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Report: Microsoft Office for iOS in early 2013

Microsoft will release a version of Office for iOS in early 2013, according to The Verge. Office Mobile will debut as free apps, and users will be able to view documents with a Microsoft account. At first offering basic viewing functionality, an Office 365 subscription will allow users to edit documents. A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that “Office will work across Windows Phone, iOS and Android.” First reported in early October, it’s now expected Office Mobile for iOS will debut in late February or early March.

Apple to pay $368.2M for FaceTime infringement

Apple must pay $368.2 million to VirnetX for infringing VPN patents for use in FaceTime, a federal jury in east Texas ruled. The patents entail using a domain-name service to set up secure virtual private networks. VirnetX, which sought $708 million in damages, won a ruling against Microsoft in 2010. After the verdict, a lawyer for VirnetX said the company would seek to block further use of its inventions. [via Bloomberg]

Updated Nov. 9: VirnetX filed a new lawsuit against Apple — this lawsuit concerns infringement on the same patents, but it covers new Apple devices not included in the previous lawsuit, including iPhone 5, fifth-generation iPod Touch, fourth-generation iPad, iPad mini, and the new Macs.

iHealth debuts new Scale, Blood Pressure monitors

iHealth Labs has announced three new iOS-compatible devices — a new scale and two new blood pressure monitors. The Wireless Body Analysis Scale ($110) is an updated version of the company’s iHealth Scale, which can now track weight, body fat, lean mass, muscle mass, bone mass, body water, visceral fat rating, and daily calorie intake, while automatically detecting which user is standing on the scale. Results are shown through the new, free iHealth MyVitals app or on the scale itself.

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iHealth’s Wireless Blood Pressure Monitor ($100) tests, tracks, and shares blood pressure information using a Bluetooth-connected upper-arm cuff. It’s an updated wireless version of the company’s previous blood pressure monitor. The Wireless Blood Pressure Wrist Monitor ($80) is similar, but fits around the wrist instead of the upper arm. Both devices also use the IHealth MyVitals app.

Fourth-gen iPad now ‘in stock’ on Apple site

Fourth-generation Wi-Fi iPads are now listed as “in stock” on Apple’s website, ready to ship immediately; retail stores also continue to have the new iPads available immediately. Delays in shipping time for the fourth-generation iPad continue to be much shorter than those for the iPad mini — the Wi-Fi mini is still listed as available to ship in two weeks. The Wi-Fi and Cellular models for both devices are still listed as available to ship in mid-November. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple-Motorola patent lawsuit dismissed

An Apple lawsuit against Google’s Motorola Mobility over alleged patent abuse was dismissed from Wisconsin federal court hours before going to trial, Reuters reports. Apple sought fair licensing over patents Google acquired along with Motorola, but District Judge Barbara Crabb dismissed the case. Crabb questioned whether she had legal authority to hear the claims, and it’s possible that Apple will appeal the decision. Apple recently offered Motorola $1 per iPhone for licensing standard-essential wireless patents.

Google Maps coming for iOS, sources doubt approval

A Google Maps app for iOS is reportedly in development and could be released by year’s end, but sources at Google are “not optimistic” the app will be approved by Apple, according to a report from The Guardian. Sources say plans are only proceeding in “the unlikely event” of the app’s approval. A number of reasons are given as to why sources speculate Apple won’t approve Google Maps, from industry politics to the current App Store setup, which lacks any mapping app using Google Maps APIs in the “Find maps for your iPhone” section of the store. It’s also noted, however, that Google and Apple are still in constant communication, so an agreement between the companies could be made quickly.

Sharp rumored to seek Apple investment

Japanese display manufacturer Sharp is looking for investments from other companies, with Japanese media reports linking the company to Apple and Intel, according to a report from IDG News Service. Known for some time to be struggling, Sharp announced that there is “material doubt” about its ability to keep operating. The company is looking to cut costs and secure enough credit to survive, while placing more emphasis on its IGZO technology for mobile displays going forward. Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn agreed to purchase an 11 percent stake in Sharp earlier this year. Also, Sharp is already an Apple component supplier, and there’s been speculation that Apple will use IGZO technology in future devices, lending more credence to a possible Apple investment. [via 9to5Mac]

Teardown: iPad mini costs at least $188 to build

Research firm IHS reports that the iPad mini costs at least $188 to build, after its teardown of a Wi-Fi-only 16GB mini. Adding additional memory increases the cost only slightly while adding a fair amount of profit — an additional $90 in profit for the 32GB model, and $162 for the 64GB model. It’s important to bear in mind that this teardown only includes cost of materials; manufacturing, labor, research and development, and any other expenses are unaccounted for in analyzing the actual profit of the tested device, which sells for $329. Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer notably mentioned during the company’s fourth quarter conference call that iPad mini has higher costs, and said that the gross margin is significantly below Apple’s corporate average, suggesting that manufacturing expenses are higher than usual. [via AllThingsD]

Apple: 3M iPads sold in three days

Apple announced it has sold three million iPads in the three days surrounding the launch of the iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad. The company did not mention how many of those sales were specific to the mini, versus the fourth-generation iPad and iPad 2; the company ceased sales of the third-generation iPad leading up to the new models’ release. CEO Tim Cook said in the statement, “We set a new launch weekend record and practically sold out of iPad minis.” Apple notes that the sales of the Wi-Fi-only models double the milestone of the third-generation iPad’s release, which featured 1.5 million Wi-Fi only iPad sales in its first weekend.

Apple Lightning to Micro USB Adapter now available in North America

Apple has released its Lightning to Micro USB Adapter (seen in our First Look here) in North America. Priced at $19, the adapter was originally available only in Europe due to a European Union directive requiring Micro USB compatibility for smartphone charging. The new Adapter allows users to connect a Lightning connector-equipped iPhone, iPod touch or iPad to a computer or power source using a standard Micro USB connection, however it is worth noting that the adapter sells for the same price as Apple’s Lightning to USB Cable, making it a practical option only for those with a specific need to use a Micro USB connection.

Report: Apple loses iPhone trademark in Mexico?

Apple has lost the exclusive rights to the iPhone trademark in Mexico, according to a report from El Universal. The Mexican company iFone, which registered its brand in 2003, has been confirmed as the legitimate owner of the trademark. Apple originally sought to prevent iFone from using its name.* It’s unclear as of yet what the fallout from the decision will be, though iFone corporate lawyer Eduardo Gallástegui said iFone is entitled to compensation for damage to the brand. [via 9to5Mac]

* Updated: The Verge reports that the Mexican court’s ruling does not as yet prohibit Apple from using the iPhone name for its own products, but rather permits iFone to use its name as it was previously registered for a somewhat separate class of products, regardless of Apple’s opposition.

Apple’s print apology ad to Samsung appears

Apple’s first court-ordered print advertisement from its appeal loss to Samsung has appeared, and it certainly doesn’t resemble a typical Apple ad. Gizmodo UK posted a copy of the extremely plain and arguably difficult to read ad, which appeared on page five of The Guardian today. The ad dryly states that Samsung’s Galaxy tablet computers do not infringe on Apple’s “Community registered design No. 0000181607-0001” — the iPad is not mentioned by name.

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This is in sharp contrast to the snarky notice of legal judgment Apple posted online. That notice has been pulled from Apple’s U.K. site, by court order, and it should be replaced shortly.

Updated Nov. 5: Apple published the same advertisement on its U.K. website. The link notes that the previously published notice “...was inaccurate and did not comply with the order of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales.”

iOS 6.1 beta released to developers

Alongside the user release of iOS 6.0.1, Apple has released iOS 6.1 beta to developers. The release supports a number of iOS devices, though the fourth-generation iPad and iPad mini are absent from the list.

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Apart from a change to a developer-side searching capability for Maps, other changes in the beta version are not immediately known. [via 9to5Mac]

iOS 6.0.1 released, contains bug fixes

Apple has released iOS 6.0.1. The update contains various improvements and bug fixes, including:

* a bug that prevents iPhone 5 from installing software updates wirelessly over the air;
* a bug where horizontal lines may be displayed across the keyboard;
* an issue that could cause the camera flash not to go off;
* improved reliability of iPhone 5 and fifth-generation iPod touch when connected to encrypted WPA2 Wi-Fi networks;
* an issue that prevents iPhone from using the cellular network in some instances;
* consolidation of the Use Cellular Data switch for iTunes Match;
* a Passcode Lock bug which sometimes allowed access to Passbook pass details from lock screen; and
* a bug affecting Exchange meetings.

iOS 6.0.1 can be updated directly from your iOS device using Settings > Software Update, or downloaded from iTunes.

Updated Nov. 2: The iPad mini also has iOS 6.0.1, available now.

Apple ordered to fix UK website notice

A notice of legal judgment posted by Apple on its U.K. website must be removed within 24 hours and replaced, Bloomberg reports. The court-ordered public “apology” from Apple to Samsung makes reference to Apple’s “cool” and “far more popular” iPad in comparison to the Galaxy tablet. U.K. judges criticized Apple’s notice as “untrue” and “incorrect,” and Samsung suggested that Apple’s reference to other courts’ decisions in similar cases was undermining the U.K. court’s authority. “I’m at a loss that a company such as Apple would do this,” Judge Robin Jacob said. “That is a plain breach of the order.”

Apple lawyer Michael Beloff argued the notice’s “only purpose is to dispel commercial uncertainty,” not to punish or make Apple “grovel.” The company was required to post the notice after losing an appeal ruling to Samsung over tablet design infringement. An updated notice must acknowledge Apple’s inaccurate comments.

Apple’s Eddy Cue profiled

A new profile offers some in-depth observations regarding Apple’s Eddy Cue, the “master negotiator and product resuscitator” who’s taking over Apple’s Maps and Siri services. According to the Cnet story, Cue five years ago prevented a collapse in the relationship between Apple and the large record companies, as “the sides almost ‘went nuclear’ ” during a confrontation over song pricing. Cue also helped to transform the struggling MobileMe division into iCloud, and was in charge of keeping iPods, iPhones, and iPads packed with content.

The 48-year-old Cue was Steve Jobs’ “top troubleshooter and door opener with entertainment companies.” Interviews with executives from various industries reveal a tough but fair negotiator who seems to be well respected by virtually everybody, as well as a passionate fan of Duke’s Blue Devils basketball team.

Apple’s annual report: R&D up $952M, 390 retail stores

Apple filed its annual 10-K report with the SEC on Wednesday, and the numbers include a significant increase in research and development expenses, growing $952 million—now $3.38 billion from $2.43 billion last year, an increase of roughly 40%. The company now has 72,800 full-time employees, and 390 retail stores averaging $51.5 million in annual revenue. It expects to open 30 to 35 new stores in 2013, “with approximately three-quarters located outside of the U.S.”

The report also reveals that Peter Oppenheimer was appointed Principal Accounting Officer of Apple. Former Senior VP of iOS Scott Forstall’s new position is officially titled Special Advisor to the Chief Executive Officer, similar to a title Tony Fadell was given before he transitioned out of Apple to start Nest.

Apple’s fiscal year ended Sept. 29. The entire report can be read at Apple’s investor website here. [via TheNextWeb]

iPad mini delivered to French customer, unboxed

A customer has received a white iPad mini prior to the Nov. 2 release date, after ordering it last Friday from French reseller Darty.Fr. French website igen.fr posted photos of the unboxing.

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Shots of the device and its packaging are included — in addition to photos comparing the iPad mini’s packaging to the full-sized iPad and its packaging. The Lightning cable can be seen as well, though there are notably no pictures of the power adapter, which has remained somewhat ambiguous since the device’s announcement.

iPhone 5 closer to China launch

iPhone 5 is closer to launching in China, as two models have been approved for use on Chinese mobile networks by State Radio Management, Chinese blog Sina Tech reports. The A1429 model can support the networks of China Unicom and China Mobile, while the A1442 model supports China Telecom’s network. There’s long been speculation that Apple could finally reach a deal with China Mobile — China’s largest mobile carrier. Once the iPhone 5 secures a network-access license, it can be sold in China. No launch date has been announced as of yet. [via CNET]

Forstall, Browett gone: Behind Apple’s shake-up

Apple’s major announcement late Monday that Senior Vice President of iOS Software Scott Forstall and retail chief John Browett were leaving the company has already led to early reports and speculation on what prompted the departures. A report from Fortune suggests that Forstall’s fate was sealed by his refusal to sign Apple’s apology letter for the launch of Maps, an iOS 6 feature that was met with worldwide ridicule after its launch. Ultimately, the letter to customers was only signed by Apple CEO Tim Cook.

It’s also said that Forstall didn’t get along with Apple Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Jonathan Ive, as well as other Apple employees. The New York Times reports that Forstall and Ive wouldn’t sit in the same meeting room together, and that Forstall would insert himself into product development beyond his role at Apple. Ive is now listed as chief of human interface at Apple — initial speculation suggests that Apple will move away from skeuomorphic design, which Forstall supported.

As Forstall transitions out of the company, he will remain an advisor to Cook until “next year.” As the Times noted, the mood at Apple was apparently positive regarding Forstall’s departure. GigaOM reports that “Forstall’s firing was met with a sense of quiet jubilation, especially among people who worked in the engineering groups.” It’s also noted that Forstall’s exit was “fairly last minute and not something he initiated.” Browett’s exit from Apple was not nearly as unexpected, given well-publicized issues with his leadership of the retail division, and the company searches for a new head of retail to take his place.

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