The U.S. Justice Department has released a document in which it calls the criticism of its eBook price-fixing settlement leveled by Apple and the publishers as “self-serving.” PaidContent reports that the document serves as a reply to the 868 public comments that were filed in response to the announced settlement, the vast majority of which were in opposition to the deal. In the reply, the Justice Department refuses to modify any parts of the settlement, and addresses Apple’s objections at length because of its “central role in the events leading to the underlying enforcement action.” Under the terms of the settlement, Apple and the settling publishers must terminate their existing “Apple Agency Agreements” within seven days of the settlement’s final approval, and can then sign new contracts — but are forbidden for two years from using clauses that limit retailers’ rights to discount. [via DF]
Apple has launched its iTunes in the Cloud service for movies in 35 new countries. MacRumors reports that the feature has rolled out in Australia, Argentine, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, the U.K., Venezuela, and Vietnam. In addition, the company has also expanded its iTunes Match service into Hungary and Poland. Apple’s iTunes in the Cloud service allows customers to re-download past purchases multiple times, and also serves as a base for content streamed directly to the Apple TV.
U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has penned an open letter the the Department of Justice, asking it to drop its lawsuit against Apple and major publishers. In the suit, the DOJ claims that Apple and the publishers colluded to raise the price of digital books. “While the claim sounds plausible on its face, the suit could wipe out the publishing industry as we know it, making it much harder for young authors to get published,” Schumer writes for the Wall Street Journal. “The suit will restore Amazon to the dominant position atop the e-books market it occupied for years before competition arrived in the form of Apple. If that happens, consumers will be forced to accept whatever prices Amazon sets.”
Schumer goes on to point out that Amazon held a monopoly position in the market before the arrival of the iBookstore, and set the prices for the books itself—many times undercutting the market for hardcopy titles. He also states that “As our economy transitions to digital platforms, we should be celebrating and supporting industries that find ways to adapt and grow”, adding that he believes the suit will “have a deterrent effect not only on publishers but on other industries that are coming up with creative ways to grow and adapt to the Internet”. Finally, the senator calls for new guidelines governing non-merger Justice Department investigations, which should “take a broad, pragmatic view of the market as a whole”.
Apple has been granted a patent that covers a wide swath of the iOS user interface. Patently Apple reports that the patent covers the basic user interface for many of iOS’ built-in apps, including Mail, Photos, Camera, Videos, Music, Calendar, Safari, Notes, and Maps. Also covered by the patent are iOS’ scroll bar, as well as the virtual keyboard. As noted in the report, Apple lists the following inventors on the patent: Scott Forstall, Henri Lamiraux, Andrew Platzer, Michael Matas and Imran Chaudhri. The patent was originally filed in the first quarter of 2007; Apple refiled the application in March of this year.
A U.K. judge has ordered Apple to publish notices on both its website and in British newspapers alerting consumers to a ruling in which Samsung was cleared of all alleged patent infringement. Bloomberg reports that according to Judge Colin Birss, the notice should outline the July 9 decision that Samsung’s Galaxy tablets don’t infringe Apple’s patented designs, and should be posted on the website for six months, as well as appear in several newspapers and magazines to correct the impression that Samsung had copied the iPad. The ruling will result in Apple running “an advertisement for Samsung, Richard Hacon, a lawyer representing Apple told the court, adding, “no company likes to refer to a rival on its website.” In his ruling, Birss said Samsung’s tablets were unlikely to be confused with Apple’s iPad because they are “not as cool”.
The Apple Online Store is now offering customers the ability to receive updates on their order status via text message. According to Apple’s Shipping & Pickup page, customers will be given the option to request text message updates when in Checkout. Messages will be sent when an order ships or is ready for pickup, and will include the order number and a link to the online Order Status; messages will be sent between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. local time in the customer’s time zone. The Next Web notes that text notifications are available exclusively in the U.S. and Canada at the moment. [via MacRumors]
Apple has revealed that it is starting to transition users away from the me.com email addresses and Apple IDs available through MobileMe to new @icloud.com addresses. In its iOS 6 beta 3 change log, a portion of which was posted online by MacRumors, Apple says that “icloud.com email addresses are now available for iCloud mail users. Users signing up for new Apple IDs, or enabling Mail on their iCloud account for the first time, will automatically receive an @icloud.com email address instead of a me.com email address. iCloud users with @me.com addresses that have been used with iOS 6 beta 3 will receive an @icloud.com email address that matches their @me.com address.” As noted in the report, Apple made a similar transition away from @mac.com addresses when it moved from .Mac to MobileMe in 2008.
Apple has seeded developers with the third beta version of iOS 6. While the update has yet to appear on Apple’s Developer website, it is available as an over-the-air update for those running the prior iOS 6 beta on their devices. The update weighs in at 347MB for the iPhone 4S; according to the brief release notes, the update “contains bug fixes and improvements.”
As expected, Apple today took its new Food & Drink category live in the App Store. The category was revealed in an earlier email from Apple to select developers, informing them of the change. According to that email, the category includes “apps that help users cook and bake, mix drinks, manage recipes, find new restaurants and bars, and learn what their friends like to eat and drink”, excluding “diet, grocery shopping, coupon-clipping, or food-related game apps.” Currently, the category holds 1120 apps; you can see the listings by following the link above.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has been spotted this week at the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, a well-known executive meetup. According to The New York Times, Cook was spotted having coffee with Paul Sagan, CEO of Internet content delivery company Akamai. Cook has reportedly lined up a number of one-on-one meetings with media executives who are also attending the conference, perhaps working on partnerships for a larger move into the home entertainment market. When asked what he was most looking forward to at the conference, Cook replied “all the private discussions I’ve set up this week.” Apple has been rumored in recent months to be working on a TV initiative, possibly including the introduction of an Apple-branded HDTV.
Apple this morning announced that it will launch the third-generation iPad in China on July 20. Both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi +Cellular models will be available through the Apple Online Store, from select Apple Authorized Resellers, and by reservation from Apple retail stores. According to the company, reservation requests will be accepted daily from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. beginning Thursday, July 19 for pick up the following day. As with the device’s launch in other locales, the arrival of the third-generation iPad in China will see the starting price of the iPad 2 lowered to $399 US.
In the wake of a report late Wednesday that many App Store customers were receiving corrupt downloads, Jim Dalrymple of The Loop has received a response from Apple explaining that the problem occurred due to “a temporary issue that began yesterday with a server that generated DRM code for some apps being downloaded.”
Although Apple claims in its statement that only “a small number of users” were affected, Marco Arment who originally reported the problem tracked over 114 affected apps, including popular titles such as GoodReader; Arment further noted that over 20,000 of his own customers were affected by Instapaper alone.
Apple goes on to indicate that “the issue has been rectified and [they] don’t expect it to occur again” and suggests that affected users can simply delete these corrupt apps and re-download them. It appears however that the App Store has begun re-delivering all App updates sent out since Tuesday, when the problem is believed to have begun, possibly providing users with the ability to easily reinstall non-corrupted versions of these updates without losing any data in the process.
Apple has released Configurator 1.1, the latest version of its mass deployment tool for iOS devices. Configurator enables schools, businesses, and other institutions to configure up to 30 iOS devices at a time, update software, create and restore backups of settings and app data, and more. According to the release notes, version 1.1 improves reliability and ease of use when installing paid apps with Volume Purchase Program redemption codes, adds new preferences to disable the automatic removal of apps or profiles installed by the user when a configuration is reapplied and disable reapplying a configuration each time a supervised device is connected, includes small changes to the profile editor, and ensures that VPP codes are no longer marked as invalid if the App Store is unavailable. Apple Configurator 1.1 is available now as a free download from the Mac App Store.
A number of users appear to be having problems with some apps crashing on launch following updates downloaded from the App Store. Instapaper developer Marco Arment reports that “within minutes of Apple approving the Instapaper 4.2.3 update” last night, he was “deluged by support email and Twitter messages” from users indicating the the app was crashing on launch, even with a clean install. Arment notes that not only had Apple obviously reviewed the app, but that his own submitted version worked fine, yet when he downloaded the update himself it “crashed instantly.”
Arment goes on to report that in some regions the App Store is sending out a “seemingly corrupt update” with the U.S. and U.K. being specifically affected, but not Australia as far as he was able to tell. Developer Ken Seto of Massive Damage notes that the issue may be affecting some Canadian users as well. Arment lists several apps that have been reported to him as causing issues, including his own Instapaper app along with GoodReader, Readdle Scanner Pro, Threadnote, Please Stay Calm, Angry Birds Space HD Free and more and notes that he contacted App Review very shortly after the Instapaper update went live and it appears that a functional version of Instapaper began being distributed on reinstalls and doesn’t appear to have recurred since. Users who are experiencing a problem with newly downloaded apps crashing due to corruption will likely need to wait until a good copy is being served again by the App Store, and then delete and reinstall the app.
Apple has officially opened its iCloud Beta portal to developers enrolled in the iOS 6 beta. MacRumors reports that the site, which is located at beta.icloud.com and was spotted briefly in early May, offers previews of new Calendar functionality, as well as a redesigned Find My iPhone web app, and all-new Notes and Reminders apps. The new apps most mirror the functionality of their iOS counterparts, with the new Find My iPhone tool adding a battery status icon and support for the upcoming “Lost Mode.” The new iCloud web app suite is expected to see a public rollout alongside the release of iOS 6 this fall.
Apple will soon be adding a “Food & Drink” category to its App Store listings. MacStories reports that the company has started to send out emails to select developers informing them of the change. According to the email, the new category will include “apps that help users cook and bake, mix drinks, manage recipes, find new restaurants and bars, and learn what their friends like to eat and drink”, but will exclude “diet, grocery shopping, coupon-clipping, or food-related game apps.” The new category is expected to come online “in the next few weeks.”
Apple has announced that it will report its financial results for the third fiscal quarter of 2012 on Tuesday, June 24. The release will be followed by the usual 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. The call will likely discuss full-quarter sales of the third-generation iPad and third-generation Apple TV, early sales of Apple’s new MacBook lineup, and could possibly offer insight into Apple’s product plans for the rest of the year.
Apple has been granted a request for a preliminary injunction against the Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone. Reuters reports that U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh ruled in Apple’s favor for the second time in recent days, as she also approved a pre-trial ban on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet. “Apple has made a clear showing that, in the absence of a preliminary injunction, it is likely to lose substantial market share in the smartphone market and to lose substantial downstream sales of future smartphone purchases and tag-along products,” Judge Koh said her ruling. As a condition of the injunction, Apple was ordered to post a bond of more than $95 million to secure payment of damages suffered by Samsung should Apple lose the actual trial.
Apple has settled its trademark dispute with Proview over the iPad name in China. As part of the settlement, Apple will pay Proview $60 million for the rights to the name, which Apple claimed it purchased in 2009, but was never transferred. Speaking with the AP, Proview lawyer Xie Xianghui said the company had hoped for as much as $400 million from a potential settlement, but felt pressure to settle because it needs to pay debts. The company may still be declared bankrupt in a separate proceeding. “The iPad dispute resolution is ended,” the Guangdong High People’s Court said in a statement. “Apple Inc. has transferred $60 million to the account of the Guangdong High Court as requested in the mediation letter.”
Apple today announced that Bob Mansfield, senior vice president of Hardware Engineering, will retire. According to the company, Mansfield’s role will be transitioned over several months to Dan Riccio, current vice president of iPad Hardware Engineering. In his role, Mansfield has overseen Mac hardware engineering since 2005, iPhone and iPod hardware engineering since 2010, and iPad hardware engineering since the device’s inception.
“Bob has been an instrumental part of our executive team, leading the hardware engineering organization and overseeing the team that has delivered dozens of breakthrough products over the years,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We are very sad to have him leave and hope he enjoys every day of his retirement.”
“Dan has been one of Bob’s key lieutenants for a very long time and is very well respected within Apple and by the industry,” added Cook. “Our hardware engineering team is the best engineering team on earth and will not miss a beat during the transition.”