Apple has launched new online stores in four new international markets: the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and the United Arab Emirates. The launches are being celebrated with customized graphics on the main Apple homepage in each respective country, complete with national color-matching confetti for each. As noted by Mac Rumors, today’s launches bring the total number of countries in which Apple offers an online store to 37, with several of those being offered in multiple languages.
Dwindling supplies of Apple’s iPhone 4 Bumper case in certain regions may be pointing to an impending discontinuation of the line, according to a new report. Citing information received from informant “Mr. X”, 9to5Mac reports that stock of Apple’s in-house iPhone 4 case is constrained in certain regions, which it takes as an indication that Apple plans to either update or discontinue the line. The report notes that the next iPhone may require an updated Bumper, or may feature an all new design. With some form of the iPhone 4, whether it be a simple change to 8GB capacity or a new iPhone 4S moniker, likely to be sold long after the iPhone 5 is announced, it seems unlikely that Apple would discontinue the product altogether. Instead, it seems possible that it is drawing down current stock to be replaced with a slightly updated revision, or to indicate on the accessory’s packaging its compatibility with the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, should the latter become a reality.
New code discovered in Apple’s iChat instant messaging client suggests that the company is preparing to add iMessage support to the app. Citing information provided by a developer, Mac Rumors reports that the version of iChat in OS X Lion contains properties for “_timeDelivered” and “_timeRead,” suggesting that the application will offer the tracking of delivery and read receipts for instant messages. Such features, however, are not offered by any of iChat’s current native messaging services, but are offered by iMessage. As noted in the report, support for iMessage in OS X Lion would allow Mac users and iOS 5 users to exchange messages with one another in real time, and would serve as a compliment to Apple’s FaceTime video chat service, which also allows for direct communication between Macs and iOS devices.
Both Samsung and Apple have filed new patent infringement suits against each other in France and the UK, respectively. Samsung’s suit, filed in a Paris district court, accuses Apple of infringing three Samsung patents related to UMTS technology, and specifically targets the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and 3G-enabled iPad and iPad 2 models. Apple’s suit against Samsung was filed in the UK; details on it are scarce, as the patents in question have not yet been identified. Finally, Samsung has also filed an appeal against a German ruling from last week that saw sales of its Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet barred in the country. Samsung and Apple are involved in a large number of patent disputes worldwide.
Apple and Starbucks have once again expanded their long-running “Pick of the Week” promotion to include books from the iBookstore. Mac Rumors reports that this week’s pick is an iBookstore redemption code for The Night Circus, a novel by Erin Morgenstern that normally sells for $12.99. Earlier this year, Starbucks began to offer apps as part of the “Pick of the Week” promotion, later stating that it would offer redemption codes for “apps, extended samples of books on the iBookstore, TV shows, and more from iTunes.”
Apple over the weekend reopened its iTunes Match beta to registered iOS developers. Mac Rumors reports that the company sent out emails to developers, letting them know that the beta has been expanded to additional developers in the U.S. The email also notes that iTunes 10.5 beta 8 is required to use the service. iTunes Match is an upcoming $25/year cloud-based service from Apple that matches the songs in users’ iTunes libraries with songs available on the iTunes Store, uploading songs that can’t be matched, and subsequently offering the users access to their entire libraries across all their computers and iOS devices anywhere they have an Internet connection. The iTunes Match beta was launched late last month, but was closed for new signups shortly afterwards.
Apple has uncharacteristically released a small update to its beta version of iTunes 10.5 for registered iOS developers. According to release notes provided to iLounge by an anonymous source, the update focuses mainly on Apple’s iTunes Match service, which remains closed for new developer sign-ups. iTunes 10.5 beta 8, as well as iWork for iOS beta 3, are available for download now from the iOS Dev Center.
Apple this morning removed its shipping estimates for a wide range of products from its online store. Prior labels indicating shipment estimates of 24 hours or 1-3 days have been replaced with text simply indicating that a given product is “In Stock.” Notably, an estimate of 2-4 business days is still in place for the 12-Core model of Mac Pro, suggesting that Apple may still use its prior estimate system when the potential wait for an item surpasses three days. In addition, Apple also made changes to its iPad purchasing page, streamlining the process of selecting a specific model. [via AppleInsider]
Apple has won another court battle in its ongoing patent dispute with Samsung. Reuters reports that a German court has upheld an injunction barring Samsung from selling its Galaxy 10.1 tablets in Germany. In the ruling, Judge Johanna Brueckner-Hoffman said that the overall impression of the Tab 10.1 was too similar to the iPad, stating that it “is distinguished by its smooth, simple areas.” The decision limits retailers to sales of existing stock and or obtaining new supplies from Samsung’s parent company Samsung International. Samsung can object to the decision.
Apple has launched a new charitable matching program that will see the company match employees’ personal donations to eligible charities. In an email to employees reprinted by Mac Rumors, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the program, which will match employee donations to non-profit organizations dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000 per year. The program will initially be available only to full-time U.S. employees, with plans to expand it in the future. Cook’s email is reprinted in full below.
I am very happy to announce that we are kicking off a matching gift program for charitable donations. We are all really inspired by the generosity of our co-workers who give back to the community and this program is going to help that individual giving go even farther.
Starting September 15, when you give money to a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, Apple will match your gift dollar-for-dollar, up to $10,000 annually. This program will be for full-time employees in the US at first, and we’ll expand it to other parts of the world over time.
Thank you all for working so hard to make a difference, both here at Apple and in the lives of others. I am incredibly proud to be part of this team.
If you’d like more information on the program, you can get it on HRWeb, which can be easily accessed through AppleWeb.
Apple has filed a lawsuit in Tokyo District Court seeking to ban sales of various Samsung Galaxy products in Japan. Citing sources close to the matter, Reuters reports that the suit specifically names the Galaxy S, Galaxy S II, and Galaxy Tab 7; no mention is made of the more recent Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 7.7. According to the report, Samsung filed a suit against Apple in Japan in April, leading to an Apple countersuit on August 23. Apart from an order suspending sales of the devices, Apple is also seeking 100 million yen, or roughly $1.3 million, in damages, according to a Kyodo news agency report cited by Reuters.
Samsung has pulled its new Galaxy Tab 7.7 Android tablet, from a trade show after Apple won an injunction against the device. The New York Times reports that Apple won a second injunction prohibiting sales and marketing of the product in Germany on Friday, precipitating Samsung’s move to pull the tablet from the IFA electronics show in Berlin. “Samsung respects the court’s decision,” said James Chung, a Samsung spokesman, adding that the company believes the ruling “severely limits consumer choice in Germany.” Samsung and Apple are involved in ongoing legal disputes over the former’s Galaxy series of smartphones and tablets and the latter’s iPod, iPhone, and iPad devices.
San Francisco Police have no record of any investigation pertaining to the rumored lost iPhone, according to a new report by SF Weekly. Earlier this week, CNET claimed that an Apple employee had lost a new iPhone prototype in a San Francisco bar, and Apple had contacted police to launch an investigation—circumstances eerily similar to last year’s infamous loss of a prototype iPhone 4. Citing anonymous sources “familiar with the investigation,” CNET added that Apple and San Francisco police investigators had traced the prototype to a home in Bernal Heights, but that the resident had denied having any knowledge of the phone or the situation, and the iPhone itself was never recovered.
When SF Weekly’s Peter Jamison contacted the San Francisco Police Department to inquire on the case, however, SFPD spokesman Officer Albie Esparza indicated that there are no records of any such investigation, nor a visit by police officers to the address in Bernal Heights where the search for the iPhone allegedly took place. Esparza confirmed speaking to CNET reporter Declan McCullagh, but indicated that he had relayed all of this information to him “weeks ago” when he was first contacted by McCullagh regarding the story. Business Insider said that despite a lack of official confirmation, CNET “ran the story anyway.” Apple has not commented on the alleged phone loss. [via Business Insider]
Update: A follow-up from SF Weekly has reported that six people claiming to be police officers allegedly did visit the home of Sergio Calderón, the Bernal Heights man referred to in the earlier report. According to Calderón, one of the men left a phone number that was traced back to Anthony Colon, an Apple employee who formerly worked for the San Jose Police Department. It is as not yet known who the other individuals were, but SFPD Lt. Troy Dangerfield has reiterated that the police department has no knowledge or record of any of its members visiting the Calderón residence, and police are currently concerned that impersonators may have unlawfully searched the home.
Two new intellectual property lawsuits have been launched against Apple by two smaller companies alleging patent violations. Openwave has announced legal action against both Apple and Research in Motion alleging that the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad infringe upon five of the company’s patents related to offline e-mail applications, secure client-server communications, application updating, user experience and cloud computing. In addition to the patent claim, Openwave has also filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission requesting that the ITC bar the importation of the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch, iPad and iPad 2. Another claim has been launched by Wi-LAN against Apple, Alcatel-Lucent, HP, HTC, and others alleging infringement of two patents related to wireless technologies such as CDMA, HSPA, Wi-Fi and LTE.
Apple has promoted its vice president of Internet services Eddy Cue to the position of Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services. According to his Apple Press bio, Cue will be reporting directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook, and his duties will include overseeing the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstore, as well as iAd and iCloud services. In an email to Apple employees announcing the move, Cook credited Cue with playing a major role in the launch of the Apple online store in 1998, the iTunes Music Store in 2003, and the App Store in 2008; the complete email is available at 9to5Mac.
Apple has started to air its latest TV commercial for the iPad 2. Entitled “Learn,” the 30-second advertisement is similar in tone to the company’s prior iPad 2 commercials, and features a voiceover by Peter Coyote which states, “Are you curious about new ideas? Do you want to learn a new language, or just a new word? Maybe you want to know more about anatomy, or astronomy. You could master something new, or uncover a hidden talent. There’s never been a better time to learn.” The new commercial is available for viewing on Apple’s website.
Apple has seeded its seventh beta version of iOS 5 for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch to registered developers. Listed as build 9a5313e, the release is also available as an over-the-air update for devices running the prior beta, and is once again accompanied by matching beta versions of the iOS 5 SDK, iTunes 10.5, and Apple TV Software. iOS 5 beta 7 is now available to paid iOS developers from the iOS Dev Center.
Apple has started to offer a limited selection of refurbished iPad 2 units on its online store. Currently, the models offered include 32GB Wi-Fi + 3G models on AT&T and Verizon, 64GB Wi-Fi only models, and 64GB Wi-Fi + 3G models on both AT&T and Verizon. Each model is priced at $50 less than retail, making the prices for the three models mentioned above $679, $649, and $779, respectively. It is not clear how much stock Apple has, although it is likely that these more expensive models will be joined by more affordable 16GB and 32GB units in the coming weeks.
Apple organized a team in 2008 to crack down on the spread of knockoff iPods and iPhones in China, according to a new report. Citing a September 2008 memo from the Beijing embassy that was published online by WikiLeaks, CNN reports that despite Apple’s move, progress has been slow, as gadget piracy isn’t a high priority for the Chinese government. The report states that members of Apple’s global security team were recruited from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer after it executed a series of crackdowns on counterfeit Viagra production in Asia, and that former Pfizer security chief—and former FBI agent—John Theriault leads the team. It goes on to say that China’s Guangdong province has become a hub for manufacturing and selling counterfeit Apple products, as Apple manufacturing parter Foxconn operates factories there. According to the report, the Chinese counterfeit ring is also responsible for supplying knockoff goods to India, where officials had discovered shipments that came from China through Hong Kong.
Apple has made a beta version of its new iTunes Match cloud music service available to developers. The service, announced in June, allows users to pay $25 a year for the ability to match songs on their personal library with songs in the iTunes Store library—and upload any songs that can’t be matched—for cloud access from any Mac or iOS device. The service limits the total number of songs at 25,000, and iTunes Store purchases do not count against that total. In the email announcing the beta release, Apple states that beta subscribers will receive an additional three months free with their paid 12 month subscription, and advises users to maintain a local backup of their iTunes library, as well as any music they upload to iCloud. “Apple will periodically reset your iCloud library during the beta and it is critical that you backup your music regularly,” the email states. “Some features and optimizations of iTunes Match will not be available during the beta.” In support of the service, Apple has released iTunes 10.5 beta 6.1, which is now available to registered developers from the iOS Dev Center.
Insanely Great Mac has posted a video walkthrough of the new service showing that it is capable of not only allowing for downloads to iOS devices—which is how the company’s current “iTunes in the Cloud” service works—but also streaming, integrating the customer’s iTunes Match library into the Music application, and letting the user choose between downloading or streaming each song. Apple is expected to officially launch iTunes Match later this fall. [via Mac Rumors]
Update: Apple has posted a notice on the iTunes Match signup page noting that “beta testing has begun with an initial set of developers. Over the next days, we will continue to expand our testing.”
Update x2: Apple has informed AllThingsD that the new iTunes Match service isn’t technically streaming songs, but is instead offering a simultaneous listen and download feature that, on the surface, appears quite similar to streaming.