Apple has filed a lawsuit against several companies selling “unauthorized” electronic accessories for the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Filed in federal court in San Francisco, the suit against Eforcity Corporation, Accstation, Itrimming, Everydaysource, United Integral, Crazyondigital, and Boxware Corporation claims that the companies are violating as many as 10 of Apple’s patents and additional trademarks.
At issue are electronic accessories, including chargers, speakers, and cables, which have in the past been known to cause damage to iPods when developed without regard to Apple’s specifications. “Many are of inferior quality and reliability, raising significant concerns over compatibility with and damage to Apple’s products,” Apple says in the suit. For a number of years, Apple has run a “Made For iPod” program and iPhone/iPad equivalents as a way to certify that accessories will be compatible with its products, but has also changed specifications when moving from one generation of device to the next, leaving many formerly “Made For” products unable to charge or otherwise work fully with later iPod and iPhone models—including the company’s own iPod Hi-Fi speaker system.
Apple is abandoning past partners Skyhook and Google for location data in favor of its own database, signaling a further move towards in-house mapping and location services. TechCrunch reports that in a letter responding to a Congressional request for information about its data collection, Apple indicated it is now using its own location database to provide iOS 3.2 and later devices with location information. “For devices running iPhone OS versions 1.1.3 to 3.1, Apple relied on (and still relies on) databases maintained by Google and Skyhook Wireless (“Skyhook”) to provide location-based services,” Apple general counsel Bruce Sewell said in the letter. “Beginning with the iPhone OS version 3.2 released in April 2010, Apple relies on its own databases to provide location-based services and for diagnostic purposes.” Apple purchased online mapping firm Poly9 earlier this year and bought the mapping service PlaceBase in 2009; these acquisitions, along with confirmation that it is running its own location database, lend credence to the suggestion that Apple is planning to launch its own mapping service.
Apple is to blame for the current lack of iPad magazine subscription options, according to a new report. AllThingsD reports that Time Inc. was planning to launch a subscription version of its Sports Illustrated iPad app with payments being handled by the publisher, until Apple rejected the application at the last minute, forcing Time to sell single copies as in-app purchases. Notably, a number of the app’s negative reviews mention the lack of a subscription option. The report states that Time executives “have been going nuts” trying to find a way to get Apple to approve a subscription plan. In addition, Apple reportedly approved the company’s subscription plans prior to the iPad’s launch, during a time when Apple was communicating with Time executives. As the report notes, no other magazine publisher has gained approval to sell its own iOS app subscriptions, either.
Apple has been sued in U.S. District Court in Northern California over claims that the iPad overheats and fails to operate properly in warm conditions. Bloomberg reports that the suit, filed in Oakland, CA, claims that the iPad “does not live up to the reasonable consumer’s expectations created by Apple” due to the fact that it “overheats so quickly under common weather conditions.” Notably, it claims that the iPad “turns off, sometimes after just a few minutes of use,” when used in direct sunlight. The suit seeks unspecified damages as well as class action status.
Apple has issued an official response to yesterday’s Library of Congress Copyright Office ruling that jailbreaking a smartphone did not constitute a copyright violation, and instead fell under fair use. “Apple’s goal has always been to insure that our customers have a great experience with their iPhone and we know that jailbreaking can severely degrade the experience,” an Apple spokesperson told Cult of Mac. “As we’ve said before, the vast majority of customers do not jailbreak their iPhones as this can violate the warranty and can cause the iPhone to become unstable and not work reliably.” Apple had in the past argued that jailbreaking was illegal—in that it constituted copyright infringement and a DMCA violation—and that it could enable “potentially catastrophic” network attacks.
Apple has added a new section focused on the Motorola Droid X to its smartphone antenna performance page. Apple’s testing shows the Droid X dropping from three bars down to no bars of service when phone is held in such a way that the user’s hand is blocking the majority of the bottom back portion of the device. Following Apple’s iPhone 4 press conference, Sanjay Jha, co-CEO of Motorola, said, “Consumers don’t like being told how to hold the phone ... It is disingenuous to suggest that all phones perform equally.” In addition, the prior-generation Motorola Droid was at the heart of the “iDon’t” advertising campaign aimed at the iPhone in late 2009.
Apple has added a new section to the App Store called “Newsstand,” highlighting a variety of publications. The section is divided into three sub-sections, one for magazines, showcasing apps from Wallpaper and GQ, among others, one for newspapers, promoting apps from USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, the LA Times, and more, and one for digital news sources, which includes the RSS application Reeder, Marco Arment’s Instapaper, and the Zinio Magazine application. Interestingly, Apple forced the iPhone RSS application Newsstand to change its name—it became NewsRack—due to a trademark complaint that was received by Apple, yet the company itself is now using the moniker. The new “Newsstand” section is accessible from the front page of the App Store on the iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, and via iTunes on a Mac or PC.
Immediately following Apple’s launch of the iPhone 4 Case Program, a case giveaway designed to reduce reception-related issues traced to the iPhone 4’s external antenna, iLounge editors discovered two billing-related errors that appear to enable some users to receive more than the correct number of free cases or refunds due. The first error appears to enable a user who ordered a Bumper case from Apple to simultaneously receive an automated refund and still be eligible for a free case using the iPhone 4 Case Program application. Separately, iLounge has discovered that a single person’s order for multiple Bumper cases led to the receipt of multiple refunds—while still remaining eligible for a free case through the application. As a result, one of our editors has already received credits and order confirmations for three cases. It’s unclear whether this is due to a lack of cross-checking the Apple IDs used to register for free cases with past iPhone 4 Bumper case orders, or quiet but intentional over-generosity on Apple’s part. We have contacted Apple to notify it of the errors and obtain a comment, and will update this article if and when we receive a response.
Apple has posted details of its iPhone 4 case program. According to the webpage, iPhone 4 users who want to receive a free case need to download the free iPhone 4 Case Program app from the App Store. Once the app is installed, users need to login with their iTunes Store account or Apple ID. The app checks the device’s IMEI and serial number to verify that the user indeed does own an iPhone 4, and lets the user choose an iPhone 4 Bumper or another case. Apple notes that for iPhone 4 purchases made before July 23, 2010, users must apply no later than August 22, 2010; otherwise, they must apply within 30 days of the iPhone 4 purchase. For advice on picking your free case, take a glance at our recommendation article.
Apple has announced that it is delaying the launch of the white iPhone 4 once again. The press release states, “White models of Apple’s new iPhone 4 have continued to be more challenging to manufacture than we originally expected, and as a result they will not be available until later this year.” The company released a similar statement exactly one month ago, promising availability in the second half of July, and did not mention any manufacturing problems during either its iPhone 4 press conference last Friday nor during its fiscal results conference call earlier this week.
- July 22, 2010
Apple has expanded the ranks of its senior executive team by promoting Jeff Williams from vice president of operations to senior vice president of operations. “Jeff Williams is Apple’s senior vice president of Operations, reporting to COO Tim Cook,” reads his Apple bio page. “Jeff leads a team of people around the world responsible for end-to-end supply chain management and dedicated to ensuring that Apple products meet the highest standards of quality.” Williams worked at IBM from 1985 until he joined Apple in 1998, initially taking on the role of head of worldwide procurement. He was named vice president of operations in 2004, and has led worldwide operations for the iPod and iPhone since the latter’s launch in 2007. Mac Rumors notes that Williams appears to have taken the position on or before July 7, and that Williams’ holdings in Apple stock and options are worth over $41 million at current prices, although not all of the options and grants have yet been vested or exercised.
Following a response from Nokia on Apple’s claims that signal attenuation is a problem for all smartphones, Apple has added a section covering the Nokia N97 mini to its smartphone antenna performance page. “Nokia has invested thousands of man hours in studying how people hold their phones and allows for this in designs, for example by having antennas both at the top and bottom of the phone and by careful selection of materials and their use in the mechanical design,” Nokia said in a statement. Apple’s antenna performance page, posted last Friday after Apple’s iPhone 4 press conference, originally compared the performance of the iPhone 4 to the BlackBerry Bold, HTC Droid Eris, Samsung Omnia II, and iPhone 3GS, and led to a similar response from BlackBerry-maker RIM’s co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie.
- July 20, 2010
During Apple’s Third Quarter 2010 Financial Results Conference Call, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer and Apple COO Tim Cook made several noteworthy comments concerning the company’s digital media products, including the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. In his opening statements, Oppenheimer said the company has sold its 100 millionth iOS device—a long-awaited milestone—that the iPod continues to gain market share year-over-year in nearly every tracked country, and that iTunes revenue was up 25% from the year-ago quarter. Apple saw strong sales of the iPhone in Asia, Europe, and Japan, and is now available from 154 carriers in 88 countries. In regards to the company’s offer of free cases for all iPhone 4 purchasers, Oppenheimer said the company would defer an estimated $175 million in revenue until the December quarter, corresponding to the estimated total value of the case giveaway.
The executives revealed that the average selling price (ASP) of the iPad for the quarter was $640, while the iPhone saw an ASP of $590, the latter reflecting both direct payments by customers and shared revenue from carrier partners. In terms of corporate use, more than 80% of the Fortune 100 and over 60% of the Fortune 500 are now deploying or pilot testing the iPhone, while around 400 higher education institutions have embraced the iPhone for faculty, staff, and students. The executives also said that after just 90 days, 50% of the Fortune 100 are deploying or testing the iPad, a stunning number considering the opposition Apple once faced trying to sell Macs to these companies. In discussing iPhone sales numbers and the lead up to the launch of the iPhone 4, Cook revealed that the company saw significantly lower sales from June 7—the date the iPhone 4 was unveiled—through June 24, the device’s official launch, which came only days before the end of the quarter. The year-over-year growth rate for the iPhone was close to 90% heading in to June 7, but finished at 61% as a result of the slowdown, a reflection of how changes in both Apple’s iPhone inventory and consumer demand can impact its sales numbers immediately before a new model is launched.
Throughout the call, Cook repeatedly explained that Apple is making both iPads and iPhone 4 units as fast as it can sell them, and while it is working to ramp up production and meet demand as quickly as possible, it can’t say definitively when it will have enough supply to meet demand. This was characterized as a good problem to have, and iPad sales were noted to be as strong during the three-month quarter as some had expected in an entire year. The executives also said that the company had seen an extremely small number of iPhone 4 returns over the antenna issue. Notably, the Apple TV was not discussed at any point throughout the course of the call.
Reporting its third quarter 2010 financial results today, Apple said it sold 9.41 million iPods during the quarter—an eight percent unit decrease compared to the 10.2 million iPods sold in Q3 2009, albeit with a four percent increase in revenue. It also sold 8.4 million iPhones in the quarter, up 61% from the year-ago quarter, and 3.27 million iPads, the latter alone contributing $2.166 billion in revenue during its first quarter of supply-constrained availability. The company posted overall revenue of $15.7 billion and a net quarterly profit of $3.25 billion, or $3.51 per diluted share, compared with revenue of $9.73 billion and net quarterly profit of $1.83 billion, or $2.01 per diluted share in Q3 2009.
“It was a phenomenal quarter that exceeded our expectations all around, including the most successful product launch in Apple’s history with iPhone 4,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “iPad is off to a terrific start, more people are buying Macs than ever before, and we have amazing new products still to come this year.”
“We’re really pleased to have generated over $4 billion of cash during the quarter,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the fourth fiscal quarter of 2010, we expect revenue of about $18 billion and we expect diluted earnings per share of about $3.44”
Apple has released iBooks 1.1.1, the latest version of its e-book reading application for the iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad. According to Apple, the new version includes the ability to double-tap images to view more detail, support for audio and video within books, performance improvements for PDF reading, fixes for an issue that caused some book downloads not to complete, and other stability and performance improvements. iBooks 1.1.1 is available now from the App Store.
Apple has released iTunes version 9.2.1, the latest update to its media management software. According to Apple’s release notes, iTunes version 9.2.1 disables older versions of certain incompatible third-party plug-ins, addresses issues concerning drag-and-drop, performance when first syncing some devices, upgrading to iOS 4 on an iPhone or iPod touch with encrypted back-ups, and “other issues” impacting stability and performance. iTunes 9.2.1 is available now via Apple’s Software Update utility or as a direct download from apple.com/itunes.
Apple has pulled its remaining stock of iPhone 4 Bumper cases from its retail and online Stores ahead of its free giveaway. A check with an Ohio-based retail store, as well as with Apple’s online store, shows no availability of the Apple-branded cases, and a retail store representative confirmed with iLounge that the cases had been pulled due to the giveaway. Apple announced on Friday that it would be offering a free Bumper or other, yet-to-be-determined case to all current iPhone 4 users and those who purchase the handset by September 30 due to complaints over the iPhone 4’s antenna issues.
Apple has announced that the iPad will launch in Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore this Friday, July 23. Both iPad with Wi-Fi and iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G models will be available at yet to be determined prices. The iPad is currently available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US, and Apple claims it will roll out the device to “many more countries” later this year.
Apple has posted a QuickTime video stream of its iPhone 4 press conference on its website. During the roughly hour-long event, Apple CEO Steve Jobs gave a presentation explaining Apple’s view of the antenna issues, and promised free cases to all current iPhone 4 users and all those who will purchase the device by September 30. Notably missing from the video stream is the question and answer session held directly following the presentation, a brief overview of which can be found here. In addition, the company has posted a pair of new webpages examining smartphone antenna performance and comparing that of the iPhone 4 to the BlackBerry Bold, HTC Droid Eris, Samsung Omnia II, and iPhone 3GS, and highlighting the company’s antenna design and testing labs.
Apple today revealed that it will launch the iPhone 4 in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland on July 30. Notably, the list of countries does not include South Korea, which was previously scheduled to receive the phone at the same time; no reason was given for the delay. In addition, Apple said that white models of the iPhone 4 will be available in late July, but did not offer an exact date for availability, or reveal whether online pre-orders would be available.