Apple Battles Smugglers, Cracks Down on Developers and UDIDs

Today’s mobile roundup features Apple’s strategy in battling smugglers, NetZero’s Prepaid Wireless Data Plan, and more.

Apple Trumps Smugglers

A report from Reuters tells the tale of smugglers wanting to generate huge profits from the new iPad.  When the iPad was released, “huangniu,” or yellow-bull black-market operators, lined up to get the new device.  About a dozen or so of them can be found in different Apple Stores.  The iPads they purchased will be shipped back to china where they will be sold at almost double than their retail price.

This smuggling tactic of some business operators in China did not go as well as previous years, since the Chinese customs has gotten stricter: you have to declare your gadgets when entering China and pay a tax.  Apple’s also minimized the demand for smuggled products by practicing simultaneous launches in multiple countries all over the globe.

Apple CEO Tim Cook was reportedly sighted in China, though the company hasn’t confirmed anything yet.  Cook’s China trip, if true, is the first CEO trip to the country.  The purpose of the visit is unclear.

Aside from their battle with smugglers, Apple’s also getting tough with app developers.  In an effort to resolve privacy loopholes, Apple asked app developers to refrain from using UDIDs or unique device identifiers.  UDIDs can be used like cookies to track consumers as they move from app to app, and advertising networks can use the data collected through this tracking to target consumers with ads based on their browsing habits.  The biggest problem with UDIDs is that, unlike cookies, they can’t be deleted.

Smugglers and UDIDs aren’t the only problems Apple’s been dealing with lately.  The retailer is being sued by Evelyn Paswall, an 80-year-old customer who smacked her face and broke her nose on the glass door of Apple’s Long Island store.  Paswall’s lawyer claims that Apple’s modern design poses a great threat especially to those with poor eyesight.  There are no markings on Apple’s super clear and see-through doors that it’s sometimes really quite easy to miss.

RIM Offers BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha To Jam Developers

Developers who will be attending Research in Motion’s BlackBerry 10 Jam on May 1-3 at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek in Orlando, FL will be given a limited edition developer prototype device – the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha.  The device is not a smartphone but a “prototype running a modified version of the PlayBook OS, to help developers design their apps for the BlackBerry 10 smartphone form factor.  To be clear: it’s not the final hardware or OS for BlackBerry 10 – it’s a device to help developers get started with designing for what’s coming.  BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha is only for developers, not end users, and is only available to developer attendees at BlackBerry 10 Jam.”

NetZero’s Prepaid Wireless Data Plan

NetZero, which offers free dial-up Internet access and low-cost broadband DSL service, entered into the cellular world for the first time with their so-called “disruptive” pricing.  They launched the free and low-cost prepaid 4G data plans for use with a 4G mobile WiMAX $49.95 USB modem and $99.95 mobile hot spot in more than 80 cities.