Ben Lovejoy



Brazilian 'iPhone' Trademark Lawsuit Ends With Apple and IGB 'Close To Settlement'

Forbes reports that Apple and Brazilian company IGB have agreed to end their lawsuit over the iPhone trademark in Brazil, and are close to reaching a settlement agreement.According to Brazil’s largest daily, Folha de São Paulo, both companies have agreed to end the lawsuit over iPhone and come to some sort of “pacific agreement,” the paper reported on Saturday. Apple has paid millions for its exclusive use of the word iPhone in the past and will likely pay IGB as well.IGB had applied for the "iPhone" trademarke in Brazil in 2000, years before Apple's phone was launched, and was granted the trademark in 2008. Apple challenged the trademark on the basis that IGB had failed to use the trademark until it was close to expiration, but the Brazilian Industrial Property Institute ruled in IGB's favor after it launched a low-cost Android smartphone using the iPhone brand late last year. Apple took the matter to court, but has now withdrawn the legal action after IGB suggested that it was open to selling the trademark. Apple's current use of the "iPhone" name in Brazil is not currently being hampered while the dispute plays out, with the company being allowed to continue selling the iPhone under its popular name and Apple retaining control over the iPhone name for other categories of use such as software. Apple is expected to make a cash settlement for exclusive rights over the name in Brazil. It previously settled a dispute over the iPad trademark in China for $60 million, but there is no word yet on a settlement amount for the Brazilian

Monetization of Social Networking Apps Taking Off on iOS

Social networking apps have climbed nine places year-on-year in the App Annie rankings of monthly revenues (via The Next Web), moving from 12th place last January to third place in January 2013.As of January 2013, the Social Networking category ranked third in monthly revenues, behind only Games and Productivity in the iOS App Store. And that’s up 87% compared to January 2012 monthly revenues, representing 3% of total iOS App Store revenue. Its growth is impressive and nowhere near its ceiling.The study data shows that the messaging and dating apps are registering as the most significant revenue generators among social networking apps, with LINE, WhatsApp Messenger, and Zoosk leading the way in various countries. Notably, Apple's Find My Friends made a climb from 17th place to 2nd in downloads, while Facebook Messenger overtook the main Facebook app to take first place. App Annie attributes the rise of Find My Friends to the App Store splash screen introduced in iOS 6 that encourages users to download several free apps from Apple, including Find My Friends. As is true for many aspects of Apple's business, China was one of the fastest-growing markets for social networking apps, with the United States and China now combining to account for half of all social networking downloads

iOS Devices Still Account for Vast Majority of In-Flight Internet Use

Infographics released by in-flight Wi-Fi service Gogo (via CNET) reveal that iOS devices continue to dominate customer use with an 84% share, although Android use has grown significantly in the last two years. As further evidence of the post-PC trend, the majority of access - though only just - is on tablets, accounting for 35% of usage compared to 33% for laptops. When it comes to iOS devices, iPads are used more often than iPhones. Web-browsing is the top activity for Gogo users, with email, social networking, news and weather completing the top five slots. Gogo is available on Air Canada, Air Tran, Alaskan Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier, United, US Airways, and Virgin America, with over 1,500 commercial airplanes and over 5,000 business jets equipped for the

More Claims of Apple Using Qualcomm's Snapdragon Chips for Lower-Cost iPhone

Earlier this year, analysts from Detwiler Fenton claimed that Apple's rumored lower-cost iPhone would use a Snapdragon chip from Qualcomm rather than one of Apple's own A-series chips, arguing that the ability to integrate Bluetooth and Wi-Fi directly into the main chip would allow Apple to save on costs. China Times (spotted and translated by Japanese blog Mac Otakara) now cites an unnamed source making the same claim. The report says that TSMC has been contracted to produce the Snapdragon chip using its 28-nanometer process. The report also suggests that another cost-saving measure for the low-cost handset would be to offer 3G only, rather than LTE. There are separate versions of Snapdragon with 3G and LTE, giving Apple the option of either mobile data technology. From a Google translation of the original China Times article:Supply Chain Industry revealed that Apple's low-cost iPhone uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon single-chip, initially only support 3G without support for 4G LTE single-chip native support for WiFi and Bluetooth wireless networking capability, so do not need to increase the wireless network mode group. Of this chip commissioned TSMC foundry to 28 nm.As we noted when this rumor surfaced the last time, Apple would seem much more likely to simply use older generations of its existing chip lineup in a cheaper iPhone in order to save on costs, and reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said that Apple will do exactly that by using the current A6 chip in the lower-cost iPhone while moving on to a more powerful A7 chip in the iPhone

Angry Birds for iPhone and iPad Go Free in App Store

The original iPhone and iPad versions of Rovio's hugely popular Angry Birds game are currently free for the first time on the App Store. TechCrunch says that the move is part of Apple's "App of the Week" promotion, although Apple has yet to update its App Store pages with new banners. Angry Birds launched on the iPhone in December 2009, with the "HD" version for the iPad following in April 2010. Since January 2011, Rovio has offered free sampler versions of the apps with unique levels, but this is the first time the full versions of the game have been free on iOS. The Android version of the app has long been free, but that version is ad-supported while the free iOS version does not currently contain in-app ads. In addition to the price drops, Rovio has also added 15 new levels to the "Bad Piggies" episode in the games. Angry Birds Space and Angry Birds Space HD have also been updated with a new theme song from legendary Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash, who has also received his own honorary Angry Bird image. - Angry Birds [Direct Link] - Angry Birds HD [Direct Link]

Apple Patent Applications Address User-to-User Resale and Lending of iTunes Store Content

A set of patent applications discovered by AppleInsider today suggests that Apple may be considering allowing customers to resell or lend iTunes Store content to other users in the same way they might sell a physical book, music CD or movie DVD. Apple's system is similar to one outlined in a separate patent already granted to Amazon, although Amazon's approach requires transactions to be made via a central marketplace while Apple's proposed approach would also allow direct user-to-user transfers.Techniques are provided for managing access to a digital content item (such as an ebook, music, movie, software application) to be transferred from one user to another. The transferor is prevented from accessing the digital content item after the transfer occurs. The entity that sold the digital content item to the transferor enforces the access rights to the digital content item by storing data that establishes which user currently has access to the digital content item. After the change in access rights, only the transferee is allowed access to the digital content item. As part of the change in access rights, the transferee may pay to obtain access to the digital content item. A portion of the proceeds of the "resale" may be paid to the creator or publisher of the digital content item and/or the entity that originally sold the digital content item to the original owner.Restrictions are outlined to prevent abuse of the facility, such as allowing publishers to limit transfers to certain timescales (for example, requiring the user to have owned the product for a certain length

'Fantastical' Calendar App for iPhone Updated and On Sale

The Verge reports that the iPhone version of the popular Fantastical calendar app has been updated to version 1.1, adding a range of user-requested features. Flexibits has also put Fantastical on sale for $3.99, a savings of $1 over the usual price. Flexibits co-founder Michael Simmons says that all of the new features are ones that have been requested by users of the app.The last two months have been insane, having all these users and passionate complaints. We wanted to have an update that said 'we're listening'.The new features include:- Multiple alerts when creating events - Time zone support - Duplicate or move events (tap and hold an event in the event list) - Go to a specific date (tap and hold the red title bar) - Event list is now scrollable when using the calendar - Today's timed events dim after the event has ended - Copied text containing event info can automatically be made into an event - Added setting to highlight weekends - Added setting to show empty days on the DayTicker - Added setting to display the number of today's remaining events or date on the app icon badge - State restoration (iOS 6 only) - A staggering number of other improvements, parser enhancements, and bug fixesFantastical is available in the App Store at a sale price of $3.99 for a limited time. [Direct Link]

Apple and Intel Have Reportedly Discussed Deal for Production of Future iPhone and iPad Chips

Reuters reports that Intel's move into contract manufacturing of chips for other companies suggests that Apple could become a future customer with its A-series chips for the iPhone and iPad, potentially reducing its reliance on arch-rival Samsung as a supplier.A source close to one of the companies says Intel and Apple executives have discussed the issue in the past year but no agreement has been reached.Intel has in the past always designed its own computer CPUs, which PC manufacturers like Apple then buy. Intel had previously expressed interest into moving toward some contract or "foundry" manufacturing of chips, although had indicated that it would be most interested in projects based on its existing technology. But the growing trend away from PC and towards mobile devices continues to threaten Intel's core business, apparently prompting the company to more heavily consider acting as a foundry for distinct chip designs from third-party companies.Sunit Rikhi, vice president and general manager of Intel custom foundry, told Reuters last week his group is ready to take on a potential large, unidentified mobile customer, although he declined to discuss Apple specifically. Intel spokesman Chuck Mulloy said the chipmaker is in constant discussions with Apple, which buys its PC chips, but he would not comment on negotiations about a potential foundry relationship. An Apple spokesman declined to comment.Pat Becker Jr, of Becker Capital Management, believes the move would make sense for both Intel and Apple. "If you can have a strategic relationship where you're making

Citi Analysts Suggest Apple Will Miss Its Own 2Q 2013 Revenue Forecast

Apple will miss the lower end of its own revenue guidance figures of $41-43 billion for the current quarter by more than half a billion dollars, claim Citigroup analysts cited by Business Insider. CNET has more on the research note, which says that reduced orders in Apple's supply chain suggest softening demand for both iPhone and iPad, and claims that there is "limited evidence" of an imminent low-cost iPhone.In conducting our regular field work with the hardware supply chain, we again find evidence of reduced demand to Apple's suppliers for iPhone 5 related components. While production does not directly translate to sales (for example, we estimate Apple finished 1Q13 (Dec) with [around] 10M iPhone units in inventory), we suspect this is an indication of softer demand for iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S.Citi's Glen Yeung predicts total iPhone sales of 59 million units in the first half of 2013, while the general Wall Street expectation is for around 69 million. He has also slightly downgraded his forecast Q2 iPad sales by 0.6 million to 19 million. Yeung's team also warns against expecting revenue to flow from the low-cost iPhone rumored to be coming in August or September.Despite much speculation amongst investors and third-party research, we find limited evidence of a low-end iPhone at this stage … We continue to expect iPhone 5S to be launched (albeit in early C3Q13 vs. late C2Q13) and anticipate a large-screen iPhone in late 2013/early 2014. But clear indications of a low-end iPhone remain elusive.But while Citi is pointing to supply chain reports as the basis for its

Samsung Takes 3% Stake in Sharp, Key Supplier of iPhone and iPad Screens

Samsung has paid $112 million for a 3% stake in LCD screen manufacturer Sharp, a key supplier of LCD screens to both Samsung and Apple, reports The Wall Street Journal. Sharp currently holds the technical lead in the manufacture of large-screen LCD panels, enabling it to produce TV screens bigger than 60 inches at a lower cost than other manufacturers. Despite this advantage, the company has been struggling financially over the last 18 months, laying off 11,000 staff and mortgaging key assets. Sharp has been desperately seeking external financing to keep itself afloat, having received bank bailouts and receiving a $120 million investment from Qualcomm late last year. Foxconn was also set to make an investment in Sharp, but that deal has fallen apart as Sharp's financial picture has continued to deteriorate. Sharp supplies LCD panels to both Apple and Samsung, including both iPhone and iPad screens, and a WSJ blog suggests that Samsung may gain priority in future supply deals.Monex market analyst Toshiyuki Kanayama said a Samsung-Sharp tie-up could "help Sharp to at least raise the efficiency of its panel-producing plant, as it will ship products to Samsung, whereas it had prioritized supplying components for Apple." Samsung’s bid to turn Sharp, once a major competitor, into an ally, shows how serious it is in winning a global battle with Apple for dominance in the lucrative market for mobile devices.Samsung has been focusing its own screen manufacturing efforts on OLED technology, with analysts observing that closer ties with Sharp would help the company

Thieves Use Bear Spray in Robbery of Vancouver's Oakridge Centre Apple Store

As reported by The Vancouver Sun, three men discharged bear repellant during a robbery of Apple's Oakridge Centre retail store in Vancouver while the store was full of customers last night. Photo: @CTVBCBRK Police say three men entered the store shortly before 7:00 PM last night while around 40 customers were in the store, discharging the spray and stealing "a small number of electronics [items]" before fleeing. Five people were treated at the scene by paramedics for the effects of exposure to the spray. A police dog unit recovered some of the stolen items but the thieves have not yet been found. It is not known whether there is a link to a robbery in January in the same city, where two men robbed a jewelry store at gunpoint before fleeing 'in a cloud of bear spray'. Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts. The discussion thread is currently closed.

Walt Disney World Emulates Apple's Use of iPod Touches for Friendlier Welcome

As part of a program to make Walt Disney World more convenient and inviting, the Central Florida theme park has removed turnstiles and issued costumed staff members iPod touches to scan the tickets of visitors as they arrive, reports AppleInsider. The pilot scheme mirrors the decision Apple made to issue staff with iPod touches in card-reader cases in place of turnstiles. In Disney's case, the cases incorporate a scanner to read the barcodes on tickets. As with all Disney staff, ticket-readers are dressed as 'cast members' to enhance the visitor experience, and the removal of imposing turnstiles helps create a much more welcoming environment as visitors approach the park.Officials hope the changes at the entrance to the Magic Kingdom make it a more welcoming sight: Instead of structures that block people from entering, visitors are simply greeted by a Disney cast member as they walk into the park. Those employees and their iPod touches eliminate the need for old-fashioned checkpoints.The scheme is currently a trial, and is part of a wider move by Disney toward a more high-tech future. A future phase is expected to introduce a MagicBand wristband that will use RFID to act as a combined hotel key, park pass, Fastpass card, and authorization to charge transactions such as food and beverages to a customer's

Apple Wins Patent for Pressure-Sensitive Device Casings

Apple was today granted a 2009 patent application to allow users to control a device by pressing on, or squeezing, parts of the casing. An illustration in the patent shows potential touch-sensitive areas across a whole range of different devices: The patent, discovered by AppleInsider, combines two different methods of detecting and measuring the amount of pressure applied: one physical, the other electrical. The capacitance test, which works in a similar way to touchscreens, would enable the device to tell human touch apart from accidental pressure applied while the device was carried in a pocket or bag. Sensors disposed within the housing, in some embodiments directly beneath the surface, can detect when deflection occurs, which in turn denotes stress or pressure. In some embodiments, the sensors are connected to a printed circuit board that can in turn illuminate a light or other indicator when a minimum amount of readable stress is applied … A processor can take the measurements with their corresponding deflection rates, and translate them into device actions. For example, a threshold stress level is reached when a user presses down on a certain area of a device's housing. The processor determines that the capacitance change is outside the bounds of normal readings and can trigger a UI event or other device feature in response. The system can be customized to detect patterns and varied sensitivities to support a broad range of tasks.Apple patents a great many technologies it never uses, either as potential solutions that are later rejected or to protect against

Apple's 'iWatch' Planned to Launch 'As Soon As This Year', Could Include Biosensors and Mapping Features

Apple's long-awaited smartwatch could launch as early as this year, claims a Bloomberg article. The article also claims to have information on planned functionality from sources familiar with Apple's plans. Although there has been much speculation about what Apple is planning for its smart watch, there has until now been very little in the way of specific claims of functionality from sources deemed to be reputable by mainstream news organizations.Features under consideration include letting users make calls, see the identity of incoming callers and check map coordinates, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public. It would also house a pedometer for counting steps and sensors for monitoring health-related data, such as heart rates, this person said.A Citigroup analyst quoted in the article estimates that an Apple smartwatch could generate twice as much profit as an Apple television. Oliver Chen, an analyst specializing in luxury goods, says that while the global TV market at $119 billion is larger than the global watch market at $60 billion, margins on watches are four times greater: 60% versus 15%. If Apple were to achieve a 10% market share in each, that would mean a gross profit of $3.6 billion for watches, versus $1.79 billion for

David Bowie's New Album Available For Free Exclusive Preview on iTunes

David Bowie's first new album in 10 years, The Next Day, is available for free streaming on iTunes, the artist announced on his Facebook page after an earlier teaser post where he told fans to "stay stuned for a surprise regarding iTunes." Due to be released on March 12, the streaming preview is exclusive to iTunes. Apple has occasionally offered such exclusive streaming preview in the past, as with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ke$ha and One Direction, working together with labels to leverage iTunes' dominant position in the digital music market. Billboard gave the 14-track album the thumbs-up in its track-by-track review. Bowie and producer Tony Visconti, who helped shaped his sound in the 1970s as well as produce seven T. Rex records, have struck gold in creating a work that is modern and well-connected to the artist's fabled sonic-past. No matter where Bowie takes the music -- and there are some moments where it seems headed to some off-putting territory -- he finds a melodic hook to swing on. It's an ability he used on "Low," "Heroes" and "Lodger" and that experimental trilogy from the mid- to late 1970s is as much a reference point as the earlier costumed years of "Ziggy Stardust" and "Aladdin Sane." This alchemy is almost magical.iTunes customers can also pre-order the album for

Apple Offers Refund After British Boy Spends $2500 on In-App Purchases in 15 Minutes

A five-year-old boy in the UK accidentally made £1700 ($2550) of in-app purchases in a freemium game in just 15 minutes after asking his father to type in the password for a free download, reports the BBC (via Gizmodo). The Zombies vs Ninja game was a free download, but with £70 ($105) in-app purchases for game keys and weapons packs. Neither the 5-year-old, Danny Kitchen, nor his parents were aware of the charges being racked up as the child played. His mother Sharon Kitchen said:He was very upset when he realised what he had done. His brothers and sisters were telling him off, but of course he didn't know what he did - he's only five.Apple refunded the charges, but the incident does highlight the dangers of freemium games aimed at young children. As for Danny:I was worried and I felt sad. I’m banned from the iPad now.The publicity comes just days after Apple settled a U.S. lawsuit over the same issue, offering affected customers iTunes credits of at least $5, with cash payments available to customers with claims over $30. It is not entirely clear how Danny Kitchen was able to purchase in-app content if his father had only entered the account password to download an app, as Apple separated app and in-app purchases with iOS 4.3 two years ago. The Kitchen's password should have been required a second time before in-app purchase could be downloaded. Apple also provides a variety of parental controls and restriction tools to help minimize the possibility of such issues, allowing parents to restrict what types of content may be used on the device, turn off app

What Apple's and Google's Headquarters Plans Reveal About Their Cultures

The very different designs for Apple's and Google's planned headquarters buildings are a reflection of their corporate personalities, argues a professor of architecture at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. In an interview with Professor Brian Schermer by digital news site Quartz (via Business Insider), the workplace design expert comments on the two companies' respective plans for their new headquarter buildings. Apple is ... inscrutable. We don’t see the interiors. I have no idea how Apple would organize the building into different work groups. [It] is very tightly controlled. Maybe the Apple employee is somebody who’s attracted to that pure, shared vision — the Jony Ive aesthetic. [It is] an architecture that [one] is meant to behold. The company is shooting for timeless beauty. Google’s business is somewhat sprawling and disheveled. They started off with search, and now they are getting into hardware, like Pixel and Google Glass. Similarly, their next campus is a thicket of ideas and places to be. The Google vision is perhaps to recruit people who are attracted to the serendipity of messiness. Architecture can be a very abstract language, but Google is wearing its heart on its sleeve. It’s trying to say that you can really inhabit this space.Apple CEO Tim Cook mentioned Apple's new campus at yesterday's shareholders meeting, reiterating that Apple plans to move into the facility in 2016, with construction potentially beginning later this

Apple Tops Fortune's 'Most Admired Companies' List For Sixth Year Running

Apple has won the number one slot in Fortune's annual "World's Most Admired Companies" list for the sixth year in a row. The ranking is based on a large-scale poll of corporate executives, directors, and industry analysts who were asked to rank companies by nine key attributes: Innovation, People management, Use of corporate assets, Social responsibility, Quality of management, Financial soundness, Long-term investment, Quality of products/services and Global competitiveness. Apple scored #1 in all nine categories.Apple has had a rough time lately with its stock price in a free fall and the widely publicized failure of its Maps feature. However, it remains a financial juggernaut, posting $13 billion in net income last quarter, making it the most profitable company in the world during that period. The company has its fanatical customer base, and it still refuses to compete on price, making the iconic iPhone and iPad products that are still widely seen as prestige devices. Competition may be stiff, but so far it remains behind: In Q4 2012, the iPhone 5 was the world's best selling smartphone, followed in second place by the iPhone 4S.The announcement is a bit of an embarrassment for Brad Chase, founding partner of Capitol Media Partners, who wrote a Forbes guest post earlier this week predicting that "bumbling" Apple would lose its number one slot and arguing that Fortune would have to "defy logic" to place Apple at the top once again. Confusion between Fortune and Forbes led to Chase's opinion piece being misreported by several media outlets earlier this week as Apple

UK Judge Who Chastised Apple Over Samsung 'Apology' Now Consulting as Patent Expert for Samsung

A UK judge who was involved in a case in which Apple was ordered to publish a notice on its website saying that Samsung's Galaxy Tab did not copy the registered design for the iPad has been hired by Samsung as a patent expert in a separate legal battle with Ericsson, reports software patent blog FOSS Patents. Sir Robin Jacob served on a panel of appeals court judges reviewing the case after Apple complied with the initial court order but in a rather playful manner, quoting judge Colin Birss's earlier comment that the Galaxy Tab was "not as cool" as the iPad. Sir Robin was unamused, and ordered Apple to change the notice, accusing the company of acting with a "lack of integrity". FOSS Patents' Florian Mueller discovered that Sir Robin is now acting as a patent expert for Samsung from a mention in a letter from Samsung's legal counsel concerning the ITC investigation of a patent infringement complaint filed by Ericsson against Samsung. The blog points out that there is nothing illegal in the maneuver and expresses no doubt that the judge has acted properly at all times, but notes that the impression given is not necessarily a favorable one.I ... have no doubt that at the time of the ruling Sir Robin Jacob was not being paid, or improperly promised to be paid, by Samsung, and he won't have had any contact with Samsung or Samsung's counsel that would have been against the rules and barred him from adjudicating the Samsung v. Apple case. Furthermore, Sir Robin Jacob is truly an expert in patent law and there is no question that Samsung will benefit from his

iCloud's Photo Stream, Documents, and Backup Services Currently Experiencing Problems

Apple's System Status page is showing multiple iCloud services with 'issues': Services listed as being affected are Photo Stream, Documents in the Cloud and Backup. The services have been having problems for nearly five hours already, and Apple has not yet provided a timeframe for a fix. (Thanks, Guillermo.) Update 8:28 AM: The issues are persisting some seven hours after Apple first acknowledged them, but the company has now updated its status page to note that less than 1% of users are currently being