Apple Watch hands-on reports, a look at Photos, new videos, more
Following a longer-than-expected submission process to Apple, we're pleased to report that episode 10 of The MacNN Podcast, along with all previous episodes, has finally arrived on iTunes. Listeners can now search for, subscribe to, and generally wallow in our backlog of tech news, app picks, and bad jokes. The latest episode has a couple of remote reports from Australia and the UK about the Apple Watch concierge try-on experience, the arrival of Photos with OS X 10.10.3, our new videos, and more.
Apple's e-reader is under-appreciated
Anyone who bought the Kindle device that lets you read in direct sunlight made a sensible choice, and they got terrific battery life too. I made my iPad choice, and I lived with it, despite not being able to read on the sun-soaked beach. Of course, you can read Kindle books on iPad, but now I actively seek out titles on Apple's iBook Store before I bother looking for them on Kindle.
Pre-installing app in iOS and Yosemite triggered wave of growth, says company
At the Digital Book World conference in New York City on Thursday, Apple's iBooks chief Keith Moerer revealed that since the release of iOS 8 and Yosemite -- both of which came with the iBooks app pre-installed -- the user base is growing by about one million customers to the iBookstore per week. Moerer added that the introduction of larger-screen iPhones may also have played a role in the growth, and he spoke about the way Apple runs its iBooks business.
Claims Apple was taking on 'predatory pricing' by Amazon
At least one, and possibly two, of the three judges overseeing the appeal of the e-book antitrust verdict against Apple, have expressed strong doubt about the entire basis of the case against the iPhone maker - with Dennis Jacobs, was "openly hostile to the [US] government's case" on the first day of proceedings, says Agence France-Presse. Apple is accused of conspiring with book publishers to artificially inflate the costs of e-books, with a particular aim at undermining Amazon. Jacobs today argued, however that Apple was a "new entrant" into an established e-book world, "breaking the hold of a market by a monopolist who is maintaining its hold by what is arguably predatory pricing."
Top iPad apps previously promoted by Apple
Apple has introduced its annual "Best of 2014" list at the iTunes Store, promoting content in different media categories. The top iPad app, for instance, is Pixelmator, the image editing app Apple also highlighted during its recent press event for the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. The top iPad game is Monument Valley, an Apple Design Award winner from WWDC.
Exec admits tactics pushed prices up
In a new interview with Fortune, Apple's senior VP for Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue defends his company and his own actions as they relate to the ongoing e-book price-fixing scandal. Apple is hoping to overturn a bench-trial verdict that found it guilty of conspiring with publishers to drive up prices; if it fails to win the appeal, the company will owe $450 million in damages and legal fees. Cue insists that the company is continuing to fight the verdict on principle. "We feel we have to fight for the truth," he says.
Boise-based company dubbed 'the Pandora of books' sold for $10-15 million
On Friday, Apple revealed that it had purchased book analytics and discovery company BookLamp for an undisclosed sum, though TechCrunch estimated the sale between $10-15 million. While it acknowledged the deal, the iPhone maker's only comment on the deal was its standard "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans" line. The company is likely to use BookLamp technology in its iBookstore to help readers discover new content.
Kindle vs. iBooks
Yesterday in the MacNN forums, members began a debate about which e-book distribution service was better, Kindle or iBooks, after one Mac Elite stated that they think iBooks just might be better. "When I put the computer to sleep, does that affect ongoing transfers to and from the internet?" asks Mac Elite "rotuts" earlier today.
Minor maintenance release
Apple has released a minor update for iTunes, v11.1.5. The new code mainly deals with a glitch related to syncing. It also, however, improves compatibility with iBooks for Mac for users of OS X Mavericks.
Claims verdict was a 'radical departure from modern antitrust law'
Apple has filed an official appeal with the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, seeking to overturn District Court Judge Denise Cote's verdict in July, which found Apple in violation of antitrust laws through its handling of e-book deals. "The district court's ruling that Apple, in the very act of launching the iPad, inventing the iBooks Store, and entering the e-books market, violated the Sherman Act is a radical departure from modern antitrust law and policy. If allowed to stand, the ruling will stifle innovation, chill competition, and harm consumers," the company claims in its appellate opening brief.
Company aims for longer stay, monitor's eventual removal
The Second US Circuit Court of Appeals has granted Apple an "administrative stay," temporarily relieving it of scrutiny by antitrust monitor Michael Bromwich, Reuters reports. The stay is short-term only, and in fact Apple is pursuing a longer stay while it also seeks to suspend Bromwich entirely. A three-judge panel is due to hear a motion for the longer stay as soon as possible. The Department of Justice has until January 24 to file opposition; it didn't, however, oppose the administrative stay.
Educational content now in dozens of countries
Access to iBooks textbooks and the iTunes U Course Manager has expanded to a number of new countries in Asia, Europe, and Latin America, Apple has announced. Textbooks are now available in 51 countries -- including Brazil, Italy, and Japan -- while the Course Manager can be found in 70, among them Russia, Thailand, and Malaysia.
Apps adopt look similar to Newsstand redesign
Following long after its iLife and iWork refreshes, Apple has updated the mobile iBooks and iTunes U apps to suit the look of iOS 7. Both apps have jettisoned the skeuomorphism of previous versions in favor of designs similar to the iOS 7 Newsstand. This includes elements like "flat" shelves, although iBooks continues to sport page-turning animations.
Influential treasuries of daily strip not Google Play books yet
According to the iBooks Twitter feed, the first e-book collections of the deeply beloved comic strip "Calvin and Hobbes" are now available on the iBookstore (as well as Amazon's Kindle and Barnes & Noble's bookstores). This marks the first time the influential comic strip, which originally ran from 1985 to 1995, has been available to purchase in e-book form. Three of the original book collections of the strips are now available, priced at $13.
Latest in a series of independent fixes to fine-tune updated Mavericks apps
Another standalone fix issued by Apple on Thursday patches iBooks for Mac that addresses a number of bugs in the first release. Earlier today, Apple issued updates for the late 2013 MacBook Pro as well as a Mail patch that fixes one of the bigger complaints about the latter program, namely its handling of GMail accounts. Users had complained that iBooks for Mac would sometimes mishandle and mis-display the available book library when imported from iTunes.
Joins previously-rumored Mail update
Apple is preparing updates to several core apps in OS X Mavericks, sources say. The people note that Apple is now seeding new versions of Safari, iBooks, and Remote Desktop to its workers, as well as a previously-rumored Mail update. The Safari code is identified as v7.0.1, and expected to provide a number of bugfixes. The same description applies to iBooks 1.0.1, and Remote Desktop 3.7.1.
How complete is the new app for OS X?
Today’s Apple event saw the full release of OS X 10.9 Mavericks, as was widely rumored. With the many “under the hood” changes has come what some call a welcome addition -- the introduction of an OS X iBooks application, allowing content purchased on the iTunes Book Store as well as other accumulated PDFs to be viewed in one, central, indexed application.
Hints at prep for launch of OS X Mavericks
People using the latest version of OS X Mountain Lion are beginning to see an "Open in iBooks" buttons on iBookstore pages within iTunes, users say. The button appears if a person has a title in their iBooks library, but is currently non-functional, since the first Mac version of iBooks is only due to launch alongside OS X Mavericks. That may suggest, however, that Apple is making final preparations for Mavericks' release.
Versioning, new tutorials, catalog reports, higher pixels limit, more
Apple on Thursday sent out an email to authors and publishers that announced a number of new features geared toward content producers in the iBookstore. Among the changes is support for versioning, allowing readers to be automatically notified when a book they've purchased has been updated with a new version. Also included in the updates are new catalog reports, updated documentation, a rise in the pixel limit for book images and more.
Apple changes system requirements for Author-produced titles
A change in the system requirements language for iBooks Author titles could mean that the next version of Author will support formatting for the iPhone and iPod touch. Until recently, Author-produced books came with a narrow disclaimer: "This book can only be viewed using iBooks 3.0 or later on an iPad. iOS 5.1 or later is required." Now, though, that language has loosened somewhat. "To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 3.0 or later and iOS 5.1 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later," Apple writes.
Publishers expected to pay out over $162 million
Two of the five publishers accused of conspiring with Apple to inflate e-book prices, Macmillan and Penguin, have started issuing emails to e-book customers, informing them of rights, responsibilities, and proposed terms in the legal settlement the companies negotiated. Under current terms, the publishers would distribute approximately $162.25 million to customers who bought e-books at any digital outlet between the iBookstore's launch on April 1st, 2010 and May 21st, 2012.
Uses evidence from talks between Jobs, Schiller, Cue
The US Department of Justice has filed a revised settlement proposal for the outcome of its recent trial victory against Apple. The proposal is similar to the original, but incorporates an expanded section on in-app purchases, claiming that Apple formulated its rules to "retaliate against Amazon for competitive conduct that Apple disapproved of" and "make it more difficult for consumers using Apple devices to compare ebook prices among different retailers."
CBS Sports now iPad optimized
An updated version of the CBS Sports iOS app, which offers full support for the iPad, has been launched in the App Store. iPad users running iOS 6.0 or later can now access all of the on-demand and live content offered within the app, all within an interface designed for the larger screen. Live content is dependant on timing, offering NCAA basketball from January to April, the PGA Tour between May and August, and SEC football from September to December. CBS Sports is a free download from the App Store.
Would've given Apple time to appeal DoJ penalties
Judge Denise Cote has denied an Apple request to temporarily stay her ruling stemming from a trial over e-book price fixing, the Associated Press reports. Had the stay gone through, it would've given Apple time to appeal settlement terms proposed by the US Department of Justice. In July, Cote found that Apple had conspired with five major book publishers -- Hachette, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster -- to artificially inflate e-book prices and undermine Amazon, which in 2009 was selling Kindle titles at a standard price of just $10.
Sign of companies operating too closely in unison, DoJ suggests
The US Department of Justice has filed a response to the book publishing industry's defense of Apple in light of possible settlement terms that could impose strict restrictions on Apple, and which the publishers suggest might alter the terms of their own settlements over allegations of fixing e-book prices. DoJ attorney Lawrence Buterman contends that the unified defense shows that the publishers have "banded together once again," as they did when conspiring to inflate prices and undermine Amazon. The publishers' motion "only highlights why it is necessary to ensure that Apple (and hopefully other retailers) can discount ebooks and compete on retail price for as long as possible," the filing reads.
Hearing on penalties to be assessed on August 9
Five of the publishers originally involved in the e-book price fixing case with Apple have filed a motion in Judge Denise Cote's court, opposing the proposed penalties that the Department of Justice wants asserted against Apple. The five publishers claim that the Department of Justice's demand will "improperly impose additional, unwarranted restrictions on the settling defendants, thereby depriving each publisher of the benefit of its bargain with plaintiffs." The penalty proposal by the Department of Justice and all filed motions will be heard on Friday, August 9.
Claims terms would 'establish a vague new compliance regime'
Apple has lashed out at the Department of Justice's proposed terms for settling the case the latter brought over e-book price fixing. In court documents, Apple calls the terms a "draconian and punitive intrusion" into its business, with penalties "wildly out of proportion to any adjudicated wrongdoing or potential harm."
Would undo one of the stricter App Store rules
The Department of Justice has published proposed settlement terms that could force Apple to allow apps to link to outside e-book stores. Last month, the DoJ emerged victorious against Apple in a trial over e-book price fixing. Apple was accused of conspiring with publishers to artificially inflate e-book prices, in particular with the aim of undermining Amazon's once-standard $10 pricetag for Kindle titles. Modern, high-profile e-books are usually priced closer to $13 or $14.
Apple to give retail employees free iBooks
Apple employees will begin receiving free iBooks next week in order to prepare them for the launch of iBooks for Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks. The development was announced on Sunday in the course of Apple Retail's store quarterly meetings, according to 9to5Mac. The move is aimed at getting employees to familiarize themselves with Apple's iOS-spawned digital books platform and how it will work on the company's desktop and notebook devices.
Commitments 'are now legally binding'
The European Commission has accepted a proposal from British publisher Penguin -- and German media conglomerate Bertelsmann -- to toss e-book deals it signed with Apple that are in violation of European competition regulations, according to a press release. "After our decision of December 2012, the commitments are now legally binding on Apple and all five publishers including Penguin, restoring a competitive environment in the market for e-books," states the EC's Competition commissioner, Joaquín Almunia.
Planned grounds for appeal yet to be disclosed
Apple will appeal today's judgment against it in a trial over e-book price fixing, says spokesman Tom Neumayr. "Apple did not conspire to fix e-book pricing and we will continue to fight against these false accusations," he adds. "We've done nothing wrong."
Decision could impact Amazon, iBookstore, future of e-book prices
Apple indeed violated antitrust laws, conspiring with publishers to fix the prices of e-books, US District Judge Denise Cote has ruled in a Manhattan court. The company is said to have colluded with Hachette, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster in order to undermine Amazon, which until the launch of Apple's iBookstore was able to sell e-books for a standard $10. Cote notes that the publishers' switch to an agency model, prompted by talks with Apple, forced a number of e-books to climb in price to $13 or $15.
Little new during executive's final court date
Under questioning at the ongoing DoJ v. Apple antitrust trial, the man who negotiated Apple's iBookstore deals with publishers -- Eddy Cue -- today disclosed some minor facts about Steve Jobs' involvement with the iBooks app. The topic came up during examination by Apple attorney Orin Snyder. Earlier in the trial, Cue established that Jobs was heavily into the concept of iBooks and the iBookstore once iPad development started ramping up. During today's testimony, Cue revealed that Jobs had micromanaged some of the smallest details of iBooks.
Witnesses to include current iTunes, iBookstore heads
The Department of Justice's antitrust case against Apple is entering its final four days this week, according to Fortune. The original orchestrator of Apple's publisher deals for the iBookstore, Eddy Cue, is resuming court testimony today, having last testified on Thursday afternoon. Today's topics are expected to include a dinner Cue had with Macmillan's CEO, and disputed emails written to Cue by former Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
DOJ claims Cue, Jobs discussed deal with Amazon to stay out
In further testimony on the last day this week of the Department of Justice e-book price-fixing trial, Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue told the judge that Steve Jobs had been initially opposed to the idea that became the iBookstore -- not believing that the tablet would be an ideal device for reading compared to dedicated e-readers such as the Kindle. Cue said he was responsible for persuading Jobs by telling him of the benefits of e-books on the iPad, which won Jobs over.
Blames publishers' resentment towards Amazon prices
Apple's senior VP for Internet software and services, Eddy Cue, testified today in defense of the company at the Department of Justice's ongoing antitrust trial over e-book prices. Cue was responsible for negotiating publisher deals to help launch the iBookstore in 2010. Apple is accused, however, of colluding with publishers to switch the e-book industry to an agency model, specifically with the aim of forcing prices higher and undermining Amazon's then-standard $10 pricetag.
Doubling of business keeps Apple at 20 percent of e-book marketshare
Such is the explosive growth of the e-book market that Apple, as revealed during the ongoing price-fixing trial brought by the US Department of Justice, grew its iBooks business by 100 percent in 2012 alone, and yet that was only enough for it to maintain its place at 20 percent share of the overall market -- suggesting that Amazon also saw a doubling of its e-book business that year as well. Apple has maintained that 20 percent share more or less since it entered the market in 2010.
Suggests Apple was aiming at forcing Amazon to accept higher prices
As a result of an email written by former CEO Steve Jobs, Apple may have suffered a significant blow at the e-book antitrust trial being pursued by the Department of Justice. Fortune reports that the head of Apple's iBookstore, Keith Moerer, testified yesterday that Apple had never asked or pressured any book publisher into changing contracts with Amazon from a wholesale model to Apple's preferred agency model, in which publishers can dictate higher prices. Apple was "indifferent" to what model publishers used with Amazon, Moerer claimed.
Dev release available today, shipping to public in fall
At today's WWDC keynote, Apple today announced OS X Mavericks, the next version of its Mac operating system. The software makes a number of incremental feature improvements, such as adding tags and tabs to Finder; users can copy items between tabs by dragging them around. A feature called iCloud Keychain can sync logins, credit card numbers, and Wi-Fi networks; for many notifications people can now reply directly, including email and FaceTime messages. Other notification enhancements include a new Safari type, background app updates, and the ability to see a full set of missed notifications at the lockscreen.
Collusion claims cast into doubt
The Department of Justice suffered an early blow in its antitrust case against Apple yesterday, reports say. Testifying in court was Google's director of strategic partnerships, Thomas Turvey. In previous written testimony, Turvey had claimed that representatives from book publishers told him in 2010 that they were switching to an agency model because Apple required it in its iBookstore contracts. Under cross-examination by Apple lawyer Orin Snyder however, it emerged that the written testimony was drafted with the help of Turvey's lawyers, and he was unsure who wrote the central allegations.
Claims government trying to 'reverse engineer a conspiracy'
The Department of Justice's antitrust case against Apple over e-book pricing is "bizarre," said Apple lawyer Orin Snyder yesterday during the case's opening arguments. Snyder went on to call the allegations "sinister interference" based on nebulous evidence, and complain about pre-trial comments by Judge Denise Cote inferring that the DoJ was likely to win.
Verdict could help reshape e-book industry
Apple is today headed to trial to defend itself in the antitrust case brought against it by the US Justice Department over e-book pricing, Bloomberg notes. The company is accused of conspiring with major publishers -- Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Pearson, and HarperCollins -- to artificially inflate the prices of e-books over the $10 threshold that was once standard at Amazon. The publishers were also involved in the case at one point, but each decided to settle before matters went to trial.
Indicates Apple was pushing for prices higher than Amazon
US Department of Justice filings in the e-book price-fixing case against Apple reveal an exchange between former Apple CEO Steve Jobs and News Corporation/HarperCollins' James Murdoch, notes AllThingsD. In the course of a Jobs-penned email, which dates back to January 2010, the CEO explains why Apple is proposing to tie e-book prices to hardcover ones. "We simply don’t think the e-book market can be successful with pricing higher than $12.99 or $14.99," Jobs writes.
Small press had use 'ibooks' for imprint, never registered trademark
Of the many contentious and complex legal battles Apple has had to fight, some are easier to sort out than others. In a New York courtroom on Wednesday, Judge Denise Cote -- who is also handling the complicated battle between Apple and the Department of Justice over e-book pricing -- made short work of a trademark dispute between Apple and a small-press publisher of sci-fi and horror novels. At issue was Black Towers' line of "ibooks" it obtained in the purchase of a smaller rival, and Apple's "iBooks" trademark.
Marks end to European investigation
In order to end an antitrust investigation by the European Commission, Pearson-owned book publisher Penguin has offered to drop e-book deals with Apple that inflated prices for Amazon and other vendors, Reuters reports. Penguin is the fifth publisher to settle, joining Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Hachette, and Macmillian, which along with Apple reached a settlement with the Commission in December.
Buyout offer nixed Goodreads integration into iBookstore
Amazon's buyout of Goodreads in late March also had the effect of derailing Apple plans for the iBookstore, say Wall Street Journal sources. During the past year, Apple and Goodreads reportedly discussed integrating Goodreads content into the iBookstore, namely in the form of displaying user reviews and ratings. The scheme would've echoed the way Rotten Tomatoes ratings are presented alongside movies on iTunes.
Pushes localization for App Store, iBookstore titles
Apple has sent out a memo to developers this week, urging them to localize Mac and iOS apps as well as titles on the iBookstore, notes AppleInsider. The message is being delivered through iTunes Connect, and points out that both the iOS and Mac App Stores are accessible in 155 countries and 40 languages. "In addition, the App Store editorial team is always looking for great apps that are localized," Apple writes.
Apple CEO asked to provide four hours of information
CEO Tim Cook has been ordered to testify in the Department of Justice's antitrust case against Apple, Reuters reports. US District Judge Denise Cote has asked Cook to provide four hours of testimony, fulfilling requests by prosecutors, who have argued that the executive likely has relevant knowledge of Apple's 2010 entry into e-books with the iBookstore. Apple opposed involving Cook, claiming that the deposition of 11 other executives made the CEO's participation "cumulative and duplicative." Cote, though, has taken the position that the passing of Steve Jobs -- in charge of Apple at the time the iBookstore was introduced -- means the DoJ is "entitled to take testimony from high-level executives."
Some Twitter users complain
Apple's official iBookstore Twitter account accidentally retweeted and favorited a potentially offensive post on Sunday night, says 9to5Mac. "Let me suck a ____ and tell you how much I love introspective novels," the original message read. Although the post quickly disappeared from the iBookstore feed, it was up long enough for some people to complain and/or unfollow.
Includes manga, other paid content
Apple has released iBooks 3.1 for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. While a minor update in most countries, v3.1 is the first to bring the full iBookstore to Japan. Previously, only public domain books were available in the country; now though the store has a variety of paid titles, including manga comics.