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Apple patent describes ‘multi-touch dictionary’

A new Apple patent application for a “multi-touch gesture dictionary” has been found online. The application, dated January 3, 2007, describes different gestures, or “chords,” which could be used on a multi-touch system to trigger different events. The patent application covers both a dictionary to provide a guide and system of applying user-selected actions to the gestures, and a dictionary application running on its own or in the background, to detect such movements and take the appropriate action. It is possible such a system could be used on the iPhone to implement requested features like text selection and cut and paste. Whether any of the systems described in the patent appear on the iPhone is not certain. [via Engadget]

Eminem publisher files suit against Apple

Eight Mile Style LLC and Martin Affiliated LLC, music publisher and copyright manager for rap artist Eminem, have filed a lawsuit against Apple in U.S. District Court in Detroit, claiming the company violated copyrights by allowing unauthorized sales of the artist’s works. The lawsuit is a possible sign of things to come as artists fight for a larger share of revenues from digital download sales, reports the Detroit News. “There are a number of unresolved issues,” said Owen Sloane, of Berger Kahn, who has negotiated recording deals for artists such as Elton John, Kenny Rogers and Bonnie Raitt. “You’re going to see more of these suits.” The suit alleges that although Apple pays a portion of the revenues from Eminem downloads to recording label Universal Music Group, Eight Mile Style and Martin Affiliated have never authorized Universal to allow the downloads. Apple has yet to comment on the suit.

270,000 iPhones sold, 1m target by end of Q4

In its reporting of third quarter results, Apple has revealed that it sold 270,000 iPhones over the launch period of June 29 and June 30. This falls slightly short of analysts’ predictions of 300K units, but should reassure those who questioned the success of the product’s launch following AT&T’s statement that it had activated only 146,000 iPhones during the same period. In addition, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said, “iPhone is off to a great start—we hope to sell our one- millionth iPhone by the end of its first full quarter of sales.” Apple’s fourth quarter will end on Sept. 29.

Updated: During its third quarter conference call, Apple COO Tim Cook explained iPhone’s prospects as follows: “The starting gun has been fired and we’ve gotten off to a great start. However, our primary focus is not on initial sales. We’re focused on building a third great business for Apple… it won’t be easy because the competitors are large and entrenched… but the rewards are huge for Apple. Our next step is to begin selling the iPhone in Europe next quarter starting with a few major countries.” Additional expansion will take place in other European countries throughout 2008, and in Asia in 2008 as well.

Update 2: In response to an analyst’s question, Apple noted that the 270,000 iPhones “sold” figure also included iPhones in transit to AT&T stores during the initial 30-hour launch window, and not just iPhones that were actually in consumers’ hands. In a subsequent exchange, the company noted that though it did not generally provide breakdowns of iPod and iPhone sales by capacity, “the mix skewed to the 8GB for early sales in June.”

Apple sells 9.8 million iPods during Q3 [updated]

Reporting its third quarter financial results today, Apple said it sold 9.815 million iPods during the quarter—slightly below some analyst predictions, but a 21 percent increase compared to the same quarter last year. The company posted revenue of $5.41 billion and net quarterly profit of $818 million, or $.92 per diluted share, compared with revenue of $4.37 billion and net quarterly profit of $472 million, or $.54 per diluted share in Q3 2006. Sales of Other Music Related Products + Services were up 33% over last year’s quarter and down 7.5% from the second quarter of 2007, to $608 million total. That category includes iTunes Store sales, iPod services, and revenues from Apple and third-party iPod accessories.

“We’re thrilled to report the highest June quarter revenue and profit in Apple’s history, along with the highest quarterly Mac sales ever,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “iPhone is off to a great start — we hope to sell our one- millionth iPhone by the end of its first full quarter of sales — and our new product pipeline is very strong.”

“We are very pleased to report strong financial results including cash flow from operations exceeding $1.2 billion for the quarter,” said Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO. “Looking ahead to the fourth fiscal quarter of 2007, we expect revenue of about $5.7 billion and earnings per diluted share of about $.65.”

Updated: During Apple’s Financial Results Conference Call, Apple revealed that iPod controls a 71.5% share of the US MP3 player market based on numbers from NPD. iTunes saw 33% year-over-year growth, as iPods and music related income accounted for 40% of total revenue during the quarter. In addition, Apple TV and iPhone accounted for $180 million in revenue; Apple has previously stated it will use a subscription accounting model for both devices.

Apple to account for 25% of flash production?

According to a new research report from DRAMeXchange, Apple may end up using as much as 25 percent of the world’s flash memory in the third quarter. This projection is contingent on Apple wishing to generate strong holiday sales of the iPhone, as well as the introduction of a video-capable iPod with flash storage. “If Apple also unveils upgraded iPods in Q3, which may include new iPod video products that employ Flash for storage, the required amount in 3Q07 from both the iPhone and iPod will be more than 25%,” claims the report. “Therefore, with Apple’s products given a high priority in the Flash supply, the future sales of the iPhone will most certainly affect the NAND Flash market in 2H07.” Samsung currently provides the flash memory used in most iPhones, the report mentions, and the company’s flash business has been boosted by strong iPhone sales.

Apple patent suggests wireless transfers for iPhones, iPods

An Apple patent application has recently been uncovered that suggests possible wireless sharing capabilities for the iPod and iPhone. The application, from September 1, 2006, addresses methods for mobile devices to discover others in the vicinity, and wirelessly transmit and share files such as video, music, games, photos, playlists, and slideshows. The patent also mentions restrictions for media that may have “limited-use rights.” The application assumes wireless capabilities for the devices, stating, ““however, as portable electronic devices become more versatile and more interactive, it is advantageous to exchange (send and/or receive) media or other types of data with other electronic devices in a wireless manner.”

Apple demand causing NAND shortages?

Recent increases in Apple’s orders of NAND flash memory are causing difficulties for other customers of the company’s suppliers, reports DigiTimes. Hynix Semiconductors and Samsung Electronics began reserving more of their stock for Apple beginning in July, according to Taiwan memory house sources. Both companies told customers in late June that July supplies would be constrained as Apple pre-stocks the flash memory in anticipation of a seasonal upturn in demand. Apple uses NAND flash memory in the iPod nano, iPod shuffle, and iPhone.

Apple secures iPhone.com domain

Apple has completed the purchase of the iPhone.com domain name from Michael Kovatch for more than $1 million, according to a DomainTools report. iPhone.com now redirects to Apple’s iPhone page at http://www.apple.com/iphone/ . Kovatch, who owns several other high-profile domains such as Wine.net and Golf.net, bought the iPhone.com domain in 1995 in hopes to capitalize on internet telephony, even though the technology to support it did not exist at that time. Exact terms of the sale have not been revealed, but if Apple indeed paid more than $1 million for the domain, it would make the domain name sale one of the richest in history.

Apple patents a possible iPod and iPhone security feature

A new patent application published by the US Patent & Trademark Office may be a new feature of upcoming iPods and iPhones, reports InformationWeek. The patent application, “Protecting electronic devices from extended unauthorized use,” covers a technique to keep a device from being recharged if certain conditions — “a timer expires, device is connected to a power-supply or another device, device is outside a determined geographical boundary” — are met. If that should happen, the user would then need to enter an authorization code. Failure to input the correct code would keep the device from recharging. The patent states simply, “normal use and enjoyment of the device can be significantly reduced by disabling the recharger.”

Apple launches online Apple Outlet

Apple has re-branded the area of its online store reserved for refurbished products and closeouts. Formerly known as “Special Deals,” the area now bears the moniker Apple Outlet. A new image on the store promoting the outlet claims “Big savings. Limited-time offers. Certified refurbished.” The new Apple Outlet is currently offering several deals on iPods, such as refurbished second-generation iPod shuffles for $50, refurb second-generation 4GB iPod nanos for $150, and refurbished fifth-generation 30GB iPods for $200.

Apple to join S&P 100 index

Standard & Poor’s has announced that Apple Inc. will join its S&P 100 index of large blue-chip companies, replacing biotech company MedImmune Inc. following the end of trading on Thursday. MedImmune is leaving the index due to its pending acquisition by AstraZeneca. “Shares of companies joining the S&P [indexes] often rise because many portfolio managers try to track the index, and are required to buy stocks that enter it,” reports Reuters. Introduced in 1983, the S&P 100 measures large cap company performance. Apple Inc. stock finished the trading day Wednesday at an all-time closing high of $118.77 per share.

Jobs details at All Things Digital Conference: Apple TV + YouTube

During an interview conducted by the Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg at the All Things Digital Conference in Carlsbad, California, Apple CEO Steve Jobs discussed the status of Apple’s “three businesses and a hobby,” namely Macs, music, phones, and Apple TV. According to a transcript provided by Engadget, Jobs referred to Apple TV as a “hobby” based on the failure of any company to crack the in-home media player market—yet. In response, Mossberg noted that something new related to Apple TV will be shown today.

iPhone, iPod, and iTunes: Pressed by Mossberg for further information on new iPhone features or an update to the full-sized iPod, Jobs demurred, stating only that “[w]e’re working on the best iPods that we’ve ever worked on… and they’re awesome.” He did note, however, that Apple intends to put AT&T’s 3G network to use with “phones,” not specifically noting which future products would be 3G-capable. In response to a question from Mossberg regarding putting a miniature version of the iTunes Store on the iPhone for wireless downloading, Jobs said that “[w]e certainly have nothing to announce today.” He committed to allowing open third-party development of applications for iPhone once there is a way to guarantee the platform’s security.

Asked to estimate the number of copies of iTunes that are out there, and presented by Mossberg with the number “300 million,” Jobs replied “or more,” most on Windows computers, and noted that the scale of Apple’s successes has surprised him. “I never thought we’d ship 100 million iPods. No, never.”

Apple TV: On stage, Jobs demonstrated an Apple TV, discussing streaming and downloading of movie content from the Internet. He suggested that current movies were “pretty good quality,” and said that in the future, Apple might be selling high-definition videos as well. For now, however, Apple’s interested in pulling other content from the Internet, such as YouTube videos. The YouTube viewer will be available as a “free software upgrade available in a few weeks.”

Screenshots of the YouTube viewer depict “YouTube” as an option between “TV Shows” and “Music” from Apple TV’s main menu, with the choice of Featured, Most Viewed, Most Recent, and Top Rated videos via menu options, plus your History of viewed videos, and an on-screen Search feature, complete with an on-screen alphanumeric keyboard. Standard YouTube “related videos” appear as links when you’ve finished watching the original video you selected.

Apple again tops ‘50 Most Innovative Companies’ list

BusinessWeek has once again named Apple the most innovative company in the world. “For the third year in a row, the design-driven masters in Cupertino, Calif., lead the pack of creative firms on our list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies,” says the magazine. “Apple manages to dominate any would-be contenders, beating out two-time runner-up Google with more than twice as many votes.” Rounding out the top ten are Google, Toyota, General Electric, Microsoft, Proctor & Gamble, 3M, Walt Disney Co., IBM, and Sony. BusinessWeek and the Boston Consulting Group surveyed senior executives worldwide to find out which companies are the most innovative.

 

Apple’s Steve Jobs highest-paid CEO of 2006

Although he only took $1 in salary, Apple CEO Steve Jobs was America’s highest-paid chief executive of 2006. Forbes reports that Jobs received $647 million in total compensation thanks to vested restricted stock. The next four top-paid CEOs also earned most of their pay from exercised stock options—Ray Irani of Occidental Petroleum ($322 million), Barry Diller of IAC/Interactive Corp ($295 million), William P. Foley of Fidelity National Financial ($180 million), and Terry Semel of Yahoo! ($174 million). Forbes said CEO pay in the U.S. was up a collective 38% last year, to $7.5 billion.

Apple in talks with Samsung over large NAND flash purchase

According to a Digitimes report, Apple is in talks with Samsung over volume pricing of NAND flash chips, to be used in iPods and iPhones from June until December. The report claims that Apple is looking to acquire between 400 and 500 million 4GB NAND chips, but industry sources say Samsung is unsure of their ability to produce that many given that the request is 10-15 percent higher than what was previously agreed upon. Apple uses NAND flash in the iPod shuffle, iPod nano, and the upcoming iPhone.

Apple offers Personal Shopping service

Apple is offering a new service called Personal Shopping at its retail stores. It is described by Apple as a “free service where you and a dedicated Mac Specialist explore and test-drive products to find out which ones are best for you.” This face-to-face experience is meant to provide undivided attention for customers who have more questions than the typical sales experience can answer. Personal Shopping is currently available at Apple retail stores, and appointments can be made online up to two weeks in advance.

Steve Jobs pens update on Apple’s environmental policy

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has written an extensive update which outlines Apple’s plans for current and future environmental efforts, entitled “A Greener Apple.” In the update, Jobs discusses topics such as the removal of toxic chemicals from Apple’s product lines, as well as plans for more aggressive recycling of old products. While discussing the removal of the chemicals Arsenic and Mercury, he also sheds some light on the company’s plans for future displays. “We plan to introduce our first Macs with LED backlight technology in 2007,” Jobs wrote.

Jobs also announced plans to expand its iPod recycling program. “All of Apple’s U.S. retail stores, which now number more than 150, take back unwanted iPods for environmentally friendly disposal free of charge,” Jobs said. “As an incentive, we even offer customers a 10% discount on a new iPod when they bring their old iPod to our stores for proper disposal. This summer we’re expanding it to Apple retail stores worldwide, and we’re also extending it to include free shipping from anywhere in the U.S. No product purchases are required for any of our free take back programs. In a few months, we think we’ll have ‘best of breed’ iPod recycling programs in the U.S., and we plan to continue to expand our free iPod recycling programs globally in the future.”

Report: Apple opening store in NYC Meatpacking district

Apple will reportedly open its third Manhattan-area retail store in the city’s trendy Meatpacking district. The store, which could possibly be Apple’s largest yet, will be located at 401 W. 14th Street, according to the New York Post.

“Apple is leasing more than 32,000 feet on the cellar, ground and second floor of the 60,000-square-foot, low-rise structure,” the Post reports. “The former home to a Western Beef grocery store and Belgian restaurant Markt, the building where the new store will open is being completely renovated and getting a new 9,000-square-foot penthouse along with 2,500 feet of terraces overlooking the triangular intersection of Ninth Avenue, Hudson Street and 14th Street. High-end retailers Stella McCartney, Jeffrey and Alexander McQueen are among Apple’s neighboring retailers.”

Analyst sees Apple offering subscriptions for games, videos

Apple’s new subscription accounting policy for the iPhone and Apple TV could be a sign of things to come for the company, according to one analyst. Shaw Wu of American Technology Research told clients today that he envisions Apple offering subscription services for music, TV, movies, and video games. “We believe Apple is in the midst of building a more serious effort in the subscription business where it could enter the ‘rental’ space with video games and music, TV, and movie content,” Wu said. “We would not be surprised to see Apple compete with the likes of Netflix and Blockbuster in a bigger way.” These services would make Apple the “only vertically integrated play and one stop shop for hardware, software, and services for the digital lifestyle,” according to Wu.

 

Apple shares soar past $100

Following better than expected quarterly earnings, shares of Apple soared above $100 to hit a new all-time high. As reported late yesterday, Apple saw second quarter earnings come in at $770 million, or 87 cents a share, compared to earnings of $410 million, or 47 cents a share, last year. Analysts were expecting, on average, earnings of 64 cents a share on revenue of $5.17 billion for the quarter. During the quarter, Apple shipped more than 10.5 million iPods and more than 1.5 million Mac computers.

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