Apple Vets Carriers For 4G Performance Before Allowing iPhone 5 To Be Sold As An LTE Device


Apple wants to ensure that customer experience with its iPhone 5 lives up to what the company is promising, and it will take strong measures to do so, including telling carriers when they can and can’t make the phone’s LTE capabilities available to subscribers. Generally speaking, carriers test to ensure devices meet their own network standards, but Apple seems to be in a strong enough position to be able to reverse that relationship.

A new report from says that a spokesperson for operator Swisscom had confirmed earlier claims that Apple only flips on 4G LTE access on the iPhone 5 once the network has passed a number of stringent live tests. Swisscom launched its LTE network this week, but wasn’t able to make the iPhone 5 an LTE device right away, since Apple still has to test and then issue a carrier update setting. This report was backed up by an earlier claim from NorthStream founder and CEO Bengt Nordstrom, who had heard about the same policy separately, according to

Devices typically undergo carrier testing, to ensure it meets their standards. RIM is a good recent example; the smartphone maker has recently been promoting the fact that its BB10 devices are in the process of being carrier-tested at the moment. But Apple has a special relationship with carriers, once it has built carefully over the years, beginning with the exclusivity contract it arranged with AT&T at the iPhone’s original launch, which saw the device come to the network without any carrier branding, and without any pre-loaded carrier software.

Apple has effectively changed the balance of power when it comes to carrier/OEM relationships, and this is just another example of how much influence it wields. And for good reason: no other device manufacturer, with the exception now maybe of Samsung, exerts as much influence on a carrier’s fortunes. That’s why Sprint accepted a deal that meant it wouldn’t turn a profit on iPhone until 2015, according to CEO Dan Hesse, for instance.

In the end, this policy has a net benefit effect for Apple’s brand and for consumers, since it ensures a more consistent experience across iPhone 5 users, regardless of network choice. It might not be something that sits well with carriers, but for the foreseeable future, it’s an arrangement that Apple likely has sufficient influence to keep in place.

TechCrunch » Gadgets

A First Look At The 2012 21.5-inch iMac, And How It Compares To Generations Past

2012 iMac next to 2012 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro

The new iMac all-in-one desktop computer from Apple goes on sale today, and it includes a significant hardware redesign. Apple has cut bulk and thinned out the edges with a tapered design that is only 5 mm thick at the edge. Leaving aside what’s new under the hood, the case itself is impressive enough that it merits a good look. Here’s what the new 21.5-inch version of the iMac looks like, and how it stacks up to other Apple hardware, past and present.

21.5-inch 2012 iMac, front view. It’s hard to tell in pics, but the screen is very impressive. Images sit so close to the glass.

21.5-inch 2012 iMac, side view. you can see here how it tapers out to a relatively thick point where the hinge attaches to the stand.

21.5-inch 2012 iMac, from the back. Not much has changed here from the last generation. Ports, power button, etc all in the same place.

Thickness comparison, 2012 iMac and 13-inch 2012 Retina MacBook Pro. You can see the edge of the iMac is just slightly thicker than the MacBook’s lid.

2012 iMac next to 2012 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro. Apple’s design aesthetics are definitely still in tight lockstep between notebooks and desktops.

Edge comparison, 2011 MacBook Air and 2012 iMac. At its thinnest point, the MacBook Air is still thinner than the iMac’s edge, but just barely.

2008 20-inch iMac (left) next to 2012 21.5-inch iMac. My old kitchen workhorse comes out to show how much has changed in four years. Note the thickness of the stand on the older machine.

2008 iMac (right) and 2012 iMac (left) thickness comparison. The difference here is almost absurd.

2008 iMac (right) and 2012 iMac (left) top thickness comparison. That taper accounts for all the saved volume on the newer machine.

2011 iMac (left) thickness comparison to 2012 iMac (right). This is a comparison with the 2011 iMac released last summer. At their thickest point they’re close, if not the same at around 1.5-inches thick.

Close-up of Mail icon on 2012 iMac screen. It’s not a Retina display, but the further distance from the screen a user sits makes the difference harder to spot than on, say the iPad mini.

Close-up of Mail icon on 2012 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro. Here’s the comparison shot from Apple’s HiDPI Mac screen.

2012 iMac edge close-up. You can tell this is a precision-crafted machine.

iPhone 5 and 2012 iMac thickness comparison. Thinner than iPhone 5 at the outer edge.

iPad mini and 2012 iMac thickness comparison. These are pretty close, too.

iPad (3rd generation) and 2012 iMac thickness comparison. The iPad’s starting to look positively hefty in this context.

We’ll have more on the new iMac in a proper review once I’ve had a chance to put it through more thorough day-to-day testing.

TechCrunch » Gadgets

Gift Guide: Victorinox Dive Master 500 Dive Watch


Short Version

As one of TechCrunch’s resident watch fans, I was intrigued by the Victorinox Dive Master 500, a fairly unique automatic watch that brings the best of the Swiss mechanical along with styling reminiscent of some of the better divers. The build is solid, the 43mm case is well-polished, and the face is very legible. Interestingly, I’d actually recommend this for a fairly adventurous lady who is looking for something a little more rugged – and handsome – than the traditional sport watch.

Long Version


  • Automatic ETA 2892-A2 movement
  • Rubber strap
  • Comes in four colors


  • Android 4.1
  • 1200 x 720, 4.7-inch display
  • MSRP: $ 1,250 (although I found it for $ 740 elsewhere)
  • Product page

The Dive Master 500 is…

… A very cool, very solid automatic divers watch in the vein of a Tissot Seastar or Seiko Orange Monster. Although it’s a bit pricey, it looks great on the wrist of your best gal (or yourself, if you enjoy a smaller case) and is very well-made. Victorinox has long been famous for their knives and I’m pleased to note that this is one of the first watch models that really lives up to the Swiss Army name.

Buy the Dive Master 500 for…

… a picky watch lover who may want something different. While similarly kitted watches can be found for considerably less, the $ 1,250 MSRP (and $ 750 street price) of this piece is right on par with others in its class. I wouldn’t normally recommend “Swiss Army” branded watches as I’ve seen too many clunkers in my day, but this is the first one I’m genuinely entranced by.


… Watch lovers – mainly beginning collectors – will really like it. It’s got some pedigree, it’s got some charm, and it’s very well built. You could get an Orange Monster for much less, but if you’re going Swiss, try this.

TechCrunch » Gadgets