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.
Apple has started to air two new TV commercials for the iPhone 4. The first, entitled FaceTime, highlights the video calling feature of the same name, and shows FaceTime calls being made between two iPhones, an iPhone and a Mac, and an iPhone and an iPad. The second, entitled AirPlay, highlights the wireless streaming technology found in iOS 4.3, showing an iPhone being used to stream music to a set of speakers, and photos and video to a TV. Both ads use the same overall style and music as the other recent “If you don’t have an iPhone” ads, and are now available for viewing on Apple’s website.
Apple has made a substantial change to its estimated shipment wait times for the iPad 2 on its online store, dropping them to just 3-5 days on all models. The previous estimate was 1-2 weeks, and had been in place since April 20, when it was lowered from 2-3 weeks. The reduced wait appears to have taken affect in many countries; iLounge checked availability in the U.S., UK, Canada, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, and Mexico, all of which showed the improved 3-5 day wait. [via AppleInsider]
Apple has filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) against Samsung, seeking an import ban on certain Samsung products. Reuters reports that Apple is seeking a ban on Samsung’s Galaxy products, but does not specify which models. It is likely that Apple is targeting models similar to the Infuse 4G, Galaxy S 4G, Droid Charge, and Galaxy Tab 10.1, all of which it is attempting to block with a preliminary injunction in the companies’ ongoing case in California. Samsung has filed a similar complaint with the ITC, seeking an import ban on the iPad and iPhone; the companies are involved in several other patent-related suits worldwide.
Apple has cut its rates for its iAd mobile advertising platform once again in an effort to attract more advertisers, according to a new report. Citing two people with knowledge of the matter, Bloomberg reports that Apple’s move comes as some of its most well-known clients are using rival services that offer access to a wider base of users. The report notes that Apple is now offering packages for as little as $300,000, down 70% from the initial minimum ad purchase of $1 million, and 40% from the more recent price of $500,000. The cheaper rate is reportedly being offered to agencies which bring together multiple campaigns. As noted in the report, Apple has hired former ad agency executive Carrie Frolich to help attract new advertisers, and has also launched iAd Producer, an online tool that helps agencies design ads more quickly.
A U.S. judge has denied Apple’s request for a preliminary injunction against Amazon aimed at forcing the online retailer to stop using the “App Store” name. Reuters reports that U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton did not agree with Amazon’s argument that the term is purely generic in her order released yesterday, but also stated that Apple has not established “a likelihood of confusion” with Amazon’s service needed for an injunction. A trial date in the trademark case is set for October 2012. [via Mac Rumors]
Apple today announced that over 15 billion apps have been downloaded from the App Store. In the release, Apple notes that there are now more than 200 million iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch users worldwide, with more than 425,000 apps available on the store, over 100,000 of which are native iPad apps. The App Store is now available in 90 countries, according to the announcement, and Apple has paid developers over $2.5 billion to date.
“In just three years, the revolutionary App Store has grown to become the most exciting and successful software marketplace the world has ever seen,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “Thank you to all of our amazing developers who have filled it with over 425,000 of the coolest apps and to our over 200 million iOS users for surpassing 15 billion downloads.”
“We sparked musical magic when iPhone users experienced Ocarina three years ago,” said Dr. Ge Wang, a Smule co-founder and assistant professor at Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. “And now with iPad, we’ve created the Magic Piano and Magic Fiddle apps. Who could’ve dreamt an iPad would make its way into the San Francisco Symphony?”
“iPad provides us with an unparalleled mobile device for creating gorgeous, immersive games,” said Mark Rein, vice president and co-founder of Epic Games. “Infinity Blade has been a runaway hit with customers around the world and we couldn’t be more excited about our success on iOS devices.”
“We’re bringing Martha Stewart, Angelina Ballerina, Sesame Street and many more of the world’s most popular books and magazines to iPad,” said Nicholas Callaway, CEO of Callaway Digital Arts. “We knew the iPad was going to be a revolutionary storytelling device, but never could have anticipated it would become so popular, so quickly.”
Apple has filed a motion for a preliminary injunction in its patent infringement case against Samsung, a move which could see four of the South Korean company’s products barred from sale in the U.S. FOSS Patents reports that motion targets the Infuse 4G, Galaxy S 4G, Droid Charge, and Galaxy Tab 10.1, and asserts three design patents and one utility patent, the latter involving “list scrolling and document translation, scaling, and rotation on a touch-screen display.” As the report notes, the move is a bold one for Apple; should the motion be granted, Samsung will be forced to remove the products from the U.S. market in a matter of months, while a failed motion could weaken Apple’s negotiating position. Apple is aiming for a court hearing on August 5, at which it will formally ask the judge to order the injunction.
The hacking collective Anonymous claims to have broken into an Apple server and has published a small number of usernames and passwords online. Reuters reports that the group said via Twitter that “Apple could be [a] target, too,” but reassured users by saying “we are busy elsewhere.” Included in the message was a link to 27 usernames and passwords supposedly taken from the abs.apple.com website, which is used for online surveys. It is unclear whether the group has planned any attacks on more significant Apple services, such as iTunes or MobileMe.
Alongside its ITC complaint, Samsung has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple in federal court in Delaware. FOSS Patents reports that the suit covers the same five patents as the ITC complaint, which relate to CDMA and mobile packet data transmission, a method for dialing in a smartphone, storing and reproducing digital audio data, and manipulating and viewing digital documents. As noted in the report, such lawsuits—often referred to as “companion lawsuits”—are quite common, as the ITC can order an import ban, but cannot award damages. Should the ITC agree to investigate Samsung’s claims, this suit would likely be stayed until the ITC makes a ruling.
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has issued a mixed verdict in Kodak’s patent dispute with Apple and RIM. The AP reports that the agency essentially agreed with one of its judges who threw out Kodak’s claims, but did find limited patent infringement, and sent some matters back to the judge for further review. The commission revised its definitions for “motion processor” and “still processor”, asking the judge to decide whether Kodak’s patent was infringed under the new definitions, and also found that Apple and RIM had infringed on a patent related to “initiating capture of a still image while previewing a motion image.” It did not rule on any penalties; a revised decision is expected no earlier than August 30.
Nortel Networks has announced that it has ended its multi-day auction of all the company’s remaining patents and patent applications, with a multi-company consortium placing the winning bid of $4.5 billion. The consortium includes Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, Research In Motion, and Sony. According to the press release, the sale includes more than 6,000 patents and patent applications “spanning wireless, wireless 4G, data networking, optical, voice, Internet, service provider, semiconductors and other patents.” The sale will be subject to applicable Canadian and U.S. approvals to be sought at a joint hearing on July 11; the involved companies will work to close the sale in the third quarter of 2011.
“Following a very robust auction, we are pleased at the outcome of the auction of this extensive patent portfolio”, said George Riedel, Chief Strategy Officer and President of Business Units, Nortel. “The size and dollar value for this transaction is unprecedented, as was the significant interest in the portfolio among major companies around the world.”
Samsung has filed a complaint against Apple with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), the latest move in its ongoing legal battle with the Cupertino, CA-based iPhone-maker. The complaint covers “Mobile Electronic Devices, Including Wireless Communication Devices, Portable Music and Data Processing Devices, and Tablet Computer,” which FOSS Patents takes to mean that Samsung is seeking an import ban against the iPhone, iPad, and iPod. The ITC has yet to agree to investigate the complaint, but should they do so—an outcome the report suggests is “pretty certain”—a final decision would be reached within 16 to 18 months.
Apple has revealed that it will announce its third fiscal quarter results on July 19. As usual, the release will be followed by a conference call to discuss the financial results, which will begin at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. iLounge will be providing coverage of the call. Depending on the release date for OS X Lion, the call may serve as an announcement platform for first-week sales of the new operating system, and may also provide clues as to the launch schedules of iOS 5 and next-generation iPhones and iPods.
Apple will tap Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to produce its next-gen “A6” ARM-based System-on-a-Chip sometime in 2012, according to a new report. Citing multiple sources inside the semiconductor industry, Ars Technica reports that the move is partially the result of increasing tension between Apple and Samsung, which are involved in a heated patent dispute with opposing lawsuits in multiple countries. As noted in the report, rumors of a partnership between Apple and TSMC date back to 2011, and it was been suggested that Apple was working with TSMC to move its mobile processors to the foundry’s 28nm process; Samsung currently produces the A5 chip using a 45nm process.
Apple has posted the second beta version of iOS 5. Available to paid iOS developers, the release—listed as build 9A5248d—includes support for Wi-Fi Sync. As noted by Mac Rumors, the release notes state, “In iOS 5.0 beta 2, wireless syncing is now available for the Mac. It requires iTunes 10.5 beta 2 and OS X 10.6.8 or Lion. You will see an option to enable wireless syncing when you connect your device to iTunes with the USB cable. It is recommended you perform your initial sync with a cable after restoring your device.”
The text continues, “Wireless syncing is triggered automatically when the device is connected to power and on the same network as the paired computer. Or, you can manually trigger a sync from iTunes or from Settings -> General -> iTunes Sync (same network as paired computer required). Be sure your device is plugged into a power source when performing Wireless syncs. If you find issues with apps, media and/or photos synced to your device, you can reset then resync. From Settings -> General -> Reset, choose Erase all Content and Settings. Then reconnect to iTunes and sync again. In this beta, iTunes may incorrectly report Photos as ‘Other’ in the capacity bar. Photo syncing otherwise works as expected.” In addition to iOS 5 beta 2, iTunes 10.5 beta 2 and Apple TV Software beta 2 have also been released; all three are available from the iOS Dev Center.
Apple has posted a new frequently asked questions (FAQ) article regarding the transition from MobileMe to iCloud. The document confirms that users will be able to access iCloud Mail, Contacts, Calendars, and Find My iPhone via the web at icloud.com after the service launches this fall. It also states that users will be able to keep their current .me or .mac email addresses, and move their MobileMe mail, contacts, calendars, and bookmarks to the new service, with further details to come once the iCloud service comes online. iWeb publishing, MobileMe Gallery, and iDisk services will not be available in iCloud, according to the FAQ; those services will be available until the June 30, 2012 MobileMe shutdown date.