Three Guys and a Podcast: Apple News & Analysis
Mark your calendar. Today is the day Verizon ends unlimited data plans, putting a nail in the coffin of all-things all-the-time mobile. Eventually all carriers will follow this model as they are all addicted to charge-per-minute plans, so why not charge per bit downloaded, so their thinking goes.
Governing minutes or data, it is the way pipe providers, and unlimited plans are completely counter to their business soul. But ending unlimited plans on AT&T, and now Verizon, it's an Omen of things to come from every data provider, mobile or not. The capping of data is rapidly extending into homes via cable and fiber internet providers. This shouldn't shock anyone. All of these players were spawned from the world of telecommunications, thus the game is the same across the board. How they can extract every cent from our wallets will seemingly never end. However, there is one white knight that has the cash and cajones to change the game – Apple.
If Boy Genius reporting is accurate, Apple is setting the stage to make the higher educational sales competition a no-contest event this summer. The report claims Apple will be offering $200 off any iPad with the purchase of a Mac, which is an additional offer added to the typical free iPod touch offer given to students during the educational buying season. Apple offering iPads as low as $299 – it's a game over situation.
If you have any form of youth in the house and were considering a Mac or iPad, this "may be coming" offer marks the time to get some new Apple goodness. Students are on, or around, campus most of the time, thus a majority are likely to just go with an iPad wifi model. But many students will consider a 3G version with Apple's tempting discount, pitting Apple against its carrier partners, specifically Verizon.
Last week I set out on a mission to purchase a Motorola XOOM tablet, in an effort to compare it to Apple's iPad 2. We Three Guys were going to put the XOOM through its paces and deliver test results. We were ready to do live side-by-side video app and browsing comparisons between the two devices. Unfortunately, after five days of line squatting and Apple Store stakeouts for an iPad 2, we are still without an iPad 2. In contrast, finding a XOOM took little to no effort, there are plenty in stock at any Verizon or Costco location.
That said, finding a Xoom and purchasing one is a completely different story. The strings attached to buying a Xoom makes doing your taxes seem like fun. We'll spare you the test results of just the XOOM (after all, there are plenty of benchmarks out there showing the iPad to be vastly superior), and simply let you know the pain you'll be in for if you decide to buy a Xoom.
The clock struck midnight and February 10, 2011 was born, but apparently no lines materialized at Verizon retailers. Why?
We heard a lot of hoopla surrounding the supposed "event everyone has been waiting for." Verizon made a special commercial with clocks just about to strike midnight and people in anticipation of being able to get an iPhone on the Verizon network. Jon Stewart was exuberant, claiming "a spring in my step... a certain twinkle in my eye" about the iPhone Verizon announcement. Apple even made the "Twins" commercial showing an iPhone on an AT&T and Verizon network simultaneously. So where are all the Verizon iPhone customers?
While the ads were made and paid for by two different companies, they both said the same thing — The iPhone 4 is the best phone on the market. Period.
Apple's ad features two iPhone 4's doing the exact same thing — communicating there are now two networks (AT&T and Verizon) for iPhone 4. While the ad is mostly true (Verizon's CDMA network won't allow you to talk and do data transactions at the same time), the commercial sticks with Apple's message continuing to assert the iPhone 4 is the best/only phone you should consider.
AT&T is adjusting it's messaging pricing plans to be more competitive with Verizon this week. They are changing their $5/200 and $15/1500 messaging plans to one $10/1000 plan for the iPhone. Verizon has not given us any details on its messaging plans for the iPhone, but current subscribers pay $5/250 with $10/500 add-on package.
These new adjustments don't seem to make AT&T that much more competitive If you send a lot of text messages, AT&T always had a better plan. For those who don't send very many messages, AT&T is becoming even less competitive by upping the entry fee from $5 to $10 for the base package. AT&T's new plan would cost 1 penny per message. That may seem cheap until you look at the cost per bandwidth. Text messages are really just bits of data and should be charged by the byte instead of by the message.
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has become the trade show for new computing products to the latest in remote control vacuum cleaners. To summarize, CES is an absolute circus, but it's a must-attend show for any business serious about the the markets in which they play — unless that business is Apple, Inc.
Since Apple exited MacWorld Expo in 2009 it has shunned industry trade shows and opted to conduct their own media events. Why share the stage when a spotlight can be had? Last year Apple waited for CES to blow by — with all the half-baked tablet announcements. Then on January 18, Apple issued invitations to their special event: "Come see our latest creation". This special event took place on January 27, where Apple amazed all with the iPad. This year proves to be no different. Apple will not be holding a special event prior to CES.