Apple has reportedly applied to register a trademark for “iWatch” in Russia, according to Russian news service Izvestia.ru (translated link), which notes that the trademark application specifically contemplates timepieces and computers/computer peripherals. The report also claims that the “iWatch” name was first registered in Jamaica by Apple last December. Despite efforts to verify these alleged trademark applications, we were unable to confirm the details in either Russia or Jamaica; Apple might have initiated the international trademarking process in one of these countries specifically because their databases are considerably more difficult to search than their American or European counterparts. [via Apple Insider]
The U.S. International Trade Commission has ruled that Apple violated a Samsung standards-essential patent, and now faces an import ban on the AT&T iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G, and the first- and second-generation 3G iPad. Apple plans to appeal the decision. “We are disappointed that the Commission has overturned an earlier ruling and we plan to appeal,” Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet told AllThingsD. “Today’s decision has no impact on the availability of Apple products in the United States. Samsung is using a strategy which has been rejected by courts and regulators around the world. They’ve admitted that it’s against the interests of consumers in Europe and elsewhere, yet here in the United States Samsung continues to try to block the sale of Apple products by using patents they agreed to license to anyone for a reasonable fee.”
Apple was issued a patent for a near field communications system allowing two devices to transfer data. The patent contemplates that tapping two devices together will transfer selected data—a concept similar to existing Samsung phones with the S Beam feature, as well as other NFC-capable devices. It’s unclear how the patent will impact non-Apple products already including the same functionality.
In Apple’s version, any NFC-enabled devices can be used, with one example detailing files transferred between an iPhone and a Mac. Both device-to-device functionality and peer-to-peer use are detailed within the patent. [via Apple Insider]
Accused of conspiring with publishers to fix e-book prices, Apple claimed in its opening court statement that the government is trying to “reverse engineer a conspiracy from a market effect.” The case is a “sinister inference,” said Apple attorney Orin Snyder, maintaining that the company did not conspire with any publishers, and that “every single indicator of market health improved after Apple entered the e-book market.” Snyder also expressed concern over recent comments from presiding U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote, who suggested that the government would likely be able to prove a conspiracy was in place. [via All Things D]
The U.S. Department of Justice has released its opening statements against Apple in the e-book pricing conspiracy case, which began in court today. Apple participated in a conspiracy with publishers to raise e-book prices, the DOJ claims. Over 80 slides are included, such as Apple’s emails to publishers, in which the DOJ attempts to illustrate how the company allegedly initiated the conspiracy. The publishers have all settled out of court, but Apple has denied any wrongdoing, despite emails that appear to suggest a deliberate coordinated effort to increase prices in the iBookstore. [via CNET]
Apple has started to replace iPhone 5 screens at its retail stores, according to a new report. A new display replacement costs $149, enabling users to avoid replacing the entire iPhone, and AppleCare+ isn’t necessary to use the service. A prior report noted that display repairs would be ready in-house by June. The same report said Apple stores should be able to repair cameras, sleep/wake buttons, and logic boards by July. [via MacRumors]
Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business in April, and as noted by MacRumors, the school recently posted clips of Cook’s appearance on YouTube. Cook — who earned his MBA from Duke — speaks about leadership and collaboration, among other topics. The key points Cook made were:
* Hiring Apple employees: Cook said that Apple looks to hire people who “aren’t bureaucrats,” “don’t care who gets credit,” are “wicked smart,” “appreciate different points of view,” and “care enough that they have an idea at 11 at night and they want to call and talk to you about it” because they know that collaborating will move the idea forward. Cook noted that virtually no one can take a great idea from concept to reality alone, and that at Apple, the intersection of hardware, software, and services makes collaboration necessary.
* Focusing on three things: Cook apparently advises leaders, in Steve Jobs fashion, to focus on three things in order to succeed. He explained that his three focuses at Apple are on working with brilliant “people,” creating a heavily product-focused “strategy,” and “executing like crazy,” suggesting that getting those things right makes almost everything else work properly.
* Following rules: A student asked Cook when it’s okay to break the rules, particularly given what professors have been teaching them. In all seriousness, Cook responded, “I think you should rarely follow the rules. You should write the rules.” Following someone else’s formula will make you at best the same as your rivals, he suggested, so “if you want to excel, you can’t do that.” A good education helps you learn broad concepts, how to learn more, and how to work with people who may possess different viewpoints, things that will lead to success.
Apple is attempting to complete all necessary licensing deals for the music streaming service iRadio before next week, so the company can unveil it at its Worldwide Developers Conference. According to a report, Apple has agreed with Universal on music rights, but not publishing. The company apparently agreed to terms with Warner Music Group over the weekend, but it’s still discussing deals with Sony Music Entertainment and Sony/ATV. This new report doesn’t have any information on Apple’s negotiations with BMG Rights Management, but as recently as a few weeks ago, a deal was not believed to be in place with BMG. If Apple isn’t able to complete the deals by next week, it’s unclear when the service may be introduced. [via The New York Times]
Apple is reportedly testing versions of iOS 7 with AirDrop, the Mac’s Wi-Fi file sharing tool, which lets users exchange files between devices more easily than sending e-mails or using Messages. According to a report, AirDrop may be integrated into the iOS sharing menu, and could work between two iOS devices, or between a Mac and an iOS device. Like the reported Flickr and Vimeo integration in iOS 7, there’s a possibility AirDrop will not make it to the newest version of iOS. [via 9to5Mac]
Apple has raised its prices for the iPad and iPod in Japan in response to a weaker yen, according to a report. For instance, the 16 GB Wi-Fi iPad now sells for 49,800 yen ($493), an increase of about $70. The iPod shuffle increased roughly the equivalent of $6. “We made some pricing adjustments due to changes in foreign exchange rates,” Apple spokesman Takashi Takabayashi said. [via Bloomberg]
Without a press release, Apple has quietly released an unusually stripped-down 16GB version of the fifth-generation iPod touch, eliminating the rear iSight camera and loop wrist strap found in the previously-released 32GB and 64GB models. The new 16GB iPod touch retains the other specifications of the late 2012 models, but is available solely in a silver and black color combination, selling for $229 with packed-in EarPods earphones. It is two grams lighter than before due to the missing components, and will be available in U.S. stores starting tomorrow.
Apple simultaneously appears to have discontinued the fourth-generation iPod touch, which remained available in two storage capacities to preserve a $199 option in the touch family. iPod sales have continued to slide from previous highs quarter after quarter, due as much to weak feature and price combinations as the continued strength of new iPhone and iPad models.
Update: Apple has also announced that 100 million iPod touches have been sold since 2007. [via Engadget]
Apple will use Pegatron — not Foxconn — as its primary assembler for the company’s new low-cost iPhone “expected to be offered later this year,” according to a new report. A rival of Foxconn, Pegatron was a “minor producer” of iPhones in 2011 and also made iPad minis last year. Sources say Apple decided to use Pegatron to diversify its manufacturing after Foxconn had issues with scratches on the iPhone 5’s metal casing, and because Apple is expanding its product lines. While some claim Pegatron will accept smaller profits to produce Apple products, neither company has commented. [via The Wall Street Journal]
Apple CEO Tim Cook was interviewed to kick off All Things D’s D11 Conference, and though Cook was reluctant to reveal details about new Apple products, he did say the company has “several more game changers.” Cook spoke about television being an outdated experience, and said Apple has “a very grand vision.” He did note that Apple has sold 13 million Apple TVs, and “about half” were sold in the last year.
Cook was even more vague on wearable technology, saying the area was “ripe for exploration,” without answering if Apple had any specific plans. He said the wrist “is more natural” than wearing glasses, but that “you still have to convince people it is worth wearing.” Cook doesn’t see Google Glass as having broad appeal, and mentioned that he wears a Nike FuelBand.
Regarding iOS 7, Cook was still vague, but verified “the future of iOS” would debut at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Cook also confirmed that Apple Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Jony Ive was key to the new operating system.
In other news, Cook mentioned Apple has already acquired nine companies this fiscal year, but only some of them were announced. He did note the company did not make a bid for Waze, as was rumored. Cook also answered questions on taxes and Apple’s stock, among other topics. On larger screens for phones, he again mentioned the tradeoffs that come with those screens, and reiterated his belief that the iPhone 5’s Retina display is the best screen on the market.
When asked about Android’s ability to let users make changes to a home screen, Cook said Apple would “open up more” and give more control to developers and users in the future, while noting, “not to the degree that we put the customer at risk of having a bad experience.” When comparing his style of leadership to Steve Jobs, Cook said he is different in many ways, “but the important things are the same.” [via All Things D]
Update: All Things D has posted the full video interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook on its website.
Apple has agreed to pay $53 million to resolve a class action lawsuit regarding warranty claims denied due to alleged water damage, Bloomberg reports. The lawsuit alleged that the liquid submersion indicators on iPhones and iPods could be triggered through ordinary use, which would have resulted in some devices being incorrectly excluded from warranty coverage, as Apple summarily denied repairs when the indicator was triggered on a device. Apple had denied the allegations, maintaining that the indicators were reliable.
Affected consumers whose warranty claims were denied on the basis of Apple’s liquid damage policy may be eligible for up to $300 depending on the device model owned. The settlement applies to warranty claims denied for iPhones before Dec 31, 2009 or iPod touch devices prior to June 2010.
A new Apple patent describes a system that can adjust an iPhone’s receiver volume based on the proximity of the device to a user’s ear. The phone would be able to sense if a user has moved the telephone further away from his or her ear, and raise the receiver volume in response. Additionally, the speakerphone volume could also be adjusted based on the user’s distance from the telephone, while another concept would allow the phone to automatically switch from using the receiver to using the speaker as the phone gets further from a user.
Users could conceivably store proximity audio settings within user profiles. Proximity changes could trigger a recall of these various user profiles — each profile could have its own default volume. Other acoustic properties, such as frequency response, could also be adjusted based on proximity. [via Apple Insider]
Apple’s largest manufacturing partner Foxconn may be planning to sell its own line of iPhone, iPad, and iPod accessories, according to the Wall Street Journal. According to executives with the company who declined to be named, Foxconn has been looking for ways to diversify beyond contract manufacturing, with investments in media content and software and is now apparently reviewing plans for its own brand of electronics accessories to include data transmission cables, headphones, and keyboards under the Foxconn brand. It also plans to license Apple’s technology to produce accessories compatible with the iPhone and iPad.
Foxconn is also expanding into the software and content market with the aim to directly supply content for all of the devices it assembles. The company has reportedly begun hiring software engineers for a research and development centre in southern Taiwan to focus on developing mobile applications, cloud computing technology, and smart watch apps.
A new report from the Financial Times indicates that the European Union is proceeding with an investigation into alleged anti-competitive tactics by Apple in regard to sales and distribution of the iPhone in the European market. A nine-page questionnaire was sent to a number of EU mobile network operators last week relating to iPhone distribution terms, sales practices, minimum iPhone purchasing requirements, and marketing budget restrictions. The questionnaire also reportedly asks whether Apple limits the use of the iPhone 5 on high-speed European 4G networks.
Reports of an EU antitrust probe first surfaced in March when a group of carriers complained about the strict contract terms required to sell iPhones. Apple maintains that its contracts “fully comply with local laws.”
The U.S. government has sufficient evidence to prove Apple participated in a conspiracy to raise e-book prices, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote said during a court conference. “I believe that the government will be able to show at trial direct evidence that Apple knowingly participated in and facilitated a conspiracy to raise prices of e-books, and that the circumstantial evidence in this case, including the terms of the agreements, will confirm that,” Cote said. The U.S. Department of Justice alleged Apple engaged in a price-fixing scheme with book publishers, which Apple denied — the DOJ originally filed the suit in April 2012. A non-jury trial on the case is scheduled to start on June 3. The trial could last as long as three weeks. [via Bloomberg]
The new iOS 7 is reportedly dropping heavy textures and adding black and white elements, with sources calling the new iOS “black, white, and flat all over.” A new report from 9to5Mac offers more details about iOS 7, about a month after a previous report noted the new iOS would have a “very, very flat” interface. Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Jony Ive is — as many expected — leading iOS away from skeuomorphism, reportedly believing “designs filled with physical metaphors do not stand the test of time,” and that differing designs could confuse users.
Ive has apparently made sweeping changes to the interface. These changes may include: A removal of the shiny, transparent time bar on the lock screen, replacing it with a “shine-free, black” interface; the square pin code grid will feature round, black buttons; the lock screen could utilize additional gestures; widgets may be added to Notification Center; Notification Center will be dark with white text instead of featuring the current “dark linen” background; a panel for Wi-Fi, airplane mode, and Bluetooth toggles could be added; app icons have “lost shine” and Apple icons have been made less skeuomorphic; Apple’s Notes, Mail, Calendar, and Maps apps have a uniformed “flat white” look; panorama-like wallpapers are available; navigation and tab bars have lost gradient textures with some bars sporting a “minor blurring effect”; App Store, Newsstand, Game Center, Safari, Camera, and Weather have changed significantly; iPhone may introduce its own standalone FaceTime app, just like iPad and iPod touch.
iOS 7 has reportedly been “re-architected” several times, so interface changes are still possible. Designers and engineers are also “prioritizing an overhaul of the iPhone’s version of iOS” over iPad’s version of the software. As noted earlier, Flickr and Vimeo will likely be integrated. iOS 7 will likely be released in the fall with new Apple hardware.
In case there was any ambiguity on the matter, Apple has confirmed that it will open its annual Worldwide Developers Conference with a keynote speech on Monday, June 10. By all accounts, Apple will be showing a preview of iOS 7 at the event, as well as the next generation OS X operating system for Macs. It’s still unclear if Apple’s “iRadio” streaming music service will debut during the conference, which runs from June 10-14. [via AllThingsD]