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Apple increases stock buyback, dividend

Alongside its quarterly earnings results, Apple today increased both its stock repurchase authorization and quarterly dividend, by a total of $55 billion from the original amount announced last year. The repurchase authorization has been increased to $60 billion from $10 billion. It’s “the largest single share repurchase authorization in history,” and is expected to be executed by the end of calendar 2015. Apple’s board approved a 15% increase in the stock dividend putting it at $3.05 per common share, payable on March 16, 2013. “We are very fortunate to be in a position to more than double the size of the capital return program we announced last year,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We believe so strongly that repurchasing our shares represents an attractive use of our capital that we have dedicated the vast majority of the increase in our capital return program to share repurchases.” CFO Peter Oppenheimer said “We will continue to return capital to shareholders through dividends, share repurchases, and cash used to net-share-settle vesting RSUs. We continue to generate cash in excess of our needs to operate the business, invest in our future, and maintain flexibility to take advantage of strategic opportunities.”

Apple Q2 2013: 37.4m iPhones, 19.5m iPads, 5.6m iPods

Apple has reported its financial results for its fiscal 2013 second quarter, ending March 30. The company announced it sold 37.4 million iPhones, compared to 35.1 million in the same quarter last year, but down from 47.8 million iPhones last quarter. Apple sold 19.5 million iPads, as opposed to 11.8 million in Q2 2012, but down from 22.9 million last quarter. The company sold 5.6 million iPods, down from 12.7 million in the previous quarter. iPod numbers were also down from last year’s second quarter, in which 7.7 million iPods were sold. Notably, the iPod numbers were not included in Apple’s press release.

Apple posted quarterly revenue of $43.6 billion and net quarterly profit of $9.5 billion, or $10.09 per diluted share. In the same quarter one year ago, revenue was $39.2 billion and net profit $11.6 billion, or $12.30 per diluted share. Gross margin was 37.5 percent in Q2 2013, as opposed to 47.4 percent in the year-ago quarter, and international sales accounted for 66 percent of the revenue in the quarter.

“We are pleased to report record March quarter revenue thanks to continued strong performance of iPhone and iPad,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in the press release. “Our teams are hard at work on some amazing new hardware, software, and services and we are very excited about the products in our pipeline.”

“Our cash generation remains very strong, with $12.5 billion in cash flow from operations during the quarter and an ending cash balance of $145 billion,” Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said in the release.

For its fiscal third quarter, Apple expects revenue between $33.5 billion and $35.5 billion, gross margin between 36 and 37 percent, and operating expenses between $3.85 billion and $3.95 billion.

Apps: Cut the Rope: TT, FedEx Mobile 4.2, Fish Out Of Water + GoComics

A new Cut the Rope game has hit the App Store from ZeptoLab UK Limited. Cut the Rope: Time Travel ($1) features two monsters to feed in each level as the physics-based puzzler returns in different new settings, including the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, a pirate ship, ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, and the Stone Age.

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FedEx’s free FedEx Mobile app now features FedEx Delivery Manager in version 4.2. Signing up for the manager lets users schedule a delivery or change a delivery to another address. It’s also now possible to sign for a package using the app. FedEx Mobile also lets users provide delivery instructions, schedule a vacation hold, or opt to hold a package at a FedEx location for pickup. FedEx Mobile’s Delivery Manager is available for U.S. residential delivery destinations.

Apple selling refurb seventh-gen iPod nano

Apple is now selling refurbished seventh-generation iPod nanos in its online store for $129. All colors are now available, except for red. Refurbished fifth-generation iPod touch models also recently went on sale in the online store. [via 9to5Mac]

Motorola patent suit against Apple thrown out

The U.S. International Trade Commission has thrown out the last patent-in-suit remaining in the original complaint against Apple from Google’s Motorola Mobility in Oct. 2010. A Motorola patent for a “sensor controlled user interface for portable communication device” was found invalid. In December, Apple also won a ruling over Motorola, as Apple was found not to violate another patent. Google is currently appealing a decision to throw out three other patents; this new decision can also be appealed. [via FOSS Patents]

iPhone 4 owners receiving $15 ‘Antennagate’ checks

U.S. iPhone 4 owners who participated in Apple’s class action settlement for “antennagate” issues are now receiving their $15 checks in the mail. The class action settlement, announced in March 2012, offered iPhone 4 owners a $15 cash payment or free bumper case. At this point, the deadline for filing a claim has long passed. [via 9to5Mac]

Logitech debuts FabricSkin Keyboard Folio for iPad

Logitech has introduced the FabricSkin Keyboard Folio for iPad ($150), a folio with a thin, fabric, Bluetooth keyboard that resembles the Microsoft Surface keyboard. The folio case also includes a view stand for the iPad, and a magnetic clasp to keep the case closed. Keys are full-sized and feature a liquid repellant coating.

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Logitech claims the battery will last up to three months on a full charge, based on two hours of typing per day. A USB cable is included for recharging. FabricSkin Keyboard Folio comes in six different colors, including black and blue in leather, blue and yellow in cotton, and gray and orange in fabric. The keyboard case is now available for pre-order.

Apple adds ‘download later’ option to iTunes

Apple has added a “download later” option for large media purchases in the iTunes store. Users who purchase a TV season, Season Pass, movie bundle, music box set, or an individual movie or TV episode now have the ability to download the media at a later time from iTunes in the Cloud. This new option could benefit users who want to buy such media, but don’t have the time or data connection to download a large file at the moment of purchase. The “later” option is available for users using iTunes 11, or iOS 6 or later, and in countries that support iTunes in the Cloud for the selected media.

Fingerprint sensor issues to delay iPhone 5S production?

Supplier sources who expected mass production of the next iPhone to begin in June now believe that date may be pushed back, according to Reuters. The possible delay in producing the iPhone 5S is due to Apple’s search for a coating material that doesn’t interfere with a fingerprint sensor, according to a “supply chain source.” Sources also said small-scale production of the budget iPhone will begin in May, with mass production starting in June.

Report: Apple rejects 5-8m iPhones from Foxconn

Apple has returned at least 5 million iPhones to Foxconn due to substandard appearance or dysfunctional problems, according to a new report out of China. An anonymous source said the number of rejected iPhones could be as high as 8 million. It’s estimated the issues could cost Foxconn as much as $1.6 billion to cover the cost of replacement handsets. The report didn’t specify which iPhone model failed Apple’s quality tests. [via China Business (translated link), The Register]

iLounge Weekly coming Monday, giveaway update

The latest edition of iLounge Weekly, our weekly newsletter covering all things iLounge, will be arriving in subscribers’ inboxes early next week. iLounge Weekly is a summary of the week’s best news, reviews, and feature articles we’ve published, and it also features giveaways and accessory discount offers from various companies. There’s still plenty of time to sign up and receive this week’s edition — just use the simple form below to submit your email address, if you haven’t done so already.

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Also don’t forget to enter our Unu Enerpak Vault Battery Pack Giveaway. This month iLounge and Unu are giving away ten Enerpak Vault Universal Battery Packs. Simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page to enter; the giveaway will end on April 30, 2013 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!

Volkswagen to unveil iBeetle

Volkswagen is set to unveil iBeetle — a special edition Beetle with iPhone integration — at next week’s 2013 Shanghai Auto Show. The car itself will feature color schemes and options similar to the iPhone interface. Inside, a dashboard-mounted dock holds the iPhone, and a new app will connect the car to the phone wirelessly or through the dock. Volkswagen’s press release doesn’t specify which iPhone models will be compatible with the dock.

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The app will include features such as Spotify streaming, a social network reader, and in-car camera, and it will act as an additional on-board instrument, as well. The iBeetle will be available early next year. [via Autoblog]

Apple keeps Siri data for up to two years

Apple has revealed that Siri data is stored on the company’s servers for up to two years. Apple spokeswoman Tracy Muller noted the data is anonymized, and the voice clips are only collected to improve Siri. Siri users are assigned randomly generated numbers when using the software, and are represented by these numbers, rather than Apple IDs or email addresses. After six months, Apple “disassociates” user numbers from voice files. Those files are then kept for up to 18 more months. [via Wired]

Goodreads-Apple partnership nixed by Amazon deal

Apple and book recommendation site Goodreads discussed integrating Goodreads’ service into the iBookstore, but a possible partnership was halted by Amazon’s recent purchase of Goodreads. A new report claims Apple and Goodreads were talking about integration “over the past year.” Goodreads proposed that its ratings appear within iTunes, in a manner similar to Rotten Tomatoes’ movie ratings. Apple reportedly entertained the idea, but talks stalled — Apple wanted to move forward “around March,” but by then, Goodreads had started discussions with Amazon. [via The Wall Street Journal]

Apps: Pocket 4.5, TWC TV 3.2, Twitter #music + Yahoo Weather

One year ago, Read It Later became Pocket (free), the popular app from Idea Shower which saves content for offline reading. Now updated to version 4.5, the app introduces new sharing features, including Send to Friend, which lets you quickly share content with friends and family. An inbox will show content that’s been shared with you, along with any comments and highlighted quotes. The redesigned Share Menu provides shortcuts for sharing, and optional push notifications let users know when new content has arrived in their Pocket inbox.

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Time Warner Cable’s free app, TWC TV (version 3.2.0), now lets Time Warner subscribers watch live TV channels while away from home. The update also lets viewers watch select On Demand programming from anywhere. Filtering and sorting shows and categories has also been improved.

Alleged budget iPhone rear shell leaked?

The alleged rear shell for Apple’s rumored budget iPhone may have been leaked in a photo posted on Tactus. The photo shows a uniform white case likely made from polycarbonate. From the photo, it appears the screen size could be 4”, like the iPhone 5.

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The report with the photo alleges the budget iPhone may have an A5 processor like the iPad mini, a 3.5” screen, and 5MP camera. Also noted is that the device will allegedly come in white, black, blue, red, and yellow. For everything we know about the budget iPhone so far — which we’re calling the iPhone “5C” — be sure to check out our rumor page.

Apple named in Chinese porn investigation

Chinese state-run newspaper the People’s Daily has named Apple as one of a number of websites and app stores investigated for providing pornographic content in the country. Apple is listed next to names of other app stores — a report notes the company is not emphasized or prominently featured. Of course, Apple does not allow pornographic content on its app store, according to the company’s terms of use. Recently, Apple responded to criticism from Chinese state-controlled media with an apology and warranty improvements. That apology was praised by Chinese authorities and media. [via The Wall Street Journal]

Apps: Facebook 6.0, SugarSync 4.0, YouTube 1.3 + Zillow 6.0

Facebook, Inc. has updated its Facebook app (free) to version 6.0. The new update adds chat heads to both the iPhone and iPad versions of the app — a “floating” head now enables users to quickly continue a chat with a friend while browsing other feeds. iPhone Facebook app users can send Emoji-style stickers within messages, and new feeds such as Music, Photos, and Games have been added. For the iPad app, the News Feed has been redesigned and streamlined. Chat heads and stickers should be available for all users “over the next few weeks.”

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SugarSync, Inc. has released version 4.0.0 of its SugarSync app (free). The redesigned Dropbox competitor now offers quicker access to synced content. It’s also easier to share and access content shared by others. The new Cloud Search feature lets users search for files across all computers right from the app, and Open In lets users save documents, photos, or videos from other apps into the SugarSync app. A device filter for viewing all folders is also new, and a folder label feature is coming soon.

Logitech debuts Harmony Ultimate, Smart Control remotes

Logitech has announced two new home control remotes — the Harmony Ultimate ($350) and Harmony Smart Control ($130) — that can both use an iOS app for control. Harmony Ultimate is a full remote with 2.4” color touchscreen that can control up to 15 devices through swipes and taps. It can also control the Philips Hue lighting system.

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Harmony Smart Control works mainly through the Harmony smartphone app, though it also comes with a simple remote. It can consolidate up to eight remote controls into one app. Both remotes are compatible with 225,000 home theater devices, and both include the Harmony Hub, which turns RF signals from the remote into IR and Bluetooth commands for home theater device compatibility. The Harmony Hub also allows users to control devices through cabinets and walls. Harmony Ultimate is expected to launch this month, while Harmony Smart Control should be available in May.

Some Apple TVs have Wi-Fi issues; replacement program open

A small number of third-generation Apple TVs have known Wi-Fi issues, and Apple has started a replacement program for these affected units. Apple has determined replacements can be offered free of charge for up to two years after the device’s purchase date.

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The Wi-Fi issues include: cannot locate network, unable to join network, and dropped or intermittent connection. If the last four letters of the serial number are DHRN, and the third and fourth characters of the serial number match one of the included pairs, the Apple TV is eligible for replacement. [via 9to5Mac]

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