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Apple confirms PrimeSense acquisition

Apple has confirmed that it has agreed to acquire PrimeSense, the motion tracking company behind Microsoft’s original Kinect technology. The purchase was confirmed by Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet, Bloomberg reports. “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” she said. The deal was first reported last Monday; it is believed Apple paid around $350 million for PrimeSense, and that the technology was acquired for a future Apple TV product.

Key witness aids Apple in damages retrial

Apple was awarded $290 million in damages from Samsung on Thursday for patent infringement, and jurors pointed to one particular witness as key to getting Apple the majority of the $380 million it sought. According to jurors, Chicago CPA Julie L. Davis “provided clear evidence they could use to arrive at their damages sum,” Bloomberg reports. Juror Barry Goldman-Hall — who Samsung unsuccessfully requested to move from the jury due to his cousin’s employment with Samsung ending “under bad circumstances” — said Davis offered a lot of information in determining which disputed royalties should be awarded to Apple. Samsung has already announced that it plans to appeal the verdict.

Samsung to pay Apple $290M more in damages

Concluding a retrial on damages today, a jury determined that Samsung must pay Apple $290 million in additional damages for the infringement of iPhone patents. Samsung now owes about $900 million in total, which isn’t that far from Apple’s original damages award of $1.05 billion. Apple got the bulk of what it wanted, as the company sought $380 million in additional damages, while Samsung only looked to pay $52 million as the retrial began last week. Apple’s original $1.05 billion award was reduced by $440 million in March, pending the results of this retrial. [via CNET]

iOS users note missing, disappearing Camera photos

A number of iOS users have noted that some of the photos they’ve taken with iOS 7’s Camera application have disappeared without a trace, an issue that we’ve confirmed firsthand. Posts in Apple’s number of Apple discussion forums show how some users are experiencing the issue, while struggling to explain why it’s happening. Based on what we’ve seen, the problem appears to be sporadic, affecting only a small number of photos shot over a period of time; the photos are taken as indicated by a snap of the device’s shutter, but then do not appear in the Photos application’s Camera Roll. An Apple community specialist suggested closing all apps and restarting the device to fix the problem, a solution that has not worked for us, with backing up and restoring the device as a next possible option.

Apple can seek Samsung product ban again

A federal appeals court made a decision on Monday that will give Apple another chance to seek sales bans of certain Samsung devices, the Wall Street Journal reports. The appeals court ruled unanimously that Judge Lucy Koh “made errors” when denying Apple’s request to ban 26 Samsung products from sale in the U.S. last year. The WSJ reports Koh “should spend more time considering evidence” presented by Apple, as requested by the court. Apple and Samsung are currently facing off again in court for a retrial based on Samsung’s infringement of iPhone patents, as the companies battle over damages.

Apple releases iOS 7.1 beta to developers

Apple has released iOS 7.1 beta to developers. The download is available within Apple’s developer portal. Initial indications are that the software addresses bugs in the original iOS 7 release, however, additional features may have been quietly added.

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All prior iOS 7 device models can run 7.1, however, the release is not yet intended for general consumption.

Report: Apple buys motion sensor maker PrimeSense

Apple has bought PrimeSense for $345 million, according to a report from Israeli publication Calcalist. PrimeSense is the company behind Microsoft’s Kinect technology, which uses motion sensors to track body movements. A report from this summer revealed Apple was negotiating to acquire the company, noting the deal could cost $280 million. It’s possible Apple is looking to use the technology in a next-generation Apple TV or its anticipated TV set. PrimeSense made a statement to Business Insider, which concluded with: “We do not comment on what any of our partners, customers or potential customers are doing and we do not relate to rumors or recycled rumors.” However, the Calcalist report notes the transaction will be officially published “in the next two weeks.”

Apple offers Smart Case for Retina iPad mini cellular delays

Apple is currently offering free Smart Cases to customers who are still awaiting shipments of their Wi-Fi + Cellular versions of the iPad mini with Retina display. Via telephone at 1-800-692-7753, Apple customer service representatives are offering either the free case or a free Smart Cover to customers who have been waiting for a new cellular Retina iPad mini, and call to inquire about the delay/status of the shipment.

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Following forum reports, iLounge has confirmed that Apple representatives are offering the Smart Case to customers. Most iPad mini with Retina display Wi-Fi + Cellular pre-orders placed on the first day of availability appear not to have shipped, however, many Wi-Fi-only units have shipped in varying capacities and colors.

Apple updates iBooks, iTunes U for iOS 7

Apple has released updated versions of its iBooks and iTunes U apps with new designs for iOS 7. The new versions replace the older wood textured design with a new white shelf look consistent with the built-in iOS 7 Newsstand app and new iOS 7 icons.

Like most of the new iOS 7 design philosophy, the updated apps depart from the prior skeuomorphic textures and book-like visual elements such as wood shelves, covers, and page depth, the visual page turning animations remain in place much as they were before, although expanding the animation to include on-screen controls and intersecting into the status bar.

 

Apple releases iOS 7.0.4

Apple has released iOS 7.0.4. The update is listed as including unspecified bug fixes and improvements.

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Notably, an issue that caused FaceTime calls to fail has been fixed within the update. The update is available now over the air.

Update: iOS 6.1.5 was also released for the fourth-generation iPod touch. The update fixes the FaceTime bug on the device.

Apple-Samsung retrial begins; Apple seeking $380M in damages

Apple and Samsung have started a retrial for damages owed by Samsung for infringement of Apple patents. Attorneys for both companies have made opening statements — Apple is seeking $380 million in additional damages, while Samsung believes it should only pay $52 million. Apple was awarded $1.05 billion in August 2012 after Samsung was found guilty of violating numerous iPhone patents, but the awarded damages were reduced in March. Samsung now owes about $600 million, and the new damages will be owed on top of that amount — Apple is trying to get almost all of the full initial award back.

Apple attorney Harold McElhinney referenced an internal Samsung document as “conclusive evidence Apple lost sales because of Samsung.” Samsung’s attorney, Bill Price, said “Apple is asking for more money than it’s entitled to.” The difference in damage claims comes from lost profits — Apple maintains it’s owed money for lost profits, Samsung’s profits, and royalties, while Samsung doesn’t believe Apple is owed anything at all for lost profits. [via CNET]

Apple investigated for $1.34B in unpaid Italian taxes

Apple is under investigation in Italy for allegedly “hiding” more than 1 billion Euros ($1.34 billion) from Italian tax authorities, Reuters reports. “The Apple investigation is under way,” a judicial source said. Apple’s Italian subsidiary was not available for comment. The company has already faced increased scrutiny into its tax practices this year, and tax authorities in Italy have been stepping up investigations into multinational corporations.

Apple spending record amount on manufacturing equipment

Apple is spending a great deal of its record capital expenditure budget on new technology for use in its manufacturing processes, Bloomberg reports. The company’s annual 10-K report mentions that Apple expects to spend $10.5 billion on non-retail expenditures, “including product tooling and manufacturing process equipment.” Apple is reportedly investing in polishing equipment for the iPhone 5c’s plastic body, laser and milling machines for the MacBook, and “testing gear” for iPhone and iPad camera lenses. The increased spending will enable Apple “to get a jump on rivals like Samsung Electronics Co. and lay the groundwork for new products.”

Apple enables iTunes donations for Philippines typhoon

Apple is now offering the ability to donate to relief efforts in the Philippines through iTunes, after the devastating effects of Typhoon Haiyan. The option is available at the top of the iTunes store. iTunes will transfer 100 percent of a donation — of $5, $10, $25, $50, $100, or $200 — to the American Red Cross.

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As Apple notes, while donors will receive an email receipt, the American Red Cross will be “unable to further acknowledge your donation,” as iTunes doesn’t share personal information with the American Red Cross. The donation doesn’t qualify for any tax deduction, and iTunes Store credit cannot be used. Typhoon Haiyan has already caused a confirmed 1,774 fatalities; estimates claim that as many as 10,000 people may have died in the disaster.

Apple quietly starts Retina iPad mini sales

Without so much as a day’s warning, Apple has started online sales of the new iPad mini with Retina Display, offering an extremely limited set of units for near-term shipping. Only 16GB and 32GB Wi-Fi models are available for shipment in 1-3 days, with all other models shipping in 5-10 days, including higher-capacity Wi-Fi units and all cellular models from any carrier in any capacity.

Recent reports suggested that major screen-related manufacturing issues have constrained the initial rollout of the mini, with one report claiming that the launch would be delayed due to the scarcity of defect-free screens. Apple instead notified resellers via a late Monday message that it would begin sales on Tuesday, then opened its online store to orders at midnight Pacific Time. The Retina iPad mini starts at $399 for a 16GB Wi-Fi model and climbs to $829 for 128GB LTE models; it is available in the same two colors as the iPad Air.

Update: Apple has officially announced availability of the iPad mini with Retina Display. The press release notes the device will be sold online for shipping or personal pickup at Apple retail stores, or through carriers and select resellers — it’s still unclear when the devices will be sold in Apple stores. Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller alluded to the suspected lack of inventory for the device, saying in the press release that “...we’re working hard to get as many as we can in the hands of our customers.”

Report: Apple starting A-series chip production in New York

Following rumors earlier this year that Apple was looking to partner with other chip manufacturers, the Times Union reports that preparations are actually under way at GlobalFoundries Fab 8 complex in Malta, New York to produce chips for Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices. Citing a “source close to the company” the Times Union report also notes that Samsung will be assisting with the start-up of the new manufacturing program, intended to provide a second U.S. source for Apple’s A-series chips. The report also notes that it’s unclear whether GlobalFoundries is being sub-contracted by Samsung or begin contracted directly by Apple as an alternate supplier. A GlobalFoundries spokesperson refused to confirm or deny the story, indicating that the company “does not comment on customer engagements or products unless they do so first.” [via MacRumors]

Apple experiencing rapid market growth in Japan

A new report in the Wall Street Journal highlights how Apple has been experiencing rapid market growth in Japan over the past two years, outpacing both the U.S., Greater China, and the rest of Asia. Although Japan hasn’t traditionally been a growth market for most foreign companies, the iPhone has bolstered Apple’s success in the area, thanks to marketing and subsidies from local telephone companies, becoming Japan’s best-selling smartphone with a 37% market share.

Japan’s largest wireless carrier, NTT DoCoMo, began selling the iPhone for the first time in late September, providing another boost to sales and offering aggressive discounts that prompted Japan’s second- and third-largest carriers follow suit; all three companies are now offering the standard iPhone 5s to customers at no upfront cost. [via 9to5Mac]

Report: Apple developing larger, curved-screen iPhones

Apple is working on new iPhone designs that include larger screens with curved glass according to a new report from Bloomberg. Citing a “person familiar with the plans” the report claims that there are two models slated for release late next year that would feature 4.7” and 5.5” displays with glass that curves downward at the edges. Apple is also said to be working on developing enhanced sensors that can differentiate between the pressure of touches on the screen, although these would not likely be available until after the next iPhone release. [via MacRumors]

Report: Apple had interest in BlackBerry patents

Apple had “expressed interest” in acquiring parts of BlackBerry Ltd, but Blackberry’s board decided against breaking up the company, according to Reuters. Specifically, both Apple and Microsoft were interested in BlackBerry’s intellectual property and patents, a source said. BlackBerry was also involved in discussions with Cisco, Google, and Lenovo. Apple declined comment on the report.

iPad demo model catches fire in store

An iPad demo model recently caught fire in an Australian store as a “burst of flames” appeared from the charging port, news.com.au reports. The Vodafone store in Canberra was evacuated after the incident, and no one was injured. Though the report only refers to the device as an iPad, other reports — such as this report from the Daily Mail — claim the device was an iPad Air. Apple reportedly sent a representative to investigate the incident. Two shock incidents earlier this year involving iPhone chargers in China prompted Apple to add a power adapter page to its Chinese website, as those accidents were allegedly caused by counterfeit chargers.

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