With new data suggesting T-Mobile may soon nip at Sprint's heels to become the nation's third place carrier, Re/code reported Wednesday that the magenta network is about to launch yet another Uncarrier initiative, inviting the media to an event in Los Angeles on June 18. “We don’t play it safe and sound," the invitation reads, offering few clues as to what brash CEO John Legere and company might have up their sleeve for the fifth time. But we've got plenty up our sleeve for today's recap, so strap in and read on!
Incipio Debuts New Focal Camera Case for iPhone 5/5s
Apple's iPhone 5s has been hailed as one of the best smartphone cameras around, so why not actually go all the way? Incipio announced the Focal Camera Case for iPhone 5/5s, a $69.99 two-piece, full-device case that literally converts the handset into a point-and-shoot digital camera, complete with physical shutter button, zoom control, no-slip grip and handy wrist strap for easy carrying. Available in black/black, white/titanium, white/light pink, green/black and black/gold, the Focal Camera Case uses Bluetooth LE to communicate with a free inCAMERA app for shooting and editing images, which Incipio bills as "the world's first app-enabled camera case."
Apple Debuts iPad Education Pricing, Japanese Carrier Versions
Perhaps feeling the pressure from Google's inexpensive Chromebooks, Apple is now offering educational pricing for the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina Display. MacRumors reported Wednesday that the iOS tablets are now discounted to $469 and $379 respectively through Apple's education channel, which is only available to K-12 and higher education students, faculty and staff. Apple also announced yesterday that new versions of the same iPad models with Xi LTE will be available to NTT DOCOMO customers in Japan starting Tuesday, June 10, with pre-registration kicking off June 2 from the DOCOMO website or dealers.
Amazon Confirms Hachette Dispute, Says It's Doing It for Customers
That Amazon-Hachette spat we reported on earlier this week? According to a Kindle forum post, Amazon has not only confirmed it's true, but elaborated on why it's taking place, and they claim to be doing it all for you. "When we negotiate with suppliers, we are doing so on behalf of customers," the Amazon Books team explained. "Negotiating for acceptable terms is an essential business practice that is critical to keeping service and value high for customers in the medium and long term." Sadly, the dispute over contract and terms appears to have no end in sight, with Amazon stating "we are not optimistic that this will be resolved soon."
Original Beats Design Firm Left Hanging in Wake of Apple Deal
There were likely plenty of champagne corks popping between Apple and Beats Electronics on Wednesday, but one now former Beats partner probably doesn't feel like celebrating. In a blog post, Ammunition founder Robert Brunner explained that Beats "will transition away" from his company over the next few months, after having designed all of the iconic products for Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre since 2006. "It’s tough to step down as Chief Designer for a brand I take so much pride in, but it certainly makes it easier knowing we are handing the reigns over to one of the world’s most successful design teams," Brunner added, referring to how new owner Apple will take over from here by designing future Beats products. Meanwhile, Ammunition will forge ahead by "welcoming the unknown opportunities that are waiting for us out there."
Pocket Debuts $5 Per Month Premium Plan with Permanent Library
Pocket announced Wednesday the launch of Pocket Premium, a new $5 per month subscription service that offers a number of intriguing features for heavy "read later" users. Also available with a 25 percent discount at $44.99 per year, Pocket Premium offers Permanent Library, which automatically stores a complete copy of all articles and web pages saved — even if they wind up being deleted from the web later on. Premium also adds full text, topic and tag search across all saved items and suggested tags for quicker organization. The latest update also delivers improvements for free and paid users including redesigned browser extensions and managing tags from a mobile device.