours of WiFi browsing, 10 hours of video watching, 40 hours of listening to music and 300 hours of standby.

Other new items

-- AT&T customers will get up to six months of early eligibility for the phone. The current iPhone 3GS will drop to $99. Customers can begin pre-ordering June 15.

-- The new iPhone supports wireless N for faster WiFi. And it has a gyroscope built in, which will help with orientation on the device, especially while using gaming apps.

-- Videoconferencing can be done between any two new iPhones using WiFi networks. Apple is calling it "FaceTime" Jobs said "we need to work with cellular providers" (plural) and it would be WiFi only for 2010. You can videoconference with front or rear facing cameras and can switch on the fly to show your caller what you are looking at.

-- Jobs said the iPhone's camera is five megapixels with a backside illuminated sensor to help with taking photos in low light. It has 5x digital zoom with tap to focus and an LED flash. The camera also records HD video at 720p and the iPhone will edit the video on the device using Apple's popular iMovie technology. iMovie will be a $4.99 app.

The LED flash can stay on during video recording and there's a one touch share button. You can export video in 360p, 520p and 720p

-- The new operating system, so far known as iPhone OS4 will be called iOS4. It has the aforementioned multi-tasking, folders, much deeper enterprise integration for corporate email. Google is the default search engine, but Bing is available as well as Yahoo.

-- iBooks is coming to iPhone with iOS4. You can download a book and share it among iPod Touch, iPad and iPhone. iBooks will automatically and wirelessly sync your place, bookmarks, and all notes. There will be no charge.

-- Mail on iPhone will come in one unified screen, allowing you to view multiple email accounts in one view.

-- iBooks on iPad will allow users to open and read pdf files inside the application. Users will also be able to make notes inside the book app. The notes will look like Post-Its. A new bookmark feature is also coming.

-- The popular iPad Netflix app is coming to iPhone, allowing users who subscribe to the video rental service to access movies on the fly. Expect the app this summer. Users will be able to start a film on the home computer, Xbox 360, iPad or iPhone and pick it up on another device. The iPhone app will have full functionality, including "search" and "recommendations." It wasn't made clear if the iPhone version would only work via WiFi or also over 3G.

-- iOS4 free upgrades will be available for iPod Touch, 3GS iPhone and 3G iPhone June 21, though the 3G and some Touches will not support all the new features.

Is Sprint's Evo 4G Smart Phone the new king (and a true iPhone killer?)

It's 11 a.m. as I write this on Monday, June 7, we're about two hours away from a very important keynote from Apple's Steve Jobs, where he's expected to unveil a new iPhone that's thinner, faster and better in every way.

Last year's upgrade from iPhone 3G to 3GS brought users more speed and functionality, but in the past 12 months, smartphones using the Android operating system have slowly eaten away at Apple's advantages.

While the iPhone is still the easiest to use and most efficient smart phone out there, Sprint's new HTC Evo 4G trumps it, badly, in features. That's why this new iPhone really needs to do some amazing stuff. With Android phones at all the major cellular providers and iPhone stuck at AT&T -- which some users are becoming particularly frustrated with -- Apple needs to try to change the game.

Sprint smartly launched the 4G Evo touchscreen phone Friday, three days ahead of Jobs' announcement, and got tons of new customers to sign up as well as current ones to reup with two-year subscriptions. There are still rumors floating around that Jobs may move iPhone to more networks (which is badly needed) but well before Jobs takes the stage in San Francisco, Sprint is already celebrating a huge victory.

In a press release Monday, the company said Friday sales of the Evo 4G were the best ever Sprint has ever had for a single phone. In one day, the Evo 4G did triple the business that the Samsung Instinct and the heavily hyped Palm Pre did in three days. Combined.

So many people packed 22,000 Sprint stores and retail partners across the country Friday that the company's computer systems locked up and customers had enormous wait times to get their phones activated.

I got a demo of the phone from Sprint Saturday and have been using it heavily for the past two days. At 4.3 inches, the phone is huge. It's wider and taller than iPhone and much easier to read. Dell's upcoming Streak Tablet is 5 inches, for example. But even though it's big, the slender Evo 4G slips easily in your pocket.

The crystal clear screen is beautiful and the phone is blazing fast. If you've used the iPad, this phone is similarly responsive. When you launch something, it loads quickly. Typing is easy. The keys are larger than on iPhone, for example, and you get a little vibration each time you touch a key. Users with larger hands will appreciate the extra room, and I liked the little shortcut ".com" key that typed in the tail end of website addresses for you.

This is the first phone to use 4G and Charlotte is one of the first cities to get Sprint's faster network. It's not strong everywhere I've been in the city, but when you get it, it's faster than any mobile cellular network I've tried. Make that a lot faster.

Pages load fast and the Evo's pretty color screen displays them beautifully.

And there's much more.

Pinch to zoom control, popular on iPhone, works instantly. An 8 megapixel camera on the back delivers incredibly detailed photos and you can also shoot video, with up to 720p high-definition resolution. A simple cable can connect your phone to your TV for HD playback.

You can also use the phone as a WiFi hotspot, providing that 4G speed for up to eight devices. Sprint will charge $30 a month for it, however.

The Android Marketplace isn't as seamless as the Apple App store, but it's got tons of products to shop through, and you can download music through Amazon.

And one of my favorite features of the phone is a little kickstand on the back that allows it to sit upright without being held. This is good for 4G videoconferencing with other Evos -- oh did I tell you there's a front facing camera, too? -- or watching videos on a plane or bus or train.

My only gripe is battery life. Use 4G and it drains faster than a Ford Expedition runs through gas. But even without 4G running or a lot of applications and the phone in screen saver mode, it still drains way too fast. I find I have to plug in two or three times daily during my tests. A firmware upgrade or a better battery (this one is removable) may solve that.

Sprint has an advantage on AT&T and Verizon in price. Unlimited users on those networks pay about between $115 and $130 per month. At Sprint, you pay $99. The company is charging $10 for 4G access, so even adding that, you could still save some coin.

Sprint's entry level price for the phone is $69.99 per month, which includes unlimited data, unlimited text and 450 anytime minutes. Users also get unlimited calling to any mobile phone at anytime. To add 4G service would raise the cost to $79.99

With Sprint's aggressive monthly service plans, and an already solid 3G network, at least locally, this Evo 4G is going to be a serious competitor to lure customers away from other providers. For me, it was the best non iPhone smart phone I've ever used, and depending on what Steve Jobs announces in a few hours, it might be the best smartphone on the planet period.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

No Verizon iPhone next week?

A Verizon spokesman, John Johnson, tells Beet TV that the company has no plans to carry the iPhone in the near future, driving a stake in the hearts of many who were hoping for a Verizon iPhone to be announced at the WorldWide Developers Conference next week.

Click here to see the interview

Report: Verizon is testing Apple iPads

Interesting news this, given the AT&T announcements about new data plans today.

Boy Genius cites sources in reporting that Verizon is testing the iPad this week.

Seems a lot of people are upset with AT&T adding a new 2GB cap on iPad 3G usage and with the company putting similar caps on iPhone.

Next week's big Apple announcement at the WorldWide Developers conference is sure going to be interesting.

AT&T changes data plans for iPhone, allows tethering

AT&T announced this morning that it would finally allow U.S. customers to tether their iPhones -- use the phones to give internet connections to other devices. Tethering will begin after Apple releases iPhone 4.

To add tethering will cost an additional $20 per month, however.

The wireless company will also change its data plan for iPhone users, currently $30 for unlimited use.

Beginning June 7, customers can choose a $15 per month data plan for 200 MB or pay $25 per month for a 2 GB plan. To use the tethering option, you will need one of the new plans.

Current smartphone customers don't have to switch, meaning you can stay with your current unlimited model, but current customers can make the change to the new rates without a contract extension.

Remember, you cannot tether under the old unlimited data plan.

Both new data plans include unlimited access at no additional charge to AT&T 20,000-plus Wi-Fi Hot Spots in the U.S. The company said it will help customers manage data usage by sending free text messages as you near usage limits as well as providing an app that will track usage.

AT&T said its new "DataPlus" plan, for 200 MB of data, is enough to send and receive 1,000 emails per month (with no attachments) plus 150 emails with attachments, plus view 400 web pages, post 50 photos on social media sites and watch 20 minutes of streaming video.

Switching to this plan would save current customers $15 per month. If you exceed 200 MB of data in a month, an additional 200 MB would be provided for an additional $15.

AT&T said 65 percent of its customers use less than 200 MB of data per month on average.

The "DataPro" plan provides up to 2GB of data, and would be the choice for most people who want to use the tethering option. AT&T said it would provide enough space to send and receive 10,000 emails with no attachments, plus 1,500 emails with attachments plus view 4,000 web pages, plus post 500 photos to social media sites and watch 200 minutes of streaming video.

If you still surpass this amount of data, customers would get an additional one gig of data for $10 per use in the cycle. Currently, AT&T says 98 percent of all smartphone customers use less than 2 GB of data per month.

Ulimately, these changes mean lower prices for the bulk of smart phone customers. Smartphone voice and data plans now start at $54.99 per month on AT&T and to add a line to a family plan is $24.99 per month or $15 less than previously.

Also, new iPad customers will have the $25 2 GB data plan replacing the $29.99 unlimited plan. This changes goes into effect June 7. So if you want unlimited data on iPad, you need to sign up before June 7.