- July 18, 2011
Following Apple’s filing of a second patent infringement claim against HTC early last week, the U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled that HTC did in fact infringe two of Apple’s patents in Android-based phones. Bloomberg reports that HTC was found to have infringed two out of ten patents presented by Apple, an initial ruling that remains subject to review by a full six-member commission. While HTC has indicated that it will “vigorously fight these two remaining patents” on appeal, should the ITC uphold the finding of infringement, U.S. imports of some HTC Android phones could be banned, or the company could be required to pay royalties and license the patents in question from Apple. Additional Android phones from other manufacturers may be impacted by the ruling, as well.
Apple has released iOS 4.3.4, the latest version of its mobile operating system for the iPad, iPad 2, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 (GSM) and third- and fourth-generation iPod touch. According to Apple’s release notes, the update fixes a security vulnerability associated with viewing malicious PDF files. Apple’s support article provides additional details noting that the issue is related to handling of TrueType and Type 1 fonts that could allow viewing of a “maliciously crafted PDF file” to lead to “unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution.” iOS 4.3.4 (build 8K2) is available now via the Update feature in iTunes; a similar update, iOS 4.2.9 (build 8E601), is also available for the CDMA iPhone 4.
The Telegraph reports that Apple Korea has been ordered to pay 1 million won ($945 USD) in compensation to a Korean iPhone user for collecting location data without consent. Lawyer Kim Hyong-souk launched a suit against the company following the discovery in April that the iPhone had been quietly storing users’ locations on the device. Similar lawsuits have been launched in the U.S. although the Korean case represents the first payout as a result of these complaints. Kim’s law firm, Mirae Law is now preparing a class-action lawsuit against Apple for the unauthorized data collection.
Apple has announced plans to enable businesses to purchase iOS applications in bulk. As explained on the company’s website, the Volume Purchasing for Business program will enable businesses that enroll in the program to purchase multiple copies of participating apps on the App Store. To facilitate distribution, businesses will be able to download a spreadsheet of redemption codes—one for each license purchased—that can be distributed to employees so they may download the app. To enroll, developers need to accept the latest Paid Developer Agreement; Apple has the new program listed as “coming soon.” Notably, the program is currently only available in the U.S., and enables a distribution model that had been requested by developers and businesses alike.
Apple, along with a host of other well-known companies, has been sued by a Hawaii-based company over technologies related to GPRS 3G data transfer in the iPad and iPhone. AppleInsider reports that GPNE Corp. of Honolulu alleges that Apple is infringing upon three of its patents, by making and selling devices “with the ability to function with GPRS.” Specifically, the patents are related to a “Network Communication System Wherein a Node Obtains Resources for Transmitting Data by Transmitting Two Reservation Requests,” a “Communication System Wherein a Clocking Signal from a Controller, a Request from a Node, Acknowledgement of the Request, and Data Transferred from the Node are All Provided on Different Frequencies, Enabling Simultaneous Transmission of these Signals,” and a “Network Communication System with an Alignment Signal to Allow a Controller to Provide Messages to Nodes and Transmission of the Messages Over Four Independent Frequencies.” Other companies named in the suit include Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Garmin, Nokia, Pantech, Research in Motion, Sharp, and Sony Ericsson; GPNE is seeking damages, as well as ongoing post-judgement royalties.
- July 13, 2011
Judge Lucy Koh of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California has denied an Apple Motion to Expedite in its ongoing patent infringement case against Samsung. FOSS Patents reports that Koh specifically denied Apple’s request for to shorten the time for the briefing process with respect to its second motion for an expedited trial. As a result, the hearing to discuss the matter will be held on August 24, instead of July 21, the latter of which was Apple’s preference. The report notes that while Koh’s decision does not rule out a positive outcome for Apple in its preliminary injunction request, a decision in Apple’s favor on this particular motion would have made it more likely that the judge also believes that a preliminary injunction and expedited trial are necessary. [via MDN]
Apple has released an update to iMovie ‘11 for Mac OS X adding support for opening projects imported from iMovie for iOS. Originally debuted with the launch of the iPhone 4 last year, iMovie for iOS was more recently updated to a universal app to add support for the iPad 2. Although iMovie projects could be exported via iTunes and used with the iOS version of iMovie on other devices, one significant limitation has been the inability of these project files to be imported and used in the desktop version of iMovie. In addition to adding support for iMovie for iOS project, iMovie 9.0.4 for Mac OS X also fixes issues related to audio adjustments and performance issues when working with large quantities of video clips or large iPhoto libraries. The iMovie 9.0.4 update requires iMovie ‘11 and can be downloaded directly from Apple Support or via the Mac OS X Software Update tool.
Update (07/18/2011): Apple has posted a support article detailing how to import projects from iMovie for iOS to iMovie ‘11.
Apple will be performing scheduled maintenance on its iTunes Connect developer portal that may leave some users unable to make purchases from the App Store. Citing an email to developers, Mac Rumors reports that the work on iTunes Connect, the developer service used to submit applications to the App Store, is scheduled for today at 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Pacific Time. During this time, according to the email, any pricing changes made on the service will cause the app or apps to become unavailable for the remaining duration of the maintenance, after which it will reappear on the App Store at the new price. Notably, the email also states that customers in Mexico, the U.K., Australia, Switzerland, Japan, and Norway may not be able to purchase apps during the maintenance period. As noted in the report, a number of users reported connection issues with the App Store server last evening; it’s unclear whether the issues were related to the maintenance.
- July 12, 2011
Richard “Chip” Lutton Junior, Apple’s chief patent counsel, will soon leave the company, according to a new report. Citing a source familiar with the situation, Reuters reports that while the reasons behind Lutton’s departure are unclear, BJ Watrous, a former deputy general counsel with Hewlett Packard, is now listed as Apple’s chief IP counsel on his own LinkedIn page. The shake-up comes at a time when Apple is embroiled in a number of legal battles against major competitors including Samsung and HTC.
Apple has released its third beta version of iOS 5. Available to paid iOS developers, the release—listed as build 9A5259f—is accompanied by matching beta versions of the iOS 5 SDK, iTunes 10.5 and Apple TV Software. It is unclear what major changes, if any, may be present in the new version. iOS 5 beta 3 is available now to paid iOS developers from the iOS Dev Center.
Apple has filed a second patent infringement claim against HTC with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). Bloomberg reports that Apple is seeking to block imports of “personal electronic devices,” although it is unclear exactly which models Apple is targeting with the complaint. Apple filed its first ITC complaint against HTC in March 2010, which claimed the company infringed on 20 Apple patents related to the iPhone’s UI, architecture, and hardware, prompting HTC to file a complaint of its own against Apple that May. In April of this year, a lawyer representing the staff of the ITC recommended that HTC shouldn’t be found liable of infringing upon Apple’s patents; the judge in that case is expected to release his findings on August 5.
Apple has started to air two new TV commercials for the iPhone 4. The first, entitled FaceTime, highlights the video calling feature of the same name, and shows FaceTime calls being made between two iPhones, an iPhone and a Mac, and an iPhone and an iPad. The second, entitled AirPlay, highlights the wireless streaming technology found in iOS 4.3, showing an iPhone being used to stream music to a set of speakers, and photos and video to a TV. Both ads use the same overall style and music as the other recent “If you don’t have an iPhone” ads, and are now available for viewing on Apple’s website.
Apple has made a substantial change to its estimated shipment wait times for the iPad 2 on its online store, dropping them to just 3-5 days on all models. The previous estimate was 1-2 weeks, and had been in place since April 20, when it was lowered from 2-3 weeks. The reduced wait appears to have taken affect in many countries; iLounge checked availability in the U.S., UK, Canada, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, and Mexico, all of which showed the improved 3-5 day wait. [via AppleInsider]
- July 8, 2011
Apple has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) against Samsung, seeking an import ban on certain Samsung products. Reuters reports that Apple is seeking a ban on Samsung’s Galaxy products, but does not specify which models. It is likely that Apple is targeting models similar to the Infuse 4G, Galaxy S 4G, Droid Charge, and Galaxy Tab 10.1, all of which it is attempting to block with a preliminary injunction in the companies’ ongoing case in California. Samsung has filed a similar complaint with the ITC, seeking an import ban on the iPad and iPhone; the companies are involved in several other patent-related suits worldwide.
Apple has cut its rates for its iAd mobile advertising platform once again in an effort to attract more advertisers, according to a new report. Citing two people with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg reports that Apple’s move comes as some of its most well-known clients are using rival services that offer access to a wider base of users. The report notes that Apple is now offering packages for as little as $300,000, down 70% from the initial minimum ad purchase of $1 million, and 40% from the more recent price of $500,000. The cheaper rate is reportedly being offered to agencies which bring together multiple campaigns. As noted in the report, Apple has hired former ad agency executive Carrie Frolich to help attract new advertisers, and has also launched iAd Producer, an online tool that helps agencies design ads more quickly.
A U.S. judge has denied Apple’s request for a preliminary injunction against Amazon aimed at forcing the online retailer to stop using the “App Store” name. Reuters reports that U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton did not agree with Amazon’s argument that the term is purely generic in her order released yesterday, but also stated that Apple has not established “a likelihood of confusion” with Amazon’s service needed for an injunction. A trial date in the trademark case is set for October 2012. [via Mac Rumors]
Apple today announced that over 15 billion apps have been downloaded from the App Store. In the release, Apple notes that there are now more than 200 million iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users worldwide, with more than 425,000 apps available on the store, over 100,000 of which are native iPad apps. The App Store is now available in 90 countries, according to the announcement, and Apple has paid developers over $2.5 billion to date.
“In just three years, the revolutionary App Store has grown to become the most exciting and successful software marketplace the world has ever seen,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “Thank you to all of our amazing developers who have filled it with over 425,000 of the coolest apps and to our over 200 million iOS users for surpassing 15 billion downloads.”
“We sparked musical magic when iPhone users experienced Ocarina three years ago,” said Dr. Ge Wang, a Smule co-founder and assistant professor at Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. “And now with iPad, we’ve created the Magic Piano and Magic Fiddle apps. Who could’ve dreamt an iPad would make its way into the San Francisco Symphony?”
“iPad provides us with an unparalleled mobile device for creating gorgeous, immersive games,” said Mark Rein, vice president and co-founder of Epic Games. “Infinity Blade has been a runaway hit with customers around the world and we couldn’t be more excited about our success on iOS devices.”
“We’re bringing Martha Stewart, Angelina Ballerina, Sesame Street and many more of the world’s most popular books and magazines to iPad,” said Nicholas Callaway, CEO of Callaway Digital Arts. “We knew the iPad was going to be a revolutionary storytelling device, but never could have anticipated it would become so popular, so quickly.”
- July 5, 2011
Apple has filed a motion for a preliminary injunction in its patent infringement case against Samsung, a move which could see four of the South Korean company’s products barred from sale in the U.S. FOSS Patents reports that motion targets the Infuse 4G, Galaxy S 4G, Droid Charge, and Galaxy Tab 10.1, and asserts three design patents and one utility patent, the latter involving “list scrolling and document translation, scaling, and rotation on a touch-screen display.” As the report notes, the move is a bold one for Apple; should the motion be granted, Samsung will be forced to remove the products from the U.S. market in a matter of months, while a failed motion could weaken Apple’s negotiating position. Apple is aiming for a court hearing on August 5, at which it will formally ask the judge to order the injunction.
- July 5, 2011
The hacking collective Anonymous claims to have broken into an Apple server and has published a small number of usernames and passwords online. Reuters reports that the group said via Twitter that “Apple could be [a] target, too,” but reassured users by saying “we are busy elsewhere.” Included in the message was a link to 27 usernames and passwords supposedly taken from the abs.apple.com website, which is used for online surveys. It is unclear whether the group has planned any attacks on more significant Apple services, such as iTunes or MobileMe.
- July 1, 2011
Alongside its ITC complaint, Samsung has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple in federal court in Delaware. FOSS Patents reports that the suit covers the same five patents as the ITC complaint, which relate to CDMA and mobile packet data transmission, a method for dialing in a smartphone, storing and reproducing digital audio data, and manipulating and viewing digital documents. As noted in the report, such lawsuits—often referred to as “companion lawsuits”—are quite common, as the ITC can order an import ban, but cannot award damages. Should the ITC agree to investigate Samsung’s claims, this suit would likely be stayed until the ITC makes a ruling.