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Evidence of Apple mapping solution found in iOS 5

Evidence that Apple is building its own mapping service has been found in the first beta version of iOS 5. Mac Rumors reports that the legal disclaimers found in iOS 5 hold a new section called “Map Data,” which is separate from Google’s own legal terms for its map data. In the new section, references to various companies are found. Those companies include Core Logic, a company offering Parcel data that marks boundaries of properties for positional accuracy, Getchee, which offers positional and market data for the Chinese, Indian, and Southeast Asian markets, Increment P Corp, a company providing location and traffic data for Japan, MapData Sciences, which provides mapping data for Australia and New Zealand, and DMTI, which provides postal code data for Canada. The list also includes TomTom, which provides global TeleAtlas mapping data—also licensed by Google for its map solution—Urban Mapping, a company that provides in-depth neighborhood data and was a prior partner of PlaceBase, a mapping company acquired by Apple in 2007, and Waze, which offers real-time maps and traffic information based on crowd-sourced data.

What the inclusion of these companies in the iOS 5 legal disclaimers means for iOS 5 users is unclear, given Google’s claim that Apple has recently renewed its Map partnership with Google, however it appears that Apple is continuing to work on its own mapping service, even as it continues to include Google Maps in its iOS devices.

Apple hits ‘stumbling block’ in Amazon App Store suit

Apple is facing some difficulties in its suit to stop Amazon from using the “appstore” name for its Android application store. Reuters reports that District Judge Phyllis Hamilton said during a hearing yesterday that she would reread some of the supporting papers in the case, but added that Apple has a “stumbling block” in proving that anyone would confuse its App Store with Amazon’s Appstore for Android. As such, Hamilton did not make a final ruling, nor did she give any date as to when a ruling might be handed down. Apple sued Amazon over its use of the “App Store” trademark in March, claiming both trademark infringement and unfair competition. [via MDN]

T-Mobile USA claims 1 million iPhone users

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Despite the fact that it doesn’t offer the handset and uses a non-compatible 3G band, T-Mobile USA has said that it has over one million active iPhones on its network. Speaking with a company spokesman, 9 to 5 Mac reports that while the majority of those are pre-iPhone 4 units, a significant number of people has “taken the scissors” to their T-Mobile cards. Since T-Mobile doesn’t currently offer a micro-SIM solution for iPhone 4 users, owners wishing to use their handset on T-Mobile must modify their full-size SIM cards to fit the smaller slot. Finally, when asked about the possibility of an official T-Mobile USA iPhone, the spokesman said there was nothing to announce at this time.

iPhone 5 to feature dual-LED flash?

Apple’s next-generation iPhone will feature a dual-LED flash, according to a new report. Citing “recent market rumors,” DigiTimes reports that Everlight Electronics, Edison Opto, and Lite-On Technology have all been mentioned as possible suppliers. All three companies have denied they are involved in the production of dual-LED flashes. The report goes on to state that recent reports have indicated that Apple recently reduced its orders for Lumileds high-power LED flash products from Philips and switched the orders for LED flashes to unnamed Taiwan-based manufacturers. A dual-LED flash module would provide brighter, more even illumination for flash photography compared to the current single-LED module in the iPhone 4.

Electronic Arts to acquire PopCap Games?

TechCrunch reports that PopCap Games, makers of hit iOS titles such as Peggle and Plants vs Zombies is currently in talks to be acquired for a price of over $1 billion. Initial reports speculated on Zynga, Electronic Arts or an Asian company being possible buyers, however TechCrunch has now received information from two sources that the buyer is Electronic Arts. If accurate, the $1 billion price of the deal would make this one of EA’s largest acquisitions to date, although the report suggests that this may be an effort by EA to depart from its more hardcore games and solidify its position as a casual gaming powerhouse. EA has been making major acquisitions in the iOS and general mobile gaming space over the past year buying publisher Chillingo last fall and most recently acquiring FireMint just last month.

Apple COO Tim Cook spotted at China Mobile HQ?

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Apple COO Tim Cook was reportedly spotted in the lobby of China Mobile’s corporate headquarters this morning. Citing the Chinese-language Sina microblog of a First Financial Daily reporter, M.I.C. Gadget reports that Cook was walking through the lobby with 7-8 people at roughly 10:00 a.m. local time, and seemed to be “happy.” The report also includes a picture that purportedly shows Cook in the lobby, but as the subject’s face is turned away from the camera, it is not conclusive; it is speculated that Cook was there to meet with China Mobile executives to discuss the iPhone. China Mobile Chairman Wang Jianzhou said last month that the company had “reached consensus” with Apple on using TD-LTE, the carrier’s fourth-generation cellular data standard, in an iPhone to be offered by China Mobile. China Mobile is the world’s largest cellular provider with over 600 million subscribers.

Apple awarded comprehensive Multi-Touch interface patent

Apple has been awarded a broad, comprehensive Multi-Touch interface patent that experts believe may give it the upper hand in disputes with rivals. Entitled “Portable multifunction device, method, and graphical user interface for translating displayed content,” the patent describes a device with “a touch-sensitive display (also known as a ‘touch screen’) with a graphical user interface (GUI), one or more processors, memory and one or more modules, programs or sets of instructions stored in the memory for performing multiple functions. In some embodiments, the user interacts with the GUI primarily through finger contacts and gestures on the touch-sensitive display. In some embodiments, the functions may include telephoning, video conferencing, e-mailing, instant messaging, blogging, digital photographing, digital videoing, web browsing, digital music playing, and/or digital video playing.”

The patent is broad enough in its wording as to cover not only phones, but also tablets such as the iPad and media players like the iPod touch. In speaking with PC Magazine, Florian Mueller, author of FOSS Patents, indicated that the implications of the patent could be far-reaching. “This patent covers a kind of functionality without which it will be hard to build a competitive smartphone,” said Mueller. “Unless this patent becomes invalidated, it would allow Apple to stifle innovation and bully competitors.” The patent application was originally filed on December 19, 2007 and is credited to Francisco Ryan Tolmasky, Richard Williamson, Chris Blumenberg, and Patrick Lee Coffman.

iLounge + NYC CE Week gallery now online

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iLounge has posted its first gallery of accessories and other products on display at the iLounge + NYC area of CE Week’s CEA Line Shows, including products from iHome, Speck, and more. To see all the photos, visit our Flickr photostream.

AViiQ Smart Case for iPad 2 now available

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AViiQ has announced that its Smart Case for iPad 2 is now available. The Smart Case mixes a hard plastic shell with a solid anodized aluminum plate for added rigidity, and features open access to all ports, controls, cameras, and the speaker, and a design that allows it to work with Apple’s iPad Smart Covers. AViiQ’s Smart Case for iPad 2 comes in black, silver, blue, green, orange, pink, or red, and sells for $50; for more information, see our full review.

Incase teases new line of headphones

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Incase has announced its upcoming line of headphones, which it is calling Incase Audio. The new lineup, which is all black with lime green accents, consists of four models: the Sonic Over Ear, Reflex On Ear, Pivot On Ear, and Capsule In Ear. According to the company, each model features custom-tuned drivers, designs made to match the natural shape of the ear and head, and an integrated microphone and remote for use with Apple devices. Incase’s new line of Incase Audio headphones will be available this Fall; pricing has yet to be announced.

G-Tech intros G-Connect wireless storage for iOS

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G-Technology, well-known for its storage solutions, has introduced its new G-Connect wireless storage solution for the iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and other mobile devices. Sporting a 500GB hard drive, the G-Connect creates an 802.11n wireless network, allowing it to share content with up to five devices simultaneously, and, when connected to the Internet via the built-in Ethernet port, can also serve as a Wi-Fi access point. Other features include a USB 2.0 port for fast transfer of media from a computer, automatic discovery and organization of files into photos, videos, music, and documents categories, app-based access from iOS devices, password protection, a personal “private” folder, and AirPlay support. G-Technology’s G-Connect wireless storage solution for iOS will be available in July and will sell for $200.

Judge denies Samsung request for iPad 3, iPhone 5

Federal judge Lucy Koh has denied Samsung’s request for early access to product samples of the next-generation iPad and iPhone in its patent infringement case with Apple. According to FOSS Patents, Koh explained in her decision that while Samsung was entitled to “parity” in relation to Apple’s request for samples of certain unreleased devices, samples of those devices have been in circulation, while Apple has not yet announced any details of its next-generation iPhone or iPad. Despite the favorable ruling, the decision also contained a passage that the report suggests is a hint to Apple that it may not be able to get a preliminary injunction against the sale of the targeted Samsung products in the U.S. at this time.

“Samsung is free to argue, for instance, that there is little likelihood of confusion because consumers will not encounter its products side-by-side with the iPhone 4 or iPad 2, but rather with Apple’s next generation iPhone and iPad,” Koh said. “Similarly, as to proximity, Samsung is free to argue that because the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 will soon be outmoded and reduced in price, they are not being sold (or very soon will not be sold) to the same class of purchasers who are likely to buy new Samsung products. By choosing to allege infringement only of its current products, Apple opens itself up to these arguments.” The report goes on to suggest that Apple may wait until after it publicly announces the next-generation iPhone to proceed with an injunction request, at which time it could display the handset to the court and avoid any such issues.

Bloomberg: Next-gen iPhone to sport A5, 8MP camera

The next-generation iPhone will feature an A5 processor, currently found in the iPad 2, as well as an eight-megapixel camera, according to a Bloomberg report. Citing two people familiar with the plans, the report claims that Apple is also testing a new version of the iPad with a higher-resolution, more responsive screen, although it claims the resolution would be roughly one-third higher than that of the current iPad 2 screen, a curious claim as it would break with Apple’s practice of quadrupling resolution in an effort to ease development and app scaling. Evidence of a quad-resolution screen—which would most likely feature a resolution of 2048x1536—has been found in iOS 5.

In a direct contradiction of yesterday’s report that the next-generation iPhone would sport a “radical” new case design, the report also claims that the new phone will closely resemble the iPhone 4, and had its release pushed back to September to coincide with the release of iOS 5. Finally, the report claims that Apple is also working to finish a cheaper version of the iPhone aimed at developing countries that would use chips and displays “of similar quality to” those found in the iPhone 4.

Apple iOS exec leaves for youth health organization

John Herbold, former Senior Product Manager for the iCloud team at Apple, has left the company to join the youth health organization HealthTeacher. In a press release from HealthTeacher, Herbold is credited with playing a key role in the creation, development, and launch of iCloud, and for leading the development of the service’s Photo Stream feature. Herbold will serve as Vice President of Product at HealthTeacher.

“To dramatically bend the curve on youth health, we must create engaging and innovative experiences that make good health cool and aspirational—all while encouraging kids to move beyond the screen and be more active,” said John Herbold. “HealthTeacher is already playing a significant role in improving youth health through its work with teachers and schools. I look forward to leading the effort to enhance digital engagement that will equip our youth for a more successful future.” He added on his LinkedIn profile, “I’ve been fortunate enough to define, ship and market a variety of products for one of the world’s most admired product companies. That opportunity was a great privilege. Now I get to take that experience and apply it to the enormous challenge of materially improving youth health.” [via 9 to 5 Mac]

iSkin ships Vu, solo Smart for iPad 2

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iSkin is now shipping its Vu and solo Smart cases for the iPad 2. The Vu, which debuted in our iPad 2 Buyers’ Guide, is a hybrid case made from TPU and polycarbonate, featuring embedded Microban antibacterial protection, an integrated multi-position stand, protection for the home and volume buttons, integrated covers for the dock connector and headphone ports, open access to both cameras, and a two-tone design with a clear rear center area. It is available in one of three color combinations and sells for $60.

imageThe solo Smart is a clear, high-gloss soft cover for the iPad 2 designed to work in concert with Apple’s iPad Smart Cover. Features include integrated covers for the headphone and dock connector ports, push-through protection for the volume and sleep/wake buttons, open access to the speaker and rear camera, embedded Microban antibacterial technology, and a feature called CoverLock that features integrated brackets meant to make the connection between the iPad 2 and the Smart Cover more secure. The solo Smart is available now and is priced at $50.

iPhone 5 to sport new design, coming in August?

The next-generation iPhone will not be a minor update, according to a new report. Citing a reliable source, Boy Genius Report states that contrary to previous reports which called for an iPhone 3GS-like update, the next-generation iPhone will feature a “radical” new case design, although no additional details regarding the design were available. The report goes on to say that Apple may be planning to hold an event in the beginning of middle of August to announce the new handset, with availability to follow in the last week of August. Prior reports have suggested that Apple will announce its follow-up to the iPhone 4 at its annual music-focused event, traditionally held in September. The next-generation iPhone is expected to feature an eight-megapixel camera, as well as some variant of the A5 processor found in the iPad 2.

Component suppliers lower quotes ahead of iPhone refresh

Apple’s Taiwan-based suppliers of printed circuit boards have lowered their quotes on Apple orders for the quarter by an average of 10 percent, according to a new report. Citing industry sources, DigiTimes reports that the suppliers, which ship components for both the iPad and iPhone, have seen disappointing orders for these devices in the second quarter. Despite the drop, the sources expect shipments to rise sequentially through September ahead of Apple’s expected announcement and release of the next-generation iPhone.

Piictu turns photo sharing into a social game

A new photo sharing app for the iPhone and iPod touch has been released, designed to allow players to not only snap and share photos but interact with other users on a photo-based social network. Described as “part photo game, part social camera,” Piictu allows users to take pictures, dubbed “piics” and post them onto the service where other users can then reply with their own piics. Users can browse streams of friends and other nearby Piictu users and initiate and reply to any photo stream simply by snapping their own piic and posting it. The app also provides instant sharing of photos with Facebook and Twitter, the ability to share photos and interact with non-Piictu users and full support for both the front and back cameras on the iPhone 4 and fourth-generation iPod touch. Piictu requires iOS 4.1 and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Verizon confirms tiered data plans for July

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A Verizon Wireless spokeswoman has confirmed that the company plans to move to tiered data plan pricing beginning next month. Speaking with AllThingsD, Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney said that “We will move to a more usage based model in July,” adding, “We’ll share more later.” A prior report from Android enthusiast site Droid Life indicated that Verizon would institute tiered pricing on July 7, with plans ranging from $30 monthly for 2GB to $80 a month for 10GB of data, and tethering available as a $20 add-on including an extra 2GB of data. Verizon has offered unlimited data plans to all iPhone customers since the device’s launch in February.

iTunes Match to use Gracenote MusicID technology

Apple’s upcoming iTunes Match service will use Gracenote’s MusicID technology to identify and match songs in users’ iTunes libraries to copies on Apple’s servers, according to a statement from the company. In a reply to a Facebook user inquiry as to whether iTunes Match uses Gracenote’s technology, the company said, “Yes, the iTunes Match service uses Gracenote MusicID to help recognize tracks in a user’s existing music collection.” According to the company’s website, MusicID “has the capability to recognize, categorize and organize any music source, be it CDs, digital files, or analog streams,” and “provides track level descriptive and factual metadata, including artist name, track, title, genre, origin, era, artist type, mood and tempo, and uses Gracenote’s global genre system to categorize music based on regional preferences.” According to Cult of Mac, Apple already uses MusicID to add song and artist data to songs ripped from physical CDs, and also employs it for its Genius recommendation system.

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