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AT&T is expected to offer unlimited 3G calling for the iPhone for $20 or less using its new 3G MicroCell device. The device works in regions that are currently dead to AT&T's network.  (Source: Engadget Mobile)
There's lots of new developments concerning the nation's hottest smart phone

There are few major pieces of news to report with the iPhone.  The first is the new 3G MicroCell appliance from AT&T, a device that provides local 3G to the many spots across the nation that are dead to AT&T's 3G network.

The device has not yet received a price, but the rumors are already flying about a possible iPhone tie-inEngadget Mobile and others claim that AT&T will offer unlimited MicroCell iPhone calling for $20 a month.  Reportedly with AT&T Internet, the fee drops to $10 a month, and with AT&T Internet and landline service it goes away entirely.  Reportedly the device will also support 3G data and text message transmission under existing plans.

Currently, AT&T offers iPhone service plans for $60 for 450 daytime rollover minutes, $80 for 900, $100 for 1350, or $120 for unlimited.  Using the new service users may be able to save money by opting for a cheaper plan and calling from their home location.  It is unclear, though, whether the device would first burn through the users' rollover minutes, or whether it would start in unlimited mode.

At any rate, the device may at last prove a cure to the iPhone's perennial signal quality complaints.

The second big piece of iPhone news is that Apple has reportedly opened an investigation into why some users with OS v3.1-equipped iPhones are experiencing poor battery life.  Reportedly, AppleCare teams are emailing customers lists of 11 questions and an app that tracks and reports battery life to Apple.

One key issue is whether the battery life is truly bad, or whether the OS's battery indicator is merely faulty.  Describes one of the reported questions,"When you notice a power drop, does it seem to be a legitimate power drop, or rather an issue with the battery icon indicator?"

Apple is reportedly emailing users who complain about battery life on its forums.  The company is warning customers that install the application not to sync their phones as the battery logs it creates are very large.  They suggest disabling it after Apple has received their information.

Its unclear exactly when or how Apple might use the feedback to improve the iPhone's OS, but its certainly good to see the company taking action on this reported issue.

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Smart phones are the greatest rip off ever...
By Iaiken on 9/21/2009 2:17:17 PM , Rating: 4
$60 for 450 daytime rollover minutes, $80 for 900, $100 for 1350, or $120 for unlimited.

Now I pay $20 a month for my LG Chocolat with 450 daytime rollovers and unlimited nights and weekends. I've used a few of my friends iPhones and a few blackberries (from work) and I just don't believe that any of them are $720-$1200 a year worth of added value over my existing phone.

In the case of the blackberry I didn't care because it was through my work and they paid for everything. Heck, I even used it a fair amount during software releases or IT emergencies, but for the most part my personal cell phone is only ever used as a phone.

Instead, they've become these facetious status symbols and I really have to applaud the carriers on their marketing.

By WileCoyote on 9/21/2009 3:47:47 PM , Rating: 2
Instead, they've become these facetious status symbols and I really have to applaud the carriers on their marketing.

I use the iPhone to run my business - $150/month vs having to hire a secretary. Not a status symbol for everyone!

RE: Smart phones are the greatest rip off ever...
By omnicronx on 9/21/2009 4:06:19 PM , Rating: 4
Damn.. If you laid it out like that I would have bought an iPhone ages ago.. Nobody told me the iPhone returns your calls and tells your mother you are not there when you really are...

What kind of nonesense is this.. secretaries (or admin assistants as most like to be called now) do a hell of a lot more than answer phone calls and take messages. Heck even if you take what you are saying as true, from a business perspective a much cheaper BB can do a hell of a lot more than an iPhone.

Seems like nothing more than an excuse to me. You could have bought many other solutions with cheaper plans and cheaper phones, so apparently it is a status symbol, because it sure as heck was not a business only decision. If it was, remind me not to invest in your company..

RE: Smart phones are the greatest rip off ever...
By kmmatney on 9/21/2009 6:51:18 PM , Rating: 1
When I checked at the AT&T store for a business phone (small company), the Blackberries weren't any cheaper than the iPhone, and they weren't as easy to use. And what do you mean they can "do a whole lot more". I didn't see anything the BBs could do that the iPhone couldn't do. It is the other way around - the iPhones can do a whole lot more. Bottom line: The iPhone is a kick-ass phone - if it sucked no one would buy it.

I've never paid for my own cell phone, they've always been work provided, so I can't comment from a cost perspective. I have used several smartphones, and IMO the iPhone beats everything else hands-down. I really don't get the iPhone hate...

By mikeyD95125 on 9/21/2009 7:26:24 PM , Rating: 2
There is one thing that is a total deal breaker with the iphone for me, battery life. As long as it's charged the iphone is the best phone on the market. I have 2 friends who own them and it seems like everytime I want them to look something up on the internet or they want play a game they can't because their battery is about to die. What is the point of a phone that you can't even use for 24 hours. Sure it's a great product, for 6-7 hours a day. This bugs the hell out of me. But I obviously use my phone for different things than an iphone user.

By Alexstarfire on 9/21/2009 10:36:27 PM , Rating: 2
You musta missed the articles showing that the iPhone isn't very business friendly in terms of eMail support and server support. I'm glad your iPhone can calculate the tip you need to leave at the restaurant and tell you the flight schedule of a plane, but I fail to see how pretty much an app on the iPhone is going to help you with your business, especially over a BlackBerry.

By SunAngel on 9/22/2009 12:08:50 AM , Rating: 2
I don't find the battery life to be all that bad. Sure, if your running the display 24/7 or using a gps like google maps or at&t navigator and not using the dim feature the battery will get eaten away like a fat kid eating chocolate cake. But, overall if internet, game, and video playback is at moderate use you can reach 2 days on one charge.

Anyone constantly using their phone gaming or gps definitely should be plugged in to a charger. Heck, if your on your phone that much you need to be at a desk or using a landline somewhere. I'm sure travelers on "official business' don't have time to game and surf the web friviously. Talking a total of 3 hours a day the battery will last a whole week. Add in other things and that is when battery like drops dramatically.

I would a say 10 minutes of facebooking, 10 minutes of gaming, or 10 minutes of internet per hour plus 2 hours of talking should still net a 2-3 days before a charge is needed.

RE: Smart phones are the greatest rip off ever...
By dice1111 on 9/22/2009 8:37:32 AM , Rating: 2
I was an Apple hater, still kind am (PC's and such). HOWEVER, work got me an iPhone and I had to learn to love it and I truley have. I use my iPhone for business. It sinks up with my exchange server perfectly. E-mail, Calander and Contacts. That is all I need. Gmail, hotmail, and my ISP POP mail all work great as well.

I would like you to send me a link on an updated review of the e-mail trouble your refering to. I believe most of the bugs have been worked out. I have never have a problem in the last ~8 months with my phone.

Other then that, WinAdmin to log on to my PC remotley and I have my entire PC avaliable to me on my phone. Never mind the free Trapster ap (ap for telling me where speed traps and cop stops are located) alone has paid for my phone over and over again.

I've had a BB before and it was good, however, and I was very surprised myself, the iPhone blows it away. I've come to really like the thing. Bat life has never been a problem for me either.

Bottom line, this phone just works...

By omnicronx on 9/22/2009 2:30:34 PM , Rating: 1
Bottom line, this phone just works...
Ya well the exchange server admin sitting right behind you does not seem to agree (and is laughing at the thought of your comment). Every single person using a non 3GS phone (which was everyone but 1 person out of around 50) no longer has exchange support in OS 3.1 thanks to Apple hiding the fact they did not really support encryption on previous phones (it was a hack) and decided to completely disable this hack once they enabled true support on 3GS phones. My work is not just going to open up their network for a fraction of its users and I am sure many others businesses are in the same boat
E-mail, Calander and Contacts. That is all I need. Gmail, hotmail, and my ISP POP mail all work great as well.
*looks at his WinMo phone*.. hmm it appears I can do all of those things too. The iPhone is great and surpasses most other phones in overall functionality when you include the greatness of the appstore, but to say its some kind of super business tool makes me laugh. It can be a nightmare for admins, and does NOT always work correctly in a business environment. Quite the opposite actually.

On the otherhand, everyone in my office loves their BB, and I have no problem with exchange support on my WinMo phone (obviously). As a business tool pretty much any smartphone can do what you mention, you don't need an iPhone to carry out your day to day business.

By Hiawa23 on 9/22/2009 9:01:04 AM , Rating: 2
when Embarq stopped wireless service in August of this year, I checked into services & I couldn't believe what people were paying for the Iphone then the monthly plans. No wonder Apple's profits are so high. I went with Metro PCS, unlimited everything $40 plus taxes a month & has fine with that.

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