Apple is reportedly negotiating with South Korea’s SK Telecom to release an LTE-Advanced iPhone 5S in “the coming months” in South Korea. An SK Telecom official said the company approached Apple to include LTE-A technology. “We are in the middle of negotiations,” the official said. It’s unclear if Apple has plans to include LTE-A technology in all iPhone 5S models, and whether the approach to Apple—a company that has been hesitant to adopt regionally-available cellular technologies outside of the United States—will be successful. [via The Korea Times]
Recent U.K. tax filings have revealed Apple paid no corporation tax last year, despite making about $103 million in pre-tax profits. A report states, “Tax deductions from share awards to employees helped wipe out the corporate tax liabilities of the UK subsidiaries in the year to September 2012.” Apple paid around $17 million in taxes the previous year. The new findings only increase public pressure on the company, as Apple faced questioning from the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations on tax issues in May. [via Financial Times]
France’s Competition Authority recently searched Apple’s French headquarters, in addition to Apple wholesalers and retailers, according to a report. A 24-hour search was conducted, and documents were seized by investigators. The Competition Authority confirmed the searches, which appear to be based on anti-competitive issues. Among details noted in the report, France’s largest Apple reseller, eBizcuss, went bankrupt last year, and the company accused Apple of favoring its own retail stores. The report also notes the App Store is being monitored, possibly due to an increase last year in pricing for newspapers and magazines. [via LesEchos.fr (translated link)]
Apple is looking to trademark “iWatch” in Japan, according to Bloomberg. The company filed for the trademark with the Japan Patent Office on June 3. A prior report noted Apple filed for “iWatch” in Russia, though that report could not be independently confirmed. The name of Apple’s rumored smart watch is still unknown, but “iWatch” is certainly a distinct possibility based on these reported filings.
A new report from app analytics company Distimo claims that an app must make an average of $47,000 per day to crack the App Store’s top ten in top grossing apps. The report also notes a top ten paid app generally averages about 4,000 downloads per day, while a top ten free app averages about 72,000 downloads per day. An app that reaches the top 50 in the top grossing charts earns an average of $12,000 each day for iPhone apps, and $10,200 for iPad apps.
On a related note, Apple is introducing new pricing tiers in some of the international App Stores, a new report notes. A new 99-cent Euro price has been introduced for European countries, while a number of other countries have seen changes, as well. [via Apple Insider, 9to5Mac]
Foxconn has demonstrated an iPhone-compatible smart watch, which it plans to release on its own as an iOS accessory. The watch can measure vital signs, as well as check phone calls and Facebook posts. Though other iOS-compatible Bluetooth smart watches have already been released — such as Martian’s Passport Watch, ConnecteDevice’s Cookoo and Pebble — Foxconn’s watch is notable because the company has been Apple’s key manufacturing partner for years, and most likely would not want to damage its relationship with the Cupertino company by directly challenging it. [via WantChinaTimes]
A new Wall Street Journal report notes Google is also developing an Android-powered watch. Samsung is also developing a watch, ensuring Apple will have plenty of competitors for its own rumored watch-like device.
Apple will pay royalties for iTunes Radio based on both how many times listeners hear a song, and how much advertising Apple sells, according to a report. iTunes Radio will pay labels 13 cents each time a song is played, in addition to 15 percent of net advertising revenue, “proportionate to a given label’s share of the music played on iTunes.” The rates will rise to 14 cents and 19 percent of ad revenue in the second year of iTunes Radio. These rates exceed the 12 cents per listen paid by Pandora, which is very similar to iTunes Radio.
It’s notable, however, that a number of songs played on iTunes Radio will be exempt from paid royalties. These include songs already in a listener’s iTunes library, songs on an album that is partially owned by a listener, and “Heat Seeker” tracks selected for special promotions. Apple also avoids paying royalties for songs skipped before 20 seconds have played, but the company can only avoid royalty payments for two songs per hour. These terms, given to independent labels, are “similar but not identical to” the terms given to the three major labels — Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony Music Entertainment. There are also references to terms regarding the use of music in talk, weather, sports, and news programming on iTunes Radio, but the report notes “it’s unlikely Apple will invest much in creating such programming.” [via The Wall Street Journal]
Apple has launched its official Russian online store, offering Russian customers the opportunity to directly buy iPhones, iPads, iPods and more. In addition to a full product lineup, the store also offers customer support.
New image detectors that recognize facial expressions — such as blinking or smiling — have been added to iOS 7 beta 2, according to a report. Facial recognition has been around since iOS 5, but the new APIs could allow developers to add new features based on particular expressions, such as taking a photo when no one in the frame is blinking. Although at this point the feature only appears in the underlying iOS APIs, it’s possible that Apple could include new features in its own Camera app for the official release of iOS 7, as new Camera features are usually instituted with each new OS. [via 9to5Mac]
Samsung is in discussions to settle with the European Union regulator regarding charges that the company blocked Apple from using an essential patent. In December, the European Commission informed Samsung it was unfair in seeking injunctions over the use of essential patents. Samsung has been discussing a settlement for months, according to a source.
Meanwhile, Apple has lost an appeal in Japan. Apple claimed Samsung infringed a patent regarding the synchronization of phone/tablet media files with servers, but the previous August ruling for Samsung was upheld, rejecting Apple’s infringement claim. [via Reuters, Bloomberg]
Apple has released the second beta of iOS 7 to registered developers, just two weeks after the first beta release of the new operating system. The second beta is available through Software Update in iOS settings.
iOS 7 beta 2 is a 237 MB update that contains bug fixes and improvements. The update will also be available through Apple’s developer portal.
Update: iPad versions of iOS 7 are now available in the second beta, which is now available on Apple’s developer portal.
A new website details consumers’ rights in the iTunes Store child in-app purchase class action settlement against Apple. As previously reported, Apple will offer iTunes credits or cash refunds to qualified users who found their iTunes accounts charged due to a minor making an in-app purchase. The new website features a search for qualified apps, as well as important deadlines; January 13, 2014 is the deadline to submit a claim.
A developer has released Lightning cables that allegedly bypass iOS 7’s new authentication feature, which warns users about non-certified Lightning accessories. iPhone5mod.com claims that it has cracked the chips, allowing the cables to bypass Apple’s authentication process. Apple could fix the iOS 7 software to identify these cables, but it’s likely that unlicensed developers will keep tweaking their products in efforts to bypass the warnings. [via 9to5Mac]
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company has reached a three-year agreement to develop the next generation of Apple processors, according to a report. Using 20nm, 16nm, and 10nm process technologies, TSMC will manufacture A8 and A9 chips for Apple. Production of the A8 chips will start next month, with the processors expected to first appear in a 2014 iPhone release, sources said. The A9 and A9X chips will enter production in the third-quarter of 2014, with the processors expected to be used in later iPhones and iPads. [via DigiTimes]
Having offered the iPhone 4 and 4S for almost a year, carrier Virgin Mobile will begin selling the iPhone 5 starting June 28. It’ll offer the 16GB model for $550, the 32GB model at $650, and the 64GB model at $750; these prices represent a $100 savings over the standard, unsubsidized costs. Virgin Mobile’s monthly plans start at $30 a month, and offer unlimited messaging and data.
MacRumors has posted images it believes to be of inside and back of the iPhone 5S. One shot shows the electronic components of the rumored-device, including the battery and logic board, while the other shows a slightly redesigned rear shell. The site notes a few interesting findings: the logic board appears to match one shown earlier in the week, the chip has not been labeled with an A-series name, a date code indicates the chip was manufactured in October 2012, and the battery has a higher capacity than that of the iPhone 5. Additionally, the back of the device shows what appears to be a dual LED flash array.
A recently published Apple patent shows that the company is exploring a fingerprint scanner that can be included in a conductive bezel on a device. In the described invention, the user would swipe his or her finger over a surface of a sensor. The sensor would capture “thin strips” of a fingerprint during the swipe; the complete fingerprint would then be “assembled in software for use in authentication.”
It’s unclear which bezel the sensor would be on, and whether it would be a visible or hidden feature. There has been speculation that Apple’s upcoming iPhone 5S will include a fingerprint scanner, most frequently believed to be embedded within the Home Button, but this patent suggests that other locations on the device are possible and potentially even preferable as flat, swipe-ready surfaces. It’s unknown whether the technology will make it into Apple’s next device, or future devices. [via Patently Apple]
A Pegatron executive appears to have confirmed that Apple will be producing a new, lower-cost iPhone this year, while suggesting that it will not be “cheap.” While translations of the new report from Chinese are shaky, the company’s chairman allegedly said that the “price is still high,” and apparently said that the new device will bring greater value to the smartphone marketplace. It’s unclear whether this means Apple’s new phone will cost as much as the current low-end iPhone 4, or that Pegatron and Apple are already trying to ensure the public doesn’t associate the word “cheap” with the new device. A May report noted Pegatron would be the primary assembler of Apple’s new low-cost iPhone. [via China Times]
Boris Teksler, who headed Patent Licensing and Strategy at Apple for four years, recently left the company to join Technicolor, a French media and entertainment company. Teksler notably played a large role in the company’s patent battles with Samsung, and departed while Apple and Samsung remain tangled in litigation. [via Apple Insider]
Noted within Apple’s official announcement regarding HBO GO and WatchESPN launching on Apple TV, the company has disclosed that iTunes users have downloaded more than one billion TV episodes and 380 million movies from iTunes. While the numbers pale by comparison with app and song download numbers, they represent interesting milestones for video content. Apple notes that iTunes users are now purchasing more than 800,000 TV episodes and more than 350,000 movies per day. The Apple TV now offers users more than 60,000 movies and more than 230,000 TV episodes.