Weekly Cell Phone News in Review—November 6, 2017

Long Lines are Back at Apple Retail Stores for the iPhone X
Long lines formed outside Apple stores around the world, a sign of strong demand from consumers waiting for the company’s 10th anniversary iPhone X. Beginning Thursday night locally, crowds surrounded Apple’s retail stores in Singapore, Japan, and Australia, recalling the throngs that formed on the first day of iPhone sales on June 29, 2007. One big difference is the price: the iPhone X starts at $999, double the $499 entry-level price of the first version. With buoyant demand for the new handset, Apple said Thursday it will have record revenue of $84 billion to $87 billion during the holiday quarter, easing concerns among investors that production problems would undercut sales. A strong rally for the company’s stock today would push Apple within reach of a $900 billion market capitalization, solidifying its position as the world’s most valuable public company. Story by Mike Gurman for Bloomberg

T-Mobile, Sprint Hoping to Salvage Merger Talks
T-Mobile and Sprint are working to salvage their potential blockbuster merger, people familiar with the matter said, days after Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son appeared to call off the talks. T-Mobile made a revised offer, which Sprint is considering, some of the people said. Terms of the new offer were unclear. The two sides could reach a deal within weeks, the people said, but the two companies could still fail to agree on deal terms. T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere spoke with Sprint Chief Executive Marcelo Claure on Wednesday, after a T-Mobile board meeting in New York where directors agreed to renew their overtures to Sprint to keep the deal alive, one of the people said. Story by Ryan Knutson and Dana Mattioli for The Wall Street Journal

People Are Keeping Their Cell Phones a Lot Longer
The average American is now hanging on to their cell phone nearly three years, according to new data from Chetan Sharma Consulting. That’s up from about a two-year upgrade cycle in 2014. The end of two-year contracts and a maturing cell phone market have been the key factors. Story by Ina Fried for Axios

As iPhone X Raises The Bar and Price of Smartphones, Some Consumers Opt to Switch to ‘Dumbphones’
The Apple iPhone X, to be released on Friday, raises the bar for both phone features and price, starting at $999 and reaching to $1,150. But more mobile power users are seeking ways to power down, and dumbphones—which in one case has the financial backing of iPhone manufacturer Foxconn—are being engineered specifically to lure in the smartphone crowd with its scratch- and impact-resistant glass, feather-light weight, ultralong battery life and a minimalistic, easy-to-use interface. Story by Mike Juang for CNBC

Razer Phone Launch: Company Squeezes PC Gaming Tech into a Smartphone
Gaming on smartphones is big business. So big that hardcore gaming firm Razer reckons there’s a better way to make a smartphone that’s good for games, but that you won’t be embarrassed to use in public. Having started making precision mice and colourful keyboards for gaming, then successfully moving into performance laptops over the last five years, Razer believes that mobile is the next step in gaming. Where iPhone 8s, Pixel 2s and Galaxy S8s are pretty good for gaming, Razer styles itself as the “lifestyle brand for the people that grew up as gamers” and believes there’s still scope for making the ultimate phone for gamers predicated on playing games and watching videos. Story by Samuel Gibbs for The Guardian

The Mobile Internet is the Internet
Think back to the mobile phone you had in 2010. It could access the internet, but it wasn’t such a great experience. On average, people only spent 20% of their time online on their phones back then, according to Zenith, a media agency. Today, by contrast, we spend around 70% of our time on the internet on phones, based on estimates and forecasts for more than 50 countries covering two-thirds of the world’s population. By 2019, Zenith says this will rise to close to 80%. What used to be called “mobile internet” is now just the internet. Story by Jason Karaian for Quartz

Bank of America Exec Says Passwords ‘Need To Go Away.’ Here’s What’s Coming Next
For years, bank customers have relied on user IDs and passwords to access their online accounts. From a security standpoint, that’s no longer a smart practice, said Bank of America executive Michelle Moore, head of digital banking for the Charlotte-based bank. In an era of hacking, traditional IDs and passwords are prime targets, which is one reason Bank of America is exploring iris scanning and facial recognition as alternatives. Story by Deon Roberts for the Charlotte Observer

How Your Phone with Artificial Intelligence Can Enhance Your Life
Research released last month has revealed that 33% of smartphones will be enabled with artificial intelligence (AI) by 2020. You don’t have to wait three years to experience the future though. This year saw the release of the first on-device artificial intelligence phones, one of which is the Huawei Mate 10. Artificial intelligence looks set to change how we interact with our phones, and what they can do for us. The difference between the smartphone you have now and a smartphone with on-device AI – also being hailed as a ‘superphone’ – has been compared to the difference between having a dog as a pet and using a guide dog. Your pet canine is able to learn the commands you give them and eventually obey them. A guide dog, on the other hand, is able to anticipate a blind person’s behaviours after learning their everyday routines and even show them alternatives that it deems would enable them to accomplish tasks more easily. Story by Akhram Mohamed for Business Report

A Very Mobile Christmas?
It’s no secret that mobile is becoming increasingly important in consumers’ shopping journeys. Retail brands as diverse as Target and Neiman Marcus have alluded to the pivotal role that digital plays in driving both their online and physical store sales. And of course when we say “digital” often we mean mobile. In fact, for many retailers, mobile is becoming the front door to the store. If a just released study by Adobe Analytics proves to be correct, this holiday season an important milestone will be reached. For the first time ever, more US shoppers will visit a retailer’s site using a mobile device instead of a desktop computer. Because conversion rates remain higher on “traditional” devices, the amount of actual purchases done on desktops will still exceed those done on a smartphone or tablet. Though that’s not likely to be true very much longer. Story by Steve Dennis for Forbes

One in Five Brits Still Using Their Mobile Phones at the Wheel
A fifth of Brits admit to breaking the law and using their mobiles phones behind the wheel of a car, according to a recent poll of 2,005 UK-based adults. Using your phone while driving was highlighted by 84.3 per cent of survey participants as one of the country’s most frustrating tech habits. Of those surveyed however, 19.10 per cent admitted that they still use the phone at the wheel, an offence which has carried a penalty of six points and a £200 fine since March this year. Using a mobile phone at the wheel in the UK has been illegal since 2003 and the penalty  introduced this year represented a doubling of the old £100 fine and three penalty point sanction. Story by Steven Chisholm for iNews

Rewards Credit Cards That Cover Cell Phone Damage or Loss
Cell phones are one of the most expensive possessions we own. When they get damaged or lost, we know that’s going to be a large, unplanned expense. If you don’t have a warranty or protection plan on your phone you may be covered for damages with your rewards credit card, especially if you have a business credit card. Plus, the rewards credit cards with the best cell phone protection plans are often the best rewards credit cards to use when purchasing a phone, especially the expensive iPhones. Story by Johnny Jet for Forbes

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About John Oldshue

John Oldshue is the creator of SaveOnPhone.com. He worked for over 15 years in television and won an Emmy award for his reporting. He covers long distance and cell phone topics for SaveOnPhone.