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Apple acquires social analytics firm Topsy Labs

Apple has acquired social media analytics firm Topsy Labs, the Wall Street Journal reports. The deal, which was confirmed by Apple, is reportedly worth more than $200 million. Topsy is a Twitter partner that has full access to all tweets, and the company offers “tools to analyze tweets and other information to help track consumer sentiment,” according to the WSJ. Topsy’s website offers a search engine that allows users to “search and analyze the social web.” The report notes Apple’s plans for Topsy are “unclear,” but speculates the acquisition could benefit Apple’s iTunes Radio efforts in some way.

Apple posts shipping deadlines for Dec. 24 delivery

Apple has posted holiday shipping deadlines on its online store to inform customers of when orders must be placed to receive products by Dec. 24. The site shows when iPads, iPhones, iPods, Apple TVs, Macs, and other select accessories must be ordered to ensure delivery by Christmas Eve, for both standard and next day shipping. Notably, customers only have a few days left to receive an iPad mini with Retina display by Christmas Eve, with Dec. 5 being the deadline. The iPad Air can be ordered up until Dec. 9, and the iPhone 5s must be ordered by Dec. 12 for pre-Christmas delivery. Apple’s online store is offering free shipping on all products through Dec. 22.

Apple offers 0% online hardware financing in Europe

Apple is offering 0% financing on select online hardware purchases in many European countries. France, Italy, Spain, and the UK are a number of countries offering the promotion. The promotion differs slightly by country in how many monthly installments are required to pay off the device. There’s also a minimum amount financed for each country’s promotion — for instance, the UK site requires a minimum purchase of £449. The promotion runs through Jan. 10. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple offering Black Friday discounts in EU countries

Following reports of Apple’s Black Friday sales offering gift cards instead of the traditional discounts in Australia, the U.S., and Canada, it now appears that the Apple Store in the U.K. and other European Union countries are continuing to offer discounts for Black Friday promotions. The U.K. Apple Store has MacBooks and iMacs discounted by £80, while iPod and iPad discounts range between £25 and £31. Similar discounts have appeared in other EU countries. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple Black Friday deals start in U.S. and Canada

As expected, Apple has launched its Black Friday promotions in U.S. and Canadian Apple Stores, offering gift cards in place of the discounts that have traditionally been offered. Apple is including a $150 gift card for customers purchasing a Mac, $75 for the iPad Air, and $50 for the non-Retina iPad mini, iPad 2, and iPod touch. Notably, the promotion does not include the new iPad mini with Retina Display.

The gift card promotion also applies to a number of other Apple and third-party accessories, including the Apple TV, Airport Extreme, Time Capsule, Ultimate Ears UE Boom Wireless Speaker, Nest Thermostat, Anki Drive Starter Kit, and Nike+ FuelBand, with gift card values ranging from $25 to $50.

Apple Black Friday deals go live in Australia

Teased at earlier this week, Apple’s Black Friday deals for 2013 have been revealed, with the promotions now appearing in Australian Apple Store due to the time zone difference.

In a departure from prior years where modest discounts were offered on a selection of products, this year’s deals take the form of gift cards included with the purchase of a Mac, iPad, or iPod, as well as certain accessories. Gift card amounts in the Australian Store are AU$150 for a Mac, AU$75 for an iPad, and AU$50 for an iPod. It is likely similar amounts will be offered in the U.S. Store when Apple’s Black Friday deals go live here tomorrow morning. Notably, a gift card is not included with the purchase of the Retina iPad mini.

Report: PrimeSense acquisition to aid Apple maps

Apple’s recent acquisition of Israeli company PrimeSense led many to believe Apple would utilize PrimeSense’s motion tracking technology in a future Apple TV product. However, Jessica Lessin is now suggesting based on her sources that PrimeSense’s tech makes more sense for mapping, which Apple is clearly intent on improving. According to Lessin’s sources, “PrimeSense’s motion-sensing technology for gestural controls is a little bit behind,” but PrimeSense’s chips are already being used by companies that map three-dimensional spaces. Also commenting on the speculation surrounding a new Apple TV product, Lessin hears that Apple is “more interested in set-top boxes for now and that some early prototypes haven’t had motion technology.”

Foxconn production boost reduces iPhone 5s wait

Foxconn has added workers to production lines and is “running its factories around the clock” to reduce waiting times for the iPhone 5s, the Wall Street Journal reports. The 5s is now shipping within three to five business days in the U.S. online store, down from a wait of two to three weeks. As reported last month, the production boost has come at the expense of the iPhone 5c. “We have been churning out about 500,000 iPhone 5s’s everyday, the highest daily output ever,” a Foxconn executive said. The executive also noted the 5s takes longer to assemble than a 5c or iPhone 5.

App Store search now accounts for typos

Apple’s App Store has improved its search engine, which can now find apps despite misspellings and other mistakes, such as extraneous spaces. The changes went into effect a few weeks ago, according to a report. As noted in the article, SEO app firm SearchMan found Google Play’s app search was getting far more results from similar misspellings earlier this year. More results were found in Apple’s App Store during a recent search, along with evidence the App Store is now correcting misspellings. [via TechCrunch]

Apple awarded patent for light field camera system

Apple has been awarded a patent for a digital camera with a refocusable mode, much like the Lytro light field camera, which is sold in Apple’s store. The invention’s description notes that “preferably” the camera would be a portable battery operated device that can include other functions, like an iPhone, rather than a standalone product.

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Apple’s design would allow users to only use the light field capabilities if desired, by switching between a high-resolution non-refocusable mode and low-resolution refocusable mode using an adaptor. iLounge examined the possibilities of Apple using light field photography in future devices last May; Lytro met with late Apple CEO Steve Jobs before his death, and reportedly discussed the prospect of an acquisition or incorporation of the technology into iPhones. [via Apple Insider]

Samsung denied motion to stay patent damages

A judge has recently denied Samsung’s motion to stay a patent infringement damages trial with Apple. Samsung argued the trial should be put on hold due to the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s rejection of Apple’s “pinch to zoom” patent. The motion wasn’t filed until last Wednesday, a day before Samsung was ordered to pay $290 million in additional damages to Apple. Judge Lucy Koh rejected the argument on Monday, saying expediting the case to the Federal Circuit after the ruling would best increase efficiency. [via CNET]

Apple and Danish company collaborate on hearing aid

Apple collaborated with Danish company GN Store Nord in developing the company’s new hearing aid, Reuters reports. The ReSound LiNX hearing aid was first announced in late October by GN Store Nord. Billed as the world’s first MFi hearing aid, the device uses Bluetooth-like technology to stream voice and music from iPhones without using an intermediary device.

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The ReSound LiNX sits behind the ear and comes in 10 hair and skin tone colors. A global launch is expected in the first quarter of 2014. The price is expected to be slightly more than $3,000.

Apple job posting mentions new payment platform

A new Apple job posting seeks a Payments Software Engineer to “help build a next generation payment platform that will push the boundaries in new markets for Apple Retail.” The Senior Software Engineer position is looking for an expert in chip & pin technologies and bank messaging specifications, among other things. Apple’s posting also notes the engineer will “be responsible for integrating payment devices, middleware and acquirers into our retail solution.” [via 9to5Mac]

Apple advertises Black Friday event

Apple has posted a teaser page in its Australian online store, confirming that this year’s Black Friday shopping event will take place on November 29. No such page can be found on the U.S. store as of yet. It’s unknown what the deals will be, but one would expect Apple’s typically modest Black Friday discounts, along with free shipping. [via 9to5Mac]

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.

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