Apple's request to ban an array of Samsung smartphones and tablets was denied by a U.S. District Judge. Apple already won a guilty verdict against 26 different Samsung devices that were found to infringe on its patents. A jury awarded Apple more than $1 billion in damages, but Apple still sought to prevent Samsung from selling the infringing products in the U.S. Though Apples' request was denied, the damages owed to Apple by Samsung were finalized by the judge overseeing the case. The Korean company must now fork over about $930 million for violating Apple's patents.
Apple today announced CarPlay, a bridge that will let drivers user their car's infotainment center to access and interact with their iPhone. In order to work, CarPlay must be installed by the car manufacturer and a separate app must be installed on the iPhone. Drivers can use the car-based controls, such as steering wheel buttons, to launch Siri (Apple's voice-activated assistant), which can then access contacts, make calls, and listen to voicemails. Siri will read incoming messages aloud at the user's request, as well as dictate spoken messages for replies. CarPlay ties into Apple Maps, and can access recent trips, or addresses buried within emails or text messages, as well as plan and route turn-by-turn directions. Apple Maps will appear on the car's built-in display. CarPlay also gives drivers access to all their music, audiobooks, iTunes Radio, and podcasts with on-screen navigation or through Siri. According to Apple, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo will be the first to add CarPlay to their vehicles. Other car makers, including BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki, and Toyota, will follow down the road. CarPlay will be enabled in iPhones through a system update.
Google has released Google Hangouts 2.0 for the Apple iPhone and iPad. The app has been optimized for iOS 7 and given a visual refresh. Google added several new features, including the ability to record and send 10-second video messages, send animated stickers to contacts, send a map of current location to contacts, and see picture-in-picture video chats. The app also integrates better with iOS's contacts application, and makes it easier to start video chats from within an existing conversation. Google Hangouts for iOS is free to download from the iTunes App Store.
A German court today dismissed a lawsuit filed by IPCom against Apple over smartphone patents. The patent in question covered technology that prioritized emergency calls even when cellular networks were overloaded. IPCom was seeking more than $2 billion in damages against Apple. Courts in Germany have dismissed similar claims made by IPCom, which is a patent holding company. The court did not provide a reason for today's dismissal.
The U.S Department of Justice today halted an investigation into Samsung's use of standard essential patents in litigation. The Justice Department was looking to ascertain if Samsung was abusing its standard essential patents, which must be licensed at fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory rates. The Justice Department had opened the investigation after Samsung sued Apple via the U.S. International Trade Commission. The ITC initially ordered a ban of select Apple products in the U.S., but the ban was overturned by the Obama Administration in September. Since the ban was overturned, the Justice Department's invesgiation became moot. The Justice Department will, however, continue to monitor Samsung's patent litigation in the U.S.
IPCom, a patent-holding company based in Germany, today accused Apple of violating one of its patents. The patent, which IPCom bought in 2007, pertains to how cellular calls to emergency services are prioritized on mobile networks. IPCom filed its claim in Germany and is seeking $2 billion from Apple to use the patent. According to the Wall Street Journal, the patent is a "mandatory element of the UMTS and LTE cellphone standards." Patents deemed standard essential must be licensed at fair and reasonable rates. The Journal did not say if IPCom attempted to reach such an agreement with Apple prior to filing its lawsuit.
Apple recently published updates to its core productivity applications for the iPhone and iPad. Pages, Apple's word processor, has a significant number of new features. The app now lets users share password-protected documents via iCloud or export them to .docx files. The app supports charts with date, time, and duration values, and makes it easier to start lists with new characters. The app also improves support for bidirectional text, ePub export, and compatibility with Microsoft Word 2013 documents. Keynote, Apple's presentation app, includes many of the same improvements and also adds a new remote feature to control slideshows on other devices, adds new transitions, improves presenter display options, and adds custom number formats. Numbers, Apple's spreadsheet app, now permits spreadsheets to be viewed and edited in landscape orientation, adds iCloud sharing and .xlsx file export for secure documents, and improves compatibility with Microsoft's Excel program. Each app costs $9.99, but the update is free for customers who've already purchased the apps.
Rockstar, a patent consortium jointly owned by Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, Ericsson, and Sony, has dropped its patent infringement lawsuit against Huawei. The suit was originally filed last year, and included co-defendents Google, Samsung, and HTC. Rockstar believes the companies are violating its patents. Neither Rockstar nor Huawei indicated why the suit was dropped, nor whether or not Huawei signed a licensing agreement with Rocktar. The lawsuit still stands against the other companies. Google, in particular, is accused of infringing on seven different patents that pertain to internet search terms and advertising. Rockstar is seeking damages from Google, which it says is violating the patents willfully. Rockstar is a group of companies that together purchased thousands of patents from bankrupt Nortel. The firms spent a total of $4.5 billion on the patents.
Apple today indicated that it is working to resolve a bug that plagues the iPhone home screen. "We have a fix in an upcoming software update for a bug that can occasionally cause a home screen crash," said Apple spokesperson Trudy Muller. The bug doesn't cause full system-level crashes, but does reboot the home screen. Apple recently released a new beta version of iOS 7.1, signifying that the public release is near. Muller didn't specifically state that iOS 7.1 would resolve the issue, though the likelihood is high. Muller indicated that the update will be available soon.
Apple was handed two minor victories by the judge overseeing the forthcoming patent case between the iPhone maker and Samsung. Federal Judge Lucy Koh, who has handled the bulk of the litigation between the two companies in the U.S., ruled that some Samsung devices infringed on an Apple patent for word recommendations, or auto-correct. Further, Koh deemed another Samsung patent, pertaining to multimedia syncing across devices, invalid. Samsung expressed frustration with the decisions. The rulings put Apple in a better legal standing ahead of the trial, which is scheduled to start in March. The March trial is separate from the one that took place in August 2012, and covers Samsung's more recent devices, including the Galaxy S III.
Motorola recently updated is data-migration tool for Android handsets to make it easier to switch from an iPhone. The company already makes it fairly simple to install iPhone data (contact, calendar, etc.) on a Motorola smartphone via Moto Maker. Now, owners of Motorola devices, such as the Moto X, Moto G, Droid Maxx, Droid Ultra, and Droid Mini, can use the Motorola Migrate application to grab the data directly from Apple's iCloud servers. Motorola Migrate is free for Motorola devices to download and use.
Google today made a version of its Play Movies & TV application available to iOS devices. The app will allow owners of the Apple iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch to access, download, stream, and play their Google Play Movies & TV purchases. Video content can only be streamed over Wi-Fi, says Google, and not 3G/4G. The app also interacts with Google's Chromecast device, which lets users push the content to their TV set. The app itself is free to download from the iTunes App Store, but the price of content varies.
Apple today indicated that it has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S Federal Trade Commission regarding in-app purchases made by children. The details, shared with Apple employees in an email from CEO Tim Cook, indicate that Apple will pay the FTC $32.5 million to drop the lawsuit. Apple already settled a class-action lawsuit filed by consumers whose children unknowingly rang up hundreds of dollars of in-app purchases. Apple has since altered its in-app purchase polices and is in the process of reimbursing some 37,000 claimants in the original case. Cook felt the FTC's follow-up lawsuit was unfair and smacked of double-jeopardy, but settled anyway to avoid "a long and distracting legal fight."
Apple was cleared in a patent case brought on by Google's Motorola unit. Apple was accused of using Motorola patents in the iPhone. The U.S. International Trade Commission found that Apple hadn't violated the patents in April 2013. Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld that decision.
The leaders of both Apple and Samsung have agreed to meet one another next month to discuss settling their on-going patent battles. They are scheduled to enter the courtroom in March anew concerning a second batch of patents. The meeting will be an attempt to settle their differences amicably ahead of that trial. The two companies have faced one another countless times over patents during the course of the last few years. Apple has won about $930 million in damages from Samsung already. The trial scheduled for March is an entirely new case, however, and will likely drag out for months if the companies can't agree to terms.
Yahoo today made a number of announcements at the Consumer Electronics Show. First, the company revealed that it has purchased Aviate, which makes a launcher for Android devices. Aviate is a learning launcher that uses contextual clues to customize the content that appears on the home screen throughout the day. Yahoo said it plans to use Aviate's user interface ideas in its own Android products later this year. Second, the company announced Yahoo News Digest, an application for the Apple iPhone that delivers news in small chunks twice per day. The app lets users customize the news items they want to receive, and delivers them to the phone automatically. The app is free to download and use, and is available starting today from the iTunes App Store. Yahoo also announced that it is adding a new Yahoo Tech section to its online news reporting, and it launched a new advertising platform for its mobile products.
Twitter co-founder Biz Stone today released a new social search application that resembles the notion of "lazy web." The app, called Jelly, lets people submit queries to their Twitter and Facebook social circles to find answers. Users can submit text questions or photos and ask their social network for help in finding an answer. The application is available to Google's Android platform and Apple's iOS platform.
Apple has confirmed the purchase of SnappyLabs, makers of the SnappyCam app for iOS. SnappyCam lets an iPhone take unusually high-speed burst photos, up to 60 per second. The app also claims to support 6x lossless digital zoom.
BlackBerry today filed a patent infringement lawsuit against a start-up called Typo. Typo, which was founded by Laurence Hallier and Ryan Seacrest, announced the pending availability of a keyboard accessory that attaches to the Apple iPhone. The accessory is meant to help iPhone owners type on their device. According to BlackBerry, Typo lifted its design from BlackBerry. "This is a blatant infringement against BlackBerry's iconic keyboard, and we will vigorously protect our intellectual property against any company that attempts to copy our unique design," said the company. BlackBerry contends that its physical keyboards are one of its market differentiators. The lawsuit was filed in California.
Google has filed a patent lawsuit against Rockstar, the company formed by Apple, Microsoft, and BlackBerry to manage major communications patents bought from Nortel. Google accuses Rockstar of being a patent troll targeting the whole mobile industry. Google is asking the court to specifically declare that its Nexus devices do not infringe, which could set precedent in favor of all manufacturers of Android devices. Rockstar has made patent claims against most major Android players, including Samsung, LG, Huawei, ZTE, HTC, Pantech, and Asus. Rockstar bought the patents in 2012 for $4.5 billion, with $2.5 billion contributed by Apple.
Apple recently added the ability to gift books from the iBookstore. Gifting has long been available to Apple's other digital content stores, but this is the first time the company has offered the feature for digital books. The tool works just as it does for gifting music or movies, and lets people send gifts along with a short note to other iOS users who reside in the same country that they do.
Apple informed developers this week that all applications must be optimized for iOS 7 no later than February 1. The apps will need to be built with Xcode5 and matched against iOS 7's human interface guidelines. The result should be a more seamless experience for users.
Eight U.S. tech companies have sent a joint letter to President Obama and Congress asking for changes in the way governments collect personal data through the web. Apple, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo, and AOL all believe that the bulk collection methods used today have gone too far. Referencing details that were exposed by Edward Snowden earlier this year, the companies said, "This summer's revelations highlighted the urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide. The balance in many countries has tipped too far in favor of the state and away from the rights of the individual–rights that are enshrined in our Constitution." The companies want governments to target individuals rather than everyone, and suggest that consumers and businesses alike will not use technology they don't trust. "Governments have put this trust at risk, and governments need to help restore it," said Brad Smith, general counsel for Microsoft. Microsoft recently said that it would increase the encryption it uses in an attempt to prevent government snooping. In the letter, the companies suggest five principles of reform, including the use of an independent way to oversee national security and more freedom to offer details about government record requests publicly.
Apple plans to launch its iBeacon service at 254 of its U.S. stores today, reports the Associated Press. iBeacon uses Bluetooth transmitters inside Apple Stores to track the exact location of shoppers. Customers must download the most recent version of the Apple Store application, and turn their Bluetooth radios on in order for iBeacon to track them. When shoppers move about the Apple Store, iBeacon can sense if they are standing next to a table of iPhones, for example, and will send a message to ask if the customer is interested in an upgrade. The app can also direct shoppers to the check-out counter, or alert them when purchases are ready for pickup. Apple Stores will also be able to send alerts concerning sales or deals to shoppers in the vicinity. iOS device owners need to agree to allow Apple to track them in order for iBeacon to work. Apple has not updated the Apple Store application since early November, and it is unclear exactly when iBeacon will come online.
Verizon Wireless has activated LTE 4G on its AWS spectrum in dozens of markets, reports GigaOm. Verizon Wireless lit up AWS-based LTE in New York City earlier this year, but has recently expanded the number of markets to include many of the major metro areas east of the Mississippi River, as well as a number along the west coast. In the majority of these new markets on the east coast (Atlanta, Boston, Washington, D.C., et al.), Verizon has tripled capacity, while in several western markets (Los Angeles, San Francisco) it has boosted capacity by 150%. This means more people can connect to the network in the same location and can access data at faster speeds. A handful of Verizon's existing smartphones (Apple iPhone 5s and 5c, Samsung Galaxy S4, Motorola Droid Maxx, Mini, and Ultra) can already access Verizon's AWS-based LTE network, and Verizon said software updates will add this functionality to others. Moving forward, most new Verizon smartphones will be able to reach LTE in both the AWS and 700MHz bands.
Consumer Cellular today announced that it will soon offer the Apple iPhone 5s, 5c, and 4s. The devices, which can be paired with most of Consumer Cellular's service plans, will require down payments of $150, $100, and $50, respectively. Customers are then expected to make payments of $25 per month until the remaining balance of the phone is paid off. The iPhone 5s, 5c, and 4S will go on sale Friday, December 13.
The federal judge overseeing the Samsung-Apple patent case has denied an emergency motion made by Samsung that would have delayed the proceedings. Samsung wanted the trial put on hold because the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is exploring the validity of Apple's pinch-to-zoom patent. "This decision by the [patent office] jeopardizes the jury's findings in the damages trial and may render all of the post-trial proceedings a waste of time and resources," argued Samsung. District Judge Lucy Koh disagreed and fired back, "If Samsung is truly concerned about efficiency, the court encourages Samsung to discuss with Apple an agreement to forgo post-trial motions so that the parties can expeditiously appeal this entire case to the Federal Circuit." The emergency motion was made last week before a jury ordered Samsung to pay Apple an additional $290 million in damages for violating its smartphone patents. Apple and Samsung have been battling one another in courtrooms around the globe for more than two years.
Apple today made the unlocked iPhone 5s available online. Apple is charging $649 for the 16GB model, $749 for the 32GB model, and $849 for the 64GB model. Unlocked models are already available in Apple's retail stores.
A federal jury today determined that Samsung owes Apple $290 million for violating the iPhone-maker's smartphone patents. Apple believed it was owed $380 million, while Samsung only wanted to pay $52 million. Twenty-six of Samsung's devices were found guilty of infringing on Apple's patents last year. Apple was originally awarded $1.05 billion, but the judge presiding over the case said the jury miscalculated a portion of the reward. This week's trial was to reassess the damages owed to Apple regarding 13 of the original 26 devices. Samsung now owes Apple a total of about $890 million.
U.S wireless network operators are not interested in allowing smartphone makers to install kill switches that would allow owners to deactivate their phones remotely if they become lost or stolen. Lawmakers in New York and San Francisco have been working with handset manufacturers, such as Apple and Samsung, to put the software kill switches on their smartphones. The idea is to make it easier for consumers to protect themselves by making it easier to deactivate lost/stolen devices. The long range goal is to deter cell phone theft, since deactivated devices will not be attractive to thieves. However, The New York Times says the lawmakers involved in the discussions have seen emails between U.S. network operators and handset makers that shows the operators don't want to hurt the profits they make by selling insurance programs to consumers. "Corporate profits cannot be allowed to guide decisions that have life-or-death consequences," said San Francisco's district attorney, George Gascon. "This solution has the potential to safeguard customers, but these emails suggest the carriers rejected it so they can continue to make money hand over fist on insurance premiums." For their part, carriers say they've helped to curb phone theft through the creation of a nationwide database of stolen cell phone IDs. Devices that appear in the database cannot be activated on any of the major networks, provided the lost/stolen devices are actually added to the list.
A federal court of appeals today reversed the decision of a lower court and cleared the way for Apple to seek a ban on certain Samsung devices. A handful of Samsung devices were found to infringe on certain Apple patents at trial last year. Apple requested that the products be banned from import/sale in the U.S., but was denied that request. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said the lower court abused its discretion in denying Apple's request.
Apple today made iOS 7.0.4 available to iPhones and iPads. The minor system update fixes a bug that caused Facetime calls to disconnect. The update is small and can be downloaded over the air.
Google recently updated the the Google Search application for Apple's iOS platform and added a handful of new features. Among the app's new powers are the ability to perform voice-based searches with the "OK Google" search prompt. The Google Now functionality of the app now offers improved notifications for events like upcoming calendar appointments or travel changes. It offers new reminders for tasks, as well as entertainment reminders for new albums, movies, and articles containing the user's favorite artists. Google Now includes more cards for organizing tickets and boarding passes. Last, the home page has been simplified and includes new gestures for discarding unwanted content. Google Search requires iOS 6 and up, and the iPhone 4S and up. It is free.
Boost Mobile today announced pricing details for the Apple iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. It will sell both phones beginning Friday, November 8. Boost is charging $549.99 for the 16GB iPhone 5s, and $649.99 and $749.99 for the 32GB and 64GB models, respectively. Boost is charging $449.99 for the 16GB iPhone 5c and $649.99 for the 32GB model. It is selling the iPhone 4s for $299.99. Boost Mobile provides pre-paid service that runs on Sprint's CDMA/LTE networks. It does not require contracts. The prices it is charging for most of the iPhones mentioned above is $100 off the full retail price charged by Apple.
Rockstar, a patent consortium jointly owned by Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, Ericsson, and Sony, has filed patent infringement lawsuits against Google, Samsung, Huawei, and HTC. Rockstar alleges that the companies are violating its patents. Google, in particular, stands accused of infringing on seven different patents that pertain to internet search terms and advertising. Specific details about Samsung, HTC, and Huawei's infringements weren't immediately specified. Rockstar is seeking damages from Google, which it says is violating the patents willfully. Rockstar is a group of companies that together purchased thousands of patents from bankrupt Nortel. The firms spent a total of $4.5 billion on the patents. Google and others attempted to buy the same patents won by Rockstar. "Despite losing in its attempt to acquire the patents-in-suit at auction, Google has infringed and continues to infringe," read a portion of the lawsuit.
Cricket Wireless today made available the Apple iPhone 5s and 5c. Cricket customers may buy the new iPhones at Cricket retail stores or via Cricket's web site. Cricket is only selling the 16GB models. It is charging $599.99 for the iPhone 5s and $499.99 for the iPhone 5c. Cricket also offers device financing. Well-qualified customers can get the new iPhones for as little as $25 down and payments as low as $21 per month (for iPhone 5c). Service plans start at $50 for unlimited talk, text, and data. Cricket does not require contracts.
Apple did not violate patents owned by Wi-LAN, according to a federal jury in Texas. Wi-LAN is a patent-holding firm that licenses its technology to other companies. It hit HP, BlackBerry, Novotel, HTC, and others with similar lawsuits, some of which have been settled. In particular, Wi-LAN accused Apple of infringing on a Bluetooth patent. Apple says that the Qualcomm chips inside its iPhones don't use the technology in question. Wi-LAN was seeking $248 million to cover the value of the patent plus a percentage of each iPhone sold. Wi-LAN said it was reviewing its options.
Apple today made available a minor update to its iOS 7 operating system. The new platform software includes support for iCloud Keychain, which can be used to keep track of account names, passwords, and credit cards across Mac devices. According to the changelog, the system update also adds a password generator for Safari; updates the lock screen TouchID behavior and patches a lockscreen bug; returns web and Wikipedia search to Spotlight; fixes several iMessage bugs; improves iWork stability; eliminates a VoiceOver bug that impacted Siri and input sensitivity; and resolves an accelerometer calibration issue. iOS 7 is free to download over the air and is compatible with devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
Apple today announced new versions of its core creativity and productivity suites, iLife and iWork. iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand have all been redesigned with the design language used by iOS 7, as well as given new features. iPhoto makes it easier to organize albums; iMovie can now create picture-in-picture videos and slow motion effects; and GarageBand can handle more tracks in a single recording. All the apps have new support for iCloud, and can sync contents/file changes between iOS and Mac-based machines. iWork has been redesigned, too, to bring over the new elements of iOS 7. Pages, Apple's Microsoft Word equivalent, has less "chrome" getting in the way of content; Numbers has more graphics and visual tools; and Presentations adds object-based animation, new transitions, and more realistic physics. Last, Apple added collaboration tools to iWork for iCloud, which will allow people to share and work on documents/files. All six apps are free for iOS (and Mac) devices and will be available beginning later today.
U.S. Cellular today announced that it will offer the Apple iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c beginning November 8. U.S. Cellular didn't announce pricing details. It is already for sale from most other U.S. carriers.