Friday Recap: SugarSync 2012 Plans, AT&T Upgrade Fees Double, LTE Micro-SIMs

Att Lte Micro Sim 200pxAnother week goes flying by! Friday is here again, and with it comes the usual wave of rumors, product updates and fee increases by AT&T. Oh, missed that last one? Well, be sure to read all the way through today’s news recap, because your next handset is going to cost you more, thanks to the upgrade fee charged by the carrier effectively being doubled, beginning this Sunday. But hey, why close out the week on such a downer note? There’s better news ahead in the rest of our recap for Friday, February 20, 2012.

SugarSync Teases New Features Coming in 2012

If you’re syncing files between your desktop computer(s) and mobile device(s), chances are you’re using popular choices such as Dropbox or SugarSync. While the two companies duke it out for the hearts and mind of users everywhere, SugarSync CEO Laura Yecies took a moment today to email customers, reflect on some big developments from last year and look ahead to others yet to come. “Looking back on 2011 not only helps us remember all that was accomplished, but it also keeps us excited about all the new features we're currently working hard on to bring to you in 2012,” Yecies writes. So what might that include, you ask? According to the email, the company is hard at work on support for external drives, integrating SugarSync with Samsung Smart TVs, redesigning the user interface “to make SugarSync even easier to use,” searching for files and last but not least, “updated mobile apps and new apps for iPad and Windows Phone 7.” Definitely sounds like the best is yet to come!

Report: “Radically Redesigned” MacBook Pros On the Way

We’ve heard this news before, but AppleInsider is reporting that Apple is hard at work on the next generation of MacBook Pro, which are expected to be introduced in the near future. Unlike the last several generations, Cupertino is planning to completely revamp the design to something already familiar to mobile notebook users. "They're all going to look like MacBook Airs," claims a source familiar with Apple’s plans, with AppleInsider referring to them as “radically redesigned” MacBook Pros. Needless to say, the “new, ultra-thin unibody enclosures” will most certainly require Apple completely scrapping traditional optical drives and hard disks in favor of flash storage already used in the MacBook Air and iOS devices. So what about the current MacBook Pro form factor? “Existing MacBook Pro designs are expected to be phased out over the course of the year,” the report reveals. If you love those MacBook Pros with an optical disk slot, now might be the time to buy one...

LTE Micro-SIMs Invade AT&T, Speculation Runs Amok

Oh, rumors… how we love you so! Since Friday tends to be a slow news day for tech, the internet is abuzz with so-called “evidence” to support an incoming LTE-enabled iPad 3 or -- heaven forbid! -- even an iPhone 5. It all started earlier today when published some photos from “an anonymous tipster” (one shown above) showing how AT&T is in the process of swapping out their old 3G micro-SIM cards -- the ones used in the current iPad 2 and iPhone 4/4S --  for swanky new ones that also happen to work with the carrier’s fledgling LTE network. To their credit, the website tosses out some hard facts before switching gears into wild speculation: These micro-SIMs are likely intended for the imminent release of the Windows Phone-packing Nokia Lumia 900. But then they have to ruin it by going to Crazy Town, suggesting the iPhone 5 will be coming later this year with LTE -- and other websites ran with this suggestion, adding the more likely possibility that the iPad 3 could indeed come with LTE on board. Speculate all you want, but the only thing we know for sure is that AT&T appears to be getting ready for some LTE handsets that require micro-SIMs.

German Court Stomps Out Motorola Injunction Over 3G Patents

Apple hasn’t had a lot of luck lately in German courts, but this morning, things seemed to finally turn their way. According to Foss Patents, “Judge Andreas Voss of the Mannheim Regional Court announced that a Motorola Mobility lawsuit over a patent declared essential to the 3G/UMTS wireless telecommunications standard has been dismissed.” The bottom line here is that the court found “that any implementation of 3G/UMTS must inevitably infringe this patent claim, as opposed to [Motorola] demonstrating that the accused Apple products actually practice the claimed invention.” Sadly, there are still two other patents related to GPRS and push email that went in Motorola’s favor last November and countless others yet to come, but always nice to see the home team grab a victory now and again.

Planning an Upgrade to iPhone 5? Now It’ll Cost You $18 More

AT&T may have had a boffo fourth quarter last year, but they seem to be quite busy looking for new ways to milk their customers for even more dough this year. According to BGR, this Sunday, February 12, 2012 will see an increase in the fee the carrier charges when you upgrade to a new handset -- from the current $18 to a whopping $36. (Yes, you’re reading that correctly: Double!) How is Ma Bell justifying this change? In a letter to dealers about the change which BGR got their hands on, the carrier blames it on “the overall costs associated with upgrading to a new device,” which they claim have increased in some way. Translation: “We’d rather keep you on an existing handset because we make more money that way. But if you really want that shiny new phone, prepare to pay for it.” At least they’re doing this now instead of waiting for some hot smartphone like the iPhone 5 to be released later this year...

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter

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