For a while now, there have been rumors and speculation that AT&T was considering reducing its data plan by $10 per month in an attempt to be more competitive with other carriers. Today AT&T officially put the kibosh on that scuttlebutt, which is how I write once the cocktail hour kicks in on Friday. Says an AT&T spokesman, “We’ve been very happy with our pricing.”
Leaked photos have surfaced showing off the iPhone’s new firmware upgrades, which include:
- multimedia messaging
- horizontal typing
- video and voice recording an
- a camera autofocus that lets you select your point of focus by tapping your finger on the touch screen
More photos at the Apple 2.0. blog.
All the outrage over Sling Media’s iPhone app—which would have only worked with the latest Slingbox models—may have been moot. Boy Genius Report says they’ve received a tip that AT&T asked Apple to kill the app due to concerns about potential bandwidth drain. Update: JosephFinn points out that the tip is likely fake, as the IP address came from a prison. [IntoMobile]
The iPhone blog says that AT&T is going to start contacting iPhone owners who aren’t using an official iPhone data plan and force them to sign up for one. The crackdown supposedly starts tomorrow in the Atlanta and Austin markets, and expands nationwide by the end of the month.
Yesterday’s post about Borders closing down its unprofitable CD and DVD sections prompted a tip from the owner of a small music label. He says his distributor has already cut off shipments to Borders once for nonpayment (in November 2008), and on Monday the distributor warned labels that they’ll have to agree not to hold him “liable on any future shipments to Borders in case they file for bankruptcy.” Borders’ CFO left in January, which is rarely a good sign for a troubled company. And this morning, the Detroit Free Press notes that the bookseller is facing being delisted from the New York Stock Exchange. We may not have to wait long to find out; CEO Ron Marshall is hosting a conference call with analysts and investors next week.
We received this tip from an alleged Borders employee today. According to this person, if you saw some yellow discount tags of 30% off DVDs and CDs in your local Borders store this weekend, it’s a sign that they’re closing out those sections except for top sellers. Expect to see much steeper discounts in the coming weeks. The full tip is copied below.
TechCrunch has published a damning rumor accusing the social music site Last.fm of helping the RIAA find users who downloaded leaked copies of U2’s new album. Relying on a tip, TechCrunch claims that the Last.fm, a subsidiary of CBS, handed over a “giant dump of user data to track down people who are scrobbling unreleased tracks.”
IntoMobile says that there’s a leaked screenshot going around that suggests new pricing due March 1st from T-Mobile. Among the new plans: $50/month for unlimited anytime minutes, and family plans starting at $90/month with additional lines at $40/month. There’s also a rumored $135 credit if you add a line and move a number over from another carrier. Is it true? We’ll know in about a week.
This is rumor only, folks, but a tipster tells us that JC Penney plans on closing 11 stores this year, and that they’re freezing salaries on all employees. The retailer isn’t doing as badly as some of its competitors—it has no debt maturing in 2009, for example, and plans to have $2 billion in cash on hand at the end of this month—but considering CEO Mike Ullman has said he’s planning business conservatively for 2009, it wouldn’t be that surprising if it turns out to be true.
Ryan pointed us to an article on Orbitcast about a rumored fee hike by Sirius XM. The increases appear to be for services that aren’t strictly protected by the FCC agreement, which is why they would legally be able to do this despite promises that they wouldn’t raise rates for 36 months after the merger.
We received a tip today that Bank of America supposedly plans to close nearly all of its customers’ credit cards on October 1st, but the only source we can find for this rumor is a single post at iReport.com, CNN’s public journalism free-for-all. Everything else online that mentions this is traced back to that one short post. So, until we find out more, we’re going to say this one is bunk—and a great example of how wild rumors can pop up during desperate times. (Thanks to Joseph!)
There’s a heated debate going on over at a blog called “Cake Wrecks” about whether or not this cake can possibly be “real.” We’re feeling extremely skeptical ourselves, but the blog’s author swears up and down that the pictures came from a real (outraged) bride who really hired a member of the family who was supposed to be a “professional with tons of experience” to make her wedding cake.
At the risk of inviting another pointless “this pizza is better than that pizza” debate in the comments, we feel it is necessary to inform you that Uno has run into some nasty looking debt problems and some people are speculating that they may be the next restaurant chain to go under.
The Wall Street Journal would have you believe that devastated Starbucks-lovers all over this nation are launching campaigns to try to save their “beloved” Starbucks. We’re not entirely sure that we believe this based on the single example given in the article, but we’ll play along…
Behold! A map of the Starbucks locations that are rumored to be closing. If you know of a location that’s getting the ax, you can submit your information to the Seattle Times. [Seattle Times via Starbucks Gossip]
MarketWatch says that Wal-Mart is “very interested in expanding into installation and repair services in its fast-growing electronics segment.”
What does the XM-Sirius satellite radio merger mean for XM customers? Well, according to one customer service rep, it means mean prices are going to roughly double in May. Here’s what she said to one of our tipsters:
This is strictly confidential, but all the paperwork is signed and ready to go, and XM has fully acquired Sirius Radio. Come May, there will be a substantial price increase for XM Radio, as it will, in June or so, host all the Sirius channels. It would be best to simply extend your XM plan as we will honor your current contract price per month before we begin hosting the Sirius stations.
The tipster said he believed she said the price was going to double. Perhaps the customer service rep just wanted to score a renewal, but if true, it would certainly at least be ironic considering when the DOJ approved the deal was they said, “the evidence did not show that the merger would enable the parties to profitably increase prices to satellite radio customers.” However, reader comments on this post and this post over at Orbitcast say this customer service rep is full of pure baloney.