On the technology front, there’s not a lot of big headlines or announcements to talk about. Typically things slow around now, the latter weeks of the summer, before the back-to-school onslaught hits. This fall is looking like another doozie, too, with the iPhone 5 leading the way, a rumored iPad 2+ (3?) and scads of other “iPad killers” on the horizon.
Meanwhile here are some of the minor stories making the rounds so far this week. Nothing earth-shattering. Luckily we get a few more weeks to breathe deeply, prepare for the tech storm that’s brewing.
Skype is now available for iPad. This is great news for those who continue to eschew old-school forms of communication such as tin cans, morse code, and the telephone. The new App is free, and enables you to call, video call, or instant message anyone on Skype. If you add a little Skype Credit, you can also call landlines and mobiles at “really low rates.” This version was built especially for the iPad and is available for download from iTunes now.
Apple iCloud now in beta. Slowly, but surely Apple is rolling out its new cloud offering which CEO Steve Jobs announced earlier this year. Following in the footsteps of Google, a beta is now available for a limited audience. The launch is expected this fall with iOS 5. Pricing: 5GB free, 20GB $40/year, and 50GB $100/year.
HP drops price on TouchPad. Early word is sales of HP’s tablet, the TouchPad, aren’t going well. Despite being on the market for only a few months the tech giant is dropping its price by $50 to $449 and $549 for the 16-GB and 32-GB Wi-Fi models. In addition HP has released WebOS 3.0.2 which includes minor fixes, and a few enhancements. Time will tell if HP can make inroads in the increasingly competitive tablet market.
AT&T is throttling its customers. Not literally – typically it’s the other way around: customers like to throttle AT&T, especially when they’re heading along 101 in Silicon Valley, the heart of innovation and tech dreams, only to get one dropped iPhone call after the other. I digress. Effective Oct. 1, AT&T has announced they will put the kibosh on wireless data hogs, which the company has identified as approximately 5% of its customers. Also, AT&T will stop signing up new customers to “unlimited” data plans. The move is consistent with other carriers such as T-Mobile and Verizon.