With low-band 5G service now deployed nationwide by T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon, 2020 marks the first time all three carriers will have next-generation networks widely available.
But getting onto 5G requires more than just a compatible phone. For some carriers, you also need to have the right plan.
Before you upgrade to a new iPhone 12, announced at Tuesday’s Apple event, or a 5G Android phone, here’s what you need to know for getting 5G on each of the three major US carriers.
5G brings an incredible wave of complexity to the carrier plan landscape. Me? I’d call my current carrier, go through my existing plan, see what my options are, see what they are willing to do to keep me in a longer term commitment. You’ve got the leverage here. They want to keep you.
Bare Bones, makers of BBEdit, is one of my favorite software companies—in fact, I’ve been using their software for more than 20 years. Now, with the opening of their new online store, you can also own some Bare Bones clothing. T-shirts, hoodies, pins, fleece jackets, sweat pants and combinations of all of the products in a bundle are available from the store.
Here’s a first look at MagSafe, with an unboxing, some magnet paper, metal things, and some previous model iPhones. Looking forward to people’s iPhones 12 arriving so we can see how well the magnet sticks to MagSafe optimized gear.
The word “safe” in the word MagSafe has always meant something specific to me: Tug on a cable with a MagSafe connector and the connector comes off. It doesn’t pull your Mac off the table.
Is this still the purpose of the “safe” in MagSafe? If I accidentally tug the MagSafe cable, will it pop off my iPhone? Or will my iPhone go tumbling to the floor? Or is this new MagSafe about ensuring your phone is charging properly, with the magnet ensuring your iPhone is properly centered on the Qi charging coil?
As part of Apple’s campaign for Bruce Springsteen’s new documentary and album, Apple has announced a live streaming, album release event, Thursday, October 22, at 11:00 pm ET.
Want to attend? You’ll need a ticket (free, but limited to Apple Music subscribers). Follow the headline link to RSVP.
This is an interesting experiment for Apple. They’ve formalized the approach with their ticketing.apple.com sub-domain. Will we start to see regular events like this, an alternative to the live, in-store music events they’ve had in the past? Is this long term, or purely until we get past COVID?
Side note, if you are a Springsteen fan, here’s a new trailer for the upcoming documentary (the doc goes live on Apple TV October 23rd, Letters to You album drops on Apple Music the same day).
Apple has launched Apple Music TV, a free 24-hour curated livestream of popular music videos that will also include “exclusive new music videos and premiers, special curated music video blocks, and live shows and events as well as chart countdowns and guests,” according to the announcement.
Apple Music TV will be available to U.S. residents only on the Apple Music app and the Apple TV app.
In iOS/iPad OS:
Launch the Music app
Tap the Browse tab
Tap the Apple Music TV intro article, or tap “Apple Music TV: Watch Now”
To return to the Browse tab, pull down on the window
Tap stop button to stop
On the Mac:
Launch the Music app
Tap the Browse tab (in the sidebar on the left)
Tap the Introducing Apple Music TV article
To exit, close the window
On Apple TV:
Press and hold the Apple TV remote’s Menu button to get to the top level of the interface
Tap Apple TV
Tap Watch Now tab
Scroll down to new Apple Music TV section
Tap one of the buttons (Apple Music, Watch, or Listen). They all seem to lead to the live interface.
I love the big screen experience, which you can get on your Mac (with a big screen attached) or via AirPlay. Note that explicit videos may be playing, so plan accordingly.
Got your giant grain of salt ready? OK, read on. Tim Hardwick, MacRumors:
All 5G iPhone 12 models support Dual SIM mode, which refers to the ability to switch between a SIM card and an eSIM operating on independent numbers and/or carriers. However, an image of a training document from Apple’s Sales Web resources called “What you need to know about 5G on iPhone” and posted to Reddit suggests the iPhone 12 will not support 5G on either line when Dual SIM mode is active.
Specifically, the language reads:
When using two lines in Dual SIM mode, 5G data isn’t supported on either line and will fall back to 4G LTE. If customers are using eSIM only and are on a 5G-supported carrier and service plan, they’ll have 5G access.
This true? We should know as soon as folks with Dual SIM setup get their iPhones 12 and can test this.
Even if true, it sounds like this is a temporary issue:
On the bright side, this incompatibility could be a software issue, and therefore something Apple could resolve down the line. Indeed, the Reddit user who posted the above image claims that an update coming later in 2020 will enable 5G when using a Dual SIM mode.
It was a day of love the HomePod and newly announced HomePod mini as Dave and I review the announcements from Apple’s event. We also talked about the new iPhone 12, of course, looking at the similarities of each model and which iPhone might be right for you.
The most powerful, versatile, and colorful iPad Air ever is here. Starting today, alongside the new iPhone 12, customers can order the all-new iPad Air, with availability beginning Friday, October 23. Offered in five gorgeous finishes, iPad Air features an all-screen design with a larger 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display, camera and audio upgrades, a new integrated Touch ID sensor in the top button, and the powerful A14 Bionic for a massive boost in performance, making this by far the most powerful and capable iPad Air ever made.
I can’t wait to get my hands on an iPad. We’ve been waiting for this day since it was announced, so go get one.
I set the headline link up to compare the iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and the iPhone 11 Pro, side-by-side.
Note the slider in the upper right which will resize all selected phones proportionately. There’s also a Credit Card Object, also resizable. This should let you resize until the size of the objects on the screen match your real life credit card or phone.
Apple’s new iPhone 12 line will be able to access faster wireless charging speeds of 15W in line with the most up-to-date Qi standard, but there’s a catch: you’ll have to use Apple’s new MagSafe brand of charger or a MagSafe-compatible one from a third-party accessory maker.
Yup, only MagSafe gets the full 15W. So if someone did come up with a magnet case for older phones, they’d likely solve the click-in-place problem, but not sure they could offer access to the faster charging.
Intercom will enable family members to communicate with each other wherever they are in the home, with the ability to send and receive spoken messages via HomePod speakers. If a family member is in the garden or away from home, they can still use Intercom on their iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and even CarPlay.
No mention of Mac there. From Apple’s official HomePod mini release, in the section called “Smart Home Controls and New Intercom System”, there’s no mention of the Mac.
When it comes to the iPhone 12, AT&T is getting aggressive to both court new customers and keep existing ones locked in to its network. On Tuesday, the day of the latest Apple event, the nation’s third-largest wireless provider announced new deals tied to Apple’s latest device that enable both new and current customers to get the new iPhone for free.
To get the deal, new and existing customers will need to buy the device on an AT&T 30-month installment plan, subscribe to a recent AT&T Unlimited plan and trade in an iPhone 8 or later (or any device that AT&T values at $95 or more) in “working condition.” AT&T’s recent unlimited plans — called Unlimited Starter, Extra and Elite — are required to access the carrier’s 5G network, with those on older plans capped at 4G LTE.
5G is the Wild West right now. Different carriers, different experiences. And the vast amount of customers do not have a 5G phone, do not have a service plan that includes 5G data. The carrier war for these customers is just getting started.
Aggressive deals like this are even rarer at the launch of hotly anticipated new devices like the latest iPhones. Installment plans, however, are a good way to keep people tied to a network and push them toward newer plans. If you switch carriers before the 30 months are up, the discounts stop and the remaining balance owed becomes due (though currently most carriers will pay off any installment fees owed when you switch).
If you plan on buying an iPhone 12, especially one that preorders this week, might be worth your time to check with your existing carrier to see if there’s a deal for you to stay.
HomePod can be used as an alarm clock replacement to wake you up in the morning or remind you of something, and soon HomePod owners with an Apple Music subscription should be able to set alarms on the smart speaker that play their favorite songs instead of the default alarm sound.
Changes uncovered by MacRumors in the latest HomePod beta software reveal that Apple Music subscribers will soon be able to do just that.
The beta software includes a revised interface for adding alarms to HomePod in the Home app that provides a choice of playing a tone or media as the alarm sound.
Tiny, welcome new feature. Nice to see HomePod getting more attention. Looking forward to what else the HomePod team has up its sleeve.
With the release of the HomePod mini at Apple’s event today, many people have been asking if you can pair the mini with the original HomePod.
The short answer is no. You can’t make a stereo pair of a HomePod and a HomePod mini. You can make a stereo pair of two HomePods or two HomePod minis, but you can’t mix and match the two products.
Now, if you have a HomePod and a HomePod mini in your house, they will work together so you can play music throughout the house or use the intercom feature. So, they do work together.
There is an update coming for HomePod that will add features announced today as part of the HomePod mini launch. Those new features include Intercom from one HomePod to another, personal update, Maps continuity, multiuser support for Podcasts, support for third-party music services as they become available.
A new feature is coming for only for the HomePod that will add an immersive home theater experience when paired with an Apple TV 4K. To get the 5.1, 7.1 surround, and Dolby Atmos, you need to pair one or two HomePod speakers to the Apple TV. This feature requires the spatial sound support of HomePod, so it isn’t available for the HomePod mini.
You can’t have a HomePod and HomePod mini connected to Apple TV simultaneously, but you can have two HomePod minis connected to Apple TV to create stereo sound. That’s a great option if you’re not interested in the new home theater experience.
Apple had a big day, announcing four new iPhone models and a HomePod mini at its virtual event this morning. There’s certainly a lot to like about all of the products, but let’s start with the iPhone.
All iPhone models are packed with features, with only a few saved for the higher-end Pro and Pro Max models. That means that no matter which iPhone you choose, you will get a lot of new features and power.
All models come with 5G, Ultra Wide and Wide cameras, the ability for Dolby Vision HDR video, the A14 Bionic chip, Ceramic Shield front, compatibility with MagSafe accessories, and plenty more features.
Some of the higher-end models’ pro features include the ability to shoot Dolby Vision HDR at up to 60 fps instead of 30 fps, 4X optical zoom instead of 2x, longer battery life, and a LiDAR Scanner, among others.
Of course, the screen sizes varies too, ranging from 5.4-inches on the iPhone 12 mini to 6.7-inches on the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
One of the features that people seem most excited about is 5G, and on the surface, it offers some incredible performance bumps. Sadly, not all 5G networks are the same, which may explain why Apple choose to have Verizon on stage at this morning’s event.
With Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network, you can reach incredible speeds, but it’s not available everywhere just yet. If you’re not in one of the cities with Ultra Wideband or you’re with another carrier, you may see speeds just a bit faster than what you currently have on LTE.
This isn’t an Apple problem; it’s a carrier problem. If you’re on AT&T like me, you’ve seen the horrendous marketing hype of 5Ge and other things they do to trick you into believing you’re getting the latest technology. I’ll be honest, I’m sick of it, but hating on AT&T is for another article.
The latest batch of iPhones ensures one thing: there is an iPhone for everyone. If you like the smaller form factor, the iPhone 12 mini is the perfect iPhone. For those that want the largest screen, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is a beast that will give you all of the best features with the largest screen available.
There is enough of a difference in price and features to make the choice of your next iPhone fairly simple. No matter which one you choose, you’ll get the same base features mentioned above. If you need LiDAR or a better camera, you can move up a level and get those options. If not, you have a powerful device that will suit your needs perfectly.
I have a HomePod in my living room and use it all the time. The sound is magnificent and plenty loud for the space it’s in (and I crank up my Ozzy and Van Halen, believe me).
However, when I saw the HomePod mini during the event, I smiled. I need several of those for the rest of the house, and at $99, it won’t break the bank to get them.
Being familiar with the sound quality of the HomePod, I do not doubt that Apple packed enough technology into the mini that it will sound great as well.
If you put two minis in a room, they will create a stereo pair, making the sound even better. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do that with my HomePod and a mini, though. I’ll follow up with Apple on that.
HomePod is also one of the only devices where I haven’t had any issues using Siri. As I mentioned before, this is probably because HomePod limits what Siri can do on the device, so Siri can control it fairly easily.
The new intercom system looks very interesting too.
A new Intercom feature offers a quick and easy way for family members to connect with each other at home. One person can send an Intercom message from one HomePod to another — whether in a different room, a specific zone, or multiple rooms throughout the home — and their voice will automatically play on the designated HomePod speaker. Intercom works with iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, and CarPlay, so everyone in the household can get Intercom notifications and send Intercom messages from the backyard or on their way home.
I can’t see any missteps in the products Apple released today. From iPhones to HomePod mini and the MagSafe accessories, the company seems to have given the market exactly what it needed.
Apple today announced iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, introducing a powerful 5G experience and advanced technologies that push the boundaries of innovation for users who want the most out of iPhone. iPhone 12 Pro models feature a new design and edge-to-edge Super Retina XDR displays, the largest ever on iPhone, protected by the all-new Ceramic Shield front cover, which provides the biggest jump in durability ever on iPhone. The Apple-designed A14 Bionic chip, the fastest chip in a smartphone, powers impressive computational photography features including the all-new Apple ProRAW for more creative control in photos, and enables the first end-to-end Dolby Vision video experience, up to 60 fps. The reimagined pro camera systems include an expansive Ultra Wide camera, a Telephoto camera with an even longer focal length on iPhone 12 Pro Max, and new Wide cameras to capture beautiful professional-quality images and video in bright and low-light environments. iPhone 12 Pro models also introduce a new LiDAR Scanner for immersive augmented reality (AR) experiences and MagSafe, which offers high-powered wireless charging and an all-new ecosystem of accessories that easily attach to iPhone.
To me, big discriminators between the Pro and the non-Pro line: Camera/ProRAW/Dolby Vision video, stainless vs aluminum finish, LiDAR, Super Retina XDR display. If those things have value to you (they do to me, especially the camera), go Pro.
iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max will be available in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB models in graphite, silver, gold, and pacific blue starting at $999 and $1,099, respectively.
As to availability:
iPhone 12 Pro pre‑order starting at 5:00 a.m. PDT this Friday, available starting one week from Friday
iPhone 12 Pro Max pre-order starting at 5:00 a.m. PDT November 6th, available November 13th
As to 5G:
Featuring the most 5G bands on any smartphone, iPhone 12 Pro models offer the broadest 5G coverage worldwide. Models in the US support millimeter wave, the higher frequency version of 5G, allowing iPhone 12 Pro models to reach speeds up to 4Gbps, even in densely populated areas. iPhone 12 Pro models also feature Smart Data mode, which extends battery life by intelligently assessing 5G needs and balancing data usage, speed, and power in real time.
Not clear to me that there is any difference between 5G on the iPhone 12 models and the iPhone 12 Pro models.
Apple today unveiled iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini with 5G technology, ushering in a new era for the world’s best smartphone. The newly designed iPhone 12 models feature expansive edge-to-edge Super Retina XDR displays for a brighter, more immersive viewing experience, and a new Ceramic Shield front cover, providing the biggest jump in durability ever on iPhone. The Apple-designed A14 Bionic, the fastest chip in a smartphone, powers every experience on iPhone 12, and coupled with an advanced dual-camera system, delivers meaningful new computational photography features and the highest quality video in a smartphone. iPhone 12 models also introduce MagSafe, offering high-powered wireless charging and an all-new ecosystem of accessories that easily attach to iPhone.
The lower end of today’s Apple iPhone 12 lineup, the mini and iPhone 12 both offer the A14 Bionic processor and 5G compatibility. Definitely a lot of value in this pairing.
These are the aluminum finishes, with your choice of colors: blue, green, black, white, and (PRODUCT)RED. The mini is 5.4″ and the iPhone 12 is 6.1″.
Both models feature a sleek new flat-edge design with an aerospace-grade aluminum enclosure and combined with the Ceramic Shield front cover, which goes beyond glass by adding a new high temperature crystallization step that grows nano-ceramic crystals within the glass matrix, increases drop performance by 4x.
The new Ceramic Shield and improved drop performance adds to that value, especially if you don’t use a case.
MagSafe improves wireless charging for a better, more efficient experience, and introduces an ecosystem of easy-to-attach accessories that beautifully complement iPhone 12 models.7 MagSafe delivers a unique experience to iPhone, featuring an array of magnets around the wireless charging coil, optimized for alignment and efficiency, that perfectly connects to iPhone every time. MagSafe chargers efficiently provide up to 15W of power, while still accommodating existing Qi-enabled devices.
MagSafe is a new ecosystem, including a MagSafe charger and a MagSafe Wallet. Both are ideally suited to the iPhone 12 and Apple’s iPhone 12 cases. According to Apple’s web site, the MagSafe Wallet is compatible with all 4 iPhone 12 models. In the paragraph above, it says “while still accommodating existing Qi-enabled devices”. Thinking that last means you’ll get the charge, but maybe not the magnetic snap?
Apple today unveiled HomePod mini, the newest addition to the HomePod family that delivers impressive sound, the intelligence of Siri to get things done, and a smart home experience that offers comfort and convenience without complexity. At just 3.3 inches tall, HomePod mini is packed with innovative technologies and advanced software that together enable computational audio to deliver breakthrough audio quality wherever it is placed. HomePod mini will be available in white and space gray at a great price of just $99.
Great pricing. Preorders start on November 6th, shipping starts November 16th.