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Apple Expands Company Trademarks to Cover Vehicles, but Similar Filings Date Back to 2003

Apple LogoFollowing several weeks of rumors about Apple's car-related projects, a recent move by the company to expand trademark coverage of the "Apple" name and iconic Apple logo in Switzerland to include vehicles is gaining attention, as noticed by ApfelBlog.ch [Google Translate] (via Cult of Mac).

While the expansion, which also occurred in Mexico on the same date last month, is unsurprisingly sparking discussion about Apple's efforts in the automotive industry, it is not exactly a new development. Various other Apple trademark applications over the years have included protection under International Class 12, which covers vehicles and their accessories. A European Union filing from October 2003 describes a similar vehicle-related corporate trademark, and others such as a United Kingdom filing from last year have been filed since that time.

Each trademark filing goes through the same basic motions in mentioning various types of vehicles and vehicle-related devices to be covered.
Vehicles; Apparatus for locomotion by land, air or water; electronic hardware components for motor vehicles, rail cars and locomotives, ships and aircraft; Anti-theft devices; Theft alarms for vehicles; Bicycles; Golf carts; Wheelchairs; Air pumps; Motorcycles; Aftermarket parts (after-market parts) and accessories for the aforesaid goods.
One issue with interpreting trademark applications is the common strategy of trying to cover as broad a base as possible in order to maximize protection, and thus it is difficult to tell whether Apple's new vehicle-related applications are related to the rumored projects or something simpler such as CarPlay. Apple also currently holds "iPhone," "Mac," and "iPod" trademark protection under Class 12 in several countries.

The Swiss and Mexican filings come on the heels of a recent deluge in Apple car-related news that began when a mysterious van leased to the company was seen on Bay Area streets. Further news on the company hiring employees from Tesla, Ford and GM, and reports stating the so-called "Project Titan" is aiming to launch in 2020 have led some to believe the vans are related to Apple's vehicle project, but they appear more likely to be an attempt to beef up Apple's Maps offerings with imagery similar to Google's Street View.

Related roundup: Apple Car , Tag: trademark

Tim Cook: Apple Watch Launch in April Won't Be Exclusive to United States

applewatch2Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly said at the company's flagship Apple Store in Berlin that the Apple Watch launch in April will not be limited to the United States, according to retail employees in attendance that spoke with 9to5Mac.

Cook specifically confirmed that the Apple Watch will launch in Germany during the month of April, indicating that a wider international launch in other countries could be on the horizon. MacRumors previously reported that Apple is targeting an early April release date for the Apple Watch based on a source that has proved reliable.

The report corroborates that the Apple Watch may be released in the United States in early April, followed by Germany and other countries later in the month. The first wave of countries that Apple has often launched previous iPhones and iPads in typically includes the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan. Cook did not confirm that the Apple Watch would launch in April in all of those countries.

Apple Watch starts at $349 and will be available in three models: Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch and Apple Watch Edition. Apple is expected to provide more details about the wrist-worn device at its highly-anticipated "Spring Forward" media event on March 9th at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. MacRumors will be providing live coverage of the event, which should provide more specific pricing and release date information about Apple's first wearable device.

Related roundup: Apple Watch

Apple Watch Featured in Hong Kong Fashion Magazine 'East Touch'

Apple Watch East Touch CoverApple Watch continues to make its international debut in magazines worldwide with a new cover appearance and multi-page spread in Hong Kong street fashion and lifestyle magazine East Touch this month. The latest March issue of the Chinese-language magazine features the Apple Watch and Apple Watch Sport being worn by several models in various lifestyle shots.

In the past few months, the Apple Watch has made magazine debuts in a range of other publications such as on the cover of Self magazine, Vogue in the United States, Paris, and China, and London-based fashion magazine Style, as part of a marketing campaign leading up to the wrist-worn device's launch in April.

To further market the Apple Watch in the fashion industry, Apple is planning to open dedicated pop-up shops at Selfridges in London, Galeries Lafayette in Paris and other high-end department stores across Europe. The stores will provide customers with a personalized shopping experience, potentially including One to One service for visitors to learn more about all of the different editions, sizes and bands available.

East Touch
Apple is expected to provide more details about the Apple Watch at its highly-anticipated "Spring Forward" media event on March 9th at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. We will be providing live coverage of the event, which should provide more specific pricing and release date information about Apple's first wearable device.

Related roundup: Apple Watch

Apple Showcases 'Shot on iPhone 6' World Photo Gallery on Homepage [Updated]

Apple has refreshed its homepage to showcase a gallery of photos taken with iPhone 6 across the world, unsurprisingly coinciding with today's announcements of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The gallery shows photos taken by iPhone 6 users in several countries, including the United States, Canada, Japan, Iceland, South Korea, China, Scotland, Indonesia, Thailand and New Zealand.

Apple World Gallery
Some of the photos have been filtered, enhanced or shared with apps such as Instagram, Snapseed, VSCO Cam, Mextures, Filterstorm Neue, Camera+ and Adobe Photoshop Express. "People take incredible photos and videos on iPhone 6 every day," writes Apple. "And here are some of our favorites. Explore the gallery, learn a few tips, and see what’s possible with the world’s most popular camera."


Update 2:00 PM PT: Rene Ritchie at iMore reports that this is just the beginning of an iPhone 6 photography campaign involving 77 photographers, 70 cities and 24 countries. Apple will be featuring photos taken with an iPhone 6 in print media, transit posters and billboards across the world.
"From Sydney to Beijing to San Francisco to New York City to London and more, Apple will feature the iPhone photographers and their work on posters at transit stops and stations and in newspaper ads and on billboards. Not the iPhone 6. Not its camera. Not product shots. But shots taken by the product — by the iPhone 6 camera."


Tag: iPhone

Samsung Announces Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge and Samsung Pay

Samsung at Mobile World Congress on Sunday announced its latest flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, each compatible with a new mobile payments service called Samsung Pay. The smartphones are a significant refresh to the Galaxy lineup, featuring a slimmer and lighter metal and glass design, all-new front and rear cameras, improved hardware specifications under the hood and more.

Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge
Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge (via The Verge)

The Galaxy S6 Edge is notable in that it is the first smartphone to feature a curved display on both sides of the device, constructed from Gorilla Glass 4. Both smartphones have 16-megapixel rear-facing cameras and 5-megapixel front-facing cameras with f/1.9 lenses for improved low-light photos, Auto HDR, optical image stabilization, IR white balance and a "Quick Launch" feature for accessing the camera from any screen in less than one second.

Samsung's Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge have improved hardware specifications in most areas, each featuring a 5.1-inch 2560×1440 Super AMOLED display at 577 ppi, Exynos 8-core processor, 3GB of RAM up, 32GB to 128GB of internal storage, Category 6 LTE, 802.11/a/c Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE, NFC and 2,550 mAh and 2,600 mAh batteries respectively. The devices will run Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box.


Notably absent from the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge is a MicroSD slot for expandable storage, waterproofing and a removable battery, three features that Samsung often promoted over the iPhone in the past. The smartphones do gain a feature that the iPhone does not have in wireless charging with support for WPC and PMA standards, allowing you to charge the device at Starbucks or using Qi-enabled chargers.

Samsung introduced a new fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge, to be used for Samsung Pay, that functions like Touch ID on iPhone by no longer requiring swiping. Samsung Pay will be available this summer and rival Apple Pay with NFC and magnetic secure transmission (MST) technologies that make the service compatible with both NFC-enabled payment terminals and older magnetic swipe readers.

The Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge will be available April 10 across several countries worldwide in White Pearl, Black Sapphire, and Gold Platinum color options. A special Blue Topaz edition will be exclusive to the Galaxy S6. The smartphones will be available on AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile in the U.S., and will also be on sale through Amazon, Best Buy, Costco, Target, Walmart and Sam's Club.

Apple Watch to Feature Time-Only 'Power Reserve' Mode, Prototypes Disguised as Samsung Watches

apple_watch_timeWith Apple's media event just a week away and the company expected to offer final details there on the Apple Watch ahead of its April debut, The New York Times has a new report out sharing a few new tidbits on the device.

Among the interesting details is the existence of an unannounced "Power Reserve" mode for the watch that will display only the time and cut off all other functions as the battery begins to run critically low, preserving the most basic functionality of the watch. The report also notes that while the Apple Watch has been widely tested by Apple employees, the company did work to conceal many of those prototypes by disguising them to resemble Samsung smartwatches.

Sources have also provided more context to a Wall Street Journal article from last month that discussed how many of the originally planned health features for Apple Watch were dropped due to consistency issues. According to The New York Times' sources, the decision to drop many of those features came more than 18 months ago, refuting off-target reports in recent weeks claiming the cuts have come at the last minute.
Nearly two years ago, the company experimented with advanced health monitoring sensors that tracked blood pressure and stress, among other variables. Many of those experiments were abandoned more than 18 months ago after the sensors proved unreliable and cumbersome, these people said.

Apple long ago decided that for the first version of the product, it would include a heart rate sensor and a sensor for tracking movement, to market the device as a fitness-tracking companion to the iPhone.
Previous reports have indicated Apple is still working on those technologies, and they could appear in future versions of the Apple Watch.

Today's report reveals some additional insight into the development process, noting that the Apple Watch is coming a bit later than originally hoped due to technical challenges that were likely exacerbated by the loss of several engineers working on the project. Google's Nest Labs, headed by iPod pioneer Tony Fadell, was responsible for poaching several of the key Apple Watch employees.

Apple's media event will take place at 10:00 AM Pacific Time on Monday, March 9 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. The company will offer a live video stream of the event, and MacRumors will provide full coverage of the event.

Related roundup: Apple Watch , Tag: nytimes.com

Apple Watch Pop-Up Shop Also Planned for London's Selfridges Department Store

Apple is planning to open a dedicated pop-up shop for the Apple Watch at high-end department store Selfridges in London, according to sources. The shop will likely be located near the entrance of the iconic Wonder Room, a 19,000-square-foot shopping hall that houses a wide selection of luxury jewelry and watch brands alongside a concept store and mezzanine wine bar.

Wonder Room Selfridges
Wonder Room at Selfridges in London houses fine jewelry and watches

A section of Selfridges located near the Wonder Room was boarded up earlier this month to allow for construction of the expected Apple Watch pop-up shop, sources say. The store-within-a-store concept will display various Apple Watch models and provide customers with a personalized shopping experience, potentially including One to One service for those interested in learning more about the wrist-worn device.

Apple is recruiting retail employees from nearby Apple Stores in London to fill Specialist vacancies at an upcoming Central London location, which is likely to be this Selfridges boutique. The pop-up shop is expected to be readied in time for the Apple Watch launch in April and will likely join Galeries Lafayette as one of multiple standalone Apple Watch stores that Apple plans to open throughout Europe.

Selfridges has the second-largest retail space in the United Kingdom behind competing high-end department store Harrods. The store offers a myriad of designer jewelry and accessories, such as watches, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, pendants and rings. With the Apple Watch positioned at least partially as a fashion item, the department store offers an ideal setting for the wrist-worn device to be displayed.

Related roundup: Apple Watch

Apple Likely Building Apple Watch Demo Area at Yerba Buena Center

A new image has surfaced that shows construction of an outdoor extension at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, as reported by 9to5Mac. The tented space will likely serve as an Apple Watch demo area at the upcoming "Spring Forward" media event on March 9th, where Apple is widely expected to provide further details about the Apple Watch's features, pricing and release date.

Yerba Buena Apple
According to the tipster that submitted the photos, there are security guards wearing "Apple Security" shirts monitoring the construction site, all but confirming that the external addition belongs to Apple. The company previously built a similar structure outside of the Flint Center as a demo area for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch, so an exterior demo area would not be unprecedented.

Apple sent out invites for its "Spring Forward" media event earlier this week, and will also be providing a live stream of the event on its website for Mac, iPhone and iPad. The media event will take place at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco on March 9th at 10:00 AM Pacific and should be focused on the Apple Watch ahead of the wrist-worn device's launch in April.

Related roundup: Apple Watch

iOS 8.2 Could See Public Release Next Week, Two More Betas of iOS 8.3 to Come

ios_8_iconApple may be planning to release iOS 8.2 to the public as early as next Monday, reports BGR. iOS 8.2 has been in testing since November and notably contains support for the Apple Watch. The March release date has been rumored for several weeks now, but earlier information pointed towards a launch a bit later in the month, possibly during the second week of March.

A Monday, March 2 release date for iOS 8.2 would mean the software would be released to consumers a full week ahead of Apple's scheduled March 9 "Spring Forward" media event, where the company is expected to divulge additional details on the Apple Watch.

BGR is fairly accurate when it comes to iOS release date predictions. The site correctly determined several iOS 7 beta release dates, but it has been wrong on occasion. Because March 2 is not in line with earlier predictions, BGR could be off by a week, but we will certainly be seeing a public release of iOS 8.2 sometime during the first two weeks of March, even if the March 2 date is inaccurate.

Thus far, there have been five iOS 8.2 betas, with the last beta coming on Monday, February 2, suggesting either another beta or a public release is coming in the near future.

The site also says that it has learned from its sources that there may be as many as four betas of iOS 8.3. We have had two iOS 8.3 betas, so there could be two more beta updates before the software is provided to the public. That would put iOS 8.3 on track to launch in April. iOS 8.3 brings several new features to the operating system, most notably introducing a redesigned emoji picker and adding both new emoji and emoji skin tone modifiers.

Related roundups: iOS 8, iOS 8 Features , Tags: iOS 8.2, bgr.com

Tim Cook in London to Talk Apple Watch and Visit Covent Garden Retail Store

Apple CEO Tim Cook on Friday made an unannounced visit to the iconic Apple Store in Covent Garden, a popular shopping and tourist location in London, according to The Telegraph. The chief executive also sat down for an interview with the British publication to discuss the Apple Watch, providing a few more interesting details about the device ahead of Apple's highly-anticipated "Spring Forward" media event on March 9.

Tim Cook Convent Garden London
Cook claimed that the Apple Watch will have several features that go beyond timekeeping and health and fitness, such as the ability to replace large car key fobs that come with most current vehicles. "This will be just like the iPhone: people wanted it and bought for a particular reason, perhaps for browsing, but then found out that they loved it for all sorts of other reasons," he said.

The chief executive told Apple retail employees at the Covent Garden store that the Apple Watch will be unlike any other product the company has ever sold before. "We've never sold anything as a company that people could try on before", said Cook. He added that "tweaking the experience in the store" will likely be a requirement when the wrist-worn device launches in April.

During his visit to the Covent Garden store, one retail employee asked Cook what his biggest accomplishment was in the past year. "I'm proud we stayed true to our North Star", replied Cook. "We are pro-privacy, pro-environment and pro-human rights." He added that the Covent Garden location is one of his favorite Apple Stores and praised the retail staff for being such a contributing factor to Apple's success.

Cook has been traveling on an international tour this week, making stops in Belgium, Germany and Israel over the past several days. The chief executive kicked off the week in Belgium to meet with the European Commission, visited the newsroom of popular German publication BILD on Tuesday and traveled to Israel on Wednesday to sit down with President Reuven Rivlin, committing to continued growth in the country.

Tag: Tim Cook

Apple Faces Ericsson Lawsuit After Refusing Licensing Deal

ipad_iphone_ios_8Apple faces further legal action from Ericsson this week after refusing to accept a licensing deal for its patented LTE technologies, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Swedish networking company on Friday said it is suing Apple for infringing 41 wireless-related patents that it believes are critical to the functionality of products such as the iPhone and iPad.
“By refusing Ericsson’s fair and reasonable licensing offer for patented technology used in Apple smartphones and tablets, Apple harms the entire market and reduces the incentive to share innovation,” the company said in a statement.
Ericsson has filed two complaints with the U.S. International Trade Commission in an effort to secure an exclusion order against Apple, which could block the iPhone, iPad and other products involved from being sold in the United States. The company has also filed seven complaints with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas as part of the negotiations. Apple's previous licensing deal with Ericsson expired in mid-January.

Apple originally filed suit against Ericsson on January 12, arguing that it was demanding excessive royalties for patents not essential to LTE standards. Ericsson countersued in a Texas courtroom just hours later, seeking an estimated $250 million to $750 million in royalties per year for Apple to continue licensing its patented wireless technologies. Ericsson is the world's largest provider of mobile network equipment and holds over 35,000 patents related to 2G, 3G and 4G wireless technologies.

Apple was ordered to pay Smartflash LLC a $533 million settlement earlier this week in a separate patent lawsuit.

'Click' Aims to Introduce Apple Watch Band Adapter in Upcoming Crowdfunding Campaign

Ahead of the Apple Watch's launch, accessory makers are already hoping to create solutions that will allow the device to be used with a wide array of existing watch bands. Click, for example, is an upcoming watchband adapter that will slide into the band slots of the Apple Watch, allowing the Apple Watch casing to be used with any existing 24mm watchband.

According to Click's creators, the adapter is a spring bar that will attach to a watchband, which will then fit into the Apple Watch's grooves, much like one of Apple's own watch bands. It appears to use the pin that comes with an existing watchband rather than shipping with one of its own.

clickapplewatchadapter
Click takes advantage of the sliding and locking mechanism on both sides of the watch to hold the adapter in place just like one of Apple's watchbands. Click allows customers to truly personalize the Apple Watch to match their style and at a fraction of the cost of Apple's Watchbands.
Click is currently in the prototype stage with only 3D printed versions of the adapter available to show off, but the team behind Click is planning to introduce it via a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter in the next two weeks.

clickapplewatchadapter2
It's possible, however, that Click will never make it out of the prototype phase and into the hands of consumers. Click is not the first Apple Watch watchband adapter as it claims to be, but the second. Earlier this year, a designer introduced a crowdfunding campaign for another strap adapter designed for the Apple Watch. The campaign was shut down shortly after it launched, presumably by Apple, in an effort to prevent people from circumventing the specific design aesthetic the company has in mind for the Apple Watch.

Apple's distaste for adapters that will allow the Apple Watch to be used with any watch band is not surprising given the amount of work that went into developing the six custom bands for the Apple Watch: the Link Bracelet, the Sport Band, the Leather Loop, the Modern Buckle, the Classic Buckle, and the Milanese Loop. Jony Ive has called the Apple Watch "one of the most difficult projects" he's ever worked on, and in multiple interviews, he's detailed the extensive amount of time that the company put into design of the Apple Watch.

applewatchbands
It's possible Apple will relax its stance on third-party Apple Watch bands and adapters in the future, and it's even likely that the company will form partnerships or design guidelines for those wishing to create bands for the device, but at this early stage, Apple likely wants to keep a tight rein on the bands the watch is worn with given its position as the company's first fashion accessory.

Related roundup: Apple Watch , Tags: Click, Apple Watch accessory