Splits difference between what each side wanted, aims to avoid damages retrial
[Update: both sides file arguments against the form] On Wednesday, US District Court Judge Lucy Koh published a draft form that jurors in the second Apple-Samsung patent trial will fill out to assign damages and royalties due -- if any -- to both Apple and Samsung as warranted by their findings of infringement. Apple is suing Samsung over its alleged copying of five patents, while Samsung is countersuing over claims Apple infringed on two patents the Galaxy S5 maker purchased after the first Apple-Samsung patent trial.
WebKit-based browser Opera Coast now available for iPhone
Opera Software has released an iPhone version of its WebKit-based browser, Opera Coast. An iPad version was released last September, initially optimizing the browser for touchscreens. Users can begin a search by using a pulling down gesture on the home screen, bringing up an input interface with an icon-based autofill for sites previously visited. Navigation between pages can be executed by a swipe, with websites displayed on the iPhone's full screen. Opera Coast features a small toolbar on the bottom that includes a visual grid (that can can consists of multiple screens) of saved websites, with searching enhanced be related words and suggestions. Both iPhone and iPad versions of Opera Coast are free to download.
Samsung follows close behind
Apple has topped a 2014 JD Power ranking of customer satisfaction among US smartphone owners. Each smartphone maker is scored according to metrics for performance, physical design, features, and ease of use, and relative to each of the four major US carriers: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. Apple is in first place with all four carriers, but trailed closely by Samsung.
App to stay available as separate entity
Facebook has bought out Finnish firm ProtoGeo Oy and its signature product, Moves, a health and fitness tracking app for iOS and Android. ProtoGeo says it will start contributing to Facebook's own services in an unspecified capacity. Moves will continue to exist as a standalone app though, and ProtoGeo adds that there are "no plans to change that or commingle data with Facebook."
CEO delves into details to add color to Apple earnings announcements
Beyond the "big story" about Apple's analyst-beating earnings, profits and surprise stock split, financial analysts got a chance to ask some probing questions during Wednesday's Apple conference call discussing the company's fiscal Q2 results. In a Q&A session accompanying the announcements, Apple CFO Lucas Maestri and CEO Tim Cook revealed some details and their thoughts on diverse areas of the business, ranging from specifics on China to the changing US smartphone landscape.
Retail revenues virtually flat
As a part of announcing its second-quarter results, Apple has also posted a detailed breakdown (PDF), exposing further facts. They reveal, for instance, that Apple's iPad revenues dropped 16.4 percent year-over-year, shifting from roughly $8.7 billion to $7.6 billion. The company has typically seen continuous growth for the iPad, but units fell from just under 19.5 million to 16.3 million. Cook later clarified that inventory changes made the drop seem much more dramatic than it actually was in terms of end-user sales.
Records 43.7 million iPhones, 16.3 million iPads
Apple has posted $45.6 billion in revenues in its second fiscal quarter, up from $43.6 billion the same period a year ago. Net profits rose from $9.5 billion to $10.2 billion, or from $10.09 per share to $11.62. The company sold 43.7 million iPhones, an increase from the 37.4 million in Q2 2013. iPad sales came in at 16.3 million units, below a Wall Street consensus forecast of 19.7 million. The company also recorded 4.1 million Macs.
Company already said to be taking 40 percent of revenue from Apple
Analysts for two financial firms, Barclays and Morgan Stanley, are contending that Taiwanese firm Catcher Technology will supply metal casings for the next-generation iPhone. Both firms in fact expect Catcher's share of iPhone 6 casings to top 10 million units this year. Much of the argument is based on Catcher's existing involvement in the Apple supply chain; the firm is thought to produce casings for both the MacBook Pro and the iPhone 5s, to the degree that 40 percent of its revenue stems from Apple orders.
Apple support pushes iOS 6 users to upgrade to iOS 7
Apple has released a minor update for the OS X version of FaceTime, v1.0.5. The patch is aimed directly at resolving connection problems some people have been experiencing, particularly in OS X Snow Leopard. The file is a 17.6MB download at the Mac App Store.
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.
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.
iOS 6 users still dealing with FaceTime woes
Apple appears to have fixed a problem that prevented owners of the first-generation Apple TV from accessing iTunes, according to comments on the product's support forums. The outage began over the weekend, but was resolved just earlier today. It's not clear what caused the issue, or why it would only affect first-gen Apple TVs.
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.
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.
iOS app gets visual overhaul
AgileBits has released updates to the Mac and iOS editions of 1Password, its app for creating and storing passwords, as well as saving data related to credit cards, passports, and bank accounts. 1Password for Mac 4.3 includes a host of improvements, a number of which focus on 1Password mini, such as the ability to edit items and generated passwords from within the plugin. Mini is also capable of searching any and all 1Password content, displaying Secure Notes, and several new keyboard shortcuts.
Device said to be nicknamed 'iPhone Air'
Apple's oft-rumored 5.5-inch version of the iPhone 6 has been pushed into 2015, claims Taiwanese publication the Industrial and Commercial Times. Apple has reportedly had trouble finding a battery that's both powerful and less than 2mm thick, needed to fit the 5.5-inch model's "very thin" profile. Suppliers have allegedly been referring to the device as the "iPhone Air," though that may not be the final product name.
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.
New Calendar Glassware will display upcoming agendas
People pairing Google Glass with an iPhone will get promised SMS support "in the next few days," according to Google. Because of the closed nature of iOS, iPhone owners won't actually be able to send texts from Glass. They will, however, be able to receive notifications on their headset. To enable the option people will have to go into an iPhone's Bluetooth settings, and turn on "Show Notifications" for the paired hardware. Android users already have full SMS support.
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."
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.
Feature deploying slowly
Facebook has announced an upcoming feature for its iOS and Android apps, Nearby Friends. The function will notify users when friends are within a certain radius, giving a chance to meet up. For security purposes the feature will be off by default, only work if both parties have it enabled, and allow restricting notifications to specific groups -- close friends, for example, or a custom list.
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.
Bug may possibly be affecting other apps
Several UK-based iOS apps -- including BBC iPlayer, Sky Go, and Now TV -- have suddenly stopped streaming video, the BBC reports. The issue began last night, and is still ongoing; the source of the problem is so far unknown, as is whether other apps are also being affected. The director of Now TV, Gidon Katz, indicates that the issue can be temporarily fixed in Sky and Now by rewinding iOS' clock by a day, but that triggers other problems -- including preventing access to the App Store -- and doesn't solve the flaw in iPlayer.
Brings mainstream cars into CarPlay lineup
Hyundai will support Apple's CarPlay beginning with 2015-model Sonatas shipping later this year, according to an announcement. The Korean carmaker is the first since Volvo, Ferrari, and Mercedes-Benz to reveal specific plans for vehicles shipping in 2014. One more, Honda, has yet to say which car models it will fit with CarPlay. Other brands -- such as Ford, BMW, and Toyota -- may not have CarPlay-ready vehicles until 2015 arrives.
New apps share iOS 7-friendly interfaces
Corel has brought its previously iPad-only mobile video editing app, Pinnacle Studio, to the iPhone. The app allows for complex editing, including the ability to trim individual frames and insert elements like transitions, stills, titles, graphics, fast/slow-motion, and picture-in-picture effects. Quick clip arrangement can be done with the Storyboard, while the Timeline allows for more precise manipulation and trimming.
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.
Industry-led group will work on standards for phone security across platforms
Apple, Samsung, Google and Microsoft, among others, have joined with the top five US wireless carriers to create an industry group dedicated to fighting smartphone theft and implementing multi-platform technology to aid that cause by next summer. HTC, Huawei, Motorola and Nokia are also part of the group, which is aiming to create a "baseline anti-theft tool" similar to the steps Apple has already taken in its own iPhone security software, particularly with regards to preventing reactivation.
Details remain scarce
Following a Nikkei report to the effect earlier this week, Alpine has officially confirmed plans to ship aftermarket receivers compatible with Apple's CarPlay. The units will roll out in the US and Europe towards the end of 2014, but apart from a concept image, no other details are available. The Nikkei account suggested prices would fall between $500 and $700.
Feature tethered to cable providers
A&E has updated two of its iOS apps -- History, and the network's namesake -- with support for watching live TV. Previously users were able to watch clips and full episodes, but only after the fact. Like some other TV apps, gaining access to the live streams requires a cable subscription.
Five new receivers planned
Audio specialist Pioneer has announced plans to ship five Apple CarPlay-compatible receivers this summer. The new models in the NEX series will all have large LCD displays, but come in at very different price points. The cheapest model, the AVH-4000NEX, is set to cost $700. Higher-end models will ship for $750, $900, $1,200, and $1,400. Pioneer is also promising various non-CarPlay related improvements; the units are expected to have more responsive interfaces, for example, and better sound and safety features.
Number of leaks continues to ramp up
New photos may have revealed more components for the next-generation iPhone, usually nicknamed the iPhone 6. An image from Chinese site Sina Weibo shows what's claimed to be a front panel for the device. Next to it for comparison is an iPhone 5s; while the panel has similar cutouts, it's also considerably larger, and sports thinner side bezels. This is consistent with most reports about the new iPhone. Apple is also believed to be working a on 5.5-inch model, though, whereas the panel seems closer to the anticipated 4.7-inch size.
Might theoretically be justified by larger screen size
Apple has been asking carriers for approval to raise the base subsidized price of the iPhone 6 from $199 to $299, claims Jefferies analyst Peter Misek. The carriers have allegedly balked at the idea so far. Apple could potentially justify the increase due to the phone's bigger size; it's unclear in fact if the hike would apply to the 4.7-inch model or the 5.5-inch one, since Misek refers to just one iPhone 6. Many shoppers would likely assume a 5.5-inch phone would be more expensive.
Existence of molds suggests Foxconn almost ready to go into production
(Updated with Nowhereelse mold photo) Photos posted to Chinese site Sina Weibo show what appear to be schematics and case molds for a next-generation iPhone. The schematics indicate a design roughly consistent with current iPhones, including touches like chamfered edges and thin bezels. It's difficult to determine size, but one obvious difference is the phone's depth, which is even thinner than the iPhone 5s.
Uncertain if device will have Apple sanction
Car audio and navigation company Alpine will start selling its first aftermarket CarPlay upgrade in the fall, according to Nikkei. Details are relatively scarce, but the unit will reportedly cost between $500 and $700, and "likely" measure 7 inches. Given the nature of CarPlay, the unit will presumably need to be dealer-installed.
Sony rolls out the PHA-2 portable headphone amp for smartphones, PCs
Just as Apple seems to have switched its attention away from standalone music players in favor of its iPhone and iPad businesses, Sony has made a play for the burgeoning high-resolution audio market. One of its latest high-resolution audio devices is the PHA-2 portable headphone amplifier that has been designed to work particularly well with Macs and Apple's iPhone and iPads. Not only does the device sport an in-built battery for use on the go, it also includes a high-quality DAC that supports 24-bit/192kHz audio files that includes a digital input for iPhones and iPads. Helping improve sound quality further, it also includes separate operational and headphone amplifiers.
Tweet: 'Both sides relying on stories to sell jury, Samsung borrowing Google's'
At the end of the twelth day of the Apple-Samsung trial, and fifth day of testimony, Apple rested its case against Samsung following a detailed presentation from "microeconomist" and PhD Chris Vellturo in which he explained for the jury exactly how he calculated the $2.191 billion in damages Samsung should owe Apple for its infringement. Samsung, which has admitted in an earlier damages retrial that it copied from Apple, began presenting its defense -- by borrowing a Google software executive.
Samsung begins its defense, downplays Apple patents, losses
Apple's presentation to the jury in the second Apple-Samsung patent trial is over, with attorneys for the iPhone maker resting their case as expected on Friday following the completion of damages expert Christopher Vellturo's detailed explanation of why Apple is asking for $2.191 billion in total from Samsung. Apple had one final witness on its list, but decided against calling him following Vellturo's testimony. Samsung has already begun its presentation, which seeks to minimize the value of Apple's royalties and calls the damages estimate "grossly inflated."
iOS home screen improvements
This week in the MacNN forums, members discuss ways that Apple could change the home screen in iOS after "Hawykeye_a" noted that there hasn't been any real changes in the way that iOS works and provided some suggestions of things he thought could be modified. Today, one Fresh-Faced Recruit was looking for a way to edit icons on their Mac, and turned to the forums for advice.
Leaks emerging from Apple suppliers?
A new photo shows what are alleged to be two of the first third-party cases produced for the iPhone 6. While there are no earlier iPhones or accessories in the image for comparison, the cases are said to fit 4.7- and 5.5/5.7-inch devices. One unusual aspect of their design is the presence of an extra cutout on one side, and what appears to be a relocated power button cutout on top. It's unclear what the additional cutout might be for.
Charming, surprising, intriguing finds coming to market soon
Now that we've had time to recover from the fury of meeting so many vendors at this year's Macworld, MacNN and Electronista have had a little time to reflect on some of the products and services we saw there. Many have yet to come to market -- a running joke was the number of projects crowdfunded last summer that will be arriving in stores soon -- some have won awards, and some are just little gems we were delighted, intrigued and wowed by. First up in this ongoing series is a successful Kickstarter startup, Glowdeck.
Might accompany rumored overhaul of iTunes Store
[Updated with Apple hiring details] Following on the heels of a claim that Apple is planning to "dramatically" overhaul the iTunes music store in the near future, a previous rumor that the company was considering offering "high-resolution" 24-bit music tracks has gained new currency. Apple has been reported to be looking for ways to boost digital music sales, which have seen a slump as users spend more time listening to on-demand streaming services like Spotify. The higher-quality music files would likely be offered in a lossless format.
Suggests new phone will be extremely thin
A virtual model from a Chinese casemaker, Elam, is purported to show the dimensions of the next-generation iPhone, reports say. While similar in some respects to the iPhone 5s, the model depicts a device that's larger vertically and horizontally, yet even thinner depthwise. That thinness is presumably possible because Apple has more lateral space available for internal parts.
Technology too 'notoriously difficult'
Apple's suspected movements towards in-house baseband development are unlikely to bear any fruit in new iPhones until 2015 at the earliest, says JP Morgan analyst Rod Hall. Baseband chips are said to be "notoriously difficult" to develop. As evidence he refers to Broadcom, which despite being the source of some of Apple's recent hires, struggled to develop an LTE modem.
iTunes Radio failing to convert listeners into buyers
Apple is considering a major overhaul of the iTunes Music Store in light of iTunes Radio failing to slow the decline of music downloads, say anonymous executives allegedly familiar with the company's plans. One of the key features of iTunes Radio, from Apple's perspective, is the ease with which it lets people by music from the iTunes Store. Only about 1 to 2 percent of people are actually tapping the Buy button though, and overall music downloads have declined by more than 15 percent.
Could have significant impact on iOS 9 and beyond
Apple's Human Interface VP, Greg Christie, will soon leave the company following a conflict with design lead Jonathan Ive, sources say. Ive assumed control of both hardware and software interface design after iOS head Scott Forstall was forced out. Until this week, however, Christie was more directly responsible for Apple software design, and is credited not only with helping to invent the iOS interface -- including patented concepts like slide-to-unlock -- but influencing the direction of app design via his WWDC presentations.
Includes 64-bit support
Aviary has launched a major update to its Photo Editor SDK for iOS, used by a number of photography-related apps. The SDK includes a new UI scheme, aligned with changes made in iOS 7. Developers can choose to customize the editor to suit their particular apps. Aviary has also improved the code's efficiency, for instance by shrinking the SDK, and boosting performance in finished apps through changes like 64-bit support.
Data plan add first by T-Mobile in the next three days
T-Mobile today introduced a new entry-level Simple Starter value plan. The new $40 plan gives users unlimited talk and text, and 500MB of 4G/LTE data. The move is the first one for the week, which CEO John Legere calls "three days of UnCarrier" in a blog post calling the other carriers to task for predatory pricing and "obscene" price hikes.