Trade-in sites offering up to $320 for old iPhones

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: iPhone

Leery of coughing up $200 or even $300 for yet another iPhone? Well, you can always sell your old iPhone on eBay. But there’s another, potentially easier option: trading it in for cash. Some online trade-in sites offer up to $320 for iPhone hand-me-downs.
I checked out iPhone trade-in values at five of the most popular online gadget trade-in sites — Cell for Cash, FlipSwap, Gazelle, NextWorth and YouRenew — and found some pretty decent offers for all the previous (locked) iPhone models. In some cases the money would be enough to completely offset the cost of a new iPhone 4.
Of course, the price you’ll get for your old iPhone depends on the condition it’s in (mint? almost new? a little scuffed? cracked screen?) and whether you have the original accessories (namely the headset, the connector cable and the power adapter). Oh, and if your iPhone has suffered any water damage or doesn’t quite turn on anymore, well … good luck with that. Make sure to check with the trade-in site you pick to see what their policies are for phones that fall short of their wear-and-tear expectations: In some cases, a given service may not notify you if it lowers its offer for your phone, or won’t give you the option of getting your phone back if you disagree with a lowered offer.
Even if your old iPhone is in mint condition, you’ll have to be patient. Most trade-in sites will take days or weeks to cut you a check once they receive your old handset in the mail. Typically you send in your phone yourself. Some sites will send you a box for shipping, but then you’ll extend your wait even further.
I checked the iPhone offers on each of the five sites, using the assumption that iPhones were in “good” shape (between “mint” and “fair” condition) when I had the choice. I also checked the “have cables and power adapters” box where applicable. Also, keep in mind that the prices I’m quoting here are subject to change daily (usually ever lower as time marches on).
The results: Across the five sites, a 32GB iPhone 3GS fetched an average of $274, just $26 less than the $299 two-year contract price for a new 32GB iPhone 4. Cell for Cash offered the highest price — $320 — but the site doesn’t give you the option of indicating what shape your iPhone’s in, so it’s quite possible that an even gently used iPhone might get you less than that.
The average offer for a 16GB iPhone 3GS, meanwhile, was about $228.
What about the iPhone 3G from 2008? For the 16GB model, expect an offer in the vicinity of $150 (the highest offer, $186, again comes from Cell for Cash); the 8GB iPhone 3G might get you about $134, depending on the specific trade-in site.
Even the original iPhone will score you some cash: The 16GB version fetches an average of just over $100 (FlipSwap being the most generous at $114), and the 8GB iPhone yields a decent $81 average. Last but not least, the 4GB version will rake in an OK trade-in value of $67 or so (highest offer: $78, from YouRenew).
Wondering why you can (in some cases) trade in your phone for more than you paid for it? Well, keep in mind that the $299 price you paid for your iPhone 3GS last year was subsidized by AT&T, which recoups the cost through your monthly cell phone bill. The unsubsidized value of your phone is much higher — $699 in the case of the 32GB iPhone 3GS. Trade-in sites typically sell the working phones they receive to wireless resellers, which refurbish the used phones and put them back on the market. They may also strip a handset down and sell off its parts — or, in the case of a phone that’s truly busted, divert it to a recycling program.
Oh, and one more thing: Be sure to wipe all your personal data off your iPhone before you trade it in. Most trade-in sites promise that they’ll wipe your handset for you — but better safe than sorry. (To completely wipe your iPhone, tap “Settings” and then “Reset,” then select “Erase All Content and Settings.”)

Checking AT&T iPhone Data Usage History

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: iPhone

With AT&T’s announcement today that it is rolling out new data plans next week for the iPhone and other smart phones, many customers have been thinking about which data plan is right for them in light of the new download limits.
AT&T iPhone customers can view their data usage for the current billing period on the summary page for their account by logging in to the AT&T Wireless website. Such data is only an estimate, however, and AT&T notes that delays of up to five business days may be experienced before data activity shows up in the displayed total. Users can also dial *DATA# and receive a text message with their current billing period’s usage.
From their AT&T Wireless account summary page, users can also click on the “View Past Data Usage” link to see a six-month history of their data usage to help gauge which new data plan they may want to select.
For existing customers who wish to keep their $30/month unlimited data plan, they can continue on the plan even if they upgrade to new hardware. If a customer elects to switch to one of the new plans, however, they will be unable to switch back to the unlimited plan at any point in the future. Customers on the grandfathered unlimited plan will also be unable to use AT&T’s tethering feature, which comes as a $20/month add-on to the new $25/month 2 GB data plan.

AT&T iPhone Customers Can Keep Unlimited Data Plan for Next iPhone

Posted by: flirtations  /  Category: iPhone

AT&T’s announcement of their new capped data plans has generated a lot of discussion amongst current and future iPhone owners. In short, AT&T eliminated their $30/month unlimited plan for new iPhone customers starting on June 7th. After that time, new iPhone (and other smartphone) customers have the option of $15/mo (200MB) and $25/mo (2GB) data plans. AT&T, however, has grandfathered in existing iPhone customers by allowing them to keep the $30/month unlimited plan if they desire.
But with the new iPhone just around the corner, several readers wondered if that guarantee would hold even if they chose to upgrade to the new iPhone. It seems like it will.
AT&T has replied on their Facebook page indicating that current customers may keep the $30/month unlimited plan even when they upgrade to a new iPhone:
The good news for current customers who love their unlimited plan is this: they are not required to switch, even when it’s time to upgrade to a new phone. So you are welcome to keep your unlimited plan :)
Of course, by staying on the unlimited plan, customers won’t be able to add on tethering service.

Dead Zone Doldrums Test Skills of iPhone Customers

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: App Store, Apple Inc, Applications, iPhone, Technology

Owners of iPhones know that their love for Steve Jobs’s touch-screen marvel comes at a price. The iPhone’s cellular coverage, provided exclusively by AT&T Wireless (NYSE: T – News), is notoriously spotty. In some parts of New York and San Francisco, it’s impossible to connect.
If you go for a dim sum lunch at Yank Sing restaurant on the edge of the financial district in San Francisco, you are likely to miss calls from the office. Some owners can’t use their iPhones in their own homes. Even AT&T Park, the city’s waterfront stadium, can be a dead zone.
The iPhone service is affected by several factors. First, AT&T’s 3G network doesn’t cover as much ground as Verizon (NYSE: VZ – News), America’s largest carrier. Second, urban areas packed with tall buildings are bad for wireless signals. Skyscrapers can block radio waves, or they can bounce them around to create what’s called multipath interference, where signals from different directions collide and cancel each other out.
But the iPhone’s worst enemy is the iPhone itself. So many Americans use them in the same places and at the same time that they are competing with one another for use of the network. “A hundred cellphones demanding bandwidth per cell site may not be out of the question in congested downtown areas,” said Tim Pozar, a wireless engineer who installs custom repeater systems to improve cellphone coverage at offices in the San Francisco area. IPhone owners have proved to be heavy consumers of network capacity.
What to do? There is no single magic bullet to improve iPhone service. You can spend hours trying to persuade AT&T to let you out of your contract. The time you spend doing that will cost more than the contract termination fee.
Knowing a few tricks might get you a connection. If your touch screen says “No Service,” the easiest fix is to hold the phone completely vertical, rather than slanted across your cheek. The iPhone’s antenna is meant to reach furthest if it is held straight up and down. If that doesn’t work, move. Indoors, walk to a window. Outdoors, cross the street.
For the newer 3G-capable iPhones, turning off the 3G in favor of AT&T’s older Edge network is sometimes effective. Go to the iPhone’s Settings icon. Tap General, then Network. Slide the Enable 3G toggle from On to Off. But you can’t talk and browse the Web at the same time on Edge.
Another alternative is to use a Wi-Fi hot spot to make calls. Skype, the popular Internet phone service, will make and take calls as long as you leave the app running and signed in. (Until an iPhone can multitask, that means you have to have the Skype app on all the time.) Calls with other Skype users are free, but calls to and from phones cost about two cents a minute. The app is available in the iPhone App Store.
Skype call quality varied in our tests from clear to sputtery, with a delay from one half-second to three or four seconds. Also, the app works only over Wi-Fi, so you will need to juggle between Skype and AT&T, depending on where you are.
Or, for $15 a month, you can subscribe to the Line2 app that mimics Apple’s phone in look and feel, but switches calls to a Wi-Fi network whenever the iPhone connects to one.
Line2 can start a call on AT&T’s 3G network and then transfer to Wi-Fi, whereas Apple won’t allow Skype to handle calls via AT&T. If left running, it will also receive inbound calls over Wi-Fi. (If Apple were to add a Wi-Fi option to the built-in Phone app, this wouldn’t be a problem.)
But for reliable service, there is no substitute for hardware that increases range. That is why AT&T has begun offering home 3G base stations that look like Wi-Fi routers, but send and receive 3G radio signals instead. These microcells, as AT&T calls them, connect to the Internet and offer wireless coverage of up to 40 feet in any direction. They work with any 3G AT&T phone, but not with Apple’s older non-3G model of iPhone.
The catch is that you will have to pay AT&T for the boost. There are two payment plans: If you buy the microcell for $150, AT&T will charge your voice calls made using the device against the minutes on your monthly wireless plan. Or you can sign up for unlimited calling for a $20 a month fee, and get the microcell free.
Many people consider it outrageous that AT&T isn’t handing out microcells to solve what they see as a problem that AT&T created. But you do get your own personal cellphone tower without needing the approval of your neighborhood’s opposition watchdog group.
AT&T’s microcell is built by Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO – News), a company with a reputation for solid network gear. Setup isn’t exactly plug-and-play, but it doesn’t require you to be a technician. You log in to — you’ll need to create an account if you haven’t already — and open a URL clearly labeled on a sticker that covers the microcell’s cable ports. Enter the microcell’s serial number and the 10-digit phone numbers of the iPhones you want it to serve. Then, as the instructions warn, you must wait up to 90 minutes while the microcell configures itself.
Call quality over the microcell was almost shockingly clear, ungarbled and free of the underwater sound that plagues many cellphone calls. You also might be less likely to experience the common many-second delays between your saying something and the other party’s hearing it. Cellular experts warn that delays and stuttering calls are still possible because these are caused by Internet traffic jams rather than the microcell.
If you make a call from inside the house and then walk outside, you can expect the microcell to reliably hand off the call to a local tower. Calls made outside, though, don’t transfer to the microcell when you get home. The only annoyance you may find with the AT&T unit is that whenever it is rebooted, as home networks sometimes are, it may take about 20 minutes to come back online.
AT&T’s solution will work for homes and small offices. But the company is clear that you can’t take it with you. It may not connect if plugged in somewhere else. So how to solve the restaurant dead-zone problem?
Mr. Pozar says the best fix is for the location to install its own repeater. For $1,000 to $5,000 in parts and labor, a hot dim sum spot could route calls through an outside antenna that connects to an inside amplifier.
That’s not cheap. But instead of a Free Wi-Fi sign, what better way to attract big spenders than one that says iPhone Hot Spot?

Developer Demonstrates Wireless Syncing of iPhone and iPod Touch to iTunes

Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: App Store, Applications, Developer, iPhone

Engadget points to a YouTube video posted by a developer apparently showing an iPhone application called Wi-Fi Sync that will enable users to wirelessly sync their iPhones and iPod touches with their computers via a local Wi-Fi network.

As the name implies, the app promises a complete sync of your iPhone or iPod touch with iTunes without having to tether and looks pretty straightforward (and occasionally useful) based on the video demonstration found after the break.
According to comments from the developer, he believes that the application fully complies with Apple’s developer rules and will be submitting it for inclusion in the App Store later this week.
The application requires a separate syncing application to be installed on the user’s computer. The video shows a Mac OS X version of the application in action, and the developer promises that a Windows version is under development.

How-to: Reorder iPhone email accounts to your liking

Posted by: flirtations  /  Category: iPhone

One thing that bugs me about the iPhone’s email program is the inability to rearrange the order of email accounts to my liking.

Unfortunately there’s no “Edit” button like Phone Favorites to drag names up or down to reorder them.
But there is a way to reorder your email accounts to your satisfaction. Here’s how:

  • Plug in your iPhone and launch iTunes.
    Select your iPhone in the Devices column on the left, then click the Info tab at the top of the screen.
    Click “Sync selected mail accounts:” if it isn’t already selected.
    Uncheck any mail accounts that may be selected except the mail account you want to appear at the top of your email accounts list.

    Click Sync.
    When iTunes finishes syncing leave the prior mail account checked then check the mail account you want to appear as the next account on your email accounts list.
    Click Sync.
    Repeat step 6 for each addition
  • al mail account until you’ve synced them all.

    AT&T Activates 2.7 Million iPhones in Q1 2010 as Growth Slows

    Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Apple Inc, iPhone

    AT&T today announced financial results for the first quarter of 2010, revealing that the carrier activated 2.7 million iPhones during the quarter. The number is down from 3.1 million in the previous quarter, despite Apple announcing yesterday that it had sold 8.75 million iPhones overall during the quarter, an increase of approximately 15,000 units over the prior quarter.
    The results illustrate that international growth is a primary driver for the iPhone as AT&T begins to experience a slowing of its portion of the overall growth. The iPhone’s ability to attract new customers to AT&T has also begun to slip, as the company noted that “more than one-third” of its iPhone activations for the quarter came from customers new to the carrier, down from a 40% figure the company has consistently cited in past earnings releases.
    Signs of slowing iPhone growth for AT&T are likely to add to the clamor for Apple to extend distribution to additional carriers in the United States, with market leader Verizon having received the most attention in recent years despite the requirement that Apple offer specialized hardware to operate on the carrier’s current network. For its part, Apple executives noted during yesterday’s earnings conference call that the U.S., Germany, and Spain remain the company’s three major markets where the iPhone is offered in exclusive carrier relationships. Despite that fact that the company has seen increased unit sales and market share in countries where it had moved to a multi-carrier model, however, it is not convinced that that dynamic would play out everywhere. Consequently, Apple continues to evaluate its carrier relationships on a country-by-country basis.

    Warning: iPhone OS 4.0 Beta 2 Is Not a Toy

    Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Apple Inc, Developer, iPhone, iPhone OS, iPod Touch

    iPhone OS 4.0 Beta 2 slipped into the iPhone Dev Center earlier, but unless you’re a developer and really need to test apps, it’s best to skip this extra buggy beta and just keep playing around with the first.
    I realize that you’re curious—after all iPhone OS 4.0 Beta 1 was full of new features—but Beta 2 is a bit of a letdown. Aside from the annoying inability to take screenshots, Beta 2 actually left me struggling to do simple things—like using the Camera app.
    For whatever reason, the Camera app freezes and doesn’t save pictures, the on-screen keyboard refuses to pop up when I want to add my email account to the phone, and third-party apps go nuts.
    Yes, this is all expected with a beta build, but many of us are prone to putting such things on our devices for the sake of trying them out and discovering new features. When it comes to iPhone OS 4.0 Beta 2 though, skip that step unless you have to and just keep playing with the first beta.
    Or let us risk our iPhones—and patience—to find the new features for you and leave your iPhone happy with a public OS build.

    Apple to Gizmodo: Yep, that’s our phone, and we want it back

    Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: Apple Inc, iPhone

    Well, I guess this settles it as far as the authenticity of Gizmodo’s iPhone 4G scoop Monday. The definitive piece of evidence: a letter from Apple’s top lawyer, formally requesting the safe return of the wayward next-generation iPhone — the one left on a Redwood City barstool last month by a young (and surely red-faced) Apple software engineer.
    Gizmodo posted the letter late Monday, and the missive — while firm in tone, and signed by Apple General Counsel and Senior VP Bruce Sewell — stops short of making any legal threats, at least for the time being:
    It has come to our attention that GIZMODO is currently in possession of a device that belongs to Apple. This letter constitutes a formal request that you return the device to Apple. Please let me know where to pick up the unit.
    Gizmodo Editorial Director Brian Lam replied cheekily that the lost, radically redesigned iPhone was “burning a hole in our pockets” and that he was “happy to see it returned to its rightful owner” now that “we definitely know it’s not some knockoff.”
    The news came just hours after the bloggers Gizmodo described how a 27-year-old software engineer at Apple (who is named and pictured in the post, by the way) managed to leave the precious iPhone 4G prototype — disguised to look like an iPhone 3GS — on a barstool at the Gourmet Haus Straut, a “nice German beer garden” in Redwood City, about 20 miles northwest of Apple HQ in Cupertino. (Engadget had blogged over the weekend that the phone was lost in a San Jose watering hole, leading to some initial confusion.)
    Having downed a few brews, the hapless Apple engineer eventually rolled out of the bar, according to Gizmodo, absentmindedly leaving behind the next-generation iPhone (which he’d been field testing, the post said). Hey, it happens. (If I had a nickel for every time I left a credit card at a bar … ) Another man in the bar ended up taking the phone home, peeled off the protective jacket the next day, and realized he had a windfall on his hands.
    And as we all now know, “weeks later, Gizmodo got it,” says Gawker Media Inc.’s Gizmodo — leaving out a key detail that Nick Denton, founder of Gawker Media, filled in later for the Associated Press: The company paid $5,000 for it.
    What followed, I’m sure, was a scene similar to the wonderful sequence in the BBC version of “State of Play”: The editors huddled with their lawyers, the crucial evidence (a suitcase of documents in “State of Play,” an iPhone in the case of Gizmodo) on a table before them, trying to suss out whether they should write a story or call the police.
    So, is Gizmodo in trouble? Hard to say, but the L.A. Times tech blog checked in with UC Irvine law professor Henry Weinstein, who says Gizmodo is probably in the clear: “Journalists generally do not get prosecuted for being in receipt of stolen documents, as opposed to the person who received the documents and turned them over.” (It’s worth noting that Gizmodo claims the iPhone in question wasn’t stolen — merely “lost.”)
    Now, Apple may find some other way to punish the Gizmodo guys (who are fast becoming the Merry Pranksters of tech bloggerdom) — perhaps a different legal route, or it may freeze out Gizmodo in terms of access to Apple reps and review samples. Then again, Apple reportedly had already snubbed Gizmodo by refusing to give it an advance review iPad, so … sounds like Gizmodo’s iPhone scoop may have been sweet revenge for the spurned blog.
    And c’mon: Here’s Apple, perhaps the most infamously paranoid company of all time, complete with triple-secret security zones, blackout curtains hung over conference room windows, flashing red warning lights, prototype devices chained to tables, and all that — only to suffer the (arguably) worst security breach in its history because some poor guy left the next iPhone on a barstool. The irony is just too rich.
    Of course, this is all inside baseball (albeit a fascinating game of inside baseball); in the end, we’re left with what appears to be an enticing new iPhone, with a revamped design (flat and shiny on the front and back, trim aluminum sides, thinner but a bit heavier), dual cameras (with a front-facing lens for video chat), a bigger battery, and what appears to be a higher-resolution display. The design may change between now and the final shipping date — after all, the phone Gizmodo snagged may only have been a prototype — but still, there’s little question that the iPhone as we know it is poised for some big changes.

    iPhone 4G to Have Glass/Ceramic Back, User Removable Battery?

    Posted by: Flirtation Creations  /  Category: App Store, Apple Inc, iPhone

    Seems more people are becoming convinced that the iPhone 4G images leaked by Engadget over the weekend are indeed legitimate. In fact, the report that the pictured product is actually a Japanese counterfeit has been retracted and was itself a false claim.
    Daring Fireball’s John Gruber now believes the images are real and that the next generation iPhone looks like the images depicted. Gruber also adds a detail that he has heard that the new iPhones will have a “fancy glass” back.
    Multiple sources familiar with the next iPhone have confirmed to me that the back is made out of some sort of fancy glass — and looks pretty much exactly what’s pictured at Engadget. That’s not the only reason I believe Engadget’s unit is legit, but it?s one.
    He points to a 2006 Apple patent application which describes the use of Zirconia as a durable and radio-transparent material that might be used.
    A portable computing device capable of wireless communications, the portable computing device comprising: an enclosure that surrounds and protects the internal operational components of the portable computing device, the enclosure including a structural wall formed from a ceramic material that permits wireless communications through.
    Now, if you do believe that these images do represent the next generation iPhone, one interesting detail noted by an Engadget commenter is that it appears to allow for a user removable battery.

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