An administrative law judge with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has ruled in Apple’s favor in an early decision on HTC’s patent infringement claims. Reuters reports that the judge found “no violation” by Apple of four HTC patents related to power management and phone dialing. The full commission will decide whether to uphold or reject the judge’s decision next February; HTC said in July that is was “open to having discussions” with Apple in hopes of reaching a settlement in the various ongoing patent infringement cases between the two companies.
Apple this morning announced that the iPhone 4S saw sales of over four million units over the launch weekend. In the announcement, it also revealed that over 25 million customers have updated their iOS devices to iOS 5, and more than 20 million have signed up for iCloud. The iPhone 4S is available now in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the UK, and will launch in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland on October 28.
“iPhone 4S is off to a great start with more than four million sold in its first weekend—the most ever for a phone and more than double the iPhone 4 launch during its first three days,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “iPhone 4S is a hit with customers around the world, and together with iOS 5 and iCloud, is the best iPhone ever.”
Apple is preparing to launch the iPhone 4S today at 8:00 am Local Time, or less than 20 minutes from now for those of our readers on the East Coast. With a record-setting number of units being pre-ordered, it is unclear whether crowds at today’s brick-and-mortar launches will be as large as they have been for prior iPhone launches; however, as evidenced by the photos below, taken by iLounge editor Nick Guy at the Walden Galleria Apple Store, there are plenty of people waiting to get their units before the delivery trucks start arriving for pre-order customers. Interestingly, Apple appears to be reusing its old iPhone 4 window displays for the iPhone 4S, as the oversized units show the prior GSM antenna positions.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek has posted a lengthy profile of Apple’s senior vice president of iPhone Software Scott Forstall which is to be its cover story in this week’s print edition. Calling Forstall a “sorcerer’s apprentice,” the article points out a number of ways in which Forstall resembles his long-time mentor Steve Jobs. In particular, Forstall is known for keeping a fairly consistent wardrobe across media event appearances, sporting a Jobs-like jeans and black top—a zippered sweater, instead of a turtleneck—and for his taste for the Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG, the same car Jobs was known to drive.
Apple is in talks with Hollywood studios to add movie streaming to its iCloud service. Citing people with knowledge of the matter, the Los Angeles Times reports that Apple representatives have been meeting with studios to finalize deals that would allow customers to stream movies purchased on the iTunes Store to any Apple device. As noted in the report, the moves comes at a time when a majority of the major studios—all but Disney—are preparing to rollout a similar initiative called Ultraviolet, in which consumers purchasing select DVD or Blu-ray titles will also have access to digital copies that can be streamed to Internet-connected TVs, smartphones, and tablets; Apple is not one of the companies currently participating in the initiative. Regardless, the report suggests that the studios may be amenable to adding Apple on, as it accounts for 66 percent of online movie sales and rentals, and thus building a cloud-based movie business without its support could prove difficult.
While the report suggests that Apple’s devices could be made Ultraviolet compatible via Apps, it appears that a more sensible approach—especially given iTunes’ current handling of digital copies included with physical releases—would be to allow iTunes to store the copy of the film and handle streaming in the same way it will for traditional iTunes purchases.
Apple has released Cards, its new app designed to allow users to create and mail their own personalized, professionally crafted cards directly from an iPhone or iPod touch. Announced last week during Apple’s iPhone Event, Cards is a free app whereby users can choose to create their own personalized, physical greeting cards from a selection of 21 different designs. Users add personalized messages and photos from the camera or iOS photo library and then choose a recipient from their iOS Contacts and submit the order to Apple which then prints the greeting card and mails it out to the recipient. Printed cards use a professional letterpress technique and are crafted from 100 percent cotton paper with an elegant debased design.
Available card designs are grouped into six themes for different occasions: Thank You, Holiday, New Baby, Birthday, Love and Travel. Location integration can automatically fill in the users’ current location when choosing a card from the Travel category or insert the location that a photo was taken when adding a photo to a card. Cards mailed to U.S. addresses can be tracked via the U.S. Postal Service Intelligent Mail barcode system and push notifications are used to provide the user with delivery status and other tracking information. A history of cards is also saved automatically making it easy to send the same card to more than one recipient. Cards is available from the App Store as a free download; users are charged via in-app purchase to send individual cards at $3 per card for U.S. destinations or $5 per card for international destinations.
Apple has released iTunes Movie Trailers, a new iOS app that allows users to access new and exclusive movie previews in HD on their device. Users can browse trailers, clips and featurettes for both major Hollywood films and independent cinema along with high-resolution photos, a year-long calendar of movie releases and location-based showtime info. The application also allows users to purchase movie tickets directly from their iPad or iPhone. Favorite movies and theatres can be saved for quick access and images can be saved to the iPad photo gallery to use as desktop wallpapers or share with friends. AirPlay is also supported allowing users to view trailers on their Apple TV, and favourites can be pushed to multiple iOS devices via iCloud.
iTunes Movie Trailers requires iOS 4.3 or later and an iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad, iPad 2 or third- or fourth-generation iPod touch. iCloud sync requires iOS 5 or later and a valid iCloud account. iTunes Movie Trailers is available from the U.S. App Store as a free download.
Today’s software update for the Apple TV brought with it two surprising new features: support for NHL and WSJ content. In the release notes, Apple touts the new National Hockey League feature, which offers live games, highlights, scores, and more, as well as Wall Street Journal Live, which offers on-demand streaming of video content from the Wall Street Journal. In addition, the update also brings with it a new interface for movie trailers, which is highly similar to the prior interface for movies. The latest Apple TV Software Update—listed as software version 4.4 (3140) and iOS version 5.0 (9a334v)—is available now via the Update Software option in the device’s general settings menu.
Apple has released iOS 5 updates to its three iWork apps—Pages, Numbers and Keynote—adding support for sharing documents via iCloud. The latest versions allow users to automatically store presentations, spreadsheets and word procession documents in iCloud and automatically keep them up to date across all iOS devices. Documents can also be downloaded to a Mac or a PC from iCloud.com in either native iWork, PDF, or Microsoft Office compatible formats, and new compatible files can be uploaded to iCloud.com for automatic synchronization to iOS 5 devices.
Several other new features have also been added to each of the apps in addition to iCloud and iOS 5 support. Keynote 1.5 introduces the ability to stream presentations wirelessly to an Apple TV via AirPlay along with support for navigating slides, viewing presenter notes and using the virtual laser pointer while giving a presentation. Keynote also adds several new builds and transitions, advanced presentation controls including loops slideshows and autoplay and support for hyperlinks between slides.
Pages 1.5 adds voice dictation support for the iPhone 4S, the ability to create footnotes and endnotes in documents and character, paragraph and page counts. Numbers 1.5 improves formatting and data entry features adding sliders, steppers and pop-ups to simplify entering data and support for merging cells and hiding rows and columns. All three apps also improve compatibility with their iWork for Mac and Microsoft Office counterparts and include improved support for Chinese, Japanese and Korean language input.
As expected, Apple today released iOS 5 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The anticipated update offers over 200 new features, including a new Notifications system, Reminders app, Twitter integration, Camera enhancements, full support for iCloud, Wi-Fi Sync, PC-less setup, and more. iOS 5 is available now for the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad, iPad 2, third-generation iPod touch, and fourth-generation iPod touch via the Update feature in iTunes 10.5.
Apple has released its latest Software Update for the second-generation Apple TV. The new update offers support for iOS 5, including wireless display mirroring from the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S, Photo Stream support, and improved AirPlay support. The update is available now via the “Update Software” option in the Apple TV’s general Settings menu.
Update: Several iLounge editors have experienced trouble installing the update, with the message “The update was not successful.” appearing on the screen after a lengthy download period. It is unclear whether the problem lies with the update image itself or with some other issue.
Apple has started rolling out its iTunes in the Cloud feature in a variety of new countries. According to a MacRumors report, iTunes in the Cloud has started rolling out in Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, and the UK, with other countries possibly to follow. Part of Apple’s iCloud initiative, iTunes in the Cloud allows users to re-download past music, books, app purchases from the iTunes, iBook-, and App stores directly to their iOS devices or computers, and also offers an “Automatic Downloads” feature.
iLounge has confirmed that the new white models of the fourth-generation iPod touch are now available at Apple Retail Stores, as scheduled. Announced during Apple’s “Let’s talk iPhone” event, the white models are virtually unaltered from the prior version, save for the fact that they arrive with iOS 5.0 pre-installed. The new white models of the fourth-generation iPod touch are available for purchase now and are priced from $199.
Updated: We’ve added additional photos, including one comparing the white model with the existing black version.
Updated x2: We have now received our test white iPod touch 4G unit, and have posted a complete unboxing gallery, which is available on Flickr.
Apple has sent out an email to iTunes Store customers, alerting them to changes in the service’s terms and conditions. According to the email, the update includes an amendment of the App Store terms and conditions to “account for the availability of free in-app subscriptions, and to explain where the subscriptions appear on devices after download,” and new terms that govern the use of iTunes Match, including language that explains that “use of iTunes Match requires collection of certain information from your iTunes library which shall be associated with your Account.” Users will be required to agree to the new terms before purchasing or downloading any new items from the iTunes Store.
Apple has released its new Find My Friends app. Announced last week during the company’s iPhone event, Find My Friends expands iCloud’s “Find My iPhone” option into a social app that allows users to easily share their location with a circle of friends. To use the application, users simply sign in with their iCloud Apple ID and can then send requests to friends to see their location which can be accepted using the Find My Friends app on the other device. Users can also choose to share their location with a group of friends for a limited period of time. Friends’ locations are presented within the app as either a list, ordered by proximity or on an integrated map view. The application also provides simple privacy controls and the ability to set parental restrictions. Find My Friends is a universal app requiring iOS 5 and is available from the App Store as a free download. Users can also find the app by visiting iCloud.com from Safari on their iOS device.
Apple has updated its iCloud.com website, and removed the “beta” tag from the initial login screen. Launching later today alongside iOS 5, iCloud is a free online service for iOS and OS X users providing support for mail, calendar, contacts, photos, documents and more. iCloud.com will specifically provide access to the service’s email, contacts, calendar, Find My iPhone, and iWork document storage services. Notably, the website does not provide any way for users to sign up for a new iCloud account; it appears Apple expects users to do so on their iOS devices.
Apple has released an iOS version of its Airport Utility for configuring and managing Airport and Time Capsule wireless devices. The free universal app provides similar functionality to the Mac version, allowing users to manage Airport Express, Airport Extreme and Time Capsule devices from an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. Users can see a graphical overview of the Wi-Fi network and devices, get more information about a connected Wi-Fi device and view and change base station and network settings, including restarting devices and updating firmware versions and configuring passwords, DNS and router addresses and DHCP reservations and port mappings. AirPort Utility requires iOS 5 and is available from the App Store as a free download.
On the heels of the public release of iTunes 10.5, Apple has seeded its registered iOS developers with a beta version of iTunes 10.5.1. According to Apple’s release notes, “iTunes 10.5.1 beta 1 includes several performance enhancements and bug fixes, and is a required update for all subscribers to iTunes Match beta. iTunes Match is not included in the iTunes 10.5 GM release.” iTunes 10.5.1 beta is available now to registered iOS developers from the iOS Dev Center.
Following this week’s announcement that the iPhone 4S will be including the Siri Assistant feature, Apple appears to have removed the standalone Siri app from the App Store. Existing Siri app users are also now seeing a note in the Siri app indicating that an “even smarter and better-looking” version is on the iPhone 4S, and suggesting that standalone app will stop working on October 15th—the day after the release of the iPhone 4S. The new built-in Siri Assistant demonstrated by Apple this week will be exclusive to iPhone 4S users, however as the prior app works fine even on the older iPhone 3GS, it remains unclear what changes have been made to the new implementation of Siri that require the new iPhone 4S hardware.
As word of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ death spread last evening and early this morning, a number of his former colleagues, contemporaries, and competitors weighed in with kind words for the man who did so much to shape the fields of technology, entertainment, and the world itself. A collection of these reflections appears below.