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  • Switched On: The why of the 'i' buy

    Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about consumer technology.

    DNP Switched On The why of the 'i' buy

    For the past few years, the media has met iPhone introductions with skepticism that precedes great sales success. This has become such a cliché that the superstitious might worry what would happen should new iPhones be introduced to universal praise. But there was no cause for worry as far as the iPhone 5c and 5s were concerned. In the weekend following their initial availability, Apple reported that it sold 9 million iPhones, which set a new record for the company.

    A few of the reasons behind this success likely had less to do with the strength of the product per se. The new iPhones were launched in 11 countries as opposed to nine in the previous launch. The fast-growing market of China was one of those. It was also the first launch to include Japan’s NTT DoCoMo. And back in the U.S. this marked the first time that new iPhones had been launched on all four major US carriers — a significant shift from the product’s first years as an AT&T exclusive. In fact, T-Mobile, the newest carrier to participate in an iPhone debut, has been particularly aggressive about promoting its Jump service that encourages upgrades, and its competitors have introduced their own upgrade-facilitation programs that grease the upgrade wheels for Apple and others.

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  • Orbital Sciences becomes second private firm to resupply the ISS

    Orbital Sciences becomes second private firm to resupply the ISS

    More than four years after winning a contract (along with Space X) to resupply the International Space Station, Orbital Sciences has finally docked its Cygnus capsule with the space outpost. The achievement makes it the second private outfit to have run a resupply mission to the station, with Musk and Co. beating them to the punch last October. Achieving the rendezvous with the ISS didn’t go without a hitch, however: a data format bug delayed the planned September 22nd berthing until a software fix was applied. Once Monday morning rolls around, the craft’s hatch will be opened to reach 1,300 pounds worth of supplies, which include clothing, food and student experiments. In 30 days’ time, the cargo vessel will detach and head for a destructive reentry over the Pacific Ocean.

    [Image credit: NASA, Instagram]

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    Source: NASA, Orbital Sciences

  • BlackBerry starts selling unlocked Q10 and Z10 phones through its US site

    BlackBerry now directly selling unlocked Q10 and Z10 smartphones

    It has been possible to snag an unlocked BlackBerry Q10 or Z10 in the US for a while if you’ve been willing to search around, but you now won’t have to. BlackBerry has quietly begun selling unrestricted GSM variants of the two smartphones through its US site at prices of $449 for a Z10 and $549 for a Q10. Either device remains LTE-capable, and both should play nicely with AT&T and T-Mobile. The direct sales aren’t likely to attract many converts, but they should help American fans who may have a tough time finding a BlackBerry in stores.

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    Via: N4BB

    Source: ShopBlackBerry.com

  • Verizon Wireless website reportedly allowing users to keep unlimited data plans while upgrading

    Verizon Wireless website reportedly allowing users to keep unlimited data plans while upgrading

    Apparently, now is the time to upgrade your Verizon phone if you want to keep your grandfathered unlimited data plan in tact. According to tips we’ve received, along with reports from Droid-Life and Android Central, the aforementioned type of users are not being forced into a tiered Max data plan during the upgrade process. There doesn’t seem to be any bit of trickery required to make it happen either — folks just go through usual upgrade motions to get a brand new phone on subsidy, and come out with an order confirmation that has all-you-can-eat data still onboard (see above). We’ve reached out to Verizon to find out whether this is an issue with its website or a shift in policy, and will post an update if we hear more. Let us know your results if you’re brave enough to try it out.

    [Thanks to Minji and everyone who sent this in.]

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