As noted by The Next Web, U.S. carrier Verizon Wireless aired a new iPhone 4S commercial featuring actor Samuel L. Jackson and Siri, the company’s virtual assistant for the iPhone 4S. Remarkably similar to Apple’s own ads in terms of style and message, the ad places Siri front and center, showcasing various functionalities of the software. Samuel L. Jackson asks his assistant to cancel appointments, create reminders, look up locations, and convert units to prepare for his “date night”. At the end of the commercial, the actor ironically asks Siri to take the night off, to which Siri replies “if you say so”.
Even more ironically, as depicted in the screenshots above, Siri really does reply to that command with a series of different answers.
Verizon Wireless’ official YouTube channel hasn’t been updated yet with the new commercial, and it’s not clear whether Apple’s official ad agency Chiat\Day may have been involved in the creation of the ad. You can check out an official embed after the break.
Update: It appears a full “Siri and celebrities” ad campaign is going live today. Another ad featuring actress Zooey Deschanel just aired as well, for carrier Sprint. It also seems like the same ads are airing with different carriers logo at the end, confirming the Samuel L. Jackson ad wasn’t simply a Verizon Wireless commercial, as initially suggested.
Update 17/4: Apple just posted the official versions of the ads on its website and YouTube channel. Find them below, or on Apple’s website (Date Night, Rainy Day).
It certainly doesn’t have the flair and emotional connection of one of Apple’s iPad adverts, but Verizon has aired its own iPad 2 commercial, promoting the use of the device with their 3G network. It highlights a few specific iPad features that are made functional with Verizon’s network such as downloading a new book from iBooks at the beach and tweeting at a campsite. Consistent with other Verizon adverts, specific mention is also made towards the end of the advert of Verizon’s network coverage across the US, stating that it is “America’s largest and most reliable network”.
Salesperson: It’s faster, thinner and lighter and with the power of Verizon you can stay connected almost anywhere. Lets say you want to download a best-seller at the beach. Done. Or if you want to stay connected when your miles away from WiFi. No problem! You can even tweet when you’re nowhere near your followers… and you can post pictures too! So what do you think?
Customer: I’ll take it.
Narrator: The iPad 2, on America’s largest and most reliable network. Verizon.
Jump the break to have a watch of the Verizon iPad commercial for yourself, as well as one of Apple’s own iPad adverts, to see for yourself some of the differences. [via 9to5 Mac]
As noted by ZDNet, Verizon reported its second quarter earnings today, delivering strong results and reporting revenue of $27.53 billion. The company added 1.3 million postpaid customers, with data revenues up 22.2 percent year-over-year and 189,000 FiOS Internet and 184,000 FiOS TV net additions. As with the iPhone, the earnings reveal Verizon activated 2.3 million iPhone 4 units in the second quarter, a 100,000 units increase from the 2.2 million iPhone 4s they activated in the previous quarter after roughly two months of availability in the US since the February 10 launch.
Verizon’s relatively flat growth rate with activated iPhone units doesn’t surprise when compared to AT&T’s similar trend – AT&T activated 3.6 million iPhones in the last two quarters. The difference, however, is that Verizon only has access to the CDMA iPhone 4, both in black and white, whereas AT&T sells both the black/white iPhone 4 and the older iPhone 3GS model, which is still on sale and considered a good entry option for new iPhone users that don’t want to spend a ful $200 on an iPhone 4 with a two-year contract. AT&T’s offer is diversified, Verizon Wireless doesn’t have a cheaper iPhone 3GS to sell to its customers.
Moreover, with increasing rumors of a new iPhone coming out in September (allegedly confirmed by Apple’s “product transition for the September quarter” revealed at the Q3 earnings call), it’s likely customers are holding off new purchases (and thus, contracts) as they wait for a new device to become available in the Fall. The iPhone 5 has been rumored to have worldphone capabilities with an integrated GSM/CDMA chip, and most recent speculation has also claimed Apple could be considering a new, cheaper iPhone to sell off contract at less than $200 to attract the masses of the pre-paid market.
[ZDNet - PRNewswire]
Reports surfaced earlier today indicated Apple was in the process of recalling Verizon iPad 2 models that were being shipped from China (where they’re made) to the United States, leading to speculation that faulty units had been produced by Foxconn. In a brief note to All Things Digital, however, Apple has confirmed that they have recalled an “extremely small” number of Verizon iPad 2 due to a problem with device identifiers, otherwise known as ”mobile equipment identifiers” (MEIDs), which play a key role when setting up a new iPad for cellular data activation. Due to a problem with Verizon flashing the same MEID on different iPads, users could run into the impossibility of activating their device as it’s already registered on the carrier’s network.
Duplicate MEID numbers were flashed onto an extremely small number of iPad 2 units for the verizon 3G network,” an Apple representative said on Friday.
Although most of the small number of devices involved were still in the process of hitting the market, a few had already found their way into customers’ hands.
Some iPad 2 customers have reported receiving credits and free accessories as a compensation for the delay, although Apple hasn’t issued an official statement or policy in regards to this recall. It is also unclear what the company will do for those customers who have already got their hands on a Verizon iPad 2 with the wrong MEID, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if Apple contacted this small number of people to issue a full refund or send a new unit free of charge.
In a lengthy report published earlier today, TechnoBuffalo shares some of the interesting details behind the launch of the Verizon iPhone 4, which went on sale in the United States in February. In the months leading to the launch of the CDMA device, speculation was running wild on the Internet as to whether Apple was really ending AT&T exclusivity to release an updated version of the iPhone to support Verizon Wireless’ CDMA infrastructure; citing a source “close to the action”, TechnoBuffalo says only top executives at Verizon knew about the device, which internally used to be mentioned as “ACME device” to avoid other employees would hear the “iPhone” name and leak information outside of the company. Public testing of the CDMA iPhone 4 began at Apple Stores (and obviously, Apple’s own campus, where Steve Jobs said they had installed Verizon and AT&T towers) six months ahead of the official launch, meaning in summer 2010 shortly after the release of the AT&T iPhone.
Though key employees and executives were in the loop, everyone else at the carrier knew little more than the rest of the public. And it would seem the higher ups wanted to keep it that way. No one talked about the Apple smartphone externally, and even internally, it was still a hush-hush operation. In fact, says the source, the word “iPhone” was never uttered; only its codename was referenced: It was called the “ACME” device.
Between NDAs to sign, corporate secrets and internal discussions about field-testing and cooperation with Apple, the most interesting tidbit details how, rather than installing geo-location software (like Find my iPhone) on the prototypes to make sure they wouldn’t end up in the wrong hands (as the AT&T iPhone 4 did), Verizon testers were required to text a PIN code every 12 hours as a confirmation the device was being used internally for testing purposes only.
Our source describes a unique protocol requiring staffers to text a secret PIN code to a dedicated phone number every 12 hours. This served as ongoing confirmation that the handset was still in the proper hands. So no PIN code, no functionality.
Unlike the original iPhone 4, Apple managed to keep the Verizon iPhone closely under wraps until the official announcement, not even allowing Verizon to tease anything at CES 2011 in Las Vegas a few weeks before. The security measures taken by Apple to ensure devices were only used internally are particularly interesting, and a sign Apple must have reconsidered its testing process after the AT&T iPhone got leaked to Gizmodo.com in Spring 2010, months before the WWDC announcement.
Verizon has been a leaky faucet lately, with our first real bit of insight into Apple’s strategy coming in April where CFO Fran Shammo spoke about a global iPhone hitting shelves at the same time as their competitors. The idea of a dual-mode phone was “reiterated” again by Shammo at Reteurs’ technology summits: to be clear, the idea that Verizon would launch a dual-mode, GSM/CDMA capable model alongside AT&T would give it equal footing when customers decide on a carrier. Shammo offered further clarity that the iPhone probably won’t be an LTE device, noting, ”It’s a bigger issue for Apple than it is for us.” Apple is focused on providing an iPhone that works globally at the moment, rather than focusing on LTE technologies. Verizon themselves aren’t concerned about the lack of LTE on the next iPhone, given that they already have a slew of Android devices that offer their functionality if consumers desire it.
Along with iPhone plans, Shammo also said family plans would get shared data plans after the switch to tiered pricing. An end to unlimited on-device data plans was still on track for the summer, but he said it was sure Verizon would have “mega-plans” where a certain number of devices had a larger pool of data.
If you’re planning on getting an unlimited plan under Verizon, your switch from AT&T to the big red may not matter once Verizon adopts tiered pricing. Likely to be competitive with AT&T who’re currently offering 2GB of data for $25 a month, Verizon may also offer customers buying multiple phones a discount, and that mega-plans may offer incentives such as the ability to ‘borrow’ plans from other 3G devices (read: free tethering).
The next iPhone is rumored to be on track for an improved camera, bigger display, and an A5 processor. Apple should currently be in the process of ramping down iPhone 4 shipments (expecting to ship 2 million less in Q2) as the new batch of next generation iPhones are scheduled to begin production in August. The next iPhone will also likely feature an 8 MP Sony camera, as well as sporting a new design with relocated flash. All of us are going to be incredibly anxious as it’s unlikely Apple will launch a new iPhone in June or July, but I’m guessing September is looking like it’ll be bigger than we expected.
[Reuters via Electronista]
When the iPad went on sale just over a year ago, many were unsure of what people would use it for and the uncertainty has largely continued to today, where it is still a little vague as to how a tablet fits into people’s lives. Yesterday however, Business Insider published some fascinating data on a whole range of questions that surround the iPad and how it is used. The data was collated after Business Insider issued an extensive survey, on a wide variety of issues and questions, to more than 850 people.
Their survey revealed that for about 70% of respondents, there was only 1 iPad in their household and only about 23% has 2 in the one household – less than 7% had 3 or more iPads in their household. Nearly 40% had downloaded between 20 and 50 apps, whilst 30% had downloaded more than 50 apps – with few paying for more than 20 of those apps and only 6% paying for none. Below are some of the other more interesting results but jump over to The Atlantic for all the results.
- 87.4% did not even consider an Android tablet before buying an iPad and 90% would not consider a BlackBerry PlayBook or HP TouchPad
- The number of people with WiFi-only or the 3G iPad is fairly evenly split (52% to 48%)
- Only 49% subscribe to a monthly 3G data plan (of those who have a 3G iPad)
- 40% use the iPad as their primary computer
- The most cited reasons for use of the iPad are; web browsing (35%), using social or communication apps (22%), watching video (12%), playing games (12%) and using all other apps (20%)
- For consuming news, 38% would use the iPad’s web browser, 34% would use a news site’s app and 28% would use an aggregator like Reeder or Flipboard.
- 72% read e-books on the iPad, mostly on iBooks but Kindle is a close second
According to 9to5 Mac, Apple is preparing to implement the capability for users to get over-the-air OS updates for the iPhone from iOS 5. Android and HP/Palm’s webOS users have long had the convenience of having OS updates pushed to their phone as soon as an update is available. Whereas users of iOS devices have had to resort to manually connecting the device to their computer with iTunes where it is downloaded and then installed.
9to5 Mac claims that multiple sources have said to them that the new feature will debut in iOS 5, allowing any subsequent updates to be pushed to the device. According to their sources, Apple has been discussing the feature with Verizon since early this year and are hoping to reach an agreement with them. Although it isn’t known whether other carriers internationally, or even AT&T in the US, have been approached by Apple over the feature.
Apple clearly has the fundamental technology for over-the-air updates working because the Apple TV (iOS version from late last year) is able to update itself without any computer connection. However there are two fundamental stumbling blocks before over-the-air updates could be seen to be feasible. Current updates are over 600MB, which is a substantial size to be downloading over any 3G connections. To get carriers to be happy with allowing the updates, let alone achieving an agreement with them to exclude them from any download caps, Apple would have to substantially trim that size down. The second issue is that of backups, currently before an update is installed, iTunes will create a back-up in case of a failed update. A cloud based back-up system is the obvious, but perhaps complex, solution to this issue.
Following the article, several people in the jailbreaking scene made some comments about the feasibility of over-the-air updates. In particular, @chronic and @chpwn make comments that a lot of the code required for over-the-air updates have already made their way into iOS4. For example, the MobileSoftwareUpdate.framework is in all iOS4 devices but has only been “fleshed out” on the Apple TV.
[Via 9to5 Mac]
Research group NPD released its Mobile Phone Track consumer tracking service for the first quarter of 2011 today, and according to the data gathered by the company the release of the Verizon iPhone helped Apple gaining market share in the U.S. smartphone market at the expense of Google’s Android operating system which, however, in spite of Apple’s growth is still accounting for 50% of smartphone sales in the United States in the quarter. Apple’s mobile phone sales have reached 14% in Q1 outranking RIM, Motorola and HTC, placing the company in the third spot of smartphone sales behind Samsung and LG. NPD claims the Verizon iPhone “solidified” Apple’s position with the top-selling phone in the US — something that doesn’t come as a total surprise considering Verizon Wireless already announced the CDMA iPhone 4 launch was the most successful ever for the company, with 2.2 million activations in 2 months for the “most acquired” smartphone in February.
Apple and Verizon had a very successful launch of the iPhone 4, which allowed the iPhone to expand its market share that was previously held back by its prolonged carrier exclusivity with AT&T,” said Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis at NPD. “While some of that growth came at the expense of Android operating system (OS), Android models still accounted for half of all smartphones sold in the quarter.”
According to NPD’s “Mobile Phone Track” consumer tracking service, for the first time a majority (54 percent) of all new mobile-phone handsets purchased by U.S. consumers were smartphones. Driven by increases in smartphone sales in Q1 2011, average selling prices for all mobile phones rose 2 percent over the previous quarter to reach $102; however, average prices for smartphones actually declined by 3 percent (falling to $145).
While Android lost ground for the first time since Q2 2009, a report by Digitimes earlier today about Pegatron’s Q1 results suggested Apple was lowering orders for CDMA iPhone following low sales under expectations. Verizon Wireless announced 2.2M activations, but Apple didn’t disclose numbers behind AT&T and Verizon iPhone sales at the Q2 2011 earnings call.