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Apple patent suits: Google arbitration talks; Samsung device additions

  • November 16, 2012
  • Apple,

Apple and Google’s Motorola Mobility are discussing using binding arbitration as a possible resolution to their ongoing patent dispute, according to a court filing. Bloomberg reports the two companies have exchanged proposals relating to industry standard patents. It’s possible that a licensing agreement could pave the way to settling all patent disputes between Apple and Google. Apple recently settled its patent dispute with HTC.

Meanwhile, Samsung and Apple aren’t getting any closer to resolving their patent disputes. A recent statement by Samsung mobile chief Jong-Kyun Shin indicated the company won’t look to settle out of court, and U.S. magistrate judge Paul Grewel granted motions Thursday to include the iPhone 5, a number of Galaxy devices, and Google’s Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS in the ongoing Apple-Samsung lawsuit, CNET reports. The inclusion of Android 4.1 is restricted to use with the Galaxy Nexus smartphone.

Griffin debuts PowerJolt SE Lightning car charger

Griffin has announced its first Lightning accessory, the PowerJolt SE ($25), a car charger. A 10W charger with a 12V accessory outlet, the PowerJolt SE features a coiled cable that can stretch up to 4 feet in length; it’s notably slower in peak iPad charging speed than options recently announced by Scosche, but also less expensive.

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The PowerJolt SE features an LED power indicator, and a built-in, self-resetting SmartFuse, which guards against power fluctuations during charging. Like Belkin’s Car Charger with Lightning Connector, Griffin’s PowerJolt SE is available now.

Apple picks up 1,024 patents from consortium

  • November 16, 2012
  • Apple,

Apple recently acquired the rights to 1,024 patents from Rockstar Bidco, a consortium comprised of Apple, Sony, Microsoft, Research in Motion (RIM), and other companies, reports Yonhap News. Apple owns a 58 percent stake in the consortium, which includes 4,000 Nortel patents. Of those 1,024 patents, 695 are currently registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office, while the rest are in the registration process. Business Insider reports that a search of the USPTO database confirms more than 1,350 patents transferred from Rockstar, with many sent to Apple. Though it’s unclear at this time as to how many of the patents are related to telecommunications, securing the rights will likely aid Apple as the company continues its legal battles with rivals outside the consortium.

Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad mini, 4th-Gen iPad now in stores

  • November 16, 2012
  • iPad,

Carriers have also started carrying the Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad — Sprint and AT&T have officially announced they’ll have both iPads today, and Verizon is also expected to have the devices in stores today. Sprint has said “limited quantities” will be available in its stores. Given this, it’s not a stretch to assume both devices will go on sale in Apple’s retail stores today, as well. [via CNET]

Report: Google iOS 6 Maps app nears completion

Google is putting the “finishing touches” on a new mapping app for the iPhone, according to The Wall Street Journal. Test versions have been distributed, but it’s still unknown as to when Google will submit the app to the iTunes Store for approval. Turn-by-turn navigation is expected to be included in the app. A recent report indicated that some sources doubt Apple will approve Google’s Maps app, a point that has been disputed by subsequent reports. regardless, phone and mapping rival Nokia may beat Google to the punch in releasing a high-profile alternative to iOS 6 Maps.

iLuv debuts EnergySeal car charger, cable for Lightning

iLuv has announced a Lightning-compatible car charger and charge/sync cable. The EnergySeal Micro-Size Car Charger comes attached to a 6’ cable for charging Lightning devices. Its small size is designed to fit a variety of car power port locations and orientations; it promises 10.5W output.

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iLuv’s Premium Coiled Charge/Sync Cable is a tangle-resistant 6’ cable that can charge and sync Lightning devices when used with a USB charger. Prices for the two accessories range from $30-$50, presumably in reverse order of their listing above, but the specific costs for each accessory are currently listed as “TBD” on iLuv’s website.

LTE iPad mini, 4th-Gen iPad unboxing and comparison galleries posted

  • November 15, 2012
  • iPad,

iLounge has posted complete unboxing and comparison galleries for Apple’s new Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad mini and the fourth-generation iPad with Wi-Fi + Cellular to Flickr. Separate galleries have been posted for the mini and fourth-generation iPad.

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Our photos spotlight the different backs of the devices compared to their Wi-Fi-only equivalents; notably, the white iPad mini for the first time has a white plastic antenna cover on the back, unlike all full-sized iPads, which have black antenna covers. Reviews of the two devices will be posted in the near future.

Belkin debuts iPad mini Portable Keyboard Case

Belkin has announced its Portable Keyboard Case ($80) for iPad mini, a scaled-down version of its Keyboard Folio. The folio case connects its removable keyboard to the iPad mini using Bluetooth, and the keyboard can fold flat into the case when not in use.

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Belkin claims 155 hours of active battery life for the keyboard, which can be recharged with its included USB-to-mini-USB cable. Available for pre-order now, the Portable Keyboard Case will be released later this month.

Thieves steal $1.5M in iPad minis from JFK airport

  • November 15, 2012
  • iPad,

A collection of iPad minis worth $1.5M were stolen from a cargo building at John F. Kennedy International Airport, according to the New York Post. About 3,600 minis were taken from the same site of the famous 1978 Lufthansa heist, which was prominently featured in the movie “Goodfellas.” Sources suggest that the robbery occurred just before midnight on Monday, as the thieves used an airport forklift to load two pallets of minis into a truck. No suspects have been apprehended or named at this point, but investigators suspect that the theft was an inside job, according to the Post.

Updated Nov. 19: JFK Airport worker Renel Rene Richardson has been arrested in connection to the heist, the New York Post reports. Richardson allegedly made suspicious inquires about the shipment to co-workers. He also allegedly had two helpers in the heist.

LTE iPad mini shipments arriving for some customers

  • November 15, 2012
  • iPad,

Some customers who purchased Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad minis from Apple’s online store have started to receive their devices, 9to5Mac reports. At this point, the Wi-Fi + Cellular iPad minis could go on sale in stores at any time, with speculation pointing toward Friday, as some stores have prepared queue cards for the devices. A prior report indicated that fourth-generation Wi-Fi + Cellular iPads have arrived in stores, which suggests that both devices could be available in stores Friday. Notably, delivery dates for LTE-ready iPads and minis purchased immediately after pre-orders opened have continued to be staggered across late this week and early next week, unusual given Apple’s past track record of coordinating new devices to be delivered to customers at the same time.

Apple patents: Automatic display zoom, vibration noise control

  • November 15, 2012
  • Apple,

Two patent applications recently filed by Apple involve a technology that could automatically scale visual content on a display based on its proximity to a user’s face, and a way to reduce vibration noise from a device. The scaling technology would be able to change the size of visual content on the fly, eliminating the need for using touch gestures to zoom by using sensors to detect the proximity of the user’s face. Two functions are outlined in the patent application: Comfort mode, which would increase the size of visual content when a user’s face is further from the screen, and zoom mode, which would increase the size of content when the user’s face gets closer to the screen.

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The other patent application aims to reduce the vibration noise from a device in certain circumstances, such as when the device is on a hard surface, as pictured above in an illustration from the application. Sensors would be able to determine if a device’s vibration is too loud, or if the device is vibrating on a hard surface. Mitigation routines would then be enacted to reduce the vibration and subsequent noise. Both applications were filed in May 2011. [via Apple Insider]

Apple Maps adds turn-by-turn navigation for Australia

Apple’s iOS 6 Maps now feature turn-by-turn voice navigation for Australia, a feature that recently went live after being promised for October. Former Apple iOS chief Scott Forstall previously said the data needed to be “exceptional and qualified” before voice navigation went live, and Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has reaffirmed the company’s commitment to rolling out properly vetted additions to the service. [via 9to5Mac]

JBL debuts OnBeat Micro, Venue LT Lightning speakers

JBL has introduced the OnBeat Micro ($99) and OnBeat Venue LT ($199), the first Lightning-compatible speaker docks. OnBeat Micro is a portable, compact speaker with two full-range transducers that can dock the iPhone 5, fifth-generation iPod touch and seventh-generation iPod nano, but not the latest iPad or iPad mini. It offers five hours of playback with four AAA batteries, and includes an AC adapter for device charging, as well as a built-in USB connector for use with other devices.

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JBL’s OnBeat Venue LT is an updated version of its OnBeat Venue, which we reviewed last month. A 30W wireless speaker that can stream from Bluetooth-enabled devices, the OnBeat Venue LT can dock the iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad, as well as the iPhone 5, fifth-generation iPod touch, and seventh-generation iPod nano. It features four transducers — two low-frequency and two high-frequency. A movie button on the top activates an “extra-wide sound field” for watching video, and an auxiliary input provides a means to connect older Apple devices. Both speakers are currently available for preorder.

Outdoor Tech debuts ADAPT Bluetooth adapter

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Outdoor Tech has launched the ADAPT ($40), a clip-on Bluetooth receiver that allows iOS devices and the latest iPod nanos to wirelessly stream audio to any pair of headphones or speakers. The device has a standard 3.5mm audio port, and receives Bluetooth audio from distances of up to 30 feet away. ADAPT also comes with playback controls and a built-in mic for calls. ADAPT promises nine hours of talking and listening time from its rechargeable battery, which is refueled with an included Micro-USB charger. It is available now, in black, pink, and blue.

iLuv debuts ReF headphones

iLuv has introduced ReF, a new line of headphones ($130). The collapsible on-ear headphones feature an all-fabric exterior, in-line remote, and a built-in mic with hands-free capabilities, as well as ear cups made from “Korean protein leather.” ReF headphones promise “deep bass and precise treble.”

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ReF headphones come in two variations, one generic, and the other specific to Apple devices. Both versions come in black, white, navy, and red, and will be available this month.

Report: LTE 4th-gen iPads in Apple stores, not for sale yet

  • November 14, 2012
  • iPad,

Fourth-generation Wi-Fi + Cellular iPads have started to arrive in U.S. Apple Stores, but they’re not yet for sale, 9to5Mac reports. An official launch date hasn’t been announced, so the iPads could go on sale at any time. Some deliveries of Wi-Fi + Cellular iPads are set to arrive Friday, so it’s likely stores could start to sell the iPads on the same day; however, Apple might put the in-store units on sale earlier than that.

Samsung: We won’t settle patent suits with Apple

  • November 14, 2012
  • Apple,

Though Apple and HTC have settled their patent dispute, Samsung claims that it will not do the same. Yonhap News Agency reports Samsung has no intentions on reaching an out-of-court settlement with Apple over its patent issues with the company. “It may be true that HTC may have agreed to pay 300 billion won ($276 million) to Apple, but we don’t intend to (negotiate) at all,” said Samsung mobile chief Jong-Kyun Shin. The two companies have been battling in various patent suits since April 2011.

Scosche debuts Lightning chargers

Scosche has announced nine new accessories compatible with the Lightning cable — all of them chargers, offered in less expensive 5-Watt and more expensive 12-Watt iterations. StrikeBASE ($30-$35) is a wall charger, StrikeBASE pro ($40-$50) is a wall charger with two ports and a Lightning/micro USB cable, and StrikeDRIVE ($25-$40) is a car charger.

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In addition to the 5W/12W choices, StrikeDRIVE adds a third option, which includes an extra USB port and Lightning/micro USB cable; StrikeDRIVE pro ($50) adds a second USB port. Finally, StrikeLINE pro ($30) is a retractable charge and sync cable for Lightning/micro USB devices. All accessories are currently listed as “coming soon” on Scosche’s website.

 

Nokia announces maps app for iOS

Nokia has announced that it will be launching a new maps application for iOS under the HERE brand “in the coming weeks.” Based on HTML5, Nokia’s maps application will be a free download from the App Store and will feature voice-guided walking navigation, public transport directions, and offline capabilities. As The New York Times reports, Nokia hopes its mapping program can remain competitive by acquiring a larger user base, Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop said. With the future of a Google Maps iOS app still uncertain, Nokia looks to be the first to release a new high-profile mapping alternative to iOS 6 Maps.

Griffin releases Twenty digital audio amplifier

Griffin has launched Twenty ($100), a digital audio amplifier that uses AirPlay to connect the AirPort Express — or any digital audio source — to speakers. First seen at this year’s CES, Twenty basically turns any set of speakers into an amplified AirPlay wireless system.

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Featuring 2.1 channel sound, Twenty provides connections for left and right channel speakers along with an RCA connector for a powered subwoofer. Although specifically designed to dock the original Airport Express, Twenty works with any compatible digital audio source. It is currently available.

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