Almost five years after the patent infringement lawsuit between the two companies began, Samsung has dropped further appeals and has agreed to pay Apple the $548 million in damages ordered by a Federal Appeals court last spring, according to a new report by FOSS Patents. Samsung had made a request to the U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in August to re-examine the verdict, however that request was denied, and after a rapid series of back-and-forth filings from the two companies, a U.S. judge banned any further filings in the case until further notice.
Following last month’s announcement that Apple would be shuttering Beats Music on Nov. 30, the company has now sent out a notice to former Beats Music subscribers, letting them know that they still have more time to migrate their Beats Music libraries over to Apple’s new Apple Music service. The email indicates that user’s content, playlists, music, and preferences will be retained until Jan. 19, 2016, and provides a quick link to start a three-month free trial of Apple Music along with steps for migrating to Apple Music from Beats Music for both iOS and Android devices. [via 9to5Mac]
As promised earlier this year, Apple has officially released its Swift programming language to the open source community. Originally unveiled at WWDC 2014, the Swift programming language was intended to provide iOS developers with a simpler and higher-performance alternative to Objective-C, which had been the core development language for the iOS SDK since the debut of the App Store in 2008. Apple integrated Swift into its set of Xcode development tools and SDKs, and streamlined the process of gradually migrating apps to Swift by allowing Objective-C and Swift code to be mixed seamlessly. By making Swift open source, Apple hopes the programming language will be adopted across a wider range of platforms, including not only mobile apps but also desktop and cloud applications.
A group representing authors and booksellers has filed a motion asking the Supreme Court to overturn the decision against Apple in the e-book price fixing conspiracy, according to a new report by The Bookseller. Following the court’s judgement earlier this year that Apple violated anti-trust laws by conspiring to raise and fix e-book prices at higher levels than those previously charged by Amazon, the group, which includes the Authors Guild, Authors United, the American Booksellers Association, and Barnes & Noble, has filed an amicus brief in the U.S. asserting that the government’s focus on Apple’s “allegedly anti-competitive activities” was “misplaced.”
Parents of kids 6 and older can register their children for an ‘Hour of Code’ introductory workshop set for Thursday, Dec. 10 at Apple Stores around the U.S. The program offers kids a free one-hour class about the basic of computer programming courtesy of Code.org, which encourages kids to learn computer skills with tutorials centered around characters from their favorite movies and video games. Special events celebrating Computer Science Education Week are also running Dec. 7–12 at larger Apple Stores in New York, Tokyo, Sydney and other major cities.
Apple SVP Eddy Cue laid out the company’s vision for Apple News in an interview with CNN, touting the app as more of a public service than a money-making venture. Cue said Apple is working hard to steer clear of the economics of the news business, focusing more on building the platform for news organizations to leverage on their own. While Apple offers to sell the ads that display next to content—claiming 30 percent of the revenue for ad space it sells—the company also gives publishers the ability to sell their own ads and keep 100 percent of the profits. (It’s unclear how many news organizations sell their own ads, and how many rely on Apple at this point.) Cue said the app aims to clear away hurdles that keep publications from delivering content to consumers. “News organizations today have lots to worry about: Each of them has to worry about building their own apps, the interfaces, the user experience,” Cue said. “This gives them an opportunity to focus on what they do really well, which is the journalism part, and let us handle the technology piece of building the apps and distributing them.”
Apple has expanded Personal Pickup to six more European countries, German site Macerkopf reports. Customers in Germany, Spain, France, Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands can now opt for in-store pickup of items they’ve purchased online if the items are in stock. The option — previously only available in the U.S. — has launched in the U.K., Canada, and Australia in the last few weeks. [via Apple Insider]
While Apple Pay officially launched in Australia last week, the country’s banks are still refusing to link their cards to the digital payment system, prompting calls for the Reserve Bank to examine banks for potential anti-competitive behavior, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. Apple’s fees for using the service have been a sticking point in negotiations for months, with the company reportedly demanding the same 15 cents on every $100 of transactions that the company is believed to receive from banks in the U.S., even though banks in Australia make half as much from interchange fees as compared to their U.S. counterparts.
Apple has struck a preliminary agreement to use UnionPay’s point-of-sales network to bring Apple Pay to China, Bloomberg reports. Sources familiar with the negotiations said UnionPay, China’s largest payment network, aims to introduce Apple Pay as soon as next year, but noted that the two companies haven’t signed firm agreements with Chinese banks on linking local bank cards to the service. That information seems to conflict with yesterday’s report that Apple had reached deals with China’s four largest state-run banks to link Apple Pay with local bank accounts, with sources now saying some banks have lingering concerns about the fees charged by Apple Pay and the low number of users the service has worldwide. Apple Pay takes in 0.15 percent of each purchase made through its system — which comes out of the 2 percent fee paid by retailers in the U.S. — but that rate has proven too high in China, where the total fee paid by some retailers is only 0.38 percent.
Apple has acquired Faceshift, a motion capture company best known for its work on creating animated characters for the new Star Wars film, TechCrunch reports. Faceshift’s technology records a person’s facial expressions in real time, allowing that information to be used in creating realistic faces for animated characters in movies or rendering custom avatars for players within video games. With several Faceshift employees now working for Apple out of Europe, speculation about how Apple will use Faceshift’s capabilities has centered around identification or security applications. Apple kept quite about buying the company when rumors first circulated earlier in the year, and has since issued its usual statement: “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” Apple already owns several patents in the areas of facial recognition, augmented reality and motion capture.
Apple is planning to launch Apple Pay in China by early February, The Wall Street Journal reports. After grueling negotiations, the company has struck deals with China’s four major state-run banks, people familiar with the discussions said. While Apple may still face serious regulatory hurdles, the company is hoping to launch its digital payment service before China’s Spring Festival on Feb. 8. Apple officially began the process of bringing Apple Pay to China in June, when it registered to operate in the Shanghai free-trade zone as Apple Technology Service (Shanghai) Ltd. Apple CEO Tim Cook has repeatedly said he’s “very bullish on Apple Pay” in China — where iPhone sales are actually starting to outpace demand in the U.S. — but several other competing mobile payment options already exist within the country. Apple Pay is currently available in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia.
Starting today, MasterCard is offering four “Fare Free Mondays” on London’s public transit system for cardholders using Apple Pay. The promotional periods running today, Nov. 30, Dec. 7 and Dec. 14 extend from 4:30 a.m. that day until 1 a.m. the next day. During that time, customers using their U.K. MasterCard through Apple Pay to pay for travel on London Buses, London Underground, London Trams, Docklands Light Railway, London Overground, TfL Rail, Emirates Air Line and most National Rail services in London will be billed for the trip, but can expect to see their fares refunded within 28 working days, up to a maximum value of £27.90 per cardholder. The offer excludes travel on Thames Clipper River Bus services. While the promotion is very specific, we’re left to wonder whether we’ll be seeing other similar spot promotions aimed at getting users enrolled in Apple Pay, and getting them familiar with how the technology works.
A U.S. district court judge has ruled Apple’s method of distributing and authenticating content doesn’t infringe on DRM patents owned by ContentGuard Holdings, Reuters reports. ContentGuard sued in 2013, claiming Apple applied five of its DRM patents in iTunes and iBooks to dispense movies, songs, shows and books that could be restricted to function only for approved users. Apple denied infringing on the patents and went even further by claiming the patents themselves were invalid. A jury didn’t buy Apple’s argument that the patents were invalid, but also didn’t find enough proof that Apple had infringed the patents, so no damages were awarded to ContentGuard. An attorney for ContentGuard expressed his disappointment in the ruling and said he and his clients were evaluating their options. Apple declined to comment.
Apple is building an app to diagnose problems with iOS devices and help users schedule service, according to uSwitch. A source with direct knowledge of the app’s development said it will ask “basic questions (about the device in need of repair) to boil down to the problem quickly.” The new app will reportedly provide user guides and basic how-to information for every iOS device registered to the user’s Apple ID and offers tips for resolving a series of commonly experienced problems. If those fail to resolve the issue, the app will aid users in booking service at an Apple Store, sending their device in for service, or calling Apple for further support. The current Apple Store app only provides assistance in booking appointments with an Apple Store’s Genius bar; it’s unclear if this functionality will be shifted into the Apple Store app, or if it will be a new app of its own. Photos of the app show it also provides an option to chat live with Apple’s tech support network.
After expanding in-store pickup for items purchased from Apple’s online store to Canada and Australia earlier this week, the company has made the option available in the United Kingdom, as well. Apple is also said to be training employees in France on the new process. Apple Stores allow customers to reserve in-stock products online in most parts of the world, but those purchases still must be completed inside the store. The option to pick up already purchased items in-store was only available at U.S. locations until this week. [via MacRumors]
In a brief support document, Apple has acknowledged the reported problem of iPad Pro devices requiring a hard restart to resume functioning after an extended period on the charger. The company instructs users to force restart the device if it becomes unresponsive and notes that “Apple is aware of this issue and is investigating.” We at iLounge have yet to experience the problem despite more than a week of working with the tablet.
Apple has released a pair of betas to developers this afternoon — iOS 9.2 beta 4 and Apple TV’s tvOS 9.1 beta 3 are both available now. The new iOS beta includes a number of small changes, including support for AT&T’s NumberSync feature. iOS 9.2 beta 4 is also now available to public testers.
After launching same-day delivery in San Francisco this May, Apple has expanded the expedited shipping option to most areas of New York City and some of its surrounding towns, MacRumors has discovered. For $19, most orders placed through the Apple Store app or on Apple’s online store are guaranteed to be delivered by Postmates within a two-hour window, and customers who order through the Apple Store app are provided with tracking information and estimated delivery times. Shoppers who don’t live within the Postmates delivery area won’t see the option for same-day delivery at checkout. So far the option has only popped up in the NYC and San Francisco areas, but Postmates has a presence in several other major U.S. cities.
Apple has stopped selling HomeKit-incompatible devices made by August, Kwikset and Belkin, MacRumors reports. August’s Smart Lock and Kwikset’s Kevo Wireless-Enabled Deadbolt Lock are both Bluetooth-enabled and can be operated by a user’s iPhone, but they’re not HomeKit-compatible and can’t be used with HomeKit devices. Apple’s online store still has Schlage’s Sense Smart Deadbolt up for sale, and that smart lock comes with HomeKit compatibility. Belkin’s WeMo light switch has also gone missing, suggesting all home-connected products that don’t come with HomeKit capabilities are going away.
Apple has updated the acknowledgments page for its Maps app to include Foursquare as a provider of business listings. Foursquare officially joins Yelp, Trip Advisor and Booking.com as official providers of information about businesses, restaurants and attractions within the app, but so far we at iLounge haven’t seen any Foursquare information popping up when searching in Apple Maps. In other Foursquare news, the company’s Swarm app got an update yesterday, making it possible to use the 3D Touch feature to press on a friend’s check-in for quick access to more information about their current location.