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ITC to investigate Apple complaint against HTC

The U.S. International Trade Commission has said it will investigate a complaint of patent infringement filed by Apple against HTC. Bloomberg reports that in the complaint Apple is targeting HTC’s Flyer tablet computers as well as the Droid Incredible, Wildfire, EVO 4G and Desire phones, claiming that they infringe five patents related to software architecture and user interfaces in portable devices, hardware for touchscreens, and movement sensors. Notably, the ITC ruled last month that HTC violated two Apple patents in some of its Android-based phones. “HTC respects intellectual property and will continue to protect and defend its protected innovations,” Grace Lei, general counsel at HTC, said in an e-mail. “We will fully cooperate with the ITC’s investigation and look forward to showing that we are not in violation of any of Apple’s patents.” HTC released its seven-inch Flyer tablet in the U.S. in March.

Boxee releases Boxee for iPad

Boxee has released an iPad app for accessing, viewing and sharing video content. Boxee for iPad allows users to view videos from popular services such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr as well as streaming content from the user’s own computer; the application connects to the user’s social networks and aggregates all video content in a single view and allows users to easily share their own videos on the same networks. A watch later feature also allows users to create a queue of videos from various sources around the web and a featured videos section provides a curated list of funny, creative and insightful videos.

Using the companion Boxee Media Manager application on a Mac or Windows PC users can also stream content to Boxee on the iPad from their computer using a local Wi-Fi connection in almost any file format supported by the computer without having to worry about converting videos to an iPad-ready format. A “Send to TV” feature also provides integration with the hardware Boxee Box allowing users to send video from their iPad directly to the big screen; the feature is expected to be added in an update to the Boxee software coming this fall. Boxee for iPad requires iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Essential TPE intros Glatt stylus, Iro case for iPad 2

Essential TPE has introduced its new Glatt stylus and Iro case snapsnap for the iPad 2. The Glatt is a relatively flat, rubber-tipped aluminum stylus that features an integrated magnet for connection to the iPad 2 and the added ability to activate the device’s automatic on/off feature. It comes in silver, black, magenta, brown, navy, and green; pricing and U.S. availability has yet to be announced. The Iro case snapsnap for iPad 2 is a hard polycarbonate case for the iPad 2 offering a snap-on design, open access to all ports and controls, and compatibility with Apple’s iPad Smart Cover, including integrated magnets to hold the Smart Cover flat against its back when the iPad is in use. It will come in glossy black, turquoise, indigo, cream, and magenta; like the Glatt, pricing and availability has yet to be announced.

Investors call on Nintendo to consider iOS releases

Some investors in gaming stalwart Nintendo are growing increasingly concerned with its strategy for the future and are calling for the company to consider smartphone platforms such as iOS as an alternative source of revenue, according to a Bloomberg report. The report states that the company’s most recent handheld gaming system, the 3DS, has been a flop thus far, prompting price cuts of 40 percent in Japan and 32 percent in the U.S. and a 82 percent slashing of its profit forecast, and that, combined with the company’s refusal to make titles for any products other than its own, has driven the company’s stock to six-year lows. “Smartphones are the new battlefield for the gaming industry,” said Ohki, a fund manager at Tokyo-based Stats Investment Management Co. “Nintendo should try to either buy its way into this platform or develop something totally new.”

As noted in the report, Nintendo shares jumped the most in nearly four months after former Nintendo unit Pokemon Co. said it was developing a game for iOS devices, only to see the gains slip away after Nintendo denied any change in strategy towards outside platforms. “They just don’t get it,” MF Global FXA Securities Ltd. said in a sales note that day, referring to Nintendo. “Sell the stock, because a management once feted for creative out-of-box thinking have just shown how behind the times they are.” While the company’s next-generation home console, the Wii U, also met with mixed reactions upon its unveiling, the company does have nearly $14 billion in cash, equivalents, and short-term investments, giving it more strategic options than some competitors.

Apple sues Motorola in Europe over Xoom

Apple has filed a complaint against Motorola over its Xoom tablet in Europe. Citing a passage from Apple’s complaint against Samsung that led to a preliminary injunction, FOSS Patents reports that Apple has filed a similar complaint against Motorola over the design of its Xoom tablet, but that the passage in question doesn’t specify whether Apple is also seeking a preliminary injunction against Motorola. Apple and Motorola’s legal battle dates back to October 2010 when Motorola sued Apple for patent infringement, leading to a countersuit from Apple.

Vudu now provides iPad streaming via the web

Online video service Vudu has introduced support for streaming movies to the iPad. Rather than relying on a native iOS application, the Vudu service uses a web application; users simply open the Safari browser and navigate to www.vudu.com to use the service. From there, users can browse and rent movies using an iPad-optimized user interface and watch movies streamed directly through the browser. As with PC and Mac viewing, iPad streaming is limited to standard-definition content at 1 Mbps and can be viewed using either a Wi-Fi or 3G connection. [via Engadget]

Judge charges two in iPhone 4 prototype case

The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office has announced that it is filing misdemeanor charges against two individuals involved in the sale of an iPhone 4 prototype during the spring of 2010. According to the DA’s official statement, which has been posted online by Gizmodo—which was also involved in the incident—Brian Hogan of Redwood City has been charged with one count of misappropriation of lost property, while Sage Wallower of Emeryville was charged with misappropriation of lost property and possession of stolen property. The two young men are set to be arraigned on August 25. In regards to Gizmodo, the statement reads, “after a consideration of all of the evidence, it was determined that no charges would be filed against employees of Gizmodo.” Gizmodo purchased the prototype after it was found in a Redwood City establishment and subsequently posted photos of the unit online.

Apple using email alerts to combat App Store fraud

Apple has started sending app purchase notification emails to iTunes Store users in an effort to curb app purchase fraud. According to Mac Rumors, an email is sent when a user’s Apple ID is used to make a purchase on the App Store from a new device. One such email—reprinted in the report—states, “Your Apple ID [redacted] was just used to purchase [a specific app] from the App Store on a computer or device that had not previously been associated with that Apple ID. If you made this purchase, you can disregard this email. This email was sent as a safeguard designed to protect you against unauthorized purchases. If you did not make this purchase, we recommend that you go to iforgot.apple.com to change your password.” The report notes that Apple already requires credit card users to reenter the three or four digit CID number from their credit cards to authenticate new devices, but no similar authentication system is in place for users with gift card balances.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy app coming to iOS this fall

Hothead Games has announced plans to release an interactive edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy this fall for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Designed to provide an authentic experience for fans of the venerable Douglas Adams “trilogy,” the app will replicate the handheld Guide from the series on the iOS platform. Users can read up on the importance of towels, Vogons and their poetry, the Babel Fish, a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, and Milliways: the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. “We really focused on taking existing Guide entries and presenting them in a new, interactive way,” commented Joel DeYoung, Producer at Hothead Games. “We have so much respect for the original that we had to stay true to the style of Douglas Adams and deliver an app that feels familiar to fans but updated for today’s devices.” More information on the upcoming app can be found on the official launch page at http://www.thenewhitchhikersguide.com.

Apple, book pubs hit with class-action suit over pricing

Apple and five leading U.S. book publishers have been hit with a class-action lawsuit over eBook pricing. According to a statement on the website of Hagens Berman, the firm that filed the suit, Apple, HarperCollins, Hachette, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster are accused of colluding to increase the prices on popular eBook titles in order to boost profits and force Amazon to abandon its “pro-consumer discount pricing.” The suit claims that Apple and the publishers are in violation of a variety of federal and state antitrust laws, the Sherman Act, the Cartwright Act, and the Unfair Competition Act, and, if approved, would represent any purchaser of an eBook published by a major publisher after the adoption of the agency model—the pricing model used on the iBookstore. It seeks damages for the purchase od the books, an injunction against pricing eBooks with the agency model and “the forfeiture of the illegal profits received by the defendants as a result of their anticompetitive conduct.” [via TUAW]

Walmart bows to iTunes, shutters MP3 store

Walmart has announced that after eight years in business, it is closing its music download store. Citing a certified letter sent by Walmart to its distribution and licensing partners, Digital Music News reports that the store, located at mp3.walmart.com, will close on August 28. The retail giant will continue to sell physical CDs in its brick-and-mortar stores, and will continue to provide support for older, DRM-laden WMA files that were purchased from the store prior to its move to DRM-free MP3 files; it will also continue to operate its Soundcheck live streaming site. [via The Atlantic]

Amazon launches Kindle Cloud Reader

Amazon has launched a new web-based app for reading Kindle e-books on a PC, Mac or iPad. An alternative to Amazon’s native Kindle apps, the Kindle Cloud Reader provides access to users’ Kindle libraries from compatible web browsers, specifically Chrome and Safari and includes the ability to continue reading even without an Internet connection. Notably, the web application specifically indicates support for the Safari browser on an iPad running iOS 4.0 or later; as a web application the app can also provide access to an integrated “Kindle Store for Tablets,” allowing users to easily purchase content directly from their device.

Earlier this year Apple revised its App Store policies and began requiring iOS applications to remove links to external services for purchasing content, resulting in Amazon being forced to remove the Kindle Store button from its native iOS Kindle app. The new Kindle Cloud Reader provides an alternative for users who wish to easily browse for and purchase content from their iPad. Kindle users can access the Kindle Cloud Reader simply by visiting http://read.amazon.com and logging in with their Amazon ID and password.

Photo of the Week: iPad 2 in California

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This week’s featured photo is from our iPads Around the World gallery, and shows a black iPad 2 at the summit of Mt San Jacinto, looking north towards Mt San Gorgonio in California. To share your photos and to be considered for our Photo of the Week, you simply need to submit your own photo to one of our galleries. So get out there, take some pictures featuring your favorite iPod, iPad, or iPhone and maybe your submission will be our next Photo of the Week!

Facebook releases Messenger for Mobile app

Facebook has released a new instant messaging application for iOS. Facebook Messenger for Mobile is a standalone application that will allow iOS users to quickly and easily send messages to friends and contacts via Facebook. Messages are delivered via iOS device notifications and texts and users can send messages to both their Facebook friends and their contacts who are not on Facebook. As an extension of the Facebook messaging system, all conversations are automatically saved to the user’s Facebook profile alongside Facebook chats, e-mails and messages.

In addition to basic messaging, Facebook Messenger for Mobile will provide several other more advanced features such as group conversations with multiple users and location support to allow users in the conversation to easily locate each other on an integrated map view. Users will also be able to attach photos in a conversation allowing other users to view and comment on them. Facebook Messenger requires iOS 4.0 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.

Twitterrific adds Tweet Marker support

The Iconfactory has released an update to Twitterrific, its Twitter client for iOS introducing the ability to synchronize timeline positions across multiple devices. Twitterrific 4.3 adds support for the Tweet Marker API to automatically bookmark the user’s current timeline position and sync that information to Twitterrific running on other iOS devices or Twitterrific for Mac. The latest version also improves t.co and Twitter picture handling, adds support for displaying Camera+ campl.us images inline, improves error handling related to time zones and makes several graphical refinements. Twitterrific 4.3 is a universal app available as a free download from the App Store; the free version includes ads and support for a single Twitter account. A one-time $5 in-app upgrade is available to remove the ads and provide multiple account support.

Google+ adds iPod touch and iPad support

Google has updated its Google+ social networking app adding iPod touch and non-native iPad compatibility along with several other minor improvements. Released last month, Google+ provides access to Google’s new social network allowing users to share information with people in their Google+ Circles and keep up to date on what their Google+ friends are doing. Oddly, the initial version was specifically designed to run only on the iPhone, leaving iPod touch and iPad users unable to load the app on their devices at all; this latest update resolves that issue by adding compatibility with the iPod touch and iPad in 2X mode—native iPad support is not provided. Additional improvements include customizable Huddle settings, aggregated add notifications for Circles and performance and stability improvements. Google+ is available from the App Store as a free download.

MTV releases MTV Live & Local

MTV Networks has released MTV Live & Local an app that helps users find concerts in their local area, plan schedules and purchase tickets. The application provides location-based listings for a wide range of artists from indie to top 40 along with maps, directions and venue info and also allows users to search for the lowest priced tickets from different vendors and purchase tickets through the app. The app can also create customized recommendations based on the user’s iTunes playlists and create a custom calendar of shows that the user is interested in. Social network integration allows users to share their favourite concerts with friends on Facebook and Twitter and see who else is planning to attend, check-in at the show via Facebook and Foursquare and provide a shareable online history of concerts attended. MTV Live & Local is available from the App Store as a free download.

Apple now world’s most valuable company, passing Exxon

Marking another major milestone in its 15-year resurgence, Apple today passed Exxon Mobil to become the most valuable company in the world. As of this writing, Apple’s shares are priced at $365.79, giving the Cupertino, CA-based company a market capitalization of $363.95 billion, ever so slightly ahead of Exxon, which, at $70.01 per share, has a market cap of $363.78 billion, according to Marketwatch. As with any stock-based company claim, Apple’s position as the world’s most valuable company is subject to the volatile stock market and could change from day to day or hour to hour. That said, even briefly holding such a prestigious title is quite an achievement for the once nearly liquidated company, and deserves special recognition.

Apple notes iTunes compatibility issues with some media files

A new Apple Support article has been posted noting that iTunes 10.4 users on OS X Lion may encounter problems opening older media files with an error message that “This movie requires QuickTime, which is not supported by this version of iTunes.” The article explains that some older media files may still require QuickTime in order to play and that QuickTime only runs in 32-bit mode. In order to play media files that are affected by this issue the article provides instructions on how to explicitly open iTunes in 32-bit mode. Notably, this issue only affects OS X Lion users as iTunes 10.4 continues to run in 32-bit mode on older versions of OS X.

Apple granted preliminary injunction against Samsung in EU

Apple has been granted a preliminary injunction against the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the European Union. Citing German-language dpa, FOSS Patents reports that the injunction bars distribution of Samsung’s largest tablet in the entire European Union, save for the Netherlands. In its argument supporting the injunction, Apple claimed that the Tab imitates the iPad and infringes on various IP rights owned by Apple. Apple asked for an injunction under which Samsung is threatened with fines of up to €250,000 (roughly $356,000) for each violation or imprisonment of Samsung’s management in the event of continued infringement, which are “standard sanctions” under German law, according to the report. Notably, Florian Mueller, the author of the post, is a resident of Germany, and states that the Düsseldorf district court—in which the case is being tried—is similar to the Eastern District court of Texas in its tendency to side with the patent holders in such disputes.

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