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Samsung: Edgy ads drove Apple ‘crazy’

Samsung claims its “Next Big Thing” advertising campaign bothered Apple, as shown by internal Apple documents, The Verge reports. “This new, edgy marketing strategy ... it drove Apple crazy,” Samsung lawyer John Quinn noted during the latest patent trial involving the two companies. Quinn said the ad campaign, which poked fun at Apple customers, really got to Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller, who became “obsessed” with the campaign. Schiller even suggested to CEO Tim Cook that Apple should switch to a different ad agency. An internal email from Schiller to his team noted a Wall Street Journal story titled, “Has Apple lost its cool to Samsung?” Schiller’s one line of text said, “We have a lot of work to do to turn this around.”

iWork for iCloud apps add shared view-only docs, other features

Apple has updated its iWork apps — Pages, Keynote, and Numbers — at iCloud.com. The updates include new designs for the web apps, Retina display support, and the ability to share view-only documents, among other features.

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Apple has said compatible updates for iOS will arrive later today. It’s notable that the updates come less than a week after Microsoft launched Office for iPad. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple opens up iAd Workbench to all

Apple is making its iAd Workbench advertising system available to anyone with an Apple ID starting today, Advertising Age reports. Workbench was previously available only to registered mobile developers. Customers can now add short videos to an ad unit with Workbench, which works exclusively for ads on iOS devices. The viewers of ads can also now be taken to promoted iTunes content, or a separate website, instead of only being directed to an app. According to the report, “Apple imagines the iAd expansion will draw in new types of advertisers ... unwilling to take the earlier developer plunge.” Apple also anticipates other major companies getting involved with the program.

Report: Apple may acquire display chipmaker

Apple is in discussions to acquire a division of Japan’s Renesas Electronics that develops chips for smartphone displays, Nikkei Asian Review reports. The division in question, Renesas SP Drivers, is “the world’s leading producer of drivers and controllers for small and midsize LCDs.” These chips are said to “determine a display’s quality and performance,” in addition to affecting the overall energy efficiency of a device. Renesas SP is a joint venture between Renesas, Sharp, and Powerchip.

Apple is reportedly seeking Renesas’ 55 percent stake for an estimated $479 million. All of Apple’s iPhone liquid crystal display chips already come from Renesas SP; the acquisition would give Apple greater control of how the chips fit into its product designs. The report claims Apple hopes to complete the acquisition by summer, with about 240 current employees staying with the unit.

Apple granted patent for camera lens mount

A new Apple patent for bayonet attachment mechanisms may signal the company’s interest in using an attachable camera lens system in its iOS devices. The patent describes a system that would use a bayonet mount integrated into the camera of an electronic device — lenses could be swapped in and out of the mount.

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Patently Apple notes how quickly the patent was approved — the patent application was only published weeks ago — speculating that Apple may be looking to use the feature in the near future. An alleged leaked picture of the iPhone 6 shows the device with a protruding camera lens, but it’s unclear if any sort of mount system is included. Images in the patent document depict the fifth-generation iPod touch. [via Apple Insider]

Apple Q2 earnings call set for April 23

Apple has announced on its investor webpage that it will release its Q2 fiscal year earnings on Wednesday, April 23. As usual, the earnings will be released in a conference call starting at 5 p.m. ET. The company provided guidance of Q2 revenue between $42 billion and $44 billion in its Q1 revenue report.

iPhone 6 with 4.7” screen in fall, 5.5” model delayed?

Apple suppliers will start mass producing displays for the next iPhone “as early as May” for the next iPhone’s release this fall, Reuters reports. It’s reported that a 4.7” screen is “likely” to be produced first, but the rumored 5.5” version of the new iPhone could be delayed. According to a source, difficulties with in-cell production technology in the larger version of the phone prompted Apple to start mass production of the 4.7” version on its own. The 5.5” version of the new phone could enter production “several months later,” with a film sensor being used instead of in-cell technology.

TD-LTE iPad Air and iPad mini released in China

Apple announced TD-LTE models of the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display are available in China, starting today. Although there were already existing iPad Air and iPad mini Wi-Fi + Cellular models, these are the first new iPad models sold in China to support higher speeds. Prices for the TD-LTE iPad Air range from 4,488 RMB ($723) for 16GB, to 6,588 RMB ($1062) for 128 GB. TD-LTE iPad mini with Retina display prices range from 3,788 ($610) to 5,888 RMB ($949). It appears these new iPads represent the two new iPad models spotted in iOS 7.1, and will only be available on a regional basis.

Alleged iPhone 6 leaked pics show protruding camera

Alleged photos of the iPhone 6 have surfaced on Weibo. The pictures show a large phone that appears to have a metal frame in the middle, capped off on each end by D-shaped pieces with rounded edges. A protruding rear camera with a smaller, circular flash than the iPhone 5s can be spotted in the shots.

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Another photo reveals a computer rendering that appears to match recently seen drawings; the design is in some ways similar to the fifth-generation iPod touch, but with iPhone-like antenna compartments. The veracity of these photos — including any identification of which new alleged iPhone 6 model this may be — is unclear. [via G 4 Games]

Google’s Android key to latest Apple-Samsung trial

The latest Apple-Samsung trial is scheduled to start today, and both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal report that Google’s Android operating system will be in the crosshairs. While Samsung is claiming Apple violated two of its patents, Apple is seeking about $2 billion in damages for the violation of five of its own mobile software patents. Samsung claims that features from four of the affected patents were licensed as part of Android, which Google worked on before Apple filed the patents. If Apple wins, Google could have to make significant changes to Android. Apple is also seeking $40 per infringing Samsung device sold in the United States.

Report: Apple attempting to hire Swiss watchmakers

Apple is trying to lure top Swiss watchmakers away from their companies to work on the iWatch, the Financial Times reports. Jean-Claude Biver, president of LVMH’s watches and jewelry division, said Apple has tried to recruit staff from Hublot and parts manufacturers. “Apple has contacted some of my employees — I saw the emails personally,” he said, noting none of those employees accepted an offer from the Cupertino company. Apple declined comment.

Swatch chief executive Nick Hayek said his company has been contacted by “practically all players” in “smart wearables,” but said, “However, we see no reason why we should enter into any partnership agreement.” According to the report, Hayek seeks to “protect Swatch’s intellectual property advantages over tech rivals, including ergonomic design, longevity and battery life.”

iTunes credits sent out for e-book price fixing

Customers affected by Apple’s role in the e-book price fixing scandal are now receiving emails with iTunes credits. Though Apple is appealing the ruling, the company is still sending credits to customers. The emails are coming from the E-Book AG Settlement Administrator — not Apple — so customers should be sure to check their spam folders. Each email contains an iTunes Store credit activation code, and the credit will expire on April 1, 2015, if not activated. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple getting 30 percent of Office 365 in-app sales

Microsoft’s Office for iPad apps went on sale Thursday, and it’s been revealed that a cut of the Office 365 subscriptions sold within the apps are going to Apple. Apple confirmed that Microsoft is paying the customary 30 percent cut to Apple for in-app sales of the subscriptions, Re/code reports. Apple previously rejected a Microsoft SkyDrive update which offered storage subscriptions due to Microsoft’s disagreement on the 30 percent cut. Microsoft has now apparently acquiesced to Apple’s demands.

Microsoft also announced that it is offering free Office 365 subscriptions to the first 50 people who bring their iPad into Microsoft retail stores, starting today. The free subscriptions will last for one year. As noted in the fine print, customers must participate in Microsoft’s “Put My iPad to Work” social campaign to be eligible — whatever that is.

Apple patent may hint at sapphire touchscreens

A newly published patent application further hints at the possibility of sapphire displays in Apple products. The application for “oleophobic coating on sapphire” reveals a component that would feature a surface coating and transition layer on top of a sapphire glass base layer, which may be “a window for a portable electronic device.”

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A described method would allow fingerprint-repelling oleophobic coating to be used on top of the sapphire glass. It’s been reported that Apple’s new Arizona sapphire plant has the capacity for mass production, with some speculating new iPhone displays could be made of sapphire.[via AppleInsider]

Apple engineer shares details on iPhone creation

Apple senior software engineer Greg Christie has revealed a number of details about the birth of the iPhone to the Wall Street Journal. Christie and his team were struggling with the original iPhone’s software when Apple co-founder and then-CEO Steve Jobs told the group it had two weeks to figure it out, or it would lose the project to another team. Needless to say, the “shockingly small” team pulled through, creating features such as slide to unlock and placing calls from the phone’s address book. Christie was made available ahead of next Monday’s latest patent trial between Apple and Samsung — one patent Apple claims Samsung infringed upon is the slide to unlock feature. Among other details included in the article is a photo revealing a messy system used by Apple to test early iPhone software.

Apple working to add diversity to emoji

Apple is working on adding more diversity to the emoji keyboard character set, according to MTV Act. The website reached out to Apple CEO Tim Cook about the lack of diversity in emoji, and received a response from Katie Cotton, Apple Vice President of Worldwide Corporate Communications: “Tim forwarded your email to me. We agree with you. Our emoji characters are based on the Unicode standard, which is necessary for them to be displayed properly across many platforms. There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard.” It’s unclear when such an emoji update could happen.

Former Delta VP joins Apple online retail

Bob Kupbens, former vice president of marketing and digital commerce at Delta Air Lines, has joined Apple. According to his LinkedIn page, Kupbens’ title is VP, Apple Online Retail. Advertising Age noted the title was unconfirmed, but regardless, Kupbens looks to play a large role in Apple’s online retail efforts. The news comes during a time of change for Apple retail, as Angela Ahrendts will soon take over as the company’s new head of retail as Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores.

Report: Apple sells 500 millionth iPhone

Apple has likely sold its 500 millionth iPhone during the past few weeks, Forbes estimates. There has yet to be an official announcement from Apple regarding the milestone; the company sometimes heralds large-scale sales in press releases, and at other times waits to mention them during media events.

Forbes notes that the most recent 100 million iPhones sold took “between two to six weeks less” than the previous 100 million. Apple sold 51 million iPhones alone in the first fiscal quarter of 2014, and added 1 million new users on China Mobile’s network in February following the Chinese carrier’s launch of the device.

Apple wins Japanese patent infringement ruling

Apple didn’t infringe on certain Samsung patents and won’t have to pay damages in a Japanese court ruling, Bloomberg reports. A Tokyo District Court ruled the iPhone 4, 4s, and iPad 2 don’t infringe on Samsung data communication patents. Samsung expressed their disappointment with the decision and noted that the company may appeal the ruling. Apple’s U.S. multi-patent battle with Samsung is scheduled to resume next week.

UK digital download taxes could increase in 2015

Digital downloads including App Store and iTunes purchases are due to see a tax increase in the U.K. under new laws next year, The Guardian reports. A new budget would force Apple and others to charge a 20 percent tax rate on such downloads. The budget closes a tax loophole that currently allows digital downloads to be taxed through other countries, with the tax rate sometimes dropping as low as three percent. Barring any changes, the new law is set to go into effect January 1, 2015.

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