Comcast rolls out Xfinity Mobile cell service nationwide, can they compete?

Insert “goes up to 11” jokes here

Apple is getting closer to releasing iOS 11 for the iPad and iPhone, so they’ve posted up a bunch of videos showing off some new features. Things like enhanced multi-tasking, file access, document file markup, the new iOS dock functionality, using the camera as a document scanner, and more. Except, there were no new videos on the planned augmented reality features that will be included in the next update.

Some Apple critics have argued that Tim Cook and crew are behind the curve when it comes to touch interfaces for computers – Macs have never had one – but the new abilities in iOS 11 seem like they could cross over to a touchscreen iMac pretty easily. Is that Apple’s plan? Hard to tell, but with more and more Windows 10 PCs getting touch capability, we have a hard time thinking Macs are going to be mouse-driven forever. iOS 11 is due to come out this fall.

Your hold time is only 5 hours

If you’re still struggling to pick a cell phone service provider, the list just got a bit longer, and not with some fringe startup promising unlimited data and no reception for 10 bucks a month. No, this time it’s big hitter Comcast getting into the game, with a nation-wide rollout of its Xfinity Mobile service, and according to PC Magazine, their rates will indeed be lower than most competitors, so hopefully that will drive everyone’s bills down a bit.

Xfinity Mobile has been in a sort of limited beta phase since April, but now, Comcast is piggybacking on Verizon’s full national network and also leveraging their vast mesh of 18 million wi-fi routers, so coverage should be good if not great. But what about customer service? Yeah, we’ll see. Xfinity Mobile is offering the full spread of devices, including iPhones, Galaxy phones, and so on. Hit the link for more details.

Celestial event (and traffic jam) of the century

There’s something big happening Monday, now what could it be? Oh, right, a full solar eclipse is working its way across the entire United States, and it sounds like maybe a few people are going to drive somewhere to check it out. OK, maybe more like a few zillion people, so good luck out there in the 14 states that the rare astronomical spectacle will cross Monday morning.

The fun starts here in our home state of Oregon at about 10:15 a.m., and local officials are expecting about a million people to flood the 70-mile wide totality zone, which should make for some interesting traffic situations. Some quick tips: unless you are in actual totality – and you’ll know if you are, since it’ll be dark out – please, DO NOT LOOK at the sun without proper eye protection. Even at 99 percent eclipsed, it’s more than bright enough to quickly fry your eyeballs.

If you want to photograph or record the eclipse on video, you’ll also need special protection for your camera gear, since you’ll be pointing it at the sun, which can fry your camera or cell phone image sensor in short order. And if you’re going to be in the totality zone, you might want to pack some food, water, a tent, and a stove since traffic is expected to be apocalyptically bad anywhere near the totality stripe. But hey, at least you get to see it.

We’ve got lots of safety tips and photo tricks for both enjoying and capturing the eclipse on Digital

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Close to the Metal (computers and such) on Tuesday, Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.

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