Apple is considering making a bid for the online video service Hulu, according to a new report. Citing two people with knowledge of the auction, Bloomberg reports that Apple is in early talks that may lead to an offer. An acquisition of Hulu would give Apple new ad-based free and subscription video service offerings, and would also likely include a five-year extension of program rights, including two years of exclusive access. Apple already sells TV programming from Hulu’s owners Disney, News Corp., and NBC Universal; notably, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is the largest single shareholder of Disney. The report states that the service has also drawn interest from Google, Yahoo, AT&T, and Microsoft, the latter of which dropped out of the bidding, according to the report.
A portion of text in Apple’s third-quarter 2011 Form 10-Q filing (PDF Link) reveals that the company is liable for more than half a $4.5 billion dollar bid to acquire the patent portfolio of Nortel Networks. As noted in the filing, Apple, “as part of a consortium, participated in the acquisition of Nortel’s patent portfolio for an overall purchase price of $4.5 billion, of which the Company’s contribution will be approximately $2.6 billion. This asset acquisition is subject to approval by various regulatory agencies.” Also involved in the consortium were EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, Research In Motion, and Sony. [via Mac Rumors]
V-Moda has introduced its new Revamp In-Ear Headphones. Continuing its series of products inspired by the HBO series True Blood, the Revamp features an aircraft-grade aluminum silver bullet single-button inline microphone, Japanese symbols—related to the Tru Blood drink seen on the show—emblazoned on the headphones, 9mm V-Masque drivers, four pairs of BLISS 2.0 silicone ear tips for proper fit and sound isolation, and an included carrying pouch. V-Moda’s Revamp In-Ear Headphones are available now and sell for $120, but will be offered for $100 throughout the fourth season of True Blood.
Reporting its second quarter financial results, AT&T has revealed that it activated 3.6 million iPhones during the quarter. According to the company, 24 percent of iPhone subscribers were new to AT&T, while iPhone subscriber churn was down slightly sequentially. In addition, it revealed that it added 377,000 tablet subscribers during the quarter, of which most were postpaid; it did not specify how many of those were iPads.
Thrutu is a new iOS app by MetaSwitch designed to simplify the process of sharing information and content with other users while in the middle of a phone call. Released earlier this year for Android, Thrutu adds a new dimension to voice calls allowing users to easily share location info, contact info and photos with the person on the other end of the voice call. Location sharing allows Thrutu users to see each other’s positions in real-time on an integrated map and users can instantly send contact details to the other user and snap and share photos from either the camera or photo library, all while on a voice call.
To use Thrutu, users initiate a voice call from within the Thrutu app; calls are placed and received through the standard Phone application using the cellular voice network, with Push Notifications used to establish the connection between the two parties in the Thrutu app. Thrutu requires a simultaneous voice and 3G or Wi-Fi data connection to provide a fully interactive experience, however SMS messages can be used for sharing information where data is not available or the other user does not have Thrutu installed. Most GSM providers can provide voice and 3G data simultaneously, however Verizon iPhone users will need to either be on a Wi-Fi connection or fall back to SMS-based sharing. Thrutu requires an iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4 running iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.
Apple has passed Nokia to become the world’s largest maker of smartphones by volume. The Financial Times reports that Apple’s June quarter iPhone shipments of 20.3 million units easily surpassed those of former market leader Nokia, which shipped 16.7 million units during the same period, a 34 percent decline. As noted in the report, Apple was already the world’s biggest smartphone maker by revenue and profits, but the April-June period was the first time it had surpassed Nokia in volume.
DotEmu has released an iOS version of the classic 1988 arcade game P-47, The Phantom Fighter. The retro game remains mostly true to the original arcade shooter while adding revamped gameplay elements for the iOS platform. Players fly their P-47 through eight World War II game levels to take out enemy aircraft and bosses. The game provides two modes of play; in story mode, players begin with five lives and can unlock stages to restart gameplay from there while in survival mode the player must finish the entire game from beginning to end with nine lives. The game provides a classic retro arcade soundtrack or users can choose to listen to their own music and can play in either a fullscreen or windows mode with touch or v-pad controls. Game Center integration provides leaderboards and unlockable achievements. P-47, The Phantom Fighter is available from the App Store for $2. The game runs on the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, third- and fourth-generation iPod touch and iPad in 2X mode and requires iOS 4.0 or later.
Apple has been sued for the second time by the non-practicing entity Personal Audio, which accuses Apple of patent infringement related to downloadable playlists. FOSS Patents reports that the new filing comes just weeks after Personal Audio was awarded an $8 million jury verdict in a case involving the same patents in relation to the iPod classic, iPod mini, iPod shuffle, iPod nano, iPod touch, and iPhone. The new case focuses on the sixth-generation iPod nano, fourth-generation iPod shuffle, fourth-generation iPod touch, iPhone 4, and iPad 2. As noted in the report, the damages awarded in connection with the iPhone and iPad could be substantially greater than those from the first suit, which focused primarily on iPods; in any case, the report suggests it is likely that the two parties will settle their dispute soon.
Klipsch has released details of its upcoming Gallery G-17 Air speaker system, which will be the company’s first to offer AirPlay compatibility. Featuring a thin, 17-inch-long glossy black body, two Tractrix Horn tweeters, two 2.5-inch long-throw woofers, integrated Wi-Fi, 3.5mm and USB inputs, an included stand, and dual keyholes on the rear for wall mounting. Klipsch’s Gallery G-17 Air speaker system will be available this fall and will sell for $530.
Incase has debuted its new Mag Snap Case for the iPad 2. Designed to work with Apple’s iPad Smart Cover, the Mag Snap Case is a hardshell case featuring built-in metal bars that augment the standard functionality of the Smart Cover, including adding an additional viewing angle, and also offers open access to all ports, controls, and cameras. Incase’s Mag Snap Case for iPad 2 is available now in white or black and sells for $40.
Apple has released iTunes 10.4 adding support for some of the new features in Mac OS X Lion and a number of important stability and performance improvements. iTunes 10.4 now works with Lion’s new Full-Screen App feature allowing the app to be placed in its own full-screen window. Version 10.4 is also now a 64-bit Cocoa application on OS X Lion, and the release notes indicate that this may render some plug-ins no longer compatible. The latest version of iTunes is available for via Apple’s Software Update tools or from http://www.itunes.com/download.
AT&T is now offering refurbished iPhone 3GS units for $9. According to the carrier’s website, the 8 GB refurbished units require a two-year contract and new activation, and include a limited warranty of at least 90 days. It is not clear whether the lowered pricing represents a permanent change or is part of a short-term promotion; the iPhone 3GS is expected to be replaced and/or further lowered in price when Apple introduces its next-generation iPhone. [via Geek]
A new update to Pinball HD for the iPad has been released introducing support for Apple’s Game Center and TV output. Pinball HD is a highly rated Pinball simulator for the iPad that provides three highly detailed and photorealistic tables combined with realistic ball physics, built-in help for each table and both full table and flying table views in portrait and landscape orientation. Version 2.3 adds Game Center integration for sharing leaderboards and achievements with friends and now supports TV Output in full screen via the Dock Connector and appropriate video output cable, including full HD output for iPad 2 users. Pinball HD 2.3 requires iOS 4.1 or later and is available from the App Store for $1.
Mysterious Trousers has released a major update to Calvetica Calendar adding iPad support and rebuilding the app from the ground up with an entirely new UI and feature set. Version 4.0 provides numerous interface enhancements including a month and day layout on a single screen, a portrait-mode week agenda view and the ability to hide and reorder items in the event details screen. New gestures have also been added allowing features to be activated using press-and-hold and swipe gestures to set reminders, move UI elements off the screen, and more. Enhancements to notifications allow users to enable custom alerts and improved alarm sounds and snooze alarms when they go off, along with an alarm picker that allows users to quickly and easily choose multiple alarms as well as showing complex alarms set in other applications.
The new version also introduces support for task management, allowing users to create tasks that can be organized into custom color-coded groups with title, priority and notes. A free cloud service provides automatic backup and synchronization of tasks between devices running Calvetica. A number of additional features have also been added including the ability to share calendar events via e-mail or SMS, create complex repeats in natural language, map location information, call, e-mail or SMS event attendees from within the app, search for events within a time range by title, notes or location and much more. Calvetica Calendar is a universal app requiring iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store for $2.
Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer noted that the company has experienced the highest quarterly earnings and revenues in its history, as well as record sales for the iPhone and iPad. Apple sold 7.5m iPods last quarter, ahead of expectations with the iPod touch being over 50% of all iPods sold. The iPod share is now over 70% of all MP3 player sales in the U.S. according to the latest NPD data, and leads in most other markets as well. The iTunes Store had revenues of almost $1.4 billion the past quarter, with continuing strong sales of music, video and apps. The iTunes Store continues to be the number one music retailer in the world with 15 billion songs downloaded to date.
Turning to the iPhone, the company sold a record 20.3 million iPhones in the past quarter, as compared to 8.4m in the year ago June quarter and over double of the smartphone growth overall. Oppenheimer reported very strong year-over-year iPhone growth everywhere, with quadrupled sales in the Asia-Pacific region. Manufacturing capacity has been increased and the iPhone is now available on 228 carriers in 105 countries. Apple now has 5.9m iPhones in inventory, which constitutes enough to meet a demand of approximately 4-6 weeks. 91% of Fortune 500 companies are now deploying or testing the iPhone, up from 88% last quarter. 57% of global 500 companies are either deploying or testing the iPhone.
Reporting its third quarter 2011 financial results today, Apple said it sold 7.54 million iPods during the quarter—a 20% percent decrease compared to the same quarter last year. Apple also sold 20.34 million iPhones in the quarter, a 142% percent increase year-over-year, and up from the 18.65 million units sold in the second quarter. Apple also sold 9.25 million iPads during the quarter, up 183% from 3.27 million units in the year-ago quarter. The unit sales of iPhones, iPods, and iPads bring the cumulative unit sales for the three device categories to 128.89 million, 314.56 million, and 28.73 million, respectively. The company posted revenue of $28.57 billion and net quarterly profit of $7.31 billion, or $7.79 per diluted share, compared with revenue of $15.7 billion and net quarterly profit of $3.25 billion, or $3.51 per diluted share, in Q3 2010.
“We’re thrilled to deliver our best quarter ever, with revenue up 82 percent and profits up 125 percent,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Right now, we’re very focused and excited about bringing iOS 5 and iCloud to our users this fall.”
“We are extremely pleased with our performance which drove quarterly cash flow from operations of $11.1 billion, an increase of 131 percent year-over-year,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the fourth fiscal quarter of 2011, we expect revenue of about $25 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share of about $5.50.”
iTeleport has released an update to its popular desktop remote control application adding compatibility with Mac OS X Lion and introducing the ability to wake remote computers from standby or sleep modes. iTeleport is a VNC-based remote control app that allows iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users to remotely access and control their computer’s desktop anywhere a Wi-Fi or 3G connection is available. The application can connect to Mac computers using the built-in VPN capabilities in OS X or Windows or Linux PCs using any number of third-party VNC server apps. A companion app, iTeleport Connect allows users to easily access their computer when away from their home or office network, or iTeleport can use the VPN capabilities built into iOS to establish a connection through a home or office firewall. iTeleport is available from the App Store for $25 as a universal app for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad; an iPad-only version is also available for $20.
Google has released an official iPhone and iPod touch app for its new Google+ social network. The new app allows users to quickly and easily share information with people in their Google+ Circles using a super-fast group messaging feature called Huddle and follow The Stream to keep up to date about what friends in their Circles are up to and where they’re checking in or what people are saying about things nearby. Google+ for the iPhone and iPod touch is available from the App Store as a free download.
Update: As noted in the comments, the Google+ app is compatible only with the iPhone 3G, 3GS and iPhone 4. The app will not install on the iPod touch or the iPad.
The International Trade Commission has upheld the ruling from May that Kodak did not infringe on Apple’s patented technology for digital cameras, according to a report from Reuters. Apple filed a complaint earlier this year claiming that Kodak was infringing patents for digital cameras and related software, however an ITC administrative law judge ruled two months ago that Kodak did not infringe the patents. A formal decision from the full ITC in this case was originally not expected until September 19.
A January lawsuit by Kodak against Apple and Research in Motion claiming infringement of a Kodak patent related to a method for previewing images remains under consideration by the ITC following a mixed verdict earlier this month. In that decision, the ITC found there to be limited patent infringement but sent some matters back to the original administrative law judge for further review.
CNN has introduced live streaming of its 24-hour television networks via its web site and iOS apps for subscribers in the U.S., making it the first news organization to provide a service of this nature. With this launch, CNN.com is also debuting a higher-quality video player capable of delivering HD quality streams to users. CNN streaming will be available to subscribers of participating TV providers such as AT&T, Comcast, Cox, Dish Network, Suddenlink and Verizon; users will be required to validate their cable, satellite or telco provider by logging in with a username and password before being granted access to the live video streams. In addition to the live network stream, users can also continue to access four specific live streams for breaking news and events as well as access on-demand video clips. For iOS users, the new streaming video requires the latest version of the free CNN App for iPhone (U.S.) or CNN App for iPad and iOS 4.0 or later.