Jury rules in Apple’s favor, Samsung ordered to pay $1.05 billion fine for patent infringement

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Date: Monday, August 27th, 2012, 17:16
Category: Hardware, Legal, News

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It went on for months, it got about as ugly as a legal case could possibly get, but in the end, the jury mostly sided with Apple.

Per Wired and Mac|Life, the verdict came in on Friday with Samsung being ordered to pay US$1.05 billion in damages for violating Apple’s patents for its iPad tablet design.

The court ruled that Samsung had infringed upon patents relating to user interface design (like scrolling and multi-touch), as well as physical design. Samsung could not convince the court that it hadn’t taken its design ideas from Apple’s iPad.

Samsung has vowed to appeal the case while Apple has stated that the company will file for injunctions against Samsung products it believes currently violate its patents.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and please let us know what you make of the case in the comments.

Analyst: Apple producing 13-inch Retina Display screens, may launch 13-inch Retina Display MacBook Pro this fall

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Date: Monday, August 27th, 2012, 06:27
Category: Hardware, MacBook Pro, News

You love the MacBook Pro with the Retina Display.

Get ready for it in a smaller size.

Per CNET, an analyst citing upstream supply chain sources claims that a high-resolution display bound for a rumored 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is now in production, with initial output volumes expected to be higher than the current 15-inch version.

According to NPD DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim, the display purportedly being produced for the smallest MacBook Pro features a resolution of 2,560-by-1600 pixels, compared to the current iteration’s 1,280-by-800 pixel screen.

“The supply chain indications are that it’s for a MacBook Pro 13.3 — not a MacBook Air,” Shim said.

The analyst goes on to say Samsung, LG Display and Sharp are all churning out the new 13-inch panel to meet a higher initial volume compared to the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display’s launch in June. Stock of Apple’s top-of-the-line laptop quickly dwindled as supply couldn’t meet demand due to low display yield rates, and only recently has the company been able to catch up, with shipments now quoted at two to four business days.

“With 15.4 it’s production of a few hundred thousand units versus one to two million for the 13.3,” Shim said. He prefaced the estimates by noting volume depends on yield rates, noting that if the manufacturers are able to reach rate of 70, 80, or 90 percent, output of the 13-inch panel will likely be in the “million and a half range.”

Shim also pointed out that the manufacturing capabilities of the three different suppliers can factor into how many displays will be ready for assembly.

“With Samsung, if you look at the new [Retina] iPad, they had fewer issues reaching the higher resolution requests from Apple,” he said. “They were the first vendor to get to volume with that panel.”

The production timeline could point to a fall debut for the rumored 13-inch Retina display-packing MacBook Pro, which is in line with previous reports that Apple would be launching the laptop in September.

Sunday’s rumor comes on the heels of multiple sightings (1, 2) of an unknown MacBook Pro seen on online benchmarking site Geekbench.

Currently, the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is identified as “MacBookPro10,1,” while the legacy 15-inch model is “MacBookPro9,1.” The “10,2” identifier, first spotted in the logs of an online battery testing site, hints at a Retina version of the 13-inch laptop as the recently updated non-Retina version carries the “MacBookPro9,2” designation.

While it is unclear when Apple will decide to launch the purported device, the company is expected to debut the next-generation iPhone at an as-yet-unannounced Sept. 12 event. Further rumors suggest a smaller iPad will also be launched in October ahead of a revamped iPod touch and iPod nano.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Rumor: Apple to hold “iPad-mini” media event in October

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Date: Monday, August 27th, 2012, 06:44
Category: iPad, Rumor

The smaller, leaner iPad, it may have a launch date.

Per All Things D, Apple is looking to hold a media event for Apple’s so-called “iPad mini” will be held in October, after the anticipated Sept. 12 iPhone event. That means Apple has two “blockbuster events” lined up for product debuts this fall.

“Only after the next generation iPhone is out the door and on sale will Apple announce the smaller iPad it’s been working on,” author John Paczkowski wrote. “That device, which is expected to have a display of less than eight inches, will be uncrated at a second special event, which sources said is currently scheduled for October.”

The anonymous sources who spoke with Paczkowski confirm earlier comments from both Jim Dalrymple of The Loop and John Gruber of Daring Fireball, both of which indicated this week that they expect Apple to hold two separate events for the new iPhone and iPad mini. Gruber said an event in the first or second week in October would be in line with iPod events that Apple has held for the last decade.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Amazon to hold media event on September 6th, expected to unveil new Kindle models

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Date: Friday, August 24th, 2012, 06:11
Category: Hardware, News

Apple’s not the only company with a nifty tablet out there.

And there’s some cooler stuff on the way.

On Friday, Amazon announced that it will hold a media event on Sept. 6, prompting speculation that the company plans to unveil a new lineup of Kindle tablets and e-readers.

Per AppleInsider, Amazon sent out a cryptic invitation to members of the press that simply reads “Please join us for an Amazon Press Conference.” The event will be held at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif.

Amazon is expected to be planning a number of new Kindle devices for launch before the end of the year. New hardware could potentially include multiple new versions of its Kindle Fire touchscreen tablet, as well as new e-ink Kindle readers.

One report from July claimed that Amazon will launch at least three new Kindle Fire models this fall: A version with a 1,024-by-600-pixel display and no camera, a 1,280-by-800 model with a camera, and a 1,280-by-800 version with both a camera and 4G LTE connectivity.

It’s also been suggested that Amazon could continue to sell its existing Kindle Fire at an even lower price point of US$149. The first-generation Kindle Fire was announced in late September of last year, and currently sells for US$199, but now faces strong competition from Google’s identically priced Nexus 7.

The Kindle Fire debuted to a strong start, but demand for the device quickly collapsed, as customer satisfaction with Amazon’s low-priced device was about half that of Apple’s third-generation iPad, according to research from ChangeWave.

Beyond the Kindle lineup, another potential device that Amazon could unveil at its media event is a smartphone. Various reports have suggested that the online retailer is considering building its own smartphone to compete with devices like Apple’s iPhone and handsets that run the Google Android operating system.

Amazon’s Sept. 6 event will come less than a week before Apple is expected to hold its own media briefing to unveil its next-generation iPhone. Rumors have pegged such an event to take place on Sept. 12, with the new iPhone becoming available in the U.S. on Sept. 21.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases OS X 10.8.2 beta to developer community.

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Date: Thursday, August 23rd, 2012, 16:12
Category: News, Software

If you like OS X 10.8.1 (just released today), there’s some interesting stuff en route for OS X 10.8.2.

Per AppleInsider, Apple has provided select developers with a beta release of the next update to Mountain Lion, OS X 10.8.2.

Apple first began soliciting developers on Wednesday, inviting them to be among the first participate in the beta for OS X 10.8.2. Those who accepted the invitation began gaining access to the pre-release beta on Thursday.

The first build of OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.2 is known as Build 12C31A, those familiar with the software indicated. The combo update is available as a 642-megabyte download direct from Apple’s developer website.

Apple has reportedly asked developers to focus their testing on Facebook integration with the beta build of OS X 10.8.2. System-wide Facebook integration is set to publicly launch with a software update to Mountain Lion later this year.

People familiar with the pre-release software also indicated that Apple has asked them to concentrate on Messages, Game Center, Safari and Reminders when testing OS X 10.8.2. The first beta is said to currently have no known issues.

Earlier Thursday, Apple publicly released OS X 10.8.1 for Mountain Lion, less than a month after the operating system update first went on sale via the Mac App Store. That software update provides fixes for iMessage, Migration Assistant, and audio when connected to Thunderbolt displays.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple releases OS X 10.8.1 update

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Date: Thursday, August 23rd, 2012, 07:29
Category: News, Software

The bug fixes had to come sometime.

On Thursday, Apple released version 10.8.1 of its OS X Mountain Lion operating system. The new version, a 24.2 megabyte download, offers the following fixes and changes:

– Resolve an issue that may cause Migration Assistant to unexpectedly quit.

– Improve compatibility when connecting to a Microsoft Exchange server in Mail.

– Address an issue playing audio through a Thunderbolt display.

– Resolve an issue that could prevent iMessages from being sent.

– Address an issue that could cause the system to become unresponsive when using Pinyin input.

– Resolve an issue when connecting to SMB servers with long names.

– Address a issue that may prevent Safari from launching when using a Proxy Automatic Configuration (PAC) file.

– Improve 802.1X authentication with Active Directory credentials.

OS X 10.8.1 requires an Intel-based Mac running OS X 10.8 to install and run, the update itself being attainable by using OS X’s Software Update feature.

If you’ve tried the new operating system and have any feedback, please let us know in the comments.

Verizon blocks employee vacations from September 21 – 30, strengthens new iPhone release date rumors

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Date: Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012, 07:40
Category: iPhone, News

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It seems a bit more likely that you’ll snag the new iPhone on September 21st.

And it seems very likely that a Verizon employee won’t have that day off.

Per TechCrunch, Verizon Wireless employees have reportedly had vacation days blacked out for late September, again hinting that Apple plans to launch its next-generation iPhone on Sept. 21.

Verizon employee vacation dates have been blocked from Friday, Sept. 21 to Friday, Sept. 30, according to a “trusted” employee that spoke with the media. That aligns with previous rumors that the next iPhone will become publicly available in America on Sept. 21.

The week before, on Sept. 12, Apple is widely expected to hold a media event to unveil its sixth-generation iPhone, referred to by many in the media and public as the “iPhone 5.” A Tuesday unveiling followed by a formal product launch the next Friday follows the same timetable as previous Apple iPhone announcements.

Last year, Apple announced the iPhone 4S on Oct. 4, and the device became available in stores over a week later, on Friday, Oct. 14. Preorders began on Oct. 7 last year, but this year Apple is rumored to begin accepting preorders the same day the next iPhone is announced, on Sept. 12.

Anticipation of Apple’s next iPhone continues to build ahead of the expected forthcoming announcement. Recently a number of component leaks have revealed what are believed to be parts from Apple’s next handset.

The new iPhone is expected to have a slightly taller 4-inch screen, as well as a smaller 9-pin dock connector that will replace the legacy 30-pin design that has been around since long before the iPhone. Components have also shown that the headphone jack will be moved to the bottom of the device as part of a major hardware redesign.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple patent allows potential automatic skipping of commercials for radio, television devices

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Date: Tuesday, August 21st, 2012, 06:23
Category: News, Patents

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This could be interesting.

Per the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Apple on Tuesday was granted a patent that allows users to skip unwanted audio and video broadcast segments such as commercials with on-device content like songs, podcasts or other media, possibly hinting at technology headed to the battle for the living room.

Apple’s aptly titled U.S. Patent No. 8,249,497 for “Seamless switching between radio and local media” describes a system in which a mobile device will automatically switch between broadcast content and stored media to offer the user a type of customized content consumption experience.

With the new patent, a device will allow a user listening to content from a radio station or “non-radio media or content sources” to skip past the sections they aren’t interested in, filling the gap with on-board media instead. Also of interest is that commercials are among the types of content which can be replaced by stored media.

Covered under the invention’s umbrella are broadcasts from a “radio stream provided over any communications network,” while the stored media can include content saved in a device’s memory or from a streaming host device.

From the patent background:
“A user, however, may not be interested in every media item provided as part of a broadcast stream. For example, a user may not like a particular song broadcast by a radio station, or may not like a particular segment of a talk radio station (e.g., the user does not like the topic or guest of the segment). As another example, a user may not be interested in content originally generated by sources other than the media source (e.g., advertisement content). Because the user has no control over the media broadcast, the user can typically only tune to a different media broadcast, or listen to or consume the broadcast content that is not of interest.”

By using metadata from assets like Radio Data System (RDS) data, broadcast listings or published third-party schedules, a device can “determine when an upcoming broadcast segment or media item is not of interest to the user.” When such an event is detected, the device will seamlessly switch to stored media until the unwanted content is completed. Also included as methods of discerning what a user may or may not want to consume are analysis of audio or video from the source, akin to current iOS apps Shazam or IntoNow.

As far as calculating what a user likes or dislikes, the patent employs comparisons of media items to generate a preference profile, much like the system in place with apps like Pandora. For example, a user can “like” or “dislike” a song and the corresponding metadata will then be included in their preference profile. In another embodiment, the device can keep track of a user’s content consumption habits and make guesses as to what they would like in their preference profile. The metadata can be specific media items, such as artists, songs and genres, as well as specific types of media.

After the system identifies that an upcoming segment is outside of the preference profile’s parameters, the device can look for an appropriate replacement from stored media to play instead. The patent notes that a “relevance algorithm” can be used to keep the stored media in line with content from the broadcast stream. To keep the experience consistent, the device can either monitor the broadcast stream to choose an opportune time to switch away from stored media playback, or buffer the broadcast stream for later consumption.

Seemingly, Apple is proposing a way to not only transform radio listening, but also television broadcasts. While not specifically noted in the patent and mentioned here only for purposes of discussion, the system could be tweaked for cable which would lend itself nicely to the set-top box Apple is rumored to be shopping around to U.S. providers. Insiders say the cloud-based device is meant to blur the line between live and on-demand television.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

iPod nano retail stock shortages hint at model refresh come September

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Date: Monday, August 20th, 2012, 12:34
Category: iPod, iPod Nano

When the supplies get short, the new stuff’s en route.

Or that’s the more hopeful school of thought when it comes to being unable to buy the cool thing that you want.

Per 9to5Mac, a number of retailers are running out of stock of the iPod nano. In the US these include major chains like Amazon, Target, Walmart and Best Buy. Amazon and Target are believed to be out of about half of their Nanos, while Walmart has just a few in stock. Outside of the US, Amazon UK is also seeing stock-outs; some retailers do have plenty of units though, including Apple itself and B&H Photo.

Apple is expected to refresh several products at a September 12th event. Like the iPod touch, the Nano is overdue for an update, since it was left essentially unchanged after an event last October. What Apple might have in mind hasn’t emerged in many reports, but one rumor does have the player reverting to a rectangular design. In any case the Nano will probably switch to Apple’s new, smaller dock connector, since space is a particular problem on the device. It measures just 1.61 inches long, 1.48 inches wide, and 0.35 inches thick, including a clip.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple advocates use of iMessage in wake of SMS bug discovery

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Date: Monday, August 20th, 2012, 07:11
Category: iPhone, News, security, Software

Ok, this is going to require a fix.

Following a discovery last week wherein Pod2G uncovered a SMS flaw in iOS that lets someone send a spoofed SMS (in this scenario, the SMS would appear to be from a trusted source, but the response would actually be sent to someone else), the cool cats at Engadget reached out to Apple for comment and received the following reply:

“Apple takes security very seriously. When using iMessage instead of SMS, addresses are verified which protects against these kinds of spoofing attacks. One of the limitations of SMS is that it allows messages to be sent with spoofed addresses to any phone, so we urge customers to be extremely careful if they’re directed to an unknown website or address over SMS.”

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and with any luck, a fix should be en route soon.