Dramatic price jumps likely to hurt foreign sales, but preserve profit margins
Apple has issued an overdue correction to a number of non-US markets in response to the strengthening US dollar, which is gaining favor in currency trading circles again due to the recovering US economy and reduced deficit situation. The news is bad for Apple buyers outside the US, however, as dramatic price jumps of nearly $100 for unlocked iPhones and $400 increases in the price of some Mac hardware are likely to hurt foreign sales, at least in the short term.
Move comes as the company looks to strengthen services on a global scale
Xiaomi announced this week that it's taking steps to strengthen its services across the globe after an expanded server infrastructure effort started earlier in the year. As a part of the server expansion, the company said that data from international users of Xiaomi products is being transferred out of the central data centers in Beijing.
International plans come with data, tiered voice as alternative to monthly Global plans
AT&T has launched a new option for travelers wanting to take their smartphones, tablets, or laptops with them abroad. A new set of tiered, one-time charge packages called AT&T Passport can now be added to an existing account, allowing customers to use their devices in over 150 different countries. The plans are designed to work in addition to domestic plans, while offering fixed rates and small data caps for international travel.
United Airlines updates iOS app, expands international flight check-in feature
United Airlines has released an update for its iOS app, offering a new trial feature that expands the ability to check-in for international flights. Users can scan their passport for international check-ins, or verify existing stored passport data if the user is already logged in the system. Version 2.0.16 also includes a fix for a bug regarding extra flight status cards. The app is free to download through iTunes, and requires iOS 6.0 or later to run.
Devices launches in UK 'very soon' with 'many more countries' to follow
A recent update to the Chromecast software reveals that countries outside of the United States may soon be able to get their hands on the inexpensive smart TV option from Google. The update adds support for over 50 languages on the Android version and 20 on the iOS version as the device readies a wider launch. This supports previous information that Chromecast would be expanding after news surfaced in February about a possible March 1 release date for the device in the United Kingdom.
World Messaging Unlimited includes global text messaging, reduced calls to Central America
Verizon has made yet another change to its plans, following its recent changes to the Edge upgrade program and adding another Share Everything tier. The carrier's World Messaging Unlimited plan costs $5 per line per month as an add-on to an existing plan, with customers able to send unlimited texts from the United States to other countries, as well as reducing the rates of calls to a number of locations.
AT&T Data Global Add-on users gain access to near 12M Fon hotspots
AT&T has made an agreement with Wi-Fi hotspot network Fon to provide each others customers with overseas Wi-Fi. Customers of Fon will be able to use AT&T's 30,000-location Wi-Fi hotspot network at various stores and businesses in the United States, while AT&T customers can use Fon's international network of close to 12 million hotspots.
Patent-pending technology uses cloud, no extra software
Voyager Mobile is preparing to offer a new international service, promising that users on the plan "won't pay a penny of roaming charges." Called Project Global Voyager, the service uses “patent-pending global wireless technology” that allows a mobile phone to be used internationally, without any per-minute roaming charges being applied to the account.
Call promotion ends tonight, for existing users only
Skype is offering a free international calling for a one-month period, in an effort to promote its international calling subscriptions. Open to existing customers of the messaging and voice call service until the end of today, the promotion includes free calling to landlines in 40 countries around the world and mobile calls to seven, including to the US, Canada, and Hong Kong.
Wants to be ready to help journalists
Apple is quietly stocking its London stores with extra and international parts (such as replacement keyboards) to help cope with the expected "onslaught" of international journalists, many of whom use Apple products, coming to cover the 2012 London Olympics. The event, scheduled for July, is expected to see over 10,000 international print journalists as part of the 325,000 daily visitors coming to London for the games, reports TUAW.
Apple also working on fix for proximity sensor
Apple has finally confirmed a date for the iPhone 4 international launch, which will bring the device to 17 additional countries on July 30. The list originally included 18 countries, however the South Korean release has been delayed.
iPad Data Global Add-On matches iPhone pricing
AT&T has disclosed its pricing structure for international data plans for the 3G iPad, indicating similar fees currently tied to the iPhone. The costly "Data Global Add-On" options include four levels of usage, ranging from 25MB to 200MB. Customers will have to pay $25/month at the lowest level, while the 200MB plan fetches $200.
iPad has yet to undergo local Wi-Fi tests
The Israeli government has reportedly banned early iPad imports, according to the local paper Haaretz. The move does not represent a complete prohibition of the devices, but rather a temporary halt of the first production run that was only designed to be sold in the US instead of international markets.
Apple adds 4GB Nano
After earlier confusion with an unannounced 4GB iPod nano 4G showing up at retailers in Europe and Canada, Apple confirmed the device officially in a conversation with Register Hardware. While the spokeswoman for Apple would not confirm which countries would receive the 4GB model, she did say that the company made a "limited number of 4GB iPod Nanos for some international markets."
O2 iPhone preorders
As the widespread international release of the iPhone approaches its inception, a British customer revealed that O2 – potentially other carriers as well – will allegedly offer a pre-registration service for customers who want to buy on the 11th of July. A visit to an O2 store yielded information that the carrier will offer users an early-bird registration credit check on July 1st to expedite the pickup process on launch day, according to a forum post at MacRumors
3G iPhone in 22 countries
After analysts predicted a larger area of deployment for the 3G iPhone, Apple on Monday announced it is bringing the much anticipated device to over 70 countries – just over one-third of countries in the world – a year after launching the first iPhone, with 22 countries to have it on July 11th. The 3G iPhone will make a return to the US through AT&T, the UK's and Ireland's O2 network, Germany's T-Mobile, and Orange in France.
MO-Call for iPhone
Morodo on Friday unveiled an iPhone-compatible web app version of its MO-Call low-cost calling service, allowing iPhone users to place international calls at low per-minute rates. The service requires an account signup at the company's mobile website, and Morodo is currently offering a free trial of the service for users in Canada, the US, and Hong Kong. International rates start at around 8¢ per minute for calls to land lines.