Apple is considering making a bid for the online video service Hulu, according to a new report. Citing two people with knowledge of the auction, Bloomberg reports that Apple is in early talks that may lead to an offer. An acquisition of Hulu would give Apple new ad-based free and subscription video service offerings, and would also likely include a five-year extension of program rights, including two years of exclusive access. Apple already sells TV programming from Hulu’s owners Disney, News Corp., and NBC Universal; notably, Apple CEO Steve Jobs is the largest single shareholder of Disney. The report states that the service has also drawn interest from Google, Yahoo, AT&T, and Microsoft, the latter of which dropped out of the bidding, according to the report.
A portion of text in Apple’s third-quarter 2011 Form 10-Q filing (PDF Link) reveals that the company is liable for more than half a $4.5 billion dollar bid to acquire the patent portfolio of Nortel Networks. As noted in the filing, Apple, “as part of a consortium, participated in the acquisition of Nortel’s patent portfolio for an overall purchase price of $4.5 billion, of which the Company’s contribution will be approximately $2.6 billion. This asset acquisition is subject to approval by various regulatory agencies.” Also involved in the consortium were EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, Research In Motion, and Sony. [via Mac Rumors]
Apple has passed Nokia to become the world’s largest maker of smartphones by volume. The Financial Times reports that Apple’s June quarter iPhone shipments of 20.3 million units easily surpassed those of former market leader Nokia, which shipped 16.7 million units during the same period, a 34 percent decline. As noted in the report, Apple was already the world’s biggest smartphone maker by revenue and profits, but the April-June period was the first time it had surpassed Nokia in volume.
Apple has been sued for the second time by the non-practicing entity Personal Audio, which accuses Apple of patent infringement related to downloadable playlists. FOSS Patents reports that the new filing comes just weeks after Personal Audio was awarded an $8 million jury verdict in a case involving the same patents in relation to the iPod classic, iPod mini, iPod shuffle, iPod nano, iPod touch, and iPhone. The new case focuses on the sixth-generation iPod nano, fourth-generation iPod shuffle, fourth-generation iPod touch, iPhone 4, and iPad 2. As noted in the report, the damages awarded in connection with the iPhone and iPad could be substantially greater than those from the first suit, which focused primarily on iPods; in any case, the report suggests it is likely that the two parties will settle their dispute soon.
Apple has released iTunes 10.4 adding support for some of the new features in Mac OS X Lion and a number of important stability and performance improvements. iTunes 10.4 now works with Lion’s new Full-Screen App feature allowing the app to be placed in its own full-screen window. Version 10.4 is also now a 64-bit Cocoa application on OS X Lion, and the release notes indicate that this may render some plug-ins no longer compatible. The latest version of iTunes is available for via Apple’s Software Update tools or from http://www.itunes.com/download.
Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer noted that the company has experienced the highest quarterly earnings and revenues in its history, as well as record sales for the iPhone and iPad. Apple sold 7.5m iPods last quarter, ahead of expectations with the iPod touch being over 50% of all iPods sold. The iPod share is now over 70% of all MP3 player sales in the U.S. according to the latest NPD data, and leads in most other markets as well. The iTunes Store had revenues of almost $1.4 billion the past quarter, with continuing strong sales of music, video and apps. The iTunes Store continues to be the number one music retailer in the world with 15 billion songs downloaded to date.
Turning to the iPhone, the company sold a record 20.3 million iPhones in the past quarter, as compared to 8.4m in the year ago June quarter and over double of the smartphone growth overall. Oppenheimer reported very strong year-over-year iPhone growth everywhere, with quadrupled sales in the Asia-Pacific region. Manufacturing capacity has been increased and the iPhone is now available on 228 carriers in 105 countries. Apple now has 5.9m iPhones in inventory, which constitutes enough to meet a demand of approximately 4-6 weeks. 91% of Fortune 500 companies are now deploying or testing the iPhone, up from 88% last quarter. 57% of global 500 companies are either deploying or testing the iPhone.
Reporting its third quarter 2011 financial results today, Apple said it sold 7.54 million iPods during the quarter—a 20% percent decrease compared to the same quarter last year. Apple also sold 20.34 million iPhones in the quarter, a 142% percent increase year-over-year, and up from the 18.65 million units sold in the second quarter. Apple also sold 9.25 million iPads during the quarter, up 183% from 3.27 million units in the year-ago quarter. The unit sales of iPhones, iPods, and iPads bring the cumulative unit sales for the three device categories to 128.89 million, 314.56 million, and 28.73 million, respectively. The company posted revenue of $28.57 billion and net quarterly profit of $7.31 billion, or $7.79 per diluted share, compared with revenue of $15.7 billion and net quarterly profit of $3.25 billion, or $3.51 per diluted share, in Q3 2010.
“We’re thrilled to deliver our best quarter ever, with revenue up 82 percent and profits up 125 percent,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Right now, we’re very focused and excited about bringing iOS 5 and iCloud to our users this fall.”
“We are extremely pleased with our performance which drove quarterly cash flow from operations of $11.1 billion, an increase of 131 percent year-over-year,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the fourth fiscal quarter of 2011, we expect revenue of about $25 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share of about $5.50.”
The International Trade Commission has upheld the ruling from May that Kodak did not infringe on Apple’s patented technology for digital cameras, according to a report from Reuters. Apple filed a complaint earlier this year claiming that Kodak was infringing patents for digital cameras and related software, however an ITC administrative law judge ruled two months ago that Kodak did not infringe the patents. A formal decision from the full ITC in this case was originally not expected until September 19.
A January lawsuit by Kodak against Apple and Research in Motion claiming infringement of a Kodak patent related to a method for previewing images remains under consideration by the ITC following a mixed verdict earlier this month. In that decision, the ITC found there to be limited patent infringement but sent some matters back to the original administrative law judge for further review.
Fortune reports that shipping times for the iPad 2 have now improved to a more standard 1-3 business days. Since the initial launch of the iPad 2 in early March Apple has found it difficult to keep up with the demand for the device with shipping times originally starting at 3-4 weeks and very recently being reduced to 3-5 days. As of this past weekend, all models are now showing as available within 1-3 business days.
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.
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.
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.