James Cull



Apple Applies for Patent on Intelligent 'Power Management for Electronic Devices'

A newly published patent application from Apple describes a "power management for electronic devices" system, which detects the usage patterns of a mobile phone and estimates the required energy needed to run the phone between charges. The abstract of the patent application, No. US 2013/0191662 (via AppleInsider), describes the system as:A method for modifying one or more characteristics of a mobile electronic device in order to save or reduce power consumption of the device.Closer inspection of the document reveals that the system automatically turns certain hardware features of the mobile phone (such as Wi-Fi, location services or Bluetooth) off in order to try and increase the device's battery life. The patent application, which was first filed back in January 2012, lists Michael Ingrassia, a senior software engineer at Apple who has worked the iPod nano and iPod classic (including the Radio, iPod Out, and Voice Memos features on the iPod nano), and Jeffrey T. Lee as its inventors. In making its case for the need addressed by the described invention, the document describes a situation all too familiar to many smartphone users:A user may charge his or her device prior to leaving for work, and while at work may use a global positioning system (GPS) for turn-by-turn directions to attend a business meeting, watch one or more videos on the device, and make multiple phone calls, all without charging the device for a number of hours. In this case, the power source may be drained before the user has the chance to recharge the device and thus cease operating.The system

European Commission Accepts Proposal by Penguin to End Apple E-Book Pricing Deal

European regulators have accepted a promise by the British media group Penguin and German media conglomerate Bertelsmann to scrap deals on electronic books, also known as "e-books", with Apple which were found to be in breach of European competition policy. Penguin was not the only company in the firing line. Back in December 2012, the Commission criticized the practices of four large publishers, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Holtzbrinck and Harper Collins, of working with Apple via an "agency model" whereby the publishers set the retail price and the distributor takes a fee (30% in Apple's case). Under the "wholesale model" in place before Apple entered the market, publishers sell their goods to distributors for fixed prices and allow the distributors decide the final retail prices. The agency model came under fire for causing a rise in retail prices of e-books compared to the wholesale model championed by Amazon and Google. Under Apple's "most favored nation" contract clauses, it was allowed to match lower pricing by other retailers, and with the support of the major publishers effectively forced the entire industry to switch to the agency model, raising antitrust issues in a number of regions. Joaquín Almunia, the European Commissioner for Competition, said in a press release from this morning: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.The development comes after a district judge in the United States, Denise Cote,

Apple's iPad 5 Set to Continue Driving Market Shift Toward In-Cell Display Technology

Digitimes reports that the adoption of new touch-sensor systems in both the iPhone 5 and iPad has caused a notable shift in the supply chain of the touch panel market, according to research carried out by the firm DisplaySearch.Displays with in-cell touch are expected to rise from 7.3% of mobile phone shipments in 2012 to 13.7% in 2013, while shipments of GG DITO (double-sided ITO glass) structure are expected to decline from 10.3% to 0.6%. For tablets, shipments of GF2 sensor structure are expected to rise from 4.7% in 2012 to 28.4% in 2013, while shipments of GG DITO structure decline from 37.2% to 8.1%.Calvin Hseih, research director at DisplaySearch, notes that Apple has been primarily responsible for this shift, despite the massive number of touchscreen devices already on the market. Apple's shift from a GG type touch-sensor system (glass on glass) to in-cell touch technology and GF2 (whereby the second layer of glass is replaced by an optical film) has rapidly influenced the entire supply chain Touchscreen architectures (Source: Displaybank/ElectroIQ) Apple switched from GG to in-cell touch technology with the iPhone 5 release back in September 2012 and the iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad also feature GF2 technology. Another report by Digitimes reiterates previous rumors that the upcoming fifth-generation iPad, which is slated to be released sometime in Q4 2013, will feature GF2 touch technology. That technology will allow the new iPad to be thinner and lighter than previous models, with the technology being supplied by TPK and GIS. The fifth-generation

Rear Shell of Apple's Low-Cost iPhone Compared to Other iPhones and iPod Touch in New Video

We've been hearing a lot of rumors about a new plastic iPhone due to arrive later this year, dubbed the "low-cost iPhone" by some, and a video posted by DetroitBORG on YouTube (via AmongTech) shows the new rear shell of the plastic iPhone, which is expected to replace the existing iPhone 4 and 4S models already on sale. In the video, Mike from DetroitBORG walks through the various features of the new rear shell and speculates on what features the new "low-cost iPhone" will have. While the shell appears to be essentially identical to one that leaked earlier this month, the video offers a good comparison between the shell and several of Apple's other iOS devices, including the iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 5, and the fifth-generation iPod touch. The shell for the lower-cost iPhone is about the same dimensions as the current iPhone 5, though a little thicker. Previously leaked design drawings from case makers have shown the rear shell measuring 8.5 mm thick, 124.4 mm tall, and 59.2 mm wide, all slightly larger than the iPhone 5 with the thickness difference being the most noticeable. The rear shell shown in the video is white, although it is also rumored that Apple will release the low-cost iPhone in a range of different colors, similar to the fifth-generation iPod touch. Apple has been reported to be releasing a cheaper iPhone to target the lower end of the market and to expand its market presence in developing countries such as India, where iOS accounted for a mere 1% market share in mobile operating systems in June 2013, according to StatCounter (by contrast, the

Apple Awarded Patent That Lets Users Share Content With Others While on Hold

Apple was awarded a U.S. patent on Tuesday that appears to covers a way for iPhone users to share content with each other when phone calls are placed on hold. The patent, number 8,494,123, is for an "on-hold visual menu from a user's communication device" and describes a system that shares a variety of content like pictures, music, videos, upcoming calendar events, and location information to the person that is being put on hold. For example, someone put on hold could look through the other caller's public Photo Stream. The device determines that the party has been placed on hold and that the user has enabled sharing of personal content with the party. The device then transmits a visual menu to a communications device of the party via a data network, to allow the party to select a type of personal content to receive from the device while the party is on hold. When the device receives a selection from the party's device indicating the type of personal content, it transmits a personal information asset to the party's device according to the type of personal content indicated by the selection. Other embodiments are also described and claimed.Additionally, privacy settings allow certain types of data, such as location or photos, to be limited within a specific group of people (for example, family members) while automatically sharing other content with all users placed on hold. Content can also be personalized to each specific caller. When an iPhone owner is ready to continue a call, an on screen message, audible tone, or vibration will occur, alerting the on-hold