Apple wins iPod & iTunes DRM antitrust case, jury decides

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Update — Apple’s statement via CNBC: “We thank the jury for their service and we applaud their verdict.”

A jury has decided that Apple is not guilty of violating antitrust laws in the decade-old lawsuit involving the iPod, iTunes Music Store, and digital rights management usage. The jury had to determine if the iTunes updates affecting customers’ iPods were “genuine product improvements” with Apple citing security concerns for implementing the usage of DRM. Read more

Samsung reportedly planning Apple Pay rival compatible with 100% of cards & terminals

On the same day that Apple Pay reached a sign-up rate of 90% of US bank cards by transaction volume, Samsung is reportedly planning to launch a rival mobile payment service that would work with 100% of cards and payment terminals on day one.

Re/code suggests that the company is in talks with LoopPay, a startup which describes itself as “the most accepted mobile wallet on the planet.” Instead of using an NFC chip for contactless payment, LoopPay transmits a magnetic signal which simulates the swiping of the magnetic strip on a card. That means it works with all cards and all payment terminals, contactless or not …  Read more

Honor among thieves? Huawei calls its new smartphone the 6 Plus

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Huawei today unveiled its latest smartphone at an event in Beijing and naturally the company named the follow up to its previous generation Honor 6 device, the Honor 6 Plus. Creative.

Apart from the name there aren’t many other similarities between the Android-powered Honor 6 Plus and Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus. That is, however, other than the same size 5.5-inch display and the exact same color options (as pictured above). The previous generation Honor 6 sported a 5-inch display.  Read more

Some judges in ebook appeal express sympathy with Apple’s position

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Some of the judges in Apple’s appeal of last year’s ebook trial verdict appear sympathetic to the company’s argument that its deals with publishers helped, rather than hindered, competition, reports Reuters.

Circuit Judge Dennis Jacobs asked a Department of Justice lawyer why it was wrong for the publishers to get together to defeat a “monopolist” that was using “predatory pricing.”

“It’s like the mice getting together to put a bell on the cat,” Jacobs said.

The court had earlier heard evidence that at the time Apple entered the ebooks market, Amazon held a 90% market share …  Read more

Apple charting in Google’s 2014 trending searches, for both the right and wrong reasons

Google has put together its annual inspirational Year in Search video, and shared some of the trending searches across the year – with Apple making the charts for both the right and wrong reasons.

On the plus side, Apple took the #1 slot in consumer electronics searches, with the iPhone 6 ahead of rival smartphones from Samsung, Google, Motorola, LG and Nokia. Apple was also the only company to make three of the top-ten searches, with the Apple Watch at #8 and iPad Air at #10 …  Read more

Apple Pay now supports 90% of US credit cards by transaction volume

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With dozens more banks and retailers signed-up to Apple Pay in recent weeks, the company says the contactless payment system now supports the cards used for around 90% of credit card transactions in the US.

Ten further banks started accepting Apple Pay today, including two that had previously been announced as on the way: Commerce Bank and UW Credit Union …  Read more

Bose reportedly planning to take on rival Beats Music with upcoming music streaming platform

Beats on Apple TV

Bose and Beats have been at each other’s throats in recent months, with the former inking a deal with the NFL to ban the Apple-owned company’s gear from appearing on camera at the league’s events. Apple fired back by pulling Bose products from its physical and online stores.

Now things may be about to get even more interesting between the two companies as Bose reportedly plans to launch a direct competitor to the Beats Music streaming service. The information comes from a job listing posted by the speaker manufacturer.

The listing states in no uncertain terms that…

Jury begins deliberations in antitrust lawsuit over iPods, iTunes, and third-party music stores

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The class-action lawsuit against Apple over alleged anticompetitive behavior in how the iPod handled songs from third-party much stores is finally in the hands of a jury. Following last week’s final witness testimony, the jury has started deliberations in the decade-old case.

The evidence and testimony in this case have given us quite a bit of insight into the way Apple operated ten years ago with regards to its iPod and iTunes business. Former CEO Steve Jobs took jabs at rival Real Networks in a videotaped deposition (which the media wants the public to see, but Apple doesn’t). We also learned details of Apple’s contracts with record labels.

Read more

Best Bluetooth Speaker of the Year: JBL, Beats, Bose, UE Boom, Jawbone, more

Best-Bluetooth-speakers-2015(TL;DR: Winner, best size, best sound, runner-up best apps, best budget, best $300)

It has been a solid year and a half since our last Big “Best Portable Bluetooth speaker” competition, though we’ve done tons of updates to it in the months since.

A lot of our favorites are still around while others have been updated and new players have emerged. And what about our previous champ: the Ultimate Ears Boom? Spoiler alert: a new winner has emerged. Read on to find out who takes our Best Portable Bluetooth Speaker award… Read more

Apple thanks its employees for making “amazing moments” this year with a customized Incase backpack

Near the end of each year Apple thanks its employees for their hard work with a nice souvenir. This year some employees are being given a black Incase backpack featuring a bright white Apple logo.

At least one employee has already put the gift up on eBay with a starting bid of $49.99 and a Buy It Now of $99.99. From the images we’ve received, it appears that the bag is a customized version of the Incase Staple Backpack. In past years, Apple employees have received blankets, sweatshirts, and water bottles.

The bags were accompanied by this letter:

Read more

Some Genius Bars are being repurposed for the holidays, but other changes loom

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As they’ve done in years’ past, some Apple retail stores this holiday season will repurpose the Genius Bar for additional product space, pick-ups, or other uses as Apple attempts to make the shopping experience for customers as smooth as possible, 9to5Mac has learned.

The repurposing for the holidays will only arrive in some stores depending on needs and traffic, with some stores scheduled to use the Genius Bar area to complete express sales and hold products scheduled for pick-up. Other changes, however, will go beyond the holidays as the stores under new retail chief Angela Ahrendts evolve to better deal with increased foot traffic. Read more

Apple’s appeal of last year’s ebook ruling begins today

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Apple is having a busy time in court at the moment. Not only is it defending the iPod DRM class action, but is this morning beginning its appeal of the verdict of last year’s ebook trial.

The court ruled that Apple was guilty of anti-competitive practices in two ways. First, the company asked publishers to switch from wholesale pricing – where publishers sold in bulk to retailers, who set their own prices – to an agency model, where publishers set retail prices and retailers took a commission. The court ruled that this reduced price competition …  Read more