Apple will launch its annual Back to School promotion tomorrow, according to a new report. MacRumors claims that this year’s promotion will again involve iTunes Gift Cards for those purchasing new equipment. Students purchasing qualifying Macs will receive a $100 iTunes Gift Card, while those purchasing an iPad will receive a $50 Card. Notably, this is they first year in which those purchasing an iPad will be eligible to participate. While specifics were not available, Apple’s Back to School promotions have traditionally ended in September.
A photo taken during the raising of banners in preparation for Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference has confirmed that the company will reveal iOS 6 at the event. 9to5Mac has posted the photo in a gallery of other shots showing the preparations; the iOS 6 logo is featured prominently, and has changed ever so slightly from the prior iOS 5 logo. Below the iOS 6 logo is the tagline “The world’s most advanced mobile operating system.” While it was widely assumed that Apple would announce the software at the event, it had yet to confirm as much, stating only that developers at the conference would “learn about the future of iOS”.
Apple has filed complaints against both Samsung and HTC seeking to block imports of the companies’ new smartphones. FOSS Patents reports that Apple’s new complaint against HTC is the third such complaint it has filed against the company with the International Trade Commission (ITC). Apple is claiming that HTC’s devices still infringe upon its “data tapping” patent, which HTC was found to infringe in last December; a total of 29 devices are targeted by the new complaint. It also filed a motion in its second California lawsuit against Samsung, seeking a preliminary injunction against the recently announced Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone, noting that the device “has been reported to be the most extensively preordered piece of consumer electronics in history.” Apple’s request is based on alleged infringement of both the aforementioned “data tapping” patent and a unified search patent, which is closely related to Siri; the Galaxy S III features an almost comically similar feature called “S Voice”.
Apple has started to hang banners in preparation for its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. MacRumors has a picture of one such banner, which carries the slogan “Where great ideas go on to do great things.” WWDC 2012 will kick off Monday with a Keynote Address, and is being held at its traditional venue of Moscone West in San Francisco.
Apple has quietly posted a new iOS Security guide (PDF Link) online. Seemingly aimed at businesses and other organizations considering the adoption of iOS devices, the 20-page document addresses several broad topics related to iOS security, including system architecture, encryption and data protection, network security, and device access. For those interested, the full document is available as a free download from the link above. [via MDN]
Apple has begun sending out e-mails to current and former MobileMe subscribers as a reminder of the service’s scheduled shutdown on June 30, 2012 and advising users to ensure that they download any Gallery photos and iDisk files and move any iWeb sites that are still hosted on the service before that date.
The subscription-based MobileMe service was replaced by the free iCloud service last fall with the release of iOS 5; at that time Apple announced the MobileMe sunset date of June 30, 2012, providing users with the option of migrating their MobileMe accounts over to iCloud at their own pace. Not all of MobileMe’s services were transitioned to iCloud, however, so users who migrated their MobileMe accounts to iCloud were allowed to continue using the Gallery, iDisk and web publishing services from their former MobileMe account up until the scheduled MobileMe shutdown date. An Apple support article provides additional guidance on saving content from the MobileMe service both for users who have already migrated to iCloud and for those who are unable to migrate to iCloud due to using non-iCloud-compatible devices.
The Verge reports that the European Telecommunications Standards Institute has adopted a proposal for a new nano-SIM format. The new design will be approximately 40 percent smaller than the existing micro-SIM format and will be packaged in a way designed to be backward-compatible with existing SIM card designs in much the same way that micro-SIM cards are currently distributed.
Today’s announcement follows several weeks of discussion and conflict between two major proposals for the new standard put forward by competing mobile groups; Motorola, Nokia and RIM had proposed their own design in opposition to a proposal made by Apple. Both designs were revised throughout the selection process with the resulting final designs now very similar to each other with exactly the same exterior dimensions. ETSI has not yet published the specifications for the new standard and has declined to comment on which group’s design was selected. [via Mac Rumors]
AllThingsD has posted a video of some of the highlights from Apple CEO Tim Cook’s on-stage interview last evening. During the interview, Cook discussed several large topics, including Apple post-Steve Jobs, the company’s TV efforts, Siri and potential upcoming features for the virtual assistant, the company’s Chinese manufacturing partners and work conditions at those factories, the tablet market and iPad’s potential, and the company’s ongoing patent disputes with various companies. Notably, Cook dodged repeated questions related to a potential HDTV business, hinted at potential Facebook integration on iOS, and suggested that the company will unveil several new features for Siri at its WWDC conference, which begins on June 11. The video is roughly 17 minutes in length and can be seen by visiting the above link.
iLounge has learned that Apple will soon offer the Nest Learning Thermostat for sale through the Apple Store, an interesting development given both Nest’s history and the types of products commonly sold by Apple. Nest founder and CEO Tony Fadell is the former senior vice president of Apple’s iPod division, and is regarded by many as the “father of the iPod.” After leaving Apple for “personal reasons,” Fadell was replaced by Mark Papermaster, whose brief tenure at the company was marked by controversies; Fadell soon created Nest as a place to build intuitive and elegant in-home electronics informed by his experiences at Apple, and only recently expanded distribution to the large third-party retailer Lowe’s. The Nest Learning Thermostat will be sold at Apple Stores for $249, the same price as via Nest’s own online store.
Update: 9to5Mac reports that Apple retail stores have started to receive stock of the units, which carry the part number H9279LL/A in Apple’s systems. It remains unclear when the Learning Thermostats will go on sale; the report suggests that the product may not launch at all Apple retail stores simultaneously.
Update x2: Apple is now offering the Nest Learning Thermostat on its online store for $249.99.
Apple has made some minor but notable changes to its front page App Store listings. In place of the prior App of the Week listings are two new Editors’ Choice picks for both the iPhone and the iPad, which rotate in the top slot alongside traditional themed bundles of promoted apps—a number of apps dedicated to Dinosaurs is being highlighted this week, for instance. The App of the Week moniker is not being retired, however, as it is now being used further down the page to promote a Free App of the Week—this week, Cut the Rope: Experiments for the iPhone and Cut the Rope: Experiments HD for the iPad. [via The Verge]
Rogue Amoeba reports that Apple has removed its Airfoil Speakers Touch app from the App Store. In a post on the company’s blog, CEO Paul Kafasis states that the company was informed today that “Apple has removed Airfoil Speakers Touch from the iOS App Store” although he first heard about the decision from Apple two days ago and has been in ongoing discussions since then regarding the pending removal.
Kafasis goes on to indicate that he does not yet have any clear answer on why Apple has chosen this course of action, and that he believes Airfoil Speakers Touch is “in full compliance with Apple’s posted rules and developer agreements.” He also mentions that Rogue Amoeba had not submitted any new versions for approval recently, and that this removal is therefore not related to a pending review process, but rather concerns the existing version of Airfoil Speakers Touch that was approved and released in April. Notably, Rogue Amoeba went through a another issue with the App Store and Airfoil Speakers Touch 1.0.1 back in 2009 regarding the display of artwork representing the computer and source application from which audio was being streamed—images that were provided by Mac OS X itself, but were trademarked Apple images. Apple later reversed its policy on this issue, allowing Airfoil Speakers Touch 1.0.2 to reincorporate this functionality.
Kafasis indicates that the company has filed an appeal with Apple’s App Review Board and is presently awaiting further information. In the meantime, users who have already downloaded Airfoil Touch Speakers should be able to continue using the app.
Apple is continuing to reject charges that it conspired with publishers to fix the price of electronic books. Reuters reports that Apple has made a filing in U.S. District Court in which it argues against the Justice Department’s lawsuit and claims that it did not conspire with anyone or fix prices in an effort to undermine Amazon.com’s lead in the marketplace. “Apple’s entry into e-book distribution is classic procompetitive conduct” that helped to foster competition, Apple said in its filing. It added, “for Apple to be subject to hindsight legal attack for a business strategy well-recognized as perfectly proper sends the wrong message to the market. The government’s complaint against Apple is fundamentally flawed as a matter of fact and law.” Apple, along with Macmillan and Penguin, are continuing to fight the charges, while publishers HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Hachette have all reached settlements.
Apple Senior Vice President of Industrial Design Jonathan Ive was knighted today at Buckingham Palace. According to an interview piece with the Telegraph, Ive was knighted for services to design and enterprise, and honor he described as “incredibly humbling.” During the interview, Ive also made several comments about his work at Apple. “We try to develop products that seem somehow inevitable. That leave you with the sense that that’s the only possible solution that makes sense,” Ive said. “Our products are tools and we don’t want design to get in the way. We’re trying to bring simplicity and clarity, we’re trying to order the products. I think subconsciously people are remarkably discerning. I think that they can sense care.”
Ive also made some comments about unreleased products. When asked if he was to be remembered for just one of his Apple designs, which one would he pick, Ive took a long pause, and responded, “It’s a really tough one. A lot does seem to come back to the fact that what we’re working on now feels like the most important and the best work we’ve done, and so it would be what we’re working on right now, which of course I can’t tell you about.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook and Samsung CEO Choi Gee-sung are set to meet today in San Francisco for court-ordered talks. Reuters reports that the talks will be held in the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood and will be overseen by U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero. Based on comments made by a Samsung official over the weekend, it appears the company is not adverse to a settlement. “There is still a big gap in the patent war with Apple but we still have several negotiation options including cross-licensing,” said Samsung mobile division chief JK Shin. The talks are scheduled for today and tomorrow.
Foxconn is investing $210 million to build a new Apple production line in China, according to a new report. Citing local officials, China Daily reports that the line will be located in Huai’an city, in Jiangsu province. The office of Taiwan Affairs in Huai’an said that the plant housing the production line will produce components for Apple. The plant plans to hire over 35,000 employees; the article does not speculate on what types of components or products might be produced at the facility. [via Engadget]
Apple has announced that it plans to power its Maiden, NC data center using nothing but renewable energy. Reuters reports that Apple is building two solar array installations nearby, which will produce roughly 84 million kWh of energy annually, with a separate bio-gas fuel-cell plant to supply the rest of their energy needs. “I’m not aware of any other company producing energy onsite at this scale,” said Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer. “The plan we are releasing today includes two solar farms and together they will be twice as big as we previously announced, thanks to the purchase of some land very near to the data center in Maiden, which will help us meet this goal.” Apple plans for the Maiden facility to be coal-free by the end of 2012.
HTC’s new One X and Evo 4G LTE handsets face an indefinite import delay at U.S. Customs due to a prior International Trade Commission (ITC) ruling in Apple’s favor. The Verge reports that both handsets are delayed while Customs investigates whether they infringe upon a specific Apple patent for which Apple won a ban on HTC’s Android devices at the ITC last year. The ban involves a patent covering so-called “data tapping”, or the automatic conversion of chunks of text such as dates, phone numbers, and email addresses into tappable items. According to the report, the ban was delayed so HTC could engineer around Apple’s patent, but went into effect on April 19.
“The US availability of the HTC One X and HTC EVO 4G LTE has been delayed due to a standard U.S. Customs review of shipments that is required after an ITC exclusion order,” HTC said in a statement. “We believe we are in compliance with the ruling and HTC is working closely with Customs to secure approval.”
Apple over the weekend quietly went about changing the official name of its third-generation iPad with cellular data capabilities. Previously known as the Wi-Fi + 4G model, it is now referred to on Apple’s website and in its retail locations as the Wi-Fi + Cellular model. It “connects to the Internet over Wi-Fi and fast mobile data networks,” reads the description on Apple’s UK online store. Apple had been facing scrutiny from regulators in several countries, which claimed that the “4G” moniker was misleading as the device didn’t support 4G LTE networks anywhere but in the US and Canada. [via 9to5Mac]
A beta version of Apple’s iCloud.com online tools has revealed that the company plans to add Notes and Reminders access to the site. Developer Steve Troughton-Smith discovered the beta.icloud.com site by accident this morning, and posted a screenshot showing a beta message that read “The beta version of iCloud.com requires a developer account and setting up your Apple ID with latest iOS or OS X.” Behind the pop-up were the icons for Mail, Contacts, Calendars, a missing image marker that was later discovered to be the iWork icon, and two new icons for Notes and Reminders. Further investigation of the site by 9to5Mac discovered that the code for the site made references to iOS 6, specifically, “To use beta.icloud.com, first sign in to iCloud with the iOS 6 Beta.” Apple has since pulled the website, but it appears likely that Apple will officially open the site alongside the release of a beta version of iOS 6.
Apple and a number of other major manufacturers have been sued in US District Court in California by a company called Golden Bridge Technology. GigaOM reports that Golden Bridge claims that devices such as the iPhone infringe on a patent from 2000 regarding chips that share data sequence signals across channels. Further, Golden Bridge claims that this patent is essential to 3G communication standards. Along with Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, HTC, Lenovo, LG, Motorola, Pantech, Research In Motion, Samsung, Sierra Wireless, Sony, and ZTE are also named in the suit, which is seeking damages from each company.