Apple defends against Samsung charges, discloses secret deal
The biggest news in today's Apple vs Samsung patent trial was the previously-reported revelation of a secret deal between Google and Samsung in which the search and advertising giant not only agreed to indemnify Samsung if it lost on two of the patent claims in this trial, but that Google -- not Samsung -- was to "direct and control" litigation and defense on Samsung's behalf. The revelation, which Samsung had previously denied in court, will be used to diminish the Samsung claim that the case is really about Android.
Spot features Pixies' song, array of apps and users
A new Apple ad premiered tonight on Disney-owned ABC, called "Powerful." The 90-second spot (now available on Apple's YouTube channel) is the first this year to spotlight the iPhone 5s rather than the iPhone 5c, and features a band performing the Pixies song "Gigantic" while an array of apps -- beginning with musically-oriented ones, then branching off in other directions -- is shown. Like most recent Apple ads, the focus is on enabling people to do interesting things using their iPhones.
Quick update may have connection to earlier Airport OpenSSL patch
Among other updates issued on Tuesday, Apple has further updated the iOS versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote -- formerly known collectively as iWork apps -- to version 2.2.1, just three weeks after its last update. The previous version introduced new features and restored old ones, but today's update lists only unnamed "stability and bug fixes," which might hint that the change is related somehow to an OpenSSL patch for 2013 Airport Extremes and Time Capsules issued earlier today.
Company mostly untouched by Heartbleed bug, with one exception
On Tuesday, Apple -- which had previously said none of its key software, operating systems, websites or web services had been affected by the Heartbleed OpenSSL security flaw -- issued a patch to its 2013 (only) Airport Extreme and Time Capsule products that support 802.11ac to fix the issue. The 2013 Airport Express is not affected by the bug, and does not require the update. The patch boosts the firmware version on the Extreme and Time Capsule to 7.7.3 and "provides security improvements related to SSL/TLS."
Google's Mobile Application Distribution Agreement spells out defense aid
Google attorney James Mccoun testified today that the search engine giant agreed to defend Samsung at least in part against some of the claims against it in the ongoing Apple versus Samsung trial. Apple played pre-recorded testimony from the attorney who confirmed emails that Google would provide some level of indemnity over four patents held by Apple if Samsung was sued, or would possibly take over defense of the claims.
Works on 32-bit devices only for now, takes advantage of same flaws jailbreak uses
As has been predicted for some time, a new malware threat exploits the same flaws in iOS that jailbreaking tools use in order to install itself on older jailbroken iPhones and iPads. The malware, likely to be found in devices where the user has installed third-party customizations, scans for the Apple ID and password of the user, then transmits it to remote servers. Current, 64-bit iOS devices like the iPhone 5s, iPad Air or second-generation iPad mini -- and un-jailbroken iOS devices of all sorts -- appear to be immune so far.
Users must have Apple ID, signed confidentiality agreement
For the first time, access to OS X beta releases has been opened to non-developers. Apple has introduced the Beta Seed Program, which requires only that a person have an Apple ID and sign a confidentiality agreement. The agreement blocks people from sharing information to anyone not also registered to receive betas.
Safari update allows turning off push notification prompts
Apple has released Security Update 2014-002, an OS X patch that addresses various security flaws. The software applies to Lion, Mountain Lion, and Mavericks. More significantly it comes bundled with Safari 7.0.3, which in addition to improved security includes some minor feature additions and bugfixes.
Malware attack on jailbroken iDevices
Today in the MacNN forums, Moderator "Thorzdad" sent a warning to other members about a malware attack that has been discovered that is targeting jailbroken 32-bit iPods, iPads and iPhones. Yesterday Mac Elite "rotuts" took to the forums asking if a hybrid drive would work with a Mac Pro running 10.6.8.
Mac Pros from $2,139
Today at Apple's online store chose from a wide selection of refurbished Mac Pro models. The Mac Pro with a 3.2GHz Intel quad-core Xeon processor, 6GB of RAM and 1TB hard drive has been reduced by $360 to $2,139. Priced at $2,549 is the refurbished Mac Pro with a 3.33GHz Intel 6-core Xeon processor, 6GB of RAM and 1TB hard drive.
$600 off MacBook Pro
At MacMall.com's Earth Day sale, save $600 on the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display which has been slashed from $2,200 down to $1,600. That discount makes this the best price we have seen on this notebook by about $300. This MBP features a Retina display, 3.0GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and 512GB of flash storage with Intel HD Graphics 4000. Included is a one year warranty on parts and labor from Apple.
Minor maintenance update
As anticipated, Apple has released iOS 7.1.1 via iTunes and iOS' over-the-air update mechanism. The code is simply a maintenance release, primarily fixing keyboard responsiveness, as well as glitches when using Bluetooth keyboards while VoiceOver is on. For iPhone 5s owners, the patch improves Touch ID fingerprint recognition.
Brightflash already pursuing trademarks in dozens of countries
Apple appears to be using a shell company, "Brightflash USA LLC," to covertly register iWatch trademarks around the world, reports say. The firm is registered in Delaware, and has been tied to past trademarking efforts by Apple. The company has already requested iWatch trademarks in the US, the UK, Australia, the European Union, and Denmark. It has also filed for a trademark in dozens of other countries, ranging from smaller ones like Albania and Iceland through to China and India.
Credit from iPad, iPhone trade-ins interchangeable
As an extension of Apple's new recycling intiatives, the iPad is now eligible for the same Reuse & Recycling program as the iPhone. People trading in an older iPad at an Apple Store can get credit towards a new model. Notably, that credit can also be applied to an iPhone; accordingly, iPhone credit can be applied towards an iPad. An iPhone and an iPhone also be traded in together towards a single purchase, but people can't bring in two iPhones or two iPads.
Samsung rests its defensive case, says it didn't infringe but Apple did
On Monday, Samsung -- which has devoted some 21.5 hours of its 25-hour limit to defending itself against charges that it copied five specific Apple patents -- finally rested its defensive case and began its offensive case late in the day, alleging that Apple is infringing on two patents it owns (but did not create -- they were purchased from others). Several expert witnesses for Samsung had to walk a strange line of saying Samsung had not infringed any of Apple's patents -- but even if it did, they were only worth a total of $38.4 million, not almost $2.2 billion.
Apple stores adding green to 'leaf' in Apple logo for Earth Day
Continuing with the various environmentally-themed disclosures on Monday, Apple has begun decorating its Apple Stores for Earth Day on Tuesday by adding green gels to the "leaf" portion of the Apple logo on some stores. The changeover is happening worldwide, with pictures of the modified logo appearing from China and Australia that also include employees in green-colored work shirts.
Fincher out, Boyle in as director; Bale out, DiCaprio in as Jobs
Following the alleged pullout of planned director David Fincher -- and possibly his choice to play the title role, Christian Bale -- the latest speculation on Sony Pictures' Steve Jobs biopic has it that the studio is now talking to Danny Boyle to helm the multi-million dollar movie, and goes on to say that Boyle's choice for the Jobs role is Leonard DiCaprio. Boyle, best known for Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting, is rumored to be the leading candidate following Fincher's walkout over fees and marketing control demands, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Non-functioning units will be recycled, recent working units can be exchanged for gift cards
Continuing its multi-pronged and environmentally-minded publicity push on Monday, Apple has also initiated a new program that will turn all Apple Stores into recycling centers, accepting all used Apple devices either for free (in the case of non-functional and older devices) or in exchange for a gift card (for newer, functional units). The new plan is part of an effort to reduce the company's "footprint" in terms of manufacturing pollution, and keep more of its electronics out of landfills.
Dubbed 'Alpine Ridge,' technology could appear as early as next year
Continuing to keep one step ahead of reported improvements in next-generation USB technology, Intel is said to be working on a third-generation Thunderbolt system that would double throughput to 40 gigabits (Gb) per second and yet reduce power requirements by as much as 50 percent, though the new connector would support up to 100 watts of charging power. The revised plug, which is backward-compatible with an adapter, will be about three millimeters (0.12 inches) in width, down from the current 4.5mm height.
Latest release has minor tweaks, same focus on testing
Just six days after the previous release, Apple has pushed out the eighth beta of OS X Mavericks 10.9.3 to developers for testing. Other than minor tweaks and fixes, the only thing different about the latest version is its build number, 13D45a -- just two build versions older than the previous one, and with an "a" appendix for unknown reasons. The numbering suggests that the update is nearing "golden master" status, with no known issues listed.
Plans described as 'very, very serious'
Apple has been conducting interviews of senior payment industry executives in a bid to build up a mobile payment platform, sources say. The company is allegedly talking to candidates for two positions, one as head of product and another as head of business development. Apple's e-commerce chief, Jennifer Bailey, is indicated to be spearheading payment system efforts and meeting with the candidates in question. "Their [Apple's] ambitions are very, very serious," one of the sources comments.
Shows brief glimpse of interior design
A newly-leaked video -- strongly believed to have been produced by Apple -- promotes the design of Apple's upcoming Campus 2 building in Cupertino. The clip (below) features interviews with key members of the project, such as architects and arborists, as well as shots of lead Apple designer Jonathan Ive, and archival footage of company co-founder Steve Jobs. Jobs' presentation to the Cupertino city council about the building was one of his last public appearances.
Adds to evidence of upcoming iWatch
Apple is hoping to extend international trademarks on its name into Class 14, an area covering "jewelry, clocks and watches," reports say. In late December, the company is said to have applied for Class 14 protection in Ecuador, presumably as a shortcut to getting its priority recognized in more significant regions like the US and Europe. Similar filings were made in Mexico in early January, Norway in mid-February, and the UK in March. In the latter two countries, Apple applied for protections in a variety of other classes as well.
Company says almost half of US stores powered by renewable energy
Apple today embarked on a new campaign to advertise its environmental protection efforts. The company's CEO, Tim Cook, narrates a video simply titled "Better" (below), in which he talks about initiatives such as renewable energy for datacenters, and efforts to use recyclable materials in products and reduce the amount of packaging Apple products come in. The company's VP for environmental concerns, Lisa Jackson, has meanwhile given an interview to Wired on the topic.
Follows shortly after live streaming support on iPad
Via a silent update, Apple has added three channels from A&E Networks to the Apple TV. These include A&E itself, as well as History and Lifetime. In general the apps simply provide access to episodes from their respective TV shows, but Lifetime also includes its signature original movies. As with Apple's other recent channel adds, a cable subscription and carrier that supports the addition is required.
Platforms now in more equal competition
Apple and Google are each offering game developers special incentives to prefer their app store over their rival's, according to sources for the Wall Street Journal. The prime example given is EA's Plants vs. Zombies 2, which Apple promised to advertise prominently at the App Store. In return, EA was expected to keep the game an iOS exclusive for two months, which pushed the Android release into October. Another developer, ZeptoLab, agreed to three-month App Store exclusivity for Cut the Rope 2 in order to get better advertising. Asphalt creator Gameloft says it was offered exclusivity, but decided that a simultaneous iOS/Android release made more financial sense.
Some users may be forced to upgrade or choose new AIM ID
As of June 30th, Apple will be discontinuing AIM iChat login support for users of OS X below v10.7.2, according to a new support document. The decision specifically affects people using a mac.com or me.com address as an AIM ID to sign into iChat. To get around the issue, people must either create a new AIM ID -- which will also require reentering contacts -- or upgrade to a later version of OS X.
Experts say conjoint studies flawed, patents worthless as Samsung begs for time
The eighth full day of the Samsung-Apple patent trial went through another raft of witnesses as Samsung struggles to make its case inside its allotted limit of 25 hours -- a problem that hounded the company in the last trial as well. Lead attorney for Samsung John Quinn was forced to read transcripts of declarations to save time, hustle through witnesses and plead with Judge Lucy Koh for more time. An expert that the Galaxy S5 maker paid $1,000 an hour for refuted a colleagues' studies as "kind of biased."
Company to focus on software; surprise move may hint at Apple partnership?
In an unexpected move, Nike has opted to fire as many as 70 members of its Digital Sport division who were focused on hardware development and will not release a now-cancelled new version of the FuelBand fitness tracker that was expected this fall. The company will continue to support the existing FuelBand SE, but is otherwise planning to exit the wearables market just as it is gaining mainstream traction. The company plans to focus on software going forward -- possibly signalling a partnership with a hardware maker.
Second lottery for chance to attend June 2-6 conference in San Francisco
Following the lapse of the deadline for Worldwide Developers Conference ticket lottery winners to pay for their entry, Apple has begun emailing other developers with a chance to purchase unclaimed tickets. The emails are likely also determined by lottery, though the company hasn't said. Reserved slots from the original lottery were held until April 14 at 5pm Pacific time, and it is thought that most of the lottery winners accepted the invitation to attend, which costs $1,600.
UC Berkeley was birthplace of BSD Unix kernel used in OS X, iOS
Apple has again expanded its Maps program for both iOS and OS X by adding 3D "Flyover" support for the east side of the San Francisco Bay Area, including the city of Berkeley and its University of California campus, which by happenstance is the birthplace of the original UNIX used as the foundation of both OS X and iOS. The 3d Flyover feature has generally been regarded as one of Maps' best features, alongside turn-by-turn driving navigation.
Jobs' personality a potential controversy
Plaintiffs' attorneys in a class action lawsuit against Apple, Google, and two other companies are asking that evidence related to Apple CEO Steve Jobs be included in the case, Reuters reports. The case revolves around the anti-poaching agreements Apple and Google -- and later, other high-tech businesses -- forged to keep salaries low and talent in place. The accused parties settled a US Department of Justice investigation on the matter in 2010, agreeing to end barriers to competitive hiring.
Company facing headwind from phablets, improved Android tablets
Almost half of a group of 34 analysts tracked by Fortune are expecting Apple to report a slight decline in iPad sales year-over-year during its Q2 2014 results, due to be announced April 23rd. The overall consensus currently sits at 19.3 million units, which would be a 0.7 percent dip. Polling among the professional analysts in the group is somewhat more positive, calling for a 19.4 million consensus versus the amateurs' 19.2 million.
Google evidence wins over judge
US District Court Judge Claudia Wilken has denied a motion by the Apple-led Rockstar Consortium to transfer a patent invalidation countersuit by Google from California to the Eastern District of Texas, Reuters says. The Eastern District of Texas is infamous for leaning towards patent holders in its court rulings. Wilken ruled, however, that Google was able to provide enough evidence to keep the case in California.
Expected new products and updates, larger screen sizes will boost AAPL
Historically, investment and Wall Street analysts have had a poor track record predicting Apple's fortunes ahead of time. However, as Apple's guidance has gotten more accurate, and as supplier leaks and blatant manipulation of the market grow, predictions are getting more accurate. As it traditionally does, Fortune magazine has rounded up the predictions of various investment houses and independent analysts, which show slow growth in iPhones this quarter, but expectations of boosts ahead.
Shack cuts up-front cost in half, iPhone 5s drops to free when trading in an iPhone 4S
Although there have been a number of good deals in recent months on both the iPhone 5c and 5s, a new deal kicking off tomorrow from RadioShack may be the one iPhone 4S holdouts have been waiting for. Starting April 18, new or upgrading customers using AT&T, Verizon or Sprint can buy the 16GB version of the iPhone 5s for $99, half of its usual $199 up-front cost. The deal, which is available both online and in stores, gets sweeter if users trade in a working iPhone 4S or newer.
RunKeeper's step tracking app utilizes Apple's M7 chip in iPhone 5s
RunKeeper has launched a new, passive step tracking app today, entitled Breeze. By constantly tracking motion with the M7 chip found within the iPhone 5s, Breeze offers its users a personal coaching feature, in the form of push notifications and updates regarding one's activity levels. The following day, Breeze details a summary of the previous day's activities and stats. Users can share their completed goals, high activity level days, and a general activity profile with friends on Facebook, Twitter, RunKeeper and elsewhere. Free to download, Breeze requires iOS 7.0 or later and an iPhone 5s for full feature compatibility.
Prices start at $339
For the first time, Apple's online store has begun selling refurbished versions of the Retina iPad mini. The option drops the price of a 16GB Wi-Fi model to $339, $60 less than its usual cost. 32GB has been reduced $80 to $419, and 64GB models have been cut $90 to $509. Cellular-equipped Minis aren't yet available in refurb form.
Transition to Apple may depend on compensation promises
Future Apple retail head Angela Ahrendts may actually remain the CEO of Burberry until June, says The Guardian. Although Ahrendts has finished a mandatory six-month wait and is technically free to switch this month, she has allegedly promised to stay with Burberry until at least June 6th to ease the transition to her replacement, chief creative officer Christopher Bailey. She also has a strong financial incentive, since she could earn a bonus of as much as £8M (about $13.5 million) if she makes it to the 6th.
Special event to take place at Apple headquarters
On April 22nd, Apple will be holding its first real Earth Day commemorations since 2006, reports say. At retail, the company is expected to cover its logos in green, and give at least some stores special Earth Day t-shirts for workers. Back at Apple's corporate headquarters in Cupertino, a "large-scale internal event" is due to happen on the afternoon of the 22nd, presumably with Earth Day as a focus.
Content of v7.1.1 update unknown
Apple is preparing an immediate follow-up to iOS 7.1 in the form of v7.1.1, according to web traffic data from 9to5Mac. The site says that it has received "numerous" hits from v7.1.1 devices operating in areas around Apple's Cupertino campus. It's not clear when the update will go live, or what it will contain, but the version number suggests that it should arrive relatively soon and mostly contain bugfixes.
Song-identification technology may be enlisted for Siri, iTunes Radio
Citing unnamed sources "with knowledge of the product," Bloomberg is reporting that Apple may enter into a partnership with song-identifying app Shazam to bring the music-matching feature to iOS 8. Users could, for example, ask Siri "what song is playing?" as they listen to iTunes Radio or other streaming music services, with the voice assistant enlisting Shazam's services to return an answer after a short identifying pause. This in turn would produce a link to the song on iTunes.
CEO to make pitch to Apple to make Google search optional
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, who has worked diligently to turn around the veteran search engine's fortunes with some success, is planning on appealing to Apple to make Yahoo's search engine the default choice on the Mac and iOS. Currently Apple offers Yahoo as a option for search, but uses Google as a default (and Bing to power Siri inquiries). Mayer may seen an opportunity to advance Yahoo's already-friendly relationship with Apple, given its fight with Google over Android and patents.
Launches mobile app to help users design, implement iBeacon-based 'SensorTags'
Veteran embedded chip and automotive systems maker Texas Instruments has announced plans to incorporate Apple's iBeacon technology in many of the company's forthcoming Bluetooth products, saying that "there are many more applications that could benefit from the technology" beyond its presence popular use in retail shops, restaurants and stadiums. TI will be adding iBeacons to its SimpleLink line of automotive micro-controllers, and it WiLink navigation systems.
Public assumed to be worried about Apple's prospects
Samsung decided to launch its "Next Big Thing" campaign -- parodying Apple -- in the wake of the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, according to an email trail exposed during the ongoing Apple v. Samsung patent trial. Samsung America's VP of US sales, Mike Pennington, described Jobs' death as "the best opportunity" to run a campaign targeting Apple, since people would be worried about whether Apple could continue to come up with great ideas minus Jobs' influence. "Sorry to continue to push this issue, but I have seen this far too long and I know this is our best opportunity to attack iPhone," Pennington is quoted as saying.
Model still not available in US
The 8GB iPhone 5c is now on sale in 14 more countries, checks show. When the 8GB option first became available last month, it launched in just a handful of regions. The model is newly available in the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Poland, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Portugal, Austria, Spain, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Switzerland.
String of Samsung witnesses find that Apple's patents are all invalid
Not only did Samsung not infringe on Apple's patents, a parade of witnesses for Samsung told the jury today in the Apple-Samsung trial, those patents aren't valid even if Samsung did copy them. With some help from Apple's very light cross-examination, Samsung again flew through a lengthy list of experts who testified on the relative worthlessness of Apple's patents for "data detectors" (also referred to as "quick links"), universal search, autocorrection and the "slide to unlock" concept.
Sighting adds to rumors that Apple plans multi-country but slow rollout
Fueling speculation that Apple may be planning to expand iTunes Radio to selected countries in the near future, tweets on Twitter have revealed that Apple's director of iAd services, Paul Wright, has been making the rounds of London media marketing and ad agencies where he is based. This follows claims by online radio service Bloom, which would be a competitor to iTunes Radio in the UK, that it was rebuffed from advertising on iAd, and a report of iTunes Radio briefly functioning in Ecuador.
Judge ignores Apple argument that states have suffered no harm
For observers in Apple's battle against the US Department of Justice over alleged e-book "price fixing," it will come as no shock whatsoever that Judge Denise Cote has ruled against the company on a connected legal matter -- but the fact that she actually cited a reasoning based in law this time may surprise some. The US District Court judge has refuted Apple's filing for a dismissal in the lawsuits brought by 33 states and territories based on the DOJ case ruling.
Weekly update comes with no known issues, few changes
Just shy of a week after the last release, Apple has issued its seventh beta of the forthcoming maintenance release, 10.9.3, to developers. As before, the new version lists no known issues, and asks testers to focus on any remaining issues with graphics drivers, audio, Mail, Safari, and the re-introduced feature of local syncing of Contacts and Calendar data through iTunes to local devices. The new build, 13D43, also includes preliminary support for pixel doubling on 4K displays.