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Associated Press|ap.org

NEW YORK — T-Mobile USA, the struggling No. 4 cellphone company, is ditching plans centered on familiar two-year contracts in favor of selling phones on installment plans.

T-Mobile is the first major U.S. carrier to break from the contract model. The company changed its website over the weekend to begin selling the new plans. It planned to lay out the rationale for the change at a March 26 event in New York, which could also reveal when T-Mobile will start selling the iPhone.

T-Mobile has been losing subscribers from its contract-based plans for more than two years, chiefly to bigger competitors Verizon Wireless and AT&T. T-Mobile has done better with no-contract, prepaid plans, but those aren’t as profitable for the company.

The new plan blurs the boundaries between the two types. Prepaid plans have lower monthly fees, but the buyer usually has to pay full or nearly full price for the phones. read more »

 

NEW YORK — Apple’s blockbuster revenue growth is slowing drastically, as iPhone sales plateau and the company finds itself lacking revolutionary new products.

The company’s warning, issued Jan. 23 as part of its financial results for the holiday quarter, sent Apple Inc.’s stock plunging by more than 10 percent, wiping out a year’s worth of gains.

Analysts said the warning suggested Apple can no longer sustain its growth without some completely new products. Its last revolutionary creation, the iPad, was launched in 2010. Co-founder Steve Jobs, who was the engine behind the creation of the iPod, iPhone and iPad, died in 2011. read more »

 

LAS VEGAS — Dismayed that family members are spread out over the house, each with a separate PC or tablet? Lenovo has something it believes will get them back together: a PC the size of a coffee table that works like a gigantic tablet and lets four people use it at once.

Lenovo Group Ltd., one of the world’s largest PC makers, is calling the IdeaCentre Horizon Table PC the first “interpersonal computer” - as opposed to a “personal computer.”

At first glance, it looks like a regular all-in-one machine in the vein of the iMac: It’s a 27-inch screen with the innards of a Windows 8 computer built into it, and it can stand up on a table. read more »

 

NEW YORK — Apple CEO Tim Cook says the company will move production of one of its existing lines of Mac computers from China to the United States next year.

Industry watchers said the announcement is both a cunning public-relations move and a harbinger of more manufacturing jobs moving back to the U.S. as wages rise in China.

Cook made the comments in part of an interview taped for NBC’s “Rock Center,” but it aired Dec. 6 on “Today” and was posted on the network’s website.

In a separate interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, he said that the company will spend $100 million in 2013 to move production of the line to the U.S. from China. read more »

 

NEW YORK — Sorry to see 100-watt bulbs disappear from stores, though they were energy hogs? You can now get LED bulbs that roughly match the 100-watters for size and brightness, but use far less energy.

Until recently, your only alternative was a compact fluorescent bulb, which has several drawbacks compared with light-emitting diodes. Most people see the light quality as less pleasing, and the bulbs contain a small amount of mercury that’s released if the glass breaks. LEDs, by contrast, don’t contain any volatile, hazardous substances and are durable. They also last longer. read more »

 

NEW YORK — Apple Inc. has sent out invites for an event next Tuesday, where it’s expected to announce the release of a smaller iPad.

The invite, sent to reporters Tuesday, doesn’t hint at what will be revealed, beyond saying that “We’ve got a little more to show you.” The event will be held in San Jose, Calif.

Media and analysts have said for months that Apple has an “iPad mini” in the works. The tablet is thought to be about half the size of the regular iPad and to start at $249 or $299. The regular iPad starts at $499 for the most recent models.

Apple founder Steve Jobs derided the idea of a smaller tablet two years ago, but Amazon.com Inc. has had some success with its Kindle Fire, which is about half the size of the iPad and starts at $159. Analysts believe Apple wants to tackle that competition with its own similarly sized tablet. read more »

 

NEW YORK — A funny thing happens on Kickstarter, the website where people ask for money to finance their projects. Sometimes, they get more money than they ask for.

Sometimes, they get millions more.

In April, three-person startup Pebble Technology sought to raise $100,000 to make 1,000 wristwatches that can be programmed with different clock faces. Donors on Kickstarter showered them with more than 100 times that amount: $10.3 million. It would have gone higher had Pebble not put a cap on contributions and ended the fundraising early.

“We had tried raising money through the normal routes, and it didn’t really work,” said Eric Migicovsky, the 25-year-old founder of Pebble. read more »

 

NEW YORK — The once-sexy iPhone is starting to look small and chubby.

That’s become a problem for Apple, which revealed last week that iPhone sales have slowed. Part of the problem is that the competition has found a formula that works: thinner phones with bigger screens.

For a dose of smartphone envy, iPhone owners need to look no further than Samsung Electronics Co., the number-one maker of smartphones in the world. Its newest flagship phone, the Galaxy S III, is sleek and wafer-thin. It can run on the fastest networks and act as a “smart wallet,” too — two things Apple’s iconic phone can’t do. read more »

 

AppleNEW YORK — Apple was set to report financial results for the second quarter last week. Analysts were expecting net income of $9.8 billion. But whatever figure Apple reports won’t reflect its true profit, because the company hides some of it with an unusual tax maneuver.

Apple Inc., already the world’s most valuable company, understates its profits compared with other multinationals. It’s building up an overlooked asset in the form of billions of dollars, tucked away for tax bills it may never pay.

Tax experts say the company could easily eliminate these phantom tax obligations. That would boost Apple’s profits for the past three years by as much $10.5 billion, according to calculations by The Associated Press. read more »

 
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