AT&T to Stop Offering Two-Year Phone Contracts Starting January 8

Starting on January 8, 2016, AT&T plans to introduce a „pricing simplification effort“ that will see the end of device subsidies and two-year contracts. According to an internal training document shared by Engadget, new and existing AT&T customers will only be able to purchase a smartphone at full price or with an AT&T Next payment plan going forward.

As outlined in the document, the new rules apply to all of the phones that AT&T sells, including smartphones and more basic devices, which will be paid for using new installment plans. More information on how AT&T will handle corporate accounts and non-smartphone devices like tablets and wearables will become available after an official announcement from AT&T, but it appears certain corporate users will be able to continue making two-year contract purchases.

The shift away from two-year contracts and iPhone subsidies began with T-Mobile in 2013, when the company introduced its Un-carrier payment plans uncoupling device costs from plan costs. Verizon followed suit in August of 2015, debuting new smartphone rate plans and eliminating its subsidized two-year contract option for new users.

Existing Verizon customers can still renew their two-year contracts, but AT&T’s no-contract implementation is more extreme and will not offer existing customers the option to keep their contracts once they expire.

AT&T has already been working on shifting away from two-year contracts by pushing its Next plans. In June of 2015, AT&T forced Apple and other third-party retailers to remove the option to purchase AT&T phones with a two-year contract, leaving customers with AT&T Next or a full-priced smartphone as their only third-party purchase options.

Update: AT&T has confirmed its plans to stop offering two-year contracts in a statement given to Re/code.

„With $0 down for well-qualified customers, the ability to upgrade early and down-payment options available with even lower monthly installments, our customers are overwhelmingly choosing AT&T Next,“ AT&T told Re/code. „Starting January 8, AT&T Next will be the primary way to get a new smartphone at AT&T.“

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AT&T to Stop Offering Two-Year Phone Contracts Starting January 8

Pro Tip: iPad Pro uses same keyboard shortcuts as your Mac

If you’re one of the lucky ones to get your hands on a big, beautiful iPad Pro, you might be surprised that many of the same OS X keyboard shortcuts, like the ones for cut, paste, find, etc., are available right on your new giant laptop replacement. The iPad Pro keyboard has a Command key […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Pro Tip: iPad Pro uses same keyboard shortcuts as your Mac

Apple Now Selling ‘Made for Apple Watch’ Lugs for Third-Party Bands

Apple has begun selling official Apple Watch lugs through authorized distributor Avnet that may only be used in third-party bands that adhere to the company’s Band Design Guidelines for Apple Watch. Apple-designed stainless steel lugs are each marked with „Made for Apple Watch“ laser etching to verify their authenticity.

The stainless steel lugs are available in 38mm and 42mm sizes and are compatible with all Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition models. However, at the time of publication, Space Gray, Space Black, Yellow Gold and Rose Gold lugs are not listed for sale.

Apple has published Apple Watch Lug Assembly Guidelines that provide accessory makers with step-by-step instructions and a list of required tools for assembly, including a Pentalobe 1.1 screwdriver bit and clamping device. The document also outlines proper screw installation for the lugs.

Avnet is selling Apple Watch lugs in sets of 25 or 200 in both 38mm and 42mm, with prices ranging between $278.75 and $1,866.00 per package and between $9.18 and $11.33 per individual set. The distributor is also selling the Pentalobe 1.1 screwdriver bit required for lug assembly for $12.65. All prices are listed in U.S. dollars.

Apple Watch Lugs – 38mm (25 sets)
Price Per Unit: $11.15 USD
Package Price: $278.75 USD

Apple Watch Lugs – 38mm (200 sets)
Price Per Unit: $9.18 USD
Package Price: $1,836.00 USD

Apple Watch Lugs – 42mm (25 sets)
Price Per Unit: $11.33 USD
Package Price: $283.25 USD

Apple Watch Lugs – 42mm (200 sets)
Price Per Unit: $9.33 USD
Package Price: $1,866.00 USD

Avnet currently estimates a shipping lead time of 2 weeks for all lug sets and pentalobe screwdriver bits. Opening a commercial account with Avnet is required to complete the ordering process. Avnet’s customer service team will contact customers within 24-48 business hours to complete the ordering process.



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Apple Now Selling ‘Made for Apple Watch’ Lugs for Third-Party Bands

Apple Renews Exclusive Rights to Liquidmetal Technologies’ Alloys

Apple has renewed its exclusive rights to use Liquidmetal Technologies’ unique metal alloys in its line of products, according to a document filed today with the SEC. The new agreement extends Apple’s relationship with Liquidmetal Technologies until February 5, 2016, and was initially signed on February 5, 2015.

On June 17, 2015, Liquidmetal Technologies, Inc. (the „Company“) and Apple Inc. („Apple“) entered into a third amendment (the „Third Amendment“) to the Master Transaction Agreement that was originally entered into on August 5, 2010 and amended on June 15, 2012 and May 17, 2014 (the „MTA“). Under the MTA and its first two amendments in 2012 and 2014, the Company was obligated to contribute to Crucible Intellectual Property, LLC, a special purpose subsidiary of the Company, all intellectual property acquired or developed by the Company from August 5, 2010 through February 5, 2015, and all intellectual property held by Crucible Intellectual Property, LLC was exclusively licensed on a perpetual basis to Apple for the field of use of consumer electronic products under the MTA.

Liquidmetal’s alloys are of interest to Apple and those who follow the company due to their unique properties including high strength, corrosion resistance, light weight, and malleability. Apple has used Liquidmetal’s technology to develop the SIM removal tool for the iPhone 3G, but no other confirmed use of the alloys is known.

Apple continues to work with Liquidmetal technology, as evidenced in an array of patents that have surfaced over the last several years, and the company has been rumored to be considering Liquidmetal for iOS device home buttons, touch sensors, and tamper-resistant screws.





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Apple Renews Exclusive Rights to Liquidmetal Technologies’ Alloys