Multiple outlets are reporting Foxconn has resumed hiring for the production of a new iPhone. More workers have been hired at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant, the company’s main production facility for iPhones. A hiring freeze imposed in February has ended, and new workers will help assemble both the new device — likely the iPhone 5S — and existing iPhone models. The factory has added about 10,000 assembly-line workers per week since the last week of March. As previously reported, new iPhone production is set for second quarter production this year. It’s noted that production on a less-expensive iPhone could start soon, as well. [via Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal]
Apple has agreed to pay $53 million to settle a class action lawsuit in San Francisco federal court involving iPhone and iPod touch warranties, according to a new report. The settlement, which has yet to be filed, will pay cash to iPhone and iPod touch customers denied repair or replacement of a faulty device, whether through Apple’s standard one-year or extended two-year warranty. A number of combined lawsuits noted that Apple refused to honor warranties if a white indicator tape within the phone turned pink or red. The changing tape color was believed to signal a device had made contact with water, but tape maker 3M said humidity could have turned the tape pink. Devices affected are from older generations: the original iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, and the first, second, and third-generation iPod touch. [via Wired]
Twitter is planning on launching its new standalone iOS music application this weekend, possibly as early as today, according to reports. A new site, music.twitter.com, asks users for permission to allow an app called Trending Music Web, though at this point authorization of the app only sends users back to the sign in page.
The app will suggest artists and songs based on “personalized signals,” which include the Twitter accounts a user follows. Third-party services, such as iTunes, will allow users to listen to music clips within the app. Users will also be able to watch music videos from Vevo. Twitter recently acknowledged its acquisition of the music startup We Are Hunted, which tracked the most popular songs on social networks. [via AllThingsD]
Update: Twitter’s music app will launch to the public in about a week; for now, only select celebrities and “influencers” have access to the app. [via AllThingsD]
U.S. District Judge Robert Scola said in an order that neither Apple nor Google’s Motorola Mobility unit have any interest in resolving their ongoing patent litigation, instead using the lawsuits as business strategy. “The parties have no interest in efficiently and expeditiously resolving this dispute; they instead are using this and similar litigation worldwide as a business strategy that appears to have no end,” Scola said in an order. “That is not a proper use of this court.” Apple and Google are battling over “more than 180 claims related to 12 patents, and disputes over the meaning of more than 100 terms” in Florida court. Scola gave both companies four months to streamline the scope of the case; a failure to do so will put the case on hold until all of the term disputes are resolved. [via Bloomberg]
Google Inc.‘s Chrome (free) app has updated to version 26.0.1410.50. Google’s browser for iOS now allows users to access fullscreen browsing for iPhone and iPod touch — the toolbar can be scrolled off the screen to view a full page of content on the devices. Printing has also been updated, as it’s now possible to print web pages using either AirPrint or Google Cloud Print. It’s also now possible to save any page as a PDF to a Google Drive account.
Foursquare Labs, Inc. has released version 6.0 of its popular Foursquare (free) app. The newest update focuses on the “most interesting things nearby.” Sort of Foursquare’s attempt at a best-of, the app can now tell users the top attractions in the area. Search has also been given a more prevalent role within the app, as the Explore field has been moved to the top of the app when it’s opened.
A job listing on Apple’s website specifically mentions flexible displays, indicating the company has at least some interest in the technology. The listing, for a Sr. Optical Engineer, notes in its summary that “Apple Inc. is looking for a Display Specialist to lead the investigation on emerging display technologies such as high optical efficiency LCD, AMOLED and flexible display to improve overall display optical performance.”
Various rumors about Apple’s iWatch have involved a possible flexible display or curved glass for the watch. Recently, Apple published a patent application for a wraparound display. But Corning, which supplies glass to Apple suggested a flexible display using its Willow material is at least three years away. [via 9to5Mac]
An alleged plan for Microsoft’s next wave of Office updates indicates we may not see an iOS version of Office until fall 2014. An apparent roadmap spotted for Microsoft’s “Gemini Wave” lists Office for iOS in October 2014. Though such roadmaps often change, a source indicated this plan was “likely current as of the start of 2013.” This drastically contradicts prior reports, which pegged an iOS Office release for early this year. The reported late February or early March release date has came and went, with no sign of iOS Office. [via ZDNet]
Apple has refused to carry a comic, Saga #12, on app-based platforms due to gay sex scenes, according to a report. The comic’s writer, Brian K. Vaughan, said in a press release, “Unfortunately, because of two postage stamp-sized images of gay sex, Apple is banning tomorrow’s SAGA #12 from being sold through any iOS apps.” Vaughan notes that Saga has “featured what I would consider much more graphic imagery in the past.”
Notably, the comic should still be available in Apple’s iBookstore, according to publisher Image Comics. Apple is known for curating its App Store, but Comixology’s Comics app is rated as 17+. “Frequent/Intense Sexual Content or Nudity” is listed as one of the reasons for the rating. Other illustrations of sexual content and nudity have been allowed within the app — and in earlier issues of the same comic. [via Comics Beat, The Verge]
Update: Comixology CEO David Steinberger has released a statement noting Apple did not ban the comic; rather, Comixology did not release Saga #12 based on the company’s understanding of Apple’s policies. Steinberger notes, “We did not interpret the content in question as involving any particular sexual orientation, and frankly that would have been a completely irrelevant consideration under any circumstance.” Saga #12 will be available on the Comixology app soon.
Apple has paid about $10 million to license patents from ACCESS, including patents related to Palm, Bell Communications Research and Geoworks. Japan’s ACCESS owns the company formerly known as PalmSource. The move was likely done to aid Apple in patent litigation moving forward. Interestingly, Steve Jobs once threatened to file a patent lawsuit against Palm to prevent poaching employees. [via Macotakara]
Apple has hired Foster + Partners to work on new designs for its retail stores, according to a new report. Foster + Partners is the London-based firm behind Apple’s “spaceship” corporate campus, Campus 2, which is reportedly $2 billion over budget. Apple has previously worked with rival firm 8 Inc for designing stores, including its flagship Fifth Avenue store in New York City. Both Apple and Foster + Partners declined comment. [via Marketing Magazine (UK)]
Prior to T-Mobile’s upcoming Friday launch of the iPhone 5 on its network, the carrier has announced a trade-in deal for iPhone 4/4S users. Qualified customers trading in an iPhone 4 or 4S can get the iPhone 5 for $0 down. A credit of up to $120 may also be offered, depending on the trade-in value of the device — the credit could be used on monthly payments, an existing T-Mobile bill, accessories, or the purchase of another device. T-Mobile’s standard offer for the iPhone 5 without trade-in is $100 down, and $20 monthly payments for two years. The offer lasts through Father’s Day, June 16.
A new report claims the recent removal of AppGratis from the App Store was just the beginning, as the ouster of AppGratis was “a first step in a broader enforcement action,” mainly targeted at similar discovery apps found to violate clauses 2.25 and 5.6 of Apple’s App Store review guidelines. Apple feels such apps “threaten the legitimacy of the App Store charts” by letting developers spend money to increase their ranking. The company is also concerned the App Store could become overwhelmed with “alternative storefronts” through these apps.
Apple’s clause 2.25 was thought to be a way of restricting third-party App Store promotion when it first appeared — those initial examinations of the clause now appear to be true. The clause states, “Apps that display Apps other than your own for purchase or promotion in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store will be rejected.” Clause 5.6 states that “Apps cannot use Push Notifications to send advertising, promotions, or direct marketing of any kind.” A stronger enforcement of these clauses could lead to many discovery apps disappearing from the App Store in the near future. [via AllThingsD]
Apple and Yahoo have been discussing the possibility of Yahoo’s services playing a greater role on iPhone and iPad, according to a new report. The companies are discussing deals that could push more content from Yahoo News and more onto Apple devices — possibly through “an expanded Siri partnership.” Currently, apps which use Yahoo’s finance and weather sites come preloaded on iPhones, and Siri uses some Yahoo data, as well.
Though “no deal is imminent,” according to sources, the benefits can be seen for both sides. Apple could further distance itself from Google services with a Yahoo partnership. Yahoo could provide web results to Apple, though that’s noted as “a long shot” due to Yahoo’s partnership with Microsoft — Microsoft’s Bing powers Yahoo search — and Apple’s deal with Google. Representatives for Apple and Yahoo declined comment. [via The Wall Street Journal]
The fifth-generation iPad bezel has allegedly been leaked, as new photos have been posted at French site Nowhereelse.fr. Photos show someone holding an alleged white iPad bezel, which appears to have the same full-sized iPad screen with a smaller footprint. The photos may be legitimate, but the bezel — though thinner on the sides than the current fourth-generation iPad — still looks thicker than we would expect.
In other news, Japanese blog Macotakara is reporting the iPhone 5S may come in a total of five colors. It’s been reported that the rumored low-cost iPhone will also come in a number of colors. The blog also claims Apple may announce the iPhone 5S in July.
HBO Go (free) from Home Box Office, Inc. has been updated to version 2.1. The app, which lets HBO subscribers stream episodes on mobile devices, now features AirPlay multitasking capability. Now users can stream HBO video to AirPlay while continuing to use other apps on their iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. Additionally, interactive features for the app’s Game of Thrones experience have been enhanced.
Warner Bros. has brought Injustice: Gods Among Us (free) to iOS before its console launch in a few weeks. The freemium fighting game features your favorite DC characters, from Superman to Batman to The Flash and many others. Users can add collectible cards to their roster to unlock characters, moves, and powers. The fighting is three-on-three tag team action, similar to the more recent Marvel vs. Capcom games. Touchscreen controls enable special moves and combos, though those used to duking it out in console games may find the gameplay a bit awkward. Notably, the game features cross-platform functionality — items can be unlocked in the console version for use in the mobile game, and vice versa.
As multiple outlets reported yesterday, former Apple retail chief Ron Johnson has been ousted as CEO of J.C. Penney. Johnson left Apple for J.C. Penney in 2011, and he has been replaced by his predecessor, Mike Ullman. Many are now speculating that Johnson could return to the job he left at Apple, as the position is still vacant after John Browett’s dismissal in October. Neither Apple nor Johnson has commented on such speculation at this time.
Apple has removed AppGratis, a popular deal and discovery app, from the App Store for violating two clauses in Apple’s App Store review guidelines. According to a new report, Apple has confirmed the app violated clause 2.25, “Apps that display Apps other than your own for purchase or promotion in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store will be rejected,” and clause 5.6, “Apps cannot use Push Notifications to send advertising, promotions, or direct marketing of any kind.” A source noted Apple was “more than a little troubled” by AppGratis’ business model, which appears to favor developers who pay for exposure. Apple declined further comment; AppGratis did not comment. [via AllThingsD]
Today, iLounge is introducing Rumor + Speculation Roundups — a new section of the site to keep readers updated on rumored Apple devices. Each page is designed to help readers quickly canvas all the major credible rumors and speculation concerning a specific upcoming Apple product, such as the iPhone 5S or fifth-generation iPad. While recent months have seen plenty of stories on expected Apple products, these pages will contain our editors’ insights as to what’s likely to be real, and what’s not. We’ll also update each of the pages as more information is released. Our first page is for the rumored low-cost iPhone, with more to follow each day this week.
Avid has announced the launch of Fast Track Solo ($179) and Fast Track Duo ($299), two new portable audio interfaces compatible with iPad. Both interfaces feature a metal chassis, a Bus-powered USB port, and the ability to capture two sources simultaneously at 24-bit, 48 kHz resolution.
Fast Track Solo includes one mic preamp and one instrument input; Fast Track Duo includes two mic preamps/instrument inputs and two line inputs. Pro Tools Express software is included with both interfaces. Both Fast Track Solo and Duo are available now at Avid resellers and will be “available soon” at Avid’s website.
The US Patent and Trademark Office has withdrawn its recent refusal to Apple’s trademark application for the term “iPad mini.” A suggested disclaimer within the USPTO’s new office action now notes “mini” cannot be claimed as an exclusive Apple term, and can only be used in conjunction with iPad. If, for some reason, Apple refuses to submit the disclaimer in its trademark application, the trademark could still be denied. [via MacRumors]