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Apple confirms Beats Electronics acquisition for $3 billion

Apple today confirmed that it has purchased Beats Electronics, maker of the Beats by Dr. Dre line of headphones and speakers, as well as the Beats Music subscription music streaming application. Combined, the purchase will cost Apple $3 billion, which according to the company’s statement consists “of a purchase price of approximately $2.6 billion and approximately $400 million that will vest over time.” Notably, this is less than the $3.2 billion price originally reported in early May, but the price matches a recent New York Post report. Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre will join Apple as part of the acquisition. The transaction is expected to close in the fiscal fourth quarter, subject to regulatory approvals.

“Music is such an important part of all of our lives and holds a special place within our hearts at Apple,” Apple CEO Tim Cook announced in the statement. “That’s why we have kept investing in music and are bringing together these extraordinary teams so we can continue to create the most innovative music products and services in the world.”

“I’ve always known in my heart that Beats belonged with Apple,” Iovine said in the statement. “The idea when we started the company was inspired by Apple’s unmatched ability to marry culture and technology. Apple’s deep commitment to music fans, artists, songwriters and the music industry is something special.”

Initially reported by The Financial Times as a deal in progress, the acquisition was seemingly a certainty after Dr. Dre appeared alongside actor Tyrese Gibson in a Facebook video, describing himself as the “first billionaire in hip hop.” Some analysts and commentators have questioned the wisdom of the deal for Apple, while others have cited Beats’ strong following in the African-American community as a potential customer base for Apple, and suggested that Beats Music will increase Apple’s footprint in the subscription streaming music category.

Update: “We could build about anything that you could dream of. But that’s not the question,” Cook told Re/code. “The thing that Beats provides us is a head start, and it provides us with incredible people, kindred spirits.” It’s also noted that Apple will keep both the Beats hardware and Beats Music streaming service brands intact.

In a separate story from the AP, Cook said of Iovine and Dre: “We’ve dated, we’ve gone steady and now we are getting married. This relationship started a decade ago, so we know there is an incredible cultural fit. These two guys have a very rare set of skills. It’s like finding a particular grain of sand on the beach. It’s that rare.”

iTunes 11.2.2 update issued

Apple has released the second update to its iTunes 11.2 software. Version number 11.2.2 “fixes a problem where certain podcast episodes may download unexpectedly.” Podcast enhancements were among the biggest components when iTunes 11.2 was released 13 days ago.

NY Post: Apple to acquire Beats this week for reduced $3B price

Apple will announce its anticipated acquisition of Beats Electronics this week in a $3 billion deal, the New York Post reports. The initial report on the acquisition pegged the sale at $3.2 billion, but it’s speculated that a recent report which claimed that Beats Music only had 111,000 subscribers in March “may have led Apple’s lawyers to value the firm on a slightly lower basis.” According to one source, “Apple hadn’t even begun its due diligence process when news of the number came out.” Apple declined comment.

iPad to launch on Japan’s NTT DoCoMo network June 10

Apple and NTT DoCoMo announced today that the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display will be available on DoCoMo’s network starting on Tuesday, June 10. Customers can pre-register the devices at DoCoMo dealers and on DoCoMo’s website starting Monday, June 1. Wi-Fi + Cellular iPads will be able to use DoCoMo’s Xi LTE network. DoCoMo, Japan’s largest wireless carrier, just started carrying the iPhone last September.

Alleged iPhone 6 case arrives

iLounge has received a new case from Minisuit, designed to fit the still-unannounced iPhone 6. Frost is a TPU case with transparent edges and a cloudy back.

While it’s significantly taller and wider than the iPhone 5/5s, it notably matches the thickness of the fifth-generation iPod touch. While it’s unclear whether the next-generation iPhone will indeed fit properly inside, it matches the most prevalent rumors, including enough room for a device with a 4.7” display, plus a Sleep/Wake button that’s been moved to the handset’s right side. More photos can be seen by clicking the headline above.

Apple to livestream 2014 WWDC keynote

Uncharacteristically early, Apple has announced on its website that it will stream the keynote event of its 2014 Worldwide Developers Conference live to iOS devices, Apple TV, and computers.

The event starts at 10:00 AM PST on Monday, June 2 and is expected to include the announcement of iOS 8, Healthbook, a home automation initiative, and more.

Apple not purchasing display chipmaker Renesas SP Driver

Apple will not be purchasing Renesas SP Driver, reports Reuters. Renesas SP produces the iPhone’s liquid crystal display chips, and a previous report noted that Apple was in discussions to acquire the division of Renesas Electronics. However, those talks apparently failed to progress quickly enough for Renesas, which decided to sell its majority stake in the division to Synaptics Inc. It’s unclear how this will change Apple’s relationship with Renesas SP as a supplier — there may be no effect at all.

Apple seeking to ban Samsung devices from sale in the U.S.

Following an award of $119 million in damages from Samsung earlier this month, Apple is now seeking a permanent injunction against Samsung that would prevent the sale of any past and future Samsung devices that infringe upon its patents, notes FOSS Patents. In a motion filed late on Friday, the proposed injunction relates not only to products covered in the recent trial but also any “software or code capable of implementing any Infringing Feature, and/or any feature not more than colorably different thereform,” thereby extending to future Samsung devices. Based on the past history of such motions between both companies, it seems unlikely that such an injunction will be granted.

Apple, others paying $324.5 million for anti-poaching settlement

Apple, Google, Adobe, and Intel are paying $324.5 million for their settlement of an antitrust lawsuit filed for anti-poaching agreements, the Los Angeles Times reports. The four companies agreed to settle last month. Former employees, who alleged the companies agreed not to hire each other’s employees, were seeking $3 billion in lost wages — that number could have jumped to $9 billion due to the suit’s antitrust status. Each member of the suit is now estimated to get “a few thousand dollars.” The settlement still requires approval by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh before being finalized.

Report: Apple-Beats ‘still happening,’ acquisition being made for talent

Apple’s acquisition of Beats Electronics “is happening” but almost fell apart “multiple times,” TechCrunch reports. A source is 70 percent certain the deal will go through, which still casts doubt on an acquisition that many thought was all but done. The source also noted that Apple is buying Beats for its talent, not its technology — namely its founders, Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre. “They want Jimmy and they want Dre,” the source said. “He’s got fashion and culture completely locked up.” Apple has become interested in hiring “culturally aware and highly skilled managers” — Angela Ahrendts, Paul Deneve, Ari Partinen, and Ben Shaffer are all given as examples.

The report theorizes Iovine will negotiate record deals for Apple, as many have expected. Another source notes — unsurprisingly — that Apple will use the Beats streaming music service to its advantage in conjunction with iTunes.

Apple extends Liquidmetal agreement to 2015

Apple has extended its exclusive license with Liquidmetal to use the company’s metal alloys until Feb. 5, 2015, according to an SEC filing. The agreement was originally made in 2010, and last extended in 2012. As noted then, Apple was working with the material in its SIM card ejector tool, but the company has still yet to use Liquidmetal’s alloys in any prominent way; perhaps the material will be used to a greater extent in an upcoming product.

Apple officially acknowledges iMessage issue, says fix coming in future

Apple has officially acknowledged its iMessage issue that causes users who switch from an iPhone to stop receiving texts. “We recently fixed a server-side iMessage bug which was causing an issue for some users, and we have an additional bug fix in a future software update,” Apple told Re/code in a statement. The report notes that a recent server glitch has only exacerbated the issue, making it harder for Apple support staff to fix iMessage using standard protocol.

To avoid the problem, Apple says users switching from an iPhone to a non-Apple phone can switch off iMessage on their iPhone, and uncheck the phone number from all other Apple devices using iMessage before making the switch — though this doesn’t do much good to those who have already made the transition. A recent report noted Apple is being sued over the issue.

Hackers claim compromise of iCloud and Activation Lock

Two hackers are claiming to have found a way to compromise iCloud by bypassing Activation Lock on stolen iPhones, De Telegraaf reports. The hackers — based in the Netherlands and Morocco, respectively — reportedly worked on the hack for five months. A vulnerability in Apple’s software apparently allows another computer to fool an iPhone into thinking it’s a genuine Apple server, allowing third-parties to gain Apple ID credentials and reverse Apple’s Activation Lock. The two hackers also claim they contacted Apple about the issue back in March, but the company never responded. They have allegedly unlocked 30,000 iPhones by exploiting the vulnerability. [via MacRumors]

Apple WWDC app update reveals keynote set for June 2

Apple has released version 2.0 of its free WWDC app ahead of its upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference. The app reveals a good portion of the conference’s schedule, including the keynote, which is set for 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. PST, Monday June 2. A number of the events on the conference schedule have still yet to be announced. Maps of the Moscone West venue in San Francisco and videos from past WWDCs are also included within the app. [via 9to5Mac]

Apple collector reveals Mac mini prototype with integrated iPod dock

Henry “Hap” Plain, a collector of rare Mac prototypes, revealed an unreleased prototype Apple Mac mini with a built-in iPod dock in an interview with Cult of Mac. According to Plain, a friend suggested that Apple originally planned on releasing the Mac mini at the same time as the new iPod that would dock on its top, but the iPod project was running behind schedule, so Apple left the feature out. While Plain says that the iPod in question was the iPod mini, both the Mac mini’s January 2005 release date and an accompanying photo suggest that the delayed iPod was actually the first-generation iPod nano, as Apple had released the iPod mini in 2004. The prototype Mac’s dock doesn’t appear to have enough space for larger iPods.

It’s unclear what exact plans Apple had for that Mac mini model, but reports in 2005 and 2006 noted that Apple was considering an integrated dock for the computer. A user who opened the original PowerPC G4-based Mac mini discovered an unused set of pins on the logic board that would have supported a Dock Connector interface, and rumors suggested that Apple might include the feature in an Intel processor-based followup the next year. Apple ultimately did not integrate an iPod dock into any of its computers.

Apple expands iPad trade-in program to France, Germany, Spain, UK

Apple has expanded its in-store iPad trade-in program to a number of European countries, including France, Germany, Spain and the UK. Both the UK and Spanish Apple sites are referencing the program, with iPhoneAddict.fr and Macerkopf.de verifying the program’s launch in France and Germany, respectively. Apple only started accepting the iPad in its Reuse and Recycling program last month. Both eligible iPads and iPhones can now be traded in toward the purchase of new iOS devices; current-generation devices are generally not eligible for trade-in. [via 9to5Mac]

Report: Ahrendts plans Apple Retail tweaks on China, mobile payments, experience

New Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts “has outlined a three-part vision” for the future of Apple retail, 9to5Mac reports. The three parts include a greater emphasis on Apple’s presence in China, improving mobile payments in retail stores, and redesigning the Apple Store visitor experience from end to end. Ahrendts reportedly believes “the tastes of Chinese consumers are critical” around the world, and the company must be receptive to the Chinese people. The report notes that Apple currently has ten stores in China, and hopes to have 30 stores in the country by 2016.

Ahrendts wants to improve mobile payments in Apple’s retail stores and within its mobile apps, and hopes to “blur the lines” between Apple’s physical and online stores. It’s previously been reported that the company is pursuing its own mobile payments service, likely centered around the Touch ID sensors in iPhones. As for Apple’s retail locations, Ahrendts has apparently visited a number of stores already, leaving sources impressed with her interactions. It’s been said that she would like to change the experience a customer has in the store from start to finish — from finding a product to making the purchase, everything could be revamped.

Apple, Samsung in patent settlement talks after Google-Apple deal

Apple and Samsung have resumed talks aimed at settling the company’s ongoing patent disputes out of court, The Korea Times reports. “Samsung has recently resumed working-level discussions with Apple and the key issue is how to dismiss all lawsuits,” a source said.

One reason to believe Apple is willing to settle comes from the company’s recent settlement with Google’s Motorola Mobility unit on their respective patent issues, notes Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents. Apple and Google released a statement late on Friday stating that they’ve settled current patent litigation, but the settlement does not include cross-licensing of each other’s patents, Reuters reports. “Apple and Google have also agreed to work together in some areas of patent reform,” the statement said.

Apple sued over unsent iMessage text issue

Apple is being sued over an issue that causes iPhone text messages to get lost when sent to Android devices, Bloomberg reports. The lawsuit was filed by a former iPhone user who claims she switched to a different device and stopped receiving texts. A few days ago, a widely distributed blog post was written about the very same issue; that post claimed Apple was aware of the problem, but has no standard solution. Texts sent from an iMessage system to a user who used to have an iPhone but switched to an Android phone are — often, apparently — getting delayed in delivery or are completely failing to reach the intended recipient. The suit is seeking class-action status. [via Business Insider]

Apple earns full marks in government data request report

A report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation titled “Who Has Your Back?” has awarded Apple a full six-star rating when it comes to standing with users when the government seeks access to data. Apple earned a star in all six criteria: require a warrant for content of communications, tell users about government data requests, publish transparency reports, publish law enforcement guidelines, fight for users’ privacy rights in courts, and publicly oppose mass surveillance.

In the last three years, Apple only earned one star in the report, which notes this year that “Apple shows remarkable improvement in its commitments to transparency and privacy.” The report features summaries for 26 tech companies. Eight other companies joined Apple in earning a six-star rating, and the lowest grade went to popular appmaker Snapchat, with one star.

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